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Giveaway Winners! Happy Pub Day To Patience Bloom!

  • February 6, 2014

Congratulations to Jennifer Patterson, Alexis Ciman, and Cindi Ponkey Hartmann! You have each won a signed copy of Patience Bloom’s awesome new memoir Romance Is My Day Job.  Winners, please send an e-mail message with your postal mailing address to traceygarvisgraves@gmail.com.

Today is the official publication day of Romance Is My Day Job, so if you didn’t win you can find the book at the following retailers by clicking here.

Thanks, everyone!

Giveaway!

  • February 5, 2014

Hello, everyone!

I’m on the home-stretch with my new book but wanted to poke my head out of the writing cave for a minute to tell you about a great book I read. You may have heard me mention before that it’s hard for me to read fiction when I’m knee-deep in writing a book. I find it difficult to have another author’s voice in my head, so I usually take a break from reading, which I hate because reading has always been a part of my daily routine. That doesn’t mean I don’t add more books to my TBR pile, because I certainly do. When I turn in a manuscript I always look forward to going on a giant reading binge.

However, I can usually read non-fiction and memoirs while I’m writing, so I’m always on the hunt for a good one. My editor knows this, and I was thrilled when she asked me if I’d like to read a not-yet-released memoir.

My enthusiastic response: gimme, gimme, gimme!

Please.

This is the book I read:

Here’s the description:

Who knows the ins and outs of romance better than a Harlequin editor? A surprising and exhilarating look into Patience Bloom’s unexpected real-life love story.

At some point, we’ve all wished romance could be more like fiction. Patience Bloom certainly did, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like the heroines’ on the page: That shy guy she had a crush on wouldn’t just take her out—he’d sweep her off her feet with witty banter, quiet charm, and a secret life as a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Bloom kept reading books that fed her reveries.Years later she moved to New York and found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin. Every day, her romantic fantasies came true—on paper. Bloom became an expert when it came to fictional love stories, editing amazing books and learning everything she could about the romance business. But her dating life remained uninspired. She nearly gave up on love.Then one day a real-life chance at romance made her wonder if what she’d been writing and editing all those years might be true. A Facebook message from a high school friend, Sam, sparked a relationship with more promise than she’d had in years. But Sam lived thousands of miles away—they hadn’t seen each other in more than twenty years. Was it worth the risk?Finally, Bloom learned: Love and romance can conquer all. 

I loved this book. I mean, really, really loved it. I read it straight through in one sitting. 

I feel like I know Patience now, in a totally normal and non-stalk-y way.

Isn’t Patience the coolest name, ever? 

And aren’t you DYING to know what happened between Patience and Sam? 

I will be giving away three copies of Romance Is My Day Job, signed by Patience Bloom. The giveaway will run for twenty-four hours, so I’ll pop back and announce the winner tomorrow after 8:00 a.m. CST. 

Good luck!

***Please note that this book is a US release, therefore the giveaway is only open to readers in the US. I’m sorry about that! Also, you may not be able to enter the giveaway using a mobile device. 
 


Covet Playlist Explained: Why Did I Choose These Songs?

  • January 10, 2014

Hello everyone!

I wrote a post a while back for Penguin UK and I thought I’d share it here, too. My UK editor wanted to know if I could explain the reasons behind the songs I’d chosen for the Covet playlist. In case you’d like to know, here they are!

1. “Her Diamonds” by Rob Thomas  – The opening line of the song is, Oh what the hell she said I just can’t win for losing. When I first heard those words I thought they perfectly captured how Claire was feeling when she tried to help Chris through the stress of losing his job and the depression that followed. She wanted to help, but nothing she said or did seemed to be right.


2. “Daniel” by Elton John  – Somewhat self-explanatory, since Daniel is one of the main characters in Covet. But because of a decision that was made in the book, this line especially hit home: Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much.

3. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police  – At one point in the drafting of Covet, I had Daniel tell Claire that he’d assigned this ringtone to her. It was a not-so-subtle way of letting her know that he thought she was pretty special. The song is performed by The Police (get it?). I later took it out of the book, because it seemed a bit juvenile, but I love this song and it remained on the playlist.

4. Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson  – *Sigh*. These three lines say it all: Don’t you wanna stay here a little while? Don’t you wanna hold each other tight? Don’t you wanna fall asleep with me tonight?

5. “Bring It On Home” by Little Big Town – I love this song. I listened to it over and over while writing the ending to Covet (so it really should be last on the playlist). The theme of this song, at least to me, is that home is where you need to be when things are really tough. It’s where your spouse is. It’s where problems can be fixed. When things are at their worst you still have each other, so don’t shut the other person out.
When your long day is over
And you can barely drag your feet
The weight of the world is on your shoulders
I know what you need
Bring it on home to me.

I also love these two lines: 

Baby let me be your safe harbor
Don’t let the water come and carry you away. 
Claire was very close to being swept away, and Chris had some work ahead of him to convince her that he could be that safe harbor for her.

This last one just makes me teary-eyed because of what it conveys:

You got someone here wants to make it alright
Someone who loves you more than life right here.
It reminds me of what Claire and Chris have at home.  


6. “The First Cut Is the Deepest” by Sheryl Crow – The opening line of this song is, I would have given you all of my heart. This is especially significant because Claire tells Daniel, “If things had been different, I would have given my whole heart to you.”

7. Good Is Good” by Sheryl Crow – The song opens with, Good is good and bad is bad, You don’t know which one you had. I chose this song because that line sums up how conflicted Claire was throughout much of the book. She knows she is lucky, and that she has a lot to be thankful for, but there’s a part of her that wants and needs more. But she doesn’t want to rock the boat too much and risking losing it all.

8. “Say” by John Mayer – Oh, this song.
Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .Say what you need to say.

Claire had tried to talk to Chris in the past – and been shot down – so she stopped trying. Chris internalized everything and never shared the way he was feeling with Claire. Their lack of communication almost ended their marriage.

9. Mockingbird” by Rob Thomas  – These two verses highlight the way Claire felt when she knew the marriage was on shaky ground. She knew something had to change, but she needed Chris to work with her, not shut her out. This one was one the darkest times for her.
Here we stand
Somewhere in between this moment and the end
Will we bend
Or will we open up and take this whole thing in?


Maybe you and me got lost somewhere
We can’t move on and we can’t stay here
Maybe we’ve just had enough
Well, maybe we ain’t meant for this love.


10. Whatever It Takes” by Lifehouse – This whole song applies to Claire and Chris’s marriage. I can picture him saying the words in the first verse to her, and her saying the words in the second verse to him.  
I’ll do whatever it takes
To turn this around
I know what’s at stake
I know that I’ve let you down
And if you give me a chance
Believe that I can change
I’ll keep us together whatever it takes.


She said if we’re gonna make this work
You gotta let me inside even though it hurts
Don’t hide the broken parts that I need to see
She said Like it or not it’s the way it’s gotta be
You gotta love yourself if you can ever love me.




So, there you have it! I played that playlist so often my kids know the words to every song (my daughter has become quite the Rob Thomas fan). I love being influenced by music when I’m writing a book. 

Here’s the playlist for my new book, which I’m sure I’ll be adding to as I go along. All of the songs are relevant to the story in some way (I’ll be sure to explain why I chose them after the book has been released). If you’re on Spotify, please follow me. 🙂 

Happy Friday, all!

Fiction Friday – What Am I Writing Now?

  • October 18, 2013

Happy (fiction) Friday, everyone!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what I’m working on now, so I thought a Fiction Friday post would be the perfect way to let you know. 

When I’m in the drafting stage of a new book I don’t usually talk about it that much. It’s not that I’m trying to be secretive, it’s just that for me, the drafting stage is a very solitary endeavor. I might bounce things off members of my writing group, like POV questions or other technical things, but for the most part I spend a lot of time in my own head, just thinking. What I’ve found is that if I try to tell someone what my book is about before I’ve finished writing it, it will sound kind of stupid. I have a tendency to leave out key things when I’m describing it and there will inevitably be a lot of, “Wait. There’s something else that happens before the part I just told you about.” The end result is that the premise will sound like it’s all over the place.

Then, the person I’m telling it to will look at me like this:
 
 
And then I’ll want to do this:
 
 
 
 
 
 
So that’s why I don’t usually share much about the manuscript until it’s done. Not even my husband really knows what this next book is about. I mean, he knows the high-level plot points, but that’s about it.
 
But here’s what I can tell you: My new book is a contemporary romance (it could also be described as commercial fiction or possibly even romantic suspense). There is a mystery element with this book because the inciting incident (the event that sets the plot in motion) involves a crime being committed. The victim of the crime is the female protagonist’s grandmother (who has raised her). The male protagonist is a crime reporter. So these two characters will be spending quite a bit of time together, and the way their relationship will develop reminds me a bit of T.J. and Anna. By that I mean that their relationship develops alongside other things that are also happening. But unlike T.J. and Anna, these characters are fairly close in age (he’s thirty-five and she’s thirty). The female protagonist also has a three-year-old son from a previous marriage, which gives the story a bit of a Jerry McGuire feel that I especially love. I still don’t have a title, and I don’t have a publication date or any publication details. I will share all of these things when I know them. For now, I’m just focusing on writing the book.
 
The book I’m going to write after the one I’m writing now will probably be categorized as women’s fiction (like Covet is). I love the song “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg. Here’s part of it:
 
Met my old lover in the
grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the
frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the
face at first
But then her eyes flew
open wide
She went to hug me and she
spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.
We took her groceries to the
checkout stand
The food was totalled up and
bagged
We stood there lost in our
embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.
We went to have ourselves
a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at
the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
 
That, in a nutshell, is the premise of the book I’m going to write. I don’t have a title for this one either, but I have a loose outline and a document full of notes.
 
So there you have it! I’m very excited to share these upcoming books with you. Please remember that things can and do change, but this is where I’m at today.
 
Have a great weekend, everyone!
 
xoxo,
 
Tracey
 
 
 


Covet Release Day!

  • September 17, 2013

*******UPDATE*******

Congratulations, James Barton! You are the winner of the Covet gift basket. Please e-mail me at traceygarvisgraves@gmail.com. I need to verify where you shared the widget, and I also need your postal mailing address. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours I’ll pick another winner.

Hello everyone!

I am beside myself with excitement because it’s Covet’s book birthday. It seems like I’ve been waiting forever to write this post (and it probably feels like that to some of you, too). I plan to celebrate the release of this book in all kinds of wonderful ways, and I would be thrilled if you would join me.

Periodically, over the last two years, people have asked me, “Was it hard to write your first book?” I tell them that, yes, it was definitely work, but also a labor of love. But do you know what’s even harder than writing your first book? Writing your second (I’m not counting Uncharted here because even though it was the second title I released, I actually wrote it after I wrote Covet).

When you write your first book you really don’t know what you’re in for. But when it’s time to write another book, you know. You know that you’ll be mentally tired. You know that you’ll probably spend days in your writing chair, with only the bare minimum of attention paid to grooming (hello, yoga pants and ponytail!). You know all about the frustration, self-doubt, and neuroses that go along with creating a brand new world, with all new characters.

It’s even harder when your first book reaches more people than you ever dreamed it would. And believe me when I say that if I just wrote about Anna and T.J. for the rest of my writing career, there would probably be some very happy readers. But Covet is a story that I really wanted to tell. The setting – a suburban neighborhood – is something I know a lot about. I’d already written a romance novel and now it was time to try my hand at women’s fiction since these are the two genres I love the most.

My inspiration for Covet came from a real-life event. In the fall of 2008 my husband was in danger of being laid off. He was a valued employee and had been with his company for over fifteen years, but the recession was bearing down on everyone and none of that mattered. I was a stay-at-home-mom at the time, so the threat of losing our only source of income weighed heavily on my husband and me. Fortunately, David did not lose his job, but there were many couples who weren’t so lucky. Most of my books start out as a series of questions, and Covet was no different. I wondered, “What if my husband had lost his job? What effect would that have had on an otherwise strong marriage? What are the different ways in which men and women deal with marital stress? What if someone else was there for you when your spouse wasn’t?” And the final question, “Can men and women ever be just friends?” The answers to those questions became the basis for Covet’s storyline. I just had to know what the outcome would be for this fictional couple that I’d decided to write about. My hope is that you’ll relate to this story. You may see yourself, or your neighbor, or your best friend within the pages. 

So, where can you get a copy of the book? Penguin US has provided a nifty little widget that makes it super easy to purchase Covet. You can find it HERE (simply click on the highlighted link). Once you open the widget you can click on the buy link of your choice (then simply choose your preferred format). 

Today is also the publication of the UK version of Covet (e-book only – the trade paperback publication date is April 2014). Here are the purchase links for Penguin UK:

iTunes
Amazon UK
Kobo
Sainsbury’s

And because no launch day would be complete without a giveaway, let me tell you what’s up for grabs! First, anyone can win a special signed bookplate (more info below), and one lucky winner will receive this gift basket. It’s filled with all kinds of cool things, many of which are mentioned in the book.

In this basket you will find: signed copies of On the Island and Covet (personalized with the winner’s name), gift cards to Panera ($25), Starbucks ($15), Barnes & Noble ($50), and Amazon ($50), a Covet keychain, a DVD of Eat, Pray, Love and Up In The Air, a jar of roasted pineapple and habanero dip (you can make crack dip!), a corkcicle (which is the greatest invention ever), and a bottle of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Covet perfume. The only thing you don’t get is the actual basket, because I don’t even want to think about trying to fit the handle of that thing inside a box. But you get everything else.
 
All of my prior giveaways have been international, but this giveaway is open to US and Canada only. Right now, Covet is only available in the US, UK, and Canada. However, it’s only available as an e-book in the UK because the trade paperback will not be released there until April 2014. I promise to celebrate the launch of the UK trade paperback by having a UK-only giveaway at that time. As for other countries, my foreign rights agent will be hard at work to make sure that Covet becomes available all over the world. 
  
So, how do you enter? (The giveaway is at the bottom of this post). 


 

Share the widget on Facebook by posting it on your wall. You can earn extra entries if you also share the widget on Twitter, follow me on Twitter, and “like” my Facebook author page. To be eligible to win I do need to be able to trace back to the widget, so in the comments section of my blog please let me know where you shared it (you’ll earn another entry just by leaving a blog comment).

Once again, HERE is the link to the widget. Click on it to open, and then copy and paste the link to share. 

If you prefer paper books over electronic versions, I also have a special gift for you. These are bookplates I had made at Bookplate Ink for the hardcover edition of Covet. Aren’t they cool?

I’ll sign my name right below the cover image. Then you’ll simply peel off the backing and place the bookplate on the inside cover of your book (or wherever you’d like to put it).

If you bought the hardcover, please take a picture of yourself holding the book and e-mail it to me at traceygarvisgraves@gmail.com (please include your mailing address). I will send you a signed bookplate and also post your picture on my Facebook author page. Smile pretty!

I want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. I have been blessed with the best readers an author could ever hope for. Your enthusiasm and support never fails to amaze me, and none of this would be possible without you. 

Thank you for everything.

xoxo,

Tracey

Updated Covet Tour Schedule

  • September 9, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone!

I just wanted to share the updated schedule for the Covet book tour. Please let me know if you’re attending any of these events. I’d love to see you!

COVET BOOK TOUR
 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
7:00PM
BARNES AND NOBLE
The Shoppes at Three Fountains
4550 University Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50266
 
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
7:00 PM
RAINY DAY BOOKS
2706 W 53rd St
Fairway, KS 66205-1705
(913) 384-3126
 
Thursday, September 19, 2013
6:00 PM
THE BOOKWORM
8702 Pacific Street
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 392-2877
 
Friday, September 20, 2103
7:00 PM
THE BOOKMARK
220 First Street
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
(904) 241-9026
 
Saturday, September 21, 2013
2:00 PM
THE BOOKSELLER AT LAURELWOOD
387 Perkins Road Extended
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 683-9801
 
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble 
Northland Square SC
333 Collins Rd. NE Bldg 1
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
(319) 393-4800
 
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
6:00 p.m.
Plain Talk Books and Coffee
602 E. Grand Ave. (East Village)
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 283-1230, ext. 203
 
Saturday, October 12, 2013
IOWA CITY BOOK FESTIVAL
More info to come
 
I will post more information on dates and appearances as it becomes available. Have a great day!
 
Tracey
 

A Totally Important Announcement About Crack Dip

  • August 22, 2013

UPDATE: Congratulations, Andrea Silva!! You are the winner of the roasted pineapple and habanero dip. I’m also sending you a copy of Covet. Please e-mail me at traceygarvisgraves@yahoo.com. I need your postal mailing address.

Long-time readers of my blog know that I have a favorite recipe. It’s for something called crack dip and the name is self-explanatory.

I love me some crack dip. When you find out what’s in it, you might think it doesn’t sound that appealing. But trust me on this, it’s fantastic. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, smoky, and spicy. Recently I was gutted devastated dismayed to learn that one of the key ingredients is no longer being carried at SuperTarget (which was one of the only places you could buy it). When people first brought this to my attention I brushed it off. Certainly my SuperTarget would still be carrying it. Maybe a few random SuperTargets across the country are sold out or something, but I doubt it’s really gone.

Dudes. It’s gone.

Gone, gone, gone.

You will no longer be able to find THIS in SuperTarget stores. (I’m crying as I type this.) *

However, I am nothing if not resourceful. I have an Internet connection and a computer (and Google!). Plus I’m highly motivated. After a little searching I found THIS.

 

I found it on Amazon. You can buy it here.

Yes, it’s a little more expensive. Yes, that sucks. But it’s crack dip. CRACK DIP, Y’ALL!

So, for those of you who are not familiar with crack dip, here’s the recipe:

Dump the whole jar of the roasted pineapple and habanero dip into a medium-size bowl.

Next, add two packages of Philadelphia brand cream cheese. Leave the cream cheese out for a few hours so that it comes to room temperature and is very soft. Really mix this together well. You don’t want big chunks of cream cheese, and sometime it helps to use the back of a big spoon to smooth them out.

Use the reduced-fat cream cheese if you want (it won’t affect the awesomeness of the dip). Do not, under any circumstances, use the fat-free crap because I’ll be notified telepathically, my head will explode, and zombies will eat my brain. So don’t do that, okay?

After you’ve combined the cream cheese and the habanero and roasted pineapple dip, add an 8 ounce package of shredded Kraft sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well.

This next part is important. You’re going to add some diced red onion, but not too much (start with a few tablespoons and add from there). I once thought that if a little red onion was good, a whole lot would be better but all it did was overpower the dip and I had to throw it away and start over which made me cry. So be careful. You can always add a little more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there. I’d say 1/4 of a small red onion is plenty.

Mix, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve the dip with Ritz crackers. Town House Toppers also work well (you really need a sturdy cracker).

No matter where you go, if you bring this dip people will love you. They’ll stand around the bowl raving about it and you’ll have to give everyone the recipe. A friend gave it to me back in 2008 and I’ve been making it ever since. Occasionally, someone will turn their nose up at crack dip when you tell them what’s in it, but after you force them to try it anyway, they’ll be the one parked next to the bowl shoveling in dip-covered crackers like it’s their job. I guarantee it. 

And just to prove to you how much I love this stuff, one of you will win a jar of the roasted pineapple and habanero dip so you can make it at home and see what all the fuss is about.

As always, this giveaway is open to everyone. I don’t care where you live. If you win, I’ll ship it to you.

Tracey

*If they’re still carrying the roasted pineapple and habanero dip at your SuperTarget, buy every jar on the shelf.

Covet Tour Dates and Cities!

  • July 29, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m very excited to share the dates and cities of my upcoming book tour for Covet. I will also be creating a Facebook event for the signing at the West Des Moines Barnes & Noble. If you’re local, I would love it if you joined me!

COVET BOOK TOUR
 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
7:00PM
BARNES AND NOBLE
The Shoppes at Three Fountains
4550 University Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50266
 
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
7:00 PM
RAINY DAY BOOKS
2706 W 53rd St
Fairway, KS 66205-1705
(913) 384-3126
 
Thursday, September 19, 2013
6:00 PM
THE BOOKWORM
8702 Pacific Street
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 392-2877
 
Friday, September 20, 2103
7:00 PM
THE BOOKMARK
220 First Street
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
(904) 241-9026
 
Saturday, September 21, 2013
2:00 PM
THE BOOKSELLER AT LAURELWOOD
387 Perkins Road Extended
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 683-9801
 
Saturday, October 12, 2013
IOWA CITY BOOK FESTIVAL
More info to come
 
I will post more information on dates and appearances as it becomes available. Have a great day!
 
Tracey
 
 

Covet Tour Dates and Cities!

  • July 29, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m very excited to share the dates and cities of my upcoming book tour for Covet. I will also be creating a Facebook event for the signing at the West Des Moines Barnes & Noble. If you’re local, I would love it if you joined me!

COVET BOOK TOUR

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
7:00PM
BARNES AND NOBLE
The Shoppes at Three Fountains
4550 University Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
7:00 PM
RAINY DAY BOOKS
2706 W 53rd St
Fairway, KS 66205-1705
(913) 384-3126
www.rainydaybooks.com

Thursday, September 19, 2013
6:00 PM
THE BOOKWORM
8702 Pacific Street
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 392-2877
http://www.bookwormomaha.com/

Friday, September 20, 2103
7:00 PM
THE BOOKMARK
220 First Street
Neptune Beach, FL 32266
(904) 241-9026
http://www.bookmarkbeach.com/

Saturday, September 21, 2013
2:00 PM
THE BOOKSELLER AT LAURELWOOD
387 Perkins Road Extended
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 683-9801
http://www.thebooksellersatlaurelwood.com/

Saturday, October 12, 2013
IOWA CITY BOOK FESTIVAL
More info to come
http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/

I will post more information on dates and appearances as it becomes available. Have a great day!

Tracey

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