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Let’s Talk About Trends

  • July 12, 2013
 
Today I’d like to talk about trends in fiction. This is a subject I could discuss for hours; I find it fascinating how one book or series can impact the publishing industry in such a major way.  
 
I first became aware of how all-encompassing a publishing trend can be after I read Twilight. Many have criticized the writing – and everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion – but I was too engrossed in the story to notice or care about the writing. I just wanted to know if Bella was going to hook up with that vampire, and I stayed up until 2 a.m. so I could find out. Though the concept of a vampire and a human interacting was not 100% original (Anne Rice anyone?), Twilight put a fresh spin on it the day Edward Cullen showed up at a high school. Suddenly, paranormal romance was hot, and so were books for young adults.
 
After I read Twilight I went on to read many more paranormal romance novels. Some were hits, some were misses, and eventually I reached a level of reader fatigue where I didn’t want to read paranormal romance anymore. The last few I read were pretty derivative, and it made me wonder if they were published solely because the trend was hot (the answer is probably “Yes.”). Lucky for me a book called The Hunger Games was released and I was off again, chasing the dystopian trend. I read lots of dystopian and post-apocalyptic books and I enjoyed them until eventually, my interest waned. 
 
In the spring of 2012, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy dominated the bestseller charts and a new trend was born. Interest in contemporary romance and erotica skyrocketed, and new adult eclipsed young adult as the hot age range for main characters. New adult titles, especially if they were on the steamy side, sold very well. Not only do I enjoy writing contemporary romance, I like reading it too, so I was very happy to see this category finally getting its due after being virtually ignored during the paranormal years. 
 

Trends are a normal part of the publishing cycle, and the market (in this case, the readers) creates a demand, which is readily met by the publishing industry. When a reader enjoys a book, they naturally seek out more of the same, so more of the same is published, which perpetuates the cycle. Self-publishing has allowed even more of what’s popular to hit the marketplace at lightning speed.

 
But eventually this happens:
 
 
I’m the first to admit that I’m a fairly picky reader and I probably reach trend saturation much sooner than others. Your mileage may vary; these are merely my very subjective thoughts as a reader, not a writer. And to be clear, my reader fatigue has nothing to do with the way books are published. I don’t care if it’s self-published or traditionally published, I download the sample first, and if I’m hooked I click the buy button, regardless of the publisher, price, or author. 
 
But lately I haven’t found many books that make me want to hit the buy button. This makes me sad because there is nothing I love more than discovering a book I can’t put down. Once again, I’m seeing a lot of similar plotlines that seem like watered-down versions of the ones that came before them, and everything feels a bit unoriginal right now, which is what happens when a trend starts to lose a little of its steam. As a result I’ve been reading more memoirs, literary and women’s fiction, some historical romance, and even a few mystery/thrillers. 
 
Some fellow writers and I have been talking about trends and the direction we think the publishing world is headed in. The consensus is that we don’t really know – because no one really knows what the next trend will be until it arrives – but what we do think is that there has never been a better time to TAKE A RISK. If someone were to ask me my advice right now, I’d tell them to look at what is selling really well at this moment and don’t write that. Write something completely different. You might just end up being the frontrunner of the next trend, which would be awesome. But even if you aren’t, it’s still better than limping across the finish line at the end of the current trend, after the crowd has gone home and the winners are long-past celebrating. If what you’re burning to write isn’t selling well right now, write it anyway. You never know what can happen.
 

 
So, what’s on my wish list of things I’d like to see as a reader?
 
  1. A little more emphasis on the heroine. It takes two people to fall in love, and if all the attention is placed on the hero, the heroine can end up looking like a mere backdrop for the man, or worse, like a giant Mary Sue who doesn’t have an opinion of her own. I like book boyfriends as much as the next girl, but I also need a story. Show me a smart, handsome hero with a complete character arc, a man who grows and changes, a man who is not a giant douchebag, and I will come along willingly for the ride.  
  2. Beautiful writing. I will be the first to admit that On the Island’s prose is quite simple. It was the first book I ever wrote and I was still learning and trying to find my way. With Covet I tried to challenge myself by making my sentences a bit more lyrical, with some added heft. It’s a skill I will be working on for as long as I write. As a reader I will always choose story over craft because it takes more than lovely sentences to keep me engaged in a book, but I do think that it’s important to aspire to both. And without sounding like I’m standing on a soapbox (but excuse me for a moment while I climb up), why are books still being published without even a minimum level of editing? I receive book recommendation on a daily basis, and if the title and synopsis interest me I’ll download the sample. But I often stop reading after the first chapter because the editing is so mind-bogglingly bad. There are many readers out there who don’t care, because for them story trumps everything, but I can’t stick with a book that has so many typos and errors in the first chapter that I’m editing it in my head as I read. There are too many well-written books out there. So why not tell the best story you can, with words that can hold their own?
  3. Characters who aren’t quite so damaged. I feel like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sort of set the stage for this way back when, and it’s still continuing. I’m all for flawed characters, and heroes and heroines who don’t always do the right thing. Fiction is all about conflict, right? But now I feel like it’s a race to have a character with the most horrifying backstory, which I think is supposed to make me root for them but mostly makes me wonder how they’re able to function without a therapist on speed-dial.
  4. Plot twists. I love it when something happens that I did not expect. I would love a big old OMGWTF along the lines of Gone Girl. You guys? I did not see those twists coming.
  5. Adult characters. It’s not that I don’t like younger characters (T.J. Callahan, anyone?), but I’m dying to sink my teeth into an epic romance with characters who are at least in their thirties, with the wisdom and life experience that accompanies that age group.
  6. Fast-paced commercial novels like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown or anything by John Grisham. Stories that appeal to the masses and generate lots of talk around the water cooler.
 
So tell me, what trends are you tired of? What would you like to see more of? What are you hoping sticks around for awhile?
 
And what’s your prediction for the next big thing?
 
Tracey
 
*Quick reminder: Because of spam, all comments are moderated, which means I have to approve them. Don’t worry if you don’t see your comment right away.
 
 
 
 

    Let’s Talk About Trends

    • July 12, 2013
    Today I’d like to talk about trends in fiction. This is a subject I could discuss for hours; I find it fascinating how one book or series can impact the publishing industry in such a major way.
    I first became aware of how all-encompassing a publishing trend can be after I read Twilight. Many have criticized the writing – and everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion – but I was too engrossed in the story to notice or care about the writing. I just wanted to know if Bella was going to hook up with that vampire, and I stayed up until 2 a.m. so I could find out. Though the concept of a vampire and a human interacting was not 100% original (Anne Rice anyone?), Twilight put a fresh spin on it the day Edward Cullen showed up at a high school. Suddenly, paranormal romance was hot, and so were books for young adults.
    After I read Twilight I went on to read many more paranormal romance novels. Some were hits, some were misses, and eventually I reached a level of reader fatigue where I didn’t want to read paranormal romance anymore. The last few I read were pretty derivative, and it made me wonder if they were published solely because the trend was hot (the answer is probably “Yes.”). Lucky for me a book called The Hunger Games was released and I was off again, chasing the dystopian trend. I read lots of dystopian and post-apocalyptic books and I enjoyed them until eventually, my interest waned.
    In the spring of 2012, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy dominated the bestseller charts and a new trend was born. Interest in contemporary romance and erotica skyrocketed, and new adult eclipsed young adult as the hot age range for main characters. New adult titles, especially if they were on the steamy side, sold very well. Not only do I enjoy writing contemporary romance, I like reading it too, so I was very happy to see this category finally getting its due after being virtually ignored during the paranormal years.
    Trends are a normal part of the publishing cycle, and the market (in this case, the readers) creates a demand, which is readily met by the publishing industry. When a reader enjoys a book, they naturally seek out more of the same, so more of the same is published, which perpetuates the cycle. Self-publishing has allowed even more of what’s popular to hit the marketplace at lightning speed.
    But eventually this happens:
    I’m the first to admit that I’m a fairly picky reader and I probably reach trend saturation much sooner than others. Your mileage may vary; these are merely my very subjective thoughts as a reader, not a writer. And to be clear, my reader fatigue has nothing to do with the way books are published. I don’t care if it’s self-published or traditionally published, I download the sample first, and if I’m hooked I click the buy button, regardless of the publisher, price, or author.
    But lately I haven’t found many books that make me want to hit the buy button. This makes me sad because there is nothing I love more than discovering a book I can’t put down. Once again, I’m seeing a lot of similar plotlines that seem like watered-down versions of the ones that came before them, and everything feels a bit unoriginal right now, which is what happens when a trend starts to lose a little of its steam. As a result I’ve been reading more memoirs, literary and women’s fiction, some historical romance, and even a few mystery/thrillers.
    Some fellow writers and I have been talking about trends and the direction we think the publishing world is headed in. The consensus is that we don’t really know – because no one really knows what the next trend will be until it arrives – but what we do think is that there has never been a better time to TAKE A RISK. If someone were to ask me my advice right now, I’d tell them to look at what is selling really well at this moment and don’t write that. Write something completely different. You might just end up being the frontrunner of the next trend, which would be awesome. But even if you aren’t, it’s still better than limping across the finish line at the end of the current trend, after the crowd has gone home and the winners are long-past celebrating. If what you’re burning to write isn’t selling well right now, write it anyway. You never know what can happen.
    So, what’s on my wish list of things I’d like to see as a reader?
    1. A little more emphasis on the heroine. It takes two people to fall in love, and if all the attention is placed on the hero, the heroine can end up looking like a mere backdrop for the man, or worse, like a giant Mary Sue who doesn’t have an opinion of her own. I like book boyfriends as much as the next girl, but I also need a story. Show me a smart, handsome hero with a complete character arc, a man who grows and changes, a man who is not a giant douchebag, and I will come along willingly for the ride.
    2. Beautiful writing. I will be the first to admit that On the Island’s prose is quite simple. It was the first book I ever wrote and I was still learning and trying to find my way. With Covet I tried to challenge myself by making my sentences a bit more lyrical, with some added heft. It’s a skill I will be working on for as long as I write. As a reader I will always choose story over craft because it takes more than lovely sentences to keep me engaged in a book, but I do think that it’s important to aspire to both. And without sounding like I’m standing on a soapbox (but excuse me for a moment while I climb up), why are books still being published without even a minimum level of editing? I receive book recommendation on a daily basis, and if the title and synopsis interest me I’ll download the sample. But I often stop reading after the first chapter because the editing is so mind-bogglingly bad. There are many readers out there who don’t care, because for them story trumps everything, but I can’t stick with a book that has so many typos and errors in the first chapter that I’m editing it in my head as I read. There are too many well-written books out there. So why not tell the best story you can, with words that can hold their own?
    3. Characters who aren’t quite so damaged. I feel like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sort of set the stage for this way back when, and it’s still continuing. I’m all for flawed characters, and heroes and heroines who don’t always do the right thing. Fiction is all about conflict, right? But now I feel like it’s a race to have a character with the most horrifying backstory, which I think is supposed to make me root for them but mostly makes me wonder how they’re able to function without a therapist on speed-dial.
    4. Plot twists. I love it when something happens that I did not expect. I would love a big old OMGWTF along the lines of Gone Girl. You guys? I did not see those twists coming.
    5. Adult characters. It’s not that I don’t like younger characters (T.J. Callahan, anyone?), but I’m dying to sink my teeth into an epic romance with characters who are at least in their thirties, with the wisdom and life experience that accompanies that age group.
    6. Fast-paced commercial novels like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown or anything by John Grisham. Stories that appeal to the masses and generate lots of talk around the water cooler.
    So tell me, what trends are you tired of? What would you like to see more of? What are you hoping sticks around for awhile?
    And what’s your prediction for the next big thing?
    Tracey
    *Quick reminder: Because of spam, all comments are moderated, which means I have to approve them. Don’t worry if you don’t see your comment right away.

    A Big Mish Mash of A Post

    • July 11, 2013

    Hi, friends!

    I have several things I want to mention and in the interest of efficiency I’ve decided to throw them all into one post.

    1) First of all, a giant THANK YOU to everyone who downloaded Uncharted. It’s been almost two years since my last release day, and I must say that the butterflies were fluttering in my stomach when I woke up on July 2nd. It didn’t help that my husband and I decided to take the kids on an impromptu five-day vacation to Texas, and the Internet connection in our hotel was one of the weakest I’ve ever had (I’m looking at you, La Quinta). We visited Austin and San Antonio and had a wonderful time. I especially loved San Antonio’s River Walk. We had a nice dinner and took a boat tour afterward. I highly recommend it!

    2) On behalf of myself and Penguin UK I want to offer my sincere apology regarding the e-book of Uncharted (UK version only). There was a slight mix-up and the three-chapter excerpt of Covet was not included at the back of the book (an excerpt of On the Island was included instead). I assure you that Penguin UK is working to rectify this and I’ll be giving further instructions soon on how anyone who purchased the edition with the missing excerpt can obtain it.

    3) If you have a copy of On the Island and would like it signed, you can send it to P.O. Box 71694, Clive, Iowa, 50325. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope and I’ll mail the book back to you ASAP.

    4) Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be posting the first blog post in a series called “Let’s Talk About.” Tomorrow I want to talk about trends in fiction. In addition to trends I want to talk about heroes, heroines, genre, sex (in fiction), and whatever else I can come up with in regards to books. I’m hoping to post every Friday and I think it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to some lively discussions!

    5) Many of you have asked if I’m writing another book and the answer is, “Yes!” I’m still finishing up some research and have only just started on the first draft. I can’t tell you much about the new book right now because it’s way too early, but what I can tell you is that it’s very romantic (with a little suspense thrown in). I have a strong urge to create a love story along the lines of Anna and T.J. (although there is no significant age difference this time around, or a desert island for that matter). But I’ve got a hero and a heroine who will have to overcome some mighty big hurdles to be together, and there will be plenty of action. It’s a slow burn, though. No insta-love in this story. I’ll share more in the coming months.

    6) I will have the tour schedule for Covet to share with you soon. I’m just waiting on a few details and then I’ll post it.

    I think that’s it for now. Please join me tomorrow so we can talk about trends in fiction.

    Tracey

    Uncharted Release Day!

    • July 2, 2013

    Hello, everyone!

    I’ve been waiting so long for the release of my second title and now it’s here (and I’ll get to do it again in less than three months when Covet comes out. Yay!).

    During the last year, I’ve received lots of messages from readers asking me if there would ever be a sequel to On the Island. My answer was always, “No.” Anna and T.J. got their happily ever after. They worked hard for it and they deserved it. So to try and extend their story wouldn’t feel organic, and any new conflict they encountered would pale compared to what they’d already been through. I wouldn’t have enjoyed writing that story, and you may not have enjoyed reading it either.

    But last summer my editor asked if there might be another character from On the Island that I could write about, and she wanted to know if I would be open to writing a short story from this character’s perspective. Penguin wanted to release this short story as an eSpecial, and would include the first three chapters of Covet at the end. I said I would be happy to do it because – coincidentally – another character from On the Island had begun to creep into my thoughts. I remember driving home after dropping my daughter off at zoo camp when I had a tiny spark of an idea:

    Whatever happened to that guy who built the shack? What, exactly, was his story? I thought, wouldn’t it be kind of fun if I could write about his time on the island? Learn more about him? Discover whose bones were in that cave? 

    The answer was, “Yes.” It was fun to create the whole backstory of a character I never expected to meet. 

    So, what is Uncharted about, exactly? I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can tell you what Uncharted isn’t: It’s not a sequel to On the Island. It’s not a re-telling of the story from another character’s POV because Anna and T.J. already took turns telling it in On the Island. Uncharted is a prequel of sorts, and it should answer any lingering questions you might have had from On the Island.

    And I hope you enjoy it.

    Uncharted is available from the following retailers:

    Amazon
    B&N
    Apple
    Google Play

    xoxo,

    Tracey

    Fiction Friday – What Have I Been Reading Lately?

    • May 17, 2013

    One of the questions I’m frequently asked is, “Now that you’re writing full-time, do you ever get the chance to read?”

    The answer is, “Yes and no.” When I was writing On the Island, I wasn’t able to read at all. I was so new to the process of writing a novel that I couldn’t crowd my brain with anything that might take me away from creating the story that was in my head but still needed to be transferred to the page. I was also nervous about inadvertently picking up another author’s voice. I was still trying to find my own, so I didn’t want to do anything that might interfere with that.

    But now it’s getting easier for me. There are still times during the drafting process where I intentionally don’t read any fiction, because I just can’t, but I’ve discovered that I can read non-fiction and memoirs with no problem. It’s not quite the same as reading a novel, but it satisfies my need to read, and that’s a good compromise.

    When I turn in a manuscript and I’m waiting for my editorial notes, I go on a fast and furious reading rampage, because I know as soon as I receive my edits, it’s back to work. And I’m not talking about the manuscripts I beta-read or the ARCs I read so I can provide a blurb (I have read eleven of those in the last six months or so). While I love being able to read a book before it’s published, that type of reading still falls under my “writer” job description, and as awesome and cool as it is, it’s still “work”. When I read for pleasure, it’s a book I’ve chosen based solely on my own subjective preferences as a “reader.” Sometimes it’s a book I’ve wanted to read for a while, and sometimes it’s a book I buy on a whim.

    Lately I’ve received several requests for book recommendations, so here are some of the books I’ve read in the last nine months:

    Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – I can’t recommend this book enough. I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it because I had a feeling I knew where it was going, and that it would make me cry. I was right on both counts, but it didn’t matter because it was so, so good. I’ve also got Jojo’s The Last Letter From Your Lover on my towering TBR pile. I love the title and I’m intrigued by the premise, to say the least.

    Home Front by Kristin Hannah – This book was fantastic. I love Kristin Hannah and I connected with this story on a personal level because my friend Angie (we’ve known each other since Kindergarten) is in the military and was deployed to Iraq. Thankfully, Angie made it back home safe and sound, but this book really drove home the fact that many men and women who are deployed do not. Have your Kleenex box handy.

    The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Just read this book. Okay? Okay.

    This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers – My first zombie read. It was awesome. And kind of scary. I loved it and made Sarah Hansen read it and then we sort of bombarded Courtney on Facebook with our rambling praise. You should read it because ZOMBIES, people.

    Breaking Night by Liz Murray – This is a memoir about a girl who graduated from not only high school, but Harvard, despite the fact that she was homeless the whole time. I finished reading this one in bed. I was afraid my crying would wake up (and freak out) my husband, but thankfully he slept right through my little meltdown. This book will make you think long and hard about just how lucky you are to have a roof over your head.

    The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – I loved this one. The writing is simply beautiful. I felt smarter while I was reading this book. It’s literary fiction, which is not usually my thing (I’m a straight-up genre girl, and proud of it) but wow. There was just something about The Interestings that I found very refreshing.

    The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen – This novel is set primarily in Jamaica, which is where my husband and I went on our honeymoon. It’s about a group of college friends who reunite for a birthday celebration. I love ensemble books like these, and Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite women’s fiction authors.

    Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (memoir) – I’ve been reading Jenny’s blog The Bloggess for years. Her posts are pee-your-pants funny and so is this book. Seriously. You will LOL.

    Bossy Pants by Tina Fey (memoir) – I’m such a fan of Tina Fey and this book only makes me like her more, not only as an entertainer, but as a person. Super enjoyable read.

    Market Street and Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes – I loved both of these books. Not only do I connect strongly with Anita’s writing style, but I love how she weaves the descriptions of fancy clothes, beautiful shoes, gorgeous locations, and gourmet food throughout her stories. It makes a yoga-pants-wearing girl like me want to class up her game a little bit.

    Family Pictures by Jane Green – Upmarket women’s fiction at its finest. I just love Jane Green.

    What She Left Us by Stephanie Elliot – This book kept me turning pages because the author does a great job of raising questions I wanted the answer to. It also highlights – beautifully – the relationship between two sisters, and how much they rely on and support each other.

    Composing Myself by Elena Aitken – This is a contemporary novel that focuses on family relationships and personal growth. I love that the backstory of one of the characters was something I hadn’t read before, making this book feel original and fresh. I predict this will be Elena’s breakout book.

    So, there you have it! And now that I’ve met all my deadlines I’m very eager to go on another short reading binge. But right after Memorial Day I’ll be setting down my Kindle and picking up my laptop because my next book is just begging to be written and I’m very excited to get started. I’m currently in the research and outline stage but looking forward to starting the drafting process.

    Happy Friday, everyone!!

    Tracey

    Covet Galley Giveaway – Day 3!

    • April 3, 2013

    It’s day three of Covet galley giveaway week!

    Yay!!!

    This giveaway is for US residents only. So if you have a US mailing address, you’re eligible!

    And just in case anyone is still wondering, a galley is another name for an ARC which is another name for an advance reader copy. ARCs are bound galleys that are printed in advance of the actual publication. ARCs are sent to the author and also bloggers and reviewers. They will usually have a little sticker or something on the front that says, Advance Reading Copy or Not For Sale or Advance Uncorrected Proof. So there may be typos or spacing issues or other things that will not be a part of the final, printed book. So if you win one, please keep that in mind.

    Just like yesterday, the giveaway will run for 24 hours (starting today at 12:00 noon CST). You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter or liking my Facebook page (but don’t worry if you’ve already done those things. You can still enter the giveaway).

    One quick thing I want to mention: Comments are moderated on this blog, so if you leave a comment you might not see it right away. I try to moderate them as quickly as I can, but sometimes I’m away from my computer or phone and can’t do this immediately. I wish I didn’t have to moderate at all, but the spam was getting out of hand.

    So remember, today’s giveaway is for US RESIDENTS ONLY.

    I’ll be attending a luncheon this afternoon but will announce the international winner when I get home.

    Happy Wednesday and good luck!!

    Galley Giveaway Week – Day Two!

    • April 2, 2013

    It’s day two of galley giveaway week!

    Yay!!!

    Wait, maybe I should mention once again what a galley is.

    A galley is another name for an ARC which is another name for an advance reader copy. ARCs are bound galleys that are printed in advance of the actual publication. ARCs are sent to the author and also bloggers and reviewers. They will usually have a little sticker or something on the front that says, Advance Reading Copy or Not For Sale or Advance Uncorrected Proof. So there may be typos or spacing issues or other things that will not be a part of the final, printed book. So if you win one, please keep that in mind.

    I’m going to hold three giveaways this week. Yesterday was Canada, today is for my international readers, and tomorrow will be for US residents.

    So what does this mean? Well, if your mailing address is not a Canadian or US address, you can enter. One of the things I love most about being a writer is connecting with readers who live all over the world. Seriously, I think it’s one of the coolest things ever. Oftentimes, I hear about great giveaways that are going on, but they’re restricted to US residents only.

    Not my giveaways.

    I don’t care where you live. If you’re one of my readers, you are eligible.

    Just like yesterday, the giveaway will run for 24 hours (starting today at 12:00 noon CST). You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter or liking my Facebook page (but don’t worry if you’ve already done those things. You can still enter the giveaway).

    One quick thing I want to mention: Comments are moderated on this blog, so if you leave a comment you might not see it right away. I try to moderate them as quickly as I can, but sometimes I’m away from my computer or phone and can’t do this immediately. I wish I didn’t have to moderate at all, but the spam was getting out of hand.

    So remember, today’s giveaway is for INTERNATIONAL RESIDENTS ONLY.

    Tomorrow’s giveaway will be for US readers.

    Happy Tuesday and good luck!!

    Covet galley giveaway – Canada!

    • April 1, 2013

    It’s galley giveaway week!

    Isn’t that fantastic?

    Unless you’re saying to yourself, “Maybe? Because I’m not exactly sure what a galley is.”

    In which case, let me explain. A galley is another name for an ARC which is another name for an advance reader copy. ARCs are bound galleys that are printed in advance of the actual publication. ARCs are sent to the author and also bloggers and reviewers. They will usually have a little sticker or something on the front that says, Advance Reading Copy or Not For Sale or Advance Uncorrected Proof. So there may be typos or spacing issues or other things that will not be a part of the final, printed book. So if you win one, please keep that in mind.

    I’m going to hold three giveaways this week. One for Canada, one for the U.S., and one for my international readers. Here’s how it will work:

    Day one (that’s today!) will be for Canadian residents only. In other words, if you enter the giveaway — and you win — you must live in Canada and have a Canadian mailing address.

    The giveaway will run for 24 hours (starting today at 12:00 noon CST). You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter or liking my Facebook page (but don’t worry if you’ve already done those things. You can still enter the giveaway).

    One quick thing I want to mention: Comments are moderated on this blog, so if you leave a comment you might not see it right away. I try to moderate them as quickly as I can, but sometimes I’m away from my computer or phone and can’t do this immediately. I wish I didn’t have to moderate at all, but the spam was getting out of hand.

    So remember, today’s giveaway is for CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY.

    Tuesday’s giveaway will be for my international readers. Wednesday’s will be for the U.S.

    Happy Monday and good luck!!

    UNCHARTED cover reveal and excerpt

    • March 22, 2013

    Happy Friday, everyone!!

    I’m so excited to share Uncharted’s cover with you today.Once again, I have a fantastic group of bloggers who are helping me out with the reveal. Be sure to check out their blogs!

    Good Choice Reading
    Flirty and Dirty Book Blog
    Natasha is a Book Junkie
    Lori’s Book Blog
    Madison Says
    Unabridged Bookshelf
    Mandy I read indie
    The Sub Club Books 


    And in case you missed it the other day, here’s the blurb:

    Tracey Garvis Graves — and Anna and T.J. — return in this companion novella to the New York Times bestseller On the Island.

    When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.

    Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl — on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James — made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.

    But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago .

    And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.

    Uncharted includes an early look at Covet, coming September 17, 2013.


    Here’s the cover!


    And last but not least, here’s an excerpt from the novella.




    UNCHARTED

    Chapter 1

    OWEN

     
    The house is isolated, surrounded by trees and a well-kept lawn. There’s a children’s play set in one corner of the yard, and an abandoned tricycle on the front sidewalk. Spring has only just arrived in the Midwest, but someone has already drawn a hopscotch pattern with pastel-colored chalk. A sign stuck in the landscaping by the front door announces that the home is protected by ADT, and when I ring the doorbell a dog starts barking, followed by the sound of thundering paws.

    The woman that answers the door has a baby in her arms and two toddlers clinging to her skirt. The dog, a large golden retriever, snarls and waits for her to let it out. I hope she doesn’t. Her blue eyes narrow as she peers at me behind the safety of a storm door that I’m certain is locked. The glass muffles her voice, but I can still understand her when she says, “Can I help you?” Her guarded tone makes sense, the way it would if you lived out in the country and the world knew your story and had a ballpark idea of your net worth. “Is your husband around?” I ask.

    “He’s upstairs. On the phone,” she says.

    “I’d like to talk to you both. Mind if I wait?” She doesn’t like this. I can tell by the way she pushes the kids behind her and squares her shoulders, lifting her chin slightly.

    Ah, she’s a fighter. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    “You’ll have to come back some other time,” she says, and starts to close the door. But before she can swing it shut all the way a dusty pickup truck pulls into the driveway and the relief washes over her face.

    The man driving slams on the brakes and gets out of the truck almost before it stops moving.  He strides up to me with a suspicious expression on his face. Suspicious and pissed off. I’m older than he is, but he looks enough like me that people could mistake us for brothers; we have the same light brown hair and build.

    He glances at the woman in the doorway. “Stay inside.” Turning back toward me he says, “Who are you and what do you want?”

    “Just wanted to talk to you and your wife.”

    “Do we know you?”

    “No.” I put my hands in my pockets and remind myself of the reason for my visit. “My name is Owen Sparks.” The man looks at me, brow furrowed as he filters through his memory for the significance of my name. But the woman, the woman knows immediately, and we both turn toward her when she gasps.

    “T.J,” the woman says. She opens the door wide so we can really hear her and the dog shoots out like a bullet from a gun, sniffing me aggressively but thankfully deciding that I’m no threat. “The missing person. The man whose trail went cold in the Maldives. Do you remember? His name was Owen Sparks.”

    Recognition dawns on his face and they look at me like I’m a ghost. “Are you the guy who built the shack?” he asks. 

    “Yes.”

    “But you’re not Bones.”

    I shake my head. “No.” There’s no need for me to ask them what they mean. To ask them who Bones is.  

    Because I know.

     

    Uncharted: An On the Island novella will be available in the US and the UK on July 2, 2013, wherever e-books are sold.


    xoxo,
    Tracey

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