skip to Main Content

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

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

    Back To Top
    ×Close search
    Search