I would like to welcome T.R. Graves to the blog tour! The author of Warrior, Secret, and Still Standing series—currently available—and Moral Dilemma and Underwater series—to be released in 2013/2014.
She lives in Texas with her husband, their nineteen-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son. Besides being blessed with a supportive family, she counts her career as an administrator and registered nurse in not-for-profit hospitals among her most fulfilling accomplishments.
Book cover Designer: Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppy Art
Photography: Teresa Yeh of Teresa Yeh Photography
Female Hand model: Shana Leah O’Rourke
Male Hand Model: Calen Burr
Left (Still Standing, #1) SUMMARY:
Your own two feet are all you have when you’ve been left.
A naive Baylee loves Colt, her boyfriend of four years, more than she ever thought possible. After a little snooping, she’s convinced she’s well on her way toward hearing an once-in-a-lifetime proposal and starring in the wedding-of-the-year event. Instead, she’s blindsided by a very public breakup and the crushing news that Colt is marrying someone else… someone more befitting him and the role his father expects him to take in his law firm.
Baylee may have spent years resenting Ariana, her mother, and her suicide, an intolerable show of weakness in Baylee’s opinion, but after Colt leaves her just short of the altar, Baylee sees the world through her mother’s eyes. She sympathizes with Ariana’s actions and realizes that some things—soul-deep aches—can irreparably damage you and make moving on nearly impossible.
At least that’s how she feels until she meets Ryker. With his help, Baylee discovers there is life after Colt, and she prepares to move on by pulling herself up by the bootstraps, holding her head high, and standing on her own two feet. Unfortunately, a new jealous and hateful Colt has his own plans for her, and they are plans no one—especially Baylee—ever saw coming.
Left (Still Standing, #1) Excerpt:
Taking in what I just said, Ryker watches me, and suddenly it occurs to me how he’s gotten so far in his company. He studies people by sizing them up, using their strengths to drive them further whenever possible and their weaknesses against them as an option of last resort.
Right now, he’s doing what he does best. Only I’m not a worker in his company. I’m a woman who needs answers.
“What’re your thoughts about me, Ryker?” I ask casually, curiously. I’m still strolling around the apartment, making mental notes without actually touching anything.
“Excuse me,” Ryker says, and I can tell I’ve caught him off guard.
“Well, I have to assume that you’re very good at what you do. I mean, look at this hotel room. You’ve been studying me non-stop for a while now. I’m assuming you’ve come to some conclusions. Maybe if I hear them aloud, I can make the necessary changes so I’m not ever put into this position again. I mean—Jesus—I was just left downstairs so there has to be something about me that must be changed,” I say sensibly.
No matter how level-headed my request is, the self-conscious and hurt woman inside of me cringes and waits for the news that men don’t want women who are too tall, too gaunt, too clumsy, too… Oh hell! The list could go on forever!
Ryker says nothing. I suspect he’s too much of a gentleman to tell me what he thinks.
“Go ahead. I can take whatever you have to say,” I say, squaring my shoulders and preparing myself.
Even then, I can’t make eye contact with him. I’ve been hurt enough for one day. No matter what I say, hearing anything negative about myself right now—even if it’s constructive—will be another kick to the stomach.
I must be a sadist. I’m begging for this stranger to share his opinion about me because I know there are things I don’t see. I’m too close to see them. Colt saw them all and decided they were terrible enough to get rid of.
“I see a smart, beautiful woman—one that any man in the country would give his right arm to have—who has gone out of her way to make the man she loves happy. While there’s nothing wrong with that on the surface, I have to wonder why she was putting so much time into a relationship she knew was in trouble.” Ryker pauses and lets that sink in.
Warriors of the Cross (Warrior, #1)
Guardians of the Cross (Warrior #2)
Enemies of the Cross (Warrior #3)
Grave Bound (Secrets #1)
Underground (Secrets #2)
All books are available everywhere eBooks are sold and Paperbacks are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
In her interview, Graves said that her latest works are Underground (Secrets, #2) to be released 10/1/13 – New Adult and Left (Still Standing, #1) released 9/1/13 – New Adult. She also explained her draw to the genre. She said, “I was drawn to young adult because it was a way for me to connect and communicate with my teen-aged daughter. I crossed over to new adult because I felt like the young adult genre’s restrictions prevented some parts of the story from being told in a believable way. I wanted to be able to tell the whole story without stopping midstream and/or feeling as if I was censoring the story.”
Graves also explained that the way she gets from start to finish in her book is that she has a very good idea how the story will go from beginning to end. As she writes the novel, she lets the characters’ dialogue and their reactions play out as each predetermined event takes place.
As far as researching for her projects, she said, “I research anything and everything. If a character goes to a restaurant, I examine the restaurant’s menu. This same type of study goes into the characters clothes, homes, and cars. For me, all of this is benign but adds an air of authenticity to the story. The research for Left (Still Standing, #1) was done with a more important goal in mind. Left deals with the subject of domestic violence. For that reason, I made sure women who were reading the story received important – life-saving – information.”
Graves talked about the character of Left‘s Baylee Messenger. The character is a woman who loves as deeply as she hurts and who is as loyal as she is naive. Readers will never say Baylee deserves what she gets, and everyone will be disheartened by her situation because she is so endearing.
When asked how she balances her time, Graves explained that as a mother of two, a wife, and full-time hospital administrator (RN) within one of the biggest healthcare system in the Texas Medical Center, she is more than busy, “but there is something about writing – creating a world I can control – that allows me to decompress after long, hard days consumed with intense patient advocacy.”
Graves is inspired by the work of other authors, as most of us are. She said, “There are so many that just naming a few is a problem. I can tell you that Julie Kagawa, Charlaine Harris, Colleen Houck, and Cassandra Clare are all authors who spark my interest as soon as I hear they have a new book released. I’m convinced they could write anything and make it interesting.”
When Graves talked about her publishing experience, she indicated that the best part was the wonderful people she’d met and/or been allowed to work with. She gives credit to the following individuals who have walked with her through her journey into publication:
Photographer: Teresa Yeh
Beta-Reader & Aspiring Author: Toni Lambardo
Marketing is a key part of the success of any author or business, so when I asked Graves about this, she said that the best way to get the word out about her books (cover or book releases) was through book tours, Goodreads giveaways, Rafflecopter giveaways, and Facebook ads. Those are her preferred methods.
She also spoke of when she began writing: “My own writing began in a very interesting way and well into my adulthood. My father was a man who could tell a story that was so vivid and dramatic that people hung on his every word, flocking to our house morning, noon, and night just to hear them. A few months after he died, story plots and their characters began haunting me. They were so demanding that I had no choice but to write them down… to share them. Before his death, writing a book was not anything I’d ever imagined doing. Since his death, writing books is all I imagine doing.”
I asked all of our authors if they had one wish, what that might be. For Graves, she said, “I want my books to resonate with readers in such a way that they go out of their way to recommend them to friends, family members, and/or work colleagues. For me, an unsolicited recommendation is the ultimate compliment.”
Her devotion to charity is also evident as she told me, “As a nurse who has spent every year (but one) of my professional career working within non-profit hospitals, I can honestly say my nursing career is my mission. As an author, I’m trying to find ways to give back in similar ways. With the release of Left, I made a pledge to donate $0.50 of every regular priced book (for the first three months post release) to a Houston area woman’s shelter.”
Her social networking links are https://www.facebook.com/TRGraves.Author?fref=ts, https://twitter.com/WarriorsSeries, and http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4699869.T_R_Graves.
When asked what the hardest thing about being an author was, she said, “
I can honestly say… lack of time. I wish I could write all the stories that pop into my head, but writing a really good story and developing the characters that go along with it takes lots of time and patience.” The best thing: “The voice we have. I’ve had several people contact me and tell me they’ve used (themselves or sent to others) the information included at the end of Left detailing where to go and what to do if you’re in a domestic violence situation.”
The most important thing she wanted people to know what this: “As a nurse and mother, I’m as committed to writing socially responsible stories as I am committed to writing stories that are suspenseful page-turners. I’ll be the first to remind everyone that a socially responsible story does not lack exciting/passionate/heart-stopping moments. Instead, the morals are embedded so deep that they are inferred and not preached, a very difficult goal to achieve.”
Thank you so much for following everyone and thank you T.R. Graves for being a part of the first annual Aspiring Authors Autumn Blog Tour.