Thursday, December 15, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway: TRUE SURRENDER by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Hi Everyone. Please help me welcome Tracey Cramer-Kelly to AsianCocoa's Secret Garden today! Tracey is here to talk about her flawed hero, Aaron Bricewick from her new  novel True Surrender.

Flawed Hero: Aaron Bricewick, Army Officer, True Surrender

Some writers start a novel with a plot outline. I tend to start mine with a character. A flawed character.

Why? Because we all relate to flawed characters. We recognize something in them that is also in us (or perhaps in someone close to us). Perfect heroes are boring!

When I’m in deep imagination about a character, I feel as if I’m getting to know them personally. I even dream about them (often in scenes that SHOW me their character). I ask: “Why is this character like he is? What motivates him?”

I think about what shaped their life to bring them to the person they are. In the case of Aaron Bricewick (hero of True Surrender), his parents’ divorce when he was a pre-teen was a pivotal event in his life. It is the start of his fear of commitment and his need to be in control. The lack of interaction he received from his father contributed to his heightened need for respect from others (which drives him to make personal sacrifices for the sake of his military career).

When I start writing, I try to put myself in the character’s shoes. Because what that character would do in a particular situation is not necessarily the same as what I would do. Sometimes I have the character all figured out and then she goes and does something totally unexpected! In those moments, I stop resisting or trying to place my personal reactions on the character and listen to what she wants to tell me.

For example, when Holly found out about Aaron’s addiction to pain pills, I had intended for her to dole out some ‘tough love.’ Instead, her own insecurities about single parenting surfaced in an unexpected way. When I let go and allowed the character permission to do what she wanted, the scene took an unexpected, intriguing twist.

The second half of the equation, of course, is the situations I put the characters in. In both my novels I was very intentional about this; I chose them expressly to bring out the characters’ flaws (if I didn’t, how would they ever show?) In True Surrender, Aaron finds himself in some unusually intense (and emotional) situations - which lends itself to all kinds of character development.

But that’s a topic for another post on another day!

True Surrender
by Tracey Cramer-Kelly
Release Date: September 29, 2011

When Major Aaron Bricewick is rescued from Afghanistan terrorists, he thinks the worst is over. But his personal journey is just beginning...

The first surprise is the amputation of one of his legs.

The second is the woman he left behind, now a widow with a 4-year-old son - and his new prosthetist (artificial limb maker).

He vows that losing his leg won't derail his career. But maintaining his outward appearance as a got-it-together officer becomes increasingly difficult as he faces one personal demon after another - and sees his career aspirations slipping away. And though he has no intention of expanding his life to include a woman, his heart has other ideas - and he finds himself questioning the very foundation of his personal beliefs.

When violence - and unexpected redemption - touch his life again, Aaron must make a stand. Which will he choose: duty or love?

His bed was empty.
          Impossible, she thought.
          And then she saw him: motionless on the floor, a dark stain spreading underneath his body. A stain that she recognized instantly.
Oh my God, the terrorists found him!
This first irrational thought was immediately followed by a more trained response. She assessed the situation in the few moments it took her to cross the room. She hit the button on the intercom system, identified herself and requested help.
She dropped to her knees next to Aaron. She spoke as she ran her hands across the back of his neck. “Aaron! Can you hear me?” As soon as she was certain he had no neck or spinal injury, she shook him gently. “Aaron, it’s Holly. Talk to me, Aaron.”
His arms snapped up, flailing for a moment before his good hand clamped onto her wrist—hard. His eyes were wide open, and in them she saw terror…confusion… pain…
They engaged in a macabre tug-of war as Holly stated repeatedly, “Aaron, it’s me—Holly. You’re okay. Take it easy.”
After what seemed like a long time, she saw recognition seep into his eyes. But then he shut them tight, and his body went limp. He released her wrists and dropped his hands over his face. “Go away,” he whispered, his chest heaving.
          “I can’t do that, Aaron.”
          “You shouldn’t see me,” he said. “Not like this.”
          Unexpected tears stung her eyes.
          “This isn’t who I am,” he rasped.
          “You asked me to leave once already,” she said. “And I honored that request. Maybe I shouldn’t have. So please…”
          She locked her eyes onto his, which were open again. Surely he could see that she was close to tears, but she didn’t care. “Don’t ask me to walk away again.”

Author Bio:

Tracey’s work fuses writing, music and visual imagery whenever possible, and includes novels, short stories, essays and music videos. True Surrender is her second novel. Her first, Last Chance Rescue, is an Indie Award finalist. Her first full-length music video, The Rose (Surrender Version), includes scenes from True Surrender. Her writing draws from her experience as an Army Reserve paramedic and helicopter pilot. When not managing the family business, Leader Motorcycle Accessories, she enjoys motorcycling and outdoor activities with her husband and two young children. 


Tracey will be giving away a Fallen Soldier t-shirt (red, size TBD) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more comments you leave the better your chances of winning.
To Enter:
Leave a comment or question with your email address.
Be sure to visit the other blogs on this tour. Click on the tour button below for a list of participating blogs.


  1. Monique, thank you for having me as a guest today!

    I invite your visitors to submit any questions they might have (about the book or the writing process), and I will do my best to respond!

    There is a book trailer as well as a full music video with scenes from the book at my web site:

  2. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in

  3. I've been following the blog tour and I've really enjoyed it. My New Year's goal is to discover new authors and try reading some different genres...I've been mostly a non-fiction reader. Thanks for helping me get an early start on 2012.

    Catherine Lee

  4. I adore a flawed hero. So much for them to overcome.



Thank you for stopping by my blog! I appreciate all of your comments.

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