Third Installment on Wattpad: Out of a Job?

Last we left Zac and Gina (of Take Two: a Lady Biker Novel), Zac was being sick all over some… ah, not so good places. Now… what happens when the director (Sylvester) finds out that Gina snuck him off the set?

It was as if the man hadn’t even heard what she said! She’d worked with Sylvester a long time but…damn, this was just too much. “This is a human being we’re talking about, Syl,” Gina said sternly. “Not a robot or a part you can simply replace.”

Read it here!

Win a Signed Copy of Take Two

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Take Two by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Take Two

by Tracey Cramer-Kelly

Giveaway ends February 14, 2016.

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A Look Back at 2015 – and Forward Ho!

When I wrote about New Year Resolutions last year, one of the things I wrote was that I would not beat myself up for what I didn’t get done, but to celebrate what I did accomplish.

I’m having a hard time with that as we head into 2016 – even though my writing-related accomplishments aren’t too shabby for someone with a FT ‘regular’ job and kids:

But there were so many MORE things I wanted to do! I wanted to work on Lady Biker Book #2. I wanted to reacquaint myself with ideas I had for Biker’s Kiss ‘editions.’ I wanted to get farther along on the Army Ranger Series.

I passed up an opportunity to produce a condensed version of Taiko True (musical drum drama) at the Fringe Festival (which turned out to be a good thing since my motorcycle accident happened just days before the show would have opened).

shirt_shredAnd as I write this, I’m at 40K words on my small-town romance featuring an ex-baseball player (I had hoped to have a finished rough draft by now). And his best friend is just itching for his *own* story. Do I take more time away from my other projects to tell it?

And don’t get me started on promoting my books (I was dismal at that this year)!

My excuses? The usual:

  • Work (not even going to go there)
  • Kids (actually, being a soccer mom is pretty fun most of the time)
  • Motorcycle crash (definitely derailed my writing plans for a quarter of the year)

But I did learn something about my writer-self this year: I prefer to write full-length novels (rather than novellas).

So I guess this is what my goals in 2016 revolve around: learning more about myself as a creative entity, and continuing the path of creative discovery, even when what I create may not be considered ‘commercially viable.’ And to keep dreaming big!

What about you? Do you have a dream or idea you wish you had the time, money or guts to follow? Or did you DO IT in 2015? Drop me a note and tell me about it!

Two-in-One Army Rangers Series: Perfect for Holiday Gift Giving

cover_web_Combo_RangerI wasn’t originally going to put the Army Ranger Series in print; they were going to be digital only. But I changed my mind, partly because I had requests – and partly because I know people still like the smell and weight of a physical book in their hands. (Heck, I still do too!)

To provide the best value, I’ve made this a Two-in-One: Ranger’s Luck and Ranger’s Destiny, together! Just in time for holiday gift giving!

New! Buy Direct from me and I will sign every book! (and I found a super-secure way to process your card, I promise!) Or hop over to Amazon.

Cory and Chase have been through hell together as Army Rangers. So what happens when they each find LOVE? Below is a free excerpt from Ranger’s Destiny – enjoy! More About the Series.

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Chase couldn’t stand it any longer; he slipped his good hand behind her neck, drawing her to him. “Maybe I need to show you.” His voice came out a rough whisper just before his lips locked on hers.

She threaded her arms around his waist and pulled his hips to hers, pressing her body against his…

He was hard and ready for her.

Shit.

“Christ, Ella, I want you,” he gasped.

He had to make space between them. With effort, he slipped from her embrace and stepped back. “But as much as I want… it wouldn’t be right.”

“But you just said…”

“We have to talk to Cory,” he said. “We have to tell him about us.”

“Him again?” she said. “Why are we still talking about him?”

“Because he’s my best friend. And he’s your brother. I work with him. And I respect him,” he said. “It’s important to me that he respects me too. That he knows my intentions toward you are honorable.”

“Honorable?”

Chase ran one hand up her arm and shoulder, pulling her closer again. “When I make you mine, you’re all mine.”

What I Learned from my Motorcycle Crash

I wasn’t going to write about my motorcycle crash. After all, us bikers don’t like to think about that kind of thing too much.

But I’ve come to realize that writing about something is part of the way I process it and – surprise! – I have something to say, both to bikers and to, well, folks in general.

I say crash (rather than accident) because that’s truly what it was. I was in a left-hand curve when I hit some gravel with my back tire. It pulled the bike toward the outside of the curve. I’m convinced I still could have recovered (you don’t go 29 years of riding without encountering gravel) except for the fact that there were some cracks in the asphalt there. Long story short I crashed into a guardrail.

crashed_bike_front_webThe bike was totaled. I walked away with road rash, bruising, whiplash and what turned out to be a broken finger on my right hand. That I walked away was a miracle in itself. (I told my kids that I had borrowed their guardian angel!) And I’ll always hold a fondness for my Yamaha Raider, which took the brunt of the impact instead of my body.

But here’s the million-dollar question, the one that bikers and non-bikers alike have asked (although non-bikers far more): will I ride again?

The answer is an unequivocal hell yes!

I’ve ridden motorcycles for 29 years, and some of my best memories are related to bikes, and I’ve met some of the neatest people doing it.

But here’s the thing I most want to say:

Anything worth having or doing in life carries a risk. It may be a physical risk, like motorcycling (or skiing or jumping out of planes). Or it may be a mental or emotional risk, like taking a chance on a relationship. Without risk you won’t have much of a life. Not the kind of life I want to lead, for sure.

I had this discussion with my kids shortly after the accident. The point I wanted to make is that you do what you can to minimize risk (I don’t go screaming into corners; I wear protective clothing; and my helmet likely saved me from having to be airlifted) but don’t avoid it altogether.

Did they get the message? Several weeks after the crash I asked my son (who is 12) how he felt about me getting another motorcycle and riding again. He looked thoughtful for a moment and then he said, “Well, I’m not sure I want to ride with you…”

I laughed, but I knew then he was getting the bigger message, because he wasn’t surprised that I wanted to ride again. My kids see their mom (or others for that matter) taking risks in life, and they’ll learn to do the same.

If I had died in that crash, here’s what I would hope to hear at my funeral: Man, she really lived life to max, didn’t she? She died doing something she loves. She didn’t let fear stop her from experiencing everything life has to offer.

V-signBecause there is fear. It would be foolish not to fear at times. When I rode for the first time after the crash (here’s me giving the Victory sign as best I can with my finger in a brace) I was nervous. It was doubly weird because I wasn’t used to being the passenger. (Many thanks to my brave husband for everything, but especially for understanding my need to get ‘back in the saddle’ sooner rather than later and taking me riding.)

To other bikers I say: The odds are definitely not in our favor out there. So a little fear is OK, even helpful. Because we’ve got to stay vigilant and not let our guard down. So be prepared, but don’t let fear rob your joy – in motorcycling as well as the rest of life.

Now do what I would do, and get out there and ride!

Bikers are Sexy; Biker Chicks are Even Sexier

Maybe you’ve read books with the bad-boy biker character. You know – the one with the thirst for adventure and the body to die for? The one the girl tries so hard to resist… but he sweeps her off her feet (literally, on two wheels) without even trying!

I’ve been a biker chick for over 20 years and let me tell you – there IS something sexy about a man in leather. And something inherently fascinating about biker gangs (just look at the popularity of the TV show “Sons of Anarchy”).

But how often do you hear of a biker CHICK in romance? Not nearly as often.

After my second novel came out (True Surrender) friends asked: “why don’t you ever write bikers into your stories?” (They knew that motorcycling is a big part of my life and even my work/family business.)

Truthfully, I was a little intimidated by the idea. Contrary to the stereotypical biker character you often see on the page, REAL bikers are complex, complicated people… with a REAL streak of rebel and adventure deep in their souls. If I were going to write about them, I wanted to write them WELL.

TakeTwo_COVER_NEW_FWhen I started writing Take Two: a Hollywood Romance, I knew that Gina (the Hollywood director/single mother heroine) rode a Harley-Davidson, but I didn’t emphasize the fact.

But then a funny thing happened – one of those twists in life that you know (as you look back) was NOT a coincidence.

I was finishing my second music video, “Cool Rider,” which (as you might guess) tells a girl-meets-biker, girl-wants-biker, girl-gets-biker story (original MTV-style, it was great fun, check it out). I had this idea of incorporating real-life biker photos into the video, so I posted on some women-rider forums.

I got stories and pictures from women all over, and I realized: the heck with my personal hesitations. It was time to write these women bikers’ stories.

Gina’s Harley now features prominently in the romance between Gina and actor Zachariah Davies, as well as Zac’s personal transformation that starts when he’s poisoned on the set.

And it turns out it’s not over: Gina has three lady biker friends whose stories need to be told!

You might say that Willow is the “bad boy/girl” biker. Andie is the goody-two-shoes. And Sabrina is the mothering type. Their personalities are as different as night and day. But their passion for motorcycling  translates into a love for each other. In fact, when I saw this photo by Lanakila MacNaughton, I saw Gina and her friends.

BikersKiss_COVER_webAnd it gets even better! In the fall of 2014, I released my first novella, A Biker’s Kiss, featuring a motorcycle-riding hero (Vince) who learns the joys of – you guessed it – kissing!

I’m having a ball writing about bikers (currently working on Lady Biker #2 – Andie’s story) – and, of course, sneaking in as may rides of my own as possible!

Just Released! Ranger’s Destiny (a Free Excerpt!)

RangerDestiny_webRanger’s Destiny is officially released! If you liked Cory from Ranger’s Luck, you’ll love his best friend Chase!

Army Ranger Chase Richards just wants to do the honorable thing – not so easy when it comes to his best friend’s little sister. Ella has been infatuated with Chase since the day her brother first introduced them. Will fate bring them together – or cost Chase his honor and the respect of his best friend? Read More.

Below is a free excerpt from the story – enjoy!

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“You okay?” Ella said.

“Yeah,” Chase said. But when he took a step, he stumbled. “Sonofabitch.”

“Let me help you.” Ella slipped under his shoulder, wrapping her arm around his midsection. He didn’t argue.

“Don’t think I’ve ever taken the elevator,” he muttered.

He was trying not to put his weight on her, she could tell. But every few steps he wavered, as if he couldn’t get his feet to follow each other properly.

In the elevator, Chase propped himself against the wall. “Maddy,” he murmured.

“What?” For a moment Ella thought he’d mistaken her for the doctor.

“She put something in that shot. The same thing she gave your brother.” He narrowed his eyes at her. “That why you drove so fast?”

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Purchase eBook: Kindle / Nook iBookstore Kobo

Ranger’s Destiny available for Pre-Order!

RangersDestiny_Book02_3D_MU

U.S. Army Ranger Chase Richards just wants to do the honorable thing. That’s pretty easy when he’s chasing bad guys, but harder when it comes to his best friend’s little sister.

Ella Foster is off limits – and has been for three years. But when Chase agrees to help her in an emergency, he gets more than he bargained for – with Ella and her drug-dealing ex-boyfriend. Now he’s got to keep his hands off her – and his heart intact – or risk losing the respect of his best friend. 

Ella has been infatuated with Chase since the day her brother first introduced them. The handsome hero was her knight in shining armor when she needed rescuing, but he’s so far out of her league, she’s sure she can never have him. 

But when Ella’s ex crosses the line, Chase’s honor will be tested like never before.

It seems like a long time coming, but the release of Ranger’s Destiny is only two weeks away (YAY!)! Pre-order it for Kindle now. Check here for links to all other “e” formats!

Read all about Chase and Cory here – and stay tuned for some FREE excerpts coming soon!

Memorial Day Veteran’s Charity Challenge: Gone, but Not Forgotten!

google-hangout-banner1During Memorial Day week, from May 22 to 29, more than 70 veteran authors are pledging 100% of their print, ebook and audio book royalties to their favorite charity supporting veterans.

I am honored to be part of this challenge with every sale of True Surrender!

Veterans from each service branch and every conflict period, from Vietnam to even active duty authors, are pledging. This diverse collection of works covers most genres. From romance to action-adventure and everything in between, there’s something for every taste!

The ultimate goal of this event is to raise $10,000 for the 20+ charities we’re supporting (my charity of choice is Veteran Fire Corps). The complete collection of participating books and charities can be found at http://bit.ly/vetsgiveback

If you aren’t interested in purchasing any pledged books, you can make a direct and public donation. If you’re interested in helping support or promote this event without having to donate, just share this info on Facebook, Twitter or your website. Every bit makes a difference! #vetsgiveback

True Surrender Audiobook Now Available in CD!

TrueSurrender_3DI was so excited to get the physical CDs of the True Surrender audiobook earlier this week (it was previously available in digital only). Check out the 20-second video below!

True Surrender is about an Army officer who is rescued from Afghan terrorists only to find his personal journey is just beginning. As he struggles with amputation and denies his PTSD, one woman challenges him to Surrender… and become the man he was meant to be. (Listen to a sample chapter here!)

I had never been particularly happy with my experience releasing the True Surrender audio book through ACX/Audible. The process was confusing and I could never reach a human being in a timely manner.  (Oh, and somewhere in the very, very fine print it states that you’re stuck with them for seven years whether you feel  they’re doing you justice or not.)

But perhaps my biggest frustration was the fact that I couldn’t control the pricing or other factors myself (as an indie author I’m used to being able to). Since I’m still a relative ‘unknown,’ I had hoped to price my audio book such that I could entice people to try it.

Then I found Blackstone/Downpour. Not only does the CD ‘package’ look amazing, but Blackstone has been a joy to work with. They offer something that the giant ACX ‘machine’ can’t: a human touch.

So I hope you’ll consider downloading True Surrender in audio format – or perhaps get the CD as a gift for that special person.

If you prefer to get audiobooks from Amazon/Audible, by all means buy it there (or here at iTunes). But you’ll get a better price here at Downpour. And the CD is only available here.

And, of course, you can still get it in your choice of eBook or print: Kindle / Barnes & Noble/Nook / Apple iTunes/iBookstore / Kobo / Amazon (print/hard copy)