What’s Wrong With Being Nice? The Likable Heroine Effect


I’m hap­py to have Ale­sha Esco­bar, author of The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, back on my site. She is tour­ing with the Addict­ed to Hero­ines Blog Tour (see the love­ly badge in the mar­gin) so I encour­age you to take a gan­der and see who else is involved. This time Ale­sha tells us about the qual­i­ties of a lik­able hero­ine, and as usu­al, she’s got it spot on. Thanks Ale­sha for stop­ping by again!

HawkgirlCreative Commons License Wilton Tay­lor via Comp­fight

Do you remem­ber the news sto­ry about women get­ting depressed using Face­book? Appar­ent­ly some women would read up on oth­ers’ sta­tus updates filled with on-point hair days, per­fect chil­dren, glam­orous jobs, and unicorns–and log off feel­ing like crap.

I’m not sur­prised.

It’s inevitable to com­pare our­selves to oth­ers, and when we feel that a cer­tain sta­tus or behav­ior is unat­tain­able, it leaves us feel­ing some­thing is lack­ing, or that we are lack­ing. The same goes for our fic­tion­al heroines–when we see the per­fect Mary Sue, we sort of cringe and fail to relate. We’re not per­fect, and when we pick up a book, we don’t want to encounter a hero­ine who’s going to get every­thing right all the time. Yet, I’m hes­i­tant to throw in my tow­el and pro­claim we need to start writ­ing and read­ing crude, “unlik­able” female heroes.

The idea of the lik­able hero­ine is one that rests on the expec­ta­tion that a hero­ine be appro­pri­ate in her behav­ior, sweet, nice, or “the good girl.” She has to be likable…right? There’s no room to be depressed, self­ish, a user, or a bitch.

For those who cri­tique the “lik­able hero­ine” being placed on a pedestal, I agree with them that there’s a prob­lem with this. Women are com­plex human beings, and we run the range of lik­able to unlik­able. Why can’t our hero­ines reflect the same?

Still, a female ver­sion of a jerk anti-hero isn’t all too palat­able either. So let’s strike some mid­dle ground. It’s okay for our hero­ines to be “real,” to have flaws, and make mis­takes. And it’s also okay for her to be noble, brave, and–gasp–kind.

We like hero­ines we can relate to, but many of us also like them to be the torch­bear­ers of real­ly cool qual­i­ties and per­son­al­i­ty traits. At least that’s what attracts me to a hero­ine. Give me the intel­li­gent Eliz­a­beth Ben­nets who find love, the Eowyns who refuse to be caged, or the fierce Brit­o­marts who hold their heads high.

If I could be a hero­ine, I’d want to pos­sess some of these traits. So what’s wrong with being nice or lik­able? Noth­ing at all. Just remem­ber that there are deep­er lay­ers, desires, and qual­i­ties to the lik­able hero­ine, and instead of rest­ing on sim­ply one aspect, try explor­ing the whole per­son.

authoralesha Twit­ter



Steampunk Hands Around the World

by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

What do you like about steam­punk?

What I like is the fact that many peo­ple like and even love steam­punk and they don’t even know it. That would have been me a few years ago. I’d watched steam­punk inspired movies and ani­ma­tion, total­ly dig­ging the spiff and shine, the gad­getry and mag­ic, and the mash up of gen­res, tropes and imagery to cre­ate some­thing, well…unnameable. Except it does have a name. Steam­punk.

Until three weeks ago I nev­er thought for a sec­ond that I would do more than read a steam­punk book or watch a movie. This will soon change.

Steam­punk Hands Around the World is the brain child of the Air­ship Ambas­sador, Kevin Steil. I was invit­ed to par­tic­i­pate by group mem­ber, Suna Dasi, who had put out a call to attract a mul­ti­cul­tur­al group of women to par­tic­i­pate in this quirky, fun event. I am so very glad that I accept­ed. The Mis­sion State­ment reads as such:

Steam­punk Hands Around the World is a month long event in Feb­ru­ary 2014 show­ing and shar­ing that steam­punk and the com­mu­ni­ty is glob­al and as such, all steam­punk every­where are con­nect­ed. There are new friend­ships to be found in every con­ver­sa­tion and event. “Hands” is pre­sent­ed in mul­ti­ple for­mats from blogs to videos to live events. Each per­son is respon­si­ble for orga­niz­ing their own con­tent and for­mat, but the cen­tral theme is that of glob­al con­nec­tion and friend­ship.

While con­tri­bu­tions to this event will be unique and var­ied, by an equal­ly unique and var­ied group of artists and steam­punk lovers, my part will be a short sto­ry ten­ta­tive­ly titled The Gold­en Bird. In keep­ing with the theme of this event, it will of course, be a steam­punk tale and it will be mul­ti­cul­tur­al. I’ll be post­ing it right here on Feb­ru­ary 23rd. And, if all goes as planned, The Artist will pro­vide a unique piece of art to go along with my sto­ry. I am both excit­ed and ner­vous because this puts me on a dead­line. *shud­ders*

So…I’m sign­ing out now so I can get back to work on this sto­ry.

by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

Why My Book is Free and Writing and Reviewing With Integrity


AUW_ebook_1875x2500_72dpiAbout every 9–12 months I feel the need to reju­ve­nate my writ­ing and my writ­ing goals. I reached that breaking/building point about a month ago. I real­ized that while I’ve been writ­ing, none of it was coher­ent, con­nect­ed, or pro­gres­sive with regard­ing to devel­op­ing my craft or my career as an inde­pen­dent author. I made some promis­es to myself about what I want­ed do. I said these things out loud, which I believe will press me to be account­able, and I’ve set dead­lines, so that I will be account­able to myself.

I believe that dead­lines are essen­tial.

One of the things that I have decid­ed to do is join the Sto­ry Car­tel pro­gram, where­in I offer my book, An  Unpro­duc­tive Woman, for free for a peri­od of about three weeks. Each read­er who reviews my book is auto­mat­i­cal­ly entered into a draw­ing for the chance to win a $10 Ama­zon gift card. Sto­ryCar­tel will choose the three win­ners. I first heard about this rel­a­tive­ly new pro­gram via a newslet­ter and then lat­er in a pod­cast by K.M. Wei­land (http://www.kmweiland.com/wp-content/podcast/storycartel.mp3). K.M. Wei­land placed her new book in this pro­gram as part of her new book launch to drum up inter­est and fresh reviews.

Before mak­ing the deci­sion to try out Sto­ry Car­tel, my inten­tion was to low­er the price of AUW on Ama­zon, open it up on oth­er out­lets and then for­get it exist­ed. But, I start­ed to think about my WIP and what I would need to accom­plish to do a rea­son­ably pro­fes­sion­al pub­li­ca­tion and launch. As cheap and easy as self-pub­lish­ing is, some of these tasks will cost mon­ey. I am guessti­mat­ing I will spend about $600 to $1000 in the process. This will cov­er the cost of an edi­tor and a cov­er artist and pos­si­bly some­one to for­mat my WIP for Kin­dle. (I for­mat­ted AUW for eBook myself but it wasn’t fun and I’d rather not do it again.)

My hope? That I will make a few dol­lars on my cur­rent nov­el and use those pro­ceeds to fund my cur­rent WIP. I’m hop­ing that more reviews will make this hap­pen for me. Hop­ing.

I’ve made AUW free on Ama­zon before via their KDP pro­gram, and I have giv­en away many free copies as well. I have a nice num­ber of reviews (total­ing 45 pri­or to Sto­ry Car­tel) but I was hop­ing that if I can man­age to dou­ble those reviews I’ll light up with­in Amazon’s com­pli­cat­ed sys­tem of algo­rithms and gar­ner more atten­tion and pos­si­bly more sales. Also I will have access to the email address­es of all of the peo­ple who have signed up to down­load, read and review my book. They can be added to my newslet­ter list for my next book launch. It is a win-win sit­u­a­tion.

I think that most of us know why hon­est reviews are impor­tant, espe­cial­ly as a self-pub­lished author. Though our sit­u­a­tion has improved over recent years, many read­ers still have the sneak­ing sus­pi­cion that our writ­ing will be sub-par. In truth, it some­times is.  But some­times it is not. Some­times our writ­ing and our sto­ries are phe­nom­e­nal and just as good as any tra­di­tion­al­ly pub­lished author, which brings me to the top­ic of writ­ing with integri­ty.

This morn­ing I saw a call-out on Goodreads where­in one mem­ber  offered book reviews for five dol­lars each. She stat­ed that all one has to do is send her a syn­op­sis of the book and the five dol­lars in exchange for her review. While not sur­prised, I am ecsta­t­ic to see that every­one who respond­ed to this call-out, called this per­son out for attempt­ing to offer such a dis­hon­est ser­vice. Kudos indie authors! Keep liv­ing and writ­ing with integri­ty.

So, this is why my book is cur­rent­ly free. Please put the word out on my behalf. Tell any­one you believe might be inter­est­ed in a good free book. Check me out at Sto­ryCar­tel, http://storycartel.com/books/464/an-unpro­duc­tive-wom­an/. Click the link and tweet about it or post it to your G+ or Face­book. This indie author would appre­ci­ate your sup­port.

What do you think about pay­ing for fake reviews?

Is there ever room for them?

Would you respect or read an author you knew had received fake reviews?

What do you think of authors who review their own books?

I would love to know what you think.