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

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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

Web­site

Ama­zon

The Ministry Blog Tour

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TheGrayTowerTrilogy

I am excit­ed to be able to par­tic­i­pate in The Min­istry Blog Tour in cel­e­bra­tion of the com­ple­tion of the final book in Ale­sha Esco­bar’s Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, Cir­ca­di­an Cir­cle. Con­grat­u­la­tions Ale­sha! It’s phe­nom­e­nal to be able to rub shoul­ders with such smart pro­duc­tive indie authors. It inspires me to work hard­er and to believe in my writ­ing. Thanks Ale­sha for being an inspi­ra­tion and for pro­duc­ing a qual­i­ty piece of fan­ta­sy lit­er­a­ture.

The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy is a mash-up of mag­ic and espi­onage, set in an alter­nate WWII era where the Nazis join with war­locks and vam­pires to gain the upper-hand, and the Allies employ wiz­ards to stand in their way. The tril­o­gy fol­lows the exploits of Isabel­la George, an alchemist trained by the Gray Tow­er and hired as a spy by British intel­li­gence. After los­ing friends and col­leagues to the hor­rors of war, she’s ready to retire. How­ev­er, a vam­pir­ic war­lock stalk­ing her, and a dead­ly secret from her past, only draw her fur­ther into a world of dan­ger and decep­tion.

If that doesn’t sound like a fun and inter­est­ing sto­ry line check out what oth­ers have to say about it:

In addi­tion to the vari­ety of allies and ene­mies Isabel­la George encoun­ters in the first book, an array of new char­ac­ters and sit­u­a­tions await a read­er in Dark Rift. Some of the char­ac­ters are warm while oth­ers are of a most sin­is­ter and evil nature. I even found myself hav­ing some dif­fi­cul­ty falling asleep at night after one par­tic­u­lar encounter. While I will not dis­close any of the major plot ele­ments, I will reveal that there are sev­er­al plot twists for which there is lit­tle or no warn­ing. While there might be extreme­ly sub­tle hints, Ale­sha keeps her secrets well hid­den.” (Goodreads Review)

This is a fan­tas­tic finale to a series of espi­onage and fan­ta­sy woven into a com­plex plot with well-devel­oped char­ac­ters and intrigu­ing sto­ry line. I could not put this book down! There was ten­sion, sus­pense, mag­ic, love, mys­tery, and more over an excit­ing con­clu­sion. Cir­ca­di­an Cir­cle gripped me to the very end.” (Saman­tha LaFan­tasie, Made To For­get)

Go for a chance to win some loot by sign­ing up for the Min­istry Raf­fle. Come on, you  know you want to! Have fun! And con­grats again Ale­sha!

a Raf­fle­copter give­away

The-Towers-Alchemist-Kindle-cover-600x800-72dpi1The Tower’s Alchemist (The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, #1)

Dark-Rift-Cover-low-rez-singleDark Rift (The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, #2)

Circadian-Circle-CoverCir­ca­di­an Cir­cle (The Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy, #3)

NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop

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What is a blog hop? Basi­cal­ly, it’s a way for read­ers to dis­cov­er authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of infor­ma­tion on me and one of my books and links to three oth­er authors you can explore!

Epcot - 30th Celebration FinaleI send my thanks, admi­ra­tion and grat­i­tude to fel­low indie authors Melanie Edmonds and Matthew Williams for invit­ing me to par­tic­i­pate in this event.  I found Melanie online a few years ago when I stum­bled upon her ser­i­al called Star­walk­er.  I was imme­di­ate­ly impressed by the qual­i­ty of her writ­ing and her very pres­ence.  I’m still impressed.  Since then she and I have become great col­leagues and co-con­trib­u­tors of Yuva, an anthol­o­gy about space trav­el and col­o­niza­tion that Matthew Williams and I con­ceived of sev­er­al months ago.

Matthew “Awe­some Sauce” Williams is the most wicked­ly pro­lif­ic author/bloggers I’ve ever known.  I envy his verve and tal­ent.  He is an absolute inspi­ra­tion and the the per­son I look to when I need a lit­tle push to keep writ­ing.  We are cur­rent­ly co-edi­tors and co-con­trib­u­tors of the Yuva Anthol­o­gy.  More to come on that lat­er.

In this blog hop, I and my fel­low authors, in their respec­tive blogs, have answered ten ques­tions about our book or work-in-progress (giv­ing you a sneak peek).  We’ve also includ­ed some behind-the-scenes infor­ma­tion about how and why we write what we write: the char­ac­ters, inspi­ra­tions, plot­ting and oth­er choic­es we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to com­ment and share your thoughts and ques­tions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the work­ing title of your book? 

My nov­el is enti­tled An Unpro­duc­tive Woman.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

You know what?  I don’t know the answer to that.  At the time that I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman I’d been watch­ing a lot of Niger­ian dra­mas most of which (at the time) typ­i­cal­ly cen­tered very dra­mat­i­cal­ly around fam­i­ly and mar­riage mat­ters.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Hmm.  I can think of three that fit An Unpro­duc­tive Woman per­fect­ly: Women’s Fic­tion, Mul­ti­cul­tur­al Fic­tion, and Con­tem­po­rary Fic­tion.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your char­ac­ters in a movie ren­di­tion?

I love that ques­tion and it is very dif­fi­cult to answer.  Let’s see… hmm… well…

I see Adam, the man most peo­ple hate but end up root­ing for by the end, played by maybe Kei­th David or Del­roy Lin­do.

Asabe, is a bit more dif­fi­cult.  Per­haps There­sa Ran­dall (15 years younger) or Sharon Leal.

5: What is the one-sen­tence syn­op­sis of your book?

One man’s failed faith and secret quest to right old wrongs threat­ens to destroy his life but instead brings him full cir­cle.

Sheesh, I’m out of breath say­ing that.  How about you?

6: Is your book self-pub­lished, pub­lished by an inde­pen­dent pub­lish­er, or rep­re­sent­ed by an agency?

An Unpro­duc­tive Woman is self pub­lished and is cur­rent­ly avail­able through Ama­zon or Cre­ate­Space.  For the record, start­ing today and for the next two weeks you can sign up to win a signed copy of An Unpro­duc­tive Woman over at Good reads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

An Unproductive Woman by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

An Unproductive Woman

by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Give­away ends April 17, 2013.

See the give­away details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your man­u­script?

I’m not cer­tain how long it took me to write the first draft, it being so long ago, but from start to fin­ish includ­ing edit­ing it took me about two years.  Then after about a year of try­ing to get a pub­lish­er, An Unpro­duc­tive Woman sat in a box for about ten years before I final­ly decid­ed to do some­thing with it.

Am I aging myself?

8: What oth­er books would you com­pare this sto­ry to with­in your genre?

Hon­est­ly I can’t make any good com­par­isons, but I have found my book on this list on Goodreads.  I am in the com­pa­ny of some great cul­tur­al reads such as Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Khaled Housseni’s The Kite Run­ner and anoth­er of his books, A Thou­sand Splen­did Suns.  I’ve read Hous­sei­ni and I think he is a genius.  I’d nev­er com­pare myself to him, but I am def­i­nite­ly hon­ored to be on that list among some lit­er­ary heavy hit­ters.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

What I can say for cer­tain is that at the time when I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman I was work­ing out a lot of inter­nal demons in terms of my fam­i­ly and also spir­i­tu­al­ly.  Writ­ing An Unpro­duc­tive Woman was cathar­tic and odd as it may sound, I gleaned a lot of strength from the tit­u­lar char­ac­ter Asabe, and I learned loads about for­give­ness by tak­ing Adam through the paces.  I was emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed in each of the char­ac­ters even when they were behav­ing bad­ly.

10: Are you writ­ing any­thing else that peo­ple might be inter­est­ed in?

I’ve hint­ed that I wrote An Unpro­duc­tive Woman sev­er­al years ago, at least fif­teen.  While I feel that the sto­ry is time­less, I’m not.  Ha!  Today I am work­ing on a project called The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles.  I am  unsure how many install­ments there will be, but I am plan­ning on at least three short nov­els (about 75,000 words each) all tak­ing place in the same “world”.  The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles, or some ver­sion of it has been with me for at least five years and has come to me in dis­con­nect­ed bits and pieces here and there.  Only recent­ly did any of it make sense to me and I recent­ly stat­ed com­mit­ting words to paper.  Drop back by here some­time to check out the progress meter over in the right hand mar­gin.  I also plan to post shorts from this WIP on occa­sion to keep appetites whet.  The Hin­ter­land Chron­i­cles will be an entire­ly dif­fer­ent genre than An Unpro­duc­tive Woman and is best char­ac­ter­ized at this time as dystopi­an SF.

Who’s next on the NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP?

So glad you asked! Below you will find authors who will be join­ing me by blog, next Wednes­day. Do be sure to book­mark and add them to your cal­en­dars for updates on Works in Progress and New Releas­es! Hap­py writ­ing and read­ing!

Ale­sha Esco­bar — She is the tal­ent­ed author of the Gray Tow­er Tril­o­gy.  The Tower’s Alchemist, which is the first book in the tril­o­gy is cur­rent­ly avail­able for free on Ama­zon.  Check it out if you like fun, adven­ture and his­tor­i­cal fan­ta­sy.

Court­ney Worth Young — She writes YA para­nor­mal fan­ta­sy, is a cof­fee afi­ciona­do, geek, and voice actress.  Hmm.  Voice actress.  Her nov­el After the Woods will debut in May 2013, so keep your eyes wide open and mark your cal­en­dars.

Nadine Duc­ca — She went from med­ical trans­la­tion to writ­ing.  That makes sense to me.  And it’s a good thing.  Nadine is the author of Serv­ing Time which will soon be avail­able.  The cov­er reveal was just a few days ago so hop on over to her site to see what it looks like.  Should be excit­ing, yeah?

Sal­lie Lundy-From­mer — Sal­lie is a co-poet­ess and author of the para­nor­mal romance Yesterday’s Daugh­ter.  Check her out if you dare.