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.

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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!

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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)

Old Endings, New Beginnings & Getting Down to Business

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Blank Pages In An Open NotebookFor about the past year I’ve been exclusive with Amazon’s KDP program. Initially I saw an upsurge in sales. Nothing huge, mind you, but a noticeable difference. Then I ran into some major hiccups. My ebook kept showing up for sale on other sights, making me not so exclusive, and KDP would kick me out of the program. I have my past with Smashwords and my very unfortunate past with Xlibris (horrific vanity publishing) to thank for that. Each time I managed to get my ebook removed from one market, I’d sign back up with KDP. Each time this happened, about four times in total, I found that I couldn’t recover and sales were even fewer.

I realized that I was probably going about things all the wrong way. Go figure, I’m new at this, and besides having little time, I’m lazy. I wanted to make selling my book as simple as possible. I also spent more time worrying about that book than I spent worrying about my current projects and about this site.

Along the way I also just got off track with my writing. I was losing my resolve and my hope. Then I came upon this fairly new and interesting podcast called Rocking Self Publishing hosted by Simon. I encourage you to listen to a few of the interviews. They are incredibly enlightening and educational. You will quickly learn just how generous other indie authors are as they share some incredible information about self publishing. A site that always helps set a fire beneath my creativity and give me indie author hope is that of Lindsay Buroker, author of The Emperor’s Edge series. Besides being a successful and prolific indie author she imparts some amazing advice over at her site.

So, I made the decision to make some changes. We are always changing aren’t we? It’s supposed to keep us on our toes, I guess, but to be honest, it tires me out.

  • I didn’t sign back up for the KDP program. What’s the point? Fewer venues means less visibility and fewer sales.
  • I’ve republished An Unproductive woman on Smashwords and as a result it will soon be available at many outlets. In this case, more is more.
  • I’ve come to the realization that I need to STOP avoiding outlining and give it an honest try. I’ve been pantsing myself into literary holes. I can’t seem to stay jazzed about a story or complete a story because I end up floating in space with no direction.
  • I’ve decided to start working with some internal deadlines. I need to complete one of the multiple projects I’ve started over the last year. Not having done so when I know that I am capable has dealt a blow to my writer’s self esteem.
  • I’m actively looking for reliable betas and reasonably priced editors. So if you have any suggestions please send them my way.
  • I’ve dusted of the picture I purchased over a year ago with the intent to use on a book cover. I’m using it as the background on my desktop to keep me motivated about this project that I wholly believe in.
  • I’m getting back to my old schedule, where I rise at 0400 to get some writing done.
  • I will take no prisoners or excuses.

See you at success.