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This week I am back at the Kirkus (which I call The Kirks for short, and picture Kirk Cameron, Kirk Dougas and Captain Kirk doing a very elegant line dance around the Kirkus headquarters) talking about ferocious heroines – the ones who are so violent and so strong it’s rather startling when you read them at first:

A step beyond merely strong heroines, though, are the fierce heroines. Sometimes I love reading about ferocious heroines. Sometimes angry, sometimes violent, and always incredibly strong and determined—I love heroines like this. They can be violent and do things I’d never do in my life, like kill a staggering number of other characters before the last page of the book. They can be brusque, cruel, demanding and harsh—but as much as I dislike people like that in real life, there are times when I love reading about women like this in romance.

 

Sales? Sales! Book 1 in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series is on sale digitally for $1.99 [Kindle | Kobo | BN | WORD Brooklyn]

Holy crap, I love convenience pricing as effective promotion. I so bought it, and gifted it, too.


Ladies and Gentlemen: the Academee Awarde for Most Awesome Response to a Typo Ever goes to Susan Andersen. *wild applause*


And finally: Jim C. Hines is owed a beer by me for this thought-provoking post. Cheers to you, dude. And high fives to MizKit and Sheila for the link.

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  1. 1
    Cät von J says:

    I read about that Susan Andersen typo on facebook a few days ago and I laughed so hard that tears were rolling down my cheeks! HILARIOUS!!!!
    So congrats for the world best typo EVER!!

  2. 2
    LG says:

    The Susan Andersen typo is hilarious! Kudos to her for letting her readers know she’s aware of it and working actively to get it fixed, and for seeing the humor in it. Wow, what a difference a single letter makes.

  3. 3
    Las says:

    Hey, I’ve been looking for more contemporaries lately and I’m a sucker for the soap opera-y goodness of stories featuring twins. Guess what I’ll be reading next.

    I really hope someone eventually posts the sales numbers on this one and compare them to Anderson’s other books. That hilarious typo and her awesome response can only work in her favor.

  4. 4

    I’d like to thank the Academee for this most prestigious award. Apologies for the bedhead—it’s still early on the left coast. Ordinarily I would have primped more but the excitement of finding myself a recipient drove me here before I remembered to pull a comb through it. Thank you, thank you! I fling kisses in your general di-rection (and yes, I did at least remember to brush my teeth).

  5. 5
    Lisa J says:

    A book with a typo that good just has to be in my library.  I just downloaded it.

  6. 6
    Annika says:

    Thank you Smart Bitches for providing the link and thank you Susan for making the typo and providing the awesome response to it (both here and in your newsletter)! I have the cold from hell AND a cranky, teething six month old to deal with and let med tell you, I really really needed to laugh!

  7. 7
    MelB says:

    I think your post about ferocious heroines is spot on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! These are the heroines I prefer above all others. They re-affirm what I believe about women, that we are equal to a man in every single way and surpass him in all other ways. These are the kinds of role-models little girls should have, not the Bella Swans. One of the very best women on television right now is Mary Shannon from In Plain Sight.

  8. 8
    Cakes says:

    oh Susan! I cannot imagine! LOL!

  9. 9
    Jess Granger says:

    Jim C. Hines is awesome, and his Goblin books are a crack up. Witty and insightful. He’s a writer I’m so very glad I’ve met.

    That said, I found this post very interesting. I had read a post recently about female-action heroes being sexualized or being made into perfect “male” characters because they could beat a guy in hand to hand combat. One of the comments said this was no different than Superman being able to fly as wish fulfillment for boys to have a sense of power over their world.

    The response baffled me at the time. It basically said no real woman would desire to kick-some butt in an openly violet, hand to hand way because it isn’t true to women to do so.

    Your post made me remember that post because I thought at the time, there’s this burning inner RAGE as a woman. Sometimes you face this, and all you want to do is take off a head or two (no pun intended) and look good doing it for good measure.  As a woman I find that superhero catharsis in a character that can walk into a room with the power to take names and bring the hurt.

    I think modern women are longing for that, and this is part of the reason why. Yet we’ll still fight or own fights, and make our own lives, and only ever be able to be strong and brave by enduring something that makes us victims.

    That’s what makes me the most disheartened as a woman.

    Jess Granger

  10. 10
    cbackson says:

    Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels is my favorite ferocious heroine.  Sometimes heroines in this genre are so bad-ass that they tip over into unbelievability – I think that the humor in Andrews’ books and the fact that the action scenes are written so well really helps.

    (Also, they smash the Bechdel test, which I appreciate.)

  11. 11
    cbackson says:

    @Jess Granger: What bothers me about the idea that “real” women lack the killer instinct (or whatever) is that in my personal experience, women are more likely to have been exposed to real physical danger than men. 

    Statistically, I have no idea if that’s true, but here’s my anecdata:  in high school, a boyfriend left me bruised (only once, and he claimed it was a “joke”, but…yeah); in college, someone made a sustained attempt to break into my apartment at night, while I was there and awake, almost certainly with the intent to assault me; as an adult, I’ve had my ex-husband engage in some threatening and quasi-stalking behavior such that I gave serious thought to whether the hassle involved in getting a pistol license might be worthwhile.

    None of my male friends have had these kinds of experiences.  Maybe they’ve been in a fistfight (most of them haven’t).  One of them was mugged.  But I’ve been in far more physically dangerous situations than my male friends. 

    Part of the reason that this kind of heroine appeals to me is that I’m so, so angry that men have made me fear for my own safety.  And although my superego generally keeps my id on a short leash, there are days when I’d like to walk into a room or down the street and have someone be afraid of me.

  12. 12
    Jess Granger says:

    Exactly!

    I think it is part of the reason I really enjoy writing heroines that can had a guy his ass on a platter.  I wish I had such a sense of personal power that I didn’t have to be afraid. Everyone else needs to run.  I’m not sure why the debate about the kick-butt heroine doesn’t take that into account. At least I’ve never seen it mentioned in any serious detail.

  13. 13
    Maria says:

    Ferocious heroines… Are fun once in awhile, but it wears thin for me if I read too many. As woman who’s experienced both general physical and sexual violence in my past, I hated it when people told me that I’d feel better if I took a self-defense class. I resented then, and still do, that I live in a society that places that kind of burden on me. I did have some fun with target shooting, though—less work and more fun (you can probably guess where I aimed).

    Rather than kick-ass heroines, my fantasies are more Carrie-like in nature. I want the power to blow bullies up or set them on fire. On better days, I’d be satisfied with having the earth swallow them whole or turn them into toads. That sort of thing, anyway. Simple physical strength feels crude and inadequate after a while.

    I don’t think I’m alone, either.

  14. 14
    FD says:

    @ Jess Granger & cbackson
    Yes. Reminds me of a Law & Order SVU line: “Female rage is a growth industry.”

  15. 15
    Crystal says:

    LOL I literally busted out laughing, read it to my boyfriend, and we both died laughing together.
    Typos happen, at least this one is funny.

  16. 16
    Diane Dooley says:

    Ferocious heroines. Love ‘em. Love to write them; love to read them. I’m particularly looking forward to reading Heather Massey’s upcoming release, Queenie’s Brigade. Ferocious heroines are not uncommon in science fiction romance, but I don’t think anyone pushes the envelope quite as far as Massey.

    Oh, that typo! Way to handle it with grace and humor, Ms. Andersen!

  17. 17
    rudi_bee says:

    I love fericious heroines but almost every single one I’ve come across has been victimised in the past. The only book I can think of off the top of my head that doesn’t do this is The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross.

    I don’t understand why we need an excuse or whatever it’s supposed to be for a woman to learn how to kick ass. Can’t she just be harnessing her socio-pathic tendancies the way male charcters often are?

    Also best typo ever. I think I might still be 12 years old on the inside because I could not stop laughing after I read it. And I’m getting the giggles again.

  18. 18

    Oh, poor Susan!  I LOL’d, of course, but also said a silent prayer of thanks that it wasn’t in my novel.

    I must say, she’s handling it far better than I would have.  If it were my book you’d still hear me screaming.

  19. 19
    BookwormBabe says:

    Eve Dallas (JD Robb), Kate Daniels (Ilona Andrews), Anwyl the Bloody (GA Aiken).

    I would rather read about a strong, kick ass heroine any day of the week over a simpering, weak excuse for one.

    Wimpy heroines need not apply to my reading list!

  20. 20
    Ann G says:

    I love Eve Dallas in the IN DEATH books (of course Roarke is great, too).  I’m thinking about getting the GA Aiken books, too.

  21. 21
    ashley says:

    I love kick ass heroines.  I think it’s because I so wish I could defend myself and hold my own against a man.  I hate feeling weak and defenseless.  When I’m working out I channel a certain heroine and imagine become as righteous as she is.

    I think I’m also just a blood and guts kinda gal.  I read a book once where a werewolf ripped a man in half and his organs spilled out. My reaction? cooooool

  22. 22

    Jim C. Hines is owed a beer by me for this thought-provoking post.

    Yes, he is owed a beer. And probably cookies. He’ll get lots of cookies for being a feminist man. Being a feminist *woman* just gets you hate mail. Or threats from so called feminist men to strangle you with piano wire.

    Pisses me off that women have been saying this shit for a long time, but are dismissed. A man says it and suddenly it’s like, Wow, we didn’t know. Fuck that.

    Sarah, have you heard about this author’s contract with major house being terminated for self-pubbing short story collection?

    http://kianadavenportdialogues.blogspot.com/2011/08/sleeping-with-enemy-cautionary-tale.html

    Also horrifying.

  23. 23
    BookwormBabe says:

    I was going to try Susan Anderson’s book if only for a typo.  I don’t know if it was just my e-region (Aust) but the kindle price is $17.36!!!  The paperback is less than half of that.

    It clearly states that the price has been set by the publisher so I don’t blame Susan at all.  But it did mean she lost a potential new reader and a sale.

  24. 24
    Randi says:

    @rudi_bee: For kick ass heroines with no abuse issues, try Shelley Laurenston/GA Aiken. Those women are AWESOME. They also have some hilarious and great relationships with OTHER women – which a lot of kick ass heronies DO NOT. But that’s an issue that’s already been discussed here.

  25. 25
    rebeccaj says:

    I just read an 09 book from Michelle Celmer called “The Oilman’s Baby Bargain”…geez, sounds like kids you can buy at Woolworth’s. Anywho, on the cover they talked about Wyatt and Alexis. I start reading and I keep reading about Mitch. I’m like, “Screw Mitch! when is Wyatt going to show up?!” Only to find out it was a glaring error all over the inside and back covers. The male lead WAS Mitch and not Wyatt.

  26. 26
    Shontrell says:

    For a ferocious heroine of a paranormal flavor, check out “Vampire Vacation” and “The Hunt” by C.J. Ellisson.  The main character is a badass chick who knows how to handle her business, but also has a hunky husband who supports her in every way.  There are explicit scenes, so it’s not for those under 18 or those who don’t like a little erotic flair added to their stories.

  27. 27
    infinitieh says:

    I giggled (because it was funny) and groaned (because it’d embarrass anyone) over the typo.  Mostly I was impressed what a difference a letter made.  I’ve found many a typo in books over the years but none so.. so extravagant in its error.  Susan should take a bow for having this typo and for her handling of the situation.

    As for kickass heroines, I don’t read that many.  They’re not cathartic for me, perhaps because the way I grew up.  If one had elementary school teachers who would give self-defense advice, then one would grow up with the knowledge that the world can be a dangerous place and being careful is important.  Besides, I don’t understand the “women can’t be violent” nonsense.  The most dangerous animal is a mother with young so that would cover all moms and hence women.  So real women are fully capable of kicking ass.

  28. 28
    Patricia M says:

    Another classic typo for your readership: My father was a small town lawyer and would send out holiday cards each year from “Attorney Ed L**** and staff”.  One year the printer sent the cards with the signature, “A Horney Ed L**** and staff”.  The card company sent replacements but when word got out in town about the original, he got a lot of calls asking for the original (I still have mine).  My dad was well into his sixties at the time.

  29. 29
    JMM says:

    It’s not just about male violence. I’d love (I know, I’m a bitch) to see a heroine (Romance, Mystery, or YA) just come out and lay a beat-down on a Mean Girl for once. I’d love to see her smack the… shift out of the Evil Socialite who tries to make her feel like dirt. Or even just grab the bitch Mother in law by the arm (hard) and threaten her with a great BIG smile.

    Generally, Heroines aren’t allowed to be aggressive (even verbally) unless they’re fighting off vampires or serial killers. Even then, a lot of the time, Hero bursts in to save the day, thus keeping her delicate white hands free of blood. Happily, that happens less and less.

  30. 30
    Donna says:

    Oh, I do love an ass kickin’ woman. And the best of them are in Meljean Brook’s Guardian series.
    I’ve been told I specialize in making people think they’re morons in seven words or less (sarcasm, my mutant ability), but I don’t think that counts.

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