Sunday, January 20, 2019

Strong female characters

I'm particularly drawn to these types of characters. Mercy Thompson is probably one of my favorite protagonists in anything I've ever read. She's not carrying around a dominating power or ability that makes her inherently powerful. She is a woman with some abilities that often takes on significantly stronger enemies because it's the Right Thing to Do. Her motivations when she faces off against monsters, people or other antagonists are the no one else is willing to step up so it's on her to take on the antagonists. Her bravery is inspiring.

Yes, she is a fictional character--Patricia Briggs wrote her into existence. But that doesn't make the qualities that make her a hero any less real. There are plenty of examples in our history of women stepping up and taking great risks in order to do the right thing.

I also admire other minority characters that are strong and capable. Whether those minorities are racial, cultural, religious or sexual and gender identification--I find myself wanting to explore the dynamics of them and their relationship to the world around them.

As a result of my admiration for these types of characters, I find myself particularly interested in featuring them in my own stories--whether as a supporting character or the main protagonist of the story. Of course, this leads to what I see as my greatest challenge as a writer. Portraying female characters accurately. I'm not female (shocking, I know) so I don't have any practical experience. I only know what I observe or have been told by women I know, or women in history/popular media.

My new book features not only a female main character but two of the most important supporting characters are also female. The entire book is about Kate Stimson actually rescuing the most powerful person in the universe I've created. I found myself examining her motivations and her bravery. I fell in love with her a little bit. Hell, there were times I wanted to be her.

My next book after that features a lesbian protagonist, with her growing relationship with the main supporting character playing an important part in the progression of the story. Talk about stretching. Not only am I not a woman, I'm also not a lesbian. I have no clue how good a job I'm doing with that. I suppose at some point I'll have to find a lesbian reader to give me some feedback.

So I need to find a lesbian reader who is interested in science fiction and/or urban fantasy, I guess. I need to be idiot checked (featuring me as the possibly idiot, and the reader as the one doing the checking.)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Sneak peak!

So my next book, Splitter, is coming along nicely. It's in the final set of edits before I then go to work on formatting, creating the final cover and publishing.

Splitter, the third book set in the Dreamside universe, is about a boy who lives on the Dreamside and the Wakeside simultaneously. It's a confusing, maddening existence and he is slowly losing his mind. He meets up with Colin and Kate (who is now Colin's girlfriend) and the resulting conflict introduces Kate to the Dreamside and she becomes a reluctant heroine.

I love to write about strong women, and Kate represents my first attempt at having the central character be female. Most of my favorite books spotlight strong female characters, ranging from Mercy Thompson to Honor Harrington, with many others in between. I must admit that Anita Blake is a guilty pleasure of mine, though I kinda lost interest after book 6 in that series.

I've got to admit that I'm a tad nervous about this. I hope I manage to capture a feminine character with a believable voice. We'll see.

I'm getting really excited so I thought I'd put some cover previews up. I haven't made my final decision on which of these two I'm going to use, but I will admit I'm leaning toward the first.

Putting Splitter aside for a moment, I also want to announce that the rough draft of my following book, Black Swan Effect, is completed and "percolating" on my virtual desk currently. The ending is mega sloppy still, though the skeleton of it is solid.

This is my first book that is not set in the Dreamside Universe. It's the first book in what I hope will be a three book science fiction series, though I am being quite careful to have each book stand alone. The last thing I want is to leave people hanging.

I have been toying with covers for that one as well. I've found that playing around with covers and other images for my writing is energizing. So without further ado, he's a possible cover for that book.

I'm pretty happy with this one already, though I'm still toying with other ideas. The book is still way down my publishing pipeline, so I would be surprised if this is actually the final cover.

Finally, I recently started my "next, next, next" book that will follow Black Swan Theory. It is going to be the fourth novel set on the Dreamside, and will star the cast of The Scary Girls, centering on Hazel. In fact, at this moment, the working title is Hazel's Story, though that's unlikely to survive the writing process. I've got it outlined and have been finding it effortless to write so far. I'm not far into it, and it's pretty much the lowest priority at the moment, but I'm excited to see where Hazel takes me.

Anyway, that's a not-so-short synopsis of where I am currently with my recently revitalized writing career.