Greetings to all. Today I wanted to chat about writing females. For those of us that do so on occasion or on the regular, we try to craft a woman with spunk. At least I do. To me, there’s nothing worse than a dainty, whiny, want-to-be rescued, female. Even in this day and age where we’ve been told we’ve come a long way, baby, we’re still portrayed as weak, unintelligent, and needy. Believe it or not this is still a popular thing in books, television, and movies and yes, in everyday life, society still treats women as second class citizens.
We are every bit as capable as a man of doing the same things if we so chose, but that’s another topic for another day. Let’s stick to fiction.
In Facebook chats and from fellow authors and readers, I’ve heard the same sentiment. Why do females get painted with the same broad brush? Many have said they no longer read het romance for just that reason. They don’t want to read about the damsel in distress who needs saving or the clueless female who can’t survive without her male counterpart. They want strong characters in their books and so many cisgender, straight women have turned to reading only m/m romances. That is their prerogative and yes, it is also our choice as authors if we want to go that route, but this author is at least trying to buck that stereotype. I’m a rebel. A rule breaker and I, for one, love a woman with spunk who can take care of things in her own way.
Years ago I checked out a movie called Losers starring Zoe Saldana, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and oh yes, Idris Elba! (SWOON). Believe you me, it wasn’t a great flick, but what I remembered most was the female character being kick ass and taking no prisoners. Even in her movie, Columbiana, she played that sort of character. Movies like those resonate with me, because instead of showing the woman being woman saved, they show her fighting for herself. Woman can be strong, fearless, and even if we are outnumbered or overmatched, we’re going to do our best to fight for what we want.
In my books, I’ve tried to follow that same formula. Sometimes the characters have come off as bitches, but in my mind that’s okay as long as it stays in tune with the plot. In my next book, Hell Hath No Fury, which is book 5 in the N’awlins Exotica series, I do just that. For those of you who have read the series, you might know my intolerant, bitchy female named Kenina Porter. In the first books she presents herself as hard-nosed and refuses to change her mean girl attitude for anybody. Even in this book where she gets her happy, I wanted her to keep that edge. Yes, I wanted her to learn things from everyone; her friends, boss, and the man she finally decides to let into her cold heart, but I also desired her to stay true to herself.
In my mind, characters don’t necessarily have to be likeable to be interesting. A couple of my readers had said, they hated this woman, but I promised this tough gal I’d give her something to be happy about without totally changing her.
Kenina is just one of the examples of women I’ve tried to write. At this moment, I’m working on another kick ass female named Hirah Blaze, who is the lead guitarist for my fictional metal band, The Wretched. I’ve also written a character in my PROTEKT series by the name of Miranda Ashley, who one reviewer said should’ve been a man.
I suppose I’ll take that as a compliment, but it makes me wonder, why should she be a man just because she refuses to back down from anyone? Why do females have to cower when it comes to their male counterparts? My belief is, even in romance, a woman should be able to hold her own. It’s total fine if she gets her guy or girl, but the lasting impression should be she did it on her own terms and not a way that shows her as weak. As romance authors, we’ve come a long way in adding more substance to our plots. A lot of romances aren’t about the guy getting the girl anymore. If we can go the length to make our books more interesting, why can’t we make our women stronger characters?
What about you? What other badass females have you seen in movies, TV, or books that stayed with you? I’ll be happy to hear some examples. Thanks for listening.
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Book 5 of the N'awlins Exotica series is on it's way. Kenina's story!
Since relocating from NY to NOLA, Kenina Porter has lived the good the bad, and the ugly, working in homicide in one of the most unsafe parts of New Orleans. She fought hard for her stripes as one of the best detectives in her precinct and refused to let anything slow her down.
These days, Kenina Porter isn't taking bs from anyone, let alone another cop in her department who claims to have the hots for her. With her heart tightly locked and her guard up, Kenina intends to live out her life as a hard nosed cop but, will David Mulroney be the one to finally bring her out of her shell?
Excerpt Unedited Mistakes are mine!
COPYRIGHT 2016 Sharita Lira writing as BLMorticia
It’s almost Thanksgiving, but I don’t think a hell of a lot of people cared because all I’ve seen and heard is Christmas; the annoying songs, the colorful lights, the commercials about shopping, but nothing about turkey day. I suppose a holiday celebrating eating a lot and watching football was easy to ignore. Not for me, though. I counted my blessings every Thanksgiving, because it was my first day on the police beat.
Back in 200 … ahem … a few years ago, I moved from New York to the Big Easy. Though the transition was nothing like the nickname, I’ve enjoyed my time as a detective here. I was on top of the world, walking the streets with my then partner, Louie Fastone. He was a talkative asshole, but he had my back at all times. That Thanksgiving night, I caught my first thief, briefed detectives on a major crime scene, and even helped talk a teenager out of committing suicide. Despite the circumstances it was the best day of my life, and I’ll always look back on it fondly.
During that time, I met the man I love like a brother, Francois Choteau or Frankie as I liked to call him. After meeting each other in police academy, we became fast friends, helping each other with exams and having a little fun in the process. When we were both promoted to detective, we worked long nights, trying to find out who the real culprits were behind numerous crimes. We solved a bunch of them on our own as well as some help from fellow detectives. We weathered the controversy in the department from internal corruption to unfair labor practices. We even faked a relationship just to hide his sexuality. I was mad as hell at him for weeks after that because I was sure it was all a phase, but he proved me wrong when he went after one of the suspects on a homicide turned suicide case. To this day I still think the kid had something to do it with it, but what do I know? I couldn’t prove it. So I let it go, and accepted Frankie as my best friend. Nothing more. It still sticks in my craw that I couldn’t turn his head, but it is what it is.
Back to the job. We’ve all worked our butts off these last few months, searching for a serial killer who has suddenly gone ghost. This case has us all stumped; four women, three of them trans, have been strangled and left for dead in their homes and no one knows a damn thing. The last victim, a young woman in her early twenties who’d just made the complete transformation, was seemingly looking forward to a bright future. However, because of this sonofabitch, she won’t see her next birthday and never dance again. This sad sack of shit can’t be found and with him roaming the streets neither we nor the city will sleep peacefully.
This isn’t the only thing that has me all riled up. I been working my ass off to become sergeant, but the new, very openly gay police chief, put me on blast. It’s true. I like to speak my mind, and sometimes that political correctness goes out the window. Hey, let’s call a spade a spade. Some things just need to be said and usually, I’m the one to say them.
I don’t like being picked on and it looks as if Chief Quinn Murray had selected me as his personal plaything. Due to the complaints of a couple of officers who I thought had thicker skin, I was officially out of the running for that promotion. Despite all this, I’ve held my head up high because one day, I will get that position and raise I deserve. I’ve worked long and hard to make my way up in the ranks here, and I’m not going to let anyone say I haven’t. Bottom line, I shouldn’t really have to adjust my thinking, it should be the other way around. Why pussyfoot around the truth when it’s right there in front of you? For example, I knew from day one that, that whore Miss Darnaby had something to do with the murders of her new husband, mother-in-law, and grandchildren. Because of my hard-nosed questioning, she’s behind bars, awaiting her sentence for being the accessory to five murders.
In my view, we’ve become a society full of pansies. We’re afraid to speak our minds because it’ll hurt someone’s feelings. We don’t discipline our children. We let them run ragged without giving them rules and putting the fear of God into them, much like my parents did to me. What the hell happened to society? America? What has this freaking world come to? It’s all screwed up because no one believes in telling the truth anymore. If no one is willing to speak up, it will continue.