Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Author Guest Post: Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

I've posted about this book and this series. It is totally one of my favorites for many reasons. The mysterious and sexy West. The adventure and danger. The Pulse activated world. And, last but most important, the family structure. Sure, it's a little different here with Livi Talbot. Her family are her friends that have been there and will continue to be there for her and her daughter. I love this creation!

Today, Skyla is here to share a bit about that special family structure. Also! 
THE BOOK'S ON SALE!!! 99c for TWO DAYS! Go get it!
**Deal only good for September 20 & 21 2017

If you like what you see, please share with the world so they can get the deal too! Here's a tweet written you can copy and paste:
99c book deal for SOLOMON'S SEAL by @skyladawn --EX-DEBUTANTE. SINGLE MOTHER. TREASURE HUNTER. http://amzn.to/2ynmu4x Only 20th & 21st!



Countering the Lone Wolf Heroine Trope

Every writer has something she’s trying to do with her book. Beta readers and editors can pick up on it, but it’s easy to wait on pins and needles for reader reactions later. Sometimes we succeed in what we’re trying to do.

Sometimes...we don’t.

I breathed a sigh of relief that this time one of my messages connected with the audience, as most reviews of Solomon’s Seal highlight the portrayal of friendship and family in the book, specifically between Livi Talbot and her best friend Pru Cortez.

When I conceived of the series—Tomb Raider as a soccer mom (or Lara Croft meets Gilmore Girls)—one thing was clear: the usual lone wolf urban fantasy heroine wasn’t going to cut it. It takes a village to raise a six-year-old, and Livi is a lot of things but she’s not a whole damn town. This meant filling her life with the support systems she’s developed over the years, and making these characters integral to the story.

Don’t get me wrong—I love lone wolf heroines. I think a lot of people do. And I imagine a lot of elements are at play to explain the popularity of the trope in urban fantasy. One is that writers write what they know, and writing is a very solitary act. We know what it feels like to be in our own realities, the weight of the world (or deadlines) on our shoulders.

I do think sometimes—though certainly not every time—the trope comes from a sort of internalized misogyny and sexism. The lone wolf heroine is Not Like Other Girls and often Super Duper Special. When she picks up a supporting cast, it’s often other male characters, as if to underscore she is, again, Not Like Other Girls by putting her in a “man’s world” with a lot of men. This can be written by male and female writers a like, and we rarely challenge the assumption that surrounding oneself with men is obviously a sign of being strong, right?

As I said, I like me some lone wolf heroines, and I find it’s a natural character for me to write. But I also get tired of it sometimes, because in my experience...I like having friends. I can’t imagine my life without them. People who have my back always, people I would do anything for. People to validate what I’m feeling when I get red flags from someone. There is no replacement for my close female friends.

It was important for me to have that with Livi and Pru—just as important, if not more so, than ensuring the action was thrilling and adventures entertaining. They’re opposites in many ways, not the least of which is that Livi is an adrenaline junkie and Pru is decidedly not. And they each have their own challenges, from Livi adventuring for a living to Pru with the ticking clock of multiple sclerosis over her head. But their personalities also complement one another and their shared love for Livi’s daughter cements their bond as family.

Whether the series spans three books or a dozen, and no matter how their ‘found family” evolves, Liv and Pru’s friendship is the backbone of this series for me and hopefully for readers as well.

Solomon’s Seal turns one year old on September 20th and my birthday is on the 21st, so I’m having a two-day 99c sale! Read on for an excerpt between Livi and Pru.


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Excerpt from Solomon’s Seal:

“It’s Martin’s fault,” I said immediately as I pressed the cold pack to my elbow. It had seemed okay an hour ago, but then the swelling came back and I was hoping some ice would quiet the ache again.

She shook her head and set her book on the end table. “So you’ve said.”

I’d already called and filled her in when I didn’t think I’d make the meeting with Em’s teacher, but I still felt defensive about it. “This is the second time he’s done this.”

“Third if you count the time he had customs waiting at the airport for you.”

Right. I forgot about that. “Fratricide isn’t illegal, is it?”

“You’d be convicted before opening arguments.”

It was true. He was the altruist, the good guy, the one who hadn’t been disinherited. Archaeology doctorate, top of his game. I was the ex-debutante party-girl, now single mother with no education, who stole supernatural artifacts for private clients. No question who won the Favorite Talbot Kid Award. “Did you get a line on who he gave the knife to?”

Pru yawned and brushed curls of black hair from her face, then stretched her arms over her head. “Not yet. Short list should be narrowed down by morning. You’re really going after it?”

“I need the money. We need a new fridge plus Em’s tuition doesn’t pay itself.”

“She’s six. She doesn’t need a private school.”

We’d already had this conversation approximately seventy thousand times. “I totaled the Jeep, but that and the plane tickets were the only expenses. Grant will give me fifteen grand for the knife.”

“Probably,” she said. “That was fifteen grand for the first shot—if you draw attention to him stealing it back...”

“Yeah, yeah. But Grant likes me. I think.” Truthfully, I’d never actually met Iluka Grant; he was some dealer in Australia I worked with sometimes, someone who hired out help if clients requested something found stateside. He’d hired me a few times now, so I was guessing he liked me well enough. “And if I make a fuss about losing my deposit on the rental, I’ll be able to squeeze out more.”

She shook her head. No sense arguing with me.

“How are you?” My question was weighted and I studied her, not trying to disguise it.

Pru knew it, too. “Fine. I skipped my nap yesterday.”

“You know, if you have a bad day, and I’m not here—”

“I know, I know—”

“—the munchkin doesn’t need to go to school.”

“I’m fine,” she insisted. “I got her to class, skipped the therapy pool, came home and took a nap, and got her from school again.”

I bit my tongue. The last thing I would ever do was treat her like an invalid but I did worry about her pushing herself for Em’s sake when I wasn’t around to help. It required trust, I knew, but I could be a little mother hen-ish sometimes.

And that the Pulse four years ago managed to activate relics and powers and supernatural creatures of old but didn’t do fuck all to bring about a cure for real world things such as multiple sclerosis pissed me off to no end. What’s the point of living in a supernatural world when it didn’t cure the lesions on her spinal cord and brain?

Prudence changed the subject, of course. “There’s a package for you on the kitchen counter.”

Huh. “Bomb?”

“Hasn’t exploded yet, and why do you always ask that? Has anyone ever actually sent you a bomb?”

They hadn’t but as daughter of a rich guy, my childhood had its share of worst case scenario discussions, usually kidnapping but occasionally miscellaneous topics like bombs. Apparently it traumatized my psyche. “Give it time.”

“Delivery boy said it was for Olivia Talbot and that’s it. You also received two phone calls. Richard Moss?”

I groaned and held my eyes shut for several seconds. “Tell him we’re lesbians.”

“I’m not doing that anymore.”

Ugh, just ’cause it scared off a guy she liked one time. “Tell him...I died. From...a mail bomb.”

“He was very polite.”

Of course he was polite—that’s how he finagled my phone number from someone in the first place. I looked at Pru and cocked a brow.

“Where’d you meet him?”

Uh... “A couple of months ago...remember that Inca necklace?”

“That you were trying to steal from the museum?” Pru’s voice turned sharp with disapproval.

She was not happy about that job—museum thefts were frowned upon, in her opinion. I’d deemed it too difficult after I was arrested just casing the joint—my brother’s work, of course, when he was visiting with the curator and saw me there—but Prudence still made her displeasure known. “Yeah, that one. I ran into him before I was surrounded by a dozen terribly handsome uniformed men with handcuffs. Just a patron. Took me twenty minutes to lose him and the bathroom trick didn’t work.”

“Persistent.”

“Understatement. He’s pushy, about six-four, wicked hot, and thinks me dating him is a foregone conclusion. You know how that normally turns out.”

“Either you sleep with him or you punch him.”

I nodded. “Sometimes both. I don’t need this right now. Also, his name is Dick Moss. Dick Moss.”

“He said it was Richard—”

Clearly she wasn’t listening to me. The ice pack crackled against my elbow as I leaned forward for emphasis. “Dick. Moss. It sounds like a venereal disease.”

“You shouldn’t judge someone by their name.”

“Can I judge him for leaving flowers on my car? Twice?”

Her mouth opened. Closed. She frowned. “That’s...”

“Something someone with the middle name ‘McStalkerpants’ would do. I’m done with his type, I told you. Then he tells me he’s at the museum for a ‘story’ because he’s in the newspaper business—uh, no, he owns the newspaper business. Well, blogging, but still.”

“You mean—”

“Yeah. That Moss.” No date in eight months, no sex in ten, and the first guy who seriously gets sniffing around me is set to inherit The Stargazer—tabloid extraordinaire with an online presence that specialized in making unsubstantiated rumors believed—and is incapable of understanding the word ‘no’? Former celebutante karma, apparently.

Pru raised her hands. “You win. He must be avoided. Should I see about changing the number?”

I waved her off. “He probably didn’t get the memo that I’m broke now, or doesn’t realize what girls who did the pageant circuit grow up to be. I’ll scare some sense into him.”

-----

About Solomon’s Seal:
EX-DEBUTANTE. SINGLE MOTHER. TREASURE HUNTER.

Disowned and left penniless for getting pregnant as a teen, former celebutante Olivia Talbot was willing to do whatever it took to provide for her daughter…including become a treasure hunter. Since the Pulse hit, activating relics of legend, there are plenty of artifacts to be had—not to mention wealthy clients willing to pay top dollar for them.

Just as her daughter’s private school tuition cheque bounces, Livi gets an offer that could be the break she needs to return to some semblance of her former life. A potential new client wants her to travel to Ethiopia and retrieve the Seal of Solomon—a mythical ring said to control demons and djinn—and this bounty comes with one hell of a financial pay off.

The deadline: a week. The team: unreliable. The competition: her world-renowned archaeologist older brother. Nothing Livi can’t handle… Except the danger goes beyond a few subterranean serpent-dragons she might encounter or tangling with her employer’s deadly second-in-command. This client isn’t all he seems, and handing him the ring might be worse than what he’ll do to her—and her daughter—if she doesn’t.

Available at:

KindleUS | KindleUK | KindleCA | Kobo | Nook | iBookstore | Smashwords | GooglePlay | Payhip

Special Anniversary Sale: 99c for two days only! (September 20 – 21)



About Skyla Dawn Cameron:
Skyla Dawn Cameron has been writing approximately forever.

Her early storytelling days were spent acting out strange horror/fairy tales with the help of her many dolls, and little has changed except that she now keeps those stories on paper. She signed her first book contract at age twenty-one for River, a unique werewolf tale, which was released to critical and reader praise alike and won her the 2007 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy. She now has multiple series on the go to keep her busy.

Skyla is a fifth generation crazy cat lady who lives in southern Ontario, where she writes full time, works as a freelance designer, stabs people with double pointed knitting needles, is an avid gamer, and watches Buffy reruns. If she ever becomes a grownup, she wants to run her own Irish pub, as well as become world dictator.

You can visit her on the web at www.skyladawncameron.com. When she’s not writing or being glared at by cats, she’s probably on Twitter. You should ping @skyladawn and tell her to get back to work and get exclusive stories monthly at www.patreon.com/skyladawncameron

2 comments:

  1. This one looks so good. I think it is something I would really enjoy. Thanks for the excerpt.

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