Today I’m hosting a guest post by my friend Lauren Grimley who is here to talk about Romance for a Reason. A cause I can totally get behind. As someone who strive to make her heroines strong and independent, I totally agree with what Lauren is saying here. So, I’m going to hand it over to her.
Romance for a Reason is all about honoring and supporting real-life women warriors fighting life’s toughest battles, of whom there are thousands. Yet, as a reader and writer of romance (among other genres), it occurred to me how few kick-ass fictional female warriors graced the pages of the books I read. So I decided to explore the issue, making a plea to writers and readers to demand more of their fictional heroines and explaining my reasons in posts throughout the month.
Here are the top ten things I’d like to see more fictional (and real-life) females doing:
1. Save themselves (and everyone else) whenever they can.
2. Accept when they can’t.
3. Know themselves.
4. Be willing to change.
5. Embrace their sexuality.
6. Champion their femininity.
7. Appreciate chivalry.
8. Celebrate girl power.
9. Eliminate cattiness.
10. Cry a little & laugh a lot.
I started on my own blog with number 1 and am thankful to Kayla for providing me a platform to continue the discussion here with number two.
(See the calendar on the Romance for a Reason page for dates and links to the other posts.)
Strength, Not Straightjackets
In Unveiled, book 2 in my series, my own heroine Alex makes the statement, “Taken out of context, most acts of bravery could be considered stupidity.” As I explained in the first post, “Damn-sels of Distress,” though, most of the time the context is immediately life threatening, and therefore excuses what would otherwise be considered stupid actions. Accept when it doesn’t.
To stick to the strategy of quoting for effect, even a kick-ass heroine needs to “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.” The only thing more upsetting in the world of romance books (or any books, for that matter) than a female depicted as too weak to save herself, is a female portrayed as too stupid to realize she should walk (or sprint) her butt away from a situation. A heroine who knowingly walks into danger unarmed and untrained, isn’t a hero; she’s an idiot.
“But isn’t self-sacrifice a heroic quality?” I hear some of you asking your screens. Absolutely, but only if it’s immediately necessary and there’s someone at risk who can’t defend him or herself. A firefighter who runs into a burning building to save someone is a hero—the person inside doesn’t have the training or equipment to save himself. A woman who gives herself up to the sadistic, highly armed villain to save her lover, who isn’t even captured yet and is likely a hot, hulking alpha-male who would relish the chance to pummel the antagonist, is a suicidal sucker. Go get a few grenades, the police, your man, and any other number of aids, and take the evil dude down. That’s not being weak or showing dependence. That’s being smart and displaying a respect and trust for your partner.
An author who thinks that in order for a female character to be strong, she needs to be willing to turn off all logic and face her own death unarmed, is as bad as one who thinks all female characters are in need of saving. Fiction often involves extreme circumstances, but it doesn’t require extreme characters. Writers can find a balance between weak inaction and active idiocy. It’s called realism. Because the world is full of brave, smart, and sassy women, who on a daily basis manage to save the day, themselves, and their loved ones without jumping in front of trains, fangs, or automatic guns. Let’s start writing them into our fiction!
Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
By Lauren Grimley
“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.
Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.
Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.
“Grace and Dignity”
Even a female whose mating has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate. Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject unmask a prince?
“Rules and Recollections”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 1902
You can’t fall in love with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to light.
“Blood and Secrecy”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 2008
The shared need for blood brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.
Series: Alex Crocker series, can definitely be enjoyed without reading the first two books in the series, but is written to fit after the events of book 2, Unveiled.
Genres: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories
Release date: October 1, 2013
Available formats: ebook & paperback (184 pages)
Website page: http://www.laurengrimley.com/Unbridled.html
Paperback (Amazon only, it’s not yet linked to the e-book): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615861113
Or for those who want just a bite, three of the individual stories are available as well:
“Grace and Dignity”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS0VCQ
“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS1FIA
“Blood and Secrecy”: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FIS15SK
For the other books and stories in the series see Lauren’s Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007Y5ZZSG
Barnes & Noble –
“Rules and Recollections”: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rules-and-recollections-lauren-grimley/1117001985?ean=2940148768425
Romance for a Reason came out of two important places. Early on in my drafting of this project I recognized that, although I was writing fantasy, the tale I was using to connect the three paranormal romance stories touched upon important issues facing far too many real-life women: violence and sexual assault. This planted a seed in my mind about whether perhaps I could use my writing to help women, beyond just writing about strong female characters.
Then as I finished the draft, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. For anyone who has had a family member diagnosed with cancer, and unfortunately that’s far too many of us, you understand the desire, the need to do something.
So I took my tales of strong heroines, fanged though they were, and decided to turn them into a fundraiser for two terrific women’s charities. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I chose it also to be the release date for Unbridled. I may not love wearing pink or purple, the colors of these two issues, but I do love a good fight for great causes. I’ve just chosen to battle this one with my pen. Please consider helping in your own way!
How you can help:
Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.
Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.
Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!
Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!
About the author:
Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.
Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel. She was thrilled this spring to continue the series with Unveiled and now Unbridled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at http://www.laurengrimley.com
Author website: http://www.laurengrimley.com
Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Grimley/e/B007Y5ZZSG
Twitter @legrimley: https://twitter.com/legrimley
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!!