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Dear Author

What’s the point of writing a kick-ass, gun-toting, bad-ass heroine, only to have her turn into a stupid-assed, snivelling jelly tot who has to be rescued by the hero?

Yours sincerely

Karen Scott

38 Comments »


  • MB (Leah)
    February 24
    1:36 pm

    Exactly! I hate that.

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  • Dear Karen

    When you write things like that, it makes all us paranoid writer types that like butt-kicking heroines cringe and worry if you’re talking about them. Especially those of us who recently sent you stuff.

    My paranoia will be the death of me…

    😉

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  • Gail Faulkner
    February 24
    2:56 pm

    Agree with Shi, though I was not so fearless as to send the book I’d like you to review. Whew.

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  • azteclady
    February 24
    3:06 pm

    I will now refrain from asking Karen what exactly she’s reading…

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  • No, no, no… Aztec, don’t refrain. It’s much easier when I know I suck than wondering if it’s me or somebody else.

    😉 paranoid… me?

    Oh, yes.

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  • TMS
    February 24
    3:35 pm

    okay, I’ll ask~Karen, what are you reading? For the sake of Shiloh’s mental health 😉 please tell us! 🙂

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  • I have nothing but love for kick assed heroines in movies and tv. (Ripley, Buffy, Zoe et al/etc)

    In books…. eh. Not so much. For various reasons including the one you state here.

    I avoid KAHs like others avoid ‘Feisty’ heroines, so there’s no danger of me reading this book. Yet. I’m still curious as to what you’re reading. *g*

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  • azteclady
    February 24
    3:49 pm

    In my case, what I want is consistency. If the heroine is supposed to be utterly kick ass then, by all that’s holy, keep her that way ’til the last page! On the other hand, if she’s supposed to be clueless, please don’t suddenly grant her the marksmanship of a snipper or some other utterly unbelievable skill.

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  • For the sake of Shiloh’s mental health 😉 please tell us! 🙂

    LOL. well, if you’re asking for the sake of my mental health only, it’s a nice, but wasted, effort. My mental health is beyond repair. And I like it that way.. 😀

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  • I have read books with a tissue-paper marine/cop/vampire slayer etc heroine*so* many times. It drives me crazy.

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  • I love confused authors.

    Except that reading them is so damn painful.

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  • Hmm. Karen, what are you reading? Is it one of the books you had on your soon-to-be-read list a while back? Or something else?

    Curiosity will be the death of me… MUST KNOW.

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  • P.S. Karen, I think you didn’t tell us the name because you knew it would drive us batty until you did. Hee. You’re so evil sometimes. Gotta love ya.

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  • wendy
    February 24
    8:22 pm

    Mmmmmm, haven’t had a jelly tot in years.

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  • TMS
    February 24
    9:01 pm

    LOL. well, if you’re asking for the sake of my mental health only, it’s a nice, but wasted, effort. My mental health is beyond repair. And I like it that way.. 😀

    Well, Shiloh, I was shamelessly using you to feed my curiosity! 😉

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  • Hah! This is one time when obscurity is a GOOD thing. In other words, whew! It isn’t me!!! LOL.
    Although, Karen, I think you should put Shiloh out of her misery.

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  • GrowlyCub
    February 24
    10:08 pm

    Not a comment on KAH, but on consistency in storytelling. I had a rather annoying experience today with an erotic e-book.

    A number of issues contributed. The first was purple prose. I kid you not, purple prose in a sex book. Tumescent flesh, divine flower petals and similar abominations abounded. Disconcerting to say the least and in a m/m/f, too.

    But what really got me was that hero 1 has diabetes and supposedly retrograde ejaculation. This tantalizing fact is revealed 2/3 through the book to explain why only hero 2 can be the father of the heroine’s baby (yes, a secret baby plot in erotica, I couldn’t believe my eyes either). Except, hero 1 has been shooting his load merrily into both his lovers and their mouths all up to that point as well as later on.

    And then we have the little issue of it being 8 weeks after the birth of (I kid you not) fraternal twins – one by each hero – in the epilogue, when heroine is ready to get all physical with hero 1 and 2 again, when one of them merrily talks about it being 6 weeks after the birth a measly paragraph later.

    Where the hell was the editor? Actually, why would any beta reader or even the author not catch such inconsistencies.

    Those were just the more egregious issues, but BOO! HISS! I want my 6 bucks back.

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  • kis
    February 25
    12:13 am

    You’re so evil sometimes. Gotta love ya.

    Yeah, but at least she’s consistent.

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  • Eh, if Shiloh is spazzing about this, Shiloh would be spazzing about something else. 😉 It’s in my makeup.

    But by all means, if it helps, use me to satisfy your curiosity. 😀

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  • grrrrr…

    ISN’T. If Shiloh ISN’T spazzing about this….

    Sigh. Long day.

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  • Ok…what’s a jelly tot?

    *is a stupid American*

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  • TMS
    February 25
    4:59 am

    Shiloh, I think we are twins~at least in this statement: “Eh, if Shiloh isn’t spazzing about this, Shiloh would be spazzing about something else.” Take out “Shiloh”, and put in “Tracy” and that statement is still true! LOL

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  • I’ve learned that the kick-ass heroine does not belong in ST romance. Characters always referenced (Buffy, Nikita, Xena,etc) worked because their entire story and character arc was not crammed into 400 pages, and the focus of the story was not about them needing to be shot down a peg or two by the “alpha” hero (who, incidentally, also breaks them of their “frigidity”).

    Can you tell I’m a bit bitter? Just finished Anne Stuart’s “Ice Storm” and I’ve never been more disappointed with a book in my life.

    But back to the topic, I wish that any author hoping to write a kick-ass heroine not write a ST romance, but if you decide to, do not have the heroine be “frigid”, or have her turn into a wimp to showcase the “alpha” hero, or make her be kick-ass because of some trauma (most likely having to do with the hero, who most likely jilted/lied/cheated on her ten years ago), or have her kick-assedness wrapped up in being tough as nails and cold.

    Is it too much to ask for a kick-ass heroine who is kick-ass because she’s a human who can get the job done, but still possess normal emotions and has no cliched hang-ups (most likely sexual)?

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  • Angela, while, like you, I find the KAH much, much more satisfying on the big/small screen, my experience has been a little different from yours re the Alpha hero.

    I’ve found that the heroine is paired up with a *supposed* Alpha hero–in romance related books–because he’s her match; except in almost every single instance he’s TOTALLY emasculated to prove how freakin kick ass she is. Why “tell” he’s bad ass, or imply it when he first shows up on the page, then spend the rest of the book turning him into a big p*ssy?

    The heroine is better than him in every way (even things he’s an aknowledge expect in), or his match in everything. She outsmarts, outshoots, and out angsts him (she don’t want to know nuttin bout no love bidness because of tragic past history).

    Regardless of the “baggage” and “flaws” the author gives her, she is essentially rendered the Bitch-Goodess of Mary Sueism perfection. blech.

    So, now should I tell you how I really feel? 😉 heh.

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  • “even things he’s an acknowledged expert in”

    *sigh*

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  • Dawn
    February 25
    3:38 pm

    Kayleigh, a Jelly Tot is a kiddie’s sweetie. A little round blob of sugar covered, fruit flavoured yumminess. Full of sugar and no nutritional value whatsoever.

    http://www.rowntrees.co.uk/range/jellytots.aspx

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  • Karen Scott
    February 25
    5:07 pm

    Can you tell I’m a bit bitter? Just finished Anne Stuart’s “Ice Storm” and I’ve never been more disappointed with a book in my life.

    Angela, I read two books fairly close together which inspired this post, and Ice Storm was one of them.

    What the fuck happened to the Madam Isobel from the previous books? Killian comes on the scene, and she starts acting like Genevieve The Effing Twat from Cold As Ice.

    Also, did you wince every time it mentioned how dry she usually was during sex?

    Also, wasn’t the first sex scene between her and Killian the most revolting thing you ever read? I just skipped the whole damn thing. *Shudder*

    Also, at no point did I ever believe that Killian ever loved her. At. No. Point. And certainly not at the end. In fact, I found myself wishing that they’d both get blown up by the baddies. Together forever and all that.

    A little round blob of sugar covered, fruit flavoured yumminess. Full of sugar and no nutritional value whatsoever.

    Such a great analogy.

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  • Shiloh, I think we are twins~at least in this statement: “Eh, if Shiloh isn’t spazzing about this, Shiloh would be spazzing about something else.” Take out “Shiloh”, and put in “Tracy” and that statement is still true! LOL

    Sis!!!!

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  • loonigrrl
    February 25
    6:15 pm

    Karen, I felt the same way about Ice Storm. I was really looking forward to it because of Isobel’s appearances in the other books, but it was extremely disappointing. Isobel was the biggest let down, and I, too, never felt that Killian loved her.

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  • Jackie L.
    February 25
    8:43 pm

    Yes! Finally, somebody else who hated that book. (I was feeling guilty because of all the positive vibes I’d seen.)

    Hey, Karen you ought to check out makinglight.com about why Bush doesn’t think Obama needs a lot of security. Swear to high heaven, the shrub wants the man dead.

    I would be gnashing my teeth, except bruxism is bad for my TMJ disease.

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  • OH, so they’re like gumdrops?

    You know, Karen, it just took me 20 minutes to get into your site. I needed to hear the answer to my burning question about jelly tots (no, google didn’t cross my mind). I kept getting server errors. Poo.

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  • Angela, while, like you, I find the KAH much, much more satisfying on the big/small screen, my experience has been a little different from yours re the Alpha hero.

    I’ve found that the heroine is paired up with a *supposed* Alpha hero–in romance related books–because he’s her match; except in almost every single instance he’s TOTALLY emasculated to prove how freakin kick ass she is. Why “tell” he’s bad ass, or imply it when he first shows up on the page, then spend the rest of the book turning him into a big p*ssy?

    The heroine is better than him in every way (even things he’s an aknowledge expect in), or his match in everything. She outsmarts, outshoots, and out angsts him (she don’t want to know nuttin bout no love bidness because of tragic past history).

    Regardless of the “baggage” and “flaws” the author gives her, she is essentially rendered the Bitch-Goodess of Mary Sueism perfection. blech.

    Yeah, our experiences have differed. I haven’t run across the “Bitch-Goddess of Mary Sueism”. Any titles you “recommend”?

    Also, at no point did I ever believe that Killian ever loved her. At. No. Point. And certainly not at the end. In fact, I found myself wishing that they’d both get blown up by the baddies. Together forever and all that.

    Haha! I had that same wish. I started skipping any scene involving Madame Lambert and Killian because I wanted to tear my hair out over how mind-numbingly boring they were. I just find Ice Storm to be a total cop-out, not only regarding Killian, their past connection, and Isobel’s (previously unseen) “angst” over being an assassin, but by keeping both of them below the “safe” age level (if not physical attractiveness. I’d already been bored to tears by the initial pages detailing how angsty Isobel felt about her life, but my interest perked when Killian made his appearance as a paunchy, middle-aged, balding man).

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  • Karen Scott
    February 26
    10:29 am

    Hey, Karen you ought to check out makinglight.com about why Bush doesn’t think Obama needs a lot of security. Swear to high heaven, the shrub wants the man dead.

    Didn’t we already establish that Bush is a fucktard?

    but by keeping both of them below the “safe” age level (if not physical attractiveness. I’d already been bored to tears by the initial

    My guess is that Stuart had never intended to write Madam Isobel’s story, so she probably felt safe in leading us to believe that Isobel was a fairly oldish woman. Total cop-out, I agree, but it was probably a business decision as much as a creative one.

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  • Yeah, our experiences have differed. I haven’t run across the “Bitch-Goddess of Mary Sueism”. Any titles you “recommend”?

    Nope. lol. A) because the books I read (and mostly did not finish) were from a couple of years ago. The title just didn’t stick. but even if they did, B) I would name them, anyway. Just a personal thing I have. If I go all ranty about something I do as a generalization, because *usually* it’s not something that only one author has done.

    On the flip side, I should say, while I haven’t read the version of the KAH that you and Karen have come across, I can understand why that development (or non-development) would piss you off. The thing is i see that not as something specific to the KAH, but a failure of characterization/consistency.

    We’ve seen it before, where a character is called ‘witty’ or ‘charming’ or is some sort of expert in their field, by the author or other characters. And yet there’s no evidence shown of them being witty, charming or expert within the pages of the book.

    (I’m not checking this for typos. so, sorry.)

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  • Okay, the comment took so long to load I did notice that I meant to write “The titles just didn’t stick. but even if they did, B) I wouldn’t name them, anyway.”

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  • azteclady
    February 26
    2:35 pm

    Vanessa Jaye wisely said,

    but a failure of characterization/consistency.

    We’ve seen it before, where a character is called ‘witty’ or ‘charming’ or is some sort of expert in their field, by the author or other characters. And yet there’s no evidence shown of them being witty, charming or expert within the pages of the book.

    Exactly!

    Don’t tell me seventeen time how good s/he is at this or that–show me the goodness!!

    *ahem*

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  • Didn’t we already establish that Bush is a fucktard?

    Gasp! Looking around for TTG. He didn’t hear that, did he? LOL!!! Effing idjut. Bush, not TTG *g* (except as it relates to Bush, of course)

    It is a shame about Ice Storm, isn’t it? I haven’t enjoyed any of this series very much. Too cold-hearted for me without that something…special that makes an Anne Stuart hero forgivable and lovable even in his cold-heartedness.

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  • […] Thoughts: Karen Scott had a post the other day about heroines in books who are supposed to be kick-ass but aren’t. A few readers in the […]


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