Monday, June 29, 2009

Heroine Archetype - The Boss

By: Katherine Lowry Logan

We have all met the Boss! Some of us have even had the good fortune to have worked for one or two. This kind of woman works on her schedule with or without help. She’s direct, daring, and forceful. She enjoys matching her wits and skills against others. Generally charming, she may cause others to experience a conflicting feeling of being drawn to her and yet distancing at the same time. When facing a new problem or decision, the Boss tends to move quickly and directly. And typically doesn’t consider the rights and feelings of other people.

The Boss can become critical of others who fail to meet her expectations. She evaluates them based on the ability to project strength and power. She also can become quarrelsome or even belligerent if she doesn’t get her way on something important to her. And she has little patience for those concerned with things such as details.

The Boss is motivated by verbal recognition, the ability to direct other’s activities, and having control over her environment, which needs to be fast moving and results-oriented. She is uncomfortable and avoids environments with rigid time constraint or situations where she has no control over situations.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra schemed to gain control over the Egyptian kingdom and in doing so gained the confidence of Caesar. Following Caesar’s death, she struck an alliance with Marc Antony. Determined to do whatever was necessary to secure her position and rule her country. In defeat, she chose death.

Candice Bergen in Murphy Brown: “I was waiting for the universe to dispense some justice but sometimes the universe is just too damn slow.”

One of the more distinctive characters on television, Murphy was smart, determined and difficult. She was ambitious and her stubbornness frequently got into trouble.

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth – Unschooled in politics, the queen killed all of her enemies and ascended to the throne. Now that was a woman whose bad side you didn’t want to cross!

Sigourney Weaver played the epitome of the Boss in the 1988 film, Working Girl. As Katharine Parker, a glory-hogging boss, she took credit for her employee’s work, smiling all the while.

Have you met or worked for a woman with the Boss characteristics? If so, tell us about your experience. What good qualities did you find in this type of intelligent, professional woman?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Leading RWA into the Future

After a disappointing response from RWA President Diane Pershing in regards to digital publishing, I found myself at a loss.

(You can find that info here...)

She basically said if digitally published authors left the organization altogether, it wouldn't matter to them, and suddenly I wasn't sure if I wanted to be associated with RWA anymore. But then I read a few posts from authors in reaction to Ms. Pershing's comments, and I agreed that it is OUR RWA -- we love our local groups, and we should fight for our rights as paying members! We should no longer allow them to ignore us.

This is an issue that concerns all authors. As we move farther into the digital age, even the NY print houses are converting books into digital format. Don't you think RWA should be educating its members on the ins and outs of digital publishing (contract differences, how to distinguish between a good digi-publisher and a bad one, etc.)?

Now is the time to stand up and speak. You've paid your membership dues, worked hard to complete a manuscript (or several), and had it/them published by a royalty paying publisher. Your needs should be considered every bit as important as any other author!

Respected literary agent Deidre Knight (The Knight Agency) has started a Yahoo Group in advocation of RWA recognizing OUR voices.

It's time to make your vote count!

Also, you can show your support by signing our petition in favor of positive changes for the future of RWA. You'll find that link here:

(*Must be a member in good standing.*)

Or, if you're interested in signing a proxy vote over to Kristen Painter, ESPAN President, when she goes to the AGM meeting to advocate our cause at nationals (there's strength in numbers), detailed instructions can be found here:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Heroine Archetype - The Free Spirit

Eccentric and impulsive, the Free Spirit is a heroine ruled by her emotions. This archetype is fun, lively, most often quirky and stops to smell the flowers on the way to her whimsical job of donut-shaping just around the corner. Kate Hudson in Almost Famous played the role of Penny, a band aid/groupie who lives life by the moment. In the film, her only ambition is to love and be loved by the famous lead singer who happens to be married. The movie ends with Penny deciding to be free of heart, as she takes off to travel the world.

A Free Spirit relies on her instincts. She understands social structures but chooses to remain oblivious. She allows her friends to be themselves, with no judgment passed. Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter portrayed such a heroine. Upbeat and unconventional, she played the role of Beatrix Potter as she became a famous author in the 1900’s.

Diane Lane moved her free spirit to Italy in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. Not about to be disheartened by a cheating husband, she follows her gut instincts and finds serenity in the vineyards of Italy.

Free Spirits possess a certain amount of charm. Though peculiar in habits, dress and hobbies, one can’t help but be fond of her. Often she is a trendsetter because of this. Full of energy, always helpful and a strong individual. Mandy Moore in Because I Said So is another example.

Don’t confuse the Free Spirit with the Spunky Kid archetype, for it’s easy to do. The difference is in the personality of the Free Spirit. A Free Spirit won’t conform as quietly as the Spunky Kid. The Spunky Kid is the girl next door while the Free Spirit is the girl in class you didn’t get to know because she was a wee bit on the edge.

More examples of the Free Spirit: In Her Shoes - Cameron Diaz, Mama Mia - Meryl Streep, Elizabethtown - Kirsten Dunst, Failure to Launch - Zooey Deschanel.

If you think of any others, please let me know! Thanks for reading!

Sloan Seymour

Monday, June 8, 2009

Heroine Archetype - The Spunky Kid

“Never say never” is the motto for The Spunky Kid. She’s an all-American girl with a butt-load of optimism who doesn’t know how to give up. This woman won’t fret when her jeep runs out of gas in the freeway. Nor will she be a basket case and pitch a crying fit when she notices the radiator is busted. She’ll simply flag down help or call AAA and get her eternal optimistic self on the road again. She pushes forward without a second thought for quitting is not an option.

The Spunky Kid has her own niche, not conforming to a girly-girly or a tomboy but somewhere in between, with the ability to be both. She opts to be herself, whether that’s making wisecracks with the guys over a few beers or shopping with her friends in the mall. When nudged, she can morph into quite a tempting lady, dropping jaws with little effort or makeup.

Determined and uplifting, she has many friends and few enemies. She’s not the life of the party or the center of attention. She’s a supportive and reliable friend. She’ll be the one to make the lemonade out of the lemons when in a pinch.

Her love-life is undesirable and quite jumbled. Blending in, she’s the eternal bridesmaid - as Katherine Heigl was in 27 Dresses. Or the overlooked secretary, like Kate Winslet in The Holiday.

More examples of The Spunky Kid’s moxie can be found in the following films: Fiona in Shrek, Cameron Diaz in Something About Mary, Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, and Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers.

What Spunky Kids have I left out? Cameron Diaz and Meg Ryan seem perfect for this archetype. Several of Julia Roberts’ movies are close calls. Steel Magnolias, for example? Or how about Runaway Bride? Diane Lane in Under The Tuscan Sun? Or is she perhaps more of a Free Spirit? Let me know what you think!

Sloan Seymour

Friday, June 5, 2009

Special Guest Sandy Lender

Sneaky Writers
By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

Terry Brooks says of writers in his book SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS: “Much of what happens around us goes into a storage bin in our minds for future consideration and possible use in a book down the line. What we observe is as important to us in determining what we write as what we know.”

You’ve got to watch out for writers. We’re sneaky. We use everyday stuff that you might not think is intriguing and turn it into a plot device or bit of dialogue. That’s right—if it happens in front of us, it’s fair game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the presence of a non-fiction memoir-writer or a sci-fi/fantasy geek like me who makes up worlds that you could never envision a simple grocery store conversation ending up in. Oh, yes. Imagine my poor mom’s surprise to learn that a certain embarrassing moment from the early ’80s ended up in print.

Here’s how it happened. I was probably 12 or 13. Innocent. Naïve. We were in the check-out lane at the grocery store and I stared mindlessly at the tabloids. The headline on one about discussing a sensitive topic with your teens struck me as odd, so I turned to Mom at the other end of the buggy and asked, loudly, “Mom, what’s virginity?” Of course I mispronounced it. Long “I” on the “jine.” Virjinety.

Some people around us snickered, hiding their faces from my blushing mother. She leaned forward and said, lowly, “I’ll tell you in the car.”


Years later, that recalled scene struck me as funny, and I knew the young, precocious version of Amanda Chariss, the heroine in the CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS trilogy, had to pull some such stunt on her wizard guardian Hrazon. (I figured Hrazon would forgive me for it.) But the scene would have to be a flashback because my lovely Chariss is 20 years old when we meet her in CHOICES MEANT FOR GODS. She knows what virginity is. And that’s not really the right word to embarrass Hrazon with. I needed something else.

So I wrote a scene from Chariss and Hraon’s early travels laced with a little danger due to Chariss’s age and the condition of Onweald’s social system, but it just didn’t fit in the novel. There wasn’t a place to put it. Yet it was so charming that I wasn’t content to delete and forget it. I wanted to share it with the readers who had fallen in love with Chariss. I pulled it into a short story called “Joveran Border Crossing” for my short story chapbook WHAT CHOICES WE MADE.

That’s how an embarrassing moment for my mom ended up in print in a fantasy story more than two decades later. Seems so easy, doesn’t it? These situations happen daily for writers. We see something that may seem ordinary or mundane to everybody else, but it’s story fodder for us. When you see one of us whip out a notepad and start scribbling like mad, you know something’s going in the storage bin for a future book.

“Some days, I just want the dragon to win.”


Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.

When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?

This is a romantic scene as Nigel Taiman and Amanda Chariss ride from the estate at Arcana to Arcana City. Her wizard guardian has already clued her in to the fact that Nigel wants to court her, and she's upset over it. The scene mentions the bear-like ryfel creature that nearly killed Nigel in the training arena...

Nigel frowned at her. Spurring his horse slightly, he reached out to take hold of Shadow’s bridle. Bringing them both to a stop, he turned in the saddle to face her.

“Hey!” she objected.

“Indeed. Have I done something to anger you?”

Her cheeks reddened with embarrassment.


“You’re staring at me.”

“By the gods, Woman. All right, I’ll look at your horse. ’Manda,” he said to Shadow, “what have I done that’s made you angry?”

“I’m not angry.”

“You’re not a liar,” he spoke to Chariss again.

“All right, so I’m a little angry. It will pass.”

“And you don’t want to tell me what it is?”

She couldn’t blame her reticence today on worry over Drake. She also couldn’t blame her health because she’d completely recovered from her telabyrinth poisoning. With Hrazon and The Master attending the summer festival, she couldn’t blame some sort of timidity at being ‘alone’ in the city. No, she had to take a deep breath and be honest with him. Considering the number of suitors she’d sent packing in the past few years, this should have been an easy thing to do again. It wasn’t. She sighed, closing her eyes as if she could make the scene disappear.

“Do you agree that you’re my friend?” she finally asked.

He watched her open her eyes then, realizing where the conversation must be going.

“Yes.” It was said with exasperation.

“And that I’m your friend?”


“And does that please you?”

He sighed, but didn’t get a chance to answer.

“You see, Nigel, it pleases me. I appreciate your kindness, and I would be disappointed if we hadn’t built such a…such a…”

“Friendship?” he retorted.

“Such a rapport.”

He rolled his eyes. “A fancier word with even less affection.”

“My stay at Arcana is much more pleasant because I have this relationship with you. But someone has tried to convince me that your…your…”




“Well…your opinion of our relationship might be somewhat different from mine.”

“’Manda, just say what you’re thinking. You won’t hurt my feelings.”

She looked miserable then. “I don’t want to say what I’m thinking.”


“No, that’s not good. Hrazon thinks you’re…Hrazon believes you spend time with me because…” She paused, searching for the words.

“Because I’m in love with you?”

She nearly fell backward. “Just blurt it out!”

He chuckled slightly. “This is uncomfortable, isn’t it? I’m sorry to embarrass you. This conversation would be better in a darkened corner of Arcana’s parlor. ’Manda, I’m not going to lie to you. Hrazon has every reason to believe I’m after his ward because I am. It’s no secret to anyone I enjoy your company. What, where are you…You’re the only woman I know who can scoot that far away on a saddle without falling off.”

“I don’t think you should say those things.”

“Aye,” he sighed, watching her fidget with Shadow’s reins. But he made a decision to press the matter. “I’m going to say them and get them out in the open. Then we can decide if you’re to die of embarrassment, or slap me across the face.”

She couldn’t help smiling, even though her heart beat as if it would burst through her bodice from the tension she felt.

“I enjoy being with you because you’re my perfect match,” he said. “Have you noticed that we agree on almost everything? And the few things we don’t agree on are intriguing to argue because you make them intriguing. There’s no one at that entire estate, The Master and every intelligent student combined, who can hold my attention as you do. None of them compare.

“I’m attracted to everything about you, including your compassion. Even now, when you’re on the verge of falling off a horse with embarrassment, your concern is for my feelings, not your own. Godric, who doesn’t deserve to wash your feet, who finds every excuse to correct you, gets your respect because you remind yourself that he’s your benefactor. Do you know what strength of character that shows? Do you know how it endears you to me to know you bite your tongue after his arrogant remarks to save my mother’s feelings?”

She merely nodded, her eyes cast down.

“And do you know how it endears you to me to know you would fight to the death for little Kaylin?”

She nodded again.

“And do you know how it endears you to me to know you instinctively threw yourself into healing spells to save my life?”

“You shouldn’t assume that means—”

“I remember sliding toward death that night, life spilling out of me, and poison seeping into me from that thing’s claws. But do you know what I remember most distinctly? I remember you commanding me not to bleed to death…and I remember your hands afterward. Once I was healed, once Master Rothahn became preoccupied with the dead ryfel, you crawled over to me and put your hands on me again, as if you had to be sure He’d done a good enough job of healing me. But you would’ve done it for any member of my family. I daresay you would’ve done it for any student in the school. And it’s because you care about others, and you want the best for everyone around you. And you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

The last comment caught her off guard. It didn’t seem to fit with the logical argument he tried to make.

“I fail to see how these things tell you you’re in love. Kaylin enjoys my company. Mia enjoys arguing with me. I saved Sorne’s life once. Does this mean they’re in love with me?”

“If love could be explained that easily, it wouldn’t be real.”

“But what makes you think it’s real now? If you can’t explain your feelings, how do you know you’re not misled?”

“How does the rose know to bloom in spring?”

“Oh, now that talk I’ve heard before. I didn’t believe it then, and I don’t think you should let yourself believe it now.”

“’Manda, I’m telling you the truth and I’m telling you what I know. If I’ve made you angry by falling in love with you, you’re just going to have to deal with it. Because you’re not currently interested in me, you have to give me time to change your mind.”

They were silent then; he waited for some sign that she wasn’t going to cast him aside, she waited for her heart to stop beating so loudly in her ears. As far as she was concerned, she was often a foolish girl, but her intentions at the beginning of this conversation were foolish beyond compare. She realized—with alarm—that the blood rushing through her veins, the lightheadedness, the excitement at getting to spend an afternoon with him, were all signs she had chosen to ignore.

She swallowed hard against the fear in her throat, and, with as much calm as she could muster, said: “What gives you the idea that I’m not interested in you?”

Inspiration, Ink. would like to thank Sandy Lender for blogging with us today, and we wish her the best of success with her book.

Readers, don't forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. At the end of the week, one commenter will be randomly drawn to win an autographed, hard cover, first edition of Choices Meant for Gods!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Heroine Archetype - The Crusader

I chose this archetype because The Crusader is probably my favorite heroine of them all. This lady is a fighter. She is the personification of strength and steadfast determination. The Crusader has been given a purpose, and she is willing to die if necessary to achieve that end. Typically her resilience comes as a result of a trauma suffered, or from being forced into a lifestyle or career that puts her in constant danger and demands she stay on top of her game at all times.

The Crusader is a force of nature. She is independence. She is unwavering principle. Simply put, she is fierce. Once she sinks her teeth into a cause, good luck trying to get her to change her course. The Crusader is focused and resolute, and allows nothing to stand in her way.

One example of a Crusader is Xena Warrior Princess. Xena spent years honing her warrior skills, using them without mercy against the innocent people of Greece in her egotistical quest to conquer the world. After a run in with Hercules opened Xena’s eyes to the error of her ways, she is determined to right the wrongs she’s committed against the people of her homeland, even if it means sacrificing herself in the process (which she eventually did at the end of the series). Her crusade – redemption.

Another good example would be Selene from Underworld. Selene is a vampire who was told by her maker and mentor, Viktor, that her family was slain by a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves. When war breaks out between vampires and lykins, Selene gladly steps up to offer her slaying services to gain a taste of revenge. But when she finds out the lykins weren’t responsible after all, instead it was Viktor who’d killed her family, Selene suddenly develops a different set of values altogether. Her new resolve is doubly strengthened when she falls in love with a man who Viktor and the other vampires desperately want to see six feet under. Her crusade – justice.

My third example is Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil. This one rates way up there on my gross-out meter, but it’s a great example of a Crusader. Alice (played by Jovovich) wakes up to find herself locked down inside an underground “city” called The Hive, dodging infection from a genetically mutated strain of virus that creates flesh-eating zombies (which happen to be nipping at her heals the whole way – literally). Alice has to isolate the virus before it consumes mankind, then fight her way past the countless defenses of the supercomputer who holds the remaining uninfected people captive in a ruthless attempt to contain the virus. All this while recovering from temporary amnesia! Now that’s a tough cookie. Her crusade – save the world.

I love this archetype. She is so multifaceted you can do almost anything with her. One thing that’s so great about her is, she can hold her own with the boys. This girl is no damsel in distress. Not to mention she makes for some pretty fiery love scenes, especially when paired with a bad boy.

A few other Crusaders: Charlie’s Angels, Jennifer Lopez in Enough, Angelina Jolie in Wanted, and everybody’s favorite vampire slayer, Buffy Summers.

Have I already mentioned your favorite Crusader, or do you have one I neglected to list? What about a favorite scene or quote from your favorite Crusader? Your input is welcome!

Thanks for reading. ;)

Tracy Preston
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