On Good Female Characters (Or: Women Are People Too)

On Good Female Characters (Or: Women Are People Too)

A bit more about my lovely bundle. I chose a specific theme for it, and I had reasons, but I’ve never fully explained what those reasons were. So, here goes.

I’ve called it The Leading Ladies Fantasy Bundle because it sounds cool, but I could have called it the Women Are People Too Fantasy Bundle with as much justice.

I know this sounds blindingly obvious. Of course women are people too, what is this? But it’s not. Sometimes, we are given appalling ladies to read about because they aren’t treated like people at all. They’re dress-up dolls.

But even short of this extreme example, women as characters can often be disappointing, and that’s precisely because they tend to be separated out into a separate box that’s called Women As Characters. It’s to do with the perceived difficulty of writing Good Female Characters, especially if you’re a man.

On a cultural level, for a long time now, we’ve had a tendency to think that People = Male by default. And sometimes you  might want to put a Female People in there too, and that’s marvellous, but she ends up being not so much a People as A FEMALE because female people are fundamentally different than (male)people on all sorts of levels. People talk about How Women Think, and What Women Want, and The Female Perspective, as if women collectively own ONE way of thinking, ONE perspective, that’s so totally separate from the default that it’s incredibly hard to understand. If you own breasts, you get a passport into this secret, alien world, and if you don’t, you have to engage in wild mental gyrations of all kinds in order to try to Get Into The Female Mindset. Even if you do own breasts and you’ve therefore got your passport, it’s easy to get caught up in this prevailing attitude, to waste time trying to write A Believable Female Character instead of just writing a character.

This is nuts. I’m sorry, but it is. It’s just as nuts as trying to Understand How Men Think. There are some things that affect women more than men and some things that affect men more than women, but all of these things are still shared issues. The only things about women that men will genuinely have a hard time getting their head around are things that relate directly to female anatomy, and that’s true vice versa as well.

Not many things about being people relate directly to one’s particular set of genitals.

So, then. To me, what makes for a great female character is that she hasn’t been treated as A Female Character (Great or Otherwise). She doesn’t have a giant label reading WOMAN stuck to her forehead, with a halo around her breasts and a delicate pink rose growing between her thighs, wafting Soft Perfume. She’s a person, who happens to be female.

That’s my take on characters in general. Write people. Some of them will probably  have breasts, and some of them will probably have penises.

That’s… that’s really it.

So this bundle. I spent a lot of time this year reading a lot of indie books, and I was delighted to encounter a lot of great stories which have no trouble with the whole Women Are People thing. This bundle is composed of my top favourites, and they’re fantastic because they’re peopled with all kinds of the peoples. These characters are tough and strong and weak and feeble, they’re smart and foolish, wise and mad. They’re broken, or they seem like nothing could ever break them. They’re possessed of a magnificent wit, they’re fond of bad jokes, or they have no sense of humour at all. They’ve had good times and bad times, learned from some of them and spectacularly failed to learn from others. They are heroes and villains and all the shades of grey in between. They like to drink, or they like to knit, or they like to dance.

Some of them have breasts and some of them don’t, which puts that biological distinction down at the bottom of my personal List of Important Stuff where it belongs. In some ways it’s sad that I have to get this point across by highlighting the ladies, when what I actually mean is simply: these books do people good, whichever genitalia they own.

I could talk about this all day but I won’t, because you and I both have stuff to do. So that’s enough. If you want to read my Bundle of Awesome, it’s still available until the 15th, so for about nine more days. Pay what you want, read a whole lot of fabulous. Get it here.

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My Leading Ladies Fantasy Bundle

My Leading Ladies Fantasy Bundle

all-covers-largeI’m doing the bundle thing again. It’s been a while since the last one – a whole year – but I’m back with a fantasy bundle this time. It’s called Leading Ladies because it’s all about the fantastic and awesome potential of great female characters (which isn’t to say these books are light on magnificent gents – they really aren’t).

You know the drill – five books for whatever you want to pay, plus five more if you pay at least $15. These books have all been personally selected by me; they’re stories I’ve loved, written by some of my top favourite indie authors, and I’m excited to promote them. There’s also one of my own books in there, Seven Dreams.

This book pack is available from today until the 15th of December, and then it’s gone forever. You can grab it for yourself, or gift it to a friend – and if you like, some of your money goes to charity. Isn’t that cool? I love bundles.

Click here to check it out, and happy reading!

Draykon 4 is out! Llandry Awaits

Draykon 4 is out! Llandry Awaits

Hi world!

I’ve decided to celebrate Halloween/Bonfire Night by releasing a new book, full of, um, scary and llandry_rgb_2500x1667thrilling things! Murder and mayhem! Shady villains! Sinister black dragons! Explosions!

…Aaaaand colourful worlds and whimsy and cute animals and friendship and love and Sigwide. Okay, it’s a new Draykon Series book so its not so season appropriate. I’ll figure out this holiday-theming thing eventually.

This new adventure is a little bit of a change of pace from the rest of the series: Llandry tells the story in her own words, which makes it my very first first-person story. If you’ve ever wondered what really goes on in Llan’s head, you’re about to find out. Good luck.

Blurbism:

Draykoni do not die. Not truly. Not forever.
So we thought. We have been proved wrong.

A killer walks the Off-Worlds, someone with the means and the will to extinguish even the oldest of draykon souls. But why would anybody do such a thing, and how?

I am Llandry Sanfaer: Draykon shapeshifter, ambassador, colony leader. My people are dying beyond hope of revival, and it falls to me to stop it. But the killer leaves nothing behind. No hints, no clues. Just a lifeless skeleton in a dead world.

What’s more, the corrupted energy of Orlind has broken its confines. It’s spreading. With my people and my worlds under threat, I’ll need all my wits, all my strength, and all my friends to set things right.

It is released today, so if you would like to partake of this adventure you may acquire a copy immediately from the following stores:
AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleSmashwordsiBooks

What am I Doing Next?

Well I’m writing two things right now, those being Evastany, Book Five of the Draykon Series, in which Eva regales us about sinister Lokant plots in her own, mildly sarcastic words. I’m also writing Malykant Mysteries 5. Both these titles ought to be going out early next year, watch this space.

As soon as those are finished I’ll be hastening straight on to write book four in the Tales of Aylfenhame, which I’m hugely looking forward to because after all it is my happy land. On a vaguely related topic, I’ll have one more new book for you in the next few weeks, a secret whimsy project called Faerie Fruit which may be of interest to those who loved wandering through Aylfenhame.

So that’s it for news for a few weeks. Thanks for joining me, and happy reading!

Aylfenhame 3 is LIVE! Oh, and a Book Sale

Dear happy reading folk,

Bessie Bell and the Goblin KingAs of today, July 12th, Bessie Bell and the Goblin King is live in all the places! Or more specifically, from all of these places: AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & NobleiBooks • Kobo

Now that one’s out of the way, I’ll be back to writing on Llandry  (Draykon 4). It’s too early to give you an estimated release for it yet, but I’ll keep you posted as I go along.

In the meantime, Smashwords is having their usual summer sale and, as usual, I am participating. If you’re interested in titles like Black Mercury  or The Malykant Mysteries you can try those for free until the end of July (using their handy dandy promo code at checkout, SFREE). If Miss Ellerby and the Ferryman , Seven Dreams or The Draykon Series Omnibus are more your speed, you can get those at 50% off via code SSW50.

That’s it from me! Until next time, happy reading.

– C.

 

Updates and Book News

Updates and Book News

Morning all,

I realised it’s been a while since I shared the news, so here we go.

Upcoming Books

Bessie Bell and the Goblin King (Tales of Aylfenhame, 3) is finished and going into editing shortly. Also, the illustrations are underway! I hope to be able to share more on this soon, but in the meantime, release is tentatively set for May/June. If you’d like to pre-order this one, you can do so here (all stores except Amazon, which is coming soon).

I’m currently writing Llandry, which will be book 4 of the Draykon Series – albeit with a change of pace. In this story, Llandry tells her own tale about what happens after the Waeverleyne War. It’s too early to offer a firm release date yet, but I envisage it being ready by autumn. You can also pre-order this one at Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, or add it to your shelves on Goodreads if you want a reminder when it’s out.

I have begun work on my first non-fantasy title, too, which is presently queued behind Llandry and won’t be done for a while yet. But boy, is it refreshing! Much as I love my dragons and magic and whimsy, it’s lovely to do something different.

 

PaperbacksThe-Malykant-Mysteries-Collection-3D-Barnes-and-Noble

I’ve finally got around to finishing up the paperback of the Malykant Mysteries Compendium. Here it is all shiny-like on Amazon! It should be wending its way to other stores as I speak. With that, everything I’ve published is now available in paperback, which is glorious. It is my solemn intention to keep this up in the future.

 

Website

A little fair warning: I have some changes planned to this site which I’ll be implementing soon. This might lead to some confusion in the short term, but when it’s done I hope it will be a little clearer, a little quicker and juicily mobile-friendly to boot.

 

StoryBundle

I love StoryBundle! Which you might gather from the fact that I’ve worked with them three times now. The fourth is coming up at the end of this year; I’m busy putting together a terrific bundle of fantasy books with some of the best lady-characters around. More on this later in the year.

 

Tea

This may not seem all that important but I assure you that it IS. Having lately wended Englandwards once more, I return with teas aplenty to keep me fuelled while I write the next couple of books. All I need now is the perfect teapot to brew them in, which is a mission in progress.

 

Anyway that’s it for now; back to writing with me. TTFN!

Cover Reveal: Miss Ellerby and the Ferryman

Presenting the cover for Aylfenhame #2!

 

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How lovely is that? This thing of beauty is, as ever, by the magnificent Elsa Kroese.

And with that, the book is up for pre-order in all of the places. More specifically, at Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Here be the blurby bit:

Tilby, Lincolnshire, 1812. Miss Isabel Ellerby is a dutiful daughter to her loving parents, and more than happy to go along with the marriage they have planned for her. But the revelation of a long-held secret turns her neatly-arranged life upside down. When an unwise promise to the mysterious Ferryman of Aylfenhame lands her in the midst of an adventure, Isabel is forced to choose: Will she pursue a safe, conventional life as Miss Ellerby of Ferndeane, or will she follow her heart and her destiny to Aylfenhame?

Limited-time Kobo Promotion for Draykon and the Malykants!

kobosmashwords promo small

Hi folks,

I’m totally chuffed to report that the fine ladies and gents at Kobo are running a 3-for-2 promotion over the weekend, and out of the 200 titles included, two of them are mine! Until Monday 9th, Kobo readers in the US and Canada can get the Draykon box set AND the Malykant Mysteries box set as part of this promotion, i.e. at a total bargain price. How spiffy is that?! Here’s the thing: https://store.kobobooks.com/p/SW3f2US

StoryBundle & Miss Landon and Aubranael

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Morning all!

I’m excited to report that I have curated my first bundle with the marvellous folks at StoryBundle. You’ve heard about this before, because I’ve participated in a couple of previous bundles. But this is the first time I’ve chosen the books!

The bundle includes Miss Landon and Aubranael, and it’s appearing alongside 9 other great titles. They’re all set in the past, but within that we’ve got historical fantasy, mystery, romance, time travel, and more! They’re all great books written by top indie authors, and I had a blast putting this bundle together.

Here’s my mini blurb:

History is made up of stories, and those stories are vast, and varied beyond compare. The The Historical Fiction Bundle comprises a total of ten terrific titles by top-notch authors, together representing exactly this breadth and variety of experience. These stories blend real-world historical settings with romance, adventure, fantasy and mystery to bring you whole worlds of fun! You’ll visit ancient Egypt, the Americas, the Caribbean, Great Britain and Japan; you’ll meet pirates and warriors, witches and princesses, detectives, time-travelers and more.

Bundles are a great deal. Miss Landon and Aubranael usually costs $5, but for that price you’ll get four other titles along with it. For $12 or more, you’ll get a stack of 9 books – or 10, if you’re a newsletter subscriber as well. It’s a great way to support indie authors, and you can choose to assign part of your purchase fee to charity as well.

If all of that sounds great to you, head on over to StoryBundle to pick up your books! Note that you can also buy a bundle as a gift, so if you know someone who’d love Miss Landon and Aubranael, or who enjoys historical fiction (+ extras), this is a super opportunity.

It’s limited time, of course. It will end on 26th November – just in time for the second Aylfenhame book, Miss Ellerby and the Ferryman, to release on the 2nd December.

Happy reading!