Writing Female Characters in Urban/Paranormal Stories by Kat Loveland – Guest Blog and Giveaway

NBTM HONOR BOUND Tour Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kat will be awarding a $40 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

NOTE:Today ONLY you can get the entire HONOR BOUND series FREE from Amazon! click here to get your copy!

Writing Female Characters in Urban/Paranormal Stories

Hello all and I’d like to thank Long and Short Reviews for having me. I am hardly an expert in writing as I have only published two books so far but am intending to have one or two more done this year. However, I find the continuing conversation about female characters in media interesting. I often feel that the amount of strong characters in Sci-Fi. Paranormal and Fantasy books are often overlooked. My Honor Bound Series has four female characters and two male characters. I would have to agree with Joss Whedon when he stated to write females the same way you write males, make them complete characters and don’t short change them.

I’ve often noticed that on sites where people can upload stories free for others to read the authors will claim they have “strong female characters” as a way to get readers. In my mind that has become a phrase with less and less meaning having been distorted to mean a female fighter type heroine. While I love and will always love female fighters, I think a female can be strong and not be someone who’s trained to handle weapons. I also tend to see it meaning a “smart ass”, “sarcastic” woman. Now I love a good bit of sarcasm as much as the next person but sarcasm but doesn’t automatically make a person a strong character.

In my Honor Bound series my female characters are all different, they are all coming at the plot and their abilities in different ways. I made a point to only have one character that has a truly horrible, abusive background that she has to overcome. The other three come from completely different socio-economic backgrounds, from Clara who is very successful and wealthy to Sarah who’s mother has passed away. She is being raised by her firefighter father while helping to raise her younger brother Chad. When I was writing these books I didn’t think “Oh this is a female, I had better write her this way, make her feel like this, describe her in that way.” Clara is stunning, she’s a model, Jessie is attractive, Min-Ji is horribly scarred and Sarah is the girl next door, average girl. To me their emotional development as they react to the circumstances is what matters, not their gender. I have my male characters be just as emotional and troubled as the women are. John is Clara’s twin brother and they are entwined down to their soul. They’re in many ways one person in two bodies, writing them I could explore both the brother/sister dynamic and male/female dynamic in how they react to different situations. John ended up as the more fiery, emotional one, that’s the way it felt right to me.

Min-Ji vacillates from trying to become “normal” after her traumatic childhood to becoming a cold hard killer to protect others. She goes through a wide range of decisions and emotions as she fights to control both her ability and her flashbacks. The rest of the characters help her in anyway they can. It’s her struggle to overcome her past and her inner strength that makes her a “strong female character” not any fighting skills she may have.

I think often we get caught up too much in gender and the idea of how a woman or a man should act and may think gender first, character later. To me gender is not nearly as important as character and how they serve the story. When I am thinking about a new story I don’t think “Well I should write this from a male perspective.” I just get a cool idea of character in my head and usually the gender pops up along with who they are, I don’t really mull it over. I let who they are drive the story, not what they are. I think that is the most exciting thing about writing, the visual aspect is the least important. It’s your words and how they affect people that are.

MEDIA KIT Awakening Book CoverAWAKENINGS

X-Men meets the Real World. “This was an amazing book while steeped in fantasy it tackles a huge subject , the subject of human trafficking. Instead of a bland preachy PSA against it, this story uses amazing imagery, action, intensity, and heart to keep you reading well into the night.”

Children and teens with unique abilities are being sold on the black market. When twins John and Clara made a vow several years ago to help children that had abilities, they never thought they would be forced to fight hardened criminals. Honor Bound Awakenings shows the beginning of the journey they and their friends from idealism to reality and what sacrifices they will be forced to make to keep their vow.

MEDIA KIT Sacrifices Book CoverSACRIFICES

Picking up the moment Awakenings end – John and Clara are forced to choose which of them will continue to put themselves in the line of fire, Cesco has to make peace with what he may have to become to keep the others safe, Min-Ji confronts her painful past head on, Sarah and her family must learn to adapt to the results of her Awakening and Jessie has to struggle to keep the group emotionally stable.

About the Author:MEDIA KIT Author Photo 2

HONOR BOUND: Awakenings and Sacrifices
By
Kat Loveland

BLURB:

AWAKENINGS

X-Men meets the Real World. “This was an amazing book while steeped in fantasy it tackles a huge subject , the subject of human trafficking. Instead of a bland preachy PSA against it, this story uses amazing imagery, action, intensity, and heart to keep you reading well into the night.”

Children and teens with unique abilities are being sold on the black market. When twins John and Clara made a vow several years ago to help children that had abilities, they never thought they would be forced to fight hardened criminals. Honor Bound Awakenings shows the beginning of the journey they and their friends from idealism to reality and what sacrifices they will be forced to make to keep their vow.

SACRIFICES

Picking up the moment Awakenings end – John and Clara are forced to choose which of them will continue to put themselves in the line of fire, Cesco has to make peace with what he may have to become to keep the others safe, Min-Ji confronts her painful past head on, Sarah and her family must learn to adapt to the results of her Awakening and Jessie has to struggle to keep the group emotionally stable.

EXCERPTS Please choose ONE to use with your post.
Honor Bound Awakenings Excerpts.

Sarah sat in the wreckage of the 6×9 dirty cell she had been confined to for the last five weeks. One of her rescuers handed her a coat. Her captors had prohibited her from wearing anything beyond a pair of underwear and a bra. After her attempt to conceal a weapon her second week they had ripped her pants and shirt off and beat her until she blacked out. She sat silently. Her emotions were numbed by constant abuse. She wasn’t able to believe that it was over. One of her rescuers, a girl named Jessie snapped a picture of her to send to someone. She didn’t care. Jessie walked up to her with a bottle of water.

“Do you want something to drink?”

Sarah looked at the bottle. In her mind she could see all the components that made up both the bottle and the water. Patterns swirled in perfect geometry — she could turn that water into air, ice or using the carbon in the plastic any number of things. She looked closer at Jessie and saw even more possibilities. She had never considered turning people into things until she had been kidnapped. Once before the rescue she had tried it. They broke her brother’s legs in three places as punishment. Sarah reached out her hand, took the bottle of water and had a small drink.

“Where are they?” she asked Jessie.

“We tied them up. The police are on the way. It’s what we do. We’re sort of volunteer police. What’s your name? “ Jessie replied.

“I won’t ask again,” Sarah said “Where are they?”

“Look, I know you want to hurt them but that won’t change anything.”

A bitter smile crossed Sarah’s face. “That’s where you are wrong,” She placed the bottle of water on the ground and put her hand on the lid. As Jessie watched the bottle shifted, losing it’s transparency, it took on a more granular appearance and seemed to slowly collapse in on itself. Then as if all the bonds that held it together were snapped at the same time it turned into a pile of dirt. There was no water, no plastic, just dirt. “I’m Sarah and I want you to take me to them.”

If something had upset Min-Ji to the point where John was texting him it was bad. He was the only person that could calm her down when she was angry. Min-Ji controlled fire, he remembered when he had rescued her and he ran with her in his arms for two miles. He never thought that the girl who’s spirit seemed to be so destroyed could possess such a dangerous and amazing ability. He made it to the hotel in five minutes. John had replied that Jessie and Min-Ji were in the courtyard by the pool and Min-Ji was barely holding on.
\
As Cesco rounded the corner into the courtyard, he smelled ashes and heard the crackling in the air as the temperatures around her increased rapidly. Along with his speed his senses were enhanced far beyond normal. Min-Ji’s good eye was turning red, he was almost too late to calm her down. The closer he got to her the hotter and thicker the air was around him. Without missing a step or slowing down he picked her up and threw her in the pool. She landed in the water, popped back up and started shouting oaths in Korean. Steam rose from the pool as her power heated the water around her.

“Uh, people coming into my cell, ” her voice was shaky. “ They were going to hit me and I wanted to ….Oh no, I wanted to stab them. The second week I was there they left a small metal tray in my cell and I turned it into a knife. I hid it in my pants and I tried to stab them when they came back. I don’t know how to fight so they ripped it out of my hands and then made me watch as they beat Chad up. That’s when I tried to kill one of them by turning one of them into a stone. Humans have all the components in them to make rock. Then they broke Chad’s legs. I watched on a monitor. They wouldn’t let us near each other. I heard him screaming when they did it. Did I make a knife in my sleep?” This was just getting worse and worse.

“Well it’s not really a knife but here.” Jessie handed her the metal spike. “I’m guessing you shifted a bed spring and somehow got it to pop out of the mattress into your hand. I was trying to calm you, I put my hand on your leg and you tried to stab my hand. I guess I startled you. I moved my hand and you stabbed your leg. You shifted that much faster than the water bottle. Maybe because you were just changing the shape of something not the actual structure. I think we have a problem here.”\

“How did I do this in my sleep? I don’t understand.” Sarah’s voice was rising in pitch, she was starting to crack. Jessie had to calm her down and she needed Sarah’s permission to help her. She was afraid of what may happen if she tried to force her to calm down.

Jessie had learned with the more powerful abilities if she tried to force too much of an emotional shift things got even further out of hand. Min-Ji had destroyed three trees with a gout of flame when Jessie had tried to calm her once. Since then she either let Cesco calm Min-Ji or asked permission.

Over the years he and Clara had learned how to block each other out when needed. If they hadn’t, going through puberty would have probably driven them both nuts. When they didn’t block properly they literally felt exactly what the other one was. When their parents started training them in martial arts when they were toddlers they didn’t understand why one would react when the other missed a block and a light hit got through. As they progressed in life and in training they slowly learned how to separate themselves. Their biggest fear when they started to go after criminals was if they got separated and beaten. No matter how strong of a block they put up some of that would leak through and it could incapacitate them both, not to mention if anyone ever found out.

They were each other’s greatest weakness. John started to think of Akinori and what she would say about Sarah. Akinori had been a detective, she was John and Clara’s mom’s partner in the Japanese police dept. Their mom had gone undercover a lot, especially in vice cases. John remembered the night of the car accident that had killed both his parents. It had been Akinori who had showed up at the house, ordered them to pack some bags and leave Japan. Their father was Scottish and had family in Scotland and the United States. They had bought tickets for Scotland and stayed there for about a month until they got a call from Akinori.

“Your mother’s cover was blown somehow. I don’t think their death was an accident. The prosecutor won’t do anything because there is not enough evidence and he is corrupt. I had an accident but will be coming to see you. I retired from the force.” She hung up. The next time they saw her she had a prosthetic leg along with copies of all the files of the their mother’s cases. That was 4 years ago. It seemed like yesterday.

She was deathly afraid of what she would see. If she was going to tell her Dad what had happened she had to first face herself. Her face was much more gaunt than usual, her long blonde hair was tangled and matted and she had dark circles under her eyes. Her eyes, the dark circles made the snow white pupils stand out that much more. So many colors were in her eyes; light blues, coral pinks, soft greens, golds, silvers, purples. The lights in the bathroom bounced off of them highlighting the different shades. Every time she moved her eyes the coloring seemed to shift, her eyes were iridescent. They reminded her of abalone shells in the sun. “So beautiful,” she said as she watched the play of light and color. What would her Dad think? Would he be afraid? As she watched the colors slowly started shifting and swirling. Were her eyes swirling in reaction to her emotions?

Well only one way to find out. She closed them and thought about her captivity, the beatings, the threats to Chad, the endless hours of making cocaine. As her heart started to race from the memories she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror. “Oh my God,” she breathed out.

Honor Bound Sacrifices Excerpts

He couldn’t move, Min-Ji was screaming, he felt searing heat and smelled burning flesh, pain raged through his shoulder. Min-Ji, she couldn’t!

“Min-Ji! Don’t!” Cesco screamed. His eyes flew open, harsh light blinded him. Someone was holding him down. His right arm wasn’t moving, his left arm shot full speed at the face hovering over him, the punch connected, flinging the man across the room where he landed against the wall. Cesco tried to get up, as soon as he moved the intense pain in his shoulder and face floored him causing him to curl into a tight ball. “Min-Ji! Holy crap! What happened?” The phrases coming between waves of pain.

“Cesco! Stop!” John’s voice barely cut through the pain.

“John?”

“Yes, I’m here. Lay back, you’re hurt.”

“Where are we? Is everyone ok?”

John’s hands pushed against his chest easing him onto his back.

“My shoulder, I can’t move it.”
\
“You were shot. The bullet shattered your collarbone and put a hole in your shoulder blade. You just punched Dr. Rothstein. He was sewing you up. Clara was shot too but she’s all right. Doctor, are you ok? Sorry about that.”

First priority was to try to forget everyone else’s emotions. She slowly started unraveling those in her mind, hellish pain and agony, that wasn’t her. She had developed a visualization to help her through things like this, she imagined all of the emotions that weren’t hers as clothes she was wearing and would slowly strip away the layers until she got down to just her own skin. It worked fairly well.

Layer after layer came off. Eventually she cleared everything away so she only had her emotions left and could take inventory of her mental state. The storage facility office froze in her mind, blood on the floor, dismembered people, Min-Ji screaming and Cesco on the floor. As an empath she had learned how to face her own emotions along with manipulating and controlling others. She took a deep breath and allowed herself to relive the moment. Sheer panic and disgust hit her, her heart started to race and her stomach clenched again as she smelled the blood and charred flesh. How badly she had wanted to run the other way, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t at the time and she sure as hell wouldn’t now. Forcing herself to stand there, she allowed the whole scene to slam into her mind over and over until it no longer affected her.

Eventually she could look at it without her pulse skyrocketing so she moved to the next one, driving the car as John shot the people they were chasing. That wasn’t so bad, she and John were focused so their emotions weren’t out of control and the blood and gore was manageable for her to look at. The last one she didn’t want to face but she had to. Her view of Min-Ji coming out of the office and setting a person on fire, the emotions that Min-Ji had felt had been so intense. She and Min-Ji had bonded so often to keep Min-Ji stable that Jessie was starting to think it had almost become permanent. She picked up on even small shifts in Min-Ji’s emotions now without having to touch her.

John went to check on Clara, he had felt her mind start stirring.

“Clara, you need to rest.”

“That’s a bit complicated,” a gentle laugh brushed against his mind. “You haven’t been blocking all that well. I know about Min-Ji and Cesco. I know about how you almost blacked out. I drifted for a bit and slept but there’s too much going on and I am picking up on it. I held back as much as I could until you had a quiet moment. We have a lot to figure out.”

“You’re taking this rather well.”

“Not really. Just pushing it down for now.” As she said that he felt her let him in a bit more and was suddenly glad she had been pushing things down. She was in a panic, if he had been feeling that along with his emotions he would be a wreck. He put his blocks up so she wouldn’t have to do all the work.

“Thank you,” he told her.

“You’re welcome.”

“Sarah is on the way to help with Cesco. I am not sure how much she will be able to do. Dr. Rothstein said he can repair the shoulder later if we are staying in town and wrote prescriptions for drugs. You should be able to walk well enough for the show. Maybe Sarah can heal it fast enough so you’re not in pain. It’s just a small wound, nothing is broken in your leg. We need to get Cesco in the car and get back to the condo and we still have a million things to do for the show. We have more press tomorrow, we’re going to look like hell.”

She squeezed his hand back. “When…I did what I did to you,” she shuddered a bit at the memory, “I wasn’t panicking. I know you thought I was but I wasn’t. I wanted to protect Chad and hurt you, but I didn’t know it was you because it felt like I was being kidnapped again.” She paused, her voice growing soft. “ All I thought was what would be the fastest way to make you stop, I wasn’t really scared, I was angry. I don’t want to say anything else right now, please Dad.” The memory of that moment was pushing her close to the edge. She looked down at the armrest of the seat one of her hands had been resting on it, it had started rippling and shifting form. She quickly pulled her hands away from the chair and away from her Dad’s hand then held them up in the air. She couldn’t shift things if she wasn’t touching them.

“You don’t have to. I understand now.” He reached his arm around her and pulled her close. “We will get through this, somehow we will. I promise you.” He said as he kissed the top of her head. They stayed like that the rest of the flight.

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Who is Kat Loveland? Why does she write?

Good questions. Complicated questions. Questions that make you say hmmmmmmm.
Kat is a person of great charm and grace, she lights up whatever room she walks into. Her stunning fashion sense mesmerizes all who see her. Witty rejoinders and endless amounts of relevant and thoroughly researched facts and tidbits flow effortlessly from her mouth…..

Yeah, ok, Not so much. I’ve got the witty rejoinders but not the fashion sense. I like comfy, simple clothes and sparring with weapons. I occasionally try my hand at archery and artistic photography, sometimes I’ll even hop a wall or vault a bench. I’m a tomboy at heart, what can I say.

Why do I write? My imaginary friends are endlessly entertaining and they always do whatever the hell I tell them to. Besides it’s fun to play Goddess, most authors won’t admit that but I’m pretty blunt. It’s fun to torture, harass, endlessly confound and every once in a while make a character a bit happy with life. Not too often though, that’s just silly.

My editor tells me and I quote : “Only a genius can write three books at the same time, work all the time and shoot arrows into the air and hope and pray what goes up does not come down on top of her.” Have I mentioned she’s an awesome editor?

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Comments

  1. Mary Preston says:

    A great post. Thanks for the free book.

  2. stacey dempsey says:

    Thank you I enjoyed the excerpts

  3. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Thanks for the feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the excerpts! I should mention that I reworked chapter one in Awakenings, same dialogue but different delivery. Check it out when you look at the Amazon link. I need to update Godddess Fish sorry :). Thanks for hosting!!

  5. Thank you for hosting!! Quick note : I updated chapter 1 of Awakeinings and forgot to send it to Goddess Fish, whoops. That excerpt is from the opening of Chapter 1. The revised version is the same dialogue but presented differently. You’ll notice it when you click the “Check Inside” link on Amazon.

    I’m glad you liked the excerpts and the post! Thanks! Kat

  6. There will be a book three to the series. It’s in the works. I am also writing at least two more unrelated books as well. This is one of them:

    Testament of An Archangel

    What if everything you’ve been told about the Lucifer’s and Mankind’s fall from the Garden was wrong? Remiel, one of the Archangels whose name didn’t quite make it into modern times is setting down the story of what truly happened.

    Fun Fact about this story. Last year I started watching Arrow and Supernatural (God Bless Netflix) and became highly motivated to write not one, not two but three crossover fanfictions blending the two worlds. I see that look on your face! They are very in depth fanfics, all three are novel length and there is no shipping involved. You can read them here if you wish. Anyway, in the third one “Why Me?” I introduced the archangel Ramiel into the story. Lighting struck, thunder rattled my house and several years of writers block on the idea of retelling the Fall of Man from the Garden of Eden was shattered. I shall forever be in debt to those shows for that.

  7. I want to thank everyone who has downloaded the book so far!! I hope you all enjoy it and get pulled into my little world. I will warn you it’s addictive, or so I have been told.

    Thank you again!

  8. Rita Wray says:

    Thank you for the free read.

  9. You know I love your books, and this interview, hilarious the information you put down about yourself, and to find out the information behind each character, which I knew already, but to hear it from your own “mouth”, and your outlook on female characters. Thanks, Kat, keep on writing, and remember, critiques only make you stronger! :)

  10. Interesting sounding characters

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  11. I admire how you write women. They are an intricate part of the story and not just the ‘token girl’.

  12. SHELLEY S says:

    GOOD LUCK WITH THE BOOKS AND THANKS FOR THE GIVEAWAY! calicolady60@hotmail.com

  13. I enjoyed the long excerpt. The series looks like it is really good.

  14. Ramon Rojas says:

    Thanks for the excerpt. The series look interesting.

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