Guest post by Melissa Snark
What does it take to qualify as a kickass heroine? Tough question. Curating this bundle has taken me on a journey of discovery into nuances—everyone has their own definition. Often while talking to a prospective author, they would say, "I'm not sure my heroine kicks ass, BUT…"
She does in her own way.
Every woman is the heroine of her own heroic journey, and that doesn't always mean what we might assume. Heroism is about helping others; acts of heroism can be great or small. I would like to give a shout-out to the real-life heroine-volunteers of Knitted Knockers who make special handmade breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures. A portion of the proceeds of this bundle will go to benefit the Knitted Knockers charity.
So back to the question… What turns a female lead character into a kickass heroine? TV Tropes characterizes Action Girl as "a female badass who is tough and kicks butt." (This definition must have been written by a man.) If you're a feminist (men and women and all others inclusive), right now you're making a sour pucker mouth. Fans want more. Kickass heroines are not just girls. While we can be girls, we are women of all ages and ethnicities and origins who have endured hardships and adversity. We want strong and diverse women protagonists that embody admirable traits.
Kickass heroines are smart.
They achieve their goals through intelligence and education. In Ann Gimpel's Feral Ice, Dr. Erin Ryan is a doctor and biochemist at a floating research station in Antarctica. Stephanie Burgis's heroine in Thornbound is the first female magician and the founder of a school for girls. The steampunk heroines of Shelley Adina's and Gail Carriger's books solve their problems with smarts and savvy. Having praised intellect, my personal favorite heroines tend to be more action oriented.
Kickass heroines are tough.
I love heroines who are literally capable of kicking ass and taking names. That scene in Aliens when Ripley declares, "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
I get chills. Every. Single. Time.
My gender-swapped Captain Hook is a hardened buccaneer and brilliant naval commander. Thankfully, my pirate captain is in good company. Pauline Baird Jones has heroines who are a professional solider and an interstellar spy in turn. Nicole Zoltack delivers a detective champion with a badge and you can bet that Skye MacKinnon's panther-shifter has wicked sharp claws.
Kickass heroines are clever.
Wait. What about the heroine who has street smarts and survives by guile? Never fear. We do love lady rogues as well. J.C. McKenzie's raven-shifter heroine embodies the cunning of a trickster and Michelle Fox's private investigator is a psychic with punch.
So, what does it take to qualify as a kickass heroine? She's smart, tough, and clever—someone readers can care for and cheer for. Most importantly, she's a champion to those in need. We, the authors of the collection, hope you fall head over heels for our Kickass Heroine StoryBundle. – Melissa Snark
For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus NINE more books!
This bundle is available only for a limited time via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.
Best day of the year, right?
If you've been wondering which of my books to read, take this fun quiz to get a personalised recommendation!
Breaking news: One of my favourite authors ever, the amazingly talented Rebecca Royce, has co-written a book with me!
If there had been aliens in the Hunger Games...and more steam...and several yummy guys...this would be it.
Purgatory City is the first book in our Through The Gates series, a post-apocalyptic reverse harem set both on Earth and other places (spoilers...).
Alone in a desolate world ravaged by war and alien invasion, Eileen Paine offers herself to indentured servitude in Purgatory City—a chance at a different life.
No one knows what happens beyond the gates, but it has to be better than the peril in the Blastlands. Nothing could have prepared her for the darkness, the tests, the changes, or the people she meets. Least of all being changed and controlled by the aliens in power.
With no guarantee of success, eliminations happening frequently, and the threat of potential allies becoming enemies, does Eileen have what it takes to survive?
And when her heart gets involved, can she live with what she has to do to escape Purgatory?
It's time to return to space! Chosen By Them is the final book in the Between Rebels trilogy. More aliens, more space pirates, and even a nine-brained space octopus!
It's been quite sad to finish this series as it's been such a blast writing these books. Wren started off as quite a normal, unremarkable woman, but by the end of this book, she has transformed completely. I'd planned to write a much steamier story, but after all that happened to Wren, I couldn't force her to act faster than she wanted to. I always prefer to let my characters decide the story and the pacing rather than force it on them (I know that sounds totally crazy).
Anyway, enjoy Chosen By Them! And if you're new to the series, start with Stolen By Them.
I never expected to be stranded on an asteroid with four aliens.
It's a miracle we survived, but just because we're still alive after the crash doesn't mean it will stay that way.
One of the Athions almost killed me. I don't trust him and I don't think I ever will. The other Athion seems nice, but every time I look at him, I'm reminded of what his kind did to me. And the two Trads... well, things are confusing. I think I like them. A lot. But I'm not supposed to fall in love with the enemy.
It would have been easier to have died in the crash. But now I'm determined to survive, no matter the cost.
The second book in the Between Rebels trilogy, a sci-fi reverse harem set in the Planet Athion shared world.
The third and final book in this trilogy, Chosen by Them, is now available to preorder!
When I first moved to Helensburgh, I explored a lot of the local area and thought I'd discovered most interesting places around. Turns out I was wrong.
Today I went on a rather unique hike from Cardross (only two train stops from Helensburgh) around the Kilmahew Estate. To be honest, I'd never even heard of that place, but hey, a hidden castle ruin in the woods? A magical waterfall? A peaceful glen? Sign me up!
Even better: there's an audio guide you can download in advance of the walk, together with a route description. I'm used to having to do my own research about whatever ruins I stumble across, so this is a complete luxury.
I started off at the train station and made my way up some roads until I reached open fields. It had been zero degrees overnight and a lot of the puddles were frozen over (one of the best sounds in the world is the cracking of a frozen puddle).
The first ruin I saw wasn't the castle, but the remains of a lodge part of the Kilmahew Estate. The estate covers around 140 acres and its name is derived from the Gaelic word cille, monk, and Mahew, a sixth century monk who came to Scotland from Ireland to spread Christianity.
On I go following a narrow and muddy path along a ravine, the gurgling sound of a small stream accompanying me until I reach the castle. If I hadn't known where to look, I would have never found it. Perfectly camouflaged by the surrounding colourful autumn trees, it blends into the landscape.
The castle's history is a little peculiar. Originally a 16th-century five-storey tower house, it was remodelled in the 18th century, adding details like large gothic windows. There's also a very pretty arch that looks like it should have led to another building but never did (can you be in love with an arch? If so, I am!). The theory is that the owners planned to convert the tower house into a country house or large villa, but never completed their work.
I stayed at the castle for a while, soaking in the atmosphere. I've always loved ruins, especially abandoned ones. As much as I like big, well looked-after castles like the ones in Edinburgh or Stirling, this felt a little more...magical.
The audio guide said that a barn owl nists on top of the castle, but sadly it didn't fly down to say hello.
When it got a little too cold, I continued on along a very overgrown path (cue me kneeling on the ground to duck beneath some fallen trees, getting my brand new walking trousers muddy) to a waterfall called Spottie's Linn. According to local legend, a will-o’-the-wisp lives here, a woodland sprite who likes to tempt unwary travellers off the beaten track. Sadly, Spottie was in no mood to talk so I continued on without temptation.
Next up was more water, this time a little lake, Swan Pond, with an artificial island in the middle. It was part of the estate's pleasure gardens. The pond was frozen over completely and the sound of ice gently cracking under the midday sun filled the air. Yes, I'm feeling poetic.
The next stop was one I intend to return to next summer: a rhododendron tunnel. I've seen some of those before, but never one as long. I can't imagine how beautiful it must look when the rhododendron is in bloom - one for next year's to-do list.
Normally, the route would have led me to St Peter's Seminary, another ruin, yet one that's a lot younger than the castle. After the Second World War, the Catholic Archodiocese bought the estate and with it, the mansion house. They transformed it into a seminary to train priests, remodelling the building completely. Sadly, the architects didn't take into account the Scottish weather and the seminary closed in 1980, the building leaking all over the place. Since then, it's decayed quickly and is now a modern ruin. It's still being used occasionally for peculiar things such as a rave and an art installation, but sadly, I never got to see it because the entire area is fenced off for building works.
Since I still had a couple of hours of daylight left (I should get up this early more often), I returned to Cardross and took a bus to the Ardardan Estate (I would have walked had there been a pavement along the busy main road leading there). It's a farm, complete with a farm shop, cafe and garden nursery, perched at the top of a peninsula that I can see from my living room window.
With the sun gone, I decided it wasn't the right time to walk around the peninsula and went into the warm and cosy tea room for some afternoon tea (amazing!) instead. And then filled my backpack with cheese and other goodies from the farm shop.
All in all, a lovely winter's walk with lots of nature and history. Now, with my brain refreshed and my stomach happy, it's time to write some magical stories...maybe about a sprite who kidnapped an author?
Ho! Ho! Hot! The first-ever reverse harem advent calendar is here!
I've got together with other authors to put together twenty-four first chapters from bestselling reverse harem novels, perfect to fill up that reading list for the holidays. Get a taste of books you haven't discovered yet and be inspired to re-read the ones you know already.
Plus, exclusive behind the scenes insights about your favourite authors. How do they come up with ideas? How do they spend the festive period? You'll get answers to those questions, as well as fun titbits about pets, unruly characters and the craft of writing.
Make yourself a hot drink, cuddle up on the sofa and get ready to open your first door... it's about to get hot.
The ebook is free, but if you prefer a paperback (I certainly do) to physically open one chapter a day, all proceeds from sales go to the charity Doctors Without Borders.
There are good aliens and bad aliens.
The ones you want to be abducted by and the ones you'd run from until your feet bleed.
Unfortunately, not everything is black and white... and not all good aliens are benevolent.
I'm so excited to announce my latest series, Between Rebels, a sci-fi romance trilogy featuring hunky aliens, danger and despair, and a strong female lead who's allowed to be vulnerable from time to time. The series begins with Stolen By Them, which releases on the 9th November.
Between Rebels is part of the Planet Athion universe, a shared world that four other authors write about. Here the aliens are sexy, the humans are hot, and there's plenty of action for everyone. All trilogies can be read on their own, but it can be fun to read them all in order (starting with Their Invasion by Marissa Farrar).
To celebrate the release of Stolen By Them, I take a look at some of my favourite Planet Athion books. Many of the existing trilogies are complete, so prepare for many hours curled up on the sofa with steamy stories of aliens, space and true love.
My friend/co-author/soulmate Bea Paige and I have put our Infernal Descent trilogy into one pretty box set. Now you can read all three books in one go without having to waste time on finding the sequels. And even better, it's cheaper than buying the books individually.
What are you waiting for...
Read the complete Infernal Descent trilogy in one volume for the very first time. Hell just got a whole lot hotter...
The devil has taken Ciera's sister. To save her, she has to travel through all nine circles of his domain, filled with demons, monsters and sinners.
Luckily, she's not alone.
Accompanied by a fallen angel, a werewolf and a hellhound, she ventures further into the lands of the dead than any human ever before. But there's a reason the living are not supposed to be in Hell, and with every circle, there are more enemies to overcome.
With the devil out to stop them, Ciera and her men need to hurry before it's too late for both her and her little sister...
An action packed fantasy adventure based on Dante's Inferno, but with a kickass heroine instead of a lovesick old poet, and a reverse harem romance that'll make you swoon.
She was born to serve. Pity she doesn’t want to.
DX-4, also known as Dex, is a hybrid: not quite human, not quite machine. She spends her days running errands for her three masters, until one day she ends up in a bit of a pickle.
Meaning she could be killed for what she did.
Her masters try everything they can to help her, but will it be enough? And is her heart human enough to return their love?
A steampunk reverse harem novella set in a dystopian world, featuring a strong heroine and her loving, protective men.
Previously published in anthologies as 'Kiss my Corset' and 'Kiss my Snowflake'.
Storyteller. Tea drinker. Bunny cuddler. Highland walker. Scottish by choice.