It's been too long between posts! I'm so sorry. Life has been a little crazy. I've been busy writing the fifth and final book in the Helheim Series as well as taking on editing and proofreading jobs. But I do have some news...
I've had the opportunity to redesign the covers for the Dark Trilogy!
Curious? Here is the first book, Dark Deceit - before and after.
Let me know what you think and please share this around!
The time of Odin is over.
The Aesir gods now live among the humans in their bustling modern cities. Their brutal dominion over the other beings of the Nine Worlds may have ended, but their actions have not been forgotten.
Korvain is one of the last full-blooded dark elves, and is feared like no other. His ruthlessness and cold heart are legendary, but when he is given the task of killing one of the most fabled goddesses of all time, he is left with an undeniable desire to make her his own. Failure in his task means only one thing: death. Will he follow his orders, or will he follow his heart?
Bryn's whole world crumbled when she left Odin's service to protect the other Valkyries. Now living with the humans, she is the only thing standing between them and total destruction. But her beliefs are about to be shaken to the core when she meets Korvain—a volatile, completely irresistible dark elf who threatens to take away more than just her innocence ...
This is a HUGE bundle. You can get all 4 Helheim Wolf Pack books between March 19 and 31.
What's the catch I hear you ask?
There isn't one! You just click the link and download.
BUT if you love indie authors, all I ask is that you consider leaving a review when you've finished reading. It doesn't have to be long. Here are some sentences you can cut and paste/tweak as you like!
A great book. Can't wait to read the next.
This series is a must for lovers of vampires and werewolves.
An amazing read.
Hot alphas and kick-ass heroines. Where's the next book??
I was asked recently how I go about creating strong female
characters.The question took me aback,
you see I don’t set out to create “strong female” characters – just diverse,
believable characters of either sex.(BTW
I think characters should be “strong” regardless of gender and the term strong
characters implies far more than their mere personality traits, but I’ll get to
This question actually made me sit down and count the
characters in my book. I had no idea how many women I’d included in Altaica and
Asena Blessed.The preponderance of
female characters within my stories is most certainly due to the women around
whom I grew up.My mother was a woman
capable of doing any of the farm work on our family farm that my father did,
worked long hard hours and still found time for her children, despite her own
exhaustion – super woman?Yes, she
was.My grandmothers were both a huge
influence on me too - their stories were far from easy and deserve their own
novels.My family is not unique.These stories of strength, resilience,
compassion and love are all around us and not just amongst women.
Let’s start talking about strong female characters? Well,
what does that really mean?Does it
mean populating our writing only with female characters who are tough kick arse
types?No - of course not.Yet too often I think the notion of strong
female characters is seen only in this light.Are these characters fun to write? You bet?But you know what? They’d never reach the
heights of popularity of characters like Katniss Everdeen, Rose Hathaway or
Celaena Sardothien and Alanna of Trebond without having more substance to their
characters than their astonishing combat skills.What about characters like Hermione Granger,
Scout, Hester Prynne, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley?(Yep I’m digging into the archives, but hey they’re all strong female
In our current adoration of the warrior type, particularly
in so much YA fiction (yes...I'm guilty), I worry that there is a risk of
undervaluing for younger generations, however inadvertently, other roles for
women in fiction and real life.It’s
clear why the action heroine is popular, but our female characters can also be
doctors, lawyers, scientists, kick arse types and mothers.(If you think mothers aren’t a tough bunch
then think again.)
My point is strong female characters, or rather strong
characters in general, come in all shapes, sizes, physical abilities, races,
ages, gay or straight.They are
diverse!They are not one dimensional.
And there is more to being strong than kicking arse.
Now did I write a kick arse character?Yes several in fact – Isaura and Asha
immediately come to mind. Are they just warriors? No.They are young women who, for all their confidence, have insecurities; who,
for all their bravery, have stark fears.Isaura has grown up as a refugee in her community and has been subjected
to racism and treated with suspicion most of her life, yet she tries to rise
above this.Her whole life has been one
of struggle, and yet she keeps going. She is absolutely “no angel” - she makes
terrible mistakes and pays the price physically and mentally, yet she keeps
fighting.Asha is forcibly removed from
her home at a young age to train with a religious order – a role she doesn’t
want.Unlike Isaura, she is valued and
has special rank within her society, yet has no choice in the future before
her.Events she witnesses as a child
have left her scarred and in the end she must face them with terrible
In my novels you’ll also find a loving mother, Lucia, with
no martial skill yet who strives in the best way she can protect her family and
a granny, whom my friend and fellow author, Kat Clay told me "breaks the
mould".For these characters, it
is their personality traits that we initially see as strong – courage,
resilience, loyalty and love.Looking at
these traits you could think, “Well,yes of course! They’re brave we all love
bravery.That goes without saying.”BUT here’s the thing: without portraying
their weaknesses and their fears they would not be perceived as believable and
strong in either a literary or psychological sense.
So what if a character is portrayed as being weak or not
psychologically strong? That does that make them a weak a literary sense?Of course not!Another of my characters is a woman who
suffers from mental health issues and whose treatment by those around her has
only worsened her condition. She can be spiteful, neurotic, jealous, anxious
and protective of her family whom she loves deeply.Her story is complex and she is battling
daily against internal demons not of her making.(In a way her continued battle makes her
strong despite her mental fragility.Like the others she keeps trying, even though her view of reality is
All these characters are different, but they all have
complex backstories that have shaped and haunt them, they’re fallible. They
face daunting challenges, some succeed and others fail, but they’re all “strong”.
Their real strength lies not merely in their personalities,
but in how we write them.It lies in
their literary construction.You want
your readers to feel what your characters feel; you want them to laugh and cry
with your characters; you want the characters and their story to capture their
hearts and not let go.Their strength and
that of your story lies in the diversity and complexity of their creation which
in turn leads to believability.
About now you’re probably thinking, “Well that’s just marvellous, but how do we it?”
Let's drop the “strong” female characters tag.Just think about strong characters of EITHER
gender. The same rules apply:
Remember: The real
world is not a homogenous society – nor should the world you build, or the
characters you create, be.
So what do you consider when you create strong characters?
Where do you start?
Look around you.You’ll see people from all walks of life, all races and various socio
economic statuses. Watch how people around you behave – how they react.Be observant and be discreet. (Don’t freak
people out and get a restraining order taken out against you!)
Avoid Stereotypes, or turn them on their head
Diversity – on the simplest level in terms of
looks, think also race, religion, politics, psychology, sexuality, physical
ability, psychology, physically
Flaws – psychologically and physically.
Disabilities? (Don’t be afraid to write a
disabled character, just do your research well!)
Courage / lack of it
Insecurities / confidence
Backstory – happy? Traumatic? Influence ondevelopmental psychology; world view
Reactions – show don’t tell (BTW I hate this
phrase.) Specific mannerisms.
Realistic dialogue – (read it aloud! It will
Character growth.(Character growth doesn’t always have to
happen in a story, some characters can remain static and simply enact the
adventure that is your book, However having them grow, learn and change can
make for a more interesting story.)
Mental health issues
Now that I’ve given you this lovely little list and my
ramblings, I’m going to add one other thing that I think can lead to
difficulties, particularly for the beginning writer.The above list implies planning – some of
which is always good.However, I’ve seen
writers spend so much time planning their character profiles and writing
screeds about them, that they neglect to start their story; or their character
construct then becomes immutable and they loose flexibility in their writing
because of it.
The one thing you should remember is that a character you create should
REGARDLESS of gender.
A little about Tracy...
Tracy writes epic fantasy for
teens through to adults. Her stories are gritty, a little dark and
morality is like quicksand. You won’t find any unicorns or fairies
Although her stories
include romantic elements, they are not romance driven novels. Do not
buy these books if you’re after a fairytale….
Consider this a
warning: Expect kickass heroines, battles (big ones, small ones - let’s
face it, if she’d put gunpowder in this world then there’d be explosions
too!) gore, political scheming, horses, archery and a touch of magic,
but NO fairies, elves, pixies, orcs and definitely NO unicorns.
(Unless, of course, its a combat trained unicorn with stealth
capabilities …. then…maybe…)