Black Sails Finale

Black Sails ended. Sad day. And how did its last gasps fair? I apologize for skipping out on some recaps but I couldn’t miss musing over the finale. Ending a television series has to be difficult, subjecting yourself to social media screeds if not done according to the wishes of fan boys/girls, but when you put something out there, you subject it to public opinion and can only hope people will appreciate your work. I truly appreciated Black Sails. It did for pirates what no other movie or show had done before. It brought pirates to life, not as caricature, but as living, breathing figures with grounded desires and motivations. And the actors really gave it their all and balanced their portrayals with the right amount of gravitas and fun. The show established a specific tone from the get go and stuck to it. Bravo. And gave us swashbuckling to boot! Huzzah! What I offer here is not so much a review or recap, but more a reflection on the series and how it ended.

Did it earn its ending? Certainly a tough task and what sometimes ultimately makes or breaks a show. Dexter had not earned its ending. For Dexter to send his son off to South America with a murderess after he took such pains to shelter him from the “dark passenger” was preposterous. The show set the viewer up from day one with the scenario…shit is going to hit the fan when his coworkers discover his true identity. But no. Only Laguerta found out and they killed her. I previously posted about the ridiculous and disappointing Penny Dreadful finale. It pains me to think about it so I won’t recap, but you can find it here: http://wp.me/p3aUdm-mo

So Black Sails? The ending or last few episodes were a mixed bag for me. If there was ever a slight tonal shift in the show it was when they sailed for the mysterious island or what would become treasure island. It kind of veered into Pirates of the Caribbean territory so I mentally got on board for the ride. But then the show did some funny things and told us we had to be serious again, giving us maybe more than was necessary conversations between Flint and Silver. Talk about bromance.

Some characters earned their fates like Eleanor, Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny. It was interesting in fact to see how the fictional character fates intertwined with what happened to the real life pirates. Jack and Anne had served on Charles Vane’s crew (along with Mary Read who we meet as the young “boy” on the show) until they mutinied and marooned Vane who was later picked up by the authorities and taken to Port Royal and hanged. Eventually, Jack Rackham’s head swung as well. Anne Bonny and Mary Read were to see a similar end but both claimed to be pregnant, which was found to be true, so their lives were spared. But back to the show and Max’s fate. Ugh, well, I just never really took to her character. I don’t know if it was the acting or just how her character arc was handled – from a backstabbing, manipulative former prostitute to the savoir of Nassau. Uh, okay.

In comparison, we see Billy’s transformation from a true brother, living by the pirate code even when the leaders around him outright broke the code (Flint) yet he soldiers on, trying to do the right thing, until he breaks and he knows it. He’s killing his own brothers at the end, he knows its completely jacked up, but he continues to do it anyway. (No one survives being tossed overboard like Billy!) Maybe my issue with Max is she had no self-awareness of how she arrived where she ended up.

So that leads us to Flint and Silver. I really wanted to see a flash forward to our crusty old peg leg sidling up to Jim Hawkins, but no such luck. We can only surmise what eventually drives Silver to leave everything behind to seek out the treasure. I don’t believe Flint’s words to him, that eventually the quiet life with Madi won’t be enough. Sorry show. The entire series we see Silver trying to weasel his way out of responsibility. I liked when, while searching for Madi on Rogers’ ship, he comes upon a crew member hiding below deck. Silver calls him a coward, and the man replies he’s just the cook. Such a call back to season one when Silver had done the same very thing when Flint’s crew attacked the ship he was on. Then Silver became their “cook”. Silver’s legend and authority was basically thrust upon him. Something bigger has to happen for Silver to give up the quiet, idyllic life on the maroon island and not him just seeking out fortune because he misses the pirate life.

Flint’s end is extremely complicated. And what, he and Thomas were going to live out their days on some kind of work camp/penal colony and you can’t tell me they’d be free to live as a couple when Thomas was sent there because he was homosexual or bi-sexual. I don’t remember if all that was clear given Miranda’s involvement. Flint and Thomas shared the same dream of a sort of “utopia” free of British conventions. I would think being together again would only fire Flint up even more. I’m more apt to believe Flint gave up because Silver basically betrayed him. Honestly, a knock down, balls to the wall, battle at the end with Woodes Rogers riding off into the sunset, the victor, may have been more fitting, showing us the futility of it all. Sad but true. Woodes Rogers did defeat the pirates and the story of how he did so with the help of Benjamin Hornigold, while I rail against it with ragged breaths, is truly remarkable. He served as Governor of Nassau for a good long time. I’m not sure why they decided to see him jailed. So the pirates could have their Nassau? Why? They still could have let Anne and Jack sail off into the sunset, Silver giving up and living with Madi, and Flint dead. I felt they gave us the pretty ending and pirate lives were never pretty. Fair winds!

Let’s Talk Black Sails Episode XXIX

This post ended up less a recap/dissection and more a reflection on an important death.

Avast! Spoilers ahead. Be warned.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Blackbeard. He didn’t take it over the top and grounded was has become a historical legend shrouded in mystery and conflated imagery. Blackbeard’s origins (his early life before becoming a pirate) is still unclear and some books refer to him as Thatch instead of Teach, but most have settled on Teach. Of all the pirates, he stands out as the most colorful and one of the most powerful. And he was. (Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts was another very formidable pirate. His story is very interesting.) Blackbeard commanded three vessels at one point, and his flagship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, was a true ship of force. As I’ve mentioned before, he blockaded Charles Town’s (Charleston) harbor for two weeks in demand of medication for syphilis (the treatment of which was a nasty affair that involved mercury injections in very painful places. Let’s take a moment to praise modern medicine.)

Overall I swallow the show’s take on Blackbeard’s death in this episode because it fit the story they were telling. I have taken issues with shows that change events or characters when it’s gratuitous and completely in service to the plot. They did commit the stupid plot sin somewhat  which I discuss below but I can take the bitter pill. But let’s discuss Blackbeard’s true death, which was a monumental takedown. Blackbeard was killed by Lt. Robert Maynard, which was orchestrated by Governor Spotswood of Virginia, who clearly had his own agendas and had his eyes set on enveloping North Carolina into his Virginia territory. Spotswood had some real beefs with Governor Eden of North Carolina, who may or may not have colluded with Blackbeard on illegally obtained goods. But once again, I digress. Blackbeard and his crew were anchored at Ocracoke Inlet, thirty miles south of Cape Hatteras. Maynard commanded two sloops with no cannon, but men prepared for battle while Blackbeard and his crew had spent the night drinking. I believe someone could make a good movie focusing on the battle and the lead up. Maynard and Blackbeard faced off and Maynard noted in his account of the battle, that Blackbeard fell with five shot in him and 20 dismal cuts in several parts of his body.

The man was truly awesome. Maynard then strung Blackbeard’s head on his bowsprit which he presented to Governor Spotswood.

So my major issue? I’ve read many a tome on pirates in researching my pirate historicals and in no book, even one focusing on pirate tactics, weapons, etc., does it mention any pirate rowing over to a vessel in order to board (on open seas) for the very reason shown on Black Sails. Not to mention you’d be exposing yourself to musket and cannon fire. In order to board safely and effectively and with your full contingent at your back, pirates would guide their vessels alongside, usually amidships position, and let fly the grappling hooks and then board. It just didn’t make sense that Blackbeard, a master tactician, would board Roger’s vessel by rowing over in jollys.

To illustrate, when Maynard came in range of Blackbeard’s vessel, Blackbeard and his crew tossed over grenades and let loose musket shot, and like in Black Sails, killed nearly everyone on deck. And note the following, taken from The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard, “When the smoke lifted, The Jane’s (one of Maynard’s sloops) deck was covered with bodies. In just a few seconds, twenty-one of Maynard’s crew had been killed or wounded. Only two men were still standing on the sloop’s deck. The battle, Blackbeard concluded, was won. He ordered the Adventure to come alongside the Jane and for his men to prepare to board.” Let’s emphasize, he ordered the Adventure to come alongside the Jane and for his men to prepare to board.

Maybe I missed some piece of dialog that sort of explained the fictional Blackbeard’s rationale while I was bitching to my husband but even so, no reason conjured by the show’s writers would justify an obviously idiotic move…that pirates understood to be idiotic. Now I’m going to have to refer back to my reference book on pirate tactics to see if boarding by jolly while on the open sea is even mentioned. While in port, pirates did conduct what they called surprizals. They would row up to a vessel in the cover of night and stealth board it. In fact, in season two of Black Sails, Charles Vane killed Ed Low and his crew via a surprizal. But a surprizal is conducted under a totally different scenario and makes sense when trying to take a vessel while at port.

Now to give the show some credit, Maynard did order some men to hide in the Jane’s hold and await his signal and when Blackbeard and his crew boarded, Maynard’s men rushed from their hiding positions to attack, much like they portrayed the scene in Black Sails but this time, under Woodes Rogers. But unlike the portrayal on Black Sails, Blackbeard and his crew were done in by Maynard because Maynard had ambushed them with more men, taking a hung over pirate crew completely by surprise. In the show, for Woodes Rogers to pull off what he did with a fully prepared, outfitted and competent Blackbeard, well, I guess their excuse was they left half their crew behind, because they rowed to Rogers’s vessel which, well, whatever.

The keel hauling was gruesome. I hate keel hauling and didn’t need to see that. Neither did Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny. (Thank god the show spared us seeing Jack get keel hauled. I would have lost it along with Anne.) It showed us however that Blackbeard is badass. Yet, I don’t think the real Blackbeard ever keel hauled anyone. I’ve mentioned this in posts before, but Blackbeard never killed a captive or no accounts exist of him killing a captive. And once released, pirate captives talked they did to claim their own fifteen minutes of fame.

So as to the other events, it was great to see Flint and Silver reunited and loved to see them take over Nassau. Ha. Max eat crow. You will once again depend on Silver for your life. Next episode should be exciting, what with Eleanor holed up in the fort. If the pirates are smart, they will keep the English flags flying when Rogers comes sailing back into port but who knows because you know, Blackbeard rowed.

Black Sails XXX recap

When I began watching season one of Black Sails with delight, relishing the sights, sounds, the grime, the snarl, seeing Charles Vane and others come to life, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the show. Certainly, I wanted the broadsides and spectacle, and while we got some of that, what we mostly got was the slow build, establishing character, motivations, and back story. Psha! What madness was that? Yet now, when the show gives us Billy Bones vs Flint, it resonates! Movie and tv writers take note. You can’t rush the versus…Batman vs Superman anyone? Ugh. But I won’t even start with that fiasco. I mean hell, even Warner Brothers cartoons got it right. Who wouldn’t have shed a tear at the untimely demise of our beloved Wily E. Coyote after so many close calls?

It was sad to see Billy, the righteous, fail so spectacularly. The raid of the Underhill plantation was heartbreaking for our beloved bilge rats and showed just how dastardly the plantation owners were, but I guess enslaving an entire race has its consequences, no? There were many slave uprisings in the Caribbean and when the slave population outnumbered the colonial population, well, seems a forgone conclusion. But separating families to take them out in the case of a revolt is truly abhorrent and for all of Flint’s faults, he thankfully recognized the futility of the situation and heeded Madi’s counsel. (He may not kill her after all.) Flint has displayed arrogance and irrationality (the “it”) in the past, (killing Gates, sigh) but no one can fault the man for his skill in manipulation and strategy. He is cunning as hell, and others have learned that lesson to their detriment, note Dufrense in this recap http://wp.me/p3aUdm-iI

Pirate History Check. But let’s talk Israel Hands!!! He dragged Silver off at the end of the last episode. Israel Hands has taken on many personas. He is featured in Treasure Island, but the real Israel Hands was Blackbeard’s boatswain. I mentioned him in a previous post here, http://wp.me/p3aUdm-lO, recounting how Blackbeard shot him in the knee. Hands had served on Blackbeard’s crew a long time and may have colluded with Blackbeard to run aground his ship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, off Beaufort Inlet. Some speculate Blackbeard did it on purpose in order to break up his fleet and crew and take off with what spoils he could. Many of his crew were left stranded in Beaufort. After Blackbeard’s death, in their attempt to discredit Governor Eden of North Carolina (Eden colluded with Blackbeard, offered him a pardon, and may have benefitted from the association, or at least, that is certainly what Governor Spotswood of South Carolina tried to prove in his attempt to take over the North Carolina colony), the authorities tracked down Hands in Bath and convinced him to testify against his companions and Governor Eden in exchange for his life.

In Treasure Island, Hands is one of Silver’s crew and ends up getting shot by Jim Hawkins. In this episode, we see him hold Silver captive in attempt to earn the ransom but he made one fatal error. Not tying Silver’s mouth. Silver is most dangerous when allowed to utter words and shackling up the silver tongued devil’s hands does no good.

Wenches Behaving Just Badly. Ugh. Someone get rid of Max already. Maybe Silver? Or Mario? Yes, Eleanor’s demise shall come by Anne’s hand and Max from Silver, Mario, or maybe even Madi. I like it. At least Silver recognized and called Max out on her own hypocrisy. What, she wears pretty dresses now, takes on airs, and we should believe she is righteous and just? Even Roger’s didn’t buy her brand of shit. Thankfully, we have our silver tongued devil to contradict her when she accused him of creating the shit storm roiling on New Providence. She and Eleanor shoveled plenty all on their own. Please. End my misery. I get Eleanor and her actions feel earned and she, at least seems to have some presence of mind for what she hath wrought and is maybe trying to atone in her own way, but we can’t forgive her, nope.

Romance or Bromance? Jack and Blackbeard can’t forgive Eleanor. The exchange between them and Anne ended the episode on a poignant and almost sentimental note, at least if Anne would have let the bros continue the Charles Vane adoration.

Deep Thoughts with Anne Bonny. Squee. Anne is great. Normally I give the best lines to Jack but Anne had the best arguments for why they needed to stay the course and go after Woodes Rogers. But would she still be able to maintain the same cool head if someone had taken out Jack? She even admits the same when retelling how Max tried to take him (Jack) away from her. I love these two. They slowly grew on me over the series as did Miranda, and then they shot her! Show, you are wicked.

Blackbeard is badass. How badass? We will find out I suppose. Woodes Rogers, rather deftly counted on them taking the bait so Eleanor could go running to her grand pappy. It’s no secret I’d sworn to hate Woodes Rogers but the man is growing on me and kudos to the writers and actor for bringing out the contradictions and subtlety that was this historical figure who brought the Nassau pirates to their knees.

 

 

 

Black Sails XXIX Recap

Black Sails has returned! For its final season 🙁

While I’m excited to see these characters again, I’m apprehensive about the fates of our scurvy crew. I don’t want to say good-bye yet respect goes out to the show creators for knowing when to end the story. More and more, shows tend to milk a series beyond its natural, respectable life and story and characters suffer for it.

If you haven’t read Treasure Island, the next paragraph contains some possible spoilers for Black Sails.

So last season wrenched my innards, seeing Charles Vane swing on the gallows and all, but well, he did in fact get hanged at Port Royal. And that is what makes me apprehensive about this season because nothing is going to end well for our cutthroats. The Golden Age of Piracy ends (pretty much with Woodes Rogers’s arrival in New Providence and Blackbeard’s death), but we also have the events of Treasure Island to consider. We’ve seen Silver transform into our beloved peg-legged Long John Silver. And Flint is already mad. He only lacks his stick. 

Seriously show make it so. And Billy? Billy Bones. Sigh. I don’t know if Black Sails will give us a glimpse of Treasure Island’s beginning in its series finale but wouldn’t it be cool to leave us with Silver sidling up to Jim Hawkins? I’d rather see that than poor Billy’s bones.

So much for endings. Our premiere gave us a roaring start. Who doesn’t love a good battle to get the blood pounding…and spraying. Yikes. Pretty clever that Woodes Rogers. Sinking ships to create a barrier unbeknownst to our brigands.

Romance or Bromance? One of the highlights of this show has been the dynamic between Silver and Flint, sometimes allies, and sometimes at odds, outwitting each other, Flint by pure force of will, and Silver by cunning. Their conversation before getting blown to bits deserves its place among the many fine bromances but alas, ‘tis not to last forever. Of course, we know Silver didn’t drown and he will rejoin our anti-heroes but will it be in time to save his romance from the bromance? I mean, seriously, what was Madi thinking when she revealed to Flint and Billy that Silver told her the treasure’s location. That never ends well for people, when they get in Flint’s way.

Pirate History Check: As much as I’d love to hate on Woodes Rogers, the man displayed incredible determination and courage. He stood up to some formidable pirates, established order in New Providence all without much support from his peers. He did, in fact, overcome much adversity and did get deeply indebted as a result of having to finance his campaign in the Caribbean. This is the man who was a privateer during the war with France and Spain, who led an assault against a Spanish city, and had circumvented the world. I honestly don’t know what motivated him to take the actions he did only to get crapped on by the lords proprietor (businessmen and nobility who basically administered much of the Caribbean and some of the colonies.). He did them a favor by driving out the pirates. Yes, he was governor but acted pro bono. Now before I completely romanticize the man, he was a slave trader. I’ll leave it at that.

Wenches Behaving Bad-ass-ly? Oh, how the mighty have fallen, but you know, I just can’t forgive Eleanor for her role in Charles’s demise. Seeing her knitting with the other wives was classic. At least the show acknowledged Eleanor’s knowledge of her own capitulation. She sold her soul. I’m curious how much of her soul may be left, the girl running down the beach filled with pirates, not giving a damn about any of them. (If you remember Vane’s description of her from Season One.) And Max, come on honey. At least Eleanor has accepted the futility of a woman’s independence and power in the face of true British aristocracy. British nobility is a bitch Max. Get used to it. Maybe you can darn some wool socks. At least we still have Anne Bonny.

Deep thoughts with Jack Rackham. This show has given some of the best lines to Jack Rackham. However, this episode Blackbeard got in a good line at Rackham’s expense, when Rackham asked Blackbeard if they should say a few words to rouse the crew for battle. Blackbeard’s response was perfect, and very in line with what the real Blackbeard may have thought or said. I haven’t always agreed with the show’s portrayal of Blackbeard (Iron Beard), but Blackbeard ruled his ship by action, not words.

I do love, btw, all the love thrown Charles’s Vane’s way, from Jack to Blackbeard. In reality, Jack and Anne mutinied against Charles Vane and marooned him on an island. He was eventually picked up by the authorities and sent to Port Royal to be promptly hanged. So there you go. I like the show’s version better.

Blackbeard is badass. That’s right mo fos. Don’t fuck with Blackbeard. I got chills when Rogers’s man, Captain Berringer, or Mario Batalli, said Blackbeard is a formidable opponent. That’s right. Blackbeard was a literal fleet onto himself. The only pirate to blockade a major harbor for two weeks (Charleston). And he will kick your ass Mario. I’m waiting for it. Make it so, show! Especially after Mario cut off De Groot’s ear. De Groot has not always supported Flint, but he ain’t no snitch against the brethern. Stickin’ it to the man!

I honestly don’t know why Silver didn’t just pretend to be dead and then grab a dagger or cutlass off a dead body and shank whoever it was going around killing off the men washed up on shore, but then we wouldn’t have our cliffhanger. But seriously will he make it back before Flint kills Madi because, really, her days are numbered.

Fall Carnival Blog Hop – Again!

It’s October and time for pumpkins, great weather, and of course, blog hops and carnivals! This is the second year for our Fall Carnival Blog Hop. You can find the full details and other participating authors at the Desert Muses blog.

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In addition to having a greater chance of winning the $80 Amazon Giftcard, if you sign up for my new release e-mail list BY CLICKING HERE between now and October 24, I’ll offer one randomly selected e-mail list subscriber a choice between print or ebook copies of both The Necromancer’s Seduction and book one in my pirate series, Devil’s Island! The winner will be announced October 29 so stop back by and check out the Muses blog to see the list of winners of the grand prize (Amazon gift card) and each individual giveaways.

Have a great October and Halloween! Don’t step off the Carousel yet! Hop on over to Sandy Wright’s site here. And don’t forget to stop by the Muses blog for more details and other participating authors!

Top Horror Movie Memories

It’s almost Halloween. Squeee! I use the holiday as an excuse to indulge one of my major loves, the horror genre. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone who has perused my blog. I tend to binge watch horror movies leading up to Halloween. Maybe because the allure of Halloween and what it’s about heightens my enjoyment of the scares. I mean, I always watch Halloween on Halloween.

A couple of years ago, during October, I posted a myriad of “horrifying” top tens, ranging from monsters to movies. I will probably do something similar this year. As I write a multitude of ideas pop into mind: top ten horror female villains. That would be fun! But as an entre into October I discuss my seminal horror movie-going experiences. Horror movies make for some of the best theater going experiences. A good horror movie is visceral and can elicit both physical and vocal reactions, which is fantastic in a theater when you are encouraged to belt out your fright along with everyone else. While I can enjoy a good tear-jerker, I never really want anyone to see me cry but group screaming is wonderful therapy and lots of fun.

So here we go!!

At eleven, my brother and his friend took me to see Poltergeist. Probably not the best movie for an eleven-year-old, who existed mostly in her own thoughts and imaginings, to see, but what the hell, right? Thank god for pre-helicopter parenting. On a side note, all three of these horror movie-going experiences were with said big brother whom I love dearly so there ya go. Thanks bro! We arrived late and had to sit in the neck crunching first isle. It probably contributed to my squeals and squirms. Everything is so much louder and in your face. I think everyone in the theater pretty much lost it during the clown under the bed scene. I remember the arm-rest-clutching total silence when the kid noticed his creepy clown was gone from its shelf before the theater erupted into screams and laughter. Ahh, creepy clowns, how we love thee…?

In the still burgeoning internet age, when people weren’t quite as savvy about what the Internet meant or it’s potential to fuck with your mind, a little old movie called the Blair Witch Project came out, purporting to be based on real life events. We had gotten past the idea that the movie itself was real found footage, I mean who the hell, except the biggest of movie buffs, knew that such a thing existed? Cannibal Holocaust anyone? Although Cannibal Holocaust was made in a documentary style. The entire build up to Blair Witch was brilliant and so when I walked into the movie theater with bro and sister-in-law, none of us had any idea what to expect. So much harder to accomplish today and maybe we are less rich because of it. The “oh fucks” permeated the incredibly tense atmosphere in the theater, especially at the tent scene. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean. Unlike the uproarish nature of Poltergeist, the Blair Witch watch was more intense because it felt more real, and hell, some people probably still thought it was real. I crashed at my brother’s place that night, on his couch downstairs, staring out the slide glass door at the woods beyond his house, all night, clutching my blanky.

Finally, alas, my final great horror movie going experience was a while ago. Life, kids, life, kids, life have interfered with my ability to see a horror movie on opening night, and honestly, I’m not as up to some of the gore these days. I saw The Conjuring in the movie theater, clutching my husband’s arm and enjoyed it immensely. (I should have kept the blanky.) I reaaalllly want to go see Don’t Breathe and the Blair Witch sequel. I’m excited about horror’s resurgence and the crop of new filmmakers carrying the mantel from Wes Craven, John Carpenter, William Friedkin, Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi, such as  Adam Wingaard, James Wan, Ti West, Fede Alvarez, but I digress. So with brother and sister-in-law, I saw the first Saw movie. Everyone cringed and squirmed in their seats during the entire buildup, but at the final scene, the twitching bodies in the theater erupted into seizures. I have predicted many a horror movie’s main twist but this one had me until the end. And when I figured out seconds before it happened, I still couldn’t believe it. Thanks James Wan.

Halloween, I am ready.

The Disappointing Penny Dreadful Finale

Penny Dreadful ended its three season run this past weekend…wait for it…dreadfully. After much gnashing of teeth, I decided the only way to exorcise my despair was to hash it out in a blog post. Spoilers ahead.

Let’s start at the beginning. When I first heard about a new show which was to bring together Victorian monsters and actors like Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Josh Hartnett, I fist pumped my joy. Green played Vanessa Ives, a tormented woman living with her surrogate father, Sir Malcolm Murray, played by Dalton. They were joined by Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, a mysterious gun toting man from the wilds of the American West, Harry Treadaway as Victor Frankenstein, and Rory Kinnear as Frankenstein’s monster. Later Dorian Gray and the bride of Frankenstein would join the crew, but the story was always about Vanessa and her struggle with darkness.

In Season One, the gang came together to fight vampires that abducted and turned Sir Malcolm’s daughter Mina. Vanessa felt responsible for her best friend’s fate as she, in a moment of weakness, allowed her “demons” to take control, and she seduced Mina’s fiancé. Through the battle with evil, each character had moments to demonstrate how they battled their own inner monsters, literally (Ethan was a werewolf) and figuratively against a sometimes lurid, gorgeous, gothic backdrop of Victorian London.

Season Two delved deeper into each character and brought us truly sublime episodes like when we glimpsed Vanessa’s time spent with a witch (Patti LuPone) years back. In this episode, we learned, as did Vanessa, more about her power and oh how awesome it was. She displayed her strength which came into play when she defeated Satan himself in the season finale. We also learned more about how Ethan was “Lupus Dei” or God’s wolf and much was made of his role in defeating the forces of evil. And the show finally succumbed to the awesome chemistry between Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in the wonderful episode where Ethan traveled with Vanessa to the witch hut and they walked the moors, Ethan wore chunky sweaters, and they fell in love. The show gave us so many wonderful moments: Vanessa and Ethan, Vanessa and Frankenstein’s monster, the mournful Victor, and weird, sexy if pointless Dorian Gray. The show’s strength lay in the moments in which the characters interacted so what did they do in Season Three? Give us more sexy Vanessa and Ethan? Explain Dorian’s purpose to the story? Explain what exactly was Vanessa’s power? No! Instead they kept our monstrous heroes separated until the…wait…not season finale, but series finale.

But I’m jumping ahead in my condemnation. Vanessa, our strong, sometimes fearsome heroine who defeated the Prince of Darkness using mad demonic rapping skills, who successfully fought off the dark forces inside her, and after finding out via Native American instant messaging, that her family was on their way to help her defeat Dracula himself, she gave in to Dracula. After two seasons of epic battle, she just gave in to Dracula. Series creator John Logan stripped away all the agency she fought for and gained and we only see Vanessa again when Ethan finds her and kills her. We got more screen time in the final two episodes with secondary characters and while I loved Renfield, for crissake, we get meandering with secondary characters and no satisfying Vanessa/Ethan or Vanessa/Malcolm.

But okay, let’s go there. Vanessa goes all evil because surely we’ll get an epic showdown between Vanessa and Dracula or Ethan, God’s wolf, and Dracula, right? No! Instead we get the Scooby gang facing off against the vampire hordes with guns. Since when did guns work against vampires and what was the point of Ethan’s wolfman? Even Twilight used their wolves better! And not only was there no epic battle with Dracula, he didn’t chase after Ethan when Ethan went after Vanessa, and when Ethan showed up carrying our dead heroine, Dracula simply shadowed away. Gone. Poof. Completely ineffectual and anti-climactic and speaking of… Season Three introduced some intriguing new characters in Cat and Dr. Jekyll but alas we got no idea what Cat’s purpose was and no Mr. Hyde.

It’s possible Showtime pulled the rug out from under the show mid season, but John Logan said the series ended as he had planned. If that’s the case, then he did the show’s fans and his characters a great injustice. One of my biggest gripes about shows is when the writers build up a conflict without resolving it. Dexter did it. Dexter’s colleagues in the Miami police should have discovered he was the killer. Victor’s friends should have discovered he revived the dead especially given the connection between Vanessa and his monster. But no. We are left with a heroine who did not go down fighting, flailing loose ends, massively under developed secondary characters, and no sex between Ethan and Vanessa. Sigh. Adios, Penny Dreadful. We barely knew you.

Cami’s Makeover!

My good friend and fellow writer, Camelia Miron Skiba, just got a new cover for her book A World Apart and boy, isn’t it lovely! Take it away Cami…

As promised since beginning of this month I have a $ 25.00 giveaway going on for anyone stopping by to see the new cover. All you have to do is leave a comment here with what retailer you’d prefer the gift card from.

For a limited time A WORLD APART is up for grabs for only .99 cents. Hurry up before the sales ends!

And now . . . drumroll please!

                               proofAWORLDAPART

Trauma surgeon Lieutenant Cassandra Toma begins her deployment at the Joint-Unit Air Base on the wrong foot. On her first day, she clashes with her new commander. Her rebellious nature and sassiness rival her excellent performance in the operating room. It might be the only reason she’s not reprimanded … or is it?

Major David Hunt is unsure how to handle the brilliant and beautiful Cassandra. As her commander, he can’t consider a relationship. A forbidden passion consumes them with the intensity of an erupting volcano, leaving her heartbroken and him with tarnished honor and pride as an officer. The only way out for David is disappearing into the dangerous warzone in Iraq.

When their paths cross again, Cassandra and David find they have a common goal—to find Cassandra’s brother, Maj. Robert Toma, kidnapped by insurgents while on patrol. To rescue him, they must put aside their resentments and fight their common enemy. And the fire between them is back.

Cassandra wants to give David—and their love—another chance. But she doesn’t know that his mistake, his secret, could cost them both the love they’ve finally found.

Black Sails Season Three…So Far

Fair winds! I had every intention of resuming Black Sails reviews at the start of Season Three. Alas, life got the better of me so instead I present a recap and thoughts on goings on so far. We are six episodes in (Episodes XIX through XXIV) with four more to go!

Last season had me at the first episode. Ned Low made a grand if bloody entrance and I’m still bummed he didn’t get to cause more mayhem. Episode one of this season did a good job of setting the stage, showing us the fates of our pirate brethren, where everyone stood. But the next few episodes, Flint separation from Nassau, wandering in the doldrums, just had me frustrated. When I saw the preview of XXII and Flint and crew’s apparent capture by island natives (now we know better; Great Scott, Mr. Scott!), I groaned and wondered if they’d wander into Pirates of the Caribbean territory. Flint works best for me when he’s interacting with other strong pirates like Vane. The sneers are in full force. However, the moments between Flint and Silver made up for some of the meandering and moved their relationship into a satisfying next phase. I admittedly cheered at the scene where they harpooned a shark. For those who have played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, you know what I’m talking about. Huzzah!

But let’s talk some more of our man of the sneer. Flint could probably convince someone to jump off a bloody bridge. Billy Bones agrees. He probably considered making the jump just to see if what Flint promised lay in the ocean depths. I mean, Flint’s line to Vane…you have to decide who you are…And Vane did, and he betrayed Teach…again.

I’m still traumatized by Miranda’s death so I’m glad they gave her ghost some time this season. Some tv shows kill off characters and don’t give enough space for the viewer and other characters to mourn. I didn’t much like her in Season One, but she became my favorite female character in Season Two. Loved her smack down of Eleanor (see in this recap).

Finally, episode XXIV gave me the confrontation I’d swab a deck for! Flint and Blackbeard. Ray Stevenson was a wonderful casting choice for our man of the beard. He has the physicality to play Blackbeard. I’m sorry, but John Malkovich just didn’t do it for me. See my thoughts on Crossbones here.

Okay, disclaimer first. I’m not buying everything the writers are throwing our way as far as Blackbeard. I mean, really, the Iron Man shrapnel? Was that intentional for some reason? I just don’t get it. What writer didn’t raise his or her hand and say, ah, guys, this smells too much of Iron Man and would come across as a weird, anachronistic reference.iron beard

I also didn’t get the opening scene of XIX where Teach killed his wife’s brothers. Or rather, I got it. They were trying to show us how badass Teach was, but it rang false for me. I’m pretty sure Teach would have tossed the brothers overboard and let them swim back to Bath. I don’t think he would have cared enough about those guys to bother killing them (or endanger the pardon he’d obtained from the North Carolina Governor).

Teach very smartly cultivated his dangerous persona, but, along with Sam Bellamy, there’s no record, in nearly 300 attacks on shipping between the two of them, of either Blackbeard or Bellamy killing a captive. (They may have roughed them up a bit.) Teach was shrewd but not reckless. It might have been better to “show us Blackbeard’s mettle” by giving us a scene based on a tale told by Captain Johnson in the General History of Pyrates. Apparently, while in one of his “savage humors” and without provocation, Blackbeard shot the Queen Anne’s Revenge’s master, Israel Hands’, knee. The explanation? Possibly to keep his crew in line, to keep them guessing so they wouldn’t dare challenge his authority. Ultimately though, Blackbeard, according to Angus Konstam in his book, Blackbeard, was a relatively benign pirate compared to Charles Vane, who, Konstam wrote, “seemed to take a psychopathic delight in torture and violence”. Lest we forget the lesson handed to Ned Low last season.

Black Sails, episode XI, Charles Vane

But everything else, I’m down. Charles Vane did serve on Teach’s crew before setting off on his own. Teach also had “settled down” in Bath for a spell. He supposedly bought a house after obtaining a pardon from the North Carolina Governor, Charles Eden. I read quite a bit about pirate escapades in the Carolinas for my Sargasso’s Mistress book and it’s quite interesting how much the pirates had insinuated themselves in Carolina trade and shenanigans, especially Teach. It’s also true he established a base of sorts at Ocracoke Island, where the pirates would sometimes gather to store loot and party.

On to Max, who has outlived her suspension of disbelief. Scenes with her just annoy me at this point. I’m all for creating strong women characters but not at the expense of the story and plausibility. Woodes Rogers would not have given her the time of day and the pirates on the island have absolutely no reason to listen to a damn thing she says. They have pardons. Their pirate leaders are gone. They just wouldn’t give a crap about Max. She has no legitimacy and for her to tell Woodes that she can control the peoples is silly. But wait, she has treasure! See next paragraph.

I also don’t think the Spanish would have given a rat’s ass about the missing portion of their treasure. (Nor would have Woodes Rogers for that matter, but more on him below.) Spain lost so much treasure to pirates and French, Dutch, British privateers. They’d cut their losses and run. At that point, they had a treaty with Britain and I doubt they would have endangered the truce by going after Nassau.

And Eleanor? Yeah, meh. I’m more invested in Anne Bonny at this point. I am, however, interested in seeing Eleanor cross paths with Vane and Flint and how that will play out. Will Flint convince her to betray Woodes Rogers or jump off the bloody bridge? Ultimately, I feel like her treads are wearing thin, like Max. I guess I’m still pissed at her for screwing Vane twice (in the bad way). I understood her motives but me no likey.

What Black Sails continues to do wonderfully is establish its pirates and their relationships to each other so I let my rumblings subside or bitch to my husband and lose myself once again in Billy Bones’s cut physique.

billyBones

Tom Hopper is great as Billy. Not just for his hunked out bod either. No, I’m serious. Really.

So episode XXIV tied all those wonderful elements together, brought to fruition the wonderful ground they laid from the very beginning. Jack and Anne are awesome and should have their own adventures. The Bonny and Clyde of the seven seas. The writers and Jack sold me on his decision to fuck Woodes Rogers and I love how all he had to do was write a letter with enough nuance, trusting that Anne would read between the lines. And boy did she ever. Woodes still doesn’t know what he’s dealing with. Eleanor knows, but she can only give him so many worried looks. Me thinks he’s figured it out though.

So let’s talk Woodes Rogers. The pirate “utopia” of Nassau could only last so long, and knowing the history of the place, I wondered where they’d eventually go with the story given the eventual arrival of Woodes Rogers. The Golden Age of the Caribbean pirates began its decline with the fall of Nassau to Woodes Rogers. His arrival scattered the pirates and removed their power base.

Blackbeard attempted to establish new operations from North Carolina but was eventually killed in a cinema worthy battle with Lieutenant Maynard. Sam Bellamy died in a storm on his way to Maine. (I have been stoked with the two Sam Bellamy name drops this season!! I was so hoping they’d feature him, but no such luck.) And Vane and Jack? Well, I won’t spoil anything in case they decide to follow the history closely. Even though I mentioned my issues with the Spanish gold MacGuffin, Luke Robert’s portrayal of Woodes is fine (if not somewhat tame; see story below) and his interesting alliance with Eleanor. Woodes Rogers was a complex individual, who, if so inclined would have made a formidable pirate himself. A former privateer, according to Richard Sanders in If a Pirate I Must be, The True Story of “Black Bart”, in a battle, a musket ball tore off Rogers’ upper jaw, but he continued to issue orders on paper while spitting out his blood. Flint would be proud.

A couple of stray notes: Ben Gunn showed up this season! Of all the Treasure Island pirates, he actually has one of the best outcomes, and that’s all I’ll say, except maybe…cheese. And also, Long John Silver mentioned having a half black wife in Treasure Island, so in case you were wondering, yeah, I believe they are going there.

Honestly, I have no idea what fate is in store for Nassau, Anne and Jack, Woodes Rogers, Flint, the escaped slave colony led by Mr. Scott and his queen. (Who saw that coming?) Thankfully, Saturday is a few days away.

All Hail the Heroine! Author Panel.

This post is also running concurrently on the Desert Muses group blog here!

I love to do author panels and this one was so much fun because we talked about heroines and how we view them, write them, and what we like about them. I’m excited to present (and participate in) this panel discussion which includes a diverse group of authors who are flexing the boundaries of their genres to bring different woman characters to life. Thanks to fellow Muses Jenn Windrow, Shanyn Hosier, Anne A. Wilson, Leslie Jones, and special guest, Camelia Miron Skiba. And please chime in the discussion by leaving a comment!!

Describe your heroine including her name, what she does (profession or trade) and anything else interesting about her.

head shot 1

Jenn Windrow

Jenn: Noel Chase is a spunky and sarcastic artist who thinks that life with her boyfriend Len is perfectly fine until Cupid’s crappy aim saddles her with Grayson Adler, a couldn’t-be-more-wrong-or-her match. Once that arrow strikes, Noel finds it impossible to ignore the attraction she feels for her Cupid-appointed soul mate. In the end, Noel has to endure Psyche’s four trials to find out who is waiting for her, Len the man she loves or Grayson the man she loathes.

Shanyn: Georgia Belle Brooks is a scientist (microbiologist) working for a state environmental agency. She dreamed about inventing ways to combat pollution in the lab, but ended up working in governmental oversight. She collects environmental samples and data from watersheds (sometimes personally) and tracks down companies who pollute them, testifying in court in lawsuits against them. She views herself as a crusader.

Leslie: Hadley “Lark” Larkspur is a black hat hacker turned FBI Cybersecurity Analyst. She is a restless quester of knowledge with ADHD, is easily bored, and curses like a sailor. Though she comes from old money, she broke free from her family’s conformist expectations and forged her own path in life.

Camelia: I’m writing a series of six novellas (3 finished, 2 in the process of being written, and the 6th only came to me about a week ago, so I haven’t developed it yet). Each novella follows a couple who eventually will find their happily ever after. Since it would take forever to describe each heroine, I’ll focus on Harper McKenna who is in some ways the leader of the pack. She’s an ambitious lawyer, whose heartbreak didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams, but rather pushed her toward success. She’s fearless and willing to take responsibility for her own mistakes and suffer their consequences no matter how harsh.

Anne: Lieutenant Sara Denning is a navy helicopter pilot who is one of two women serving aboard a ship with a crew of five hundred. Her goal is to blend in, but she shuts away her femininity to do that. She also flies over the ocean for a living, but is deathly afraid of the water due to a near-drowning experience when she was a teenager.

Mimi: In my Necromancer Books, Ruby is a necromancer and a college anthropology professor. She seeks to have a normal life, because necromancers tend to go down in flames from using their power, but certain events in the supernatural community, and certain men, convince her to join the fight.

What makes her strong and sexy?

Mimi: This is my favorite question because I like heroines whose strength comes not solely from physical prowess, but from emotional maturity, independence, and empathy. I’ve read too many heroines who are so emotionally stunted, (yet they are considered badass because they can shoot a gun) I feel like I’m reading about an immature teenager instead of a strong woman. I think, from the responses, our author panel feels the same!! (And Leslie, love the messy, purple hair!) Ruby has her issues, but she’s not afraid to express her opinion, her doubts, her needs, and her desires.

Leslie: Lark, this tiny pixie with messy purple hair, has an indomitable joie de vivre and the heart of a lion. She speaks her mind, will do anything for a friend (to include put herself in danger), and isn’t afraid to try new things.

Camelia: She doesn’t know how not to be strong.

Anne: She’s knowledgeable and competent, but I doubt she’d ever think of herself as sexy . . . which makes her exactly that. She eventually realizes that she can embrace every facet of womanhood and still do her job and be respected.

Jenn: Noel’s confidence and willingness to fight for the love she wants, to defy Cupid, pay the consequences, and follow her heart are what make her strong and sexy.

Shanyn: George learned pretty early in adolescence that she didn’t fit into anyone’s

Shanyn Hosier

Shanyn Hosier

pigeonhole of who she ought to be or proper/expected behavior. She’s smart, ambitious, and idealistic. She doesn’t care if you think she’s a nerd or a slut or a bitch. She also refuses to play along with the “mousy” stereotype for intelligent women. She learned the power of her own sexuality and how to use it. George is the type of gal to make the first move.

How do you think the writing of female characters has changed in your genre?

Camelia: I love heroines that are strong, sassy, independent women who fight to pick themselves up after life threw a few lemons at them. Today’s market tends to portrait heroines that are clumsy, damsels in distress needing a man to make them happy, sometimes controlling them and totally confusing real/true love with infatuation/obsession, etc.

Leslie: The days of a helpless female wringing her hands and waiting to be rescued are long over, thank goodness. Today’s female characters reflect our society – they are strong, know what they want out of life, and aren’t afraid to go get it.

Picture of Anne A. Wilson

Anne A. Wilson

Anne: Authors are writing female characters who are smart, independent, and aren’t afraid to take the lead. Love and relationships are important, but today’s female protagonist—especially in romantic suspense—isn’t waiting for the hero to sweep her off her feet. I love that female characters are written today so they garner the same respect as their male counterparts and are seen as equals. 

Jenn: I’m starting to see a lot more tough girls in the Paranormal romance genre, Woman who take their future in their own hands and fight for love. Woman who are less likely to rely on a man to get them out of a tough situation. Gone are the girls that need the mysterious man to save them from some otherworldly disaster. Instead, the girls are fighting along side their man with their own swords raised.

Shanyn: I think (hope?) that women don’t need an excuse to be independent, ambitious, driven, sexual characters. There doesn’t have to be any inciting incident—no childhood trauma, for instance—to make a woman decide to rely only upon herself for success, or to be sexually aggressive.

Mimi: Don’t know what I can say to top what the other authors have opined. Writing female characters has changed for the better. Yeah!

What was the most important thing you wanted to bring out/show about your heroine?

Shanyn: Strength doesn’t mean you never cry, or never fail at something. Ambition doesn’t mean you never experience self-doubt, or second-guess yourself, or change your mind (or even goal). Being smart doesn’t mean you don’t make questionable decisions.

Mimi: I love this Shanyn. I think my heroines are sometimes blubber fests, but seriously, are we not allowed to cry? I’m going to use Sabine Tanner from my pirate historical Devil’s Island for this question, because I wanted to write an 18th Century virgin who was not “virginal”. And I’m seeing this more and more in historical romances. Female characters who, for whatever reason, are aware of and comfortable with their own sexuality. Sabine makes a choice to be intimate with the pirate captain, Boone Wilder. She’s not afraid of the intimacy, she desires it, and it’s okay for her character and for the story. Her back story gives some insight as to why she’s familiar with the sex act while still a virgin and once again, I think it shapes and fits her character.

Jenn: I wanted Noel to figure out her love life on her own. Torn between two men, one she believes is the best thing for her and one she is undeniable attracted to, Noel had to work through her emotions, dig deep, and listen to her heart. She has to heal her past scars to allow herself a happy future without fear. After everything, I wanted Noel’s choice to be her own.

Camelia: When I began the story, Harper was so driven by ambition, I didn’t think I’d be

Camelia Miron Skiba

Camelia Miron Skiba

able to tone her down, soften her a bit. Then she made a colossal mistake where I thought it’d be impossible for her to recover. Her ability to acknowledge her fault and the need to fix the disaster she created totally took me by surprise along with her willingness to lose it all rather than live a life of deceit. Deep down, she knew that she’d caused a lot of pain and, even though she couldn’t take it back, she assumed its responsibility, taking the brunt of it.

Anne: I wanted to show that Sara could be competent and strong, while still possessing relatable vulnerabilities. Female military members have fears, questions, and weaknesses just like anyone else. They’re not superwomen.

Leslie's Headshot

Leslie Jones

Leslie: I wanted to show that quirky and unique characters aren’t limited to supporting roles, and that intelligence is a sexy trait in a woman. Also, I wanted to show that even heroines who don’t have a military or law enforcement background can be and are courageous and capable.

How much do you think your heroine reflects you?

Anne: There is a lot of me in Sara. While in the service, I often found myself in the extreme minority, so I did everything I could not to stand out, not to make waves. I did it at the expense of my femininity, though, so I was quite lopsided in that way.

Shanyn: In some ways, she’s an alternate-history me. George and I have very similar backstories and have lived through some very similar life events, but she made different choices than I did. I think she’s smarter than I am, certainly more ambitious. We’re equally idealistic.

Jenn: Noel’s personality and job and inner smart-ass are all me. I think all my characters reflect a bit of me in them.

Leslie: I think all the character we write contain some speck of ourselves. In this case, though, I see very little of Lark in me. Yes, I can swear with the best of them. However, I’m much more conservative, and not nearly as brave. Lark is patterned after a close friend, who recognizes herself on every page!

Mimi: I agree. I think all of us draw from different aspects of ourselves and then the character grows from there with his or her own traits and quirks. Ruby is definitely a reflection of me, in how she views the world, and her insecurities, but willing to admit them.

Camelia: A lot and a bit at the same time, if it’s possible. I’m not driven by ambition, yet I follow my dreams. I’m not as strong, yet I don’t shy from assuming responsibilities for my faults. And like Harper, I did get the man 😉

What was the most challenging part of writing this character?

Leslie: I really love Lark! She’s a bright spark in a world of convention and sameness. I’m continually walking the razor wire of showing her authentic self without turning off the reader. Women who curse can be considered unladylike, and I think it would be easy to go overboard showing her quirky nature.

Camelia: How strong she was, but underneath all of that façade being able to capture her insecurities and self-doubt. 

Jenn: Making her likeable. Noel is hard edged and that made for a character that needed a “save the cat” moment early on. An act of kindness that showed it wasn’t her personality, but her situation that caused her to abrasive.

Shanyn: George is a joy to write, but that doesn’t mean she’s easy to write. I love her quirkiness, her vocabulary. She and I both wrestle with what it means to be feminist, how that concept has evolved over the last 3 decades.

Anne: For sure, what I described earlier about making Sara relatable and not superhuman was the most challenging thing. I’d get carried away because I wanted to showcase her strengths, but it would tip the scales too far to where she wasn’t believable or relatable anymore. Thank heavens for my beta readers who reminded me of that. Their input ensured I’d written Sara honestly.

Mimi: Ruby is a necromancer. She’s not physically strong like a vampire or werewolf (I mean, think Elena from Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld.). So how can a necromancer show the strength of her power besides maybe reanimating a boxer? I had to be creative and I think I found some fun, interesting, and sometimes weird ways in which Ruby used her power to get out of sticky situations!

Name a favorite female character from any medium (book, tv, movie). Why do you like this character?

Mimi Sebastian

Mimi Sebastian

Mimi: I think everyone had a hard time choosing one character! I was torn between Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show) and Scully (X-Files), but ultimately chose Dana Scully. She was super whip-smart, independent, but wasn’t afraid to show a vulnerable side and her struggles with her own beliefs as she and Mulder’s investigations introduced them to tragedy, horror, and the fantastic. Her character and Gillian Anderson’s portrayal helped change the tv landscape’s depiction of women and relationships between men and women. Yes, her and Mulder hooked up but I didn’t see this as a failing of the show but a natural progression of their relationship, and what a joy in watching them interact, challenge each other, and support each other in a fully trusting relationship.

Leslie: Wow, that’s a tough one! From Catherine Hepburn’s portrayal of Tracy Lord in Philadelphia Story, to Diana Riggs’ Emma Peel (The Avengers), to Scarlett O’Hara and Xena and Katniss Everdean, women of strength and intelligence show courage under adversity. However, I’m going with Fa Mulan, from the Disney movie Mulan. Because the Huns have invaded China, the Emperor is conscripting men to fight. Knowing her father would not survive the war, Mulan selflessly chooses to take his place and impersonate a man. Despite her terror and fear of discovery, she succeeds as a soldier, even rescuing her commanding officer and, in the end, saving the Emperor and China. I love imperfect characters who rise above their own fears and securities to act with courage and conviction. Her motives were pure, and in the end she won the respect of those who looked down on her because she was a woman.

Camelia: It has to be Alice from “The Executioner” by Ana Calin, which is the latest book I read. Alice is a college student caught in the middle of a genetics war. She’s trying to figure out how her genius father got involved in all the while not losing her head and heart to the criminal sent to kill her father. Alice has the best sense of humor, using it as a self-defense mechanism. Her brain doesn’t seem to ever stop, finding details and the next piece of puzzle. When you think you have her figured it all out, you get another surprise.

Anne: One of my favorite female characters of all time is Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She’s feisty, independent, and quick. But most importantly, I think she’s true to herself. She’s also genuine and sweet as she wades through the growing pains of becoming a young woman. It’s almost impossible not to root for this character. 

Shanyn: Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) from the TV show Parks and Recreation. I relate to her quirkiness, her idealistic ambition, her tireless work ethic, her self-doubt, her devotion & loyalty to friends, her sense of humor, her craftiness (scrapbooking), her love of breakfast… I could go on and on!

Jenn: So many characters to chose from…UGH!! Okay…the question says pick one….hmmm. I’m going to pick Charlie Davidson from Darynda Jones Grave series. Charlie is the perfect combination of kick ass and sexy. She runs into every situation ready to save and protect those that she loves, no matter what may happen to her. She’s quirky, sarcastic, and has named all her female body parts, what more can you ask for in a heroine?

You can view our author bios here and see below for links to each author’s website and Amazon page!

Shanyn Hosier website and Amazon.

Leslie Jones website and Amazon.

Anne A. Wilson website and Amazon.

Camelia Miron Skiba website and Amazon.

Jennifer Windrow website.

Mimi Sebastian website and Amazon.