I'm excited to have The Stone of Darkness Blog Tour stopping by today! Author Resa Nelson is here with a fab guest post...
Why My Heroes Are Women
I’ve been writing short stories since childhood, and the main characters in my short stories are sometimes men and sometimes women. It depends on the story I want to tell and the point I want to make by telling that story. But in the novels I write, the main character is always a woman. As a novelist, my mission is to write about women who are smart and strong and courageous. There are a few different reasons why I do this, and some go back to my childhood.
I’m lucky that my parents were readers. They always read books out loud to me, and I’d often see my folks reading at home or even on vacation. Books were always a normal part of my environment. When I was old enough to read, my parents encouraged me to read the classics. I suspect I’m mostly a fantasy writer because I read every book of fairy tales and folk tales in my hometown library. From there I became a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, partly because I grew up in the Midwest and her books opened up a window where I could get a glimpse of what everyday life used to be like. And the hero was a little girl, someone I could relate to easily.
After reading Little House on the Prairie and all the books by Wilder, I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. The main character Jo thrilled me, because I already knew I wanted to be a writer. I felt like I could walk in her shoes and see through her eyes. I felt like a member of the March family and even collected dolls of all the characters.
I then went on to read books by Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Jules Verne. I adored the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and everything by Edgar Allen Poe. By my teens, my favorite authors were Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Agatha Christie. As much as I loved these authors and their work, I couldn’t help but notice that the hero was almost always a man (with the exception of Christie’s Miss Marple, who was a bit too old for me to identify with). Every once in a while I’d find a book like the splendid A Wrinkle In Time where I delighted in walking in Meg’s shoes. But books like that were a rare treat.
So as an author, I can’t help but wonder this: Why should it be a rare treat to read a book where the main character is a woman? It seems to still be true. My readers tell me all the time how difficult it is to find books where a good and competent woman is the hero.
Don’t get me wrong. I adore books like the Harry Potter series and other books that feature boys or men as the main character. I just think there’s an imbalance, and I choose to be on the side of heroic women. And while I appreciate books that include smart and courageous girls or women as sidekicks, I like to put girls and women in the spotlight and let male characters be their sidekicks! So that’s why if you pick up one of my books, you can be guaranteed you’re going to read about a woman in charge!
If you’d like to sample my work for free, you can download a free “mini” ebook called “Dragonslayer Stories” from my website at http://www.resanelson.com/files. No cost, no obligation, nothing to sign up for, no information gathering. I like giving away samples of my work so you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not. Also, you can enter to win signed copies of the first three novels in my Dragonslayer series on GoodReads at this link: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness. If you like getting a discount, you can get 10% off my books (ebooks and paperbacks) when you buy them from my publisher (www.mundania.com). Enter this code at checkout: MP10.
The Dragonslayer Series
The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)
For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?
The Iron Maiden (Book 2)
Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it's her duty. She'd rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?
Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer's sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.
In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn't a decision she can make just once. It's a decision she must make every day.
The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)
In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.
Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.
Resa Nelson has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom. Her first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series. Book 2, The Iron Maiden, was published last December, Book 3 was published in May, and the final book in the series is scheduled for publication in November. Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended." Resa lives in Massachusetts.
Resa’s website: http://www.resanelson.com
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories: http://www.resanelson.com/files
GoodReads giveaway: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/27323-the-stone-of-darkness
Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at: http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)