Misbehaving Women


I love the quote, “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” That’s true in the real world, but it’s always true in fantasy.

In my Chronicles of the Necromancer series, all of my female characters “aim to misbehave.” Kiara Sharsequin may be the heir to the Isencroft throne, but when she needs to find a way to heal her father the king, and avoid an arranged marriage to a tyrannical monarch, she takes off on her own and breaks all the rules to find a solution.

Dark Lady frontCarina Jesthrata is a healer whose been making her own way since she and her twin brother, Cam, were cast out of their home because their neighbors feared that twins were bad magic. Between Carina’s healer’s talent and Cam’s brawny size, they find work with a mercenary troop, and later with a traveling caravan. It’s not the genteel life of a healer to a noble house, but it puts Carina in position to affect the future of the Winter Kingdoms.

Aidane is a serroquette, a ‘ghost whore,’ a medium who can permit a ghost to inhabit her body for an intimate reunion with a living lover. She makes her way despite the Nargi priests who hunt down and kill the serroquettes. When she is caught, beaten and left for dead, her unlikely rescuers sweep Aidane up into intrigue in a war-torn kingdom, setting a chain of events into motion that put the fate of the new queen in Aidane’s hands.

In my Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, Kestel Falke is a spy, a courtesan and an assassin. (It was the assassin part that earned her a one-way ticket to the Velant prison colony.) Her fighting skills keep her alive and protect her within the brutal Velant prison, and her adaptability helps her survive was a colonist in the harsh Edgeland climate. When magic fails, Kestel finds herself being the bodyguard and lover of the one man who might be able to put things right.

Gail Martin coverAnd in my Deadly Curiosities series, Cassidy Kincaide is the owner of Trifles & Folly, an antiques and collectibles store in Charleston, SC that is much more than in appears to be. Cassidy is a psychometric, able to read the history of objects with a touch. That comes in handy, because Trifles & Folly is the front for an organization dedicated to removing dangerous magical objects from circulation. Cassidy’s work involves a fair amount of breaking and entering, and a certain level of subterfuge to keep the store’s real purpose under wraps. (You’ll see more of Cassidy in my story, ‘Retribution,’ in the Athena’s Daughters anthology, and in the new Deadly Curiosities series from Solaris books in 2014.)

If any of my heroines had been “well-behaved,” they would never have gotten into the situations that let them save the monarch, save the kingdom, or chart their own destiny. By defying the norms of their culture, social class and circumstances, they break the constraints that would have kept them from coming into their full abilities and making a huge difference in the world. Let’s hear it for women who misbehave!

Who are your favorite misbehaving women in fiction? I want to know! Please tell me in the comments!swag

And if you like books–and swag–and free book swag–have we got a deal for you!  I’m part of a promotion along with Faith Hunter and John Hartness and Stuart Jaffe and David B. Coe–offering you the Swaggiest Swag–all for the price of a self-addressed, stamped envelope!  Details are here–please send in your own SASE and then help us spread the word!


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