Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Tour, Guest Post & Author Contest - Beth Barany - What I Love About Kick Ass Heroines

IPBR is today's stop on Beth Barany's Blog Tour to promote her YA Novel, Henrietta the Dragon Slayer. Beth will be guest posting about Kick-Ass Heroines today. Be sure to check out her contest info at the end of this post!

What I Love About Kick Ass Heroines, Bad Girls We Know and Love

By Beth Barany

I’ll just come right out and say it! {Scary, in a good way.} I’m releasing my YA fantasy, Henrietta the Dragon Slayer, in print June 1! (The Kindle/Nook version is now available.)

Henrietta is a bit of a bad girl as the story opens. She’s gettin’ out of Dodge, leaving her hero days behind, not wanting to be the hero anymore. She's leaving behind her responsibilities for a life down in the sunny beaches down south. Her heart is hurting and she doesn’t even know it. Yet.

Where did the inspiration for Henrietta come from?

Other bad girls!

I devote this post to the bad girls and kick ass heroines I know and love, drawn mostly from movies.

The Bad Girl archetype is a powerful and ancient one, and well represented in our modern stories. The Bad Girl archetype is about reclaiming female power for the good of the community and for benefit of the Bad Girl, who sometimes becomes more than just a Bad Girl. She becomes a Kick Ass Heroine.

Feel free to chime in with your favorites!

I have a primary place in my heart for Nikita in the original Luc Besson film, La Femme Nikita.

She’s bad out of choice and circumstance. Then she gets a chance at redemption. Or does she? I like how she has the opportunity to remake her life.

Another is Lara Croft in Tomb Raider.

She's a spoiled rich girl. Or is she? Not just. She lost her beloved father early and seems to be driven by some sort of justice. She’s strong, she’s capable, and she won’t stop until she gets what she wants.

Then there's Lilu in The Fifth Element, another Luc Besson film.

She may not be considered a bad girl, because she’s supposed to save the world. But if the world is not worth saving she will let it be destroyed. That takes guts, and the strength of doing what’s right, in the face of the potential horrible loss.

The ultimate bad girl is Kali, the Hindi goddess of birth and destruction, and eternal energy.

I’m drawn to her, without consciously knowing why. Then I read this: “She is also revered as Bhavatarini (literally 'redeemer of the universe').” Oh! Redeemer!

I love stories where the Bad Girl gets redeemed. She’s on the outside looking in, her violent tendencies seemingly keeping her at odds with the expectations of what it means to be a woman. Only through acceptance of her benefits to the community that both she and the community agree to can she find her place in the community.

Lastly, I want to mention the book, Warrior Women: An Archaeologist’s Search for History’s Hidden Heroines by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, with Mona Behan. This from the editorial reviews at Amazon says it all: “Nearly one-quarter of the women buried in some late Iron Age sites were either warriors or priestesses. Even the remainder, ‘hearth women,’ were important players in the tribes’ surprisingly egalitarian societies. Further, southern Kazakhstan’s famous ‘gold man’ was in fact, a ‘gold woman.’ Davis-Kimball also finds solid evidence of ‘high status’ women in graves as far east as China and as far west as Ireland.”

I know I come from a long line of warrior women, many of them viewed as Bad Girls from the culture of their day.

It’s time for us, for me, to reclaim our Badness and use it as a force for good!

So we can become kick ass heroines!

In normal everyday life, I don’t know about you, but I have to be polite. (Okay I don’t have to… but I am.) I can’t go around punching or kicking folks. I’m not five, anymore. Actually, I wasn’t that kind of kid, where any of the adults could see me. But I was a bully. Is that why I love bad-ass or kick-ass heroines?

I don’t know. Actually I think it’s my nature to be a warrior, but there isn’t enough women warrior archetypes in my life, so I wrote about one! Yep, she’s Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, and she’s at any fine ebook retailer of your choice.

Henrietta, the legendary Dragon Slayer of the Kingdom of Bleuve, can’t stomach the thought of one more kill. Yet, in order to save her dying mentor, she must go on one last quest. But will the quest for the healing stone be derailed by misfit companions, seasickness, and an ego maniacal king? And will she be able to cut past her conscience and kill the dragon?

I wrote above about the kick-ass heroines I’ve seen in media, Bad Girl Archetype. There are not enough Kick-Ass Heroines in my opinion when you compare to all the men who have these roles — so I’ve compiled a list of the characteristics of a kick-ass heroine archetype. I’m really curious what you think.

Before I go there, I just wanted to say that I do value softness and vulnerability in women and girls. I guess, though, I’m rallying against helplessness.

I believe we are all resourceful, and sometimes asking for help is the most resourceful, brave and courageous thing we can do.

Characteristics of a Kick-Ass Heroine Archetype

  • Fierceness
  • Persistence
  • Fighting skills with or without weapons
  • Doesn’t listen to elders
  • Determined
  • Leadership
  • Strong
  • Flexible
  • Probably experience some form of tragedy earlier in their life
  • Doesn’t take orders from others well
  • Wants to be in charge
  • Tends to be a loner
  • Doesn’t suffer fools gladly
  • Can rally her friends behind a cause
  • Is brave enough to ask for help
  • Stands up and speaks out against injustice
  • Helps those in need
  • Isn’t afraid to do what it takes even if what it takes is a stretch, new, or scary, especially if it’s scary
  • Faces her fears
  • Honest to at least herself
  • Searches for the truth to best of her abilities
  • Owns up to her mistakes
  • Works hard to cultivate and maintain her abilities

What do you guys think? What did I leave out from this list? What would you add? Thanks!

P.S.  All who answer the question are eligible to enter my May book giveaway for a copy of my book (print or ebook) and the blog tour Grand Prize, Henrietta's necklace. More details here: Henrietta The Dragon Slayer Summer Blog Tour.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, author Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. It only took her thirty years to actually start writing them down, then grit and determination to whip them into shape. She writes to empower girls and women with her kickass heroines who have to save the world against great odds. 

In her off hours, Beth enjoys cardio kickboxing, stick yoga, reading and watching movies with her husband, author and musician Ezra Barany, and two cats, Kitty and Leo.

You can find Beth online at:

Thanks for joining us today Beth!


  1. Thanks for having me here, Michelle! I appreciate it!

  2. I don't think you left a thing off the list! I can't wait to get your book--even out of my genre!--but please remind me when it's available on June 1...can't keep my own list of things straight!
    the last letter-may, 2011

  3. Hi Kathie, The ebook is available now on the kindle and I will let you know when it's available in print! Glad you are looking forward to it! Thanks!

  4. Hi Beth! What I love about my heroine is that she is pushed to the breaking point and finds within herself to push through barriers she had in order to rescue the day. That to me is real kick-ass bad assness!

    Great Post!

  5. Hi Draconis! Your heroine sounds intriguing. Keep us posted on your book release! Thanks for commenting and glad you liked my post!


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