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!

Monday, May 23, 2011

IPBR on semi-hiatus

I have had a great time on the blog and have met a lot of wonderful authors, readers, and bloggers.  But due mainly to some “real life” issues going on at this time, I have decided to put the blog on semi-hiatus while Rose looks for a new blog manager to take over for me. Any books in the current FIFO queue will still be reviewed as I get to them and as long as I have access to the blog. If for some reason I lose access, then they will get posted on the sites where I usually cross post: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Amazon, and Smashwords (if applicable). Any other features I have already committed to will also be posted when received.

As for the review pool, I regret not being able to get to those books.  I was actually looking forward to using the new review system. There are definitely some books in there that I am eager to try -- some new-to-me authors and some old favorites.  If you have a book in the review pool that I downloaded, I’ll post a review for it at the sites listed above if/when I get around to reading it (and it will likely get priority over other indie books).  So you might even get an extra review if the new blog manager accepts your book too! 

I will continue to read my favorite indie authors and look for new favorites, and I can always be found on goodreads where I list any new indie finds to my shelves and post reviews occasionally.  Hope to see some of you there!  

If you are a reader reviewer of indie paranormal fiction and would like to consider managing this blog, please contact Rose Pressey at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Indie Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance website is revamped!

If you haven't been to the Indie Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance website lately you should go check it out.  Rose Pressey has taken over management of the site and has given it a facelift. 

If you are an author of paranormal fiction and want to be added to the site, give Rose a holler at

If you are a reader of paranormal fiction, check out the author info and find some new books to try.  More authors will be added soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review: Lovers & Beloveds by MeiLin Miranda

Lovers & Beloveds
by Meilin Miranda

Genre:  Epic Erotic Fantasy
Formats available:  ebook, paperback
Publication Date: September 6, 2010
Published by: Sans Culotte Press
Word Count: approx.143,660 (Novel Plus)
Print Length: 420 pgs
Kindle Locations:  7517
Source:  ebook provided by author

An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom, #1

DESCRIPTION from Goodreads:
Naive and sheltered Prince Temmin, Heir of Tremont, is newly arrived from his peaceful childhood home to his father King Harsin's intrigue=filled court in the City. He quickly finds himself the target of assassins sent by enemies he didn't even know he had, confronted with his past mistakes by his family's immortal advisor Teacher, and falling for the beautiful twins Allis and Issak.

But the twins are holy figures, the embodiments on earth of the Gods known as the Lovers. To be with the twins, Temmin must serve in the Lovers' Temple for two years, the fulfillment of a prophecy so old it's moved into folklore. Harsin believes its fulfillment will mean the end of the monarchy, and does everything he can to stop it.

Haunted by stories of his ancestors found in a magic book, Temmin must choose a path: one will lead to ultimate glory for Tremont, one will lead to its end, but no one knows which path is which.

Set in a place and time where magic is nearly forgotten and a new industrial age is dawning, "Lovers and Beloveds" is the first book in the series, "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom."

Temmin is Prince of Tremont and Heir to the throne. He has grown up with his mother, the Queen, far from the King's residence in a sheltered environment. Now that he is turning eighteen, he must return to court and start his training to one day become the next King.

Once there, he meets Issak and Allis Obby, the Embodiments of the God Nerr and Goddess Neya of the Lover's Temple. He is infatuated with them and wants to become a Supplicant to the Lover's Temple. Not so much out of piety but because he wants Issak and Allis. This plan is not popular with the King due to the prophecy that says if this were to happen, prosperity would come to the people. Sounds good, eh? Well, not when the King believes that prosperity for commoners means downfall for the royal line. Should Temmin follow his desire or his duty?

While Temmin struggles with his choices, he has to adjust to his new, more formal life at The Keep, dodge assassins, avoid the annoying prat, Lord Fennows, who has come to live at The Keep, deal with the servants' love lives, and escape the machinations of the King to keep him out of the Lovers Temple. He gets an unexpected ally in Teacher, the immortal advisor and tutor to all the Kings of Tremont. Teacher shows him the Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom. This is a story within the story that has parallels to Temmin's experiences.

Temmin starts out a bit whiny and spoiled, but you see him grow through his experiences and the choices he has to make. Though he could act a little naive at times, he also showed a tendency toward compassion, protectiveness, and loyalty. He loves his sisters and is protective of them even though they do annoy him at times. He also shows kindness to the servants. These qualities made Temmin a very likable character to me. He seemed to be good at heart and wanted to do the right thing. There are a number of interesting secondary characters too.

There is magic in this world, but it has been diminished. The magic that was once wielded by the King and his line is now mostly in the hands of Teacher. The reason for this was explained briefly, but I would like to have learned a little more about how this occurred. When Teacher shows Temmin the Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom (and I do mean show...falling into a book takes on a more literal meaning with Teacher) we see the magic of the past. This story unfolds slowly throughout the book.

The ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. I turned the page and was surprised that it had ended. There are definitely open story lines to be continued, so don't expect everything to be neatly tied up at the end. I don't know how many books are planned for this series but I get the sense that it will be a fairly long saga. There was at least one story thread that seemed to disappear -- the assassins and their attempts to kill Temmin -- that I suspect will come back into play in upcoming books.

Miranda has created an interesting world that is not bogged down in excessive world-building details. There are enough similarities to our own world to make a connection, but also enough differences to give you that "we're not in Kansas anymore" feeling. I've noticed this book is tagged as steampunk, but other than it taking place in a pre-industrial age and a steam engine being one of the primary modes of travel, I don't really see anything steampunk about this story. This world is also polytheistic; there are several gods and goddesses that people can choose to worship. Each one has its own Temple, with the Lover's Temple being the one of choice for Temmin. You can probably guess what goes on in this Temple.

This book is often compared to Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. I haven't read that series so I can't say for sure, but I understand the gist of it and I think it may be a good comparison. Like Carey's books, there is a significant erotic element to this story. Lovers and Beloveds is not a romance and you won't get an HEA. I would consider it more an alternate world fantasy with strong erotic elements. I don't feel the sex is gratuitous. It supports the story rather than the other way around. However, some of the erotic elements may be uncomfortable for some readers. Be prepared for dubious consent/rape, menage, anal, m/m, light bdsm and elements of incest.

The beginning of the book was a wee bit slow for me but it didn't take long to pick up. I thought the narrative and dialogue flowed well. It was also edited well, which made it a delightfully smooth read. This book was crowd funded, which means enough people enjoyed the initial drafts and believed in the author's ability to deliver a good story that they were willing to donate money so the author could get it professionally polished with editing and cover art. If you are inclined to read a fantasy saga with a strong erotic theme, I would recommend giving this book a try. I look forward to Temmin's continuing saga.

Rating: 4 - I Really Liked It

Typos found: 4 or 5

* * * * *

This book is available in both ebook and paperback formats.  You can find MeiLin Miranda on the web at:

Get the book!
Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

Find it on Goodreads HERE!

Free online serialized version of this novel is available on MeiLin's website:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - May 13, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count.

  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 

Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good! 

Graveyard Games
by Sheri Leigh 
published by Fido Publishing

Free! Smashwords
Free! B&N Nook

65,480 words (Novel)

Dusty, on forced leave as a police officer, returns home for her twin’s funeral to find local authorities aren’t being upfront about her brother’s death. Her focus fixes on Shane, her brother’s best friend. Sparks fly and while Dusty finds herself sinking in deeper with Shane, the mystery of what happened to her brother, and an ever growing list of victims, grows even stranger.



Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble, Jolie Wilkins, #1
Toil and Trouble, Jolie Wilkins, #2
To Kill a Warlock, Dulcie O'Neil, #1
A Tale of Two Goblins, Dulcie O'Neil, #2

All of HP Mallory's eBooks
Limited time sale
This Weekend ONLY!

$0.99 Amazon Kindle
$0.99 B&N Nook


by Kevin  Wright

135,450 words (Novel Plus)
The city of Colton Falls rots seething from its core. Corruption festers. Gangster wars bleed out from the projects. A serial killer haunts the streets. Below the streets is worse. Most live in ignorance… A few know of the occult menace: a grizzled emt and his partner, a comatose veteran, and a stone hearted cop. By day and by night, they combat the darkness at the risk of becoming it.


Raven's Kiss
Raven Grace, #1
by Toni LoTempio

$1.99 Smashwords
$0.99 B&N Nook

85,470 words (Novel)
A demon’s bite cursed her…Now Raven Grace walks the line between Other and humanity, all with a special purpose…


Allie's War, Book One
by JC Andrijeski and published by White Sun Press
$2.99 Smashwords
$2.99 B&N Nook

152,490 words (Novel Plus)
28-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, at least thought she was human. But when she meets her first real seer, a race of human-like beings discovered in the 1900s, he tells her that not only is she a seer, like him, but that all the other seers believe she's going to end the world. Unfortunately, no matter what she does,
everything that happens after that only seems to prove him right.