Writing the Kick Ass Heroine

One of my fav quotes is “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” During the Regency, being considered a ‘pattern’ sort of girl (one who played by the rules) was encouraged, but there were always the exceptions. And those rule-breakers were the ones who were declared to be Originals–trendsetters the ton watched with horrified fascination. My friend Shana Galen brings the ultimate rule-breaker to her If You Give a Rake a Ruby. 

Be sure to leave a comment for Shana at the end of this post because there are two chances to win free reads!  

from Shana Galen: 

I love kick ass heroines. I love writing them, and I love reading books featuring them. My favorite kick ass heroine is JD Robb’s Eve Dallas. Eve is such a perfect mixture of tough and vulnerable. I think all of my kick ass heroines (Sophia from Lord and Lady Spy, Raeven from The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, and now Fallon from If You Give a Rake a Ruby) are derived, in some form or other, from Eve Dallas. 

Here’s what I love about kick ass heroines.

1)   Kick ass heroines get to kick ass. Here’s a scene from If You Give a Rake a Ruby.

 Kwirley was slower than she’d anticipated, and she had almost gained the towering mahogany doors before he caught her elbow and spun her around. “Not so fast—” he began.

Fallon kicked him in the belly, sending him sprawling backward. He knocked over a pedestal holding a jeweled lamp, and she had a moment’s worry because it was one of her favorites. But a quick glance reassured her the lamp was not broken.

The glance also revealed Kwirley was getting up. Blockhead. “Go home, my lord. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Really?” He wiped his hands on his breeches. “Because I would like to hurt you. I don’t know who you think you are, but you’re going to pay for—”

She sidestepped him, spun, and booted him in his lower back. The blow set him off-balance, and she had a moment to grab a book and hurl it at him. Her aim was perfect, and the book’s spine hit him in the center of the forehead. “Ow, you little bitch!” He charged her, and Fallon shook her head. He wasn’t even thinking, simply acting blindly. She easily sidestepped him again, and he rammed into a settee, knocking it over. While he struggled to rise, Fallon dug her heel into the back of his neck and pressed him down.

2)   Kick ass heroines can also be kind (sort of).

Titus was close to seven feet tall and easily twenty-five stone. He had a thick head of bright red hair, shocking blue eyes, and a mouth full of crooked teeth. His hands were as big as puppies and his legs tree trunks. He did not walk so much as lumber, and Kwirley began protesting the moment Titus entered the room.

“There’s been some sort of mistake. I didn’t intend any disrespect.”

Fallon sighed. “Titus, I might have known you would be standing right outside.”

The giant shrugged, his shoulders small mountains. “I like to make sure there’s no trouble, my lady.”

Fallon had told him an hundred times she was no lady, but he insisted on referring to her as such anyway. Who was she to protest? It wasn’t as though anyone else was clamoring to call her a lady.

She pressed her foot into Kwirley’s neck for good measure then lifted it and stepped away. “Would you be so kind as to show Lord Kwirley out?”

“I’ll show ‘em out,” Titus said. “But I won’t be kind about it.”

Kwirley gave her a panicked look, and Fallon was sorely tempted to shrug helplessly. But at the last moment, she took pity on the man.

“Titus, be nice. Don’t throw Lord Kwirley farther than the lamp post.”

3)   Kick ass heroines can be vulnerable.

She shut her eyes, trying not to remember. “I’d already been stealing for my father, picking pockets, grabbing food from vendors’ carts. Do you really want to hear this?”


She straightened at his empathetic tone. “I don’t want your sympathy. If you’re going to feel sorry for me, then I’ll stop right now.”

“I don’t feel sorry for you.”

She narrowed her eyes, studying him in the dim light. “No, I’m sure you’re gloating over your perfect childhood.” She didn’t know where it came from, this defensiveness. She supposed it had lain latent for years as she moved through the ton and adopted their ways. But she’d never been one of them. Deep down, she’d always known that. Fitzhugh was going to make certain she didn’t forget.

“I can’t complain. I did have a rather idyllic childhood, but it was far from perfect and nothing to gloat over. I certainly haven’t overcome what you haven’t overcome what you have. I haven’t made myself into the kind of person you have.”

Fallon studied him for a long moment. Had that been respect in his tone? She could have heard him incorrectly…

What about you? Do you prefer kick ass heroines or their more demure sisters? One person who comments will be randomly chosen to receive a copy of When You Give a Duke a Diamond, the first in the Jewels of the Ton series (US and Canada).

If You Give a Rake a Ruby by Shana Galen—in stores March 2013


Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.


Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line . . .

To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what make her his heart’s desire . . .


Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston‘s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.


Stroke of Genius

Now it’s YOUR turn. Leave a comment to enter our random drawing. One lucky winner will receive Shana’s When You Give a Duke a Diamond and a second commenter will win my latest release, Stroke of Genius!  

65 thoughts on “Writing the Kick Ass Heroine

  1. Shana, Goodreads recommended LORD AND LADY SPY, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Loved the heroine! I’ve been recommending it to friends. Mia, I have your blog listed on mine as one I follow. Love what you have to say, especially Red Pencil Thursday events.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Well yay for Goodreads, Helen! So glad you enjoyed it. The next Lord and Lady Spy book is out in September.

  2. Laurie Evans says:

    Kick-ass heroine, please! I can’t deal with simpering heroines.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      One of the things I dislike is the passive-aggressive character, like May Welland in The Age of Innocence. She manipulates her husband at every turn.

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Simpering is a perfect word, Laurie. Those sorts of heroines do get on one’s nerves.

  3. Janie McGaugh says:

    I love kick-ass heroines in my paranormal romances. In my historical romances, I prefer them a little more subdued, but I still like them to be brave and fiesty.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      In paranormals, the heroine better be kickass if she has a hope of making it through the story!

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Janie, feisty is such a fun word! I definitely think historical heroines still need to reflect the period.

  4. Quilt Lady says:

    I love kick ass heroines. I would love to have either of these books because I have not read them. Beautiful covers Shana. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Hey Quilt Lady. Thanks for dropping by. Good luck in the drawing.

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Thanks, QuiltLady. Good luck!

  5. Amy Hart says:

    I’d be estatic to win either book. I’ve never read any of her books so it would be lovely to explor her writing style. Plus I am an enormous historical romance lover. So, please let the auto generated selector pick me!!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I’m afraid I have no say over the matter. My DH (the Google guy) uses a complicated algorithm to pick the winners.

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Good luck, Amy! I’d love for you to be able to try one of my books. I know Mia feels the same.

  6. Sharlene Wegner says:

    I see you take the “kick ass” literally! Of course the kick ass heroines sound more interesting. There are some stories about “blue stockings” that also have some spunk, but are not necessarily kick ass, but you don’t really want someone who sits back & never takes action.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      A character can be strong in many different ways.

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Very true, Sharlene. Not much would happen in a book where the character didn’t ever make a change.

  7. Diane P. Diamond says:

    Wow, what a great excerpt. I have to say that I much prefer a “kick ass heroine” , than a simpering little miss. It makes for a much more exciting read.

    Congratulations to Shana on her new release of “If You Give A Rake a Ruby”, and also to you Mia on your release of “Stroke of Genius”.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Diane. I think part of the appeal of the kickass heroine stems from our frustration when we see a female character shrinking before others. We want to try on a strong heroine’s shoes. A simpering miss’s would surely pinch.

    2. Shana Galen says:

      Thanks, Diane. Times have sure changed, huh? It used to be the shy, virginal heroines were popular. I think this is a good sign.

  8. bn100 says:

    the kick ass ones

    1. Shana Galen says:

      But of course, bn100!

  9. Barbara Elness says:

    I love kick ass heroines, I think they’re so much more fun!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      There’s always a tension for writers when crafting our Regency characters. Do we go with the historically accurate mainstream or create a unique person who doesn’t follow the rules? And if they don’t, why do they have the courage to go their own way? Purists will flay the kickass Regency heroine, but I love the girl who breaks the pattern. As Guinan of the Starship Enterprise once said, “Fitting in just . . . repels me.”

  10. Suzi Love says:

    I love your books, Shana, and can’t wait to read this one.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      All Shana’s books are golden!

  11. Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Mia and Shana!

    What a great interview! I loved not only the great questions but the answers.

    Please, please, please give me a “kick ass heroines” any day! I thought that the idea of being “more demure” ended when I was in college during the 1960’s and we finally took charge of our own futures!

    Of course conquering a man is the same as it’s ever been but it’s so much fun and after being married for 43 years I can honestly say that the results are worth it!

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Jeanne, that is encouraging because some days those men need a lot of conquering!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Congrats on your 43 years with the same guy, Jeanne! What an accomplishment.

  12. Joy G says:

    Loved the post =) I love the kick-ass Heroine, and I really enjoyed the new use of a book as a weapon, hope it was one of those dull tomes, and not a Steamy Romance… LOL.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Oh, I’m sure Fallon doesn’t waste her time reading dull books, Joy. I’m sure the book was none the worse for wear.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Books used to be such a luxury item. Still, when you need something to bean someone on the noggin, whatever comes to hand…

  13. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Shana and Mia,

    What a fun post. I like a spicy heroine who knows some Regency-era martial arts.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      LOL, Barbara! A Jacqueline Chan heroine would be awesome!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      You know,during the Georgian era there was a complicated “language of the fan.” It was used by a lady to telegraph her interest in a gentleman and give him clues in how to proceed with her. In some martial arts, a fan is also used as a weapon. Hmmm…. could have some fun with that.

  14. Jennifer L says:

    I love kick-ass heroines! They are much more interesting than demure ladies.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      I agree, Jennifer!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      We are so blessed to have the freedom not to be demure. Our sisters in other times really had to buck the trend in order to be different.

  15. Olga says:

    Love the book covers.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Olga, I have been very lucky with covers :-)

  16. Ella Quinn says:

    I love this book. Great post. I re-tweeted.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      I saw your tweet, Ella. Thank you!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Always appreciate your retweets, Ella!

  17. may says:

    Love both writers. :)

    Really enjoy the first book in the series so looking forward to reading more about Fallon.

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Thanks, May! Good luck.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thank you, May! You’re a doll.

  18. Robin Bromiley says:

    Love both of these authors! I am defiantly considered a “Original”. I do what I like no matter what people think.

    1. Robin Bromiley says:

      Hit enter before I was finished.. See not a rule follower. :) I am for the Kick-Ass heroines. Demure only gets you so far in life.

      1. Shana Galen says:

        Very true, Robin. Sometimes you have to go for what you want.

  19. sue ellen Robertson says:

    I love historical and also regent romances. I always think i was born in time because I enjoy becoming swallowed up in the dukes/marchioness books. And i know these are just books but amazing authors make us love the heroines , pirates, and rakes. Lol

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Sue Ellen, I sometimes feel I was born in the wrong time too. And sometimes I forget everyone else isn’t as interested in the nineteenth century as I am!

  20. Druma Shukla says:


    1. Shana Galen says:

      LOL! I agree Druma.

  21. CateS says:

    Won an ARC of this and it was AWESOME!! A must read for fans of real characters and storylines. Thanks for some great writing!

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Thank you, Cate! That’s very sweet of you.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Shana is a serious talent!

  22. Linda says:

    Love kick-ass heroines! =) Can´t wait for my chance to read your book.
    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Monday!

    1. Shana Galen says:

      Thanks, Linda. I love them too.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Personally, I’m such a beta. The thought of actual physical confrontation makes my belly fizz, but I love living vicariously through adventurous heroines who know how to handle themselves.

  23. This series has caused me to fall in love with the writing of Shana Galen. I finished When You Give a Duke a Diamond in a day it was so amazing. I can’t wait to read more books by Shana and dive into more of her series.


    1. Shana Galen says:

      Thanks, Danielle! :-)

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      Shana hooked me with Lord & Lady Spy!

  24. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks for hosting me today, Mia, and what a great giveaway! Thanks!

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