The (fictional) women of my life

scarjoI’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

Continue reading → The (fictional) women of my life

The (fictional) women of my life

Rachel-Weisz-rachel-weisz-120258_800_1101I’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

Continue reading → The (fictional) women of my life

The (Fictional) Women In My Life

Rachel-Weisz-rachel-weisz-120258_800_1101I’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

Continue reading → The (Fictional) Women In My Life

New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To Borrow

I’ve done a number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier. EDITED: This one will actually be happening, as Brother Bones will guest-star in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five!

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and for those of you who haven’t read the Gravedigger debut novel yet, you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… if you have read it, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?

From the Vault: New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To… Borrow

I’ve done a number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier. EDITED: This one will actually be happening, as Brother Bones will guest-star in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five!

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and for those of you who haven’t read the Gravedigger debut novel yet, you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… if you have read it, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?

From the Vault: Dangerous Curves Ahead

cat-clara I gave a how-to writing class to a group of high schoolers about two years ago and one of the young men asked me how I wrote female characters. Having written several books starring female protagonists (The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all come to mind), I immediately had a response. I said that you should always start thinking of your characters as people first and gender later. I told him that there is no one “type” of woman out there… there are women who cry at the drop of a hat but then there are women who are tough as nails. There are women who love to shop and wear pink… there are also women who love mixed martial arts and who can drink any man under the table. There are even women who love to wear pink, cry at the drop of a hat, are still tough as nails, love mixed martial arts *and* can drink any man under the table.

Women are people first. The same goes for different races or anything, really.

I also told him that if he were still worried, to look at the women around him — his friends, his family, his sisters. Think about how multifaceted those women are and then incorporate that into his work.

When I was creating Gravedigger, I thought of ways to make her different from my other characters — but not once did I think of her gender as being a personality trait. She’s a much harder-edged character than Lazarus Gray, because of her life experiences. Yes, she’s a beautiful woman… yes, she could be a mother someday. But she’s a human being first. I don’t need to worry about writing “women” because I know how to write “people.” I mean, I am one!

Yes, sometimes you should incorporate differences into female characters but again, if you know more than a handful of women, you’ll know how different they all can be — some poke fun at men, some don’t. Some like to smoke, drink and swear. Some don’t. Some women would never have sex with a man outside of a committed relationship. Some women see nothing wrong with ‘Friends with Benefits.’

Never assume that a woman — or a man, for that matter — can’t act one way just because of their gender. We have certain societal norms, yes, but the degrees to which we all fall inside or outside of them vary tremendously.

When it comes to sexualizing your characters, you have to know your character, your story and your audience. With my heroines, all of them are beautiful, yes — but this is adventure fiction. The women are beautiful and the men are handsome. I never try to objectify my female characters any more than I do the male ones — in other words, I do objectify them in the sense that they’re attractive and this is mentioned… but they’re far more than that. Pulp is escapism and part of the appeal is that our heroes (male & female) are larger-than-life. They’re gorgeous, they’re brave and they’re heroic. They’re idealized. Even in Rabbit Heart, which is highly charged with sex and violence, I don’t think I treat the women in the story any different than I do the males — some of them are very emotionally unstable, some are promiscuous and some are just downright nasty… but that’s true of both genders in the story. And Fiona Grace, though driven by powerful needs, is still an idealized heroine who rises above it all. Yes, Fiona’s outfit on the cover is risque — but if you read the story, you’ll know there’s a major reason why it’s shown that way. The story deals with archetypes and the way society views them — and Fiona is forced to play that part, to a degree.

So keep the focus on the *person* and not the gender… in the long run, it’ll pay off for you!

New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To… Borrow.

The most recent Lazarus Gray story that I wrote (which will appear in Volume Four) teamed up Lazarus Gray with Thunder Jim Wade. I’ve done a  number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier.

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and I know that none of you have read the Gravedigger debut story yet, so you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… after you read the first Gravedigger book, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?