Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Funraiser & Giveaway: Lauren Grimely

Hello Everyone,
This post was created by Lauren Grimely. She is hosting a fundraiser and giveaway for Brest Cancer Month. This is a very good cause and we would appreciate any help.

Top ten things more fictional (and real-life) females ought to do:

5. Embrace their sexuality.
6. Champion their femininity.
7. Appreciate chivalry.
8. Celebrate girl power.
9. Eliminate cattiness.
10. Cry a little & laugh a lot.

I am surrounded by real-life women warriors fighting life’s toughest battles, something that’s become even more evident as I’ve talked with people about my recent project: Romance for a Reason. Yet, as a reader and writer of romance (among other genres), I find few admirable fictional female warriors. So I decided to explore the issue, making a plea to writers and readers to demand more of their fictional heroines and explaining my reasons in posts throughout the month. Today, I’m talking up to number six on my top ten list. (See the calendar on the Romance for a Reason page for dates and links to the other posts.)

Real Heroines Don’t Need Steroids

Or leather. Or tattoos. Or guns of either the literal or figurative types. Real heroines can kick butt without having to dress or act like dudes.

In addition to paranormal romance, my series also falls under the urban fantasy category. Take a minute to do a Google images search of urban fantasy book covers and you’ll understand were this rant is coming from. The women on these covers are either scantily clad swimsuit models or leathery steroid users—or both. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against a female in fiction, or real-life for that matter, taking pride in her ‘assets,’ nor can I deny wanting abs worthy of baring, but I think some of these books (or at least their cover artists) have gone too far.

If the only way we can turn our women into warriors is by slapping some nail polish on an otherwise masculine character, we have some problems. Heroes don’t have to be big and tough. They don’t have to have perfect bodies or know how to use a gun. Instead, they can be smart, compassionate, inventive, and—yes, our heroes can even be feminine.

This might all seem hypocritical from an author whose main character is a proclaimed tomboy and black belt. It’s not. Alex’s character traits developed from having two older brothers whom she idolized and a father who knew what she’d eventually face in life—all of which play a crucial role in the plot. Just as important to her character is her unfaltering compassion and her vulnerability, two traits that some readers might see as weaknesses, but that I see as an honest portrayal of a twenty-something woman facing reality for the first time. At one point in my revision process of Unforeseen I wrote a note in the margin, “Does A. cry too much?” When I thought more about it, I realized what my real concern was: I didn’t want my heroine to come off as too emotional. But women are more openly emotional. I don’t think that’s a stereotype or at all a bad thing. Being emotional means we care and are brave enough to show it. If I had given in to that impulse to make her ‘tougher,’ I would really have been implying to my readers that women, as we are, aren’t strong enough to be heroes.

I don’t believe that. Nor do I believe most writers, romance or otherwise, believe that. Yet it’s too easy to get sucked into stripping our female characters of all that makes them fabulously female—the ability to fight without immediately resorting to violence, to care for others despite what the rest of the world may think of them, and, yes, to cry, to smudge our mascara, and to be okay with the world knowing we care so we hurt.

So go ahead and teach your heroines how to shoot a gun or execute a roundhouse to the ribs, but also let her giggle, mother, and cry. Dudes in dresses are funny in the right time and place, but not as the heroines we’re asking readers to love and admire.

The Romance:
Unbridled: A collection of short stories from the Alex Crocker series
By Lauren Grimley

“Think Law and Order SUV meets The Breakfast Club” was Ellie’s trite explanation of what Alex had been dragged into. Add a few fangs, Fifty Shades of Oversharing, and a dash of Dr. Phil, and she was in for quite a Thursday night.

Alex couldn’t deny she had become the pint-sized poster child for PTSD lately, but she didn’t exactly expect to find a support group for teachers turned vampire chew toys in Bristol, MA. Listening to the tales of the four other females gathered to help her heal, however, she accepts that perhaps both the worst and the best of life can blossom from the unexpected.

Unbridled is a novella-length collection of four connected stories focusing on the unlikely friendships and less likely lovers of the female characters from the Alex Crocker series.

“Grace and Dignity”
Ireland, 1713
Even a female whose mating has been arranged most of her life still thinks about what she wants in a mate. Not one of the qualities Sarah had hoped for were easily evident in her betrothed, the future Regan of the Rectinatti coven. Perhaps, though, there were more layers to Darian than he liked to reveal, but how does a subject unmask a prince?

“Rules and Recollections”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 1902
You can’t fall in love with someone you barely recall, but that, Vivian supposed, was the point. After a terse meeting with the Knower, a mind reader, memory manipulator, and the coven’s most notorious lecher, Vivian isn’t herself. She can’t shake the feeling that the solution to her mood lurks just below the surface of her consciousness. Only plunging into darkness, though, will bring everything to light.

“Blood and Secrecy”
Bristol, Massachusetts, 2008
The shared need for blood brought them together, but individual desires for secrecy are keeping them apart. Each already left behind a life of privilege for reasons the other likely couldn’t understand. Now both Rocky and Ellie need to decide if they’re willing to open up about their pasts in order to ensure a future.

Series: Alex Crocker series, can definitely be enjoyed without reading the first two books in the series, but is written to fit after the events of book 2, Unveiled.
Genres: paranormal romance, vampire series, urban fantasy, short stories
Release date: October 1, 2013
Available formats: ebook & paperback (178 pages)
Purchase links:

Or for those who want just a bite, three of the individual stories are available as well:
“Grace and Dignity”:
“Rules and Recollections”:
“Blood and Secrecy”:

For the other books and stories in the series see Lauren’s Amazon Author page:

Barnes & Noble –

The Reason:
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and a friend and teacher of too many women who’ve been affected by violence, I chose it to also to be the release date for Unbridled. I may not love wearing pink or purple, the colors of these two issues, but I do love a good fight for great causes. I’ve just chosen to battle this one with my pen. Please consider helping in your own way!

How you can help:
Read some romance. Proceeds from Unbridled will be donated to the two charities listed here.

Donate. Make your own individual donation to these two charities or choose a local charity supporting these and other causes affecting women in your area. To learn more about each charity and my reasons for choosing them, visit the Romance for a Reason page. Or click through to donate directly.

Party hard. Gather the women (and men!) of your book club or just a group of friends for a Romance for Reason party. Party ideas? Check out my blog for ideas on how to plan your gathering. Then download the Romance Reading Questionnaire and/or the Body Lingo Bingo for some fun party activities!

Share. Tweet, status update, review, or just chat with friends about the books, the tour, and the charities (mine or yours)!

Lauren Grimley lives in central Massachusetts where she grew up, but her heart is on the beaches of Cape Cod where she spends as much of her time as possible. After graduating from Boston University she became a middle school English teacher. She now balances writing, reading, and correcting, all with a cat on her lap and a glass of red wine close by.

Unforeseen, the first novel in the Alex Crocker Seer series, was Lauren’s debut novel. She was thrilled this spring to continue the series with Unveiled and now Unbridled. To learn more about her or her writing or to connect with her online visit her website at

Twitter @legrimley:

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Lauren Grimley said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Danielle!

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