Kick-Ass Heroines or Empowered Women Characters By Janie Franz

Please welcome Janie Franz as she shares about kick-ass heroines and empowered women characters.


Strong women certainly appear in my books. In fact, I’ve branded my work as having what I call Empowered Women Characters. Each series or stand alone book has a woman who discovers strength deep within to handle a particular life hurdle.

In the contemporary romance, The Premier, a South Dakota housewife, who writes under the name Susan Davyss, attends the Hollywood premier of a film made from her bestselling novel. She recognizes a buried trouble in her marriage because of her success,  faces Hollywood temptation, and discovers confidence and strength she didn’t know she had.

Im contrast in my book Sugar Magnolia, music journalist/artist Shivaun Corbin draws from her vast inner strength while on assignment at charismatic rocker Daniel Madux’s mansion. She discovers dark secrets and hidden passion as she avoids Madux’s advances and ferrets out a musical mystery. She is a woman who knows herself and her abilities.

Then there is archaeology grad student Kate Ferguson in the Ruins trilogy. Readers see her grow into a woman of power, claiming her psychic abilities, and battling tribal thugs, international smugglers, and cherubic assassins. She is strong, gutsy, and troubled by her gifts. In the last book, Legacy, (which I’m writing currently) her courage and faith are sorely tried and her abilities are further honed.

But I think the epitome of kick-butt heroines are found in the Bowdancer Saga. These six books follow the life of Jan-nell, who was trained as her village’s bowdancer, an office that is a combination of healer, teacher, historian, and spiritual leader with a bit of entertainer tossed in. Though she has gentleness, she is a strong woman who deals gracefully with change and hurt. She opens her mind and heart to town folk on her travels as well as exotic cultures and strange customs. And she can bust a head with her staff, a reminder of the great long bow she used to wield in her duties as bowdancer.

Among those she meets are the famed Warrior Women who live apart on a great mountain. These tall, powerful women need no man, except those to help them conceive. Their independence and strength influence and enhance Jan-nell’s own abilities that are vastly different. Chandro, the master trackfinder, is beset with jealousies and her own doubts about traveling the wide world, but she masters those and opens her heart to her lost sisters as she brings them home.

Then there is master hunter Bekar. She is by far my favorite kiss-ass heroine. She is strong, resourceful, wise, and wounded. Holding her own as she trains with the muscular sword dancers who are royal bodyguards, she earns their respect and she extends her trust to men who become her brothers. She and Jan-nell are foils for each other, highlighting their different abilities while illustrating just how well those qualities fit together—the gentle and wise against the tough and skilled.

I have to also include Mira-nell, Jan-nell’s daughter, in my kick-ass heroines. Even as a wee thing of three summers, she shows precocious insights into human nature. When readers encounter her later, they see that her body has grown into her wisdom and knowledge, but her experiences of life are limited. Even so, she has confidence and owns her own power.

Though all of these kick-ass heroines walk across the pages of my books, many are based on women I’ve encountered in my life. Some are enhancements of those remarkable ladies. Some are composites of the qualities of one or two. And some….well…perhaps they are wishful creations.

We all should have heroes…or heroines….to admire. And I admire all of these empowered women characters.


Your books sound enchanting, lovely, and empowering, Janie! Thanks for sharing a bit about your Empowered Women Characters with us!


ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR: Janie Franz comes from a long line of liars and storytellers with roots deep in east Tennessee. Honed by the frigid Northern Plains and the high desert of New Mexico, as well as a degree in anthropology, her writing skill and curiosity generated thousands of feature and cover articles over a vast range of topics for more than a hundred regional, national, and international publications.

She co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox (The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book), and self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!

She is a professional speaker and occasionally reviews books, CDs, and concerts. Previously, she ran her own online music publication, Refrain Magazine, and was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.

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