Dead Ringer Release Day!

Dead Ringer TODAY IS THE DAY!!! Dead Ringer, my debut cozy mystery, is now a REAL BOOK out in the world! I’m extremely excited and very grateful to everyone who has helped get Dead Ringer to this point. For fun, I thought I’d share a little bit about the main character, Midori.

Character Profile: Midori Bishop

Midori Bishop is a 29-year-old professional violinist with a penchant for sleuthing. She teaches private music lessons and also plays second violin in the Point Grey Philharmonic. An only child, Midori grew up in the city where she still lives (Vancouver, Canada). Her father also grew up in Canada but her mother was born and raised in Japan. Midori always wants to help the people she cares about and she also has an inexhaustible sense of curiosity that drives her to search out the truth and solve mysteries. Sometimes that curiosity leads her straight to trouble, but her heart is in the right place. She spends much of her free time hanging out with her best friend, JT, and his dog, Finnegan. Blue is Midori’s favourite colour, and she also loves root beer, tea sandwiches, and high heeled boots. Although music is what pays Midori’s bills, it’s far more than just a profession for her. Whenever she needs to calm her nerves or cheer herself up, music is her refuge.

Dead Ringer is the first book in the Music Lover’s Mystery series, published by HarperCollins. Here’s what the book is about:

Midori Bishop’s life is hitting all the right notes. She has her dream job playing violin in the Point Grey Philharmonic Orchestra, and is embarking on a new relationship with the symphony’s hot maestro. But when Midori finds a cellist strangled to death during a rehearsal, the maestro soon becomes the number-one suspect and Midori his only supporter.

Midori sets out to prove the maestro’s innocence, but soon discovers that he and many others have secrets they would rather keep hidden. For someone who was only a ringer—a temporary member of the orchestra—the dead cellist had certainly made a lot of enemies. And as the investigation takes Midori closer to the truth, the killer gears up for a grand finale—with Midori as the intended victim.

The ebook version of Dead Ringer, A Music Lover’s Mystery is available as of today at the HarperCollins website, Amazon, Chapters, iTunes and Barnes & Noble. The paperback version will be released on June 30, 2015 and is currently available for pre-order.

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Strong Female Characters

Ever since I joined the online writing community a couple of years ago, I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of talk about strong female characters. Most of the talk is about how agents/publisher/readers want more such characters in fiction.

And that’s great. It really is.

The problem I have is that it seems as though the phrase “strong female character” is regularly equated with “kick-ass female character,” with “kick-ass” meaning physically strong and regularly beating up bad guys or supernatural creatures or whoever the enemy/antagonist might be. I’ve even come across submission guidelines that said (I’m paraphrasing), “I only like strong female characters so if your MC isn’t totally kick-ass don’t bother querying me.”

I don’t mind that an agent might only want to represent novels featuring kick-ass female characters. What I do mind is that, once again, physical strength and a propensity for fighting seem to be the only characteristics that can qualify a female character as strong.

Honestly, I find that sad. There are so many types of strength aside from physical strength.

Strength can be simply getting out of bed and getting through each day when dealing with chronic illness, a serious injury, a traumatic event, or any number of other circumstances.

Strength can be staying calm and keeping a family together during a crisis.

Strength can be continuing, day after day, to do what’s necessary to look after your loved ones or pursue your dreams in the face of great adversity.

Not being a physical fighter doesn’t make a character weak. Showing emotion doesn’t make a character weak. Male or female.

Yet, over and over again, I see strength equated with physical strength and lack of emotion when it comes to female characters in fiction. I refuse to allow that narrow definition to stifle my writing, my stories, or my characters.

I believe that I do write about strong female characters. Maybe they don’t always fit the definition of “kick-ass” but they’re strong nonetheless.