Tag Archives: characters

#NewYear–New Challenges

this-moment
January 1, 2017—the birth of a new year. Each year is an opportunity to live up to our aspirations, our hopes, our dreams. Looking back on the past year we can evaluate what did we do right; what did we do wrong; what can we improve upon?
It’s not a time to judge; but a time to contemplate. It’s not a time to regret; but a time to plan.
All of us face many challenges in this coming year—personal, political, business. In order to be effective, we need to focus and to strategize.
For me, I will be attending to the political climate much more closely than in past years. (To find out more: https://www.facebook.com/TogetherWomenCan )It’s not to say that I ignored the bones of our country before, but I impacted it more with my work than with my direct involvement. I truly thought my days of protests, marches, and petitions had been passed to the younger generation; and they were doing fairly well with it. I can no longer absent myself from more direct involvement; however that might manifest.
My novels will continue to reflect the issues that women and girls face on a daily basis while entertaining women with great stories of action, adventure, and mystery with a touch of romance. In some ways, my politics intersect with my writing seamlessly as both are based on enlightening, encouraging, and empowering women and girls. I have spent a lifetime in this struggle; and, it’s a good struggle—one of which I am proud.
The schedule for publishing this year is a bit more lax; instead of putting out four books as I have done for the past few years, I will be releasing three books during 2017.
–The first book will be Attack! I have re-titled this book and it is now Attack on Freedom! In many ways, this is a timely novel; a political thriller with a scary premise—a president that intends to become a dictator.
President Anne Marie Xavier faces the most critical challenge of any president since the beginning of the nation. She must stop rampant terrorism while protecting the citizens from a power-hungry adversary who will stop at nothing.
–The second book is the long awaited Ariel Ascending, Book 3, Vampire War trilogy, the final book in this series.
Serena Longer must take the murdered Matriarch Belora’s position as the Matriarch of the North America Region while her daughter, not-quite-13-year-old Ariel, has to ascend to the position of First Councilwoman of the North America Region. Not since the Time of Hunting has such a young huvam held such a difficult position among the vampires.
While Ariel attempts to adjust to her exponentially growing Powers and deal with Serena’s overprotectiveness of her only biological child, Matriarch Helena Outerridge increases her guerilla attacks on Ariel’s People.
As bodies pile up, Ariel becomes increasingly determined to stop the aggressors—ancient vampires with incredible Power and their allies, Weres and witches. In a desperate attempt to crush her foes, Ariel takes four other young women with developing Powers to search for the perpetrators. Unless they find a way to overcome their enemies, they may not survive to return home.
–The third book on my 2017 schedule is Twisted Minds, Special Crimes Team series. This is the sixth book in this series—all books in the Special Crimes Team series can be read in any order or as stand-alones
Sergeant Nita Slowater and the Special Crimes Team face a series of rapidly escalating crimes that begin with the vandalism of a Muslim women’s center. At the scene of each crime a Manifesto is left. Other than the Manifesto and the obvious signs of hate, the victims of the crimes appear to be randomly chosen.
Was this the work of a hate group or a single perpetrator? As the victim pool ripples larger, Sergeant Slowater and her team desperately race time before more victims are claimed.
bk-6-advert-city


No one can tell the future. Though we may carefully plan our days, we cannot control all of the variables and will often wind up in places we never dreamed of being. As I face this year, I find that both scary and exhilarating.
rene-somewhere-different
During this time of upheaval and change—both good and bad and neither–we are all presented with the opportunity to become more than what we are; to step beyond our own limitations; to be the person we’ve always wanted to become. I’m ready to learn and grow. Are you?
Remember, courage is not the absence of fear; it is the going ahead in the face of fear. Whether you fears are of the personal, political, or business variety, forge ahead. You can’t start a fire, if you don’t light a match.
Best wishes for a year of growth.
Aya

My literary novels focus on personal growth.
Good Intentions: Bev Ransom has a secret. Her mother has one too. No secret can remain in the dark forever. Their lives are about to be shattered by the secrets they harbor.
https://www.amazon.com/Good-Intentions-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00OLZYKPQ

Hard Road Home: The Story of a Young Girl’s Triumph: Cas Redner lost her beloved grandfather. Shortly afterwards, she lost her mother to addiction and bad men. Caught in the broken child welfare system, Cas opts for life on her own. But for young girls, freedom comes with a high price. Ultimately, the only things holding Cas together are the teachings of her Native American grandmother.
https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Road-Home-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00TLCRUFQ

Beyond the Silence: A Woman’s Journey to Freedom: In order to find herself, Barb Hensen must sacrifice everything in her life, including her child. But, she doesn’t have much choice. If she doesn’t leave, someone will die.
https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Silence-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01ADRQ0K8

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3 Things My Characters Taught Me

Not long ago, I submitted Hard Road Home, a literary novel, to Writer’s Digest Self-Published Awards Contest. Though I did not win, the judge who read my work had this to say:
“…HARD ROAD HOME is, like its title, a hard read, simply because of its subject matter. When Cas’s grandfather dies, her life rapidly falls apart into a spiral of abusive adults, alcohol, drugs, etc. It’s certainly intense material, and Walksfar writes about it vividly—I only can hope that much of it didn’t come out of direct experience, but the vividness of the writing did make me wonder about that. The character of Cas is certainly compelling; it’s difficult not to root for a character who doesn’t crumble under the weight of such torment and abuse.” (23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards)

In writing this book I drew from the experiences of children who had been subjected to horrendous abuse and still managed to overcome that adversity in order to pursue useful and, sometimes, heroic lives. The common denominator between those young people was that they never gave up; no matter how bad things seemed–they put on their big-girl pants and kept moving forward.
NoRoadSoLong

LESSON 1: Never give up!

My newest literary novel, Beyond the Silence, also tackles serious issues in our culture: domestic violence, marital rape, depression, anorexia, and the unjust loss of one’s children. In this book, Barb Hensen comes to realize that in order to live one has to have the courage to dream.
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LESSON 2: Find the courage to dream!

It isn’t only the protagonists in the literary novels that speak to me. In Run or Die, a mystery/thriller, Jaz Wheeler’s lover tells her that she needs to step beyond her current limiting circumstances.
aliciaDoSomethingGood

LESSON 3: Become all that you can be!

There you have it–some of the wisdom of my protagonists.

To check out the full array of novels, go to: http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

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Characteristics of a Crappy #Romance

I don’t normally use my blog to analyze books; however, there seems to be a run of romances that are determined to portray #women as stupid, weak, contemptible, and willing to accept abuse in the name of “love”. This is an unhealthy trend.

Here is an analysis of the characters of such a book:

The mother: helpless, stubborn, unwilling to listen to her daughter when her daughter tells her a man had attacked her; has to be ‘made’ to allow her daughter to marry a wealthy man who obviously loves her while mother continues to push the idea that the man who attacked her daughter would be a better match for the girl.

The father: heroic, of course. He is the fountain of reason, he is the support of his daughters, he is the one who forces the mother to relent, he even accepts the strange wealthy man, he recognizes true love, and when the bad villagers want to cause his daughter’s new husband trouble, he is the voice of reason trying to talk them out of it.

The younger sister: Sneaky, helpless, manipulative, spoiled, lazy, blackmails sister and new husband into taking her with them, at first fights off the attentions of villain but in the end when it really counts, all she does is whimper, beg and cry. And that was after she left the ‘safety of the castle’ without anyone knowing, while knowing that the bad men were close by and looking to harm her sister’s husband and her sister.

The elder sister/dragon’s wife: helpless, stupid, weak, flighty, easily manipulated, fearful, as far from courageous as possible to get! The only time this woman shows any backbone is by insisting she does not want to marry the villain, but wants to marry the wealthy guy who loves her. Other than that, she shows herself to be flighty—one minute accepting the dragon man while the next page she rejects what he is until someone talks her around to accepting him. She likes the wealth but doesn’t want to accept the nitty gritty. Whenever she is attacked, all she does is stand there and take it until she is rescued. Then she puts herself into situations that makes it necessary to rescue her, for no good reason. So, add stupid to the analysis of her.

The dragon man: intelligent, wealthy, forgiving, patient, loving, kind, generous, strong, understanding, protective, loyal—you get the gist.

If I rated this book on Amazon, I would give it a minus 5!

This book reinforces the notion that women continually make bad decisions even when they have the information they need to make better decisions; that women cannot rescue themselves, but must be rescued by a man; that women will constantly put themselves in danger without ever trying to extricate themselves from that danger; and that women will never fight back regardless of the situation.

How this book could have been better:
The girls, both the soon-to-be-wife and her sister, could be shown to fight back against the bully/villain, instead of passively allowing themselves to be hit, slapped, and otherwise beaten. The sister, when she moves in with the wife and the dragon, could be taught how to fight back more effectively.
Neither of these things needed to negate the hero’s rescue. The women could be fighting back, but the man could be shown as much more versed in fighting and much stronger and even though the women never concede defeat, they need someone to help them in the fight.

During the younger sister’s capture, it could be made clear that the man sneaked up on her and hit her in the head with a branch and therefore, got her wrists tied and her more helpless than otherwise. It could even be that he sneers and says, “Now, let’s see if you hit and scratch like some wildcat.” She could spit in his face and call him a coward and a bully. When the dragon and his wife come up on the scene, the younger sister could have tears streaming down her face and be beaten up, but she still stares defiantly at her tormentor and actually head butts him right before the entrance of the hero. The reader knows that the younger girl would have been killed had not the hero come, but at least she would have gone down with a fight.

The mother could resist the daughter’s love match with the dragon-man right up until the villain attacks her younger daughter the first time. Then she realizes how wrong she has been and goes up to the castle to warn the dragon-man of the mob coming for him as a way of making amends.

The wife could still worry about her dragon husband so much that she allows her mother to persuade her to follow him in hopes that they can help in some way. The mother could still be caught and held hostage to force the dragon man to bring the dragon to be killed. The dragon man’s wife, however, could show her mettle by sneaking up behind the villain holding her mother and pressing a knife against his throat thereby creating a standoff. A different man can then put her father at risk by grabbing him with a knife against his throat. The dragon man can then concede and bring the dragon “to be killed” so that the villain will release the others without harm.

During the ensuing fight the father could still be pitchforked accidentally, but the dragon man’s wife–instead of needlessly getting slashed–could be slashed as she wheels around and attacks one of the bad guys. She gets the better of him by plunging her own dagger into his heart while her dragon husband roasts the main villain.

The dragon still has to give everyone blood and be the hero, except in this version the women get to be something more than airheads who can’t make a sound decision and are unable to do the least thing in their own defense.

The story is still the same story, but with both men and women being shown as courageous and loyal and able to make good decisions. Sounds like a win-win to me!
What do you think? Can romances be good romance reads while portraying women as strong, complex characters?

All of my novels portray women as complex characters. Check them out at http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

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#Reviews: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

REVIEWS: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
Your opinion counts—especially with Independent Authors AKA #IndieAuthors—those of us who choose to write and to publish our own work. I read every review I receive, and I take them seriously. What the reader says matters to me.
What is even more important for the reader to understand is that reviews and word-of-mouth can make or break an Indie book. We swim, or drown, in an ocean of books. creeping fog on ocean
Between 600,000 and 1 million new books are published every year. With limited advertising budgets and no large house to create “buzz” for us, we have to depend on rankings, especially rankings on Amazon, to have our books placed far enough toward the top of the queue that readers who are randomly searching–say ‘mystery’–will happen upon our books. Two ways to get good rankings on Amazon is to either sell a lot of books every day and/or amass at least twenty-five 4 and 5 star reviews.
Unfortunately, Indie authors also face the terrible monsters of the deep. Beneath the choppy waters of the ocean of books lurk Review Trolls. Here is a rare photo of a Review Troll, note the wide open mouth getting ready to gobble up a Indie Author: Sea Monster Yawning
Review trolls are people who purchase a book, keep it a day or two and then return the book without reading it. That person can now post an Amazon VERIFIED purchase review. The reviews that trolls publish are always meant to wreck an author’s ratings. Like black hat hackers, review trolls are about unnecessary destruction. Their ratings, however, will pull down the ranking of the book that they attack unless that book has enough 4 and 5 star ratings to successfully counterbalance the trolls’ attacks.
With the challenges involved in getting very busy people to write and post reviews and fending off troll attacks, Indie authors face advertisers who won’t even consider their book for their publications and email blasts unless the book has at least ten 4 and 5 star reviews on AMAZON! They don’t count Barnes and Noble or Smashwords reviews. Everyone knows that advertising is one way to get your book in front of a larger audience. Classic chicken and egg situation. Advertising could result in more reviews, but you can’t advertise with the really good advertisers without ten reviews.
You see, a reader’s opinion really does matter, especially to an Indie author. The next time you finish a book, please consider zipping over to Amazon and quickly posting an honest review.
For me, and for many Indie authors who put in incredibly long hours, we thank you!
AMAZON REVIEW EXCERPTS FROM READERS:
STREET HARVEST (SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM, SECOND BOOK. ALL BOOKS IN THIS SERIES CAN BE READ OUT OF SEQUENCE) Pat Rummenie says:
Everyone with a social conscience who also loves a good mystery should read this well written book.
OLD WOMAN GONE (SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM, THIRD BOOK) Amazon Customer says:
The mixture of police procedures and Native American spiritualism are needed to solve the crime and rescue the two women. The author knows the setting well and uses it to enhance the story.
BACKLASH! (SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM, FOURTH BOOK) Coppercreek says:
I love crime novels, and this really hit the spot.
RUN OR DIE (STAND-ALONG MYSTERY/THRILLER) KtHack8 says:
I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a story about life and finding the will to overcome adversity.
RUN OR DIE (STAND-ALONE MYSTERY/THRILLER) Denise Gayl says:
Thought provoking about the injustices of bigotry and racism, and the ray of sunshine that there are people “out there” willing to accept, love, and help others even though their lifestyles are unlike their own. Well done.
HARD ROAD HOME (LITERARY, COMING-OF-AGE) pwindsinspirations says:
This story brought out emotions in me I had hidden away. I, too, was abused and afraid to tell anyone for fear of only making it worse for myself….. I liked how it took me from despair to triumph and the way the writer brought that about.
HARD ROAD HOME (LITERARY, COMING-OF-AGE) Denise Gayl says:
A very good read. As a mother of 2 girls, the subject matter is a bit difficult at times. But, in the end, it shows that young women pitted against adversity through no fault of their own can come back strong and live good lives. Is thought provoking and makes me realize there is much that needs to be done in this society to help young people thrive.
THIS is why I write! Thank you, Readers! YOU are my inspiration!
katrina leavereview

SKETCH OF A MURDER, Special Crimes Team, is FREE. Run over and grab your copy! http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

To view my other titles go to: http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

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Reporters: Truth Tellers Or…?

BeautyWillPersist

Every time that I read headlines in the newspaper, I recall Sergeant Nita Slowater’s feelings about reporters. In Sketch of a Murder the protagonist, Sergeant Nita Slowater, doesn’t like reporters; in fact, she despises them. Her introduction to Dawn Samira, investigative reporter for the Seattle Times, reinforces Nita’s attitude.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
As they emerged from the car, she spotted a woman standing outside the yellow crime scene tape. A five-foot nothing blonde bomb that was roughly two seconds from explosion, if the hand waving and the foot stomping at the patrol officer told a true tale. Must be the reporter. They always act like the police should fall over their own feet giving them access to crime scenes. Arrogant asses.

After leaving the crime scene, Nita is told by her superior, Lieutenant Michael Williams that she will be the liaison with Dawn. Nita is far from pleased.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
“I don’t do politics and I don’t play ‘meet-the-press.’” She yanked on the snug lap belt and shifted her body away from him.
He slammed the heel of his hand against the steering wheel. “What’s such a big deal about this, Sergeant Slowater?”
Body stiff, she swung around to face him. “What’s such a big deal? Do you know why I got exiled to SCaT?”
He gave a one-shouldered shrug. “Governor Marleton didn’t think I needed that kind of information at this time.”
“I’ll tell you why—I slugged a fucking reporter and knocked him on his skinny, white ass.”

Still the lieutenant insists that she be Dawn’s contact during the case. Finally, Nita tells the lieutenant why she despises reporters.

Excerpt from Sketch of a Murder:
“I heard an undercover man was found dead when the doors got busted open.”
For a second, she closed her eyes then the images on the back of her lids forced them open again. “Yeah. My best friend, Ed.”
He scratched his jaw, fingers rasping against his five o’clock shadow. “What happened?”
She redirected her attention to the side window, watched the trees and bushes flash past. The memory hit her in the chest like someone hammering on a punching bag.
In the pre-dawn hours of that February morning, a drizzle of cold rain had weaseled its way down the back of her Kevlar vest as she waited for the go command. She’d been in the second wave to spread out through the blackness of the sprawling warehouse. Flashlight beams bounced off of stacks of boxes, pallets of crates. Barrels took up one large, roped off area. She recalled thinking how easy it would be for a sniper to pick them off. Only the first wave had night vision goggles; everyone else was pinpointed with flashlights.
Static nearly made the terse commands coming over her radio unintelligible. No need to answer. The office door loomed ahead of her, its pebbled glass bouncing the light into glittering fragments. The darkness looming all around them gobbled it up like a hungry beast. Head low, she reached over and twisted the knob. Locked.
Her partner, Ricky Day, held his gun in the ready position and tilted his head at the door. She nodded back. He swung in front of the door and kicked. The wooden jamb splintered. The door flew open, slammed against the wall hard enough to crack the glass in the upper half of it.

Even facing straight ahead she could feel the lieutenant stealing quick looks at her. The smells of that day wafted up from her memory. Technicolored pictures in her mind ran on fast-forward in an infinite loop, complete with surround-sound. Over and over. The coppery smell of Ed’s blood. The sour smell of a rookie puking. The echoing of the empty warehouse—empty except for Ed’s body still strapped to a battered wood chair in the main office.
The words clawed their way up her throat. “Those bastards tortured him. Cut out his eyes. Sliced off his lips and tongue and hacked off both ears.”
“Shit!” The curse exploded from him.
Her eyes darted toward him. Staring at his face, she felt the tie between them. Cops. In spite of their differences, they were cops. “Staub printed an exposé the day before—pretty much told them that one of our people was on the inside. No one could prove how he got his information, but the FBI agent working with us disappeared during the raid.” Silence pooled between them. She refocused her gaze on the roadside racing past the side window.
Miles later they ran into Seattle’s normal late afternoon gridlock. Taillights flickered. They coasted to a stop. Heat wavered up from the asphalt and mixed with the ghostly gray wisps of exhaust from the car in front of them.
“Dawn’s not like that.” His words hung in the stuffy air as the car crawled along.
She didn’t look at him. “They’re all like that, sharks without a conscience. All they care about is the blood, and they don’t really care whose blood it is.”

There is a segment of the population who believe that news reporters seek sensationalism rather than reporting objectively, and that such biased reporting negatively affects the information the general public receives about important events.
What do you think? Have you read about events in the newspapers or heard about them on television broadcasts that you feel are biased reports rather than actual reporting of events?
Do you feel that Nita’s attitude about reporters is accurate?

Don’t forget to get your FREE ebook copy of Sketch of a Murder and see if Nita ever finds a way to get along with Dawn.
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

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STOP! We Need Strong Female Characters

front cover artemis (One of my favorite book covers)
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

So here’s a quick questionnaire for filmmakers who’ve created a female character who isn’t a dishrag, a harpy, a McGuffin to be passed around, or a sex toy. Congratulations, you have a Strong Female Character. That’s a great start! But now what? Screenwriters, producers, directors, consider this:”

I decided to compare my books to this standard to see how my strong female characters rate: (also please remember that my protagonists are all female)

1.“After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?”

My strong female characters, even the secondary ones, always have a reason for being that is significant to the plot.

2.“If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?”

Even though some of my female characters—protagonist or secondary–are raped/beaten/kidnapped it is to advance the plot; not to advance a particular character.
Interactions in life are about the two people who happen to be in the same “story” as the other one. As in Street Harvest when Eleanor Hasting is kidnapped–she is in that position because of her personal beliefs.
I don’t create characters who primarily are there to motivate others. I don’t think life of a strong woman allows for that type of relationship, and all of my women are strong in their own way.

Street Harvest

3.“Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?”

NOT LIKELY!

4.“Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?”
Since my protagonists are female, I will answer this in regards to secondary strong female characters: no, the women I write about are complex, capable people who make mistakes, suffer and learn along with the protagonist who also suffers and learns.

5.“…or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?”

Dawn Samira, secondary/supporting character to protagonist Sergeant Nita Slowater, would really laugh at this one! Dawn has been called lots of things, but static is not one of them. She is Nita’s biggest cheerleader—as Nita is hers–but they grow together.

6.“It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?”

I love novels where the characters are not so much rescuing each other as they are growing together. These are the types of novels I write. Like in Run or Die when protagonist Jaz Wheeler interacts with supporting character Aretha Hopewell, both women come out better than at the beginning of the book. Learning and growing is a cooperative endeavor.
http://www.amazon.com/Run-Die-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00KV8BK5A

7.“Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?”

The only pride that gets shattered is the pride of the bad dudes! My protagonists and her supporting characters, kick the bad dudes butts!

8.“Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)?”

Even my hostage in Old Woman Gone, Grandma Greene at 85 years old does not sit back and wait for rescue. She acts on her own behalf and on the behalf of others.

“If you can honestly answer “no” to every one of these questions, you might actually have a Strong Female Character worthy of the name. Congratulations!”

Yep, I think my female characters rank among the most complex, significant characters in fiction.
To read the entire article from which this standard was copied, go to: (it is well worth the time to read!)

http://thedissolve.com/features/exposition/618-were-losing-all-our-strong-female-characters-to-tr/

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Sexy #Vampire Novels from #Mystery Writer

How does a mystery writer wind up writing a sexy vampire series? Isn’t that a bit far off the beaten murder path?
Yes, and no. In my writing, I adhere to a specific underlying agenda.
Sketch of a Murder2 ebook
http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KU6AIPQ

front cover artemis
http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

My agenda is to 1. entertain 2. enlighten 3. encourage and 4. empower women. Every novel I write must do these four things. (Those of you who know I am part Native American, probably suspected that there would be four–a sacred number–parts to my agenda! LOL!)

  1. Entertain: Every book I write–whether is a part of my Special Crimes Team mystery series or part of The Vampire Wars series or a stand alone literary novel–must first entertain the reader. Does it hook the reader? Can the reader identify with, and/or care about, at least one of the characters?
  2. Enlighten: What could possibly be enlightening about a mystery series or a vampire series?
    With each novel that I write, I attempt to challenge some long held beliefs or to bring some bit of knowledge to the reader. In Sketch of a Murder, Special Crimes Team, I shine a light on how the perpetrators of sexual violence against women and children all too often avoid prosecution or receive light sentences for their crimes. In Backlash, I highlight how ongoing violence and harassment is aimed at forcing women “back to the kitchen”. (I also highlight a practice among some police since 9/11 where they stop motorists and rob them of cash. True stuff! Read my past post on that. http://ayawalksfar.com/2014/12/03/cops-stealing-from-motorists/)
    In Artemis’ Warriors I explore creation myths and history from a matriarchal viewpoint rather than a patriarchal viewpoint. While some might feel this is blasphemy, there has been some evidence that matriarchal societies did exist in the far distant past. Granted this question is hotly debated. As is to be expected since no ruling class, including the patriarchy, willingly preach the history of the classes they rule over.
    We know from more recent history, that women have been largely erased from the historical narrative in many instances. Did you know that Margaret Hamilton was the Lead Software Engineer on the Apollo Project in 1969? (Follow this link to my Pinterest Board “Great Women” and see the Pin of Margaret Hamilton https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731188529025/ )
    Were you aware that Elizabeth Blackwell, born in 1821, was the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States? ( https://www.pinterest.com/pin/453737731181212469/ )
    If such recent history is missing from most textbooks, it is easy to understand why women’s ancient historical contributions might also be completely “missed”, or maybe deliberately forgotten.
    3. Encourage: Because I write of current issues, I validate those issues for women who are struggling with them. It is very discouraging for women to feel isolated; to constantly hear that what they are experiencing is only a figment of their minds. I bring issues forward so women know they are not alone; other women face these same issues. Some of the issues I write about in my Special Crimes Team mystery series are: women in the work place; sexual violence; age; and beliefs. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars, I explore what it means to love; bonding between women; female sexuality; and, sacrifice.
  3. Empower: Every novel I write must in some way empower women; therefore, each book has a strong female protagonist, as well as other strong female supporting characters. It is well understood that what we read has an impact on our self-image. If women only read about helpless women who never direct their own lives and are forever victims, then that is what we internalize. Women need to see females as capable, intelligent, decision-makers so that our subconscious minds can integrate that into our views of what it means to be female. In the Special Crimes Team mystery series, Sergeant Nita Slowater struggles through her discoveries about herself while trying to find killers and rapists. Her major supporting female characters are Dr. Irene Nelson, FBI profiler, and Dawn Samira, lesbian investigative reporter. In Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire Wars series, Serena Longer struggles with her heart while fighting invading vampires who want to turn humans into blood cattle. Her major supporting female character, Alexis Night Runner, is also the cause of Serena’s soul searching about love.

Have you read one of the books from the Special Crimes Team series, The Vampire Wars series, or the stand-alone literary novels? If so, would love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com !

UPCOMING BOOKS!
Beyond the Silence: Available for pre-order http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Silence-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01ADRQ0K8 Release date: Feb. 14, 2016 ecoversmaller (2) Beyond the Silence
Death by Dog, A Special Crimes Team Novel: Coming April 3, 2016! DBDCover(1)

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