I was chatting, online, with my friend, fellow author (we co-authored the book Hidden Lies and Other Stories), and publisher, Vivian Zabel. We got to talking about what we liked and didn't like about some of the books we'd read lately. She mentioned that one was a little too "gritty" for her taste.
"But some of us like gritty," I said.
"I think what I don't like is women who want to act like a man and be rougher and tougher than a man but then allow their 'emotions' to override their good sense."
"True. I like strong women who are women. You know," I said, "the sort that'll take down a big man with a Vulcan neck grip rather than a kick to the family jewels."
"I can't stand fluffy women - the kind who trip over the carpet, land on their butts, crawl backwards like terrified crabs, and get their brains sucked out by zombies with a bendy straw. We're better than that."
"And a woman," said Vivian, "or a man for that matter, doesn't have to cuss like a sailor to be strong. Strength is often mental more than it is outward swagger."
"I agree," I said. All my female characters began knocking at the inside of my skull, clamoring for attention. To placate them, I added, "But she's allowed to cuss like a sailor under duress, in my book. Not to 'be one of the guys.'"
"Hey, every other word in anyone's vocabulary doesn't have to be profanity. Ish."
"True. But honestly, if the zombies were chasing me with the bendy straws, I'd probably drop an f-bomb on 'em before I figured out how to turn the Bacardi and a Bic into a flamethrower."
"I have tossed books because the characters, usually women, acted so stupid. And usually the authors were women. It doesn't make sense to me that women would work so hard to make women seem like dumb, emotional idiots. I can't stand the silly woman who puts herself in danger when all she has to do is call 911." There was a slight lull in the conversation while Vivian did a mental double-take. "Why associate with zombies in the first place?"
"Good point. Waste of good 151."