Special Guest: Michelle Diener (with Giveaways!) Back to Blog

Congrats to Barbara Elness & Brittany! You were are the winners from our recent giveaway! Michelle will be contacting you with prize information.

Hi, everyone!! Today, I’m excited to have guest author Michelle Diener with us today–and Michelle is talking about one of my all-time favorite topics: strong heroines. Strength…it can come in so many wonderful forms. Michelle is also offering two copies of her great new release to commenters.

Welcome to the blog, Michelle!


Kick-butt heroines who don’t actually kick butt

There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and it’s one I’ve taken to heart when writing kick-butt heroines. I write historical fiction as well as fantasy, and while I really love strong female characters, when I started writing my historical novels, I had to accept that to accurately portray a historical heroine, most likely, they wouldn’t have had too many kick-butt moves.

But I found ways to work around that. If the brain is the most important muscle in the body, then my Regency and Tudor heroines flex their brains a lot. They use their ingenuity and their courage to come out on top. They generally have a muscle-bound hero to hand, as well, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that when they are in a sticky situation, they can get themselves out of it, without help from anyone else.

The Golden Apple 300 wide

The Golden Apple, my second fantasy novel, released on March 24th, and I have the usual release-day excitement and nerves. But one thing I’ve found with branching out to write fantasy as well as historical fiction, is that the world building skills I’ve developed for my historical novels are very handy for fantasy as well, and also, because my fantasy novels are retellings of old fairy tales, that they are historical fantasy to an extent, set in a world reminiscent of 16th and 17th Century Europe. That has meant that some of the same restrictions apply to my fantasy heroines as my historical ones. Most likely, they didn’t attend karate classes, or learn self-defense down at the local gym.

Kayla, the heroine of The Golden Apple, is actually a princess. She’s not a fragile china doll, but she hasn’t had the opportunity, or the social freedom, to learn how to handle a weapon or take down an attacker. But I have found a real sense of satisfaction in giving Kayla the intelligence, courage and cool head she needs to get out the situations she finds herself in. Kicking butt without actually . . . er . . . kicking an actual butt.

About The Golden Apple:

Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . .

Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.

Rane’s honor is torn in two…

In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.

Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . .

Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.


I’d love to hear about kick-butt heroines you really love. Whether they kick butt literally or figuratively. Two randomly drawn commenters will win a Kindle version of The Golden Apple.


Thank you so much for having me, Cynthia!

Best wishes,



Thanks for being here, Michelle!

And hey, here’s a bit more inform about our awesome guest:


MD headshot 2012Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous CourtKeeper of the King’s Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.

Michelle’s other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky,The Emperor’s Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor’s Conspiracy).

Michelle’s first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, was published on December 19th, 2013 and her second fantasy, The Golden Apple, is due out on March 24th, 2014.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.


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36 responses to “Special Guest: Michelle Diener (with Giveaways!)”

  1. Alexisa N says:

    Two of my favorite heroins are Cat from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series and Eve Dallas from J D Robb’s In Death series. They may get physical but they always use their heads first.

  2. Alexia, I haven’t read the Night Huntress series, although a friend of mine loves it, and I’ve been meaning to pick it up for ages. I really love Eve Dallas.

  3. Cate Masters says:

    Congrats on your release! Love love love that cover.
    I’m a huge fan of strong heroines! Any of Kelley Armstrong’s. And I agree, wit and wisdom are the most powerful weapons. :)

  4. Jeannie L says:

    Oh yes I do love reading about kiss-butt heroines… I second Alexia’s comments as one of my favorites is also Eve Dallas from the In Death series.

    Looking forward to checking your new book.

  5. Linda Travis says:

    wow cant wait to read

  6. bn100 says:

    most of Kresley Cole’s heroines

  7. Jennifer Ackler says:

    This book sounds really good I can’t wait to read it! I would love a chance to win one of your books! The book cover is beautiful!

  8. Felicia M Ciaudelli says:

    Oh my goodness, yes….I, too, love Cat from the Night Huntress series – as well as L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress Legend series, with Damali Richards at the lead!

  9. Diana Huffer says:

    I really love Claire from the Outlander series. She is tough, yet tender; strong, yet yielding… She’s my idol! :)

  10. Brittany says:

    This book sounds amazing!! I cannot wait to read!

  11. Viki S. says:

    Congratulations on your release!
    I love strong heroines and having the intelligence to handle situations often out does the fighting skills. One of my all time favorites is Faythe Sanders of Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series.

  12. Sandra Horn says:

    I hope I win!

  13. Charlene says:

    My favorite heroines are Claire from Outlander, such a strong woman, and right now Aisling Gray, a woman finding herself.

  14. Barbara Elness says:

    Two kick butt heroines I really love are Jennifer Estep’s Gin Blanco and Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock. Both women kick serious butt, and fight even harder when protecting friends and family.

  15. Amy R says:

    Hey, Michelle & Cynthia! I love Michelle’s kick-butt heroines. I actually just finished reading The Golden Apple tonight and one of the first things I wrote down while brainstorming out my review was that I loved watching Kayla’s strength grown both mentally and physically as the story progressed. I have a lot of favorite kick-butt heroines. In keeping in in the Fantasy world, I’ll say Kali Sweet from Misty Evans’ Kali Sweet series. She is always dealing with a ton of outside forces trying to knock her down and she keeps getting back up. Congrats on the new release, Michelle!

  16. MAY says:

    I love Eve from JD Robb and Cat from Jeaniene Frost’s series. Both smart and sassy heroines.

  17. Catelyn says:

    I’ve gotten pretty into the “In Death” series, ’cause Eve Dallas is such a strong female character.

  18. Stephanie F. says:

    I love Kate Daniels, Cat from Nighthuntress and Mercy Thompson. All embody my what a true kick butt heroine is.

  19. Sarah DeShields-Bass says:

    Sounds like it’s going to be a fun book

  20. CrystalGB says:

    I love Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen. She is definitely a kick butt heroine.

  21. Tamara says:

    Amaranthe Lokdon from the Emperor’s Edge series is my choice for an awesome heroine without a doubt!