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Archive for January 29th, 2024

Ava Cuvay: To Be or Not To Be… a Strong Female Character (Excerpt)
Monday, January 29th, 2024

I’m out of my element here.

My new release, What a Dragon Desires, has a Strong Female Character. Actually, strong isn’t an accurate descriptor because I’ve written strong characters before. Strong as in resilient, fearless, supportive, capable… but Eydís Helvig, the heroine in my third dragon shifter story is more than merely strong. She’s assertive, aggressive, and combative.

And I’m sooooo not.

Which begs the question: how much of me goes into my characters? I used to think there was at least a glimmer of Ava in each of my characters. I could relate in some way to their goals, their strengths, their hurts, etc. Or, at least, my author’s mind could step outside of itself and relate. Yet, for some reason, I really struggled with Eydís’s personality. Almost as if I couldn’t find anything relatable about her (and if the creator can’t relate, what does that say about both the creator and the character?). Yet Eydís isn’t some throw-away, one-dimensional, heartless harridan sort of character.

She was a challenge to write, partially because I was concerned about overstepping the fine line between strong and bitchy. Yes, the term “bitch” is so often (too often) used as a demeaning description for any confident, knowledgeable, vocal woman. I’m using the term to describe a female character who stiff-arms readers into not caring about her or her arc. When the reader isn’t engaged with a character—when they see no relatable or redeeming characteristics—they just don’t care. And their enjoyment of a story plummets, as does the possibility they’ll finish reading the book.

I’ve read my fair share of “strong female characters” who are merely insensitive harpies lashing out blindly at the world (for no understandable or redeemable reason). I hope Eydís doesn’t also fall into that category. After all, she’s a dragon shifter without a dragon. Which means she has an emptiness deep inside that can’t be filled or eliminated and therefore can’t regulate her apex predator tendencies. As a result, she’s aggressive, in-your-face, and combative. Her job involves navigating mostly-male meetings in a mostly-male industry. She has to be confident, knowledgeable, and vocal.

Part of her arc is to smooth those prickly edges. Shocker: the love of a good man helps 😉 A man who accepts her as she is. So much so that he calls her lítill fura… Old Norse for little pine.

While Eydís is allowed to be combative, she can’t be a bitch. Because I need the readers to like her. Which means I’ve kinda written myself into a corner, trying to make her prickly, but not too prickly. And because I am a peacekeeping, non-combative type of person myself (which means, I personally relate more with my hero in this book), I’m possibly more conservative with where that fine line between strong and bitchy actually is.

Uh-oh. Maybe I haven’t made her aggressive enough. 😳

All that angst aside, I’m celebrating a new release! And I’m giving away three kindle versions to random winners. Let me know about your favorite (or least favorite?) strong female character.

What a Dragon Desires

“What a Dragon Desires” is available at your favorite online retailer:
Kindle –
Nook –
Apple Books –
Google Play –

Ulrik Drekison serves comfortably at the right hand of his oldest brother. As a Wood Dragon shifter, he is the peacekeeper, serene as the forests surrounding his Minnesota home. When a deadly pest invasion threatens the future of his family’s logging company and the entire state’s economy, he’s primed to battle the infestation but ill-equipped to combat his attraction to the voluptuous woman sent by an opposing company. Unaffected by his Viking good looks and his innate dragon sensuality, she trashes his calm at every turn. Yet, as antagonistic as she is, he can’t seem to walk away from her.

Eydís Helvig was born a dragon shifter… without a dragon. As an apex predator with no beast to back up her brazen attitude, her own clan rejects her and humans barely tolerate her. When she’s tasked to diffuse a small family logging company’s outcry about a bug crisis, she is inexorably drawn by the Drekison’s innate power and integrity, especially the hostile yet passionate brother, Ulrik. She yearns to set down roots she’s never had. But like everyone else, Ulrik and his family won’t want her, especially after her employer’s secret is exposed.


He nodded once, then palmed her elbow to usher her to his truck. Eydís recoiled from his possessive move. She didn’t tolerate chivalry from men; she was perfectly capable of opening her own doors and shit, and allowing a man to do it for her undermined their ability to see her as an equal. She’d struggled too long and too hard to prove herself in a man’s world. There was no way she’s allow one little action to undo it and plant her into the weak-and-helpless category.

She yanked on the door handle, realizing too late it was still locked, and looked back at him expectantly. He was going to make her wait, wasn’t he? He was going to make her wait until he sauntered over and unlocked his truck, his expression patronizing and looking at her like she was a dumbass for trying to do anything herself.

But he didn’t make her wait.

He clicked his fob and she heard the unmistakable sound of unlocking. “Give the running boards a sec to deploy,” he cautioned when she flung the door open.

She paused and watched the power-deployed boards swing from under the truck, thankful for the boost they offered. Ulrik’s trucks wasn’t one of those cringy overcompensating-for-something behemoths—he didn’t need one; she’d seen his dick—but she was too short to gracefully climb into his cab without the running board.

He was at her side by that point, and held the door while she hoisted herself in. Was she hearing things, or had he caught his breath when she’d leaned forward as she maneuvered into the truck cab? And why did the thought of Ulrik appreciating her womanly assets please her in a far more personal way than it should?

About Ava

Ava Cuvay is an award-winning bestselling author of out of this world Sci-fi and Paranormal Romance featuring sassy heroines, gutsy heroes, passion, adventure… and the word “moist”.

She resides in central Indiana with her own scruffy-looking nerfherder and teen kiddos who think her “Rizz” is “cringe” but she “passes the vibe check” and her books “hit different.” No cap.

She believes life is too short to bother with negative people, everything is better with Champagne, and Han Solo shot first. When not writing, Ava is thinking about writing. Or wine. And she’s always thinking about bacon.