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Friday, September 2, 2016

WOMEN WHO FIGHT by Ursula Wong

I think women are less about violence and more about ethereal power, but when faced with violence, women react. Strong women fight and sometimes they win. A surprising number of stories feature women warriors who by fighting, show how strong they are as women. I’ve talked with Connie about some of these wonderful gals before, including her magnificent Jessica Wyeth in The Jessica Trilogy, but here’s a new batch to consider.

Eowyn, from J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Two Towers, the second part of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, dresses up as a boy to fight the monsters threatening the lives of the people in her father’s kingdom. Granted, the comforts of a middle-earth castle are limited, but she leaves them anyway for the battlefield. The only way she can do this is to pretend she’s someone else. But when she wields her sword, her actions show core feminine strengths of protectionism and love of family.

Hua Mulan from the Disney movie Mulan, leaves home disguised as a man in order to fulfill her aging father’s military obligation. She fights the misconceptions of her fellow soldiers who ask, “Can she do that?” She fights the opinion that women can’t fight. Ultimately, she decimates the enemy.  (The movie is based on a Chinese ballad which I didn’t read. Please don’t hate me.)

Tania Chermova is a sniper in War of the Rats by David L. Robbins. I admire her single-minded ambition to leave the comforts of home for war.  Among the ruins of Stalingrad, she does her job coolly and calmly. I claim it’s a superbly feminine trait to do what’s necessary, no matter what. Still, Robbins chose to have Tania shot at the end in an ambiguous conclusion and an obvious statement about the unfairness of war.

Ludmelia, the heroine in my new novel Amber Wolf, becomes a warrior to avenge her mother’s death. She joins the resistance to find the Russian soldiers responsible. Still, the act of killing haunts her. Horrible acts shake her to the core. Despite everything, she remains emphatically human with all the self-doubt, confusion, and passion that we all share.

I think women fight because their convictions leave them no choice. The heroines in these novels don’t shrink from their tasks, detestable as they might be. They don’t run back to the comforts of home because their work is hard.

Maybe we admire them because given the right circumstances, we’d to the same things, too.

Ursula is a retired engineer who writes gripping stories about strong women struggling against impossible odds to achieve their dreams. Her award-winning novel, Purple Trees, exposes a stark side of rural New England life in the experiences of a young woman who struggles for normalcy despite a vicious and hidden past. After losing her parents, Lily Phelps grows up fast to find work and build a future, but her secrets threaten every one she loves, and even her very life.

Ursula taps her Eastern European heritage in her WW II novel, Amber Wolf. Destitute after her parents are taken by Russian soldiers, young Ludmelia Kudirka joins the farmers who trade pitchforks for guns in a David-and-Goliath struggle against the mighty Soviet war machine. Rich with scenes and legends of Lithuania, Amber Wolf gets the turmoil of 1944 into the story of a family torn apart by the Soviet occupation.

Her short stories have appeared in magazines and the popular Insanity Tales anthologies. For more about Ursula and her prize-winning flash fiction, visit her on