Cute as Heck, Tough-Ass Chicks

image of strong woman with head leaning on the back of a dark and handsome man with tatoos
Today we welcome M.S. Kaye to talk about writing tough but lovable heroines and her new book, Fight Princess. Take it away M.S. Kaye...

Cute as Heck, Tough-Ass Chicks

This is one of my favorite types of characters, but she’s not always easy to write. Make her too tough, and she’s butch. Make her too cute, and she’s cutesy. Make her too sweet, and she sappy or weak.

So, how do you find that precarious balance?

1. Let her actions and other people’s reactions speak for themselves. Stay out of her head—especially, don’t let her dwell on herself.

2. Consider language, specifically cursing. Too much, and she’s vulgar. But a little is okay if the circumstances warrant it. Also, cursing in dialogue has a different effect than cursing in thoughts.

3. Make her cool and kick-ass—but not perfect. Given her background, her flaws should be understandable, even expected. The reader will identify with her and sympathize.

4. Allow juxtaposition of qualities—this makes the character interesting. Just make sure she’s believable.

5. If you’re going to do fight scenes, do the research. Different martial arts styles have different qualities and techniques. And, although women can fight, they are usually smaller than men and must consider that in a confrontation. (She’s not likely to out wrestle a man, but if she knows how and where to strike, she can control most situations.)

I’m looking forward to reading all your tough-ass chicks!

*Comment below for a chance to win M.S. Kaye's new book, Fight Princess!!


Things aren’t what they seem. Don’t get involved.

Celisse is too headstrong to listen. Her best friend’s boyfriend is dead, and she does not heed Cullen’s warning, slipped to her in a note as he’s being arrested for the murder.

Cullen tries to keep Celisse out of danger and also tries to avoid her, both unsuccessfully. He can’t deny his feelings for her anymore, but he knows he can’t have her. If she ever discovered the truth about his past, she’d surely hate him.

While struggling with her intense feelings for Cullen, Celisse uses her skills as an ex-prosecutor to investigate, all while continuing to fight for Ogden, the organizer of an underground fight ring. She eventually realizes things are connected—the ring, Ogden, Cullen, the murder, and herself. She races to uncover the truth before she’s arrested or becomes the next victim—or perhaps, the next culprit.

You can purchase Fight Princess at:
Barnes & Noble


M. S. Kaye is a 4th degree black belt and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, FL, where she does her best not to melt in the sun.

Her latest book, Fight Princess, is available from Liquid Silver Books, and Once is coming soon from Jupiter Gardens Press.

Contact M. S. Kaye at:
Follow on Twitter @mskosciuszko


  1. Thanks for your great advice and for sharing your gorgeous book cover! Good luck to you with this series--sounds like a great read and fun characters! I look forward to reading it :)


  2. Excellent ideas! The swearing thing is a fine line. I recently had a reader call me out for this but I think it's appropriate in moderation, in suspense. Funny thing is in my own life, I do not like anyone to swear in front of me! Ha ha.
    Your book looks GREAT!

  3. Excellent advice. Your cover and blurb are fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You sound just as kick ass as your heroines. :) Write what you know, right? :) Your book sounds (and looks) great.