Back in 2016, the world seemed like a pretty bleak place to me, and I felt utterly powerless to do anything about it. Then, I did what I always do when I’m feeling low: I wrote an escape for myself. This time, my get-away drivers were two tough, intelligent girls capable of overcoming just about any problem they faced. I equipped Perilous and Sparks with all the strength, savvy, and self-esteem that I wished I had.

One day, I realized that if I could imagine girls better than me, I could also become a girl better than me. I started living into the model that Perilous and Sparks were setting for me, and before long, I was making exactly the kind of courageous choices that my protagonists would make in my shoes, like finding an old, abandoned sailboat and restoring her to her former glory and facing my fears of sharing my writing and self-promotion.



Here’s a sneak peek of Sparks kicking ass and taking names, something that I’ve been getting better at with such an adept imaginary role model.

Two women had seated themselves to Sparks’ left. The elder was bundled up in mink as though it was mid-winter in Kiev. Her jet black hair was piled high atop her head, and her eyes and a murder of crow’s feet were partially concealed behind enormous movie starlet sunglasses.

Her companion appeared to be Sparks’ age and in a foul mood. Her hair was as dark as the older woman’s dyed coiffure but cut into a stark bob that framed her striking, pale face. They were quietly but heatedly discussing a collection of photographs spread out on the table.

To Sparks’ other side, an unkempt young man had recently taken up residence. He had a handsome face, but it was fixed into a fierce scowl. He seemed to be measuring Sparks up, and so she kept a circumspect eye on him.

After several minutes, he addressed her loudly, “Hey, morceau de merde!”

All of the patrons stopped what they were doing to witness the breach in civility. The waiter watched the exchange from his station near the door, wringing his hands.

Unmoved, Sparks surveyed the rude hooligan for a long moment. Seated, he looked to be six foot three—a few inches taller than Sparks. He had an athletic build and a rakish mop of hair that suggested he was one of the local artists. Probably drunk from the evening before.

She smiled before dismissing him. “Fous le camps.”

At that, his hand shot out, taking aim at Sparks’ demitasse. Just as quickly, she tossed the steaming espresso into his face and used her Oxford-clad foot to upend her attacker’s chair. He landed with a thud on the hard sidewalk.

Leaping up, he pulled a gleaming blade from an ankle sheath and lunged at Sparks. She flipped the small cafe table and wielded it like a battle shield. His knife wedged into its wooden top.

Sparks yanked the table aside, pulling the man off balance. She leveraged the table’s weight and her own momentum against him, sending him crashing back to the ground with a forceful blow to the abdomen. The café’s patrons looked on in shock as the man crumpled and gasped for air.