AC_TheInnocentAssassins1600x2400Guest blog by Pema Donyo, author of The Innocent Assassins

My upcoming release, THE INNOCENT ASSASSINS, features a former assassin serving undercover as a spy for the CIA. Along the way, she struggles with her feelings for the assassin organization’s next-in-command. To be honest, kick-ass heroines provide even better love lessons than traditional romance heroines. Starlets of romantic suspense and thrillers are strong enough to defeat some serious bad guys and smart enough to navigate their way through love.

  1. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games): Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Clever Katniss is careful about who she trusts in a dangerous dystopia. While we may not all live in District 12, we can all use her advice to proceed cautiously into any romance.
  2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter): Think rationally, not rashly. Hermione doesn’t follow Ron when he decides to leave. While she harbors a major crush on him, she doesn’t let it stop her from helping Harry save the entire wizarding world.
  3. Sydney Bristow (Alias): Bad timing doesn’t mean a bad relationship. The relationship between Sydney and her on-again, off-again love interest Michael Vaughn includes her dramatic fake death, his confusing fake death, and tons of cringe-worthy hairstyle changes. Once the timing is right, they are able to make things work.
  4. Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): First impressions aren’t everything. Or in Buffy and Spike’s case, brutal hatred and a centuries-old mythical struggle. Feelings change over time even if you’re a slayer and he’s a vampire.
  5. Nyota Uhura (Star Trek): Cultural barriers are surmountable. She and Spock come from different planets (actually, though). While there probably aren’t many favorite TV shows they share in common, Uhura doesn’t let a little culture clash keep her from love.
  6. Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones): Don’t let heartbreak hold you back. Partly because she’s awesome as an independent leader and partly because GOT seems intent to destroy every happy couple on the show, her husband dies after she falls in love with him. Nevertheless, does our girl Daenerys continue emerging as a political force to be reckoned with? Definitely.
  7. Princess Merida (Brave): You can save yourself without a man. Merida doesn’t end the movie by choosing a husband; she chooses a life for herself on her own terms. She saves her mother and her brothers by depending on herself, not a love interest. (Also magic, let’s be real.)
  8. Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy): Never let past disappointment keep you from future happiness. After Burke’s last-minute abandonment at the altar, she didn’t let his mood swings stop her from trying marriage a second time with Owen. She “dances it out” and moves on with her life.
  9. Olivia Pope (Scandal): Get your head in the game. The political game, that is. Olivia loves Fitz, but she understands that sometimes love isn’t enough. Between managing her super successful firm and sorting through real sketchy family issues, Liv has enough on her plate. While romance is important, this shouldn’t come at the expense of one’s own well-being and success.
  10. Claire Underwood (House of Cards): Find someone who complements you. Claire and Frank are both equally ambitious and hard-working. They help each other succeed rather than bring each other down. Lawsuits, murders, social climbing – you name it, they’ve supported each other through it.

What lessons from these heroines do you think are missing? What other kick-ass heroines come to mind for you? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.


There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over, she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences—a life she’s only dreamed of having.

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who’s next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.

944577_443747015661779_555683919_n-2 (3)AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

Pema Donyo is a coffee-fueled college student by day and a creative writer by night. She currently lives in sunny Southern California, where any temperature less than 70 degrees is freezing and flip-flops never go out of season. As a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna, she’s still working on mastering that delicate balance between finishing homework, meeting publisher deadlines, and… college. Her debut novel, The Innocent Assassins, is signed for publication with Astraea Press in June 2014. Catch up with her latest release information or writerly musings on her blog.

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