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Showing posts from March, 2018

Writing Non-Fiction Books – Research and Reward by Linda L. Osmundson

An August post from this blog read “ We Are Women, Hear Us Roar .” March, as Women’s History Month, honors many women who roared against impossible odds and found success in science, literature and art among other subjects. My research discovered women artists gained recognition as far back as the 15th Century even though they often faced a lack of acceptance and few choices in subject matter. Their soft voices persisted and soon turned to roars. For my third book in the How the West Was Drawn series I chose women who painted or sculpted the West. Writing non-fiction required thorough research and meticulous bibliographies. One workshop I attended suggested each fact in your manuscript should have three sources in agreement – not always possible. If done well, research reaps apt rewards. How do you find information? Where do you start? I started with books. BOOKS Non-fiction proposals require bibliographies that conform to the publisher’s particular style even if the publish

Dover Classics for Women's History Month

Dover Books has been reissuing facsimile editions of literary classics since 1941. During March, for Women's History Month, they feature the many feminist authors in their collection. You'll probably remember some of these titles from your college literature classes. Here are some of my favorites from their Dover Thrift Collection, most of them priced for $5 or less and also available in ebook format. Buy Link Buy Link Buy Link Buy Link Other titles you will find are: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman  by Mary Wollstonecraft Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Women's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton The Vagabond by Collette Woman in the Nineteenth Century by Margaret Fuller A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers And plenty of Jane Austen - I confess I haven't been a fan, but intend to change that! There must be a reason she is so popular to modern readers. I str

Red Sparrow: A Broken Winged Bird

I love the actress Jennifer Lawrence. I have watched all of her movies and admired her portrayal of Katniss Everdine in The Hunger Games , Mystique in the X-Me n, and Tiffany in the Silver Linings Playbook. I also love spy movies. So, I eagerly settled into my theater seat to view Red Sparrow , a tale of a Russian dancer turned Soviet Agent. *** WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD *** There was the setup and inciting event: dancer is injured, thereby ending her career and income stream. She has a sick mother who needs medical care (personal dilemma). Enter the uncle who proposes a new job: become an agent or her mother dies (story goal). The first twist: she was intentionally injured by the leading man and another dancer. She gets brutal revenge so we see Dominique has the capacity for violence. Then the plot swan dives: they send her to, in her words, whore school. Neither men nor women are spared explicit sexual exploitation. There she learns to use her sexuality as a weapon an

These Women Mean Business: 19th Century Women Entrepreneurs

When I initially created Inez Stannert, the protagonist of my Silver Rush series, I made her a part-owner of a saloon in Leadville, Colorado. I did so knowing that she had company in the 1880 census. Three Leadville women laid claim to being saloon keepers back then… in a town of about 300 saloons! In fact, a quick look at the variety of professions is intriguing: outliers include two fortune tellers, one journalist, one stenographer, four physicians/surgeons, four miners, and two music teachers. There were also 39 managers or employees in the hotel business, 90 boarding or lodging house keepers, and 76 women who were tailors/dressmakers/milliners. I wish I could tease the numbers apart and find out how many “managed” or owned their own businesses versus those who were “employed,” but the census doesn’t make that distinction. A Dying Note , the newest book in my series, finds Inez in 1881 San Francisco, managing a music store (which she does not own it… yet!). She is also providing

Rosie the Riveter and Lilly Ledbetter

The posters of Rosie the Riveter were created to encourage more women to join the wartime labor force and fill traditionally male jobs in the Defense Department left vacated when men went off to fight the enemy in World War II. Yes, I said POSTERS. Most people identify the iconic image of Rosie with her polka dotted bandana and “We Can Do It” motto, illustrated by J. Howard Miller and produced by Westinghouse in 1943, but it was not the only one. In fact, Norman Rockwell’s illustrated version of Rosie for the Saturday Evening Post in 1943 was far more popular. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the original Rosie was adopted as a feminist symbol of strength as the movement took hold and women everywhere got on the bandwagon for parity. The identity of the original Rosie was also a subject of contention. Two women claimed to be Rosie. You can read more about that here: Rosie the Riveter Inspiration and Rockwell’s Rosie here: Norman Rockwell - Rosie the Riveter   Rosie, and what

A Look at Amazing Women

Recently, I have been binge-watching episodes of Turn: Washington's Spies on Netflix. The story is set in and around New York during the years of the American Revolution, and it has been fascinating to look back at this period in history, even knowing that not all the details, or characters, are true to the facts. The series is based on a book, Washington's Spies: The story of America's First Spy Ring , which was known as the Culper Ring. The book was written by Alexander Rose, who focuses on the true historical facts instead of the dramatized version of events seen in the television series. Photos courtesy of  AMC What is true is the Culper Ring, headed up by Abraham Woodhull of Setauket, New York. Set primarily in New York where the spy ring started in the town of Setauket, the story does cover key places and people in the fight for Independence throughout the Colonies. Mary One of the aspects of the story I have enjoyed the most is the way the strength of w

Strong Women Helped Shape History

March is Women's History Month, and we at BRP are honoring prominent women both historical and present-day. When I began to consider this topic, several names came to mind. I whittled the list down to three, but I couldn't in good conscience eliminate any of those because of their impact on history. Queen Esther , an orphan girl living in Persia during the reign of King Ahasuerus, descended from Jewish captives and grew up in the city of Shushan. The king sought a replacement for the disobedient queen he had banished, and he ordered the beautiful virgins in the land to appear before him so he could choose her successor. Warned not to divulge that she was a Jew, Esther was chosen to be the new queen and soon earned the reputation of treating her husband with great humility and respect. When she learned the Persian prime minister plotted to kill all the Jews and, in fact, had authorization from the king to do so, she humbly but urgently appealed to her husband without first g

Women’s History Month: Stories of Tragedy and Survival

Ordinarily, when I think of Women’s History Month, I tend to look at the stories of great women whose accomplishments were often overlooked during their lives, or those whose achievements were noteworthy because of the obstacles overcome along the way. Recently, however, when researching Illinois history sites, I stumbled across a story of women whose health was damaged while they worked diligently to earn a living for their families in the 1920s. The article was called The Radium Girls: An Illinois Tragedy . I’d never heard of the women who died of radium poisoning years after working at a radium dial company, painting dials with a special mix that glowed in the dark. The article suggests perhaps thousands of people, mostly women, died from the poisoning. Kate Moore wrote a book called The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women (2017) and discusses women who worked at similar companies in other states as well. Consider another great tragedy that affected a larg