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Muse Monday, Wicked Wednesday, Trippin' Thursdays,
and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Interview with Fearless Jana Lane by Joe Cosentino


FEARLESS FIRDAY
Please welcome my guest, Joe Cosentino, and his character, Jana Lane.

It’s Fearless Friday and we welcome back fearless Jana Lane, America’s most famous ex-child star, current movie star, and now Broadway star in Joe Cosentino’s fourth Jana Lane mystery novel, published by The Wild Rose Press, CHINA DOLL. Welcome back, Jana. 

Jana: I’m thrilled to be out of Joe Cosentino’s head and talking with you again. 

Of course we all remember you as a child star in cherished films like The Adorable Orphan, Jungle Girl, and Pink Ballerina, but since you last talked with us you’ve had a huge comeback starring in the steamy His Obsession and the political thriller Madame Senator for which you won a well-deserved Oscar. You’ve had quite a comeback, personally and professionally. 
Jana: And thanks to Joe Cosentino’s novels, my life is an open book. Five of them actually. 

Jana, you are gorgeous at forty-one with your petite figure, layered blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, and porcelain skin. Do you have a beauty regime? 

Jana: I work out in my home gym each day to music like “Maniac,” “What a Feeling,” Gloria,” and “Cover Me.” 

And since you live in the 1984, I love your chic business suits and dresses, shoulder pads, lace gloves, leggings, and scrunchies. 

Jana: As they say, the clothes make the woman. 

In your case, I think the woman makes the woman. You are truly fearless, Jana Lane. Please tell the readers about your mystery series by Joe Cosentino.

Jana: In PAPER DOLL I am thirty-eight and living with my family in our mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. My flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in my future. When the local police detective is of no help, it’s up to me to venture back to Hollywood, where I uncover a web of secrets about everyone I love. I also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of my old producer, Rocco Cavoto. After my investigation, I figure out the identity of the murderer, trap the rat on my property, and the truth comes out. 

And in PORCELAIN DOLL (The Wild Rose Press), you make a comeback film and uncover who is being murdered on the set and why. And your heart is set aflutter by your incredibly gorgeous co-star, America’s heartthrob Jason Apollo. And as in PAPER DOLL, you use the skills you learned as a child star, including some karate moves, to trap the murderer. Well done, fearless Jana Lane! 

Jana: A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Then in SATIN DOLL (The Wild Rose Press), my family and I head to Washington, DC, where I play a US senator in a new film, and become embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. I also embarks on a romantic flirtation with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. I also rub elbows with senators on both sides of the aisle, a lobbyist, and a Washington reporter. 

Once again you figure out whodunit and corner the murderer into confession. Tell us about your current release, CHINA DOLL. 

Jana: My agent arranges for me to star in a Broadway play. So in CHINA DOLL (The Wild Rose Press), I head to New York City to star in a Broadway mystery, where my I become enchanted by my gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens—another actor, and I’m faced with murder on stage and off. It is old home week and nepotism in action as the play is produced and written by the same producer (Stanley Rothman) and author (Katrina Wright) who produced and wrote my first Broadway play when I was five years old, Sweet Nothings! My co-star from Sweet Nothings, the aging but still gorgeous and mysterious Savannah Stevens, is co-starring in China Doll, along with Savannah’s incredibly handsome and muscular son, Peter Stevens, in his Broadway debut. Rounding out the cast are Rothman’s granddaughter Bella, my nephew Brad, and my youngest son B.J. And the play is directed by Katrina’s new husband. 

The young studly Tony Cuccioli. 

Jana: Also in the cast are Sally Chen a recent Tony Award winning actress, and Tate Moonglow a transplant from Off-Broadway. Art imitates life as members of the production team of China Doll are murdered, and personal secrets are revealed. 

I’m guessing once again Jana Lane uses the skills you learned as a child star to solve the crime and catch the killer. 

Jana: Including a fight scene that takes place on stage! 

You are truly fearless, Jana Lane! With her gorgeous violet eyes, is Savannah Stevens, the aging movie star, based on Elizabeth Taylor? 

Jana: Savannah is a smart, strong, talented woman like Elizabeth Taylor, however, she doesn’t have anywhere near as many husbands or such a troubled life. What great fun for me to co-star with Savannah in a play when I was five years old then again at forty-one. 

Is Katrina Wright, the highly successful mystery writer, supposed to be Agatha Christie? 

Jana: They are both very successful, older female writers, but Agatha Christie wrote many novels and a few plays, Katrina has written many many plays and no novels.  Also unlike Agatha Christie, Katrina has a young stud husband who just happens to get the job as director of Katrina’s play—to the producer’s (Stanley Rothman’s) chagrin.

And you go through a major personal event. 

Jana: I love that part of the story. It still brings tears to my eyes when I read it. 

Everyone in CHINA DOLL seems to have a secret. Thank you for revealing them by the book’s end. 

Jana: Thank Joe for that. Each Jana Lane mystery is its own story. Readers get a complete mystery with each novel, as you said, full of revealed secrets, clues, plot twists and turns, and white knuckle shocking ending.

Do you see the Jana Lane mysteries as a TV show? 

Jana: Joe sure does. He wants to play my agent Simon! 

What is your next mystery?

Jana: RAG DOLL, where I am offered the leading role in a TV pilot about an amateur sleuth. Life imitates art once again as murder and romance ensue. After all, it’s a Jana Lane mystery! 

How can your readers contact you?

Jana: Via Joe. He loves hearing from readers. It gives him a break from listening to me. They can contact him at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
Thank you fearless Jana Lane from the Jana Lane mysteries, here with your latest release CHINA DOLL by Joe Cosentino, published by The Wild Rose Press. Stay fearless! 

CHINA DOLL, a Jana Lane mystery

by Joe Cosentino

published by The Wild Rose Press



Jana Lane is back on Broadway in 1984—starring in a murder mystery. Life imitates art when members of the company are murdered. As Jana investigates, it’s clear she may be the next victim. Complicating matters is Jana’s uncontrollable infatuation with her leading man, gorgeous and muscular Off-Broadway actor Peter Stevens. Will Jana find the murderer before the curtain comes down on her?  
Praise for SATIN DOLL, the previous Jana Lane mystery: 
“A book that will captivate any reader! A page turner that won't let you go! This is one author you can always depend on to publish a good read!!” Stormy Nights Reviewing
“Joe Cosentino is a brilliant mastermind when creating the perfect mystery series. In each novel in this intriguing series of his, Jana Lane Mysteries, readers are blown away by his writing. The instant readers jump into Joe Cosentino's fictional world, the danger feels real, the suspense is killing, and the plot moves so fast. Action, lights, camera!”  “A fast-paced murder mystery that readers will easily fall in love with...and one they can't live without. Overall, I highly recommend this new title in the Jana Lane Mysteries and look forward to the next best adventure from Joe Cosentino.” Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity Inc.
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino won Divine Magazine’s awards for best mystery novel, best humorous novel, and best contemporary novel of 2015. He is the author of the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, and China Doll and the upcoming Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and the upcoming Drama Cruise (Lethe Press); the Cozzi Cove beach series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back and Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward (NineStar Press); and the romance novellas: In My Heart anthology (An Infatuation & A Shooting Star), A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). As an actor, he has appeared in principal roles in film, television, and theatre opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com 


Excerpt from CHINA DOLL, the fourth Jana Lane mystery, by Joe Cosentino, published by The Wild Rose Press
Jana came face to face with Stanley. “If Tate and Gary go, so do I.”
“Don’t do it for me, Jana,” Tate and Gary said in unison.
Stanley grinned. “Listen to your deviant friends, Jana.”
Tate held Jana’s arm to stifle her from replying to Stanley.Stanley glared at Sally Chen. “And if anyone doesn’t like the size of her role, I’ll accept your resignation.” Then staring at Savannah and Jana, he said, “And if any of you regrets signing a contract with me for this show, let this be a business lesson for you. Lawyers enforce contracts.” Stanley clapped his hands again. “Tony, Tate, and Gary, you are released. Kat, please take a seat in the house. Jose, back to your stage manager’s console please. Everyone else, please make a circle around me, and I will lead you in some acting exercises.”
As everyone moved around Stanley onstage in a state of shocked pandemonium, the bookcase set piece teetered back and forth then crashed down on top of the producer.


Friday, August 19, 2016

TRIPPIN' TROUBLE (keep smilin')

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
In everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...in our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
Remember, I'm about tossing out ways to have fun when you retire and/or change lifestyles with nothing in the bank but love. I like sharing little ways to tighten the budget while you loosen up life. Well...this week it was about none of the above!

We've gone back and forth between Prescott, Tonto Basin, and Phoenix so many times I have to think about where I am each morning when I open my eyes. The purchase of the bigger and better fifth wheel is done except for signing the papers on pick-up day September 2nd in Prescott. I've gotten Mom to the dentist in Phoenix twice...three more appointments to go.

On Wednesday, I headed back to the basin by myself in the car and just before I turned onto I-17 the car made a funny chattering noise which suddenly grew loud. I pulled off the road, steering wheel went stiff, and car was dead. The timing belt broke and the engine was blown. A tow truck ride and hours later, we learned the fix was more than the car is worth. Sold it to the junkyard. Hubby came to rescue me.

I shudder to think how it would've gone had the event happened a little farther along in the drive...maybe on the winding road over the mountains down into the Verde Valley. It 's a fast moving highway and a major truck route. Or maybe on the rim road. 260 is a winding two-lane road on the edge of the pine covered mountains. There's rarely anywhere to pull over and lots of blind corners. I can be thankful for where it happened, at least.

Next day, hubby and I headed out in the truck and as we rounded one of those turns on the 260 rim road, a front tire exploded. Black smoke billowed behind us, and he fought to get the truck steady until a small area to pull over on the mountain side appeared.

Again, I shudder to think how it might have gone at another moment like if we had been pulling that new fifth wheel. Not only am I thankful for the timing of this ugly event, but also to the young man who stopped to help us change the tire. He actually passed by us, found a place to turn around, and came back. If you ever meet a
fireman from Pine, AZ named Paul, tell him you know he's one of a kind.

So tips? Only hindsight: buy tires for the truck before the car because the car is going to blow an engine anyway. Wait a week to fix the breaks on the car because it's going to blow an engine anyway. I can advise to not buy Ironman tires. They are overpriced and fall apart at 30,000 miles. Oh, and another way to save the bucks? Go down to one vehicle. Saves on insurance and tags. Always good to find the upside, right?

Monday, August 15, 2016

SEDUCING THE STORY...FROM THE CHARACTER


MUSE MONDAY
The characters who populate my fictional world always guide me from idea to page. What has changed over the years is how well I get to know them before I put their story into novel form. I keep a tight rein on them now, or at least they let me think so.  

I considered myself a pantser when I first started writing. Authors are either pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants) or plotters (organized and thought out). I didn’t write an outline or synopsis beforehand. I usually knew the names of my two main characters, what they looked like, and a bit about their personalities. I knew where the story began and where it would end, but none of that stuff in between. 

And as a pantser, characters could deceive me or get feisty and hold back important details, dropping them on me right in the middle of a plot line. Give them an inch… 

When I entered the world of series writing with true villains capable of murder, writing by the seat of my pants didn’t work so well. But let’s leave plotting for another day. I’m still on characters right now. 

Before I write that opening scene, a Character Sketch is created for the players…or at least all of the
ones I know of. As the story progresses, new characters will pop into the story I had no idea even existed. For those I know of, I record their full name, birth date and place, race, eye color, hair color and style, height, weight, build, skin tone, how they dress, and if they have any distinguishing physical traits or mannerisms. Once I get past the visual, I need to know their personality traits, what their background is, their education, and their occupation. Keep in mind, not all of this will be used in the book. But I have to know it in order to write their stories. 

Then comes the real crux of the person: GMC or goal, motivation, and conflict. These three things drive the character and create the story. In my early days, I wasn’t always sure of all three when I’d begin writing. Even now, my characters will throw me a curve at times, but I’m much stricter with them and insist on knowing just why and where we’re going with this adventure. 

This week, I’m at the character stage in The Deep Well of Love and Murder, book five in the series. There’s a larger cast of characters involved in this story, and I’ll bring back some from books one through four. Should be fun. Next week, I’ll begin plotting. Oh yes, I now plot. 

An inside look for you for book five from the Character Sketch file: remember Laura from book one? She had a very minor role as the wife of Clark Katz. And from book two, do you remember the Meadowlark Range foreman, Randy? His role was even smaller. They’re up front and center in book five. I just found out Randy comes from a colorful ancestry of Brazilian Gauchos on his father’s side, and Laura had to flee her childhood of a dysfunctional family when she was young. 

I’ve been writing, with the purpose of becoming an author, for about nine years. I landed my first contract in 2009 and held a copy of my first published novel in my hands in the summer of 2010. Every time I hold the latest published novel, the thrill is the same. Wish me luck in cajoling all of the details out of the characters for manuscript number eleven this week.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

SURVIVING MY SUMMER MOOD

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY
In everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose...in our latest season, with only a vague plan and a touch of creativity, we're off on another adventure. Half of this twosome is retired; my half will probably never know what that means. I promise to share.
The only trippin' I've been doing is over my erratic schedule and mood. Can I lend any good advice or tips to you as a result? Suuurrrre!

I discovered that climbing into the shower with yoga pants and a tee shirt under cold water, then sitting in front of a fan really cools you down.

I discovered getting a 16 ounce glass with a lid and straw filled with ice and water, then refilling every time it's empty (two of these before lunch, two before dinner minimum) keeps you hydrated and cooler.

I discovered if I'm jumping between three towns, three beds, it's best to lie and think a minute about where I am in the middle of the dark night before I try negotiating a path to the bathroom.

I discovered switching Internet and phone carriers is uber frustrating. We were able to get out of our Sprint hotbox due to non-existent coverage. My mood was greatly affected by lack of Internet coverage when I needed it. Costco had a deal and we netted new phones, a notebook, and Internet with Verizon for the same amount we were paying for a decent iPhone, crappy cell, and spotty
Internet coverage. Yes, the result was good, the changeover was a hassle. Tip: look at plans and at other places like Costco to save and upgrade.

See the glass with straw? Water and ice!
I discovered buying a new RV is just as infuriating as buying a new car. Yes, we decided to trade in the small RV, the Eagle, for a more comfortable size. Why are we upsizing? Does it mean we actually have a plan on what the next adventure is? Yes. Sort of. And I'll leave that until we are actually in possession of the Wildwood. (a few pics from still on the lot)





Monday, August 8, 2016

A BIG, HOT AUGUST- SIZZLE with Barbara Brett


MUSE MONDAY
It's great to have Barbara Brett today! Read on...

It's August, usually the hottest month of the year—at least here in New York City, where I live. Those of us who spend most of the season at home are not too fond of August, but I'm a big fan. Not because I enjoy the month's long, sweltering days, but because I'm so grateful for the anniversaries that some of those days commemorate. Ninety-six years ago, on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to our Constitution, giving women the right to vote, was ratified. August also marks the birthdays of two brave women who fought long and hard to make that right a reality. 

On August 13, 1818, Lucy Stone, suffragist and abolitionist, was born. Lucy was one of the organizers of the Women's Rights Convention and she spent her long life fighting for freedom for slaves and the vote for women. When she died in 1893, the slaves had been freed and African-American men had the vote, but women were still waiting. 

Suffragist Inez Milholland Boissavain was born on August 6, 1886, right here in Brooklyn, where I live. Unusual and extremely difficult for a woman in her day, after she earned a degree from Vassar, she received a law degree from New York University. She fought for women's rights, prison reform, and children's rights. On March 3, 1913, the day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, robed in white and on a white horse, Inez led a suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. Inez died three years later at the age of thirty. Four years after that, women finally gained the right to vote. 

I've always admired women who have blazed the trail, whether in politics or business, making the way easier for the rest of us. Many of them have taken it up as a cause. Others have done it on their own, determined to succeed just for themselves, but in doing so, they have surely eased the way for others. When I created Marietta Wylford, the protagonist of SIZZLE, I wanted to explore exactly how a woman could make her way in the man's world of business. I set the book in the 1980s, when it was much more difficult for a woman to succeed than it is today. It was an exciting time of junk bonds and corporate raids, and the macho guys on Wall Street thought they had the goodies all to themselves. But Marietta was determined to get her share of the pie. Could she succeed and still keep love in her life?

Blurb for
SIZZLE
Where the boardroom meets the bedroom.

She’s the most beautiful and ruthless CEO in the nation. He’s the most dangerous corporate raider in the world. Neither has ever lost a battle in the boardroom—or  the bedroom. Now they’re warring for America’s biggest publishing prize.

It’s the glitzy1980s. Fortunes are being made and lost—and made again. Wall Street is on a roll. One after another, corporations are being gobbled up by rapacious raiders. And now Sizzle, the most glamorous and profitable magazine in the world is up for grabs. British media mogul and corporate raider Harrison Kendricks has set his sights on this publishing plum, in which the reputations of the rich, the famous, and the beautiful can be built or destroyed with a paragraph or a photograph. He has never before lost a hostile takeover. But then he has never before been in competition with Marietta Wylford, the brilliant and beautiful CEO of Wylford Enterprises. She needs only Sizzle to crown the business empire she has built with nothing but her own genius and ambition, and she is determined to let no one stand in her way. Not even the mysterious and dangerous Harrison Kendricks. To defeat him, she will have to uncover the one vile secret that will utterly destroy him. And she will do anything to get it—even at the risk of breaking her own heart.

SIZZLE—a  novel of breathtaking power and ambition, set against the jet-setting world of Manhattan’s elite!

“[A] battle fraught with...the dirtiest of tricks...the stuff that destroys marriages, people, lives.... Sizzle through the summer with Sizzle.”—The Salem News

Buy links:
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Sizzle-Where-Boardroom-Meets-Bedroom-ebook/dp/B01DL6F1E4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1460124005&sr=8-1
B&N:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sizzle-barbara-brett/1123604122?ean=9780989917339
Smashwords:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/626180
Kobo:
https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Sizzle+%28Barbara+Brett%29

Excerpt from SIZZLE by Barbara Brett
Marietta Wylford began life as Marianne Vuckendorn, which should have been a sufficient handicap for anyone, but fate chose to deal her out even more. She had a brutal, alcoholic father who rarely worked, and when he did, he spent all his money on liquor and whiskey-drinking friends. Her mother, too weak willed to leave him, slaved behind the steam table in a lower Manhattan cafeteria, where, on the rare occasions when her boss was in a good mood, she was allowed to take home some leftover vegetables that had been cooked beyond recognition and some dried-out ends of meat.

When Marianne was eight and still fantasizing that her father had crept into the palatial home of her real parents— visiting royalty from Europe—and kidnapped her from her diamond-studded cradle, her older brother, then fifteen, was killed by a fellow junkie in an argument over their stash of heroin. When she was twelve and past all fantasies, her younger sister, then eight, died in a fall from a swing in the local playground, which, unlike its counterparts in well-to-do neighborhoods, had no rubberized protective cushioning in potentially dangerous areas. No one bothered to investigate the accident, obviously just another case of a dumb poor kid who didn’t watch what she was doing.

That death was a turning point for Marianne. She had always known that someday she would escape the vicious cycle that had closed her parents off from hope and kept them tied to apartments in crumbling tenements in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, outcasts forever quarantined because they suffered from that insidious social disease, poverty. Now she began to make concrete plans for that escape. Her mother delighted in telling her that the angels had smiled on her face, and even a critical look in the mirror confirmed that her mother was right. She had large, wide-apart eyes the color of fine emeralds, and luxuriant, silk hair that gleamed like burnished copper. Her nose was straight and her chin firm but gently rounded, her cheekbones high and aristocratic, her skin a clear ivory tone unmarred by blemishes or freckles. But if the angels had smiled upon her face, it soon became apparent that they had beamed on her body. For she grew to a height of five feet, eight inches, and to a breadth that was nothing less than the American dream—thirty-eight, twenty-three, thirty-six. Obviously, she was made for better things than Crown Heights had to offer, and she was determined to have them—whatever she had to do....

Thanks for having me on your blog, Brenda! I'd love to hear from your readers. They can find me at:
Website: www.brettbooks.comGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1767558.Barbara_Brett
Amazon.com author page: www.amazon.com/author/barbarabrett

Friday, August 5, 2016

Victoria Woodhull: Forgotten Pioneer of Women’s Rights by Nicole Evelina


FEARLESS FRIDAY
I'm excited to introduce you to Nicole Evelina on Fearless Friday. Please read on and enjoy!

Victoria Woodhull’s name may not be familiar to you, and if that’s the case, don’t worry; most people don’t know who she is. Despite the fact that she was the first woman to run for President in the United States (1872), the first woman to own and operate a stock brokerage on Wall Street, the first woman to speak before a committee of Congress and one of the first to run a weekly newspaper, her name is not in most history books. 

There are likely many reasons for that, but to me, it’s more important that the situation change. Victoria had her faults, but she also had many admirable qualities that women of all ages could learn from, one of the biggest of which is that she was fearless.  Here are six examples of times when she exemplified that trait: 

1.       She overcame poverty and abuse. Victoria was one of 10 children born to a down-on-his-luck, impoverished con man and a religious zealot, both of whom were physically, emotionally (and possibly sexually) abusive. Her parents put her and her sister Tennessee (Tennie) to work before they were teenagers as clairvoyants and magnetic healers. To escape that life, Victoria married at 14, but her husband turned out to be addicted to alcohol and morphine, was abusive, and frequented brothels. Despite only having three years of formal education, Victoria endured, supporting her growing family by working as a seamstress, actress, medium/healer, and later, after divorcing her first husband, as a stock broker in her own right. By the time she was 31, she was a self-made millionaire. 

2.       She moved around at the direction of the spirits. Victoria was a Spiritualist. Call her brave, faithful or stupid, she believed that the spirits she spoke with knew what was best for her. From a young age, she claimed the ancient Greek orator Demosthenes was her spirit guide. He and her other spirits directed her around the Midwest during the Civil War. Then in 1868, Demosthenes told her to go to New York where she would find a house prepared for her at 17 Great Jones Street. He told that from there, she would fulfill the destiny written in the stars from the moment of her birth and become queen of America, just like the queen she was named after. By this time, Victoria had two children and a second husband, but that didn’t stop her. She packed up her things and moved to New York, where a life of fame and fortune awaited her at the exact address Demosthenes prophesized. 

3.       She challenged authority and shattered the glass ceilings of her day. Victoria would have loved the song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” and she wasn’t afraid to show it. Women didn’t mettle in business affairs? She opened the first stock on Wall Street brokerage owned and operated by a woman (along with Tennie) and was successful at it. Women weren’t allowed at the New York Stock Exchange? No problem, she relayed her business transactions through men. Women weren’t supposed to run for office? She ran for the highest one in the land. Women weren’t supposed to draw attention to themselves? Victoria not only ran a weekly newspaper (along with Tennie), gave speeches around the country, and even challenged Congress on whether or not women already had the right to vote through the wording of the Constitution.  Women weren’t allowed to vote? No matter, in 1871, she and a group of women attempted to vote anyway. 

4.       She spoke out in an age when women were expected to be silent. In Victoria’s time, it was not considered proper for a woman to speak in public because it was believed by doing so, she drew shame upon her father/husband. That didn’t stop suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Victoria joined them in speaking out for that right, but also vehemently supported workers’ rights, the humane treatment of prostitutes, and the rights of women to not be sexually subservient to their husbands within marriage. From 1871 on, Victoria was a regular fixture on the lecture circuit along with famous women like Anna Dickinson, traveling around the country to speak her controversial ideas. 

5.       She didn’t hide her private beliefs. If Victoria believed in something, she was going to tell you about it even if it wasn’t in keeping with the mores of the day. She was a member of the so-called “sex radical” movement that rallied for equality of the sexes. As such, she adopted their mode of dress, cutting her hair short and trading in her corset and bustle for more masculine jackets and skirts. Victoria was also a strong proponent of Free Love, the idea that a marriage should begin when two people fall in love and end when they were no longer in love without the interference of government or religion. In a particularly controversial speech, she openly declared, “Yes, I am a free lover! I have an inalienable constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can, to change that love every day as I please.” Imagine how well that went over in Victorian America. Plus, she was open about her affair Theodore Tilton while both were married and may have has several other trysts outside of marriage. 

6.       She expected everyone to be open about their lives. As Victoria was not ashamed of her personal choices and abhorred hypocrisy, she thought everyone should be transparent about their lives. When they were not, she exposed them. From businessmen conducting fraudulent practices to the police taking bribes to keep prostitutes out of jail, Victoria brought to light many underhanded practices through her newspaper. The most famous, and also the most damaging, was her exposé on the affair between the immensely popular Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and the married Elizabeth Tilton. Victoria’s article spelling out all the tawdry details set off the trial of the century and landed her and Tennie in jail for Election Day when she was supposed to be attempting to vote for herself. 

It is a shame that such a brave woman has been excluded from her rightful place in history for the last 145 years. It is my hope that with my novel, Madame Presidentess, I will play some small role in putting her name into the history books and preserving her memory for future generations.

Blurb:
Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books. 
Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.” 
But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women. 
Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect. 
Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations. 
This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors, the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Midwest Publisher’s Association.

Her website is http://nicoleevelina.com.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Special Sunday Edition with Glenn Maynard

A special Sunday edition!
Welcome today's guest blogger, Glenn Maynard. 
The idea for my Desert Son fiction series came from reading the book, “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, by Ian Stevenson. This book was about the spontaneous recall of previous lives by children. I was so fascinated by these children in third world countries recalling lives of people who had died, and who had lived an unreachable distance from these kids. Researchers would then follow the kid’s claims and travel to talk to the surviving members of the deceased’s family. The claims of the children exactly portrayed the deceased, sometimes including the language they spoke, and with information that nobody other than the deceased would know.

These books depict my interpretation of the out-of-body experience, dying, and the process of coming back to life. Everybody wonders if there is an afterlife, and I take you there. Some of my readers, who have lost close relatives, really enjoy the thought of what it would be like to reconnect with them one more time. If you have recently lost someone, then this book will bring you back to them at least for the moment. Memories are all we have left of the deceased, but sometimes they’re memories from a previous lifetime.

The story begins with Carter involved in a horrific car accident that kills his parents. I chose to begin this story with an out-of-body experience because there was a significant message from a woman he did not recognize who was claiming to be his mother. She told him to follow signs to reach the truth. There is a bizarre twist in this tale when he follows signs out west to Boulder, Colorado, and hooking up with Brenda along the way. The story revolves around the topic of reincarnation. Carter and Brenda discover that it is up to him to find out if he is the reincarnation of his biological father.

The sequel to Desert Son is Wayward Soul, which takes place four years after Carter and Brenda discover their disturbing reality. The spirit world becomes intertwined with their own as they attempt to tap into these secrets about their fate in this paranormal roller coaster that will shake your soul. Wayward Soul is the standalone sequel to Desert Son, but you will be doing yourself a favor by going back to the beginning, which, in this case, is a loaded statement. 

Excerpt:

Carter and Brenda followed Angie into the small nook of a house and they ended up in a small den. Everything about the house was small. She invited Carter and Brenda to sit on the loveseat, then turned and sat in an old wooden chair with a blue, padded seat cushion clinging on with little strips of cloth  that appeared to be aftermarket threads.

Carter began to introduce himself. “My name is… ”

The psychic jumped up from her seat with enlarged eyeballs and raced toward Carter, yelling, “Ahhhhhhhhhh!” She then pressed her index finger against Carter’s lips, instead of her own, and followed with “Shhhhhhhh! It would ruin my reading if I got your name,” she said with enlarged eyes. “That’s why I only accept cash. Names contaminate readings. I need a moment of silence to get tuned in to you both. No more of that. Any questions?”

Carter shifted nervously in his seat, trying hard to come up with a question. “I’d like to know… ”

“Ut!” yelled Angie. “No questions until after your reading. I told you that I don’t want any outside influences, and a question and answer session in the beginning would defeat the purpose.”

Carter sighed in slight disgust, wondering why she would ask if there were any questions. He sat silently, staring at Angie, wondering why he even came. One and done, he thought. He would never have to deal with her or anyone like her again.

Angie came off as a little abrasive, and this kept Brenda tight- lipped. Carter had never seen this side of Brenda. He looked at Angie sitting in the chair. There was a lot of energy pent up in that little middle-aged body. She had very big brown eyes, and Carter estimated that those eyes had given Angie the gift of sight for just beyond a half-century. Her brown hair was a little bit wiry and landed near the back and bottom of her heart. It seemed to him that sitting still was a difficult task for this psychic. Carter could read into her a little as well.

Out of the corner of his eye, Carter could see Brenda’s blues

locked into Angie’s browns. It was obvious that Angie commanded the room. A coffee cup smoldered on the coffee table in front of her. The walls of the room seemed to shoot out intermittent coffee mist. Carter would not have been shocked if he discovered that Juan Valdez had lived here. The well-defined wrinkles on Angie’s cheeks told of age or stress, or perhaps both. However, the initial greeting exuded a youthful energy. Her big browns opened, and then closed. They opened again, and then closed again. This time they stayed closed.

Angie opened her eyes after a minute. She  jumped up and leaped in front of Carter and Brenda, startling them both and forcing them to jerk their bodies further back onto the couch. She reached out with both hands, grabbed a hand from each of them, and squeezed tight. Then she squeezed her eyes closed tighter. Carter looked down at the kneeling Angie as her eyelids fluttered and she began bellowing and talking in tongues. Carter and Brenda exchanged rapid glances. They did not know how to react. The coffee-stained air began to thicken and the oxygen level decreased. The closed shades made the room rather dark for an afternoon.

Angie suddenly went silent and her eyes jerked open wide. She looked at Brenda with a horrified look on her face, the bright whites of her eyes glowing in the darkened room. Her mouth transformed into a rectangle as she slowly returned to her feet and inched her way back from them, not once taking her eyes off of Brenda. Her body began to twitch wildly. Carter could not make heads or tails of what the hell was going on, and he and Brenda did not utter a word. Maybe this was a test, he thought, and he would speak and get kicked out for not playing right.

They just let her be, and observed. He looked over again at Brenda, who appeared to be shell-shocked. She didn’t even return his glance. Angie backed up to the front door, feeling the walls along the way. She turned, screamed, and bolted outside. Then came the horrifying sound of screeching brakes and a loud, impactful thud, followed by another thud. 

Glenn Maynard is the author of “Strapped Into An American Dream” which details his one-year journey through the 48 continental states, Canada and Mexico in an RV. He was a travel correspondent for three newspapers during his travels. He is also the author of “Desert Son” and “Wayward Soul”, which are the first to book of a fiction series that involves out-of-body experiences, past-life-regression hypnosis, and reincarnation. He is currently working on book three of this trilogy.

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While visiting a psychic, Carter Spence and Brenda Raycroft’s reading turns tragic. The psychic touches them, suffers convulsions, and frantically runs into the street into oncoming traffic. Their fate is sealed in a coma and they must use any means possible to reach the psychic in the spirit world as they dodge deadly complications in an attempt for answers.

Racing against time, they pursue the psychic’s message before she dies and takes the answers they need with her. When the spirit of the previous homeowner returns, this haunting soul begins tampering with the comatose psychic.

This eerie sequel to Desert Son takes place four years after Carter and Brenda discover they are a couple reunited beyond the grave. The spirit world becomes intertwined with their own as they attempt to tap into these secrets to uncover disturbing truths about their fate in this paranormal roller coaster will shake your soul.

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