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Monday, July 25, 2016

Author Spotlight Featuring Nicole Evelina's Biographical Historical: Madame Presidentess



Please welcome back Nicole Evelina and her latest book ~ Madame Presidentess.
 It sounds totally fascinating and timely ... even though it's a historical.


Hi, L.A.! Thanks for having me back. My new book, Madame Presidentess, a biographical historical fiction about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President in the US in 1872, comes out today. 

I chose July 25 on purpose because it is the first day of the Democratic National Convention where presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton will likely officially become the first woman to run for President on a major party ticket, setting her up to possibly become our nation’s first female President. I wanted to use the media attention around Sen. Clinton’s campaign to highlight the mostly-unknown story of the woman who took the first step that made all of this possible, 48 years before women even had the right to vote.

Victoria was a controversial, groundbreaking woman who would make waves even today. Born dirt-poor to a con man and a woman who considered blackmail a hobby, by age 31 Victoria was a self-made millionaire. She was the first woman to own a stock brokerage on Wall Street (with her sister, Tennie), the first woman to speak before a sitting Congressional committee and one of the first women to run a daily newspaper (also with Tennie). She was also an outspoken suffragist, women’s rights defender, advocate of Free Love (the idea that marriage should begin when two people fall in love and end when the love is gone, without interference from the government), champion of worker’s rights and Marxist Communism.

Despite being friends with the likes of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, she has been virtually written out of the history books, denying generations of women knowledge of an important role model and forebear. In 2016, it’s time for that to change. That is why I wrote this book.

Excerpt:
I followed Mrs. Minor’s words closely, taking in each argument and dissecting it carefully. I was not trained to debate the finer points of law, but I could find no flaw in the woman’s logic. In fact, the longer I listened, the more I found myself agreeing. Around us, women whispered to each other, nudging husbands and companions in agreement with Mrs. Minor’s peaceful call to arms.
“Therefore, if the right is already ours, all we need do is take it back. Yes,” her voice rang out like the peal of an Easter church bell, “I mean we must take action. Perhaps you have heard of the Spiritualist town of Vineland, New Jersey? There, late last year, nearly two hundred women cast their votes. They pledge to do so annually until they are acknowledged. This is what I call on you to do.
“What I am asking of you is revolutionary, this I know. It goes against all we are raised to believe and how society demands we behave, but I urge you to open your minds to the idea. As a group, we have the power to change state laws, something which Miss Anthony, Mrs. Stanton, and other leaders of this group will be working to put into action. But each of us bears personal responsibility as well. So on your next election day, I ask that you hand over your ballot, not meekly but with pride, and demand to be counted among the citizens of this fine country. Only in that way can we hope to affect change in time to cast our votes for the next president in 1872.”
The crowd roared with applause, and I leapt to my feet, clapping as loud as my hands would let me. This woman was onto something.
“We should do this,” I mouthed to Tennie, who nodded enthusiastically. I would have to discuss the possibilities taking shape in my mind with James.
“They’ve got motivation now,” said a man in the row behind me. “Too bad they don’t have the money to see it through.”
His offhand comment snagged my attention. The party needed money, and I needed a way into its upper echelons. If Josie’s stock tips had taught me anything, it was that there was money to be made in the stock market—lots of it. Perhaps that could be my entry into suffrage society. I mulled over the thought as other people spoke. By the time Elizabeth Cady Stanton delivered the closing address, I was determined to work with Tennie to see how our budding business relationship with Mr. Vanderbilt might help advance our work for women.
When Mrs. Stanton said, “The need of this hour is a new evangel of womanhood to exalt purity, virtue, morality, true religion, to lift man up into the high realms of thought and action,” a chill raced down my spine. Those words were meant for me.
My sight blurred, and I blinked as a vision took over my consciousness. I stood in the center of a spotlighted stage, speaking to throngs larger even than the crowd gathered for this convention, as Demosthenes had promised.
A flash, then I sat on a platform next to the three Fates who ran the organization. I was the golden child sent to breathe new life into a movement desperately in need of new energy.
The next thing I knew, Miss Anthony was announcing me as president of the National Women’s Rights Convention.
Another shift and the vision began to fade, but not before a newspaper headline blared the fulfillment of the highest of Demosthenes’ prophecies: “Victoria Woodhull Makes History as First Woman President.”
Yes! I will bring this movement to the masses. I will show them that a woman like them, raised in the dirt, who works for a living, can be an agent of change. Then they shall see one Victoria sitting on the throne of England while her namesake guards the interests of women in the United States. Less than four years from now, I shall be president.


Buy:  

The 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.


Bio:
Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Madame Presidentess, a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction.  Been Searching for You, her contemporary romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. As an armchair historian, Nicole researches her books extensively, consulting with biographers, historical societies and traveling to locations when possible. 

For example, she traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

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.

Find Nicole:

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