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.

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.


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.

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

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Mental Can Openers & Writer's Hash ~ Books Make the Best Vacations

It's my privilege to bring you Brad Leach who once again uses his words to paint images, bring forth emotions and perhaps trigger memories (happier, I hope) of your own. 

As a child, vacations were torturous affairs of smoke, strife, heat, and confinement.  To this day I envision hell as an endless, tense, car ride across central Nebraska or Kansas. 
With public school, vacations happened during the hot summer.  And vacations started with our car.  In our case, this was a metal hot-box, salvaged from a POW camp, set on wheels and given an unreliable motor.  Dad bought old.  Air conditioning was a commie plot to destroy gas mileage, decreasing his beer money. 
The tired Chevy or Dodge was jammed with tools, duct tape, oil, water, coolers, luggage, blankets, guitars, and cases of Coors beer for relatives.  My brother and I, wedged in the back seat, were an afterthought.  I once made the 500-mile trip with my feet propped on two cases of beer.
Dad and NASCAR shared the belief that stops were the "pits" and should be minimal and fast.  Detours and tourist sites were "Verboten"!  So given travel is educational, my instruction was limited to counting telephone poles in Nebraska or out-of-state plates in Kansas.
"Vacation" meant sweating, squirming, and holding a full bladder, hour after hour.  Drinks were discouraged as you'd only have to go to the bathroom -- again.  At the rare emergency stop on the highway shoulder, Dad would cuss and Mom plead until a fight erupted as cars flew by.  Guilt now joined us in the back seat, as we hoped our small bladders and need for liquids wouldn't destroy our family.
But the worst was the smoking.  Both parents smoked and when they grew tired of the highway winds and noise, up would go the windows leaving only a front "wing" cracked. With nothing to do for hours, they went through packs of "coffin nails", using our tiny lungs as hammers.  The smoke pouring out of our car must have resembled a 1950's Pittsburgh steel-factory, behind on orders.
Eyes watering and noses clogged, I once convinced my brother to spend our comic book money on those paper painter/surgeon masks at a truck stop.  Down the highway we went, masks swallowing our faces, eyes watering, thirsty, needing to pee, drawing pictures on the smoke-stained insides of the glass, while Dad smoked and cussed, Mom smoked away a headache, and passing motorists laughed. 

Arriving meant staying with family friends or relations as poor as us.  My brother and I answered the same questions over and over to rheumy-eyed adults, looking down purple-veined noses with beers and smokes in their fists.  We slept on couches, chairs, or floors, with little to do but find trouble.  That meant whippings if we were caught. 
Adults went bar-hopping at night or held beer-blast jamborees in a backyard by day.  The rest of their time was spent sleeping or arguing.  The pall of the dreaded trip home hung over me all week. 
My one escape from this holiday nightmare was a few precious books.  I could retreat for awhile with the Hardy Boys.  Fight aliens with a spaceship and crew.  Or cherish home comforts with Bilbo Baggins.  Getting home inside those pages was as quick as Mr. Scott beaming me down.  And the Enterprise had plenty of restrooms.
Now, as an adult, I don't take a lot of vacations.  Frankly, I want air travel and exotic locations (sans telephone poles), no smoke and a nice room.  Unfortunately, this takes more money than my bank claims I have. 
But -- I can afford my book vacations.  Tipping my cap to nostalgia, I sometimes return to solve a mystery with Frank and Joe Hardy.  In the cool comfort and clean air of my living room, iced drink at hand, I remind that hot, sweaty kid clutching a painter's mask that we made it. 
More importantly, I'm fashioning such novels myself.  I want to give others that chance to escape; to fire their imaginations with visions of a better life.  To urge them to redeem their own trials for passion. 
Celebrate your fortitude and endurance.  You are stronger than you know.

~Brad Leach

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Scrivener iOS for iPad/iPhone Is Here! Bells Are Ringing.

Woot! Finally, I get my dream. Nope, it's not an Oscar or a Rita, but it's about as cool.  Literature and Latte have launched their iOS version of their remarkable writer's tool, Scrivener. 

I've wanted to use my iPad for writing for a long time. Not so much on my phone, but people do and now you can.

The cool feature is that you can sync easily to your PC or your Mac using Dropbox. If you don't have Dropbox yet, you can get it here and we both win as we each get 500 MB of space.  I use Dropbox all the time to share folders, use it as a backup and know if I need something on the go, I can put it there and retrieve when I need it. 

Remember, you'll need Dropbox on all the equipment you plan to sync with. For me, it's my PC, my laptop, and my iPad. I don't have Scrivener for my Mac, as I don't write on that incredible machine. 

But back to Scrivener iOS. The app is available on the Apple app store at the amazing price of $19.99. Frankly (and don't tell them) I would have paid a lot more. 

There is a great tutorial and I'd recommend a quick glance at it. If you're used to Scrivener it's pretty clear cut, but there are a few changes. It seems as if syncing garners a lot of questions that are answered if you read the tutorial first. And really, the tuts are fun, and you get the info you need so you can get out and play. 

Remember, the syncing works when you have internet access! I know that sounds obvious, but hey I did read one person's complaint that she couldn't her app to sync. Not a cell phone tower in sight, nor modem to be had. Once she got home, voila, it worked.

I don't have a cool keyboard with my iPad, but I was able to use an extra wireless keyboard from my Mac and Bluetooth it to my iPad.  That'll work until I get my iPad Pro and its fancy keyboard.

I've played with it and I love it. Go. Get. Yours.

And if you also want the PC or Mac version, check out the left sidebar for sales links. Yes, I get a small commission, but frankly, I'd lead you there for free.

Let me know what you think.

Warmest Regards, 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Take Five With Author Karen Van Den Heuvel & Her DEBUT novel.

It's always an exciting time to see your first book in print.  
Please welcome Karen Van Den Heuvel and her debut book!

Welcome to An Indie Adventure, Karen.  Tell us, what inspired you to write your book Hidden Bloodlines?

Hi, L.A., thanks for having me on your blog for my launch week. Talk about an exciting time.

The inspiration for Hidden Bloodlines originated from two sources. The first was a weekend stay my husband and I took at the historic Stanley Hotel, registered as the second most haunted hotel in the country. It was a unique experience which started when we checked in and had the pleasure of speaking with a group of “ghost busters,” replete with electronic devices they planned on using to detect ghosts. The second was my daughter’s first romance. The young man’s mother wanted only one thing for her son — to become a priest, and I asked, “What if…”.

What were your experiences as a child or adult that contributed to you becoming a writer?

I have always had a passion for writing and reading stories. As a very late bloomer (in 9th grade I was only 4’9”, weighed 60 pounds, and looked like a 7 year old), I was severely introverted. I spent my time either reading mysteries or playing basketball with my male cousins and their friends. I learned perseverance at a young age.

What is most difficult for you to write?  Characters, conflict or emotions?  Why?

I am a plot driven writer which means I need to work extra hard creating emotional characters.

What is the first thing you do when you begin a new book?

When I begin a new book, I research. My research includes visiting either the real place in the story or the place that inspired the fictitious setting. Even though I am writing fiction, it’s very important to get the facts straight to make it “real.” I confess to being more of a “seat of the pants” type of writer so I don’t make a true outline, but I do create the GMC (goals, motivation,conflict) for both the hero and heroine. Often I don’t know what a character is going to do until it “happens.”

If you were a TV, film or book character, apart from one you've created, who would you be?  And why?

I would be Dr. Elizabeth McCord because her life is professionally exciting, she has an interesting family and a happily ever after relationship with her husband.

Give us a brief summary of Hidden Bloodlines :

Gutsy Colorado attorney Victoria Bailey has just successfully prosecuted a serial killer…or has she? Betrayed by her college sweetheart, she’s vowed to remain single and dependent on no one but herself. All goes according to plan until her best friend’s wedding rehearsal. A missing groom, a murdered trial assistant, and an unexpected encounter with two men from her past bring her well-controlled life crashing down.

Highly decorated, retired Navy SEAL Christian Van der Kruis has seen much death and is ready to experience a new life. Now part of a global special ops organization, he attends a wedding, never expecting to be brought face-to-face with death and the only woman he ever loved … Victoria.

Buy Links: 
Karen Van Den Heuvel’s diverse experiences as an attorney, certified civil mediator, registered dietitian, teacher, speaker, and published author with more than 20 years experience in the corporate, government, and private sectors have fueled her desire to help people live fuller, richer lives. She has two grown children and lives with her husband in Colorado.

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