Guest Author

#FiveOnFriday Unimaginable Lover by Rosalie Redd

Please say hi to Rosalie Redd. She’s sharing an interview with her sexy shifter, Tanen, hero of Unimaginable Lover!

Want to meet Tanen, the hero of Unimaginable Lover, book 3 in the Warriors of Lemuria series? I sat down with him for a brief interview…

Rosalie: Did you turn out the way your parents predicted?

Tanen adjusts himself in the chair and straightens the collar on his shirt. His brow furrows. “Much to my chagrin, no. My father was a warrior. I was a disappointment to him.”

I squirm in my seat. I am uncomfortable in the presence of this large male. “Why is that?”

He crosses his arms, his biceps bulging tight against his shirt sleeves. “Because I didn’t follow in his footsteps. Instead, I chose to pursue knowledge and my love of the ancient scriptures.”

R: What is your most treasured possession?

Tanen traces his finger along the pin that graces his collar. The silver metal, in the shape of the letter M, reflects the overhead lights with an unearthly glint. “My pin. It signifies my status as council leader and represents Lemuria and life ever after.”

I stroke my fingers over the keyboard as I record his comments. The sound echoes around the large chamber, and a cool breeze runs over my shoulder. Goosebumps form.

He leans back in his chair and touches one of the sunstones lining the cave walls. The gem flares, brightening the room and the air warms. “Is that better? The crystals will take away the chill.”

“Thank you, Tanen.”

R: What do you value most?

He studies me for a moment before answering, his gaze flicking over my features. “King Noeh’s respect. I will do whatever he asks to help win this war against our enemy, the Gossum, and for our goddess, Alora.”

I can’t help but smile at his sincerity.

R: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The muscles in his arms visibly tense. His gaze tracks to my necklace, and he cracks his knuckles. “I’d rather not say.”

My unease is once again forefront in my mind. The chair is suddenly rock-hard beneath my bottom and no amount of heat in the room will take away the chill running down my back.

R: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

The smile returns to his face. His blue eyes swirl with gold flecks, mixing together in a beautiful dance.

Despite my nervousness, I’m mesmerized.

He winks. “Ignorance.”

When he didn’t elaborate further, I clear my throat. “Time to move on.”

R: What scares you?

He places his arms on his thighs and leans forward. “Failing my king.”

I wouldn’t want to face this warrior in a dark alley.

R: What happens after you die?

A slow smile curls his lips, twinkling the blue in his eyes once again. “When a warrior dies his soul returns to Lemuria, back to the character board to fight again in another war on another planet.”

“Thank you, Tanen, for the interview.”

He places his hand over mine and gives it a gentle squeeze. “You’re welcome, Rosalie.”

Unimaginable Lover
Rosalie Redd

A shifter and a human together? Unimaginable…

One careless decision. The colony betrayed. Tanen’s only course is a desperate hunt for justice, but his solo mission is cut short when he’s mortally wounded during a fight. Rescued by a sweet, innocent female who nurses him back to health, he can’t deny the passion that burns between them. Now he must choose between his duty and honor or his desire for the precious, but forbidden, human female.

Broken promises and ruined love hardened Sheri’s heart. When she finds an injured and extraordinarily sexy man on her property, she’s pulled into a world she never imagined. As she nurses him back to health and they bond over their love of books, she’s torn between the lessons she learned from her rough past and the need to seek solace in Tanen’s arms, but she must learn to trust him, and herself, in order to survive.

Excerpt from Unimaginable Lover

Sheri’s pulse raced as a strange mixture of shock and desire coursed through her veins. The tall, muscular stranger pinned her against the wall. One second she’d pressed 9-1—on her phone and the next, she was here, in his arms.

His biceps bulged, and she had a sudden urge to run her fingers over them, feel the steel that was below the surface, but her hands were trapped at his hips. She gripped his taut waist, and his heat bore into her, warming her fingers, tingling the sensitive nerves. Although caged in his embrace, he was gentle with her, holding back the strength that ebbed from him in waves. As he leaned in, his breath cascaded over her shoulder, warm and enticing.

“No infirmary.” His gravelly, rough command came out on a whisper.

She should’ve feared him, this stranger in her home trapping her in his arms, but instead, her insides melted, warmed by his touch, his voice, his scent. Something about him made her long for more.

So focused on the man who held her so close, she hadn’t noticed Coop. His insistent barks echoed through the house.

The man tensed, and in the process his lean body pressed tighter against hers. Her skin prickled at the contact.

With a quick glance over his shoulder, she caught sight of her pet. He growled, his lips curled over his fangs.

“No, Coop. Stop!”

His back legs bunched in preparation for his attack.

The man didn’t release her, but turned to face her dog. He held out one hand, palm open. “Halt.”

Coop’s growl faded.

He took a tentative step forward.

His nose quivered, and a small whimper eased from his chest. Her pet, an ex-police dog trained to track and defend, placed his muzzle under the stranger’s palm.

She gasped. If she hadn’t seen this for herself, she wouldn’t have believed it. He patted Coop on the head, and the dog’s tail beat against the floor.

The man’s eyes were red-rimmed, and sweat coated his forehead. “I have to leave…”

His eyes glazed over, and his grip around her waist loosened.

As her hands traveled along the space between them, her fingers trailed over the firm muscles of his abdomen and chest. The strength and power under his skin lit up her nerves. She moved a stray hair away from his brow and focused on his eyes. Bottomless pools of blue, they reflected the pain hidden behind his features.

Her chest constricted. “Please, let me help you.”

His gaze fell to her mouth, and he reached up to stroke her bottom lip with his thumb, teasing her. “How? Like this?”

Before she could stop him, he slipped his hand around the base of her neck and pulled her close. His mouth hovered over hers for the briefest moment. She closed her eyes, aware that doing so was an invitation all its own. Warm and welcoming, his lips tasted of musk and pepper. With unexpected tenderness, he teased her with his tongue, caressing the crease between her lips. The sensitive nerves tingled at the contact and she inhaled, parting her mouth.

Moaning softly, he deepened the kiss, and explored her. His tongue brushed the sore spot in her mouth, but instead of pain, his smooth caress eased some of the ache. The passionate need in his kiss bore into her, sending a wave of desire to her core. Beneath the thin material of her shirt, her nipples peaked, and she couldn’t hide her reaction to him. A slow groan rumbled in his chest.

Buy it now from Amazon US, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon CA, B&N, Kobo, or iBooks!

Meet Rosalie

After finishing a rewarding career in finance and accounting, it was time for award-winning author Rosalie Redd to put away the spreadsheets and take out the word processor. She pens paranormal, science fiction, and fantasy romance in her office cave located in Oregon, where rain is just another excuse to keep writing.

Website:  http://www.rosalieredd.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosaliereddauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RosalieRedd

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/34148783-rosalie-redd

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rosalieredd/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/rosalieredd

Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster

Please welcome H. Lewis-Foster here today. Dive right in and say hi!

It’s lovely to be here at Mary’s blog to tell you a little about my latest novella Strokes on a Canvas. It’s set in 1920s London and tells the story of Evan, a bank clerk who finds himself in a more bohemian world when he meets artist and former soldier Milo. Like many of my stories, it’s a historical romance about two men from very different backgrounds. Evan is used to keeping his sexuality secret, and it’s quite a surprise to meet Milo and his artistic circle, who take a far more liberal attitude in such matters. As Evan and Milo grow closer, not only do they have to overcome their social differences but also figures from the past who threaten their burgeoning romance. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this story of true friendship and love, and do hope you’ll enjoy reading it too.

strokes-on-a-canvas-h-lewis-fosterStrokes on a Canvas is now available at Amazon.

Blurb

London, 1924. Bank clerk Evan Calver is enjoying a quiet pint and notices a man smiling at him across the bar. While the Rose and Crown isn’t that kind of pub, Evan thinks his luck might be in, and he narrowly escapes humiliation when he realises the man is smiling at a friend. Eavesdropping on their conversation, Evan discovers the man is named Milo Halstead and served as an army captain during the war.

The next day Evan goes to the British Museum, where he bumps into Milo again. This time Milo introduces himself, explaining he’s an art teacher and would like to paint Evan’s portrait for a competition. Evan can’t believe an upper-class artist would want to paint the son of a miner, but he agrees to sit for Milo. Their acquaintance blossoms into friendship, and Evan hopes it might become more, but when a dense smog descends over the city, their future is as unclear as the London sky.

Excerpt

On the opposite side of the cabinet, a man was gazing intently at Evan’s favourite amphora. Evan doubted he was having the same thoughts as himself as he scrutinized the naked athletes, but he seemed transfixed by its sporting design. The dark-haired man was wearing a brown pinstripe suit, the kind seen in newspaper photographs of famous actors and royalty, and which Evan could never hope to afford. The stranger looked born to wear his stylish attire, his confident posture showing the suit’s fine cut to full advantage. Then he raised his eyes, and Evan saw the man was not a total stranger. His hair was smooth with brilliantine, and he wasn’t wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, but he was unmistakably Captain Milo Halstead.

Evan was about to make a hasty exit, when he realised the former soldier was smiling at him through the glass. He may have looked smarter than he had last night, but his smile was still as warm and kind as one of Miss Nightingale’s nurses. Evan didn’t imagine the captain remembered him, but he smiled back, thinking it would be impolite not to, then turned to walk away. To his surprise, Evan’s action was mirrored on the other side of the cabinet as Captain Halstead moved in the same direction. He was still looking at Evan, still smiling, and as they both reached the end of the cabinet, Evan wondered what would happen next. Would words be exchanged? And what would those words be? If Milo remembered him from last night and wasn’t the genial man he seemed, they might hint at blackmail or violence.

Evan was tempted to put his head down and make a run for it, but he didn’t want to attract the attention of the museum guards. He took a breath and steadily stepped forward, only to find Milo standing in his way.

“Excuse me. Could I get past?”

“Of course, but…” Milo’s smile was uncertain now, but he didn’t move from Evan’s path. “It was you I saw in the Rose and Crown last night, wasn’t it?”

Evan lowered his eyes and weighed up his options. He could admit he was at the pub and ask to know what business of Milo’s it was. Or he could deny being anywhere near the place, or even knowing of its existence. The latter seemed the most sensible choice, avoiding all confrontation, but when Evan looked up and saw Milo’s blue eyes sparkling cheerfully back at him, he was overwhelmed by a longing to spend a few seconds more in his company.

With no idea of Milo’s intentions, Evan answered, “That’s right. I saw you there too.”

About H. Lewis-Foster

h-lewis-foster-logoH. Lewis-Foster lives in the north of England and has always worked with books in one form or another. As a keen reader of gay fiction, she decided to try writing herself and is now the proud author of several short stories and a debut novel ‘Burning Ashes’.

H. creates characters that are talented, funny and quite often gorgeous, but who all have their faults and vulnerable sides, and she hopes you’ll enjoy reading their stories as much as she loves writing them. H. has also ventured into playwriting and was thrilled to see her first play performed at the Southend Playwriting Festival.

Website: http://hlewisfoster.wix.com/books

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HLewisFoster

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLewisFoster

Perfectly Unpredictable by Linda O’Connor

Please welcome Linda O’Connor! She’s telling us about her new novel, Perfectly Unpredictable! Check it out!

Mary, thank you very much for inviting me to visit! Hi everyone, I’m Linda O’Connor. I write contemporary romantic comedies. I started writing a few years ago when I needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. 😀 Writing is my part-time passion. I also work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic, and it shows up in my stories.

Perfectly Unpredictable is Book 4 in the Perfectly Series. Each story in the series features a different couple in a stand-alone story, with the other characters popping up from time to time.

Perfectly Unpredictable Blurb:

Falling in love is Perfectly Unpredictable …

Kalia Beck always dreamed of starting a family, living in a house with a white picket fence, and finding her soul mate. Just not in that order. Kalia is coping with an unplanned pregnancy when she learns the father has passed away. She soon finds out that single parenthood isn’t easy, especially when the only thing that soothes the baby is the guitar-playing of a reluctant and reclusive next-door neighbor.

Mack Challen, lead guitarist in a rock and roll band, knows it takes a village to raise a child. He just doesn’t think there’s a village big enough to help “gay momma” and her screaming baby.

Kalia and Mack aren’t looking for love and aren’t ready for each other, but when the future unfolds, it’s … Perfectly Unpredictable.

Buy link:

https://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Unpredictable-Linda-OConnor-ebook/dp/B01IMEH5GC

linda-oconnor-authorSocial Media:

Website:  http://www.lindaoconnor.net

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LindaOConnorAuthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LindaOConnor98

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA

Blog: http://www.lindaoconnor.net/news-muse-and-interviews/

Perfectly Unpredictable Excerpt

perfectlyunpredictflat3_850Kalia pounded on her neighbor’s front door with her free hand. The other cradled a screaming Mani. In the last fifteen days, except for the past three, the neighbor had played his guitar from six until eight every night. And soothed Mani. It was the only thing that worked to calm the colic. No amount of rocking, walking, or singing worked to soothe the baby like fifteen minutes of guitar music. It was faintly amazing and fairly irritating that Kalia had to depend on the neighbor’s guitar playing.

He was home. She knew he was home. There was a new car in the driveway, and she could hear voices. So why wasn’t he answering the door? She pounded again.

The door swung open, and Kalia yelped at the suddenness of it. Mani screamed louder.

Mack frowned at them. “What?” he asked tersely.

Kalia groaned inwardly. It was the first time she had seen the neighbor close up. Six foot two, short dark hair with a sexy scruff, broad shoulders in a dark T-shirt, slim hips covered in worn sexy jeans, bare feet, and angry green eyes. Great. Just what she needed. A pissed-off lifeline. “Hi. I live next door. I need you to play guitar,” she said in a rush above Mani’s wailing.

“What?” His eyebrows winged up, and he put his hands on his hips.

“Why aren’t you playing guitar? You play guitar every night at this time.”

He shook his head. “I have company.”

“Well, you’re very good at guitar. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind listening to it for a few minutes.” Mani screamed louder. Desperate, Kalia strode in, noting that the layout to his home was the same as hers. Getting a fleeting impression of dark colors and sparse furniture, she moved past him into the living room. “Hello,” she said to the gorgeous brunette curled up on the dark leather sofa. “Would you mind very much if . . . he,” she gestured vaguely, realizing that she wasn’t sure of his name, “played guitar for a few minutes? Just a few minutes. It won’t take long.”

Mack followed her in. “Renee, this is my neighbor, half of the gay couple that lives next door, and her screaming baby,” he said wryly.

Kalia’s eyebrows shot up. “Yup, that’s me. The lesbian from next door,” she said with some chagrin. Is that what the neighborhood thought? She was living under a rock. “And we just need a little guitar music if you don’t mind.” She spied two guitars leaning on stands across the room and waved in their direction. “Whichever works.” Time’s a wastin’.

 

Chirp by Ann Everett

Oh. My. God. Ann Everett is right on target sharing her thoughts on writer’s block with us today. Please say hi!

WRITER’S BLOCK—FACT OR FABRICATION???

Writer’s block, (noun) the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Frustrated young writer having writer's block
Frustrated young writer having writer’s block

There are authors who refuse to acknowledge Writer’s Block calling it instead fear, self-doubt, distraction, or procrastination.

You say tomato. I say toe-mot-o!! Call it what you like, every author experiences it at some point in their career.

I recently recovered from a serious bout that lasted six-weeks! That’s not to say I wrote nothing during that time because I did…. just not what I needed to write, which was the final chapter in my current book. Bummer. Yeah, I’d written over 90,000 words of a good story and couldn’t end it!

I’d heard that if you can’t end a story, you probably didn’t know where the story was headed from the beginning. Okay. Sounds logical. But the problem with that is, even when I work from a rough outline, I’m not always sure where the plot will take me!

This was my first attempt at writing multiple POVs so I had a lot of threads to tie up. I have two main characters and their love story. A secondary romance which involves a brother and girlfriend. Also, a private investigator’s story line as he searches for the main character.

After a few weeks of obsessing, where it was on my mind 24-7, I decided to just write… something… anything… total crap. I had to start somewhere, or I’d never finish it.

I belong to an online writing site, which I recommend to all authors, so I knew if I posted even ca-ca, I’d get help. After my readers there weighed in on what they liked and didn’t like, I rewrote, reposted and rewrote again. Now it was only semi-poop, so I was making progress.

Two more rewrites, and six beta readers later, I’m happy with the ending. So let me share what the problem was and how I fixed it.

The wrong POV. I’d started in my heroine’s point of view and it didn’t work. I didn’t know why, I just knew it didn’t. So, I switched to the hero. Still not right. And me, still clueless as to why it felt wrong. Finally, I opened with the stepmother’s POV because this chapter is the big showdown where her search for the heroine comes to resolution.

Why didn’t I think of that from the beginning? Because I’d only been in her POV two times during the story and for me she didn’t seem the natural choice. But those betas’ got me on the right track! They wanted to know what was in her head before the confrontation took place… and it worked! Dang! I am so lucky to have such good betas’ willing to be brutally honest in telling me when something stinks.

There are many tricks you can use to overcome writer’s block. Walk away from the computer. Exercise. Listen to music. Brainstorm with fellow authors. Change your writing habit.

Many times I get stuck with the first line of a chapter. If I can get an opening, I can go from there. So when that happens, I randomly flip through novels stopping here and there to read a few sentences.

Here’s an example of what I mean. After doing the flipping pages exercise, I came across a line about a dog thumping his tail against the floor. That sparked my brain, and I started my chapter with… By now, all over town, tongues were wagging.

Another trick I use to break the stress is to look at my email spam folder and take words from there and write about them. Usually a stupid or silly paragraph or two. What else can I write with choices like Christian Mingle, male enhancement free trial, free lobster, vaginal mesh patch recall, power bills, and burn fat?

Boy, if using those words can’t lighten a mood, then nothing can!

Whatever you do, don’t wallow in self-pity. Just put words on a page. Even if they are stinky!

Remember:

Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all. ~~Charles Bukowski

Man, why didn’t I think of that weeks ago?

Here’s a short excerpt from Chirp, the book that gave me the case of writer’s block. It is due for release in December.

Nothing seemed disturbed. Actually, the place appeared neater than he’d ever seen. Housekeeping wasn’t one of Dessie’s strong suits. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he noticed more changes. When did his grandmother get a big screen TV? And computer?

A sappy love song played from the other end of the house. He grabbed the baseball bat Gran kept in an antique milk can by the hutch, then edged down the short hallway and stepped to the open bathroom door.

A girl who didn’t look more than fifteen lay in the tub with her eyes closed. Mostly nipples and areolas, her small breasts flattened against her chest. Bubble clouds floated over her spindle-thin body.

Shame thickened in his throat. He shouldn’t be staring at her, but he couldn’t turn away. He didn’t know if it was the shock of seeing a stranger here, or that the intruder was a teenager. Whatever it was, he found his voice.

“Who the hell are you?”

*****

Blaze recognized Rance Keller from the stack of pictures Miss Dessie kept in a leather box on the mantle. But he looked different in the flesh. An unkempt beard and mustache surrounded full lips. Long dark hair fringed beneath the edge of a knit beanie. Menacing blue eyes stared back.

Blaze rose from the water, reached for the towel hanging on the rack, and wrapped herself, tucking in the corner to secure it.

“Did you escape?”

He blinked like it was a stupid question, but it wasn’t. Letters she’d read said he’d been denied parole twice because he wouldn’t admit guilt.

“I’m asking the questions. Who are you?”

“Blaze Bledsoe.”

He half-grinned as if her answer was a punch line, then snarled. “Blaze? I don’t think so.”

“Well, I don’t care what you think. That’s my name and I live here because Miss Dessie said I could.”

“New owner. New rules. Get your shit and get out.”

His lips barely moved, and she thought of all the villains she’d seen on Perfect Crime, but despite his demeanor, he didn’t scare her because Dessie had shared plenty of stories about him.

She dried off, folded the towel and laid it on the commode, then pushed past him into the bedroom where she took panties from the dresser and stepped into them. Next, she pulled a faded Madonna tee-shirt over her head. “No.”

“This is my house and you’re trespassing.”

His voice was low-pitched, and when she faced him, his mouth clamped into a thin line. A muscle in his jaw worked. She reminded herself this was a man just out of prison, yet she still didn’t feel threatened. Not after Dessie’s tales of how he’d cared for injured animals, and his eagerness to help with any chore. Blaze folded her arms under her breasts. “It’s almost one o’clock. I have work tomorrow. We can talk in the morning.”

At first, he said nothing, just scanned the full length of her body, and she felt more naked than she’d been minutes ago. He locked his eyes on hers, and his gaze darkened. “I’m twice your size. I can throw your scrawny ass out the front door and you can’t do anything about it.”

“I know. But you won’t.” Turning down the covers, she switched off the lamp, and crawled into bed.

ann-everett-photo-and-covers

Stay in touch with Ann on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads!

Madame Presidentess by Nicole Evelina

Please say hi to Nicole Evelina! She has a very timely novel to share with us about the first female presidential candidate.

Before Hillary, There Was Victoria, an Unlikely Presidential Candidate

Since Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee for President in July, many people have noted that she’s not the first woman to run for President. Our nation’s first female Presidential candidate was Victoria Woodhull, who ran as part of the Equal Rights Party, a party she founded, in 1872.

This relatively unknown woman who doesn’t appear in most history books obviously wasn’t elected and may have faded into oblivion if the 2016 election had taken a different turn. This is why I wrote my book, Madame Presidentess, a biographical historical fiction take on the life of this outrageous woman. I couldn’t stand the thought of another generation losing a female role model just because someone decided she wasn’t important enough to include in the history books, despite her many “firsts” for women:

  • First woman to run for President in the US
  • First woman to own a stock brokerage on Wall Street (with her sister, Tennie)
  • First woman to speak before the House Judiciary Committee
  • One of the first women to run a weekly newspaper (also with Tennie)

While we may not know how many votes she garnered in 1872 (they either weren’t counted or were destroyed), we do know a fair amount about Victoria. But unlike her modern counterparts, Victoria wasn’t bred for a life in politics. In fact, she’s just about the least likely candidate.

The Female Sex

Victoria Woodhull was female in an age when women had little authority. Women couldn’t vote or serve on juries. Personal ambition in a woman was considered evil and there were social taboos against women speaking in public. To call attention to oneself in public was thought unladylike and considered a form of treachery to one’s husband or father because when a woman strayed from her proper place in the home, she caused him shame. The one exception to this were Spiritualist mediums, who could speak freely because it was the spirits speaking through them, not their own opinions being expressed.

Of course, many women’s suffrage leaders ignored these rules. Victoria happened to be a Spiritualist medium, and she did couch many of her words in the context of conversations with the spirits, but she also wasn’t afraid to speak her own mind, even going so far as to call for women to overthrow the government and start a new one that will not only listen to them, but give them equal rights. But it was still unthinkable for a woman to run for office, let alone the highest office in the land. Fun fact: Victoria’s sister, Tennie, ran for a Congressional seat in 1872; she didn’t win. (The first woman wouldn’t be elected to the House until 1916 and the Senate in 1922.)

Age

Victoria Woodhull was only 32 when she declared her candidacy and 34 when the election took place. According to the Constitution, one has to be at least 35 to serve as President. Whether or not Victoria or anyone else realized she was in violation of this requirement is up for debate. Chances are good a woman running to for President was controversy enough; it’s possible no one bothered to check her age.

Humble Beginnings

Nowadays we tend to equate politicians with money and many of them have had it since birth. But Victoria was not born to a rich family; she grew up in a small shack in Homer, Ohio, with a father who was at best down on his luck and unemployed, and at worst, a con man who broke laws in several states. Her mother was a religious zealot some called insane. The fifth of seven children (or 10 depending on who you ask) with two out-of-work parents, Victoria learned early to earn her keep.  She started working when she was a young girl as a clairvoyant and healer alongside her sister, Tennie, a job which she continued until she was married at 14. Her husband’s drinking kept them poor, and Victoria took a job as a seamstress and actress before returning to life as a magnetic healer and medium. A second marriage brought her a more stable living, but not what you would expect from a presidential candidate.

Experience

Victoria Woodhull certainly didn’t have the experience to become President, never having held any kind of governmental or elected position. According to her own recollection, Victoria had at most three years of formal education. How she went from that to being a self-made millionaire by the age of 33 is anyone’s guess. After moving to New York in 1868 she was employed by Cornelius Vanderbilt as his medium; it may have been from him that she and Tennie learned the ins and outs of Wall Street, but that has not been proven.

Whatever the source of their financial skill, Victoria and Tennie opened the first female-run (and owned) stock brokerage on Wall Street in 1870. Hailed as the “Bewitching Brokers” and the “Queens of Finance,” their firm was a hit despite being extremely controversial. Victoria made a fortune from the Black Friday crash of 1869 and continued amassing funds as her firm prospered, allowing her to afford to run for President on the merits of her financial success.

In late 1871, Victoria added to her resume when she became the first woman to testify before a sitting House committee. She unsuccessfully argued that the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment already gave women the right to vote. This launched a successful speaking career that carried her to the 1872 election and beyond even though she had little directly applicable experience.

Why Didn’t We Learn About Her in School?

No one knows for certain, but I believe it to be a combination of two factors. First, when Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton released their History of Woman Suffrage, a multi-volume account of the suffrage movement, Victoria was barely mentioned. (This may have been in revenge for personal slights from Victoria against the two suffragists who had formerly been her friends.) Second, the 1928 publication of The Terrible Siren, a scathing biography of Woodhull by Emanie Sachs, did severe damage to Victoria’s reputation. Sachs’ biography (which has since been proven to be mostly false) painted Victoria as a seductress, blackmailer and even a prostitute, a reputation that practically banned her from the history books.

It is my hope that Madame Presidentess, while fictional, can undo some of this harm and help get Victoria Woodhull into the history books where she belongs.

Madame Presidentess eBook Cover No Quote LargeMadame Presidentess
Nicole Evelina

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.

Excerpt from Madame Presidentess

With James’s support and my newfound conviction, I approached the second day of the conference not as the wide-eyed innocent of yesterday but as a potential future leader. The urge to speak out, to give voice to all of those whom society silenced hummed in my veins. The only remaining question was how.

Among the morning’s speakers was my old friend from St. Louis, Virginia Minor. After she was introduced, Mrs. Minor wasted no time in getting to the point of her speech. “You may know that my husband and I are vocal proponents of the idea that the Constitution already gives us the right to vote. But we are willing to put before you an additional piece of supporting evidence, found in the Fourteenth Amendment, that I believe gives all women the right to vote.

“As persons born in the United States, women are citizens. Nowhere in the text does it specify ‘males’ or ‘men,’ only ‘persons,’ which is a term without gender and therefore should include both men and women. The Constitution gives all citizens the right to vote. Therefore, as citizens, we already have the right to vote. The next line of the amendment elaborates, noting that no state is allowed to legally deprive citizens of their rights or deny them equal protection.”

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.

About Nicole

Nicole Evelina headshot horizontalNicole Evelina is a multi-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, a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Its sequel, Camelot’s Queen, was awarded the prestigious B.R.A.G Medallion.  Been Searching for You, her contemporary romantic comedy, won the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award for Romance, the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests and was a finalist in the chick-lit category of the Readers Favorite Awards.

Nicole’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Independent Journal, Curve Magazine and numerous historical publications. She 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, as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Alliance of Independent Authors, the Independent Book Publishers Association and the Midwest Publisher’s Association.

Her website is http://nicoleevelina.com/. She can be reached online at: