Feb. 3 – National Female Physician’s Day and the story of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

This is my monthly column for the Women in Leadership Newsletter for my day job.

Did you know that Feb. 3 is National Women Physicians Day? That’s because it is also the birthday (1821) of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school and become a doctor in the United States.

Elizabeth was born in Bristol, England, into a Quaker family known for being reformers. Her parents were anti-slavery activists, her sister Antoinette would become the first ordained female Protestant minister, and her brother Henry would go on to marry American suffragist Lucy Stone, founder of the American Woman’s Suffrage Association.

For financial reasons and because her father wanted to help abolish slavery in the United States, the family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1832 when Elizabeth was only 11. Six years later, her father died, leaving the family destitute during a national financial crisis. To make ends meet, her mother, two older sisters and Elizabeth worked as teachers at The Cincinnati English and French Academy for Young Ladies, a school they founded.

One day, as one of Elizabeth’s female friends lay dying, the woman said she believed her suffering would have been less if she had had a female physician. At that moment, Elizabeth knew that was what she was meant to do, despite having a natural aversion to “everything connected with the body…the very thought of dwelling on the physical structure of the body and its various ailments filled me with disgust.” But there was one big problem: none of the medical schools in the U.S. would admit women. Her only option was to find a physician who would allow her to apprentice under him for informal training. She found not one, but two doctors in Philadelphia who were willing to help her. Elizabeth worked as a teacher while living with the physicians’ families.

While she was training, Elizabeth applied to all the major medical schools and was universally rejected; even when she applied to the small schools, she only received one acceptance letter, from Geneva Medical College in New York. What she didn’t know was that the faculty had opposed her admission but since she was qualified in all ways but gender, they felt they couldn’t reject her outright. So, they referred the decision to the students, who thought the whole thing was a practical joke, and voted unanimously
to admit her.

Elizabeth arrived in Geneva on Nov. 6, 1847, well after the beginning of the term. Not only did she have to catch up on her classwork, but she faced very strong discrimination. Her professors forced her to sit separately from the male students during lectures and often excluded her from labs, fearing that her delicate female sensibilities couldn’t handle subject matter like the male reproductive system. At the same time, the citizens of Geneva shunned her as an improper woman for defying her God-given roles of wife and mother. She wrote of this time:

“I had not the slightest idea of the commotion created by my appearance as a medical student in the little town. Very slowly I perceived that a doctor’s wife at the table avoided any communication with me, and that as I walked backwards and forwards to college the ladies stopped to stare at me, as at a curious animal. I afterwards found that I had so shocked Geneva propriety that the theory was fully established either that I was a bad woman, whose designs would gradually become evident, or that, being insane, an outbreak of insanity would soon be apparent.”

After graduating on Jan. 23, 1849, with the highest grades in her class, Elizabeth—now Dr. Blackwell—continued her training in London and Paris, though the doctors in those hospitals only allowed her to work in midwifery and nursing. During that time, she realized that doctors often caused epidemics by failing to wash their hands between patients, so she emphasized preventive care and personal hygiene in her departments.

In 1851, Dr. Blackwell returned to New York City, where she encountered even more discrimination against female physicians, who were thought to all be abortionists, though that procedure was illegal and most female physicians did not practice it. This attitude meant she had few patients and was not welcomed at many hospitals and clinics. Like so many women before her, she took matters into her own hands and opened her own small clinic to treat poor women. She is quoted as saying, “If society will not admit of a woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.”

By 1857, her sister, Emily, had followed in her footsteps to become a doctor, earning her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Together, they opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, along with colleague Dr. Marie Zakrzewska. This medical establishment welcomed aspiring female physicians and nurses and gave them what men sought to deny them: training in practical medical skills.

During the Civil War, the Blackwell sisters trained nurses for Union hospitals and Elizabeth founded the Woman’s Central Relief Association because the male physicians in the United States Sanitary Commission refused to help her.

After the war, in 1867 or 1868 (sources conflict on the date), Dr. Blackwell opened a medical college for women in New York City. A year later, she placed Emily in charge and moved permanently to London, where one of her first acts was to found the National Health Society.

Despite failing health, Dr. Blackwell established the London School of Medicine for Women with Sophia Jex-Blake, one of her students in New York, in 1874. The following year, Dr. Blackwell became a professor of gynecology at the school, a position she held for three years before retiring from medicine.

Dr. Blackwell never married, choosing instead to spend her retirement time advocating for social and moral reform. She also published more than 15 books, including Medicine as a Profession For Women in 1860, Address on the Medical Education of Women in 1864 and an 1895 autobiography, Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women. She died in 1910 at the age of 89.

Today, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell is recognized for her influence on the medical profession in the United States and the United Kingdom. Biographer Janice Nimura has just released a new book on Elizabeth and her sister Emily titled The Doctors Blackwell. Check it out or read this interview with the author on NPR to learn more about these pioneering women in medicine.

Fun fact: The first female physician in western history that we know of is Metrodora, a Greek doctor who lived sometime between 200-400 AD/CE. She wrote the oldest known medical book by a woman, On the Diseases and Cures of Women.

Black History Month: Black Female Health Care Heroes

For those who are not aware, my day job is in health care. This is an article I was asked to write by our Women in Leadership program.

February is Black History Month, so it is only appropriate that we reflect upon the tremendous—and often overlooked—contributions of Black women and men in health care, both within our company and in the United States in general. While doing so, we must also acknowledge and ask forgiveness for the inexcusable discrimination and injustice perpetrated upon our Black brothers and sisters, a pain that continues to this day. As we reflect, let us pray for understanding, unity and love, that our country may become a haven of tolerance for all and celebrate both our differences and our similarities as children of God, equally worthy of respect and dignity.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (First Black Female Doctor in the U.S.)
Rebecca was born in Delaware in 1831 and was raised by her aunt, who frequently cared for sick neighbors. This experience is what influenced her to become a healer herself. At the time there was no formal schooling for nurses, so Rebecca’s training was all on the job. She worked as a nurse in Charlestown, Massachusetts, from 1852-1860, when she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College in Boston. In 1864, she became the first Black American female to earn a medical degree.

(You may see references to a woman named Rebecca Cole holding this distinction, one for which she was given credit for many years. Because she received her degree in 1867, she is now considered the second Black American woman to hold a medical degree.)

Dr. Crumpler practiced medicine in Boston until the Civil War ended and she moved to Richmond, Virginia, where she cared for “a population of over 30,000 colored” in her own estimation. Despite experiencing terrible racism, she worked with other black physicians and the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide food, housing, medical care, education and legal assistance to former slaves.

Sometime later she moved back to Boston. In 1883, she published Book of Medical Discourses, one of the earliest medical publications by a Black American.

Mary Eliza Mahoney (First Black Nurse Licensed in the U.S.)
Mary was born in 1845 in Boston to freed slaves who had moved there from North Carolina. She received a superb education at Phillips School in Boston, which later became one of the first integrated schools in the country. By the time she was a teenager, she felt a calling to become a nurse. She found employment at New England Hospital for Women and Children, which was run completely by women and provided care only to women and children. She worked there for the next 15 years in roles as varied as janitor, cook, washer woman and nurse’s aide.

In 1878, Mary was accepted into a 16-month nursing training program at the hospital. During this program she worked 16-hour shifts attending lectures and lessons led by doctors in the hospital. She was also taught bedside procedures by experienced nurses. The students earned a weekly wage ranging from $1-$4. The course work was so rigorous that out of a class of 42 students, only four graduated, including Mary, in 1879.

After receiving her diploma, Mary found that Black public nurses faced harsh discrimination, and so went into private care nursing in the homes of rich White families on the East coast. She was often treated like a servant instead of a professional and thus worked to distance herself from the household staff. She became renowned for her professionalism, efficiency, patience and bedside manner, a reputation that spread across the United States.

Mary wanted more than anything to improve the reputation of Black nurses across the country. In 1896, she joined the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada, which later became known as the American Nurses Association (ANA). This group was overwhelmingly White and not very friendly toward Black nurses, so Mary cofounded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in 1908.

After her death in 1926, Mary was recognized with numerous honors. In 1936, the National Association for Colored Graduate Nurses founded the Mary Mahoney Award, which is still given today to nurses who promote integration in nursing. Mary was inducted into the ANA Hall of Fame in 1976. She was also inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1993.

Opaline Wadkins (Nurse and Integration Pioneer)
Opaline Wadkins’ career began in 1938 when she was hired by the Texas Department of Public Health to recruit Black nurses. Two years later she moved to Oklahoma City where she lobbied for the rights of Black patients. It took five years, but in 1945 Opaline finally convinced the city to found its first hospital to treat Black patients, University Hospital South Ward, and establish a school to train Black nurses. Between 1949 and 1953 she trained over 200 Black LPNs.

In 1954, Opaline became the first Black nursing supervisor at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. While working for there, she was also studying for her master’s degree in public health. She was especially concerned about the lack of access young Black people had to information about their health. When she graduated, Opaline became the first Black person to earn a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma.

With her passion for public health, she started new initiatives to provide care to minorities living in Oklahoma. One of her most successful programs was a health and well-baby care initiative for Native Americans which effectively decreased infant mortality by 50%. She also worked with local churches to provide health and diabetic clinics to Black patients living in Oklahoma City and was instrumental in desegregating the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing.

Opaline retired in 1976. The governor of Oklahoma declared Nov. 14 as Opaline Wadkins Day. She was later honored by the VA Hospital Nursing Service and the Oklahoma Public Health Association. In 1993, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame. She died in 2000 at her home in Oklahoma City.

Other Notable Black People in Medical History:

  • In 1721, a slaved named Onesimus described the African method of inoculation against smallpox to Cotton Mather. The technique was used to protect soldiers during the Revolutionary War and was perfected in the 1790s by British doctor Edward Jenner. (To learn more about this, check out The Speckled Monster by Jennifer Lee Carrell.)
  • Born into slavery, Dr. James Durham bought his freedom in 1762. He then started his own medical practice in New Orleans, becoming the first Black doctor in the United States.
  • In 1837, James McCune Smith became the first Black American to receive a medical degree (from the Glasgow Medical School in Scotland) and opened the first pharmacy in the US owned and operated by a person of color.
  • In 1847, David Jones Peck became the first Black person to graduate from a medical school in the United States, Rush Medical College, in Chicago, Illinois.
  • In 1862, former slave Susie Baker (later known as Susie King Taylor) became the first Black U.S. Army nurse during the Civil War.
  • In 1891, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded the first black-owned hospital in America, Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses. Two years later he performed the first successful open-heart surgery. In 1897 he founded the National Medical Association because Black people were denied membership in the American Medical Association. He was also a charter member of the
    American College of Surgeons in 1913 and was the first and only Black member for many years.
  • In 1912, Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as the country’s first Black psychiatrist, published the first comprehensive clinical review of all Alzheimer’s cases reported to date. He was also the first to translate into English much of Alois Alzheimer’s work on the disease that bears his name.
  • In 1921 – Dr. Meta L. Christy became the world’s first Black osteopathic physician after graduating from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • In 1936, Dr. William Augustus Hinton was the first Black American physician to publish a textbook, Syphilis and Its Treatment.
  • In 1950, Dr. Helen O. Dickens became the first Black woman admitted to the American College of Surgeons.
  • In 1978, Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall was elected the first Black president of the American Cancer Society.
  • In 1981, Alexa Canady became the first Black female neurosurgeon in the U.S.
    and Dr. Mae C. Jemison became the first Black female astronaut in NASA history. In 1992 she became the first Black woman in space, where she researched various vaccines and conducted experiments onboard the shuttle Endeavour.
  • In 1991, Dr. Vivian Pinn became the first woman and the first Black person to hold the title of Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health, National Institutes of Health.
  • In 1993, Dr. Edward S. Cooper became the first Black person elected as National President of the American Heart Association and Dr. Joycelyn Elders became the first Black person to be appointed as U.S. Surgeon General.
  • In 1995, Dr. Lonnie Bristow became the first Black President of the American Medical Association (AMA) in its 148-year history.
  • In 2002, Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps became the first Black woman to serve as President of the American Medical Women’s Association.
  • In 2018, Dr. Patrice Harris became the first Black woman President-Elect of the country’s largest physician organization, the AMA.

Fearless Females: American Women’s Firsts in Politics

I just realized I never posted my January Fearless Females column on women in U.S. History. (If you missed the first one, check it out here.) Perfect timing, though, since today is inauguration day.

The first month of each year is chock full of important dates in women’s history because so many lawmakers take office when the new term of the government begins in January. From our first Lantina elected to the U.S. Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) on Jan. 2, 2017, to Dr. Condoleezza Rice (R) becoming the first Black woman appointed Secretary of State on Jan. 26, 2005, we could extoll a different woman almost every day of the month. If you’re curious as to why the dates are scattered throughout the month, check out this site. It explains when legislators assume responsibility, which varies from state to state.

And this year, we have an extra special first, with Kamala Harris (D-CA) becoming the first female vice president in the history of the U.S. on Jan. 20. She is also the first South Asian and first Black woman elected to that seat. She previously made history on Jan 3, 2017, as the first South Asian and second Black woman elected to the US Senate. In 2016 she became the first woman of color to be selected as the running mate on a major-party ticket, as well as the first multiracial woman, the first South Asian woman, and the first Black woman.

Did you know that the presidential inauguration wasn’t always held in January? The 20th Amendment moved it from March 4 (which had been the designated date since 1789, even though travel delays meant George Washington didn’t actually take office until April 9) to Jan. 20. The four-month gap created by the March date was important historically because it took a lot of time to count and report votes when they had to be gathered from across the nation by hand, on horseback and later by a much slower mail system than we have now. Plus, it gave the incoming president time to choose his cabinet and set up the rest of his administration. However, it also meant that the sitting president, if he wasn’t reelected, often left things to his successor, who had no power to act, a condition often referred to as a “lame duck” presidency. As technology sped up the vote counting process, this period became increasingly problematic, so Congress passed the 20th Amendment, which was ratified on Jan. 23, 1933, and moved Inauguration Day to Jan. 20 and the first meeting of the new Congress to Jan. 3.

Here’s a list of other political female “firsts” in January:

Jan. 2, 2017 – Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) became the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jan. 3, 2013 – Mazie Hirono (D-HI) became the first Asian-Pacific Islander woman — and only the second woman of color — elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jan. 3, 2019 – Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) became the first Muslim women sworn into Congress.

Jan. 4, 2007: U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.) becomes the first female speaker of the House. In 2019, she reclaims the title, becoming the first lawmaker to hold the office two times in more than 50 years.

Jan. 4, 2007 – Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) became the first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress.

Jan. 12, 1932 – Hattie Wyatt Caraway (D-AR) becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jan. 15, 1981 – Jeane Kirkpatrick (D) becomes the first female U.N. Ambassador

Jan. 23, 1977 – Patricia Roberts Harris (D) was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She was the first Black woman to serve in a presidential cabinet and the first woman to hold two different cabinet positions (the second was Secretary of Health and Human Services).

Jan. 23, 1997: Madeleine Albright (D) is sworn in as the nation’s first female secretary of state under President Bill Clinton.

Jan. 26, 2005 – Dr. Condoleezza Rice (R) becomes the first Black woman appointed Secretary of State.

We thank all of these trailblazing women who were ahead of their time and dared to do what others deemed “impossible.” Because of them, there is only one glass ceiling left in the United States government—one that someone will someday break, proving to women across the nation that there is nothing they can’t do.

Unpublished Short Story Makes it into the Quarterfinals of the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition

An unpublished short story that I wrote, Consequences, has made it into the Quarterfinals of the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. The quarterfinals represent the top 356 stories out of over 1,500 submissions.

Consequences is historical fiction that tells the story of a real-life event in the life of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy religious order. Before she became a Sister, Catherine used her inheritance to build a refuge for poor women and children called the House of Mercy across from the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. One day while the House was still being constructed, a young domestic servant who was “in moral peril” due to poor treatment by her master came to Catherine seeking refuge. Catherine did everything she could to find a place for this girl to go, but failed. Instead of taking her into her own home, for some reason that has been lost to history, Catherine, a normally overly accommodating woman, turned the servant away. She never saw the girl again and it haunted her for the rest of her life. (Catherine is now on the path to sainthood in the Catholic church, being declared Venerable – step 1 of 3 to becoming a saint – in 1990.)

Consequences is the servant’s story or at least what I imagine it to be. I first heard about this story nearly 20 years ago and the paradox of Catherine’s normally charitable and saintly life with her actions in this incident has long stuck in my mind. I knew it was something I had to explore. Consequences was written for an anthology that has not taken shape. Hopefully I will be able to share it with you in the future, but I don’t want to put it online because then it would be considered published.

This is the best short story I’ve ever written, so I’m really proud of it. We’ll see if it goes anywhere in this competition. It looks like the semifinalists will be announced some time next month.

2021 Word of the Year and Goals

I feel like in the last six months, and especially in the last two to three weeks, I have popped out of some kind of opaque chrysalis that I didn’t know I was living in into a new life, a new me. I have a new outlook on life, a greater feeling of maturity (I’ve always been a little emotionally behind others my age), and an energizing feeling of direction and purpose.

I know with crystal clarity what kind of life I want to live and am taking steps in all aspects to get what I want.

I feel like there is no limit on what I can do. That’s why I chose the phrase “infinite possibilities,” as my Word of the Year for 2021. I am optimistic that this year will bring me endless possibilities for success, growth, money, and all good things. And I plan to take advantage of every one of them.

To that end, I’ve established both author and personal goals for 2021. I’m fine with sharing both here because I am the same person whether you are talking to me as an author or a regular person and I aim to be authentic in all I do.

Writing Goals:

  • Get a contract for Minor bio. (Okay, that’s more in my agent’s hands than mine.)
  • Finish Colonial/Revolutionary War histfic by end of July.
  • Finish WWII histfic by end of July.
  • Write female inventor histfic by end of 2021.
  • Start on modern retelling of a classic (I’ll be working on ideas for this while I am writing the other books) by the end of the year.
  • Write poetry again. (I did this as a child and teenager, but I’ve lacked the confidence as an adult.)
  • Attend the Biographer’s International and Historical Novel Society virtual conferences.
  • Hopefully the Ethics in Arthurian Legend book a I wrote a chapter for will be published. (That is out of my hands.)
  • Do what I can to get Madame Presidentess and Daughter of Destiny optioned.

Personal Goals:

  • Lose 40-50 lbs by June 1.
    • Walk outside when the weather is nice. Swim if the pools open again.
    • Dance, barre, basic cardio, weight lifting indoors.
    • Eat a mostly pescatarian/Mediterranean diet.
    • Stop eating delivery.
  • Pay off debt.
    • Focus on paying off credit card.
    • Every time I have the urge to buy something, put that amount of money in my savings account and use it to pay on credit card that month.
    • Continue to pay off loans.
  • Continue working with the League of Women voters to fund a permanent suffrage memorial of some kind in St. Louis.
  • Learn to read French.
  • Teach myself to sew.
  • There’s another one that I’m not ready to talk about yet, but I will if it ends up working out.

I realize this is an ambitious list, but I always set high goals for myself. That is the way I am happiest. I plan to achieve them all but if I don’t, that is fine too.

What are your 2021 goals?

2020 Year in Review

Like everyone else, 2020 was a year unlike any other. My word of the year was Flow, which could not have been more apt, as COVID-19 taught us all to “go with the flow,” more than ever before.

Some of my struggles:

  • I worked harder at my day job that I ever have.
  • I transitioned to full-time working from home.
  • I hid from COVID-19 and worried about the future.
  • I dealt with burnout in my day job.

But for a crazy year, it had some amazing moments:

  • I signed with agent Amy Collins.
  • Daughter of Destiny did extremely well in a book-to-movie contest.
  • I finished the Minor biography.
  • I took a big step in the future of my day job, even if it ends up not going anywhere.
  • I started a new blog – I’ll be telling you all about it in the New Year.
  • I re-did practically my whole house myself (with a little help from dad).
  • I found my personal style/brand.
  • According to Goodreads, I read about 85 books (my goal was 100), not including research, which would have put it closer to 200.

And how did I do on my 2020 goals?

  1. Finish chapter for non-fiction Arthurian book (due March 2020). Nailed it!
  2. Finish and sell/self publish Minor biography. It’s finished and Amy is doing her best to sell it.
  3. Work on WWII historical fiction book. Wow, this one came in under the wire. The main character started talking to me again maybe two weeks ago (after more than a year of silence) and I have not quite 10,000 words written.
  4. Help with human trafficking anthology. Wrote my short story for this, but the anthology never got off the ground. I don’t think it is going to. Hopefully I will be able to share the short story in another way someday. I’m really proud of it. It’s in a contest right now, so we’ll see what others think of it.
  5. Continue working with local League of Women Voters chapter on Centennial Committee. Did this and had SO MUCH fun working with these women, attending events and getting the word out.
  6. Speak locally about the August 2020 centennial of women getting the right to vote. I was honored to be asked to speak about both Virginia Minor and suffrage in the state of Missouri. One of my audiences was the Missouri Chapter of the League of Women Voters, which was amazing!
  7. Adjust to new role of assistant editor for Novelist’s Inc. member newsletter, NINK. This was the worst possible year to take on this role, but I made it. I have to admit, I’m glad that it is over. It is not a hard job, but it is tough to handle when my day job is constantly in crisis mode.
  8. If we end up with a female presidential candidate, promote the heck out of Madame Presidentess. (This is no reflection on my personal political choices. I will, however, use it to my advantage if it becomes a reality.) This didn’t come to pass.
  9. Side projects to be worked on when/if have the time: Hallmark book, devotional, musical based on Kill Hannah songs. I thought about them. Does that count?
  10. Option Madame Presidentess again as well as the Guinevere Trilogy. (I realize this is out of my control, but I can have it on here in an effort to think positively, right?) This did not come to pass, but Daughter of Destiny did very well and is now in a second contest, so who knows what the future will bring?

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone for your support this past year and always. I couldn’t do what I do without you and some days knowing that you are out there cheering me on is what gets me though. I wish all of you a safe, healthy and happy end to 2020 and a wonderful 2021. I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts about the New Year!

Four of My Books Made Coverfly’s Year-End “Best of” List

I am so happy to report that FOUR of my books have made Coverfly’s Red List, which means they ranked as their Top Manuscripts of the Year!!

Coverfly is the industry’s largest screenwriter talent-discovery platform, connecting emerging screenwriters with literary managers, agents, producers and development executives.

Daughter of Destiny

Oh and Daughter of Destiny was also named a Top Pick by Taleflick!

Camelot’s Queen

Madame Presidentess

Been Searching for You

Daughter of Destiny a Semifinalist in Road to Development Contest

I totally forgot the next round of results for the Taleflick Road to Development contest was going to be announced yesterday. I didn’t even see the email until late last night. But I am happy to say Daughter of Destiny made it into the semi-final round!

This contest is part of their efforts to use their own production company to develop some of the books they represent. I upgraded to the Standard level so that if I am chosen the winner for that level, an option will be a prize.

They will announce three finalists in each category on Jan. 25 and then one winner in each category on Feb. 22, so please send all the good vibes, prayers and cross your fingers or whatever it is you do. We are another step closer to Guinevere making it on screen!

Daughter of Destiny a Quarterfinalist in Road to Development Contest

Well, this a surprise. Taleflick, the company I use to sell dramatic rights to my self-published books, just announced that Daughter of Destiny is a quarterfinalist in their first Road to Development contest. This contest is part of their efforts to use their own production company to develop some of the books they represent. If your book is listed with them, you are automatically entered, which is why I wasn’t expecting anything.

I can’t say I fully understand the prizes. I’m in the Basic plan (which means I pay the least amount of money to use their services, which include more than this contest). The prizes for that are an upgrade to Standard and a winner badge. But the Standard package includes an option. So if they upgrade me, does the book get considered for option or does it have to go through another round first? I have no idea. I think I would have to upgrade to Standard before I could be considered for an option before the semi-finalists are announced Dec. 21.

My theory is what will be will be. But I’m thrilled that my little debut has yet another honor to add to the list, nearly five years after being published!