Updates on Health, Life, Books and Everything

I know, I know, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted anything about writing or life. I’m even late with my August newsletter. But I have reasons.

Health Update
First, some of you may have seen on social that I was in the hospital about a week and a half ago. I went in via ambulance thinking I was having a heart attack (shortness of breath, dull pain in my left arm). My heart was fine, but in the course of testing they found I had three small blot clots in my lungs. I would never have known had I not gone in. (Listen to your body! It could save your life.)

They admitted me and pumped me full of blood thinners and now I’m home, back to work and taking blood thinners at home. (Which I will likely be on for the rest of my life.) They couldn’t find a reason for the clots; all my tests came back normal, so that is really scary. I’m paranoid about making sure I don’t sit in one place for too long at a time now.

As a result, I’m stepping back from some of the volunteer things I’ve been doing. I had a potential book project going on, but that fell through, and as much as I would have loved to have worked on it, I’m kind of glad. This situation forced me to look at the manic pace at which I’ve been working for at least two years now and settle down a bit. That is one weight off my shoulders.

Book Announcement – August 15
I’ve been sitting on this one for about a month and a half, but soon I will finally be able to tell you about a historical fiction book I have under contract! I’m really excited about it and I hope you will be, too. It’s a tight turnaround, but I know I can do it. And we have a cover to reveal at the same time! So please mark your calendars!

I’ve Joined TikTok
I finally gave in and went to the dark side. I’m on TikTok. (Find me here.) I’ve been lurking for a few months and realized its really not that bad when you find people of like mind. I’m going to try to make videos a few times a week. Right now it is just me trying to get used to how it works, but eventually you’ll see more book stuff on there too. So if you’re on, please follow me and feel free to like or comment on my videos. And if you have suggestions for improvement or things you’d like to see, I’m all ears.

Book Updates

  • We are just about three months out from the release of Sex and the City: A Cultural History! It is at the printer and I should be getting advanced copies within a few weeks. You’ll be seeing more and more about it as we ramp up marketing efforts.
  • The League of Women Voters book has a title: Raising Our Voices: The League of Women Voters in St. Louis 1690-2022. It is being sent to the publisher as we speak. More to come.
  • America’s Forgotten Suffragists is still in copy editing, but they say I should get those files back next week sometime. I’ll have a week to go through everything and then in late September I’ll see the book laid out for the first time in page proofs.
  • The Arthurian non-fiction book I wrote a chapter for is getting closer to publication. I completed edits that the potential publisher wanted a few weeks ago. Now we wait.
  • And yes, the Fierce Females on Television book is still happening, but it’s on the back burner right now with everything else that is going on. It’s due January 13. Plenty of time, right?

Chanticleer Conference Summary
I was planning on doing a full write up of the Chanticleer Conference but time got away from me and I don’t have the energy. Short version: It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to! I made so many amazing new friends and it was great reconnecting with old friends. America’s Forgotten Suffragists and The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy both won Grand Prizes! And I got to speak something like four times. It was amazing.

T-minus Two Years (or less) to the Windy City
At the Chanticleer Conference, I made a promise to my Chicago friends that I will move there within the next two years. And life, as it usually does to everyone, promptly gave me a leak in my basement, a hospital stay, and car bills, which takes away from paying off debt and being able to move. Whatever. It will still happen.

I think that’s everything outside of the day job. Oh, my birthday is coming up later this month. Maybe I should update my Amazon wishlist!

Biographers International Interview

Hi everyone. I know it is has been a while but a lot has been going on behind the scenes that I am hoping I will be able to tell you about soon. Also, I just got back from the Chanticleer Authors Conference and have lots to report on there as well.

But right now I wanted to share an interview that Biographers International, one of the organizations I belong to, did with me recently. It’s in the member-only newsletter but I figured it would be okay to share since it with me, not anyone else. And “new” is a relative term; I’ve been a member for a few years now.

SPOTLIGHT ON NEW MEMBERS

Nicole Evelina

What is your current project and at what stage is it?

My first biography, America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor, is currently in copy editing and will be published by Globe Pequot/Two Dot Press on March 1, 2023. Virginia was very important in the suffrage movement in St. Louis from the 1860s until her death in the 1890s. Her husband, Francis, was a strong male ally and used his position as a lawyer to help Virginia take the issue of women’s suffrage to the Supreme Court in 1875—the only time that ever happened. Both Minors were close friends with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and gained a fair amount of notoriety in their time, but have since been forgotten. This is the first biography ever written about them.

What person would you most like to write about?

I have several subjects in mind, but one I’m willing to talk about is Marie Rose Ferron, a Catholic mystic and the first stigmatist in the United States. (For non-Catholics, stigmata is when someone mystically receives the wounds of Christ in their body and suffers the crucifixion in union with Jesus.) Supernatural phenomenon like this is very controversial, but I feel like she should be declared a saint. Even if you take the stigmata and visions away, she was a woman of great virtue.

What have been your most satisfying moments as a biographer?

The moment I finally tracked down exactly where in St. Louis the Minors’ estate, Minoria, was located. It no longer exists, but using deeds, surveyor’s reports, and old maps, I was able to find the exact lot number and location and translate that to a modern address. There previously had been speculation about where it was located, but no one else had definitively identified it. While that is a small thing, it was very important in understanding their lives during the time they lived there. Unfortunately, today, that address is in a very bad neighborhood, so it isn’t safe to do more than drive by the empty lot.

What have been your most frustrating moments?

The Minors left precious few personal letters and no journals or other personal writings. We do have some public speeches, but those don’t give the insight that more intimate correspondence would have. It was very frustrating to not have these types of sources when I was trying to reconstruct their personalities and relationships.

If you weren’t a biographer, what dream profession would you be in, and why?

Well, I write historical fiction and history as well, and my day job is in marketing. If I could have another job, it would be as an historian who researches and publishes rather than teaches. But if you want something totally unrelated, I’d love to be a makeup artist. Makeup is a hobby for me (I seriously have more than 40 shades of eyeshadow), and I find it a great creative outlet. I’m not nearly as good as people you see on shows like Glow Up, but it is so much fun to play with.

What genre, besides biography, do you read for pleasure and who are some of your favorite writers?

Historical fiction and fantasy are my two favorites, but I also like gothic [fiction] and a good domestic suspense. Favorite historical fiction writers include Kate Quinn, M. J. Rose, and Susanna Kearsley. Favorite fantasy authors are Kim Harrison, Erin Morgenstern, and Seanan McGuire. Gothic: Ruth Ware, Diane Setterfield, and Carol Goodman. Domestic suspense: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen (they are co-authors), Liane Moriarty, and Kerry Lonsdale.

 

Cover Reveals! Sex and the City & America’s Forgotten Suffragists

I am so excited to show you the covers of my next two books, which are also my first traditionally published books. You can pre-order both in hardback now; e-book is coming soon and paperback will be out about a year after the initial publication.

Coming November 15!

An insightful look at the cultural impact of the television phenomenon Sex and the City

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, one word was on everyone’s lips: sex. Sex and the City had taken the United States, and the world, by storm. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha influenced how a generation of women think, practice, and talk about sex, allowing them to embrace their sexual desires publicly and unlocking the idea of women as sexual beings on par with men.

In Sex and the City: A Cultural History, Nicole Evelina provides a fascinating, in-depth look at the show’s characters, their relationships, and the issues the show confronted. From sexuality and feminism to friendship and motherhood, Evelina reveals how the series impacted viewers in the 1990s, as well as what still resonates today and what has glaringly not kept up with the times. The world has changed dramatically since the show originally aired, and Evelina examines how recent social movements have served to highlight the show’s lack of diversity and throw some of its storylines into a less than favorable light.

While Sex and the City had problematic issues, it also changed the world’s perception of single women, emphasized the power of female friendship, built brands, and influenced fashion. This book looks at it all, from the pilot episode to the spinoff movies, prequel, and reboot that together have built an enduring legacy for a new generation of women.

Pre-order hardback here:

amazon-logo-icon    

This book is part of Rowman & Littlefield’s Cultural History of Television series:

 

Coming March 1, 2023!

Missouri’s Virginia Minor forever changed the direction of Women’s Rights–not Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, or any of the other so-called “marquee names” of the suffrage movement–when she and her husband, Francis, argued Minor v Happersett in 1875. Despite the negative ruling, this landmark case brought the right to vote for women to the U.S. Supreme Court for the first and only time in the seventy-two year fight for women’s suffrage in the United States.

America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor is the first biography of these activists who had a profound impact on the suffrage movement but have largely been forgotten by history. Virginia and Francis were unique for their time in being jointly dedicated to the cause of female enfranchisement. Unlike the brief profiles available now, this book will paint a full picture of their lives, depicting their youth, married life, and their highly-lauded civilian work during the Civil War. Their early suffrage work and famous Supreme Court case will be covered in depth, along with an exploration of how it actually helped the suffrage movement by giving it a unifying direction, despite the court delivering a negative verdict. This biography will also cover Virginia and Francis’ continued fight for women’s suffrage after the case, including Virginia’s tax revolts, writings, and campaigning for the franchise in Nebraska.

Preorder hardback here:

 

More information on the Minors and additional insights that didn’t make it into the book are available at the Virginia and Francis Minor Memorial Institute.

Another Book Contract!

After a lot of waiting and years of research, I’m so happy to announce this contract:

I am so thrilled to be sharing her “forgotten” story with the world. The biography is really a dual biography of her and her husband, Francis, because they were “partners in crime” on the subject of suffrage–and equal in all things (which was unusual for their time). However, there is far more information available on Virginia, but I was able to reconstruct a good portion of Francis’ career as a lawyer, as well as his suffrage work.

One of the reasons this book is so important to me is that the way we’re taught about the Suffrage Movement in school is that is was pretty much taken care of by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a handful of other women. But that is far from the truth. The movement was actually progressed by thousands of women of all races and class levels. Writing them back into history is so important to a fuller understanding of the movement and its repercussions to us today.

America’s Forgotten Suffragists is a cradle to grave biography because it is the first one ever written about Virginia and Francis. Among the things you’ll learn about them:

  • Their early lives, education, courtship and wedding.
  • Virginia’s work during the Civil War in the health department and Francis’ work as a war claims agent.
  • Virginia’s founding of the Woman’s Suffrage Association of Missouri two years before Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone formed their national organizations.
  • How Virginia and Francis came up with the New Departure (the 14th amendment theory) and argued it through the court system all the way to the Supreme Court.
  • Virginia’s tax revolts (refusing to pay her taxes until women get the vote)
  • Her work with Susan B. Anthony to campaign for women’s suffrage in Nebraska
  • Virginia’s unorthodox funeral and will.
  • Posthumous honors for both

If you want a little preview of the biography, go to virginiaminor.com, a companion website I built for the book.

An Incredible Year
I’m going to take a minute to brag. This is my fourth book contract in six months (the one you may not know about is with our local chapter of the League of Women Voters for a book on 60 years of their history), along with a contract for a magazine article related to America’s Forgotten Suffragists.

HOWEVER, this explosion of luck is a long time coming. There is no such thing as overnight success, though it can appear that way. I have been writing seriously 13 years. In that time, I had one agent, got a lot of rejections, left her, self-published six books, got a book optioned for a movie/TV, got a wonderful new agent, Amy Collins, racked up more rejections and then finally everything hit. Hard work, never giving up (and believe me, it was tempting) and a great agent were for me the recipe for success.

I am firm believer that you have to work hard to achieve great things. That is what I have done from the beginning and that is what I will continue to do.

And for those of you who have noticed my contracts are all for non-fiction, don’t worry, I’m still writing fiction as well. I have four books I want to complete in 2022, in addition to my non-fiction on Fierce Females on Television. I may not finish all of them, but two are already started so it’s possible. I’m hoping to be able to slow down a little after next year, but this is what I mean about working hard to get my career jumpstarted.

Thank you all for your love and support!