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!

Nominate Virginia Minor and/or Victoria Woodhull to be on a Quarter

Ever wanted to see a woman on a quarter? Here’s your chance to nominate her!

In January, the Treasury Department signed the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 into law. This law requires the U.S. Mint to issue quarters featuring prominent American women from January 1, 2022 through the end of 2025.

The act allows up to five coin designs per year and will feature women who have made significant contributions to U.S. history across a number of fields and categories, including suffrage.

Recommendations are now being accepted through the National Women’s History Museum in partnership with the U.S. Mint, the Smithsonian Institution American Women’s History Initiative, and the Bipartisan Women’s Caucus as consultants for the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020.

Of course, I’m pulling for Virginia Minor and Victoria Woodhull, but you can nominate any woman you want.

Want to help? Copy the following information and fill out this form to nominate Virginia, Victoria or the woman of your choice.

Name: Virginia L. Minor
Year of birth: 1824
Year of death: 1892
Fields: Suffrage, politics

Reason for inclusion: Suffragist, political strategist, and lifelong activist for gender/race race equality, Virginia was the only woman to bring women’s suffrage before the U.S. Supreme Court. She began the world’s first organization dedicated to solely to women’s suffrage two years before Susan B. Anthony and Lucy Stone created theirs. She also created the New Departure, the official strategy of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association from 1868-1875, which said the 14th  Amendment gave women the right to vote.

Link to supporting material: http://www.virginiaminor.com.

Name: Victoria Woodhull
Year of birth: 1838
Year of death: 1927
Fields: Suffrage, politics

Reason for inclusion: First woman in U.S. history to run for president in 1872. Suffragist, activist and speaker. First woman (along with her sister) to own and run a stock brokerage on Wall Street, first woman to speak before the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of women’s suffrage. Her run, while not successful, opened the door for dozens of women to run for the presidency.
Link to supporting material: http://www.woodhullrising.org.

Thank you to the Alice Paul Institute for making me aware of this initiative. They are, of course, nominating Alice, and I have voted for her as well.

News Roundup About Virginia Minor

Virginia Minor

As the centennial of the 19th Amendment draws near (Aug. 26 or 29 depending on whom you ask), Virginia Minor is getting more coverage in the media than I have ever seen. Perfect timing, as my biography of her and her husband Francis is on submission and I am nearly finished writing it. (Non-fiction is sold on proposal, not on the finished manuscript like fiction is.) Here’s a round up of the latest news about this unsung suffrage heroine:

The Washington Post – “This woman sought the right to vote from the Supreme Court. The nine men denied her.” This article focuses mainly on Minor v Happersett, the Minors’ Supreme Court case, but provides nice, if brief, background on Virginia’s work during the Civil War and talks a little about how she helped usher in a new era for the suffrage movement. A great read, but far too short!

National Geographic – “The Fight to Be Heard” – (Article behind a paywall) Features the descendants of great American suffragists, profiles of women who fought for the vote, those who continue to fight for women’s, and of course, tells the story of how women finally won the vote.  This article image is the first one that I’ve ever seen that includes Virginia among the 31 other most important women of the movement. (I was going to use it but then I chickened out that they would come after me for violating copyright law.)

St. Louis Public Radio – St. Louis on the Air -“‘Beyond The Ballot’ Explores History Of Women’s Suffrage Movement In St. Louis” – Article on an exhibition at the Missouri History Museum that I can’t wait to see (luckily it is open through 2022 and we better have a COVID-19 vaccine by then!). Virginia is one of the women they talk about highlighting in the exhibition.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – “Women wanted it — and got it — 100 years ago, but the right to vote didn’t come easy.” Talks a little about the court case and Virginia’s founding of the Women’s Suffrage Association. Kudos for saying that “Virginia’s story is one every St. Louisan should know.” It’s actually one every American should know – and they will.

St. Louis Magazine – “See this: the Missouri History Museum’s ‘Beyond the Ballot'” – Covers similar ground as the Post article mentioned above.

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Finally, if any of you are in St. Louis, The National Women’s Political Caucus is holding a wreath-laying ceremony at Virginia Minor’s grave on Saturday, August 15, at 10 a.m at Bellefontaine Cemetery. I will be there, mask on and six feet away from everyone else.

Oh and I’ll be speaking online on August 29 at 2 p.m. about Virginia as part of the Missouri League of Women Voters’ Centennial celebrations. Register here.

New Project Reveal: Biography of Suffragist Virginia Minor

Virginia Minor

I’ve been kind of cagey about the biography I’m working on (not Rose Ferron, which is on the back burner at the moment, this is another one), but I’m getting close to finishing my research and submitting to agents, so I’m now comfortable with talking about it. I am working on a dual biography of husband-wife suffragist team, Virginia and Francis Minor. I happen to have a guest post today about Virginia over on author Suzanne Adair’s website, if you want to see a summary of her life.

I first heard about Virginia when I was researching Victoria Woodhull for my book Madame Presidentess. Virginia was a contemporary of Victoria’s. While we can’t prove that they knew one another, it is likely. Virginia was a big deal in the National Woman’s Suffrage Association and she is the one who originated the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, and idea Victoria used when she spoke before Congress. Even if Victoria didn’t personally know Virginia, she almost certainly had heard of her.

You know me and stories of forgotten women. There was something about Virginia that I was immediately attracted to. I haven’t yet been able to put my finger on what. But I knew I had to tell her story. This one didn’t strike me as right for historical fiction, though. I did some digging and found that no one has ever written a biography of her. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

The book started out just being about Virginia, but then I realized that her relationship with Francis was integral to her work and highly unusual. They lived a life of purposeful equality, beginning in the 1840s, way before that was common practice, so I knew I had to include him as well. They also both lived in my hometown of St. Louis for over 40 years, which is really helping with the research. We have some great archives here with very valuable information. Neither Francis or Virginia is well-known, and so not much about them still exists, but it is possible to find it if you look hard enough. I love the thrill of the chase in research, so I am having a ball. This June I will be visiting archives in Virginia, where they were both born, so hopefully that will shed light on their childhoods, which is really the missing piece at the moment.

I can’t wait to tell you more about them as the project progresses and to hopefully soon have a contract on the book.

P.S. – So far, I have not been able to track down a photo of Francis, which is why there isn’t one in this post. I have, however, held documents written in his own hand. It was so cool!