Synopsis A work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman during the first half of the 19th century in Edo—the city that would become Tokyo—and a portrait of a great city on the brink of a momentous encounter with the West.
The daughter of a Buddhist priest, Tsuneno was born in a rural Japanese village and was expected to live a traditional life much like her mother’s. But after three divorces, she ran away to make a life for herself in one of the largest cities in the world: Edo.
In the book we experience the drama and excitement of Edo just prior to the arrival of American Commodore Perry’s fleet, which transformed Japan. During this pivotal moment in Japanese history, Tsuneno bounces from tenement to tenement, marries a masterless samurai, and eventually enters the service of a famous city magistrate. Tsuneno’s life provides a window into 19th-century Japanese culture—and a rare view of an extraordinary woman who sacrificed her family and her reputation to make a new life for herself, in defiance of social conventions.
What I thought This is the story of Tsuneno a woman born in the Japanese countryside in 1801. Her story is not conventional for that time and she did not accomplish amazing feats, however, stories about any woman during that time are rare. This book is truly a wonderful look into what a woman’s life in Japan during the early 1800 really was like.
Tsuneno’s story isn’t a particularly happy one but one that probably wasn’t that uncommon during this time. Tsuneno was first married off at the age of 12 and was sent home divorced 15 years later. She was then married off 2 more times by her family and sent home divorced each time. It appears through the letters that the issue was only that she wasn’t baring children. And during a time when that was one of a women’s main “duties” through no fault of her own, she was not wanted. There is only so much a person can take before they have had enough and for Tsuneno that was hearing that they were going to marry her off again this time to an old widow who needed a mother for his children. Tsuneno decided to take her life into her own hands and go to Edo to try to make a life for herself. Sadly this did not work out well for her but she was living life on her terms.
We are lucky that Tsuneno was an avid letter writer and that her family kept every letter or we would never have been able to hear her story.
I highly enjoyed this look into Tsuneno life. I feel like I was given a peek into a time in history that I rarely get to see.
My Rating: /5
Have you read this book? If so what did you think? Tell me in the comments below.
Frustrated that funny, romantic, and comforting stories aren’t taken seriously?
Sad that the books and movies you love never seem to be critically acclaimed, even when they sell like crazy?
The heroine’s journey is here to help.
Multiple New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a clear concise analysis of the heroine’s journey, how it differs from the hero’s journey, and how you can use it to improve your writing and your life.
In this book you’ll learn:
How to spot the heroine’s journey in popular books, movies, and the world around you.
The source myths and basic characters, tropes, and archetypes of this narrative.
A step-by-step break down of how to successfully write this journey.
What do Agatha Christie, JK Rowling, and Nora Roberts all have in common?
They all write the heroine’s journey. Read this book to learn all about it.
From Harry Potter to Twilight, from Wonder Woman to Star Wars, you’ll never look at pop culture the same way again.
With over a dozen NYT and USA Today bestsellers, and over a million books in print, popular genre author and former archaeologist Gail Carriger brings her cheeky comedic tone and over a decade of making her living as a fiction author to this fascinating look at one of the most popular yet neglected narratives of our time. The presentation she does on this subject sells for hundreds of dollars.
“I’m not sure how you can just rewire my brain to see the heroine’s journey like this and then expect me to make coherent, thought-out comments about the text when all I want to do is hold it in my twisted little grip while I shove it at people screaming like a madman and pointing at passages.” ~ Author Beta Reader
Gail Carriger uses the heroine’s journey to produce bestselling, critically-acclaimed books that genre blend science fiction, cozy mystery, young adult, urban fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and alternate history. In this non-fiction book she uses her academic background and creative writing skills to bring to life the archetypes, tropes, story beats, themes, and messages inherent in the heroine’s journey. Part treatise on authorship, part feminist literary criticism, part how to write guide, Carriger uses mythology, legend, and Gothic victorian 19th century literature to explore movies, screenwriting, books, and audience desires.
This is an excellent reference guide for genre fiction authors seeking to improve their craft or for readers and pop culture enthusiasts interested in understanding their own taste. It is the perfect counterpoint to The Hero with a Thousand Faces not to mention Save the Cat, Women Who Run With The Wolves, and The Breakout Novelist.
Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen (Steampunk Proper Romance #4) Proper Romance, Steampunk, Fantasy Expected Publication: October 6, 2020
Emmeline O’Shea is determined to save the world—single-handedly, if necessary. A strong voice for societal reform, she is the natural choice to deliver a key speech at the end of the International Shifter Rights Organization’s week-long Summit in Scotland.
But when a death threat arrives at Emme’s home, she is immediately placed into protective custody, watched over by none other than her personal nemesis, Detective-Inspector Oliver Reed. The two have crossed paths many times, with disastrous results, but now they will have to work together in order to reach the Summit before midnight of the last day in order to ensure legislation is passed to protect the Shifter community.
As unseen enemies close in around Emme and Oliver, they struggle to reach Edinburgh by any means necessary, only to find Emme’s vindictive stepsister, Oliver’s vampire brother, and a dangerous political minefield awaiting them in Scotland.
Even more difficult is their own refusal to admit that the fiery animosity that once burned between them might be turning into the heat of romantic passion. Could a straitlaced policeman determined to uphold the law and an outspoken activist willing to break the rules ever find true love? Or will all their dreams shatter like glass when the clock strikes midnight?
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab Adult, Fantasy Expected Publication: October 6th 2020
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
Moriarty the Patriot, Vol. 1 by Ryosuke Takeuchi (Moriarty the Patriot #1) Manga, Mystery Expected Publication: October 6, 2020
The untold story of Sherlock Holmes’ greatest rival, Moriarty!
Before he was Sherlock’s rival, Moriarty fought against the unfair class caste system in London by making sure corrupt nobility got their comeuppance. But even the best-intentioned plans can spin out of control—will Moriarty’s dream of a more just and equal world turn him into a hero…or a monster?
Darkness Unknown by S.A. Fenech Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Expected Publication: October 12, 2020
Werewolves, vampires, ghosts … they aren’t what you think.
After the death of her mother, Everly Boderleth has to go back to her spooky hometown, Shroudhaven, and she has a plan to get in and out as quick as possible.
Step one, clear out the family home and antique store.
Step two, watch her childhood sweetheart die violently at the hands of an indescribable, horrific creature.
That wasn’t part of the plan. But it was just a dream, wasn’t it?
As the evidence mounts that what she saw was real, a broken heart is the least of her problems.
Everly thinks she’s close to the truth, but nothing is as it seems.
What is really lurking in the dark?
Darkness Unknown is the first book in the Beshadowed series by S.A. Fenech. If you’re looking for shifters with a twist, urban fantasy with a touch of horror, and a satisfying mystery, you’ll love Beshadowed.
A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Expected Publication: October 13, 2020
In her debut novel A Golden Fury, Samantha Cohoe weaves a story of magic and danger, where the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.
Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of a revolution looming, Thea is sent to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk Historical Fantasy, Romance Expected Publication: October 13, 2020
Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.
In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.
The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow Historical Fantasy Expected Publication: October 13, 2020
In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.
But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.
There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.
Are there any books that you are looking forward to this month?
You can be happier and more successful when you learn to play the game of work. If you’re not currently satisfied in your career, it could be because you’re playing by the wrong rules.
In Winning the Game of Work, Terry Boyle McDougall shares the rules she learned from wise mentors and coaches, as well as the lessons she learned the hard way. She entered the workplace as an ambitious “go-getter” and was confused about why she wasn’t advancing at the pace she expected. She learned that being smart and working hard aren’t enough. The reward for developing a strategy for the game of work is success and happiness with less stress and duress.
This book will help you:
Get recognized for your value on the job
Develop and appreciate your unique “superpowers” at work
Cope with a bad boss without burning out or getting fired
Get the promotion you deserve
Deliver more impact on the job with some simple hacks
Winning the Game of Work is the essential guidebook to help you develop your unique skills as a “player.” Now is the time to see the whole field, make the savvy moves and win the game of work on your own terms!
Excerpt from Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms by Terry Boyle McDougall. (New Degree Press) Released April 2020.
Chapter 8 Becoming Your Own Agent: Understanding and Leveraging Your Value
Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. –Maria Montessori
Often you may not recognize things about yourself that others can see clearly. As I’m fond of saying,
“You can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle.”
The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with perspective and resources that will help you see yourself the way others see you.
When you understand how you’re viewed, you can make intentional changes so that your self-image and the image you project are much more aligned. This is the first step to being compensated for the value you provide to your organization.
Lessons from HGTV
I’m going to confess a deep, dark secret . . . I’m a sucker for HGTV. I love settling in for marathons of House Hunters, Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, and scores of other real estate–related shows. I find something strangely appealing about watching people search for their dream home in Malibu or renovate their mid-century modern in Kansas City.
I won’t call it a guilty pleasure, because after hundreds of hours of HGTV, I’ve learned a valuable career lesson. Buyers abhor uncertainty and will put off buying or require a big discount to overcome any perceived risk.
You’re Always Selling
If you’re wondering what “buying” has to do with your career, it’s simple. Anytime you’re trying to influence someone—be it your boss, a colleague, or the hiring manager at a company you aspire to work for—you’re selling, and they need to buy in order for you to achieve your goal.
Getting hired is an important sales job. Bringing on a new employee, like buying a house, can be fraught with risk. Organizations make a significant investment when they hire a new employee. Interviewing takes time. When a candidate is hired, they need to be trained and introduced to the people they’ll work with.
They may need to meet and form relationships with clients. And all this happens before the new employee ever starts creating value for the company. If the new hire doesn’t work out, a lot of effort and political capital will have been wasted.
“I Just Need a Chance!”
I’ve heard this refrain hundreds of times: “All I need is for someone to take a chance on me—once they hire me, they’ll see I was worth the risk.” I’ve said these same words myself at times in my career. It was frustrating when I was ready to move up and I couldn’t seem to get my foot in the door.
However, I understood it much more clearly once I became a manager. Given what is at stake for the manager, most aren’t keen on taking chances without ample evidence that it will pay off. Even if you are able to do a particular job, your résumé needs to say that clearly.
For most managers, they want some assurances that the person they’re considering has at least some experience similar to the job they are hiring for. Even when a candidate has had similar responsibilities at another company, it’s often hard to get clarity on the intangibles like work ethic, cultural fit, and the quality of their work.
Prove It to Me
Some of my worst hiring mistakes were when I convinced myself that someone was a good bet rather than making them convince me. I gave them the benefit of the doubt rather than insisting that they prove to me that they were worthy of my trust and confidence. When I look back, I recognize that I had some reservations, but I didn’t delve deeper when I should have.
I was anxious to get the roles filled and get on with the normal routine. Only later did I realize that I’d let my own impatience or optimism cloud my judgment. This would be analogous to buying a house and taking the homeowner’s word that there were no problems with the furnace rather than consulting a home inspector to confirm it.
Creating Career Curb Appeal
Enter the lessons from the HGTV gurus! When a homeowner is trying to sell a home on those programs, professionals advise the seller to get their property ready for the market by creating curb appeal—clean it up, declutter, paint, cut the grass, get new carpet, and even pay a company to stage the home.
This allows the home to be shown to potential buyers in the best possible light. It eliminates the need for potential buyers to overlook the stains on the carpet or the neglected garden. When a home looks like it’s “move-in ready,” buyers are inclined to believe what they see and want to buy.
“As Is” Requires a Leap of Faith
Alternately, when homeowners list their homes “as is” and make no investment in fixing up the home before listing it, it is typically sold at a big discount. The uncertainty of potential problems is priced in.
The beauty of many programs on HGTV is that experienced real estate and building professionals will examine a fixer-upper and can tell if the issue is just cosmetic or if it’s an expensive fix. Your average buyer doesn’t have the time or expertise to do that and therefore shies away from buying “as is” homes. They just want to close, move in, and get on with their lives.
Most hiring managers don’t have time to examine each candidate’s potential in any depth. They are like the home buyer that just wants to buy a “move-in ready” house.
Taking time to hire a new employee is a huge disruption from their day-to-day job. The last thing a manager wants to do is invest time and effort to hire someone, then not have them work out. The consequences could be costly in both lost productivity and reputation.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
When you’re looking for a job, make your value and attractiveness immediately visible on your résumé and LinkedIn profile. When you get a screening interview, be ready with clear examples of how you’ve been successful in previous roles that align with the job.
Be sure to bring the energy as well. Many managers will choose to hire someone who really wants a job over a slightly more qualified candidate who doesn’t show a high level of interest in the position. Blasé is not a good look when you’re serious about getting a job.
Invest to Reduce Perceived Risk
What can you do if you want to pivot to something new or you’re a new graduate who doesn’t have any professional experience? Invest in yourself to reduce the perceived risk of hiring you.
Here are a few things that you can do to gain career curb appeal:
Learn to tell your story in a concise and compelling way.
Spruce up your résumé.
Get your LinkedIn profile to all-star status.
Get some additional training in areas where you have gaps.
Make sure your image fits the role that you’re aiming for (invest in a stylist if needed).
If you’re not sure what blocks stand in the way of your career goals, hire a professional. Like a realtor advising a homeowner on getting their home to appeal to the largest number of buyers, a career coach can help you get yourself ready for the job market so you’re also in demand.
Trying to Get Hired “As Is”
Years ago, when my boss left the large bank we worked for, I applied for his job. I had been his right-hand person and was heavily involved in the operations of the department and the interactions with leaders in the business. In the months after he left, I stepped up to provide leadership to the team and felt that I had a good shot at being officially promoted into the role.
Assumptions Can Lead to Big Mistakes
I applied for the role, but I didn’t do anything special to prepare myself for the interview. I had been at the company for about eight years at that point and would be interviewing with people who I had worked with in different capacities over the years. I assumed that they understood the value I brought to the organization. In retrospect, that was my big mistake.
Because most of the interviewers supported other businesses and were in another city, they actually didn’t understand what I did. Their knowledge of my expertise and contributions was shallow. In addition, I hadn’t interviewed in the eight years since the company hired me.
A Crushing Humiliation
The first interview was with human resources and was basically a screening interview. I did well enough to be granted a second interview. The second-round interview was with a panel of marketing leaders from other areas of the company. I had never been in a panel interview before and wasn’t sure what to expect. Disappointingly, in the interview, I became anxious and didn’t perform well. Let’s just call it what it was—I bombed!
I felt so humiliated, not only because I hadn’t presented myself in my best light, but also because I would continue to work with and see these people at departmental events. I felt like they would be looking at me as a lightweight and unworthy of performing at a management level. It was embarrassing.
Getting Professional Help
Frankly, I don’t like viewing myself as less than an all-star. Though I realized that I wouldn’t be progressing to the next phase of the interview process, I was motivated to get at the heart of my disastrous performance.
I hired a career coach to help me get over my interview anxiety. With her help, I learned how to talk naturally and persuasively about the value that I brought to the organization. I used the PAR method to concisely frame up:
The problems I encountered
The actions I took
The results I delivered.
Going From “As Is” to “As If”
My career coach also helped me recognize how to package myself so employers would see me as ready to deliver value at the next level. I went on a shopping spree and bought some suits and dresses that were more tailored and higher quality than what I typically wore to work. I was dressing for the job I wanted rather than the job I was currently in. I started acting “as if” I were already at that next level.
The recruiting process for the open role continued, and eventually a candidate was offered the position, but she declined to take the job. The hiring manager didn’t feel comfortable offering the role to any of the other candidates, so he started the recruiting process again from square one.
Disappointment Turns to Hope
I reapplied for the role, and using the skills and new mind-set I’d practiced with the help of my coach, I progressed to the final round of interviews. It was down to me and an external candidate. I felt much more confident going through the process the second time, and I was able to easily communicate the value that I provided for the organization. I was hopeful that this time I’d earn the promotion.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. When I found out that they offered the role to the external candidate, I was disappointed. But it didn’t take long to realize that the universe had a different plan for me. The day I learned that the other candidate had accepted the job, while I was at lunch, a recruiter left a voicemail about a role that was a great fit for me at another company.
Persistence Pays Off
It was as if I was being told that since I’d prepared, something bigger was in store—and indeed there was. That message began an active period of interviewing. By the time I finally moved on from that company, I had two job offers and was actively interviewing with a third company.
The investment I made in improving my skills and promoting myself mentally to the next level resulted in the outcome I’d been seeking. Instead of naively expecting people to see me the way I saw myself, I learned to present myself in a way that made them feel confident “buying” and gave them no doubt that any investment in me would be worth it. The investment I made in myself paid off.
 Montessori, Maria. Brainyquote.com. Accessed February 2, 2020.
Terry Boyle McDougall is an executive coach, speaker and best-selling author of Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms. She works with managers, executives and professionals who want to draw upon their greatest, most authentic abilities to positively impact their organizations. She supports clients who are creating change, driving innovation, and navigating transitions.
Terry relies on both her formal training as a coach and firsthand experience as a corporate leader to support her clients as they work towards their goals. In coaching engagements, Terry serves her clients as a partner and encourager as they break new ground; as a sounding board, supporting them as an objective listener; as a scout, who sees the larger context, their possibilities and potential; and, as a catalyst, helping to spark their commitment and action.
After 30 years of corporate business experience, 15 of which were in senior managerial roles, Terry chose to become a coach to concentrate on helping leaders step fully into their potential to lead satisfying careers. Though the majority of Terry’s professional experience is in financial services and marketing, her work exposed her to a wide variety of industries, business climates and corporate transitions such as mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and restructures.
Areas of leadership skills development include: Goal setting Prioritization Staff management Delegation Strategic thinking Decision making Project management Facilitating meetings
EDUCATION CERTIFICATIONS University of Maryland, MBA College of William & Mary, BA, Economics iPEC, Coach Certification Training ICF, Professional Certified Coach iPEC, Master Practitioner, Energy Leadership Predictive Index, Talent Optimization Partner
Congratulations to Liz Lewinson on the release of the latest edition of Women Meditation and Power!
Women, Meditation, and Power by Liz Lewinson Genre: Non-Fiction/ Women’s Studies Publication Date: January 7, 2020 (New Edition)
Women are the power species on the planet. Why? Because life force or kundalini flows through women more strongly than in men. The primary aspect of the female person is power. The primary aspect of the male person is love and humility. Somewhere back in time, the roles got switched.
Men in charge have unwittingly created a heavy, inflexible power structure that lurches towards destruction. Now is the time for the woman in all of us to up-end the confusion, unravel the deep-rooted lines of misunderstanding, and make it right.
LIZ LEWINSON is an award-winning author in biography and Buddhism. Her travels and career in technology and communications have allowed her to observe the inversion of the roles of women and men around the world. She speaks on the topics of women, meditation, and power to students, corporations, and community organizations.
Welcome to the blog tour for Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing. This cheeky and handy writing guide is by C.S. Johnson, and if you read through to the end, you can try to win a copy of your very own!
Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing by C.S. Johnson Publication Date: March 31, 2019 Genre: Non-Fiction/ Writing Guide
What makes a book sexy?
I’m not talking about erotica, per say, but what is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through?
While there are individual exceptions, the most objective difference between a good story and a downright terrible one is simple—it all comes down to the writing.
It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and bad writing is just bad.
Good writing is more than just good writing.
Good writing is sexy.
If you’re a fiction writer looking to improve your writing skills, this is the perfect, provocative read to encourage you to get down to business and write your story.
Inside Good Writing is Like Good Sex, you will find:
A titillating perspective on the writing process
The secret to why your story is special, and how you can make it sexier
Tips on romancing your readers
How to write irresistible characters
Basic writing and story concepts with advanced insights
… and all in a non-gratuitous fashion with a lot of innuendos.
*CHAPTER 1* * * * * Good Writing is Like Good Sex Intellectual Foreplay
What makes a book sexy?
I’m not talking about erotica. What is the difference between a book you eagerly devour and a book you slum your way through? Sometimes you can see this in movies, too—what is the difference between a movie you can get excited about watching over and over again and a movie that’s more “meh,” or that you put in those “ironically bad” or “watch with friends while high/drinking/avoiding work” categories to make it bearable?
While there are often extenuating circumstances or exceptional conditions regarding each book or individual film, the most objective difference between a really great story and downright terrible story is simple.
It comes down to the writing.
It’s either good writing, and we can forgive the technical flaws a little more easily, or it’s bad writing, and it’s worth every moment of our second-by-second break down of our all-encompassing contempt.
Bad writing is just bad.
Good writing, on the other hand, taunts you, intrigues you, and calls to you; it pulls at your heart and slips inside your soul. It seduces your mind, letting its words grow into your vernacular, giving rise to new, previously unknown daydreams and desires.
Good writing is sexy.
And because of this, there are several parallels between writing and sex that can enhance the enjoyment of the other, but that is more dependent on you than me. This is good news for us who enjoy a good story and enjoy—or hope to enjoy one day after you get married—good sex.
Sex and writing are both intimate acts of creation, acts which begin inside of us and extend outward to others. While one might begin on the physical level, and the other might begin in the mind, sex and writing both end up reflecting the essence of who we are and hint at the fullness and totality of our lives. These are purposeful acts, acts that have a distinct goal in mind—producing a form of pleasure—and just like good sex, the path to producing good writing actually starts long before you start.
In my historical fiction novel, Kingdom of Ash and Soot, one of my characters — Lady Penelope, a spymaster for Queen Victoria — has a scene where she is telling Eleanora, my main character, why it is important for her to learn about sex and how to use it to her advantage as a spy. I enjoy this scene because Lady Penelope is very blunt and outspoken, despite the Victorian era’s modesty and Eleanora’s own obvious discomfort. And while the whole scene is meant to juxtapose their characters while also commencing Eleanora’s hero-transformation, what Lady Penelope says is very true:
“Any simpleton can look at a painting or sculpture and know that it is art. But only a true and trained master knows how to create such a splendid pleasure.”
Michelangelo didn’t come into the world ready to paint the Sistine Chapel, Tolstoy didn’t write War and Peace just after puberty, and Beethoven didn’t just bang his head against the keyboard to write his Moonlight Sonata. Learning begins before doing, even if testing sometimes requires doing before learning.
Click the link below for your chance to win a print copy of the book (U.S. Only)
C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women
by Kate Moore
Nonfiction, Historical Add to Goodreads
Synopsis The incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger
The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…
What I thought I waited a few days before I begin thinking about writing this review and I still do not know where to start. So bear with me and we will start at the beginning of this journey. I had never heard about the Radium Girls, they were not talked about when I was in school. I found a podcast called The Morbid Curiosity Podcast, now anyone that actually knows me will not be surprised that I jumped on this as soon as I saw the name. So since I found it around the end of last year I have been working through the backlog of episodes that they have and one of them was on the Radium Girls. I was so amazed by the story that I began looking into them and that led me to find this book.
While reading this book I was constantly surprised at the new lows that these women went through. I know this should not have surprised me but their story was so tragic and a lot of things could have been prevented. My heart truly went out to these girls they suffered so much and were treated so horribly. I know I am not doing any justice for this book I just can not put the words together that I want to. I was so moved and truly inspired by the spirit of these women.
I usually try not to do this but…
I can’t even imagine living through what they did, having bones and limbs removed just to slow down the radium poisoning. Then to have the person that put you in that position, who knew that you were being poisoned, to just stand back and say prove it. The exams they made them go through just to humiliate these women and try to dismiss them like they were worth nothing just makes me want to scream. They knew the dangers hell they protected the other Male staff in the labs with lead aprons and then told these women to lip point their brushes again and again. Then knowing they were going to die, they tried to delay the trial so that they wouldn’t survive long enough to be able to finish the case. I know I shouldn’t be surprised but I had more faith in people.
Sorry, I guess I needed to just vent all those thoughts since they are the first things that come to mind when I think of this story. I guess there is no way to really not spoil the story.
I really wish that their story was at least touched on in school it is such an important part of our short history.
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
by Rachel Hollis Add to Goodreads
Synopsis Do you ever suspect that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t have a clue? If so, Rachel Hollis has something to tell you: that’s a lie.
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore.
With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.
What I thought Okay, guys I really went back and forth on if I should review this one because I really do not want to get super personal. So this may be short.
Anyone that has been following me for a little while would have noticed that this was not my typical read. I don’t find anything wrong with “self-help” books, I just don’t go out of my way to pick them up, in my early 20s I picked up a few and none of them were done in a way that I could get anything from. So with that being my history, I would not have picked up this book had it not been for my sister. I mean she raved about this book all over social media. I don’t mean one post or 10 I mean this went on for weeks to the point that Rachel Hollis really should have added her to the marketing team.
So I walked into the book store and saw it sitting there and opened it up and began reading the introduction letter to the reader. I don’t know why or what part of it made me begin to get emotional. One thing that I really don’t like is when a book makes me cry so I promptly put the book down. Let me just say here that I did not finish the intro at that time. But I left the store without the book. I read to escape not to get upset. So I go to target so that I can get my shopping done and something just kept nagging at me, something in me really wanted to read that book. So I get back to the book section of the store and there is the book again not just on one endcap but two. So we are going to go with fate.
Reading this book was an experience that I did not expect. To be perfectly honest with you I have never had an experience like this with a book. It was like it was written for me granted somethings didn’t apply but the ones that did I don’t have words for how much I got out of this. The most amazing part is how it has helped me and I noticed the change in me that I never expected to happen. Really my sister wasn’t kidding for me this book was really life-changing and I still can’t believe some of the changes that I have made by just accepting and being myself.
The basis of the book is 20 lies we tell ourselves. This book is written in the way that she has overcome/working on each one of these. I marked so many things that I had to buy more book darts. I know that may sound silly but I don’t mark a whole lot of things when I read books usually maybe a couple quotes but I used half a tin on this book and was worried I wouldn’t have enough.
I suggest this book for any woman out there something in this book will speak to you!
Oh, yea she has another book coming out in March and I have already preordered it. if you want to look at that one too here is the link to Goodreads