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Quote about Women

Have You Heard of the Hellfire Club? The Lot of Women in Georgian England (Guest Post)

Here with me today is historical romance author Shehanne Moore. We go back a ways, Shey and I, so when I heard about her new book The Writer and the Rake, I asked her to come visit the blog. She kindly agreed to write a guest post, and, wow, she has provided quite a read about Georgian England, women, and the writing process. Now, let’s give Shehanne Moore the stage.

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Let’s be clear here, this is not a paean of praise to Francis Dashwood’s exclusive club for high society rakes.  When meetings often included mock rituals, items of a pornographic nature, much drinking, wenching and banqueting, what kind of a person do you think I am? And while the hero of my latest book has every selfish reason to appear enlightened about women, he has a point. Women were not able to walk into a tavern and drink in these days, the way they do now. In fact, a woman’s lot in 1765 was one to die for and not as we have come to know that term either.

Firstly, let me thank this very special woman, Christy Birmingham, for asking me, a romance author, to her blog today.  It’s a great pleasure to be here and to know Christy, one of the most supportive women I know, a tremendous poet and an intelligent advocate for us ladies.  My home town, Dundee, gave the U.S. Fanny Wright, lecturer, writer, freethinker, feminist, abolitionist, and social reformer, born here in 1795.

From Dundee to the U.S., Meet Francis Wright

Talking about feminist Francis Wright.

Where the lot of Georgian women was concerned it’s a pity she hadn’t been born a bit earlier and hadn’t been lost to across the pond.

My idea in writing this latest book was to take Brittany, a young woman from today’s world and have her flit between Georgian England and the present day. You know ,I even thought how nice, gracious  and sedate that Jane Austenish world would be, that within hours of arriving, she’d be so calmed by the green-fielded pleasantry and ladies in rustic bonnets everywhere,  she’d fall totally in love with this charming world. DUH.  What is it they say about the best laid plans? The more I looked into this alien galaxy and the lot of women, the clashier, not classier, this became. And not just between my hero and heroine either. What was interesting was the things I had to go to bat for re this book.

The hero is a rake but before anyone thinks too badly of him, a lot of upper crust men from that era were because most society marriages were arranged. Sometimes affection grew but not for my hero, whose shy, awkward, naïve, young wife, he was railroaded into marrying at sixteen,  hated him on sight, so he joined the ranks of men who went elsewhere. At least he didn’t force the issue which he would have been perfectly within his rights to do.

If, as a woman, you think you would have been free to say no, or choose your spouse, think again. You and your belongings, all these nice shoes, bags, books, everything in fact you thought were yours, were, in fact,  your hubby’s. Take the case of rich heiress, Lady Continue reading

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Are Literary Prizes for Women Helpful?

Literary Prizes Just for Women? Yay or Nay?

Do you think there should still be literary prize categories just for women? Is it actually setting back the clock on gender equality or helping the cause?

Sometimes I have wondered about this point and today wanted to put it out to the crowd (aka you wonderful peeps). For example, there is the Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction. It has good intentions by celebrating excellence and originality in women writers around the globe. But, is separating out women really doing a disservice to the female gender? After all, doesn’t gender equality in its purest sense mean not differentiating between different prizes for each gender?

Interestingly, the original name for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Note that there is no mention of the female gender in the previous title.

However, on the other hand (just to play devil’s advocate), maybe women do need to be singled out with literary prizes. Proponents of this idea would say that women are massively under-represented in shortlisted books for literary prizes. Indeed, that is the entire reason that the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was created, as per the Baileys Prize website:

“The inspiration was the Booker Prize of 1991 when none of the six shortlisted books was by a woman, despite some 60 percent of novels published that year being by female authors.”

And so the Baileys Prize was born. And let me just say that the under-representation of females in literary prize nominations is appalling.

But, here’s the thing, maybe treating women special, with a different set of rules than men, in this case regarding specific prizes for female authors, is suggesting that women need help or assistance in some way. It may be sending the message that only when men leave the room can women’s accomplishments be celebrated.

And, unfortunately, that makes the achievements of women in female-only literary prizes less worthy than those of men who win literary prizes open to all genders.

Here’s the thing. Absolutely gender equality is still absent in many parts of society today. But I don’t think that giving women special treatment when it comes to literary prizes is going to solve the problem in the writing field. As a female author myself, with two books so far under my belt, I do hope that gender equality will happen in my lifetime. But, realistically, I don’t know if it will become a reality that soon.

Do you think that having literary prizes specifically open only to women is helping or hindering the achievement of gender equality? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Unveiling a New Site and Awards: Wow, Happy Friday!

Hi everyone and happy Friday! I hope you are all doing well and made it through the week smoothly (okay, if not smoothly then I hope at least there were calm parts to it). Insert smiles: here!

I am excited today to unveil my new site, also here on WordPress. I have been working on it over the past week, although I have had this idea for several months now. And, of course, the root of it goes back many years for me. You see, it’s a website intended to celebrate women. It is called When Women Inspire. To read the first post there, click the image below.

When Women Inspire Logo

The new site is titled When Women Inspire

When Women Inspire: What it is

The goal for the site is set out on its About page, along with my reason for starting it. When Women Inspire is a site that I hope encourages women to achieve all that they have the potential to be. And I am fortunate to have met some amazing women in my life so far. Feel free to check out the site and follow it, although I by no means am making you. I understand it won’t appeal to everyone, and that’s fine. After all, if we all liked the same things then the world would be even crazier than it already is!

Awards for Poetic Parfait

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