Category Archives: books

How Many Secrets does Wonder Woman Have?

Image courtesy of Bing Images creative common license via http://orig10.deviantart.net/89a0/f/2010/003/2/c/wonder_woman__by_jpspitzer.jpg

 

For the last three weeks, I busied myself reading a book assigned to my America’s Themes and Dreams class. I must say, for a non-fiction book, this book was a great read. The book I’m talking about is The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. I never knew that Wonder Woman has been around since the 1940’s. She disappeared for a little while and even had a meek side to her, but now I understand why she is a stronger Amazonian than Zena the Princess Warrior.

Wonder Woman got her start from William Moulton Marston who was the first person to attempt to create a lie detecting device though he never received any credit for his experiments, that may have been due to his own follies. Marston was born in 1893 and grew up in the Moulton Castle, Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was a student at Harvard during the Women’s Suffrage Movement and attended a lecture by Emmeline Pankhurst. “Marston was fascinated; he was thrilled; he was distracted.” (Lepore 11)

And so, life’s stage was set in motion for the actions of William Moulton Marston who became the creator of Wonder Woman about 30 years later.

Secret Identities of Women Hidden Behind the Lies of a Man

The charade of secret identities began with Margaret Sanger and Ethel Byrne. Ethel wanted more in life than to be a mother and attributed her oldest sister’s death with having had too many children of her own even though it was said that Anne Higgins died of tuberculosis. Ethel struggled to be a mother but her daughter, Olive Byrne, was a very fussy baby. Apparently, the child cried a lot which is why when Olive was two, Ethel decided there was more in life than being a mother and left her two children with her husband’s parents and disappeared from their lives.  (Lepore 82)

About this time Ethel’s lies began so she could pretend to be someone she was not all because she wanted to be a nurse like her older sister Margaret. So, she lied about her marital status so she could train as a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital. To be a student at this hospital, a woman needed to be single. At a young age, Olive noticed the lies of her mother, Ethel, and also for her grandparents too. Her grandparents lied by saying Ethel was dead. But Olive knew better. She knew her grandmother lied to her. ““Deceit comes easy to the Irish,” Olive Byrne liked to say.”  (Lepore 83)

The character of Wonder Woman was created to reflect the lives of the women in William Moulton Marston’s life. Wonder Woman’s identity was to be hidden in the same manner the lifestyle of Marston, Olive, Holloway, Huntley, and the children were to be hidden. ““Either hide this well or destroy it. It was the family motto.””  (Lepore 319)

The adults lied about who the children’s mother and fathers were and the living arrangements during their entire lifetimes. Even to their death, they were reluctant to tell anyone about how Marston had taken two wives and not just one and how they all lived happily ever after underneath one roof. They were living secret lives by hiding behind different identities to explain their living situation. Their identities became so confusing toward the end even to them that later in life when relating stories to their grandchildren sometimes Olive Byrne could be heard whispering, ““Those stories were about me.””  (Lepore 321)

Margaret Sanger encouraged the charade to continue when Ethel Byrne became involved in the Birth Control Movement. Ethel was arrested for distributing birth control paraphernalia to women which was against the law at that time. She was sent to prison. While there Ethel went on a hunger strike. “Byrne’s inspiration was Emmeline Pankhurst.” (92) Margaret feared her sister would die in prison from the hunger strike. She pled with the governor of New York to pardon Ethel so she would not die. The Governor agreed but only on one condition. Margaret had to promise that Ethel would not break the law from that time on.  (Lepore 95)

The day after Ethel was pardoned Sanger was found guilty of providing birth control products and information just like Ethel. The only difference was, Sanger did not take part in a hunger strike. She did her time and went on her way. (Lepore 96)

When Olive was sixteen, she visited her mother who was living in New York under strange living arrangements. Olive knew her mother was sleeping with someone even though they weren’t married. When she inquired about the arrangement, Ethel laughed and told her, ““Margaret was known to invent ‘nice covers’ for circumstances that she thought might become a matter of scandal at stake, embarrassing to herself.””  (Lepore 99)

The living arrangement of Ethel, Margaret, and Bob Parker might have taught Olive that this sort of arrangement was acceptable if the details were kept from anyone’s knowledge. Hence where her secret identity began along with Holloway, Marston, and Huntley because Holloway wanted to be a career woman and have children. Marston wanted to have two wives, and Olive wanted to be part of a family. “They’d find a way to explain it, to hide it. The arrangement would be their secret. No one else need ever know.”  (Lepore 123)

Olive Byrne wore bracelets on her wrists which gave Marston the idea to have Wonder Woman wear those same bracelets that could fend off bullets. The bracelets became part of Wonder Woman’s identity just as Olive began creating her own fictional story to explain her pregnancy situation. Olive created William K. Richard on November 21, 1928, when she married a man who didn’t exist and became Olive Richard, her new identity. When her children began asking about their father, she told them he had died because of gas from the war and had suffered lung problems. No photos of him existed. “Byrne and Donn’s father was William Moulton Marston.”  (Lepore 143)

Olive began keeping diaries which she used secret codes. “Olive believed the truth was best kept secret: in particular, she didn’t want her children to know about it, ever.” (147) She had to create layers of deception which was why she created William K. Richard. Whenever she wrote about Holloway’s husband, she referred to Marston as “W.M.M.” and when she wrote about the father of her sons she referred to him as “R” or “Ri,” for “Richard.”  (Lepore 147)

Batman and Superman comic characters were popular when Wonder Woman was created. They both had secret identities. So, didn’t Wonder Woman. Her identity was Princess Diana who became Diana Prince, a secretary for the U.S. military intelligence.

Writers tend to write about what they know most. Marston knew about lie detecting and deception. He created the very first model of the lie detector machine but never was credited for his work outside of the credits he pitched to the world. Trouble began for Marston January 1922. “Marston was charged with two crimes: using the mails in a scheme to defraud, and aiding and abetting in the concealment of assets from the trustee in the United Dress Goods bankruptcy.” (74) He was no stranger to lies and deception and aided in his ability to write the Wonder Woman stories. Marston also based the story on the women in his life who were all strong women involved in the woman’s movement. Even today, Wonder Woman makes her appearance every time Woman’s Rights makes a resurgence in the political atmosphere such as happened during the 1960’s and 70’s and is happening again today with the recent release in the movie theaters of Wonder Woman that debuted June 2, 2017. (Lepore)

The world of today is much different from that of the 1930’s and 40’s. Women’s Liberation has made leaps and bounds. From women holding careers and maintaining a family lifestyle to same-sex couples living the lifestyle of traditional couples and a woman’s ability to choose when to have children and how many children she wants to have. Back when Holloway struggled to have a career and a family at the same time she wanted both and but, to do this Olive needed to become part of the game plan. In today’s world, there are live in Nannies, nursery care, and babysitters while soccer mom not only manages to look after the family but she also doubles with her own career as well. Housework has been delegated to the older children, housekeeping services or shared by the couple. Back in the 1950’s, men were reluctant to fold a towel or mop the floor while nowadays he too shares multiple roles such as his wife. Not only have women become liberated by birth control, but they are also free to choose a career path or family life, or better yet – both.

 

Works Cited

Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman. New York: Vintage Books A Division Penguin Random House LLC, 2015. Print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Year Flashed Before My Eyes

Where did my year go?

This year has rushed by, and I can see why with being as busy as I have been with school and work. First-year terms are coming to an end. They finish up on May 13th leaving me with two years and two terms to go before acquiring that Bachelor degree. Microeconomics is not one of my favorite subjects. Economics, in general, are not a favorite either. I haven’t struggled this hard since taking Principles of Finance though I sure I’m going to pass.

I added to my book collection

 

 

 

I discovered a couple of good buys this weekend on Amazon dot com. One of which was the book, Writing Romances – A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America. I picked the book up the used book for $6. It turned out to be a sweet find. I plan on reading a minimum of one chapter a day. So far it has taught me about the functions of an agent, and now I’m learning about the duties of a publishing house editor. This book holds the nuts and bolts about publishing.

The other book I found in the used book section is the Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition that I picked up for $10. The 17th edition is about to release, but the used version will suffice for now, which is better than going without any edition. 

I love stumbling across things, especially great deals. So what if the RWA book was published back in 1996 even though so much has changed in the publishing world, some things never change that drastically like what editors do or what agents do. Yes, we have moved into an electronic era, but print books are making a comeback. I have found electronics to be hard on the eyes, and there is still that something about being able to hold a physical book in your hands. If I have to have that book, it will be a print edition, but if I’m not sure whether or not I will like the book, I tend to go with the electronic version. Why waste a tree on paper if the book is not worth reading?

My manuscripts still sit covered with dust.

I will return to them in time. Ideas are beginning to flow, and I can feel a story brewing in the back of my mind. I should be journaling every day. That won’t happen. The next 12 weeks will be hectic with school. I will have two back to back crash courses that will contain eight weeks of work to be completed in 6 weeks each. – My summer school. What I do to try and get ahead in life all because my story ideas seemed so lame at the time. Now I barely have enough time to post to my blog.

Blog ideas for the coming year:

  • Journaling
  • Interviews – I could not only host questions and answers with writers but what about professionals in every neck of the woods. Hmm… what a thought.
  • Books I have discovered – books of the craft, for the craft, and arts and crafts
  • My pets – Keelaa and Julie
  • My grandbabies are growing up so fast.
  • Pictures of my garden
  • Works in progress updates

I wonder which of these will find their way to the surface the most, who knows what the coming year will bring besides being one more year closer to getting that degree.

Celebrating Veterans with Books

Left, left, left, right, left.

susanbasic3Any veterans out there? With May bringing both Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, veterans are at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.

I served in the U.S. Army for five years (in the photo, I’m the short one in the front). I graduated college during a recession and the best opportunity to get out of my parent’s house and find a real job was to join the Army.

I was stationed at Ft. Polk, LA for a year (if you’ve been in the Army, I’m sure you just groaned with me) before I was married and joined my husband at a joint military base in England. It was five long, frustrating years, but I wouldn’t take that experience back for anything.

This weekend, my family will be participating in a Memorial Day parade as “A Family of Veterans.” My husband and I represent our generation, and we’ll be honoring our dads who served in Viet Nam and our grandfathers who served in World War II and the Korean War.

Please take the time this weekend to honor veterans, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedom.

4_Deception_bookIn honor of Memorial Day, all royalties from my novel The Sound of Deception between May 22 and May 29 will be donated to Rebuilding Warriors as part of the Memorial Day 2015: Gone but not forgotten event. There are lots of author veterans donating, so check it out!

Summer LovinBut that’s not the only special event I am participating in right now. My debut novel from 2011, Relay For Love, is one of the novels in Summer Lovin’ box set. This collection includes 14 novels and novellas all with a summer theme, many from USA Today and National Bestselling authors. The best part, it’s only $.99. Get it while it’s hot because it’s available only for a limited time!

Book_Relay_newIn Relay For Love, widow Hannah Locke has a life plan, which does NOT include falling in love again. She lost her husband five years ago and still aches from that loss. That ache seems to dull as it is replaced with a new longing for a man she hardly knows but can’t seem to get out of her head. Aaron Hawkins was only supposed to write a story about Hannah’s Relay For Life fundraising event, but their immediate attraction has him looking for more than just a headline and has Hannah forgetting all about her perfect life plan.

Writing this story was an emotional journey for me. It’s an emotional journey for readers, too, who claim they are laughing on one page and crying on the next. Even my editor, who NEVER cries, shed a few tears (and cussed me out) while editing this story.

Let’s wipe out cancer together!! A percentage of my royalties from this book and A Flame Burns Inside is donated to the American Cancer Society to help raise awareness about prevention and treatment and help find a cure!

Pick up Summer Lovin’ today and check out my Facebook page for some great giveaways!

Summer Lovin’ buy links:


IMG_1095s copyBig dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.

Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor). Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, adopting an amazing rescue dog, and a happily ever after that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).

In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver).

Free EBook Editions of the Wings From Ashes Series

It has been a while since I have given any of my eBooks away. Since I recently updated the editions with some edits and new book covers, I think it is time for a relaunch promotion.

So here they are, the entire series of Wings From Ashes will be free for a limited time. Hurry and get your copies. I’m not sure how long this giveaway will last.

 

Untouchable or Not

Everybody has their favorite genre to read and write. It is a given fact. Some will prefer either fiction to nonfiction and so on. But almost every written work has one thing in common.

Is it considered an untouchable truth?

Now why would I want to speak about untouchable truths?

Yesterday was our first Monadnock Writers’ Group meeting of the year. Our speaker was Mary Johnson. Her published work – An Unquenchable Thirst. It is a memoir about her life as a Missionary of Charity, and a story of her search for love, service, and an authentic life.

So when she spoke at our meeting yesterday her topic was about Untouchable Truths. What’s the big deal?

Well this is the topic that churns around why books can make the banned book list. When a story that is written tells about a subject matter that the public, or some groups of individuals in general don’t want anyone to know about.

This can happen in fiction as well as non-fiction. This can happen if someone has found the story offensive even in some silly way.

Per the Huffington post:

Recent Banned Book list top 10:

1.    Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

2.    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

3.    Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

4.    Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

5.    And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

6.    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

7.    Looking for Alaska by John Green

8.    Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz

9.    The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

10.    Beloved by Toni Morrison

The majority of these titles were banned due to offensive language or subject matter. They all also share another thing in common, they are undoubtedly fantastic stories. “Society defends Untouchable Truths” and people respond.

Why? They may find it painful, against conventional wisdom, fearful, uncomfortable, exposure, success, or the fact that you say what you mean.

Mary went on to say that if you feel any fear when writing a story, then it does need to come out. As long as you are not doing it to seek revenge against someone. Then it becomes malicious, and you are looking at a legal matter.

She went on to touch base about how difficult it can be to write such subject matter, especially when it is a memoir. And she also talked about not only the writing difficulties involved with such works but also the publishing aspects and legality.

It was all pretty interesting.

ROW80 Check-In:

Last Wednesday was the end of round 3 of our Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge. Technically I don’t have to post a check in for today, but since I am practicing writing discipline this year I will post how I only edited a couple of chapter this week of Witch Book.

I don’t think it is because the story is that badly edited. I believe Witch Book is one of my better early works, or so the reviews of it seemed to say. It has to be more about the fact that I am trying to make note as to the story plots and such so I can remember where I left off in the story line. I don’t want to send Aaron accidentally off with the Book of Hestate. (LOL) Though that could make the story line different…

Maybe by the next Check In, which is on Wednesday, I will have worked through a couple more chapters and close in on beginning the next book in the series.

In the meantime, my daughter has requested me to make my 3 year old granddaughter a new sweater. She even picked out the crochet pattern for me to follow. It looks fairly easy and I have been thinking about doing something like it for quite some time.

If the pattern works for me, I will post a picture, when it is completed, for all to see.

How is your writing going for this week? I would love to hear.

Do you like to do other craft projects, as well?

I have a crochet pattern I have been looking all over for. I haven’t found it yet. It is for a large crocheted chicken or duck Easter basket. The original pattern is done in some sort of chenille loops, but I have also seen the basket done in crochet with regular Red Heart yarn. Someone was selling them at a local chicken swap a few Easters ago. The baskets were adorable.