Extraordinary
Women

  • Diana Gabaldon

     

    Brilliant author of the historical sci-fi adventure, Outlander books, novellas, and graphic novels. Herself, as fans call her, creates strong, loving, companionate female characters that span time.

  • Katherine Johnson. Dorothy Vaughan.        Mary Jackson.

    These brilliant African-American women worked as mathematicians and aerospace engineers at NASA and were referred to as human computers. Their work was instrumental in the successful launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.  

  • Rose Antonia Maria Valland

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    Rose Antonia Maria Valland (1 November 1898 – 18 September 1980) was a French art historian, a member of the French Resistance, a captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. She secretly recorded details of the Nazi plundering of National French and private Jewish-owned art from France.

  • Hedy Lamarr

     

    Beautiful and talented actress. Brilliant inventor. She may not have literally invented WiFi, she did invent an important precursor. In collaboration with George Antheil, Lamarr patented a frequency-hopping mechanism designed to keep Nazis from intercepting Allied transmissions during World War II. Not only is it impenetrable from a security perspective, it is the foundation used to develop Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

  • Margaret Atwood

    A Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayists, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor. She has published 18 books of poetry, 18 novels, 11 non-fiction books, 9 collections of short fiction, 8 children’s books, and 2 graphic novels.  A number of her works have been adapted for film and television.

  • Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz

    Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz

    Rear Adm. Sandra Stosz became the first female superintendent at any of the U.S. service academies. A 1982 Coast Guard Academy graduate and a surface operations officer with 12 years of sea duty, Admiral Stosz has plotted a course that includes many firsts for women in the military. Her performance in previous assignments as commanding officer for recruit training at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., the Director of Reserve and Leadership, and the commanding officer of two cutters, has demonstrated a commitment to building a diverse workforce.

  • Nancy Grace Augusta Wake

    Nancy Wake

    Nancy Grace Augusta Wake (August 30, 1912 – August 07, 2011), also known as the “White Mouse”, was one of the most decorated secret agents of the Second World War. By war’s end in Europe she had become famed as a resourceful, dauntless Resistance leader, who topped the Gestapo’s most-wanted list and had saved hundreds of Allied lives. She parachuted behind enemy lines, dodged bullets many times, rode a bicycle 250 miles to alert the French resistance to the Normandy invasion, was involved in ambushing German convoys and destroying bridges and railway lines.

  • Temple Grandin

    Temple Grandin

    Temple Grandin (born August 27, 1947) is an American doctor of Animal Science and professor at Colorado State University, bestselling author, and consultant to the livestock industry in animal behavior. As a person with high-functioning autism, Grandin is also widely noted for her work in autism advocacy and is the inventor of the hug machine designed to calm hypersensitive persons.

  • Bessie Coleman

    Bessie Coleman

    Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926) was an American civil aviator. She was the first female pilot of African American descent and the first person of African American descent to hold an international pilot license.

  • Erma Bombeck

     

    Mrs. Bombeck was thirteen when she wrote her first newspaper column. Her syndicated column, “At Wit’s End,” was directed to the lonely plight of stay-at-home mothers and appeared in more than 900 newspapers. She spent twenty-seven years writing 4,500 columns and 12 books that touched the lives of an international audience of women, men and children. She was still writing her column and developing a new book when she died from complications of a kidney transplant in 1996.

  • Sally Ride

    Sally Ride

    Dr. Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) from Los Angeles, California, was an American physicist and a former NASA astronaut. She studied at Portola Middle School, Westlake School for Girls, Swarthmore College and Stanford University, and earned a master’s degree and PhD. Ride joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983, became the first American woman, and then-youngest American, to enter space. In 1987 she left NASA to work at Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control.

  • Carol Mutter

    Carol Mutter

    Carol A. Mutter (born December 17, 1945) is a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general. She is the first woman in the history of the United States Armed Forces to be appointed to a three-star grade. She retired from the Marine Corps on January 1, 1999. Her last active duty assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (DC/S, M&RA) at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

  • Betty Reid Soskin

    Betty Reid Soskin, the country’s oldest active ranger in the National Park Service, turned 100 years old Wednesday, September 21, 2021.  She’s a published author, a songwriter-activist, a businesswoman and now serves in the National Park service as the country’s oldest ranger.

    The century-old ranger leads tours and public programs, sharing her experiences and observations at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond California. In celebration of her milestone birthday the National Park Service created a special limited-edition ink stamp in her honor.

  •  Carol Burnett

     

    A comedian with a decades-long career. Her own beloved comedy TV show, a number of feature films and on Broadway. A published author and known to help young comedians starting out. She has been the recipient of numerous honors. American Comedy Awards, Emmy and Golden Globe awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Kennedy Center Honors, given to the creative minds who influence American culture with their art.

  • Antonia Novello

    Antonia Novello

    Dr. Antonia Coello Novello, M.D., (born August 23, 1944) is a Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as fourteenth Surgeon General of the United States from 1990 to 1993. Novello is the first woman and first Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General.

  • Pvt. Minnie Spotted Wolf

    Minnie Spotted Wolf

    Private Minnie Spotted-Wolf (1923 – 1988) was the first Native American woman to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. She enlisted in the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in July 1943.

  • Sergeant Kimberly Munley

    Sergeant Kimberly Munley a civilian Department of Defense police officer at Ft Hood credited with stopping the firing rampage of an Army Major within a few minutes after he launched his attack. Munley, a 35 year old petite mother of two, put her life at risk and drew the attention of shooter. She fired and took the man down. But not before she was shot three times. Munley is credited with preventing many more deaths.

  • Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter

    Rosie the Riveter is a cultural and feminist icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and war supplies.

  • Wives of Police Officers, Firemen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

  • World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots

    World War II Women Service Pilots

    A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program. They tested newly overhauled planes, towed targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting — with live ammunition. They ferried new planes from factories to military bases.  Most importantly their service freed a male pilot for combat duties.  The WASP expected to become part of the military during their service. Instead, the program was canceled after two years. Thirty-eight WASP members lost their lives and one, disappeared while on a ferry mission. In 1977, for their World War II service, the members were finally granted veteran status by Congress. Brave woman all.

     

  • SPAR Olivia Hooker: First African American Woman in the Coast Guard

    Olivia Hooker

    In February 1945, Olivia Hooker was sworn in by a Coast Guard officer, becoming the first African-American female admitted into the United States Coast Guard. Hooker joined the service to become a SPAR (Semper Paratus Always Ready), the acronym used for female service personnel during World War II. She remained in the Coast Guard until the war-time SPARs were disbanded by mid-1946. Dr. Hooker later earned a doctorate in psychology had a distinguished career as a professor.

  • Marjorie Harris Carr

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    (1915-1997) an American environmental activist. She is best known for leading the fight against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cross Florida Barge Canal. Carr and her colleagues won a temporary injunction against construction of the canal in January 1971. Days later, President Richard Nixon halted construction of the canal.

 

 

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Body Language

     I recently had a conversation with someone who said using body language to express the emotions of a character was lost on them. Really? Wow! “So,” I said, “if I made a fist and extended my arm in the direction of your face you would not know what was coming or how I was feeling?” The response was, “Well, you might be mad and going to hit me.” Like, hello! Body language.

     What brought the discussion on was I’d put a book down in frustration because the author had the characters do something and then interpreted that action. For example – she slammed the door then said, she was angry. In the context of the rest of the paragraph I understood she was angry when she slammed the door. Like my friend, when you see a fist coming your direction you figure you are going to be hit. The owner of said fist doesn’t need to accompany the action with a verbal warning. Same thing when you write. There is an instinctual understanding of body language. I call it lizard brain instinct.

     As mystery and suspense authors how do you show a character is the bad guy without coming out and saying it? I use inappropriate eye contact, as in glaring and holding contact to long, a dismissive glance, no eye contact at all, a predatory up and down look that makes you feel like you are on the menu. My bad people laugh at the suffering of others and are almost always space invaders. That is, people who constantly stand to close forcing others to back up. I also use inappropriate touching. I mean if a woman just met a man five minutes ago and out of the blue, he slips an arm around her waist and pulls them together. For me that’s a strong ewww factor. Does it hit you wrong also, or do you need to be told why it’s inappropriate?

     What do you get from these situations?   

  1. A character in an interview is jiggling his leg looking side to side.
  2. A couple sitting in the doctor’s office leaning toward one another. Leaning away.
  3. A couple at a table in Starbucks, she is leaning over the table in his direction arm outstretched, palm up. He is leaning back arms crossed.
  4. Another couple leaning to each other, hands resting on the table, finger tips barely touching.
  5. A man in a suit standing legs spread, hands on his hips pushing his suit jack back elbows sticking out. Or, he is leaning back in a chair, an ankle resting on the opposite knee his hand clasped behind his head.
  6. What is a woman telling her companion when she laughs and tips her head back exposing her throat?
  7. A man and woman are standing together. She is leaning into him head resting on his shoulder and a hand in the middle of his chest. He has one arm around her, the other in a pants pocket and a big grin on his face.
  8. A woman walking away from a man she knows is checking out her aft deck, turns and looks at him over her shoulder and licks her lips.

 

What I see.

  1. The character is nervous.
  2. The couple are happy and getting alone. Leaning away -they aren’t very happy with each other.
  3. She is pleading about something and he really doesn’t want to hear it.
  4. A new relationship.
  5. Both of these tell me the man is in control and he is letting everyone know it with his displays.
  6. Exposing the vulnerable throat indicates she trusts him and is ready to move to the next level of the relationship.
  7. I feel like she is declaring ownership. He is telling every man in the room- yeaph she’s mine, eat your heart out.
  8. No stamp needed for that invitation.  

 

So, tell me what you see in these situations. Do you like subtle body language in the books you read? Do you use it in your writing?  

 

   

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