Extraordinary
Women

  • Anna Elenor Roosevelt

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    (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) politician, diplomat, activist, and longest-serving First lady of the US. After her husband was stricken with polio, she gave speeches, made public appearances on his behalf, and campaigned in his place. She was an outspoken and controversial First Lady who changed and defined the role of future First Ladies.

  • Rose Antonia Maria Valland

    Rose_Valland_small

    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.

  • Lea Cabrielle

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    Lea Cabrielle A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, she served as a fighter pilot and intelligence operations officer in the U.S. Navy from May 1997 to June 2009. She flew the single-seat, carrier-based F/A-18 “Hornet” aircraft in combat operations, and later deployed with a U.S. Special Operations Team as an intelligence operator supporting combat missions. She continues to volunteer as a guest speaker and emcee for charitable and promotional events supporting members of the military, their families and veterans. She now works as a journalist for the Fox news Channel.

  • Megan McClung

    McClung_small

    Megan McClung was the first female United States Marine Corps officer killed in combat during the Iraq War. Major McClung was serving as a public affairs officer in Al Anbar Province, Iraq when she was killed.

  • 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.

  • Nora Roberts

    Nora Roberts

    Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson, October 10, 1950 in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA), is a bestselling American author of more than 165 romance novels, and she writes as J.D. Robb for the “In Death” series. She also has written under the pseudonym Jill March, and some of her works were published in the UK as Sarah Hardesty.

  • Helen  Keller

    Helen Keller

    Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of how Keller’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, broke through the isolation imposed by a near complete lack of language, allowing the girl to blossom as she learned to communicate, has become known worldwide through the dramatic depictions of the play and film “The Miracle Worker”.

  • 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.

  • Wilma Rudolph

    Wilma Rudolph

    Wilma Glodean Rudolph (June 23, 1940 – November 12, 1994) was an American athlete. Rudolph was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 1960s and competed in two Olympic Games, in 1956 and in 1960.

  • Sarah Deal Burrow

    Sarah Deal

    Lt. Col. Sarah Deal Burrow, United States Marine Corps, became the first female Marine selected for Naval aviation training, and subsequently the Marine Corps’ first female aviator in 1993.

  • 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.

  • The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood

    The 2009 Class of Golden Heart Finalists, dubbed the “Ruby Slippered Sisterhood”.

  • Sandra Day O’Connor

    Sandra Day O'Connor

    Sandra Day O’Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O’Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.[2] During her tenure, she was regarded as the Court’s leading centrist, and was the swing vote in many cases; this made her the most powerful justice for many years.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard

    US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard made history in July 2014 when she became the first female four-star admiral in the US Navy’s 239-year history. She is the second highest-ranking officer in the Navy. Howard is also the first African American woman to serve as a three-star officer in the U.S. military and became the first to command a U.S. Navy ship.

  • Diana Gabaldon

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    Brilliant author of the historical sci-fi adventure-romance Outlander books, novellas, and graphic novel.

  • 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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Writing Cliché Free

     Ever been dinged in a contest or in a critique for using a cliché? I sure have. What is a cliché?  Here are a few general definitions I found.

  • A cliché is an analogy characterized by its overuse. It may be true (‘Fat as a pig’), no longer true (‘work like a dog’) or inscrutable (‘right as rain’), but it has been overused to the point that its sole function is to mark its user as a lazy thinker.
  • Being predictable and unimaginative; falling into a groove of human boredom; an old tired trend.
  • Something that has been overdone to the point where it is now predictable. A fad that has either died or is dying out.
  • Something that is lame and unimaginative, and, more importantly, has been done many times before.

     Look carefully at these definitions. They are very applicable to our writing.  I know you’ve all have heard of the romance writing oracles Some One, They Say, and They Said. Their teachings and sayings have often been quoted to me in an effort to prevent me from using dreaded clichés. I shall be referring to their words of wisdom here.

     I think, to a degree, clichés are unavoidable.  I suggest we take clichés, bend and twist them and use them to our advantage. I’m calling it fresh writing and cliché busting.

     In the movie, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, the Cannibal, Lector, a brilliant physiologist kills, and eats part of his victims. Ewww! Think of all the Hollywood tough guys the director could have picked to play Lector.  Each and every one evil, and diabolical.  He chose Anthony Hopkins, a five-foot- six, middle aged, English Shakespearian actor whose only screen roles to date had been portrayals of gentle men. The performance Hopkins gives is chilling. Big cliché buster.

     On more than one occasion, the oracle They Say makes it very clear we should not open a book, with our characters in bed, the weather, a death or at a funeral. It’s cliché. Well, I smell bull sh*t and you can tell They Say I said so. What does it matter as long as it’s done with humor and style? As in cliché busters.

     They Say is also against opening with descriptions of the weather.  It was a dark and stormy night.  It was a bright sunny day.

     Try, It was a dark and stormy night on a planet that didn’t have nights or storms.

     It was a bright and sunny day. The first in the hundred and twenty years since the war.

     Simple, and for me, cliché busters.         

     Some One is against using cliché sayings. What about the GIECO auto insurance commercials? They take cliché sayings bend and twist them and make them fun.

     A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Really? 

     The little pig went wee, wee, wee all the way home.

     Can a woodchuck chuck wood? In this commercial we learn they can.

     My favorite, honest Abe and Mary Lincoln. She asks, ” Does this dress make my backside look big?”  Poor Abe.

     The Drill Sergeant Therapist.

     These are cliché busters. 

     Take a look at the following clichés.  Can you twist them to something new?   

     Alls well that ends well.

     An oldie but goodie.

     Pick of the litter.

     Pay backs are hell.

     Kick ass.

     I know it like the back of my hand.

     Slept like a baby.

     I’ll take the last one. A detective asks his partner.

     “How did you sleep?” 

     His partner replies, “Like a baby. I woke up every two hours.”

     They Said makes it clear we must stay away from stereotype cliché situations.  Say my WIP is about a middle aged Italian widow who loves to cook.  She has two grown sons and she is constantly talking to them about marriage. What is the first image you conger up?  A short plump woman standing in her kitchen stirring spaghetti sauce with a wooden spoon and lecturing her sons they need to get married and give her grand children.

     Try this.  A hot Italian cougar with her own TV cooking show who is desperate to get her sons to break up with the boring women they are considering marrying, sell their book store, and travel the world for fun and adventure.   Cliché buster.   

     A woman is walking down the street talking on her cell phone. Seen that a million times, right?  Follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSS0c_F4nk  to see a woman in  a 1928 Charlie Chaplin movie apparently talking on a cell phone. To make matters worse the woman looks like a man. Her feet are bigger than the man walking in front of her, her ankles are thicker than mine, her hand is huge and the whole thing is just plain spooky.   How about that for a time travel cliché buster?

     I do agree with They Say, descriptions have become predictable.  Just once (yes I used just) I’d like the description of the handsome Lord in a historical to be a bit off.

     Lord Brilliantly Handsome stormed into the room. His cravat appeared to be on backwards, his waistcoat was on inside out, his breeches buttoned askance and dear me, his boots were on the wrong feet. Where had his Lordship been and what had he been doing that led him to such disarray?

     Or, the beautiful heroine has a penchant for wearing so many ribbons in her hair you can barely see said hair.  

     Oh come on, you know you’d like to see it happen.  

     I loved the way Gillian described the doctor in her entry in our First line Contest. She got the point across without beating us over the head.  A cliché buster.          

     Bottom line is, listen to our romance writing oracles. Avoid being a lazy thinker. Don’t use the same overused, predictable, unimaginative, boring clichéd openings, character descriptions, settings and situations.  Spin them, twist them, make them your own to thrill and amaze the rest of us. Go through your WIP. Can you identify a cliché you could rewrite?  Need help brainstorming? Bring it over.  

 

 

 

 

   

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