Monday, March 21, 2016

Sleeping Beauty and the Working Women of 1959

The 1950's is often cited as one of the best decades to have lived and/or grown up in. Who hasn't watched Happy Days or Grease and felt the nostalgia of life in the '50's? Disney released Sleeping Beauty in 1959, near the end of this iconic decade. So, how well does Princess Aurora represent the women of 1959?

Vogel, H. (Hermann) (1856-1918)
While many women entered the workforce during World War II, the most common job held by a woman in 1959 was that of housewife and mother. Women did work outside the home, including as nurses and teachers, but they didn't have the same job choices as the women of today have. Few were doctors, professors, or business executives--positions many women hold in today's society.

By Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, Texas A&M (Flickr: Data Processing Machine) 
Keeping these norms in mind, I think Aurora is a good representation of the women of this decade. Her parents' goal is to marry her off so she can raise a family of her own. Now, being royal, Aurora lives a privileged life and doesn't have to work. But, while hiding away with the fairies in the woods, we see her performing the more traditional housekeeping role that has become associated with women from this time period.

If Disney's was making this film today, I don't see where there would be many differences to the tale. They didn't change much of Aurora's role from the story told by Perrault, so unless you recast the roles so that the princess saves the prince, Aurora would remain pretty much as she is.

Do you think Aurora was a good representation of women in 1959? What changes do you see being made if the movie release today? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy Book Birthday, FINDING THOR!!!!

I can't believe it's been one year since this amazing book released. Have you found your Thor? Kai wants to help with that. Be sure to check out the giveaway below my interview with the fun and talented Kai Strand.

International intrigue hits small-town America.

Tragedy has left Cara Cassidy broken and the only thing keeping her from giving in completely is her guilt. Until Nik Rock.

Nik stirs up feelings in degrees she has never experienced, and causes her to do things that most assuredly give him the wrong impression – like kiss him before their first date. Somehow, he breaks down the walls around her emotions until she has no choice but to forgive herself and feel again.

But a mysterious, troubled past follows Nik, and Cara may prove to be his weakest link.

When a royal princess shows up looking for Nik, and an international gang arrives looking for missing jewels, Cara lands in mortal danger. Will she be able to save herself? What will happen to her newly repaired psyche if she loses Nik?

Romance, mystery, and high stakes – just another day in high school.

Mary: Congratulations on the one-year anniversary of Finding Thor’s publication!!!

Kai: Thanks, Mary. These milestones in an author’s career are fun to celebrate. In December I celebrated five years as a published author. Five years already! Wow.

Mary:Wow! That's great! Speaking of great, Finding Thor is a great romance. And, since we’re talking about celebrating, what is your favorite wedding anniversary celebration?

Kai: So far my favorite celebration was for our 20th wedding anniversary. We went on an Alaskan cruise and it was amazing! Very romantic, too. We used the formal dinner night as our official celebration. It was fun to be all decked out with my hunky hubby on a fancy cruise ship. 

What about you?

Mary: Aww, what a cute couple! We went to Pittsburgh for our 15th anniversary, and stayed at this really cool B&B in the Mexican War district. We had fun walking around the city, and had a romantic dinner on the hill overlooking Point State Park. We’re talking about going to Vegas in a few years for our 25th, but so far Pittsburgh is the one to top.

I noticed in Finding Thor that Cara and Nik don’t really seem to get a chance to celebrate much. I bet Nick would pull out all the stops for a romantic evening with Cara.

Kai: You’re right on both counts. They’re too busy with car chases and kidnappings to go out for a romantic dinner. But Nik is pretty old fashioned and downright swoony, so I know he has it in him.

Mary: I see you’re giving away a super cool Thor cap as part of the Finding Thor swag pack. 
I’ve always wondered, out of all the superheroes, why Thor?

Kai: Really, Mary? You have to ask? It’s Thor! I might have a bit of a thing for Marvel’s Thor. And that thing might have gotten even more manic when Chris Hemsworth started to portray him. I’m a puddle.

But as far as my main character Cara is concerned, she has always been obsessed with comic books – Thor being her favorite, too. She always envisioned love as Thor, slamming his hammer into the earth, and the vibration resonating within her for a lifetime. She never expected love would be a thousand tiny actions from a normal boy. It was kind of like that for me IRL. My husband and I were friends before we started dating. He went out of his way to do things for me (fix a flat tire, drive me two hours to the airport, etc) that I always assumed were friendship things, but other people always took as signs that he had a thing for me. I was totally oblivious – until I wasn’t.

Mary: I love that image of the vibrations of love. I met my husband on a blind date, but like with Cara, it was the little things over time that made me fall in love.

Come fall in love with Cara and Nik. Mystery, love, car chases, and everyday superheroes. What more do you need? Check out the excerpt below, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!

Thanks so much for stopping in to share your anniversary celebration with us, Kai. Congratulations on Finding Thor’s first birthday!

Kai: Thanks for hosting me. And good luck to your readers in the giveaway!

The veil dropped over Nik’s expression so fast, it told her exactly what she didn’t want to know. Nik had indeed seen her mom. Cara turned away from him again intending to trudge back into the classroom.

“By the crown, will you stop already?” Nik begged.

The exasperation in his tone and the odd choice of words piqued her curiosity. Cocking her head, she asked, “By the crown?”

The frustration melted away and Nik pursed his lips, which almost distracted Cara enough to forget the thread of conversation, but she tore her eyes away and asked, “Is that what they say in Seattle?”

Nik’s eyes lit with appreciation. “Aren’t you clever?”

“Am I?”

He nodded. His appreciative appraisal and half smile wreaked havoc with her supposed cleverness.

“Nik?” she breathed.

“Yes?” He tilted toward her giving her the impression he hung on her every word. His eyes were glued to her lips, which she realized were parted and ever so slightly panting.

She gulped. “Can we perhaps do this after school?”

When he raised his gaze to meet hers she almost liquefied under the heat of it. “Can I trust you?”

“Trust me to do what?” Cara asked. She was losing the ability to think.

“Show up.” He slid closer and she held her breath hoping he would take her in his arms.

“Show up where?” she asked.

A full-blown grin curved across his face and she thrilled with the knowledge she’d put it there. Then she realized she couldn’t remember how.

“Actually, I was going to ask you that,” Nik said. His eyes roved her face.

“Wait. What?” Cara’s voice was so breathy she wasn’t sure if she spoke or gasped.

“Where should we meet? After school.”

She itched to rise up on tiptoe and kiss that stellar grin off his mouth.

A low chuckle rumbled through him. “Why don’t you tell me in gym class?”

She nodded slowly. Was he a drug? Or maybe the male version of a siren. Did they have those?

He tipped further forward and she caught her breath. Then he sighed.

“See you next period.”

Her mouth fell open as he walked away. He hadn’t even touched her and she was burning with need.

At the end of the hall, he glanced over his shoulder and grinned when he saw her still gaping after him. When he walked out of view she let out the breath she’d been holding. It stuttered and shook, but was relieved to escape her burning lungs. How long had she been holding her breath?

By the crown, Nik Rock was dangerous!

Finding Thor is available in print or electronic format from the following:

Amazon| Barnes & Noble| Whiskey Creek Press| All Romance| BookStrand|

Add Finding Thor to your to-read shelf on Goodreads

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website,

Mailing List| Facebook| Twitter| Instagram|

Swag alert! Looking for your Thor? Look no further, Kai’s got you covered. Enter to win a custom tote bag for all of those books you like to carry with you, and a Thor baseball cap. Easy entry for those in a hurry, or many other ways to earn more entries for contest junkies. FT swag pack can only be shipped in the United States. If first winner is International, an Amazon gift card will be substituted and another winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 7, 2016


I'm late putting my post up today because I had a difficult time figuring out what I wanted to say about this month's topic: Feminism.

In fact, I skimmed through Katie and Kai's posts before sitting down to write my own. (And yes, I'll go back and read them thoroughly, and suggest you do as well. They both have a great take on the topic.)

I write stories with strong female leads, so it seems like the topic of feminism would be easy for me to discuss. But, this is a controversial issue, and while I'd like to blame my dislike of conflict for my avoidance of the topic, it's more that I'm not sure how to get my thoughts across, but I'll do my best.

When I sat down to write this post, I looked up the definition of feminism, hoping something there would give me that "ah-ha" moment and I'd know what to say. defines feminism as the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.

A pretty straight forward definition. Equality for all. It reminds me of when I was in high school and we had an assembly where we were shown how orchestra members were chosen. A blackout screen was set up and musicians stood behind it and played, being judged on their merits of performance, not appearance. To me, it was a demonstration of the best way to choose someone for any job. Based solely on their abilities. Something I still believe in to this day.

But something else happened that stuck with me. I remember as one person approached, and the sound of their heels clicked through the room, the conductor commented that the person should have worn flats, or something quieter so as not to give away their gender. And I wondered why the sound of the shoes should make any difference to the quality of the performance. Honestly, it shouldn't, but there probably are some people who would judge them different for being a woman. Some would use it as a reason to add an inferior performance, giving exceptions because they were a woman and wanted to reward them for that. And others might find an excellent performance lacking, because they perceived that a man could perform it better.

Both of these actions are wrong, and I think the reason that the feminist movement is such a controversial topic. I think many people see feminism being used to further women into positions that they might not earn on their own merits. As a woman, I'm offended when another woman is given something (job, title, bonus, etc.) just because she's a woman. It's wrong and doesn't further equality between genders, in fact, in my opinion, it only widens the gap.

The other issue I have with feminism, is that to me it doesn't seem to apply to all women world wide. There are places on the globe where women are still treated as little more than property, and yet some of the loudest proponents of women's rights in this country turn a blind eye to the inequality of their situation. It makes me question why it's alright for those women to be treated in a manner that most of the free world abolished two centuries ago. Why do those women deserve to be left so far behind the rest of us? That doesn't seem very equal to me.

I guess all this is my way of saying that we treat people as a whole different (men/women, rich/poor, insert comparison here), and I believe it's because we spend so much time focusing on our differences rather than on the things we have in common. And that the focus on these differences serves to divide us further, rather than help us unite toward a common goal.

What do you think? Do you think things would improve if we worked at focusing on our commonalities more than our differences? If we shared our strengths, merging our weak and strong points together to make a united front? I know in the fiction I write, this is what I try to do with my characters. Balance them out so each fulfills a need the others has and becomes the best version of themselves.

They save fiction imitates life. So, do you think we could work on imitating that and leave all the labels that mark our differences behind?

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. Carroll, Kai Strand, and me, Mary Waibel. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.