Thursday, December 23, 2021

Women of the American Revolution: Cover Reveal

 I am thrilled to reveal the cover for my first nonfiction book, Women of the American Revolution!

Women of the American Revolution will explore the trials of war and daily life for women in the United States during the War for Independence. What challenges were caused by the division within communities as some stayed loyal to the king and others became patriots? How much choice did women have as their loyalties were assumed to be that of their husbands or fathers? The lives of women of the American Revolution will be examined through an intimate look at some significant women of the era. Some names will be familiar, such as Martha Washington who travelled to winter camps to care for her husband and rally the troops or Abigail Adams who ran the family’s farms and raised children during John’s long absences. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton is popular for her role in Hamilton the musical, but did you know she was also an early activist working tirelessly for multiple social causes? Decide for yourself if the espionage of Agent 355 or the ride of Sybil Ludington are history or myth. Not all American women served the side of the revolutionaries. Peggy Shippen gambled on the loyalist side and paid severe consequences. From early historian Mercy Otis Warren to Dolley Madison, who defined what it means to be an American First Lady, women of the American Revolution strived to do more than they had previously thought possible during a time of hardship and civil war.

Coming from Pen & Sword History in 2022.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A Luminous Christmas

A blessed Christmas to all my dear readers! As part of Historical Writers Forum's holiday blog hop, I have decided to share an excerpt from Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl. Happy reading!

Christmas Eve 1937

On Christmas Eve, the Donohue family gathered around Catherine’s wrought iron bed with a little radio on the bedside table.

“We are going to listen to the President!” Tommy told his sister, always happy to impart his greater knowledge for the benefit of little Mary Jane. She simply grinned and nodded in response.

“It’s mighty fine to be able to hear Mr Roosevelt all the way from Washington DC,” Catherine said, sounding wistful as she imagined how many miles separated them from the event they were about to listen to and how many other Americans joined them.

Blankets hung over the room’s windows to keep out the cold, and a fire burned cheerily in the hearth. Tom was careful to ensure that Catherine did not catch a chill. Each holding a cup of hot tea, they waited for the program to begin. When the static of the channel changed to the sound of an adjusting microphone, the family exchanged happy grins.

Their smiles remained in place as the announcer thanked Hobby Lobby, the popular radio show, for forgoing its regularly scheduled broadcast so that listeners could enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree in Washington DC. Catherine closed her eyes to envision the scene in her head. Tom was prepared to light their little tree at the same time the chimes rang out in the capital city.

First came a prayer, shared by the entire nation, and the children folded their hands and bowed their heads as the pastor read John 3:16. It gave Catherine such comfort to imagine her savior’s coming on this holy night.

She couldn’t help a small frown when the prayer included a supplication for the end of war. Surely, after the war that had only ended nineteen years ago men were not so eager to take up arms again. Catherine added her fervent prayer to that of the President that the Japanese invasion of China and Spanish Civil War would be swiftly brought to an end. The moment quickly passed, however, as the prayer ended and the family crossed themselves in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The next speaker talked about the peace of the first Christmas, and Catherine could feel that quiet peace settle over the room and chase away her fears. For just a moment, her great anxiety caused by pain, immobility, and medical bills faded away.

“Let us in America dedicate ourselves to the preservation of the ideal of the first Christmas: peace on earth.”

The words reverberated in Catherine’s heart as the tinny voice traveled to them through hundreds of miles. New hope swelled in her heart. She felt excitement build as President Roosevelt was addressed by several speakers wishing him a merry Christmas. Enthusiastic applause welcomed President Roosevelt, the bells indicating the lighting of the tree rang out, and Tom switched on their own short string of lights. Then Roosevelt spoke.

When he mentioned “man’s inhumanity to man,” Catherine knew that he was referring to war, but she thought of Radium Dial. How could they have stood by and watched the dial painters poison themselves? The feeling of peace began to evaporate, and Catherine wished she could physically grasp it and not let go.

“This night is a night of hope, joy, and happiness,” the President continued, and Catherine’s tranquility was restored. She hoped that he would not mention war again, though she knew that not speaking of it would not make it go away any more than she could wish her illness away.

Were there really “better things to come,” as President Roosevelt promised? He shared a story that he had read in the newspaper. Catherine found herself a bit disappointed, because she didn’t want to listen to the President read another person’s message. She wanted to hear his, but she listened closely, wondering how honored the columnist must feel as the President’s voice sent his words across the nation.

“It is the habit of my friend when he is troubled by doubt to reach for The Book,” the President read. Catherine nodded her head slowly. It was wisdom applicable to the greatest man in their nation and the poor, bed-ridden woman listening.

“He took the cup and gave it to them all,” he continued, noting that not even Judas the Betrayer was left out.

Roosevelt finished his message emphasizing man’s duty to show good will to all men, not just those we feel are worthy of it. Catherine couldn’t help but hope that Mr Reed and the Radium Dial executives were listening.

As the President recited from the gospels, Catherine’s darker thoughts were swept away by the beautiful image of forgiveness and love. She was greatly comforted by hearing the leader of the nation witness his faith in their shared savior.

The President’s speech was brief, and when a choir began singing Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him, the Donohue family, in their own little living room, added their voices to the mix. As they moved on to Silent Night, Mary Jane wriggled in next to her mother with drooping, sleepy eyes. Catherine ignored the flash of fear that it was not safe for her daughter to be so near. On this night, she would set her worries aside and snuggle Mary Jane close.

By the time the benediction was given, Catherine was also drowsy. She did not notice when Tom gently lifted Mary Jane to carry her to her own bed as Hail to the Chief played for the President’s departure.


Read more of Catherine's story in Luminous: The Story of a Radium Girl, available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook, and Kindle formats.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Marriage of Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton

Elizabeth Schuyler married Alexander Hamilton in the midst of the Revolutionary War on 14 December 1780. Despite Hamilton’s obscure heritage and lack of wealth, General Philip Schuyler had welcomed him to court his daughter. Though he lacked many things, Hamilton was a close aide to General Washington and had already begun making a name for himself with his fiery combination of courage, intellect, and patriotism for his adopted country. General Schuyler’s acceptance of Hamilton is clear in a letter written upon the couple’s engagement. ‘You cannot, my dear sir, be more happy at the connexion you have made with my family than I am. Until the child of a parent has made a judicious choice, his heart is in continual anxiety; but this anxiety was removed the moment I discovered on whom she had placed her affections.’

Elizabeth, called Eliza or Betsy by friends and family, was enraptured as well. Being married to Alexander Hamilton would bring challenges and heartbreak into her life, but she never wavered in her loyalty to him, even when she outlived him by a half century. 

As Hamilton's wife, Eliza attended America's first Inaugural Ball and danced with George Washington. She also endured public scandal with Alexander's publication of the Reynold's Pamphlet. They had eight children together, the eldest of whom died in a duel less than three years before his father did in eerily similar circumstances.

After Alexander's death, Eliza became one of America's early female activists. She was deeply devoted to her work for New York City's first orphanage, and she also began a free school and was involved in other charitable works. 

She passionately defended her husband's name until her death on 9 November 1854.

Learn more about Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in Women of the American Revolution!  It is available at Pen & SwordAmazonBook DepositoryBarnes & Noble, or your favorite book retailer. 

Also available now at Audible and!

You can also find more articles here.

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