Thursday, January 16, 2014

Open Hearts, and Hearts and Spurs~Tanya Hanson

 How can a woman living a lie open her heart to an honest lawman?...

Women in the 19th century faced obstacles we can’t imagine. Once married, a woman’s rights almost ceased to exist. Adult women were usually lumped along with children as needing a man to take care of them. 


And women who sought professional careers outside the home faced derision as well as tremendous challenges. Female physicians at least had a chance; women founded their own all-women medical schools and hospitals.

But if she wanted to be a lawyer, well. Courts, bar associations, law schools and firms were composed entirely of men.


The first woman to graduate from an American law school was Ada Kepley, in 1869, from Union College of Law in Chicago. (It merged into Northwestern University in 1891). But other colleges admitted women only by court order. After admitting its first woman in 1885, Yale Law went right back to excluding women. Harvard Law decreed it wasn’t proper or women to use the Law Library at the same time as men.
Really?

But women fought to enter the legal profession as hard as suffragettes demanded the vote. The challenge didn’t end there. Once admitted to a law school, a woman agonized over speaking out in the lecture hall, something men did freely...or sitting quietly as befit a proper lady. After achieving her degree, she had almost the same choice: an “undignified” public courtroom or a calm private office practice, out of sight and behind the scenes.

Prevailing attitudes--among both genders--debated whether a woman lawyer was physically and mentally equal to her male counterpart. What if she--gasp--wanted marriage and kids, too?

In the 19th century, women were almost completely sealed off from the legal profession. Even into the 1920’s, women accounted for only 1.4 per cent of all lawyers.


It was this ready-made conflict that sparked my story, Open Hearts, for the brand-new Valentine anthology, Hearts and Spurs, from Prairie Rose Publications, which also features stories from a whole corral of Western romance authors, including several Sweethearts.

Since I had to condense my usual babbling into about 10,000 words, I have heroine and Union College alumna Barbara Audiss in disguise as a man, a judge, therefore making it difficult for her to give her heart to handsome sheriff Keith Rakestraw.

And when Keith does find out...what to do? “Badge” Audiss is a good judge. Should he reveal her true identity and therefore invalidate all her verdicts? Besides, he’s eager to give her his heart...but he is first and foremost a lawman, and she’s broken it. Colorado says no female lawyers or judges.

I hope you fall in love with Keith and Barbara as they “open their hearts” to all the possibilities, as well as our entire collection of Valentine romances!

To honor her brother Badge’s last request, Barbara Audiss takes on his identity, and letting loose her secret will get her arrested. But keeping it prevents her from giving her heart to handsome sheriff Keith Rakestraw.

Furious at “Judge Audiss’” latest verdict, Keith discovers she’s a fake and consequences seem easy: toss her in jail. But he finds himself eager to give her his heart.

(Thanks to Women in the Criminal Justice System, by Clarice Feinman.)
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tanya-Hanson-author/221563541211944

35 comments:

  1. Tanya, I so enjoyed "Open Hearts." My sister is a retired judge, so the built-in conflict hit a personal chord with me.

    Keith and Barbara are PERFECT for on another, and you deliver their tale with your usual warmth and emotional wallop. I'm looking forward to whatever emerges from your keyboard next.

    HUGS!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kathleen, your words mean so much. I enjoyed writing this story but it's always a challenge for a babbler like me be done in 10K words!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's hard to imagine the life of a woman back then. I'd love to travel back in time and get to really know them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tanya, what a fascinating conflict! Thanks a lot! Now I've got to stop EVERYTHING and read this story!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Janie, I hear ya. I feel like such a giant baby when I read about the strong women of the past and that challenges they faced and overcame.

    Thanks for the comment! xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. HI Margaret, aw, thanks. It's short so the commitment is a pretty do-able one for a busy author like you! Thanks for the support.

    xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting premise for a book. I'll definitely have to download and read this one! Best wishes with it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very interesting blog, Tanya! Your story intrigued me. Tons of conflict but internal and external. Keith and Barbara are very special characters. This is one of your best.

    Women today find it odd that their counterparts in the 1800's were so suppressed. The full-length book I just given my editor has a severely battered woman in it. But there no laws until early 1900's in most states against a husband beating his wife. My hero didn't have any qualms about making sure the man never did it again.

    Wishing you tons of success! Keep writing these wonderful stories.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Laura, thanks so much for the good wishes. The other eight stories are amazing...you're in for some good reads!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Linda, you are so right about women's treatment in days gone by. Wife-beating was legal. It was part of the "women and children" thing needing a man to control-protect them. Knowing my dad and husband, even if they'd lived back then, they'd have NEVER attacked the ones they love. Sheesh.

    Thanks for the stop-by. I haven't read all the stories yet...it's chaotic around here, but I intend to cuddle up tonight and get my start.

    Love you, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Tanya! Thank you for a reminder of how far we've come, baby!

    This was a great blog.

    Your short story also sound great.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Lynne, thanks for the stop-by during your busy writing day. We were in Red Cliff, Colorado on our recent vacation and I knew the story would be set there, with snow...unsure how the judge thing came about. Sometime when I go to sleep, I open my mind and come up with ideas. How about you? xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wonderful post, Tanya. I can't help but think of the fortitude those women who pursued a law profession must have had. At every turn, someone stood in their way. So many dark moments they must have had, but they kept at it. Truly admirable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Kristy, oh the obstacles were overwhelming from our persepctive, weren't they? Thank God our fore-women didn't give up. Thanks for stopping by today!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Tanya,
    What an interesting post! Open Hearts sounds fabulous. Great conflict! I'm so looking forward to this read.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Tanya
    Oh, the premise of this story is intriguing. I will definitely pick up a copy! I'm thinking how these amazing women paved the way for us today! Sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Verrry interesting, Tanya! I never thought about how hard it was for a woman to break into the law profession in the old days.

    Your story for the anthology sounds delightful!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Robena, thank you so much for taking the time from your writing and new release to wish me well, and all of us in the antho.

    It was a fun story to write. Keith Rakestraw is named after a former student who has such a sheriff-y name, I thought. I asked him if he'd mind, and his wife said go ahead, he'll be thrilled. Yay.

    ReplyDelete
  19. hi Charlene, these female forebears of ours sure worked hard to overcome the obstacles! I always feel like such a weakling when I learn more about the brave women who helped our lives and goals become easier.

    Thanks for coming by today, my dear friend. xox

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Lyn, Dr. Quinn was such a favorite show of mine (still is, I manage to find re-runs all the time) and I knew medical women had it tough...so I was intrigued to learn they at least could start their own hospitals and medical schools. But law was so entirely and exclusionarily male. Sheesh. Way to go, Ada!

    Thanks Lyn, for coming by today.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Women in that era certainly had it tough. Best of luck with your release!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate, for stopping by. I sure hope the antho does well...we just got a mention in USA Today. prairie Rose Publishing has just opened new doors. I'm so thankful!!

      Delete
  22. Interesting piece, Tanya. Coming from a family of lawyers I once considered becoming one myself and when making undergraduate applications I was asked in interview, did I think I could mix marriage and a career? When I told my daughter this she absolutely baulked. Said they'd never ask that nowadays. We've come a long way! Good luck with the book, sounds fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, A.D., and not all that long ago! I remember having to answerquestions in job interviews early on that would get somebody fired today. Sheesh. Thanks so much for commenting!

      Delete
  23. You really chose a hotbed of conflict for this story, Tanya. I never understood what it is about women that scares men so much.Women are always last to get anything--the vote, equal wages; the presidency.
    On the other hand, what a burden men had having sole responsibility for providing for the family.
    I really believe women are stronger than men emotionally. They deal with everything, but men get angry under pressure. Women just seem to take hard work in stride.
    I have my kindle version of Hearts and Spurs and ordered some print copies from Amazon. I'm looking forward to reading Open Hearts. All the best to you, Tanya.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sarah. Helping put this antho together was such a joy. You're a great part of it, for sure. My mom always Saud men are stronger physically, but women have more endurance. Uh, try twelve hours of labor, for instance LOL.

      Delete
  24. Tanya, great post, as always, and a wonderful story, as always! I think we just can't begin to grasp what women had to go through "back in the day", but I remember when I was in high school, none of the girls ever talked about being doctors or lawyers, etc. Women could be secretaries, nurses, or teachers. That was the limit, usually. I remember getting a job as an "x-ray technician in training"--which is just what it says--no schooling on it, just OJT--and what a lesson in life that was! We have definitely come a very long way!
    Cheryl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too true, Cheryl. Not that I regret being a teacher. But I'm so glad my daughter has so many choices. thanks for bringing our antho to life!!!

      Delete
  25. Replies
    1. Hi Lilly! Thanks for the compliment.The cover artist is the incredible Livia!

      Delete
  26. What a fun conflict. You have touched on a subject that is near and dear to women everywhere. I love it when someone takes the time to remind us just how cool we women are!

    Congrats!

    Rebecca E. Grant
    Love is Unstoppable
    www.RebeccaEGrant.com
    Love is Unstoppable blog http://rebeccaegrant.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Howdy, Rebecca. Thanks so much for stopping by today.Indeed, we are a cool gender. And I've been greatly blessed to havr a father and husband and son who totally
    agree!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great post, Tanya. It's a disgrace that men still abuse women, but that's never going away. I love to read a story in which the female stands up to a bully--husband or not.
    You book sounds like a hit!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow Tanya,
    Great post. And what a dilemma for the hero and heroine.

    Regards

    Margaret

    ReplyDelete
  30. I enjoyed your story and one of the aspects I liked was you didn't shy away from the discomfort she felt dressed as man. Excellent story with strong conflict and a yummy hero!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West!