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Strong & Independent Women

I spent seven years writing One Woman's Vengeance. Interviewers often ask who I had in mind when I created Nora Hawks. I tell them, "every woman I have ever known." Women have influenced and changed events since the beginning of recorded history. This board searches them out.

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Bessie Coleman, the daughter of a poor, southern, African American family, became one of the most famous women and African Americans in aviation history.

Bessie Coleman aka "Brave Bessie" or "Queen Bess”

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This woman has one of the strongest and most nuanced voices in music. She was a pioneer in several genres from folk to rock to pop standards to music of her Mexican heritage. She said what she thought, even when it hurt her and accepted Parkinson's Disease with quiet, grace. She is one of the great voices of the last half of the 20th century.

Community Post: 42 Classic Black And White Album Covers

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She has courage, honor and a strong sense of family values. She stood up to a witch and a wizard for her friends, never asking anything for herself -- until the end when she found she had the power within herself to make her wish come true.

America Before Pearl Harbor - Early Kodachrome Images

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Just listened to a Fresh Air interview with Linda. I've been listening to her since her 1967 hit. She did her music her way, explored various styles and cultures and has lived honestly, staying true to herself, her family and her culture.

I've read her adventures many times and often wondered what Alice was like as a lady.I like to think she came back to find the real world just as magical, beautiful, dark and crazy as Wonderland and taught her children to see the wonders all around us.

Shirley Chisholm was an American politician, educator, and author. The Congresswoman, represented NY's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I wanted to create the strongest, most independent woman imaginable. Nora Hawks was raped by 12 outlaws who murdered her husband. She survives, hires a retired bounty hunter to teach her how to kill and sets out to wreak vengeance.

An 1895 portrait of Amazons of the Caucasus. Rebellion has always taken place throughout the centuries. One of the earliest forms of rebellion—which continued into the late 20th century—was women adopting male clothes.

dress (body covering) :: Rebellion

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Olive Oatman (1837-1903) lead a remarkable life. She was the first white tattooed woman in the history of the United States. I’m not talking about some little anchor tattoo on her shoulder, either. Oatman’s tattoo was hardcore even by today’s standards: 5 blue vertical bars that ran from her lower lip to the base of her chin. What made a teenage Mormon girl do such a thing? Was she the inspiration for the whore in "Hell On Wheels?"

Tattoo History » Tattoo Blog

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Sacajawea, a Shoshoni teenager, guided Louis and Clark across the Rockies to the Pacific Coast in Oregon in 1805-06. She was treated as an equal, even being allowed to vote with the other men.

She was not only a strong presence, she was an important art collector, and the central female figure in the modern art movement among artists, and a major influence on a school of writers including Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and others. She coined the term "The Lost Generation." She was also out front about her sexuality, a century ahead of her time.

Ellen is funny, serious, strong and clear. She staked her career on honesty -- and won. She is successful doing it her way.

Her lifetsyle was independent and unconventional. She shunned the Hollywood publicity world and won four Academy Awards as best actress, had a 26-year affair with Spencer Tracy and became the symbol for the 20th century independent woman. After several movie flops, she was labelled "box office poison" and staged her own successful comeback.

Amelia Earhart was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set other records, wrote bestselling books about her experiences and helped create The Ninety Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1937 she attempted to fly around the world. She disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean. Her disappearance remains a mystery to this day.

Design Vertigo: I Am Woman Hear Me Roar

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Helen McCloy wrote mystery and suspense novels. She cofounded a publishing company, a literary agency, and in 1950 became the first woman to serve as president of The Mystery Writers of America. Her series character Dr. Basil Willing believes that "Every criminal leaves psychic fingerprints, and he can't wear gloves to hide them."

Maya Angelo is one of the strongest, most creative and independent women ever. She did a stint as pimp and prostitute to becoming one of the most respected writer-poets ever, gathering more than 30 honorary doctorates and reading her poem, "On the Pulse of the Morning at President Clinton's inauguration. She speaks to both sexes and all races.

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Betty Friedan's controversial, ground-breaking book, "The Feminine Mystique" celebrated its 50th anniversary in Feb. 2013. Ms. Friedan paved the way for the "second wave of feminism." She founded and was the first president of the National Organization for Women. In 1970 she organized the first Women's Strike for Equality. She was easily one of the most influential women of the 20th century.

Malala Yousufzai. The Pakastani student was shot in the head on her way home from school by Taliban militants for promoting girls' education and "western thinking." The shooting sparked outrage both in Pakistan and around the world. Her story captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in Pakistan. She made the shortlist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.

Gabrielle Giffords. I can't imagine the struggle she endured to come out victorious after the Arizona shooting. Agree with her or not, her 13-sentence testimony on Jan. 30, 2013 was one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen. Her words came hard, but they were poetry and a hard-hitting demand. It brought tears to my eyes. She is among the most courageous of people -- man or woman.

Agatha Christie, the English novelist, is the best selling author of all time with 66 detective novels, including the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series and The Mousetrap, the longest running play of all time. Her books have sold more than 4 billion copies. Dame Agatha Christie was strong, independent and just plain classy.

Angelina Jolie. The wild girl blossomed into a caring mother and humanitarian who has given time, money and her name to various causes around the world.

Elizabeth Warren rules. She's one of the strongest, most articulate, and most honest people in the country today. I hope she's President one day.

Phoolan Devi, India's Bandit Queen, was elected to parliament after overcoming a life of poverty and crime. A friend in England said that Nora Hawks, the protagonist in One Woman's Vengeance, reminded her of Devi, an incredibly strong woman.

Michelle Obama. I can't imagine what pressures she's experienced as the first African American First Lady but she has done it with quiet grace, charm, physical and spiritual strength, and family values.