From March 2015

Your chance to write Suffrajitsu stories …

Suffrajitsu Stories on Kindle Worlds

This is your invitation to create (and profit from) 10,000 + word prose stories set in the world of Suffrajitsu!

Based on Tony Wolf’s graphic novel trilogy, Suffrajitsu Stories on Kindle Worlds relate the further adventures of the Amazons; a secret society of women  who serve as bodyguards and field agents for the most radical branch of the women’s rights movement.

Contributing writers will be given a detailed, illustrated series guide and active creative/editorial feedback via the private Suffrajitsu forum, as well as marketing support.

The stories will be published via Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, an innovative licensing and publishing platform that allows authors to legally produce (and profit from) stories set in various established fictional universes:

The current Suffrajitsu stories available on Kindle Worlds include:

The Pale Blue Ribbon, by John Longenbaugh
The Isle of Dogs, by Michael Lussier
Carried Away, by Ray Dean
The Second-Story Girl, by Mark Lingane

Interested writers should contact us via contact@suffrajitsu.com including a link to at least one writing sample.

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“Suffragette” movie to be released by Focus Features

British director Sarah Gavron’s film Suffragette, starring Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan, has secured a distribution deal with Focus Features. The movie will be released in Fall of 2015.

And, yes, the film will feature some suffrajitsu!

Here’s the synopsis:

Suffragette is a moving drama that will empower all who are striving for equal rights in our own day and age. The stirring story, inspired by the early-20th-century campaign by the suffragettes for the right of women to vote, centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother who comes to realize that she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace.

Realizing that she is not alone, she becomes an activist alongside other brave women from all walks of life. The early efforts at resistance were passive but as the women faced increasingly aggressive police action, the suffragettes become galvanized – risking their very lives to ensure that women’s rights would be recognized and respected.

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“How I Thrash the Mashers” (The Spokesman-Review, April 29, 1911)

Thrash mashers

By Miss Ruth Helen Lang

Miss Ruth Helen Lang, nineteen and possessor of an income of $1000 a month, astonished a New York masher recently by knocking him out in the first round. The masher had interrupted Miss Lang’s daily just-before-sunrise walk along Riverside drive, which she takes to improve her figure and complexion. The girl from the Coast has knocked out quite a number of troublesome mashers in the last two years, and here she tells how any woman can do the same.

No woman who has any strength at all needs to be at the mercy of either cads, thugs or mashers, the last being a combination of both. And no woman needs to be without strength if she will only give herself an hour’s exercise a day. It’s up to women to stamp out the masher “nuisance”. Men can’t do it, because they can’t always be tagging around protecting us. The necessity for action is when the masher makes himself active and the resistance must be immediate.

The dangerous mashers are those who deserve the fist treatment. The dangerous masher is the creature who lay his hand upon you or who seems about to do so. When he does this a woman must lay him by the heels at once.

The last dangerous masher I knocked out was last week. How I did it illustrates one of the methods of meeting the pest. This man was proud and vindictive. He showed his pride by resenting a girl’s refusal to speak to him. He showed his vindictiveness by giving me a black eye in return for the two I gave him. He could not have been a gentleman, for a gentleman will never change the color of a lady’s optic, no matter what she does to him. He was in fact, a villainous cad, and I hope he sees this.

It happened in one of my beforehand walks which I take along the Riverside Drive for my complexion’s sake. When I came to New York a year ago all the girls I knew powdered their faces and I did the same. But one morning I rubbed off the powder and said: “I’ll do no more whitewashing. I’ll get up at 5:30 every morning and walk four miles before breakfast.” And that was how I came to meet him.

It was still dark. I heard footsteps close behind me. I turned and looked right into a face with red-trimmed, dissipated eyes. He insulted me. I let him walk close to me. He was watching my right hand. As he came close I swung at him. I caught him on the bridge of the nose. He nearly fell but recovered, came at me and landed on my eye. Then I gave him a blow behind the ear that sent him sprawling. Then he ran.

Now observe that I hit him first between the eyes when he didn’t expect it. When I hit him the second time it was to fell him. I made a mistake.

I should have followed my rule and knocked him out first, but I didn’t think he was so dangerous.

I would advise every woman to get a punching bag and to practice the swift upward swing of the fist known as the uppercut. The quicker and the harder she can make the hit, the better the chance she has of discouraging the masher.

The uppercut is good for close quarters. If the man is at one side, bring him up the arm with a swift circling swing and land on the ear. If the masher comes up behind you and catches your arm bring your elbow back as hard as you can against his stomach. Ten to one, he will release you under the pain. Then turn quickly and give him the knockout on the point of the chin.

If by any chance the masher has gotten in front of you and is holding both your hands, bring your knee up with all the force you can into his stomach. None of them can stand that.

Usually I carry a heavy cane. That is an excellent weapon under certain conditions. I always try to hit the masher upon the elbow. The pain gives him all he wants to think about for a few moments and while he is wrestling with that he is in your hands to knock out as you please.

It is a fact that few of these creatures have as much strength as a woman, decidedly not as much as a well-cared-for woman. They are usually weakened by dissipation or are puny. Where a woman makes her great mistake is in becoming frightened. She does not know what I have just been saying, or she does not remember it. Instead, the fear she had inherited from thousands of cave women who had to be continually watching out for too impetuous and club-wielding males overcomes her even now. She faints, she becomes weak, she does not use her wits nor her strength.

And that is just what the dangerous masher counts on.

Remember, sisters, don’t lose your nerve. Hit and hit hard. He won’t wait for a second blow in nine cases out of ten. Get a punching bag and cultivate your muscle. Get out and walk and cultivate your health. Cultivate your nerve and your punch, and soon the race of mashers will be but a bruised and battered memory.

To knock a man out, hit him with the fist just outside the chin point.
To drop him, hit him just beneath the ear.
To put him out of commission, land him on the bridge of the nose between the eyes.
If he comes up behind you, suddenly swing backward quickly with your elbow. This will catch him in the stomach and give you a chance.
Don’t be afraid.
Don’t hit a man unless you have to, but hit him hard.
Follow these rules and you’re safe anywhere.
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“The Second-Story Girl”: a Suffrajitsu novella by Mark Lingane

We’re pleased to be able to present this interview with Australian author Mark Lingane, whose new Suffrajitsu novella The Second Story Girl is now available from Kindle Worlds.

Second-Story Girl cover smallerLondon, 1910. Spoilt and wild, Genevieve Cranston is a party girl with little to live for when her reckless lifestyle flings into the gutters after the suspicious death of her father and the mysterious disappearance of her younger brother Lindsey.

Rescued, redeemed and trained for action by the radical suffragette Amazons, Genevieve will stop at nothing to find her missing brother. She is soon caught up in a dense web of deceit and double-dealing, as both sides of the political landscape manoeuvre to shape the future of the free world.

Time is running out, war is on the horizon and Genevieve needs to grow up fast. Lindsey is an important player in the game of cat and mouse, and with the aid of some gifted friends, Genevieve is hell-bent on saving him, and upon revenge.

 

Q:  What was it that first attracted you to writing stories set in the Edwardian era of the Foreworld?

M.L.: I’ve been dabbling with a futuristic steampunk series, but wanted to write something more in line with the actual Victorian era. The opportunity to contribute to the Foreworld popped up, and I thought, well, Edwardian/Victorian, that’s got to be close …

Q:  What were the greatest challenges in writing this story?

M.L.: The writing style of that era was much more formal, directly at odds with my own style. Also, I had to revise a lot. History wasn’t a strong subject for me at school. Then making sure that the history didn’t get in the way of the story …

Q: In what way?

M.L.: My previous knowledge of this subject, from school, amounted to a woman jumping out in front of a horse at a horse race. Reductionism to the point of absurdism. And so I researched, and the more I researched, the more I realized I didn’t know. But, what was more shocking, when I discussed these issues with a younger generation, they knew nothing about women’s suffrage.

Q: Nothing at all?  How did you explain it?

M.L.: As with most civil movements, it starts with someone with an epic amount of bravery, accompanied by either a burning rage of fairness, or a breaking point. Brave people standing up and saying ‘no more’. The brutality. The ridiculous laws. The bloody-mindedness. It hardly seems to fit in a civilized world.

It is hard to get your head around how such a simple and obvious right was perceived as being so offensive in such recent history. But the women stood strong – shoulder to shoulder – enduring, and they won.

Q: In what way(s) would you say the themes of the Suffrajitsu series are relevant to us today?

M.L.: Fourteen thousand people in the UK are over one hundred years old. Everything has changed within living memory.  In a world where there are so many things to know, do we have time and inclination to revisit the past?

I believe that when it comes to basic human rights, these are the ones that should be pushed the strongest and loudest. Civil rights campaigns are the events that have made the world a better place. Learn about it. Talk about it. Because, as the world moves on in so many ways, at the base of ‘change’ is us – people, and people make a difference, from the individual to the wider society.

The world is better today than it was a hundred years ago, but it’s not massively different. Suffrage was about the vote, yes, but also it was about equality. It was about discrimination. Many of those same issues still haunt our society and world today. We fear change and things we do not understand. We fear ‘them’. Information (true or false) about ‘them’ is easier and quicker to disseminate. We rant about minor irritations in the isolation of our homes with the internet as the megaphone. We lock ourselves away, with nothing but opinion as king and fact relegated to an afterthought after the heat has died down, distracted from the issues that are worth debating. Equality is one of them. Possibly the one to debate. Add your voice, because debate leads to revolution, which leads to change.

Q: “Be the change you want to see in the world”?

M.L.: Yes.  One hundred years ago, the world was different. If we forget that then in another hundred years it’ll still be the same.

Q: Do you have any philosophies or advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?

M.L.: It’s all about the editor. And try to write something with a message. Before you finish your story, find the heart in your work and make sure it says what you want to say. Give the reader something to think about when they close the book. It’s your own journey, so keep your head down and stay out of trouble. Don’t read the reviews/comments. And I’m serious about the editor.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

M.L.: Authors like reviews!  I have other books available in the lobby. Well, some of us have got to make a living. I said to him, ‘Bernie.’ I said, ‘They’ll never make their money back …

 

Bio:

Mark was first published at the ripe old age of eight, when a local newspaper published his review of Disney on Ice. The next time his name was in print was a lifetime later, at the age of fifteen, when a national magazine ran his review of the Commodore 64. It was downhill from there, picking up a weekly columns in national newspapers, which funded a rather noncommittal path through university, studying a wide range of topics from Robotics, Anthropology, Philosophy, Computer Science, and Psychology.

After more than a decade as a newspaper columnist, he turned technical writer for resource companies, which provided the opportunity to travel and live in some desolate and exotic locations where the locals don’t like you much.
His novels include the multi-award-winning Tesla Evolution Series, The Ellen Martin Disasters series, and several hard-boiled Science Fiction movies stories.

Links:
web: http://mark-mywords.co/
twit: @markLingane
amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Lingane/e/B00B5TE5RY
Mark’s books are also available on iTunes, Nook, Smashwords and Kobo.

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The arrest of a suffragette Amazon?

Riot

Does this rare photograph taken at a suffragette rally show the arrest of one of Mrs. Pankhurst’s bodyguards?

It appears that the police constable is holding a pair of wooden Indian clubs in his right hand as he moves towards the woman who is turned away from the camera.  Alternatively, the woman may be holding the clubs in her left hand as the constable twists her left arm behind her back, with his right hand covering her left hand.

Indian clubs were designed and sold as exercise tools but they became the signature weapons of the Amazon guards, who sometimes carried them concealed underneath their dresses.  A large number of Indian clubs were confiscated from suffragette bodyguards after the infamous “Battle of Glasgow” brawl in 1914.

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“Carried Away”: A Suffrajitsu story by Ray Dean

Carried Away cover smallWe’re pleased to be able to present this interview with Hawaii-based writer Ray Dean, whose short story Carried Away is now available via Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.

Inspired by the Suffrajitsu trilogy, Carried Away features several principal characters from the graphic novels, including Persephone Wright and Flossie Le Mar, as well as introducing a new protagonist, Tressa Boniface.  Tressa’s journey from timid maid to confident suffragette is marked by sometimes violent class and gender conflicts, new friendships and cases of mistaken identity,  weaving in and out of the world of haute couture fashion circa 1913:

As a proper Edwardian Englishman, Lord Arnold Smythe has no time at all for the radical women’s suffrage movement. He becomes infuriated when his wife, Lady Roslyn, shows an interest in the cause.

Meanwhile, young Tressa Boniface, a serving girl in the Smythe’s household, can’t see what all the fuss is about. Why should women not be the equals of men? Tressa’s curiosity and sense of natural justice inevitably send her to a suffragette rally, and then into physical danger.

Will Tressa’s new-found friendship with Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons – a secret society of female bodyguards – teach her the courage she’ll need to rise above her station?

 

Q: What was it that first attracted you to writing stories set in the Edwardian era of the Foreworld?

R.D.: My favorite Amendment to the US Constitution is XIX, Suffrage for Women. It was first introduced to Congress in 1878 and was approved in 1919. Add my love of Edwardian Era clothing and culture and a teen-age background in martial arts and dance … when I saw the opportunity to write for this exciting world, I had to do it!

Q: What were the greatest challenges in writing this story?

R.D.: I admit, my prior understanding was that Edwardian ladies were more sedate in nature. My primary memory of ‘falling in love’ with the Edwardian era was Jane Seymour playing the character of Elise McKenna in Somewhere in Time. Now, I had to educate myself on this ‘other side’ of female nature … the kick ass side!

Q:  So which resources did you use?

R.D:  The Suffrajitsu website has so much information!! And Tony Wolf is a great resource as well. He was so wonderful to help answer my questions and really helped me as we fine-tuned my story.

Q: What were the most interesting discoveries you made during your research?

R.D.: The barbaric way that women were treated in the guise of ‘protecting their femininity.’

Every story that I uncovered as I read book after book about the suffrage movement, spawned more ideas. I know I have more stories to tell. And I’m still soaking up more research as I go.

Q: In what ways would you say the themes of the Suffrajitsu series are relevant to us today?

R.D.: Bravery and courage. I’m a Western fan as well, and one of my favorite quotes is from John Wayne – “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”

These women knew that the way wasn’t going to be easy. They were fighting not just the conception that they were the ‘weaker sex’ and that this kind of fight was ‘unwomanly.’ They faced men with clubs that weren’t afraid to use them and they risked so much to make a stand for what they wanted, what they felt was their right.

I have a kick-ass group of lady friends and I hope that we carry forward the same ideals as the Suffragettes and stand up when others would run for the hills. Courage, the real deep-in-your-heart, steel-in-your-spine courage, will never go out of style.

Q: Do you have any philosophies or advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?

R.D.: Do it. Jump in and swim. (Okay, the ‘swim’ thing is an odd thing since I can barely keep my head above water …) But really, do it. Take yourself seriously or don’t expect other people to do that for you. Be kind to your fellow writers; we all struggle. We all need encouragement, so don’t pass along negative feelings. And be willing to ‘look’ at what you’re writing. Do what you need to do to better your skills. And WRITE … lots and lots of writing!

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

R.D.: I’m not a one genre woman. I’ve always been an avid reader with varied tastes and as I’ve developed my writing through short and longer fiction, I’ve found myself writing for a number of different genres. I’m also a book junkie. The annual Hawaii Library Book Sale is my crack. I love to find all sorts of great books. I haunt the history section  and the war books. I have entirely too many books and it’s not a joke when I say I use stacks of books for night stands beside my bed.

 

More of Ray’s stories are available via Amazon.com …

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“The Isle of Dogs”: a Suffrajitsu novella by Michael Lussier

Isle of Dogs cover small

We’re very pleased to be able to bring you this interview with Michael Lussier, whose new Suffrajitsu-inspired novella The Isle of Dogs is now available via Kindle Worlds.

Isle of Dogs is a dark, hard-edged mystery/revenge drama that pits Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons against an insidious new enemy:

“London: July, 1913.

The body of a young socialite is pulled from the Thames, her suicide note hinting at blackmail, conspiracy and corruption in high places.

Meanwhile, a mysterious street gang is moving through the East End with military precision. leaving a trail of murder and mutilation in its wake.

Enter Persephone Wright and her outlaw band of Bartitsu-trained suffragette Amazons, who will stop at nothing to avenge a fallen comrade …”

Q: What was it that first attracted you to writing stories set in the Edwardian era?

M.L.: Style and personal taste have a lot to do with it.  I’ve always been a voracious reader, and there was something about Victorian and Edwardian literature that enchanted me when I was young.  I grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, the Brontës,  Bram Stoker, G. K. Chesterton, Baroness Orczy, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Kenneth Grahame, and Oscar Wilde.  I even enjoyed – god help me – that occult oddball Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

Q: And what was it about the Foreworld Saga?

M.L: I am particularly drawn to the Foreworld because there are still huge areas of Edwardian society that have rarely been explored outside of academia. Suffrajitsu is a breath of fresh air, in that regard.  It isn’t so much historical revisionism as it is a shadow history of people who were shoved to the margins because they were poor, foreign, queer or female.

2) Can you describe some of the challenges in writing The Isle of Dogs?

M.L.: The amount of research that needed to be done was staggering.

I never imagined that I would spend more than a couple hours of my life studying Burke’s Peerage or exploring the links between C. & E. Morton’s Bloater Fish Paste and the Millwall Athletic Football Club.   Poor naïve bastard: I sacrificed whole days and weekends to these subjects.

3) What were the most interesting discoveries you made during your research?

M.L.: My story concerns the activities of a revived Hellfire Club, so I spent quite a bit of time researching contemporary attitudes toward sexuality.

There is a misconception that the Victorians were essentially prim, high-minded eunuchs.   This isn’t even remotely true.

Q: So what were they?

M.L: Several popular music hall songs of that period that are far filthier than anything I’ve ever heard in a bar or machine shop.  I’m not talking ‘saucy’ or ‘bawdy’.  Eskimo Nell and Kafoozalum are vulgar, profane and ribald on a level that surpasses Lil’ Kim and Too $hort.

I also came across an obscure genre, which I call Erotic Biography.  Probably the best known examples are Walter’s My Secret Life and The Romance of Lust.  These are explicit memoirs which detail an anonymous gentleman’s sexual development and experiences over the course of many years and several volumes.   They portray Victorian upper-class sex as ravenous, male-oriented, compulsive and predatory.  Maids and serving girls were obliged to observe the droit du seigneur, prostitution was commonplace, pregnancies were disowned, any female age nine and above was considered fair game.  These stories are Dickensian in a really disconcerting way.

4) In what way(s) would you say the themes of the Suffrajitsu series are relevant to us today?

M.L.: Suffrajitsu is the intersection of many fascinating underground streams.  Feminism, ‘mixed martial arts’, drug addiction, homosexuality, violence against women, police intimidation and institutional intolerance.  These are issues and subjects that are still incredibly pertinent to 21st century readers.

Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

M.L.: Read as much as you can, and study the techniques of your favorite authors.  Sit down and write every day.  Don’t worry about quality at first – no piece of writing is ever very good before the first revision.  Find an editor and listen very carefully to his/her advice.  Take your reader feedback with a grain of salt.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?

M.L.: When I was young, there was a truism in advertising that declared the most coveted market demographic to be men between the ages of 18 and 49.  This is no longer true, although for the most part nobody in power wants to admit it just yet.

Women are emerging as a very powerful consumer block.  They represent 60% of the world’s population and 78% of gross domestic product.  I’ve seen reports that suggest that women will soon control two-thirds of the consumer wealth in the United States.   They are, for the most part, better educated and more media savvy than their male counterparts.

Additionally, young women are entering into fields that were once considered male-only; music, law, video gaming, martial arts, etc.

As the economic clout of women grows, so too will the visibility of their issues and interests.

Having spent so much time with Emmeline Pankhurst recently, I cannot help but wonder how she would seek to leverage this power in pursuit of equality in a country where the Violence Against Women Act can barely make it through Congress.

Bio

Michael Lussier has been a machinist, an orderly in a psychiatric hospital and (on one occasion only) a celebrity babysitter.  He is the author of Sherlock Holmes and Bartitsu, which can be found online here. As a general rule, Michael hates to talk about himself.

twitter: @Decervelage

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