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Friday, August 18, 2017


What happens on August 21st? It’s a red-letter day here at Prairie Rose Publications! That’s the day PRP opened our doors and Livia and I started this wonderful adventure together—and along the way we have met some new friends and realized our own dreams while (hopefully!) helping other authors make some hopes and dreams of their own come true in the process!

It’s also the FORTY-FIRST anniversary of some very dear people—James and Livia Reasoner! Talk about a match made in heaven—the stars were aligned when these two met!

And…speaking of heaven and stars—it’s Eclipse Day!

So to celebrate these wonderful happenings, we thought we would have a sale on some of our most excellent books and offer some reading bargains that are…out of this world!

We’ll be featuring different books that are part of the .99 sale—and some of them are FREE—here at the blog each day, but ALL of the books are on sale from Friday, August 18, through Monday, August 21. There are some great book bargains here for the entire family, so don’t wait—grab them while they’re FREE or .99!

Who loves a good science fiction story? Author Michael E. Gonzales’s debut novel, UNBORN GALAXY: DARK MOON RISING, is the perfect book to lead off with in our ECLIPSE SALE! It’s available now through Monday for only .99!
When a quake cracks the Moon apart and swallows a habitat with eight people inside, their survival is threatened. Sergeant Hugh Pacherd takes command of the group. Hugh discovers he's on shaky footing, battling not only the elements, but the many powerful emotions at play within the band of survivors--envy, hatred, insanity, and love.

They awaken the still-conscious but disembodied minds of ancient aliens who could be their salvation—or the death of planet Earth. Nothing is as it seems—not even the valiant soldier. Nevertheless, he is determined to save the band of humans, from a DARK MOON RISING...

Ready for some medieval romance? We’ve got two great selections lined up for our ECLIPSE SALE from two stellar authors—Keena Kincaid and Lindsay Townsend!

Keena’s novel, ANAM CARA, is available through Monday FREE!

Bran ap Owen knows it’s “once to die, then the judgment,” but his hell is to live again and again until he rights an ancient wrong. Unlike other souls caught up on the karmic wheel, he remembers the past—and he always remembers her—his ANAM CARA. Liza of Carlisle knows nothing of the vow trapping her in Bran’s judgment, yet when he walks into her inn, their instant connection is unnerving. She fights her heart, knowing instinctively this wanderer could destroy the life she loves.

They both stand to lose everything dear to them in their lives, including one another…again… Can Bran stop the death of his brother? Will he finally be able to make things right with Liza, his ANAM CARA…his unforgettable forever love?

Lindsay Townsend’s double set, TO LOVE A KNIGHT, is two novellas that dovetail with some unforgettable characters, romance, and action! Available now for only .99!

These two wonderful tales of Fourteenth-Century London will delight and entertain you to the very last page. While Isabella risks losing the love of her life in order to save her son in MISTRESS ANGEL, her friend Amice must guard her heart carefully to protect her own life, and that of the man she loves in AMICE AND THE MERCENARY. Court intrigue, dangerous liaisons, and passionate love await...

Do you love contemporary romance? We’ve got a couple of great offerings for you from Vella Munn and B.J. Betts.

Vella Munn’s MIDNIGHT SUN is FREE now through Monday, and it’s one of those stories you won’t want to pass up with a misunderstood hero and a heroine who is determined to get to the bottom of things!

When Brand Lockwood barely survives a building collapse, memories of trying to rescue other survivors haunt him. He vows never again to be a victim of another man’s negligence and greed—and to actively pursue the builder he feels was responsible for the collapse. Kara Richardson isn’t going to sit by and let her father be slandered as an incompetent contractor. She goes right to the man who has brought her father so much misery and ruined his life—Brand Lockwood—and applies for a job with his firm.

B.J. Betts’s story, SAIGON MOON, is a bittersweet love story that takes place during the Vietnam War. Also .99 through Monday!

Rick Jameson leaves his small Iowa town for the jungles of Viet Nam expecting to come home and marry his high school sweetheart, Vickie Richards. But when he receives a “Dear John” letter with her engagement ring enclosed, Rick decides to be the biggest badass Marine the Viet Cong have ever dealt with. After all…what does he have to live for now? On one suicide mission too many, Rick is shot and left for dead, only to be discovered by a young Vietnamese girl, Hang Le. Now that the war is over, will Rick and Hang Le be able to rekindle the love they had to turn their backs on so long ago?

Do you love anthologies? They’re a great way to get a sample of many writers all in one place—and at PRP, we love to put some entertaining anthologies together of all kinds. Here are a few you might like, and the price is RIGHT!
Memories from Maple Street, U.S.A.—Leaving Childhood Behind is a nostalgic collection of trues stories about that moment when we realized we were growing up. Right now, this anthology is FREE! We think you’ll enjoy this first of three in the set as you travel back to childhood days with some excellent authors and share the “turning point” in their lives.

Growing up is a miraculous time. The journey from the freedom of childhood to the workaday life of becoming an adult is filled with both poignancy and wonder. Fond memories of pedaling bikes through honeysuckle-scented streets with a pack of neighborhood friends and playing “kick the can” and stickball on warm summer evenings alight with fireflies are accompanied by the inevitable loss of people and places dear to the heart—and a seminal moment when we know we’re leaving childhood behind. These are the stories of a turning point—when the world shifted, and nothing would ever be the same. In this first collection of the MEMORIES FROM MAPLE STREET, U.S.A., series, Sundown Press brings you real-life stories, from the touching to the humorous, the inspirational to the adventurous, and a wonderful group of childhood memories you’ll never forget.

How about some good old fashioned historical western romance short stories? Well, look no further than the first anthology ever published by PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS—one we are extremely proud of! WISHING FOR A COWBOY has an all-star line-up of western historical romance authors—and through Monday, this collection can be yours for only .99! With recipes included, this anthology has it all!
Cowboys, kisses and love in the holiday air make for a special recipe in each of these wonderful new stories. Christmas miracles can happen when you're WISHING FOR A COWBOY! *A Christmas Miracle* by Phyliss Miranda Acceptance comes not through frosty eyes, but from the warmth of loving hearts. *Outlaw's Kiss* by Cheryl Pierson A long-ago schooldays crush is rekindled by an Outlaw*s Kiss that sparks true love, and a new future for Jake Morgan and Talia Delano. *A Husband for Christmas* by Sarah J. McNeal A haunting night of horror and a wish for a new life. *Peaches* by Kathleen Rice Adams When a strong-willed schoolteacher invades an irascible rancher*s Texas range, not even the spirit of Christmas may be able to prevent all-out war. *A Gift for Rhoda* by Jacquie Rogers A mail-order bride disaster! *Her Christmas Wish* by Tracy Garrett Her only wish for Christmas was the man who left her behind. *Covenant* by Tanya Hanson Can a Christmas blizzard ignite love gone cold? *Charlie's Pie* by Livia J. Washburn A wounded man, a desperate woman, a gang of ruthless outlaws...and the best pecan pie in Parker County

And don’t forget the younger readers in your family! We have MANY wonderful selections for them, as well! Here’s a couple of offerings you can’t leave behind!

Finding the Sky is a boxed set of 4 stories about Jo Harper, a young girl growing up in the vast Wyoming Territory at the turn of the century—the 20th century, that is! Available now for .99!

Twelve-year old Jo Harper thought 1910 would be another boring year in the Wyoming range town of Willowby, Wyoming. Then tough-talkin' pistol-shootin' Abby Drake came to town and made Jo a deputy law and order woman... Collecting four exciting Jo Harper novellas, Finding the Sky pits Jo and her friends against cattle rustlers, outlaws, a bank robber and a tinhorn gambler. With explosions of fire, flaming arrows, and a wild ride in a Model-T, Jo's introspective, early 20th Century life will never again be the same.

Got a young horse lover in your family? If so, GINGER: ORPHAN FILLY by iconic western author Frank Roderus is available now FREE through Monday.
A filly has lost its mother and will be killed if Leonard and his sister, Lynn, don’t step in and save her. But talking their parents into letting them raise an orphan filly isn’t easy! They know nothing about horses, but they want to save Ginger and make her their own. Taking care of sweet Ginger brings the Dawkins kids more excitement—and love—than they ever could have imagined.

PSSSSSTT!!! FINDING THE SKY and GINGER: ORPHAN FILLY are all tales that can be thoroughly enjoyed by ANY age—10-100! Don’t let them fool ya!

And speaking of stories that appeal to all ages, here’s another one.

BUST OUT by W.M. Shockley is a wonderful “coming of age” story that will have you on the edge of your seat and touch your heart. At .99, it’s a “steal”!

A bank robbery goes awry when Buddy, one of the outlaws, decides to kill the teller and is caught. His accomplice Merle manages to get away, and Buddy sends a prostitute to find Merle and hatch a plan to free him. When Merle shows up, he realizes he’s been framed, and in the chaos of escaping, he snatches twelve-year-old Reuben Solomon as a hostage.

This is the beginning of his big adventure and a new life. As they ride together, Merle teaches Reuben the things the boy’s alcoholic father should have taught him—until Reuben begins to think maybe he might not want to go back to his old life. When Reuben returns home, it’s just as bad as before—even worse, since he’s learned about the world outside of Shasta. When he receives a gift from Merle, he knows he must head back out to find him.

Last but not least on our first day of the ECLIPSE SALE, I want to mention a good ol’ fashioned western historical romance—which was, after all, what got Livia and me up and at ’em with this wild idea of ours to open our PRP and Imprints doors!

INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS by Kristy McCaffrey was one of our earliest publications and it’s a story that has stayed with me from the day I first read it. Snap it up for only .99 NOW—because it is one you’ll want to put right on your Kindle Keeper Shelf!

Kate Kinsella has no choice but to go after Charley Barstow and talk some sense into him. After all, he’s skipped town, leaving a string of broken hearts and his pregnant fiancée, Agnes McPherson. But Kate didn’t count on being kidnapped by a band of criminals along the way! Ethan Barstow is hot on his younger brother’s trail, too. He rescues Kate, believing her to be Charley’s fiancée, and suggests they try to find him together. Kate’s reluctance has him baffled. All hell breaks loose when they discover Charley in search of a copper mine—not wishing to be found by anyone; certainly not Kate! But, then, Kate was always trouble—and now she’s brought it to his doorstep, with tales of a pregnant fiancée and his brother Ethan, who he hasn’t seen in five years. Can Ethan and Kate ever find their own love and happiness with one another through the dark deception and hurt? Or will they both return INTO THE LAND OF SHADOWS…

We have a whole slew of books available for FREE or .99 for these next four days, and we’ll feature some here on the blog every day—but just remember, THEY'RE ALL ON SALE OR FREE FOR THE ENTIRE TIME STARTING TODAY! JUST TAKE A LOOK BELOW!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

STARR HIDALGO--A good secondary character

When I began writing my first romance novels about Texas—titled the Camerons of Texas, I quickly found I love a family setting. I don’t think I’ve written anything about a stand-alone person meeting another stand-alone person. In fact, I have made a genealogy chart so I could remember all these characters—whether the star or a walk-on.

In addition, I found secondary characters that were not family but made darn good characters.
One is Starr Hidalgo. If you’re an author you probably have done this, too.
We never want to kill a good character.

Starr first appeared in ALL MY HOPE AND DREAMS, about a naïve rich East Texas lady—Miss Cynthia Harrington-- who meets and impulsively marries a wealthy West Texas rancher named Ricardo Romero.

When Ricardo takes his new wife west, she is in love and only sees a wonderful life with her new very handsome Spanish husband.
But…hold on. Ricardo cares for his new Anglo wife, yes…but he also somewhat cares for his long time friend Starr Hidalgo. While he thinks they have a good friendship from childhood on, she has other plans.

Oh, yes, Starr is strong, capable, and very beautiful.
Starr has a role in All My Hopes and Dreams, enough for us to wish she’d go away. She has devious plans for Ricardo, Ricardo’s mother, and Ricardo’s father. And Miss Cynthia Harrington, the pale skinned woman who is now married to the man she planned to marry stands in her way.
This is where the story gets complicated.
So, find out the ending in All My Hopes and Dreams.
But when that book was published I learned readers did not like Starr at all because she was trying to destroy the marriage between Ricardo and Cynthia.

Still, I sort of liked Starr. She was fearless, smart, beautiful, and not completely domineering. I left her with a little self-respect to know when she was not doing the right thing.

What does an author do with such a good character?
Write her story—now titled Starr Bright.

Conrad Taylor has mixed emotions about his ranching neighbor Starr Hidalgo. He can't stop caring about her, even though he is suspicious about her morals.
Starr Hidalgo depends on Conrad as good ranchers do, but she can't keep from admiring his good looks and strong personality. If only he would relax around her so they could become acquainted on a personal level.
As the tension between Starr and Conrad heats up, they learn more about each other, which can bring them together...or tear them apart permanently.

She pulled off her hat, dismounted, and hung her hat on the saddle horn. As she approached Conrad, she threw back her head and fluffed her long black glossy hair.
He didn't move. Good thing the fence was between them.
"Morning, Starr. What brings you out here so early in the morning?"
Smiling slightly, she said, "You."
Lord have mercy. He tried not to even blink.
"Yeah? What do I have that you want?"
Two could play this game.
She paused and smiled. "Water. I forgot mine."
She never forgot anything.
He leaned down and picked up the canteen, uncapped it, and handed it over the fence.
She tipped it up, leaned her head back, and took a good long slow drink.
He couldn't have looked away if someone had leveled a pistol at his head.

This novella is only 99cents on Amazon--A Prairie Rose Publication
Celia Yeary...Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

We're all going to die!

A solar eclipse will darken the skies over the United States Monday (Aug. 21), giving most of us our first chance to see a full solar eclipse.

The "Great American Eclipse" will begin off the coast of Oregon and race across the country for 90 minutes before exiting off the coast of Charleston, S.C.

Scientifically speaking, a total solar eclipse happens about twice a year, but this is the first time in almost 100 years that the continental United States will have a prime view of the event. And while an estimated 100 million people are expected to get out the popcorn and pinhole projectors, our medieval counterparts took a dim view of the natural phenomena (pun intended).

When the eclipse began, they would have been surprised, frightened, and curious.

In the 12th century, John of Worcester, a medieval chronicler, wrote: "In 1133 a darkness appeared in the sky throughout England. In some places it was only a little dark, but in others candles were needed. ... The sun looked liked a new moon, thought its shape constantly changed. Some said that this was an eclipse of the sun. If so, then the sun was at the Head of the Dragon and the moon at its Tail, or vice versa. ... King Henry left England for Normandy never to return alive."

Henry I died two years later on Dec. 1, 1135, reputedly from food poisoning from a surfeit of lampreys (eels).

Within a few years, England was embroiled in civil war.

And within the decade, there was another eclipse. In 1140, William of Malmesbury wrote: "There was an eclipse throughout England, and the darkness was so great that people at first thought the world was ending. Afterwards, they realized it was an eclipse, went out, and could see the stars in the sky. It was thought and said by many, not untruly, that the king would soon lose his power."

The king in question was Stephen of Blois, King of England after stealing the throne from Matilda, Henry I's daughter and appointed heir. And while he technically sat on the throne until 1154, you could make a good case that he lost his power long before he died. He was not, as we medievalists say, a good king.

We are no longer surprised by eclipses, and we've known this one was coming for a long time.

Where I live, I'll see 90 percent of the sun eaten by the dragon. If you get a chance, tell us how much of the eclipse you'll see and how you plan to watch it. If you're not sure how much you'll be able to see, go here to find out.

Keena Kincaid writes historical romances in which passion, magic and treachery collide to create unforgettable stories. Her books are available from Prairie Rose Publications and Amazon. For more information on her stories, visit her Amazon page, her website, or Facebook.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Badges of the Texas Rangers

Because the hero in my work in progress is a Texas Ranger, I’ve been dusting off my research files to be sure I have the facts right.

The Texas Rangers, one of the most well-known law enforcement agencies in the world, has an on-again off-again history. First established in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin to “act as rangers for the common defense, the Rangers were disbanded and reformed many times over the years, mostly at the whim of whatever politician was in power at the time. It wasn’t until 1987 that the Texas Legislature enacted a statute that made the Texas Rangers a permanent entity of the Department of Public Service.

Through those years, the Rangers have worn several different styles of badges. Contrary to legend, they didn’t start out with stars on their vests. The first Rangers carried a Warrant of Authority, signed by The Adjutant General, that granted them the right to enforce the law when and where they saw fit.

It wasn’t until 1889 that the first Texas Ranger badge was created. This unofficial badge was made from a Mexican silver dollar by the Rangers riding the southern and western parts of the state. The five-pointed star design is thought to have come from the unofficial seal of the state of Texas, first used in 1835.


It changed a bit over the years:

1910 - 


An official, state-issued badge didn’t come along until 1935.

And even that changed again in 1957:

 Then, in 1962, in a move that the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety called “going back to the tradition steeped Mexican silver badge worn by their predecessors during frontier days,” the department adopted their permanent badge. 


The “wagon-wheel” design is a five-pointed star, symbolizing the “Lone Star” of Texas, supported by an engraved wheel. The oak leaves on the left side represent strength and the olive branch on the right signifies peace, just as they appear on the Texas State Seal. The center of the star is reserved for the Company designation or the rank of Sergeant or Captain or Senior Captain.

This is the star you will see today on the uniform of every Texas Ranger, along with their boots, revolvers and signature white cowboy hats.

If you want to know more about the Texas Rangers, visit their website: There’s some fascinating stuff on that site.

Thursday, August 10, 2017



When Paula's husband divorces her to “find himself”, she is devastated. To add insult to injury, he joins a band and begins to date a sexy young singer! Forced to start over in the job market, Paula returns to college for a degree in teaching Special Education.

Paula’s shattered ego receives a boost when two men show interest in dating her – Derek, a retired naval officer who’s back in college to qualify for a second career, and Greg, a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. Toss in a professor with a huge misconception, a campus stalker, and her daughter's upcoming wedding, and Paula's new world becomes more complicated than she ever dreamed it could be…

But re-inventing her life has some wonderful advantages she hadn’t expected. Falling in love again and starting over proves to be better than she could have ever imagined, and it all comes together in THAT SPECIAL SUMMER...


Sixteen-year-old Matilda’s placid life at Hafton Castle is turned upside down when she is chosen to be waiting-lady for the Queen of Scots. A queen who is brought to the castle as a “guest”… At the same time, Matilda falls in love with a handsome guard, Jondalar—who she is certain is “the one” for her.

But everything changes when Matilda learns that Jondalar has deceived her. He plots against the queen, and Matilda is forced to choose between her love for him and certain deadly betrayal of the woman she is obliged to serve. How can she make such a choice? Will she give up her love, or her honor—and how can she live with either decision?


~ The exciting stand-alone sequel to "Maid of the Midlands" from the award-winning author of "This Time Forever" Linda Swift ~

Wait for me…

Malcolm Gray asks only one thing of Alice Wykeham when he goes to sea. But ten long years go by, and Alice’s father will see her married—not to the man she loves, but to an elderly lord who is eager to claim her valuable dowry.

I’m here, my love…

Malcolm has been shipwrecked and severely injured. He remains in Amsterdam as he heals, then earns enough money to be able to ask for Alice’s hand. Though now successful, he returns to Hull too late to claim his true love. Still, he purchases a ship chandlery and stays nearby, watching over her without detection due to his changed appearance. 

When Alice’s younger sister, Mary, becomes pregnant and goes to Hull, Malcolm befriends her. But when Mary gives birth, Malcolm must end the charade and reveal himself when he sends for Alice—who wrongly assumes the child is his.

Treachery is afoot…

When Alice discovers the lord is involved in a treasonous plan to overthrow the king and has used her dowry for the cause, she must do something to avoid being caught up in his devious web herself! There can only be a tragic outcome for the Gunpowder Plot—and it could be the death of Alice, along with Malcolm, the only man she will ever love…


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Prologues and Epilogues by Kaye Spencer

I love a book or a movie that has a prologue and an epilogue. It's like getting mini-stories within the larger story. Prologues set me up right at the get-go with background information that kick-starts the story and gives a mind-set for what's to come. Epilogues wrap-up the story in a nice tidy package with information about what happened later.

I like that. I really, really do.

In the prologue, I love to read what happened to the heroine that brought her to the doorstep of Chapter One or about the terrible angst in the hero's childhood or teenage years that molded him into the gunfighter or drifter he is when I meet him in the story.

Prologues that foreshadow or are the ending of the book as a way to begin the book (hope that made a sort of weird sense) are my favorite. This preference probably stems from the way I read books and watch movies. I read the end of the book or watch the end of the movie BEFORE I decide to read and/or watch. I don't like surprises. I want to know how it all turns out before I start, so I know whether to invest my time or not.

A famous example of prologue and epilogue is found in William Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet.

Two households, both alike in dignity,  In fair Verona, where we lay our scene...
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life...

We know how this ends right up front, but we still go along with the story any to its epilogue finale.

A glooming peace this morning with it brings...
For never was a story with more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Clive Cussler writes great prologues, sometimes two in one story, and they're stuffed full of historical background necessary to the contemporary plot. A prologue within a prologue. It makes me just a bit giddy when he does that. (example: Cyclops, Sahara)

Michael Crichton wrote great prologues, too. (example: Congo)

The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, caught my attention in the prologue with the way he introduced the Battle of Gettysburg's commanders and officers, and how he brought the bigger picture of the American Civil War full circle with a brief "and this is what happened to each of them after the war" in the epilogue.

My favorite book, The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, begins with a prologue and the words, Morgaine speaks... It ends 876 wonderful pages later with an epilogue and a last sentence: Her work was done.

Even western author Louis L'Amour, who disdained the use of prologue and/or epilogue, did squeeze in a form of epilogue in a few of his books. You'll recognize is by the scene break followed by a few paragraphs to tidy-up the story. An example is in Dark Canyon.

If you should come, after the passing of years, across the sagebrush levels where the lupine grows, and if by winding trails you should come to the slopes of aspen and pine, you might draw rein for a while among the columbine and mariposa lilies and listen to the wind. Do not look there, at the foot of the Sweet Alice Hills, for the house of Riley, for it is gone... Rimrock is gone... Gaylord Riley and Marie moved to California when the children were old enough to attend school...

Pretty slick way to sneak in an epilogue if you ask me. *wink*

Randomly, here are other books with notable prologues and epilogues:
  • K-PAX and On a Beam of Light by Gene Brewer
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gason Leroux
  • Lost Horizon by James Hilton
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  • Dan Brown's Robert Langdon thrillers/mysteries/drama (pick your genre) :-)
  • Several of Don Coldsmith's historical fiction novels (The Spanish Bit Series and related, extended novels)
  • Anne McCaffrey's fantasies
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is, in a fashion, a novel-length prologue
As for a few movie prologues...
  • The Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien) opens with a lengthy expository prologue
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast - we know right away how the beast was cursed
  • Star Wars. In a galaxy far, far away... Those words rolling away on the big screen to give the history... Brilliant
  • Opening minutes of National Treasure when we find out how the "Charlotte" message was handed down through the Gates family
  • James Bond movies
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Terminator - opening shows Los Angeles in 2029 then the story returns to the present
  • Citizen Kane

So, why are prologue and epilogue on my mind? I'm glad you asked.

I have a completed historical family saga that I am caught in a cycle of edit/rewrite/repeat. However, the one thing that hasn't changed over the years of working on this story is its prologue, which is a flashback to the events at the end of the book, and the epilogue, which is the aftermath of those events. When I publish this book, and even though I know many readers will skip the prologue and epilogue, I'm going to keep them in the story anyway.


Because I love them. I really, really do.

My stories are available on
Kindle - KindleUnlimited - Print

Until next time,

Kaye Spencer
Writing through history one romance upon a time

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Women Mathematicians

By Kristy McCaffrey

As early as the 1700s, women were drawn to scientific fields but society excluded them from receiving proper training and the same employment opportunities as their male counterparts. However, that didn’t stop the following women from educating themselves and making important breakthroughs during their lifetimes.

Sophie Germain
Sophie Germain was born in Paris, France, in 1776. Her father was a wealthy merchant and when Sophie was 13 years old she began to read books on mathematics and physics in her father’s library. Her parents disapproved of this interest and would often deny her warm clothes and a fire in her bedroom to keep her from studying. When they finally realized her serious intent, they secretly supported her. When Sophie was 18, the Ecole Polytechnique opened but women were not allowed. However, notes from the classes were made public and she was able to obtain the material and study along with the male students. She submitted her work under a man’s name and when Joseph Louis Lagrange, a faculty member, requested a meeting, he didn’t turn her away when he learned she was a woman. Instead, he became her mentor. She is known as one of the pioneers of elasticity theory, and she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject, the first woman to do so. She also contributed foundational work on Fermat’s Last Theorem, ideas that were central to other mathematicians works for over two hundred years. She died at the age of 55 from breast cancer.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was born in London, England, in 1815. She is best known for her work on a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer known as the Analytical Engine. She created the first algorithm and is often credited as the first computer programmer. Lovelace was the only legitimate daughter of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Anne. (His other children were born out of wedlock with other women.) Byron left Anne only a month after Ada was born and died when Ada was 8 years old. Anne remained bitter toward her husband and encouraged Ada’s love of mathematics and logic in an effort to subvert the madness that had seemed to grip Byron. Never close with her mother, she was raised by her grandmother and led a fairly scandalous adult life, with numerous purported affairs and a love of gambling. One project that never reached fruition was her desire to create a mathematical model for how the brain gives rise to thoughts and nerves to feelings, a ‘calculus of the nervous system’. Her interest in the brain came from an obsessive focus on the potential madness she may have inherited from her father. Ada died at the age of 36, most likely from uterine cancer.

Sofia Kovalevskaya

Sofia Kovalevskaya was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1850. Her military father, along with her mother, provided a good education. When Sofia showed an aptitude for math, they hired a tutor to teach her calculus. In order to study abroad, she needed permission from her father or a husband, so she contracted a ‘fictitious’ marriage with Vladimir Kovalevskij, a young paleontology student who later became famous for collaborating with Charles Darwin. In 1869, she attended the University of Heidelberg in Germany by auditing classes. After two years, she moved to Berlin where she took private lessons since the university wouldn’t even allow auditing. In 1874, she presented a doctoral dissertation at the University of Gottingen with three papers—one on partial differential equations, one on the dynamics of Saturn’s rings, and one on elliptic integrals. With the support of her private tutor, she was awarded her doctorate in mathematics summa cum laude, becoming the first woman in Europe to hold such a degree. Although Sofia and Vladimir had a fake marriage, for a short time it became real and together they had a daughter. However, much of their married life was spent apart. Vladimir, who suffered mental problems, eventually committed suicide. Sofia later settled in Sweden where she secured a teaching position and died at the age of 41 from influenza. She made noteworthy contributions to analysis, partial differential equations, and mechanics.

Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether was born in Erlangen, Germany, in 1882. Inspired by her mathematician father, she sought to follow in his footsteps but German universities didn’t admit women. She circumvented this obstacle by auditing classes and eventually proved herself so adept at the curriculum that she earned an undergraduate degree. In 1904, she was permitted to enroll in a doctoral program at the University of Erlangen and received a Ph.D. in 1907. For over eight years she worked for no pay, relying on her family to financially support her. It wasn’t until 1922 that she became an untenured associate math professor at the University of Gottingen, where she earned a modest salary. Noether is well-known in the physics community for two theorems she proved. The first dealt with a problem in Einstein’s theory of general relativity in relation to conservation of energy. She resolved the issue by showing that while energy may not be conserved ‘locally’, it is conserved if the space considered is sufficiently large. The other theorem uncovered a link between conservation laws and the symmetries of nature. Today, our grasp of everything from subatomic particles to black holes draws heavily from this theorem, known as Noether’s theorem. When Hitler came to power, she was forced to leave Germany and came to the United States to teach at Bryn Mawr College. Noether never married and died at 53 from complications stemming from a pelvic tumor.

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