Backing a funded crowdfunding campaign

Cranky Ladies logoWe’re very fortunate to be in the exciting position of reaching our funding target with half the campaign still left to run, and some people might be wondering what use backing a campaign that has reached its target might be. There are lots of reasons to still be part of the crowdfunding that you might not know, so here are a few of them!

1. Exclusive rewards! Many of the Cranky Ladies campaign rewards are exclusive to the Pozible crowdfunding campaign. They will never be offered for sale in any other way, because we wanted something that made our backers special. For example, the Cranky Ladies of History 2015 calendar will be created by Tansy (mostly),  just for our backers — no other copies will be made available! The same goes for our art prints and the beautiful brollies at varying levels — exclusive stuff is cool!

2. Pre-ordering books is hugely helpful to boutique publishers — pre-orders help us decide on print runs and for boutique press, this is essential information. Even ebook pre-orders help us work out the interest in advance, and it’s all appreciated.

3. Being part of the story — I’m a geek in this way. We might not have quite the same coolness quotient that the Veronica Mars movie campaign or the Amanda Palmer Kickstarter, but it’s fun to be able to say, “I helped that happen” — just me? 🙂

4. Future-you will thank you! When the book arrives in your inbox/post box in February 2015, you can exclaim delightedly over it because it’s like a present from the past! Wait, that’s not just me too, is it?

5. Tansy and I both do little dances of joy when we get a new pledge — you can’t see it, but trust me, it happens!

The Cranky Ladies team of editors, authors and artist are hugely grateful for all the support the campaign has received, in pledges and signal-boosting, and can’t wait to bring this book to life — our backers have made that happen, and we thank you!

FREE for a limited time – Glenda Larke’s “The Aware”

Aware CoverGlenda Larke is not a cranky lady. Well, she IS, in the way we define our Cranky Ladies, because she’s done some incredible things so far in her life, but in person she is lovely (not cranky!) and an amazingly talented author. After having her first novel published 15 years ago, Glenda continues to write fantastic books that keep on getting better, and when you know how good her early works were, the anticipation for each new one grows!

Today is the release day for Glenda’s newest book, The Lascar’s Dagger, the first of her new Forsaken Lands series, and I can’t wait to read it. To celebrate the new book, we have made the first book of Glenda’s first trilogy FREE, for a limited time. From now until the end of March, you can get The Aware (book 1 of the Isles of Glory) free on most platforms – currently Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Smashwords have the discount applied, while Wizard’s Tower Books has a fantastic bundle deal with all three Isles of Glory novels for the price of two.

Remember, it’s only for two weeks, so get in quick to get your copy! And if you love Glenda’s books, or you simply love sweeping epic fantasy with well-realised characters and action-packed plot, check out The Lascar’s Dagger too – I’ll bet it’s another piece of Larke brilliance.

Cranky Ladies is funded!

Wow. Just. Wow. Tansy and I are in a bit of shock right now, I think. It’s so very VERY exciting to reach our target, and even more so that we’ve done in it just under half the campaign time. We are so SO grateful to everyone who pledged and signal-boosted the campaign so far! Right at this moment, at $8555, we have 163 supporters, 16 days still to travel in the campaign, and according to the Pozible stats, 406 Facebook mentions and 318 tweets. That’s just astonishing, and more appreciated than I can adequately articulate, I think!

But thank you. So much!

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Cranky Ladies in the NEWS!

Cranky Ladies logoI managed to completely forget to post all the exciting media we’ve been getting! Partly that’s because I’ve been so darn busy this past two weeks, partly it’s because Tansy remembers to do all that over at her blog, partly it’s because I DO generally tweet and Facebook it, but I must put things here too!

First up was a little interview with ABC Radio Northern Tasmania, about 3.10pm last Tuesday afternoon. That warmed me up for a great chat with Rosanna Ryan from ABC News Online, who wrote the most wonderful article about our Cranky Ladies – I feel almost respectable having being quoted by the ABC News! That was followed by a spot on the Sydney 2UE radio night show on Friday, which was also great fun.

This week we’ve been interviewed for another newspaper article, which we think will see print on Monday next week – more details when we have them, but Kaaron Warren and I are having a real live photo shoot for it tomorrow morning!

And you know what? The Pozible campaign has reached 85% this evening! That’s so cool – thank you to all the amazing supporters and signal-boosters. You rock!

If  you would like to read about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

Cranky Ladies guest post: Helen Leonard

Guest post by Gillian Polack

Helen Leonard always said to me that the best way to enter a meeting was late and with a camera around your neck, because it meant that one instantly defeated the biggest problem women have in meetings: being seen. She then explained her theory that women should be stroppy. I was one of many women to whom she said these things, but for me it was a pivotal moment in our relationship. It defined Helen for me.

I had arrived late to a meeting, and she had saved me a place next to her. It was a rare chance for representatives for women’s groups to talk to the Attorney-General about a range of things. There weren’t many of us, and the AG actually turned up, and Helen was right – because I’d come a bit late, the staffers noticed me when my hand went up. That was the thing about Helen, she had a tendency to be right.

She was just two years older than I am now when she died. I took her death to heart and thought about what I really wanted to do with my life. Helen was trying to turn me into a stroppy woman, someone who could fight where others would give up. I’m good on committees and get big events arranged without too much fuss, but I needed my inner stroppiness brought out. Helen did that. Her death taught me to fight harder and to pick my battles and to leave idiots to stew with other idiots and I rather suspect that these days I don’t look as gentle as I really am. I now carry a camera, too. I don’t do the things Helen wanted me to, for she taught me another lesson: all lives are important. I had been a ‘yes-person’, doing things for others because I was good at it and because they asked me. Helen’s particular sweet crankiness taught me that it’s possible to change the world without sacrificing yourself.

Helen had a knack: she dragged women from little lives and showed them the bigger world. She reminded us that we were entitled to walk in this bigger world. Under Helen’s tutelage, I had so many remarkable experiences. I’ve talked about the experiences elsewhere. I’ve even fictionalised some of them. Their common element was Helen.

Helen had a little black book. When we were working out the program for Australia’s first Women’s History Month, I said, “We can’t get attention without big names. I can ask my writer-friends and some of my friends from various committees, but that’s not nearly enough people.” My friends helped out in three different countries and have helped me celebrate Women’s History Month ever since. Several of them will appear on my blog throughout March. Their enthusiasm and support didn’t magically turn them into enough people for a national celebration. “This is impossible,” I said. “How can we get Women’s History Month started with such a small committee and just a half dozen guests?” We had a webhost and a complete technical support team already – my US publisher had volunteered all of this. We just needed a programme.

We were sitting on rickety chairs at the National Women’s Media Centre. Around us the air was hazy with cigarette smoke, and every now and then Helen’s partner would hazard a comment from her desk across the room. She didn’t add anything at this point. She knew about the black book.

Helen and I spent two hours working through that book. At one stage it disintegrated entirely. It did the job, though. It peopled our programme. We’d put together ideal panels from the names in it – my favourite never eventuated,  ‘women who Helen went to school with who are now mothers of internationally famous women’ – and Helen would ring them up and leave messages or talk them instantly into joining us. Some were travelling. Some had computer fear. Some got back to Helen later. In that one session, though, we developed a schedule of chats and panels for the following March. Anne Summers joined us, and Dale Spender, and many others.

What struck me just then was that the big world Helen was introducing me to was already there. It is for most of us, but it’s perhaps obscured by our small sense of self. We’re shy, or submissive, or polite, or reticent, or don’t want to bother people. That’s why Helen was my choice for the Cranky Women of History column. She taught me that it didn’t matter if I were all those things, I should ask my friends and acquaintances, “Would you like join me in celebrating Women’s History Month?”

I live a small life now. I live in a small flat and don’t get out much. Most people don’t even know about my strange past life. My current existence is really not so tiny, though, when you stop to look.  My inner world and my friendships give me a much vaster existence than the size of my flat. Being stroppy means asking people, listening to people, paying attention to them and to oneself.  And then those people become your friends. This is how Helen grew our lives. It’s hard to shrink into nothing after having known her.

This is what Helen Leonard taught me. That women’s issues are about all of us. They’re for all of us.  We need to find our personal equivalent of walking into major meetings late, carrying cameras. We need to all become Cranky Women of History.

Cranky Ladies logoThis post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

Cranky Ladies of History guest post: Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen, breaking the bounds

Guest post by Juliet Marillier

Hildegard of Bingen, from the Rupertsberger Codex
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Your name is Hildegard. You’re in Germany, it’s the year 1106, and your parents – aristocratic, well-off, devout – have decided that you’ll be a nun. You say goodbye to your nine older siblings and are passed into the care of an anchoress, Jutta, who lives enclosed in a cell within a Benedictine monastery at Disibodenberg. Anchorite cells are often built within the walls of churches, and their inhabitants never leave them. One small window allows supplies to be passed in, and another lets you hear the Holy Office. You are eight years old.

Jutta teaches you to read, write and pray. You also learn music and various practical skills. Ten years pass, and at eighteen you become a nun. Twenty more years pass. There’s now a small community of women at the monastery – fortunately Jutta’s cell is a spacious one, with several rooms.

Then Jutta dies. She’s been your teacher, companion and substitute mother for almost your whole life, so this is a turning point for you. You’ve been thirty years shut away from the outside world. What kind of woman have you become? Obedient, scholarly, shy? Devout, conservative, a follower? Maybe you’re difficult, eccentric, even unhinged.

Jutta’s death marks the beginning of the second half of your life, and a pretty extraordinary life it proves to be. You are chosen by unanimous vote as the new leader of the female community at Disibodenberg. You take control capably. And you have another new focus. Since early childhood, before you entered the monastery, you have experienced intense and powerful spiritual visions. You start to record these in writing, with the help of a young monk who acts as secretary. Illuminated pictures to accompany the text are created under your instruction. In time you will write nine books, ranging over theology, physiology, botany, biology, religious commentary and more. Your writings are given papal approval.

As well as your books, you write many letters. You urge senior clerics to do more about corruption in the church; you even tell the pope to work harder on church reform.

More women join your community and the quarters get impossibly cramped. You make a decision to move your sisters to a new establishment near Bingen, standing firm against the objections of the Abbot and monks at Disibodenberg. Once you move, your convent is not attached to a monastery, but stands alone. You become Abbess. When numbers continue to increase, you establish a second convent.

You compose a body of remarkable religious music, using a free-wheeling, often ecstatic style that is radical for your time.

You continue to experience powerful visions. Your descriptions of these, in both words and images, are vivid and sometimes stretch the boundaries of orthodox theology. In your later years you undertake various preaching tours, during which you speak out publicly against corruption in the church.

When you are 80, you anger your archbishop by allowing an excommunicated man to be buried in your cemetery. You are told to disinter the body and you refuse. Since the dead man confessed and took communion before he died, you reason, the archbishop is in error. You head out to the cemetery and remove every trace of the burial, so nobody else can find the body and dig it up. This is the act of a woman with a strong sense of social justice, a sound knowledge of religious law and a fearless preparedness to take on the authorities. The archbishop slaps an interdict on your convent, meaning the divine office cannot be sung there. You write to him, letting him know that the interdict has silenced the most wonderful music on the Rhine, and that those who silence music will, after death, go to a place where they cannot hear the angelic chorus. Subtle, no. Effective, yes. The interdict is lifted.

You die the following year. In the centuries that follow you are often called a saint, but it is not until 2012 that you are officially canonised.

Hildegard of Bingen, your life and works were indeed remarkable. At the turning point, when your mentor died, you could have become just one nun among many. Instead you stepped forward, all fierce intelligence, and used the rest of your life to magnificent creative purpose. You were a leader. Your influence is still felt all these years later. Your work has been studied and respected by figures as different as the ultra-conservative Pope Benedict XVI and the controversial Episcopalian writer and teacher Matthew Fox. Your music is appreciated by musicologists and New Age meditators alike.

Despite your extensive body of writing, you remain curiously elusive. Even in your letters, you always presented yourself as an unworthy, inadequately educated mouthpiece for the divine wisdom of the visions (which effectively placed you above criticism by the church authorities.) We get a sense of Hildegard the scholar, Hildegard the devout Christian, Hildegard the practical leader, Hildegard the passionate advocate for justice. But Hildegard the woman remains a mystery.

I imagine you were sometimes difficult. Saints do tend to be stirrers. You were most likely a little eccentric, as highly intelligent people often are. You were also creative, imaginative, brave, clever and wise. You must have been a formidable presence. I bet you made the bishops shake in their clerical shoes. You surely made people sit up and listen.

Odd, isn’t it, how that decision your parents made when you were eight years old, a decision that on the surface seems heartless, gave you the best opportunity your time and culture could allow for using your remarkable abilities. The religious life allowed you to exercise your intellect and your formidable energy to the full. Perhaps your parents saw the spark of greatness in you from the first.

Cranky Ladies logoThis post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

Cranky Ladies of History guest post: Khadija

Khadija. Saudi Arabia. Born 565 AD, died 623 AD. 

Guest post by Bess Lyre

Khadija was the daughter of a Quraishi merchant from Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Orphaned by the age of 20, she became a highly successful merchant in her own right, inheriting not just her father’s vast wealth but his cool head for business.

“It is said that when Quraish’s trade caravans gathered to embark upon their lengthy and arduous journey either to Syria during the summer or to Yemen during the winter, Khadijah’s caravan equaled the caravans of all other traders of Quraish put together.” –

Khadija’s nicknames included “Princess of Quraish” and “Pure One”, due to her impeccable bloodline and also her charitable work with the poor.

It must have seemed to her that she was fated to be unlucky in love – her first two husbands, Hind and Ateeq, died in battle, both men leaving children behind. She swore never to marry again.

But eventually she changed her mind. Her third husband was a distant cousin she had hired to protect her caravans and act as her agent in Syria; a man with a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness. Khadija sent her friend to ask the man what he thought about the prospect of their getting hitched. He was young, only 25 while she was almost 40, and she had turned down so many proposals that it was unlikely he would have approached her, but more than that, his answer to the friend was concern that he would not be able to provide for a wife and family.

Khadija sent her friend back again with the question: What if the woman could provide for herself?

That young man was the Prophet, Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him. Here is the Saudi house that they lived in together:


Khadija was the first convert to the brand new religion of Islam. The saying is that “Islam did not rise except through Ali’s sword and Khadija’s wealth”. Their marriage lasted 25 years. Muhammad had other wives, but only after Khadija was dead. She gave him six children: four daughters that survived and two sons that died in early childhood.

Khadija herself died at the age of about 65.

Dome over Khadijah’s grave before it was demolished by the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia –

Muhammad apparently called the year she died “The Year of Mourning”.

“The Prophet of Islam (ص) used to talk about Khadijah quite often after her demise, so much so that his youngest wife, Ayisha daughter of Abu Bakr, felt extremely jealous and said to him,

“… But she was only an old woman with red eyes, and Allah has compensated you with a better and younger wife (meaning herself).”

This caused him (ص) to be very indignant, so he said, “No, indeed; He has not compensated me with someone better than her. She believed in me when all others disbelieved; she held me truthful when others called me a liar; she sheltered me when others abandoned me; she comforted me when others shunned me; and Allah granted me children by her while depriving me of children by other women.”” –

Khadija is an inspiration to both Islamic feminists who wish for traditional religious laws to remain intact:

“In a society where modern Liberal Feminism teaches that immodesty is equal to power, and that rejecting if not destroying traditional family gender roles, is synonymous with liberation, Khadija offers a historic refutation of this mindset, she was able to do the all the ‘empowered modern woman’ seeks to do and she did it without the force of the state, without rejecting her societal role as a woman. And she did it without compromising her modesty or integrity.” –

…and those pushing for change.

“After receiving his first revelation from the Angel Gabriel while meditating in the cave of Hira, the Prophet Muhammad was terrified that he’d lost his mind. He immediately ran home from the cave to Khadija and collapsed into her arms. “Cover me,” he said to her, and she did. She held and comforted him as he trembled, overcome with fear. Unlike the Prophet, Khadija was convinced of the veracity of his revelation. It was she who assured him that he had indeed received a message from God, and in doing so, Khadija forever changed the course of human history. As today’s aspiring feminist jihadists, we have an enormous amount to learn from Khadija’s example, and I pray that we will be able to live up to it. As it is, nearly 1,400 years after her death, a woman such as Khadija could not survive in modern-day Saudi Arabia, where women need consent from men for nearly everything they do, can’t drive a car and have limited personal and professional opportunities. Defending and carrying out the legacy of Khadija is not an easy task, especially today, but looking back at her example gives us the hope and grounding that we, as Muslim women, need to move forward in reclaiming our faith and our rightful place in it.”–

Are men and women equal in the religion of Islam?

“God treats men and women as spiritual equals., Quran 3:195 tells us:

[Quran 3:195] Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you MALE OR FEMALE, YOU ARE EQUAL TO ONE ANOTHER…”

Many of the Muslim countries who claim to follow Islam are treating women as a second class citizens, and some of these women accepted this situation thinking that is what Islam (Submission in English) is advocating. As mentioned previously, God, in the Quran made a complete spiritual equality between men and women, See 3:195Hadithists see women as “morally defective”, conveniently ignoring the fact that the vast majority of individuals jailed for murder, rape, child abuse, etc. are men. And hadithists claim that women are “religiously defective” but it is they (not God in the Quran) who forbid their daughters from praying and fasting during their menstrual periods and it is they (not God) who discourage the women from going to the mosque, even for Friday prayers… The spiritual equality between men and women is reiterated in 4:124, as follows:

[Quran 4:124] As for those who lead a righteous life, MALE OR FEMALE. while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.” –

I would love to ask Khadija for her thoughts.

Cranky Ladies logoThis post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

Cranky Ladies of History guest post: Lottie Lyell

Ann Martin writes: I have been a children’s author for more than thirty years, but a call from FableCroft in 2013 for pitches for an anthology Cranky Ladies of History not only intrigued me, but challenged me to step outside my usual genre and give it a go. I was thrilled when my initial pitch was successful and I was invited to submit my Cranky Ladies story. I’m not through to the finals yet, but one thing I’m sure of; with or without me, Cranky Ladies of History is going to be a fantastic collection of stories.

Who to write about for the blog tour? I wanted an Australian woman, but just couldn’t settle upon which one. Then, as Australian actress Cate Blanchett began winning just about every Best Actress Award going, I recalled an empathy I have felt for many years for another Australian star of the silver screen.

sentimental“Er name was Doreen,” and to the thousands of Australians who crammed into cinemas to watch the 1919 film adaptation of C.J. Dennis’s The Sentimental Bloke, Lottie Lyell was Doreen. With her soft curls and expressive dark eyes, this already immensely popular film actress was the perfect depiction of the sweet-natured young factory girl who turned around Dennis’s larrikin bloke.

Directed by Raymond Longford, The Sentimental Bloke was considered Australia’s first feature film classic and was one of a string of films starring Lyell. Disappointingly, very little footage of her career has survived, except for The Bloke, which has always maintained its legendary status in Australian film history.

Lottie Lyell herself was a similar legend at the time, but was largely overlooked after her death. Born Lottie Edith Cox in Balmain, Sydney, in 1890, she adopted the name Lottie Lyell and headed for a stage career at the age of seventeen. By the time she was nineteen, she had teamed with the actor Raymond Longford, twenty years her senior, and the pair of them toured Australia and New Zealand with a series of stage hits in 1909 and 1910. Longford was to be Lyell’s career partner and lover for the rest of her life, only prevented from marrying by an existing wife, who stubbornly refused to divorce him.

In 1911 a new industry was burgeoning in Australia; motion pictures. After appearing in three films, Longford decided to launch himself into screenwriting and directing. Lyell appeared in almost all of his productions and proved herself to be a movie heroine with a difference.

She quickly realised that the exaggerated gestures of a stage play were not necessary when acting in front of a camera and her screen performances were always natural and believable. Her prowess as a horsewoman and swimmer, as well as her athletic abilities, enabled her to play a very Australian, outdoor-girl heroine, as capable as a man.

Gender roles were also the theme of a controversial, but acclaimed Longford-Lyell 1919 production, The Woman Suffers. The sub-title could well have been “but the man gets away with it”, as the film dealt with seduction, unmarried pregnancy, desertion and abortion – brave topics that served to have the film banned in New South Wales.

As famous as she became as a film actress, what was not revealed in her lifetime was the full extent of Lyell’s contribution to the Australian film industry. She was credited with being co-director of only two of Longford’s films, whereas she had collaborated in scriptwriting, editing, producing and directing in all of his productions. It was only after her death that others who had worked with her expressed the opinion that she had equalled, if not surpassed, Longford as a scriptwriter and film-maker. It was she who had been the driving force behind the decision to produce The Sentimental Bloke and she may well have written the entire screenplay for The Woman Suffers.

Had she lived longer, Lottie Lyell may well have taken her rightful place as an acknowledged Australian film-maker, but as it was, she died of tuberculosis in 1925 at the age of 35. Thankfully, in recent years Lyell’s career has been resurrected in a number of books and articles and we can only hope that history will continue to set the record straight.

Cranky Ladies logoThis post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

Unearthing Cranky Ladies everywhere

Cranky Ladies logoIt’s funny how when you’re aware of something, it suddenly seems to be EVERYWHERE. I suppose part of that is the fact it’s Women’s History Month, so maybe there’s a bit more prominence of women from the past being talked about, but it seems more than that! I’ve come across a few things in the last week that I wanted to link to here, because there really are a lot of great discussions out there about cranky ladies of history, and while our book is looking at things from a different perspective, anything that reminds people about these wonderful, eccentric, irascible and AWESOME women is good by me!

The Mary Sue wrote about Meryl Streep being in talks for a historical suffragette film, which sounds awesome.

Historian Clare Wright writes women back into history, with her book titled The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka (interview & review).

Tangentially related, but certainly of interest when you consider how often women are written out of history, this article from the Guardian, in which Mary Beard discusses the issue of women being told to “shut up” (from Homer to Twitter).

Well behaved women
Courtesy of @XOrdinaryWomen on Twitter

And don’t forget to check out the posts made so far as part of our Cranky Ladies of History blog tour – it’s fascinating to see who people are talking about!

This post is written as part of the Women’s History Month Cranky Ladies of History blog tour. If  you would like to read more about cranky ladies from the past, you might like to support our Pozible campaign, crowd-funding an anthology of short stories about Cranky Ladies of History from all over the world.

All the Cranky Ladies!

Cranky Ladies logoWe’re only into day 3 of our campaign and we’re over a third of the way towards funding – can you see my happy dance?! Tansy and I are so excited about the support and signal-boosting we’ve been lucky enough to receive, and want to publicly thank everyone who has already pledged, and also every single person who has posted, tweeted, blogged, Facebooked and so on about the campaign, because we know how much of a difference it makes. THANK YOU!

We’re starting to see fantastic posts about cranky ladies popping up as Women’s History Month gets underway, and we’re linking to them on the Cranky Ladies Blog Tour page – one of my favourite things about this book has been learning about historical figures I had not come across, so this blog tour is just excellent!

With the marvellous support we’ve already received, we’re adding some new rewards tiers – take a look at the Pozible site and see if anything new takes your fancy over the next couple of days! The first new tier is already up, with more to come – more cranky lady goodness!