Sunday, May 26, 2024

Charity Sunday: Using Your Voice #VotingRights #Democracy #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday Banner

Welcome to the May Charity Sunday blog hop. We have several authors participating today. I do hope you will visit them and leave comments. Every comment, at each site, becomes a donation to a worthy cause.

Even if you live somewhere else (as I do), I’m sure you know that the United States will be holding a major election in November of this year. I don’t want to talk about the ugliness, partisanship and dirty tricks surrounding this election (you’re probably aware of this as well). I want to point out that despite all this, Americans are incredibly fortunate to have the right to vote at alland if you’re a U.S. citizen, to urge you to exercise that right. I firmly believe that the only way to conquer the sort of challenges we face today is to get everyone involved in a search for practical, win-win solutions. That’s really difficult, but as a first step, we need to hear everyone’s voice.

That’s why my chosen organization for this month is the League of Women Voters. LWV is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in the elections that govern the U.S.. They empower voters and defend democracy through advocacy, education, and litigation, at the local, state, and national levels. Issues of concern to LWV include protecting the freedom to vote; making voting easier, safer and more secure; reducing the influence of money in politics; and fighting for equitable redistricting.

LWV was created more than one hundred years ago, in the wake of the successful fight for women’s suffrage. Even then, the founders knew that having the right to vote was not enough. We must use the vote to raise our voices for the kind of society we want.

During the next three weeks, this post will be open to comments. I will donate two dollars to LWV for each comment I receive. Regardless of your nationality, or your political opinions, I hope you’ll participate by adding your voice to this post.

Meanwhile, I have a quick excerpt from the most political of my novels, my urban erotic noir Exposure. The book’s protagonist, Stella Xanathakeos, is a stripper who witnesses the murder of Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Tony Pinelli. Pinelli’s widow Francesca decides to run in her husband’s stead, and hires Stella to be her press secretary and campaign assistant.

I posted another political excerpt a few months ago, with Stella and Francesca at a press conference:

My excerpt today introduces Francesca’s opponent, old-money philanthropist Graham White. He has contacted Stella privately and asked her to come to his mansion for a meeting.


White’s house is very grand, even bigger and fancier than Francesca’s. I am determined not to be impressed. The leaded glass door is opened by a sour-faced maid in a black uniform. I hand her one of the business cards that Francesca insisted on having printed. She doesn’t try to pronounce my name.

Mr. White is waiting for you in the library.” She points to the French doors on the left of the winding staircase. My heels click aggressively on the black and white marble tiles of the entry way.

White opens the door before I can knock. “Come in, Ms. Xanathakeos. Or can I call you Stella?”

Actually, I’d prefer Ms. Xanathakeos, if you don’t mind.”

Graham White grins at me. No, that’s not right, he leers. He puts a hand on my arm, as if to lead me into the room, and I have an almost overwhelming urge to punch him in the nose.

I manage to control myself. Barely. Only the thought that I am representing Francesca keeps me from treating him the way I’d treat a pushy customer at the Peacock.

I snatch my arm away from him. He shrugs and settles into an armchair on one side of a magnificent stone fireplace decorated with what probably are priceless Chinese antiques. He gestures at the matching chair opposite him. “Please, sit down, Ms. Xanathakeos.” The way he drawls out my name makes me want to punch him even more. Still, I sit, needing to take the weight off my ankle.

You told me on the phone that you have some important information for me. What information?”

Actually, it’s more of a proposal.”

I sit silent, waiting for him to continue.

As you can imagine, I have been watching your campaign work for Francesca Pinelli. Watching quite closely. You’re doing a bang-up job.”

Thank you—I suppose.”

What I’d like to propose is that you come work for me.”

I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. I can see the headlines: Stripper becomes hot political property.

I’m serious, Ms. Xanathakeos. I’ll pay you three times whatever Francesca’s paying you.”

Gradually, my laughter fades away. But the situation still strikes me as absurd. “Really, Mr. White, do you think that I’m for sale to the highest bidder?”

White leans forward eagerly. “Everyone has their price. I’m willing to meet yours.”

I look him over, sizing him up. Big, sort of puffy, but not really fat. Thick copper-colored hair, prominent nose, fleshy lips. As I had noticed at the funeral, he has the rosy complexion of someone with high blood pressure.

His eyes are a bit of a shock, crystalline blue, and cold as shards of ice, despite his broad politician’s smile. I hold his gaze, trying to glimpse his secret perversions, and fail utterly. The only thing I see in him is raw ambition.

He thinks that I am considering his proposition. I could string him along, but I’d like to get out of his obnoxious presence as quickly as possible.

There’s not a chance, Mr. White, that I’d ever work for you.”

His eyes narrow and his face gets redder. “Why not? I hope it’s not out of loyalty to the poor bereaved widow. Because let me tell you, my dear, you can’t trust Francesca Pinelli. She’ll discard you as soon as she doesn’t need you anymore.”

I’m not your ‘dear,’ Mr. White. And my arrangement with Ms. Pinelli is strictly temporary, in any case.”

Oh, are you trying to tell me she doesn’t have her claws in you yet?”

I don’t know what you’re talking about, and frankly, I don’t care.” I stand as gracefully as I can with my bad ankle. “This interview is over. Don’t bother to get up. I can find my way out.”

His face is a mottled crimson. White splutters—that’s the only way to describe it—trying to get sufficient control of himself to speak. As I’m closing the door behind me, he finally finds his voice. “You’ll be sorry, you slut,” he yells after me. “I’ll make you sorry.” There is a loud crash from the library, then another.

Terror suddenly mixes with my anger. This man sounds mad enough to kill.


Exposure cover

You can find all the buy links for Exposure here:

Please remember to leave a comment. Every one supports free, fair and inclusive elections. And do go visit the other authors involved in today’s hop. I know you’ll find both great excerpts and great causes.


Debby said...

Excellent cause. We have the right and should exercise it in spite of obstacles.

Tina Donahue said...

An absolutely wonderful organization and an important choice for your post, Lisabet. If we're not careful, this could be the last free election in the US. We're so close to losing our rights in this country it's scary and sickening. Please, everyone, vote like your future depends upon it. Because it does.

Anonymous said...

Great Organization to support thank you

Colleen C. said...

Happy Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the post.

Dee S Knight and Anne Krist said...

Lisabet, I couldn't agree more about the need for the citizen vote, the right to be heard regardless of party, and free and fair elections. Too many don't appreciate the rights we have in America, or understand them. Particularly on Memorial Day we should be reminded of what it took (and takes) to gain and maintain those rights. Loved your excerpt!

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