As the American presidential election approaches (and as I watch the final presidential debate), I feel compelled to express/reiterate an impassioned plea to women to exercise a basic, yet hard-won, right for which so many women suffered and died – a right that took nearly 200 hundred years for us to achieve. I’ve always considered myself a feminist. Yet, when I sat in my first Women’s Studies class at Western Michigan University, during my undergraduate coursework, I discovered that I knew little about the sacrifices that were made to gain my right to vote. Sure, I knew the names of a few “suffragettes” – Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and Carrie Chapman, but I had no idea of the horrors that they, and so many others, endured in an effort to secure women’s right to vote. Ever since that day and that class, I have been committed to exercising my own right AND to encouraging other women (especially young women, like my daughter) to take hold of that right, grasp it FIRMLY, and make their voices heard. I attended a writers’ conference this past weekend. One of the sessions I attended addressed how a writer might use his/her blog to engage readership and address social issues. Sooooo, gentle readers, I’ve attached the link to a playlist (a pretty kickass playlist, I might add) that I’ve created to inspire myself (and you) as I begin writing my novel. The theme of the playlist is “girl power.” My novel is loosely based on my family’s long history of domestic abuse and how we’ve overcome it. It is my hope that you find your own meaning to the array of songs I chose and that you will feel its energy in a way that gives you strength.