Author Alice Faye Duncan Reflects on Activist Opal Lee, Meaning of Juneteenth

By Sophie Oswald

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South, but the decree wasn’t fully enacted until two years later on June 19, 1865, when news reached enslaved people in Texas that they were free. 

Since, June 19, or Juneteenth, has marked celebrations of the end of slavery, but it wasn’t until last year that Juneteenth became a federal holiday through a bill signed by President Joe Biden. One of the people in the room that day was Opal Lee, the focus of Alice Faye Duncan’s newest children’s book, Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free. 

Opal Lee, also known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” played a key role in making Juneteenth a federally-recognized holiday.

Continue reading

Words and Whiskey Podcast Goes Full-on Romance this Valentine’s Day

By Kelcie McKenney

Buckle up romance readers, we’ve got a Valentine’s Day treat for you.

Words and Whiskey, an intoxicating book club podcast, covers books that are worth reading and drinks that are worth drinking. Hosts Krossland Shaw and PJ Heller have been working their way through Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn as of late, but decided to spice things up with an episode covering the romance genre.

“That’s right, this week we’re tackling the ROMANCE Genre, and attacking it with as much panache as possible. Kross is joined by an incredible group of guests who really want to get your gears turning, and help you understand why the Romance Genre is as big and as important as it is.”

Those guests include a host of hard-core romance readers (including Catcall Editor-in-Chief Kelcie McKenney—hi!) who cover everything from soft and sweet YA and historical romance to, *cough*, well, monster fucking. So strap in and strip down for this two-parter romance ride (with Part 2 dropping later today!).

Continue reading

Badass Literary Babes: Educated & Where the Crawdads Sing

By Emily Park

Before the pandemic hit, I could count the number of books I read for my own enjoyment (at least since I graduated from high school in 2015) on one hand.

When I was a child, I almost always had my nose in a book. I read from the time I got home from school, to the time I fell asleep. I read up in the tree in my backyard. I read nestled in my bedroom closet. I read under the covers with a flashlight. I read under my desk at school. Book after book. 

As I grew up and got distracted by other things, I lost that hunger for books that I used to have. But over the last year, I have found it again, and I have met some inspiring, strong, badass babes among those pages—both real and fictional—I’m excited to tell you about.

In this first installment of Badass Literary Babes, I’ll introduce you to the first two babes I met when I started my rediscovery of literature last year.

Continue reading

Madison Tufte’s debut novel The Anchor House lets women grow on their own terms

By Kelcie McKenney

Madison Tufte was looking to read new books that made her feel inspired, empowered, and vulnerable, with leading female characters who experienced growth—outside of relationships. But she couldn’t find them. So she decided to write her own.

Tufts’s debut novel, The Anchor House, under the pen name Margaret Spencer was born of that quest, and is the product of over two years of secret writing before Tufte self published earlier this year. It’s a tale about three women, Winnie, Fern, and Eleanor, each struggling to grow in their own way—each both strong and vulnerable. A remote island in Minnesota sets the stage for these women’s stories, inspired by the lakes from Tufte’s home town. It’s a heartwarming look at life’s difficulties, filled with inspirational women who live life on their own terms.

In June, The Anchor House won Next Generation Indie Book Awards’ for Inspirational Fiction. We spoke with Tufte about writing strong women, and being one, as she walks us through the journey to her first novel.

Continue reading