An uplifting, inspiring story, Samantha Rising documents the meteoric rise of a heroine who ascends from humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s daughter to become a prominent, celebrated Civil Rights attorney. Set in Central Texas, the narrative runs from 1946 to the early 1970s. After graduating from the University of Texas School of law and becoming a practicing attorney, Samantha defends the rights of persecuted people, vigorously struggles to help women achieve equality in the workplace and to overcome systemic forms of abuse and discrimination. She represents an evolving American Woman, part decorated professional, part caring wife and mother. Eventually known as a legal celebrity, she’s summoned to Washington to interview for a position on Jimmy Carter’s cabinet as the first Secretary of Education, but she never loses sight of the importance of her role as mother to her two children, nor her obligations to her husband, their father. Her personality and character reveal what’s possible in a world where equal access to opportunity exists in a tangible, recognizable form. Samantha possesses rare intelligence and a powerful, transforming gift of grace, one which allows her to perceive ripe opportunity in an instant and seize upon it effortlessly. She astounds and mesmerizes the people around her, capturing their attention easily and captivating them with her presence. As her moods and mindsets change, so does the color of her irises, which morph from silver to green to blue. One aspect of Samantha never alters–she’s always on the rise, seeking new, bigger, better cases and clients, ever searching for a way to make the world a place where equality of opportunity reigns supreme. Descriptive, powerful, informative and touching, Samantha Rising provides a clear look at how social and legislative changes opened doors and possibilities for women in America in the second half of the 20th Century. Like a long, soothing song, this literary novel leaves the reader feeling fulfilled, satisfied and motivated to succeed. To learn more about the book and its author and editor, visit SamanthaRising.com.
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On a freezing, snowy night, I was delivered into this world by my father, Olan David Sandel, in a one
room shack in Leon County, Texas. The local physician, Dr. Powell, couldn’t make it to the house to do
the delivery, but I was safe in the arms of my dad, an Army veteran and sharecropper. He raised cattle,
hogs, horses and other animals and had helped with the deliveries of their babies any time they were
having trouble. The goal was always the same–get the new born out alive and well. He did that for me
that frigid, fateful night.
My family moved to Houston when I was seven, and I spent all my school years on the north side of
the Bayou City, graduating from Sam Houston High School in 1957. I chose Drafting School over
college and completed it early, then immediately started a job with Commonwealth Services, building a
pipeline in Canada. After a short stint there, I joined the US Navy, going to radio school, then boarded
the aircraft Carrier USS Hancock for a tour of the Far East. After arriving at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu
for shore duty, I had hours to read and fell in love with books. After my discharge, I returned to
Houston and started working at Southwestern Bell, which became AT&T, from which I retired after 20
years as District Manager Business Controls.
Later, I earned my license in real estate and started my own company, Charles Sandel Realty, which
I own and operate to this day.
I gained inspiration from four women in my life. The first was my mother, Willie Esther Sandel, who
sent me to first grade in Leona with the ability to read, write, add, subtract, multiply, and divide. She
also demanded that I treat my teachers and peers with respect. Her favorite expression was “the pen is
mightier than the sword.”
The second was my baby sister, Patricia Ann, who was five years younger than me, but twice as
smart. The third was Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and Little Men. The fourth was
Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind. All these women perceived love as the most
important and powerful positive force in the world. They helped me believe the advancement of
human culture works best when people love each other.
After Patricia died of colon cancer at the age of 58, I wanted to do something to memorialize her
strong desire to strive to always do the right thing. The memory of my sister’s personality inspired the
title character in my novel. I hope the story does justice to Patricia’s keen spirit and motivates my
grandchildren to work to achieve the highest goals. As part of the effort to honor her, I pledge to
donate 5% of the net income from the sale of this book to the American Cancer Society.
My nephew, Kevin Cochran, Patricia’s only child, helped me finish the final chapter of the story
upstairs in my home in Katy, Texas, while Hurricane Harvey flooded the rooms downstairs. On that
night, the water wasn’t the only thing rising. Samantha was rising. May she continue her ascent as
long as her story of strength and perseverance inspires the people who read it.