Sunday, December 28, 2008

Get Publishers and Book Agents to Notice You

6 Reasons to Use a Blog to Build Readership Before You Publish and Attract Agents and Publishers

Free Audio: 1 hour and 20 minutes of real examples and useful resources which will help you understand how to use a blog to market and improve your writing.

I am really excited to share my ideas on how to use a blog and Web 2.0 to launch or build your writing career and how to attract readers, agents, and publishers to your writing.

I've given this talk several times but never took the time to record it.

This free talk is an hour and twenty minutes long.

This talk is perfect for women writers who are hesitant to write online or who haven't started a blog yet and wonder how to make a blog effectively market them online. It is an intro to blogging filled with suggestions that will also help you market the blog.

To making your invisible, faMiss...
Allison Frederick - online marketing for Creative Women in Business & the Arts

Click here to access free audio download on blogging for writers.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fun Way to Create a Free Jingle for Your Business

Jingle Generator - Spread Your Company Info in a Fun Way

This is a fun, free tool presented by Quickbooks. Pick from a variety of pre-formulated jingles, add your company information and see what the wacky musician, Tommy Silk creates for you.
Even if you don't want a jingle for your company, visit this site because it is a great example of how to use your artistic talents to meet current needs in a unique way.

The Jingle Generator
Listen to the jingle. It is to the 1980's song "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love Tonight" by The Outfield (a song I used to love). It is a bit cheesy, and may not reinforce your brand, but still fun.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Marketing Yourself Online with Integrity: Lessons from Madame Helena Rubinstein, a Cosmetic Industry Giant

The beauty about online businesses is that you can work in your bedroom slippers, on a Tahiti beach, or at the local coffee shop and your customers will never know.

The anonymity of the internet is very attractive to those who operate a business or product but are a bit shy. We let the internet do the talking for us. There is; however, a danger in taking full advantage of the anonymity of the internet and that is losing your integrity.

When I write an article and post it online, does that substantiate a claim that I am an international author? Many people would say yes but I disagree. Let's say I am enjoying a party at my best friend's house. She introduces me to a book agent as an international best selling author because my best friend has seen my email signature that says "Allison Frederick, International Author" (this a self-proclaimed title I included in my email based on the fact that I write online).

The book agent is intrigued, wondering why she hasn't heard of me before. She asks me about my writing. I fumble with words to try and back track from the impression my best friend gave her. I tell her I write online but then I stop. How do I compensate for the false impression she has? Do you think she would trust anything I say afterwards? I doubt it. I expect my credibility with her is ruined, all because of my own false advertising. (This is a fictitious example as I am not yet a best selling international author but I would love to be.)

Another approach people use on the internet is to make their company look significantly bigger than it is. They’ll use words like, "We here at X International, Ltd." If your online business is comprised of you and your cat, does that warrant the use of "we" in your advertising? "We here at the Rockford Corporation meet our clients' needs before they even know they have them."

Such advertising language may be impressive to a potential customer at first and many online consumers do feel better about working with a larger organization than thinking they are doing business with someone in their pajamas, but it can lead to awkward conversations like the one listed above and can lead to mistrust which will ultimate destroy your reputation and your brand. How will a potential customer feel when they phone the customer service department and you are the one who answers, then they ask to speak with a supervisor, who consequently also happens to be you? Will they feel misled if they discover you are also the product fulfillment manager, bookkeeper, and chairman? People do understand that some companies have a single employee but they want to understand that upfront, not lied to through web site marketing.

Helena Rubinstein – a marketing genius who misled the public

I am reminded of the phrase "truth in adverting" as I study the business acumen of one of the first cosmetic industry giants, Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965).

Helena Rubinstein's company, eventually bought out by L'Oreal, was a pioneer in the beauty industry in the early 19th century. She was a direct and fierce competitor of Elizabeth Arden. In my opinion, Helena took the liberty of advertising embellishment beyond a place of integrity.

Born in Poland in the 1870's, Helena immigrated to Australia in her twenties. Eventually she established a beauty shop and sold cosmetic creams. Her own translucent skin proved to her customers that she was a product of her product (being a product of your product is another way to sell with integrity and build trust and loyalty to your brand). After looking at pictures of her, I can see why customers were attracted to her. Her skin looks gorgeous and definitely something to emulate.

Helena it seems loved a good story. She made her product in her own shop in Melbourne using ingredients native to Australia but she claimed she was an importer and the cream was from Europe. Her original recipes may have originated in Europe but it wasn’t manufactured there as she advertised to the public.

Naturally her products were protected by trade secrets but she misled the consumer by stating the ingredients came from the Carpathian Mountains outside of Krakow, Poland. (This claim reminds me of the currently faddish health drinks made from ingredients from the Amazon rain forest.) She correctly assumed that the public would be more impressed with a cream from Europe than from Australia.

I believe Madame's (as she was called) customers were attracted to the "European" element because they lived in Australia, and we humans seem to find a "foreign" idea or product alluring. Products from elsewhere may contain "magic" and probably work better than the domestic products we've already tried and found to be wanting. Most of us are skeptical about advertising claims but we must still believe some of them because they still motivate us to buy.

It is so easy to make grand advertising claims and distribute them with a click of our mouse, but it is also much easier for others to investigate and to discover the truth behind these claims. Even more dangerous to the advertiser is the fact that consumers now feel empowered to spread their findings or beliefs about the falseness of a marketing message or an empty promise to other savy consusmers online. They will not hesitate to share their findings with others on a blog, chat room, in a discussion group, and even some highly motivated people may run a pay-per-click ad campaign saying "The truth about Guru X."

Can your business afford such negative campaigning? If the public discovered the truth behind your claims, would it ruin your brand? Operating your business from a place of integrity may mean you use fewer "sensational ads" making exaggerated claims but it may mean you develop more profitable relationships with customers who become loyal to your brand.

Madame Helena Rubinstein was an incredibly intelligent, successful, and wealthy entrepreneur – despite her marketing exaggerations. She had the ability to anticipate and capitalize on many trends as the cosmetic industry grew. She was a master of publicity. She befriended journalists and editors and she hounded her public relations department to make sure they kept her company in the headlines. She also implemented many marketing devices still used today, including the concept of "dry, normal, and oily skin." Designating skin into three different categories originated as a marketing ploy to open up markets for three separate lines of skin products.

As I read about Helena Rubinstein in the interesting book entitle "War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry" (2003) by Lindy Woodhead, I am fascinated not only by Helena's business ventures, but also the story of her successful rival, self-made business woman, Elizabeth Arden. The author, Woodhead, highlights business decisions each woman made and the impact it had on their empires. She also provides an interesting backdrop of what society was like at the time.

There are many grey areas in advertising. Whenever I have doubt about what I should say, I just image how I would feel and what I would say to a customer if they "called me out" on my claims. If I am confident that I am accurately representing something, then I feel free to use colorful, exciting language. What barometer will you use for your marketing? How will you chose to promote your brand and still maintain integrity?

The Helena Rubinstein Foundation:
"The Helena Rubinstein Foundation supports programs in education, community services, arts/arts in education, and health, with a special interest in programs that benefit women and children and assist disadvantaged communities."*

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can You Immobilize Yourself with Too Many Questions? - Documentary Review: Searching for Debra Winger

Documentary Review: Searching for Debra Winger (2002) by Rosanna Arquette
Rating: B+

This documentary is referenced in several books on women and career. I finally requested a copy from my library. When people talk about this documentary, they often sum it up as a film about how aging female actors survive in Hollywood. I think this grossly underestimates the applicability for those of us outside of Hollywood. This film is sensitive, personal, and brave. I am delighted that Arquette took the time to interview a few dozen successful women who demonstrate that there are still struggles in managing their career even if they are super-stars.

Arquette interviews many successful actors including: Meg Ryan, Vanessa Redgrave, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Fonda, Sharon Stone and finally Debra Winger. Her interviews focus on what matters most for many women "How can you achieve balance in your life?" "Can we have it all?" She nearly asks. "How do we balance career and family?" "How can you live with the sacrifices you’ve made?" "How can you find quality, fulfilling work when people only objectify you as a sex symbol?" These are essence of her questions.

Arquette's premise is why did Debra Winger leave the movie business when her career was so hot? Was this a decision she regretted? Did Debra Winger know something Arquette didn't?

A Hollywood career is very demanding, so everyone in the business will tell us but for the other women in the world, I believe that they find themselves in equally demanding positions. They have their own questions like "Why am I getting passed up for promotions?" "How can I justify networking with co-workers outside of work hours while my six year old is at home waiting for me to help her with a school project?" "Should I accept a job that requires travel? If I do, what will my kids think?" "Can I return to the workforce at the same pay-grade after I took time off to raise my kids?"

Questions swirl in women's minds in endless turbulence. We often second guess ourselves and wonder if there is a better way to do things. After listening to Arquette ask the actors question after question, I realized something critical. Many people use questions as a way to delay action. If you have so many questions about something then it stands to reason that you should wait to act until you can investigate further. So we wait. We get answers. These answers prompt more questions. We wait some more. The next thing you know, either the opportunity has passed or we find time flying by.

Debra Winger decided that for herself, it was best to leave the industry. She looked happy, healthy, and gorgeous. It seemed that her choice agreed well with her. Some women fair well to take their ball and go home. They can leave the usual career rat race and make their way through non-traditional means. I don't know what projects, if any Debra Winger is working on but she seems satisfied. For Arquette, however, it seems like she still wants to stay in the movie/tv business even though it requires sacrifice and hard work.

I can relate well and appreciate all of Arquette's questions. I have been doing the same thing for several years and yet I am no closer to a truth that satisfies me. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins warns about using "Endless Loop" questions. These are questions that you ask yourself that keep your head spinning. They are not questions like a journalist would use to ferret out tangible answers such as "Who, What, Why, Where, and When." Endless loop questions, while important, don’t encourage ourselves to move forward.

I was amazed that so many very successful women like Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, and Sharon Stone asked themselves similar questions like Arquette asked or I even ask myself but there was a difference between them and myself.

They asked the questions but that didn’t prevent them from acting (pun intended).

They had questions about how to balance career and family but they kept on moving forward towards their career goals and raising their families. They were the first to admit that they didn’t do everything perfectly. Meg Ryan said "as a mom and as an artist, you compartmentalize…"

Whoopi Goldberg and Jane Fonda both spoke about the sacrifices their children faced because of their choices to pursue Hollywood careers. But as Goldberg said, if she decided to forgo her Hollywood career and stayed home to be with her kid, she would’ve been around more but she wouldn't have been as good a mother.

Questions are a powerful tool. They can help us avoid disasters and engage with the world with more depth but they can also immobilize ourselves. Keep questioning, but like the actors featured in this interesting documentary, don’t let the questions keep you for pursuing your dreams.

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace:Women in Leadership - a Woman’s Review

On principle against the overt sexism, machismo, and "escapism" relationships with women, I avoided historical James Bond movies entirely, until in a moment of kindness, I agreed to see Daniel Craig's first Bond movie with my husband. Casino Royale was better than I expected and the women didn't seem to be such classic "play things" I thought I briefly witnessed in the earlier Bond films.

On opening day, I once again found myself in front of Bond on screen in Quantum of Solace and found that I loved the movie. I enjoyed the complicated storyline and while the action scenes were abundant, they didn't last so long that I found my mind wandering too far from the story.

I like Daniel Craig's portrayal of James Bond best in Quantum of Solace because he seemed powerful, intelligent, in control, and sophisticated without appearing smug and conceited. His performance is so convincing because he didn't even seem to be trying to be Bond – he just is Bond.

But the actor that arrested me most in Quantum of Solace was Judi Dench. Dench plays "M," Bond's boss and director of a Secret Intelligence Service branch (MI6). If I understand her role correctly, she answers directly to the Prime Minister, although in this movie, she received orders indirectly from other officials.

Judi Dench's portrayal was cool, quick thinking, and exuded power. Even though her power and orders were usurped at times by a "reengage" Bond, she still managed to keep close reign on an escalating situation where there was little reliable intel.

I want to contrast her role in Quantum of Solace with another film. I recently watched "Ladies in Lavender" (2004) a very "English" film that was charming but not earth-shattering. Dench co-starred with Maggie Smith who was recently in the Harry Potter films and Becoming Jane.

The Ladies in Lavender roles were what one would expect for two older women, delegated to play two aging sisters who were kind-hearted but troubled by the past and the lack of opportunities in their lives. Dench played an adorable character but it was in line with the kinds of roles society expects older women to play - she was weak and childlike.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is M, who I decidedly like. Her commanding strength solicited respect from Bond even when he disagreed with her.

The ability to lead highly talented individuals and to maintain control is a leadership skill many women are still learning to yield. We saw poor executive leadership skills in the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006)where the overbearing female boss alienated her work staff in a comedic way.

The level of support and control Dench exhibited goes beyond the level of supervisory skills that come naturally to most women. Author Dr. Lois P. Frankel writes wonderful books about women and leadership. Her titles include: See Jane Lead and Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office 101: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make that Sabotage Their Careers.

I highly recommend these books. I took copies out from the library but am finding that I must buy them so I can highlight the text and read over and over again. Women have often struggled with the balance of maintaining power without being labeled a power-hungry b-----. I think M's performance is a perfect example of how to succeed as a leader.

On a couple occasions in the film, Dench reveals her feminine side, while getting ready for a hot bath, and putting on face cream, all the while leading business phone calls. This imagery reminds us that Dench has a feminine side as well. What I loved about the women in leadership books by Frankel is that she teaches women how to use their feminine stregths to become great leaders rather than deny or suppress them. In effect, instead of "See Jane Lead," her book title could be "See Judi Lead."

Those who watch Quantum of Solace may point out that Bond ignores her orders repeatedly and that his actions led to the truth. Well, just because you are a leader doesn't mean you are always right. The key to great leadership as Henry Ford told us is to have people who are more intelligent than you are working for you. Successful leadership is not dependent on having all the right answers, it is dependent upon knowing how to utilize your resources, analyzing your options, balancing the demands of those in higher or more influential positions than you, and still get the job done. In this regard, M was an impeccable leader.

While acting as M, Dench was confronted with several red herrings. Misdirection led her to temporarily loose her trust in Bond but she quickly rectified that decision and like a good leader, she was quick to recognize her own misjudgments and correct them.

Dench's portrayal is a wonderful example of leadership and it is refreshing and exciting to see a woman play such a clear thinking, powerful role. In See Jane Lead, Dr. Frankel reminds us that assertiveness is a function of leadership and when thinking of assertiveness to "[K]eep in mind that assertiveness means you combine direct and clear communication with unfailing, unconditional positive regard and concern for others." P 108, See Jane Lead.

Quantum of Solace is not only entertaining, it is also a fun, exciting example of female leadership. Thank you Judi Dench for creating a role model.

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Women's History Inclusion Still Has a Long Way to Go

I write about women in history because I learned little of women's accomplishments as I was growing up. Their history was so absent from my history lessons and books that it never occured to me that there were many women in history who made contributions. Minorities also feel this way. There is a void of historical experience education for women and minorities. I write these articles to try and combat this lack of education and to introduce women to themselves and their past.

I erroneously assumed that girls growing up now didn't grow up with this void. In an era where women executives ran massive companies like eBay and hold positions like Secretary of State, I expected that newly written historical accounts would integrate women rather than rely on sharing their history in their own separate sphere. It seems we still have a ways to go.

Recently I enjoyed a wonderful mini-series developed by the BBC entitled The Impressionists (2006). The year of production is the key, it was released just two years ago. The rendition of the Impressionistic Movement of the late 1800's and the artists who paved the way, include artists Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, and Bazille.

The storyline is rich, the characters funny, and the settings interesting but now I feel there is a void. While the movie focused on a fraternal atmosphere between the artists, no mention (that I recall) was made of Mary Cassat, an American born but French Impressionist who was very close to Degas and was invited to participate in their rebellious Salon of the Refused (Salon de Refuses). This public art exhibit was a pivotal break from the tightly held annual exhibit known as the Salon de Paris hosted each year by The Academie, because it allowed young artists with a new vision for art to exhibit their work outside of the traditionally defined Salon de Paris.

Some biographers think there was a very close relationship between Cassat and Degas* and I think this information merits at least a mention of Cassat in the film The Impressionists. I was even more surprised to learn the film was produced by a woman. Naturally the editing process requires that only essential material be included in a story to maintain the pace but Mary Cassat was a key figure in the French Impressionist movement and I would have liked to see her acknowledged in this film. In the interest of including women as contributors rather than simply subjects of history, I wish Cassat's relationship with Degas was included in this film.

Watch a trailer ad for The Impressionists on YouTube.

*Mary Cassat Biography

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Health Care Plan

This subject is aberrant for this blog; however, this blog is about women's issues and health care in America is certainly a woman's (and man's) issue.

Universal health care would bankrupt the American economy and lead to poorer health. Few people value free things. I believe that Americans would take even less responsibility for their health choices if they had unlimited access to free health care.

My health plan is as follows:

Free Health Clinics
All hospitals should have an adjunct free clinic open to anyone and everyone. This facility should share administrative facilities with emergency rooms but otherwise be independent.

To attract talented practitioners to the free clinics, doctors and employees should have their education costs written off over the course of time they work in the clinic, say 20% per year. Additionally the clinics should have ideal work conditions including access to current technologies, sufficient staff to avoid overtime and work sharing schedules to attract and retain top talent.

Any funds the government would spend to create universal health coverage would be spent on these clinics. As a result, emergency room hospitals can go back to what they are good at, dealing in urgent care and they can make a profit doing so. Additionally hundreds of thousands of people without health insurance would have easy, immediate access to quality health care.

Health & Life Insurance
Insurance companies should implement prohibitive premiums for smokers and people diagnosed as obese. These two lifestyle conditions are preventable and can only be governed on an individual level. Each person must take responsibility for their own heath choices and how this influences their health and therefore the amount of health care they need.

Life insurance policy holders should pay lower premiums if they document that they utilize preventative medicine such as nutritional supplements, chiropractic and acupuncture for overall health, psychotherapy management for stress relief, etc.

There should be more financial incentives in the form of tax breaks for Health Savings Accounts (HSA's). Many members in government have been trying to encourage Americans to take advantage of this great program but it still is relatively unknown.

Affordable Access to Nutritional Food
Organic food and small local farms should receive subsidies that directly translate into lower food costs at the grocery store so that more Americans can afford nutritionally dense food. Highly processed food companies and companies that genetically modify food (and in my opinion, undermine the integrity of our food source) should be more regulated by the government and the chemicals used in foods should undergo more rigorous evaluation through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Additionally, organic labeling and food labeling standards should become stronger not weaker. Americans have a right to trust food labeling and not be subject to word-play and food size proportion manipulation. Otherwise, why bother having food labeling.

Affordable high quality food is the key to the health of America. The sooner we recognize and value affordable high quality food, the sooner we will avert our health crisis.

In Conclusion
Implementing these ideas would cost money but I believe it would cost considerably less money than universal health care and less than ignoring our situation. Additionally, this program encourages each individual to take an interest in their own health and the costs associated with maintaining health. It gives Americans the opportunity to have access to quality care and quality food at an affordable price. It also gives hospitals and insurance companies the freedom to act in a way that leads to more profits which means more jobs and safer investment opportunities for those who want to invest in these companies. It also refocuses the government on regulating in areas they are good at such as consumer safety (strict, reliable food labeling governance) and funding public works projects (the free clinics) and keeps them out of industries they do not know about – administering health care.

Any person in a position of power to implement these ideas is more than welcome to take them as their own.

This health plan may seem radical and it may not be enough but I think it is an excellent start. I also feel that it is far less radical than what I hear the presidential candidates alluding to and it is more in line with American values. This plan encourages protection for those less fortunate; it encourages personal responsibility and opportunity, integrity, and honesty. These are the American values that have carried us through for all these years. I would hate to see them set aside.

I am now stepping off my soap box.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Accomplished Women Have Fears Too: What Do They Do About It?

Book review: On Becoming Fearless: Love, Work, and Life by Arianna Huffington, founder of

Many of us have had our fill of traditional self help books. Sure they are helpful but after a while they all seem the same. Arianna's book, Fearless, sounds like a self help book but it breaks the mold. This book is calming and invigorating at the same time. She fills the pages with examples of women pushing through their fears whether they are fictional characters, historical heroes, or modern day leaders. She flawlessly blends anecdotal stories that struck to the core of my psyche.

So why pick up a book on fearlessness? One reason fear holds us back is our failure to recognize we have fear. Fear implies weakness. No one wants to be perceived as weak so we distract ourselves by exploring our psychology, read self improvement books, and make ourselves better in every way except one. We ignore the elephant in the room – fear.

Arianna writes: "To live in fear is the worst form of insult to our true selves. By having such a low regard for who we are – for our instincts and abilities and worth – we build a cage around ourselves. To prevent others from shutting us down, we do it for them. Trapped by our own fears, we then pretend that we're incapable of having what we want, forever waiting for others to give us permission to start living. Pretty soon, we start to believe this is the only way."*

The statement "we build a cage around ourselves" stuck me deeply because I've been feeling the constriction of my own cage as the years roll on. Many women like to nest. We like to live and operate in a certain type of environment that reflects our personality, interests, and accomplishments. We create the same environment in our own minds but here we also include our fears about whether we are good enough, concerns that we behaved foolishly, doubts as to whether we'll achieve those dreams and goals we've always had. We include all these concerns, using them as beams to construct a cage around ourselves. This cage serves as a protection, a little home to keep us from becoming disappointed or hurt.

But lately I've found that for myself, the less I express myself, the fewer risks I take, the stronger my cage becomes. I thought this was a good thing at first. I relished in the fortress I was building, but the cage didn't expand outwards because I wasn't expanding outwards. Instead, the beams became thicker as they grew inward. I am finding myself constricted by my own cage.

The metaphor of a woman in a cage has been used before. Poet and writer Maya Angelou wrote "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" many years ago where she explored a different perception of freedom, one that transcends. But I find that in speaking with other women, more often than not, they are in cages of their own design – not society's. How comfortable is your cage? Is it getting tight in there? As the personal development coach Tony Robbins asks: What purpose does your cage serve? What benefits does your cage offer? For me, the answer is that I am ready to fly to coop.

So how can one start to push past secret fears? I found one exercise Arianna suggested fun. This exercise is especially good for someone who feels as if life is passing them by and they are not "getting" to do the things they want.

Make a list of everything you ever thought you wanted to do. Include things like travel the world on the QE2, write a Broadway play, learn belly dancing, speak another language, open a school for disadvantage children, become a millionaire. Whatever it is, no matter when you dreamed of doing it, write it down.

Now, look at your list. What items on your list no longer appeal to you? If they are no longer important, cross them off. I always wanted to learn Russian. I always expected that I would speak Russian. I was motivated to learn Russian because one, it sounds kind of cool, and two I love Russian literature. But I've never been to Russia, have no immediate plans to do so. I do not know any Russian speaking people. I do not plan to negotiate a business deal with a Russian company. Also, when I took an introductory Russian class, I barely studied for the class. It sounds to me like I simply have a romantic notion of learning Russian. If I could learn by plugging a wire into myself and downloading the language like they do in the movie Matrix, then I absolutely would learn Russian. But if I have to go through the motions and learn it myself, well, I don't expect I'll ever get around to it. I decided to cross it off my list of what I want to do.

Why is it important to cross things off? Because when we want to feel bad about ourselves or our lives we turn to that long list of things we want to do and lament that we haven't made a dent in it. I, for example, discount all the wonderful things I've accomplished and have and say, "Well, I haven't even learned Russian yet." Feeling bad about what we haven't done in life is a great way to distract ourselves from what we truly value and what is truly important in our lives. If you see an item on your list that truly doesn’t seem important anymore, that no longer resonates with who you are as a woman, then cross it off.

Arianna says, "When we start to let go of things that we’re not passionate about, we're free to initiate new projects and pursue new passions. This is one of the best ways to become truly fearless about aging."

A word of caution. I performed this exercise and started crossing off old dreams and goals left and right. A few days later I looked at my scribbly list again. I saw that I crossed out dreams that are actually still very important to me but they are dreams that I have considerable doubt about whether I can achieve them. This exercise isn't about what seems feasible based on your current circumstances and resources. It is about examining who you really are and want you really want. It takes considerable courage and honesty to do this exercise. Think of it this way. You are cleaning out your closet and getting rid of shoes, jewelry, and clothes that you know you will never wear again because they no longer reflect your personality or lifestyle. The bonus is that you make more room in your closet for more shoes and for more goals.

I could continue writing all the valuable nuggets Arianna shared in her book but the best thing is to pick up a copy for yourself. Although I heard the name Arianna Huffington before, I didn’t know who she was or what she had accomplished in her life. That just goes to show how much time I dwell under my nineteenth century rock. From what others have told me about her, she clearly speaks her mind and has learned to move forward in spite of any fears she may have or had.

She leaves us with an excellent question. "But are we really any safer because of all the fear? Have we gained anything by it? More important, what have we lost?"

Arianna Huffington truly wrote the book I long to write. She beautifully integrated many women's stories and experiences in an intimate way. This isn't a traditional self-help book. It is much more than a plunge into psychology. It is an encounter with women who feel fear and who still accomplish great things.

Arianna Huffington is a politically active writer and media mogul. Her books include political commentary and biographies of Picasso and Maria Callas. In 2003, she ran for governor in the widely publicized Gray Davis recall election in California. She now operates the online media outlet,

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.

*p. 7, Becoming Fearless: Love, Work, and Life by Arianna Huffington
**p. 144, Ibid.
***p178, Ibid.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

To Be or Not to Be a Mother, That is the Question

(portrait of Laura Bassi, Italian professor)

I am entering the sunset phase of my reproductive years and for the first time, I hear the clock ticking.

Should I succumb to the age old call of passing down my genes? Are my genes good enough to pass down? Or should I select a child who is already here, adopt someone who is lost its mother? Would I be a good mom or would I drive my child into years of therapy?

Do most women question whether they should go ahead and turn their bodies and their lives over to another human being? How are they so willing to relinquish control over to their creation? Aren't they afraid it will turn on them as Mary Shelly's Frankenstein or Gertrude Bell's Iraq did?

I have many hesitations to willingly giving birth to a child and I suspect I am not alone in my ambivalence. I've read the countless tales of talented women artists who never produced another painting after they had children. Granted, many of these women lived in an era when child raising and housekeeping consumed one's entire day and energy. Today more women seem to balance creativity and childrearing. I suspect the secret of their success lies with a support network.

I am impressed by the number of "working mom" and mom entrepreneur chat room and websites that exist. It seems that half of the women websites and women blogs are a resource for working mothers. This gives me hope. One organization I've used to help me understand internet marketing is led by Alice Seba, called Internet Working Moms. This is one of many great resources for women who are creating innovative careers that allow them to balance the needs of family with the needs as a financial provider.

Each time my mother asks for grandchildren, I remind her that I am busy trying to get my writing career off the ground and to make money in business. I tell her my female heroes didn't have children, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Edith Wharton, Jane Addams, Gertrude Bell, and Eva Hesse. I remember how much Sylvia Plath struggled to balance family and work, and how she lost that struggle.

But then my mother reminds me of other women I admire who managed to pull it off. Jessie Fremont (1824-1902), an abolitionist, writer, and political campaigner had a couple of children.
Lucretia Mott (1793-1880) who is credited as the first American feminist had six children.

I was most surprised to learn of the first female physics professor at the University of Bologna in Italy. Laura Bassi (1711-1778) was described as "a figure of the greatest importance in the intellectually flourishing Bologna of the eighteenth century" * The University of Bologna was one of the premier universities in Europe. Bologna itself was a hotbed for female progress, housing several famous female painters after the Italian Renaissance.

Bassi had at least eight children with her husband Giuseppe Veratti. Her husband also taught at the university but his position was ranked lower than hers. Bassi negotiated an arrangement with the university that not only allowed her to lead lectures from her home but to also receive higher pay. She was a champion of Newtonian physics and is credited with bringing Isaac Newton's physics to Italy.* She is definitely a role model for mothers who also have an established professional career.

The study of these women still hasn't led me to a decision, so I guess I'll continue to listen to that clock tick as I wrestle in my ambivalence.

Looking for more?

Laura Bassi biography page

Internet Working Moms

Allison Frederick believes that Role Modeling is one of the most effective ways to launch a program, improve a product, and personally achieve a higher level of success and goals.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Allison Frederick's upcoming novel - A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller

A Portrait of Josephine is a soon-to-be published novel by the editor of FaMiss, Allison Frederick.

A classic mentor/apprentice story with female empowerment.
21st century graduate student Abby Archer, and her mentor, Galena Conner, a British milk farmer’s wife from the late 1880s journey through deception to uncover their feminine strength. Based on the spirit of artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Eva Hesse.

Cliffside in Somerhaven, the British Isles Late 1800's

It might sound strange that I knew her immediately. Her body swollen like a sausage, her black hair caked with sand and seaweed. But her eyes were wide open, and those eyes could escape me no more. I would know them anywhere. Galena stopped, pulling a strand of hair from her chapped thin lips. The wind, unruly in its usual way thrust the hair back with haste.

She paused, and took a long, steady breath. Her grey woolen shawl beat in rhythm along with her hair in the wind but the rest of her was unmoved, almost indistinguishable from the fog and lichen stones. With her head held high, more out of habit than any present sense of confidence, she watched the ocean waves loll into Somerhaven.

There are times in life when something happens, something unexpected, and suddenly everything is changed. I still draw and paint, to that I’ll always be true for I could be nothing else. But the rhythm of our lives was brutally interrupted when she washed ashore. It was not just the end for her but also the end of a way of life for the few who knew her: my son Simon, my husband Kellen - Master Ruther.

The ocean waves pulsed with life far below the eroding cliff where Galena sat. The insistent clang of ship bells mingled with the muted voices of men unloading new cargo. Their vitality was lost on Galena. The events in her mind raced and bobbed to the surface for air as if breath would make sense of it all.

Just before a disaster struck, have you ever felt as though you were living in a dream? It is as if you never thought the worst could find its way to your door; as if what was happening before would never change. It was in this way my husband and I built our lives. It was in this way we thought our children would grow, just as we did, without consequence. What difference does knowing make if you are the only one who knows and the knowing changes nothing? I used to be so certain. Certain about what I wanted and what would happen. Certain about my life. But since the day Josephine washed onto the shore, I haven’t wanted to know anything. I am tired. My legs, they don’t want to walk; my arms, they are so heavy they can barely hold my paintbrush.

Galena inhaled sharply. The air, crisp and damp, seemed to awaken her a bit. Ah, the sea, it delivers and it takes away. It is like love, I suppose. It rushes forward, then quickly retreats. Some say the young cannot truly know love, but I’ve seen them. I’ve seen my son and Josephine, I know of their love for each other. They were free. Free from consequence. Free from failure. So free from fear. Foolish, they were. It pains me now. Yes. But they did love.

She looked down at her hands, and felt her mind grow numb; the sounds swirling around her became muffled. She sat that way for some time. So accustomed to the mist and fog skewing her vision, she wasn’t aware her sight was blurred from tears she dare not let fall.Words finally began forming in her mind, words she’d been afraid to let in. Kellen doesn’t say much, but he’s a good man. Sometimes life makes a good man do what he wouldn’t do otherwise. Sometimes justice must be served.

End of Prologue

Get an autographed copy of A Portrait of Josephine and even an acknowledgement in the book itself! Click HERE to learn how.

Your voice matters! CLICK HERE to read the prologue to A Portrait of Josephine for FREE and place your vote. Or visit

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gather's First Chapters Contest Gives Opportunities for New Authors

The fun social networking website, offers a contest called "First Chapters." In this contest, writers share their first chapter with the Gather community and then they vote whether they liked the chapter or not. If the writer receives a high enough score, then the writer's story moves onto the next chapter where readers will vote again. What a fun, dynamic way to draw attention to a novel. In this same spirit, we are running our own contest.

Publishers and agents are attracted to manuscripts that have potential. They feel even better about books that already have the support of readers. For this reason, I am asking for your help. Your vote could help a novel be published. The process is simple and free.

Looking for more?

A Portrait of Josephine is a soon-to-be published novel by Allison Frederick. It is a classic mentor/apprentice story about female empowerment between a young, graduate student from the 21 century named Abby Archer, and her mentor, Galena Conner, a British milk farmer’s wife from the late 1880s. These women are based on the inspirational qualities of two famous female artists, painter, Georgia O'Keeffe and sculptor, Eva Hesse. Follow their path as the main characters explore the essence of their feminine being and as they reject the boxed in roles their respective societies have of them.

Get an autographed copy of A Portrait of Josephine and even an acknowledgement in the book itself! Click HERE to learn how.

Your voice matters! CLICK HERE to read the prologue to A Portrait of Josephine for FREE and place your vote. Or visit

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Building a Brand So Sweet: See's Chocolates

Building a Brand So Sweet, it Lasts for Generations: The Story of See's Chocolates

An inspiring business success story always gets the juices flowing as the reader feels the flow of success and wise decisions bringing them along for the ride. Combine the rush of a good story with a story about chocolate and you have an irresistible combination.

It all began with the matriarchal figure of Mary See. Mary's recipes for chocolates and candies built the See's Candy Empire that has wooed America since 1921. See's Candies uses the finest quality ingredients and always has. That is one of the secrets to their success. Even during the Depression, they didn't cut corners. Their customers can always count on a quality candy and that is why their customers keep coming back. Does your customer have the same, quality experience over and over again?

The See Candy story is a classic American success story. They were descendents of Ireland, whose family immigrated to Ontario. Mary's son, Charles, was working as a salesman, selling ingredients in bulk to bakeries. There was a popular candy shop chain in Ontario and Charles felt that he could create something better. He and his family, including his mother Mary and her meticulous and loved candy recipes, moved to Los Angeles to open their own store.
It was popular in the 1920's to brand food products with a "trust-worthy, mother or grandmother" image. In 1921, the company that later became General Mills, created Betty Crocker, a fictitious woman who, in 1945, was voted the second most popular woman in America (behind Eleanor Roosevelt).* Charles went along with this trend, using his mother's photograph as the logo for See's Candy. This tribute not only reminded Charles and the employees where their great recipes came from, it also instilled the "warm fuzzy feeling" one has when we think of a gray-haired, plump woman's baking. We trust that it must be delicious. The logo and its emotional assurance and ability to generate fond memories of grandma's baking in some of us, is just one example of the cleverness Charles displayed when running his company. Does your company's logo have a broad, emotional appeal? Recently, logos have moved into the abstract or graphic look. Could your company's brand benefit from using a photograph?

Though the 1920's was profitable for the See's and they had several shops, the Depression of the '30s held them back a bit but they were able to keep their doors open and were even expanding by 1936. They renegotiated their leases, the employee salaries, and lowered the price for a pound of chocolate. ** All these measures ensured their success. Of course, they never compromised their quality so their brand was maintained. If your business has gone through lean times, have you been tempted to cut corners on your product? If you do then your customer cannot trust your product again.

Many business owners dream of selling their business for a lot of money. This was true for See's Candy. In 1972 the surviving family sold their business to one of the best businessmen in America's History, Warren Buffett.

I've highlighted only a few of the business decisions that led to the success of this company. Charles See was a visionary and a problem solver. He was committed to a course of action and took his family business to a level of success that few companies achieve. If you would like to learn more about this legacy and how you can apply their innovative thinking to your business, I encourage you to read "See's Famous Old Time Candies: A Sweet Story" by Margaret Moos Pick.

References* The Betty Crocker Story, CS News book review, 2005**" See's Famous Old Time Candies: A Sweet Story" by Margaret Moos Pick, (2005). p. 28

Looking for more? Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success Profiles, including books & movie reviews highlighting historical and modern women experiences.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine – Through September 7th, 2008

I recently learned of a unique exhibit of 18 pieces of Georgia O'Keeffe's work and 60 photographs of her and her life. The art exhibit runs through September 7, 2008 at the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine.

"For the first time, the exhibition pairs paintings and photographs to establish two opposing public images of the artist. Georgia O'Keeffe and the Camera includes works by famous photographers such as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Eliot Porter, Todd Webb, and Arnold Newman. The exhibition will also include examples of O'Keeffe's paintings and works on paper that mark major moments in the development of her art"*

If you live in the area or are looking for a last minute Labor Day vacation, I encourage you to check out this exhibit.

O'Keeffe was both the artist and the subject of art. This exhibit shows how both roles fortified her career.

Looking for more?
Another FaMiss article about O’Keeffe: Changing Our Dreams into What We Do: Georgia O’Keeffe vs. Sylvia Plath

Podcast that tells about the theme of the exhibition: Georgia O’Keeffe, An Overview – introduces the idea of how photography help promote her painting career.


Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success History & Literature, including books & movie reviews highlighting historical and modern women experiences.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Changing Our Dreams into What We Do: Georgia O’Keeffe vs. Sylvia Plath

Some people have such an innate sense of what they want and who they are. I have never been that kind of person. Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) is my icon, my model for self-certainty. It seems she never wavered from her painting. Her boldness and confidence governed her daily decisions which supported her artistic life. She married a much older man, a man who was also in the arts; a gallery owner, champion of artists, and famous photographer. O'Keeffe seemed to blossom in this partnership, becoming even more strong and assured. She had the confidence to break away not only from her traditional master painters but also from the styles of the male painters of her time. Her painting "Red, White, and Blue" (1931) was a jibe to her contemporaries. In an interview (see the youTube video below), a much older O'Keeffe lit up with orneriness as she described what this painting meant to her. She said that at that time all the artists were discussing the "Great American" this and the "Great American" that but, she laughed, few of these men had been west of the Hudson River. O'Keeffe knew there was more to the American Spirit than New England breeding and Western dime novels. She had lived in rural Texas and New Mexico, truly embracing a holistic vision of America.

I read about Georgia O'Keeffe, study her art, and watch her interviews to see if I can figure out what made her so certain about how she should live her life. Why was she able to focus so clearly on her painting? How did she have the courage to boldly share her vision of the world without heed to the critics? How did she blend so well with married life, using it to reinforce her art rather than minimize it?

I am tempted to believe that some people are just born that way, but isn't that always our default when we don't understand a phenomenon? We pinpoint genetics, fate, or God's will as the reason for a mystifying origin. I can't be satisfied with that and I imagine neither can many of you. If you are like me, longing for a level of mastery, creative expression, and success enjoyed by someone like O'Keeffe then you won’t be satisfied by the standard line "She was born with it" either.

But I am beginning to wonder if the answer lies more in not what a woman did but perhaps what she didn't do. O'Keefe's husband was very famous and successful but O'Keeffe wasn't threatened by this. She didn't make herself smaller, or tuck herself into the shadow of her husband's successful career. In fact, her paintings grew bolder and larger after her marriage. Poet Sylvia Plath (1932-1963); however, chose a different response. She was a published, popular poet before she married another successful poet. But it seemed that as her husband became more successful, she became more self-effacing. She developed writers block. She set the priorities of her husband and children before her poetry. She denied her creative expression. Perhaps she thought she was doing the proper thing, setting aside her creative ambition to tend to her daily responsibilities. But her actions weren't selfless. Her need to creatively express herself was so strong, so undeniable that it eventually ate at her from the inside and she chose to kill herself rather than live in her creative vacuum.

I believe that for many of us, men and women alike, we blur ourselves, our dreams, our true nature in shrouds of expected responsibility and excuses of lack of time and energy. We think we are doing the right thing by working at a job that doesn't support our creative needs. We think we are giving our children a perfect childhood when we are available for their every need. Meanwhile our core self, our creative self gets smaller and more obscure. At the same time our bitterness and disappointment grows by leaps and bounds. The truth is, most of us can't create in a protective isolated chamber (unless you are Emily Dickinson). If art reflects life, then it is through life that we create art. And most of our lives are filled with responsibilities, earning a living, caring for loved ones, nurturing our health. Each of our responsibilities requires time and creates distraction. Every interaction has the potential to cause us to doubt ourselves and make ourselves smaller like Plath, or to enrich our perspective and foster creative ways of expression like O'Keeffe.

Some of us store our personalities in boxes and call them dreams. "One day when I retire I’ll do this." Or "if circumstances changed, I would be doing this." The trouble with putting off who we are is that our true self or our "dreams" as we call it keeps gnawing at us. We use this taunting to justify our anger, our fears. We use it to blame the ones we love, saying they prevent us from being who we truly are. But is this true? Are we being honest?

Perhaps the key to changing our dreams into a reality is to change what we do every day. The choices we make on how we spend our time, where we focus our energies, and whether our daily actions are consistent with who we truly want to be. O'Keeffe lived to be a very happy, accomplished 98 year old. Sylvia Plath killed herself at the age of 30. Both were incredible artists, whose work has influenced thousands of women but one seemed happy with her life and we enjoy a larger body of work from the woman who turned her dreams and self into a daily reality.

Looking for more?
Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success History & Literature, including books & movie reviews highlighting successful historical and modern women experiences.

Georgia's spirit in her own words:

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Women Who are Happy at Work: Are You One of Them?

Book Review: Be Happy at Work: 100 Women Who Love Their Jobs, and Why (2005) by Joanne Gordon

As I watch the summer 2008 Olympics, I wonder why in the world I never considered beach volley ball to be a career option for me. I watch those women and wonder if they fret on Sunday afternoon, dreading the return to work on Monday morning and I doubt it. Why was I so narrow in my thinking when I chose my careers? Why did I think that disliking the job was part of my penance which justified my pay check? Why did I think that I didn’t need to be happy at my job? Now, I wasn't always unhappy in my jobs but I certainly held my fair share of crappy jobs, but this was normal, right?

The book Be Happy at Work: 100 Women Who Love Their Jobs, and Why not only makes a perfect gift for a girl about to graduate high school or college but it is also perfect for someone who finds herself in a career transition, is job hunting, or hates going to work.

Joanne Gordon selected 100 women in a variety of fields who love their job. She tells us why they love their job and how they arrived in this position. She features a huge variety of women including the unusual financial planners and engineers, but also more unusual careers such as a synchronized swimming performer and park ranger. She found that all these women had for main traits in common: process, purpose, people, and being proactive. I loved the stories because in many cases these women held jobs I never even considered. I evaluated what they liked and tried to imagine if I would enjoy this line of work. In some cases I ruled out career ideas I've held since I was a little girl; realizing that I probably wouldn't like them that much.

As women we balance so much. If we also hate our job or are bored by our job then it is really hard to maintain the energy we need to keep the rest of our lives going. Rather than drink more coffee or take some other stimulant or coping mechanism, why not use Gordon's book to help you find the job or career path that will be so exciting to you that it will give you energy rather than drain you.

Looking for more? Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success History & Literature, including books & movie reviews highlighting historical and modern women experiences.

Gordon has a newer book out (2006) called Career Bliss: Secrets from 100 Women Who Love Their Work

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Got the Middle of the Week Work Blues? Rx -Ellen DeGeneres

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."

So the question is - Why be normal? Enjoy the rest of the week.

Looking for more? Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success History & Literature, including books & movie reviews highlighting historical and modern women experiences.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thelma & Louise: Instead of Freedom, They Chose Prison

"You get what you settle for."
Thelma and Louise 1991 movie

I missed this movie when it first came out. Finally making the time for this "girlfriend" classic, I looked forward to wild adventures and renegade women. Instead I found women who managed to escape from one prison only to securely lock themselves in another.

The movie unfolds into one shackle after another as each woman makes a choice to leave behind a world that either bores or pains them only to plunge into a lawless, lifeless abyss.

I was so disappointed in the courageous attitude of these women who seemed to spend more time reacting to events than to planning and creating them. Still, I do love the quote "You get what you settle for." It helps keep me in check when I am grumbling about my place in life. - I have what I've settled for. So the question each of us should ask is are we happy with what we have?

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Girlfriends Hit the Road: a 1920s Road Trip Book Review of Eight Women, Two Model Ts, and the American West (2007)

Book Review of Eight Women, Two Model Ts, and the American West (2007) by Joanne Wilke

Author Joanne Wilke is a wonderful storyteller whose childhood memories waffle into the readers’ nostrils like homemade apple pie. She beautifully captures the story of her grandmother’s trip to California from Iowa in 1924.

Eight young women loaded their belongings into two Model T cars and headed to California. Wilke tries to answer the question why did these girls do this? How did they find the courage and convince their parents to let them go? Even though Wilke worked from living testimonies of some of the women who made the journey, read their journals and letters back home, this adventure had many gaps and conflicting accounts. Wilke supplements the story with her own childhood memories of spending the summers in Iowa with her grandmother. These added stories really make her grandmother come alive to the reader.

This is a fun, relatively short tale of a cross country adventure before there were real roads, reliable maps, or even enclosed cars. This grand scale of this journey makes me wonder if the women were able to return to their lives and be happy for the memories or if it woke a restlessness in them that was difficult to quench.

Looking for more? Please visit FaMiss - Women's Success History & Literature, including books & movie reviews highlighting historical and modern women experiences.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Volver: Movie Review - A Woman's Interior World

The world revolves around the lives of women in Spanish director Pedro Almodόvar’s latest film, Volver (2006). It is a wonderful depiction of survival, loyalty, and integrity yet the action on the screen bears little resemblance to what is really going on in the lives, hearts, and heads of the women.

Almodόvar demonstrates once again (as he did in the film All About My Mother) that he truly understands the dual nature of women. He understands that women often have their external life, one that is busy and complex, but it is in their interior life (often very different than what is seen by others) where the core of her being dwells. His female characters are smart, fallible, sophisticated, genuine, and complex, perhaps some of the most complex female characters ever represented in film.

Volver is a relational film though perhaps few women can relate to the circumstances Penélope Cruz finds herself in but it isn’t to the situation that we can relate but rather who her character, Raimunda, is.

A beautiful, fun (in a strange way) film, one to share with your girlfriends.

This film reminded me of a quote by Edith Wharton:

"But I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing- room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes."*

*The Fullness of Life, part II (1893) Early Stories of Edith Wharton, vol. 2.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Namesake Review: Time is Our Destiny

The characters in the Indian film, The Namesake (2006), unfold in front of us as life unfolds. A young Bengali woman finds herself on a journey to New York City in 1979 when her family arranges for her marriage. Her husband, an Indian PhD student studying in New York, is unknown to her, a stranger, but he is kind and together they develop a warm, supportive marriage. Ashima, meaning no boundaries or without limits, seems to play a relatively passive role as she raises her children, their personalities overcoming her own like waves, but she never bows to their own strength. Instead, she bends with it like grass along a river or a reed in the wind.

The film explores the theme common seen in Indian films released in America, the struggle between Indian tradition and American values, old and new, adjustment and preservation but there was more to this storyline by famous female author, Jhumpa Lahiri, than cultural adjustments. The movie was about the inevitable passage of time. Ashima was young at the beginning of the movie. She was at the peak of her youth, instead of coming into her own, however, her traditional society dictated that she marry and become a wife and mother first. They raise their two children, who we see being born, wrestling in the mires of the teenage years, and becoming adults themselves. Ashima’s life completes the circle when she returns to her own self, or as Joseph Campbell puts it, her Bliss.

The silent character in this film is Time. He is with us constantly, changing the dynamics of each scene. Just as I get used to certain characters and scenarios, Time steps in and mixes up the plot. I realized how much I wanted to fight Time, to keep things the same for a while but the characters had more grace about time and change than I did. They flowed admirably with what happened. I realize now that time passage is the only destiny for each of us. Though time passage was the destiny of Ashima, it didn’t reign her in or prevent her from being who she was meant to be.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Monday, March 31, 2008

Strong Women: Strong Fathers – Lara Croft, Jessie Fremont, Condoleezza Rice

Happy Birthday Jessie Ann Benton Fremont

Jessie was born on May 31, 1824 in near Lexington, Virginia. She was the daughter of a famous and powerful U.S. Senator who not only doted on his daughter but included her in meetings with Washington officials and trained her to assist him in his work. Jessie's attention from her father falls under the Zeus-Athena category where the father is the one who helps his weaker-sex daughter gain power and prestige in society. It is because of the father's influence and power that the young woman is tolerated by society instead of ostracized, ignored or even in some cases burned at the stake as a witch.

Many movies and storylines today still feature women who owe their strength to their father. This archetypal thread is seen in Angelina Jolie's character, Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies. In these storylines, the mother is either dead or negligible because of a weakness in character. It is amazing how many times a strong female character is attributed to a powerful father instead of a powerful mother. It is almost as if we see a woman who is successful and then discover that her relationship with her father was like an internship and we say "Oh, that explains it…" I am looking forward to a shift in society when a woman attributes her success to her mother's strength and abilities.

A couple of years ago, Forbes Magazine dubbed Condoleezza Rice "The Most Powerful Woman in the World." I wanted to learn more about her because I am amazed at how well she handles herself in front of the press. How did she manage to always present herself with poise? She is always articulate even when others try desperately to ruffle her feathers. It didn't take long for me to figure out how she became such a powerhouse. I believe Condoleezza is so successful because her parents already knew their daughter was the most powerful girl (woman) in the world. It just took Forbes Magazine decades to catch on.

I've studied what little information I could find about how Condolezza Rice grew up. She had an incredibly supportive mother and father but I felt that the biographical information emphasized her father's role in her upbringing more than her mother's role.

Condoleezza was the only child of John and Angelena Rice. Angelena named her daughter after an Italian musical reference to play music "with sweetness". With foresight, her mother aptly named her as Condoleezza's persona has been like honey in drawing a varied collection of friends into her life. Her ex-students, professional football players, Vladimir Putin, the Bush Family, and the children of the New Generation (an after-school program Condoleezza co-founded for disadvantaged youth in East Palo Alto) are just a few examples.

Condoleezza was born on November 14, 1954. Her father referred to her from that time forward as his "Little Star". From birth, Condoleezza was raised within a strong community and family life. Her father was the reverend of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, a high school coach, and a high school guidance counselor. Her mother was a high school music teacher and played the organ at the church. Her parents commitment to the members of their community gave Condoleezza a first-hand glance at the power that comes from making a difference in your community, giving her a place within the community as a star within the constellation – creating a whole picture with those around her.

"The multiethnic part [of American society] does not work without another important value: belief in upward mobility. The core of that has always been the ability to level the playing field through education. Unless education is provided to all…that part of the dream will be lost."[i]

Condoleezza summarizes her family's legacy in that statement. For generations, Condoleezza's family created opportunities for themselves and their children by committing themselves to education. Self-teaching and making sure they attended university was a tradition with her family. Her parents had very high expectations of Condoleezza. They exposed her to ballet, French, music, current events, football and other athletics. They felt as if her survival depended on a comprehensive education.

Condoleezza's father worked with many children in the community that didn't have the same home opportunities as she did. He was always encouraging someone to make the most of themselves. Condoleezza followed in his footsteps with several civic commitments, including, as I mentioned before, co-founding an after-school program in Northern California while she was a professor at Stanford University.

Looking for more?

Legend of Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story by Antonia Felix

"Passion and Principle" Life of Jessie Fremont

Find female role models
[i] Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story by Antonia Felix. p.23

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Friday, March 28, 2008

Privacy Policy


FaMiss site/blog is owned and operated by Sophia Management, LLC. Your privacy on the Internet is of the utmost importance to us. At Sophia Management, LLC, we want to make your experience online satisfying and safe.

Because we gather certain types of information about our users, we feel you should fully
understand our policy and the terms and conditions surrounding the capture and use of that
information. This privacy statement discloses what information we gather and how we use


Sophia Management, LLC gathers two types of information about users:
· Information that users provide through optional, voluntary submissions. These are
voluntary submissions to receive our electronic newsletters, to participate in our
message boards or forums, to email a friend, and from participation in polls and
· Information Sophia Management, LLC gathers through aggregated tracking
information derived mainly by tallying page views throughout our sites. This
information allows us to better tailor our content to readers' needs and to help our
advertisers and sponsors better understand the demographics of our audience.

Sophia Management, LLC Gathers User Information In The Following Processes:
Optional Voluntary Information

We offer the following free services, which require some type of voluntary submission of
personal information by users:
1. Electronic newsletters policy (Dispatches)
We will offer a free electronic newsletter to users. Sophia Management, LLC gathers the
email addresses of users who voluntarily subscribe. Users may remove themselves from this
mailing list by following the link provided in every newsletter that points users to the
subscription management page. Users can also subscribe to the newsletters at the time of
2. "E-mail this to a friend" policy
Our site users can choose to electronically forward a link, page, or documents to someone
else by clicking "e-mail this to a friend". The user must provide their email address, as well
as that of the recipient. This information is used only in the case of transmission errors and,
of course, to let the recipient know who sent the email. The information is not used for any
other purpose.
3. Polling
We may offer interactive polls to users so they can easily share their opinions with other
users and see what our audience thinks about important issues. Opinions or other responses
to polls are aggregated and are not identifiable to any particular user. Castle Rock Aikido
Club may use a system to "tag" users after they have voted, so they can vote only once on
a particular question. This tag is not correlated with information about individual users.
4. Surveys
Sophia Management, LLC may occasionally conduct user surveys to better target our
content to our audience. We sometimes share the aggregated demographic information in
these surveys with our sponsors, advertisers and partners. We never share any of this
information about specific individuals with any third party.

Consistent with the Federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), we
will never knowingly request personally identifiable information from anyone under the age
of 13 without requesting parental consent.

Usage tracking
Sophia Management, LLC tracks user traffic patterns throughout all of our sites. However,
we do not correlate this information with data about individual users. Sophia Management, LLC does break down overall usage statistics according to a user's domain name, browser
type, and MIME type by reading this information from the browser string (information
contained in every user's browser).

Sophia Management, LLC sometimes tracks and catalogs the search terms that users enter
in our Search function, but this tracking is never associated with individual users. We use
tracking information to determine which areas of our sites users like and don't like based on
traffic to those areas. We do not track what individual users read, but rather how well each
page performs overall. This helps us continue to build a better service for you.

We may place a text file called a "cookie" in the browser files of your computer. The cookie
itself does not contain Personal Information although it will enable us to relate your use of
this site to information that you have specifically and knowingly provided. But the only
personal information a cookie can contain is information you supply yourself. A cookie can't
read data off your hard disk or read cookie files created by other sites. Sophia Management, LLC uses cookies to track user traffic patterns (as described above). Our advertising
system delivers a one-time cookie to better track ad impressions and click rates.
You can refuse cookies by turning them off in your browser. If you've set your browser to
warn you before accepting cookies, you will receive the warning message with each cookie.
You do not need to have cookies turned on to use this site. However, you do need cookies
to participate actively in message boards, forums, polling and surveys.

Sophia Management, LLC uses any information voluntarily given by our users to enhance
their experience in our network of sites, whether to provide interactive or personalized
elements on the sites or to better prepare future content based on the interests of our

As stated above, we use information that users voluntarily provide in order to send out
electronic newsletters and to enable users to participate in polls, surveys, message boards,
and forums. We send out newsletters to subscribers on a regular schedule (depending on
the newsletter), and occasionally send out special editions when we think subscribers might
be particularly interested in something we are doing. Sophia Management, LLC never
shares newsletter mailing lists with any third parties, including advertisers, sponsors or

When we use tracking information to determine which areas of our sites users like and don't
like based on traffic to those areas. We do not track what individual users read, but rather
how well each page performs overall. This helps us continue to build a better service for
you. We track search terms entered in Search function as one of many measures of what
interests our users. But we don't track which terms a particular user enters.

Sophia Management, LLC creates aggregate reports on user demographics and traffic
patterns for advertisers, sponsors and partners. This allows our advertisers to advertise
more effectively, and allows our users to receive advertisements that are pertinent to their
needs. Because we don't track the usage patterns of individual users, an advertiser or
sponsor will never know that a specific user clicked their ad. We will not disclose any
information about any individual user except to comply with applicable law or valid legal
process or to protect the personal safety of our users or the public.

Sophia Management, LLC uses the above-described information to tailor our content to suit
your needs and help our advertisers better understand our audience's demographics. This is
essential to keeping our service free. We will not share information about individual users
with any third party, except to comply with applicable law or valid legal process or to
protect the personal safety of our users or the public.

Sophia Management, LLC operates secure data networks protected by industry standard
firewall and password protection systems. Our security and privacy policies are periodically
reviewed and enhanced as necessary and only authorized individuals have access to the
information provided by our customers.

We give users options wherever necessary and practical. Such choices include:
· Opting not to register to receive our electronic newsletters.
· Opting not to participate in certain interactive areas, which completely
alleviates the need to gather any personally identifiable information from
our users

By using this site, you consent to the collection and use of this information by Sophia Management, LLC. If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this
page so that you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under
what circumstances we disclose it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Do You Have A Best Selling Book Inside You?

"Be adventurous. Try a lot of different things.
Who cares if it doesn't work out?
It is only paper."
- Mary Engelbreit, artist & business executive

Have you dreamt of becoming the next J.K. Rowling?

Do you have a story you have been working on but you just keep letting it collect dust?

Do you write, but don't think you have the time to write an entire book?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then I encourage you to try an amazing program called

"How to Write a Book in 14 Days"

I bought and tried this program. It is great. My writer's block vanished and my writing is better now that I use Steve Manning's techniques. I am still in the middle of my 14 day program, but I already several chapters written for my first book.

How to Write a Book in 14 Days has received endorsements from many writers including one of the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Mark Victor Hansen.

You will find the fear of writing vanish as the words fly out of your mind onto your paper. My only criticism of this program is that he does send a lot of emails to you. However, you can unsubscribe to the emails if they get to be too much.

Do you have to dedicate all day to writing? No, in fact, he encourages you to write in short segments. He says that is when you get your best writing.

We invite you to
challenge yourself - remember, "It's only paper."

Register for Write a Book in 14 Days!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Foreign Film Review: All About My Mother

Few things are more powerful or influential than a relationship between a mother and a child.

A good relationship can be tremendously rewarding and a bad one can leave both of you limping through life. Why is the bond so powerful? Your mother is your first encounter with life, with nourishment, and with survival. All foods, emotions, drinks, and medications a pregnant woman has during pregnancy become the body and mind of the baby. In the womb, everything a mother does directly influences the child she is creating.

No wonder a mother's child grows up to scrutinize and evaluate every single move she makes. The child is still thinking that what his or her mother does directly influences their life intensely.

Literature and film abound with explorations of just who a mother is. A mother is always an enigma. The 1999 Spanish film "All About My Mother" starring Cecilia Roth and Penelope Cruz explores the intrigue of who a mother really is in a very creative way.

The acting is excellent, the story curious, and the characters lovable. There seem to be no true villains in this film even though there are plenty of people causing others pain. But the pain they cause each other seems to be explained; thereby softening the blows.

This film explores the complicated reality of some modern families much like the films Transamerica (2005) and Object of My Affection (1998). The relationships may seem an exaggeration for many but often it is easier to explore truth through exaggeration.

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Determination to do One's Best: Gertrude Bell, The Mother of Iraq

Today one may hesitate to put "Mother of Iraq" on her resume, but that is exactly who English Explorer, Gertrude Bell was. You’ve probably heard of T.E. Lawrence but have you heard of Gertrude Bell?

Gertrude was a few years older than T.E. Lawrence and they both played a critical role in the formation of Iraq. Her legacy, her story is usually completely overshadowed by Lawrence even though her professional contribution was at least as important. She is an example of female character overlooked when history is written.

Gertrude believed in the formation of an Arab state called Iraq. The British government was intent on creating a western-type nation and government in the Middle East but few Western citizens who were in charge of this project understood the needs and psychology of this region better than Gertrude.

Our current place in history offers hindsight to the challenges that were to come because Westerners imposed their form of government and organization in a region who thought differently. I am reminded of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, when her ideal creation took on a life of its own and became uncontrollable and unpredictable. It may be some time before Gertrude Bell is fully recognized by people today because of the collective frustration and disassociation with Iraq.

Gertrude, born in 1869, was born into incredibly wealthy family in England. Her grandfather was a steel tycoon, Isaac Lowthian Bell. His wealthy fostered business ambition and opportunities for several generations of Bells. Graduating from Oxford (an unusual accomplishment for a woman in this time), Gertrude took up travel. I think it was to escape the confines of her wealthy, upper class circle, that she chose to travel where she wouldn't bump into other members of her society. Gertrude traveled extensively in what we now call the Middle East. Very few women ever explored this region and it was here that Gertrude could break free from Victorian-laden expectations of proper female behavior.

Her wealth was an asset as she traveled and dined with Arabian sheiks. Even though she was a woman, most welcomed her as a peer because of her obvious wealth. During her travels she recorded her experiences, the political dynamics, and photographed several centuries' worth of archeological treasures.

Gertrude was seemingly fearless. She was strong, determined, and a creative problem solver. She wasn't always recognized as a leader, in fact, she spent several professional years in administrative, supportive roles. Her frustration would mount but she would excel at her work and keep her eyes open for opportunity. She was quick to use the influence of other powerful men to gain position on key projects.

Georgina Howell, author of "Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations" (2006) wrote a fascinating version of Gertrude's story. While Gertrude had some serious weaknesses and vulnerabilities, her strength and integrity and the way she carved a respected role for herself in a male dominated world make her an excellent role model for women today.

Looking for more?

Audio NPR story: 7 minutes, 49 seconds

Photographic Journal of Gertrude’s travels

Build Your Own Success, Learn from Women Who "Made It"

About the author: Allison Frederick is a writer and online marketing educator for other creative women. offers free Web 2.0 resources. She is also the author of an upcoming novel, A Portrait of Josephine, an academic-lite thriller. Find out how to receive a free copy of the novel by visiting