Wednesday, November 5, 2014


As a writer of fiction, I enjoy writing my blog posts, factual--but hopefully still entertaining--articles about the topics covered in my books, the historically accurate subjects that ignite the stories. In light of this, I could not let my 100th post go by without honoring it with a special edition.

As a writer of historical fiction which endeavors, first and foremost, to shed light on the lives of women, it seems only proper to dedicate this post during Women's History Month to those very women. Though some of the women listed are still living, they are or have been enormously important, influential, notable, or all me! To me...this is vital to keep in mind while perusing my list, my celebration. But please join in...let me know who you think might be on YOUR list!

Barbara DiMauro Russo--b1933; my mother; a vibrant woman about to turn 88 and still living life enthusiastically. She has seen me through the very worst of times without hesitation (and they have been some of life's worst events). I'd be lost without her.

Jennie 'Vincenza' DeRobbio Russo--1908-1995; my paternal grandmother; could cook exquisitely and command unquestionably.

Gertrude Petrini DiMauro Lambert--1911-2011; my maternal grandmother; raised two children by herself through the Great Depression and raised outstanding adults; spoke her mind without equivocation or apology.

Abigail Adams--1744-1818; former First Lady of the United States; her educated opinions
did much to guide her husband during his tenure.

Agatha Christie--1890-1976; award-winning, prolific author of mysteries that kept me
reading long into the night, a true and gifted story-teller.

Amelia Earhart--1897-1937; first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; a
gutsy women to be greatly esteemed.

Ann Boleyn--1501-1536; second wife to Henry VIII; I see her as a victim to her
circumstances, doing her best in a bad situation.

Anne Frank--1929-1945; her courage, her life, and her book have never left my consciousness.

Audrey Hepburn--1929-1993; talented, beautiful, philanthropic and elegance personified.

Barbara Streisand--b1942; that astonishing voice, her demand for excellence, both profound.

Barbara Walters--b1929; ground-breaking in so many different ways, upon her shoulders so many stand.

Betsy Ross--1752-1836; did she or didn't she, no one truly knows, but a she is a legend as a
woman of the Revolution nonetheless.

Betty Friedan--1921-2006; if you haven't read The Feminine Mystique, whether woman or man…
read it.

Betty White--b1922-2021; who doesn't love this women who proved that age IS just a number.

Billie Holiday--1915-1959; hers was the voice of inspiration in so many ways.

Billie Jean King--b1943; I will NEVER forget the day she beat Bobby Riggs…I saw all my beliefs
taking form.

Bonnie Parker--1910-1934; strange choice some might say, but there are lessons to be
learned from her about what NOT to do for the love of a man.

Calamity Jane--1852-1903; one of the first female explorers, daring to go where few other women

Catherine the Great--1729-1796; ruled Russia for 34 years and did so scandalously.

Charlotte Bronte--1816-1855; talent and devotion so demanding to be heard she gave up her name
to do it.

Chelsea Handler--b1975; first woman to break into late night tv; what you see is what you
get…a powerful women refusing to apologize for it.

Cher--b1946; voice, fashion, beauty, guts and a major influence on my childhood.

Clara Barton--1821-1912; founder of the American Red Cross; a true nurturing soul.

Cleopatra--69BC-30BC; perhaps first woman feminist; knew her power and how to use it.

Coco Chanel--1883-1971; breaking boundaries with timeless sophistication and taste;
revolutionized women's fashion.

Diana, Princess of Wales--1961-1997; so much respect for what she endured and what she accomplished.

Eleanor Roosevelt--1884-1962; unfettered wisdom.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton--1815-1902; daring to be a female activitist.

Emily Bronte--1818-1848; like her sister, talent and a love of craft, in a word…Heathcliff.

Emily Dickinson--1830-1886; a reclusive poet with the depth of soul and emotion.

Erma Bombeck--1927-1996; spot-on humorisst about the state of motherhood; her wit
really helped through the hard times.

Estee Lauder--1908-2004; an unstoppable businesswoman who founded a beauty empire.

Florence Nightingale--1820-1910; war nurse, founder of modern nursing; such dedication
is so impressive.

Georgia O’Keefe--1887-1986; inspiration that magnificent art can triumph over personal challenges.

Gloria Steinheim--b1934; helped mold the minds of so many women, women who now
always demand equality and justice.

Golda Meir--1898-1978; a political powerhouse when women as such were an anomaly.

Goldie Hawn--b1945; simply adorable as well as talented; loved watching her on Laugh In
while growing up.

Harriet Tubman--b1822-1913; at great personal risk led hundreds of slaves to freedom
along the Underground Railroad.

Helen Keller--1880-1968; from blind and deaf mute to author and political activist; simply amazing.

Helen Mirren--b1945; astoundingly talented actress that is showing just how beautiful aging can be.

Hypatia--350AD-415AD; Greek philosopher who furthered the teachings of Aristotle, vital teachings.

Indira Ghandi--1917-1984; first female Prime Minister of India; ground-breaker.

Isadora Duncan--1877-1927; American born dancer; amazing talent taken tragically too soon.

J. K. Rowling--b1965; came from nothing but never gave up; I'll treasure her stories always.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis--1929-1994; her elegance and grace never wavered. 

Jane Austen--1775-1817; for Mr. Darcy alone, PLUS six astounding works. 

Janice Joplin--1943-1970; definitively unique; a talent gone too soon.

Joan Didion--b1934; her works are devoted to the exploration of the disintegration of
American morals and cultural chaos. 

Joan of Arc--1412-1431; her passion, her belief, her determination take my breath away.

Josephine Baker--1906-1975; another in my list of ground-breaking women…the 'Bronze Venus.'

Joyce Brothers--1927-2013; yes, people, we can talk and enjoy sex!

Judy Garland--1922-1969; tortured torch singer; her 'Dorothy' will live forever in my heart.

Lady Godiva--980-1067; well…that took guts.

Lizzie Borden--1860-1927; guilty or not, her tale transfixes.

Louisa May Alcott--1832-1888; where would we be without her 'Little Women?'

Lucille Ball--1911-1989; you can be beautiful and funny; adored her.

Madeleine Albright--b1937-first women to become the United States Secretary of State.

Mary, mother of Jesus Christ--18BC-41AD; I cannot imagine her pain.

Madonna--b1958; born one month after me, she had me dancing and singing; she wrought
changes for better or worse.

Margaret Atwood--b1939; phenomenal writer, environmental activist…my kind of woman.

Margaret Chase Smith--1897-1995; first US women to served as a US Representative and US Senator.

Margaret Mitchell--1900-1949; for an amazing story, for Rhett Butler, for helping this writer find her 'voice.'

Margaret Sanger--1879-1966; one of the first American birth control activists.

Margaret Thatcher--1925-2013; first female Prime Minister of the UK; may not have agreed
with her politics…admire her fortitude.

Marie Antoinette--1755-1793; as Queen to Louis XVI in this volatile period, she didn't stand a chance.

Marie Curie--1867-1924; the world needs more scientists of this caliber with a feminine sensibility.

Marilyn Monroe--1926-1962; a real woman, a beauty, a tortured soul.

Martha Washington--1731-1802; the first First Lady of the United States.

Mary Cassatt--1844-1926; a woman impressionist among the men and holding her own.

Mary Magdalene--dates unknown; never a prostitute, I love to think that Jesus was so

Mary Shelley--1797-1851; how wonderful to think that such a 'monster' was created by a woman.

Mary Todd Lincoln--1818-1882; so much to have lived through.

Mary Wollstonecraft--1759-1797; author and 18th century advocate of women's rights.

Maya Angelou--1928-2014; author, poet, dancer, actress, singer…truth teller most of all.

Melinda Gates--b1964; a philanthropist of an astounding scale; all that money and she's still so very

Meryl Streep--b1949; one of the greatest American actresses…period.

Michelle Obama--b1964; smart, dedicated, sophisticated….a real woman.

Mother Theresa--1910-1997; her contributions were not only her actions but what she inspired others to do.

Mrs. Alfonso-my sixth grade teacher. She, more than anyone, allowed me to see that I was a writer.

Nellie Bly--1864-1922; ground-breaking reporter famous for record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days.

Oprah Winfrey--b1954; rising above traumas most could not
begin to handle to become one of the most powerful

Pearl S. Buck--1892-1973; author, Pulitzer AND Nobel Prize winner.

Pocahontas--1595-1617; it often takes a woman to bring two worlds together.

Queen Elizabeth I--1533-1603; a life like little others, a powerful woman in a man's world…
and kicked ass.

Queen Elizabeth II--b1926; Queen at 16, she's had some missteps along the way but there is strength to be admire here.

Queen Isabella I--1451-1504; struggled to gain her throne and then did remarkable things once upon it.

Queen Victoria--1819-1901; Queen of UK during a great age; a wife and mother who
showed just how much we women can do.

Rosa Parks--1913-2005; Called 'The First Lady of Civil Rights' her courage on that day is
almost beyond comprehension.

Sacagawea--b1788-d unconfirmed; helped forge this land I call home.

Sally Ride--1951-2012; truly going where no WOMAN had gone before.

Sandra Day O’Connor--b1930; first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.

Simone de Beauvoir--1908-1986; author, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist.

Sofonisiba Anguissola--1532-1625; one of the first women 'accepted' as an artist, paving
the way for women artists.

Sojourner Truth--b unknown-1883; abolitionist and women's right activist.

Sophia Loren--b1934; Italy's most famous and honored actress;
she showed me that big lips and a Roman nose can be beautiful.

Susan B. Anthony--1820-1906; absolutely essential women in the women's suffrage movement.

Susan Sarandon--b1946; admire her talent and her commitment.

Unsinkable Molly Brown--1867-1932; philanthropist and activist who survived the sinking of the Titantic.

Victoria Woodhull--1838-1927; American leader in the women's suffrage movement; first
female candidate for US President.

Virgina Woolf--1882-1941; foremost modernists of 20th century; in her work all women
can find a piece of themselves.

Yoko Ono--b1933; artist and activist and wife to my first love, John Lennon.

And to all my devoted readers--women and men--thank inspire me to work better, write better, every day.

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