Book recommendation for you!

This is a quick hello from me to you to tell you about a new book I’m excited about written by one of our Women on Fire. You may have met Linda Yellin at Women on Fire teas in New York City.  But if you’re new to our community, let me introduce you to her.

Linda Yellin (in red) with Women on Fire friends at a recent book signing for What Nora Knew: Holly Getty, Heike Vogel, Janina Serden Sebesky and Sarah Elizabeth Greer. (Photo by Christine Butler)

Linda is a former copywriter, journalist, and author to three books—Such a Lovely CoupleThe Last Blind Date, and the recently published What Nora Knew. Her thoughtful and witty essays and articles are frequently published in More Magazine.

What Nora Knew is a warm and hilarious novel that reads like your favorite Nora Ephron romantic comedy. It centers around main character Molly Hallberg, a recently divorced journalist, almost 40, who cynically dives headfirst into investigating and experiencing the dating world of New York City.

This story reminds you of all the awkward, tender and embarrassing moments experienced along the path to finding Mr. Right. With quick and playful dialogue, and a narrative that captures everything you ever loved about Ephron’s ability to re-create romance, What Nora Knew is a must read!

No matter your age or marital status, Linda’s clever and engaging words will leave you laughing from beginning to end.

And just so you don’t think I’m totally biased (she is a Woman on Fire after all), here are some of the other rave reviews What Nora Knew has already received.

“Beautifully emulating the Ephron-esque vibe, Linda Yellin’s easygoing style and light humor elicit plenty of laughs – and lots of introspection. A fun and delightful read.” ~ New York Journal of Books

“This lighthearted, fast-paced tale makes readers laugh out loud and root for the underdog.” ~ RT Book Reviews

I hope you will enjoy What Nora Knew as much as I did. And, congratulations to Linda for continuing the magic the late, great Nora Ephfron made on screen in this fun new book.

Happy Reading!


What is a Woman on Fire? (a little quiz)

Whenever I first meet or am introduced to someone they often smile, then laugh, and ask — “what is a woman on fire?”

*This week’s Pinspiration*

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Are you a Woman on Fire? Find out at

Because you may be new here, and it’s a good reminder for the rest of us, I thought we might talk today about the aspirations of being a woman on fire. And even give you a little quiz to see how you’re doing on getting there!

But first …

A cheering section gathered last week to celebrate another Woman on Fire’s accomplishment of one of her dreams — and I want to give everyone a big shout out!

Author Linda Yellin surrounded by some of the Women on Fire who attended: Holly Getty, Heike Vogel, Janina Serden Sebesky and Sarah Elizabeth Greer. (Photo by Christine Butler)

Author and writer Linda Yellin marked the recent release of her latest book What Nora Knew with a book signing attended by more than 200 people at Barnes and Noble in New York City. Her loudest cheers undoubtedly came from her Women on Fire sisters.

It was a special event for not only the arrival of the book, but for the relief felt with the positive news of Linda’s full recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Linda, whose humor never flagged, wrote about her experience here in More Magazine.  

Linda’s support team: Leah Branstetter, Sarah Elizabeth Greer, Janina Serden Sebesky and Heike Vogel. (Photo by Holly Getty)

What an inspiration you are, Linda, for staying strong and steady and positive throughout your treatment — all while birthing a book!

And thank you to all Women on Fire who braved the cold to heat up Barnes and Noble with your enthusiasm and support for Linda’s success.

So what is the answer to “what is a woman on fire?”

To start, being a woman on fire is a mindset, an attitude, and a set of skills.

Below are 10 of our 20 Women on Fire aspirations. How would you measure your level of fulfillment on each them?

On a scale of 1-10, with one being “not at all” to 10 being “completely inspired or fulfilled,” where do you fall on your own scale of meeting these aspirations? Mark your number beside each one.

  • I cheer on the successes of other women
  • I invest in myself and my potential
  • I embrace and celebrate my talents and achievements
  • I know when and how to ask for help
  • I give — and accept — love and support
  • I am clear and direct with kindness and compassion
  • I have a positive attitude (at least 90% of the time!)
  • I’m always working to improve myself
  • I am aware of my powerful impact on others
  • I believe there is plenty in this world for me!

Your answers will reveal what you need to know.

Which of these aspirations needs your attention?

Which aspirations (the ones with high numbers) may be very special gifts of yours — and how widely are you sharing them?

What would working on these aspirations do for your work and life?

I hope you will create a plan for yourself to move your score even just one number higher. It will make a difference for you.

In my nearly two decades as a life and executive coach, coaching thousands of women, I’ve seen and experienced personal mastery of these aspirations directly lead to more fulfilling, successful lives and greater peace of mind.

I hope you had a SUPER weekend! (Even though I’m a total sports illiterate, I love the idea of a SUPER anything;-)

Mostly, I wish you a super wonderful life!

Thank you for being here. Together, we’re moving our lives forward in a big way.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Debbie Signature

California dreamin’ and thinkin’

If you look up, you might see me.

Right now I’m looking down at you and sending a hug — from 40,000 feet — as I zip across the country from California to Florida!

This past week I’ve been in Palo Alto and San Diego to attend two fascinating and inspiring conferences – both focusing on energizing, equipping and supporting women to go for their dreams.

I loved being in the company of so many talented and accomplished women and having the luxury of time to dream and think!

And I sneaked in some juicy fun with close friends, too.

There is so much to tell you about, and I know how busy you are.  So I’ll share my Top 5 favorite highlights and resources from the week that I hope you will find useful – or at least fun to know about!

But first…

While I was in California, Ohio Women on Fire Jan Allen and Kim Dettmer led the first-ever-in-Cleveland Women on Fire tea.  The joy and gratitude in the emails that I received from women attending told me you had an amazing time!

Women on Fire Tea in Cleveland! From left: Betsy O’Connell, Noelle Celeste, Mary Carran Webster, Sonya Pryor Jones, Nicole McGee, Charlotte Thomas, Jan Allen, Mardele Cohen, Victoria Kunkel, Anne Bloomberg, Emily Cole, Laura Opheim, Katia Scharz and Kim Dettmer.

Janette Barber, who has been coming to teas New York City since the very first one in 2004, frequently reminds us, “the tea party always works!”

When women get together and safely share their inspiration, strategies and support, we all can feel empowered, invigorated and reassured.

Thank you, Kim Dettmer, for writing a lovely blog post to further describe the Cleveland tea last week.

While in Palo Alto, I met with the amazingly talented Woman on Fire Betsy Dee (who attended the first-ever Women on Fire event in 2003).  Just have to brag here about the genius in our community. It was Betsy who gave Direct TV its name and Invisalign its tagline: Science in every smile!

And, in San Diego, I caught up with Women on Fire member Becky AdamsBetsy, Becky and I savored the kinds of girlfriend lunches that I live for!

I’m the one with the messy hair! Woman on Fire member Becky Adams and I had a pre-Paris lunch at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. She is one of the women going on our trip to Paris next month!

You know what I mean?  The kind of connection that brings tears, laughter, deep knowing, understanding and acceptance – all in only a few short hours!

And that reminds me…

When was your last girlfriend lunch? Is there a wonderful woman you might reach out to and schedule some time together? You’ll both walk away re-energized and re-invigorated. I just betcha!

The first program in California that I attended was Deborah Perry Piscione’s Alley To The Valley.

Deborah brings together women mostly from Silicon Valley to offer funding for businesses and projects and support for entrepreneurs looking for financing as well as help for women to find corporate board seats.

I met Deborah when she and I shared the page of More Magazine last November in a piece written by Linda Yellin.

The second conference was information marketer Lisa Sasevich’s powerful and dynamic program and focus on creating super successful businesses. I’ll be sharing more about Lisa in the future.

So, here are my top 5 favorite thoughts, ideas and recommendations from last week:

1) No matter your political affiliation, the movie Game Change with Julianne Moore portraying Sarah Palin is a must-see.  Being that this was California, the director himself Jay Roach spoke at the movie’s first public screening held at Stanford University’s Business School. (I got to go because my long-time friend and mentor Paul Costello took me!)

My favorite scene is Julianne as Sarah watching “herself” portrayed by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live!

2) If you are struggling to move forward in your life, Lisa Sasevich recommends watching just the first 10 minutes of the Pixar movie UP.  In 10 minutes you see the passage of life and time.  And, if that doesn’t underscore that life is not a dress rehearsal then be sure to watch Steve Jobs’ Stanford University commencement address.

3) Looking for business financing? In general, I learned at Alley To the Valley if you have a great idea and are already funding it yourself, do everything possible to keep financing it.  Venture capital money and angel funding sound great, but women at the conference urged finding a strategic partner with complementary skills, abilities and resources is a much preferred way to see your business or project become successful.

Women on Fire members will remember ice cream maven Jeni Britton Bauer recommended staying in control by financing yourself, if possible, unless you want to have a “boss” (even an angel investor), which defeats the purpose of being your own!

4) What would happen if you stopped whining and complaining for 21 days? I know. I started to imagine the possibilities myself!

The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity by Edwene Gaines, a Unity minister, includes a life-changing, 21-day exercise to stop all complaining, gossiping, poisoning ourselves and our environment. If you find yourself speaking negatively to yourself or anyone during that time, you have to start over!  I bought the book to start the challenge tomorrow. You are welcome to join me.

5) Inspiration from being surrounded in beauty.  All week long — from the fog rolling over the foothills in Palo Alto to the sun sparkling off the water in Coronado Bay and the majestic rise of San Diego’s Point Loma — I marveled at the scenery in California. Being in nature there uplifted and inspired me to want to soar and to be my very best.

So, thank you for allowing me to serve you.  I am especially grateful for all of you who are new to the SPARK! and new to our membership program.

We have much to give this world — and I’ll do everything possible to make sure you have the inspiration, strategies and support to be your very best, too!