Women Empowering Women

Women empowering women is a strong and beautiful act. How does this happen? Women lift others with their voices through song, art, dance, speech, poems, stories, and mentorship and so many other ways including small acts of kindness.


Feminist art emerged in the 1960s. From sculpture to paintings to drawings and performances, these artists highlight societal and political differences associated with gender identity.  Here’s a list of 15 artists to get you started.

Tammy Mike Laufer (תמרמייקלאופר) [CC BY-SA 4.0 ]


Poetry, or words that make music in your heart, has many forms. And there are thousands of strong women poets. Below are two examples.

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou

“You are more than beautiful” by Rupi Kaur


2014 Emma Watson gave this fabulous speech at the UN launcing the HeForShe campaign.

There are many, many TED talks about women’s rights and empowerment. Here’s a list of 3,000 titles.


There are many nonfiction books and many fiction books that tell the story of women empowering other women or themselves. 

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Margarot Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, and Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me,  are a very small sample.


Songs of celebration to songs of protest, music has always been a means of communicating messages and feelings.  Below is a sampling across the decades.

1958 Here’s a sample “Songs of the Suffragettes” sung by Elizabeth Knight, released in 1958 by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Listen Here!

1963 Lesley Gore, “You Don’t Own Me”

1967 Aretha Franklin, “Respect ”

1978 “I Will Survive” Gloria Gaynor

1983 “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” Cyndi Lauper 

1993 “I’m Every Woman” Whitney Houston

2003 “Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson

2011 “Who Says” by Selena Gomez

2015 Girl in a Country Song Maddie & Tae 

Women Empowering Women

We’ve touched on just a few examples of women empowering women. Women mentor, they inspire through random acts of kindness, they start charities, and still that’s only a small taste of all the ways we empower each other. What examples of women empowering women inspire you? How do you empower other women?

How I Found My Cover Artist

Finding my cover artist was relatively a straightforward process that took a lot of time. I’m married to an artist who had an award-winning career as an art director. You’d think I would have found the process easy. Not so much. Not that my artist of choice, Elizabeth Leggett, made it difficult. She made it easy for me.

I’ve never been a visual person. I love the sight of a dewy rose, the smile on a toddler’s face, the sleek lines of a sexy sports car. But, sounds make a bigger impact on me—babbling brooks, wind shushing through pine trees, and voices—from emotion to word choice to timber and volume and pace. I’m an emotion magnet—the ‘feel’ of a place, an event, or a person speaks to me. Heck, I write. Words are important. But discussing a book cover—words failed me.

How I Found My Cover Artist. I write but words failed me when I began looking for a cover artist. Read More.


When you choose a cover artist you should think about two or three skills that you’d want to see in their work. Perhaps you want great images of stars in space, or a cartoon-style character, or realistic animals. Do you want photo-realism or something more impressionistic? It’s all up to you.

The artist should have an understanding of your book’s genre, be able to work within your timeframe, and be affordable. Affordable is a relative term and one you’ll have to decide for yourself. When you’re weighing your options remember to include the marketability of the image. It should be an invitation to fans of your genre. The cover should compel them to open the book.


I had decided that since I am an unknown, I’m self-publishing, and I’m married to an artist—*grin*—I needed a strong, professional cover. I’ve been involved in the Science Fiction community for a number of years and felt I’d get the best options from the professional artists in that community. I asked my artist friend, Jan S. Gephardt, for recommendations.

I knew I wanted the protagonist on the cover and a certain tone. So hello Google image search. A search for “science fiction artists” brought up thousands of images by hundreds of artists. I scanned bazillions of near-photographic images of characters that conveyed an emotional tone. Overwhelmed much? Yikes. I narrowed my focus to the artists my friend had recommended. There were a couple of those I liked. They were big names in the field and I was afraid they wouldn’t have the time or be affordable. So, I kept searching. And I found an image she called Wisdom’s Wing. It struck the right chord.

And we were off.

Sort of. . .


I suspected that many artists were already booked for the timeframe I needed. To speed the process up and to give myself a range of choices, I sent emails to four different artists simultaneously. In my email, I identified myself as a debut author who would be self-publishing my book. I included an early version of my back of the book blurb. Questions I asked were: if the artist was interested, when he/she would be available to do the work, how long the process would take, and how much it would cost.

I received answers from all four artists. All agreed to work with me. Two of them had timelines that would not work for me. Three of them were more costly than I could afford.

Elizabeth Leggett responded that she was intrigued with the story and would like to do my cover. From the first time I’d seen her work I felt she was the best artist for the job. And the fact that she was the only one to mention the story? I was out-of-this-universe excited.

We negotiated the contract insofar as what I wanted, what she charged, deadline dates, etc.


Her first ’sketches’ blew me away.

Potential Cover for My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows. Illustration by Elizabeth Leggett. Read How I Found My Artist for more information.
© 2018 by Elizabeth Leggett, posted with permission


Possible Cover for My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows. Illustration by Elizabeth Leggett. Read How I Found My Cover Artist for more information.
© 2018 by Elizabeth Leggett, posted with permission


Possible Cover for My Soul to Keep by Lynette M. Burrows. Illustration by Elizabeth Leggett. Read How I Found My Cover Artist for more information.
©2018 Elizabeth Leggett, posted with permission

I loved all three thumbnails. I had a visceral reaction to love the first one. It captured my character at the beginning of her journey but didn’t make me think of a cover for a thriller novel. The second one was very close. The white character in the foreground confused me (an explanation from Elizabeth cleared that up). Finally, the third one was a surprise. I hadn’t thought of putting the antagonist on the cover. The idea intrigued me.


How did I decide? I studied best selling book covers in my genre. Focused on the emotional feel I wanted the cover to have. And I tried to separate my gut-level emotional response from the “what I think will sell.”

We discussed her ideas and came up with a blend. I am extraordinarily pleased with the result.


Elizabeth Leggett, artist, who created my cover. Read How I Found My Artist for more information.

Elizabeth Leggett is a Hugo award-winning illustrator. Her cover for Retrograde by Peter Cadon is up for the 2018 Chesley award. The Chesley the Association for Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists’s award. Her illustrations focus on soulful, human moments-in-time that combine ambiguous interpretation and curiosity with realism.

She won the 2015 and 2017 Hugos for Best Fan Artist. Her 2018 Chesley nomination is the cover for Retrograde by Peter Cawdon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). They will announce the Chesley winner on August 20th at Worldcon Science Fiction in San Jose, California. You bet I’m cheering Elizabeth on!

You can see more of Elizabeth’s beautiful work at Portico Arts.

My Soul to Keep will be available for purchase on August 21st at all your favorite online stores. It is available for PRE-ORDER on Amazon now.

I hope you found How I Found My Cover Artist interesting. If you have a cover artist, how did you choose yours? If you don’t have a cover artist, but want to find one, did this article help? And those of you who aren’t book writers, did this process surprise you?

A Meeting of Minds: the Alchemy of Science, Art, and Poetry

I have belonged to a local writer’s group for many years now. In this group, we have a colorful mosaic of like-, yet, different-minded folk. There are young and mature members, males and females. Some members write with a literary style, some have a dense, elaborate style, some are more minimalist. Yet, we have a meeting of the minds in that we are all striving to improve our work. More than that, we take disparate ideas from science, art, and poetry, and like alchemists, blend them into something different, something called science fiction.

It is my great pleasure to share with you the works of two of my writer’s group members: Karin L. Frank and Jan S. Gephardt. Not only have they had a meeting of minds that yielded science fiction, they added science, art, and poetry to the alchemist bowl resulting in a rare gem, a chapbook called A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures.

About Karin

Karin’s bio sets the tone:

Karin L Frank, A Meeting of the  Minds: the Alchemy of Science, art, and Poetry, lynettemburrows.com

Karin L. Frank (KL Frank) wrote her first story at the age of four and submitted it to her kindergarten teacher. No literary review accepted it but it was published on the family refrigerator.

Karin has since gone on to many adventures. She  writes insightful, literary poetry and science fiction. Recently she has published a chapbook of science fiction poetry, A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures. When she went looking for an illustrator to provide the art for her book, she had to look no farther than our writer’s group and Jan S. Gephardt.

About Jan

Photo of Jan S Gephardt, Artdog Observations, A Meeting of the  Minds: the Alchemy of Science, art, and Poetry, lynettemburrows.comJan is an artist, writer, and educator. She has been involved in fine arts, education, marketing, and many other adventures during the time that I’ve known her. Jan participates in multiple blogs, but her blog home is Jan S. Gephardt’s Art Dog Observations and Jan S. Gephardt’s Art Dog Studio. As an artist, I believe her finest work to be her paper sculptures. You can see one (imperfectly, photos don’t do it justice) here and at her shop on DeviantArt. Her pen and ink drawings are wonderfully detailed (I have one hanging in my office!) and reflect Karin’s words with a different kind of poetry.

Jan was quicker than I to post a blog review of Karin’s delightful chapbook. So here is a portion of Jan’s blog and a little peek into the blending of poetry, art, science, and  fiction:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Meeting of Minds . . . and Media

Image of cover of A Meeting of the  Minds: the Alchemy of Science, art, and Poetry, lynettemburrows.com by Karin L Frank, A Meeting of the  Minds: the Alchemy of Science, art, and Poetry, lynettemburrows.com
Karin L. Frank’s chapbook, A Meeting of Minds, is full of beautiful, intellectual poetry . . . and
also my artwork!

Last winter I had a pleasant opportunity to create a series of ink drawings to illustrate a poetry chapbook by a friend of mine, Karin L. Frank.

My first thought, when my friend approached me, was, “a poetry chapbook? Seriously?”

Ah, but then I read the poems.

Several had already been published in other—as in, “mainstream”—print media, such as the Kansas City Star or Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction.

I’d already known that my friend wrote interesting science fiction (prose), but the marriage of sophisticated science concepts with the poetry art form produced something rich and extraordinary indeed.

Karin titled her chapbook A Meeting of Minds: Poems from the Two Cultures, a reference to C. P. Snow’s concept of the sciences and the humanities as being two different “cultures” in “the intellectual life of the whole of Western Society.”

My holistic view of the world sees the two as integrally linked as the sides of a coin—not a strange thought to science fiction readers and writers. But the rest of Western society appears to see more of a chasm between the two . . . .    READ MORE

The strokes of the pen, of ink into words, of dots and lines into images is a transmutation that results in more than a bar of gold, it’s a fascinating Meeting of Minds.

Photos and illustrations are the property of Jan S. Gephardt and Karin L. Frank. You may not use or reproduce the images in this post without permission from the owners of the copyrights.

If you’re interested in other book reviews check out my Going to Mars: Word-by-Word posts.

What meeting of minds, or mix of cultures,

have fascinated you?

Thank you, Jan and Karin, for allowing me the privilege of sharing your work.  And thank you, readers, for following this blog, for commenting when you have time.  I cherish your words and the opportunity for us to have . . . a meeting of minds.