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Archive for January 10th, 2012

Author Karen Kondazian discusses content of new book “The Whip”

Posted by Levine Communications Office on January 10, 2012


  by Karen Kondazian

After what seemed like the 87th draft of my book,  I discovered in an archival copy of The New York Times, an obituary dated January 9, 1880, of the main character in my novel. The Times stated that the deceased had led such a mysterious and inconceivable life, that to a novelist, her life would be a great source of inspiration. The beautiful irony is that I had done just that… 132 years after the obituary was published, I had written my novel, The Whip, a book inspired by the true story of the enigmatic Charlotte ‘Charley’ Parkhurst, (1812-1879) who lived 30 years of her life disguised as a man. She became one of the great California stagecoach drivers or whips, as they were called. She killed a famous outlaw who robbed her stagecoach one too many times; and was the  first woman to vote in the U.S. (1868 for General Grant), of course as a man. She died of cancer of the tongue from too many cigars and too much  chewing tobacco. As she was being prepared for her burial, her true gender was discovered, along with the fact that she had borne a child.

When I first came across Charley’s story twenty years ago, my interest turned from curiosity into an obsession. I kept asking myself questions such as: how the hell did she relieve herself alongside all those men she worked with… how did she deal with her monthly period. How did she get away with her secret for so long; how did she live so many years alone and without human intimacy. But most of all, why did she choose to live her life as a man? Of course, if you were a woman in those times you had few options, and only men could try to live their dreams. So, many of the free spirited ones put on men’s britches instead of living the life of a wife or whore.

In my research, I found many women who lived their lives in male guise. Women like Loreta Velazquez, who served as Confederate Lieutenant Harry Buford and fought in the Civil War. And many more women that we will never know of because they lived and died and were not famous… thus their names are lost.

So, to appease my curiosity, and possibly my sanity, I took pen to yellow legal pad and started to write.  Sticking to the facts that I knew about Charley, I  created a life for her.  Part of her life that I chose was having a family. Eventually that family is  destroyed. So, like the lost ones of 9/11 and the innocent souls destroyed in the Armenian, Jewish, and modern day genocides, I think often of how hard forgiveness is. That is the theme, the underground stream that runs through The Whip. If someone destroyed everything and everyone you love in this world and swallowed you whole, could you forgive them? And if forgiving were impossible, to what lengths might you go?

The Whip is Karen Kondazian’s debut novel. It was released November 1, 2011. (www.thewhipnovel.com)

She is an award winning theatre actress and has starred in over fifty television shows and films, including the role of Kate Holliday in the TV movie,The Shootout at the OK Corral. She is a journalist and wrote a long running column, Sculpting Your Career in Backstage.



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Ali Brown featured in SUCCESS magazine

Posted by Levine Communications Office on January 10, 2012

Ali Brown: Marketing Mistakes

How to Avoid the Top Online Promotion Errors

 Amy  Anderson

If you have any kind of online business presence, you’re engaged in marketing. But are you wasting an invaluable opportunity? Ali Brown, entrepreneur and small-business mentor, cautions against the following major marketing flubs.

  • Mistake: Going for a sale like a one-night stand! Instead of scaring clients away, lure them in and build trust. Remember, approximately 99 percent of your web visitors will not buy during their first visit to your website, so do anything you can to get them on your [mailing] list. Then you have permission to contact them again and again, building a relationship and giving them a sense of trust to buy from you.”
  • Mistake: Offering a plain old newsletter. This just doesn’t get people excited to give you their email addresses anymore. People are too busy and more protective of their emails, so offer something irresistible like a VIP coupon or helpful tips or a free video series related to your topic. I use a free CD offer at my site that I encourage my students to model.”
  • Mistake: Thinking that sending out one message about a product or program will sell it. Remember how inundated people are with information these days, and remember the ‘seven times’ rule: Your prospects will likely have to see your message seven times before they even pay attention, let alone respond.”
  • Mistake: Thinking social media will be your end all. Social media is global, it builds relationships and it’s free. The bad news is it’s free; so everyone is online, and there’s a lot of noise. You have to be strategic to break through the mess and reach the people you really want to reach. This can be done but works best hand-in-hand with other marketing methods so all your bases are covered.”
  • Mistake: Thinking online marketing will be all you need. I see many solo-professionals and entrepreneurs who seem relieved to hide behind a computer all day instead of getting out there and selling themselves. You should be doing both online and offline marketing on a regular basis. A personal connection always trumps an online connection, so keep that in mind, especially when you are selling yourself or your personal services.”

Top Three

We asked Ali Brown, “If you could only do three things a day to market your company, what would they be?” Here’s what she shared:

  1. Focus on the 80/20 rule—the 20 percent that generates the 80 percent. That is, look at which clients, customers, products and programs generate most of my revenue, and focus on marketing those. Once I started doing this, it streamlined my business, and I made more money, more simply, with less stress.”
  2. “Look at where I can reach my target market in large numbers. For example, let’s say you sell a special shampoo for a certain breed of dog. So where are those dog owners—online and offline? What websites are they visiting? Are they members of certain groups? What organizations do they belong to? What events are they attending? What magazines do they read? This is your biggest shortcut to dramatically increasing your clients and customers.”
  3. Delegate more of my marketing tasks to my team so I can focus on building relationships with centers of influence, or COIs, for my target market. For example, if you are an accountant, you may get many referrals from lawyers, so you should be developing those relationships on a regular basis.


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