Neil Gaiman is Why I’m Not a Sheep Herder (Yet)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Everything I’ve learned about writing – that I didn’t learn from fanfic – came from other authors. From their books – yes, obviously – but also from their blogs and from anecdotes and from every little scrap of info and advice they’ve so helpfully shared. Because that’s the beautiful thing about writers & authors – they are, for the most part, more than willing to be kind, to be helpful,…


(Almost) Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from Fanfiction

Monday, November 26, 2018

I spent a fair amount of my youth writing dense, novel-length, & character-driven fanfiction (henceforth referred to as fanfic) until 1am on a school night. After all my homework was done, of course. My fandoms were primarily Sailor Moon and Harry Potter, the former being the one I really dove into. And it was, perhaps, the best crash course in writing money could’ve bought me. So for the newbie writer,…


Simple Gratitude in Complex Times

Monday, November 19, 2018

I’ve had a lot to be thankful for in this past year, and a lot more I am grateful for in the year to come. Some of that has been expected – the realization of a long-held dream, the papery reality of ARCs, the positive reactions from early readers, the joy of my toddler, and the love of my family and friends – but some has been completely unexpected. The…


Recipe for a Query Letter

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ingredients: 1 thoroughly revised manuscript 1 aspiring author 1 fragile dream 200-400 words Prep Time: 1-5 weeksCook Time: 1-3 months Step 1. Congratulations! You wrote a book! And you revised it! You did revise it, right? Oh phew, good. Wait – you had someone else read it, too? Yes? Even better. Okay now take those thousands upon thousands of exquisitely and painfully chosen words and condense them down to about…


On Being in a Constant State of Distraction or How I Learned to Love the – SQUIRREL

Monday, November 5, 2018

On November 1st, 2016, as part of NaNoWriMo that year, I officially started writing the Perfect Assassin. Less than a week later, the most bigoted, hateful, willfully deceitful human being was elected to the highest office in our nation. Not a week has gone by in these past two years where I haven’t worried for my friends and family, where something more dire, more pressing, more terrifying has occurred to…


Let’s Talk About Fear

Monday, October 29, 2018

I know fear. Like many creative types, I have anxiety. I have lived with everything from constant, low-level anxiety all the way up to Code Red Panic Attacks. For me, the same overactive imagination that lends itself to worldbuilding also lends itself to imagining every possible way something could go wrong. For the most part, I manage the anxiety by playing along with the what-if game until I can show…


How to Survive Your Edit Letter

Monday, October 22, 2018

  Dear Author, the edit letter reads. You suck. Wait, no, that’s not how it goes, not even slightly. Yet we all seem to expect those words, or a variation thereof, the first time we receive an edit letter. It’s counter-intuitive to believe the editor who got excited for your book, who championed it before the acquisitions board, who read it more than once and will continue to have to…


Sam Hawke Interview + City of Lies Giveaway

Saturday, October 20, 2018

I’m so excited to welcome Sam Hawke to the Debutante Ball this week! Sam is a delightful human being who writes epic fantasy in Canberra, Australia, where she lives with her two dogs, two small ninjas, and her husband. Her debut novel CITY OF LIES, the first in the Poison Wars series from Tor, came out just this past July to critical acclaim and lots of excited hand wavings. It’s been…


What’s in a Doore? A Study in 3 Authors

Monday, October 15, 2018

I was the quiet kid growing up. The one off in the corner with her own toys or, later, with a book. I can’t remember when I picked up the Book Worm Virus, only that I always had it. In the same way, it’s difficult to pick any specific author as my Official Influence, because every book I’ve read has made me the author I am, today. Yes, even Bunnicula….


Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies

Monday, October 8, 2018

I hate first drafts. I didn’t always. There was a time when I loved the thrill of a first draft, the rush of figuring out the story and exploring the characters. But back then I didn’t have a first draft so much as an only draft. And I had a bad habit of getting halfway through the story only to circle around and rewrite it so completely that the new…