News Flash: Announcing the 2018 Debs!

BIG NEWS! The 2017 Debs are thrilled to announce The Debutante Ball Class of 2018! We will be doing a detailed introduction soon, but we are so excited to share the names of next year’s Debs. Please join us in welcoming: Julie Clark Kimmery Martin Cass Morris Lara Lillibridge Please join us in welcoming these…
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News Flash: Happy July 4th weekend from the Debs!

Congratulations to Debbi Lucas DuBose, winner of our #DebBallGiveaway of SMALL ADMISSIONS by Amy Poeppel. We were so happy to have Emily Hauser as our guest yesterday! If you haven’t already, enter the #DebBallGiveaway of FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL: A NOVEL OF THE WOMEN OF TROY or enter to win a copy by sharing our post on…
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News Flash: Updates from the Debs, past and present

We send our thanks to Lori Rader-Day for being our guest yesterday on The Debutante Ball. If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of THE DAY I DIED this Tuesday or enter to win a copy by sharing our post on Facebook and/or retweeting the following tweet: RT to Enter! Interview w/ @LoriRaderDay + #DebBallGiveaway of…
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News Flash: Conferences & Festivals, Awards & a Giveaway!

Congratulations to Caryn Strean, winner of THE FAR END OF HAPPY by guest author Kathryn Craft! Check back next Sunday for this week’s winner of Renee Ahdieh’s THE WRATH AND THE DAWN …   From the 2015 Debs: Colleen Oakley sold rights for BEFORE I GO to Hungary! She’s still barreling through her WIP, slowly but (un)surely. Amy…
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The Debutante Ball Welcomes (Back) Deb Eleanor!

Eleanor BrownEleanor Brown is the author of the New York Times and national bestseller The Weird Sisters, and was a member of the Debutante Ball class of 2011. She reads, writes, and tends to one very spoiled cat in Denver, Colorado.

About The Weird Sisters:

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from—one another, their small hometown, and themselves—might offer more than they ever expected.

Eleanor Brown Takes the Deb Interview!

Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.

People falling down. America’s Funniest Home Videos was custom-made for me.

I know, I’m a horrible person! I consider this a weakness, as it means I laugh in situations where there is the possibility of injury. Though if you fall down in my presence, I do promise to stop laughing if I see blood.

Have you ever met someone you idolized?  What was it like?

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Pat Conroy, one of my very favorite authors, at the Miami Book Fair. The line for signings after his warm and witty presentation was incredibly long, and we were near the end, but he was just as friendly and gracious and encouraging to us as he had been to the very first people. I glowed for days after meeting him.

I’ve been lucky overall in meeting people I admire, that the majority of them have been friendly and polite. It’s such a disappointment meeting someone and feeling disappointed in some way – it’s one of the reasons I follow very few celebrities on Twitter. I’d rather preserve the illusion!

What is the best perk of your job?

Free books! However, the saddest part is that I actually have less time to read than before I got published. Free books are less fun when I don’t get to read them!

(I assume the same thing is true of free chocolate cake, but I always seem to have time for free chocolate cake.)

What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?

Frankly, teaching middle school was probably the job with the largest number of strange incidents (the statistical probability of something weird happening when you are surrounded by 120 thirteen-year olds is pretty high), but I think the strangest job itself was wedding coordinator.

The human drama surrounding weddings is intense, and a wedding coordinator gets a backstage pass to all of it. I saw a drunken groom pick a fight with waitstaff, assembled a twelve-layer cake (with fountain) when the bakery messed up the delivery time, distracted warring family members with the Electric Slide, instructed multiple brides on how best to pee while wearing multiple crinolines and carried a lot of wedding gifts to the car at the end of the night. My feet hurt just thinking about it!

Do you have a regular ‘first reader’?  If so, who is it and why that person?

My sweetie, J.C. Hutchins. He’s a writer too, but he writes thrillers and adventure. We call the dichotomy between us “Fireballs and Feelings.” However, this makes him a really excellent person for me to bounce ideas off of – when I just want my characters to sit around and moon about their emotions, he gives me suggestions on how to add more action.

He somehow manages to be both incredibly honest and incredibly supportive, and I’m really grateful to have him around!

Visit with Eleanor!

Check out the upcoming events on her book tour!
Reading The Weird Sisters? Invite her to call or Skype in to your book club!
Say hello on Facebook!
Follow her on Twitter!

Want to win a copy of The Weird Sisters? Answer one of her interview questions in the comments below!




News Flash: September 18, 2011

Congrats to Carolyn, winner of a copy of Laura Goode’s Sister Mischief!


From the 2012 Debs…

Deb Joanne Deb Joanne is very excited to refer to herself in third person. She thinks it makes her sound sophisticated and important, even when she has no real news to tell you about.

Deb Rachel was thrilled to read the first review of MWF Seeking BFF this week! Apparently, this whole book thing is really happening!

Deb Molly writes for the newsletter of the Illinois chapter of SCBWI & since the Fall 2011 issue just went live, and because it is conveniently online, you can read her column yourself: More Than a Pounding Heart: Capturing Emotional Experience

Deb Linda was pleased to attend a different kind of ball last night — “The 2011 Wolf Trap Ball: Celebrating 40 Years,” held on the magnificent stage at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, with scenery designed by her husband, the theater god. She is very likely still a little tipsy even as you read this.

Past Deb News

Deb Eleanor was happy to get her author’s copy of the Dutch edition of The Weird Sisters this week – check out the lovely cover!

Deb Sarah Jio is excited to announce the sale of her next two novels to Penguin, Blackberry Winter and The Last Camellia. (Details here!)

Deb Joelle is giving away an ARC of her upcoming release The Right & The Real at Goodreads so make sure to head over and enter to win!

Friends of the Debs

Allison Winn Scotch stopped by Women’s Fiction Writers blog this past week to give some great writing advice.

If you’re in the NYC area today, Samuel Park will be on the Debut Fiction panel at the wonderful (and free!) Brooklyn Book Festival.

Deb Dish — Which book did you adore but could never read again?

Deb Joanne Misery by Stephen King. I loved it so much when I read it as a teenager, but was so freaked out by it, that when I finished it at about 3a.m., I had to leave the light on.  That was the only time I’ve ever been so scared by a book.

My reason for not being able to re-read it as an adult, should be obvious:  I’m a writer.  And while I write for kids and I don’t really see how a crazed tween fan could keep me hostage in her house until I wrote the story she wanted, you just never know.  Just look how rabid they get for Justin Bieber.



Deb Erika Life of Pi by Yann Martel. While I have often wondered what it would be like to reread the book a second time with an eye toward the ending, I can’t bear to. I cherish my memory of that book too much, how powerful the story and the ending were, still are, to me. It remains one of my favorite books ever but also one I couldn’t revisit. The impact just wouldn’t be the same.


Deb Molly Paradise Lost. I took a Milton seminar in college, and we spent the majority of the semester on PL. I loved it so much, but reading it took so much energy and concentration I can’t imagine trying to do it again. It’s not exactly a beach read!


Deb Rachel This is a toughie. My gut is telling me The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of reading it again, but every time I stare at it on the bookshelf I just get sad. I don’t know if I can do that to myself a second time. She has a sequel-ish book, Blue Nights, coming out this fall, so maybe I’ll just read that.


Deb Linda Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron. I read it before I had children, and thought it was excellent — a compelling read — but I don’t think I could get through it again. As horrific as the choice Sophie had to make seemed to me at that time, I know it would hit me a hundred times harder now.



News Flash: September 11, 2011

Congratulations to Shakespeare, winner of a signed copy of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood!

Winners of Deb Joanne’s bookshelf sharp-eyes challenge:

Tania and because I can hand-deliver her copy of FADE, I picked a second winner – Zoe who will receive her choice of my duplicate books – PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King

Thank you all for playing along. I hope you had fun! See below for the answers.

Duplicate books on Deb Joanne’s bookshelf:

  1. Lisa McMann’s FADE (3 copies)
  2. Former Deb Eileen Cook’s UNPREDICTABLE
  3. Former Deb Jenny Gardiner’s SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER (oops, the second one is behind the JR Ward books – but it’s there, I promise!)
  4. Linda Gerber’s TRANCE
  6. Becca Fitzpatrick’s HUSH, HUSH
  7. Heather Brewer’s TWELFTH GRADE KILLS

From the 2012 Debs…

Deb Molly was thrilled to find ARCs of The Princesses of Iowa on her doorstep this week!

Deb Erika received a finished copy of Little Gale Gumbo hot off the presses and can’t stop sniffing the pages!

Past Deb News

Deb Eleanor is excited to be attending the Standley Lake Library‘s book group discussion of The Weird Sisters at 7 pm on Thursday, September 15. This is also her last public 2011 event! Things start up for the paperback release in January at the Pulpwood Girlfriends Weekend!

Deb Kim will be live September 15th on The Parent Coach with Dr. Phil Dembo at 11:00am EDT, 8am PDT Healthy Life Radio. Topic is “The New Normal – Life After Diagnosis.”

Deb Sarah has just learned that The Violets of March is going back to press for a fourth printing!

Friends of the Debs

Deb guest Kyran Pittman has a warm, funny (as usual) article in the September issue of Good Housekeeping!

Deb Dish — What one condiment is always in your fridge?

Deb Joanne – Ketchup.  I love ketchup on mac and cheese, grilled cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries – so uh, apparently anything fried and/or greasy. But I’m a ketchup snob – it MUST be Heinz (at home, at least). 

Deb Erika I would say it’s a tie between salsa and Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd. The salsa goes on everything but I rarely waste the curd on toast or some other appropriate bread product. By the spoonful is my favorite method.

Deb Molly Growing up in an only marginally air-conditioned house, I learned to keep my Noxzema in the fridge to maximize its cooling potential on the hottest summer days. I remember my mother coming to visit me in the first apartment that was mine alone — I was maybe 22 or 23 — and she opened the refrigerator to find nothing but a tub of Noxzema and a bottle of vodka. That’s my final answer: Noxzema and a bottle of vodka.

Deb Linda Do olives count as a condiment? Or are they more of a garnish? Whatever. I’m still going with them, because it’s hard to make a martini with mustard or ketchup. 😉   (Deb Joanne’s note: I am totally trying to figure out how to make a ketchup martini…)

Deb Rachel Barbecue sauce! I fell in love with it first at McDonald’s, when I would smother my Chicken McNuggets in their little BBQ sauce tubs. Now I’ve moved on to healthier varieties (mainly Trader Joe’s) but I’ll eat it on anything. (Including straight from my finger. Who says it needs to be served with something?)


News Flash: September 4, 2011

Congratulations to donnas, who won Amanda Kyle Williams’ The Stranger You Seek!

From the 2012 Debs…

Deb Erika is thrilled to announce that her novel, LITTLE GALE GUMBO, is a Goodreads giveaway for the next two weeks! Go on over and throw your hat in the ring for one of 25 copies!

Deb Linda is happy to have survived her initiation into Deb-hood without her head falling off. Much.

Deb Molly is excited about a brand-new class she’s teaching this semester, an intensive monthly workshop for YA & children’s book writers called, appropriately, the YA & Children’s Writing Workshop. (And you do NOT want to know how long it took to come up with that title!)

Deb Joanne is also delighted to have survived her first post without too much ridicule and finger-pointing.

Deb Rachel is ringing in Labor Day with some new friends. Of the human and Skinny Girl Margarita variety.

Past Deb News

Deb Eleanor‘s penultimate 2011 event will be at the Englewood Public Library in Englewood, CO, on Thursday, September 8th at 6:30 pm. Come say hello if you’re local (or if you’re not – Colorado’s really pretty)!

Deb Kim had a pre-interview with BBC’s Outlook radio programme (see how Brit she is?)  The half hour interview will take place this month, details to follow.

Deb Jenny will be in Manhattan on Wednesday September 7 at the launch of Wade Rouse‘s humorous dog anthology I’M NOT THE BIGGEST BITCH IN THIS RELATIONSHIP. With a powerhouse list of contributing authors, the book has garnered a lot of early buzz and the party should be a blast. Anyone around NY/NJ/CT who can stop in for champagne, authors and dogs (what’s not to love?!), feel free to do so at Trixie + Peanut Dog Emporium, 23 East 20th Street, 5-8 pm. Bitch is an Indie pick for September, and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Ladies Home Journal. Some proceeds benefit the Humane Society of the US so please do check it out on Amazon!

Oh also Deb Jenny’s novel SLIM TO NONE is approaching a top ten list on Amazon–it’s up there with Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey, so go check it out and help Deb Jenny climb the list!

Friends of the Debs

If you’re in the Atlanta, GA metro area, don’t forget to check out the Decatur Book Festival this weekend, featuring Friends of the Debs like Tayari Jones, Amanda Kyle Williams, Joshilyn Jackson, Alma Katsu, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, Libba Bray, Holly Tucker, Holly LeCraw, A.J. Mayhew, and over 300 other wonderful authors.

Deb Dish — Tell us five things that are in your purse right now

Deb Joanne

This will be the lamest answer ever, because I’m really not a purse gal and tend to keep things very minimalist, but here goes: wallet with all the standard stuff, pen, lip balm from bath and body works, Tide pen (I’m a bit of a spaz when I eat sometimes) and a spare hair elastic.  Sorry to disappoint – my next dish will be way more interesting, I promise!

Deb Erika

The running joke in our family is that I am Helen Hunt’s sister from Mad About You, you know the one who pulls umbrellas out of her purse? You really never know what is in there, but usually if you need it (you know,  for when you run into MacGyver), I’ve got it. For example, today in my purse I have a pair of my daughter’s socks (clean, but that isn’t always a given), a dispenser of Band-Aids given out at my husband’s medical insurance meeting, a Maine State Ferry service schedule, a tube of Smith’s Rosebud lip salve, and a paper coaster from Sebago Brewing Company.

Deb Molly

Does anyone else make sure a purse is large enough to hold your journal before buying it? Whenever I shop for handbags, I always end up standing in the middle of the store, trying to shove notebooks into each bag. Salespeople love me. Anyway, my current purse is shaped like a carpet-bag, wider at the bottom than the top, and though it doesn’t actually look that big, I can fit my journal, datebook, phone, wallet, keys, twenty pens and a hundred different tubes of lipgloss, a sweater in case it gets cold, and usually some kind of lunch if I’m heading to work. And yesterday at Costco I managed to shove two giant clamshells of blueberries into it, so I wouldn’t have to carry them around the store. Win!

Deb Rachel

I too seem to keep a little of everything in my purse. Handbags are to me what shoes were to Carrie Bradshaw (minus the $500 price tag). In fact, the navy blue number I’m carrying right now is a one-week old newbie. I’m reaching in and here are the first five things I pull out: overstuffed wallet full of receipts I need to log in my business expenses, empty envelope that I think once held a paycheck, a pair of $7 Walgreens headphones, two sets of vintage dice I just bought at an antique shop, a voice recorder (because you’ll never know when you need to log an interview? I have no idea.)

Deb Linda

Ha! Tough to narrow it down — it’s more like what don’t I have in my purse.  I like to be prepared for any eventuality. Let’s see, aside from the usual stuff, like wallet and keys…1. one of those cut-off stocking things they give out at shoe stores, because you never know when you’re going to try on shoes someplace that’s out of them, 2. my Kindle, 3. a tiny screwdriver for fixing glasses 4. emergency chocolate, and 5. a crap-ton of old grocery store receipts. Yes, I really need to clean out my purse.


Deb Eleanor’s Debut Year in Numbers

Eleanor BrownIn homage to the lovely Deb Sarah Pekkanen’s goodbye post, an homage in itself to the fabulous Bridget Jones , I give you my debut year in numbers.

Debutante Ball posts written: 49

Debutante Ball guests wrangled: 56

Debutante Ball comments left: 757

Messages on the 2011 Deb mailing list: 976

Miles traveled to promote the book: Oh, thousands.

Frequent flyer program elite status: 2

Times I woke up in a strange hotel room and didn’t know where the bathroom was: Legion.

Events to promote the book: 30 (stock signings and book clubs not included)

Times bookstore employees checked my author photo before allowing me to sign copies of my book: 2

Times bookstore employees were thrilled to meet me: Dozens! Thank you, booksellers!

Books signed on one day at the American Library Association conference in New Orleans: Just shy of 500. Thank you, librarians!

Amy Einhorn Books authors I’ve met in person: 5 (Kelly O’Connor McNees, Siobhan Fallon, Alex George, Sarah Blake, Mark Mustian)

Debs I’ve met in person: 6 (Sarah Jio, Elise Allen, Sarah Pekkanen, Tiffany Baker, Kristina Riggle, M. Molly Backes)

Graduate Debs who calmed me down when I was panicking about my 2nd book: 2 (xoxo Sarah P. and Tiffany)

Times 2011 Deb’s books release dates changed: 4

Awesome 2011 Deb books released: 6

Times Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) asked me about the Populazzi tattoo on my cleavage: 1

Things my fellow Debs and readers taught me: Millions!

I can’t believe my time at the Ball is over – it’s been a wonderful, exhausting, exciting year and I’m so glad that I had my fellow Debs and readers along for the ride.

Thank you, Elise, Kim, Sarah, and Tawna, for being such wonderful friends, and congratulations on all your successes!

And thank you, Deb Ball readers and fans of The Weird Sisters. You can keep up with me at my website, on Facebook, or on Twitter. And of course, I’ll see you at the 2012 Debutante Ball to support the next class of Debs, starting next week!


Characters We Love and Loathe, by Deb Eleanor

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor BrownOne of the highest compliments I get talking to readers of The Weird Sisters is when they say something like, “The characters were so real!” or “Character X is just like me!” (though usually they use the name of the character and don’t call them Character X).

I love that, and I love “the shock of recognition” when I see a character that’s so very real, or so like me – it makes me trust and care about the story that much more. And that goes for fiction and non-fiction.

But what about wonderful characters who don’t seem real, or aren’t like us?

Take Scarlett O’Hara, for example. She is a capital-G, capital-C Great Character. She’s got loads of personality, rules every scene she’s in, and you’ll desperately want to know what happens to her at every page turn.

But she’s not, to be truthful, a very realistic character, and if she is realistic – well….and I say this as a great fan of Gone With the Wind…she’s kind of a horrible person.

And I love her anyway.

Can you think of other characters – real or fictional – in books, movies, or television that you both love and hate at the same time?