Deb Tawna goes out kicking and screaming

For our final posts here at The Debutante Ball, we’re supposed to talk about what’s next and say goodbye.

But really, what are they going to do if I fail to do either of those things? Drag me out by the hair?

What I’d rather do is tell you what I love best about the incoming Debutante Ball class, and why they rock so hard they make me seasick. Here’s a rundown:

2012 Debutante Joanne LevyJoanne Levy’s debut middle-grade novel, Small Medium at Large hits shelves next June. I loved the idea of a middle-grade Deb, since reading at that age played a big part in why I became a writer in the first place. I especially adored Joanne’s description of the book in her application:

Lilah Bloom is just an average twelve year old. She’s looking forward to starting a band with her best friend, tries for decent grades and is dreaming of finding the perfect guy. That is, until her regular life becomes not-so-regular when she gets hit by lightning and can suddenly hear dead people.

I love the “her regular life becomes not-so-regular” angle (as you might have gathered from the “normal may be nice, but weird is wonderful” tagline on the cover of Making Waves) so I already know this book is going to totally roll my socks up. I also love that she’s a longtime Debutante Ball reader.

Erika Marks had me hooked from the very first line of her Debutante Ball application:Erika Marks

I wrote my first Harlequin-hopeful novel at 18, printed it on dot-matrix, sent it out and was hooked for life on writing thanks in part to several editors and agents who were far too gracious to tell me I had no business writing about sex when I’d never so much as kissed a boy (Do you think it was that obvious? Er, yes.)

Her book, Little Gale Gumbo, is not a Harlequin romance, but rather a women’s fiction title being published by NAL in October. I know I’m going to love it based not only on the description, but on Erica’s voice throughout her Debutante Ball application, including her response to our question about whether there was anything else she wanted to share:

 Well…I prefer a gin martini to a vodka one, I can’t let my hand hang over the side of the bed when I sleep, and my favorite Golden Girl is Dorothy, although perennial-Deb Blanche is a close second. I think that about covers it!

2012 Debutante Linda GrimesThen there’s Linda Grimes. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that Linda is not only my beloved agency sistah (we’re both represented by the amazing Michelle Wolfson) but also one of my critique partners. Worried it might look like I was throwing my Deb weight around on behalf of a friend, I deliberately stepped back a bit and waited for the other Debs to weigh in before I offered my two cents. It turned out I had nothing to worry about, since all the Debs adored Linda’s humor, wit, and frequent, friendly comments on our posts (as one of the Debs put it, “I feel like she’s already an honorary Deb.”)

I’ve already been lucky enough to read her light urban fantasy debut, In a Fix, which will be released by Tor in July 2012. As a comment on her release date, Linda noted:

I’ve always pictured it as summer read. On a beach. With umbrella drinks. Maybe the kind that come in coconuts, and are delivered by cabana boys. (Not that I’ve over-thought it or anything…)

If you don’t fall out of your chair laughing over this book, you seriously need to check your butt or your chair for Superglue.

2012 Debutante Rachel BertscheThen there’s the nonfiction Deb, Rachel Bertsche. It’s not like we sat down and specifically said, “there simply must be a nonfiction Deb!” but it was wonderful to get an application from someone in that genre that made us all say, “she simply must be a Deb!”

Her debut memoir, MWF Seeking BFF is due in January 2012 from Ballantine Books, and the premise is so clever and unique, I think we all ran out and clicked the preorder button on Amazon the second we read about it:

MWF SEEKING BFF is a memoir of my yearlong search for a new best friend after moving to Chicago for love. Sort of I Love You, Man meets The Happiness Project meets AJ Jacobs, it looks at how difficult – and hilariously awkward!–it is to make new friends as an adult. I went on 52 “friend-dates” over the course of the year, and I interweave the stories of those dates with the latest research about the science of friendship.

Yeah, she had me at “hilariously awkward.”

2012 Debutante Molly BackesAnd finally, there’s M. Molly Backes. Her debut young adult novel, The Princesses of Iowa, will be published by Candlewick Press in May 2012.

Before I began blogging with our own Deb Elise Allen and read her amazing book, Populazzi, I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan of YA. Deb Elise changed all that for me, to the point that I’m seriously looking forward to Molly’s hysterical sounding story:

The Princesses of Iowa, set in suburban Iowa, is a reverse-Cinderella story in which an It-girl who seems to have it all – the gorgeous boyfriend, the perfect best friends, and a spot on the Homecoming Court – starts to wonder if there’s more to life than being popular. (I stole that from Publisher’s Marketplace.) There’s also a gay creative writing teacher, a fake car accident, a real car accident, some jokes about Muttnik, a sexy nerd, an angry alternateen who changes her name from Miranda to Mirror, a disastrous homecoming parade, and an airbrushed rainbow T-shirt that says “I love my Iowa Grandma.” I’m told it all hangs together, somehow. 

I not only want this book, I want to take Molly out for drinks and a pillow fight and then tickle her until she tells me more about all those little details.

So that’s it for the new Deb roundup. Not that I’m going anywhere. Ever. I’m staying right here. For good. Hey, wait a minute. What are you doing? Ow! Dammit….

26 thoughts on “Deb Tawna goes out kicking and screaming

  1. FAbulous from start to hair pulling finish. Tawna, you made me laugh every darn week – and then some. Thank you so much. Next time though, give us a little more of the 20 something roomie – shirtless please. You ARE the Romance Deb, after all.

    I’ll chime in on the 2012 Debs too – we had a plethora of really strong applications and the choices were difficult since we each know how it feels to write that first book and desperately want to tell the world about it. The final five (selected with lots of conversation, charts and thought) came together like the five fingers in a satin glove. It didn’t hurt that the memoir Deb (yay team nonfic!) has very curly hair, just sayin…..

    See you the “Former Deb News!” Sniff…

    • For the record, the arms in the pic belong to the 27yo roomie who, when asked, “will you pull Tawna’s hair for a picture?” said “OK,” without question.

  2. lol, that’s a hilarious picture. Good luck to all the “graduating” authors and I look forward to getting to know the new authors and their books…

  3. Awesome introductions. Thanks, Tawna! You’ve definitely piqued my interest with these descriptions.

    Also, love that shot. The perks of having two male roommates? :)

  4. Man, is that a great picture, or what? How did you pick which male roomie got the job? (You do have two male roomies, yes?) A grueling round of auditions, no doubt ;) Nicely done!

    And thanks so much for the generous (and hilarious) introductions to our new class. We are so bloody excited to slip into those gloves(I love that analogy, Kim!) and keep the party going long into the night.

    (Is it too early to plan a mid-season reunion show?)

    • It’s funny, the housemate never once asked, “what for?” when I asked him to drag me around by the hair for a picture. I should probably be disturbed by that.

  5. Well.

    I saw the title of this post in my RSS feed and got ready to pull the gloves off, thinking we were going to have ANOTHER girl fight on our hands. But then I opened up the post and saw this lovely, generous and funny post and just melted into goo on the floor. THANK YOU for the so-warm-it-sizzles welcome, Tawna. Wow. Please, come back and visit anytime.

  6. The perfect farewell and welcome, and the caveman chic picture RULES!

    The new Deb class is spectacular, and hanging with them will be a phenomenal ride!

  7. Wait…you’re leaving? Nooooo…! I may have to grab your hair and hold you here. I can have a Tawna tug-of-war with whoever owns those manly arms in the pic you posted. ;)

    You are so sweet! And the best critique partner ever. Of course, I have an ulterior motive in being your CP — I get to read your books early. If y’all think MAKING WAVES is funny (and hot!), just wait to see what Tawna has in store for readers next. You’re going to love it.

    Truthfully, though, how much DID you have to pay your fellow Debs to get me on the roster? Or was it blackmail? ;)

  8. Over-all wonderful, you made Fridays even better, Tawna! Being the last Deb to post every week is a challenge in itself but you always offered a smile, laugh, and a fresh new angle. And your farewell only proves the point. Also a major thank you for introducing me to romantic comedy because “weird” by Tawna Fenske is indeed wonderful!!!

  9. A gorgeous tribute to our wonderful 2012 Debs, Tawna! I’m so excited for them.

    Here’s to many happy endings (of all kinds) for you!

  10. So excited for these ladies and I believe Rachel, we’ve been in touch about your book, or maybe you had a publicist reach out to me once? Anyway ladies, when your books are ready to hit the shelves, get in touch with me — would love to feature you all! And goodbye to all you fab alum Debs!!!

  11. Tawna, I read your book last week when I was sick and it was perfect – funny and warm and unexpected. I totally see the Carl Hiaasen comparison! Best of luck to you, in everything you do! xo, Sarah

  12. Heavens, small world, innit? Here I’ve been following both Tawna AND Linda G. for a while now, and along comes M. Molly, who I already know from my alma mater’s incestuous little alumni networking website (only the best kind of incest, though. the sort that produces royalty).

    Apparently my Debutante Ball is here to stay.

  13. I hate that you all said goodbye while I was on vacation in Bar Harbor with no access to the internet. I felt so disconnected. You will be missed on here but I’m glad that you will keep us all laughing on your blog.

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