Beyond The Ball

I have so enjoyed catching up with my fellow founders this week! How lucky we were to have found such talented women, and how amazing that they’ve all gone on to be so successful. I’ve also had a great time following the 2008 Debutantes, the second class, the one the future of The Ball hinged on. And what a wonderful job they’ve done, not only growing the original concept to include fabulous guests, but also increasing readership and managing to get together in “real life” the way the Founders always wanted to but didn’t seem to be able to manage!

Perhaps one day we’ll do a big Debutante Reunion and ALL the classes can attend?

Ah, future plans. I love thinking about the future. And I’m looking forward to the 2009 Debs taking over, finding their dancing legs, and bringing new ideas and energy to The Ball. Congratulations to Debs past, present, and future. I think we’ve built a lovely dance here.

As for what I’ve been doing over the past year, well, I’ve mostly been wrestling with my e-mail in-box. Why will it NEVER empty?

I, like the other Founders, initially felt a relief at not being responsible for a weekly blog post, but as time went on I also found myself missing the opportunity to cast off some extra words and ideas clogging up my creativity. Does it fit in my book? Will it fit in a future book? No? Then get out of my head! Be gone, word demons!

Ahhh, I thought, perhaps I should blog again?

So, yes, I’ve continued to blog. I blog for “A Good Blog Is Hard To Find,” which is a blog made up of something like 32 Southern authors, so I only pop up there once every six weeks or so. I also blog over at Red Room, where I can blog as little or as much as I want and there are hundreds of authors there, also blogging whenever they feel like it. I tend to be slightly more “out there” at Red Room for some reason.

And then I started my own personal blog, mostly as a way of keeping people updated on my books, and that blog rolls over to my Amazon pages. Aside from all this blogging, I’ve also been Facebooking, Twittering, and SlingPaging. Yeesh, I’m everywhere!

I’ve also written another book, Matters of Faith, which came out a couple of weeks ago. It has received lots of exciting reviews, but you can see all that stuff on my website (and blog!). I’ve done things a little differently with Matters of Faith than I did with Catching Genius.

With a first book I think you just have to throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Later on, after everything has calmed down, you check out the wall, sweep up what fell, and toss it away. So with Matters of Faith I am not doing nearly as much travel, which turned out to be absurdly expensive once totaled up.

I also learned that not all events (that you likely paid to go to) are created equal, and I think I’ve learned how to separate the wheat from the chaff so that I can make better decisions. There are some events at which you are simply an entertainer. I could have stood up there and juggled, told jokes, or simply made funny faces and it wouldn’t have mattered. But I didn’t get into this industry to entertain people with ME, I want to entertain them with my BOOKS. If I wanted to be a personal entertainer I would have been on Last Comic Standing.

So, you learn your lessons, and you make changes. And now I’m entering that part of the whole process again, and I’ve learned to politely decline (*gasp* I know, “decline” was NOT in my vocabulary as a debutante) some things, and to go after others. I’ll keep you posted on how all that works out for me!

In September Matters of Faith will be an IndieBound Notable Title, which, considering my unnatural love for indie bookstores is especially exciting for me.

I’m also writing a new book. I’ve been stuck at about 80,000 words for a month, mostly because I found it very difficult to work as the Matters of Faith publication date neared, and now that it’s out, I’m finding it just as hard! However, this is the nature of the career when you get past that debut year. You’re promoting one, editing one, writing one. And, oddly, that first thing never goes away. Just because a new one comes out doesn’t mean the first one disappears. So, to make this career work, you just keep adding on, so now I’m promoting two books, writing one, outlining one.

It’s an interesting transition to make, and I think I’m slowly getting a handle on it.

Home life hasn’t changed much. The husband is as adorable as ever and still incredibly supportive of the whole writing thing. The troll is still around, though going distressingly white on her muzzle, and shedding just as much as she ever did. We added a second Roomba to our family, and now we have dueling Roombas trying to keep up with the dog fur.

All of my orchids have officially come out of their pots and are thriving with zero help from me in trees around our home. Oh!! I do have some exciting news! I’m a brunette again! That’s right, I got tired of futzing with it and am back to my natural color. Well, as close as I remember it anyway. I still get it colored in order to cover up the white (not gray, startling white) hair. I’m not a savage after all.

Wow, the past year, distilled down to 900 words. Huh. Seems like it should take at least 1,200.

So, bring on the new Debs! I wish you all great luck, be kind to each other, you’ll be amazed at how your paths will continue to cross through the years.

Founder Kristy, continuing to work the dream, signing off…


Newsflash, July 13 2008

Announcing the Debutante Ball Class of 2009

We are most excited to announce the 2009 Debs, who will take over the Debutante Ball on September 1, 2008. We had so many extremely talented authors from which to choose, all with exciting books debuting next year, and narrowing it down to five was no easy task.

Without further ado, our 2009 Debutantes are:

Eve Brown-Waite, author of the memoir First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed My Life (Broadway Books/April 2009).

about the book: With wit and candor, First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria chronicles Eve’s misadventures as an aspiring do-gooder in the developing world. From intestinal parasites to being held hostage, from eating termites to cultural misunderstandings, here is an honest – and hysterical – look at the search for love and purpose – from a woman who finds both in the last place she expected.

Tiffany Baker, author of the literary novel The Little Giant of Aberdeen County (Grand Central Publishing, January 2009).

about the book: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County is about how Truly, a woman born a giant, overcomes her small town’s prejudices, uncovers decades of family secrets, and learns that love doesn’t always come ordered to size.

Katie Alender, author of the YA thriller Bad Girls Don’t Die (Disney/Hyperion, April 2009).

about the book:When 15-year-old Alexis Warren suspects that her younger sister Kasey’s strange behavior is more than just angst, she thinks she can handle it on her own. But creepy parlor tricks are just the beginning, and it soon seems that Kasey may actually be living out the violent legacy of the Warrens’ gothic home. Alexis is forced to seek out the help of her arch-rival, cheerleader queen, Megan Wiley. Only by working together can they try to save Kasey. But what if the green-eyed girl isn’t even Kasey anymore?

Kristina Riggle, author of the women’s fiction book All Happy Families (Avon/HarperCollins, May 2009).

about the book: Faded flower child Mira Zielinski isn’t about to have surgery for her newly diagnosed breast cancer, which will no doubt upset her grown children — when she gets around to telling them. They’re coming home with their own lives falling apart over spousal secrets, an elopement, and withered dreams. As this all comes to light on one pivotal weekend, will it shake Mira’s resolve?

Meredith Cole, author of the mystery novel Posed for Murder (St. Martin’s Press, February 2009).

about the book: Lydia McKenzie, an edgy art photographer who recreates murder scenes in a film noir style, finally achieves her dream of putting her art in a gallery. But when someone starts killing her models just like they were posed in her photographs, she has to catch the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Deb News:

This week, Deb Jess will be on tour at the following locations…join the fun if you’re in the area!

Wednesday, July 16, 7 pm at The Book Cellar
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL

Thursday, July 17, 6 pm at the Portage County Public Library
1001 Main Street
Stevens Point, WI
(Enter to win a beach bag full of goodies!)

Saturday, July 19, 11 am – 1 pm at Conkey’s Bookstore
226 East College Avenue
Appleton, WI

Jess is also thrilled to share Swapna Krishna’s glowing review of Driving Sideways for Curled Up With a Good Book. Five out of five stars! From the review: “The novel has a lot of heart and emotion, but it is never cheesy or sappy, demonstrative of Riley’s talent as a writer. She manages to touch her readers and evoke the emotions she wants them to feel without telling them to do so. It is a mark of her ability to write sympathetic and believable characters that the reader really does care about.”

Get an online goodie bag worth $500
when you purchase Fifteen Minutes of Shame at Amazon on Monday, July 14.

Fifteen Minutes of Shame, by Lisa Daily, is a romantic comedy about what happens when America’s favorite TV love guru finds out her husband is cheating – live, on national television.

To get the free $500 online goody bag, purchase Fifteen Minutes of Shame before 12 midnight PST on Monday, July 14 at Amazon.com (where it’s currently bargain-priced around $10) and email your receipt to swagbag (at) lisadaily.com.

For a details and a complete listing of all the swag, which includes one week free at Bag Borrow or Steal, a two-month subscription to Cupid.com, a free lip-plumping serum, an exclusive T-Tapp exercise video download, free mineral makeup, free cellulite firming cream, sneak peek chapters of books and not-yet-released books from debs Eileen Cook, Jenny Gardiner and Danielle Younge-Ullman and former debs Mia King and Kristy Kiernan, (plus Jane Porter, Mary Castillo, Mike Robbins and Lisa McLeod and others) plus lots of other goodies, check out www.lisadaily.com/swagbag on Monday 7/14.

Deb Gail has a cover for her book!!

Deb Jenny’s novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver got a fabulous review from Book Room Reviews: “If you want to laugh until you pee your pants, then pick up this book. If you want to gain some insight into what goes into a marriage, then pick up this book. I loved the character of Claire. She is someone that every woman can relate to, young or old. Jenny Gardiner has a gift for finding humor and at the same time tackling tough issues. This is a great mom lit book to read by yourself, or giggle about with your book club.”
I might suggest you go to the bathroom before you start reading my book 😉 .
Book Room Reviews is raffling off their copy of Sleeping with Ward Cleaver here.

Founder News: Founder Kristy Kiernan’s new novel Matters of Faith (Aug.5) continues to garner great reviews! The newest from Bookpage:

Everyone believes in something. Whether our beliefs are rooted in religion, experience or just intuition, faith is one of life’s strongest arguments. Many believe that life’s trials are there to test faith. However, the true question just might be where we should place our trust—can we even trust ourselves when a crisis is at hand? Kristy Kiernan, the author of last year’s Catching Genius, has centered her new book on a South Florida family with more than a few trust issues. Matters of Faith is a tense but touching novel that forces its characters and readers to re-examine their beliefs.

Chloe Tobias, a free-spirited mother, is constantly at odds with her pessimistic husband Cal. Along with her contentious marriage, her preteen daughter Meghan’s severe food allergies are a constant reminder that all is not as carefree as she would like. When their oldest child Marshall arrives home from college with a new girlfriend, Ada, an uncomfortable tension develops. Ada is from a religious Nebraska community. She looks down on Meghan’s strict diet and strongly pushes her beliefs on the unprepared family. Unfortunately, Marshall seems to agree.

Chloe struggles with her manners until Ada’s faith in prayer over medicine results in a disastrous fate for Meghan. Suddenly the couple must simultaneously deal with Marshall’s betrayal, Meghan’s condition and their deteriorating marriage. The story has the suspense of a blockbuster film with the internal examinations of a breakthrough therapy session. Kiernan draws exquisite parallels between different forms of faith, protection and abandonment. Ultimately, however, the book is about choices: which of their children will Cal and Chloe choose to protect? Will Marshall choose his love for Ada or his family? Should faith be put aside in favor of modern medicine, or can the two work together?

The story gives plenty of perspective on both sides. Matters of Faith begins as a recognizable family story and transforms into a view of human nature under pressure. How open will minds be when lives are interrupted? Will we believe the same things when loss tests our faith? How do we choose between the two things most precious to us? Kiernan’s portrait of the Tobias family is a study in emotional turmoil that will stay with any reader when their beliefs are, inevitably, called into question.