An Era Almost Ends — the 2014 Debs and Some of Our Favorite Posts

debflowersHi! Lisa here, resident guest wrangler. (Did you know we each have blog jobs behind the scenes? Yep!) We don’t have a guest this week. Instead, as we wind down our year on this wonderful blog, we decided to reminisce. We’ve had a ton of fun exploring topics ranging from surviving public events to cooking disasters to writing craft. Of course, let’s not forget our launch weeks, every Deb’s moment in the debutante spotlight. What a privilege to read each others’ novels before publication and write about them. So fun!

If you’d like to revisit our Saturday guest posts as bonafide, at-long-last, freshly debuted authors, check them out here: Heather, Lisa, Susan, Natalia, Lori.

Here are some of our favorite blog posts:

Lori Rader-Day

Wow, this is a tough assignment, because do we mean our own favorite post? Or someone else’s? Well, my own might be the one about first days, because it captures pretty nicely what the Deb experience is about—going from unpublished to published writer. But my favorite post by someone else was the post by guest author (and friend!) Hank Phillippi Ryan, because the topic of self-promotion was perfect for the Debs and for the people debuting along with us. Also, she stuck around to offer so much generous help to anyone who asked for it. It was a great lesson on how to do the job.

Natalia Sylvester

The week we chose “orange” as our topic seemed destined to be a disaster (yes, it was a last minute procrastination thing). And while many of us took it in a silly direction, Susan’s post, “Orange is the Color of Home,” was so heartfelt it stayed with me. Maybe it’s because I’m a sentimental homebody at heart, or maybe because it was just so beautifully written: “It’s the smell of clementines as my young son smacks on a segment, the juice dripping off his chin. Orange is Dreamsicles, sherbet, sunflowers. Cheese. Glorious cheese. Orange is happiness. Orange says welcome.” I read this and thought, yes, I get this.

Susan Gloss

I loved “Inspiration Stew,” one of Lisa’s first posts. She talked about how a roller coaster of a year, including the death of a parent and the discovery of a secret sibling, inspired the idea for her first novel, Kilmoon. It goes to show how you never know when you’re in the middle of something, no matter how hellish it might be in the moment, how it will shape you later.

Heather Webb

There were so many articles this year that I found inspiring or funny, or moving from each of the debs. But one post struck a chord with me recently, right in the thick of my writer doubt and writer’s block — Natalia’s “5 Sure-Fire Ways to Kill Creativity or Your Money Back, Guaranteed“.

Lisa Alber

Maybe I’m just in a silly mood today, but one of my favorite posts is titled “The Final Frontier: How Star Trek Helped Me Become a Writer.” I remember writing that post, thinking, Do I dare admit to playing monkey-sex games with my Barbies when I was a kid? Back in October, I wasn’t sure about how to act, so to speak, here on The Debutante Ball. Come to find out — anything goes! We each let loose in our own ways, showing our humorous selves — I liked that. Heather with buttholes, Susan with her snack fear, Lori with leaping forward, and Natalia as the world’s worst restaurant hostess.

We’ve had poignant posts, inspirational posts, funny posts, wise posts, and educational posts, and now we’re looking forward to seeing what the 2015 Debs write. Bring it on, gals!

Dear readers, do you have any favorite posts that you’d like to remind us about?
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Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY (March 2014). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber's Words at Play round out her distractions. Visit her at www.lisaalber.com.

This article has 15 Comments

  1. I don’t remember a favorite post (it’s been a whole year, after all, and my memory isn’t that good — I sometimes find posts on my own blog that I don’t remember at all), but I don’t know how I missed Lisa’s post about Star Trek. Must have been before I got here.

    I love the reminder that when you’re a kid, it’s all just stories. There’s no “literary” or “genre” or rules. When kids tell stories, they think nothing of a family on vacation at the beach suddenly getting into a spaceship and traveling to Mars. All too many writers lose that as they get older.

    There’s a lot of things about Star Trek that can be made fun of, lord knows, but that was at the core of the appeal. Strange new worlds and new civilizations. As Jodie Foster says, repeatedly and impatiently, in the movie Contact, “Who gets to go?”

    1. That’s a wonderful point, Anthony. I love hearing my 7 yo daughter’s stories and the random, unlikely events she packs them with. Plus all of that excitement in her eyes when she tells them. Such beautiful child wonder…I wish we kept it as adults, too.

        1. Well, I’ve never been accused of being innocent and childlike (at least to my face 🙂 ), but I do like to follow my gut about including a few non-standard elements in my mystery stories.

          For example, there are three recurring characters who are, it is strongly hinted, not human. They are never explained, but I’ve got a lot of positive feedback about them (though I’m sure they wouldn’t be included in any “How to Write a Mystery Story” instructions manuals).

          One of my favorite things about the TV series Twin Peaks was that one of the characters (Nadine, the crazy lady with the eyepatch and the drape runners) had superhuman strength. This was never explained, and nobody seemed to worry too much about it. That was a big influence on me.

  2. Thank You Debs 2014 for sharing your journeys this past year. With my first book coming out next year, I was so happy to discover your blog and I’ve enjoyed every post.
    Cheers to you all,
    Gwendolyn Womack

  3. I agree with Anthony, it’s hard to remember one as I have been enjoying this blog for a while now. I found the Debs last fall sometime but it must have been before you, Lisa, posted the one about your “Inspiration Stew.” I just went back and read it. Loved it. I’m adopted so grew up with all the emotions that comes with being another person’s deep dark secret. My birth father ended up finding me and after the secrets found their way to light, I finally started to make sense of who I was and my place in the world. Next week, in fact, will be my 20th anniversary with my birth family.

    Being adopted has definitely influenced my writing as I frequently visit themes of loss and abandonment. Writing, it seems to me, is one place we can’t escape who we are. We bring everything that has come before to the page, even in fiction.

    I’m certainly going to miss reading your daily posts but, no doubt, you’ve left the blog in capable hands. Best wishes to all of you as you dance toward book number 2 and beyond!

    1. Wow, Debbie, thanks for sharing that. How wonderful that your birth father found you and you have a relationship with him!

      I agree with you — even though it can sometimes feel like an escape, writing brings out our true selves. I already discovered that I return to family dynamic issues.

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