Interview with Valerie Valdes, author of CHILLING EFFECT

Saturday, October 19, 2019

I am thrilled to welcome Valerie Valdes to The Debutante Ball. We attended Viable Paradise together in 2016. Valerie will be giving away a copy of her novel, Chilling Effect, with an absolutely adorable fridge magnet — see below! Valerie Valdes lives in an elaborate meme palace with her husband and kids, where she writes, edits and moonlights as a muse. She enjoys crafting handmade bespoke artisanal curses and admiring…

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My Desert-Island Top 5 Books (That Influenced Me)

Friday, October 18, 2019

To paraphrase Nick Hornby, My desert-island, top-five most memorable books in chronological order: 1. Escape to Witch Mountain Tony and Tia were different. (Didn’t we all feel that way as kids?) They could both read minds and had telekenisis – they could move objects with their minds. That was a talent I tried to practice as I suffered silently at the dinner table. Instead of paying attention to what was…

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The wandering muse and the willing vessel

Thursday, October 17, 2019

I really love authors who speak candidly about the writing and creation process. I read fiction ravenously. I find that I’m always amazed at the different worlds I am able to slip into thanks to authors’ imagination and skill. And even though I have followed into their profession, I still wonder, how do they do it? Are their minds just different than other people? Do they have to be in…

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Let’s go back. All the way back.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

When I think of the books and authors that have influenced me, I think back. Way back. Back further than that. All the way to the beginning, really, because there’s nothing like the high you get from reading when you’re young. I think that’s one of the highs we chase as adult readers—the feeling we got way back when while staying up late, hiding under the sheets with a flashlight,…

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“I Want to Write Like That”: The Authors that Inspired Kathleen’s Debut

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

After I read Celeste Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You, I started thinking about writing fiction for real. It wasn’t that I had any delusions about writing quite as beautifully as Ng does. It was more that the story she told–of family members who loved each other, but didn’t really know each other–moved me so intensely. So, after I finished it, I started writing my own multi-generational (and highly…

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The Author Who Makes Me Cry the Most

Monday, October 14, 2019

It is not very often that a work of fiction makes me cry, but that’s what happened when I read Langston Hughes’ “Cora Unashamed,” a story in one of Hughes’ short story collections, which was made into a television film as part of the Masterpiece Theatre American Collection starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones. Cora is an African American housekeeper in the early 1900s isolated in an all-white town in…

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Interview with A.J. Hackwith, Author of THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN

Saturday, October 12, 2019

I am so excited to welcome A.J. Hackwith to The Debutante Ball. We attended Viable Paradise together in 2016.  A.J. Hackwith is a magpie of plots, bad ideas, and spite. She is a queer speculative fiction writer who writes contemporary fantasy as A. J. Hackwith and sci-fi romance as Ada Harper.  Her writing has appeared in Uncanny Magazine and various anthologies, and she’s an alumni of Viable Paradise workshop. She’s…

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Where Do You Draft Your Words?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Did you ever notice how, on TV or in the movies, when they want to show the difficulties of writing, they have people sitting in front of a  typewriter tossing off crumpled pieces of paper into (or near) the garbage? Real writing isn’t like that. First off, we use computers now, so the visual of trying to write is much less dramatic…just a cursor key going forward and backward. More…

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Making friends with the first draft

Thursday, October 10, 2019

When I started getting serious about my writing, that is, serious about the publication of my work, I became increasingly more anxious around my process. I used to just write, easily, stream of consciousness style in my journals when the idea was just for fun, just for me. But when I considered reading my work aloud or trying to have it published, I found that the writing became somewhat stifled….

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Oh, how I love the bracket trick.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I love revisions. (I know, you’re about to ask—which demon rose from depths of hell and is currently wearing a writer coat?) I just think it’s incredibly fun to take a rough piece of coal and polish it into a diamond. But first drafts have their charms, too. You don’t have to impress anyone — not even yourself. In a first draft, you can just knock the firehose to full…

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