A year like no other: Elizabeth’s Deb Ball recap

Over the last year the word, unprecedented, got used, I think, an unprecedented number of times. Everything about the last 18 months has been without precedent, however, and that goes double for debut authors. We saw virtual book launches segue to socially distanced events, back to virtual, back to in-person with masks, without masks, and we now find ourselves in some sort of cruel cosmic Mobius loop where we’re back to shut-downs and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

And yet, the wheel keeps turning and new books keep coming out, and we’ve had to adapt and find ways to get our books out even if we’re doing it from our couch. Was it easy? No. Was it fun? Sometimes. Was it unforgettable? Absolutely.

I was so thankful to have had my sister Debs along on this ride with me. From launching Ehsaneh’s gorgeous, A DOOR BETWEEN US, all the way back in September, to starting 2021 off with a bang with Greta’s THE FROZEN CROWN in January, to dancing through March with Denny’s WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES, and finally making it to the summer with my own book, MONA AT SEA, and Lyn’s sumptuous THE TIGER MOM’S TALE, it was a great year for new books. I’m so proud to have gotten the opportunity to help introduce these authors and these books to the world. I know they will all have long and luminous careers ahead of them!

My favorite part about being a Deb? I loved interviewing authors on our IGTV channel: Brenda Peynado, Lilly Dancygar, A. Natasha Joukovsky, Diane Zinna, Vera Kurian, and Mary Pauline Lowry were kind enough to speak with me about their work, and I was so glad to have read their books and introduce new readers to them.

So what’s next for this old debutante? Well, a lot. I’m working on my second novel, THE BULLET SWALLOWER, which is a magical realism western about my bandido great-grandfather. I’m grinding through revisions as we speak, and hope to go on submission with it very soon. I will continue blogging with Ploughshares Blog through 2021, which has been so much fun. I get paid to nerd all the way out on books – what could be better? And I have accepted an editorial position at one of my favorite magazines of all time. But more on that later… 😉

So goodbye lovely readers and thank you for allowing me this platform. I hope we’ve laughed and cried (and I certainly made liberal use of wine gifs, if I recall).

My warmest congratulations and best wishes to the incoming Debutante class: Sarah Grunder Ruiz, Flora Collins, Jennifer Fawcett, Melissa Chadburn, Sonya Singh, Carolyn Huynh, and Cleyvis Natera. I know they’re an incredible group of writers and I cannot wait to follow their journey!




And just for lolz here’s one more wine gif for the road. Who wants a juice box?!?

Author: Elizabeth Gonzalez James

Before becoming a writer Elizabeth was a waitress, a pollster, an Avon lady, and an opera singer. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares Blog, The Idaho Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere, and have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. Her debut novel, MONA AT SEA, was a finalist in the 2019 SFWP Literary Awards judged by Carmen Maria Machado, and is forthcoming, Summer 2021, from Santa Fe Writers Project. Originally from South Texas, Elizabeth now lives with her family in Oakland, California.