The End of My Deb Year: Goodbye, Welcome, and Becoming a Sophomore

Friday, September 2, 2016

I distinctly remember coming back to college after my freshman year (freshwoman, really). I still felt fresh. Being new to the school was part of my identity. And yet, I came back from my first summer vacation, I saw this new group of people I didn’t recognize. They were walking around with maps in their hands, looking lost. Seeing those dazed and anxious faces, I realized that I was indeed…


My Deb Year: So Delighted That’s Settled!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Although I’ve dreamed of being a novelist since I was a young adult, I am achieving the dream in my 40s. So instead of being the first dream I fulfilled, it’s actually the last one that I’ve been carrying around since my youth. Here’s the list: finish college get an MFA develop a body of work in spoken word produce my hip hop theater show make a living as a…


What I’ve Been Reading (Listening To) in 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

Unlike my Deb sisters with the huge TBR stacks (to be read), I have completely accepted defeat. I can’t seem to read print books and still manage to write books, work my job, and raise my kid. I listen instead. And unfortunately for me, 75% of the books I’d like to read are not available in audio format. The other problem is that I often listen at bedtime, so the…


The City Girl’s Guide to Small Town Fiction: Why I Love Louise Miller’s Debut Novel

Friday, August 12, 2016

I’m a city girl. I’ve lived only in urban coastal areas–the Bay Area of Northern California and Boston. I write “urban women’s fiction.” Like many city-dwelling people of color, I am deeply dismayed by the relentless gentrification of the urban landscape. But many of us who lament gentrification are also part of the problem–namely, we celebrate the city and look down on rural and small-town living. In our arrogance, we…


Aya de Leon Remixes the Deb Interview and GIVEAWAY of UPTOWN THIEF

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Over this past year being a Deb, I’ve shared the interview questions with several guest authors. Each time, one or two questions have caught my eye, and I’ve wondered how I would answer them. Now that it’s my turn to be a guest author, here’s my chance! As a continually hybrid writer, I’m remixing them with some fresh questions from the other Debs about UPTOWN THIEF… Talk about one book…


Launched! & I Find Myself Out At Sea…

Friday, August 5, 2016

Last week, my debut novel UPTOWN THIEF was published. As I reflect on the experience, I recall that 2004 was the last time I launched a full-length project into the world. It was a solo show, Thieves in the Temple: The Reclaiming of Hip Hop. (Thus far, I seem destined to have the word Thief in my titles). Because the launch of my solo show is my only frame of reference,…


My Feminist Twin: Why I Love Heather Young’s THE LOST GIRLS

Friday, July 29, 2016

Heather Young is my twin sister in the world of Debut Novelists. Our books came out the same day–Tuesday, July 26, 2016, and both are novels of suspense. On the surface, one might think that was all we had in common. I’m writing a larger-than-life heist story of sexy urban fiction, while her book, THE LOST GIRLS, is a subtle, beautifully crafted thriller. But despite our differences, I fell in…


Aya de Leon’s 10 Fun Facts about UPTOWN THIEF

Friday, July 22, 2016

1. The original title of the book was The Manhattan Escort & Larceny Service. My editor Mercedes Fernandez didn’t like it. Too long. We brainstormed for a while, and my new favorite was Downtown Madam, Uptown Thief, which she shortened. At first I wasn’t totally sold on it, but It’s really grown on me and now I love it. 2. The book originally started with Marisol stuck in an air…


My second debut

Friday, July 15, 2016

Second time around In some ways, I’m a second round debutante. In 2004, I did a solo show. It was my first full-length work that had been publicly produced. Of course, the producer was me. The writer, the actor, the dancer, the prop master, the production assistant, the graphic designer, and the makeup artist? Also me. Designing and printing the programs? Me again. I had a fabulous director, who also…


Zen & the Art of Women’s Basketball

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This week on The Debutante Ball, we’re looking back at our New Year’s Resolutions. I have made many resolutions in my life. They are mostly concerned with accomplishment: reaching goals, developing good habits, doing more exercise. This year, however, I resolved–on this very blog–to have more inner peace to go along with my external accomplishments. As part of being grounded, I also resolved to stop eating sugar. What good does…