It’s here! It’s here! It’s REALLY HERE!

Monday, January 5, 2015

I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. Or like my dog when she’s about to get a bone from the standing rib roast. Or like Little Orphan Annie: “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love ya! Tomorrow. You’re only A DAY AWAY!” In short, I’m a jumble or nerves and excitement because MY DEBUT NOVEL COMES OUT TOMORROW! When I signed the contract a year and a half ago, I thought Jan….


The Fear and Possibility of The Blank Page

Monday, December 29, 2014

There is nothing so delightful and terrifying to a writer (well, to me, anyway) as a blank page. After I finished BEFORE I GO and got my publishing deal, I had a few different ideas running through my mind for my next book. Coming up with ideas is never the problem— it’s deciding which ones are good enough; which ones will really translate into an interesting full-length novel that’s tough….


What Happened To the Kale??!! The Importance of a Novel’s First Line

Monday, December 22, 2014

The kale is gone. That’s the first line of my debut novel BEFORE I GO. It’s four simple words, and on the outset, hard to argue that it’s all that compelling of a first line. It’s not as profound as, say: Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. (THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD — Zora Neale Hurston) Or as memorable as: Call Me Ishmael. (MOBY DICK —…


5 Great Gifts for Book Lovers

Monday, December 15, 2014

STOP. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing. I see you over there, absent-mindedly buying that Amazon gift card for the book lover on your list, because you are BURNED OUT on gift buying. (And I get it. At this point, the people on my list that I’m not done buying for are getting a hug. Not even necessarily a heartfelt one.) But before you hit that annoyingly easy and dangerous “Buy…


Writing Isn’t for Quitters

Monday, December 8, 2014

This week on the The Ball, we’re all reminiscing about a time in our publishing journeys when we wanted to throw in the towel. But here’s the thing: I never had a time when I thought I might quit writing. I had depressing moments when I thought maybe I was the worst writer. Ever. In the history of time and space. But I always knew that I would write. And…


3 Tricks to Keep Writing (Even When You’d Rather Be Looking at Taylor Kitsch Pix)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Writing is hard. I mean, not as hard as say, doing a tour of duty in Afghanistan or nannying for Octomom or working a 12-hour shift on Black Friday. OK, so writing isn’t really hard. It’s just typing words. Like I’m doing now. And I don’t have to worry about hidden land mines or two middle-aged women fighting over a Barbie doll. (Seriously. Seriously? Seriously.) Relatively speaking, writing is easy. (Good writing…


Happy Thanksgiving — and a GIVEAWAY!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Here at The Debutante Ball, we are thankful for YOU, our readers and supporters. Thanks for coming on this journey with us! To show our appreciation, we’re giving away a copy of Shelly King’s THE MOMENT OF EVERYTHING this week. Tell us what YOU’RE thankful for in the comments below by Noon (EST) on Friday, December 5 to enter to win a signed copy of THE MOMENT OF EVERYTHING (US only). Follow The Debutante Ball…


Dealing With One-star Reviews and Other Writing Disappointments

Monday, November 24, 2014

I have mentioned before how fraught with fear and anxiety this publishing-my-debut-novel journey has been (and will continue to be — apparently, even on your 16th book, those feelings of insecurity don’t go away). But this week on The Ball, we’re talking about how to weather those storms. How to stay grounded and be grateful even when you get less-than-awesome news (like a 1-star review on GoodReads). For me, this is…


Don’t Hate Me Because I’m … a Self-Promoter

Monday, November 17, 2014

My agent has sold foreign rights to BEFORE I GO in six different countries so far. Every time a new sale comes in, I want to shout it from the rooftops, which in today’s modern times means: “Post it on Facebook to show the world (read: my ex-boyfriends) that I have come a long way from that drunk girl who used to order a sackful of Krystals at 4 a.m….


My Four Favorite Writing Tips

Monday, November 10, 2014

This week on The Ball, we’re talking about our favorite advice from veteran writers. For the nuts and bolts of writing, see: Elmore Leonard. And then when you’ve committed those to memory, check out four of my other favorite writing tips that I refer to those times when I’m staring at a blank Word doc and that judge-y blinking cursor (read: most days). (Note: For the full original post on my favorite writing…