Fear in Writing and in Life

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In honor of Halloween, we’re talking about what we’re afraid of here at The Ball. I suppose we should begin with fear. Fear is a disease. It starts off in one tiny little cell and blooms like black mold feeding on its host, consuming cell after cell until your body is racked with it and you are crippled. Once you let it in, it’s hard to stop it. I’d like…


GUEST AUTHOR: Lynn Cullen Says What Doesn’t Kill You From Fright Cures You + Giveaway of MRS.POE

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Please welcome guest author Lynn Cullen to The Debutante Ball today! Lynn is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA…


Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That. You, Dear Writer, Are Going Places

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We grow up with inner critics whispering in our heads, dropping not-so-subtle hints that we aren’t perfect. This blasted critic thrives on fear. So how does one tame that voice, slay that Debbie Downer that likes to taunt us? First, you must decide which type of critic you have. Is your critic a… Ruler-Wielding Schoolmarm: She believes you can be perfect. She has no qualms about making you redo that…


GUEST AUTHOR: Jennifer Laam on Her Inner Critic + Giveaway of THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR

Saturday, October 19, 2013

We’re thrilled to welcome Jennifer Laam, author of the upcoming THE SECRET DAUGHTER OF THE TSAR (St. Martin’s Griffin), to The Debutante Ball this week. In her riveting debut novel that launches on Tuesday, October 22nd, Jennifer seamlessly braids together the stories of three women — Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte — and imagines an alternate history for the Romanov family – one in which a secret fifth daughter, smuggled out of…


How Writing is Like Charting Undiscovered Lands

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I’m a plotter. Like a serious plotter. I write up character maps (I literally figure out their personality types with the help of the Enneagram and Myers Briggs), a historical outline, and a scene outline. I create a waste document and a bibliography.  I know, I know. I may be a little bit of an overachiever, but without these tools, I feel adrift on a sea of words. But I’ll…


The Seasons of Writing

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Speaking of seasons, cold season is ramping up and I have my first one of the year! Blarrgg. But other than that… I love the seasons. Spring with its hopeful sunshine and soggy earth, summer’s ripe vegetables. The windswept colors of fall and even the silvery clouds and naked forests of winter. They each hold a certain beauty, but I have to admit, the seasons affect my productivity. I’m distracted…


Landing an Agent Ain’t No Cinderella Story

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My agent story is a fun one to tell, at least for me. I don’t have five trunk novels. I didn’t query hundreds of agents and field dozens of rejections. One might call my story the Cinderella story. Kind of. (Well, other than the three years and hundreds of hours of writing, revising, studying craft, going to conferences, and wiping breast milk off of my ink-filled pages.) Where was I?…


How My Tribe Made Becoming Josephine Possible

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Any seasoned writer knows it takes a tribe to make a novel happen. Mine is no different. But like Deb  Lori, I have to start at the beginning. The most important person in this novel-making process was… ME Yep, me. My own sheer will, utter devotion and obsession tunnel vision of focus on the end game, THE BIG GOAL. I scoured the internet to research agents and editors, what’s selling,…


Writing with a Goat, on a Boat

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I do not write in a box. I do not write with a fox. Would you, could you on a plane? Would you, could you on a train? That pestering little Sam I Am got me thinking about where I write. And the answer is: I write on a plane, on a train, in a box with a fox. I will write here and there. I will write everywhere. Metaphorically…


“Firsts” are like buttholes. Everyone has got one.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

They are! Seriously, firsts really are like buttholes. There are several reasons why, but let’s keep it clean. To start, everyone must experience them at some time or another. First bounced check, first car impounding, first eviction notice…Ok, I promised to keep it clean! Firsts are hard, scary, and often make you feel like you want to dive under your covers and never come out. But sometimes firsts are exciting,…