Recipe for a Query Letter

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ingredients: 1 thoroughly revised manuscript 1 aspiring author 1 fragile dream 200-400 words Prep Time: 1-5 weeksCook Time: 1-3 months Step 1. Congratulations! You wrote a book! And you revised it! You did revise it, right? Oh phew, good. Wait – you had someone else read it, too? Yes? Even better. Okay now take those thousands upon thousands of exquisitely and painfully chosen words and condense them down to about…

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On Being in a Constant State of Distraction or How I Learned to Love the – SQUIRREL

Monday, November 5, 2018

On November 1st, 2016, as part of NaNoWriMo that year, I officially started writing the Perfect Assassin. Less than a week later, the most bigoted, hateful, willfully deceitful human being was elected to the highest office in our nation. Not a week has gone by in these past two years where I haven’t worried for my friends and family, where something more dire, more pressing, more terrifying has occurred to…

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Let’s Talk About Fear

Monday, October 29, 2018

I know fear. Like many creative types, I have anxiety. I have lived with everything from constant, low-level anxiety all the way up to Code Red Panic Attacks. For me, the same overactive imagination that lends itself to worldbuilding also lends itself to imagining every possible way something could go wrong. For the most part, I manage the anxiety by playing along with the what-if game until I can show…

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How to Survive Your Edit Letter

Monday, October 22, 2018

  Dear Author, the edit letter reads. You suck. Wait, no, that’s not how it goes, not even slightly. Yet we all seem to expect those words, or a variation thereof, the first time we receive an edit letter. It’s counter-intuitive to believe the editor who got excited for your book, who championed it before the acquisitions board, who read it more than once and will continue to have to…

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Sam Hawke Interview + City of Lies Giveaway

Saturday, October 20, 2018

I’m so excited to welcome Sam Hawke to the Debutante Ball this week! Sam is a delightful human being who writes epic fantasy in Canberra, Australia, where she lives with her two dogs, two small ninjas, and her husband. Her debut novel CITY OF LIES, the first in the Poison Wars series from Tor, came out just this past July to critical acclaim and lots of excited hand wavings. It’s been…

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What’s in a Doore? A Study in 3 Authors

Monday, October 15, 2018

I was the quiet kid growing up. The one off in the corner with her own toys or, later, with a book. I can’t remember when I picked up the Book Worm Virus, only that I always had it. In the same way, it’s difficult to pick any specific author as my Official Influence, because every book I’ve read has made me the author I am, today. Yes, even Bunnicula….

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Rocks Fall, Everybody Dies

Monday, October 8, 2018

I hate first drafts. I didn’t always. There was a time when I loved the thrill of a first draft, the rush of figuring out the story and exploring the characters. But back then I didn’t have a first draft so much as an only draft. And I had a bad habit of getting halfway through the story only to circle around and rewrite it so completely that the new…

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On Rejections or How I Learned to Love Being Passed On

Monday, October 1, 2018

Rejection, noun – The ignoble act of passing over a clearly remarkable novel; pure, poignant pain; the cause of many writers’ soulful wailings. Back before Craigslist was all scams, all the time, I found an ad for a literary agency on there. They were looking for an intern, the ad claimed. Someone who could help them with their slushpile and other assorted tasks. I applied right away, certain that I…

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Flinging Yourself into Balance

Monday, September 24, 2018

  Such calm! Such peace! Such lighting! That’s the kind of image I think of when someone brings up balance. And. I mean. It is balance, of a sort. But this portrayal is problematic. For one, it’s static. It looks effortless because we didn’t see this person get up on the tree stump, we didn’t watch them lift their leg – once, twice – as they tried and failed and…

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From Aspiring to Published: A Story in Three Scenes

Monday, September 17, 2018

Scene: Dusk. Tucson. 2011. I’m walking along the Rillito River path with my not-yet-wife, crossing under the Campbell bridge just as the bats begin to flicker around us, high-pitched clicks barely audible over the hum of passing cars. The heat hasn’t yet begun to dissipate and we’re still months away from rain, so the guano has accumulated in thick lines across the asphalt and its smell is a punch that…

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