The Manuscript in Kathleen’s Drawer

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

My first manuscript was a twenty-thousand-word trashfire of a multi-generational family saga. I’d decided to try being a novelist (New Year’s Resolution 2015), and then wrote a couple hundred words a few times per week. I published the scenes (now deleted) on my personal blog, which added a bit of accountability to the project. Alice, the main character, went through various life stages. I wrote out of order, tackling pivotal…

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Interview (and Giveaway) with Kate Lansing, Author of Killer Chardonnay

Saturday, July 11, 2020

I’m so pleased to present Kate Lansing this week as our guest at The Debutante Ball. Kate is the author of the new Colorado Wine Mystery series, and she debuted with Killer Chardonnay in May. The second book in the series, A Pairing to Die For, is already available for preorder and launches in January 2021. Kate is a charming, generous person whom I met in an online group for…

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Big Mistakes. Big. Huge!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

It’s blooper week! I feel like I’m a walking blunder most of the time, so I’m sure I could fill hundreds of blog posts with examples of “most embarrassing moments.” Since no one wants to read that, I’ll pick the category in which I’m most likely to screw up: copy editing. Copy editing comes very near the end of the publishing process. It’s when someone who is brilliant and generous…

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All (well, some) of the Cuts from Kathleen’s Debut

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

We’re talking about deleted scenes this week, and there were so many iterations of Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes that I don’t know where to start. Here are a few of the major and minor cuts I made during the four years I worked on the novel: A very minor character named Erin Warner used to be a POV character. In fact, the chapters that are now Tracy’s were originally…

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Let the Children Read Whatever They Want

Friday, June 26, 2020

I was just chatting with my sixteen-year-old son yesterday about reading. “Remember how everyone loves reading when they’re in second, third, and fourth grades?” he asked. I mean, yes. I remember this quite well. My little cherub was a voracious reader, downing series after series — Percy Jackson, The Secrets of Droon, Warriors, My Weird School, and a million other things. “What happened?” I asked him. Because now, he reads…

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Interview (and Giveaway!) with Lauren Ho, Author of Last Tang Standing

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What a treat to welcome Lauren Ho to The Debutante Ball today! Lauren’s debut novel, Last Tang Standing, is billed as Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’s Diary, and wow — if that doesn’t sound about perfect for a summer read. She’s racking up all the buzz and great reviews. One of my favorite bookstagrammers says it’s laugh-out-loud with non-stop one-liners and the Library Journal’s starred review says, “The combination…

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Keeping Jealousy on the Outside

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Between Lisa’s insightful and lovely post yesterday about creating a sisterhood and Karen’s epic piece from December about keeping your eyes on your own paper, I’m not sure I have much to add about dealing with professional jealousy. I’m a competitive and ambitious person by nature, but I’m happy to note that jealousy hasn’t been in my top five or ten challenges in the debut year. I think that’s mostly…

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Read The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton

Friday, June 12, 2020

It’s Lisa Braxton’s turn! She’s supported and cheerled and organized the rest of us Debs since August, and now her debut, THE TALKING DRUM, which takes place in 1970s Boston, is finally out in the world. I read it last weekend, and I think it’s absolutely essential. Here’s why you should read THE TALKING DRUM if you’re a writer: Lisa’s prose is spare and unsentimental. She lets the characters’ actions…

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Let’s Support Black Writers and Black Books

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

We’re writing about community this week, and my community is burning. I live in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered by police a week ago. Since then, citizens have put their bodies in the streets demanding safer and more equitable spaces and systems. The University of Minnesota ended its contract with the Minneapolis Police Department. The Minneapolis Public Schools followed suit. One of the four officers responsible for Floyd’s death…

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I Can Hardly Believe It’s That Time Again…

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I remember last year when the application window opened here for the Debutante Class of 2020. I was finishing up my teaching job for the year, and the whole prospect of publishing a novel in the next twelve months still seemed like a surreal dream. I’d been a long-time reader of this site, and I’d fangirled over many of the previous writers in the days before I’d even queried an…

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