The “highlight reel” of my year as a Debutante

Monday, August 10, 2020

  Greetings and salutations and welcome to the Debutante Ball! I was so excited when I read the first words of the email I received on a Sunday morning in early August of 2019 informing me that I’d been chosen as one of the 5 debut authors who would chronicle her “big dance” toward publication. I had been following the Debutante Ball blog for more than a year and eagerly…

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2020 Debutante Lisa Braxton receives Outstanding Literary Award

Thursday, August 6, 2020

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2020­­­—Debutante Lisa Braxton, author of the debut novel, The Talking Drum, is a recipient of an Outstanding Literary Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. The award was announced today at the organization’s virtual convention where she was interviewed about her book during The Author Showcase. The Showcase selection committee considered The Talking Drum compelling and socially relevant and notable for its inclusion of…

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Launch Party and Swag: What Worked and What Didn’t

Monday, August 3, 2020

Six months before my book launch, I went shopping. I purchased all that I thought I would need to exhibit and sell The Talking Drum at book fairs and other events: ethnic table cloths, miniature djembes, a bowl handwoven by West African women operating micro-businesses. Then the pandemic happened. There would be no in-person events. Everything would be virtual. I tucked away the tablecloths and bowl in my cedar chest,…

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What’s Next for Me?

Monday, July 27, 2020

Now that The Talking Drum has launched with great fanfare, I’ve been able to spend some noodling with the draft of my second novel, a historical piece taking place in Boston in the mid-1800s, but I’m not quite ready to make a full pivot to Manuscript Number 2. The Talking Drum only hit the virtual bookshelves on May 29th. I’m hoping to generate additional attention for the book in the…

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Interview and Giveaway with Author Ava Home, Author of DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE

Saturday, July 25, 2020

We are excited to welcome to The Debutante Ball Ava Homa, who is the critically-acclaimed of the novel DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE which is hailed by the Independent in the UK, the Globe and Mail in Canada, and the Reader’s Digest as one of the best new fictions. Her collection of short stories ECHOES FROM THE OTHER LAND was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International Prize. She holds a…

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“Late” is a Relative Term

Friday, July 24, 2020

Television news is a young person’s game. I first heard that assertion from my broadcast journalism professors and class advisors, and then later from workshop presenters at national industry conferences. The statement was an undercurrent that gradually grew into a drumbeat for us who toiled as young reporters at stations in small town America. We were encouraged by our colleagues and mentors to keep our resumes and news clips up…

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The Books That Inspired Me to Be a Writer

Monday, July 20, 2020

When I look back at my elementary school years, some of my fondest memories were the days when the teacher received that box in the mail from the Weekly Reader Book Club. She’d open it in front of the class and distribute what we had ordered weeks before. It was like having Christmas and my birthday rolled together month after month. I’d bring my books home and binge on Nancy…

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Interviewing One of My Main Characters

Monday, July 13, 2020

This week’s topic is “The Manuscript in the Drawer.” But I have no manuscript in the drawer. The Talking Drum was my first manuscript, and thank goodness I got it published. For this week’s blog post I am interviewing one of my characters. Sydney was in my head for such a long time and is finally on the printed page. She’s been itching for an interview since The Talking Drum’s…

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Blooper Reel: Is it “Duke”? “The Duke”? or “Sir Duke”?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader, plays a pivotal role in the life of Omar Bassari, one of my main characters in The Talking Drum. Omar is a drummer growing up in a small village in Senegal. He’s been training to become a master drummer under his father Ibrahim’s direction. One day, in the mid-1960s, Ibrahim pulls him aside to tell him of an important event…

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Interview (and Book Giveaway) with Nicole Mabry, author of Past This Point

Saturday, July 4, 2020

It is my pleasure to welcome Nicole Mabry to the Debutante Ball today! Nicole and I have met virtually through our Debut Authors of Color group. PAST THIS POINT, an apocalyptic women’s fiction thriller, tells the story of one woman and her dog fighting to survive during a deadly virus outbreak that renders New York City a ghost town. About Nicole Nicole Mabry grew up in Northern California but has lived in…

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