“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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A Deleted Scene from The Talking Drum

Monday, June 29, 2020

I deleted so many scenes from The Talking Drum over the years in which I was revising it that I had a hard time choosing which one to feature in this blog. I finally settled on a scene in which my character Sydney, who co-owns The Talking Drum Bookstore and Cultural Center with her husband, is desperate to unload a set of encyclopedias her husband purchased. She doesn’t think anyone…

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Interview (and book giveaway) with Jeni McFarland, author of The House of Deep Water

Saturday, June 27, 2020

It is my pleasure to welcome Jeni McFarland to the Debutante Ball today! Jeni and I have met virtually through our fellowships at Kimbilio, a national residency for fiction writers of the African diaspora. The House of Deep Water has been described as a stunning and perceptive debut perfect for fans of The Mothers and Olive Kitteridge. It made Bustle’s 23 Debut Books That Are Too Good To Ignore, Salon‘s…

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A Favorite Book from my Childhood

Monday, June 22, 2020

One of my favorite childhood books is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. The prologue is a letter from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, addressed “To my lawyer, Saxonberg”, accompanied by a drawing of her writing at her office desk. It serves as the cover letter for the 162-page narrative, and provides background for changes to her last will and testament. Twelve-year-old Claudia Kincaid decides to…

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Dealing with Professional Jealousy in the Writing Industry

Monday, June 15, 2020

Our blog topic this week is dealing with professional jealousy in the writing industry. But I’m going to flip that topic around and talk about building a sisterhood in the writing industry. I know that jealousy is a normal human emotion and we all feel it from time to time, but since I’ve been on this publishing journey, I’ve felt nothing but love and support from my fellow writers and…

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Interview and Book Giveaway with Sara Desai, Author of The Marriage Game

Saturday, June 13, 2020

I’m so pleased to welcome Sara Desai to the ball today. Sara Desai has been a lawyer, a radio DJ, a historian, a bouncer and a librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and three children. THE MARRIAGE GAME went on sale June 9th  and is an OwnVoices enemies-to-lovers rom-com that is absolutely perfect for fans of Sonya Lalli and Jasmine Guillory. Her website Twitter Read on for…

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