News Flash: Reviews, Marketing, and Website Redesign

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Congrats to Sheena, who won the copy of Rosemary Harris’s THE BITCHES OF BROOKLYN last week!   From the 2014 Debs… Lori Rader-Day‘s book The Black Hour was included as a “first fiction” choice in a marketing insert directed at librarians across the country. Gulp. This is getting real. Natalia Sylvester experienced a bit of pre-pub, pre-sale excitement when Chasing the Sun briefly climbed to #11 in Hispanic-American fiction in the…


How to Keep Writing? Take a Break

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to keep writing when you don’t have time? I fear that this post hits at a tragic time for me. I have some time, but I’m reporting from the abyss, from the famous 65,000-word black hole of self-doubt and hair-pulling that occurs in a novel first draft when you start a book—and write pretty much the entire thing—without knowing how it will end. Pantsers of the world, unhinge! I…


5 Tips to Finding Your Writing Tribe

Monday, November 18, 2013

This is going to be brief. Why? Because I’m about to dash into the terrible Chicago weather to go hang out with other members of my tribe, the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter. Oh, yeah. We’re big ol’ mystery nerds, and we like it that way. But how did I find this tribe, you may wonder, and how can you find your own? Five steps: Pay your dues (literally)….


News Flash: Book Clubs, Conferences, and Connecting

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Congrats to Amy, who won the copy of Laura Hemphill’s BUYING IN last week! From the 2014 Debs… Heather Webb presented to a wonderful group of three hundred eighth graders this week who have begun a unit on historical fiction in their English classes. A local book club invited Lisa Alber to visit and discuss KILMOON! Four months away yet but she’s already excited. Susan Gloss is in the home stretch on…



Saturday, November 16, 2013

We’re excited to have Catriona McPherson with us today on The Debutante Ball. If you’ve met Catriona, you know she’s a delightful person. If you’ve read her books, then you know she’s also a talented writer. Catriona’s latest book is DANDY GILVER AND A BOTHERSOME NUMBER OF CORPSES, perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L Sayers. The seventh book in the series finds aristocratic amateur sleuth…


Veteran Advice from 5 Writers Who’ve Been There

Monday, November 11, 2013

On this Veteran’s Day, let us say thank you to all the service men and women who have served our country and continue to do so. Their families, too—your sacrifices humble us. In honor of the holiday, let’s learn a few things from veterans who’ve gone ahead of us in publishing. Sure, that’s not quite as heroic, but we appreciate veteran authors, too. I asked five published writer friends to teach…


Who’s the Boss: Making It Your Business to Write

Monday, November 4, 2013

When I think of the business of writing, I think of what Debutante Ball guest author Clare O’Donohue says about writers needing to run their careers as they would a small business. Because a publishing writer is a small business. (Just ask your tax professional.) So small that for a long time, it’s just you. But even as you attract an agent, then a publisher, then some pals down the…


News Flash: Invitations, Noir at the Bar, and NaNoWriFUN!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Congrats to Ellie, who won a copy of Lynn Cullen’s MRS. POE! From the 2014 Debs… At the very last minute, Natalia Sylvester decided to do NaNoWriMo after all. She has no notes, no outline…just an idea that she’s really, really excited about. And did she mention that she’s never done NaNo before? She’ll be checking in throughout the month on Twitter using hashtags #NaNoWriMo and #WordMarathon–hope you’ll join! Heather Webb was…


Mystery of Life: Crime Fiction and Fear

Monday, October 28, 2013

As a mystery writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about how murder might occur interestingly. Where to bury the body? How to get rid of the blood-soaked clothes? In a mystery novel, you not only have to create one believable murder, you have to create two or three believable murders—to give your red herring characters something to be disproved from having done, and your reader a chance to…


How to Get Your Inner Critic to Zip It

Monday, October 21, 2013

I write during my lunch hour, so when I sit down to write, I’m also often sitting down to eat. At the same time, my inner critic is tucking into a hearty meal of all my hopes and dreams. That’s how it feels, anyway. Pasta for me, and a nice big helping of total evisceration of my self-confidence for my friend, here. You might think that having a book coming…