The Author Who Makes Me Cry the Most

Monday, October 14, 2019

It is not very often that a work of fiction makes me cry, but that’s what happened when I read Langston Hughes’ “Cora Unashamed,” a story in one of Hughes’ short story collections, which was made into a television film as part of the Masterpiece Theatre American Collection starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones. Cora is an African American housekeeper in the early 1900s isolated in an all-white town in…

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Oh, how I love the bracket trick.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I love revisions. (I know, you’re about to ask—which demon rose from depths of hell and is currently wearing a writer coat?) I just think it’s incredibly fun to take a rough piece of coal and polish it into a diamond. But first drafts have their charms, too. You don’t have to impress anyone — not even yourself. In a first draft, you can just knock the firehose to full…

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Completing My First Draft Required Some Unspooling

Monday, October 7, 2019

I never would have gotten through the first draft of my novel without the low residency MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). For years I wrote, rewrote, and then wrote again a seven-page scene in which a man and woman meet up in a bookstore years after their relationship has ended. She’s interested in rekindling the romance and finds out when he’s likely to…

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Interview with Rion Amilcar Scott, Author of The World Doesn’t Require You

Saturday, October 5, 2019

I am so excited to welcome Rion Amilcar Scott to The Debutante Ball. Rion and I are both Kimbilio fellows. Kimbilio is a national residency for fiction writers from the African diaspora. Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You (Norton/Liveright, August 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and…

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Rejection is a teacher.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Rejection is a great teacher. When I was a journalist in upstate New York, I’d often have to ask tough questions of people that were not entirely excited to speak to me. The problem is, as a journalist, you can’t really go along with rejection. If someone says “no,” you have to continue to say “yes.” You have a responsibility to the story and to your readers, so you have…

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In the Face of Rejection, I Borrowed from the Bozo the Clown playbook

Monday, September 30, 2019

[Dear Lisa Braxton] …Thank you very much for your submission.  We appreciated very much the quality of your book—in particular, your characters radiate vigor and courage, which gives your work a unique energy.  Unfortunately, we publish a very limited number of books each year and will have to pass on this manuscript… …We received nearly 400 book submissions to our open call, and ultimately we’ll only be able to choose…

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[News Flash] September 29, 2019

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Congratulations to our winner of our #DebBallGiveaway of The Frame-Up. Thank you so much to yesterday’s guest, Desiree Cooper! If you haven’t already, enter the #DebBallGiveaway to win a copy of Know The Mother. You can enter by sharing our post on Facebook and/or retweeting the following tweet (make sure you follow @DebutanteBall on Twitter too!): Interview with Desiree Cooper, Author of Know the Mother @DebutanteBall #ClassOf2020 #guest #author @descooper…

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Interview with Desiree Cooper, Author of Know the Mother

Saturday, September 28, 2019

I am so excited to welcome Desiree Cooper to The Debutante Ball. Desiree and I are both Kimbilio fellows. Kimbilio is a national residency for fiction writers from the African diaspora. Desiree is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, former attorney and Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist. Her debut collection of flash fiction, Know the Mother, is a 2017 Michigan Notable Book that has won numerous awards, including 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Cooper’s…

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I don’t do balance.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I don’t do balance. I mean, I wish I did. I’d like to. A balanced life seems appealing, in its own special way—tranquil and well-ordered, like an apartment lovingly curated by Marie Kondo. I’m not being clever or facetious. I’d love to live in a place like that. Life would unfold in shades of delightful Instagram pink, in eustress rather than stress, in coffee mugs on back porches, in variations…

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In the Face of Illness, Balancing Writing, Work, and Life

Monday, September 23, 2019

On May 1st I entered a diagnostic imaging center to undergo a biopsy. For the procedure, I had to lie face down in a tunnel MRI machine and not move for close to two hours. I was rolled in and out of the tunnel throughout the procedure and had to endure the obnoxiously loud screeching and honking noises of the machine’s magnetic fields as well as the whirring motor of…

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