Crafting the almighty query letter

Monday, November 11, 2019

After I’d put my novel through dozens of revisions over the course of many years, I felt confident enough to take the next step—pursuing representation from a literary agent. I combed through stacks of books at the library for guidance. Here’s what some of those books told me about crafting the almighty query letter: Get the agent’s attention with your introduction Reference comparables (books like my book) in the first…

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[News Flash] November 10, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thank you so much to yesterday’s guest, Jenee Darden@CocoaFly ! Retweet and share on Facebook for a chance to win a copy of WHEN A PURPLE ROSE BLOOMS. When a Purple Rose Blooms – Guest Author Jenee Darden @DebutanteBall #ClassOf2020 #guest #author   News from the Class of 2020 Debs: Lisa Braxton has been asked to guest blog on a blog for women writers. She is sure the exposure she’s…

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5 tips for successfully tackling distraction

Monday, November 4, 2019

I read once that air traffic controllers must be able to concentrate in a room where multiple conversations are going on simultaneously. For example, in a large airport tower, the room could be filled with the sounds of controllers speaking with several pilots about all manner of clearance, changing frequency, taxiways, takeoff, etc. Controllers must be able to make quick decisions and not be distracted by the conversations of their…

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The One Thing Scarier than Halloween

Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween is a spook-tacular occasion, what with ghosts, goblins and ghouls ringing the doorbell and phantoms roaming the streets. If you’re a writer, what’s even more terrifying than Halloween, is being haunted by your fears. The 1980 major motion picture, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall, offers a spine-tingling example. Jack Torrance, as portrayed by Nicholson, is an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as…

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The signs of a skilled editor

Monday, October 21, 2019

Usually when I submit an essay or short story for publication to a literary magazine or anthology, and it’s accepted, I only hear from the editor with an acceptance email and a permission to publish form attached. But when I submitted the essay, “The World I Didn’t Know Existed” to Inspire Press for the publisher’s Inspire Forgiveness anthology a few years ago, I got something entirely different. I got a…

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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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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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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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