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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Let the Children Read Whatever They Want

Friday, June 26, 2020

I was just chatting with my sixteen-year-old son yesterday about reading. “Remember how everyone loves reading when they’re in second, third, and fourth grades?” he asked. I mean, yes. I remember this quite well. My little cherub was a voracious reader, downing series after series — Percy Jackson, The Secrets of Droon, Warriors, My Weird School, and a million other things. “What happened?” I asked him. Because now, he reads…

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The worlds my parents gave me

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

One of the most exciting things about becoming a mom was buying all the books. Seriously! Other people might concentrate on things like onesies, baby wipes, bouncers and cribs. I did enjoy putting all of that together—my daughter’s nursery is outer space-themed, because I’m just that predictable. For me, though, good parenting also involved making sure that my daughter had the proper reading material. Like I said. I’m predictable. My…

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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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Interview (and Giveaway!) with Lauren Ho, Author of Last Tang Standing

Saturday, June 20, 2020

What a treat to welcome Lauren Ho to The Debutante Ball today! Lauren’s debut novel, Last Tang Standing, is billed as Crazy Rich Asians meets Bridget Jones’s Diary, and wow — if that doesn’t sound about perfect for a summer read. She’s racking up all the buzz and great reviews. One of my favorite bookstagrammers says it’s laugh-out-loud with non-stop one-liners and the Library Journal’s starred review says, “The combination…

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My biggest inspiration in the writing industry

Thursday, June 18, 2020

I really honestly don’t connect with the energy of jealousy when it relates to personal endeavors. I am invigorated by seeing others find their success and way in the world, and in no way think it diminishes the possibility for me. My favorite inspiration in the writing industry is Issa Rae. I have been following her since I was in my early days of graduate school for Fashion at University…

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Toss the green-eyed monster.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It’s so easy to be jealous. To let the green-eyed monster into your mental house, allow it to sit at the kitchen table in your cerebellum and tell you stories about how things could be so much better if your life was just like that person’s over there. And this is especially true if you’re a writer trying to make it in this often-cruel world. After all, things aren’t fair….

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Keeping Jealousy on the Outside

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Between Lisa’s insightful and lovely post yesterday about creating a sisterhood and Karen’s epic piece from December about keeping your eyes on your own paper, I’m not sure I have much to add about dealing with professional jealousy. I’m a competitive and ambitious person by nature, but I’m happy to note that jealousy hasn’t been in my top five or ten challenges in the debut year. I think that’s mostly…

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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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