Platform, support, wine, laughs: What I got out of being a Debutante

Monday, July 19, 2021

It seems impossible, but our reign as Debs is coming to an end very soon. In a year of unprecedented turmoil politically, socially, economically, and domestically, being a part of the Debutante Ball has been an absolute bright spot for me. And as my sister Debs and I get ready to pass the torch to the new class, I’d like to share a few of my favorite things about being…

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Do It: Apply to The Debutante Ball Class of 2022

Monday, July 19, 2021

Every year since 2007, five debut women authors have taken part in The Debutante Ball, a group blog for authors making their debut in the literary world. Former Debs include bestsellers in the genres of women’s fiction, mystery, literary fiction, nonfiction, young adult, and more. It’s time for the Class of 2021 to pass on our tiaras. We’re looking for female or non-binary writers who have not previously had a book…

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With eyes wide open

Thursday, June 17, 2021

We’re blogging this week about writing advice, and my favorite piece of wisdom is an oldie but a goodie, and is something I’ve applied both to my writing and my life: Be a person upon whom nothing is lost.  This is paraphrased from the venerable Henry James, seen here looking like a big old bag of fun: The longer quote, published in his essay, “The Art of Fiction” in 1884,…

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Back to the future: Misadventures in exposition

Thursday, May 27, 2021

If you’re thinking of writing a novel and wondering where to start your story, a good rule of thumb is: Start as close to the end as possible.  There are many reasons for this, among them that your story should be focused and not meander, readers have short attention spans, and 1000 page sprawling Tolstoyian dramas are unlikely to become bestsellers. But often, we don’t know where the end is….

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The Purge! (or, Getting that first draft out of your system)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ernest Hemingway famously said all first drafts are garbage, except he used a way more *effluent* term instead of garbage. This is something that I’ve, at various times, thought was completely true, completely false, and now believe is somewhere in the middle. First drafts are your best effort at the time, and I hate to say anyone’s best effort at the time is no good. I’ve also read lots of…

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My favorite bookstore: East Bay Booksellers

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Independent Bookstore Day is on April 24th, and so we’re celebrating our favorite indie sellers here at the Deb Ball. I’ve loved many bookstores in my life, starting with Half Price Books in my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, to The Raven in Lawrence, Kansas where I attended graduate school, to Green Apple Books in San Francisco. But my favorite favorite of all my favorites has to be East Bay…

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Hemingway, Proust, and the Authorial Brand

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Sooner or later every aspiring author is going to be told that they need to work on building their brand, improving their platform, increasing their presence. I grate at these terms. I don’t like to think of myself as a brand. I’m a person. I have a personality. I have interests and quirks and an aesthetic and a manner of speaking, and these things transmit through my writing and my…

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Ray Bradbury is my homeboy

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The most formative moment of my childhood, and probably the event that influenced me most as a writer was, ironically, when my parents bought me my own TV when I was 6. And not only did I have my own TV but we had glorious, glorious cable, beamed straight into my bedroom. I watched so much TV when I was a kid that it’s actually amazing my rotted brain didn’t…

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The autodidact’s reading list

Thursday, February 11, 2021

I’ve written previously about how I have an MBA, not an MFA. And how that didn’t work out so great for me. So when I was unemployed and stuck in a tiny apartment while raising a newborn baby, it wasn’t a great time to contemplate going back to school for yet another masters degree. Plus, I reasoned, I’d always been told I was a great writer. How hard could it…

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Celebrating the small stuff

Thursday, January 28, 2021

It feels a little funny to be writing about milestones and celebrations before my book comes out. It almost sounds like the kind of article I’d write 30 years from now, when I’ve got a shelf full of bestsellers, a trophy case jammed with awards, and a desk built to look like my celebrated novels. What’s that last thing, you ask? I’m sorry, has no one shown you what Danielle…

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