Interview with Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic and Adobo

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This week’s interview is with Mia P. Manansala, a fellow Berkley author of Deb Lyn Liao Butler. We are so excited to have Mia here because her debut, Arsenic and Adobo is not only about solving a mystery, but has the most delicious Filipino food descriptions ever. If you’re not craving Filipino food as you read the book, then you’re not getting the full experience. Booklist gave it a starred…

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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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A Plotter’s Guide to First Drafts

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

To plot, or not to plot? It’s the perennial question writers everywhere eventually face. The internet is rife with articles waxing poetic about the virtues of Plotting vs. Pantsing. It’s the Empire vs. Rebellion of the writing world. Do you plan out your story before you write? Then you’re a Plotter. Do you let the muse guide you along the journey without a plan, or maybe with an end-point in…

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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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Author Branding: One Author’s Journey of Failing at Instagram

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

  One of the things that new writers hear about all the time is the need to find a brand. As if authors are breakfast cereals that can be boiled down to zingy catchphrases like ‘delicious and nutritious’ or ‘heart-healthy.’ Not gonna lie, the idea of defining my author brand was the stuff of nightmares. But it was a nightmare I knew I’d have to face… someday. Well that someday came…

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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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On the Road with Denny and her Writing CRAFT Journey!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

I am a self-proclaimed craft geek. I love craft books, craft classes, online or when possible, in person. I have traveled as far as Maui to take a workshop and have purchased audiotapes and videotapes and bid on private craft lessons with superstar instructors at online auctions. Sounds a bit like an addiction, I’ll admit it. But for nearly two decades, writing workshops fell under my idea of a great…

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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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I left my heart in Corpus Christi

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My fellow Debs and I are blogging this week about our favorite types of scenes to write, and it made me think of something George Saunders said once about how you should always write into your strengths. Saunders claims he’s not great at plot (methinks he’s being a touch humble), and so when he writes, he emphasizes his characters, or setting, or whatever, in order to make up for the…

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