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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When I Want to Crawl Up in a Ball from Rejection

Friday, October 4, 2019

I can’t say I’m good with rejection. Outwardly, I think I project an uh, okaaaaay attitude when I get rejected, but inwardly, a part of me wants to crawl up in a ball and die. Or at least CRY. But no, I keep calm and carry on….Or do I? Sometimes I think it would be better to cry and rail and rant against the gods of rejection because then I’d get it out…

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You Can’t Win the Game If You Don’t Play

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Real talk: I’ve spent most of my life as a fixed-mindset perfectionist who is afraid to take any risks.  Also real talk: I don’t think you can become a published author if you are a fixed-mindset perfectionist who is afraid to take any risks. I wrote last week about trophy-chasing. I’ve been both trapped in and fueled by this “must win” mentality. I have generally asked myself: “Why do it…

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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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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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On Having — and Doing It All

Friday, September 27, 2019

I used to date this famous author — it was when he was actually on the cusp of being famous — and he would take two weeks off from all of life to write. All of life. Including me! He would hunker down in the library and not have any social obligations just to write his literary fiction. I guess he didn’t have to make a living. Or hang out…

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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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My Bumpy Path to Publication

Friday, September 20, 2019

When I was pregnant and so nervous about it — I’d had previous losses — the doctor told me I wouldn’t be happy until I have the baby in my arms. And so it will be with publication. I am “pregnant” now — with a baby ready for publication, but this baby’s a book. I suspect I won’t really believe it until I am holding it (her?) in my hands….

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Interview with Lisa Barr, Author of The Unbreakables PLUS BOOK GIVEAWAY

Saturday, September 14, 2019

  Lisa Barr is the author of The Unbreakables (HarperCollins) a delicious, sharp novel about a Chicago woman who jets off to France after her “perfect” marriage collapses, putting the broken pieces of herself back together while rediscovering her own joie de vivre—a lust for life, art, and passion. Artful, feminist, and emotionally gripping, The Unbreakables is a remarkable tribute to a woman’s strength in the face of heartbreak and adversity.        What’s one book that made…

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When The Muse Calls With Inspiration — You Listen

Friday, September 13, 2019

You always hear people talking about muses whispering in their ear, as if in a trance, or their “characters” speaking to them. Well, I’m not a novelist so I don’t have characters to take over the heavy lifting of writing, but I will say that it feels like someone else wrote up my book proposal. I had been working for a while on a memoir about my infertility, based on…

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