News Flash–First Drafts, First Readings & First Agent Meetings

newspaper-3-360331-sCongratulations to JJT, winner of STONES IN THE ROAD by E. B. Moore!

Check back next week, where we will announce the winner of this weeks giveaway–CHANCE HARBOR by Holly Robinson.


From the 2016 Debs

Louise Miller is still floating from the high of giving her first public reading at GrubStreet’s Lit Up Gala last Thursday night. Jennifer Brown was there with a bottle of bourbon! She is now squinting at the proofs her photographer sent and trying to pick her author photo.

Jennifer S. Brown is just barely keeping up with her NaNoWriMo goals. She is fully embracing the notion of a “crappy first draft” and is simply vomiting onto the page. She is also still consuming leftover Halloween candy, as it not happy about it.

Heather Young got to see a mockup up the interior pages of her book AND two potential cover designs. Both of the cover designs had the name “Heather Young” on them, which made her knees go all wobbly. She also got her copy edits, and was dismayed to learn she doesn’t understand the difference between “that” and “which” nearly as well as she thought she did.

Abby Fabiaschi is on an island doing whatever the hell she feels like while her amazing in-laws watch the kids for a long weekend. Cheers y’all!

Aya de Leon is spending the weekend in New York at the Binders Full of Women Writers Conference (BinderCon). She looks forward to having a lunch with her editor and her agent on Monday, where she’ll be meeting her agent in person for the first time!

For Writers

Interesting Links
Here are a few of the interesting pieces we ran across online this week:

  • Eleven agents share their query letter pet peeves with Writers’ Digest:  Agent pet peeves

  • In honor of NaNoWriMo, McSweeney’s offers advice on how to spend the entire year notwriting a novel, including this gem: “Remember that while it takes only a month to write a novel or grow a shitty mustache, not writing a novel takes the whole year.”: How Not to Write a Novel

  • From the National, tips on how to read from your book in public: Public Readings

Places to Submit
Glimmer Train is calling for submissions for its Short Story Award for New Writers contest. This contest—which accepts stories up to 12,000 words!—is only open “writers whose fiction has not appeared, nor is scheduled to appear, in any print publication with a circulation over 5,000. (Entries must not have appeared in any print publication.)” Deadline November 30.

Bartleby Snopes is accepting fiction between 1 and 3,000 words (though we at the Ball are hard pressed to imagine a one word story!). You can also request feedback on your submission!

The Southern California Review is open until December 15 for submissions of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, stage & screen, comics, and art & photography. See the site for details.

Writing Prompt
In the spirit of this week’s theme of time, we have a few “timely” prompts from which you can choose:

  • Write a story, essay, or poem that takes place at exactly 2:27 a.m.
  • Set a timer for twelve minutes and write without stopping. See how many words you can get down on the page (especially good for NaNoWriMo participants).
  • Write about a clock.
  • You have only five minutes left. The clock is ticking, ticking, ticking. The minutes are stretching. Only five minutes left! Five minutes until… [Until what?]

Author: Louise Miller

Louise Miller is the author of THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking/August 9, 2016), the story of a commitment-phobic pastry chef who discovers the meaning of belonging while competing in the cut-throat world of Vermont county fair baking contests. Find out more at