The Manuscript in Kathleen’s Drawer

My first manuscript was a twenty-thousand-word trashfire of a multi-generational family saga. I’d decided to try being a novelist (New Year’s Resolution 2015), and then wrote a couple hundred words a few times per week. I published the scenes (now deleted) on my personal blog, which added a bit of accountability to the project. Alice, the main character, went through various life stages. I wrote out of order, tackling pivotal…

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Interviewing One of My Main Characters

This week’s topic is “The Manuscript in the Drawer.” But I have no manuscript in the drawer. The Talking Drum was my first manuscript, and thank goodness I got it published. For this week’s blog post I am interviewing one of my characters. Sydney was in my head for such a long time and is finally on the printed page. She’s been itching for an interview since The Talking Drum’s…

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Interview (and Giveaway) with Kate Lansing, Author of Killer Chardonnay

I’m so pleased to present Kate Lansing this week as our guest at The Debutante Ball. Kate is the author of the new Colorado Wine Mystery series, and she debuted with Killer Chardonnay in May. The second book in the series, A Pairing to Die For, is already available for preorder and launches in January 2021. Kate is a charming, generous person whom I met in an online group for…

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Changes made during the editing of The Goddess Twins

I honestly feel like my editing process, while admittedly draining, was pretty positive. I never felt like my final editor hated the book, and I have heard some horror stories of writers who felt their editor was not honoring their book in the editing process! I am super grateful for my editing team at SparkPress and their confidence in my writing ability and in the strength of the story of…

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My biggest blooper.

I was sailing along, finishing the last few edits to ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY’s sequel, when an e-mail came in from my amazing editor, informing me that ARCHITECTS’ cold reader had caught a medium-sized plothole during the second pass. That’s right. During the second pass. For those of you not familiar with the publishing process, by the time a book has reached the second pass, it should be nearly perfect. Production…

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Big Mistakes. Big. Huge!

It’s blooper week! I feel like I’m a walking blunder most of the time, so I’m sure I could fill hundreds of blog posts with examples of “most embarrassing moments.” Since no one wants to read that, I’ll pick the category in which I’m most likely to screw up: copy editing. Copy editing comes very near the end of the publishing process. It’s when someone who is brilliant and generous…

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Blooper Reel: Is it “Duke”? “The Duke”? or “Sir Duke”?

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader, plays a pivotal role in the life of Omar Bassari, one of my main characters in The Talking Drum. Omar is a drummer growing up in a small village in Senegal. He’s been training to become a master drummer under his father Ibrahim’s direction. One day, in the mid-1960s, Ibrahim pulls him aside to tell him of an important event…

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Interview (and Book Giveaway) with Nicole Mabry, author of Past This Point

It is my pleasure to welcome Nicole Mabry to the Debutante Ball today! Nicole and I have met virtually through our Debut Authors of Color group. PAST THIS POINT, an apocalyptic women’s fiction thriller, tells the story of one woman and her dog fighting to survive during a deadly virus outbreak that renders New York City a ghost town. About Nicole Nicole Mabry grew up in Northern California but has lived in…

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Cutting Room Floor for The Goddess Twins

There is quite a bit that was shed from the original manuscript of The Goddess Twins to what has resulted in the published version that’s available today. When I was writing this story, I worked off of an outline, and even from the outline there are things that shifted and changed. I have found that the writing process can be like finding your way through a labyrinth. I am grateful…

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I deleted so many scenes… pretty much an entire book of them.

Back in 2016, Architects of Memory had a different title, a different premise, and a far different execution than the version that landed with Tor. The planet Tribulation was only supposed to be the first stop on what was intended to be a galaxy-spanning adventure. In the second chapter, ship’s doctor Reva Sharma mentions that the crew should go to Europa Station to deliver the weapon to Auroran R&D. In…

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