Advice, Against My Better Judgement

Friday, November 30, 2018

    I’m not a person who tends to dispense a lot of advice. I can tell myself that this is because I’m so great at withholding judgement, refuse to believe I know better than others about what’s best for them, but if I’m being honest, it probably has more to do with minding my own business. I don’t want to be responsible for steering someone in a direction that…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: What I Wished I Knew When I Was Starting Out

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Missing my poetry-mom Lucille Clifton especially today. Here she is reading aloud a poem of hers that I love. Until I got to graduate school, until I got to the people who would become my writing family and my writing community, I wasn’t encouraged much by my peer set in creative writing classes. Especially while I lived and worked in the Deep South. I always felt out of place, out of…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Gratitude

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. — Albert Schweitzer I’m so grateful to so many this past year, for lifting me up when I was feeling low. Writing is often a lonely venture, and this time last year, I was discouraged….

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Tips for Querying (or as I like to call them, Q-tips)

Friday, November 16, 2018

  You know how they say you should never put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear? I know why. It’s because if you poke around in there with something that actually fits, like a q-tip, you might slip up and accidentally jab yourself in the eardrum. Which is really painful. Much like querying. You can see where I’m going with this. I’ve been racking my brain to come…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Channeling Jean Kwok (and you can too!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

  “The query letter is…the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write” — Nicholas Spark This week’s subject of discussion is supposed to be about querying tips, as in what tips can you give an aspiring writer when querying potential publishers and agents? Unfortunately my querying stories and experiences are good only in the theoretical — as in it’s a good topic to discuss in the abstract….

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Interview with Christine O’Brien + CRAVE: A MEMOIR OF FOOD AND LONGING giveaway

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I’m so thrilled to welcome Christine O’Brien to the Debutante Ball this week! Christine is a lecturer in the English Composition Department at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. She earned a BA in English at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a double MFA in non-fiction and fiction from St. Mary’s College, where she was awarded the college’s Agnes Butler Scholarship for Literary Excellence. Christine has previously worked…

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Driven to Distraction

Friday, November 9, 2018

  Tips to keep your writing distractions to a minimum: Don’t have children. Download one of those apps like FocusMe that let you forbid yourself internet for a certain block of time. See number 1. Alternatively, book a babysitter/bribe your partner/friend to watch the kids you chose to have so you can have uninterrupted time. Kids will not let you write. I repeat: they will not. You will put your…

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Are you distracted or just busy?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

This is going to be a fairly short post because today I’m a little distracted. There are a million things that I need to get done, but I put together a quick 5 minute list on how to stay focused on writing when you’re feeling as distracted as I am: Turn off your WiFi while you write. You can do all your “research” later. Or, even better, print out the…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Candids

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. — Andy Warhol I suppose I could write an entire tome about my fears these days, how unsafe America is for people of color, how America is changing, how the rhetoric and public discourse has become so…

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Interview with Vanessa Hua + A River of Stars giveaway

Saturday, October 27, 2018

  I’m so happy to welcome Vanessa Hua to the Debutante Ball this week! Vanessa is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, and the national bestseller, A River of Stars, which O, The Oprah Magazine calls “a marvel” and The Economist says is “delightful.” For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and in fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe…

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