When It Comes to Distractions, Sometimes a Gal Needs to Rant

Thursday, December 8, 2016

This week’s Deb posts are all about how we write through distractions. Or don’t. It’s funny, the Deb gals and I often chat throughout the day, and, the other day, I was venting to them about a distraction happening right then and there. Their response: that’s your post for this upcoming week. Unedited. So here we go, my recent rant… including almost-expletives, my cap lock key, and heat-of-the-moment expressions: Speaking of distractions,…


Jenni L. Walsh Has All the Excuses This #NanoWriMo

Thursday, November 3, 2016

This week, in honor of National Novel Writing Month (#NanoWriMo), the Debs are talking about our feelings about external challenges, deadlines, writing contests, and more. I’ll just cut to the chase: I’m not doing #NanoWriMo. I like the idea. I do. And really, I thrive on pressure and tight deadlines. True story: I got my first round of edits from my editor in December for BECOMING BONNIE. I had a baby…


Location is Meaningless

Friday, September 23, 2016

This week’s topic is all about location and I’m addressing my post to YOU, the manically busy writer. I’m sure you have idealistic expectations of where you need to write your New York Times Best Seller. Maybe you’ve fantasized about being the next Hemingway, writing the great American novel by the sea or in cozy cottage, thick in the woods. Maybe you feel without the right conditions, you can’t possibly…


Calling All Nap-Time Writers And Vampire Moms

Thursday, September 22, 2016

For me, writing is less about where and more about when. One day (I’m visualizing here), I’ll be a full-time author and have hours and hours to write while my kiddos are in school. I’ll ignore the housework (I’m really good at that already), plop my butt down in my writing nook, at the dining room table, on the couch, or maybe I’ll get comfy in bed, and get oodles of #amwriting…


Feeding the Muse a Cookie

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This week I’m confronted by a topic that doesn’t bear much relationship to what I write: food. Unlike Jennifer’s MODERN GIRLS, with its evocative descriptions of traditional shabbat meals, or the baked goods Louise’s protagonist makes that are so rich you can taste them if you lick the page, THE LOST GIRLS doesn’t feature food in its storytelling. At all. I agree it’s a powerful tool, but it’s one I…


Hell, Yes, I Have Regrets

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I confess: I’m jealous of Louise and Jenny, with their nonexistent and paltry lists of regrets. Because I do have regrets. Not so much on the real life side of the equation, where I share their look-forward-not-back attitude, but on the authorial side. And, being as how one of our missions here on the Ball is to offer guidance by reverse example, I am going to list them all right here…


Owning What My Book Says About Me, and Denying What it Does Not

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I’ve heard it said that all writing is autobiographical. Even if you’re not writing the true story of your own life, the assumption goes, you’re inflicting your life experiences on the people you make up, or writing their relationships to mirror your own. One way or another, your purportedly fictional story is really a blueprint of your own darkest desires, fears, and memories. It’s true that many fiction writers do…


Joining the Hive to Write Book Two

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A month ago, I wrote a post about how difficult it was for me to write a new novel during this anxious period before my first book launches. I hadn’t looked ahead on the Debutante Topics Calendar, obviously, because “writing book two” is the assigned subject of this week’s posts. Fortunately, I don’t need to rehash that earlier lament, because — though progress on Book Two is still glacial and…


The Next Book: Diving In

Hebrew Orphans Asylum 1920s
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Talking about Next Book* feels funny to me. I have a difficult time talking about what I’m working on, because it’s constantly changing. If you had asked me early on in the writing of MODERN GIRLS, I would have told you that Dottie had gotten pregnant by her boyfriend Abe, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to marry him; the story took place in Newark, NJ; and her mother Rose…


AWP Junior High School: A Survivor’s Tale

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tomorrow I’m flying to Los Angeles for my third foray into the overpopulated slushpile that is the Conference of American Writers and Writing Programs, or AWP. This time, I might actually get it right. The first time I went to one of these things was in 2012, in Chicago. I’d gotten my MFA the year before, and I was muddling through my novel. It was right about the time when,…