Best Writing Advice Ever On Your Worst Enemy

Friday, December 6, 2019

“What should I do?” I began my session with my mentor. See, I was in a low-residence MFA, where we had two weeks in school (then the rest of the semester remote.) “I mean, I kind of like this beginning,” I said, showing her a printout of an essay I began, “but maybe this one makes more sense,” I said, whipping a different version out of my backpack. I often…

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My Book Pitch Letter

Friday, November 15, 2019

We can discuss pitching and pitch letters till the sky turns green, but what would probably be more helpful is if I show you my book pitch. Unlike fiction and possibly memoir (the debate is out there on memoir) non-fiction, which needs a lot of research to complete the book, is sold on proposal. (I’ll talk proposals another time). But you still need a pitch letter. So here’s mine. Dear…

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Funny Thing About Working with an Editor

Friday, October 25, 2019

Maybe you don’t know this about me yet, but I’m a big procrastinator. I mean BIG. So when I ship my book/story/article off to an editor, I’m like whew. I’m not fretting about what they’ll say, worrying if it’s good enough, or how to make it better, I’m just done.  Like, it’s not my problem anymore. (It is though, but not at that very moment.) I felt the same way…

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Let’s go back. All the way back.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

When I think of the books and authors that have influenced me, I think back. Way back. Back further than that. All the way to the beginning, really, because there’s nothing like the high you get from reading when you’re young. I think that’s one of the highs we chase as adult readers—the feeling we got way back when while staying up late, hiding under the sheets with a flashlight,…

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The Author Who Makes Me Cry the Most

Monday, October 14, 2019

It is not very often that a work of fiction makes me cry, but that’s what happened when I read Langston Hughes’ “Cora Unashamed,” a story in one of Hughes’ short story collections, which was made into a television film as part of the Masterpiece Theatre American Collection starring Regina Taylor and Cherry Jones. Cora is an African American housekeeper in the early 1900s isolated in an all-white town in…

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Where Do You Draft Your Words?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Did you ever notice how, on TV or in the movies, when they want to show the difficulties of writing, they have people sitting in front of a  typewriter tossing off crumpled pieces of paper into (or near) the garbage? Real writing isn’t like that. First off, we use computers now, so the visual of trying to write is much less dramatic…just a cursor key going forward and backward. More…

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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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Introducing Amy Klein: Author of THE TRYING GAME

Friday, August 30, 2019

I’m beyond thrilled to introduce you all to your new Friday blogger, Amy Klein! Amy is the author of The Trying Game: How to Get Pregnant and Get Through Fertility Treastment Without Losing your Mind (Ballantine, 2020) based on her New York Times Fertility Diary column. As soon as I read her application, I knew I wanted her to be on the Debutante Ball, and now I’ve got my wish. It…

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Introducing Kathleen West: Author of MINOR DRAMAS & OTHER CATASTROPHES

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I’m delighted to introduce the new social media maven for the Debutante Ball, Class of 2020! Please welcome and meet Kathleen West, whose debut novel Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes will be out from Berkley (Penguin Random House) on February 4, 2020. Kathleen is a writer, teacher, reader, and semi-professional minivan driver. A life-long Minnesotan, she holds degrees from Macalester College and the University of Minnesota. She currently lives in Minneapolis…

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Year’s End

Friday, August 23, 2019

  In many ways my debut year was full of surprises. I received so many wonderful gifts that I hadn’t planned on—a blurb from one of the writers I most admire, positive reviews in outlets that still terrify me (can you say Kirkus, anyone?), pictures of my book purchased by friends old and new, near and far. I was truly surprised by how many friends not only bought the book…

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