The Jackhammer in the Basement: On writing (or not writing) through distractions

Thursday, October 29, 2020

“It’s a black fly in your chardonnay. It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late.” Alanis Morissette was kind enough to give us many definitions of irony in 1995, and to those I would like to add, “It’s a jackhammer in your basement when you’re trying to write a blog post about writing through distractions.” We’re getting our house earthquake-retrofitted — a project that was initially supposed to take…

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World Building in the Real World

Thursday, October 8, 2020

When writers talk about “world building” they mean more than just setting. Setting is where a story takes place. But a fictional world is setting, history, the special rules of that particular place, the people who inhabit that world, as well as the general tone or atmosphere that sort of floats over every page. The setting of the Harry Potter books is England, but in order to build her fictional…

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Interview with Author Sarah DiGregorio (and Book Giveaway!)

As someone who dealt with many complications getting pregnant, I was excited to talk to Sarah DiGregorio, who writes about premature birth in her book  EARLY: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human (Harper). In this reported memoir, the freelance journalist, who covers both healthcare and food for many publications (including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and Catapult)…

Saturday, March 21, 2020
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Kathleen’s Favorite Writing Resources

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

We’re discussing our favorite writing craft resources this week, and before I share mine, I want to offer a caveat. Books on writing, podcasts about writing, meditations on creativity: they’re all great. But, there’s no substitute for actually sitting in the chair and typing the words.  Writers write.  They may also read about writing and think about writing and commune with other writers, but none of those can take the…

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THE LEAST SCARY STEPHEN KING BOOK I’VE EVER READ

Monday, December 9, 2019

I was in the waiting room of the dentist’s office the other day when another patient glanced over and asked me what book I was reading. It was On Writing by Stephen King. She went on to list all of King’s books that she’d read: The Shining, Misery, and a few others. With a gleam in her eye she said, “His books are scary. Spine-tingling!” I looked down at my…

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Interview with “Byline Bible” Author Susan Shapiro

Saturday, November 30, 2019

  Not only is Susan Shapiro a great writing mentor to many (including me!) she’s the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books her family hates including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List & the new inspiring writing guide The Byline Bible. She and her husband, a scriptwriter, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular “instant gratification takes too long” classes at The New School, NYU and in private…

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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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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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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Mahalo and Aloha

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Aloha! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I first joined the Debutante Ball. Mahalo to the previous class for giving me the opportunity to work alongside K.A. Doore, Martine Fournier Watson, Layne Fargo and Stephanie Jimenez, as part of the Class of 2019. I had no idea what kind of ride to expect as a debut author, and it was truly wonderful to be part of the DB-Hive….

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