Blogs and podcasts and everything nice

Friday, December 14, 2018

    Over the years, I’ve read a number of books on writing, and I can highly recommend the following (and I have no doubt most of you will have heard of all of them already): Stephen King’s On Writing, Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Anne Lammott’s Bird By Bird.                                I don’t…

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How to Find Inspiration Anywhere (& a new short story!)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

This week, Barrelhouse featured my short story “Urban Legend” in their seasonal issue. I’ve pasted the first paragraph below: It was the week of her performance review, and Adrienne was ready for a promotion. That Monday morning, at the 12th Street Gym, all the lockers in use were fastened with locks. When she joined months ago, they told her she could buy one at any hardware store, but Adrienne had…

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What John Steinbeck Said That Helped Me

Friday, December 7, 2018

    I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. It might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit—John Steinbeck     I spent my blog post last week advising everyone not to pay too much attention to writing advice. I guess it…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Words to Live By & Words to Write By

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

All of my writing mentors have at one point said the same thing: Don’t give up.  Keep Writing. When you’re stuck, change your surroundings. and my once-upon-a-time teacher teacher Lucille Clifton said, read your work aloud — if you start to stumble, if your tongue starts to trip up, then cut what you’ve written. Here’s some W.O.W. (words of wisdom): (thanks to AZ Quotes) My mission in life is not…

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Interview with Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar + THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS giveaway

I’m so thrilled to welcome my friend Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar to the Debutante Ball this week! Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar is the author of the novel, The Map of Salt and Stars (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2018) and a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) and of American Mensa. Joukhadar’s work has appeared in Salon, The Paris Review Daily, The Kenyon Review, The Saturday Evening Post, and elsewhere, and…

Saturday, December 1, 2018
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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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Thinking of writing a book? Here’s what you need

Before I decided to write my first novel, I never thought average people from average places doing average things could write a WHOLE BOOK. I thought that was reserved for–oh, I don’t know–people who were smarter, more interesting, older, wealthier, less female, more educated, whiter… the list goes on. So despite always writing, I spent a lot of time not sharing my work, even in my college years, because I…

Thursday, November 29, 2018
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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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Dear Reader

Friday, November 23, 2018

        I remember when I went to my writing group after my agent got the offer from Penguin, and a writer friend asked me if I was happy. He wanted to know if selling the book was as great as I thought it would be, or if it was somehow disappointing. A let-down. I told him it’s every bit as great as I hoped. It’s a dream…

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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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