Launch Party and Swag: What Worked and What Didn’t

Monday, August 3, 2020

Six months before my book launch, I went shopping. I purchased all that I thought I would need to exhibit and sell The Talking Drum at book fairs and other events: ethnic table cloths, miniature djembes, a bowl handwoven by West African women operating micro-businesses. Then the pandemic happened. There would be no in-person events. Everything would be virtual. I tucked away the tablecloths and bowl in my cedar chest,…

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The Books That Inspired Me to Be a Writer

Monday, July 20, 2020

When I look back at my elementary school years, some of my fondest memories were the days when the teacher received that box in the mail from the Weekly Reader Book Club. She’d open it in front of the class and distribute what we had ordered weeks before. It was like having Christmas and my birthday rolled together month after month. I’d bring my books home and binge on Nancy…

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Read The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton

Friday, June 12, 2020

It’s Lisa Braxton’s turn! She’s supported and cheerled and organized the rest of us Debs since August, and now her debut, THE TALKING DRUM, which takes place in 1970s Boston, is finally out in the world. I read it last weekend, and I think it’s absolutely essential. Here’s why you should read THE TALKING DRUM if you’re a writer: Lisa’s prose is spare and unsentimental. She lets the characters’ actions…

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Interview with Guest Author DJ Lee

Saturday, March 28, 2020

When her friend vanishes in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana, DJ Lee travels there to find answers. The journey ends her fifteen-year quest to uncover her family’s troubled history in this remote place. In Finding Home in the Bitterroots (Oregon State University Press), Lee struggles with wild animal encounters, dangerous river crossings, bush plane flights in fog, and strange characters who come to the mountains to seek or…

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Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

You never realize how important publication day is until you have one yourself. I can’t begin to think of how many book parties I’ve been to, how many friends’ books I’ve bought, how many invites I’ve received — and didn’t realize their import until I wrote a book of my own. No, until I published a book of my own. At that’s the important thing in this writing life —…

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Fight or flight, fear and failure

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Do you want to know my number one writing fear? Writing this blog entry. Ha, ha. I’m mostly kidding. I have panic disorder, so “confronting my fears” is something I do with a lot of preparation and self-care. However, I feel like I might share my number one writing fear with pretty much every debut author who ever waltzed on to the scene, so I don’t feel alone in this….

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My path to publication required the right shoes

Monday, September 16, 2019

I arrived at the book fair exhibit hall of AWP, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference hopeful that I’d be able to complete my mission: to convince the editors at a small press that they should publish my novel. After a six-hour train ride that took me several states away. I said a silent prayer and slipped into the comfortable shoes I had packed, my burgundy, suede Crocs….

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My second spin around the ballroom

Monday, September 2, 2019

Is it possible to be a debutante more than once? In my case, the answer is yes. When I was 17 years old I was selected as a debutante for the cotillion sponsored in my hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Dressed in a white ballgown, white elbow gloves, white pumps, pearls, and with my hair in an upsweep, I waltzed with my dad, did a modern dance with my escort, and had…

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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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