How I Fear: Facing Every Arduous Revision

Friday, November 2, 2018

    I forget which author it was who said that we write about what terrifies us—most likely many of them have. Until I read this phrase a few years ago, I’d never looked at my own work in that light, but it strikes me as true. My protagonist in The Dream Peddler suffers the disappearance of her only child, and this is definitely the worst thing I can imagine…

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On Día De Los Muertos, thousands of people commit to writing a novel

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Today is November 1st, which makes it a special day for several reasons. When I was in college in California, today was the day that the Chicano Latino Student Union dressed the courtyard outside the dining hall in paper marigolds and burning candles, sugar skulls and sugary bread for Día de los Muertos. On a plastic table draped in dark tablecloth are framed photographs of people I don’t know. On…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Candids

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Don’t think about making art. Just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. — Andy Warhol I suppose I could write an entire tome about my fears these days, how unsafe America is for people of color, how America is changing, how the rhetoric and public discourse has become so…

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Interview with Vanessa Hua + A River of Stars giveaway

Saturday, October 27, 2018

  I’m so happy to welcome Vanessa Hua to the Debutante Ball this week! Vanessa is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of the short story collection, Deceit and Other Possibilities, and the national bestseller, A River of Stars, which O, The Oprah Magazine calls “a marvel” and The Economist says is “delightful.” For two decades, she has been writing, in journalism and in fiction, about Asia and the Asian diaspora. She has received a Rona Jaffe…

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Letter from an Editor

Friday, October 26, 2018

  There are a lot of ways to approach this topic, now that I think about it. We revise our work so many times before it’s published, with feedback from so many different people. After I wrote The Dream Peddler, I went through it twice, then I gave it to a few beta readers, and went back in with their feedback in mind. Then I began to query, and I’ve…

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A Childhood Bookshelf

Friday, October 19, 2018

    Most writers are also avid readers. That’s usually how we got here. So when you ask us what authors we admire, who has influenced us, it can be a pretty long list. As in a “please stop talking now, I just wanted a few names” kind of a list. In my case, I think I made it pretty clear that when I was a child and a teen,…

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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Under the Influence

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This week the Debs are to discuss the books & authors that most influenced us. And this is especially difficult, since I love to read, and I am fond of both fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, forms both hybrid and pure journalism. So many authors, so many books. So little time. But I will try to thank them and tell you why. With regard to my forthcoming debut novel,…

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Dorothy Parker and the Vicious First Draft

    It is one of the minor tragedies of my life, perhaps a major tragedy in my writing life, that no one ever told me first drafts are supposed to suck until I was thirty-eight years old. Yup. Thirty-eight. Now, this is most likely because I never really knew any writers, and I rarely took any actual writing classes. While most writers would probably agree that having an MFA,…

Friday, October 12, 2018
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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Ode to the First Draft

I really want to write a rant to all the devastations of the day: the Kavanaugh vote in the Senate, the FBI’s incomplete investigation, the senator from Maine’s weak speech justifying her vote against women, the Senate’s dismissal and nullification of Dr. Ford’s courage. But I have to write for the Debs, it’s that time of the week where the Debs must cull their thoughts for the topic at hand….

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
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The Myth of Having Thick Skin

Friday, October 5, 2018

    A couple of weeks ago, when we were all writing about our path to publication, the subject of rejection and failure had to come up. I shared the fact that I’d sent out one hundred and nine queries before landing an agent, so if you think about it, that’s one hundred and eight rejections. I had failed that many times.  But I don’t think I really wrote a…

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