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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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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Attacus Atlas & Other Inventions: Chronicles of an X-American (part 1)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

  Chronicles of an X-American (part 1) The best training is to read and write, no matter what — Grace Paley I’ve always been a poet, and it’s always some tributary of poetry that I return to when I have my teeth, metaphorically, kicked in. I started writing poems, mostly nature poems, when I turned nine. I was fast with my first drafts and slow to revise. Only my fifth-grade…

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The Alpine Path

Friday, September 21, 2018

    Those of you who read my post last week may remember that most of it was reminiscing about my childhood love for L. M. Montgomery’s heroine, Emily Starr, and how my obsession with her eventually inspired me to write the book that is now my debut. Since this week we’re all blogging about “the path to publication,” I titled my little piece with one last reference to Emily….

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Two Stories About the Querying Process

Thursday, September 20, 2018

This week for The Debutante Ball, we’re sharing our journey to getting a literary agent, so I dug through the archives of my email outbox so you can experience truly and authentically the real realness of my querying process, before I landed the book deal for THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING. WARNING: THERE ARE TWO PARTS OF THIS BLOG POST. THIS IS STORY #1. Read this story to be…

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Interview with Lori Rader-Day and Under a Dark Sky Giveaway

Saturday, September 15, 2018

    CONGRATULATIONS to author Lori Rader-Day, whose book, The Day I Died,  is the 2018 winner of the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original! I’m so pleased to welcome Rader-Day back to the Debutante Ball. For those of you who’ve been following us for a while, she really needs no introduction. Rader-Day was a deb back in 2014, and we have since hosted her a few times, celebrating every…

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The Book Within A Book

Friday, September 14, 2018

      I’m not sure how old I was the first time I tried to read Anne of Green Gables, but I must have been too young. I was vain as a reader, always showing off by trying to read far above my age level, reading classics with a view to bragging about having read them. I didn’t get very far with that first attempt. Anne has a long…

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If You Can Visualize It, It Can Be Yours—Or Maybe Not

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

I held a story in my chest and this story breathed when I breathed, and it flowed through my veins and pulsed with my heartbeat. I couldn’t shut it off. Everything else I tried to write was colored by it. My story needed to be told, so I put it down on pages and it became a book, and then I didn’t have to carry it any longer. As I…

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Winter Writing Zones

Friday, December 22, 2017

I’m writing this on day 3 of a fever, so please excuse me if it’s super loopy. I get stir crazy being quarantined for this long, but I’d hate to get anyone else sick. I love my office. It’s a tiny room at the top of the stairs that I painted navy blue just before we moved into this house. I have a bitsy green velvet sofa and a phrenology…

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Takin’ the long way around: FROM UNSEEN FIRE’s path to publication

Monday, December 4, 2017

A tale of a book, from pen to shelf: November 2011 — Project begins, called simply Aven, as Cass’s 2011 NaNoWriMo project, an attempt to get herself writing creatively again after several years devoted to academia. December 2011 — Cass sets to finishing the draft and polishing it up. July 2012 — Cass scrambles to finish editing her draft in the hopes that it’s fit to be seen and attends a…

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