With eyes wide open

Thursday, June 17, 2021

We’re blogging this week about writing advice, and my favorite piece of wisdom is an oldie but a goodie, and is something I’ve applied both to my writing and my life: Be a person upon whom nothing is lost.  This is paraphrased from the venerable Henry James, seen here looking like a big old bag of fun: The longer quote, published in his essay, “The Art of Fiction” in 1884,…

Read More >>

Back to the future: Misadventures in exposition

Thursday, May 27, 2021

If you’re thinking of writing a novel and wondering where to start your story, a good rule of thumb is: Start as close to the end as possible.  There are many reasons for this, among them that your story should be focused and not meander, readers have short attention spans, and 1000 page sprawling Tolstoyian dramas are unlikely to become bestsellers. But often, we don’t know where the end is….

Read More >>

Interview with Mary Pauline Lowry, author of THE ROXY LETTERS and WILDFIRE

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

We are so excited to welcome Mary Pauline Lowry, author of the hilarious novel, THE ROXY LETTERS, now in paperback, and WILDFIRE, a novel about a woman who joins an elite firefighting team in the American West. She speaks to us about her favorite books when she was young, what success means to her, and her own time as an elite firefighter on a hotshot crew.    ABOUT MARY Born…

Read More >>

The Purge! (or, Getting that first draft out of your system)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ernest Hemingway famously said all first drafts are garbage, except he used a way more *effluent* term instead of garbage. This is something that I’ve, at various times, thought was completely true, completely false, and now believe is somewhere in the middle. First drafts are your best effort at the time, and I hate to say anyone’s best effort at the time is no good. I’ve also read lots of…

Read More >>

My favorite bookstore: East Bay Booksellers

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Independent Bookstore Day is on April 24th, and so we’re celebrating our favorite indie sellers here at the Deb Ball. I’ve loved many bookstores in my life, starting with Half Price Books in my hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, to The Raven in Lawrence, Kansas where I attended graduate school, to Green Apple Books in San Francisco. But my favorite favorite of all my favorites has to be East Bay…

Read More >>

Hemingway, Proust, and the Authorial Brand

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Sooner or later every aspiring author is going to be told that they need to work on building their brand, improving their platform, increasing their presence. I grate at these terms. I don’t like to think of myself as a brand. I’m a person. I have a personality. I have interests and quirks and an aesthetic and a manner of speaking, and these things transmit through my writing and my…

Read More >>

Celebrating the small stuff

Thursday, January 28, 2021

It feels a little funny to be writing about milestones and celebrations before my book comes out. It almost sounds like the kind of article I’d write 30 years from now, when I’ve got a shelf full of bestsellers, a trophy case jammed with awards, and a desk built to look like my celebrated novels. What’s that last thing, you ask? I’m sorry, has no one shown you what Danielle…

Read More >>

I left my heart in Corpus Christi

Thursday, January 14, 2021

My fellow Debs and I are blogging this week about our favorite types of scenes to write, and it made me think of something George Saunders said once about how you should always write into your strengths. Saunders claims he’s not great at plot (methinks he’s being a touch humble), and so when he writes, he emphasizes his characters, or setting, or whatever, in order to make up for the…

Read More >>

Demons and Daydreams: How Hieronymus Bosch Got Me Writing

Thursday, December 10, 2020

I had a really hard time choosing a major in college. I went from Business Administration to Retailing, to Fashion, and finally landed in Art History – a perfect place for people like me who love art, but lack all artistic ability. Art History was a really fun major, and I enjoyed my classes tremendously. We’d scrutinize paintings, paying attention to style, technique, and symbolism, and listen to stories our…

Read More >>

Finding Your People: A guide for new writers

Thursday, November 19, 2020

A funny consequence of having a book coming out is that friends and family (and the occasional stranger on the internet) now come to me for advice on writing and publishing. It’s weird to give advice because I feel like I’m still learning these things myself. I don’t have an MFA – I literally just learned about the concept of negative capability this summer!     But when I’m asked…

Read More >>