I Finally Emerged from My Writing Cave! (and Here's What I've Been Writing...)

I can cop to the fact that I have a habit of disappearing. Not going anywhere for real, just sequestering myself in my cave. When I’m in the middle of an unfinished story, my cave is the textured glass patio table on my back deck. It’s warm enough in California that I get to write outside for most of the year. In the mornings, it’s Lady Grey. In the afternoons, I drink decaf. In the evenings, it’s (clearly) wine.

But the cave is a harsh place. I don’t feel quite human while I’m in it, and when I emerge, I look like the woman in the picture: I’m bloodied, I’m injured and I’m in yesterday’s clothes, but hey, at least I’ve still got nice boobs :)

Read More
Kilby BladesComment
On Celebrating Every Victory on the Day of my 20th Award Nomination

It’s very possible that I will one day become known as the “crazy awards lady”. Think crazy cat lady, except instead of harboring dozens of feline friends, I’ll be hoarding my awards. In my mind, I’ll be some grotesque combination of Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” If I’m lucky, I might even get a William Holden lookalike to poke around.

That fleeting moments of recognition are the best that authors can expect is not so much notion as fact. In a business this saturated, with margins this thin, soul-crushing disappointment has become the norm. I’ve met authors who can’t sell brilliant manuscripts; newbies who have been hoodwinked by crooked industry pros; but the most common, most insidious, and most tragic fate is simple oblivion.

Read More
Kilby BladesComment
"Snapdragon" is a Finalist in the Book Buyer's Best Contest!

In an unexpected, good-news twist, I found out today (after having a very bad week) that Snapdragon was named a finalist in the Book Buyer's Best Contest run by the Orange County chapter of RWA (OCCRWA)! I had, frankly, given up on this award, as I'd heard titterings that finalists were receiving calls (a call that never came for me), and the notification date had long-passed. This is a tough business, people. The books that we sweat, bleed and develop drinking problems over may never do well commercially, may never receive a single accolade, etc. Snapdragon is a different work of romance, both in its structure and complexity. The fact that it isn't formulaic made it even less of a sure thing on the awards circuit. 

Read More
Can Romance Thrive Without Happily-Ever-After? (Hint: Yes)

I follow Angela James on Twitter--Editor-in-Chief of Carina Press, thoughtful reader, good citizen, and a generally entertaining person to follow. An interesting discussion thread popped up from a benign statement than rang true to me: maybe what we call Romance shouldn't have to end in HEA. The range of responses that this musing earned was fascinating and varied. Primarily, many like-minded respondents agreed. Real life doesn't always end in HEA, a fact that dozens of respondents didn't feel cheapens the value of a great love story. It's possible (maybe even probable for most of us) to experience an epic love that isn't meant to be.

Read More
Kilby BladesComment
"Crocodile Tears" Wins 2nd Place for Fiction with a Central Romance in the Rudy Awards!

I'm not the kind of author who is blessed with plotbunnies that will yield straightforward books. My work is complex and doesn't always fit clearly into a single category. Snapdragon was a doozie to write, but even more than Snapdragon, I've struggled with Crocodile Tears, my unpublished manuscript that's gone through quite an identity crisis. I haven't said much about Crocodile Tears yet--what you should know is that it deals with a multi-generational family feud. When the hero's father dies and leaves the daughter of the enemy family half of his multi-million-dollar fortune, my hero and heroine are forced to get to the bottom of the family feud.

Read More
Why I Skipped the RITA Awards

By the time Thursday night arrived, I already knew the bartender at Mix. Kim, a kind-eyed, bearded hipster who had admitted that he had no idea how to make a Brandy Alexander, had been serving me Domaine Chandon for days. I was in my happy place — surrounded by my three besties as we helped each other strategize for pitching sessions on Friday. Only one thing killed my buzz: I couldn’t stomach the idea of attending the RITA Awards. It wasn’t that I hadn’t brought a dress — a cute one was in my closet. A black sequined Art Deco number hung next to a beautiful feathered headband that would have put Gatsby’s Daisy to shame. In light of scathing statistics, it just seemed silly to support an event this unclear. Why go, if no one knows what winning a RITA means?

Read More
Four Books. Four Awards. And an Amazing time in Denver at RWA 2018!

It's hard to even know how to begin this article. My experience at RWA this year is a lot different from my first year in Orlando in 2017. Not knowing anything about anything that first year, I blindly followed the advice of my book bestie, L.G. O'Connor. I signed up too late to have secured appointments with agents and editors, and, either way, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go traditional. But I was sick of sitting at home in my bathrobe, writing and swilling coffee. It seemed a good opportunity to get out of the house. So I went. I attended workshops. I had, literally, no place to be. I met other authors. I visited the overwhelming swag room. And I watched nominees walk across the stage to accept RITA Awards.

Read More
Four Easy Ways to Support Diverse Romance on Goodreads

As you know, I’ve been on a bit of a tear about supporting diverse romance. In light of what's been happening with the RITAs and even articles that have been showing up in the New York Times, it seems that we have a long way to go before diverse authors get some of the credit they're due. This is not a problem that can be solved in a single day, and, at some point I'll publish a more sweeping article about how I believe that readers can change a few habits to support this cause. In an attempt to address this on just one front, I took to GoodReads and did some thinking about how I can better-support diverse authors on this platform.

Read More
Kilby BladesComment
RSJ Emma Awards for Diversity in Romance Honor Kilby Blades as Best Debut Author

I'll admit it--it's been a tough year for me in terms of discovering truths about the industry--and, by that, I mean coming to some realizations about how far we still have to go with respect to promoting diversity in romance. I certainly knew that we were underrepresented--that it seemed more difficult for diverse authors to get traditional publishing contracts and, if we get them, to have good experience with our publishers around marketing and promotion. I did not know until recently about a litany of other issues--from earning retail space, to being dropped from publishing, to problems with book displays and shelving, to serious issues with the RITA Awards.

Read More
Praised as "Feminist Fiction" by IndieReader, "The Art of Worship" Won its 2018 Discovery Award

We talk a lot, in romance, about empowering our heroines. So much of what I read still misses the mark. Typical romances still make heroes better at nearly everything, compared to heroines. Heroes tend to have more prestigious jobs, are more likely to be self-made if they're wealthy, tend to have more grit, wit, foresight and problem-solving skills. They're more comfortable sexually and are generally in better harmony with their bodies. This is ludicrous. Men are insecure (duh). Men have body image issues. Men worry about sexual performance. They have money problems and, contrary to what the romance genre would have you believe, they're not all rich. 

Read More
"The Art of Worship" is a Finalist in the Passionate Plume Contest!

I never talk about my novel, The Art of Worship, without admitting that it's super weird. Most romance stories are boy meets girl (or girl meets girl or boy meets werewolf--you know what I mean). It's full of really fuzzy love and really funny sex, but it's just not a typical romance. Trust me when I tell you that I do not look back at all of my books as volumes that I can read again and again. But I can read The Art of Worship 100,000 times and never get tired of it.

With that said, it's a bit of a love-hate kind of read. Reviewers love, love, love it, but its plot is so weird that, in contests, it's done just okay. I am thrilled to announce that

Read More
"The Secret Ingredient" and "Crocodile Tears" are Finalists in the Unpublished Stiletto Awards!

More news on the awards front: this time about two unpublished manuscripts I've been sweating over for months: the Contemporary Romance Writers of America have named "Crocodile Tears" and "The Secret Ingredient" as finalists in their unpublished Stiletto Contest! 

These books are very special to me. I'll be blogging about them one of these days and releasing teaser pages that show off the plot. For the time being, it means a lot to get the scorecards, hear validation that judges liked both, and to see where these manuscripts may need work.

Read More
"Snapdragon" is a National Readers Choice Awards Finalist!

Whoa! Have you seen some of the names on the finalists list for this year's NRCAs? I'm on the same page--twice--with Jill Shalvis. Being in such talented company makes it even sweeter that "Snapdragon" has made it to the finals in this year's National Readers' Choice Awards for Best First Book and Erotic Romance! I'll be looking forward to RWA Nationals in Denver in July, where they'll be announcing the winners and where I hope to meet (in person) some of the lovely ladies of OKRWA. Beyond staying with me through some technical problems as I was entering the contest, these girls were all just as sweet as apple pie.

Read More
"The Art of Worship" is a Holt Medallion Finalist for Best Novella; "Snapdragon" is a Finalist for Best Erotic Romance and Best First Book!

In the dumbest of all first world problems, I was starting to get worried. I've received more amazing accolades for Snapdragon than I ever could have hoped. But Snapdragon wasn't the only book I released this past year--it was one of three, and one of two that I've put my hat in for contests. Up until now, The Art of Worship (which I actually think is a better book) hasn't gotten any love. I am thrilled to announce that at least a few people had the courage to upvote my novella The Art o Worship. It's got a plot that I've never seen anywhere in the romance world before…

Read More
A First Place win for "Snapdragon" in the NECRWA Awards (And a Generally Great Time Had By All)

You know what they say about fifteen minutes and fame. So when I was named a finalist in the New England Chapter RWA's Reader's Choice Awards and invited to the conference to revel in the honor, I figured I'd better absorb whatever warmth I could from my day in the sun. At the time, the other book I'd been entering into awards had won exactly zilch. I figured, maybe this was it! There were other compelling reasons to attend the conference. Beverly Jenkins was giving a masterclass on small town romance, and let's be honest--she could've been giving a masterclass on underwater basket weaving. I still would have wanted to go, because Beverly f*ing Jenkins!

Read More
The Sad Tale of Why "The Secret Ingredient" Will Not Be Submitted to Kindle Scout

 I was stoked to have made the decision to try out Kindle Scout for the next title you've heard me rave about, The Secret Ingredient, a culinary romance about a frustrated female television chef named Marcella and her sexy neighbor-for-the-summer, Max. Cella, ostensibly there to write her next cookbook is licking her wounds from a number of professional failures, and is itching for a break from her predatory agent, Liz. It just so happens that the guy who owns the house next door is the nephew of a late, lauded chef whose restaurant closed when she died…

Read More
A Bronze Medal for "Snapdragon" in the Independent Publisher Awards (IPPY Awards)

I wouldn't have even entered the IPPY Awards if it hadn't been for my friend, Liz. She is my beta reader, turned get-off-your-ass-and-come-to-RWA-nationals, turned mentor-of-all-things-author-world, turned friend. When I met Liz about a year and a half ago, she gave Snapdragon a look before I published it. At the time, she herself had just won a Bronze IPPY in the Romance category for her wonderful second chances novel, Caught Up in Raine, and had some very nice-looking pictures of her floating around from the awards gala. It was Liz who inspired me to even take the step of entering awards.…

Read More
"Snapdragon" Has Been Named a Finalist in the New England Readers' Choice Awards!

Believe it or not, this story starts with me waking up to an e-mail messsage in Bolivia. For those of you who have never been to La Paz, the elevation is around 12,000 feet and my altitude sickness medicine made it so that I was getting only about four hours per night of sleep. So, for one, I was cranky. Add to that the fact that I hadn't seen my family for going on a week. Unable to sleep at the early hour of 5AM (2AM, my local time) I was figuring this wouldn't be my best day. Until it was. My friend-who-happens-to-be-a-writing-coach, Beth Barany, had forwarded me an e-mail…

Read More
"Snapdragon" Has Been Named a Foreword Indies Finalist!

More great news about "Snapdragon"! This week, it was named a Finalist in the 2017 Foreword Indies Awards in the Erotica (Adult Fiction) category. This feels particularly special, since the very first book I published, in 2012, a non-fiction book under my real name also won the Foreword Indies prize in its category. As most folks know, Kilby Blades is a pen name, since I write the steamy stuff :) Indie publishing isn't easy. There are a ton of wonderful indie books out there (most of the indie romance I read, for me, surpasses the bestsellers). I can't tell you how gratified I am to receive the validation that a book that started as drabble a few years before I made a serious tackle to write it received such recognition…

Read More
Interview with Manybooks: Writing 21st Century Romance

When Kilby Blades looks at her peer group, she sees dating disasters, relationship problems, and divorce. This made her want to tell the truth about what love and romance really looks like for high-achieving people and Snapdragon was born. A romance novel unlike any other, where two people are in a relationship that could be defined on its own terms rather that following the formulaic path: "first comes love, then comes marriage..." As our Author of the Day, Blades tells us all about the book and how she made it into the top 5 in romance and top 35 across genres.

Read More
Kilby BladesComment