"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

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"The Secret Ingredient" and "Crocodile Tears" are Finalists in the Unpublished Stiletto Awards!

More news on the awards front: this time about two unpublished manuscripts I've been sweating over for months: the Contemporary Romance Writers of America have named "Crocodile Tears" and "The Secret Ingredient" as finalists in their unpublished Stiletto Contest!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

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"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.

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"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…

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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!

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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…

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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.…

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"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…

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"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…

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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.

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"Snapdragon" Has Advanced to the BookLife Prize Semifinals!

BookLife and Publishers Weekly announced the titles advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2017 BookLife Prize. My debut novel, "Snapdragon" is one of the seventy-nine chosen works. The mission of the BookLife Prize is to discover, cultivate, support, and celebrate great works of unpublished or self-published writing by independent authors. The Prize also aims to provide feedback to authors about their work, provide a Critic’s Report which may assist finalists in the marketing of their fiction, and provide financial support via a cash prize to the grand-prize winner.

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Snapdragon Has Been Named a BookLife Prize Quarterfinalist!

BookLife and Publishers Weekly announced the titles advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2017 BookLife Prize. My debut novel, "Snapdragon" is one of the seventy-nine chosen works. The mission of the BookLife Prize is to discover, cultivate, support, and celebrate great works of unpublished or self-published writing by independent authors. The Prize also aims to provide feedback to authors about their work, provide a Critic’s Report which may assist finalists in the marketing of their fiction, and provide financial support via a cash prize to the grand-prize winner.

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The Chrysalis Release Party is On!

Chrysalis releases on July 14th! Want to come to the Release Day Party? You Can RSVP here! I'll be bringing up the rear at 7:30PM EST/4:30PM PST with prize winner announcements and other fun (warning: I probably will have been drinking, so...yeah, do what you want with that). Thirteen amazing authors will be coming online in support of Chrysalis, bringing games, prizes and giveaways of their own. Want to check out the lineup? 

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Snapdragon Q&A: Is Michael Straight or Bi?

Since Snapdragon's release, I've been getting questions and comments about certain plot points, character traits, etc. At the top of this list are questions about the scene in which we find out that Michael has been with guys. 

Believe me--my wise and beautiful beta M.K. Gilher called me right out on this and my Snapdragon beta, L.G. O'Connor had some opinions on it, too. Now I'll say to you what I said to them in my decision to keep this scene.

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Show Authors Love. Take the Review Pledge

Reviews. They're not just candy for authors hungry for the sugar high of validation. In large number, they are the ambrosia of the gods. They do far more than to merely satiate devoted authors with the knowledge that hours spent toiling over a manuscript served a reader a gratifying meal. They are the very sustenance that nourishes the industry as a whole.

But we're starving for them. And it's not because we're vain, it's because we read our own statistics. And when we see that hundreds or thousands of people are reading our book, we want hundreds or thousands of reviews. 

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Our Love-Hate Relationship with Awards [Author Problems Series]

It feels a bit like high school, doesn't it? Everyone already knows who the popular kids are, so nobody needs to go to the dance to know who will be crowned Homecoming Queen.

We don't quite hate her for it. She is beautiful. And charismatic. We've seen her in action, and we understand why she got it. She probably deserves it, whatever that means. And on some level, we're happy for her. We're just tired of it always being Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

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How Should I Choose a Pen Name? [Book Marketing Done Right Series]

You might be wondering why an entire blog article needs to be devoted to how to choose a nom de plume. If we don't overthink things, we could just choose something that sounds cool, right? If only it were so easy.  If you don't care whether anyone ever finds, reads, or talks about your book, the "whatever sounds cool" method might be an acceptable approach. Yet, if you want a pen name that truly works in your favor, ask these questions and do this research before you make a choice:

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Do You Want to Know What I Did All F*ing Day? Tried to Get Tickets to Hamilton, That's What

Privilege bothers me. I hate the fact that when it comes to food, health care, environmental safety, and nearly everything else in America, the rich have it better, and the poor have it worse. I might be a "have" now, but I used to be a "have not", and even though I have all the good channels on cable, and only eat GMO-Free foods, at least I have the decency to feel guilty about it.

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Meet Michael: Snapdragon Excerpt #1

So it's time for me to start releasing some details about Snapdragon's, male lead, Michael, or so I'm told by very pushy but very dear friends.  In the coming weeks, I'll start posting some conversation excerpts between Darby and Michael. In the meantime, here's Michael's physical description, in excerpt form from the book:

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