Kira Brady
Jun 8
Come see Sherrilyn Kenyon at Emerald City

The 2011 Emerald City Writers’ Conference registration is open now. This year we will welcome blockbuster paranormal romance author Sherrilyn Kenyon, her writing partner Diana Love, and superstar romance blogger Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Can I say how excited I am for this year’s conference??? If you are in the Pacific Northwest, or have always wanted to visit our rainy garden of eden, this is a great opportunity to meet fellow writers, pitch to editors and agents, and soak up the wisdom and encouragement of our guest speakers.

Did I mention that I sold after pitching at ECWC 2009?

Polish up that manuscript and join us!

Jun 1
Like, Love, and Feminism

Jonathan Franzen, Freedom author, has an excellent article in the New York Times about “liking” vs loving, and how we must be brave enough to love deeply and risk rejection. It’s a great piece for our facebook and twitter-centric culture, but it also encompasses the struggle of the hero and heroine in romance novels rather nicely. Franzen writes eloquently:

Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are…. to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.

In Romance, the hero and heroine always have to give up some control or face their deepest fears of rejection and loneliness to triumph in the end. Love is a risk, and the promise of the genre is that taking that risk will lift us up to overcome adversity and make our lives better. Good will vanquish evil, but only through the power of love. Love makes us stronger, but first it forces us to face the darkest corners of our heart.

I haven’t yet read Freedom, but I liked Franzen’s essay so much that I plan to fix that error shortly.

In other news, yesterday brought another slur against Romance Novels in the form of a self-help article. You can read more about the bruhaha at DearAuthor, but the gist of it was that Romance Readers = addicts and cheaters. I agree with Jane at DA that tweeting this kind of drivel only gets that kind of backwards thinking more publicity. How many people would have read the article if the romance community hadn’t risen up in arms? But maybe one or two romance readers who had been feeling guilty were comforted by our brave defense of the genre. Who knows. When I first started reading romance, I felt the need to justify the genre and my writing. I don’t any longer. Anyone who slams an entire genre and disparages millions of readers doesn’t deserve the time of day. But it’s easy to make fun of something women like. Feminism doesn’t mean you burn bras and hate men. Feminism is standing up for woman as deserving of equal respect and equal rights as men. In my humble opinion, the Romance Genre today is about FEMALE EMPOWERMENT. Love is not a soft emotion. Love takes a hell of a lot more courage than hate or indifference (see Franzen article above).

So it is with great pride that I say I am a romance reader and writer, because I believe in the saving power of love. Who’s with me?

May 23
Revisions, Revisions

I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon, again, pretty quickly. I could say it’s because I’ve been sick, again, or because Mr. Kira went out of town, again, or because the baby has been sick, again. All would be right. Let’s reevaluate our blogging reality, shall we? New achievable goal: I promise to blog once a week on Mondays. I need to spend more time writing anyway. You don’t care, do you? I didn’t think so. Blogging is so 2004.

I have news: my revisions from my editor arrived! He had lovely things to say about book 1 and only a handful of tweaks to make to the manuscript. I really love editing. I could edit this thing until doomsday and be happy as a clam. The blank page is much more intimidating, but maybe it’ll help if I remind myself that attacking that blank page will deliver a lot more text for my editing bliss.

Also, I’ve been reading. I love reading. I used to read a book a day, and now I’m lucky if I read one a month. Sob. If you haven’t had the chance yet, I strongly recommend Elizabeth Naughton’s MARKED. It’s a paranormal romance inspired by Greek mythology and has very well-drawn characters. It’s so nice to read a band-of-brothers type book where they aren’t all over-the-top caricatures spouting teeny-bopper slang. In paranormal romance, a lot of the men are ancient warriors who appear to be around thirty. I just can’t see them going around saying, “OMG!” or “WTF?” Teenagers, maybe, but no self-respecting thirty-year-old would say that, and certainly not a bad-ass warrior.

Thoughts? What types of dialogue drive you crazy?

May 16
Grammar: You’re doin’ it wrong, and the Art of Language

When I first started writing and had my first critique, I just about drowned in the load of crap advice aspiring authors are given.

Thou shalt not use adverbs!

Thou shalt not end a sentence in a preposition!

Thou shalt not use prologs!

Thou shalt not have your heroine and hero meet more than seven pages from the beginning!

Thou shalt use ONE point-of-view per scene!

Thou shalt not use the omniscient voice!

Meh. The list goes on. Check out author/former agent Nathan Bransford’s blog for more good ones. The advice, while well-meaning, debilitated my writing. I didn’t trust myself any more. My internal editor was so loud with “You’re doin’ it wrong” that I looked at the blank page and choked. It took me a couple years to get my confidence back. (That internal editor hasn’t shut up yet, but I’ve learned to tune her out sometimes.)

Perhaps this is why I like this article on language pet-peeves so much. A lot of those “rules” passed around are bogus, especially that one about not ending your sentences with a preposition. (Oh, the grey hairs that caused me!) That’s not to say that there aren’t grammatical rules you should know and use, (Please, facebook friends, learn the difference between your and you’re, and their, they’re, and there!), but not all of them are set in stone. Greene is spot on when he writes, “But people confuse ‘grammatical’ and ‘good.’ ‘Correct’ English is often plodding or incompetent.”

That hasn’t stopped me from correcting other people, mind you, and correcting them incorrectly. Recently I told Mr. Kira that “proverbially” only meant “from a proverb” and he couldn’t use it to mean something in common usage. I was wrong. It means both. Mea Culpa.

The more I learn about language, the more I learn I don’t know. It’s a lot like life in that regard. Good thing writing is an art, not an exact science. I need to remember Greene’s parting admonishment, “don’t let your love for good English mean disdain for people who don’t use it exactly as you do.”

So write on, mes amies. Revel in your art. Be free to boldly go where no writer has gone before. Write well and prosper.


May 13
Four Question Friday: All About Books

It’s Friday the 13th. Are you superstitious? I’ve spent my whole life claiming I’m not, but it’s a big fat lie. Superstition doesn’t have basis in rational fact, so much like my heroine, I reject it. However, I can’t help the creepy crawly feeling in my stomach that screams “BE VERY VERY CAREFUL.” I throw the salt, avoid walking under ladders, and feel uneasy if a black cat walks directly in front of me (I like all cats, black and otherwise, so don’t think I avoid them!). But I don’t know what a person is supposed to do on Friday the 13th to avoid calling bad luck down on herself. I know it’s unlucky because it’s the day the Templars were massacred, or so I read in a romance novel or two. I haven’t bothered to read up on it on wikipedia.

Are you superstitious? Do you do anything different on Friday the 13th?

Today’s Four Question Friday is completely unrelated to superstition, except that maybe it’s a safe topic. These are also from my marketing department.

Question 1: If you were stuck on a desert island and could only bring one book, what would it be?

Answer 1: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Question 2: What is the first romance novel you read?

Answer 2: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Question 3: What is one book that changed your life?

Answer 3: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I’m writing romance for a living now, so I’d say it changed my life!)

Question 4: Who are your five favorite authors?

Answer 4: This is a hard one. I’ll have to say, off the top of my head: That Harry Potter lady, Ilona Andrews, Garth Nix, Lisa Kleypas, and Phil Pullman. But it could change if you asked me tomorrow.

EDITED TO ADD: That list is NOT correct. Meljean Brook! Larissa Ione! Marjorie M. Liu! How could I forget? This is why one should blog on a full night’s sleep.

How about you? What are your favorite books and authors? What’s the first romance novel you read? Did you sneak it from your mother? That’s what a lot of authors say in their bios, so I’m just curious.

May 11
Thor and Writing

I’m switching it up this week, obviously, as yesterday I wrote about a fabulous book you should buy and today I’m talking about writing. Rules are made to be broken and all. Last night Mr. Kira and I went on a hot date to see Thor. I love comic book movies, especially when they are well done. The Shadow and The Phantom were favorites when I was a kid. I’m not a fan of the Sin City type movies, which are visually appealing until they turn gruesome. Thor was excellent. They had a challenge keeping the characters in their silly costumes without making it too farcical. Here are the top three reasons Thor worked:

1. The Hero’s Journey:

Classic story arc, with Thor showing remarkable transformation from egotistical, rash boy to wise, humble warrior. He won the audience’s support by showing loyalty to his friends and family early on (His Save-the-Cat moment). I should start doing point-by-point plots of movies like this.

2. Complex Villain:

No Snidely Whiplash here. The villain had hopes and dreams that the audience could connect to, and suffered betrayal and loss of identity that we could sympathize with. I know he comes back in the sequel (The Avengers) because we saw him in the teaser at the end of the credits. I hope he gets redeemed, because I still want him to have his HEA.

3. Well Motivated:

The inhabitants of earth (Jane & co) acknowledged the silliness of certain situations, behaviors and costumes and questioned their actions. They had motivations to make taking in a delusional, violent man somewhat believable. I didn’t get the sense that the characters were engaging in TSTL (Too Stupid To Live) moments.

The eye candy didn’t hurt either. ;)

Have you seen Thor? What did you think?

May 10
Must read: The Iron Duke, now on sale!

I’ve made it no secret that I love Meljean Brook’s steampunk romance The Iron Duke. I’ve told all my friends. I’ve pushed it on my family. It’s the best steampunk romance I’ve read yet, and the best steampunk book I’ve read period. For those of you who have missed out on the awesomeness, Amazon is having a sale: The Iron Duke for only $6! Get it while the getting’s good. :)

May 6
Four Question Friday

The Kensington marketing department asks new authors to fill out a handy-dandy questionnaire. Strangely, I’m stumped on some of the questions. Do they want me to answer seriously? Am I supposed to answer as a reader might expect a bad-ass Paranormal Romance Author to respond? Or should I give the real scoop on me, the person behind the author facade. I guess it comes back to this: is Kira Brady a brand or a person? And if she’s a person, is she me, or a character I get to make up?

Today’s four question are taken from the marketing sheet, and I doubt they are top secret.

Question 1: What is your writing routine?

Author Kira: After an hour of yoga and a visit with my masseuse to get my body and brain in alignment, I sit down to my typewriter ready to channel the muse. Pedro, my cabana boy, mixes me a Kraken sidecar before joining the bluegrass punk band that serenades my writing sessions. I slip the IV into my vein and attach the end of the tube to the typewriter ink cartridge. There is no ink but blood. Words flow effortlessly from my fingertips to the blank page, almost as if imagined into being by a divine hand. The blood dries black on the bleached paper, belying its heavenly origins; These words were crafted in a darker place. By the time the fiddle crescendo winds down, five thousand words grace the page. I am spent. Weakly, I motion for Pedro to release me from the machine. He slips the iv out and sweeps me up into his arms. Carrying me out the double french doors into the fresh island breeze, he gently lays me in a hammock beneath the coconut fronds. I rock gently to sleep as the waves of creativity wash upon the shores of hard work, and dream of writing the next scene.

Real me: I put the baby down for a nap, make some tea, sit at my computer, and turn on Write or Die. If I’m lucky, the baby will sleep for an hour.

Question 2: What music are you really into these days?

Author Kira: Bluegrass punk and anything in a minor key.

Real me: Raffi.

Question 3: If you weren’t a romance novelist, what would you be?

Author Kira: Aether Mage.

Real me: Laundry Fairy.

Question 4: What do you think love at first sight is?

Author Kira: A divine spark from the universe that occurs when following one’s personal legend.

Real me: Shallow.

And a question for you, dear reader: What book would you most like to read again for the first time?

May 4
Book love: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Sometimes you come across a book that seems like it was written just for you. I feel this way about Rampant. It’s like Ms. Peterfreund plucked from my mind these themes and issues I’ve been mulling over recently, put them into words, and crafted a beautiful tapestry out of them. The themes of female empowerment, virginity, and what it means to be a woman in the modern era are not new, but I’m looking at them with new eyes now that I have a daughter. Strong themes separate out the truly unforgettable books from the simply interesting and enjoyable books. Don’t get me wrong, this is not some feminist treatise. Rampant is a beautiful adventure of a teenage girl coming to terms with her heritage, her sexuality, and her own inner power.

I’m not doing it justice. Suffice to say, I really, really liked it and think you will too. There are killer unicorns. Love, lust, betrayal. Best friends, boy friends, parents with issues. Magic and mayhem.

Ms. Peterfreund’s voice is captivating. It’s one of those that just tumbles you in from page one, and sweeps you along until you put your head up for air and realize three hours have gone by and you’re almost done with the book. I stayed up late finishing it. If it weren’t for my mama duties, I wouldn’t have put it down.

I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel, Ascendant.

What have you been reading, mes amies? What should I be reading, when I’m done with Ascendant? Have you tried Ms. Peterfreund’s delicious books?

May 3
Romance Extravaganza this Saturday

It’s time for the third annual Romance Extravaganza hosted by the King County Public Library. There are many good things about having a head librarian who is also a romance author; putting together awesome events like this is one of them. The keynote speaker this year is Susan Wiggs.

Saturday, May 7, 11:30am–3pm
Covington Library

Meet some of your favorite best-selling romance authors and new rising stars of on a day dedicated to romance readers and book lovers.

Meet the Authors


Susan Wiggs, NY Times Best-selling Author


Book Signing Party with all participating authors


Women’s Fiction and Contemporary Romance Panel – Susan Wiggs, Susan Mallery and Cherry Adair


Rising Stars of Romance including Delilah Marvelle, Jessa Slade, Shelli Stevens and Theresa Meyers

Books will be available for purchase.

Tea with Cherry–special refreshments and loveliness provided by Cherry Adair.

Refreshments also provided by Covington Friends of the Library and the Greater Seattle Chapter of Romance Writers of America.