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Writing Romantic Suspense

In Romantic Suspense there are two distinct stories. The suspense and the romance.

RWA defines romantic suspense as a romance novel in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

You need a strong suspense story and a strong romance. Then you weave the two together perfectly. Today I’m only going to talk about developing quick physical and emotional relationships.  

In this genre the action moves fast and the story takes place over a relative short period. I write contemporary thriller/action adventure and the stories take place over a couple of weeks. BIG PROBLEM. An author has to weave in a plausible romance and bring it to a satisfying conclusion (don’t forget part of a romance definition is the HEA) in short timeframe.  Not easy.

If your characters are meeting for the first time on the pages of your story how can that plausible relationship develop so fast? What about the sexual aspect?  Characters getting under the covers fast is crazy tricky. Of course if the characters have a history, good or bad as long as they have a touch point of familiarity and knowledge, it’s less complicated.

If you plan on writing sex for a hero and heroine who just met it is important you know yourself and your own boundaries.  Know what YOUR comfort zone is. If you can’t conceive of, or don’t agree with characters getting hot and sweaty together fast, for goodness sakes don’t do it.

For example I’m not comfortable with a 24 year old woman meeting a man,  two hours later being in bed and two weeks later being in a happy ever after relationship. Nor am I comfortable with someone that age knowing the man she’s just met is the one that fast. It would be impossible for me to give her the experiences that would allow her to make these decisions. Let me be clear here. I am NOT saying someone that age is incapable of making that decision, I’m saying I can’t write it to happen fast.   

Ergo, I write with heroes and heroines over 35. They have experience. To my way of thinking—my comfort zone—they are more capable of making a decision about going into a sexual relationship after a short time and handling any blow back. A 36 year old woman who has been around and experienced a lot in her life knows the ramifications of a hook up.

You MUST know your characters.  What they will and will not do and why. I mean the down deep why.  While these issues are vital in every story, it is even more important in the fast pace RS genre.  You must know what circumstances will drive your heroine to hit the sheets quickly.  BTW I say heroine because I firmly believe she is the one who makes the decision as to the when and where sex happens.

In my first book the H&H go home together after they first meet. I totally knew my heroine. What event formed her values and beliefs and was behind all her decisions. The day the H&H met, she suffered two huge setbacks in her story goal. Going with him that night breaks all her personal rules but she decides to console herself with some sexual healing. Give in, just once, to her own needs and the reader knew this. She leaves his bed before he wakes thinking she will never see him again. In a few days this comes back to bite her. It also begins the resolution to her story goal. 

As for the HEA in this story, these two people were NOT looking for a relationship but found something in each other that filled a void they didn’t know existed. As the author, I knew it did. Knowing your characters inside and out allows you to understand what they fear, what they want, and what they need. You use it to get them to work out their problems together and rapidly establish a bond. With each other’s help they face their fears, they change, and are rewarded with love and in the suspense novel get the bad guy in the process. This is an over simplification but I hope you get what I mean. 

When the H&H have a sexual history getting them into a speedy relationship is always easier. In my third book, two experienced intelligence officers from different agencies have an affair that lasted more than a year. He broke it off for his own misguided reason. They come together again working to find the same bad guy. With their history, the sexual tension lasts for only so long before they give in. Their HEA is very complicated. Again, I know them completely.

Another way is to use what some call survivor sex. After two people share a near death experience sharing the life affirming act of sex is always a possibility.  As an author, you can put friends, detective or business partners, who have worked together for years and know each other completely into that death experience and life affirming sex after. The act changes a relationship to full blown love and HEA. On the surface this looks to be the easiest choice. Honestly it’s the most difficult for me to write. To get a good balance of conflict you really have to know your H&H.

I can probably come up with a hundred more scenarios but this is already too long.

Bottom line

  • Dig deep
  • Know yourself
  • Know your characters inside out.

What do you think?

Check out my Romantic Suspense Books.

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Show and Tell Wednesday: RITA & Golden Heart Edition

Hold all calls, tomorrow is RITA/GH Announcement day! This of course begs for a special edition of Show and Tell Wednesday.

Are you hoping for a nomination for one of these pretties?

gh-2009

Or perhaps a chance at one of these little ladies? (The statue, not Darynda!)

darynda_RITA

Announcement day is such an exciting time for us, since it was the day in 2009 when all of us came to know one another and the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood began. On top of that, it’s a day where dreams come true. Whether you’re waiting for a call or have friends who are waiting, there’s hope and excitement and anticipation in the air.

I remember how shiny and hopeful I was on that day. Getting the call was like winning the lottery and, every year, announcement day brings all that shininess back. Ooh…butterflies just thinking about it.

gh_acceptance

Ever since 2009, we’ve continued to make new memories. What can beat a Ruby presenting a Golden Heart award to another Ruby?

elisa-and-sara-279x300

And look at Elisa showing off her Precious:

elisa_gh

When one Ruby wins, we all win. (Wasn’t that a McDonald’s slogan?)

rubieswithrita

If you’re already feeling giddy like me, feel free to rub the little lady here for good luck. (The statue, not Vanessa.)

vanessa_rita

For Rubies and Ruby friends who are wishing and hoping and praying tomorrow — may your phones ring merrily — and may it not be the school calling about your kids. Heel clicks and happy thoughts to all!

Remember to come by tomorrow for our annual Announcement Day Cyber party on the Ruby blog. Share your news or just anxiously refresh the screen with the rest of us!

Show and Tell Wednesday is a weekly feature which features images and a short post sharing something about them. If you’re interested in doing a guest post, check out the additional info and guidelines HERE.

And don’t forget about the upcoming Show and Tell Wednesday: RSS Edible Book Festival on April 1st. If you like to bake or make edible art, you can enter your creation for a chance to win an Amazon gift certificate. Check out the info HERE.

Updated Golden Heart & RITA Rules!

Every year prior to conference the RWA National Board meets and makes changes to the contests.  This is the ONLY time such changes can be made because it is the only board meeting when the contest is not actively in session.  The new rules were released following the meeting and I’m sure will soon be posted in more detail on the individual contest pages, but for now here is RWA’s SUMMARY OF CHANGES.

And here’s a little breakdown of the highlights:

  • Entrants are required to judge. 
  • Entrants will not judge in a category in which they are entered.
  • Judges will be allowed to opt out of two categories.
  • Contemporary romance is divided into three categories and historical into two categories, based on word count, with the goal of dividing the number of entries equally among the available categories. Please note that the number of entries, by category, vary from year to year, and the resulting number of entries in each category may not be equally divided.
  • Each entry will be scored between 1.0 (lowest) and 10.0 (highest). (Yay!!!)
  • Judges will assign one score to each work, with the final score calculated by dropping the high and the low score and averaging the remaining three scores (trimmed mean).
  • The top 4% of each category’s entries (based on the number of qualified entries received) will advance to the final round, except each category will have no fewer than 4 finalists or more than 10 finalists.

Also, the minimum number of RITA entries for a category to avoid being eliminated due to lack of entries has been set at 50 (as opposed to last year’s 5% of 2000, or 100) so Young Adult should be back!  (Minimum 25 entries for the Golden Heart.)

Category changes for contemporary and historical above are for the RITA not the Golden Heart.  The Golden Heart categories will remain the same as last year.  Also, finalists for the Golden Heart will be the top 10% per category not 4%.

Aaaaand a little birdie told us at the AGM that they will be LOWERING the entry fee for the Golden Heart this year!  If my notes are correct you can enter (Golden Heart, not RITA) for only $30 per entry!  So get your multiple entries ready, darlings.

What do you think?  Do you like the new rules?  Are you excited to enter? 

Live Blogging the GH/RITA Announcements

MP900387578[1]LET THE ANNOUNCEMENTS BEGIN…

It’s time for our annual live blogging event of the 2014 Golden Heart/Rita announcements ! If you entered RWA®’s Golden Heart or RITA contest, then you’re likely hovering over your phone today as you await THE CALL. So why not hang out with all the other hopefuls (many of the Rubies included) who are also waiting on pins and needles?

From past experience, we know that the internet will be abuzz today with happy news. We’ll be updating our list here as announcements come in from various sources. Come spread the joy and keep hope alive by celebrating the announcements of those who did receive a call today.

Good luck to all who entered and thank you to all for coming to celebrate with us.

FOR THE FINALISTS: If RWA® has notified you that you’re a finalist, please post your news in the comments below, and include the following info:

The word FINALIST in all caps / your CATEGORY also in all caps. Also, please give us your book title and the name you want listed if writing under a pseudonym.

If you’re a RITA finalist, we’ll also need the publisher and your editor’s name.


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To make this even more festive, we’ll hold random drawings through the day. All you have to do is comment, and you could possibly win one of the following fabulous prizes.

MP900404922[1]Turtle Island series  by Kim Law (Ex on The Beach & Hot Buttered Yum – print, Two Turtle Island Doves novella – e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Studs and Stilettos (e-copy version) by Bev Pettersen

MP900404922[1]Winner’s choice of one of Laurie Kellogg’s books (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Winner’s choice of one of Cate Rowan‘s books (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Tempt Me by Tamara Hogan (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Whisper Falls  by Elizabeth Langston (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Point of No Return by Rita Henuber (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Perfect by Autumn Jordan (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Reckless Brides 4 book set by Elizabeth Essex (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1] Tangled Hearts by Heather McCollum (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1] The Dragonfly Chronicles (includes Prophecy and Magick) by Heather McCollum (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Hero of Her Heart by Lindsey Brookes (Amazon copy)

MP900404922[1]The Broken by Shelley Coriell

MP900404922[1]Brazilian duet (To Play with Fire/The Dangers of Dating Dr. Carvalho) by Tina Beckett (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Naughty Karma by Vivi Andrews (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Last Chance Book Club and Last Chance Knit and Stitch by Hope Ramsay (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Winner’s Choice of book from the Charly Davidson First Grave Series by Darynda Jones (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Winner’s Choice of book from the Darklight Trilogy by Darynda Jones (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Perfect Summer, Place Your Betts, and Getting Lucky by Katie Graykowski (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Twist by Amanda Brice (e-copy)

MP900404922[1]The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker (print)

MP900404922[1]First three books in the House of Steele series by Addison Fox (print or e-copy)

Prize Disclaimer: Unfortunately, we are unable to ship prizes to addresses outside of the United States. Books won by those with non-U.S. shipping addresses can only be delivered electronically. Should you win a prize that can not be digitally sent, then a substitution will be made.

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Now, that the formalities are out of the way…let’s get this party started! Cork Shot Out From a Bottle of Champagne

2014 RITA FINALISTS:

Contemporary Romance:

Along Came Trouble
by Ruthie Knox
Random House Group, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Beach House No. 9
by Christie Ridgway
Harlequin, HQN
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Country Roads
by Nancy Herkness
Amazon Publishing, Montlake
Kelli Martin and JoVon Sotak, editors

Crazy Thing Called Love
by Molly O’Keefe
Random House Group, Ballantine Bantam Dell
Shauna Summers, editor

Fix You
by Beck Anderson
Omnific Publishing
Jessica Royer Ocken and Cindy Robinson Campbell, editors

Half Moon Hill
by Toni Blake
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

Home to Whiskey Creek
by Brenda Novak
Harlequin, MIRA
Paula Eykelhof, editor

Homecoming Ranch
by Julia London
Amazon Publishing, Montlake
Maria Gomez, editor

It Had to Be You
by Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing
Alex Logan, editor

Letters to Nowhere
by Julie Cross
Self-published

Rescued by a Stranger
by Lizbeth Selvig
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Tessa Woodward, editor

Rumor Has It
by Jill Shalvis
Berkley Publishing Group
Kate Seaver, editor

The Second Chance Café
by Alison Kent
Amazon Publishing, Montlake
Lindsay Guzzardo, editor

Sleigh Bells in the Snow
by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin, HQN
Flo Nicoll, editor

The Sweet Spot
by Laura Drake
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Latoya Smith, editor

Talk of the Town
by Beth Andrews
Harlequin, Superromance
Wanda Ottewell, editor

The Way You Look Tonight
by Bella Andre
Self-published
Shelley Bates, copyeditor

Whiskey Beach
by Nora Roberts
Penguin Group USA, G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Leslie Gelbman, editor

Short Contemporary Romance:

A Conflict of Interest
by Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin, Desire
Charles Griemsman, editor

Free Fall
by Karen Foley
Harlequin, Blaze
Brenda Chin, editor

Her Accidental Boyfriend
by Robin Bielman
Entangled Publishing, Bliss
Stacy Abrams and Wendy Chen, editors

Her Secret, His Baby
by Tanya Michaels
Harlequin, American Romance
Johanna Raisanen, editor

A Royal without Rules
by Caitlin Crews
Harlequin, Presents
Megan Haslam, editor

Why Resist a Rebel?
by Leah Ashton
Harlequin KISS
Meg Lewis, editor

Historical Romance:

Any Duchess Will Do
by Tessa Dare
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward

The Autumn Bride
by Anne Gracie
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Wendy McCurdy, editor

The Chieftain’s Curse
by Frances Housden
Harlequin, MIRA
Kate Cuthbert, editor

The Countess Conspiracy
by Courtney Milan
Self-published
Robin Harders and Keira Soleore, editors

Darius
by Grace Burrowes
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

Dark Angel: A Gothic Fairy Tale
by T J Bennett
Entangled Publishing, Edge
Liz Pelletier and Shannon Godwin, editors

Duke of Midnight
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

The Lady and the Laird
by Nicola Cornick
Harlequin, HQN
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

Love and Other Scandals
by Caroline Linden
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lyssa Keusch, editor

The Luckiest Lady in London
by Sherry Thomas
Berkley Publishing Group
Wendy McCurdy, editor

Never Desire a Duke
by Lily Dalton
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished
by Sarah MacLean
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

Plaid Tidings
by Mia Marlowe
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Alicia Condon, editor

A Rake’s Midnight Kiss
by Anna Campbell
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Amy Pierpont, editor

The Rogue’s Proposal
by Jennifer Haymore
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Selina McLemore, editor

Sins of a Ruthless Rogue
by Anna Randol
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

Sonata for a Scoundrel
by Anthea Lawson
Self-published

Inspirational Romance:

Five Days in Skye
by Carla Laureano
David C. Cook
John Blase and Tonya Osterhouse, editors

Promise to Return
by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Simon & Schuster, Howard Books
Beth Adams and Amanda Demastus, editors

Erotic Romance:

Claim Me
by J. Kenner
Random House Group, Bantam
Shauna Summers, editor

Private Practice
by Samanthe Beck
Entangled Publishing, Brazen
Heather Howland, editor

When I’m Bad I’m Better in It Stings So Sweet
by Stephanie Draven
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

Paranormal Romance:

The Burning Sky
by Sherry Thomas
HarperCollins Publishers, Balzer & Bray
Donna Bray, editor

Caged Warrior
by Lindsey Piper
Pocket Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar
by Lexi George
Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava
Alicia Condon

The Devil’s Heart
by Cathy Maxwell
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Lucia Macro, editor

Diamond Dust
by Vivian Arend
Samhain Publishing
Anne Scott, editor

The Firebird
by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Deb Werksman, editor

Heart of Obsidian
by Nalini Singh
Berkley Publishing Group, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

His Clockwork Canary
by Beth Ciotta
Signet
Jhanteigh Kupihea, editor

Immortally Ever After
by Angie Fox
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

Shadowdance
by Kristen Callihan
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Skies of Gold: The Ether Chronicles
by Zoë Archer
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Amanda Bergeron, editor

Teardrop
by Lauren Kate
Random House Group, Delacorte
Tamar Schwartz, editor

Witch Bound
by Eleri Stone
Carina Press
Gina Bernal, editor

 

Romance Novella:

The Bridesmaid
by Julia London
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

“Defending Truth”
by Shannon McNear
in A Pioneer Christmas
Barbour Publishing
Becky Germany, editor

How to Marry a Highlander
by Katharine Ashe
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse
Lucia Macro, editor

How to Misbehave
by Ruthie Knox
Random House Group, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

“Imagine Me and You”
by Maisey Yates
in Animal Attraction
Harlequin, HQN
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Mine Under the Mistletoe
by Kat Latham
Carina Press
Angela James, editor

Take Me, Cowboy
by Jane Porter
Tule Publishing, Montana Born Books
Tessa Shapcott, editor

Take What You Want
by Jeanette Grey
Samhain Publishing
Jennifer Miller, editor

“Too Fast to Fall”
by Victoria Dahl
in Be Mine
Harlequin, HQN
Tara Parsons, editor

 

Romantic Suspense:

Justice for Sara
by Erica Spindler
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Weiss, editor

The Killing Game
by Toni Anderson
Self-published

Off the Edge
by Carolyn Crane
Self-published

Thrill Ride
by Julie Ann Walker
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

Best First Book:

Five Days in Skye
by Carla Laureano
David C. Cook
John Blase and Tonya Osterhouse, editors

Fix You
by Beck Anderson
Omnific Publishing
Jessica Royer Ocken and Cindy Robinson Campbell, editors

Private Practice
by Samanthe Beck
Entangled Publishing, Brazen
Heather Howland, editor

Promise to Return
by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Simon & Schuster, Howard Books
Beth Adams and Amanda Demastus, editors

The Sweet Spot
by Laura Drake
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Latoya Smith, editor

 

2014 GOLDEN HEART FINALISTS:

Contemporary Romance:

“Fearless” by Brynley Bush

“Love in Living Color” by Shelly Chester Alexander

“Too Good to Be True” by Suzanne Kaufman Kalb

Short Contemporary Romance:

“Bringing Delaney Home” by Lee Kilraine

“Poetic Justice” by Nan Dixon

“Yesterday’s Promise” by Sarah Cannon

Historical Romance:

“Charlene and the Duchess Factory” by Lenora Bell

“The Earl Next Door” by Charis Calhoon

“A Haunting Desire” by Julie Mulhern

“Much Ado about Scandal” by Jillian Lark

MP900404922[1]“The Seer” by Gwynlyn MacKenzie

“A Soldier’s Serenade” by Ellen Lindseth

“The Unseducible Earl” by Sheri Humphreys

“Wicked Things” by Laura Trentham

“A Wild and Wicked Wind” by Laura Trentham

Inspirational Romance:

“Against the Peace” by Carrie Padgett

“Better Than a Movie” by Sara Tompkins

“My Lord Valet” by Kristi Ann Hunter

“A Virtuous Ruby” by Piper Huguley

Paranormal Romance:

“Beyond the Fire” by Marni Folsom

“Fit to Die” by Pintip Dunn

“Hidden Magic” by Shelly Chalmers

“Valhalla’s King” by Asa Maria Bradley

 

Romantic Suspense:

“Chasing Damn” by Denny S. Bryce

“Dangerous Dreams” by Abbie Roads

“Fatal Fragrances” by Connie Taxdal

“Secrets That Kill” by Sarah Andre

“See Her No More” by Sharon Wray

 

Young Adult:

“Altered” by Marnee Bailey

“Carlie in Crisis” by Pintip Dunn

“Carma Always” by Stephanie Winkelhake

“Chasing Fireworks” by Kimberly MacCarron

“To Feel or Not to Feel” by Kimberly MacCarron

“Four Bullets” by Amy DeLuca

“Letting Go” by Jessica Ruddick

“Macha and the River Blue” by Barbara Gerry

“The Thing with Feathers” by McCall Hoyle

MP900404922[1]“This Is Your Afterlife” by Vanessa Barneveld

 

Golden Heart Finalists Tell All – 2014 edition

Six days from today, calls and emails will be going out to a select group of 2014 Golden Heart and RITA entrants that will change their lives.

That sounds like a cliche, doesn’t it? Can one simple call really have that much impact?

I finaled in 2008 (shoutout to the Pixie Chicks!) and again in 2009 (and shoutout to the Rubies!). I clearly remember getting both those calls from RWA Board member Trish Milburn, and probably always will.

In 2009, I entered two manuscripts  — Party Like It’s 1899 (which had finaled the year before , and which has now been self-published) and Codename: Dancer. When Trish told me I’d finaled, I automatically assumed it was for Party. I mean, after all, I’d finaled with it once before, right?

Wrong. She told me it was Codename. I was shocked, but thrilled. And then I got giddy … and greedy. I assumed this meant I must be a double finalist! After all, I’d finaled with Party before, right? I figured that was the better manuscript, so if I’d finaled with Codename this year, then my call for Party must be coming, too. Whoohoo!

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something dumb like asking when the other board member would be making the other call. She was perplexed. What was I talking about? What other board member? And what other call? See, she’d seen the entire list of finalists, and knew I wasn’t on there twice.

D’oh! Yeah, real classy, Amanda. ;)

When I decided to write this post, I thought it would be fun to ask some past Golden Heart finalists to tell us about their own call experiences and to pass along some advice for this year’s class.

Sometimes the finalists didn’t believe they’d actually finaled, and needed to search online for further proof:

  • 2006 finalist and author of Three Wishes  Juli Alexander  didn’t think she would final, “so I didn’t make sure my phone number was updated. I was busy at work, checking the updates online, dying to know if I’d finaled.  Then the full list went live on RWA’s site.  Sure, it looked like my name next to my title, but I couldn’t quite believe it.  All of my work buddies had left for the day, so I printed it and went down the hall to knock on the door of a guy I barely knew.  ‘Can you just read this and tell me if it really says my name?’ I asked.  ‘Are you sure?’ I asked again.  ‘Does it really say Investigating the Hottie?’ He transferred to another office shortly after.”
  • 2011 finalist Bria Quinlan hadn’t slept well for several nights before the GH call. “When it came in, I was so exhausted (and excited and relieved and anxious and…) that I didn’t hear a word she said. But she promised I’d be getting an email, so I said, GREAT! and rushed off to tell everyone. I called two close friends (including Ruby Sister, the awesome Jeannie Lin) and my agent before I posted it on Twitter for the world to see. Then I freaked out imagining I’d been so overtired that I’d made up the call. Rushing to the RWA site, I paged down to YA and… I wasn’t there. So I hit refresh. And I still wasn’t there. I hit refresh once more. Oh, snot rockets! I was going to be the first person to social media the whole world with a final that didn’t exist! I was freaking out, trying to figure out if I should tweet that it was a mistake (or maybe a really bad joke?) when I hit refresh one last time — and my name popped up.”

I was struck by the number of past finalists who’d missed their calls, and went through the entire day (or even several days!) thinking they hadn’t finaled:

  • New York Times Bestseller Christie Craig, author of sixteen novels and three non-fiction books, waited at home hoping beyond hope to get the “You finaled” call in 1988 for her traditional romance novel, Two Hearts Too Late. “There were no cell phones or links to check for updates in the dark ages. Just the ol’ fashion nail biting, waiting by the non-portable phone. Much to my dismay, the call never came. A couple weeks later, I got the scores in the mail. Pulling my big girl panties up I looked at them. There had been a mistake in the scoring. Phoning my mentor, published author Jan Hudson who was actively involved with RWA Nationals, she went to bat for me. It took less than a week to get THE call. I had made the finals. It was my first time to enter the GH. I did happy dances all over the house. I think I cried, laughed, and then cried again. It would be give years before I get the “You Sold” call for the same book, but finaling in the GH fueled my perseverance.”
  • 2002 winner and author of more than 10 novels — including A Sin in White Kathryn Caskie, was on vacation in Disney World when the calls went out. “I kept checking my cell phone for any GH messages–but for two days there was nothing…Then the hotel phone rang. To my shocked delight it was one of my Washington Romance Writers buddies who had somehow tracked me down.  She wanted to congratulate me for being a finalist in the Long Historical category and was shocked when I told her I hadn’t heard a word.  After jumping on the bed, then remaking it, I ran down the hotel hallway screaming ‘yes!’ and doing odd ninja-like kicks.  Suddenly Disney WAS the happiest place on earth!
  • But my favorite emotion came from 2008 and double 2011 finalist Rachel Grant, author of the upcoming Concrete Evidence, who was away at a plotting retreat and missed the calls. Click on her website to actually HEAR what she did when she found out in 2011. It’s really fun! (But be warned, it’s also really loud!)

Caller ID plays a big role apparently:

  • Pixie Chick (2008) Catherine Chant, author of the YA time travel Wishing You Were Here, didn’t want to get her hopes up so she wouldn’t feel disappointed if she didn’t final. A call came in around 10 am, but her husband (who was working from home that day) looked at the caller ID and thought it was a telemarketer, so he let it go to voice mail. But Catherine wasn’t so sure. “Call it intuition, I don’t know. I suddenly turned into Nancy Drew and Googled the number to see what state it was from. Then I saw on one of the GH results loops which Board member was calling my category and visited that person’s website. Same state! Now my heart was pounding a litle bit more, but I was determined not to believe it might be possible. I was so afraid of being wrong. I could’ve called the number back, but now I was starting to feel silly for all the Googling nonsense, so I decided to just wait to see if she’d call back. She did!”
  • 2011 finalist Kimberly Kincaid, author of Love On the Line, was chatting online with her critique partners, but the minute she walked away from the computer, the phone rang. Her husband (at home between job contracts at the time) said, “Oh, I recognize that number. It’s a job recruiter I’m trying to dodge.” Kim was crushed, but they let it go to voicemail. She writes, “A minute later, my verrrrrrry guilty-looking husband came in and said, ‘Uh, you might want to listen to the mesage on the machine.’ Turns out, the job recruiter and Vicki Lewis Thompson have the same area code, and she’d called to tell me I’d finaled! I called her back so fast, it was mind-boggling. And then after I hung up, I literally jumped into my husband’s arms (like, feet off the floor, tackled him to the ground, laughing and crying like a maniac). Bless his heart, he caught me and everything!”
  • 2005 winner and NY Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday, author of more than 20 books, including the upcoming Secret Bond, writes “I’m on the west coast, so I’m always a little behind. By the time I realized what day it was and checked my phone, I saw that there were two missed calls. Neither came up in Caller ID. So what did I do? I Googled the area code and cross-referenced it with the cities where the board members lived. Sure enough, one matched! (Can you tell I write mysteries?) Which of course made me wait by the phone for the next two hours until the number called again and gave me the good news.”
  • 2012 finalist Natalie Meg Evans says “living in England, I was kind of detached from the process. I hadn’t put the date in my diary and was outdoors, mucking out stables, when the call came. My husband came out with a handset saying, “You’ve got a call from America.” I hadn’t a clue who it would be and managed to drop the handset. It broke into all its different bits. I put it together thinkin, whoever it is will ahve gone. She hadn’t. I learned the amazing news that “A Tangled Season” was up for a Golden Heart. I went to Anaheim, met loads of new friends. I didn’t win, but so what?!”
  • 2007 winner Robin Kaye, author of Back To You: Bad Boys of Red Hook, had the house to herself for the first time in years. “It was also the first time in thirteen years that I could actually sleep in. Though awake, I was still in bed thinking about how lovely it was not to be hearing the usual chorus of ‘mom, mom, mom….” when the phone rang, disturbing my blissful state of solitude. The caller ID said Tennessee. Now, the only people I knew in Tennessee were my brother-in-law and his family, and my BIL only calls on his and my husband’s shared birthday. It was not their birthday. I thought, crap, someone had died. My father-in-law had been ill, and if Mark was calling, it surely meant that Dad had taken a turn for the worse. Either that, or it was a telemarketer, in which case, I’d be royally ticked. Needless to say, I answered the phone with quite a bit of trepidation. When Trish Milburn butchered my last name (Kaye’s a pen name) — and no, I don’t blame her for that, it took me three years just to learn how to spell it — I pegged her as a telemarketer and I might have been just a little short. ‘This is she,’ I answered. Okay, I might have barked due to disruption of my solitude thing. Poor Trish meekly introduced herself and said she was calling from RWA. She congratulated me on finaling in the Single Title category. Once I realized that it wasn’t a telemarketer and let go of my anger, I felt such a huge wave of relief, even I was surprised — my father-in-law and I had never been close, but I was immensely relieved he was still alive. The first thing out of my mouth was, ‘Well, thank God no one died.’ Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was the weirdest response poor Trish had ever received to a GH call!”

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliche that just being nominated is such an honor. Actually, it totally is true! And for the overwhelming majority of finalists, getting to know our “sisters” is the biggest prize of all.

  • 2011 and 2012 finalist and author of Highland Surrender Tracy Brogan advises to take it slow. “Each year, the GH group takes on a unique personality, and it’s wonderful to watch the finalists transition from ‘Can you believe it?’ to ‘We have achieved something to be humbled by and proud of.’ There is a special camaraderie that builds from sharing this experience. It creates friendships that will last a lifetime, and a support system to get you through agent rejections, pokey industry professionals, and bad reviews. It will also cerebrate your ever victory, the tiny and huge. Now, if I could offer a bit of advice (which will most certainly be ignored!) it is to implore the new finalists to not push too hard to establish that pack identity. Inevitably someone on announcement day will say to their fellow nominees, ‘Hey, we need a name for our class!’ That will trigger all sorts of interesting converations. Things like ‘Firebreathing Unicorns’ and ‘Sisterhood of the Flaming Panties’ will take center stage. But don’t rush this process! Get to know each other first! Let a name grow organically from things you find in common. Don’t worry about building future websites, or how to mirror the Rubies’ success. Just enjoy the moments between announcement day and the awards banquet. Don’t try to control the flow, just go with it!”
  • 2006 finalist Alexia Haynes, author of the upcoming New Adult romance Too Fast, gave this advice: “The Golden Network brings to the forefront all the things that I love best about RWA, a group of talented writers forging friendships as we strive for excellence in our craft.”
  • 2004 winner and author of 12 novels, including the upcoming Fatal Exposure, Gail Barrett got right to the point. “Shop for your dress early.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Enjoy every minute of the glorious ride!”

Speaking of the conference, several past finalists had advice:

  • Two-time finalist (2005 and 2007) Kristen Painter, author of the Blood Rights urban fantasy series, says “Nationals as a Golden Heart Finalist is always fun because people want to talk to you about your book and congratulate you. Capitalize on the moment right now. Send queries stating your finalist status. Let anyone who has the book know. Get the word out to the industry people who matter.”
  • 2005 finalist and author of About a Baby Ann Yost  suggests researching agents and publishers with whom you want to interview. “Its a great opportunity to get your work in front of the right person.  Don’t sweat the pitch too much — they are all pleasant and kind and will ask for chapters and a synopsis at least.”
  • 2009 winner Diane Kelly, author of Love, Luck, and Little Green Men, advises finalists to have a speech ready. “Be sure to thank everyone who has helped you in your career. It takes a village to produce a good book, and that often includes a spouse, critique partners, RWA chaptermaters, and more!”
  • 2011 winner Ruth Kaufman, author of the self-help book Find Your Inner Fabulous, stresses that “winning is no guarantee of a sale or representation. So many in my GH class have sold, some multiple books. A few already have hit bestseller lists. Not me … yet? I’m still waiting to hear about a second set of revisions… Suggestion for the finalists: Write an acceptance speech. I truly didn’t think I’d win. A finalist in my category had already sold and another had filed multiple times and won twice. Fortunately, I have years of improv training and experience to rely on and was able to come up with something on the spot. But if public speaking and performing aren’t up your alley, prepare in advance so you’ll be more confident and won’t leave anyone or anything out.”

(Speaking of speeches…if you’re one of the lucky writers who final, come back here on Wednesday, March 27 for our “Welcome finalists!” party. Ruth has graciously offered to help five finalists write their speech. Details in the post next Wednesday!)

Several finalists stressed that while the Golden Heart may be validation, it’s not the secret to success. Perseverence is.

  • Author of six Regency paranormals, including the recent Dangerous Magic,  Alix Rickloff’s 2007 final was when her husband finally realized she was serious “about this whole ‘writing as a career’ idea.  It was also when I stopped feeling guilty about my writing because the house wasn’t clean or the laundry wasn’t done. OK–maybe I still feel an eensy bit guilty. :) Even better, while I didn’t win the GH that year and the manuscript’s sat on my hard drive for the past four years, it was just released this fall. So I finally got to see those characters and that story come to life.”
  • Author of nineteen Regencies (writing also under the name Diane Perkins), including the recent Born To Scandal, Diane Gaston was a Golden Heart finalist twice, both times with the same manuscript. “After the call in 2001, I ‘floated’ for days. It was the most exciting thing that had happened to me since having my children. I didn’t win that year, but I did win in 2003—and the manuscript sold to the editors who judged it in the GH.”
  • Four-time finalist (2005, twice in 2006, 2008) and author of What a Duke Wants, Lavinia Kent added “Writing is a hard business and we all need to develop a strong shell for the criticism and rejection that will come our way. No matter how high you climb it never gets easy. I’ve published four hot, sensual novels with Avon and am working hard on a set of sexy, fun novellas for this summer and I live in fear of reviews, contract negotiations, sales numbers, and my critique group (there is nothing as difficult as the opinion of those you trust). So, revel in every joyous moment you get!
  • 2009 winner Anne Marie Becker, author of the Mindhunters romantic suspense series, says “My recommendation for the lucky writers who receive the call — breathe. Sometimes we forget the basics when the extraordinary happens. Breathe. And then get to work, because soon the manuscript requests will fill your inbox.”

But Robin Perini, 7-time Golden Heart Finalist, Winner in 2011 for Stolen Lullaby (Harlequin Intrigue, which was retitled as  Finding Her Son), who sold seven books From February 2011 to February 2012, had the best advice: ”No matter if you final or not! Write, write, write. I sold Stolen Lullaby (aka FINDING HER SON) as a direct result of the Golden Heart. I’d NEVER received an editor request before, but in 2011, Harlequin Intrigue bought the book in May. I had another book ready, which sold in August and became Cowboy in the Crossfire (out in July, 2012). Keep writing new stories. Every day/every week. That’s what writers do.”

She’s right, you know. So how much did you write today?

JOIN US HERE ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 FOR LIVE UPDATES AS THE NEW GOLDEN HEART AND RITA FINALISTS ARE ANNOUNCED! THE RUBY BLOG IS YOUR DESTINATION FOR GOSSIP, HAND-HOLDING, AND PRIZES. AND IF YOU GET THE GOLDEN HEART OR RITA CALL, LET US KNOW ASAP!!!

Free-for-All Friday: RWA National Tips and Tricks

IMG_0318

Can you believe the 2013 RWA National Conference starts next week? It seems like just yesterday that the Rubies were all named 2009 Golden Heart finalists, but if you look at the right hand side of our website’s home page, so much has happened since then.

In those four years, there have been many additional Golden Heart finals and wins, several RITA finals, and one RITA win (Darynda Jones generously let us rub RITA’s belly for luck). A gratifying number of Rubies will walk the stage as nominees and presenters at this year’s awards ceremony.  But to me, the biggest metric of our success is this: since 2009, the Rubies have collectively published over 200 books.

OVER 200 BOOKS. Yay, us!

There’s a lot of experience here at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, from the sisters and from members of our community.  Whether you’re a RWA National newbie or an old hand, today, in true free-for-all Friday fashion, we’d like to learn everyone’s tips and tricks for navigating RWA National.

Here are a few of mine:

Don’t overpack! (You’ll need room in your suitcase for books!) I challenge myself to make it through the entire conference on four pairs of shoes. Four. I choose my shoes first, and build my wardrobe around them. Take it from a massive shoe hoor, IT CAN BE DONE.

Wear comfortable shoes – Yes, more about the shoes. Showing off our fierce footwear is part of the fun, but on the other hand, no one wants to hobble around with bloody blisters all week long. You’ll be on your feet a lot throughout the week, so plan ahead. Break in your shoes beforehand, and bring blister treatment products.

Dress in layers – I had an amusing chat with a hotel employee at last year’s conference about how, at an event like ours, dominated by women, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is happy with the temperature!  I’m always cold in air conditioned hotels, so you’ll find me bundled up in long sleeves and a sweater. Other attendees will be walking around in sleeveless shirts, carrying battery-operated fans to battle hot flashes. As Grandma Marion always said, “It never hurts to carry a sweater.” Grandmas are wise.

Eat lunch with strangers – Get out of your comfort zone a little! Break away from your buddies and sit with strangers at the conference’s luncheon events. Everyone at the conference loves reading and writing, so you won’t be strangers for long.  It’s not unheard of to find yourself sitting next to, and making informal contact with, an agent or editor who might then ask for your pitch. The person you ask to please pass the salad dressing might be an influential blogger, someone you follow on Twitter, or an author whose work you enjoy. This is the easiest networking opportunity you’ll have all week long. Take advantage of it.

Take some downtime – for most of us, the conference is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t feel like you have to attend every single workshop. Sometimes the best use of your time is to go up to your room for an hour, decompress or take a nap, and re-energize for the evening to come. For more on this topic, here’s a blog post I wrote in 2011:  Behold My P-Ness! Writers, Myers-Briggs, and An Introvert’s Guide to RWA National.

Some things I don’t leave home without:Deep water plug

  • earplugs, in case the room next door gets rowdy
  • bubble bath and my overflow drain cover – turns even the stingiest hotel bathtub into a soaking tub!
  • First aid kit, including Band-Aids, safety pins, the aforementioned blister treatment products, ibuprofen, tampons, etc. (Why pay inflated gift shop prices?)  I didn’t even NEED tampons during RT2013 in May, but I gave two away from my purse stash to authors in need. Is this sisterhood or what?  😉
  • NutriGrain bars, for breakfast or a quick afternoon snack
  • 6′ cheapo extension cord, for convenient gadget charging
  • Favorite book signing pen
  • Bookmarks and business cards – carry at all times!

 

What are your conference tips and tricks? Any items you don’t leave home without? If you’ve never been to the conference before, what questions do you have? It’s free-for-all Friday; anything goes!

Tammy’s latest release… 

TamaraHogan_TouchMe1

Touch Me…An Underbelly Chronicles Novella

Mere hours after human technology whiz Bailey Brown learns the truth about her Sebastiani Security co-workers—they’re all vampires, incubi, succubi, sirens, faeries, Valkyrie, and werewolves!—she’s thrown into an undercover operation protecting a siren singer at Underbelly, one of Minneapolis’s premier nightclubs. With pheromones saturating the air like sweet chloroform, starving for touch, and her inhibitions fading fast, Bailey has to avoid Rafe Sebastiani, her boss’s gorgeous sex demon of a brother, at all costs…

Because only his touch will do.

$0.99 at Amazon.com! Other digital formats available Sept. 2013.

 

Rita / Golden Heart Announcement Celebration

MP900387578[1]LET THE ANNOUNCEMENTS BEGIN…

Welcome to the Ruby Sisters’ 2013 Golden Heart/Rita announcement celebration! If you entered RWA®’s Golden Heart or Rita contest, then this is the day you’ve been both anticipating and dreading. This is the day where new friendships could be made, where dreams could come true, and all of your hard work has paid off. This is the day where talented writers from all over the world will anxiously wait for a call from an RWA board member informing them they are a finalist.

It is an exciting day for all romance writers, because even if you didn’t enter the contest, you inevitably know someone who did. It’s time to spread the joy and keep hope alive by celebrating the announcements of those who did receive a call today. If you entered, then on behalf of the Rubies, we wish each of you the best of luck and a happily-ever-after kind of day!

FOR THE FINALISTS: If RWA® has notified you that you’re a finalist, please post your news in the comments below, and include the following info:

The word FINALIST in all caps / your CATEGORY also in all caps. Also, please give us your book title and the name you want listed if writing under a pseudonym.

If you’re a RITA finalist, we’ll also need the publisher and your editor’s name.

GH Finalists: To join your GH group loop go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/2013GHFinalists

Tomorrow on the Ruby blog, Anne Marie will welcome the Class of 2013. Please be sure to stop by to tell us about yourself and details of the call. 

(And for those who don’t final today, join us Thursday for hugs and support and chocolate…plus lots of hope for next year!)

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To make this even more festive, we’ll hold random drawings through the day. All you have to do is comment, and you could possibly win one of the following fabulous prizes.

MP900404922[1]Two $20 Amazon Gift Cards donated by Addison Fox and Bev Pettersen

MP900404922[1]Horses and Heroin (e-copy version) by Bev Pettersen

MP900404922[1]Winner’s choice of one of Laurie Kellogg’s books (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Winner’s choice of one of Amanda Brice’s books (paperback or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]The Taste Me/Chase Me Duo Set by Tamara Hogan (paperback copy)

MP900404922[1]Ex on the Beach (Kindle version) by Kim Law

MP900404922[1]Love, Luck, and Little Green Men by Diane Kelly

MP900404922[1]Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly

MP900404922[1]Seized by Darkness by Autumn Jordan (print or e-copy)

MP900404922[1]Romantic Suspense Box set which includes Her Own Best Enemy and Intrusion by Cynthia Justlin

MP900404922[1]Print copy of Prophecy by Heather McCollum

MP900404922[1]Paperback of the YA Fantasy Torrein: Age of Fear by Shea Berkley

MP900404922[1]Paperback of the YA Fantasy The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

MP900404922[1]Ghirardelli Chocolate by Rita Henuber

MP900404922[1]$25 Amazon Gift Card by June Love

Prize Disclaimer:  Unfortunately, we are unable to ship prizes to addresses outside of the United States.  Books won by those with non-U.S. shipping addresses can only be delivered electronically. Should you win a prize that can not be digitally sent, then a substitution will be made.

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Now, that the formalities are out of the way…let’s get this party started!  Cork Shot Out From a Bottle of Champagne

2013 RITA FINALISTS:

Best First Book:

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Publishing Group
Michelle Vega, editor

Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan
Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Kelli Martin, editor

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Penguin Group USA, New American Library
Ellen Edwards, editor

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Forged in Fire
by Trish McCallan
Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Lindsay Guzzardo, editor

MP900404922[1]Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher
Tom Doherty Associates, Tor Books
Whitney Ross, editor

Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Penguin Group USA, Dial Books for Young Readers
Jessica Garrison, editor

Contemporary Single Title Romance:

Zoe’s Muster by Barbara Hannay
Penguin Group Australia, Michael Joseph Books
Belinda Byrne, editor

MP900404922[1]Sugar Springs by Kim Law
Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Kelli Martin, editor

Barefoot in the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Amy Pierpont, editor

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox
Random House Group, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

The Way Back Home by Barbara Freethy
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Melt into You by Roni Loren
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Heat
Kate Seaver, editor

Historical Romance:

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin
Penguin Group USA, Signet
Claire Zion, editor

Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation
Wendy McCurdy, editor

A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books
Carrie Feron, editor

Wedded in Sin by Jade Lee
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation
Kate Seaver, editor

Defiant by Pamela Clare
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

The Recruit by Monica McCarty
Random House Group, Ballantine Books
Kate Collins, editor

Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Lauren Plude, editor

A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Inspirational Romance:

Naomi’s Christmas by Marta Perry
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Trade
Ellen Edwards, editor

The Soldier’s Wife by Cheryl Reavis
Harlequin, Love Inspired Books
Tina Gavin, editor

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House Publishers
Raela Schoenherr, editor

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher
Zondervan
Sue Brower and Leslie Peterson, editors

An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Lauren Plude, editor

A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens
Harlequin, Love Inspired Books
Emily Rodmell and Rachel Burkot, editors

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House Publishers
Sarah Long, editor

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ami McConnell, editor

Long Contemporary Series Romance:

Out of the Depths by Pamela Hearon
Harlequin, Superromance
Megan Long, editor

A Cold Creek Noel by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

A Gift for All Seasons by Karen Templeton
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

A Life Rebuilt by Jean Brashear
Harlequin, Superromance
Adrienne Macintosh, editor

No Ordinary Joe by Michelle Celmer
Harlequin, Superromance
Charles Greimsman, editor

A Texas Chance by Jean Brashear
Harlequin, Superromance
Adrienne Macintosh, editor

From Father to Son by Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin, Superromance
Wanda Ottewell, editor

Making Her Way Home by Janice Kay Johnson
Harlequin, Superromance
Wanda Ottewell, editor

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:

Time’s Echo by Pamela Hartshorne
Macmillan Publishers, Ltd., Pan Macmillan
Wayne Brookes, editor

A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Trade
Wendy McCurdy, editor

The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Publishing Group
Michelle Vega, editor

Before and Ever Since by Sharla Lovelace
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation
Wendy McCurdy, editor

The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Penguin Group USA, New American Library
Ellen Edwards, editor

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine
Hachette Book Group, Faith Words
Christina Boys, editor

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
by Kristina McMorris
Kensington Publishing Corp.
John Scognamiglio, editor

Paranormal Romance:

Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden
Kensington Publishing Corp., Brava
Megan Records, editor

Immortally Yours
by Angie Fox
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne
Harlequin, MIRA
Leslie Wainger, editor

Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Amy Pierpont, editor

Moonglow by Kristen Callihan
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Lothaire by Kresley Cole
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Edge of Oblivion by J.T. Geissinger
Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Eleni Caminis, editor

Romance Novella:

“Sleeping with a Beauty” by Leslie Kelly in Once Upon a Valentine
Harlequin, Blaze
Brenda Chin, editor

“The Valentine’s Curse” by Jodi Thomas in Be My Texas Valentine
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Peter Senftleben, editor

Breathless by Sophie Jordan
HarperCollins, HarperTeen Impulse
Kari Sutherland, editor

“The Duchess of Love” by Sally MacKenzie in Bedding Lord Ned
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra

Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James
HarperCollins, Avon Impulse
Carrie Feron, editor

“Room at the Inn” by Ruthie Knox in Naughty & Nice
Random House Group, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Romantic Suspense:

Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry
Hachette Australia
Bernadette Foley, editor

Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb
Penguin Group USA, Putnam
Leslie Gelbman editor

Don’t Cry for Me by Sharon Sala
Harlequin, MIRA
Leslie Wainger, editor

Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Scorched by Laura Griffin
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star Books
Abby Zidle, editor

Twisted by Laura Griffin
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Star Books
Abby Zidle, editor

Forged in Fire
by Trish McCallan
Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Lindsay Guzzardo, editor

Vortex by Cherry Adair
St. Martin’s Press
Rose Hilliard, editor

Short Contemporary Series Romance:

A Marriage Worth Fighting For by Lilian Darcy
Harlequin, Special Edition
Bryony Green, editor

The Tycoon’s Secret Daughter by Susan Meier
Harlequin, Romance
Sally Williamson, editor

We’ll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart
Harlequin, Romance
Lucy Gilmour, editor

Becoming Dante by Day Leclaire
Harlequin, Desire
Mary-Theresa Hussey, editor

Cowboy in the Crossfire by Robin Perini
Harlequin, Intrigue
Allison Lyons, editor

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin, Presents
Lucy Gilmour, editor

The Last Single Maverick by Christine Rimmer
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Surgeon Sheik’s Rescue by Loreth Anne White
Harlequin, Romantic Suspense
Susan Litman, editor

Young Adult Romance:

Bound by Erica O’Rourke
Kensington Publishing Corp., KTeen
Alicia Condon, editor

The Farm by Emily McKay
Penguin Group USA, Berkley Publishing Group
Michelle Vega, editor

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Houghton Mifflin
Kate O’Sullivan, editor

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Harlequin, Harlequin Teen
Margo Lipschultz, editor

2013 GOLDEN HEART FINALISTS:

Contemporary Series Romance:

“Baby on Board—Help!” by Miranda Liasson

“The Billionaire’s Hypnotized Mistress” by Greta MacEachern

“Confessions of the World’s Oldest Shotgun Bride” by Gail Hart

“Jayhawk Down” by Sharon Calvin

“Her Soldier Returns” by Kristin Noel Fischer

“Southern Comforts” by Nan Dixon

Contemporary Single Title Romance:

“What’s Yours Is Mine” by Tamar Bihari writing as Talia Quinn Daniels

“The Bollywood Bad Boy” by Sonali Thatte

“Climb to Freedom” by Sheila Athens

MP900404922[1]“Everybody Knows…” by Jacqueline Floyd

“Clean Sweep” by Nan Dixon

“Hijacked” by Leslie Lynch

“Objection Overruled” by Jane O’Hanlon

MP900404922[1]“Place Your Betts” by Katie Graykowski

Historical Romance:

“Drawn to the Earl” by Joann Shupe

“Between Love and Lies” by Jacqui Nelson

“The Last Light of Dusk” by Joanne Lockyer

“Come to Me” by Oberon Wonch

“A Champion’s Heart” by Piper Huguley

“The Rake’s Handbook” by Sally Orr

“The Promise of Dawn” by Eliss Baker

“Sense and Seduction” by Thomasine Rappold

Paranormal Romance:

“Mind Sweeper” by Amy Jones

“Dark Secret” by Mariah Ankenman

“Demon’s Bane” by India Powers

“Jinn & Tonic” by Kay Hudson

“Sea Panther” by Dawn Wolzein

“Shadows in the Deep” by Lark Howard

“Unbroken” by Lea Ann Schafer

“Guardian” by Tara Sheets

Romantic Suspense:

“Crazy for Her” by Sandra Owens

“The Predator” by Chris Taylor

“The Shadow Hour” by Jacqui Nelson

“Broken Places” by Krista Hall Reynolds

“Juliet’s Rogue” by Sharon Wray

“Rogue’s Redemption” by Sharon Wray

“Spies, Lies, and Debutantes” by Miranda Liasson

“Rampant Perfection” by Laurie Cooper

Young Adult Romance:

“Miranda Perry’s Imported Prom Date” by Sheri Adkins

“Sticks and Stones” by Kimberly MacCarron

“Summer of Supernova” by Darcy Woods

“Camp Awakening” by Bonnie Staring

“Leath’Dhia/Birthright” by Kari Miller

“Ten” by Holly Bodger

“Hidden Deep” by Amy DeLuca

Our First Ruby RITA!!! (And Other Thrills from the 2012 Nationals Awards Ceremony)

RWA Nationals 2012 ended nearly two weeks ago, but we’re still buzzing with excitement over the Rita and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony.

In addition to being in a ballroom with Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, Robyn Carr, Joanna Bourne, Deanna Raybourn, Victoria Alexander, Kristan Higgins, Cherry Adair and many, many more romance superstars (including RWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Brenda Jackson!!), we had SIX Rubies up for awards, including our very first Rita nominees, Elizabeth Essex and Darynda Jones.

Given the size and strength of the competition, we’re delighted to report that fully HALF those Rubies took home the prize, and Darynda won our VERY FIRST RUBY RITA!!!!

For those of you who’ve never been, the Awards ceremony is rather like the Oscars (minus the goofy dance numbers), with dazzling colored lights, huge swathes of silky, velvety curtains, orchestral music, a baritone-voiced announcer, and a raised stage that nerve-wracked nominees have to climb up to to give their acceptance speeches, with a video crew filming everything and blowing it up on FOUR, count-em, FOUR enormous Jumbotrons.

Attendees are dressed in their fabulous best, as you can see here (left to right: Brenda Jackson and the model for all her heroes: her husband; Ruby Sally Eggert, looking gorgeous with fellow Firebirds Heather Nickodem, Diana Belchase, Kathleen Bittner Ross, and Talia Quinn Daniels; and a radiant Elizabeth Essex enjoying the glam).

 

 

As the nominees are announced, the Jumbotrons show special screens for each one with her author photo and book title, and for the Rita nominees, their beautiful covers. Behold some Ruby-licious examples:

 

 

If you’re lucky enough to win your category, up you wobble to the podium, trying to keep breathing, and praying your Spanx don’t spontaneously roll to the floor while you express your gratitude to all the amazing people who make your writing life possible. So, yeah, here are pictures of me and Liz Bemis and NORA FREAKIN’ ROBERTS all at the same podium. Really. NORA. Although her jewelry was maybe ever so slightly fancier than ours (Liz had to go with stuff safe for baby Riley to gnaw on, and mine was picked out for me by my teenage daughter at Claire’s). (Did I mention Liz got to SIT with Nora during the ceremony? And word is Nora spent more time cooing over baby Riley than paying attention to her shiny new Rita??? ‘Cause Nora is just that chill, and Riley is just that adorable.)

 

But, for the Rubies, the really big story of the evening was watching our wonderful Darynda snag that precious golden statuette!!!!

Here, recorded for posterity, is the story in pictures:

Left: One of the TWO times Darynda’s nominee screen popped up on the Jumbotron. (The other was for her nomination for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements).

Right: Darynda stands up under the dazzling lights when HER NAME IS CALLED as the winner!!!

 

 

 

Left: Darynda makes her gracious speech, which includes a shout-out to her adorable Street Team, the Grimlets, and ends with a war cry of “RUBY DOMINATION!!” (Yay!!! You rock, Darynda!!)

Right: Darynda generously passes her Rita around to everyone for good luck, and gorgeous Ruby Vanessa Barneveld gets a special snuggle.

 

 

 

 

 

Left: a passel of Rubies (and no doubt future Rita winners), including Anne Marie Becker, Rita Henuber, Darynda, triple-Prism-award-winner Tamara Hogan, Laurie Kellogg, Liz Talley, and me, form a Wall of Ruby Pride.

Right: Darynda’s Rita at home, along with flowers from the proud folks at St. Martin’s Press, and her newly-minted Daphne.

 

 

Can we all just say WOW??!!!!!!!!!

 

Your Ruby Sisters are so proud of you, Darynda!!!

 

Here’s to many Ruby Ritas still to come!!!

 

We’ll Get ‘Em Next Year, a Day for Consolation (and Prizes!)

Nooooooooooooo!!!! How did this happen? How did the universe get things so WRONNNNG???!!

Your manuscript is a marvel: everyone who reads it laughs and weeps and begs for the sequel, your psychic aunt’s been dreaming of the title atop the NYT Bestseller List, and even your literary-snob best friend read it in one big gulp and says it’s the best thing she’s read in years. It had Golden Heart finalist written all freakin’ OVER it.

But the phone didn’t ring on March 26.

!@%#*&!!!!!!

Well. we’re here for you today with shoulders to cry on and free rein to rant and rave and cry and scream and curse and do whatever else you have to do to let it allllll out, baby!

(If a little Chumbawumba would help, click here.)

We’ve also got chocolate and other awesome prizes because we know how bummed out you are, and we love you.

We’re also here to remind you of what a crapshoot the Golden Heart is.

Out of more than a thousand manuscripts entered, only 10% can final. If you’ve been hanging with the Rubies for awhile, you’ve heard us talk repeatedly , about how many manuscripts get stuck in the bottom quarter of GH scoring one year, then go on to final the next year—and even win. And also plenty of manuscripts final one year, then don’t get out of the bottom quarter the next.

It’s called subjectivity, and there’s no avoiding it. (Check out two-time Golden Heart winner Laurie Kellogg‘s words of wisdom on this subject here).

Remember, four of your five judges could LOVE your story, but one says “meh,” and you’re out of the finals. This is hardly a failure: in real life, having four of five readers loving your book would have you outselling Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and the Twilight books combined.

And MOST published romance writers with brilliant, best-selling careers NEVER, EVER finaled in the Golden Heart at all. (Some, like Allison Brennan, even admit they tried—and failed. Yeah, that really hurt our Allison. I’m sure she still weeps over it every day.)

The Golden Heart is a great launch pad—but it’s not the only one.

Hey, just look at the list of 2012 Rita nominations. Lots of great books on there. But did you see Julia Quinn? Did you see Kristan Higgins? Victoria Dahl? Lisa Kleypas? Meredith Duran? Jill Shalvis? Gena Showalter? Julie James? Marjorie Liu? NORA freakin’ ROBERTS?

Does that mean their books this year sucked, and they should give up trying to be authors and toss their laptops out the window and take up a career in dry cleaning instead? Um, no. Of course not. Those writers and their books from last year are truly awesome. (Have you read Kristan Higgins’ Until There Was You?? Sooooo good. Soooooooooo good.) It’s just the way the voting goes sometimes.

Sing along with Gloria Gaynor: “I WILL SURVIVE!”

More than anything today, we’re here to kick your butt and say SUCK IT UP NOW, SWEETHEART, because there’s one way and one way only to get yourself published. And it’s NOT the Golden Heart, or any other prize or commendation you may win. It’s BICHOK: butt in chair, hands on keyboard.

Get writing. Keep submitting to publishers. No excuses.

Do that, and your day will come. We’re the Rubies, and we know what we’re talking about!

Leave a comment below (as mopey or furious or self-pitying as you like, as long as you swear to commit to a concrete writing goal for afterwards) and be in the running for one of these spirit-lifting prizes, which we’ll be awarding to random commenters throughout the day:

-A copy of The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor (donated by Amanda Brice, author of Codename: Dancer and Pointe of No Return).

-a $10 Barnes and Noble e-gift card (donated by Ruby Sister Kate Parker)

-a copy of Kelly Fitzpatrick‘s Dodging Cupid

-a query letter critique from Ruby Sister Rita Henuber, author of Under Fire

-a critique by Cynthia Justlin (author of  Her Own Best Enemy and Intrusion) of the 1st 25 pages of a manuscript (any genre but erotica)

-winner’s choice of any of Vivi Andrews’ books (check ’em out at viviandrews.com)

-a box of chocolates and a critique of 1st three chapters and synopsis (RS or Historical) by Diana Layne, author of The Good Daughter.

-critique of the 1st 25 pages of any genre by Laurie Kellogg, author of The Memory of You (which hit #383 on the Paid list in the Kindle Store today!!!).

-a $15 Starbucks gift card and winner’s choice of one of Liz Talley‘s books.

-a 50-page critique by Jamie Michele, plus an e-copy of Alexandra Solokoff’s Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Writers II.

-choice of any of the following books by Lindsey Brookes: Hero of Her Heart, Capturing the Cowboy’s Heart, or A Little Bit of Sugar (PDF download).

-choice of any erotic romance listed on Amazon by McKenna Chase (PDF download).

-Box of chocolates from See’s Candies (donated by Elisa Beatty).

Pretty sweet, eh? Remember, we love you! Keep working, and you’re going to make it!!! We’re always here to help!

2012 RITA/Golden Heart Announcement Celebration Party!

 IT’S PARTY TIME!  The day we’ve all been waiting for!

If you are a 2012 Golden Heart Finalist, here is the link for the yahoo group that has been set up.     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/2012GHFinalists

 

During six of the eleven years I entered the Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest, I was a GH finalist 7 times. Therefore, I’ve been elated and disappointed  on numerous occasions.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you it’s a lot nicer to get a call from RWA than to pace the floor, staring at a silent phone all day, with only the fear of missing the call to stop you from throwing the contraption against the wall.

Speaking as the reigning Susan Lucci of the Golden Heart, my advice is don’t wait for the darn phone to ring. There are over a two thousand other writers who’ve entered either the RITA or GH contest and who are also sitting on pins and needles.

Now I’m not saying we should be pessimists and quit hoping. Hope is what keeps us going. Hope that we’ll get a call. Hope that we’ll land an agent. Hope that our manuscript will sell. Hope that we’ll hit the NYT list. However, luck and timing play a huge part in all of those things happening.

I’m simply suggesting you keep the contest in perspective. Becoming a finalist means an author is in the top tier of writers. However, NOT being a finalist means absolutely nothing. I know lots of people who have sold books and made the NYT Bestsellers list without ever being a Golden Heart or RITA finalist. And I’m a prime example of an author who’s been a GH finalist and winner numerous times without ever landing a contract. We all need to stay focused on what the real prize is—getting paid a mountain of cash for letting readers enjoy our stories.

So instead of pacing the floors, listening for the phone, and setting yourself up for potential disappointment this morning, here are some more productive ways to spend your time waiting.

1.  (Read my post from last year for some of  the reasons your manuscript may not make the cut.  2011 RITA/GH Anticipation)

2. While you’re NOT waiting for the phone to ring this morning, you can also entertain yourself by reading my count-down post from 2010, The Diary of a Golden Heart Finalist.

3. For those of you who missed FRIDAY’s Ruby Release of A Kiss in the Wind, by Jennifer Bray-Webber, there’s still time to comment on her Friday post to be eligible for her drawing of A FREE COPY of A KISS IN THE WIND as well as A PAIR OF SKULL AND CROSSBONES EARRINGS!

4.  Check out the post http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/past-golden-heart-finalists-tell-all/

After you do all of that, plan to spend today celebrating with those who are lucky enough to receive a phone call. If Karma really is a beeyotch, as they say, I suspect the best way to increase the positive psychic energy we send into the universe is to be truly happy for others.

Of course, you’re probably thinking, someone has to fill those RITA/GH finalist slots, so why not me? This reminds me of a joke my late father told about a little old man named Herbie who went to <insert your place of worship> every morning and fervently prayed, “Please, God, let me win the lottery. I promise to do lots of charitable things with the money.” After several months of praying, one morning a bright light shone on the wrinkled man and a voice boomed from Heaven, saying, “For MY sake, buy a ticket, already, Herbie!

Back in November, many of us bought a ticket for RWA’s jackpot, and all we’ve been doing since then is waiting and praying. The wait is finally almost over.

The first time I was a GH finalist, two of my books were nominated for the GH in the single-title category, which meant I had to compete against myself. (Believe me, I never made the mistake of entering two manuscripts in the same category again.) So to liven things up this morning, it seems appropriate to give a prize to the FIRST author who announces on the Ruby Blog that she/he has TWO (or more) finalist books. 

That individual will receive free copies of my two first GH-WINNING novels, A Little Bit of Déjà Vu (to be released mid-April) and The Memory of You, which made it to #10 on Amazon’s Top 100 Free Books for Kindle list this past Saturday.  (available now at Amazon).

Throughout the day, the Rubies will also be holding periodic drawings to give away the following fabulous PRIZES!!!

–    Four winners, choice of Codename or Pointe by Amanda Brice

–    Three winners, one each of Welcome to Last Chance, Home at Last Chance, and Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay

–     Taste Me/Chase Me (ARC) Duo SET by Tamara Hogan

–     Two winners, choice of Cate Rowan’s three e-book titles

–     Autographed SET of Charley series books by Darynda Jones

–    Two winners, one each of His Witness to Evil and In the Presence of Evil by Autumn Jordon

–    Two winners, a choice of Jennifer Bray-Weber’s two books

–    Three  winners, one each of Jockeys and Jewels, Color My Horse, and Fillies and Females by Bev Pettersen

–     Two winners, one of Baby It’s Cold Outside,  and the other, a future copy of Warrior Enchanted (May 1st) by Addison Fox

–      One winner, a copy of Doctor’s Guide for Dating in the Jungle by Tina Beckett

–      Two winners, one each of  Lily in Wonderland and This Side of Dead e-books  by Kelly Fitzpatrick    

So without further ado, LET THE CELEBRATING BEGIN!!!! 

If you receive a call from RWA® telling you you’re a finalist, please post it in the comments as:

FINALIST in all caps/CATEGORY also in all caps

The Title of  your book BY the name your writing under

If you’re a RITA finalist, we’ll also need the publisher and your editor’s name.

It’s impossible to predict how many finalists will be in any particular category, and finalists will be listed in the order we receive information about them. No one but RWA knows how the titles ranked in the first round of judging.

 

 2012 RITA FINALISTS

 

BEST FIRST BOOK

1. Warped by Maurissa Guibord (Delacorte Press; Michelle Poploff, editor)

2.  Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Egmont USA; Regina Griffin, editor)

3.  First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (St. Martin’s; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)

4. Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella (Berkley Publishing Group; Leis Pederson, editor)

5.  How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreilling (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)

6.  The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane (Ballantine Bantam Dell; Junessa Viloria, editor)

7.  I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler (Sourcebooks Fire; Leah Hultenschmidt, editor)

8. The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (Berkley Publishing Group; Kate Seaver, editor)

BEST CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE

1.  A Bravo Homecoming by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)

2.  Donovan’s Child by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)

3.  How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward (Harlequin Romance; Sally Williamson, editor)

4.  I’ll Catch You by Farrah Rochon (Harlequin Kimani Romance; Glenda Howard, editor)

5.  A Mother’s Homecoming by Tanya Michaels (Harlequin American Romance; Kathleen Scheibling, editor)

6.  Rancher’s Twins: Mom Needed by Barbara Hannay (Harlequin Romance; Meg Lewis, editor)

7.  The Texan’s Bride by Linda Warren (Harlequin Superromance; Kathleen Scheibling, editor)

8.  Doukakis’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin Presents; Lucy Gilmour, editor)

BEST CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE: SUSPENSE/ADVENTURE

1.  Cooper Vengeance by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)

2. The Man from Gossamer Ridge by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)

3.  Soldier’s Last Stand by Cindy Dees (Harlequin Romantic Suspense; Patience Bloom, editor)

4.  Stranded with Her Ex by Jill Sorenson (Harlequin Romantic Suspense; Stacy Boyd, editor)

5. Taken to the Edge by Kara Lennox (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)

6. Nothing But the Truth by Kara Lennox (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)

7.  The Doctor’s Deadly Affair by Stephanie Doyle (Harlequin Romantic Suspense; Wanda Ottewell, editor)

8.

BEST CONTEMPORARY SINGLE TITLE ROMANCE

1.  Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)

2.  Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor).

3.  Silver Sparks by Starr Ambrose (Pocket Books; Abby Zidle, editor)

4.  Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier by Lisa Dale (Berkley Publishing Group; Cindy Hwang, editor)

5.  At Hidden Falls by Barbara Freethy (Pocket Books; Micki Nuding, editor)

6.  The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)

7.  Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe (Carina Press; Charlotte Herscher, editor)

8. Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D’Alessandro (Berkley Publishing Group; Cindy Hwang, editor)

BEST HISTORICAL ROMANCE

1. Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt (Grand Central Publishing; Amy Pierpont, editor)

2. Silk Is for Seduction by Loretta Chase (Avon Books; May Chen, editor)

3.  Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Amy Pierpont, editor)

4.  The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex (Kensington Brava; Megan Records, editor)

5.  The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne (Berkley Publishing Group; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

6.  Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

7.  Unveiled by Courtney Milan (HQN Books; Margo Lipschultz, editor)

8. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Kate Seaver, editor)

BEST INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE

1.   Katie’s Way by Marta Perry (Berkley Publishing Group; Ellen Edwards, editor)

2.  The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller (Revell; Vicki Crumpton, editor)

3.  My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers; Karen Watson, editor)

4.  Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell; Jennifer Leep, editor)

5.  Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers; David Long and Julie Klassen, editors)

6. Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson; Natalie Hanemann and Jamie Chavez, editors)

7.  The Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown (Avalon Books; Lia Brown, editor)

8. The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight (Harlequin Love Inspired; Allison Lyons

9. To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer, editor)

BEST NOVEL WITH STRONG ROMANTIC ELEMENTS

1.  Spider’s Revenge by Jennifer Estep (Pocket Books; Megan McKeever, editor)

2.  The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn (Harlequin MIRA; Valerie Gray, editor)

3. Death Magic by Eileen Wilks (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

4. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

5. Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros (Gallery Books; Lauren McKenna, editor)

6. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (Sourcebooks Landmark; Deb Werksman, editor)

7. How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal (Ballantine Bantam Dell; Shauna Summers, editor)

8. Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray (Berkley Publishing Group; Cindy Hwang, editor)

9. Shadow Walker by Allyson James (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Kate Seaver, editor)

BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE

1.  Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

2.  Nightfall by Ellen Connor (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

3.  The Restorer by Amanda Stevens (Harlequin MIRA; Denise Zaza, editor)

4. Changeling Moon by Dani Harper (Kensington Brava; Alicia Condon, editor)

5.  Envy by J.R. Ward (NAL Signet; Kara Welsh, editor)

6. The Lost by Caridad Piñeiro (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Selina McLemore, editor)

7.  Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

8.  Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh (Harlequin Nocture; Tara Gavin, editor)

BEST REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE

1.  When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor)

2.  How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)

3.  How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling (Grand Central Publishing Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)

4. Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish by Grace Burrowes (Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)

5. The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane (Ballantine Bantam Dell; Junessa Viloria, editor)

6. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (Avon Books; Tessa Woodward, editor)

7. Heiress in Love by Christina Brooke (St. Martin’s Press; Monique Patterson, editor)

8. To Seduce an Angel by Kate Moore (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

BEST ROMANCE NOVELLA

1.  “Chaos in Death” by J.D. Robb in The Unquiet (Berkley Publishing Group, Jove; Leslie Gelbman, editor)

2. “Resolution” by Linda Winstead Jones in The Heart of Winter (Harlequin Enterprises; Stacy Boyd, editor)

3.  I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden (Avon Impulse; Lyssa Keusch, editor)

4. “Compassion Can Wait” by Carly Phillips in More Than Words, Vol. 7 (Harlequin Enterprises; Marsha Zinberg, editor)

5. “One Wish: a Christmas Story” by Jodi Thomas in A Texas Christmas (Kensington Zebra; Peter Senftleben, editor)

6. “Unforgiven” by Ruth Ryan Langan in The Unquiet (Berkley Publishing Group; Cindy Hwang, editor)

7.  “Angel’s Wolf” by Nalini Singh in Angels of Darkness (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

8.  “The Storm Within” by Trish Morey in A Royal Engagement (Harlequin Presents; Joanne Grant, editor)

BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

1. New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb (Penguin Putnam; Leslie Gelbman, editor)

2. True Colors by Joyce Lamb (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

3. True Shot by Joyce Lamb (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

4. Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison (Harlequin MIRA; Adam Wilson and Miranda Indrigo, editors)

5.  Hidden Away by Maya Banks (Berkley Publishing Group Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor)

6.  Hot Zone by Catherine Mann (Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)

7. Hush by Cherry Adair (Pocket Star; Lauren McKenna, editor)

8. Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina Dodd (New American Library; Kerry Donovan, editor)

BEST YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE

1.  Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep (Kensington Teen; Alicia Condon, editor)

2. Warped by Maurissa Guibord (Delacorte Press; Michelle Poploff, editor)

3. Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Egmont USA; Regina Griffin, editor)

4. I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler (Sourcebooks Fire; Leah Hultenschmidt, editor)

5. Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Macmillan Feiwel & Freinds; Liz Szabla, editor)

6. Flawless by Lara Chapman (Bloomsbury Publishing; Caroline Abbey, editor)

7.

8.

 

2012 GOLDEN HEART FINALISTS

 

BEST CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE

1.  The Divorce Deal by Kat Cantrell

2. A Second Chance Bride by Ami Weaver

3.  Montana Cherries by Kim Law

4. Cyrano at Your Service by Tamra Baumann

5. Tell Me Something Good by Jamie Wesley

6. A Perfect Wife by Carol LaFever

7. Priscilla Kissinger, His Perfect Partner.

8.  Bachelor: Baited, Hooked & Bedded by Bernice Greenham

BEST CONTEMPORARY SINGLE TITLE ROMANCE

1.  Meant To Be by Theresa Osborn

2.  No Peeking by Talia Quinn Daniels

3.  Blackjack & Moonlight by Magdalen Braden

4.  You Had Me At Habari by Maggie McConnell

5. Thrown by Colette Auclair

6. Cat on a Hot Steel Flight Deck by Heather Nockodem

7. Earning Wings by Laurie Sanchez

8. All Beautiful Things by Nicki Salcedo

BEST HISTORICAL ROMANCE

1.  Highland Promise by Tracy Brogan

2.  A Private Affair by Jennifer McQuiston

3.  A Knight of Her Own by  Oberon Wonch

4.  A Duke’s Wicked Kiss by Kathleen Bittner Roth

5. Love in the Music Room by Sarah Mayfield

6. Notorious by Alison Atwater

7.  A Hero To Hold by Sheri Humphreys

8. The Devil May Care by Elisa Beatty

BEST INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE

1. Language of Love by Dristen Ethridge

2. Love’s Advocate by Karen Fleming

3. Powerless Consent by Jan Nash

4. Whispers in the Night by Carol Post

5.

6.

7.

8.

BEST NOVEL WITH STRONG ROMANTIC ELEMENTS

1.  Low Country Boil by Susan Boyer

2.  Beulah Land and the Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

3.  Song without Words by Lisa Laing

4. The Devil She Knows by Anna Stewart (writing as AJ Stewart)

5.  A Tangled Season by Natalie Meg Evans

6. Taking Wall Street by Disguise by Terri Bolyard

7.The Lazarus Gambit by Deborah Wright

8. Faking It by Nikki Figueiredo

BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE

1.  Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen

2.  Bathtub Jimn by Kay Hudson

3.  Trouble in Mind by Donna Frelick

4.  Unchained Memory by Donna Frelick

5.  Better Dead by Pamela Kopfler

6.  Draxis by Laurie A. Green

7. Figs From Thistles by A.J. Larrieu

8.

BEST REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE

1.   Scandal in Spades by Wendy La Capra

2.  A Whisper to the Wild, by Eileen Emerson

3.  King of Swords by Anne Kenney

4.The Last Light of Dusk by Joanne Lockyer

5. The Perfect Heiress by Kimberly Ohara

BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

1.  Rogue’s Return by Sharon Wray

2.  In Wolf’s Clothing (aka Smokescreen) by Sally Eggert

3.  Edge of Deception by Elizabeth Bemis

4.  Spy in the Harem by Diana Belchase

5.  Rescuing Rembrandt by Jean Willett

6.Chemical Reaction by Mary Oldham

7. Exposure by Robena Grant

8. Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant

BEST YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE

1.  Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

2.  The Matter of Souls by Stephanie Winkelhake

3.  The Silent Sister by Megan Macijauskas

4.  Canvas Crossers by Natalie Vawter

5.  Pandora’s Clock by Natalie Vawter

6.  The Suspicions of Cairo Jones by Mary Danielson

7.  Wired by Romily Bernard

8.  Angel Academy by Cecily White

 

Tomorrow, please come back and help us congratulate and welcome the 2012 RITA/Golden Heart Finalists.

Then on Wednesday, we’ll be holding a CONSOLATION PARTY with lots of prize drawings for those who entered and didn’t receive a call.

If you are a 2012 Golden Heart Finalist, here is the link for the yahoo group that has been set up.     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/2012GHFinalists

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE 2012 FINALISTS!!!

Next Page »

The Latest Comments

  • Elizabeth Langston: We’re sorry you missed it too. Hope to see you next year!
  • Elizabeth Langston: Thank you. Wednesday was a great day for a lot of reasons!
  • Darynda Jones: I’m so bummed I’m missing it!!! Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I love these little...
  • Bev Pettersen: Love hearing the news and seeing the pictures. You Rubies look great! Thanks for taking the time to...
  • Elizabeth Langston: Thanks! And yes, if you ever get an opportunity to hear him, please do. He mentioned teaching...

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