It’s Golden Heart / RITA Nomination Announcement Day!!!


Golden Heart and RITA nomination phone calls are going out today, and thousands of hopeful romance authors are trembling with anticipation as they wait to see if their phone will ring!!

We’re here to cheer, commiserate, celebrate, hold hands with other nervous hopefuls, give you good company to gnaw your fingernails with, or whatever it is you’re needing today. (Chocolate, maybe? Who cares if it’s the crack of dawn? Tear open that bag of M&Ms, baby!!)

As each of the Rubies can testify, the next few hours are going to change some lives. But we also know that life is good and we are worthy writers…NO MATTER WHAT happens today.

As the news rolls in this morning, we’ll be continually updating our list of finalists from all available sources. Please keep your ears to the ground and chime in in the comments as you hear anything new!! And be here to congratulate new finalists who stop by!!

Good luck to all who entered and thank you 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 you’re writing under a pseudonym.

If you’re a RITA finalist, please also include the publisher and your editor’s name, if any.

Golden Heart finalists: as soon as an email loop is formed, please share the info with us so we can help more finalists find it!! We’ve had several people in the past few years who’ve found it that way.

Tomorrow on the Ruby blog, we’ll be welcoming the brand-new Golden Heart Class of 2019!!! (And inviting as many of you as possible to be interviewed or to guest blog on the Ruby Blog this spring!)

And for those who don’t final today, join us Monday for hugs and support and inspiration for next year (plus lots of nice consolation prizes, like chocolates and a whole bunch of gift cards to Amazon and Starbucks…so you can caffeine-up and get right back to work on your next book!!).



The lists are now complete.

2019 RITA Finalists

Best First Book

Celebrity Spin Doctor by Celia Mulder
InkSpell Publishing
Audrey Bobak, editor

Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne
HarperCollins, Avon Impulse
Elle Keck, editor

The Last Wolf by Maria Vale
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy

With Love in Sight by Christina Britton
Diversion Books
Eliza Kirby and Mallory Soto, editors

Contemporary Romance: Long

Bad Bachelor by Stefanie London
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Cat Clyne, editor

Best of Luck by Kate Clayborn
Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press, Shine
Esi Sogah, editor

The Heartless Boyfriend by Erika Kelly
Sharon Pochron, editor

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Lauren Clarke, editor

Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn
Kensington Publishign Corp., Lyrical Press, Shine
Esi Sogah, editor

Melt for You by J. T. Geissinger
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Maria Gomez, editor

A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas by Maisey Yates
Harlequin, HQN
Allison Carroll, editor

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Advanced Physical Chemistry by Susannah Nix
Julia Ganis, editor

Celebrity Spin Doctor by Celia Mulder
InkSpell Publishing
Audrey Bobak, editor

Give and Take by Lee Kilraine
Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press, Caress
Esi Sogah, editor

Knocked-Up Cinderella by Julie Hammerle
Entangled Publishing, LLC, August
Stacy Abrams and Kate Brauning, editors

Lennon Reborn by Scarlett Cole
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Alexandra Sehulster, editor

Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen
Harlequin, Carina Press
Kerri Buckley, editor

Not Quite Crazy by Catherine Bybee
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Kelli Martin, editor

Part-Time Husband by Noelle Adams
Victory Editing, editor

Relay by Layla Reyne
Kristi Yanta, editor

Sergeant Sexypants by Tawna Fenske
Susan Bischoff, editor

Sleepover by Serena Bell
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Contemporary Romance: Short

A Baby to Bind His Bride by Caitlin Crews
Harlequin, Presents
Megan Haslam, editor

The Bachelor’s Baby Surprise by Teri Wilson
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

The Captain’s Vegas Vows by Caro Carson
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Claim Me, Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Harlequin, Desire

Fair Game by Amy Andrews
Harlequin Escape Publishing
Kate Cuthbert, editor

A Fool and His Manny by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press, Dreamspun Desire
Anne Reagan, editor

The Million Pound Marriage Deal by Michelle Douglas
Harlequin Mills & Boon, Romance
Bryony Green, editor

A Safe Place to Land by Dee Ernst
235 Alexander Street

Tanner’s Promise by Kaylie Newell
Tule Publishing, Montana Born
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Erotic Romance

Picture Perfect Cowboy by Tiffany Reisz
8th Circle Press

Sinful Games by Shelly Alexander

Three-Way Split by Elia Winters
Entangled Publishing, LLC, Scorched
Tera Cuskaden, editor

Total Exposure by JA Huss
RJ Locksley, editor

Historical Romance: Long

An Earl Like You by Caroline Linden
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Lyssa Keusch, editor

Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne
HarperCollins, Avon Impulse
Elle Keck, editor

A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy

Historical Romance: Short

The Devil to Pay by K. C. Bateman

A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Hell’s Belle by Annabelle Anders

Never Dare a Wicked Earl by Renee Ann Miller
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra Shout
Esi Sogah, editor

What Ales the Earl by Sally MacKenzie
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Esi Sogah, editor

With Love in Sight by Christina Britton
Diversion Books
Eliza Kirby and Mallory Soto, editors

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Belleweather by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Laurie Grassi and Deb Werksman, editors

Five Years Gone by Marie Force
HTJB, Inc.
Linda Ingram and Joyce Lamb, editors

A Girl Divided by Ellen Lindseth
Amazon, Lake Union
Christopher Werner, editor

How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin, HQN
Flo Nicoll, editor

Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas
Harlequin, HQN
Brittany Lavery, editor


Paranormal Romance

To Catch a Rogue by Bec McMaster
Olivia Ventura, editor

Dearest Ivie by J. R. Ward
Ballantine Bantam Dell, Ballantine Books
Kara Walsh, editor

Debriefing the Dead by Kerry Blaisdell
The Wild Rose Press, Black Rose
Callie Lynn Wolfe, editor

Haunted Hearts by Kimberly Dean

The Last Wolf by Maria Vale
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

Out of Body by Suzanne Brockmann

Wretched by Cara Crescent
Theodora O’Brian, editor

Romance Novella

Bad Blood by M. Malone
Angela Ramey, editor

Catching Irish by Katy Regnery
Tessa Shapcott, editor

Dragon Lord by Dana Marton
Diane Flindt and Linda Ingmanson, editors

“The Dragons of Summer” in Seasons of Sorcery by Jeffe Kennedy

“Lead Counsel” by Aurora Rey
in The Boss of Her: Office Romance Novellas
Bold Strokes Books, Inc.
Ashley Tillman, editor

Loving the Secret Billionaire by Adriana Anders
Kim Cannon and Nancy Smay, editors

Saved by the Cowboy by A. J. Pine
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Madeline Colavita, editor

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Home on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand
Kensington Publishing Corp., Bouquet
John Scognamiglio, editor

A Mother for His Family by Susanne Dietze
Harlequin, Love Inspired Historical
Emily Rodmell, editor

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
Tyndale House Publishers
Sarah Rische and Jan Stob, editors

Their Amish Reunion by Lenora Worth
Harlequin, Love Inspired
Patience Bloom, editor

Romantic Suspense

The Bastard’s Bargain by Katee Robert
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak
Harlequin, MIRA
Emily Ohanjanians, editor

Consumed by J. R. Ward
Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Cut and Run by Mary Burton
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Alison Dasho and Charlotte Herscher, editors

Fearless by Elizabeth Dyer

Reckless Honor by Tonya Burrows
Entangled Publishing, LLC, Amara
Heather Howland, editor

Relentless by Elizabeth Dyer
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Alison Dasho, editor

Young Adult Romance

Cry Baby by Ginger Scott
Billijoy Carson, editor

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre
Tor/Forge, Tor Teen
Melissa Frain, editor

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Crown Books for Young Readers
Phoebe Yeh, editor

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
David Levithan, editor


2019 Golden Heart Finalists

Contemporary Romance

The Cinderella Factor by Elly Kate

Focused on a Cowboy by Makenna Lee

He Owns My Heart by Evie Drae

Home to You by Sandra Marine

Hot Raider by Joy Adare

Never Have I Ever by Rosie Danan

Page Six by Alexis De Girolami

Rough Around the Edges by Margot Pierce

Salt + Stilettos by Janet Walden-West

Tempting Talk by Sara Whitney

The To-Do List by Denise Williams

Contemporary Romance: Short

Billionaire for Hire by Melanie McCarthy

Chasing Home by Priscilla Cook

Love on the Books by Betsy Gray

Murphy’s Debt by Becke Turner

Wounded Martyr by Courtney Maguire

You’ll Never Love in This Town Again by McKinley Reed

Historical Romance

A Dangerous Affinity by Emily Sullivan

Dangerous Pursuit by Ann Chaney

Every Time You’re Near by Shannon Gallagher

Intriguing the Irishman, by Emily Sullivan

A Season for Scandal, Mary Baumhoer

Tempting the Heiress, by Emily Sullivan 

An Unloved Earl by Eileen Emerson

Wylde at Heart by Elizabeth King

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Broken White Lines by Melissa Wiesner

Everything Comes Back to You by Melissa Wiesner

Jane Darling’s Rules of Inheritance, by Megan McGee

Learning Curve by Sharon M. Peterson

Lolita’s Muse by Claire DeWolf

Playing Nice by Evi Kline

Resurrecting Annie Wolff by Anna Collins

The Soda Fountain Sister and the Flower Lady by Sheri Taylor-Emery

Paranormal Romance

Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses by Heather Leonard

Touch 3.3 by Valen Cox

The Transformation of Alexis Doe by Jilly Wood

Warrior of Eden by Fenley Grant

Witch Way Down by Chelly Pike

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Counterfeit Love, by Crystal Caudill

The Inn at Mill Creek by Kellie Parker

The Promise of Spring by Martha Hutchens

Romantic Suspense

All Your Broken Pieces by Evie Drae

Deadly Aim by Tracy Brody

Dirty Money by Monique Headley

Free My Heart by Diane Wiggs

High Heels and Handguns by Lisa Heartman

The Hustler by Angie Hockman

Young Adult Romance

After I Bid You Adieu by Sammi Spizziri

Dragged! by Susan Lee

The Nascent Bloom by Janet Raye Stevens

Song of the Sophos by A. Y. Chao

The Walls Between by Christine Gunderson

60 responses to “It’s Golden Heart / RITA Nomination Announcement Day!!!”

  1. Elizabeth Langston says:

    Good luck, everyone!

  2. Good luck all! Can’t wait to see all those names start popping up!

  3. Janet says:

    Congratulations to everyone that put their work, and themselves, out there.
    Good luck!

  4. Alyssa says:

    Good Luck everyone! 🙂

  5. I’m so excited for everyone who entered and I can’t wait to read the names of the finalists. Good luck!

  6. Liz Talley says:

    Popping in to say good luck to those who entered. I’ll never forget the day I got that GH call and these fine, talented, generous women here at the RSS came into my life. Was one of the biggest blessings I ever received. Not the nomination, but the lovely friendships. Such a bittersweet day!

    Love to my Rubies and good luck, everyone!

  7. Elisa Beatty says:

    Good luck, everyone!!

    This is definitely a bittersweet day!!

    We can’t wait to learn the names of the (final??? can it really be final????) Golden Heart class!! It’s truly a wonderful thing to become a GH sister!!

  8. Elisa Beatty says:

    Calls are going out now!!!

  9. Kate Parker says:

    Good luck everyone!

    And for you 2019 Golden Heart finalists, you are joining an illustrious group that no one again will be able to enter. That makes you super special – and gives you a sisterhood that will stay with you for your entire career. I hope you are as blessed as the Ruby Sisters are.

  10. Elisa Beatty says:

    Congrats to Eileen Emerson, Golden Heart Finalist in Historical Romance with An Unloved Earl!!!!!

  11. Mary Dieterich says:

    Good luck to all who entered!

  12. Good luck, everyone! May your phone soon be ringing off the hook! And HUGE congrats to the Class of 2019!!!


    You guys…I owe poor Avery Flynn an apology.
    I took the morning off, and was carting cats and a sleepy-grumpy kid to the vet (don’t worry, the kid wasn’t seeing the vet, just helping herd ungrateful felines), missed the first call completely, then on the second try Avery got to listen to one side of the “I Can’t Wait Until We Get Home To Eat/Mooom, I’m Staaarving/Can We Go Through Hardees Drive Through/Mooom, Are You Listening?” argument as she tried to tell me I’d Finaled.

    My story didn’t Final last year, but I took chapter contest feedback and brainstormed with my fabulous CPs,then did a round of revisions. I had no intention of entering this year, but…last Golden Heart contest ever.
    I sent my entry at the last minute, told myself it was the longest of longshots, and pretended not to circle the 21st on my calendar.

    I am not a cryer. But I teared up a little when I heard “I’m calling on behalf of RWA.”

  14. My name is Christine Gunderson and after four long years of not getting the call, and crying, just a little, at the end of day, I finally finaled in the GOLDEN HEART in YA with The Walls Between.

    Thank you Kimberley McCarron, for critiquing every word I’ve ever written and to Sharon Wray for cheering me up all those years when the call never came.

    So happy. So grateful. Crying again 🙂

  15. Jacie floyd says:

    Congratulations to all the entrants and the finalists. I can’t believe the last announcements are going out for the Golden Heart. Getting that call was such a monumental event for so many aspiring authors. I have to admit, I’ve been a little teary about it this morning. Make the most of your moment, Class of 2019.

    • Kim says:

      Same here, Jacie! Was a privilege to get to know you through the Golden Heart. Many many many wonderful relationships made through the contest. So sad to see it go…

      • Jacie Floyd says:

        I know, Kim! When I think back to all my groups and the friends and contacts I made though the GH, I can’t imagine how anything will ever replace it. But life goes on and change is inevitable. So happy to have gotten to know you and so many others through the process.

  16. Mary says:

    Hi Rubies,
    I’ve spent the past few years watching the names roll out here on the morning of the RITA/GH finalist announcements…

    Still can’t believe my name is on this year’s list of GH finalists for the historical category. So excited!!!

    Congratulations to all my fellow GH finalists. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you in the 2019 class.

  17. Rita Henuber says:

    VERY exciting day. Congratulations to the finalists.
    Enjoy your day.

  18. Jacie Floyd says:

    Love seeing the completed lists! So many new names alongside familiar ones. Special congratulations to my Lucky 13 sister, Joanna Shupe, for her Rita nom in the Historical category. And to Sandra Marine for her GH Contemporary nomination. I ‘met’ Sandra through the TGN mentoring program this fall and couldn’t be more thrilled for her.

  19. Tracy Brody says:

    Woo-hoo. Congrats everyone who got the call. I’m Tracy Brody and I’m a FINALIST in ROMANTIC SUSPENSE with DEADLY AIM.

    Again. Last time. I swear. They aren’t giving me a choice and I’m moving on to publishing come hell or high water. Sorry to those impacted by flooding.

  20. Congratulations, ladies. I can’t wait to meet everyone.

  21. Darynda Jones says:

    CONGRATS, EVERYONE!!!!! Woot woot!

  22. Alice says:

    Hello and congratulations to my fellow GH Finalists! I’m A.Y. Chao and FINALIST in YA for SONG OF THE SOPHOS. Damon Suede got an earful of happy screeching from me this time; probablyh a nice change from his cold reception two years ago when I was lucky enough to be a finalist—I had thought it was a phishing call! I’m so excited to be in such wonderful company, and can’t wait to meet everyone in NYC!

  23. Elly Kate says:


    I still don’t think I really believe it… I’ve romance for so long, and to know that the book of my heart was liked by at least a few people is such a gift. I’m looking forward to seeing where the Golden Heart journey takes me!

  24. Jilly Wood says:

    Hi and many congratulations to all my fellow GH finalists! I’m Jilly Wood and I’m a FINALIST in PARANORMAL for THE TRANSFORMATION OF ALEXIS DOE.

    I sat for a couple of hours today, willing my phone to ring. I had decided it wasn’t going to happen for me when I got an email from Damon Suede saying he’d been trying to call but couldn’t get through. I called him back sooo fast!

    I’m super-excited to be part of the final GH class and can’t wait to meet everyone in NY!

  25. Anna Collins says:


    Huge congrats to all. I’m brand new here and super stoked to be in such good company. Already very excited to meet everyone in NYC this July.

    I totally missed the first call btw, driving kids to school. So sorry about that! But very happy I picked up the second time even though it was an out of state call. 😉

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Hurray, Anna! Welcome, and huge congratulations!!!

      It’s a great ride!

      I hope you’ll join us for Welcome Day tomorrow and tell us more about yourself!

  26. Alexis De Girolami says:

    Hello! Congrats to all the amazing finalists! I’m Alexis De Girolami and I’m a FINALIST in CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE with PAGE SIX.
    I’m outrageously proud (and overwhelmed) to be a member of the last GH class!

    Hilarious story: I actually got my call from Hanna Rhys Barnes when I was in the shower, so I literally jumped out soaking wet and almost threw my phone across the room. Then, when she shared the good news, I burst into tears. So basically I got the news naked, wet, and crying 😂😂😂. Very on brand for me lol.

  27. Sammi says:

    Congrats to all the finalists! I’m Sammi, a FINALIST in YA with AFTER I BID YOU ADIEU.

    I’ve been low-key obsessing over this date for months, yet totally forgot today was the day until I got the call! As I was trying to rush through a shower before my daughter got fussy, I was so annoyed that a *telemarketer* would interrupt my audiobook! Little did I know (on the second call, nonetheless) that it was such great news!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yay, Sammy!! Sounds like showers were a bit part of the magic this morning, for you and Alexis both!

      Congratulations!! It’s a great thing!

    • Tracy Brody says:

      It’s the day you pick up calls from unknown numbers. Poor Fenley called me a few weeks ago and I totally thought it was a spam call and threw her off with my greeting. She was calling with good news about the Great Expectations contest and I wasn’t expecting it. At least I didn’t answer with “FBI Fraud Prevention. This is Agent Masters.”


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