Posts tagged with: Romance Writers of America

Welcome New Golden Heart Finalists, Class of 2016!!!


glassFinalist call day has so much wild, crackling energy, you’re probably still levitating three or four feet above the ground (possibly with a glass of bubbly in your hand). Making that list, for either Golden Heart or RITA, is a huge accomplishment—with so many excellent writers out there, you truly have to pass through the eye of a needle to be nominated. (See the full slate of 2016 nominees here).

We have a tradition here at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood of asking new finalists to share their stories about getting that life-changing, thrilling call. So SPILL THE DETAILS in the comments below, and we’ll set off a whole new round of squealing and cheering for you.

Golden Heart finalists: we hope you’ve got your seat-belts fastened, because you’re being launched onto a serious thrill ride. And you’ll need good friends to make it through the experience in one piece. So, if you haven’t done so yet, your first order of business is to join the email/Facebook loops for the class of 2016 so you can meet all your new sisters.(If someone has those links, please share in the comments.) Your 2016 Sisters will be an unbelievable support in every way, and if past experience holds true (as it certainly does for the Rubies), they’ll become some of your dearest friends in the world.

Today, the 2009 Golden Heart finalists, the Ruby-Slippered Sisters, will be stop in with congratulations, advice, and tales from their own Golden Heart adventures. And we invite all our friends and readers to add cheers and whoops of their own.

We’ll also be issuing an invitation (via a member of your email or Facebook loop) for as many of you as we can possibly fit into the schedule to guest blog with the Rubies or be interviewed on the blog sometime between now and Nationals. We love getting to know the new Golden Heart cohort each year and helping you make yourself better known to the Romance writing world. Be on the lookout for the details!!

Tomorrow, for everyone who didn’t get that coveted call, we’ll be back with our annual Consolation Day party, with heaps of support (you can bawl your eyes out if you need to, and we’ll be here with the hugs and the virtual tissues and calorie-free brownies), plus lots of prize giveaways to help pick you right back up: chocolate, gift cards, and helpful, supportive writing critiques.

Of course, tomorrow, every single one of us—whether finalist, non-finalist, whether newbie or multi-published author—has the very same task to do: sit down at that keyboard and KEEP WRITING!

But for now: It’s your day, Finalists!! Congratulations!!!! We can’t wait to hear from you!!

It’s RITA and Golden Heart Announcement Day!! And We’re Throwing a Cyber-Party!!


red balloonsWell, it’s the big day again!! We’re glad you’re here with us to cheer, commiserate, celebrate, hold hands with other nervous hopefuls, gnaw your fingernails in good company, or whatever it is you’re needing today. (Virtual wine…yeah, we got plenty!! Who cares if it’s the crack of dawn–pour yourself a cyber-glass!)

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 NO MATTER WHAT happens today.

IT’S TIME TO START THE LIVE BLOGGING NOW!! 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 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 you’re writing under a pseudonym.

If you’re a RITA finalist, please also include the publisher and your editor’s name, if any. (Let us know if you’re Indie!)

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.

On Monday on the Ruby blog, we’ll be welcoming the brand-new Golden Heart Class of 2016!!! (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 Tuesday for hugs and support and inspiration for next year (plus lots of great prizes, like chocolates and gift cards and helpful, supportive writing critiques).



Now, let’s get this party started!

2016 Golden Heart Finalists:

Contemporary Romance

“An Education” by Brooke Salisbury

“Façade” by Susan Bickford

“Off the Rails” by Monique Headley

“Shelter Me” by Gabrielle Luthy

“Smiling Underwater” by Sydney Carroll

“The Sniper’s Second Shot” by Tracy Brody

“Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot” by Melonie Johnson

“Soul Song” by Rayn Ellis

“Surrender to the Movie Star” by Melanie McCarthy

“Volunteering Her Heart” by Erin O’Brien

“Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher” by Seana Kelly


Historical Romance

“An Unbridled Gentleman” by Eileen Emerson

“Besotted with the Viscount” by Susanna Malcolm

“A Curious Correspondence” by Amelia Ridley

“The Earl and the Pussycat” by Elizabeth King

“The Impetuous Miss Milton” by Renee Ann Miller

“My Lord Mercenary” by Tracey Amey

“Saving Columbine Ranch” by Karen Miller

“Taming the Earl” by Elizabeth King

“Undone” by Elizabeth Rue

“Wild Women and the Blues” by Denny S. Bryce


Inspirational Romance

“For the Love of Termites” by Kimberly MacCarron

“One More Breath” by Pamela Kopfler

“Scottish Warrior” by Laura Stolmeier


Paranormal Romance

“Better Dead” by Pamela Kopfler

“Constant Craving” by Kari Cole

“Don’t Call Me Cupcake” by Tara Sheets

“Kissed at Midnight” by Ainsley Wynter

“The Mer Chronicles: A Duty Too Far” by Kate Ramirez

“Taxing Courtship” by Janelle Lohr

“WØLFF: Rise of the Valdyr” by Alison Pritchard writing as Alyson McLayne


Romantic Suspense

“Escape from the Harem” by Diana Belchase

“Four Tragedies” by Layla Reyne

“In the Wrong Sights” by Tracy Brody

“Love in Hiding” by Diane Holiday

“Ruby Red” by Melanie Novak

“The Truth Is in the Tango” by Arianna James


Short Contemporary Romance

“Back in the Saddle” by Susan Breeden

“Breaking Her Rules” by Sarah Hall

“In the Fast Lane” by Evie Anderson

“Rescuing Riley” by Carrie Nichols



Young Adult Romance

“The Accidental Boyfriend” by Lori Freeland

“The Beekeeper” by Meg Kassel

“Senior Tag: The Underwear Games” by Sheri Adkins

“The Expedition” by Mary Sullivan

“Field Guide to a Girl” by Nicole Hohmann

“Between Never & Always” by TL Sumner

“The Other Cheek” by McCall Hoyle



Best First Book

Altered by Marnee Blake
Entangled Publishing, Embrace
Candace Havens, editor

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn
Entangled Publishing, Teen
Liz Pelletier, editor

Night Hush by Leslie Jones
HarperCollins, Witness Impulse
Nicole Fischer, editor

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
Raela Schoenherr, editor

Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon
Harlequin, Carina Press
Kerri Buckley, editor

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole
St. Martin’s Press
Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Viking Warrior Rising by Åsa Maria Bradley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Cat Clyne, editor

No Better Man by Sara Richardson
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Megha Parekh, editor


Contemporary Romance: Long

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates
Harlequin, HQN
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Alicia Condon, editor

Love Me Sweet by Tracy Brogan
Amazon, Montlake
Kelli Martin, editor

Love Somebody Like You by Susan Fox
Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra
Martin Biro, editor

Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas
Harlequin, HQN
Susan Swinwood, editor

Once Kissed by Cecy Robson
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin, HQN
Gail Chasan, editor

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst
Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis
Grand Central Publishing
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
Harlequin, MIRA
Paula Eykelhof, editor


Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

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

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 7.59.54 AMFalling for Mister Wrong by Lizzie Shane
Kristan Andrews, editor

Dances Under the Harvest Moon by Joanne Rock
Harlequin, Superromance
Adrienne Macintosh, editor

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Edie Danford, editor

Love After All by Jaci Burton
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Kate Seaver, editor

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

Not a Fairy Tale by Romy Sommer
HarperCollins, HarperImpulse
Charlotte Ledger, editor

Once Pure by Cecy Robson
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley
Penguin Random House, NAL
Laura Fazio, editor

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 7.59.54 AMRomancing Miss Right by Lizzie Shane
Kristan Andrews, editor


Contemporary Romance: Short

A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael
Tule Publishing
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Carter Bravo’s Christmas Bride by Christine Rimmer
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke
Entangled Publishing, Lovestruck
Liz Pelletier, editor

Heated Moments by Phyllis Bourne
Harlequin, Kimani Romance
Glenda Howard, editor

His Lost-and-Found Bride by Scarlet Wilson
Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance
Carly Byrne, editor

The Nanny Plan by Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin, Desire
Stacy Boyd, editor

One Night with Her Bachelor by Kat Latham
Tule Publishing, Montana Born Books
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

The Prince She Never Forgot by Scarlet Wilson
Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance
Carly Byrne, editor

Tempting the Knight by Heidi Rice
Tule Publishing
Kelly Hunter, editor

Three Nights Before Christmas by Kat Latham
Tule Publishing
Sinclair Sawhney, editor


Erotic Romance

Break Me Down by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley Intermix
Kate Seaver, editor

For Real: A Spires Story by Alexis Hall
Riptide Publishing
Sarah Lyons, editor

Say My Name by J. Kenner
Ballantine Bantam Dell, Bantam Books
Shauna Summers, editor

Sugar by Seressia Glass
Penguin Random House
Cindy Hwang, editor

Three Little Mistakes by Nikki Sloane
Lori Whitwam, editor


Historical Romance: Long

Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake
St. Martin’s Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries
Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist
Simon & Schuster, Howard Books
Beth Adams, editor

Tremaine’s True Love by Grace Burrowes
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor


Historical Romance: Short

Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath
HarperCollins, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long
HarperCollins, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn
HarperCollins, Avon Books
Lyssa Keusch, editor

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor


Inspirational Romance

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
Charlene Patterson and Raela Schoenherr, editors

Mistletoe Justice by Carol J. Post
Harlequin, Love Inspired Suspense
Rachel Burkot, editor

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes
HarperCollins, Zondervan
Becky Phillpot, editor

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
Raela Schoenherr, editor

The Rescued by Marta Perry
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Ellen Edwards, editor


Paranormal Romance

Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison
Penguin Random House, Berkley Sensation
Cindy Hwang, editor

Possessed by a Wolf by Sharon Ashwood
Harlequin, Nocturne
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

The Shattered Court by M. J. Scott
Penguin Random House, NAL ROC
Jessica Wade, editor

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

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Leslie Gelbman, editor

Viking Warrior Rising by Åsa Maria Bradley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Cat Clyne, editor

Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles
Erynn Newman and Jessa Slade, editors


Romance Novella

All’s Fair in Love and Scandal by Caroline Linden
HarperCollins, Avon Impulse
Lyssa Keusch, editor

Blue Streak: A Blue Series Novella by Jules Barnard
Shelley Bates, editor

“Desert Heat” by Merline Lovelace
in Course of Action: Crossfire
Harlequin, Romantic Suspense
Patience Bloom, editor

“Her Secret Prince” by Madeline Ash
in Royal Holiday
Tule Publishing Group
Laurie Johnson, editor

“Let It Shine” by Alyssa Cole
in The Brightest Day, a Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology
Arynn Nichols, editor

Nice Girls Don’t Ride by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley Intermix
Kate Seaver, editor

One Little Kiss by Robin Covington
Nicole Bailey, editor

The Resurrection of Sam Sloan by Erin Quinn

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
Raela Schoenherr, editor


Romantic Suspense

In the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Charlotte Herscher and JoVon Sotak, editors

Barefoot with a Bodyguard by Roxanne St. Claire
Kristi Yanta, editor

Barefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St. Claire
Kristi Yanta, editor

Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon
HarperCollins, Avon Books
May Chen, editor

Fatal Frenzy by Marie Force
Harlequin, Carina Press
Alissa Davis, editor

Flash Fire by Dana Marton

She Can Kill by Melinda Leigh
Amazon, Montlake Romance
Charlotte Herscher and Anh Schluep, editors

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole
St. Martin’s Press
Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Target Engaged by M. L. Buchman
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Deb Werksman, editor


Young Adult Romance

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Macmillan, Feiwel & Friends
Anna Roberto, editor

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg
Amazon, 47North
Jason Kirk, editor

Rikki by Abigail Strom

Unspoken by C. C. Hunter
St. Martin’s Press, Griffin
Rose Hilliard, editor


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.


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

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.





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)


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)


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)



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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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)







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


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


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


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






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


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



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


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


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.


Finaling in the Golden Heart? Now That’s REALLY Something!

At last year’s RWA conference in New York, I sat in on a panel of editors from St. Martin’s Press.  Editor Jennifer Enderlin said something that hit home with me and my critique partner who I attended the panel with.  (Jennifer Enderlin is Janet Evanovich’s former editor on her Stephanie Plum books and editor for the Ruby Sisters’ own Darynda Jones).  To paraphrase, she said that for a book to grab her attention, it has to be really something – as in really funny, or really scary, or really sexy, or really creative, or really inspiring, or really thought-provoking.  This sounds like such a simple concept, but it’s a critical one.

I have no doubt that my Golden Heart win happened because my manuscript for Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure was really funny.  I bet everyone else who finaled in the Golden Heart can fill in this blank immediately:  “My book is really __________.”

Books that don’t push the envelope, that aren’t over-the-top, or “out there”, or that don’t take things to the extreme, are simply not as likely to get noticed.  Lukewarm lacks luster.  Wimpy won’t work.  Normal not needed.

Okay, that’s enough goofy alliteration, but you get my point, right?

Does this mean all of our stories have to be the literary equivalent of Lady Gaga?  No.  But it does mean that writers who aspire to catch the attention of an editor or agent need to figure out what their strength is and push it to the limit.

Take chances!  Don’t hold back!  Let yourself go!

If nothing else, you’ll find yourself having a really good time.

Are your books really something?  If so, what are they really?

Ruby Sister Diane Kelly is the author of the funny Death & Taxes romantic mystery series.  You can find Diane at,,, or every other Monday at



Staying Sane the Week before Golden Heart / RITA Calls

If you entered RWA’s Golden Heart® or RITA® Contest, the mere mention of March 26 probably unleashes a swarm of flying monkeys in your stomach.  In the days leading up to finalist announcements, you could have trouble writing or sleeping or remembering your first-born’s name.  You might email your critique partner every few hours, alternately obsessing over your chances and desperately trying to convince yourself it’s just a stinking contest for-crying-out-loud—who really cares?

Um, . . . you do.

After all, you’ve poured your soul into your story and are fully, irrevocably invested in your writing career.  And that’s a really good thing.

On the other hand, that kind of dedication can make you a little crazy.

Now, maybe you are one of the lucky few who’s completely unfazed by the madness.  You are cool and calm, and can’t even recall the day finalists will be named.  Chances are you didn’t sweat on the first day of high school and remembered your locker combination every time and looked cute in the P.E. uniform.  This post is not for you.

For everyone else, here are five tips to keep you from losing your mind in the days leading up to finalist announcements.

1.      On March 26, try to stick to your routine.

Some people will disagree with this.  They’ll encourage you to take off work, book a day at the spa, or make reservations for a fancy dinner.  My advice is to wait and do these things on a day when you can actually enjoy them.  If you don’t final, you’ll be too glum to enjoy.  If you do final, you’ll want to be in front of the computer where you can read congratulatory emails from your writing friends and gaze at your name (YOUR name!) on the RWA website.

2.      Realize we’re all in this together.

The Golden Heart and RITA contests are competitive.  They’re supposed to be.  So, it’s tempting (and natural) to pit yourself against other writers.  You might think, oh, this person deserves to final and that one doesn’t.  You might guess how many finalist spots your category will have and calculate the odds that the judges recognized the brilliance of your work.  Knock yourself out.  Unfortunately, none of this will make a whit of difference.

What might make you feel better is to confide your hopes, fears, and doubts in a close writing friend.  Better yet, talk someone else down from the ledge and then take the advice you gave them.  Writing is hard, but friends (like the Rubies!) make it easier.  And a whole lot more fun.

3.      Understand this is not the end game.

You might feel like it is for the next couple of weeks, but it really isn’t.  Honest.  Lots of New York Times bestselling authors never finaled in the Golden Heart or RITAs.  Lots of Golden Heart finalists never sold a book.  Some stories get mediocre scores one year and final the next or vice versa.  All you can do—and this is true whether you final or not—is keep writing.  Keep getting better.

4.      Celebrate the fact that you entered.

You finished a manuscript (or published a book!) and had the courage to enter it.    Whatever happens, you should be proud.  Dude.  You totally rock!!!

5.      Embrace the crazy.

Let’s be honest, shall we?  On the morning of Monday, March 26, this advice is going straight out the window.  You will be staring at the phone, making sure it’s not on vibrate, and willing it to ring.  You will be googling time zone maps and refreshing the RWA and Ruby websites every thirty seconds.  You will be dreaming of your Awards Ceremony dress . . .

Yeah, that’s a little crazy.  Sometimes you just have to go with it.  And that’s what the Rubies are doing all week.  Please, won’t you obsess with us?

  • If you entered the GH or Rita, how are you holding up at T minus 7 days?
  • And, for our contest veterans, what’s your best advice for coping with the stress and uncertainty of call day?

Anticipation — The 2011 RITA/Golden Heart Countdown

Carly Simon’s refrain about ANTICIPATION might have been a great theme song for Romance Writers of America’s  RITA and Golden Heart contests.  Unfortunately, Heinz Ketchup snapped it up to use as their jingle for their late 1970’s ad campaign.

Okay, so I’m dating myself. (No, not THAT kind of dating.) For anyone too young to remember the advertisement or the song, here’s a link to one of the Heinz commercials.    (Press the CTRL key while clicking the link to open in a separate window.) Heinz Ketchup Commercial

It seems kind of amateurish by today’s standards, doesn’t it?  At any rate, the song is probably better suited to a slow-flowing condiment, because the lyrics don’t begin to hint at how much stress is involved in waiting for RWA to announce the finalists.  The adrenaline pumps through your veins, your palms sweat, your heart races, and the butterflies in your stomach do back-flips.  The anticipation can be exhilarating, but at the same time it can be exhausting.

The Latest Comments

  • Darynda Jones: I love this! I learned this fairly early as well. I also learned that sometimes I just have too many...
  • Heather McCollum: Thanks, Jenn! I forgot that you are also a free lance editor! Do you do both developmental and line...
  • Jennifer Bray-Weber: Very sound advice, Heather. I have done the same technique and often recommended it to some of...
  • Darynda Jones: Bwahahaha! I was so wondering where that was going! Did NOT see that coming. Great job, Evelyn!
  • April Mitchell: Congratulations Bonnie!