Saturday, March 26, 2011

And the Finalists Are...

They're a bundle of nerves, confident in their skills but hardly daring to hope...waiting for the phone to ring with the news. Will this be the year? Will their hard work, dedication, sweat and tears be rewarded by their peers? Will they have to join the gym, go on a diet and scour the internet for that perfect dress? That's right, friends. It's that time of year again. Time to announce the finalists for the coveted 2011 Romance Writers of America RITA®, the award that honors the year's outstanding published novels and novellas in 13 categories. The calls went out yesterday and by now, the finalists have most likely exhausted their supply of bubbly and have moved on to those critical stages previously mentioned; namely diet, exercise and that all-important dress. For, you see, while the RITA® awards may not have a red carpet or TV coverage, they are no less glamorous and when you gather 1000+ women for a formal event, believe me, we all want to look our best! Following is a list of this year's RITA® finalists. The award winners will be announced Friday, July 1st at the RWA National Conference in New York City. Our congratulations and sincere best wishes to all!

Note: Many of the nominated books have been reviewed here at The Romance Dish. Click on the highlighted titles to read our reviews.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
The Clearing by Heather Davis
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

A Convenient Wife by Anna Schmidt
Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy
Finding Her Way Home by Linda Goodnight
Maid to Match by Deanne Gist
Shades of Morning by Marlo M. Schalesky
The Wedding Garden by Linda Goodnight
Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang
Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander
In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon

The Dead Travel Fast
by Deanna Raybourn
Blood Vines
by Erica Spindler
by Ann Aguirre
The Search
by Nora Roberts
by Allyson James
On Folly Beach
by Karen White
Wanna Get Lucky?
by Deborah Coonts
Welcome to Harmony
by Jodi Thomas

"Blame It on the Blizzard" by Jennifer Greene in Baby, It's Cold Outside
"Mountain Rose" by Cheryl St. John in To Be a Mother
"Love Me to Death" by Maggie Shayne in Heart of Darkness
"The Wrong Brother" by Maureen Child in Under the Millionaire's Mistletoe
"A Dundee Christmas" by Brenda Novak in That Christmas Feeling
"Friendly Fire" by Jill Shalvis in Born on the 4th of July
"Mistletoe Magic" by Sandra Hyatt in Under the Millionaire's Mistletoe
"Shifting Sea" by Virginia Kantra in Burning Up

Christmas Magic on the Mountain by Melissa McClone
Christmas With Her Boss by Marion Lennox
Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan
Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter
An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff
Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt
Breaking the Sheikh's Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology by Abby Green
Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton

A Cop in Her Stocking by Ann Voss Peterson
Perfect Partners? by C.J. Carmichael
Renegade Angel by Kendra Leigh Castle
The Baby's Guardian by Delores Fossen
Case File: Canyon Creek, Wyoming by Paula Graves
Meltdown by Gail Barrett
The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna
To Catch a Killer by Kimberly Van Meter

Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee
Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase
One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick
His at Night by Sherry Thomas
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
Open Country by Kaki Warner
A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott
His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell
When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer
Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice

A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland
Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver
Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra
Water Bound by Christine Feehan
Rebel by Zoe Archer
Unchained: the Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood

Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire
The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks
Silent Scream by Karen Rose
Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden
Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb
Kill Me Again by Maggie Shayne
Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan
Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon

Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley
When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer
A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan
Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson
One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Still the One by Robin Wells

We're also sending out Congrats to all the finalists for the Golden Heart, RWA's award for excellence in unpublished manuscripts, especially to Romance Bandit buddies Anna Sugden and Nancy Northcott!

How many of the books listed above have you read? Do you have any favorites to win the
RITA®? Any books that didn't make this year's finals that you think should be there? Will you be in NYC this summer for the awards ceremony? Let's dish!



  1. Congrats to all finalists!

    I'm a Regency historical junkie when it comes to romance books.

    I finished Tess Dare's Twice Tempted by a Rogue yesterday. I read her 'Stud Club' trilogy in 3 days. It was that good. At least to me. Looking forward to book 3 of Kieran Kramer's 'Impossible Bachelors' series and totally jealous of those who have already read Eleven Scandals by Sarah MacLean. I thoroughly enjoyed Nine Rules. All 'Rarest Blooms' series by Madeline Hunter is in my TBR pile, so is Eloisa James' 'Fairytale' series. I think I got Mistress by Mistake by Nicola Cornick as a free Kindle book. I read it and had to download the other 2 books.(One Wicked Sin)

    I've got a thing for book series if you haven't noticed yet. And it's taken a toll on my pocketbook. All worth it though.

    One day, I will finally step into the world of contemporaries. One day.

  2. It sure was a good year for readers! I am a historical and regency romance addict, so I was thrilled when many of my favorites for the year were on the list, and sad that some of my most favorite go to authors were not. Of the books that I have read:
    HISTORICAL ROMANCE - Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee, Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase,
    One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick,
    His at Night by Sherry Thomas,
    A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James, A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
    To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott, When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer, Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean, Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare,
    The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice
    And in the first book catagory: When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer, and A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

    I sure do not envy the judges in having to name a finalist!

  3. My friend Gail Barrett made the finals with her wonderful book Meltdown!! I couldn't be happier for her! She worked very hard on that book and I am so happy it has paid off for her. If you haven't read it do, and while you are at it check out her backlist. She is a real up and comer. Congratulations Gail!!!!!

  4. Shame on me I have not read any of the books listed. Was I hiding under a rock? I now have added quite a few to my list. Thank you for that.

  5. I've read 17 of the books; a decent number but not as many as in past years.

    I was thrilled to see Kaki Warner recognized for the first two books in her Blood Rose trilogy, Pieces of Sky (First Book) and Open Country (Historical Romance). I fell in love with this series, especially with Hank and Molly in Open Country.

  6. Kati, I'd sure hate to be judging that Regency category. There are some outstanding books in the finals.

    I was so nervous for Tessa Dare. Her name hadn't been announced yet when I left for work yesterday and I just couldn't believe that none of her Stud Club books had made it! I was so thrilled for her when I got home last night and saw that Twice Tempted was on the list. She's such a gifted writer.

  7. Dtchycat, I've read all but the Willig in the Regency category. I don't think I could choose a favorite among them. It's a collection of incredibly gifted authors and hard-to-put-down books!

  8. Beth, thanks for letting us know about your friend, Gail Barrett and her book, Meltdown. I love Romantic Suspense and this looks like a good one. I'll definitely be checking it out!

  9. Marybelle, you have some fabulous reading ahead of you! We've reviewed several of the nominated books here at the Dish. You can search on the title in the right column of the blog to check them out.

  10. I was so happy to see Roxanne St. Claire's Edge of Sight on the Romantic Suspense list. It's the first book in her new Guardian Angelinos series which (I think) is the best work she's ever done. Really fabulous series!

  11. Another book I'm thrilled to see on this year's list is Virginia Kantra's . If you aren't reading her fabulous Children of the Sea series, now's the perfect time to start! The books, in order, are:

    Sea Witch
    Sea Fever
    Sea Lord
    Immortal Sea

    And coming in June: Forgotten Sea.

  12. Gannon and I fell head over heels for Joanna Bourne's exquisite writing in her debut, The Spymaster's Lady and have continued to gush like fangirls with each subsequent book she releases.

  13. I have so many favorites among the books on this year's list. Kieran Kramer and Sarah MacLean both rocked their debuts, Loretta Chase's Last Night's Scandal was well worth the wait for those of us who have been reading this series since the beginning and A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James was simply enchanting.

  14. Good morning, all! Huge congrats to all the finalists! Just being nominated is an honor.

    So, let's see...I've read:

    WHEN HARRY MET MOLLY by Kieran Kramer
    NINE RULES TO BREAK... by Sarah MacLean
    HAPPY EVER AFTER by Nora Roberts
    LEAD ME ON by Victoria Dahl

    In my TBR pile:

    HIS AT NIGHT by Sherry Thomas
    A KISS AT MIDNIGHT by Eloisa James
    A LITTLE BIT WILD by Victoia Dahl
    DEADLY FEAR by Cynthia Eden
    NOTHING BUT TROUBLE by Rachel Gibson
    STILL THE ONE by Robin Wells

    I'm wondering where Anne Mallory's SEVEN SECRETS OF SEDUCTION is. It was my favorite book of last year along with Jill Shalvis's SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE (which I'll be rooting for!).

    One of the nominated books was a DNF for me, so I'm scratching my head. But, one person's DNF is another person's treasure, I guess. *g*

    I wish I could be in NYC to root on Sarah MacLean and Jill Shalvis! PJ will have to take lots of pictures! :)

  15. Forgot to add that of the five I've read, I loved them all and can definitely see why all are nominated!

  16. Kati R said: I'm a Regency historical junkie when it comes to romance books.

    Kati, I used to be the same way. I would always say, Why read contemporary when I live in the contemporary? And then one day I read one of Jacquie D'Alessandro's contemps and BOOM! Now, I LOVE straight contemps!

  17. Dtchycat, I don't envy those judges either! Tough, tough decisions. *g*

  18. Congrats to your friend Gail, Beth! I'll have to check her book out!

  19. marybelle, you have a TON of good reading ahead of you!

  20. PJ, as I went through the list, I thought of you every time I read one of your favorite authors' names. *g*

  21. Congrats to all the finalists!

    I am definitely rooting for Eloisa to win for A Kiss at Midnight, and Sarah MacLean and Tessa Dare for Nine Rules and Twice Tempted, respectively. Unfortunately/fortunately, Tessa and Sarah are in the same category, so I don't really have a favorite, so I can root for both! :)

    And Andrea, you KNOW I'm rooting for NR to win for HEA since you know how much I loved the book, lol.

    I am definitely going to the RWA literacy signing this year. I've heard tell of how insane and overwhelming it is, and can't wait to witness it for myself!

  22. I knew you'd root for NR, Lisa!! I loved that book, too. And if Jill doesn't win, I hope Nora does. I love that series!!!

    You are going to have SO much fun at the signing, Lisa! I'll give you a couple of tips--go early (because they line up way early) and go to Nora first. Her line is always crazy long. She'll probably have HEA there to sign, you lucky duck!!

  23. I'm so excited for all of the nominees! I've only read 9 of the books on the list----how did that happen??---and there are loads in my TBR pile. Must catch up!

    I wish I was going to be in NYC for the big night, but I know PJ will capture the excitement on film.

  24. I read the books by Sarah MacLean and Jill Shalvis and they were wonderful, so I'll definitely be rooting for them. :)

  25. Kati R, I loved Nine Rules! Sarah is a fantastic writer! And Tessa is amazing! Like you, I have a thing for series. :-)

    I hope you enjoy, Eloisa's fairy tales. They are so special!

  26. Dtchycat, I'm so glad I don't have to judge. It would be much too hard to choose!

  27. My friend Gail Barrett made the finals with her wonderful book Meltdown!!

    Beth, that's so exciting! I'll have to check it out.

  28. marybelle, there are so many books to read, aren't there?!

  29. PJ, I'm so thrilled for Virginia! I'm addicted to her Children of the Sea series. :-)

  30. I've read only 30 of the nominated books, but I've read all of the nominated Historicals and Regency Historicals. There are so many good books in those categories (many on my top books of 2010 list) that it's impossible to pick a favorite. I am particularly excited about EJ and Tessa finaling. I also loved seeing Jodi Thomas's Welcome to Harmony on the list.

    And I cheered loudly when I learned that Leigh Lavelle was a Golden Heart finalist.

  31. Andrea: I've got a few contemporaries sitting on my shelf thanks to blog and author giveaways. Julie James' A Lot Like Love is sitting at the top of the contemp pile. Ugh, there are too many books in my TBR pile!

    Gannon: I've got Sarah MacLean's Eleven Scandals, Kieran Kramer's Cloudy with a Chance.. and Madeline Hunter's Dangerous in Diamonds on pre-order. I think my bookshelf hates me. Sometimes if I listen closely, it's screaming "Too many books! Read faster!" I'm a fan of Eloisa James so I'm very much looking forward to the 'Fairytale' series.

  32. I've read 7 of the nominees. I hope His at Night by Sherry Thomas wins or the Forgotten Rose. Both were very good historicals. A couple of surprises are that Julie James wasn't nominated nor was Julia Quinn.

  33. I have not read too many of the books...I love historical romances, and especially Regency historicals. Sarah MacLean's Nine Rules to Break was great, as was 10Ways to Be Adored. Eager to read 11Scandals when it is released.

  34. Congrats all around.

    I've read several nominees in some categories and none in others. There are plenty of worthy nominees out there. Personal favorites of mine are Nine Sarah MacLean (Regency Romance) and Rebel by Zoe Archer (PNR.)

  35. Trisha, I love Sarah's and Jill's writing!

  36. I've read only 30 of the nominated books, but I've read all of the nominated Historicals and Regency Historicals

    Wow, Janga! I feel like such a slacker. LOL

  37. I think my bookshelf hates me. Sometimes if I listen closely, it's screaming "Too many books! Read faster!"

    LOL @ Kati R! I think mine are saying the same thing to me. *g*

  38. Penfield, I loved The Forgotten Rose, and I have His At Night on my TBR pile.

    I was a little surprised about JQ and Julie James not being nominated, as well.

  39. June, you can be in our Sarah MacLean fan club. *g* I love her books, and she's a delightful lady!

  40. LSUReader, I haven't read Zoe Archer, but I've heard so many great things about her books.

  41. Congratulations to all the nominees. They all deserve to win. I have several on my TBR shelf, but haven't made it to them yet.
    Wish I could be in NYC. Maybe I can attend some other year.

  42. Wow, so many great books and authors have been nominated!!!

    Let me see, I have only read 5 books. That's really not a big number, is it? But I do have quite a few of them in my TBR pile, which is starting to take over the house - LOL!

    I am so happy to see Joanne Kennedy and Robin Wells nominated in the Comptemporary Single Title category. I have read and reviewed both books and just loved them.

    And YAY to Cynthia Eden for her nomination in the Romantic Suspense category. Her DEADLY series is just fabulous!!

    And look at all the great authors in the Historical catergories!!

    Congrats to all the nominees!!!

  43. Congrats to all the nominees! I couldn't wipe off the smile on my face when I read that Sherry Thomas, Tessa Dare and Eloisa James were nominated.

    It's scary how many of the nominated books I haven't read. I don't even know where to start.