Monday, March 26, 2012

And the Finalists Are...

Do you watch the Golden Globes?  Get up early to hear who's been nominated for an Oscar?  Drool over the gorgeous gowns on the red carpet?  Why, yes, I do!  I love awards season - from the suspense of who will be nominated to the excitement of the red carpet to the emotion of the winners' speeches.  I always have tissues handy for those winning moments and, I'll admit it, use them often.

The Hollywood awards season is now behind us but, for those of us who love romance fiction, our season begins today with the announcement of the finalists for the prestigious 2012 Golden Heart® and RITA® awards. The Golden Heart® (for unpublished manuscripts) and RITA® (for published works) are awarded by Romance Writers of America.  Today, we find out who the finalists are in each category.  The winners will be announced at a gala event at the RWA National Conference in Anaheim, California in July.

Authors around the globe will be on pins and needles today waiting for their phones to ring.  Each finalist will be contacted by someone representing RWA who will deliver the news personally.  Once that has been accomplished, the announcement will be made public - making this an all-day event filled with cheers, tears and plenty of discussion over the books that make it...and those that do not.

We'll be updating the site with the names of the finalists as we learn them.   If you hear of one, please let us know in the comments and we'll add it to our list (after confirmation).  Nominated authors, we'd love to hear from you too!

Since it's a day for celebration, we're going to include all of you in the festivities by giving away some books.  Check back throughout the day to find out if you're a winner!

While we wait for the news, let's kick things off with a question.  What books (published in 2011) would you like to see among the finalists?  



Best First Book:
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling
The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtier
The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell

Contemporary Series Romance:
How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward
A Bravo Homecoming by Christine Rimmer
Donovan's Child by Christine Rimmer
A Mother's Homecoming by Tanya Michaels
I'll Catch You by Farrah Rochon
Rancher's Twins: Mom Needed by Barbara Hannay
The Texan's Bride by Linda Warren
Dukakis's Apprentice by Sarah Morgan

Contemporary Series Romance-Suspense/Adventure:
Cooper Vengeance by by Paula Graves
The Man from Gossamer Ridge by Paula Graves
Soldier's Last Stand by Cindy Dees
Nothing But the Truth by Kara Lennox
Stranded With Her Ex by Jill Sorenson
Taken to the Edge by Kara Lennox
The Doctor's Deadly Affair by Stephanie Doyle

Historical Romance:
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
Silk is For Seduction by Loretta Chase
Always a Temptress by Eileen Dreyer
The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner
Unveiled by Courtney Milan
The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley

Inspirational Romance:
Katie's Way by Marta Perry
The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon
Love on the Line by Deanne Gist
The Ladies' Room by Carolyn Brown
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones
The Christmas Child by Linda Goodnight
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:
Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep
The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
Death Magic by Eileen Wilks
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal
Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray 
Shadow Walker by Allyson James

Paranormal Romance:
Nightfall by Ellen Connor
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Changeling Moon by Dani Harper
Envy by J.R. Ward
The Lost by Caridad Pineiro 
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Regency Historical Romance:
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish by by Grace Burrowes
How to Marry a Duke by Vicky Dreiling
How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane
Heiress in Love by Christina Brooke 
To Seduce an Angel by Kate Moore

Romance Novella:
"Chaos in Death" by J.D. Robb from The Unquiet
"Compassion Can Wait" in More Than Words, Vol. 7 
"I Love the Earl" by Caroline Linden
"Resolution" by Linda Winstead Jones in The Heart of Winter
"One Wish: a Christmas Story" by Jodi Thomas in A Texas Christmas
"Unforgiven" by Ruth Ryan Langan in The Unquiet
"Angel's Wolf" by Nalini Singh in Angels of Darkness
"The Storm Within" by Trish Morey in A Royal Engagement

Romantic Suspense:
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
True Colors by Joyce Lamb
True Shot by Joyce Lamb
Where All the Dead Lie by J.T. Ellison
Hidden Away by Maya Banks
Hot Zone by Catherine Mann
Secrets of Bella Terra by Christina Dodd
Hush by Cherry Adair

Young Adult Romance:
Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtier
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Flawless by Lara Chapman

Contemporary Single Title:
Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves
Heartstrings and Diamond Rings by Jane Graves
Silver Sparks by Starr Ambrose
Slow Dancing on Price's Pier by Lisa Dale
At Hidden Falls by Barbara Freethy
The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde
Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe
Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacquie D'Alessandro


Regency Historical Romance:
"Scandal in Spades" by Wendy La Capra
"A Whisper to the Wind" by Eileen Emerson
"King of Swords" by Anne Kenney
"The Last Light of Dusk" by Joanne Lockyer
"The Perfect Heiress" by Kimberly Ohara

Historical Romance:
"Highland Promise" by Tracy Brogan
"A Private Affair" by Jennifer McQuiston
"A Knight of Her Own" by Wonch Oberon
"Love in the Music Room" by Moriah Densley
"A Duke's Wicked Kiss" by Kathleen Bittner Roth
"A Hero to Hold" by Sheri Humphreys
"Notorious" by Alison Atwater
"The Devil May Care" by Elise Marks (writing as Elise Beatty)

Inspirational Romance:
"Language of Love" by Dristen Ethridge
"Love's Advocate" by Karen Fleming
"Powerless Consent" by Jan Nash
"Whispers in the Night" by Carol Post

Young Adult Romance:
"The Matter of Souls" by Stephanie Winkelhake
"Canvas Crossers" by Natalie Vawter
"Pandora's Clock" by Natalie Vawter
"Forget Tomorrow" by Pintup Dunn
"The Silent Sister" by Megan Macijausk (writing as M. Kassel)
"Angel Academy" by Cecily White
"The Suspicions of Cairo Jones" by Mary Danielson
"Wired" by Romily Bernard

Contemporary Series Romance:
"Second-Chance Bride" by Ami Weaver
"The Divorce Deal" by Kat Cantrell
"Montana Cherries" by Kim Law
"Cyrano at Your Service" by Tamra Baumann
"Tell Me Something Good" by Jamie Wesley
"A Perfect Wife" by Caro LaFever
"Bachelor:  Baited, Hooked and Bedded" by Lexi Greene
"His Perfect Partner" by Priscilla Kissinger

Novel with Strong Elements:
"Low Country Boil" by Susan Boyer
"Beulah Land and the Happy Hour Choir" by Sally Kilpatrick
"Song Without Words" by Lisa Laing
"A Tangled Season" by Natalie Meg Evans
"The Devil She Knows" by Anna Stewart (writing as AJ Stewart)
"Taking Wall Street by Disguise" by Terri Bolyard
"The Lazarus Gambit" by Deborah Wright
"Faking It" by Nikki Figueiredo
"Mere Mortals" by Catherine Villalobos

Romantic Suspense:
"Edge of Deception" by Elizabeth Bemis
"In Wolf's Clothing" by Sally Eggert
"Spy in the Harem" by Donna Belchase 
"Rescuing Rembrandt" by Jean Willett
"Rogue's Return" by Sharon Wray
"Chemical Attraction" by Mary Oldham
"Exposure" by Robena Grant
"Body of Evidence" by Rachel Grant

Paranormal Romance:
"Never Deal with Dragons" by Lorenda Christensen
"Trouble in Mind" by Donna Frelick
"Unchained Memory" by Donna Frelick
"Bathtub Jimn" by Kay Hudson
"Better Dead" by Pamela Kopfler
"Draxis" by Laurie A. Green
"Figs from Thistles" by A.J. Larrieu
"Flannigan's Grace" by Marni Donnelly

Contemporary Single Title:
"Meant to Be" by Terri Osborn (Terri Osburn)
"All Beautiful Things" by Nicki Salcedo
"No Peaking" by Talia Quinn Daniels
"Blackjack & Moonlight" by Magdalen Braden
"You Had Me at Habari" by Maggie McConnell
"Thrown" by Colette Auclair
"Cat on a Hot Steel Flight Deck" by Heather Nockodem
"Earning Wings" by Laurie Sanchez


  1. Joanna Bourne - The Black Hawk
    Elizabeth Hoyt - Scandalous Desires
    Jennifer Ashley - The Many Sins of Lord Cameron
    Tessa Dare - A Night to Surrender

    I read so many great books last year, the ones listed are just some of my faves, I'd be here for hours if I listed them all. :)

    1. Scandalous Desires got the call!

    2. All four got the call, yay! Congrats to all the nominees.

  2. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley
    Don't Mess with Texas by Christie Craig
    Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves
    Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

    1. Black Ties and Lullabies is on the list too. In fact, Jane Graves is a double finalist!

  3. Lord and Lady Spy - Shana Galen
    In the Arms of a Marquess - Katharine Ashe
    Midnight's Wild Passion - Anna Campbell
    The Danger of Desire - Elizabeth Essex
    Invitation to Ruin - Bronwen Evans
    A Night to Surrender - Tessa Dare
    My Favorite Countess - Vanessa Kelly
    Captured by The Highlander - Julianne MacLean
    I read so many really good books last year, but these were some of my favorites. :-)

    1. Lots of great books on that list, Diane. Some are my favorites too! :)

  4. so many wonderful books out there -- glad i don't have to make these choices. best of luck to all the fabulous authors. remember, we love you award nomination or not, we ask only for more books ;)

  5. This is going to be hard to type because I'm shaking and having heart palpitations. I got the call. I finaled in the GH in the Contemp Single Title category.


    1. Champagne! Flowers! Chocolates! Huge hugs and congratulations! Terri, I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face as I type this. You can't know how very, very happy I am for you! BON BONS RULE! :)

    2. Soooooo happy for you Terri!!!!

  6. Oh awesome! Congratulations Terri! Hehe, now you've got me all nervous since you've indicated phone calls have started! Hope you have a magical day :)

  7. I am so happy for Terri. Such wonderful news! Congratulations, my friend! I'll keep my fingers crossed from now to July.

  8. The problem I have with the Rita noms is that so many of my faves will probably end up competing against one another.

    By the way, does anyone know why it's "RITA" rather than "Rita"? It seems that it should be the latter since it is not an acronym but rather named for Rita Clay Estrada.

    1. I know how you feel, Janga. It's so hard when favorites compete against one another.

      I've wondered about the RITA vs Rita too. I don't know the answer; I just follow RWA's lead in using all caps.

  9. I know you followed RWA's use, PJ. It's just that the English prof in me wonders every time I see RWA's "proper" usage. I'm sure they have a reason for it. I'd just love to know what it is. LOL

  10. Thank you, ladies. I'm at the day job so trying really hard not to cry. LOL! Doing pretty well so far, but I'm not sure it's sunk in.

    Joanne - Good luck to you. Hope you get a call too! And I love that they used my real name on the RWA site. LOL! No one will know it's me!

  11. Huge congrats Terri!

    There are so many really good books from the year of 2011, but these were my favourites:

    What I Did For A Duke/Julie Anne Long
    Any Man of Mine/Rachel Gibson
    Dangerous in Diamonds/Madeline Hunter
    The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton/Miranda Neville.

    1. I'll be so disappointed if WHAT I DID FOR A DUKE isn't among the finalists. It was one of my "best of 2012."

  12. Congrats Terri! :) Best of luck at Anaheim!!

    I would love to see Julie James's A Lot Like Love, Tessa's Once Upon a Winter's Eve and/or A Night to Surrender, Katharine Ashe's In the Arms of a Marquess,LLG's Scandal of the Year, and Nora's Chasing Fire get a nod-those were the 2011 books that stood out for me. And of course, I'm THRILLED Eloisa's WBTTB got nominated too! :)

  13. JAL's What I Did for a Duke was is on the top of my list too, as is Joanna Bourne's The Black Hawk. I also loved The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton and A Lady's Lesson in Scandal. EJ's When Beauty Tamed the Beast and Loretta Chase's Silk Is for Seduction, also faves, are on the Rita list already. I'd love to see Julie James and Shannon Stacy on the contemp list.

  14. So many of my favorites are hitting the finalist list! It's a great day in romanceland!

  15. Congratulations to all the nominees.

    One of the best parts of this experience will be making new friends, like Terri and all the other nominees in my category. Someone on Twitter said she was looking forward to meeting the Rita finalists. Gosh, do they allow us to mix with published authors? That's going to be scary.

    And speaking of scary, my second phone call was to my former neighbor in Philadelphia...a professional photographer. I need a decent head shot. (Not, shot as in "bang, bang, you're dead"...although it might feel that way.)

    Okay, I need to go freak out someplace quiet. Seriously, the writing is so much easier.

    1. Congratulations, Magdalen! How very exciting (and scary) this must all be. I'd say freaking out is definitely acceptable! lol!

  16. Congratulations! Wonderful books. I would like to see First grave on the Right win.

  17. Happy congrats to the nominees! What an awesome honor!

  18. I saw on Eloisa James' FB page that she says she is the "Susan Lucci" of the RITAs because she has been nominated a bunch, but has never won. She really deserves one!

  19. Congratulations to all! What a wonderful occasion. Books that are deserving are all of these offerings.

  20. Yay! I just saw Lisa Dale's Slow Dancing on the list. I loved that book!

    1. I thought of you when I saw it on the list, Janga. I remember how much you enjoyed it!

  21. I'm so thrilled for everyone! Yay!!!!

  22. Another favorite just hit the list: Christina Brooke's HEIRESS IN LOVE!

  23. I saw that The Danger of Desire by Elizabeth Essex is a RITA finalist and Jennifer Ashley is a double RITA finalist! Many Sins of Lord Cameron and Shadow Walker.

    I've seen so many good books listed above, but have not had the pleasure of reading them.

    1. There are several I haven't read yet either, Diane but I'm looking forward to giving them a try! :)

  24. Julie James has never been nominated and she deserves to be for A Lot Like Love. I'd also like to see What I Did For a Duke by JAL and A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran. The latter can't be nominated though, because Meredith forgot to enter.

    1. I'd love to see both Julie's on the list, Kim! Those were terrific books.

      Meredith Duran is an amazing writer. Amazing!

  25. This looks like a great list of books can't wait.

  26. Haven't read all of them, but from what I read, my finalists would include:
    Linda Warren's THE TEXAN'S BRIDE,
    Christine Rimmer's A BRAVO HOMECOMING,
    Lisa Dale's SLOW DANCING ON PRICE'S PIER, and last, but certainly not least,
    Jane Graves' BLACK TIES AND LULLABIES (as I loved every word, reread portions continually, and LOL several times too).

  27. wow -- what a list. A number of the ones in the historical & regency catagories I either read or are on the tbr piled (must move those up higher) I even read some from the other catagories ;) amazingly. looking at the nominees & the books others have listed in comments just shows 2011 was another great year for romance reading.

  28. I love Joyce Lamb's books and it's nice to see her with two nominations.

    1. Jane, I haven't read Joyce Lamb's books yet. I'm looking forward to checking them out!

  29. Cheryl C, you're our first winner today! Please email your full name and mailing address to theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.

  30. Diane D - Florida, you're our second winner! Please email your full name and mailing address to theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.

  31. :-) I'm really excited, and thank you so very much. I've emailed you my details. Thanks again ladies. :-)

  32. Thank you! I emailed my address to you.

  33. I'm glad to see the following books nominated:

    The Devil in Disguise by Stefanie Sloane as Best First Book

    Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt and The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne as Historical

    Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros

    Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, and Christina Brooke in Regency

    Jacquie D'Alessandro as Contemporary

    And the GH finalists: Terri, Sally, Jennifer, and Nicki! Woohoo!!

    Two books I believe SHOULD have been nominated are A Lot Like Love by Julie James and What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long. I'm disappointed that they aren't. :(

    There are several that have been nominated that have me scratching my head...WHY??

  34. I'm most disappointed that What I Did for a Duke wasn't nominated. I thought it was one of the best books I read last year and one of the best books from an author who has turned out extraordinary work since her debut. I know from all the best of 2011 lists that included WIDFAD that I'm not alone in my opinion of it. This omission was the sad note in what has been a really glorious day for so many favorite authors and cherished friends.

    1. I agree, Janga. Every year it seems there is one extraordinary book that is inexplicably missing from the RITA list. This year, that book is Julie Anne Long's What I Did For a Duke. While I celebrate those books that made the list, I mourn the absence of this remarkable piece of writing.

  35. I was so happy to see alot of my new favorites on the list! Vicky Dreiling, Stephanie Sloane, Eileen Dreyer, ChristinaBrook and others! I do agree that Julie Anne Long was amazing this year - i so loved her book I went out and bought everything she wrote! But overall I think it was an impressive list of works.

  36. A great list of nominees. I have actually read some of them. I am so far behind on my TBR pile, I don't get to current books very often. I always wonder how really good books and authors get overlooked. Congratulations and best of luck to all the nominees.

  37. I would like to see The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne - I actually haven't read this one but I read two books in the Spymaster series and really enjoyed it! Also Black Ties and Lullabies by Jane Graves.

  38. What a thrill to see this fabulous list on your blog, my own book included!! Best of luck to all the nominees!