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2011 RITA Winners

2011 RITA Winners

2011 RITA Finalists for Best First Book

  • Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (Berkley; Leis Pederson, editor)
  • Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense; Tina James, editor)
  • I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (Scholastic; Cheryl Klein, editor)
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen; Natashya Wilson, editor)
  • Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner (Berkley Sensation; Wendy McCurdy, editor) WINNER
  • The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (Sourcebooks Fire; Deb Werksman, editor)
  • A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer, editor)
  • Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (Tor/Forge; Bob Gleason, editor)
  • When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance

  • Breaking the Sheikh’s Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology by Abby Green (Mills & Boon; Meg Lewis, editor)
  • Christmas Magic on the Mountain by Melissa McClone (Harlequin Romance; Joanne Grant, editor)
  • Christmas with Her Boss by Marion Lennox (Harlequin Romance; Sheila Hodgson, editor) recommended by DA
  • Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc? by Sarah Morgan (Mills & Boon Medical Romance; Kimberley Young, editor) recommended by DA
  • Red-Hot Renegade by Kelly Hunter (Mills & Boon Modern Heat; Joanne Grant, editor) recommended by DA
  • An Unexpected Father by Lisa Ruff (Harlequin American Romance; Johanna Raisanen, editor) recommended by DA
  • Welcome Home, Cowboy by Karen Templeton (Silhouette Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor) WINNER
  • Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon by Kate Hewitt (Harlequin Presents; Meg Lewis, editor) recommended by DA

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

  • The Baby’s Guardian by Delores Fossen (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Case File: Canyon Creek, Wyoming by Paula Graves (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • To Catch a Killer by Kimberly Van Meter (Silhouette Romantic Suspense; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
  • A Cop in Her Stocking by Ann Voss Peterson (Harlequin Intrigue; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Meltdown by Gail Barrett (Silhouette Romantic Suspense; Susan Litman, editor)
  • The Moon That Night by Helen Brenna (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor) WINNER
  • Perfect Partners? by C.J. Carmichael (Harlequin Superromance; Johanna Raisanen, editor)
  • Renegade Angel by Kendra Leigh Castle (Harlequin Nocturne; Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Contemporary Single Title Romance

  • And One Last Thing by Molly Harper (Gallery Books; Jennifer Heddle, editor)
  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Berkley Trade; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
  • Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (HQN Books; Tara Parsons, editor)
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan (St. Martin’s Press; Monique Patterson, editor)
  • Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
  • One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy (Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)
  • Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis (Forever; Alex Logan, editor) WINNER
  • Still the One by Robin Wells (Forever; Selina McLemore, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Historical Romance

  • Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
  • The Forbidden Rose by Joanne Bourne (Berkley Trade; Wendy McCurdy, editor) recommended by DA
  • His at Night by Sherry Thomas (Bantam Books; Caitlin Alexander, editor) WINNER, recommended by DA
  • A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor)
  • Last Night’s Scandal by Loretta Chase (Avon; May Chen, editor) recommended by DA
  • A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl (Zebra Books; John Scognamiglio, editor)
  • One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick (HQN Books; Kimberley Young, editor)
  • Open Country by Kaki Warner (Berkley Trade; Wendy McCurdy, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Inspirational Romance

  • A Convenient Wife by Anna Schmidt (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical; Tina James, editor)
  • Doctor in Petticoats by Mary Connealy (Barbour Publishing; Rebecca Germany, editor)
  • Finding Her Way Home by Linda Goodnight (Steeple Hill Love Inspired; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • In Harm’s Way by Irene Hannon (Revell; Jennifer Leep, editor) WINNER
  • Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist (Bethany House Publishers; David Long and Julie Klassen, editors)
  • Shades of Morning by Marlo M. Schalesky (WaterBrook Multnomah; Shannon Marchese, editor)
  • The Wedding Garden by Linda Goodnight (Steeple Hill Love Inspired; Allison Lyons, editor)
  • Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang (Tyndale House Publishers; Stephanie Broene, editor)
  • Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House Publishers; Karen Schurrer and Charlene Patterson, editors)

2011 RITA Finalists for Novel With Strong Romantic Elements

  • Blood Vines by Erica Spindler (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Weis, editor)
  • The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn (MIRA; Valerie Gray, editor)
  • Killbox by Ann Aguirre (Ace Books; Anne Sowards, editor)
  • On Folly Beach by Karen White (NAL Accent; Cindy Hwang, editor)
  • The Search by Nora Roberts (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
  • Stormwalker by Allyson James (Berkley Sensation; Kate Seaver, editor)
  • Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (Tor/Forge; Bob Gleason, editor)
  • Welcome to Harmonyby Jodi Thomas (Berkley; Wendy McCurdy, editor) WINNER

2011 RITA Finalists for Paranormal Romance

  • Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (Berkley; Leis Pederson, editor)
  • A Highlander’s Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue (Pocket Books; Megan McKeever, editor)
  • Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra (Berkley Trade; Cindy Hwang, editor)
  • Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)
  • Rebel by Zoe Archer (Zebra Books; Megan Records, editor)
  • Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver (HQN Books; Tara Parsons, editor)
  • Unchained: the Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood (NAL/Signet Eclipse; Laura Cifelli, editor) WINNER
  • Water Bound by Christine Feehan (Jove; Cindy Hwang, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

  • His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
  • The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig (Dutton; Erika Imranyi, editor) – WINNER
  • Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (Avon Books; Carrie Feron, editor)
  • Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter (Jove; Wendy McCurdy, editor)
  • To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott (Forever; Frances Jalet-Miller, editor)
  • Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare (Ballantine Books; Kate Collins, editor)
  • When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s Press; Jennifer Enderlin, editor)
  • The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice (NAL/Signet; Ellen Edwards, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Romance Novella

  • “Blame It on the Blizzard” by Jennifer Greene in Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Harlequin; Marsha Zinberg, editor)
  • “A Dundee Christmas” by Brenda Novak in That Christmas Feeling (Harlequin Superromance; Paula Eykelhof, editor)
  • “Friendly Fire” by Jill Shalvis in Born on the 4th of July (Harlequin Blaze; Brenda Chin, editor)
  • “Love Me to Death” by Maggie Shayne in Heart of Darkness (HQN Books; Leslie Wainger, editor)
  • “Mistletoe Magic” by Sandra Hyatt in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire; Krista Stroever, editor)
  • “Mountain Rose” by Cheryl St. John in To Be a Mother (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical; Patience Smith, editor)
  • “Shifting Sea” by Virginia Kantra in Burning Up (Berkley Sensation; Cindy Hwang, editor) WINNER
  • “The Wrong Brother” by Maureen Child in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe (Silhouette Desire; Krista Stroever, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Romantic Suspense

  • The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks (Berkley; Cindy Hwang, editor)
  • Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
  • Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire (Forever; Amy Pierpont, editor)
  • Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
  • Kill Me Again by Maggie Shayne (MIRA; Leslie Wainger, editor)
  • Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan (Ballantine Books; Charlotte Herscher & Kate Collins, editors)
  • Silent Scream by Karen Rose (Grand Central; Karen Kosztolnyik, editor) WINNER
  • Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon (Forever; Michele Bidelspach, editor)

2011 RITA Finalists for Young Adult Romance

  • Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Annette Pollert, editor)
  • The Clearing by Heather Davis (Houghton Mifflin Graphia; Julie Tibbott, editor)
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing; Karen Wojtyla, editor)
  • I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan (Scholastic; Cheryl Klein, editor)
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen; Natashya Wilson, editor) WINNER
  • Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (Walker Publishing; Emily Easton, editor)
  • The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (Sourcebooks Fire; Deb Werksman)

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance

  • Beauty and the Ballplayer by Arlene Hittle
  • Legacy of Love by Anna Sugden
  • Lost and Found by Jo Anne Banker WINNER
  • Loving Ellie by Lindsey Brookes
  • Savannah Sighs by Nan Dixon
  • The Nanny’s Secret by Ami Weaver
  • The Tycoon and the Nature Girl by Nola Cross
  • Willing to Learn by Maria Connor

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Contemporary Series Romance – Suspense/Adventure

  • Good Guy in Disguise by Charis Calhoon
  • In Her Sights by Robin Lynn Perini
  • Stolen Lullaby by Robin Lynn Perini WINNER

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Contemporary Single Title

  • Fatal Trust by Donna L. Meier
  • Getting Even by Terri Lynn Backhus
  • Island Healing by Virginia E. McCullough
  • Love and Football by Julie Brannagh
  • Sail Away by Chris Campillo
  • The Moment of Impossible Movement by Kimberly Kincaid
  • The Sinners by Lisa Connelly WINNER
  • Tin Angel by Alexa Loran

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Historical Romance

  • Bound by Honor by Nancy Northcott
  • Changing Fortunes by Victoria Morgan
  • The Dark Lady by Maire Shelley – WINNER
  • In My Lady’s Sight by Gwynlyn MacKenzie
  • Never Deceive a Lady by Kate Parker
  • Paper Hearts by Kay Hudson
  • The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle
  • The Widow Anabilla by Jennifer McQuiston

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Inspirational Romance

  • At His Command by Ruth Kaufman – WINNER
  • Love Thy Neighbor by Cheryl Nagro
  • Pinch-Hit Dad by Laurie Kellogg
  • Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Novel With Strong Romantic Elements

  • Driving Without A License by Laurel Warren
  • Five O’Clock Whistle by Nancy A. Lytle
  • From Baghdad with Love by Clarissa Southwick
  • Murder, Curlers and Canes by Arlene McFarlane
  • Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles WINNER
  • Season to Taste by Lia DeAngelo
  • Solace by Anna K. Steffl
  • Totally Dody by Tracy Brogan

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Paranormal Romance

  • Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby
  • The Blood Sworn King by Trisza Ray WINNER
  • Dreaming of You by Babette de Jongh
  • Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher
  • Guardian Devil by Karyn S. Mendoza
  • The Outer Planets by Laurie A. Green
  • P2PC by Laurie A. Green
  • The Soldier by Anna Richland

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Regency Historical Romance

  • A Tale of Two Sisters by Aislinn MacNamara
  • How to Reform a Rake by Anne Barton
  • More Than A Stranger by Erin Kelly
  • The Proper Miss’s Guide to Bad Behavior by Anne Barton – WINNER
  • One Night to Scandal by Sara Ramsey
  • Secrets of a Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Romantic Suspense

  • Blind Fury by Gwen Hernandez
  • Body of Evidence by Rachel Grant
  • Borderlands by Krista Reynolds
  • Concrete Evidence by Rachel Grant
  • Closure by Death by Donna Meier
  • Juliet’s Rogue by Sharon Wray
  • Locked, Loaded and Lying by Sarah Andre
  • Spy in the Mirror by Diana Van Dyke WINNER

2011 Golden Heart Finalists for Young Adult Romance

  • Irresistible by Suzanne Kaufman Kalb – WINNER
  • The Dead Guy Downstairs by Sheri Adkins
  • The Lies that Bind by Shelley Coriell
  • Maids of Honor by Jennifer Stark w/a Jennifer McGowan
  • Piper’s Kiss by Sheryl Carpenter
  • Secret Life by Bria Quinlan
  • Spark by Darcy Woods
  • Underhanded by Shoshana Brown
Dear Author

DA Intro Interview & Giveaway: RITA Best First Book Nominees, Part...

This week Romance Writers of America hands out the RITAs, its highest awards in eleven romance sub-genres, plus a special category for debut authors.  As an occasional contributor to Dear Author, I’m delighted to host again the nominees for Best First Book as part of the Intro Interview series.

And we’re giving away books!  For part one today, you can put your hand up for Marcella Burnard’s sci-fi Enemy Within or for a bundle of the three YA novels honored in this category:  The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells, and I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan.  All four of these novels also happen to be nominated in a second category.

Let us know in the comments which you’d like to win, or if you have a favorite you’re rooting for. Tomorrow will feature the historical and action/suspense novels.

Opening Line:


Sun glinting off the barrel of a gun stopped Captain Ari Idylle dead in her tracks.

Enemy Within

JULIE KAGAWA, The Iron King:

Ten years ago, on my sixth birthday, my father disappeared.
Iron King



AMANDA HOWELLS, The Summer of Skinny Dipping:

There are summers you’ll always remember and summers you’ve forgotten even before they’re through.
Skinny Dipping


ERIN MCCAHAN, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else:

I was switched at birth.
Someone Else


Main Character’s Six-Word Memoir:

Marcella Burnard: So many degrees of betrayal.

Julie Kagawa: Dangerous faeries and star-crossed love.

Amanda Howells: Sixteen: discovers true love and herself.

(Note:  Attempts to contact Erin were unsuccessful, but her book will be included in the YA bundle.)


What my heroine does for a living:

Marcella Burnard: She had been career military, captaining an Armada Prowler, but her commanders have just taken all that away.

Julie Kagawa: High school student.


What makes my hero heroic:

Marcella Burnard: He has the power and the motivation to destroy the heroine. It would be expedient. He chooses the hard way – hoping he can help her redeem herself.

Julie Kagawa: Brave, loyal, impossibly stubborn, will uphold his word no matter what.

Amanda Howells: He’s honest and seizes the day.


A favorite line/scene/moment from the story:

Marcella Burnard: I’m fond of the Art of the Blade rules running through the story and how they use them against one another.

Julie Kagawa: Oh, we’re playing nice, now?”  Puck remained seated, looking anything but compliant.  “Shall we have tea, first?  Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?”

Amanda Howells: There’s a quiet moment in the book that I like a lot: it’s when Mia begins to mature and to realize that her perspective on things–on love, on her family, even on herself–isn’t necessarily accurate. It’s a moment of maturity, when she begins to understand that there are different ways of seeing the world around you. She reflects on this when she’s out on the beach looking at the night sky:

“I stared up at the stars and thought about light, how bright and powerful it had to be to travel so far, all the way across the galaxies to our eyes…Or maybe it was our eyes that were powerful. I’d never thought of it that way before.”


I wanted to tell this story because…

Marcella Burnard: These two people walked into my head and said, “Keyboard. Now.”

Amanda Howells: As a young girl I loved sad love stories and I loved summer novels and I especially combinations of the two. So I wanted to try my hand at it. I also wanted to write a summer story that stuck with the reader after summer was over.


An unexpected research detour I made while writing the book:

Marcella Burnard: Learning about the different types of viruses and how they infect the human body. It’s completely logical, but until I did the research, it hadn’t occurred to me that diseases naturally select for lower morbidity. This was important stuff for a story involving biological warfare agents.

Amanda Howells: While doing general setting research for the book, I came across the juicy essay collection Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons by Steven Gaines. In this book I learned of Dragon’s Head, a disastrous, gaudy, scandalously over-the-top dream of a house that a tacky, shady millionaire tried to build in Southampton and which ignited a furious battle of insider vs. outsider. The story of this mansion gave me the perfect house to act as a backdrop for Mia and Simon’s summer love story. It enriched my story considerably.


I’ll never forget the reader/fan/reviewer who…

Marcella Burnard: wrote to say she’d served in Iraq and knew PTSD up close and that I’d gotten her experience of it right. She liked that my heroine didn’t want someone else to fix it for her.

Julie Kagawa: Told me reading my series helped her get through her husband’s death.

Amanda Howells: The YA bloggers Sara and Stephanie, of Novel Novice ( really blew me away with the series they did on me and my novel. Of course it was flattering to have so much attention, but it’s especially satisfying when bloggers are not only passionate about the books they like, but also literate and articulate, as these girls are. Sara and Stephanie went all the way with my book, digging deep into it and asking me really thoughtful questions. They are awesome bloggers, and true friends to the YA writers they like.


What’s great about my sub-genre:

Marcella Burnard: In science fiction romance, if I can find a remotely scientific basis for something, I can give a character attributes no one on this earth has. Geeky? Sure. But it’s fun.

Amanda Howells: Summer romance novels are, like summer itself, a true escape from routine, and perennially satisfying to return to. Summer love + an evocative beach house +  golden sand + the ocean= a sub-genre that will never die.


When I got the call about the RITA nomination, I…

Marcella Burnard: thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest.

Julie Kagawa: Think I squealed in my editor’s ear. (Sorry, Tashya.)

Amanda Howells: was completely surprised.


If I win, I…

Marcella Burnard: May spontaneously combust – not entirely sure, but babbling like an idiot may be involved.

Julie Kagawa: Want to thank everyone who helped me get here.

Amanda Howells: will be completely surprised.


Number of books I wrote before selling:

Marcella Burnard: Four. Enemy Within was book five. The first four – let’s just say the learning curve is painfully visible.

Amanda Howells: One.


How I found my agent:

Marcella Burnard: I looked through the RWA list of agents, picked out the few who accepted science fiction, investigated each, and then queried my top picks. Luckily, the story resonated with the fabulous Emmanuelle Morgen.

Julie Kagawa: I met my agent at a writer’s conference in Louisville, KY.  My very first words to her were: “Uh…hello?” as I didn’t know she was an agent at the time.  Thankfully she overlooked my awkwardness. ;)

Amanda Howells: Fellow writer friend.


Biggest surprise as a published author:

Marcella Burnard: Other people thought the story was fun, too!

Amanda Howells: How hard it is to make any money–note to aspiring writers: there’s no such thing as easy money. So take that off the table and write from the heart.


Oddest or most reliable writing habit:

Marcella Burnard: Listening to video game sound tracks based on what I’m writing.

Julie Kagawa: Turning off the internet when I really need to get serious.

Amanda Howells: Writing on tiny scraps of paper, wherever I go, then piling them on my desk in a tower, under a paper weight. When the tower gets too high, I spend a few days inputting the notes on my computer. One’s best ideas and lines rarely occur at the desk–mine don’t anyway. These note-towers on my computer are gold to me.


Where I find inspiration:

Marcella Burnard: Pff. How much time do you have? :D

Julie Kagawa: Anime, manga, and video games.

Amanda Howells: in books, in my life, in my dreams (I dreamed the title of my novel before I wrote a single word), at breakfast, on the bus, in the car, overhearing others…in short, everywhere!


A book or author I recommend again and again:

Marcella Burnard: Robin McKinley, Linnea Sinclair and Nalini Singh. Not necessarily in that order.

Julie Kagawa: Neil Gaiman.

Amanda Howells: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The Great Gatsby–of course.


A hobby/interest/passion of mine beyond the book world:

Marcella Burnard: Sailing, science, World of Warcraft

Julie Kagawa: Kung Fu, sushi, and video games.

Amanda Howells: Walking: on beaches, in mountains, on city streets. Walking and writing go together.


What I’m working on now:

Marcella Burnard: Book three in the series – tentatively titled Enemy Storm

Julie Kagawa: A post apocalyptic vampire novel.

Amanda Howells: I don’t want to speak too soon.


Come back tomorrow for interviews with the rest of the authors.  The RITAs will be announced July 1 in New York City.  Congratulations and much gratitude to the authors.

Links:  Marcella Burnard Julie Kagawa Amanda Howells Erin McCahan