Rita/GH ’11

Look at all these smiling faces –

Will yours be one of them come July 1, 2011?


MaggiePrice.net, GH 1996


MarilynBrant.com GH 2007

JoannaBourne.com 2009

KresleyCole.com and RoxanneStClaire.com

Thanks to RWA for the award images and our lovely winners for providing the inspirational smiles and/or photos!
Roxanne St. Claire
Maggie Price
Jennifer Greene
Marilyn Brant
Joanna Bourne
Kresley Cole

And now, without further ado, here are the finalists, in no particular order.

(Disclaimer: These results are NOT official and are based on the comments posted below and emails I receive. I arbitrarily chose 8 finalists per category for formatting purposes; there may be more or less. Category information was gathered from the RWA National website. Please check www.RWANational.org for the official list.)

Rita Finalists

Contemporary Series Romance

1. Marion Lennox, Christmas with Her Boss

2. Kelly Hunter, Red Hot Renegade

3. Kate  Hewitt, Zoe & The Tormented Tycoon

4. Lisa Ruff, An Unexpected Father

5. Abby Green, Breaking the Sheikh’s Rules in the Summer Sheikhs anthology

6. Karen Templeton, Welcome Home, Cowboy

7. Melissa McClone, Christmas Magic on the Mountain

8. Sarah Morgan, Dare She Date the Dreamy Doc?

Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

1. Delores Fossen, The Baby’s Guardian

2. Paula Graves, Case File: Canyon Creek, Wyoming

3. Ann Voss Peterson, A Cop in Her Stocking

4. Gail Barrett, Meltdown

5. Kendra Leigh Castle, Renegade Angel

6. C.J. Carmichael, Perfect Partners?

7.Kimberly Van Meter, To Catch a Killer

8. Helen Brenna, The Moon That Night

Contemporary Single Title

1. Susan Donovan, Not That Kind of Girl

2. Robin Wells, Still The One

3. Rachel Gibson, Nothing But Trouble

4. Victoria Dahl, Lead Me On

5. Jill Shalvis, Simply Irresistible

6.  Molly Harper, And One Last Thing

7. Nora Roberts, Happily Ever After

8. Joanne Kennedy, One Fine Cowboy

Historical Romance

1. Nicola Cornick, One Wicked Sin

2. Sherry Thomas, His at Night

3. Eloisa James, A Kiss at Midnight

4. Victoria Dahl, A Little Bit Wild

5. Kaki Warner, Open Country

6.  Joanne Bourne, The Forbidden Rose

7. Laurel McKee, Countess of Scandal

8. Loretta Chase, Last Night’s Scandal

Regency Historical Romance

1. Cara Elliott, To Surrender To A Rogue

2. Kieran Kramer, When Harry Met Molly

3. Cathy Maxwell, His Christmas Pleasure

4. Madeline Hunter, Provocative in Pearls

5.  Sarah MacLean, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

6. Tessa Dare, Twice Tempted By A Rogue

7. Lauren Willig, The Mischief of the Mistletoe

8. Patricia Rice, The Wicked Wyckerly

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

1. Deanna Raybourn, Dead Travel Fast

2.  Karen White, On Folly Beach

3. Erica Spindler, Blood Vines

4. Jodi Thomas, Welcome to Harmony

5. Deborah Coonts, Wanna Get Lucky?

6. Ann Aguirre, Killbox

7. Nora Roberts, The Search

8. Allyson James, Stormwalker

Paranormal Romance

1.  Melissa Mayhue, A Highlander’s Homecoming

2. Lori Handeland, Marked By The Moon

3. Christine Feehan, Water Bound

4. Marcella Burnard, Enemy Within

5.  Eve Silver, Sins of the Heart

6. Zoe Archer, Rebel

7. Virginia Kantra, Immortal Sea

8.Sharon Ashwood, Unchained: the Dark Forgotten

Inspirational Romance

1. Deanne Gist, Maid to Match

2. Tamera Alexander, Within My Heart

3. Irene Hannon, In Harm’s Way

4. Marlo M. Schalesky, Shades of Morning

5.  Linda Goodnight, The Wedding Garden

6. Linda Goodnight, Finding Her Way Home

7.Maureen Lang, Whisper on the Wind

8. Mary Connealy, Doctor in Petticoats

9. Anna Schmidt, A Convenient Wife

Romantic Suspense

1. Maya Banks, The Darkest Hour

2. Roxanne St. Claire, Edge of Sight

3. Karen Rose, Silent Scream

4. Cynthia Eden, Deadly Fear

5. Annie Solomon, Two Lethal Lies

6. Allison Brennan, Love Me To Death

7. JD Robb, Indulgence in Death

8. Maggie Shayne, Kill Me Again

Young Adult Romance

1. Simone Elkeles, Rules of Attraction

2. Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

3. Erin McCahan, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

4.Julie Kagawa, The Iron King

5. Heather Davis, The Clearing

6. Lisa Schroeder, Chasing Brooklyn

7. Amanda Howells, The Summer of Skinny Dipping

Romance Novella

1.Cheryl St. John, “Mountain Rose” in To Be a Mother

2. Jennifer Greene, “Blame It on the Blizzard” in Baby, It’s Cold Outside

3. Maggie Shayne, “Love Me To Death” in Heart of Darkness

4. Maureen Child, “The Wrong Brother” in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe

5. Sandra Hyatt, “Mistletoe Magic” in Under the Millionaire’s Mistletoe

6. Brenda Novak, “A Dundee Christmas” in That Christmas Feeling

7. Jill Shalvis, “Friendly Fire” in Born on the 4th of July

8. Virginia Kantra, “Shifting Sea” in Burning Up

Best First Book

1. Kieran Kramer, When Harry Met Molly

2. Karen Witemeyer, A Tailor-Made Bride

3. Julie Kagawa, The Iron King

4. Kaki Warner, Pieces of Sky

5. Marcella Burnard, Enemy Within

6. Erin McCahan, I Now Pronounce You Someone Else

7.  Deborah Coonts, Wanna Get Lucky?

8. Amanda Howells, The Summer of Skinny Dipping

9. Kelly Ann Riley, Firestorm

Golden Heart Finalists

Contemporary Series Romance

1. Lindsey Brookes, Loving Ellie

2. Ami Weaver, The Nanny’s Secret

3. Jo Anne Banker, Lost and Found

4. Nan Dixon, Savannah Sighs

5. Maria Connor, Willing to Learn

6. Anna Sudgen, Legacy of Love

7. Arlene Hittle, Beauty and the Ballplayer

8. Nola Cross, The Tycoon and the Nature Girl

Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure

1. Charis Calhoon, Good Guy in Disguise

2. Robin Lynn Perini, Stolen Lullaby

3. Robin Lynn Perini, Stolen Lullaby

Contemporary Single Title

1. Terri Lynn Backhus, Getting Even

2. Virginia E. McCullough, Island Healing

3. Chris Campillo, Sail Away

4. Kimberly Kincaid, The Moment of Impossible Movement

5. Julie Brannagh, Love and Football

6. Alexa Loran, Tin Angel

7. Donna Meier, Fatal Trust

8.  Lisa Connelly, The Sinners

Historical Romance

1. Gwynlyn MacKenzie, In My Lady’s Sight

2. Jennifer McQuiston, The Widow Anabilla

3.  Kathryn H. Parker, Never Deceive a Lady

4.  Kay Hudson, Paper Hearts

5. Leigh LaValle, The Runaway Countess

6. Nancy Northcott, Bound by Honor

7. Maire Shelley, The Dark Lady

8. Victoria Morgan Garge, Changing Fortunes

Regency Historical Romance

1. Erin Kelly, More Than a Stranger

2. Valerie Bowman, Secrets of a Wedding Night

3. Aislinn MacNamara, Tale of Two Sisters

4. Anne Barton, The Proper Miss’ s Guide to Bad Behavior

5.   Sara Ramsey, One Night to Scandal

6. Anne Barton, How To Reform A Rake

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

1. Laurel Warren, Driving Without A License

2. Arlene McFarlane, Murcer, Curlers, and Canes

3. Anna K. Steffi, Solace

4. Tracy Brogan, Totally Dody

5. Gail Zerrade, From Baghdad With Love

6. Nancy A. Lytle, Five O’Clock Whistle

7. Lia DeAngelo, Season to Taste

8. Ann Charles, Dearly Departed in Deadwood

Paranormal Romance

1. Laurie Green, The Outer Planets

2. Trisza Ray, The Blood Sworn King

3. Sharon Lynn Fisher, Echo 8

4. Anna Richland, The Soldier

5. Amy Raby, Assassin’s Gambit

6. Karen Mendoza, Guardian Devil

7. Laurie Green, P2PC

8. Babette B. DeJongh, Dreaming of You

Inspirational Romance

1. Laurie Kellogg, Pinch Hit Dad

2. Pam Hillman, Stealing Jake

3. Cheryl Nagro, Love Thy Neighbor

4. Ruth Kaufman, At Hist Command

Romantic Suspense

1. Diane Van Dyke, Spy in The Mirror

2. Donna Meier, Closure by Death

3. Sarah Ann Andre, Locked, Loaded and Lying

4.  Gwen Hernandez, Blind Fury

5. Krista Reynolds, Borderlands

6. Sharon Wray, Juliet’s Rogue

7. Rachel Grant, Body of Evidence

8. Rachel Grant, Concrete Evidence

Young Adult Romance

1. Sheri Adkins, The Dead Guy Downstairs

2. Jennifer McGowan, Maids of Honor

3.Bria Quinlan, Secret Life

4. Suzanne Kaufman Kalb, Irresistible

5. Shelley Coriell, The Lies That Bind

6. Shoshana Brown, Underhanded

7.  Sheryl Carpenter, Piper’s Kiss

8. Darcy Woods, Spark

Congratulations to all the finalists! See you in NYC in June, and back here again next March for the NEXT party!


112 Responses

  1. Welcome, everyone! Let the squeeing begin!

  2. Lookin’ forward to it, Judi! Thanks for doing this.

  3. Loved reading last year’s posts, can’t wait to see what happens this year. Just a few more hours to go and the fun begins!

  4. When do the calls start? I’m WAITING… a la Vizzini

  5. Hi Viv! Australia usually gets their calls about now, I think, but the rest of us have to wait until the person who’s calling wakes up. About 10 am, I believe, EST. The past few years, paranormal calls have been later in the afternoon, so I don’t start sweating it until about 2. LOL. “see” you here tomorrow!

  6. I’m a nervous wreck! I don’t know how I’ll sleep tonight!

  7. How exciting. Didnt know you did this

  8. Let the calls begin! Good luck everyone!

  9. Wishing everyone the best of luck today~~~♥

  10. Paranormal calls don’t go out until 2pm?!! Is that central or eastern? Oh it doesn’t matter. I’m going to take a nap. that makes the time go by faster. 😛

    ~ Renee

  11. Okay, I’m ready to see some names so we can start THE BIG SQUEEEEE!

    Who will be the first to get things going? I thought we might already have someone on the list from abroad…hmmm…don’t be bashful…SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS…we want to join in the fun 🙂


  12. Anytime now…

    Waiting for “The Big Squeeeee!” here, too.

    Thanks to Judi for hosting this party for another year. It’s always a blast.

  13. Good luck, everyone!

  14. Good morning and Good luck! Judi’s blog is such a fun place to be today – excited to see the announcements start to roll in!

  15. Mornin’ all, and GOOD LUCK!!!

  16. Drumroll . . . it’s finally here!

  17. OMG. When Harry Met Molly is up for Best First Book!! I’m so honored!

  18. Just heard about a finalist in inspirational, so calls are going out!!! (I won’t reveal her name…I’ll let her do that!) Hurray!!!

  19. Congrats Kieran! AWESOME BOOK!

  20. First one up is Kieran. Congrats!!!

    If everyone could put their first and last name, as well as the title and category (and if it’s Rita or GH), that’d make my life MUCH easier!

    Thanks! Let the squeeing commence!

  21. Congrats, Kieran!

  22. Congratulations, Kieran!!!

  23. Laurie Kellogg’s Inspy GH book is PInch-HIt Dad

  24. OMG! I finalled in series! The Nanny’s Secret. I’m totally shaking and crying. LOL

  25. Ami – congrats! Rita or GH? Series Contemporary?

  26. Just wanted to wish everyone the best of luck this year! I spent most of my day on this site last year, waiting and waiting until the call finally came AFTER 2 p.m. 🙂

    Thanks for providing such a fun place to pass the time!

  27. Congrats, Ami!

  28. Judi, sorry! GH, series contemporary. Thank you!

  29. I know that someone usually starts a yahoogroup for GH finalists each year. Whoever does, feel free to post the name here so the finalists can join!

  30. I’ll say congrats to Ami here, too. Congrats! 🙂

  31. Thanks, Renee! 🙂

  32. Congratulations Ami!

  33. Renee, I have no idea what time the Paranormal calls go out; in the last 2 years, however, they were later in the day. Yes, I was paying STRICT attention to when those started. 🙂

  34. @Judi – You and me both. Ugh. I need to go break out that bottle of Snow Queen vodka in the pantry. 2pm is never going to get here.

    ~ Renee

  35. Good luck to everyone!!

  36. Congrats, Kieran. Can’t say I’m surprised, it’s a wonderful book!!!!! Lots of hugs. Karen

  37. Congratulations Kieran! I love that book!!!

  38. Want to wish all the entrants good luck today–and congrats to those who got the call already!

  39. Step away from the vodka, Renee. You want to be coherent when you get that call! 🙂

  40. Rocki!!! You’ll need to send me a picture of this year’s award for next year’s blog. Congrats, woman!!!

  41. Ladies, I’m kinda hyperventilating. When harry Met Molly just got nominated for the Regency Historical category in the Ritas. I already got the call for Best First Book. I had no idea they’d split up the calls!!!

    RWA–I love you. Without being a member of this great organization, I wouldn’t be published today.

  42. Congrats again, Keiran! That’s great!


  44. Thanks Laurie and Heather and Amy! Congrats to Kieran–love that book!

  45. Hey Judi — You can update the above list from the official site as well:
    RWA Official List

  46. Trust me, Renee, I’ve got 2 helpers in this coffee shop with me and we’ve got Twitter up, RWA, and a bunch of blogs/loops.

  47. Thanks for the efforts, Judi!!

  48. I can imagine. I can’t keep up at all. A group effort makes it more fun, too.

  49. Thank you, everyone!!! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for everyone else who entered!!!! XOXO

  50. I just got the call. A TALE OF TWO SISTERS is a finalist in Regency.

  51. Way to go, Ami!!!!!!!!

  52. Congrats, Aislinn!!

  53. I’ve been hitting refesh all morning and now I get to post.

    I just got the call! My YA ms SECRET LIFE finaled in the Golden Heart.

    My hands are shaking so badly this took like 3 mins to type! Thanks for doing this every year Judi!

  54. Congrats, briaq!!!

  55. Congrats to all the nominees so far!

  56. Every category has a finalist listed except Paranormal (GH/RITA). This is very nerve-wracking.

  57. Good luck to everyone!

  58. Just got the call that I finaled in the GH!!! OMG, I’m shaking like a leaf here. Can barely type.

    GH Paranormal
    The Outer Planets

  59. FINALLY!! A paranormal showed up for the RITAs — A Highlander’s Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue

    *falls over in relief*

    There. ice broken.

  60. YAY Melissa!!!!! Woo hoo!!!

    Yay Laurie!!!! Yay everyone else! I’m madly trying to keep up so I’ll be scarce on the blog – and my ((((&*^*&*&(*& laptop screen died on me. Had to reboot!

  61. Laurie – RWA’s site has your title as P2PC???

  62. I’m thrilled for Cheryl St. John! “Mountain Rose” is a wonderful story!!!!!

  63. Well, it is official. I am not writing a word today!!! Thanks everyone and CONGRATULATIONS to all the nominees!! Judi, you are a doll for doing this. Total fun!!! xo

  64. @Roxanne – I think that pretty much goes for all of us. 😛

  65. Rocki – what is this writing thing of which you speak?

    I hope you’ve got some champagne chilling, b/c, ya know, it’s 5:00 SOMEWHERE!!!

  66. Donna Meier – double GH finalist. woo hoo!

  67. Hey all!!! I’m so excited to have gotten the GH call for Loving Ellie! Good luck to everyone still waiting to hear.

  68. Kendra Leigh Castle – shout out! Woo hoo, baby!

  69. Congrats, Lindsey!

  70. Congrats to Aislinn, briaq, Roxanne, Donna, Melissa, Laurie and everyone else! As always, this is such a fun party! 🙂

  71. I missed Lindsey and Kendra–congrats!

  72. yay, Lindsey, my fellow American Title III finalist!

  73. lunchbreak! I’ll be back in a few.

    *hi, Gina!

  74. Did you see…RWA site has moved Nancy Northcutt’s book from Regency to Historical. Apparently originally posted in the wrong category. So right now, RWA lists 3 Regencies, 6 Historical for Golden Heart.

  75. Judi–your’e the best for doing this. I’m tweeting your awesome list to the world as often as I can.

    (Jill Shavis’s Simply Irresistible should be in single title, I think.)

  76. I’m back!

  77. Thanks for the catch, Elisa!

    Thanks, Sophie!

  78. What was for lunch? I had a huge bowl of Apple Cinnamon/Fruit Cheerios. 😀

  79. Just popping in to say Legacy of Love is a GH finalist! Wow!

  80. Congrats, Anna!

  81. Anna!!! Congrats, woman!!!

  82. Renee – lunch was a cafe special on multigrain bread with sea salt chips and sparkling grapefruit juice. Quite yummy!

  83. Judi, actually (OMG!) I have two finals in GH Paranormal, but they haven’t listed The Outer Planets–the first phone call–yet. Now I’m a little worried.

    But yes, P2PC is the second. 🙂

  84. Congrats, Anna!

  85. Congratulations Anna!!!

  86. Congrats to all the finalist so far! What a great party, Judi!

  87. This is so wild! LOL. I want to congratulate all of the nominees, romance rocks & I am so happy that I w/b @ RWA to witness your giddiness in person

  88. Congrats to all the finalists! And thanks to Judi and her coffee shop posse for doing all this. It’s such fun!

  89. Friggin’ telemarketer. *grumble grumble*

  90. Coffee Shop Posse rules!!! That name is sticking!

  91. Laurie Green has a second GH final (paranormal): P2PC and The Outer Planets. Thanks, Judi!

  92. Congrats to all the nominees. I love the free association theater here. The excitement and genuine best wishes are palpable.

  93. Thanks to Sharon. Posting problems this morning.

    Yes, I have two finals, Judi, but the first isn’t listed on the RWA site yet.

  94. Hi Judi,

    Thrilled to report that my medieval inspirational AT HIS COMMAND finaled in the GH!!!

  95. Are they finished making all the calls?

  96. Big congrats to all the finalists!!!

    I’m excited to see my RWA chapter mate, Lisa Ruff, on the list for AN UNEXPECTED FATHER.
    Congratulations, Lisa!


  97. Christine, the final list will be posted at RWA at 2:00 Central time. That’s when the calls will stop, I guess. We’re getting twitter feeds of other finalists, but without categories, so I can’t post them.

    darn work called just as I typed this. sheesh!

  98. Ruth!!! I just sent you an email asking if that was you. Congrats!!!

  99. How fun! Good work Judi and helpers! Congrats to all! Now go calm your nerves by shopping for your big night!

  100. So much fun to read, Judi. And congratulations to the finalists. You’re in for an amazing year.

  101. HUGE congrats to all the finalists! If you weren’t planning on attending RWA Nationals, change your mind! Now! There’s nothing like being a GH or RITA finalist at conference (speaking from experience – you will be a Princess).

    Woohoo again to all you fabulous writers!

  102. Duh! I was checking your blog post, wondering where everyone was. Now that I’ve found you, let me congratulate the winners. Well done, writers.

  103. Thanks so much for the congrats, everyone! (Still waiting for RWA to get my second novel listed, but I’m sure they’ll sort it out.)

    Huge kudos to all who finaled.

    Oh, yes, Anthea, my plans just changed. I just registered for RWA. I was on the fence until this morning. Now I can’t wait!!!

  104. Virginia Kantra is a double RITA nominee: Paranormal for “Immortal Sea” and novella for “Shifting Sea!” Yay!

  105. Joanne Kennedy!!!! My Casababes sister!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  106. I’m so happy for the one author I gave a perfect score to when I judged. She’s on the list of Rita nominees, but I can’t tell you who she is…yet.

    I think after the winners are announced we can mention what we read, can’t we?

  107. Thanks for doing this, Judi. I’ve been in a state of shock all day and still can’t believe I finaled. I’m especially thrilled that one of the Golden Heart entries I judged made the finals. I desperately want to tell the writer how much I loved her story….. Are we allowed to do that now?

  108. You’ll want to check the rules on RWA’s site for that Ash and Gail. I can’t speak to the rules.

  109. Hated not being able to get online during the day. Thanks so much for doing this, Judi. Now I have a place I can squee – even if it is hours later.

  110. Squee away, Mary!!

  111. Major congrats to all the finalists! Way cool. Thanks for doing this Judi!

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