Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The 2016 RITA® Award Winners


This past Saturday night, July 16th,  at the RWA's (Romance Writer's of America) annual convention, the RITA awards were presented. For those of you who have never been, I would liken the RITAs to to Oscars, complete with golden statues, which hold a book and golden quill. The authors and guests get dolled up in beautiful gowns and evening attire. So without further ado, here is the list of winners and their books....

Winner for Romance Novella


Roni Loren

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. After earning a master’s degree in social work from LSU, she worked in a mental health hospital, counseled birthmothers as an adoption coordinator, and did management recruiting in her PJs. But she always returned to writing.

Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her cooking, watching reality television, or picking up another hobby she doesn't need--in other words, procrastinating like a boss. She is a three-time RITA award nominee and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

For her novella:


 Nice Girls Don't Ride  
by Roni Loren

Natalie Bourne thinks she has the perfect night planned for her twenty-first birthday. But when her car breaks down and her boyfriend bails on her, she’s left stranded in an auto shop dealing with a way too cocky, way too hot mechanic, who seems to be intent on pushing every button she has.

Monroe Hawkins knows he shouldn’t be messing with a girl from the uppity private college. Especially when he can tell she sees him as the help. But he’s having trouble resisting the redhead with the smart mouth and the killer legs. So when Natalie’s night goes from bad to worse, there’s no way he’s letting her spend her birthday alone. He makes her a deal—he’ll take her home but not until the sun comes up.

Ten hours, one motorcycle, and the city of Austin at their fingertips…things are about to take a major detour. And soon, there may be no U-turn in sight.

Winner for long contemporary romance:

Maisey Yates


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

For her book:


Brokedown Cowboy 
by Maisey Yates

There are lines best friends shouldn't cross, but in Copper Ridge, Oregon, the temptation might be too much… 

If practice makes perfect, Connor Garrett should be world champion of being alone. Since losing his wife he's concentrated exclusively on his family's ranch. Until his dear friend Felicity Foster needs a place to stay and Connor invites her to move in temporarily. That's what friends do—and Liss is his rock. What friends don't do? Suddenly start fantasizing about each other in their underwear. Or out of it…

Since high school, Liss has kept her raging crush in check. Another few weeks should be a breeze. But helping Connor rebuild his life only reinforces how much she longs to be a part of it. One explosive encounter, and she'll discover that getting what you always wanted can feel better than you ever dreamed…

Winner in the category Young Adult Romance:


Jenn Bennett, 
©Heidi Darbo

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series (Kindling the Moon), the Roaring Twenties romance series (Bitter Spirits), the young adult contemporary romance The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (aka Night Owls in the U.K.), as well as the upcoming Alex, Approximately. Her books have earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, won two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews and were awarded their Seal of Excellence, been nominated for two RITA® awards, and been included on Publishers Weekly Best Books annual list. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two pugs.

For her book:


The Anatomical Shape of a Heart 
by Jenn Bennett


A mysterious graffiti artist, an anatomy-obsessed artist, and a night bus that will bring the two together.

Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

Winner of Long Historical Romance:


Deeanne Gist

With almost a million copies of her books sold, international bestselling, award-winning author Deeanne Gist has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, captivating historicals. Her latest release, Tiffany Girl, was touted as a “Must Year of the Year!” by USA Today and one of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2015 by Huffington Post.

Published by Simon & Schuster, Deeanne’s awards include National Readers’ Choice, Best Historical of the Year (by RT Reviewers), Librarians’ Choice, Book Buyers’ Best, Golden Quill, Books*A*Million Pick of the Month, Seal of Excellent and Award of Excellence.

Her most recent series takes readers into the heart of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where USA Today says …

“The historical details are absorbing, never intrusive and always eye-opening ... The characterization is rich and authentic ... The narrative is a treat, the tempo impeccable.”

Deeanne earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Texas A&M and taught for five years, then became a freelance journalist with credits including People Magazine, Parents and Parenting. Her entertaining and informative presentations have been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

Deeanne lives in South Carolina with her husband. When not writing, she enjoys keeping up with her readers via www.IWantHerBook.com and her very active online community on her blog, on Facebook, Pinterest, and on her YouTube channel.

For her book:


Tiffany Girl 
by Deeanne Gist

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York School of Applied Design. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to be an independent "New Woman" when most of the fair sex stayed home, she quickly finds the world less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart.

Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Winner of Romantic Suspense


Dana Marton

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton has thrilled and entertained millions of readers around the globe with her fast-paced stories about strong women and honorable men who fight side by side for justice and survival.

Kirkus Reviews calls her writing "compelling and honest." RT Book Review Magazine said, "Marton knows what makes a hero...her characters are sure to become reader favorites." Her writing has been acclaimed by critics, called, "gripping," "intense and chilling," "full of action," "a thrilling adventure," and wholeheartedly recommended to readers. Dana is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Readers' Choice Award, and Best Intrigue, among other awards. Her book, TALL, DARK, AND LETHAL was nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. DEATHSCAPE reached the 
#1 spot on Amazon's Romantic Suspense Bestseller list.

Dana has a Master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and is continuously studying the art and craft of writing, attending several workshops, seminars and conferences each year. Her number one goal is to bring the best books she possibly can to her readers.

Keeping in touch with readers is Dana's favorite part of being an author. Please connect with her via her web site (www.danamarton.com) or her Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/danamarton).
Having lived around the world, Dana currently creates her compelling stories in a small and lovely little town in Pennsylvania. The fictional town of her bestselling Broslin Creek series is based on her real life home where she fights her addictions to reading, garage sales, coffee and chocolate. If you know a good twelve-step program to help her with any of that, she'd be interested in hearing about it!

For her book:


Flash Fire 
by Dana Marton

A brand new, gripping novel of romantic suspense from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton.

When an American teenager disappears abroad, Clara Roberts, a by-the-book investigator on a secret mission, joins forces with Light Walker, an ex-SEAL turned lawless mercenary, to save her. The sparks they generate—and the trouble they stir up—threaten to set the jungle ablaze.

Nothing is what it seems in this fast-paced romantic thriller. As attraction grows into love, looming danger turns into all-out war, and the whole region explodes around them. Clara and Walker must hold on to each other and race against time to survive.

Winner of Paranormal Romance:


Angela Quarles

Angela Quarles is a RWA RITA® Finalist and USA Today bestselling author of time travel and steampunk romance. Library Journal named her steampunk, Steam Me Up, Rawley, Best Self-Published Romance of 2015. Her time travel romance Must Love Chainmail is a Romance Writer’s of America RITA finalist. She has published three books and one novelette, and her latest novel, Must Love Kilts, is due out in mid-2016.

Readers have enjoyed the geeky slants to her tales. Whether it’s fan girling over Ada Lovelace by having her as a secondary character in Must Love Breeches, or outright geek references with geek types in her romantic comedy with paranormal elements, Beer and Groping in Las Vegas, or going all Southern steampunk in Steam Me Up, Rawley, Angela likes to have fun with her romances and hopes her readers do too. In addition, she loves history, folklore, and family history and combines it with her active imagination to write stories of romance and adventure.

Angela works at an independent bookstore and lives in an historic house in the beautiful and quirky town of Mobile, Alabama. When she’s not writing, she enjoys the usual stuff like gardening, reading, hanging out, eating, drinking, chasing squirrels out of the walls and creating the occasional knitted scarf. She’s had a varied career, including website programming and directing a small local history museum, and has discovered that writing allows her to explore all her interests.

For her book:


Must Love Chainmail
by Angela Quarles

Trapped in the wrong time, she needs a knight in shining armor, but this damsel in distress might be the real savior.

A damsel in distress...

With a day planner attached to her hip, the last thing Katy Tolson wants is a romance that threatens her well-ordered life. She's set to marry the safe--but bland--guy, but something's not quite...right. A careless wish thrusts her through time into medieval Wales and into the arms of...

A knight in somewhat shining armor...

Sir Robert Beucol, half-Norman and half-Welsh, lives with the shame of his father's treason and vows to reclaim his family's holdings and thereby his honor. To prove himself to his king, he must be more Norman than a full-blooded Norman. What better way to show loyalty than to fight his mother's people? He has no desire to be sidetracked by the mysterious wench with pink toenails, peculiar habits, and passion smoldering behind her cool, collected exterior.

A rebellion that challenges both...

The Welsh uprising fits perfectly into Robert’s plans. Katy’s on the other hand? That’s a no. As they embark on a perilous journey through the heart of Wales, each passionate encounter pulls them closer together, but farther from their goals. When everything they value is at stake, can they save each other and their love?

Winner of Erotic Romance


Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret. He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

For his book:



For Real: A Spires Story 
by Alexis Hall

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Winner of Short Historical Romance

Julie Anne Long
photo by Candice Hern

Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.

Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)

For her book:



It Started With a Scandal 

by Julie Anne Long

Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword, and a stone-cold conviction: he'll restore his family's fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach—when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.


An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. She is shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, and her survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.


The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe's barricaded heart . . . and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both!

Winner of Inspirational Romance


Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

For her book:

A Noble Masquerade 
by Kristi Ann Hunter

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke--with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she's heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marcus, her brother's new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marcus accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marcus is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda's heart is far from all that's at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love. 

Winner of Short Contemporary Romance


Sarah M. Anderson

Award-winning author Sarah M. Anderson may live east of the Mississippi River, but her heart lies out west on the Great Plains. With a lifelong love of horses and two history teachers for parents, she had plenty of encouragement to learn everything she could about the tribes of the Great Plains.

When she started writing, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves out in South Dakota among the Lakota Sioux. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how their backgrounds and cultures take them someplace they never thought they’d go. Sarah writes for both Harlequin Desire and Samhain Publishing.

Sarah won the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Desire of 2012 for A Man of Privilege and accepted the award in person in Kansas City at the RT Convention on May 3, 2013.

Combining snarky humor with shirtless cowboys on horseback, Sarah strives to raise awareness of the realities of life on Lakota Indian reservations. She uses proper Lakota translations when her characters speak their native language.

Sarah lives in Illinois with her husband, son, and rescue dogs. She is a writer and editor at Mark Twain Media, Inc., an educational publishing company. When not chasing her son around or writing, she attempts to read, knit, and complete home improvement projects on her historical 1895 Queen Anne house.



The Nanny Plan
by Sarah M. Anderson

This billionaire bachelor has a baby challenge…

Being a father to his orphaned infant niece is out of this tech billionaire’s comfort zone. Lucky for Nate Longmire, Trish Hunter is a natural at motherhood, and she’s agreed to be his temporary nanny. But long glances, slow kisses and not-so-innocent touches are strictly off-limits…

Trish’s goal is to help Nate in exchange for a big donation to her charity for Lakota kids. Falling for her bachelor boss—and his adorable baby girl—is not part of the plan. But when the month is up, will she be able to walk away?

Winner of Mid-Length Contemporary Romance


Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Elle Kennedy is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

For their book:


Him 
by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend...and a big one to learn about himself.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Winner of Best First Book


Pintip Dunn

Pintip Dunn's first-grade teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied, “An author.” Although she has pursued other interests over the years, her dream of becoming an author has never wavered.

She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,” and received the Barry S. Kaplan Prize for best paper in Law and Literature.

For her book:


Forget Tomorrow 
by Pintip Dunn

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided...
by your future self. 

It's Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she's eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they're meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist. 

Or in Callie's case, a criminal. 

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes. 

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself. 
Photobucket
To all the winners and nominees.

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