RWA Board of Directors

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Carolyn Jewel, President

President-Elect Carolyn JewelTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Carolyn Jewel is an award-winning author of historical and paranormal romance who has written for publishers such as St. Martin’s Press, HarperCollins, Berkley Books, and Grand Central Forever. She has been a RITA finalist in the Historical and Paranormal categories. In a past day job, she was a web developer. She is currently a Microsoft SQL Server DBA and Data Architect. She leads a team of offshore DBAs for a company with a presence in North America, Europe, and now expanding into Asia. She has written 25 novels, novellas, and short stories, and has self-published backlist as well as front list.

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Damon Suede, President-Elect

Damon SuedeTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Damon has earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. Beyond romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time creator for print, stage, and screen for almost three decades. He has won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year.

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Donna Alward, Secretary

Donna AlwardTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Donna Alward is a NYT bestselling author of over fifty romances and has served as the PAN Advisor to the RWA Board for the past two years. She is a past RITA® finalist and a two time winner of both the Bookseller’s Best Award and the Colorado Award of Excellence. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she’s currently working on her next story.

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Nan Dixon, Treasurer

Treasurer Nan DixonTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Nan Dixon graduated with an accounting degree and passed the CPA and CMA (Certified Management Accountant) exams in one year. She was Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer of a non-profit 150 provider medical group for 14 years. As VP Finance of a pharmaceutical company, her span of control included Treasury, Cash Management, Strategic Planning, IT, Tax, Contracting, Insurance, Real Estate, and Mergers and Acquisitions. She has served as MFW’s Secretary and President and is also a member of TGN. She serves as treasurer of a non-profit dance company. Now writing full-time, Nan has published 6 books with Harlequin.

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Hanna Rhys Barnes, Director-at-Large

Hanna Rhys-BarnesTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Hanna Rhys Barnes/Tolden Rhys has been a member of RWA for ten years. She has served on committees and boards of several RWA chapters, both local and online. Hanna has been a freelance developmental editor and author coach for the last six years. Though she’s traditionally published in historical romance, Hanna is currently querying her paranormal romance while self-publishing her two holiday romance novellas featuring “seasoned heroines.” Hanna lives on Whidbey Island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her sassy ginger tabby Nekkohime (Japanese for Cat Princess).

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Denny S. Bryce, Director-at-Large

Denny S. BryceTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Denny writes historical fiction and urban fantasy. Her debut novel, Wild Women and the Blues, is coming from Kensington in 2021. A PR/marketing professional, she spent 25 years running her event marketing and PR firm. For 10 of those years, she wrote Buffy/Spike fan fiction. A RWA Golden Heart® finalist in 2018 and 2016, she won in 2014. Now, in addition to writing novels, she writes book reviews for NPR Books, and the occasional feature for FROLIC Media, (recaps of Outlander on Starz). She also recently completed a fellowship with Tin House in Portland.

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Pintip Dunn, Director-at-Large

Pintip DunnTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times best-selling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School. Pintip’s novel Forget Tomorrow won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and Seize Today won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.

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Seressia Glass, Director-at-Large

Seressia GlassTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Seressia Glass has been a member of RWA since 1997. A 2016 RITA finalist, she’s won a Maggie Award of Excellence, an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and an Emma. She has published more than 25 works in contemporary, historical, and paranormal romance and urban fantasy with publishers including Berkley, Harlequin, Pocket, St. Martin’s Press, and Knaur in Germany. In additional to her writing career, she is an instructional designer for a Fortune 500 company. She lives south of Atlanta with her husband, son, and two attack poodles.

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Tracey Livesay, Director-at-Large

Tracey LivesayTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a former criminal defense attorney, Tracey Livesay is the award-winning author of contemporary, interracial romances with Avon and Entangled. She's served on the board of Virginia Romance Writers for seven years, including two as president, volunteered on several national committees and is a member of PAN. Tracey lives in Virginia with her husband-who she met on the very first day of law school—and their three children. In her spare time—Ha!—she watches planner videos on YouTube and daydreams about her next designer purse purchase.

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Kate McMurray, Director-at-Large

Kate McMurrayTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Kate McMurray writes smart romantic fiction. She likes creating stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities. She advocates for romance stories by and for everyone. When she’s not writing, she edits textbooks, watches baseball, plays violin, crafts things out of yarn, and wears a lot of cute dresses. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with two cats and too many books. She is active in Romance Writers of America, having served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter, and RWA NYC, the New York City chapter.

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Adrienne Mishel, Director-at-Large

Adrienne MishelTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

A member of RWA since 2010, Adrienne Mishel is completing her first term as Director at Large. She has served as RWA Chapter Advisor for the national board and has held various leadership and support positions within Carolina Romance Writers, CIMRWA, and FF&P Special Interest online chapters. She has also served on several national committees and task forces. A PRO member, Adrienne turned her love for things that go bump in the night into steamy paranormal romance novels. She is currently querying. Adrienne lives in North Carolina with her husband, kids, and two 100-pound lap dogs.

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Priscilla Oliveras, Director-at-Large

Priscilla OliverasTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today best-selling author & 2018 RWA RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. She and her novels have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, amongst others. Currently, she serves on RWA’s Board of Directors and, since earning her Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she works as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the ed2go online course “Romance Writing.”

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Chanta Rand, Director-at-Large

Chanta RandTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Chanta Rand is an award winning, best-selling author of sizzling-hot romance, and the former host of The Chanta Rand Show. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in finance, she set out to become a CPA, but ended up writing happy endings instead.

She’s partnered with RWA to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion in romance, serving as chairperson of the Diversity Committee, a member of the Diversity Training Task Force, and in an advisory capacity on the Ethics Committee. The author of over 25 novels, Chanta is a history junkie, a Walking Dead fan, and a recovering shoe addict. She never met a stiletto she didn't like!

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Erica Ridley, Director-at-Large

Erica RidleyTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Erica Ridley is the New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty-five romances and a past president of Novelists, Inc. After securing a degree in international business and marketing, she spent years working on promotion, websites, and infrastructure for companies big and small. Becoming a full-time romance author is a dream come true. Erica lives on a macadamia farm in the rainforests of Costa Rica along with too many animals to count. (Did she just lump her husband in with sloths and spider monkeys? Maybe.)

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Farrah Rochon, Director-at-Large

Farrah RochonTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

USA Today
best-selling author Farrah Rochon hails from a tiny town in South Louisiana. The author of more than twenty-five novels and novellas, she has garnered rave reviews for her Holmes Brothers and Moments in Maplesville series. A two-time RITA finalist, Farrah has also been nominated for the RT BOOKReviews Reviewer's Choice Award and in 2015 won the Emma Award for Author of the Year. She is addicted to all things Disney, and spends way too much money on chocolate, traveling and seeing Broadway shows.

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Renee Ryan, Director-at-Large

Renee RyanTerm expiration: 08/31/2020

Renee has previously served as Secretary for the RWA Board of Directors and as a chapter president. She was a recipient of the 2014 RWA Service Award.

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Advisors to the Board

Barbara Wallace, PAN Advisor

Barbara WallaceTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Barbara Wallace sold her first novel to Harlequin/Mills & Boon, two years after winning RWA’s Golden Heart Award. Since then she’s gone on to publish nearly two dozen romance and mystery novels, both traditionally and independently. She is a three time Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice finalist, and has won the Booksellers Best and New England Readers’ Choice awards. In 2019, she received an RWA Service Award in recognition of her 24 years of regional and national RWA service.

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Maria Powers, PRO Advisor

Maria PowersTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Maria Powers grew up in Southern California. By day she works in Real Estate wrangling contracts and agreements with several government agencies. By night she writes kickass heroines and tough heroes with sensitive hearts ready to be tamed by the girl next door or beaten into submission by the witch on the corner. She has held several positions on her local chapters’ boards and was President of LARA twice. Maria was a Golden Heart finalist in 2015 and is currently working on a series of contemporary romances set on the Central Coast of California.

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Mellanie Szereto, Chapter Advisor

Mellanie SzeretoTerm expiration: 08/31/2021

Mellanie Szereto is the author of more than twenty-five romance novels, novellas, and short stories. In addition to numerous chapter and national committee responsibilities, she has served on her local chapter’s board in several capacities, including two terms as president and two terms as vice president, and is the current RWA Chapter Advisor. Her service has earned her Indiana RWA’s Chapter Service Award (2013) and the RWA Service Award (2016). Mellanie is a member of the Aged to Perfection-SRW, Contemporary Romance Writers, FF&P, IRWA, and NEORWA chapters.

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