RWA Board of Directors

To contact the RWA Board of Directors E-mail:

 Leslie Kelly

Leslie Kelly, President

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Four-time RWA RITA Award finalist Leslie Kelly is a New York Times best-selling author who writes contemporary romances and dark thrillers, some published under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish. Published both conventionally and independently, Leslie was one of the founding members of the Florida-STAR chapter. She served as the group's first full-term president, newsletter editor, contest coordinator, conference coordinator, and PAN liaison. Elected to the RWA Board three years ago, she has been proud to serve the organization at a national level.

Leslie lives with her husband and their daughters in western Maryland.

 E-mail Leslie Kelly

 Dee Davis

Dee Davis, President-elect

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Dee Davis has a masters degree in public administration. Prior to writing, she served as the director of two associations, wrote award-winning PSAs, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, and lobbied both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress.

Her first novel was published in 2000. She's won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. She is the author of 21 books. Dee also teaches writing for NYU's continuing education department.

E-mail Dee Davis

 Rene Ryan

Renee Ryan, Secretary

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Two-time Daphne Award winner Renee Ryan quit teaching high school Economics and American Government to pursue her dream of writing romance fiction. A member of RWA since 1998, she sold her first manuscript to Leisure Books in 2002. A seven-year dry spell ensued before she sold her second book in 2009 to Harlequin Love Inspired. As she works on her seventeenth contracted novel with Harlequin, Renee credits her continued success to the encouragement, networking and education she’s received from RWA. The recipient of the 2014 RWA Service Award, Renee has been an active volunteer on the local and national level.

E-mail Renee Ryan

 Donna MacMeans

Donna MacMeans, Treasurer

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

A CPA with a small tax practice, Donna MacMeans, received a 2013 RWA Service Award in recognition of her work with chapter treasurers. She established a loop where treasurers could communicate prior to myRWA. She’s a member of the Finance Committee, a think tank where the national budget is vetted. A COFW chapter President for two years and Chapter Treasurer for eight years, she also belongs to PAN, PASIC, NEORWA, and Celtic Hearts chapters. She received the 2014 PRO Mentor of the Year award for her passion with aspiring authors. She’s published six novels with Berkley and indie-pubbed one.

E-mail Donna MacMeans

 Tessa Dare

Tessa Dare, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of eleven historical romance novels and four novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award and multiple RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance,” and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a big brown dog.

E-mail Tessa Dare

 Alyssa Day

Alyssa Day, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

New York Times best-selling author Alyssa Day has been an RWA member since just after 9/11, when she realized life was too short to let anything stop her from her dream of writing. She also writes romantic comedies as Alesia Holliday and young adult romance as Lucy Connors, and her books have won many awards, including the prestigious RITA. Her Navy family moves have taken her to several RWA chapters, where she has frequently served as board member and conference chair. A recovering trial lawyer, Alyssa has published 23 books.

E-mail Alyssa Day

 HelenKay Dimon

HelenKay Dimon, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

HelenKay Dimon is a former trial attorney turned full-time romance author. She has sold over 35 novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including Kensington, Harlequin, Berkley, Samhain and Carina Press. Her nationally best-selling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and twice been named "Red-Hot Reads" and excerpted in Cosmo. HelenKay has served in numerous board positions in her local RWA chapter (San Diego), including president and vice president of programs. She was named the RWA PRO Mentor of the Year in 2010.

E-mail HelenKay Dimon


Winnie Griggs, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

Winnie is an award-winning, multi-published author who joined RWA in 1995 and has a career sales record of 23 romance titles and counting.  As an active member of her local chapter, she has served five terms as president and has held every board position in her chapter and nearly every volunteer position, including conference chair and awards chair.

On the national level, she has served as Conference Worshop Chair, and as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee and the Chapter Recognition Committee.

E-mail Winnie Griggs

 Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Kristan is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen romantic comedies and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Romantic Times and the New York Journal of Books. She is the past president of Connecticut RWA and has held a board position with that group for many years. She lives in her hometown in Connecticut with her lovely husband and entertaining children.

E-mail Kristan Higgins

 Carolyn Jewel

Carolyn Jewel, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

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.

E-mail Carolyn Jewel

 Julie Kenner

Julie Kenner, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

RWA Honor Roll member Julie Kenner is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling author with over 40 books to her credit. As an author, former litigation attorney, and former homeschooling mom, Julie brings a wide range of experience to the Board, as she has handled crises touching on everything from volatile depositions, messy copy edits, and a reluctance to memorize irregular Latin verbs. She has been a member of RWA for over a decade and has served on the board of her local chapter. Her full bio is available at her website,

E-mail Julie Kenner

 Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

Courtney Milan is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of historical romance. She has finaled in the RITA® as both a traditionally published and a self-published author. Her books have appeared on the ALA's Genre Reading List, Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2010, and the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards. In prior lives, she's been a theoretical chemist and a lawyer.

She lives in Denver with her husband, a dog, a cat, and a houseful of books.

E-mail Courtney Milan

 Farrah Rochon

Farrah Rochon, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

USA Today Bestselling 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.

E-mail Farrah Rochon

 Damon Suede

Damon Suede, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2018

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. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for over two 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.

E-mail Damon Suede

 Barbara Wallace

Barbara Wallace, Director-at-Large

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Award-winning author Barbara Wallace joined RWA in 1995 and spent 14 years as an unpublished member before selling her first recognized novel to Harlequin in 2009. Since then, she has published 16-plus novels with both print and electronic publishers. A staunch believer in volunteerism, she’s served the New England chapter in several capacities including Vice President, PAN Liaison (2 terms), Newsletter Editor and Conference Committee Member. On a national level, she has served as the secretary for the RWA’s Published Author Special Interest Chapter and has been a member of the PAN Conference Committee for the past 2 years.

E-mail Barbara Wallace


Advisors to the Board

 Shirley Jump

Shirley Jump, PAN Advisor

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Shirley Jump has written more than 50 novels for Berkley, Harlequin, Entangled and Kensington books. A former chapter president and frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad, Shirley’s diverse career has spanned two decades. She has won numerous awards, including the HOLT Medallion, the Booksellers Best Award and Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence. In addition, she’s been nominated multiple times for the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award. The first book in her upcoming series with Berkley, The Sweetheart Bargain, recently received a Top Pick from Romantic Times.

E-mail Shirley Jump

 Priscilla Kissinger

Priscilla Kissinger, w/a Priscilla Oliveras, PRO Advisor

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

Priscilla Oliveras is a four-time Golden Heart finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latino flavor. She works full-time in sales & marketing and since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hall University, teaches an on-line class on romance writing. A long-time RWA member, Priscilla has gotten “this” close to publication but hasn’t made it – yet. She understands the determination and resiliency shared by PRO members and plans to use her leadership experience as a former Chapter President, VP of Membership, and Programs/Education Chair to make the PRO voice an integral part of the board.

E-mail Priscilla Oliveras

 Adrienne Trent

Adrienne Mishel, Chapter Advisor

Term expiration: 10/31/2017

A member of RWA since 2010, Adrienne is completing her second term as chapter president for Carolina Romance Writers. Her background includes several board and volunteer positions with CIMRWA and FF&P Special Interest online chapters. She served on the Chapter Recognition Ad Hoc Committee, the Bylaws Committee and the Bylaws Task Force for RWA. She is a PRO member currently querying her first paranormal romance.

E-mail Adrienne Mishel