RWA Announces 2017 Contest Finalists

Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for romance fiction authors, announces the finalists for the 2017 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards today, March 21. The RITA — the highest award of distinction in romance fiction — recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.

Award winners will be announced on July 27 at the 2017 RWA Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Congratulations to the finalists!

 

2017 RITA Finalists


Best First Book

Alterations by Stephanie Scott
Bloomsbury, Spark
Meredith Rich, editor

Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross
Amazon, Skyscape
Miriam Juskowicz, editor

Close to You by Kara Isaac
Howard Books
Beth Adams, editor

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
HarperTeen
Annie Berger, editor

Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison
Avon, Impulse
Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR
Emily Easton, editor

 


Contemporary Romance: Long

Always a Bridesmaid by Lizzie Shane
Self-published
Kristan Andrews, editor

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Avon Books
May Chen, editor

Make Me Sin by J. T. Geissinger
Montlake Publishing
Maria Gomez, editor

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin, HQN
Flo Nicoll, editor

Pansies by Alexis Hall
Riptide Publishing
Sarah Lyons, editor

Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin, HQN
Gail Chasan, editor

Tender Is the Night by Barbara Freethy
Hyde Street Press

 


Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Back in the Saddle by Karen Templeton
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Barefoot at Midnight by Roxanne St. Claire
Self-published
Kristi Yanta, editor

Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra
Berkley Publishing Group
Cindy Hwang, editor

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Self-published

Lone Heart Pass by Jodi Thomas
Harlequin, HQN
Brittany Lawery and Susan Swinwood, editors

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Junessa Viloria, editor

Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison
Avon, Impulse
Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors

Tell Me How This Ends by Victoria De La O
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Eileen Rothschild, editor

The Turning Point by Marie Meyer
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Megha Parekh, editor

Wanderlust by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Kate Seaver, editor

 


Contemporary Romance: Short

APB: Baby by Julie Miller
Harlequin, Intrigue
Allison Lyons, editor

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash
Tule Publishing, Holiday
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Christmas on Crimson Mountain by Michelle Major
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Falling for the Rancher by Tanya Michaels
Harlequin, American Romance
Johanna Raisanen, editor

Far from Home by Lorelie Brown
Riptide Publishing
Gwen Hayes and Sarah Lyons, editors

His Stolen Bride by Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin, Desire
Kathryn Lye, editor

A Malibu Kind of Romance by Synithia Williams
Harlequin, Kimani
Shannon Criss, editor

Overwhelming Force by Janie Crouch
Harlequin, Intrigue
Allison Lyons, editor

Searching for Disaster by Jennifer Probst
Pocket Books, Pocket Star
Lauren McKenna, editor

Two Doctors & a Baby by Brenda Harlen
Harlequin, Special Edition
Susan Litman, editor

 


Erotic Romance

The Dirty Secret by Kira A. Gold
Carina Press
Libby Murphy, editor

The Master by Tara Sue Me
New American Library
Claire Zion, editor

Off the Clock by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Kate Seaver, editor

Ravenous by M. S. Force
HTJB, Inc.
Linda Ingmanson, editor

Three Sweet Nothings by Nikki Sloane
Self-published
Lori Whitwam, editor

 


Historical Romance: Long

Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase
Avon Books
May Chen, editor

How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon Books
Erika Tsang, editor

Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor

 


Historical Romance: Short

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Mary Altman, editor

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Elizabeth Poteet, editor

 


Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

The Color of a Promise by Julianne MacLean
Self-published
Pat Thomas, editor

The Depth of Beauty by A. B. Michaels
Red Trumpet Press
Rachel Daven Skinner, editor

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Shana Drehs and Anna Michels, editors

Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske
Montlake Publishing
Krista Stroever and Christopher Werner, editors

 


Paranormal Romance

Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert
Harlequin, Nocturne
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

The Beast by J R Ward
New American Library
Kara Welsh, editor

The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant
Self-published
Mary Moran, editor

Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood
Harlequin, Nocturne
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella
Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
Self-published
Sasha Knight, editor

The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Peter Senftleben, editor

Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper
Pocket Books
Abby Zidle, editor

 


Romance Novella

Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan
Self-published
Lindsey Faber, editor

“The Husband Maneuver” by Karen Witemeyer
in With This Ring
Baker Publishing, Bethany House
Charlene Patterson, editor

Let It Snow by Jeanette Grey
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Megha Parekh and Lexi Smail, editors

“Let Us Dream” by Alyssa Cole
in Daughters of a Nation
Self-published
Nina S. Gooden, editor

Searching for Mine by Jennifer Probst
Evil Eye Concepts
Liz Berry and M J Rose, editors

Tycoon by Joanna Shupe
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Peter Senftleben, editor

Wild in Rio by Lyssa Kay Adams
Self-published
Elaine Kulhanek, editor

 


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Close to You by Kara Isaac
Howard Books
Beth Adams, editor

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors

My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Amy Hosford, editor

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Erin Calligan Mooney, editor

 


Romantic Suspense

All the Dead Girls by Rita Herron
Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

Atone by Beth Yarnall
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Field of Graves by J. T. Ellison
Harlequin, MIRA Books
Nicole Brebner, editor

Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin
Harlequin, Romantic Suspense
Carly Silver, editor

Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Shauna Summers, editor

One Minute to Midnight by Nico Rosso
Carina Press
Rhonda Stapleton, editor

Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton
Montlake Publishing
Charlotte Herscher and Christopher Werner, editors

Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre
Self-published
Anya Kagan, Touchstone Editing, editor

 


Young Adult Romance

Affective Needs by Rebecca Taylor
Ophelia House
Maya Packard, editor

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
HarperTeen
Annie Berger, editor

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Harlequin, HQN Teen
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR
Emily Easton, editor

 

 


 

2017 Golden Heart Finalists


Contemporary Romance

"Always Sunny" by Kimberly MacCarron

"Far-Fetched Love" by Priscilla Cook

"Framed" by Susan J. Bickford

"Mounting the Marquis" by Kelli Newby

"No Man Left Behind" by Penelope Leas

"Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot" by Melonie Johnson

"Take the Lead" by Alexis Daria 

"Tempting Fate" by Jeri Black

"Things I'll Never Say" by Christina Hovland

"This Child Is Mine" by Jo Anne Banker

 


Contemporary Romance: Short

"Job Opening: Billionaire's Wife" by Susannah Erwin

"A Love Wide Open" by JoAnn Sky

"Princess of Meridian" by Catherine Stuart

"What Would Ginger Do?" by Kimberly MacCarron

 


Historical Romance

"Confess, Your Grace" by Scarlett Peckham

"The Governess's Glance" by Jennifer Henderson

"How to Train Your Baron" by Diana Lloyd

"Lord Lion and the Lady Publisher" by Laurel Kerr

"The Lost Chord" by Suzanne M. Turner

"The Price of Desire" by Emily Sullivan

"Unmasked" by Elizabeth Rue

"With Love in Sight" by Christina Britton

 


Paranormal Romance

"Beryl Blue, Time Cop" by Janet Halpin

"Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses" by Heather Leonard

"Constant Craving" by Kari W. Cole

"Fire's Rising" by Grace Adams

"The Mer Chronicles: Love's Diplomatic Act" by Kate Ramirez

"Soul Affinity" by A. Y. Chao

 


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

"Dangerous Exposure" by Dianna Shuford

"Fair Haven" by Laura Conner Kestner

"Wings of Love" by Pamela Ferguson

 


Romantic Suspense

"The Fire Beckons" by Lynnette Labelle

"The Guide" by Sarah Morgenthaler

"Seductive Strokes" by Patty Hoffman

"Semper Fi" by Meta Carroll

"Shot Down" by Tracy Brody

"Vengeance" by Diana Belchase

 


Young Adult Romance

"All the Feels" by Kimberly MacCarron

"Listen" by Jennifer Camiccia

"Mouthful" by C R Grissom

"Swimming through Fog" by Nicole Hohmann 

 

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