2016 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists

Romance Writers of America Announces 2016 Contest Finalists

Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association for aspiring and published romance fiction authors, announces the finalists for the 2016 RITA® and Golden Heart® Awards. 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 The Golden Heart recognizes excellence in unpublished romance manuscripts.

Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book's publisher in one of the contest categories. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round.

The 2016 winners will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony on July 16 at the 2016 RWA Annual Conference in San Diego, California.

Congratulations to the 2016 finalists!

 

 

RITA Finalists

 

Best First Book

Altered by Marnee Blake Marnee Blake

Altered by Marnee Blake

Entangled Publishing, Embrace

Candace Havens, editor

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn Pintip Dunn

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

Entangled Publishing, Teen

Liz Pelletier, editor

Night Hush by Leslie Jones Leslie Jones

Night Hush by Leslie Jones

HarperCollins, Witness Impulse

Nicole Fischer, editor

No Better Man by Sara Richardson Sara Richardson

No Better Man by Sara Richardson

Grand Central Publishing, Forever

Megha Parekh, editor

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House

Raela Schoenherr, editor

Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon Elizabeth Harmon

Pairing Off by Elizabeth Harmon

Harlequin, Carina Press

Kerri Buckley, editor

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole Scarlett Cole

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

St. Martin’s Press

Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley Asa Maria Bradley

Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Cat Clyne, editor

top

 

 

Contemporary Romance: Long

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates Maisey Yates

Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Harlequin, HQN

Margo Lipschultz, editor

Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid Kimberly Kincaid

Fire Me Up by Kimberly Kincaid

Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra

Alicia Condon, editor

Love Me Sweet by Tracy Brogan Tracy Brogan

Love Me Sweet by Tracy Brogan

Amazon, Montlake

Kelli Martin, editor

Love Somebody Like You by Susan Fox Susan Fox

Love Somebody Like You by Susan Fox

Kensington Publishing Corp., Zebra

Martin Biro, editor

Once Kissed by Cecy Robson Cecy Robson

Once Kissed by Cecy Robson

Penguin Random House, Loveswept

Sue Grimshaw, editor

Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas Jodi Thomas

Ransom Canyon by Jodi Thomas

Harlequin, HQN

Susan Swinwood, editor

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne RaeAnne Thayne

Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin, HQN

Gail Chasan, editor

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst Jennifer Probst

Searching for Beautiful by Jennifer Probst

Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books

Lauren McKenna, editor

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis Jill Shalvis

Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis

Grand Central Publishing

Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak Brenda Novak

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

Harlequin, MIRA

Paula Eykelhof, editor

top

 

 

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne RaeAnne Thayne

A Cold Creek Christmas Story by RaeAnne Thayne

Harlequin, Special Edition

Gail Chasan, editor

Dances Under the Harvest Moon by Joanne Rock Joanne Rock

Dances Under the Harvest Moon by Joanne Rock

Harlequin, Superromance

Adrienne Macintosh, editor

Falling for Mr Wrong by Lizzie Shane Lizzie Shane

Falling for Mister Wrong by Lizzie Shane

Self-published

Kristan Andrews, editor

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy Sarina BowenElle Kennedy

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Self-published

Edie Danford, editor

Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley Elizabeth Hayley

Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley

Penguin Random House, NAL

Laura Fazio, editor

Love After All by Jaci Burton Jaci Burton

Love After All by Jaci Burton

Penguin Random House, Berkley

Kate Seaver, editor

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert Katee Robert

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert

Grand Central Publishing, Forever

Leah Hultenschmidt, editor

Not a Fairy Tale by Romy Sommer Romy Sommer

Not a Fairy Tale by Romy Sommer

HarperCollins, HarperImpulse

Charlotte Ledger, editor

Once Pure by Cecy Robson Cecy Robson

Once Pure by Cecy Robson

Penguin Random House, Loveswept

Sue Grimshaw, editor

Romancing Miss Right by Lizzie Shane Lizzie Shane

Romancing Miss Right by Lizzie Shane

Self-published

Kristan Andrews, editor

top

 

   

Contemporary Romance: Short

A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael CJ Carmichael

A Bramble House Christmas by CJ Carmichael

Tule Publishing

Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Carter Bravo's Christmas Bride by Christine Rimmer Christine Rimmer

Carter Bravo’s Christmas Bride by Christine Rimmer

Harlequin, Special Edition

Gail Chasan, editor

Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke Marissa Clarke

Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke

Entangled Publishing, Lovestruck

Liz Pelletier, editor

Heated Moments by Phyllis Bourne Phyllis Bourne

Heated Moments by Phyllis Bourne

Harlequin, Kimani Romance

Glenda Howard, editor

His Lost-and-Found Bride by Scarlet Wilson Scarlet Wilson

His Lost-and-Found Bride by Scarlet Wilson

Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance

Carly Byrne, editor

The Nanny Plan by Sarah M Anderson Sarah M Anderson

The Nanny Plan by Sarah M. Anderson

Harlequin, Desire

Stacy Boyd, editor

One Night with Her Bachelor by Kat Latham Kat Latham

One Night with Her Bachelor by Kat Latham

Tule Publishing, Montana Born Books

Sinclair Sawhney, editor

The Prince She Never Forgot by Scarlet Wilson Scarlet Wilson

The Prince She Never Forgot by Scarlet Wilson

Harlequin, Mills & Boon Romance

Carly Byrne, editor

Tempting the Knight by Heidi Rice Heidi Rice

Tempting the Knight by Heidi Rice

Tule Publishing

Kelly Hunter, editor

Three Nights Before Christmas by Kat Latham Kat Latham

Three Nights Before Christmas by Kat Latham

Tule Publishing

Sinclair Sawhney, editor

top

 

   

Erotic Romance

Break Me Down by Roni Loren Roni Loren

Break Me Down by Roni Loren

Penguin Random House, Berkley Intermix

Kate Seaver, editor

For Real by Alexis Hall no photo provided

For Real: A Spires Story by Alexis Hall

Riptide Publishing

Sarah Lyons, editor

Say My Name by J Kenner J Kenner

Say My Name by J. Kenner

Ballantine Bantam Dell, Bantam Books

Shauna Summers, editor

Sugar by Seressia Glass Seressia Glass

Sugar by Seressia Glass

Penguin Random House

Cindy Hwang, editor

Three Little Mistakes by Nikki Sloane Nikki Sloane

Three Little Mistakes by Nikki Sloane

Self-published

Lori Whitwam, editor

top

 

   

Historical Romance: Long

Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake Olivia Drake

Bella and the Beast by Olivia Drake

St. Martin’s Press

Jennifer Enderlin, editor

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen Shana Galen

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Deb Werksman, editor

If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries Sabrina Jeffries

If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries

Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books

Micki Nuding, editor

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist Deeanne Gist

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Simon & Schuster, Howard Books

Beth Adams, editor

Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes Grace Burrowes

Tremaine’s True Love by Grace Burrowes

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Deb Werksman, editor

top

 

   

Historical Romance: Short

Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath Lorraine Heath

Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath

HarperCollins, Avon Books

May Chen, editor

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long Julie Anne Long

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long

HarperCollins, Avon Books

May Chen, editor

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare Tessa Dare

Say Yes to the Marquess by Tessa Dare

HarperCollins, Avon Books

Tessa Woodward, editor

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain Theresa Romain

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Deb Werksman, editor

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn Julia Quinn

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

HarperCollins, Avon Books

Lyssa Keusch, editor

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt Elizabeth Hoyt

Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

Grand Central Publishing

Amy Pierpont, editor

top

 

   

Inspirational Romance

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade Becky Wade

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House

Charlene Patterson and Raela Schoenherr, editors

Mistletoe Justice by Carol J. Post Carol J. Post

Mistletoe Justice by Carol J. Post

Harlequin, Love Inspired Suspense

Rachel Burkot, editor

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes Laurie Alice Eakes

The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes

HarperCollins, Zondervan

Becky Phillpot, editor

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House

Raela Schoenherr, editor

The Rescued by Marta Perry Marta Perry

The Rescued by Marta Perry

Penguin Random House, Berkley

Ellen Edwards, editor

top

 

   

Paranormal Romance

Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison Thea Harrison

Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison

Penguin Random House, Berkley Sensation

Cindy Hwang, editor

Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles Angela Quarles

Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles

Self-published

Erynn Newman and Jessa Slade, editors

Possessed by a Wolf by Sharon Ashwood Sharon Ashwood

Possessed by a Wolf by Sharon Ashwood

Harlequin, Nocturne

Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott MJ Scott

The Shattered Court by M. J. Scott

Penguin Random House, NAL ROC

Jessica Wade, editor

Soulbound by Kristen Callihan Kristen Callihan

Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

Grand Central Publishing, Forever

Alex Logan, editor

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts Nora Roberts

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts

Penguin Random House, Berkley

Leslie Gelbman, editor

Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley Asa Maria Bradley

Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Cat Clyne, editor

top

 

   

Romance Novella

All's Fair in Love and Scandal Caroline Linden

All’s Fair in Love and Scandal by Caroline Linden

HarperCollins, Avon Impulse

Lyssa Keusch, editor

Blue Streak by Jules Barnard Jules Barnard

Blue Streak: A Blue Series Novella by Jules Barnard

Self-published

Shelley Bates, editor

Desert Heat by Merline Lovelace Merline Lovelace

“Desert Heat” by Merline Lovelace

in Course of Action: Crossfire

Harlequin, Romantic Suspense

Patience Bloom, editor

Her Secret Prince by Madeline Ash Madeline Ash

“Her Secret Prince” by Madeline Ash

in Royal Holiday

Tule Publishing Group

Laurie Johnson and Kelly Hunter, editors

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole Alyssa Cole

“Let It Shine” by Alyssa Cole

in The Brightest Day, a Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

Self-published

Arynn Nichols, editor

Nice Girls Don't Ride by Roni Loren Roni Loren

Nice Girls Don’t Ride by Roni Loren

Penguin Random House, Berkley Intermix

Kate Seaver, editor

One Little Kiss by Robin Covington Robin Covington

One Little Kiss by Robin Covington

Self-published

Nicole Bailey, editor

The Resurrection of Sam Sloan by Erin Quinn Erin Quinn

The Resurrection of Sam Sloan by Erin Quinn

Self-published

LK Coulter, editor

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden Elizabeth Camden

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden

Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House

Raela Schoenherr, editor

top

 

   

Romantic Suspense

Barefoot with a Bodyguard by Roxanne St Claire Roxanne St Claire

Barefoot with a Bodyguard by Roxanne St. Claire

Self-published

Kristi Yanta, editor

Barefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St Claire Roxanne St Claire

Barefoot with a Stranger by Roxanne St. Claire

Self-published

Kristi Yanta, editor

Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon HelenKay Dimon

Facing Fire by HelenKay Dimon

HarperCollins, Avon Books

May Chen, editor

Fatal Frenzy by Marie Force Marie Force

Fatal Frenzy by Marie Force

Harlequin, Carina Press

Alissa Davis, editor

Flash Fire by Dana Marton Dana Marton

Flash Fire by Dana Marton

Self-published

In the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White Loreth Anne White

In the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White

Amazon, Montlake Romance

Charlotte Herscher and JoVon Sotak, editors

She Can Kill by Melinda Leigh Melinda Leigh

She Can Kill by Melinda Leigh

Amazon, Montlake Romance

Charlotte Herscher and Anh Schluep, editors

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole Scarlett Cole

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

St. Martin’s Press

Elizabeth Poteet, editor

Target Engaged by ML Buchman ML Buchman

Target Engaged by M. L. Buchman

Sourcebooks, Casablanca

Deb Werksman, editor

top

 

   

Young Adult Romance

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Macmillan, Feiwel & Friends

Anna Roberto, editor

Followed by Frost by Charlie N Holmberg Charlie N Holmberg

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

Amazon, 47North

Jason Kirk, editor

Rikki by Abigail Strom Abigail Strom

Rikki by Abigail Strom

Self-published

Unspoken by CC Hunter Unspoken by CC Hunter

Unspoken by C. C. Hunter

St. Martin’s Press, Griffin

Rose Hilliard, editor

top

 

   

Golden Heart Finalists

 

Contemporary Romance

Brooke Salisbury

"An Education" by Brooke Salisbury writing as Brooke Salesky

Susan Bickford

“Façade” by Susan Bickford

Monique Headley

“Off the Rails” by Monique Headley

Gabrielle Luthy

“Shelter Me” by Gabrielle Luthy

Sydney Carroll

“Smiling Underwater” by Sydney Carroll

Tracy Brody

“The Sniper’s Second Shot” by Tracy Brody

Melonie Johnson

“Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot” by Melonie Johnson

Rayn Ellis

“Soul Song” by Rayn Ellis

Melanie McCarthy

“Surrender to the Movie Star” by Melanie McCarthy

Erin OBrien

“Volunteering Her Heart” by Erin O’Brien

Seana Kelly

“Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher” by Seana Kelly

top

 

Historical Romance

Susanna Malcolm

“Besotted with the Viscount” by Susanna Malcolm

Amelia Ridley

“A Curious Correspondence” by Amelia Ridley

Elizabeth King

“The Earl and the Pussycat” by Elizabeth King

Renee Ann Miller

“The Impetuous Miss Milton” by Renee Ann Miller

Tracey Amey

“My Lord Mercenary” by Tracey Amey

Karen Miller

“Saving Columbine Ranch” by Karen Miller

Elizabeth King

“Taming the Earl” by Elizabeth King

Eileen Emerson

“An Unbridled Gentleman” by Eileen Emerson

Elizabeth Rue

“Undone” by Elizabeth Rue

Denny S. Bryce

“Wild Women and the Blues” by Denny S. Bryce

top

 

 

Inspirational Romance

Kimberly MacCarron

“For the Love of Termites” by Kimberly MacCarron

Pamela Kopfler

“One More Breath” by Pamela Kopfler

top

 

 

Paranormal Romance

Pamela Kopfler

“Better Dead” by Pamela Kopfler

Kari W. Cole

“Constant Craving” by Kari W. Cole

Tara Sheets

“Don’t Call Me Cupcake” by Tara Sheets

Ainsley Wynter

“Kissed at Midnight” by Ainsley Wynter

Kate Ramirez

“The Mer Chronicles: A Duty Too Far” by Kate Ramirez

Jaycee Jarvis

“Taxing Courtship” by Jaycee Jarvis

Alison Pritchard

“WØLFF: Rise of the Valdyr” by Alison Pritchard writing as Alyson McLayne

top

 

 

Romantic Suspense

Diana Belchase

“Escape from the Harem” by Diana Belchase

Layla Reyne

“Four Tragedies” by Layla Reyne

Tracy Brody

“In the Wrong Sights” by Tracy Brody

Diane Holiday

“Love in Hiding” by Diane Holiday

Melanie Novak

“Ruby Red” by Melanie Novak

Arianna James

“The Truth Is in the Tango” by Arianna James

top

 

 

Short Contemporary Romance

Susan Breeden

“Back in the Saddle” by Susan Breeden

Sarah Hall

“Breaking Her Rules” by Sarah Hall

Evie Anderson

“In the Fast Lane” by Evie Anderson

Carrie Nichols

“Rescuing Riley” by Carrie Nichols

top

 

 

Young Adult Romance

Lori Freeland

“The Accidental Boyfriend” by Lori Freeland

Meg Kassel

“The Beekeeper” by Meg Kassel

TL Sumner

“Between Never & Always” by TL Sumner

Mary Sullivan

“The Expedition” by Mary Sullivan

Nicole Hohmann

“Field Guide to a Girl” by Nicole Hohmann

McCall Hoyle

“The Other Cheek” by McCall Hoyle

Sheri Adkins

“Senior Tag: The Underwear Games” by Sheri Adkins

top