RWA Board of Directors

     Diane Kelly

    Diane Kelly, President

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    Diane Kelly is the Golden-Heart winning author of the humorous Death and Taxes series published by St. Martin’s Press. Diane is a licensed attorney and CPA, with two decades experience in taxation and business. She graduated with honors from the University of Texas accounting program and attended the University of Texas School of Law. Diane has worked for the international accounting firm KPMG, as well as serving a stint in the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

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     Leslie Kelly

    Leslie Kelly, President-Elect

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    Four-time RWA RITA Award nominee 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.

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     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.

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     Donna MacMeans

    Donna MacMeans, Treasurer

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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.

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     Cynthia D'Alba

    Cynthia D'Alba, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2017

    New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Cynthia D’Alba served as the PRO Liaison to the National RWA BOD in 2009 and 2010. She has been President of Diamond State Romance Authors (DSRA) and Heartbeat RWA, as well as Treasurer and Newsletter Editor for DSRA. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing, Master Degrees in Business Administration and Curriculum and Instruction and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration. She is published with Samhain, Running Press, Cleis and as an Indie Author.


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     Tessa Dare

    Tessa Dare, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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.

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     Dee Davis

    Dee Davis, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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.

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     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.

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     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.

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     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.

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     Carolyn Jewel

    Carolyn Jewel, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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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     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,

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     Courtney Milan

    Courtney Milan, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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.

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     Farrah Rochon

    Farrah Rochon, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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 nominee, 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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     Damon Suede

    Damon Suede, Director-at-Large

    Term expiration: 10/31/2016

    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.

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     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.

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     Shirley Jump

    Shirley Jump, PAN Liaison

    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.

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     Priscilla Kissinger

    Priscilla Kissinger, PRO Liaison

    Term expiration: 10/31/2017

    Priscilla Kissinger 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.

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     Adrienne Trent

    Adrienne Trent, Chapter Liaison

    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.

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