RWA Service Award

RWA Service Awards are intended to honor major commitments of service to RWA and are presented for the accumulated body of effort a volunteer may make during a lifetime.

To nominate an RWA member for the Service Award, click here or e-mail


2016 RWA Service Award Recipients

Silver James

Silver James

A member of RWA since 2008, Silver James is a true hybrid author, publishing through a small press, self-publishing and with Harlequin Desire. She also finds time to volunteer with RWA and the Oklahoma Romance Writers and Kiss of Death chapters. As a member of OKRWA, she chaired the National Readers Choice Awards for seven years and served as the 2014 president-elect and 2015 president. James is the 2016 president-elect for Kiss of Death. She’s volunteered at RWA’s Annual Conferences every year since 2010, in a variety of ways.


Cindy Kirk

Cindy Kirk

Cindy Kirk joined RWA in 1996, the same year she began writing romance. Kirk sold her first book in 1999 to Harlequin and has been publishing steadily since, writing for several different publishers along the way. For the first 15 years of her publishing journey, Cindy worked full time, wrote full time, and volunteered in her local chapter. She co-founded another local chapter while also serving on several committees at the national level as well as volunteering at national conferences. From 2007–2015, Kirk served on the RWA Board of Directors. She was a Director for two terms, the PAN Liaison for two years, and then finished out her board service as president for the 2014–2015 board year. Cindy encourages anyone thinking of volunteering to give it a try. While she understands finding that extra time to volunteer isn’t always easy, she firmly believes it’s worth it.


Mellanie Szereto

Mellanie Szereto

Since joining RWA in 2009, Mellanie Szereto has chaired several of her local chapter’s committees, served as a chapter PRO liaison, and held three different positions on its board. She currently serves as Indiana RWA’s president and webmistress and is a member of the RWA Chapter Leadership Resources Development Ad Hoc Committee. In 2013, she received the Indiana RWA Chapter Service Award for her dedication and service to IRWA. With more than 20 published romances, Szereto balances her time between homeschooling her autistic son, volunteering with RWA and IRWA, and writing.


Lori Wilde

Lori Wilde

Best-selling author Lori Wilde has sold more than 78 works of fiction to major New York publishing houses. Her first NYT bestseller, The First Love Cookie Club, has been optioned for a television movie. A popular writing instructor, Wilde is a three-time RITA finalist and member of the RWA Honor Roll. Wilde has served at the chapter and national levels and currently is the chairperson of RWA’s Conference Workshop Committee.



Past RWA Service Award Recipients

2015: Lynn Coddington & Barbara Dunlop

2014:  Sylvia Day, Lorraine Heath, Stephanie Jones, & Renee Ryan

2013:  Julie Hurwitz, Eloisa James, Donna MacMeans, & Trish Milburn

2012:  Natalie Damschroder, Dorien Kelly, & Diane Pershing

2011:  Amy Atwell, Nikki Enlow, Stephanie Feagan, & Linda Howard

2010:  Madeline Hunter

2009:  Karen Fox

2008:  Nicole Burnham & Jill Limber

2007:  Katy Cooper, Jennifer Crump, Pam McCutcheon, & Connie Newman

2006:  Mary Strand & Nancy Haddock

2005:  Jill Barnett, Gail Freeman, & Laura Hayden

2004:  no award given

2003:  Sunni Jeffers, Alicia Rasley, & Mary Stella

2002:  Jill Floyd & Sandra Kitt

2001:  Jeanne Nicholson, Maggie Shayne & Carol Stephenson

2000:  Alice Countrymen & Linda Prine

1999:  Brenda Hamilton, Shannon Snow Lewis, Betty Rosenthal, Valerie Taylor, & Susan Wiggs

1998:  Laura Baker & Rita Clay Estrada

1997:  Donna Caubarreaux, Laura DeVries, Lynda Hales, & Alfie Thompson

1996:  Debra Dixon, Theresa Goodman, Anne Holmberg, Janet Kuchler, Kim Lewis, & Kate Welsh

1995:  Rita Gallagher, Cathie Linz, Debbie Macomber, & Karan Richardson

1994:  Margaret Brownley, Patt Marr, & Maggie Osborne

1993:  Darlene Layman, Harold Lowry, & Nora Simpson

1992:  Emma Merritt, Sharon Winn, Jan Boies, Glenda Kachelmeier, Susan Horton, Darlene Layman, & Claudia Yates

1991:  Kathy Clark & Jeanne Triner

1990:  Marian Jones