Archive | March 2014

Rita Nominees: Focus on Novellas

With the Rita Award Nominees announced, romance readers as well as those curious about the romance genre have an opportunity to discover writers and/or stories to consider. One popular category is the Novella category. Some of the best known books in our culture are novellas, including Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and the deeply ingrained Christmas classic, adapted again and again in stage, screen and animation, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. (The latter was also self published.)

Novellas are between 20,000 and 40,000 words. Accordingly, novellas appear as either stand-alone short books, or as part of an anthology.

The following Rita nominated novellas are available directly as stand-alone short books:

The Bridesmaid by Julia London
(Sourcebooks, Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)

Getting her to the wedding on time is the least of his worries…

Kate Preston just moved to New York, but she has to get back to Seattle in time for her best friend’s wedding. Joe Firretti is moving to Seattle, and has to get there in time or risk losing his new job. But fate’s got a sense of humor.

Kate goes from rubbing elbows on a plane with a gorgeous but irritating strange (doggone armrest hog) to sharing one travel disaster after another with him on four wheels. Joe thought he had his future figured out, but sometimes fates has to knock you over the head pretty hard before you see what opportunity is standing in front of you…in a really god-awful poufy bridesmaid dress.


How to Marry a Highlander by Katharine Ashe
(HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Impulse; Lucia Macro, editor)

With seven troublesome half sisters to marry off, Duncan, the Earl of Eads, has one problem: he’s broke.

With the prospect of marriage to the pompous local curate, Miss Teresa Finch-Freeworth has one dream: to wed instead the handsome Highlander she saw at a ball.

How does a desperate lady convince a reluctant laird that she’s the perfect bride for him? She strikes a wager! If she can find seven husbands for seven sisters, the earl must marry her.

Duncan has no intention of wedding the meddlesome maiden, and he gives her a deadline even the most audacious matchmaker can’t meet—one month. But Teresa sets terms, too: with each bridegroom she finds, the earl must pay her increasingly intimate rewards . . .

How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox
(Random House Group, Loveswept; Sue Grimshaw, editor)

What woman can resist a hot man in a hard hat? RITA finalist Ruthie Knox kicks off her new Camelot series with this deliciously sexy original novella, in which a good girl learns how to misbehave . . . with all her heart.
As program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?

Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?

Mine Under the Mistletoe by Kat Latham
(Carina Press; Angela James, editor)

Thanks to a transatlantic house swap, California girl Ashley Turner is finally going to fulfill her lifelong dream of a proper English Christmas. Her holiday plans did not include a sexy stranger climbing into her borrowed bed in the middle of the night. But in the light of day, Ashley can’t help but wonder if Santa has delivered early…

Game designer Oliver Stansfeld can’t wait to leave dreary London—and all its difficult holiday memories—for sunny San Diego. But a freak ice storm and a grounded plane have forced him back to his already-occupied flat. To make up for the mix-up, the least he can do is show his pretty houseguest where to get the perfect Christmas tree before he leaves.

The more time they spend together, the more their attraction grows, and soon Ashley is tempting Oliver to give in to the spirit of the season and snuggle up for the rest of the winter. As the ice melts and flights start taking off again, he must choose between giving in to the past or risking his heart on a chance at love.
Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter
(Tule Publishing, Montana Born Books; Tessa Shapcott, editor)

When Jenny Wright’s fiancé leaves her standing at the altar in a Vera Wang bridal gown she can’t afford, she’s humiliated and heartbroken. To have Marietta hero bull riding champ Colton Thorpe witness her shame – makes the rejection even more devastating.
Jenny and Colton grew up in the same rough neighborhood and they both left home right after school to pursue big dreams. Now they’re both back, with Colton as the celebrity chair for the 75th Copper Mountain Rodeo, and Jenny in disgrace.
Sexy, rugged Colton didn’t get to be a national champion by chance. He’s a man that takes risks and goes after what he wants. During the rodeo weekend, Colton makes it clear he wants Jenny. Flustered but flattered, Jenny finds it difficult to resist his charm. But what happens when the rodeo ends and Colton leaves town? Will she dare to dream again?

Take What You Want by Jeanette Grey
(Samhain Publishing; Jennifer Miller, editor)

She needs an escape…and he’s exactly what she had in mind.

College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet.

With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It’s a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.

At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar”, he’s game.


And the following are available in multi-story anthologies:


“Defending Truth” by Shannon McNear in A Pioneer Christmas
(Barbour Publishing; Becky Germany, editor)

Journey along with American settlers who learn that despite where the trail takes them or how primitive their lodgings may be Christmas is all about the heart. Determined to honor Christ’s birth, these pioneers find a way to make Christmas happen in places like a cave, a tipi, and a dugout.

Modern readers will enjoy a peek into life before commercialism took over the sacred day, distracting us from the true blessings of faith, hope, and love. Enjoy nine original novellas of Christmas romance as penned from many of today’s leading Christian authors, including Lauraine Snelling, Margaret Brownley, Kathleen Fuller, and Vickie McDonough.


“Imagine Me and You” by Maisey Yates in Animal Attraction
(Harlequin, HQN; Margo Lipschultz, editor)

Four of today’s most popular romance authors introduce four sizzling new tales of finding love unexpectedly–with a little help from man’s best friend. Includes an all-new Buckhorn Brothers story from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster!

The authors are donating all of their proceeds from Animal Attraction to the Animal Adoption Foundation of Hamilton, OH, a charitable organization.

Anthology includes:
Buckhorn Ever After by New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
Imagine Me and You by USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates
Gimme Shelter by USA TODAY bestselling author Heidi Betts
Partner in Crime by Jules Bennett

“Too Fast to Fall” by Victoria Dahl in Be Mine
Harlequin, HQN; Tara Parsons, editor)

For Jenny Stone, driving is her escape—from her past, her problems, her quiet life in Jackson Hole. But after Deputy Nate Hendricks stops her—again—for speeding, she could lose more than just her license. She could lose her heart. Nate seems to think that Jenny should replace her love for fast driving with something even more…heart pumping.

And despite her need for speed, Jenny’s never been one for defying the law.

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RITA and Golden Hearts Finalists Announced!

English: Romance icon

English: Romance icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Romance Writers of America announced today the final nominees for the prestigious 2014 Rita® Awards, for best 2013 romance novel in certain categories, and 2014 Golden Hearts® Awards, for best unpublished novel in certain categories. Today is an exciting day for romance enthusiasts, because the nominees are posted by RWA in pieces, as “the call” is made to each finalist.

Below, tipping our hat to the newest newcomers in the romance field, are the Rita nominees for Best First Book, and the Golden Hearts nominees in each category. It’s possible others might be added today. The other Rita finalists are listed at the RWA site. We will review each category in subsequent posts over the next few weeks. Congratulations to all of the finalists and to all of the participants. Every year many extremely high-quality works compete for these few slots, and the quality of writing and story are always of the highest caliber, allowing readers to fall in love again, and again, and again.


Best First Book

Five Days in Skye
by Carla Laureano
David C. Cook
John Blase and Tonya Osterhouse, editors

Fix You
by Beck Anderson
Omnific Publishing
Jessica Royer Ocken and Cindy Robinson Campbell, editors

Private Practice
by Samanthe Beck
Entangled Publishing, Brazen
Heather Howland, editor

Promise to Return
by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Simon & Schuster, Howard Books
Beth Adams and Amanda Demastus, editors

The Sweet Spot
by Laura Drake
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Latoya Smith, editor

2014 Golden Heart® Finalists

Contemporary Romance

  • “Fearless” by Brynley Bush
  • “Love in Living Color” by Shelly C. Alexander
  • “Too Good to Be True” by Suzanne Kaufman Kalb

Historical Romance

  • “Charlene and the Duchess Factory” by Lenora Bell
  • “The Earl Next Door” by Charis Calhoon
  • “A Haunting Desire” by Julie Mulhern
  • “Much Ado about Scandal” by Jillian Lark
  • “The Seer” by Gwynlyn MacKenzie
  • “A Soldier’s Serenade” by Ellen Lindseth
  • “The Unseducible Earl” by Sheri Humphreys
  • “Wicked Things” by Laura Trentham
  • “A Wild and Wicked Wind” by Laura Trentham

Inspirational Romance

  • “Against the Peace” by Carrie Padgett
  • “Better Than a Movie” by Sara Tompkins
  • “My Lord Valet” by Kristi Ann Hunter
  • “A Virtuous Ruby” by Piper Huguley

Paranormal Romance

  • “Beyond the Fire” by Marni Folsom
  • “Fit to Die” by Pintip Dunn
  • “Hidden Magic” by Shelly Chalmers
  • “Valhalla’s King” by Asa Maria Bradley

Romantic Suspense

  • “Chasing Damn” by Denny S. Bryce
  • “Dangerous Dreams” by Abbie Roads
  • “Fatal Fragrances” by Connie Taxdal
  • “In a Sea of Change” by Deborah Wilding
  • “Secrets That Kill” by Sarah Andre
  • “See Her No More” by Sharon Wray

Short Contemporary

  • “Bringing Delaney Home” by Lee Kilraine
  • “Poetic Justice” by Nan Dixon
  • “Yesterday’s Promise” by Sarah Cannon

Young Adult Romance

  • “Altered” by Marnee Bailey
  • “Carlie in Crisis” by Pintip Dunn
  • “Carma Always” by Stephanie Winkelhake
  • “Chasing Fireworks” by Kimberly MacCarron
  • “To Feel or Not to Feel” by Kimberly MacCarron
  • “Four Bullets” by Amy DeLuca
  • “Letting Go” by Jessica Ruddick
  • “Macha and the River Blue” by Barbara Gerry
  • “The Thing with Feathers” by McCall Hoyle
  • “This Is Your Afterlife” by Vanessa Barneveld

Smooch Contest Winner: Samantha Moon

In 2014 Yosemite Romance Writers (YRW) hosted The Smooch for the fourth year The Smooch entries were “first kiss” scenes from unpublished works-in-progress. YRW sought preliminary judges outside its chapter as well as within, each published in romance fiction: Grace Burrowes, Cheryl Brooks, Sandy James, Sharon Lathan, Lynette Endicott, Sara Humphreys, Merry Farmer, Diana Birchall, Shana Galen, Victoria Vane, Katherine Bone, Loucinda McGary, Linda Wisdom, Bonnie Hearn Hill, and Stacey Kayne. Five stellar entries were sent to Barbara Vey, Publishers Weekly romance blogger at Beyond Her Book for the final judging decision. Winners were announced at our Valentine’s meeting on February 15, 2014.

  • First Place: Samantha Moon for Game of Charades
  • Second Place: John C. Conway for Fire in the Paleo Mist
  • Third Place: Sarah Vance-Tompkins for The Fairy Godmother’s Rulebook
  • Finalist: Sheri Humphreys for Detective in the ER
  • Finalist: Shelly C. Alexander for Love in Living Color

To read the winning entry, visit  Yosemite Romance Writers’ Smooch Page.

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Dangerous to Love

Approaching the one-year anniversary of its release, Dangerous to Love, by Elsa Bayly, is a suspenseful romance still receiving great reviews. –“It is thought provoking and keeping me wanting more. Can’t wait for the ending. Makes me want to turn to the last page, because it’s been a complicated suspenseful ride.” — “The characters are compelling, with good chemistry between the two protagonists and a good plot. The first chapter grabs the reader and hold on to the finish.”

From the Author’s Site: For her first seven years of life Emma Spencer thought Carl and Bessie were her parents, but they weren’t. So who were they? Why has being their daughter for a few short years put Emma’s life in danger?

When Emma inherits the farm from Carl she is reunited with Buck Hill — the boy next door — or in this case next farm. Will Emma’s secrets and Buck’s increasing involvement make a life together impossible? Will their love be strong enough to conquer the dangers they face, one after the other?

Their search for answers go from a convent in Texas to the bayous of the south and finally lead to the pinnacles of political power and organized crime in Washington, D.C.

Join Buck and Emma on their desperate journey for answers.

Dangerous to Love is available in Paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon.

Elsa Bayly lives with her husband, two dogs, three chickens and an affectionate calf on a small ranchette in the central valley of California. Her house is usually overrun with house plants that she can’t seem to bring herself to thin out.

If Elsa isn’t writing she is often cooking a family dinner for her two daughters and their families. She is regularly found at a high school basketball or soccer game, water polo match, wrestling match, track meet, tumbling lesson or choir performance.

When Elsa’s busy life gives her a chance she retreats to her favorite recliner. Her Cairn terrier claims her lap and it’s their time to bond while she relaxes with a good book.

New Release–Sharon Lathan’s Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, the Darcy Saga sequel series by Sharon Lathan stands out as a fulfilling extension of the romance and passion ignited by Austen with her groundbreaking novel. The latest addition to the Darcy Saga sequel series is the prequel novel, Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. From the description of the novel:

Accepting a marriage proposal is merely the beginning . . . How did Lady Catherine restore Mr. Darcy s hope to prompt his second proposal? Did Caroline Bingley yield gracefully? Were the Bennets and Meryton citizens approving? Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are betrothed!

Readers of The Darcy Saga have shared in the romance, life, and marital escapades of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Now the prequel to the sequel recounts the weeks in between as two new lovers prepare for happily ever after.

Embark on the journey as Darcy and Elizabeth overcome the rocky past and discover the depth of their love. Delight in budding passion and sweet romance. Enjoy the wedding planning and adventures during the initial weeks of their engagement. A Season of Courtship promises Hope of the Future Continue the tale with Book Two of the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo ~ Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future.

For a preview of the text, the first chapter is presently posted HERE


Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sharon Lathan began writing in 2006 and her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One was published in 2009. Sharon’s ninth novel – Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship – is Book One of the Darcy Saga Prequel Duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began. 

11Sharon is a native Californian relocated in September 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky. She resides with her husband of thirty-years, and grown son.

Currently retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer. Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America, the Beau Monde and Hearts Through History chapters of the RWA, and serves on the board of her California RWA chapter, the Yosemite Romance Writers.

For more information about Sharon, the Regency Era, and her novels, visit her website/blog

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RWA Conference 2014

Marriott Rivercenter, tallest building in San ...

Marriott Rivercenter, tallest building in San Antonio (besides Americas Tower) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2014 Romance Writers of America Conference Join will be held deep in the heart of Texas this year, July 23–26, at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter and Marriott Riverwalk hotels.

The RWA Event Page for the Conference can be found HERE.

Registration is open.

Those that have attended an RWA Conference know, but for those that have not,  it is the place where career-focused romance writers meet, mingle, and get down to the business of being an author.

Highlights of the Conference include:

  • “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing
  • Keynote speech from Sylvia Day
  • Featured Speaker Karen Rose
  • Book signings
  • Trade show
  • The Awards Ceremony with emcee Simone Elkeles

Every year, writers and industry professionals come from all over the world to attend Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference.

At the Conference, career-focused romance writers can anticipate:

  • Outstanding education and information about craft, industry and career
  • Networking with fellow writers
  • Interaction with editors, agents, publishers, booksellers, and other romance publishing industry professionals.

RWA2014 events span two hotels located across the street from each other on San Antonio’s famed River Walk. For questions about hotels, visit RWA’s hotel FAQ pageRegistration is $385 (through April 16) for RWA members.

In my experience, the RWA Annual Conference is well worth the time and money spent, and I encourage all aspiring writers to consider the event.

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