Tag Archives: RWA

Who will win the RITA for best contemporary romance?

Since the Romance Writers of America announced the finalists for the RITA award back in March, I’ve been reading all of the nominated novels in my favorite category: contemporary single-title romance. Some of the authors are old favorites of mine, and some were new to me.

The winners will be announced on July 1, and I’m lucky enough to be in New York for the party. They’re fantastic novels, and I can’t wait to see who wins.

Best of luck to their authors!

Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan

Not That Kind of Girl coverRoxanne Bloom launches a man-hating blog after overhearing her ass-hat boyfriend denigrating her bedroom skills to his friends – men she has to work with. Her now-ex breaks into her house and threatens her, until her man-hating pit-bull-Boxer mix nearly rips his throat apart. Roxie finds herself being sued and fighting to keep her dog alive. The only person she can count on is Eli Gallagher, the hottest dog whisperer around.

Eli’s used to being top dog, but can he help both Roxie and her dog feel secure enough that they let go of their angry aggression?

Read more about Not That Kind of Girl

The best parts

Susan Donovan does an amazing job of creating emotional intensity between her hero and heroine. Almost all the novels of hers I’ve read feature couples who spark immediately, and the flames grow hotter and deeper as the story develops. Plus, this novel contains the canine equivalent of a Regency rake: a pit bull most people think is irredeemable but who turns loving and loyal thanks to a woman’s devotion.

Still the One by Robin Wells

Still the One by Robin WellsWhen she was 17, Katie Charmaine had a summer fling with Zach Ferguson and ended up pregnant and boyfriendless. She gave her newborn daughter up for adoption – a heartbreaking experience she never revealed to anyone except the man she ended up marrying. But after her husband dies in Iraq, leaving her childless and grief-stricken, Zach returns to town with their 17-year-old daughter – a girl who’s pregnant and desperately needs parents.

The best parts

I cried. No, I bawled. The tenderness and conflict between each of the characters is realistic and satisfying. I loved that the author allowed Kate to have a wonderful relationship with her late husband, and that Kate struggles to overcome her grief before falling in love with Zach.

And One Last Thing… by Molly Harper

And One Last Thing coverWhen Lacey Terwilliger discovers her husband Mike is screwing his artificially enhanced secretary, she doesn’t just get mad; she gets online. Having sacrificed her own career to support his business, she writes one last email newsletter to his clients, family and friends, telling them exactly what a dickless wonder Mike is. Her revenge backfires, though, and she flees to her cabin to get away from her nagging, gossiping neighbors.

Fortunately for her, a hot author named Monroe lives next door. Can she convince him she’s not another psycho divorcée like all the others who’ve thrown themselves at him?

Read more about And One Last Thing

The best parts

Molly Harper’s voice rocks. She’s like a twisted version of Kristan Higgins. Her characters are witty and clever – except for the morons you’re not supposed to like. This novel is funny, tender, sweet and sexy, so it hits all the right spots. If you have a thing for Hugh Jackman, read this book. That’s all I’m sayin’.

One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

One Fine Cowboy coverPsychology grad student Charlie Banks is sent to observe a horse whisperer in Wyoming. Unfortunately, the horse whisperer, Nate Shawcross, has no idea his ex-girlfriend took people’s money and promised them Nate would run a horse clinic. He’s shocked when cute Jersey girl (and PETA activist) Charlie shows up on his ranch, hauling her attitude with her. Nate’s ranch is in trouble, though, and he can only save it by putting on a good show for the group of greenhorns that arrive for his clinic. And he desperately needs Charlie’s help to make the clinic a success.

Read more about One Fine Cowboy

The best parts

This novel is the closest I can remember coming to a hero who was abused by a former partner. Although Nate’s ex-girlfriend didn’t hit him, she manipulated him so severely that his personality and confidence are shot. His insecurity when it comes to women is so endearing, and I loved the scenes written from his point of view. He wants to please Charlie, but he struggles hard to find ways to do so. Massive kudos to Joanne Kennedy for such a daring—and well-written—portrayal.

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Simply IrresistibleIn one week, Maddie finally gets rid of her abusive boyfriend, loses her job because of it, and finds out her mother has died. Though she and her mother were estranged, Maddie and her two half-sisters inherit a falling-down inn on the coast of Washington.

Maddie’s learned that trusting men can be a dangerous thing, but when she hires the sexiest contractor for miles around, she learns that love starts with that trusting herself.

The best parts

The hero, Jax, is among the best contemporary heroes I’ve ever read. He’s strong without being obnoxiously alpha. He’s supportive without being a pushover. And he’s thoroughly addictive. For the last couple of months, I’ve returned to this novel over and over, rereading my favorite parts. It’s so high up my keeper shelf no one will be able to touch it.

Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl

Lead Me On by Victoria DahlJane Morgan is the ultimate professional woman, but she hasn’t always been. In fact, she has completely turned her life around from the chaos she experienced growing up. She’s full of secrets—like that most of her relatives are convicts and that she earned herself a reputation when she was far too young—but there’s one thing she can no longer deny herself: hot sex with a tough-looking man.

But as her perfectly composed life begins to unravel, William Chase proves he’s a hell of a lot more than a working class stud service.

The best parts

Victoria Dahl’s contemporary characters break all the molds, and it’s truly a joy to see their layers peeled away to reveal people who are unlike any others I’ve seen in romance. Jane’s shame over her past decisions is gut-wrenching, and her growth over the course of the novel is painful to experience but all the more satisfying because of that. Chase may look like an ex-con, but he displays the stalwart character of superman as he supports Jane through her struggles. This is such a beautiful, sexy, funny story that I took the bus to work because I couldn’t bear to put it down.

Nothing but Trouble by Rachel Gibson

Nothing But Trouble by Rachel GibsonHockey player Mark Bressler made his living on the ice, but when his Hummer hits a patch of black ice and flips, Mark’s career instantly ends and he’s left in excruciating pain to watch his team win the Stanley Cup. No wonder he’s pissed at the world.

But when failed actress and assistant to B-list celebs Chelsea Ross is hired to nurse him back to health, Mark’s pity part is over. With her bossy manner, she soon has Mark frustrated in altogether more pleasant ways.

The best parts

The sex. Rachel Gibson writes very hot contemporary romance, and her hockey players are among the sexiest professional athletes in the genre. Mark Bressler and Chelsea Ross have such a strong connection that it’s explosive when they get together.

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

Happy Ever After by Nora RobertsFour friends run a wedding business. They plan a lot of weddings.

The best parts

This is the last in a quartet about women who run a wedding business. There’s at least as much focus (if not more) on the women’s friendships as there is on the romance between Parker and Malcolm. The hero doesn’t even feature in the back-cover text. But if you like reading about wedding details—from cakes to flower arrangements—you’ll probably like this book.

Have you read any of these? Who do you think will win?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

When you can’t afford to go to RWA Nationals

One of the bummers (cue naughty giggles from my British friends) of living in London is that I can’t afford to fly to the US in summer. It costs approximately $Ridiculous and I’m on a charity salary.

So color me thrilled to find Savvy Authors is having a Summer Symposium from today through Sunday. They’ve got loads of online workshops covering topics relevant to new and published writers, everything from craft to promotion, as well as giveaways and pitch appointments.

And it’s only $30 if you’re not a member (though membership costs $30 a year and gets you access to discounted courses, tools, and a community of writers).

So that’s where you’ll find me for the rest of the week. Talking about dirty words in the Language of Erotica course (not that I write erotica; I just want to read the dirty words) and going deep in the POV workshop.

For those of you baking and sweating in Orlando, yes I’m jealous. Seething with jealousy. But with the money I save this year, I may be able to join you next year.

Have fun!

2 Comments

Filed under Writer's toolbox

On paying for UPS workers to have a great Christmas

I sent my manuscript off to Romance Writers of America yesterday for the Golden Heart Award.

Royal Mail can’t track anything once it leaves Britain, so I had to look for other options. It cost $88 to mail it via UPS from London to Houston. Ouch.

Merry Christmas, UPS executives.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Save the contemporary

Good news comes in threes! (Well, deaths of famous people come in threes, so it stands to reason – sort of – that good news does, too).

1. I entered my manuscript in RWA’s Golden Heart competition today! Woo hoo for finishing a manuscript!

2. According to Publisher’s Weekly, people want to read funny contemporaries, which is what I write. I first saw the link to this fantastic article posted by Jane at Dear Author, who loves contemporaries so much she’s set up Save the Contemporary. It’s a great place to get recommendations and . . .

3. Free books! They’re having a competition to win goodies from St. Martin’s Press, including Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger. Oh, I do so hope I win. My local library has only a handful of contemporaries, and I’ve exhausted their supply.

Whoops. Jane at Dear Author just emailed me to say that was a really old contest. Oh well. I guess good things come in twos, and are closely followed by disappointment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m a winner!

I’ve been trying to finish up my manuscript for RWA’s Golden Heart Award, so apologies for leaving the blog so fallow. I had some great news a week ago – I was the Grand Prize winner of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s blog! The fantastic Anne Marie Becker read my entry for the Golden Heart Award and gave me loads of valuable feedback. Thank you so much, Anne Marie. I really appreciate your encouragement and tips.

If any of you haven’t read the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s blog, definitely check it out. They were the finalists of the 2009 Golden Heart Award, and this post is dedicated to them.

Some of the best of the Ruby Sisters’ blogs:

For general writing advice

The First Five Pages…and the Red Line of Death by Jeannie Lin

Be a succesful hooker. by Rita Henuber

Go for the Gold! Tips for Turning Your GH Entry Into a Potential Finalist by Laurie Kellogg

Specifically about the Golden Heart Award

Golden Heart–The Final Edit Before You Mail by Kelly Ann Riley

Judging the Golden Heart – 101 by Jennifer Bray-Weber

The Woman Behind The Curtain by Bev Pettersen

Golden Heart Rotisserie by the Numbers by Jamie Michele

About being a writer

Year-End Tax Tips for Writers by Diane O’Brien Kelly

Business Planning for the Golden Heart and Beyond by Laurie DeSalvo

How To Be “Mommy!” and Still Write a GH Manuscript by Heather McCollum

Okay. I entered. Now What? by Autumn Jordon

You Are Not Alone (Tips from your Traveling Companions: Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion) by Anne Marie Becker

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dontcha break my heart (my achy Golden Heart)

(Manuscript #1 word count: 64,892)

I was in Dublin killing time in an internet cafe as Hubby read every single sports report published online, when I thought I’d look up information about Romance Writers of America’s romance novel competitions. They announce the winner at their annual conference, and I knew that next year’s is in July, so I figured I had plenty of time to finish up my manuscript and send it in.

Not so.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

RWA–British style

(Manuscript #1 word count: 53,947)

This week I’ve been trying to focus on getting the words down on the page. Not easy with a big self-imposed deadline looming; hubby and I are going to India for two weeks on Friday, and I want to have 60,000 words of my draft done by then. Since I’ll be gone for most of September and will only have my little notebook with me in India, I want to have my manuscript 75% done so it’ll be easier to come back and write the climax and HEA.

The more determined I was to come home every night and sit my butt down, the fewer words I actually wrote. Oh, well. I did find two very interesting things this week. I’ll save one of them for a post of its own.

Apparently, there’s something similar to the Romance Writers of America (RWA) in Britain. It’s called the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The main difference that I can see is that full membership is only open to published writers, which clearly leaves me out (it does have associate membership for other people).

However, they also have a New Writers’ Scheme where you can have your manuscript appraised. For a price. Now, I’ve seen and read about companies that will charge you to read your manuscript and give you editorial advice. I’ve always said I would never do this. What’s the point? You might as well submit your manuscript to agents and, if none of them take it, try to figure out what’s wrong with the help of your other writer contacts.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized