Friday, July 23, 2010

It's RITA Time ... Spotlight Best First Book!

Can't believe it's almost upon us. In five days I'll be leaving for RWA's conference in Orlando. And that means the award ceremony to announce the 2010 RITA winners is just a week away. I thought it'd be fun to highlight the Best First Book category since I was a finalist in that group two years ago.

As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get any more fun than being nominated for a RITA with your very first published book. All that angst over trying to get published, you finally do, and bam! Your baby is up for a RITA! On top of that, several of these books are double finalists! How amazing is that?

We've got blurbs for each of the books and, most importantly, some of the finalists have enlightened us with what they're planning on wearing to that all important RITA awards ceremony. First things first, right?

So here we go ... a hearty welcome to all the Best First Book RITA finalists. They're all going to stop by to say hi today, so if you have any questions or comments, please go for it. And if you've read any of these wonderful books, we want to know about that, too!


FINALISTS: 2010 RITA for Best First Book

by Kate Brady
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Editor: Celia Johnson

Here's what Kate has to say:

ONE SCREAM AWAY is a book that makes everyone who knows me say, “How do you write that stuff?” I choose to believe it’s because I’m basically a nice, normal person…Husband, two kids, a bunch of pets. Okay, and a few crazed killers in my mind. The one who stalks the heroine in ONE SCREAM AWAY, leaving a trail of antique dolls and dead women from Seattle to Washington, DC, is a doozy. Here we have a man with serious mother issues, bizarre sister issues, and a folksong driving him to kill. Not to mention a collection of screams. The saving graces are the brutally-scarred ex-FBI agent trying to right past wrongs and a resilient heroine who will do anything to protect her daughter.

As for what I’m wearing to the RITAs…Well, black, of course, in a probably-futile effort not to look TOO fat… I’d tell you about the shoes but I haven’t bought them yet!


by Mary Brady
Harlequin Enterprises,
Harlequin Superromance
Editor: Kathryn Lye

Here's Mary's info:

He Calls Her Doc is about a pair of doctors who can’t seem to heal themselves. Dr. Maude DeVane has to deal with her past AND prove to the people of St. Adelbert, Montana, she is the best choice to be the remote town’s only doctor. What she doesn’t plan on is having to compete for the town’s respect with an arrogant E.R. physician from her past. Dr. Guy Daley will either be the reason she has to leave the valley or the reason she learns to open her heart to love.

For the RITA Awards ceremony, I’m wearing a hide-me black, sleeveless, shutter pleat, beaded neckline (whew) cocktail dress with a sheer silk shawl and strappy, black do-me heels. An outfit I plan on repeating for my husband.


by Carla Capshaw
Harlequin Enterprises
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical
Editor: Melissa Endlich

Here's Carla:

He won his fame—and his freedom—in the gory pits of Rome's Colosseum. Yet the greatest challenge for once-legendary gladiator Caros Viriathos comes to him through a slave. His slave, the beautiful and mysterious Pelonia Valeria. Her secret brings danger to his household but offers Caros a love like he's never known....

Should anyone learn she is a Christian, Pelonia will be executed. Her faith threatens not only herself, but her master. Can she convince a man who found fame through unforgiving brutality to show mercy? And when she's ultimately given the choice, will Pelonia choose freedom or the love of a gladiator?

What I'm wearing?

I'm so happy to be attending National this year. I don't live far from Orlando, so I get to have my family attend the awards ceremony with me.

I'll be wearing a long black gown, silver heels and a silver even bag.


by Viola Estrella
Ellora's Cave, Cerridwen Press
Editor: Helen Woodall

Here's Viola:

Abby Angel doesn’t always enjoy being a law enforcement Angel for Angels, Inc., but she excels at it. Deporting unruly demons back to Hell is her specialty. Her personal life, on the other hand, could use a little work. The virtuous and pristine genes seem to be missing in this particular Angel, getting Abby in more trouble than she likes to admit. To date, her biggest vice has been Siméon Keller, a half demon/half human, who effortlessly managed to seduce Abby five years ago. She’s avoided him ever since but can’t seem to knock the bad reputation the blunder has branded on her.

Now, the threat of a demon rebellion has Angels, Inc. overwhelmed, and Abby must trust Siméon to help her find the fiends threatening to destroy Earth’s only salvation. Staying out of Siméon’s bed is the least of her worries as she fights for the lives of Angels and the human race as we know it.

And as for what Viola is wearing to the awards ceremony ...

I’m wearing a ruched gown that is topped by an off-the-shoulder collar with a crisscross front. The pale green color plays off the light. It was an exciting (last minute) find. The style and color are sort of romantic. How appropriate, right? Of course I had to take it to a seamstress who has to chop off about six inches. But it fits everywhere else…which means I won’t have to worry about losing a single pound before the big event. What more could a girl ask for?


by Kelly Gay
Simon and Schuster, Pocket Books
Editor: Ed Schlesinger

Here's Kelly's two cents:

I'm incredibly excited to be counted among this year's RITA finalists. I'll be in Orlando wearing my red dress and fantastic gold heels, and probably still pinching myself come Sunday morning that I was even a part of this amazing event! Looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting my fellow finalists, and making some new friends, too!

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She’s recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.’s Integration Task Force even harder. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim. But can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?


by Elisabeth Naughton
Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell
Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt

Here's Elisabeth:

Seduction, secrets, betrayals and lost treasure all wrapped up in a bed of wicked hot passion. What could be better? To unearth a centuries-old secret, an archaeologist must team up with the rakish thief who’s stolen both an ancient relic and her heart.


“A rock-solid debut…Naughton’s intelligent adventure plot is intensified by the blazing heat that builds from Lisa and Rafe’s first erotic encounter.”
—Publisher’s Weekly

And finally, Dress (the most important part): I’ll be the one decked out in the orange gown. My CP tells me I have an orange-obsession problem. I call it good taste.


by Lauren Strasnick
Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
Editor: Anica Rissi

Here's Lauren:

Nothing Like You is about high school senior, Holly Hirsh. Holly’s mom dies and Holly gets involved with the wrong guy. He’s got a girlfriend. She and Holly develop a friendship. Disaster ensues!

What am I wearing to the RITA awards ceremony? No clue! Something vintage-y. I have three dresses I’m considering: an old navy halter dress that used to belong to my friend’s mother. A yellow 60s Grecian number. And an old, tattered black lace dress I’ve worn to three million weddings. Always a hit. :)


by Therese Walsh
Random House Group,
Shaye Areheart Books
Editor: Sarah Knight

And finally, here's what Therese has to add:

I lost my twin to a harsh November nine years ago. Ever since, I’ve felt the span of that month like no other, as if each of the calendar’s thirty perfect little squares split in two on the page. • read excerpt

Maeve Leahy is a busy professor of languages at a university in upstate New York. So busy that she leaves little time for memories—the memory of her lost twin, Moira, and of her many lost opportunities.

Until a childhood relic and a series of anonymous notes changes everything—resurrects her long-dead dreams, a lost language, her most painful recollections, and prompts her to cross an ocean in search of ancient history. There, Maeve will learn new truths about her past, and come face to face with the one thing she truly fears. Only then can she choose between the safe yet lonely life she's built for herself and one of risk, with bonds she knows can be both heart-breakingly delicate and more enduring than time.

As for what I’m wearing, it’s a midnight blue long gown with a v-neck and a sort of whispery fabric I fell in love with. It’s currently being altered, to shorten it (I’m 5’2”) and make that v just a little less low!


So that's it, folks. It's always fun to discover new authors, isn't it?

I wish you all the very best of luck on RITA night!



PJ said...

What an exciting time this must be for all of you. Congratulations! I wish all of you the best of luck on RITA night. Only one of you can win but, based on those dress descriptions, you're all going to look gorgeous! I'll be in the audience cheering when your names are announced. :)

Kate, we met in the DC Metro at last summer's national. You were excited about the release of your first book and nervous about people liking it. Now, here you are, one year later, about to leave for conference as a RITA finalist. Does it feel like a dream?

Carla, how exciting that your family will be able to attend the ceremony!

I have a little good luck charm that I carry with me. Will any of you be carrying a good luck charm on RITA night?

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, good question, PJ!

Welcome again, ladies!

I'm curious - what's been the biggest surprise for you about getting published?

Kate Brady said...

Hi, PJ. I remember that! Wow, I can't believe that was a year ago.

In a word? Yes! This whole RITA-thing feels like a dream. Very cool.

As for a good luck charm... My husband will be flying to Orlando on Saturday afternoon to attend the gala with me. That's about the biggest good luck charm I could ask for!

To all the other RITA finalists, congratulations! I can't wait to meet you all.

And, Helen, thanks so much for facilitating this online get-together!

See you all soon.

Kate Brady

Viola Estrella said...

Wow, judging from the dress descriptions, I'm going to be among gorgeousness at the awards ceremony. I'm very excited to meet everyone! Thanks, Helen, for featuring us on your blog. And good luck to you on your SECOND RITA win!

lois greiman said...

Thanks for joining us, ladies. And congratulations!! I can honestly say all your books sound terrific. It's little wonder they're finalists.

Have fun at Nationals.

Kelly Gay said...

Hey guys! Wow. Everyone is going to look sooo amazing -- can't wait to see/meet you all. :-)

Thanks for the well wishes at Nationals, Lois! And, P.J. my lucky charm is my 10 yr old daughter. She'll be all dressed up in her gown (and matching converse sneakers, LOL - that girl has a fashion sense all her own).

And best of luck to the Riding with the Top Down RITA finalists: Kylie Brant, Helen Brenna, Kathleen Eagle, Betina Krahn, Christie Ridgway! I'll be cheering you all on, too! :-)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Welcome, first timers, and congratulations! You're all winners, you know.

What a variety! That's what I love most about Romance--something for everyone. I have to say, the Gladiator cover sucks me right in. It's Russell Crow all over--one of my favorite movies!

Enjoy the conference, everyone, and especially the BIG NIGHT.

Come back tomorrow and meet the Historical finalists. It's the busy-getting-ready weekend, and we're giving away books.

LSUReader said...

What a great group! I can see I have some catching up to do in my reading. Best of luck, everyone.

Therese Walsh said...

I hadn't even thought of a lucky charm but I should bring something. Regardless of the award, I'll need all the help I can get so that I don't trip on my heels at some point during the evening.

I love getting to know everyone a little better with the profiles. Thanks again for doing this, Helen!

Lauren Strasnick said...

Yes, thank you, Helen! What a terrific post. Loved learning about all the other nominees, and cannot wait to see all those glorious dresses next week.

Carla Capshaw said...

Hi everyone,

Sorry, I'm late, but I love reading about all the other nominees. The books all sound so terrific. Only one more week until Orlando. Can't wait!

Betina Krahn said...

Great slate of books! Hi, Carla! ::waving:: What a thrill to be a finalist with your first book! There is so much talent out there in RWA land!

Dress to the nines, everybody, and sparkle all night! You're all winners!

Helen Brenna said...

It's so cool that some of you guys have family coming. Such an important event. My son and husband made it two years ago in San Fran and they were so glad they came.

Getting dressed up in a suitcoat and tie was half the fun of it for my son!

Patti Shenberger said...

I love reading about what all of you will be wearing come RITA night. I have to fly home Fri later afternoon in order to be back and ready for my daughter's 10 a.m. Sat wedding. Will be rooting for all of you in spirit.

Mary Brady said...

I'm so late, but so happy to be in with such a great, diverse group of finalists. I’m with Therese about the heels--good luck to all of us.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I'm late too. Crazy busy day here, but the most important thing...went to pick up my dress today and it wasn't ready. Now it has to be fixed. I'm picking it on Monday before I leave and if it's not ready then...I may be hitting Nordstrom for the first thing they have on the rack.

Helen, thanks so much for spotlighting the Best First Book Category. I agree that all of these books sound fabulous. Can't wait to meet the other finalists in person next week!

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, oh, Elisabeth! Bloomingdales has a TON of dresses. Haven't checked out Nordstrom.

Thanks again, everyone, for stopping by!

Janette Harjo said...

Trying not to be biased here (which I am bc my vote goes to my dear friend magaret Mallory) I'm wishing you all the best of luck and may the Best Book Win!

catslady said...

Oh, how exciting it must be. I love reading first books - you find many books of the heart :)

Helen Brenna said...

Good point, Catslady!