Here she is...RITA ® :) When you're glittery and golden you don't need a last name. For those of you who don't know, she's the holy grail for romance writers, representing the highest honor that can be bestowed on a romance novel. Think Oscar ® for romantic fiction, and you'll be close. The RITA ® contest is run by the Romance Writers of America for the purpose of recognizing excellence in romantic fiction. Judged by writers, books can final in one of twelve categories, according to their sub-genre. To final in the contest is a very big deal. Winning is even better! (You can see on our sidebar that several riders were nominated for 2010.)
One of the categories that I'll be watching closely this year is that of Best Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure. I wrote twenty-five books for Silhouette that fell into this category, and I know many of this year's finalists. That means I get to be excited no matter who the winner is!
Jessica Andersen is a fan favorite who writes for Harlequin Intrigue as well as single title paranormals. Romantic Times magazine bestowed a Top Pick designation on her novel, Mountain Investigation, and had this to say about it: "Andersen's first-class novel is terrifyingly real, shatteringly topical and sweepingly romantic."
Wow! High praise indeed!
The Christmas Stranger by Beth Cornelison has been making appearances on the finalists' lists for all sorts of awards this year, so clearly the RITA ® judges were not alone is their enthusiasm for this book. One Amazon reviewer noted: "...delivers a powerful emotional punch in a story about two wounded people learning to love again even when all the evidence--and their own hearts--tells them they shouldn't." I know from past experience that Beth tells a heart-warming story.
The Soldier's Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees is much more than a secret baby story. It wraps up espionage, betrayal and deceit with a very plausible reason for the main characters to maintain their secrets. I found myself agreeing with the RT reviewer who described it as a fairy
tale with non-stop action!
And it's exciting to note that our very own Kathleen Eagle is a finalist in this category with her title In Care of Sam Beaudry. The exquisite cover that graces this entry is more than matched by the heartfelt story about a budding romance, old secrets and a little girl's search for family.
Silent Watch by Elle Kennedy was awarded a Top Pick by RT Magazine, as well as being nominated by them for Best Silhouette Romantic Suspense of 2009. A woman in the witness protection program finds her cover blown when she tries to help the FBI agent trailing a serial killer. The RT reviewer called it: "...a top-notch tale..." with "...a chills and thrills mystery along with a passionate love story readers can bask in."
Cold Case Affair by Loreth Anne White also racked up an RT Top Pick and Best Silhouette Romantic Suspense nomination, as well as winning a CataNetwork Reviewer's Choice Award. Apparently all these reviewers and judges think alike! Reunited lovers try to solve an old case regarding an unsolved bombing, and murder in an Alaska town. The RT reviewer notes: "White hits the jackpot with this newest addition to the Wild Country series."
As Tracy Wolff indicates on her website, The Christmas Present is a story of love and redemption, preconception and unexpected surprises. An Amazon reviewer agrees, calling it:
"...an engaging legal thriller with a delightful lead couple...falling in love while trying to defend an Hispanic teen from a murder rap." Sounds right up my (reading) alley!And the RITA ® goes to...? Well, to discover the answer to that question you'll have to wait until after the gala awards ceremony held in Orlando on July 31st. But I think you'll agree that this category is chock full of remarkable books written by amazing authors. And I can't wait applaud for the winner!
Are you a romantic suspense / adventure fan? What makes a book award worthy to you?