The Rita Awards

How many of you know that the highest award a romance novelist can win is the Rita?  Each year the Romance Writers of America (the largest writers’ group in the world!) honor the best books in the genre at their national conference.   As you might imagine, the golden statuette is something every romance writer aspires to take home.

The award was instituted in 1980 when R.W.A. was founded, but was named the Golden Medallion.   In 1990, the name was changed to honor two co-founders of R. W. A.: Rita Gallagher and her daughter Rita Clay Estrada.  The letters  also stood for “Romance is Treasured Always.

Over 1,000 novels are entered in the Ritas every year.  Published members of R.W.A. (like me)  are the first round judges.  I look forward to the arrival of  my box of Rita entries, often discovering an author I have never read before who then goes on my auto-buy list. 

 This year the Rita ceremony took place in Orlando at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel.  It’s always fun to see the gorgeous glittery evening gowns both nominees and audience members wear.

And this year’s winners are (drumroll please):

Best Young Adult Romance:

Perfect Chemistry
by Simone Elkeles

Best Inspirational Romance:

The Inheritance
by Tamera Alexander

Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements:

The Lost Recipe for Happiness
by Barbara O’Neal

Best Romance Novella:

“The Christmas Eve Promise” In The Night Before Christmas

by Molly O’Keefe

Best Contemporary Series Romance:

A Not-So-Perfect Past
by Beth Andrews

Best Contemporary Series Romance, Suspense/Adventure:

The Soldier’s Secret Daughter
by Cindy Dees

Best Historical Romance:

Not Quite A Husband
by Sherry Thomas

Best Regency Historical Romance:

What Happens In London
by Julia Quinn

Best Paranormal Romance:

Kiss of a Demon King
by Kresley Cole

Best Romantic Suspense:

Whisper of Warning
by Laura Griffin

Best First Book:

One Scream Away
by Kate Brady

Best Contemporary Single Title Romance:

Too Good To Be True
by Kristin Higgins

Many congratulations to all the winners!  Someday I hope my name is among them.


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