RITA Nominees Announced

The nominees for the 2017 “Oscars” of romance fiction have been announced. The list is below. I recognise one of the books listed there as something I picked up in the past year – ONE. As prestigious as the awards are, I really do question some of the RWA’s decisions.

I’m sure that there are many brilliant books there, however!

2017 RITA Finalists

Best First Book

Alterations by Stephanie Scott
Bloomsbury, Spark
Meredith Rich, editor

Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross
Amazon, Skyscape
Miriam Juskowicz, editor

Close to You by Kara Isaac
Howard Books
Beth Adams, editor

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
Annie Berger, editor

Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison
Avon, Impulse
Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR
Emily Easton, editor


Contemporary Romance: Long

Always a Bridesmaid by Lizzie Shane
Kristan Andrews, editor

Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
Avon Books
May Chen, editor

Make Me Sin by J. T. Geissinger
Montlake Publishing
Maria Gomez, editor

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan
Harlequin, HQN
Flo Nicoll, editor

Pansies by Alexis Hall
Riptide Publishing
Sarah Lyons, editor

Snowfall on Haven Point by RaeAnne Thayne
Harlequin, HQN
Gail Chasan, editor

Tender Is the Night by Barbara Freethy
Hyde Street Press


Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Back in the Saddle by Karen Templeton
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Barefoot at Midnight by Roxanne St. Claire
Kristi Yanta, editor

Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra
Berkley Publishing Group
Cindy Hwang, editor

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Lone Heart Pass by Jodi Thomas
Harlequin, HQN
Brittany Lawery and Susan Swinwood, editors

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Junessa Viloria, editor

Once and For All: An American Valor Novel by Cheryl Etchison
Avon, Impulse
Priyanka Krishnan and Rebecca Lucash, editors

Tell Me How This Ends by Victoria De La O
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Eileen Rothschild, editor

The Turning Point by Marie Meyer
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Megha Parekh, editor

Wanderlust by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Kate Seaver, editor


Contemporary Romance: Short

APB: Baby by Julie Miller
Harlequin, Intrigue
Allison Lyons, editor

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash
Tule Publishing, Holiday
Sinclair Sawhney, editor

Christmas on Crimson Mountain by Michelle Major
Harlequin, Special Edition
Gail Chasan, editor

Falling for the Rancher by Tanya Michaels
Harlequin, American Romance
Johanna Raisanen, editor

Far from Home by Lorelie Brown
Riptide Publishing
Gwen Hayes and Sarah Lyons, editors

His Stolen Bride by Barbara Dunlop
Harlequin, Desire
Kathryn Lye, editor

A Malibu Kind of Romance by Synithia Williams
Harlequin, Kimani
Shannon Criss, editor

Overwhelming Force by Janie Crouch
Harlequin, Intrigue
Allison Lyons, editor

Searching for Disaster by Jennifer Probst
Pocket Books, Pocket Star
Lauren McKenna, editor

Two Doctors & a Baby by Brenda Harlen
Harlequin, Special Edition
Susan Litman


Erotic Romance

The Dirty Secret by Kira A. Gold
Carina Press
Libby Murphy, editor

The Master by Tara Sue Me
New American Library
Claire Zion, editor

Off the Clock by Roni Loren
Penguin Random House, Berkley
Kate Seaver, editor

Ravenous by M. S. Force
HTJB, Inc.
Linda Ingmanson, editor

Three Sweet Nothings by Nikki Sloane
Lori Whitwam, editor


Historical Romance: Long

Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase
Avon Books
May Chen, editor

How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Michele Bidelspach, editor

No Mistress of Mine by Laura Lee Guhrke
Avon Books
Erika Tsang, editor

Susana and the Scot by Sabrina York
St. Martin’s Press
Monique Patterson, editor


Historical Romance: Short

Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Avon Books
Tessa Woodward, editor

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
Grand Central Publishing
Amy Pierpont, editor

A Duke to Remember by Kelly Bowen
Grand Central Publishing, Forever
Alex Logan, editor

Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
Mary Altman, editor

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries
Pocket Books
Micki Nuding, editor

Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick
St. Martin’s Press, Swerve
Elizabeth Poteet, editor


Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

The Color of a Promise by Julianne MacLean
Pat Thomas, editor

The Depth of Beauty by A. B. Michaels
Red Trumpet Press
Rachel Daven Skinner, editor

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel
Sourcebooks, Landmark
Shana Drehs and Anna Michels, editors

Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske
Montlake Publishing
Krista Stroever and Christopher Werner, editors


Paranormal Romance

Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert
Harlequin, Nocturne
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

The Beast by J R Ward
New American Library
Kara Welsh, editor

The Champion of Barésh by Susan Grant
Mary Moran, editor

Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood
Harlequin, Nocturne
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor

Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella
Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre
Sasha Knight, editor

The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Peter Senftleben, editor

Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper
Pocket Books
Abby Zidle, editor


Romance Novella

Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan
Lindsey Faber, editor

“The Husband Maneuver” by Karen Witemeyer
in With This Ring
Baker Publishing, Bethany House
Charlene Patterson, editor

Let It Snow by Jeanette Grey
Grand Central Publishing, Forever Yours
Megha Parekh and Lexi Smail, editors

“Let Us Dream” by Alyssa Cole
in Daughters of a Nation
Nina S. Gooden, editor

Searching for Mine by Jennifer Probst
Evil Eye Concepts
Liz Berry and M J Rose, editors

Tycoon by Joanna Shupe
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Peter Senftleben, editor

Wild in Rio by Lyssa Kay Adams
Elaine Kulhanek, editor


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Close to You by Kara Isaac
Howard Books
Beth Adams, editor

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, editors

My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Amy Hosford, editor

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Erin Calligan Mooney, editor


Romantic Suspense

All the Dead Girls by Rita Herron
Montlake Publishing
Alison Dasho, editor

Atone by Beth Yarnall
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Sue Grimshaw, editor

Field of Graves by J. T. Ellison
Harlequin, MIRA Books
Nicole Brebner, editor

Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin
Harlequin, Romantic Suspense
Carly Silver, editor

Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
Penguin Random House, Loveswept
Shauna Summers, editor

One Minute to Midnight by Nico Rosso
Carina Press
Rhonda Stapleton, editor

Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton
Montlake Publishing
Charlotte Herscher and Christopher Werner, editors

Tall, Dark and Damaged by Sarah Andre
Anya Kagan, Touchstone Publishing, editor


Young Adult Romance

Affective Needs by Rebecca Taylor
Ophelia House
Maya Packard, editor

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
Annie Berger, editor

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Harlequin, HQN Teen
Margo Lipschultz, editor

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods
Penguin Random House, Crown BFYR
Emily Easton, editor




2017 Golden Heart Finalists

Contemporary Romance

Always Sunny by Kimberly MacCarron

Far-Fetched Love by Priscilla Cook

Framed by Susan J. Bickford

Mounting the Marquis by Kelli Newby

No Man Left Behind by Penelope Leas

Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot by Melonie Johnson

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Tempting Fate by Jeri Black

Things I’ll Never Say by Christina Hovland

This Child Is Mine by Jo Anne Banker


Contemporary Romance: Short

Job Opening: Billionaire’s Wife by Susannah Erwin

A Love Wide Open by JoAnn Sky

Princess of Meridian by Catherine Stuart

What Would Ginger Do? by Kimberly MacCarron


Historical Romance

Confess, Your Grace by Scarlett Peckham

The Governess’s Glance by Jennifer Henderson

How to Train Your Baron by Diana Lloyd

Lord Lion and the Lady Publisher by Laurel Kerr

The Lost Chord by Suzanne M. Turner

The Price of Desire by Emily Sullivan

Unmasked by Elizabeth Rue

With Love in Sight by Christina Britton


Paranormal Romance

Beryl Blue, Time Cop by Janet Halpin

Bless Your Heart and Other Southern Curses by Heather Leonard

Constant Craving by Kari W. Cole

Fire’s Rising by Grace Adams

The Mer Chronicles: Love’s Diplomatic Act by Kate Ramirez

Soul Affinity by A. Y. Chao


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Dangerous Exposure by Dianna Shuford

Fair Haven by Laura Conner Kestner

Wings of Love by Pamela Ferguson


Romantic Suspense

The Fire Beckons by Lynnette Labelle

The Guide by Sarah Morgenthaler

Seductive Strokes by Patty Hoffman

Semper Fi by Meta Carroll

Shot Down by Tracy Brody

Vengeance by Diana Belchase


Young Adult Romance

All the Feels by Kimberly MacCarron

Listen by Jennifer Camiccia

Mouthful by C R Grissom

Swimming through Fog by Nicole Hohmann

A visit to Charles Dickens’ house

Charles Dickens Doughty Street London Sonya Heaney February 2017

The view down Doughty Street.

Charles Dickens lived in many different places in his lifetime, but this house near my old home in Holborn, London is the one that has been turned into a museum about his life (and was recently – expensively – renovated).

Even though I lived and worked within a short walk of this house for a couple of years, I never actually visited. And so one chilly day at the end of February, on a short break in London on the way home from Italy, I marched from Covent Garden to pretty Doughty Street to finally pay a visit.

It is an interesting house in its own right, a recreation of middle class life in the Victorian era. I am not a fan of Dickens, the family man (or should I say, Dickens, the man who abandoned his family!), but there is no denying the impact he made on the world.

Naturally, the museum errs on the side of worship, rather than presenting some of the less savoury facts about his life beyond his books.

Dickens’ writing desk.

This is the bedroom where his teenaged sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, died unexpectedly. Dickens had a rather unhealthy obsession with this girl and her “purity”, which would carry over to a fascination with other very young women throughout his life.

The Enterprise and The Dolphin Red Lion Street London February 2017 Sonya Oksana Heaney Holborn Pubs

And, of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to my old home – Red Lion Street!

Monday Randomness

I had a long, ranty post about authors, political propaganda, and why I am “breaking up” with a favourite suspense writer prepared, and then decided it was a very depressing way to start the week. (Note to self: stay away from comments sections for a while, before I make an even bigger fool of myself!)

Instead, here is a funny book cover:

Beauty Contest Nurse by Diana Douglas

Now, it’s time to get some reading done. I’ve fallen so far behind since boarding that plane to Venice a month and a half ago!

The Week: 13th – 19th March

What you see above are two shots driving home – Jugiong to Canberra – from the book festival yesterday evening (obviously the second picture was taken before the first one – the sun was setting as we drove). This whole section of Australia looks like this: dry, yellow, bright light.

So, I spent Saturday afternoon  moderating at the wonderful, friendly Jugiong Writers Festival. I was stunned that a book festival in a country town could pull in both so many celebrities, and SUCH big crowds. It was a little bit intimidating!

The wonderful book launch at the end of the day (with essential, free sparkling wine!) was a nice bonus.

Also – they have a GREAT pub! I’ve already planned a weekend trip back with my brother and his partner.

I stole a couple of pictures from Sulari Gentill’s Facebook page.

Here is the worst photograph ever, of me (and also Margareta Osborn), looking like we want to murder each other. It was put online by ABC reporter Pip Courtney. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it!

(That weird stripe across my face is actually the pot plant next to me!)

Autumn light on Friday evening in Canberra.

Thursday evening.

Finnish Ski Troops in 1940

Monday was the anniversary of the end of the Winter War, when Moscow decided to randomly invade Finland and steal regions of their country while the world was distracted by Hitler. (Anything about this situation seem relevant to 2017 – just change Finland to Ukraine and Hitler to Trump!). The Kremlin’s hybrid warfare tactics then are near-identical to what they are currently doing to their neighbours.

History is constantly running on repeat.

My review of Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

My review of Seven Minutes in Heaven (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #3) by Eloisa James

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Follow-up on Mem Fox

Happy Canberra Day!

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

I have an Irish surname, so…

For St Patrick’s Day, here are some books I can think of with an Irish main character, or are actually set in Ireland:

The Summer Bride by Anne Gracie

The Summer Bride (Chance Sisters book 4) by Anne Gracie

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

IGNORE the AWFUL cover and trashy title! It’s a very good book.

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

Secrets in Scarlet by Erica Monroe

Secrets in Scarlet (Rookery Rogues Book 2) Erica Monroe

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

Finally: If you want a book with a hero who came from Ireland centuries ago, you could always try this very popular vampire read!

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian

Midnight Awakening by Lara Adrian