[Ed. note: We continue our RITA® giveaway with our next tote. Be sure to leave your comments on the posts for a chance to win. One tote per winner will be awarded, but you can comment on any post throughout the contest period.]
Roxanne St. Clair, Now You Die
2009 RITA® finalist for Romantic Suspense
“Thank you, TJ for putting together this fabulous celebration for the RITAs®! I am honored and overjoyed to have made the list this year, and in such incredible company! When I look at the finalists for romantic suspense, I see not only the names of remarkable writers, but so many dear, dear friends and mentors. I would be happy for any of these women to take home the prize...although I'd be lying if I said I didn't secretly hope to grab the gold myself. You ask us to write about what it means to be nominated for a RITA®, and I guess there just aren't enough superlatives to adequately share the thrill of the ringing phone on RITA® Day (as we call it in my house), beaming an out of state number on the ID screen. Hope doesn't just spring eternal, it basically wells up from your belly, grabs hold of your throat, and chokes you so that your ‘Hello?’ is nothing more than a strangled plea to end the misery of waiting. This year, my call came from the West Coast, so I didn't get notified until early afternoon. I'd given up hope, stopped checking for a dial tone (is it just me or do SO many phones seem to go on the fritz on RITA® & GH day???), even started writing again. Then I got the sweet news and all writing went out the window.
I have been so, so fortunate to have experienced four finals -- one year I had two, in the same category. That was the year I also had the ultimate delight of winning a RITA®, for Best Novella, a story called ‘Tis The Silly Season.’ I remember every minute of that evening from start to...dawn. That would be when I finally crawled into bed, statuette in hand, stupid smile plastered on my face. Of course, the RITA® is not the Be All and End All, and I don't think it would be healthy or wise to put too much value on any single award. But, the recognition from peers and the absolutely dreamy ceremony -- especially that moment when a book that you conceived, wrote, and handed over to the world fills the screen and your name is announced -- is just so extraordinary that I'd love if every member of RWA could have the experience just once. Not only is it Fun With a Capital F, but the memory can sustain you, months later, when words don't flow or contracts are slow, when covers are disappointing, or sales are slumping. For a business based on heart, there are dark days when this sure feels like a heartless business. Those days, that green finalist ribbon, that framed certificate, and, in a perfect world, a golden statuette poised on the mantle, can offer a lovely reminder of the triumphs during times of tribulation.
Thank you for inviting us to share our joy, TJ. I'm looking forward to reading all of the blog posts and seeing all of the other nominees in DC! Good luck to everyone!”
(IMHO: You’re welcome, Rocki!)
About Now You Die:
Former Bullet Catcher and lone wolf investigator Jack Culver is on a mission. Thirty years ago, an innocent woman was convicted of murder. Jack believes he's found the real killer -- but to take down one of the highest legal authorities in the land, he needs access. Serious access. Unfortunately, the one person he knows with that kind of power is his ex-boss and ex-lover, the woman who still haunts his dreams.
Bullet Catchers owner Lucy Sharpe realizes she's being used for her connections, and she intends to use Jack Culver right back. She's determined to see justice served, even if that means partnering with the man who once found his way past her iron shields. This time, she'll be strong enough to avoid Jack's persuasive touch.
But when passion flares, and they become the killer's target, Lucy and Jack don't just break some rules -- they shatter them. And that means risking everything: their jobs, their hearts...and their lives.
Jessica Hart, Last-Minute Proposal
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance
“I was first nominated for a RITA® in 2005, and at the time I no idea how lucky I was. … As it turned out, CHRISTMAS EVE MARRIAGE won the RITA® for the Best Traditional Romance that year. It was the day I was due to go on holiday to Turkey, and my editor rang me very early that morning so I was in a very happy mood when I set off. My golden statuette now sits proudly on top of my hard drive, a constant encouragement when I’m staring at a blank screen. I’m always struck by how generous the romance writing community is, and it was only after I’d won and the congratulations came pouring in that I realized quite what an honor it was.
So this time when I got the call to say that LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL was a finalist in the Short Contemporary, I was properly thrilled! It’s especially exciting for me, as LAST-MINUTE PROPOSAL was my 50th book for Harlequin Romance, and 2009 marks my twentieth anniversary as a romance writer, so to be short-listed in such a prestigious contest is icing on the cake for me!”
About Last-Minute Proposal:
Single city girl…
Cake-baker Tilly is taking part in a charity job-swap, and when she's paired with ex-military maverick Campbell Sanderson, they get off to a rather sticky start….
Rugged billionaire tycoon…
Campbell is all hard angles to Tilly's cozy curves. It's the winning that counts for him, and it's clear Tilly will need her hand held every step of the way….
Whirlwind wedding wish!
Despite himself, Campbell finds that something about Tilly always coaxes a smile. But he refuses to be tempted, no matter how bright and bubbly she is! That's before they share a showstopping kiss….
Pam Rosenthal, The Edge of Impropriety
2009 RITA® Finalist for Historical Romance
“Remember the Stephen King horror movie, where the popular girls make poor Carrie White think she’s been elected prom queen and then dump pig’s blood all over her? The first time I finaled (for The Slightest Provocation in 2007), I was sure someone was running a similar hoax on me. But finaling (even without winning) turned out to be so delightful that when RWA called me this year I only thought 'bucket of blood' for about ten seconds. 'What fun,' I said to the lovely woman who’d told me the news. And I meant it. Because it is fun to get all those congratulations and good wishes, and (in case one should actually win) to prepare a list of the terrific people without whom… But don’t let me get carried away here — I mean have you looked at the list of finalists in my category? — I really haven’t thought or even cared very much about winning – much more fun merely to savor being in such company.
Or so I say now. Because I also know from last time that five minutes before my category comes up I suddenly am gonna care – big time and with 'every fiber of my being' (a phrase I usually purge from my writing but which turns out surprisingly apposite to finaling for a RITA®). But as those five minutes in intense cliché hell were the only non-fun part of the experience, this year I’m planning on lots of wine at dinner, to numb it down ahead of time. So let me simply thank everybody right now, without whom… (but you know who you are). And then, like the aging hippie I am, to keep on Wavy Gravy’s crazy wisdom path 'toward the fun.'"
About The Edge of Impropriety:
Break the sensual boundaries of Regency England with the bestselling author of The Slightest Provocation.
The ribald private life of novelist Countess Marina Wyatt is the stuff of public scandal—and it doesn’t hurt the sale of her romances either. But she’s totally unprepared for her consuming new affair with Jasper James Hedges, noted art appraiser and her former lover’s uncle. In Marina, Jasper sees a work of art of another kind. And for all of Marina’s passionate inventions, nothing can compare to what Jasper delivers—an erotic and dangerous voyage to the edge of impropriety and beyond.
Elise Chidley, Your Roots are Showing
2009 RITA® Finalist for Best First Book
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Single Title
“I was out for a few hours the day the RITA® finalists were announced. When I came home and found a message from somebody at the RWA on my voice mail, I immediately assumed there must be some problem with my registration for the national conference. Perhaps a check had bounced?
I was absolutely thrilled, when I returned the call, to learn that Your Roots Are Showing had been nominated for Best Single Title Contemporary Romance. When the second phone call came, announcing the novel's nomination for Best First Book, I was more or less speechless. Talk about a cherry on top! It was one of those rare days in a lifetime when you feel a really deep sense of validation and achievement. For somebody who declared their intention of becoming a writer at age ten, it was probably about time!”
About Your Roots are Showing:
Lizzie Buckley has a life many women dream of - a gorgeous husband, a beautiful home and darling (when they're not fighting) three-year-old twins. But ever since the birth of her children, she's had a fantasy about locking herself in her bedroom for twenty-four hours with a good book and a box of chocolates.
Unfortunately, her husband James doesn't understand her feelings. And when Lizzie unburdens herself in a flaming email to her sister Janie, then hits send at the wrong moment and accidentally shoots it off to James instead, her fairytale life gets a big dose of reality. With the word "divorce" ringing in her ears, Lizzie finds herself moving out and embarking on a totally different life - working hard to reinvent herself as a runner, a gardener, and a writer of children's books.
But despite transforming her body, her neglected career, and her libido (courtesy of the local landscape gardener), Lizzie can't get over her soon-to-be ex. As Lizzie discovers, sometimes the fairytale ending is just the beginning of the real story.
RaeAnne Thayne, The Cowboy's Christmas Miracle
2009 RITA® Finalist for Contemporary Series Romance
“I was beyond excited to get the call that my December Silhouette Special Edition THE COWBOY'S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE was a RITA® finalist. When I got the call, I was actually on an airport shuttle on my way to San Francisco for a long weekend so I spent three very surreal days celebrating the nomination. I've been a finalist before so I know how very exciting it is to attend Nationals with that cool green ribbon hanging from your name badge and to sit at the literacy signing with the RITA® Finalist flag next to you. It's an indescribable thrill and honor to know that a panel of your peers enjoyed your book enough to send it on to the final round!”
About The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle:
Christmas was tough for widow Jenna Wheeler and her four children. But even though she'd sold part of her family's land to make ends meet, she was determined to spin the holiday into the stuff of magic—no matter what it took. Now if she could only find a job….
Maybe her new landlord could oblige—gorgeous, child-averse Carson McRaven. He needed a chef, and he knew the lovely Jenna could do a bang-up job—if only she could keep her brood out of his hair. But as he found himself catapulted into the cheerful chaos of her family…not to mention Jenna's arms… he learned more about the spirit of Christmas than he'd ever dreamed.
IMHO: That's it for today. Be sure to leave a comment for our authors if you want a chance to win this tote and tune in next week for more featured RITA®-nominated finalists. Winners of this week's totes will be announced on July 12, Sunday. Stay tuned!