I borrowed a happy sunshine sticker from the next-youngest grand to mark March 25 on my calendar. I squeeed and smiled all day at the good news that just kept coming.
First, I read an announcement from Candice Hern about the repackaging of her Regencies as ebooks. Candice wrote some of my favorite trad Regencies: Miss Lacey’s Last Fling, The Best Intentions, A Change of Heart. I’m delighted to know that I’ll soon be able to purchase these and other of her books as ebooks. In the meantime, the anthology It Happened One Season releases March 29, and will be available as a paperback and ebook. Candice’s contribution, “Fate Strikes a Bargain,” has already earned praise from an AAR reviewer who terms it “delightful” and calls Candice a “buried treasure.” (Mary Balogh, Jacquie D’Alessandro, and Stephanie Laurens also have novellas in IHOS.)
Then, as most of you probably know, Connie Brockway announced in an interview with AAR’s Sandy that she is “going rogue” and offering her next books only as ebooks. I’m sure I’m not the only Connie Brockway fan dancing with joy to know that we should have OOP and new Brockway books available by year’s end. Her plans include repackaging Promise Me Heaven (the book where Giles Strand makes his first appearance) and Anything for Love (a Western with a delicious beta hero) and offering them for download within the next month or so, followed by sequels to As You Desire—a short story and a full-length novel--by late December. The short story will be free to subscribers to Brockway’s newsletter, a great incentive to sign up soon. Sometime later, Take Me Through the Night (tentative title), the long-awaited Giles Strand story, will be available. Brockway describes it as “a whopper of a dark, sexy, grim gothicy tale.” Some of us have been waiting more than a decade for Giles’s story. I know there are cheers throughout the land at this news. Maybe now that CB is writing what she wants to write, she’ll also be tempted to write sequels to my favorite Brockway novel, My Dearest Enemy.
Finally, March 25 was THE DAY for writers who entered books in the Rita and Golden Heart Contests, so there were lots of cheers (and I’m sure lots of disappointed sighs) resounding in Romancelandia. I’m not going to list all the finalists here because there are nearly one hundred Rita finalists plus all those yet-to-be-published writers who got the GH nod. You can see all the titles and authors on the RWA site. My congratulations to all the finalists!
I am especially happy to see some of my favorite authors and books on the list. Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner and When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer are finalists for First Book. Karen Templeton (Welcome Home, Cowboy) and Helen Brenna (The Moon That Night) are nominated in different series romance categories. Nora Roberts, who holds the record for most Rita wins, received three more nominations, including one for Happily Ever After, the conclusion of her Bride Quartet, in the Contemporary Single Title category. Another favorite, Rachel Gibson (Nothing But Trouble) finaled in the same category.
It’s no surprise that the Historical category is strong. It’s also one of the categories in which I’ve read all the nominated books: The Forbidden Rose by Joanne Bourne; His at Night by Sherry Thomas; A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James; Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase; A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl; One Wicked Sin by Nicola Cornick; Open Country by Kaki Warner. So many of my favorite books of 2010 are on this list that it seems likely that whoever wins, I’ll be cheering.
I’ve read fewer books than usual in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category, only four. But I really liked The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn, On Folly Beach by Karen White, and The Search by Nora Roberts. And I’m particularly pleased to see Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas on the list. Regency Historical is another category in which I’ve read all the books: His Christmas Pleasure by Cathy Maxwell, The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean, Provocative in Pearls by Madeline Hunter, To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott, Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare, When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer, and The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice. I’m happy for all these deserving authors, but I confess to a particular delight—and extra squees--for friend and fellow Vanette Tessa Dare.
I’m even excited about finalists in subgenres into which I rarely venture. I’m thrilled for double nominee Virginia Kantra—for Immortal Sea in Paranormal Romance and in novella for "Shifting Sea" in Burning Up—and for Roxanne St. Claire (Edge of Sight) and Cynthia Eden (Deadly Fear) in Romantic Suspense.
I don’t know many of the GH finalists this year, but I did cheer loudly for Banditas Anna Sugden, whose Legacy of Love is a finalist in Contemporary Single Title, and Nancy Northcott, whose Bound by Honor is a finalist in Historical. And, of course, lots of squees and crossed appendages for Leigh Lavelle, a finalist in Historical for The Runaway Countess.
Are you excited about the proliferation of ebooks and some of the revolutionary moves favorite authors are making? How many Rita-nominated books have you read? Who were you cheering for loudest when the calls went out for Rita and GH finalists? What omissions shocked you most?