The Romance Writers of America have announced the finalists in the 2016 Rita contest for best romance writing of the year. Congratulations to all the finalists!
You can see the full list of finalists here, but as an author of science fiction romance, I’d like to focus on the Paranormal Romance category (which is where RWA pigeonholes SFR).
Here are the PNR finalists. After the list, I note a few observations.
Bayou Shadow Hunter by Debbie Herbert
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
Ann Leslie Tuttle, editor
Ghost Gifts by Laura Spinella
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
Abby Zidle, editor
Off the top of my head, here are a few observations:
- SFR — Although SFR is just a sub-category, it’s powerfully represented. Susan Grant and Ann Aguirre are known by many SFR fans, and they’ve both appeared on finalists (and winners!) lists before. Both are faves of mine.
- Self-publishing — Two of the eight finalists are self-published. Which two? The SFR books by Grant and Aguirre. I think I detect a pattern! Both of these authors started in traditional publishing, but now get to keep all the profit, as opposed to the relative pittance publishing companies give.
- Covers — As you might expect, all of these covers feature dark or subdued palettes. Nary a rose petal or bright red in the bunch. Lots of male chests and closeups of faces, though.
- Familiar names — In addition to Grant and Aguirre, even I, who doesn’t follow paranormal, am familiar with authors on the list such as JR Ward, Jeffe Kennedy,Molly Harper, and others.
- Bestsellers — When I looked at these books on Amazon, I noticed that the majority had somewhere around 40-50 reviews, which probably means they sold well, but not wildly, fantastically well. The Ritas reward quality, not notoriety.
- Other SFR finalists — Hywela Lyn’s Beloved Enemy is shortlisted for the RoNAs, a UK equivalent of the Ritas. Janet Halpin’s Beryl Blue is a Golden Heart Finalist for best unpublished SFR.
- My personal thanks — I read Grant’s Champion of Baresh while seriously ill last fall. I am profoundly grateful when a book helps me get through horrible circumstances like this. Thanks, Ms Grant!
What about you? Have you read any of the finalists? Do you plan to read any now that you know they’re finalists?