The annual conference for Romance Writers of America, held in San Francisco this year, concluded with a gala in which the winners of the RITA® were announced. In case you don't know about the RITA®, it's the Oscar of the romance writing world, celebrating the best of romance fiction in various sub-genres.
Let's have a big hand for the 2008 RITA® winners!
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure: Treasure by Helen Brenna (Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance)
Best Young Adult Romance: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (HarperCollins Publishers, HarperTeen)
Best Historical Romance: Lessons of Desire by Madeline Hunter (Bantam Dell Publishing Group)
Best Regency Historical Romance: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
(HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books)
Contemporary Series Romance: Snowbound by Janice Johnson (Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin Superromance)
Best Inspirational Romance: A Touch of Grace by Linda Goodnight (Harlequin Enterprises, Steeple Hill Love Inspired)
Best Romance Novella: “Born in My Heart” in Like Mother, Like Daughter by Jennifer Greene
(Harlequin Enterprises, Harlequin NEXT)
Best Paranormal Romance: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward (Penguin Group USA, Signet, Onyx)
Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
(Harlequin Enterprises, MIRA)
Best Romantic Suspense: Ice Blue by Anne Stuart (Harlequin Enterprises, MIRA)
Best First Book Finalists: Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey (HarperCollins Publishers, Avon Books)
Best Contemporary Single Title Romance: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins (Harlequin Enterprises, HQN)
Read contest winners in the genre which interests you. Each genre has several major awards given each year. A few of the major awards are the Nebula® for Science Fiction, the Edgar® for Mystery, the RITA® for Romance.
You'll get to read an amazing book. You'll also discover what readers find appealing, what publishing houses are actually putting out, regardless of what their "guidelines" might say, and you'll see the product of their various imprints or lines.