Celebrating RITA Finalists - Novel With Strong Romantic Elements

I'm so pleased to share today's list of RITA finalists in the Novel With Strong Romantic Elements category.  A few of the authors may be able to join us, but they're getting ready for their big night July 28th, and some are already traveling to Anaheim. I wish each one of them the best of luck. Comment on today's blog and be eligible to receive a signed copy of one of three of our featured books:  SPIDER'S REVENGE, by Jennifer Estep; THE DARK ENQUIRY, by Deanna Raybourn; or GOODNIGHT TWEETHEART by Teresa Medeiros. And, watch for our celebration of the winners here on July 29th.

Stephanie Dray

Berkley Publishing Group
Cindy Hwang, editor
Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.
Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests.

But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?
Jennifer Estep
Pocket Books
Megan McKeever, editor 
Old habits die hard. And I plan on murdering someone before the night is through.

Killing used to be my regular gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spider, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly matters: Mab Monroe, the dangerous Fire elemental who murdered my family when I was thirteen. Oh, I don’t think the mission will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more problematic than expected. The bitch knows I’m coming for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keeping Bria safe is my first priority. Taking Mab out is a close second. Good thing I’ve got my powerful Stone and Ice magic — and my irresistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This battle has been years in the making, and there’s a chance I won’t survive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s coming with me … no matter what I have to do to make that happen.

Allyson James
Berkley Publishing Group Sensation
Kate Seaver, editor
Winter descends on the town of Magellan, and new evil comes to call.

Racing her motorcycle down a lonely winter highway, Stormwalker Janet Begay feels the ground collapse beneath her feet. After tumbling two hundred feet into an underground cavern, she manages to escape with help from her sexy dragon-shifter boyfriend, Mick—but not before they disturb dark forces.

As Janet contends with a hotel inspector intent on putting her out of business, and her grandmother, who’s taken up residence, Mick’s behavior becomes strange and erratic, until he is a clear danger to Janet and her friends. Janet's drag-queen, attitude-ridden magic mirror insists that Mick has been "touched by shadows," and Janet realizes that someone is out to enslave her dragon. Now she must free Mick before he kills her…

First Grave on the Right
Darynda Jones

St. Martin's Press
Jennifer Enderlin, editor
A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.
GLIAS interviews

Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks Landmark
Deb Werksman, editor
When Eva’s filmstar sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Trelowarth, Cornwall , where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina’s ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs.

But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived – and died – long before she herself was born.

Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.

Teresa Medeiros
Gallery Books
Lauren McKenna, editor

Bestselling author Abigail Donovan almost won the Pulitzer Prize and did win Oprah's stamp of approval. So why is she spending her days--and nights--hiding in her expensive New York City condo with only her two cats for company?
Visit Teresa's Website

Deanna Raybourn
Harlequin MIRA
Valerie Gray, editor
Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business.

Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Spirit Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances...and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of murder, espionage and blackmail, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.

Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake—and more—they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets: the kind men kill to keep...the kind that can destroy a fledgling marriage.
Visit Deanna's Website

Eileen Wilks
Berkley Publishing Group
Cindy Hwang, editor
DEATH MAGIC opens with Special Agent Lily Yu in Washington, D.C. with her fiancé--lupi prince Rule Turner—to testify before a Senate subcommittee about her role in the magical collapse of a mountain last month.  She is not there to tell them about the strange legacy she carries from that event—or about the arcane bond between her and Rule--or what her boss in Unit Twleve of the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division is really up to.  She sure won’t tell them that the lupi are at war with an Old One who wants to remake humanity in her own image.

Lily is managing the conflict between her duty as an officer of the law and the need for secrecy pretty well . . . until the rabidly anti-magic senator who chairs that committee is murdered. The line between right and wrong, always so clear to her, becomes hopelessly blurred as events catapult them all towards disaster, and prophecies of a cataclysmic end to the country she loves and serves--and to the entire race of lupi--seem well on their way to being fulfilled.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know about this year's finalists in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category. Please join us tomorrow and meet the finalists for the Best Paranormal Romance category. 

Happy Reading!


JOIN THE RITA® CELEBRATION by leaving a comment for each category between July 11th and 28th (multiple comments = multiple entries with the exception of Romantic Suspense). GLIAS will be drawing for winners on Sunday, July 29th and posting along with all the RITA® winners announced Saturday evening in Anaheim, California. 

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. If an INTERNATIONAL name is drawn, mailing the book or supplying an electronic version will be the decision of the donator. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

JOIN US tomorrow as RITA® Week continues with the best PARANORMAL ROMANCE category. Don’t forget to FOLLOW us on Twitter #GetLostStories or LIKE us on Facebook.  



  1. A couple of these I have read. And the rest I am really looking forward too. All sound great.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  2. A bunch of new authors to me. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

  3. Congrats to all the nominees. Some of my favorites and some new authors too.

  4. Wow !! what a great group of books!! Thanks for the list!

  5. Congrats! I read 3 of the books and they were terrific! Now I have more books to add to my TBR list!

  6. Good Luck to all of these authors... and Congrats on beining nominated....

  7. Good luck to all! Fantastic writers! :)

  8. Wow, more great books. My list is getting longer.

  9. Thanks for giving us some new to me authors and some old friends. I look forward to reading all of these!!! Dee

  10. look at all the fantastic authors thank for the chance

  11. I've read several of these stories and enjoyed them. Susanna Kearsley's Rose Garden was such a great book.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  12. Debra Simning-ChapmanJuly 23, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Some of these authors I have read, and now I can add to my list of TBR with the others here. Thanks so much!
    omahablack at yahoo dot com

  13. Oh, my goodness, what a category this is!!!

    Congrats to all the nominees!! (waving madly to Darynda, and fangirl squeeing at Deanna!)

    Can't wait for Nationals!

  14. I'm interested on the Goodnight tweetheart. It's an interesting title and I can imagine several ways it can develop.

  15. Congratulations to all the nominees!! These all look fantastic although I'm quite eager to pick up Goodnight Tweetheart! Love Teresa Medeiros!

  16. I haven't read any of these yet! but most are on my list. I don't know how the judges are going to pick with so much talent :) good luck to all!

  17. I am slacking! There are a handful of these books in my TBR list, I so need to get to them. They all look so good!

  18. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraJuly 25, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    Thanks for sharing these with us! My TBR pile is growing by leaps and bounds!!

  19. Congratulations! The books sound good.


  20. Nice to see a few new names on the list. :) congrats to Everyone nominated!

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