It is that time of the year again when the short list or finalists for the different awards begin to be listed.
Last Friday, the finalists for the Romantic Novelists Association Romance Prize were announced.
The Romantic Novelists Association or RNA is the British equivalent of the RWA. It was founded in the early 1960s and its members list reads like a who is who of British women's fiction. Every year, it awards two main prizes -- the Romantic Novel of the Year for single title books and the Romance Prize for category novels. The Romance Prize includes the Betty Neels Rose Bowl. Betty Neels of course was a long time and well respected member of the RNA who wrote wonderful feel good romance. When the Romance Prize was started a few years ago, Mills & Boon decided to honour her achievement by donating a rose bowl in her memory. Past winners include -- Jessica Hart, Anne Herries, Liz Fielding and Nell Dixon.
This year, the shortlist is particularly strong and luckily for North American readers includes several books that will be released in the US in the next few months. The books are split between the Romance line and the Modern Extra/Heat (Promotional Presents) line this year and so they are all contemporary romances.
The finalists are Breakfast at Giovanni's by Kate Hardy (to be released in the US as In Bed with Her Italian Boss April 08), Driving Him Wild by Julie Cohen ( February 08 US release as His for the Taking), The Secret Life of Lady Gabriella by Liz Fielding, The Mediterranean Rebel's Bride by Lucy Gordon, and two books by Fiona Harper -- Her Parenthood Assignment, and English Lord, Ordinary Lady (a February 08 release in the US). It is a very strong field this year and having read the books, I do not envy the judges because basically I would not be able to choose. The award will be presented a very glamorous lunch on February 4th.
I sure some one will do a report for Tote Bags.
However, I am not going to be there this year. On 7 February, Mills & Boon are having a cocktail party to celebrate their 100th centenary and I am going there instead. Again, I am positive that it will be covered at Tote Bags. It promises to be another glamorous event and has already been mentioned in at least one literary gossip column. There is a rumour of Butlers In the Buff appearing, but one can never trust the gossip columns. I do know that there will be party bags as the back of the invitation listed the sponsors.
For US readers, Harlequin/Silhouette have teamed up to produce a special Valentine's Day site. It features free online reads, postcards and a chance to read the 2008 Romance Report. All of the February US books have the special treat heart on the front cover.