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2019 RITA® Awards Finalists ... To Read, Or Not to Read?



Coming up later this month, the Romance Writers of America will convene in New York City at their yearly, national convention, and determine who has written the best of the best romance books in 2018.


This, of course, is only based on authors or publishers who entered their 2018 books in the contest to be considered, but out of those, we have the scoop on the finalists in each category, as posted on the RWA Website. You can tell us in the comments which books you think will (or should) win.


Side Note: There were 3 criteria that all entries had to meet:

  • Does the entry contain a central love story?

  • Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic?

  • Does the entry fall within the category description?

Ready?


1. Best First Book

This Category is a coveted and prestigious award in itself because an author is only eligible for this award once, for their first published book. And let's face it, not everyone's first books are their best work, so this is truly a feat.


The finalists in this category are...


2. Contemporary Romance: LONG

By "Contemporary," they mean that the time setting of the novel has to be between 1950 to the present, and "Long" means the word count exceeds 84,000.

The finalists in this category are...


3. Contemporary Romance: MID-LENGTH

The word counts that qualify a book for this category is between 56,000 and 84,000, and Contemporary, again, is between 1950 to the present.


The finalists in this category are...


4. Contemporary Romance: SHORT

Short Contemporary means set between 1950 - present, and word counts must fall between 40,000 and 56,000 words.


The finalists in this category are...


5. Erotic Romance

RWA defined this category as, "Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.)." (RWA)


The finalists in this category are...

6. Historical Romance: LONG

By contrast to Contemporary novels, "Historical" books are set prior to 1950. The Long category is comprised of books with 89,000 words or more.


The finalists in this category are...




7. Historical Romance: SHORT

This category, again, is comprised of novels that are set prior to 1950, with word counts between 40,000 and 89,000 words.


The finalists in this category are...




8. Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

RWA defines this category as follows: "Mainstream Fiction novels in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline."


The finalists in this category are...




9. Paranormal Romance

As "Paranormal" would suggest, this category consists of books involving fantasy worlds, paranormal or science fiction elements that are integral to the plot.


The finalists in this category are...




10. Romance Novella

This category is a little unique in that it doesn't specify a sub-genre, but does specify a word count quota between 20,000 and 40,000 words.


The finalists in this category are...




11. Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

RWA defines this category as, "Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture."


The finalists in this category are...




12. Romantic Suspense

For those of you who like a little genre crossover action, Romantic Suspense involves suspense, mystery, or thriller elements that are an integral part of the plot.


The finalists in this category are...




13. Young Adult Romance

This one, unless you know the genre well, has a bit of a misleading (in my opinion) definition: "Novels in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot." (RWA) By "young adult" they mean "older teens," as in high school aged or possibly right out of high school.


The finalists in this category are...



Now for the breakdown. Have you already read any of these books? Are there any you'll add to your TBR based on these awards? (I know I've added a few of them to my TBR already!)


Be sure to sign up and follow our blog so you'll get notified when we post the Rita winners after they're announced on Friday, July 26, 2019, in NYC!

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