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Congrats to all the nominees and the winners of the prestigious RITA’s this year.

As Monica, so very astutely points out, the winners seem to be a little more of the same. She dubbed them Stepford romance authors, and I’ve gotta say, I can’t really disagree with her assessment.

I thought that the assortment of publishers was also quite interesting.

The winners were from the following publishing houses:

St Martin’s Press


Do ya see what I see? Yep, much of the same muchness. I wonder what the judging criteria is?

Anyway, never mind all that, I know that I’m probably not likely to read books by any of the authors below (with the exception of Crusie), just cuz they won. I generally tend to stay away from books and films that have won major awards, I put it down to the purist in me.

Anyway, drumroll please….this years winners are:

Best Traditional Romance
Christmas Eve Marriage, Jessica Hart Harlequin Books, Kimberley Young, editor

Best Short Contemporary Series
Miss Pruitt’s Private Life, Barbara McCauley, Silhouette Books, Melissa Jeglinski, editor

Best Long Contemporary Series
John Riley’s Girl, Inglath Cooper, Harlequin Books, Johanna Raisanen, editor

Best Inspirational Romance
Grounds To Believe, Shelley Bates, Steeple Hill Books, Krista Stroever , editor
(sorry Brenda, not this year doll…)

Best Romantic Novella
“Her Best Enemy” in Night’s Edge, Maggie Shayne, Harlequin Books, Leslie Wainger, editor

Best First Book
Time Off for Good Behavior, Lani Diane Rich, Warner Books, Beth de Guzman , editor

Best Regency Romance
A Passionate Endeavor, Sophia Nash, Signet, Laura Cifelli , editor

Best Long Historical Romance
Shadowheart, Laura Kinsale, Berkley Publishing, Leslie Gelbman, editor

Best Romantic Suspense
I’m Watching You, Karen Rose, Warner Books Karen Kosztolnyik , editor

Best Contemporary Single Title
Bet Me, Jennifer Crusie, St. Martin’s Press, Jennifer Enderlin, editor

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements (what does this mean anyway?)
A.K.A. Goddess, Evelyn Vaughn, Silhouette Books, Natashya Wilson & Stephanie Maurer, editors

I’ve been meaning to read Evelyn Vaughn’s A.K.A Goddess, but I’ still going through my historical phase, so until I get to a stage where I think I’m well-versed in all things historical, I’ll not be reading any other genres.

So, what do you think of the winners this year, and more to the point, apart from Kinsale and Crusie, have you read any of the winner’s books?

Jaid Black: A Woman Of Substance…

Tuesday, August 2, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized

Just because I like the cover… Posted by Picasa

I’ve just realised how much I admire Tina Engler AKA Jaid Black, the legendary ‘Queen of Steam’.

How could anybody fail to admire a woman who has achieved as much as she has, when she had so little to begin with?

Here are some facts about Tina that some of you may, or may not have known.

Tina is the owner and founder of Elloras Cave, Cerridwen Press, and the newly launched Lady Jaided Magazine.

As well as having over twenty books with EC, she also has novels with Berkley/Jove and Pocketbooks.

In addition to her publishing background, Tina also has controlling shares in the following companies:

Jasmine-Jade Enterprises,
Gothic Grounds (a coffee store chain),
Brannon-Engler Properties
Awbridge, Hanwell, & Hartley books and curio shops

By the age of thirty, she was a self-made millionaire. Two years later, she was a multi-millionaire.

She was recently on the Montel Williams Show, talking about her rise to the top.

She also donated $10,000 to the Montel Williams Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, and EC are currently donating 15 cents to the charity for every book that is sold via their Ebay Store.

The reason that I admire Tina so much, is because she literally built her empire up from scratch.

She got pregnant at the age of seventeen, and was forced to raise her baby alone when the father of her child abandoned them both. She was on welfare for a number of years, but somehow managed to put herself through college, and worked towards a better life for herself and her child.

Not only was she on welfare, and let’s face it, there is a lot of snobbery towards single mothers who live off the state, but her children are bi-racial, and I recall reading a piece that she wrote, about the racism that her children had to endure, because of this very fact.

In my opinion, she has helped change the way that people look at the romance genre. She dared to push the envelope, and by doing so, opened up a brand new world to romance readers who were just a little bored by the same old, same old.

I admire the fact that she was forward-thinking enough to realise that as Millennium women, some of us are looking for more than virginal heroines with ‘perking nipples’ and dastardly heroes with ‘throbbing members’.

Never mind the romance v erotic romance catfights that seem to happen in blogland on a daily basis, the fact is, without Tina’s influence, we probably woudn’t even be having the debate in the first place.

Personally, I view Tina as a pioneer. She may not have invented electricity, or found the cure for the common cold, but she exemplifies the determination and the self-sacrifice that is necessary in order to reach beyond one’s wildest dreams, regardless of the obstacles that are placed in one’s path.

Tina’s lead a very interesting life so far, and I know that if she ever decided to detail her memoirs in the form of an autobiography, I would certainly go out and buy the book.