2014 Golden Leaf Contest Winners!!

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New Jersey Romance Writers is proud to announce the winners in our 2014 Golden Leaf contest!!

* Denotes NJRW members

Novella

Anything You Ask by Lynn Kellan*

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Romantic Suspense

She Can Scream by Melinda Leigh

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Historical

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden

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Short Contemporary

A Groom for Christmas by Cara Marsi

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Contemporary

A Valley Ridge Christmas by Holly Jacobs

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Paranormal

Taste of Darkness by Victoria M. Noxon

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Romantic Elements

Bounce by K.M. Jackson

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Young Adult

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman (tie)

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Second Verse by Jennifer Walkup* (tie)

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Best First Book

A Perfect Distraction by Anna Sugden*

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Congratulations to all our winners!

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Anna Sugden

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference starts tomorrow!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Best First Book: “A Perfect Distraction,” by Anna Sugden (Harlequin)

A Perfect DistractionIn the large sitting area of the suite, by the floor-to-ceiling windows, a group of women fluttered around a tall, dark-haired man like a flock of brightly colored exotic birds. That must be Jake Badoletti.

Maggie’s mouth went dry.

None of the photos had done him justice. She’d known he was good-looking, but that didn’t begin to describe the man in person.

Heaven help her, he was gorgeous!

Square jawed and rugged, with piercing blue eyes and a crooked grin. He was clearly a warrior of the ice, but his bro­ken nose and scars somehow added to his appeal and made him more intriguing. Unlike the hulking bodies of the thick necks, Jake had the firm, solid lines of an athlete in peak condition. Lean, corded muscle shaped the snug-fitting black shirt and faded jeans. Exciting and enticing, he brimmed with charm and hints of danger.

No wonder he had that reputation—any woman would have a hard time resisting the pull of this particular bad boy. Once upon a time, she’d have been in that crowd, fighting for his attention. Not anymore. Never again.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Anna and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Maria Imbalzano

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is days away!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Best First Book: “Unchained Memories,” by Maria Imbalzano (The Wild Rose Press)

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Red. Hot. Sexy.

Like magnets, Clay’s eyes clicked on Charlotte, unable to repel the force holding them. Her chestnut hair was held up in a loose, sexy do that had him itching to pull the pins to release it. Her strapless dress showcased a long neck and creamy shoulders that called out to be kissed. His involuntary focus on her lovely traits throughout the evening had made him a rude dinner companion, unable to answer even the easiest of questions.

He had come here tonight to socialize with the powers that be at the hospital, to talk up the ER, to lay the groundwork for future requests. But his concentration had been directed elsewhere. Since he’d squandered his opportunity to network, he should leave. But here he was at the bar at ten-thirty, waiting for a scotch and soda. The band was heavily into their Motown set and many of the revelers packed the dance floor.

Across the room, Clay zeroed in on Charlotte talking to a group of men, her red gown like a flame in a sea of black. He smiled. She sure knew how to turn heads. His included.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Maria and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Tanya Holmes

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is days away!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Best First Book: “Within Temptation,” by Tanya Holmes (Virtual Acquisitions)

Within Temptation - Tanya Holmes

Trace gave my hand a reassuring squeeze. “Remember, you’re the plane, but I’m the pilot. Stop steering and let me lead. When we’re out here, your body belongs to me.” His confident gaze captured mine. “This is about trust, okay?”

I nodded, trying to ignore my pounding heart. Trust wasn’t an issue when I was young and naïve, but now? To surrender control, even for something as trivial as a dance, was against my nature. Yet if I wanted to gain his trust, I had to give mine unreservedly. So I yielded, surrendering to him little by little, and once he’d taken full control, the change was extraordinary.

We began to move as one.

Where he led, I followed, easily reading his body language—be it a look, the angle of his shoulders, or the pressure of his touch. All these and many other nonverbal prompts conveyed where and how he wanted me.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Tanya and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Maria K. Alexander

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is days away!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Best First Book: “Untangle My Heart,” by Maria K. Alexander (The Wild Rose Press)

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“Privacy is a hard thing to find around here, so you may want to lock the door. Especially when you’re wearing only a towel and my sister is on the prowl.”

“I’ll have to remember that,” Edward said, taking a step toward her.

“I’m sure you’re not accustomed to asking a woman to leave your room.”

He gave her an unapologetic grin. “No, usually not.”

“I guess it’s partly my fault. I told her I don’t have any claims to you. Apparently she took that to mean it was open season to pursue you.”

“Yet you stopped by. Why?”

“I wanted to thank you again for your help today. You dropped everything to come and help my family and that means a lot to me.”

He took another step toward her until he stood directly in front of her. “You mean a lot to me. I’d do anything I could to help you.”

She nodded in acknowledgement, not sure she could trust her voice to speak with him all but touching her.

“And you’re wrong about not having a claim on me.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Maria and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Young Adult: Jennifer Walkup

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a week away!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Young Adult: “Second Verse,” by Jennifer Walkup (Luminis Books)

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For hours, nightmares wake me. But each time my eyes open, I see our clasped hands. Sometimes he’s awake, ready to calm me with the brush of his lips or the pure, simple look in his eyes. Sometimes he’s slumped over in his chair, snoring. But his hand never leaves mine.

After a particularly violent dream I wake with a start. When the cold air sneaks beneath the gauze to chill my fingers, I realize he’s gone. I half sit, the pain ricocheting in my bones. It skates across every exposed surface of me. But worse than the pain, is the fear of losing him again.

“Shhh,” Vaughn says from behind me. His arm curls around my stomach. He’s crawled into my bed.

It hurts so bad to turn toward him, but I do. I wrap my leg around his and his arms circle me like all the stars in the universe.

He mumbles sleepy words against my lips. I mumble some too. And then the hospital bed is filled with half-asleep kisses and the taste of him is the best medicine I could ask for.

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Jennifer and all our Golden Leaf finalists!

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Young Adult: Maria V. Snyder

The annual NJRW “Put Your Heart in a Book” Conference is less than a week away!  To help share our excitement, we’ll shine the spotlight on one of our Golden Leaf finalists leading up until the conference.

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One.  Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 17, 2014.

Spotlight on Young Adult: “Taste of Darkness,” by Maria V. Snyder (Harlequin)

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He sank to the ground and rested his forehead on his knees.  Alarmed, I knelt next to him.  Touching his arm, I said, “It can’t be that bad.  You’re alive!  Whatever else is going on we can deal with it.  What happened to you?”

Kerrick lifted his head.  Leaning back on the trunk, he pulled me close, wrapping his arm around me.  I snuggled in, pressing my cheek against his chest content to listen to him breathe.  Did it matter what happened?  He was here with me.

After a few heartbeats, he said, “I promised you I wouldn’t die from the Death Lily toxin.  Do you remember?”

“Of course.  I’ve thought of nothing else since that night.  It’s what kept me going when everyone said you’d died.”

“It’s what kept me alive.”

Warmth spread through my chest, but I waited, sensing there was more.

“But it came with a price.”

(Work is copyright of the author; may not be reused without permission.)

Good luck to Maria and all our Golden Leaf finalists!