2016 PYHIAB and Golden Leaf Contest Winners!

New Jersey Romance Writers is proud to announce the winners of our 2016 Put Your Heart in a Book and Golden Leaf Winners Contest! Check out the pictures at the end.

 

2016 Put Your Heart in a Book Contest Winners (unpublished manuscripts)

Historical
1st: Love’s Whisper  Jeanine Englert
2nd: Three Lessons in Seduction  Tracy Johnston
3rd: Taming Julia  Jodie Wolfe

Paranormal
1st: He Loves Me Knot  Sarah McGregor
2nd: Desperate Sacrifice  Linda Schad
3rd: The Seductress  Jessica Grace Kelley

Romantic Suspense
1st: Hit and Run  Lori Matthews
2nd: The President’s Assassin  Renita Bradley
3rd: Beyond Paradise  Barbara Forlenza

Single Title Contemporary
1st: Love Around the Ring  Alleyne Dickens
2nd: Hearts on the Vine  Jessica Holt
3rd: Meadow Wind  Betty L. Unkel

Contemporary Series
1st: The Hottest Guy  Gloria Duke
2nd: Scooped: Confessions of a Former Tattletale  C.A. Speakman
3rd: Trial Run  Masha Levinson

Young Adult
1st: Road to Eugenica  A.M. Rose
2nd: Lucky  Laura Cumbie
3rd: From There to Here  Laura Cumbie


2016 NJRW Golden Leaf Contest Winners (published authors)

Novella
First Place

Christmas Laurel by Christine Bush
Christmas_Laurel_Cover_for_Kindle
 

 

 

Finalists
In the Spinster’s Bed by Sally MacKenzie
Guarding the Quarterback by Liz Matis

 

Romantic Suspense
First Place
Seconds to Live by Melinda Leigh
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Finalists
Energized by Mary Behre
True Peril by Veronica Forand
When Secrets Strike by Marta Perry

Historical Romance
First Place
Magnate by Joanna Shupe

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Finalists
What To Do With A Duke by Sally MacKenzie
The Daughter of an Earl by Victoria Morgan

Contemporary Romance Short
First Place
Two Doctors & a Baby by Brenda Harlen

two-doctors-a-baby-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
Wedding Date for Hire by Jennifer Shirk
The Rancher’s Surprise Son by Christine Wenger
The Lawman’s Christmas Proposal by Barbara White Daille

Contemporary Romance – Mid-Length
First Place
Carolina Dreaming by Virginia Kantra
carolinadreaming_hires

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
Her Second-Chance Family by Holly Jacobs
These Three Words by Holly Jacobs

Contemporary Romance Long
First Place
Sunset At Lake Crane by Casey Hagen

sunset-at-lake-crane

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
The CEO Buys In by Nancy Herkness
The All-Star Antes Up by Nancy Herkness

Paranormal Romance
First Place
Skin Deep by Marissa Doyle

skin-deep

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
Cottage in the Mist by Dee Davis
Forbidden by Katrina Snow
Heir To The Pack by Laura Welling

Erotic Romance
First Place
Hard Ride by Opal Carew

hardride-hr

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
My Best Friend’s Stepfather by Opal Carew
Operation: Desire Me by Christina James

Best First Book
First Place
The Ghost Chronicles by Marlo Berliner

tgccover

 

 

 

 

 

Finalists
The Love Square by Jessica Calla
Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

 

Congratulations to all winners and finalists. We hope to see you again next year!

2016 Hall of Fame display

2016 Hall of Fame display

 

 

 

2016 Finalist display

2016 Finalist display

2016 Golden Leaf winners & finalists

2016 Golden Leaf winners & finalists

2016 PYHIAB winners & finalists

2016 PYHIAB winners & finalists

PYHIAB & Golden Leaf Contest Chairs

PYHIAB & Golden Leaf Contest Chairs

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Wende Dikec

 

“Tiger Lily” by Wende Dikec (Inkspell Publishing)
tigerlilyfinal

“Who are you?” The words sounded garbled as they escaped from my lips, but he seemed to understand. He raised one dark eyebrow in surprise.

“You can see me?” he asked, his voice deep and husky. I nodded, trying to give him my best “duh” look. Hard to do with tubes coming out of my orifices.

Around my age and good looking in a bad-boy-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks sort of way, he caused me to feel a little hot and bothered, and not just because he’d made himself at home in the middle of my hospital room. He smoldered with the kind of sexy I’d only seen in movies, and in the “Hunk of the Month” calendar I kept hidden in my desk drawer in my room. There was something strange about him, too, besides his obvious appeal. He looked oddly fuzzy around the edges, like a blurry photo taken when someone moves at just the wrong moment. Even as I squinted at him and tried really hard to focus, he never quite solidified, and the effort it took exhausted me.

It must be the drugs, I thought as I drifted off to sleep. A nice and very comforting idea, but completely wrong.

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

Good luck to Wende and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Jessica Calla

 

“The Love Square” by Jessica Calla (Limitless Publishing)
the-love-square-front-cover

As he studied Jenna’s warm skin, her big, brown eyes, her pink lips, he remembered Uncle Nino’s party. The day she moved into her apartment downstairs. The first time she told him she loved him, and the time he refused to let her love him. He thought of how angelic she looked on her bed that morning with Dylan, the sun shining down on her bare back.

And today, with her on the grass in her dance rehearsal clothes, her hair back in a messy ponytail, he couldn’t remember a time she looked more beautiful, because in her eyes he saw what he had been trying to avoid since he met her.

Intimacy, yes, but more…

Love.

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

Good luck to Jessica and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Best First Book: Marlo Berliner

 

“The Ghost Chronicles” by Marlo Berliner (Teddy Blue Books)
tgccover

He turned the corner. They were now alone in another wing of the school. Without even thinking about it, he stopped and hugged both arms around her. As they embraced, an almost magnetic force pulled him towards her and a flow of electricity ever-so-slightly passed between them. Whoa, talk about being attracted to someone.

Enjoying the warmth of her aura, his eyes locked with hers. What would it be like to kiss her? Would it feel the same as when I was alive? Suddenly, he forgot where they were. He forgot they were dead. He forgot about anything other than wanting to kiss a beautiful girl. Slipping his arms down around her waist, he leaned closer.

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

Good luck to Marlo and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Erotic Romance: Christina James

 

“Operation: Desire Me” by Christina James (Self-published)
desireme300

The power of his kiss bruised her lips, but she only craved more of this delightful intimacy. Never could she imagine a kiss being so wild, so…incredible. Made her think what she was missing in life if one kiss could stun her like this.

Their mouths lost connection as he pulled his head back, gasping for breath like she had suffocated him. She fared no better, sucking in deep gulps of the humid, stuffy air even as goose bumps covered her skin.

“Dammit, Mackenna. What the hell was that?” he demanded, his tone shocking her.

“Um, you kissed me, Cade.” If she could see him, she’d consider a smack to the side of his head for that attitude.

“I know damn well what I did.” He leaned off of her and she sensed him sitting up. “Did you have to kiss me back so good?”

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

Good luck to Christina and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Erotic Romance: Opal Carew

Congratulations to Opal, who is a double-finalist in the Erotic Romance category! Check out excerpts from both her Golden Leaf nominated books.

“Hard Ride” by Opal Carew (St. Martin’s Griffin)
hardride-hr

As Liv walked down the dimly lit alleyway, she wondered if she’d made a grave mistake. She heard a sound behind her and glanced over her shoulder. Her breath caught at the shadowy shapes of three men behind her. She lurched forward and ran smack into a big, solid body. She gasped as she pushed herself back from a man with a broad, muscular chest and thick, tattooed arms. 

He grasped her arms and propelled her backward toward the building, then she felt the brick wall at her back. All she could see of his face was the steely glint of his eyes. Her heart pounded.

“Do you really think it’s a good idea to be walking through a dark alley alone at night?” His words came out low and fierce.

Tears threatened, but something about his voice nagged at her. There was something about it that was . . . familiar.

He leaned in closer. “But you always were lacking in common sense.”

Shock vaulted through her. “Devin?”

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


“My Best Friend’s Stepfather” by Opal Carew (St. Martin’s Griffin)

5_18_mybestfriendsstepfather_hrAshley jerked awake. She didn’t know if seconds or minutes had passed, but she found herself stretched out on the bed. She gazed up to see Dare’s face, his expression filled with concern.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and stared at him in awe. “That was incredible.”

He chuckled. “Well, I have to admit, that’s the first time I’ve ever made a woman faint.”

She laughed, feeling delightfully giddy. “Feel free to do it again anytime.”

He lay down beside her and drew her against his naked body. “Believe me. I will.”

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

Good luck to Opal and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.

 

Golden Leaf Spotlight on Paranormal Romance: Laura Welling

 

“Heir To The Pack” by Laura Welling (Self-published)
laurawelling_heirtothepack800

She put it all together and looked at him again. He was a glorious wild thing, lying on the floor like a pet. An enormous pet. With her toddler asleep on him as if he were no more than the family dog. This man-wolf-whatever, her former lover, the father of her son, this beautiful beast.

Annie sagged down on to the rug. “Words fail me,” she said.

His jaws opened, and she could have sworn the wolf laughed at her. He turned to nudge his nose at Jack.

“You want me to take him?” Wag. “All right.” She leaned forward and gathered still-sleeping Jack into her arms. When she sat back, Dash stood.

His midnight fur rippled. A shimmer swept over him, a wave of velvet darkness, and in less time than the wag of a tail, the wolf disappeared, replaced by Dash, sitting cross-legged on the rug. Naked, again, of course.

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

Good luck to Laura and all our Golden Leaf finalists! Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference award ceremony on October 14, 2016.