2002 RITA, Golden Heart,
Lifetime Achievement Awards,
Comments from

2002 RITA Winners

  • Traditional Romance – Quinn’s Complete Seduction by Sandra Steffan
  • Short Contemporary Series Romance – A Long, Hot Christmas by Barbara Daly
  • Long Contemporary Series Romance – Coming Home to You by Fay Robinson
  • Paranormal – Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens
  • Inspirational – Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney
  • Romantic Novella – I Will by Lisa Kleypas from anthology Wish List
  • First Book – The Border Bride by Elizabeth English
  • Regency Romance – Much Obliged by Jessica Benson
  • Short Historical Romance – Tempt Me Twice by Barbara Dawson Smith
  • Long Historical Romance – The Bridal Season by Connie Brockway
  • Romantic Suspense – The Surgeon by Tess Gerritson
  • Contemporary Single Title Romance – True Confessions by Rachel Gibson

Maggie Osborne received the Lifetime Achievement award.

2002 Golden Heart Winners

  • Nancy Robards Thompson
  • Jamie M Sobrato
  • Brenda Harlen
  • Jenni Leigh Grizzle
  • Gerri Russell
  • Kathryn Caskie
  • Kathleen W Hodges
  • Beth M Lavin
  • Laurie Lance Bishop
  • Ramona G. Thompson

Kleypas, Gibson, Brockway, and Dawson Smith on Their Wins

Lisa Kleypas (won for best novella): What an exciting conference it was, and the surprise of winning a RITA for my Wish List novella gave me almost more happiness than I could stand! The other finalists in my categories are all so remarkable that I truly felt humbled to be included in their company. After reading most of the other nominees’ incredible work, I decided there was no way I was going to win anything, and had already turned my anticipation toward the champagne-and-chocolate reception that was held after the awards ceremony. When they called my name, I just couldn’t believe it. Now I have this beautiful gold trophy on my desk, and instead of getting back to work this morning, I am sitting here and staring at it, thinking that if only it were a little smaller, I might be able to make a necklace out of it.

Another great surprise was meeting Blythe at the Avon booksigning . . . I have enjoyed her work and her opinions for so many years. I tried to express my admiration for her, but in my excitement (not to mention the chaos of the signing), I suspect I sounded a bit incoherent. Thank God she was both understanding and patient – LOL.

My heart is so full today . . . after sixteen years of publishing novels, to come to this point in my career has made me indescribably grateful.

Rachel Gibson (won for best single title contemporary): As for the RITA, I am still in shock. I absolutely did not expect to win. And because I don’t like to exert myself in efforts of futility, I didn’t prepare any sort of speech. So, I was caught very off guard and my brain went numb. I don’t remember anything I said. I think I just mumbled a few thank yous and got off the stage as quickly as possible.

Connie Brockway (won for long best historical romance): This is the second time I was taken by surprise. I know many of the books The Bridal Season was up against and had settled in to enjoy someone else’s win because a good third of my category not only were authors whom I read and enjoy but women whom I am lucky enough to call friends. On other words, I was in a no-lose situation. But I do hereby solemnly vow that if I ever am a RITA finalist again, I shall dutifully write down an acceptance speech.

I was so flummoxed I forgot to mention those people I love most: my husband David and daughter Rachel; my friends Susie, Sizemore, Anne, Vicky, Christina, Peggy and Jay, Marc and Sheri. And I certainly would have told everyone the reason The Bridal Season was so special to me: it gave me an opportunity to publicly declare in a dedication what a great mom I have when she was still able to comprehend and enjoy it. You should have seen her smile. And I’m sure she’s smiling now.

Barbara Dawson Smith (won for best short historical romance): I have a vivid memory of being a starry-eyed unpublished newbie at the second RWA conference way back in 1982, watching the published authors going up to accept their awards, and vowing to myself that I’d win one someday. It only took me 20 years!

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