August 15-31, 2004 Edition

RWA National

Conclave Draws

Huge Crowd

DALLAS, TX/08/01/04—The Romance Writers of America converged on Dallas for eight days July 25-August 1, 2004, attracting nearly 1900 writers and publishing professionals from throughout the US and abroad to Dallas’ Adam’s Mark Hotel.

The week-long event was amazingly coordinated by only seven staff members and about a dozen volunteers. Among presenters were editors from Avalon Books, Avon books, Bantam Dell, Dorchester Publishing, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Harlequin Enterprises,Kensington Books, New American Library, Pocket Books, Red Sage Publishing, St.Martin’s Press and Tor/Forge.

Headlining the event were New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner (writing also as Alicia Scott), and USA Today bestselling author Barbara Samuel. Among other celebrities was New York Times bestselling author and screen writer Randall Wallace, best known for his motion pictures and books, Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, and others. Author James Patterson also was among famous presenters.

The conference was kicked off with a 450-author book signing where tens of thousands of new romance novels were autographed by the authors and sold. Sales benefited the “Readers for Life” literacy program sponsored by ProLiteracy Worldwide.

Winners of the coveted Rita Awards for novels of the year 2004 included:

Best Traditional Romance, Her Royal Baby by Marion Lennox (Harlequin) Best Short Contemporary Series, The Knight’s kiss by Nicole Burnham (Silhouette) Best Long Contemporary Series, The Top Gun’s Return by Kathleen Creighton (Harlequin) Best Paranormal Romance, Shades of Midnight by Linda Fallon (Kensington) Best Inspirational Romance, Autumn Dreams by Gayle Roper (Multnomah Publishers) Best romantic Novella, Prisoner of the Tower in The Wedding Chase, by Gayle Wilson (Harlequin) Best First Book, Back Roads by Susan Crandall (Warner) Best Regency Romance, Prospero’s Daughter by Nancy Butler (Signet) Best Short Historical Romance, Worthy Any Price by Lisa Kleypas (Avon) Best Long Historical romance, The Destiny, by Kathleen Givens (Warner) Best Romantic Suspense, Remember When-Part 1, by Nora Roberts (G.P. Putnam & Sons) Best Contemporary Single Title, Birthright, by Nora Roberts (G.P. Putnam & Sons) Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, Between Sisters, Kristin Hannah (Ballantine)

The RWA’s top favorite book of 2003, among ten favorites, was Confessions of a Scoundrel by Karen Hawkins (Avon, February 2003).

According to RWA research, romance novels represent 35.8% of U.S. book sales (including the sale of all hardbacks, paperbacks and trade-sized popular fiction). Other categories included in the study are: mystery/ thrillers, 26.6% of the market; general fiction, 17% of the market; and science fiction, 6.6%. The remaining 14% include U.S.sales of religious, occult, male adventure, and move tie-ins.