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Editor’s Corner: Junessa Viloria explains “the Oscars for romance books” and what it’s like to discover new talent

When people not familiar with the genre ask me what the RITA Awards are, my automatic response is that they’re the Oscars for romance books. I think that all romance editors, whether seasoned editors with numerous RITA award winning authors or young editors seeking for their first author nomination, comb through the Finalists list, eagerly seeking a familiar name. So you can imagine the happy thrill that ran through me when I saw that my author Stefanie Sloane was a finalist for two RITA Awards: Best First Book and Best Regency Historical Romance. To channel Ms. Sloane herself: Squee!


Stefanie was the first author I acquired as an editor. I remember reading the first few chapters of The Devil in Disguise and being so excited to share it with my colleagues. I clearly recall reading the very first scene in the book, where charming heroine Lucinda is trying to get away from a most unwanted suitor, and just laughing. I love books that make me forget myself…the ones where I’m on the train and a giggle escapes my lips, and people all around me look at me with either amusement or confusion. That’s what Stefanie’s books constantly make me do—forget myself and just be in the moment with the characters and with the story, whether I’m smiling over the deliciously witty dialogue, excited by the intrigue and espionage, captivated by the irresistible characters, or melting over the romance and sensuality.

Now the fourth book in Stefanie’s Regency Rogues series, The Saint Who Stole My Heart, is on-sale. In this luscious book, a steamy seduction transpires between a sexy spymaster and a clever bluestocking while trying to solve a cold-case murder. Dash and Elena are such a fun couple to read about and their love story is a sweet and enthralling one.

Congratulations to all the RITA nominees. Without a doubt, to be nominated, you’ve touched more than a few hearts, made more than one person laugh out loud, elicited a few gasps, and drawn people into a voice and world that very distinctly yours…and that’s a wonderful achievement. I’ll be there this week applauding you all on!

(PS. I cannot stop myself from shamelessly touting some books that I’m incredibly excited about. Elizabeth Elliot’s long-awaited and exceptional medieval The Dark Knight just came out this month, Rosalind Lauer’s final book in her wonderful Seasons of Lancaster trilogy, A Simple Autumn, comes out in October, and debut author Elise Sax’s side-splittingly funny and absolutely entertaining novel featuring matchmaker-in-training Gladie Burger, An Affair to Dismember, comes out in January. Mark your calendars!)

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