RSJ convention, the networking event for diversity in literature that helps promote more authors of diversity including African American aspiring and published romance authors, announces the finalists for the 2017 Emma Awards. The Emma — the premier award for diversity in literature — recognizes excellence in published romance novels, novellas and women’s fiction featuring black, African-American, and multicultural protagonists.

The impetus to create the Emma Awards sprang from remarks by the RSJ 2000 guest speaker, well-known historical romance author Beverly Jenkins. The following year in 2001, we held the first Emma Awards ceremony. A novel may currently be nominated either by the author or by the book’s readers in one of the contest categories. The top nominees currently become finalists, and the winners are presently chosen via readers’ choice or judged results depending upon the category.

The 2017 winners will be announced at a dress-to-impress awards ceremony on March 25 at the 2017 RSJ Annual Convention in Los Angeles, California.

2017 Finalists


Hero of the Year
Evan Locke (Someone to Hold by Deatri King Bey)
Jeremiel (The Archangel Jeremiel by EJ Brock)
Lance Johnson (The Bull by D. Camille)
Kyle Davis (Clean Up Love by Barbara Keaton)

Heroine of the Year
Jordan Smith (Someone to Hold by Deatri King Bey)
Anita Foster (The Archangel Jeremiel by EJ Brock)
Lana Joseph (Clean Up Love by Barbara Keaton)
Tarah Boudreaux (A Stallion’s Touch by Deborah Fletcher Mello)

Best Book Cover
A Perfect Blend (Ann Clay)
Model Attraction (Sharon C. Cooper)
Secret Places Revealed (Paulette Harper)
Taffy (Suzette Harrison)

Debut Author of the Year
Lela Alize
Kaia Danielle
Rina Gray
Alexandria House

Book of the Year
The Archangel Jeremiel (EJ Brock)
Catching Rebecca (Siera London)
Quarterback Casanova (Lisa Rayne)
Taffy (Suzette Harrison)

Author of the Year
EJ Brock
Deborah Fletcher Mello
Farrah Rochon
Xyla Turner


Contemporary Romance
One Spark of Magic (Iris Bolling)
Catching Rebecca (Siera London)
All For Love: The Superstar (Raynetta Manees)
Closer Than A Brother (Hadley Radeen)

Commercial Fiction with Romantic Elements
Bounce Back (KM Jackson)
A Date With Destiny (Lutishia Lovely)
The Practice Wife (Marissa Montielh)
Jilted (Eve Vaughn)

Erotic Romance
Wicked Pleasure (Angie Daniels)
Lies You Tell (LaQuette)
Is This Love? (Bridget Midway)
Whatever You Need: Part One (Maureen Smith)

Historical Romance
Drifting to You: Cape Fear Shipworks (Kianna Alexander)
A Treasure of Gold (Piper Huguley)
A Champion’s Heart: Born to Win Men (Piper Huguley)
Daughters of a Nation (Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley)

Inspirational / Spiritual Romance
Secret Places Revealed (Paulette Harper)
Righteous Ways (Rhonda McKnight)
Couple By Christmas (Pat Simmons)
Every Woman Needs A Praying Man (Pat Simmons)

Interracial Romance
Quarterback Casanova (Lisa Rayne)
Wicked Games (Maureen Smith)
10-99 (Xyla Turner)
Relentless (Eve Vaughn)

Novella Romance
Someone to Hold (Deatri King Bey)
Calling Her Bluff (Kaia Danielle)
Clean Up Love (Barbara Keaton)
Runaway Heart (Lisa Rayne)

Paranormal / Sci-Fi / Fantasy Romance

The Archangel Jeremiel (EJ Brock)
The Guicai Talisman (A.M. Griffith)
To Find You (Cerece Rennie Murphy)
Giovanni (Eve Vaughn)

Suspense Romance
The Bull (D. Camille)
Lies You Tell (LaQuette)
Unveiling Love (Vanessa Riley)
Provocative Attraction (AlTonya Washington)

Sequel /Series Romance
The Archangel Jeremiel (EJ Brock)
A Perfect Blend (Ann Clay)
A Passionate Kiss (Sharon C. Cooper)
A Chase for Christmas (Candace Shaw)

Steamy Romance
Breathless (Angie Daniels)
Packing Heat (Zuri Day)
Nicki Night (Riding Into Love)
Wicked Games (Maureen Smith)

Young Adult Romance
Empyrean: Return of the Fire Faery (T.H. Bolden)
Bullies at Finley High (Keith Thomas Walker)

EMMA AWARD WINNERS will be announced on Saturday, March 25th at the Romance Slam Jam Book Lovers Convention – Get Event Tickets

ARE YOU ATTENDING THE 2017 ROMANCE SLAM JAM EVENT?  Have you booked your seat on the Los Angeles Tour?