The annual RT Booklovers’ Convention was this past week, and on Thursday night they handed out their awards. There were a LOT of them. They are called the “Reviewers’ Choice Awards” and there are about 60 categories, some of which I don’t understand (Historical K.I.S.S. Hero – I’m assuming it doesn’t stand for Keep It Simple Stupid), and others which seems awfully specific (Scotland-set Historical Romance; where is the anywhere-but-England category?). The nominees and winners are selected by “our staff of over 50 reviewers representing the readers’ voice in the women’s fiction industry.” Since these reviewers aren’t listed anywhere I could find on the RT website, I can’t independently assess whether they are qualified to claim to represent my voice, let alone the collective voice of all readers.
I’m thrilled that so many authors whose work I like were singled out, as nominees and as winners. Susanna Kearsley won for The Winter Sea, Meljean Brook for The Iron Duke, and Anne Stuart for Ruthless. Almost every Harlequin line gets its own category (except for Medicals, dammit! What is wrong with you people?), which makes me happy. Hey, if Scottish historicals can have their own award, I see nothing wrong with separate categories for HP and HP Extra.
However (and you just knew this was coming), even though they have multiple awards for mysteries and SFF that are not romance, RT still avoids acknowledging that GLBT romance exists. It’s not just that there isn’t a separate category; they can’t even include individual books and authors within appropriate categories, e.g., in Erotic Romance/Fiction, or in one of the mystery categories, like Amateur Sleuth. Or they could sneak it in to one of the Small Press categories. Maybe an m/m or f/f is lurking in the YA category, but I’m not holding my breath.
I was about to rant and rave about it, but we’ve done that so many times. Instead, here are the Vacuous Minx awards for best non-het romance of 2010. These are carefully selected by the staff of VM and represent the readers’ voice. And you know that statement is true because I’m telling you so. I make no pretense to complete coverage of the subgenre, but these are really good books.
Best book that would be an Oprah pick except it has m/m, and m/m/m/m, and lots of detailed descriptions of sex, and a happy ending: Double Blind, Heidi Cullinan
Best Contemporary with College Student heroes: Life, Over Easy, K.A. Mitchell
Best Zombie Novella: I Fell In Love With A Zombie, Sean Kennedy
Best Historical and amazingly it’s not set in Regency England: Whistling In the Dark, Tamara Allen
Best Angsty, Atmospheric Contemporary with a Helicopter Scene (no not that kind): Driftwood, Harper Fox
Best Slightly Paranormal Short Story Collection: Petit Morts, Vol. 2, Jordan Castillo Price, Josh Lanyon, and Sean Kennedy
Best Holiday Short Story Collection: His For the Holidays, L.B. Gregg, Harper Fox, Josh Lanyon, and Z.A. Maxfield
Best Mystery with a closeted yet sympathetic cop: Death By Misfortune, A.M. Riley
Feel free to argue with the list or add more books, authors, and award categories in the comments.