The Romance Writers of America bestowed two of the coveted RITA Awards for romance writing on digital-first publications this weekend at the group's annual conference, which took place in Anaheim, Calif. The RITA for Romance Novella went to I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden, published by HarperCollins's Avon Impulse imprint, and the award for Contemporary Single Title went to Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe, published by Harlequin's Carina imprint. This is the first time that digital-first titles have won RITA awards. Also notable was Barbara O'Neal's seventh RITA win, which brings her into the RWA Hall of Fame; she received the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category award (her third in that category) for How to Bake a Perfect Life.
At the close of the awards ceremony, RWA honored Brenda Jackson with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Jackson, renowned for her historical and contemporary romance novels featuring characters of African descent, will see her 100th book published in 2013.