Jodi Thomas spoke at a conference I attended a few years ago, and I found her to be quite inspiring. She's since spoken at my local RWA chapter's meetings, and she was one of our conference speakers. She's a genuinely nice person, who goes out of her way to encourage other writers.
Jodi writes both contemporary small-town romances, and Western historicals. She also has an extensive back-list, so you're sure to find something you'll enjoy!