Whether you are looking for heart-racing romantic suspense, a holiday romance, a paranormal love story or an unforgettable contemporary romance, Carina Press has what you are looking for.
Here are 7 male/male romance titles we are buzzing about this season!
One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.
BUD/S: six months of the most intense training there is. It’s survival of the toughest, and Matt Knytych is determined to come out the other side a navy SEAL.
Distraction is life or death. And just the sight of former marine Shane Hovland is enough to shake Matt’s concentration.
Shane came to BUD/S training ready to prove himself—again. Semper Fi is forever, but he needs a new start. Not this dangerous heat with a man he barely knows.
Everything they’ve ever wanted is riding on a thin, punishing line. And they’ll have to fight for more than just each other if they want to make it through intact.
After all, the only easy day was yesterday.
It’s that time of year when ghosts and goblins come out to play, and we couldn’t be more excited. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year. Everything from the movies, the books and the children in costumes to the delicious food. Nothing screams pumpkin everything like Halloween, and is there anything better than chocolate in bite-size pieces?
This year Kari Cole, Tracy St. John and Sean Michael share what they love most about this amazing time of year including family traditions, movies they love to watch and food they love to devour.
Most of our family traditions revolve around food. Halloween is no exception, but it isn’t the bags of chocolate candy we love the best. We pick our own pumpkins and apples and buy fresh cider and still-hot-from-the-fryer cider doughnuts. Then we spend the next few days roasting pumpkin seeds, baking pies and making sausage-and-apple risotto. Mmm, I love Halloween.
Don’t miss Touch the Sky by Kari Cole, available now!
Keep to yourself. Focus on the job.
Sheriff Vaughn Ellis’s very existence as a rare double-shifter defies the natural order. It also makes it extremely difficult for him to get close to anyone. To trust anyone. It’s nothing Vaughn can’t handle, until a seductively sweet woman arrives in Black Robe, and suddenly he can’t think about anything but her.
The product of a witch/werewolf pairing, Hannah Cochran gets the odd-wolf-out thing. But when she uncovers a major threat to the lycanthrope world, she finds herself playing nice with the sexy sheriff. Abiding by the law isn’t usually Hannah’s style, but nothing catches her breath quite like the commanding attraction she feels toward Vaughn.
Working closely together only intensifies their fated connection, making it impossible to deny—or resist. Hannah fears that getting involved puts Vaughn in danger. But when she becomes the target, it’s Vaughn who’ll have to decide which rules he’s willing to break to save the woman he can’t live without.
What I love about Halloween is the movie horrorfest my husband and I enjoy through the entire month of October. Everything from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to The Exorcist is gleefully devoured each night, culminating in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining on Halloween itself. Keep an eye on Danny’s sandwich during his first scene with his mom…either the continuity editor was off that day or that kid was starving.
Don’t miss Worlds Collide by Tracy St. John, available now!
Engineer Velia Farrah always wanted to see an alien up close. Now that she’s assigned to study the top secret portal linking Earth to other worlds, she’ll get her chance. But when a fierce, gold-skinned alien from Risnar leaps from the portal and whisks her back to his home planet, “up close” takes on a whole new meaning.
Believing Earthlings had killed his fellow warriors, Jape Bolep is determined to destroy Earth’s access to Risnar once and for all. Grabbing a curvy handful of a human wasn’t part of the plan, but he has no intention of letting her distract him from his need for vengeance—no matter how much he aches to make her his.
Both are ready to do battle over right and wrong and good and evil, and their combustible relationship burns hotter than the sun’s surface. But distrust and treachery from all sides leave Velia and Jape in a fight against their own people to keep each other alive—and to ultimately save both Earth and Risnar from total destruction.
You’re totally doing the Julie Andrews sing-along in your head right now, aren’t you?
Well, go ahead. Let it play in the background while you peruse below, because October is hands down my favorite month of the year, and I’m about to unload the five primary reasons I love it!
Okay, I’ll admit this one gets old kind of fast, but remember—I live in Oklahoma, and we just don’t mess around with summer. You really feel the heat July through August, and much of September. So when I start seeing pumpkin spice lattes on the Starbucks board, my inner survivalist knows it’s officially time to start saving on the air-conditioning bill and pull my sweatshirts out from the back of my closet.
Meant to be a sneak peek into a Carina editor’s brain, and critiqued by a different editor each time, these critiques are posted twice a month.
The idea here is to give you a quick insight into how we might look at a manuscript as it comes across our desks on submission. We’ll strive to be critical but not mean. Because it’s only about 600 words, 2 pages at the most, the amount of feedback is necessarily limited—we don’t have access to more than a couple of pages!
We asked authors to submit one of four types of scenes: an action scene, a sex scene, the black moment or the first meeting between protagonists. This opportunity was limited to 400-800 words, but it provides both authors and those following these critiques with an opportunity to see editorial feedback deeper into a book.
It’s important to note that this manuscript was submitted specifically for the purpose of critique on the blog, we do not/will not use random submissions so no worries we’re going to pull your piece out of our submissions inbox and critique it.
The next opportunity to submit a piece for critique will be open soon, so please watch the blog or our newsletter for more.
This month’s editor providing critique is Carina Press Freelancer Editor Kate Marope.
The Short Scene
This was submitted by the author as an action scene.
Author A described this manuscript as “a romantic suspense in which a murder takes place in a locked room.”
The query letter promises an interesting read with a heroine with an art forgery past, and a romance with the lead detective in the investigation.
Rory turned onto the next street and hesitated. Sometime between the time she had passed earlier and now the street light had gone out. She stopped, debated over continuing on this path or going another street over back to her apartment, adding a few more blocks. If she hadn’t drunk that second glass of wine, maybe the fatigue wouldn’t be catching up with her. And maybe she wouldn’t have gone to see Colin after dark either.
Deciding to continue down the street, she quickened her pace, her soft-soled tennis shoes quiet as she padded down the sidewalk. Which meant the footsteps that echoed in the empty street belonged to someone else. Someone following her, not worried about announcing his presence. Someone hidden in the shadowy recesses of the buildings lining the street.
She broke into a run, her heart hammering in her chest, pounding in her ears. The footsteps came faster. Closer. Heavy steps, like a man’s. With a new surge of adrenalin, she sprinted toward the next block. One lone light shone on the opposite side of the street.
Hands clutched at her sweater from behind, grabbing her shoulder. In reflex she screamed and shimmied free. Took two steps. He lifted her off her feet. This time she screamed louder, kicking at him.
“Shut up!” he growled, tossing her over his shoulder and heading toward the alley. He was built like a refrigerator and held her legs so tight she couldn’t move. She stopped screaming when gravity worked against her. She beat on his broad back with both fists, then choked on stale cigarette smoke that puffed from his rough wool coat. Nothing fazed him.
“Stop! Police!” The voice sounded familiar.
Oh, no. Gallagher.
The man turned around, smacking her head against dark metal. He laughed. “Yeah. You look like a cop.”
“Set her down and put your hands above your head.” She couldn’t see Gallagher, but imagined—hoped–he pointed his gun at Fridge Man.
Fridge Man pushed her off his shoulder. Her startled scream filled the cool air. Her hip struck cold metal. Then the smell assaulted her. Rotten garbage. Overstuffed trash bags cushioned her fall as she landed in a Dumpster. She scrabbled over the slick lumpy surface. Something clattered and slid on the pavement outside.
“Shit.” Gallagher sounded surprised.
What was going on out there? The alley was darker than the street without streetlights, leaving her blind. The angle of the bags made her slide down into the pile of stench in the corner.
Finally at the top of the heap, she peered over the edge of the Dumpster. Gallagher swung at the bigger man, but looked like he was outmatched. Should she help him or take this opportunity to lose them both? Gallagher had saved her though. She felt around for something unmooshy to use as a weapon. Her fingers came in contact with a long stick. She held it up in a sliver of moonlight. Table leg? Clutching it in one hand, she hugged the top edge of the Dumpster and struggled out. The two men wrestled in the middle of the alley, grunting and punching each other.
She hit Fridge Man between the shoulder blades with the table leg. The wood splintered.
“My . . . gun,” Gallagher gasped.
Tossing the broken leg aside, she checked out the area. No gun-sized shadows. Swinging her foot in a semicircle close to the ground, she searched for the weapon. After numerous sweeps she managed to kick it, then scampered after it.
She’d never held a gun in her life and the weight surprised her. “I-I’ll shoot.”
Damn. Her voice trembled and her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Fridge Man pirouetted and shoved Gallagher at her. They collided and sprawled in a tangle of arms and legs, knocking the gun from her hand. Fridge Man ran off, his footsteps echoing in the distance. A dog barked. Her heartbeat clamored in her ears and her chest hurt. She fought to catch her breath.
Gallagher separated his arms and legs from hers and rolled over to lie panting on the asphalt next to her. He looked at her, his face full of dark blotches. “Okay?”
“Me? Yeah. Thanks.” Because of her he’d gotten hurt. Again. A twinge of guilt niggled at her. “You don’t look so good.”
He rose on one elbow and swiped a hand across his face. “I’d say the other guy looks worse, but he probably doesn’t.”
She stood and dusted pebbles off her sore butt. How had he lost possession of his gun? Instead she asked the more pressing question. “Why were you following me?”
“Give me a minute.” Grunting, he rose in slow increments. Once upright, he faced her. “What were you thinking, going out alone this time of night?”
* * *
I appreciate how the author tried to set up the scene, with the ominous dark street, heavy footsteps, and somewhat weary heroine. Unfortunately, the scene left me confused because there was a distinct lack of context. Of course, taking the scene out of the greater context of the full manuscript contributes to that, but there was also confusion in not knowing what the stakes are and the general motives of each character in the situation.
The reader doesn’t know what Rory achieved by going to see Colin (and if it was worth the risk of the late-night walk), who Colin is (lover, family, or friend), and what Fridge Man intended to do with Rory (was this a kidnapping gone bad?).
If Rory went to go meet with Colin (who may be her brother, based on the query letter) with the goal to discover if he was the one to put the forged painting that led to the locked room murder up for sale, then it would benefit the scene to tell if that goal was achieved, or what further questions were a consequence of Rory’s meeting with him (e.g. if Colin and her father said they didn’t put the painting up for sale, who did? Did Colin point to someone else having an inordinate amount of interest in the painting or him?).
Then we need to take a look at Fridge Man. He was quiet throughout the entire scene (other than to tell her to shut up and to mock Gallagher), so that gave no insight into his motivations for fireman carrying Rory into the alley. No threats, no demands, and no commands (no answer for why he put her in the dumpster). Without a hint of what his intentions toward her were (or at least who sent him), I didn’t get fully invested in rooting for her to get away from him. Him throwing Rory into the garbage brought humor rather than fear or sense of danger to the scene. At some point I was sure that a surprise reveal was coming (maybe Rory knew Fridge Man and this was a prank gone wrong and not a kidnapping).
Fridge Man himself seemed like a bit of a throwaway character. He didn’t have a name, not much of a voice, and not real investment in the situation. Given how easily he disabled both Rory and Gallagher, if his motives were to kidnap Rory, why did he run away when he was winning?
As for Gallagher, he seemed oddly concerned for Rory, even though this scene takes place early on in the manuscript while Rory is still the only suspect for the murder. So, I wasn’t sure if he was following her because he wanted to keep her safe or if he was following her to make sure that she was staying out of trouble (or potentially leading him to the real killer). The fact that Rory paused to wonder if Gallagher and Fridge Man taking each other out wouldn’t solve all her problems, makes it clear their relationship wasn’t a cordial one. Yet, it seems like Gallagher is routinely rescuing Rory from dangerous situations.
I love how Gallagher was clearly out sized and outclassed, but because the POV character was inside the dumpster and searching for the gun in the dark for most of the actual fighting, the reader doesn’t get a good sense of what’s going on. What little blocking we did see was also vague. It’s clear the author wrote this scene knowing the who, what and why of each character, but none of that quite made it into the scene to ramp up the tension and progress the plot. Adding more dialogue (especially from Fridge Man), and perhaps writing the scene from Gallagher’s POV would provide more backstory and actual investment in the fight since he is the one confronting and following the other characters.
Would I keep reading?
Yes, because the author’s query letter was quite strong and painted an interesting broad strokes picture of the book. Rory’s forger past catching up with her after she becomes an assistant curator and conservator at a private museum is quite intriguing, and I would like to know why Gallagher seems oddly sweet on her right from the start.
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by JN Welsh, author of In Tune
Seeing women excel in their careers and businesses on the page is empowering, especially when you can learn from their stories, because secretly we’re all trying to figure out how to do it, right?
Within the pages of my books, readers can find dynamic, often humorous, mostly career-driven, multicultural women of color looking for love. Women, who when you peel back the layers they surprise you, as well as their lava-hot, sexy love interests, over and over again. Similar to some of my favorite reads. Here are five of my favorites that I always mention!
Tori Baldwin knows how to dish out love advice on her food truck as easily as she busts balls. It’s tough to go toe-to-toe with a really alpha leader of a biker community, yet she does and all while taking care of others and navigating through some intense emotional and dangerous situations. During the heart-pumping moments, I couldn’t put the book down.
Quinn Dixon loves hard and sasses even harder. She’s a heroine with entrepreneurial dreams and is thoughtful and protective of her family, friends and Jesse Peterson. Even during the oppressive Jim Crow era, Quinn strives for a better life and experiences an unconventional and unexpected love against seemingly insurmountable odds. (more…)