Carina Press call for submissions!


Hi guys! Several of us freelance editors decided it was time to do another call for submissions we’re dying to get in. Of course, PLEASE note that in the end, what we really want is a good story, so even if yours doesn’t fit the descriptions below, don’t hesitate to send it to us anyway! Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it in our inbox. :-) You can find out more info on all the Carina freelance editors on this page.

Now, that said, let’s dish:

Rhonda Helms: I’m always open to pretty much every genre, with or without romance. Sometimes I don’t know I want something unless it hits my desk. But there are certain genres I’m eager to read more of, including: steampunk, atypical fantasy, sci-fi/futuristic, romance (any steaminess level), cross-genre urban fantasy, stories with a mythological element, historicals (especially if they feature real historical figures/events), stories set in unusual locales, gladiators (I LOVE them), thrillers with unusual twists, horror, super-funny stories, books with kick-ass heroines, and anything with a multicultural element.

Gina Bernal: Romance of any subgenre with military heroes or heroines, contemporary romance without suspense elements (including but not only small-town settings), historical romance with an adventurous bent (still searching for those elusive pirates), shapeshifter paranormals, urban fantasy with a unique twist (i.e. beyond the usual vampires and werewolves), and creepy though not necessarily gory psychological thrillers.

Melissa Johnson: Melissa would like to see submissions of any genre that have great worldbuilding, believable and original characters, and deep and difficult conflict.  She works with authors across the range of genres and niches that Carina publishes.  She is especially excited to see manuscripts with series potential that hint of a vast world and even bigger story in the author’s head.

Alison Janssen: I want to see more:

  • Scifi, especially space opera.
  • Gaslight and/or steampunk. (don’t we all, lol!)
  • Medieval.
  • Small town contemporary romance (or contemp. where setting plays an important part).
  • Redemption stories—any genre, really. I love, love, love themes of characters struggling to redeem themselves in the eyes of a parent, lover, community —or even their own eyes.

Denise Nielsen: It’s harder than it seems to narrow down genres I’d love to see. Just as my mind settles on one thing, another pops up. I’m still looking for solid contemporaries, steampunk and/or suspense stories or novellas, but with the gloomier weather kicking in, I find I am more in the mood for plots and characters that have a darker edge. Not so much shape shifters, but more danger and mystique, more human characters with secrets. I would love to see something gothic come my way with a hint of suspense perhaps…think smugglers, highwaymen or soldiers of fortune; think mysterious heroines and a world where not everything is as is seems.

Historicals are still something I’m keen on and anything to do with norse or medieval themes would especially capture my interest. Feel free to incorporate legend and myth to give it more of a fantasy flavour too. I also maintain that a novel set among the spies and resistance fighters of world war II would be intriguing…there is so much room for developing a strong heroine in that period. What I don’t want is a history lesson…the focus needs to be on the characters, but please do weave in authentic historical details to give depth to your story.

Take a risk with cross-genre blends, or stick to your favourite genre. But do it with strong characters who take an active role in their own plot. Give me conflict (both internal and external) and character development, and if there is a romantic element to your story, show me the fire—whether that is a slow burn or instant passion—between the heroine and hero.

Lynne Anderson: I’d particularly love to see cross-genre stories, and interracial, multicultural, and/or LGBT relationships. However, I’m always interested in reading well-written, engaging stories in all genres (truly—I enjoy them all!), of any length. What catches my attention is a distinctive writing voice, a certain flair with language, unusual premises, new and interesting takes on standard tropes, and imperfect, genuine characters with depth. I look forward to reading your submissions!

Deb Nemeth: On my wish list are high-stakes thrillers and cleverly constructed mysteries featuring a compelling detective who a series can be based on. One of my favorite genres is historical romance, especially English and Irish settings from Celtic to WW2 but also any European (medieval, Crusaders, Renaissance, buccaneers), as well as unusual settings such as Asia and Africa. I can’t get enough steampunk, so if your invented world is full of gears and gadgets, I wanna read it. I’m also actively seeking contemporary romance mss with strong conflict—something more than an I’ve-been-hurt-before hesitation to commit—and passionate characters. I’ve been longing to acquire Asian-inspired urban fantasy, space westerns, futuristic mystery/suspense and Arthurian fantasy. In all genres I’m looking for m/m and multicultural stories, and I’m open to all heat levels. I’m attracted by intense characters, both lawmakers and lawbreakers, and crisp writing.

Elizabeth Bass: What would I like to see more of? Historicals! Romances, of course, but I also would be interested in historical mysteries or thrillers. I’ve really been craving more Western historicals, Regencies, and books set in the medieval period. (Although from the Carina submissions I’ve received and acquired, I’ve discovered any historical period can be great if the writer finds the story to make it click!) Also, it would be fun to see submissions from authors who have branched out into twentieth century historicals–romances, mysteries or thrillers set during the World Wars or the years between. I’d love to see more thrillers or police procedurals with a hero/heroine detective who has series potential. Cozy mysteries, too.  I’ve been rereading Sparkle Hayter’s Robin Hudson series and I’m craving a fun cozy series with a woman detective. Finally, a great zombie/creature apocalypse thriller in my inbox would make my day.

Mallory Braus: Mallory looks for characters first. Three dimensional and relatable characters—with depth and vulnerabilities—pull her into a story faster than anything else. She’s looking for all genres, but there are a few things she’s especially keeping an eye out for:

  • I’m still hoping to find a zombie hunter romance in my inbox. Though, I will read all things zombie related.
  • Psychics – Especially if you have psychic FBI agents or members of a special government agency…
  • I’ve been keeping an eye out for quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives. Etc.
  • Gritty thrillers.
  • Historical Mysteries.
  • “Band of Brother” type series. Examples would be Nora Roberts’s trilogies, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, or J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Where an emphasis is on the building of multiple characters’ relationships.
  • Stories with unique worlds/setting, including, but not limited to: steampunk, post-apocalyptic, futuristic sci-fi and urban fantasy

So, if you have anything that fits the editor requests (or even just a great book in general!) to submit, visit our submissions page and follow the directions there. You can address your submission to one of the editors above, or the editorial staff in general. Thanks, and we look forward to reading your amazing stories!

35 thoughts on “Carina Press call for submissions!”

  1. OK now my brain is WHIRLING – so many ideas – the list became one giant mashup novel in my head! No, seriously, I appreciated the insights but as I’m still deep in Ancient Egypt at the moment, I think I’ll stay there for now. But let my mind wander a little into other plots and genres. (Although there is this SFR that just *might* hit Alison’s e mail box if I ever finish cleaning it up.) Thanks for taking the time to talk about what everyone’s looking for!

  2. Marian Crane says:

    Well, I’m still on the agent hunt until December, but after that I have something really cool and different to send to Melissa Johnson.

  3. Jamie Brazil says:

    I am sending you my 1853 historical set in Japan. TODAY.

  4. Rhonda Helms says:

    I LOVE JAPAN…you’ll be my first asian submission! :D

  5. Nancy O'Berry says:

    Wow, sent mine in on October 26th. So, I think I have to wait a bit. But I know now what I’ll be working on for my next submission. Oh, Elizabeth.. it was a western romance with a U.S. Marshall.Its probably buried in the slush pile. :oP Thanks for putting this out. Those of us in the trenches appreciate it.


  6. S.J. Drum says:

    Sent my submission in on Oct 17th! Working on some new ideas for my WIP after reading this post.

  7. Michael A. Lavergne says:

    Hello from Hong Kong! That’s lovely news for lots of folks no doubt: would have loved to see a call for timely political thrillers like mine set in modern day Burma, ‘The Brevity of Life’, which has been self published as a serial novel on Itunes / Amazon recently…I’d be happy to send along the e-book.

  8. Jamie Brazil says:


    Just sent it now.

  9. Ms. Braus, I have the perfect zombie hunter romance for you…with a unique and creepy twist from the deep. I hope to get it to you as soon as possible!

  10. I have a romantic suspense that has gained incredible feedback on Authonomy and from a EVP of HQN. She requested a sample after a mutual contacted recommended my work. This EVP said I had a “solid and engaging writing style”, and that my work was “exactly the type of editorial they like to publish” She hopes that I submit my novel on completion for their Mira line. I’m only half way through my initial draft, but I’ve yet to engage an editor or agent. At what point should I do this — when my manuscript is complete, or while still a work-in-progress. I’ve included a link to a sample of work on Authonomy. It’s been there for a month and has steadily climbed the charts.

    Thanks for time!

    Warmest regards,

    Michelle Mills
    Ontario, Canada

  11. Brenda says:

    Hello, Mallory Braus. I sent over my vampire MS. I was so excited when I read you are looking for a “Band Of Brothers” type series.

  12. Mallory Braus says:

    @Kaylie and @Brenda: I just happy danced around. :D

  13. Brenda says:

    I have a quick question. I didn’t receive an auto reply after I sent my MS…should I resend or just hold off?
    Sorry to be a pain in the neck.

  14. bettielee says:

    Oh, Mallory, I’m editing an urban fantasy with a government agency that deals with special powers… It’s not ready yet. Still killing my darlings!

  15. You don’t do YA, do you?

  16. Melissa Johnson says:

    @Marian I’m eager to see your submission.

  17. WOW!! So many to choose from! I have several WIP’s near completion that would fit. A reincarnation set in Japan (M/F), a Cajun werewolf (M/M), and a Sidhe prince who loves BBW. I’ll be sure to give you guys first dibs when complete.

  18. Tish says:

    Thank you so much for this. Now I know just where to send the first book of my second trilogy. Melissa, get ready for Wiccan goddesses, witches, werewolves, vamps, demons and more. I can only hope it’s right up the alley of what you’re looking for! :)

  19. Marika Weber says:

    What is the word count? Unfortunately, I have a story that is 4K that I was going to sub for anthology that did make it because I didn’t polish it before I sent it in. I know, bad me.

    Its erotic with a HEA. Theme contemporary cowboy.

  20. Marika Weber says:

    Actually, it didn’t make it because it wasn’t polished enough. Lesson learned…

  21. Rhonda Helms says:

    Marika–our submissions must be at least 15k words. Thanks.

  22. Will be sending my MS to Melissa Johnson. I can guarantee you’ve never read anything like it.

    I just hope you have the passion and see the potential.

  23. Gloria Galasso says:

    I sent my first submission about three weeks ago. I am hard at work on a submission that I think Ms. Anderson might like: it’s an m/m contemporary with an Osage Indian and a white man. I plan to send it in within the next month.

  24. Rhonda Helms says:

    Michelle–I recommend waiting until you finish and polish your manuscript. Good luck.

  25. Vee Worthy says:

    Dang! I’m working on an urban fantasy with a psychic FBI agent (as requested by Mallory). I’m an ex-cop, so I have that advantage with details. Wish it was done…I guess I know what manuscript I’ll work on this month during NaNoWriMo. (Yes, I’m cheating. I’m working on an existing manuscript! I’m a rules breaker, what can I say?

  26. ALF says:


    Do you accept Sci-fy mini series?

    Thank you :D

  27. S A Kelso says:

    Rhonda, RU interested in a kind of alternate-history time-travel novel based on a re-writing of the Eurydice and Orpheus myth? Some romance, though not of the usual Harlequin type. I’m currently revising it, with intent to try it on Carina anyway.

    Thank you


  28. Rhonda Helms says:

    Absolutely–send it my way! :-)

  29. Rhonda Helms says:

    ALF–is it at least 15k per story and does each story have its own definite arc? If so, send away! :-)

  30. ALF says:

    Rhonda, yes it is :D

  31. Danny Estes says:

    Rhonda, I just sent in a SF novel about a paranoid thief and a woman with dual personalities; one, hard as nails and the other, soft and sweet. The novel is called,
    “My lover, the paranoid thief.” I hope you’ll like it.

    Danny E.

  32. @ Mallory Braus: I am sending that watery, zombie-romance your way! I hope that storyline is still a part of your wish-list.

  33. Eva Gordon says:

    Hi Rhonda,
    I have a paranormal gladiator novel. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Or should I send it to submissions and address to you?

  34. Rhonda Helms says:

    Yes, please send to our submissions email and address to me! :D

  35. Eva Gordon says:

    Dear Rhonda Helms,

    Thanks, I just submitted and addressed my paranormal gladiator romance to you.

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