Carina Press–call for submissions, fall ’12!


It’s submissions week at Carina Press! Every day this week, we’ll have a new call for submissions. Friday will be a special opportunity, for one week only, for all authors sending submissions to Carina Press. I suggest holding your submission to send after you read the blog post that day (but that’s up to you, don’t say I didn’t warn you!) We’ve also updated our submissions guidelines, so please be sure to read the new information and guidelines before submitting. ~Angela

Hellooooo, everyone! As you’ve seen, this week has been all about new submissions Carina Press is looking for. Today, it’s time for our editors to do a round-up of what we’d love in our inboxes.

Of course, our standard disclaimer applies: 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.

That said, here we go:

Rhonda Helms: I’m open to pretty much everything, with or without romance. But a few genres I’m eager to read more of right now include: new adult, atypical fantasy, sci-fi/futuristic, romance (any steaminess level, though I do admit I love the super-hot stuff, haha), stories with a mythological element, historicals (especially featuring real historical figures/events), stories set in unusual locales, thrillers/horror with unusual twists, super-funny romances, books with kick-ass heroines, and anything with a multicultural element.

Gina Bernal: Though always open to romance (of all subgenres and heat levels), urban fantasy and mystery/thriller submissions, there are a few specifics I’d love to see hit my inbox:

  • I’m definitely hungry to build my contemporary, non-suspense romance list. Treat me to anything from a small-town tale to a cosmopolitan love affair, just as long as the story has high emotional stakes.
  • Historicals are always a must-read, especially those that feature the grittier side of life (think shows like Spartacus, Deadwood or Copper), unusual time periods, countries or character types (non-British nobles need love too!). And it never hurts when the history comes with a hint of adventure.
  • For paranormal romance or urban fantasy submissions, the key I’m looking for is world building. Hook me with a fascinating new universe I want to return to again and again. Fill my Game of Thrones void with sweeping fantasy or fantasy romance submissions bursting with drama and intrigue. I’m also interested in steampunk and gaslight fantasy stories, particularly those set outside of Britain.
  • Regardless of genre, I’m seeking out authors with plenty of stories to tell, preferably consistently in one or two genres. I greatly enjoy working on series, so if you have a sequel, trilogy or more planned, make sure to say so in your query.

Melissa Johnson: Melissa is looking for a story in which the main characters have electric chemistry.  She wants to read about two people who can’t resist each other and are enthralled by each other’s strengths and flaws.  In the midst of their dramatic coming together, she’d like them to have meaningful friendships or family relationships, and exist in a fleshed out world.

Krystal Gabert: I’m currently looking for a captivating police procedural. Something with a female lead who is strong but not insufferable and with a narrative that is split between solving a mystery and exploring the relationships/personal lives of the detective(s). I’m also looking for a paranormal shifter romance in which the heroine is perhaps newly turned or is secretly a shifter and is dealing with the emotional issues of living a secret life.

Jeff Seymour: I’d love to see a sci-fi romance or romantic suspense played out in deep space. Bonus points for life-threatening situations involving monsters or ship breakdowns! Steampunk or alternate-history fantasy that takes place outside of Europe and the U.S. would be great as well. And, as always, anything with deep worldbuilding, heartstring-tugging characters, or can’t-put-it-down plotting.

Deb Nemeth: I’m interested in reading manuscripts by authors who plan to write multiple books in the same genre in order to build their readership. I enjoy a wide range of fiction and content—dark, lighthearted, any heat level—but, whatever the genre, I want to see stories with strongly motivated characters and high-stakes conflict. I’m attracted by writing with energy, passion, wit and intelligence. I’m especially drawn to characters on the edge, who have a lot to lose, whether emotional or physical; characters forced out of their comfort zone into no-win situations.

My wish list includes historical and fantasy romances with epic sweep, thrillers and romantic suspense with pulse-pounding tension, cozy mysteries with brain-teasing complexity, fun capers and clever heists, m/m romance, high-adventure space opera, gritty military SF, and contemporary romances with snappy dialogue. I’m looking for historicals in periods other than Regency (Medieval, Tudor, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Jazz Age). I’m crazy about exotic settings—I’d love to get a historical series set in Asia. I enjoy Arthurian and myth-based stories, multicultural characters, blue-collar heroes, SEALs, smugglers, rebels, concubines, sheriffs, spies, bluestockings, nerds and outcasts of all kinds.

Elizabeth Bass: I would love to read a gripping police procedural/thriller with a complex detective anchoring the story. Also, a creepy horror story involving mutant critters, zombies, or really scary (not romantic) supernatural beings. Historical romances of all eras, but especially ones with World War (I or II) settings, Western historicals, and historicals involving actual events/people. I’d also love to see a good mashup, such as a time travel-police procedural or a horror-historical. Nothing makes me happier than when an author takes an offbeat idea and then knocks it out of the ballpark.

Alissa Davis: I edit and love both m/f and m/m and would be happy to see either of those pairings in any of the scenarios I mention below:

  • Tortured heroes. I love ’em.
  • Reunion romance. I’d love to see submissions where our hero or heroine returns home and falls for an old flame.
  • Interesting settings.
  • Foodie romance. In these books, food or cooking plays a pivotal role in the love story.
  • Forced proximity situations that lead to love. Whether it’s a historical where the heroine is blackmailing the hero or a contemporary with a hero who has a love/hate relationship with his sick child’s doctor, I love books where the characters are stuck with each other.
  • Erotic romance, menage, BDSM, etc. Turn up the heat!
  • Heroes or heroines with blue collar occupations.
  • Fantasy romance with amazing worldbuilding.
  • Professional rivalry/conflict. Got two heroes with competing restaurants or two swimmers up for the same scholarship? Send them my way!
  • My list is low on contemporary romance, and I’m looking for authors with a strong contemporary voice.

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:

    • New Adult! I’m so excited that Carina Press will now be open to submissions in this genre!
    • I’d love, love, love to find a romantic suspense or contemporary romance that’s set amongst the Amish (non-inspirational)—like Witness or Karen Harper’s romantic suspense series.
    • Psychics – Especially if you have psychic FBI agents or members of a special government agency…
    • I adore quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives. Etc.
    • Gritty thrillers.
    • Historical Mysteries. Especially something set in 19th century Urban America. I’ve recently started re-reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr and would love to read a story set with a similar atmosphere!
    • “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.

Angela James: If you’ve been watching this week, you’ve seen three calls I did. I’m going to acquire at least one New Adult author with an ongoing series to edit myself, I’m also avidly seeking what I’ve called “contemporary crack”, and yesterday I posted the 2013 holiday collection call, which I’ll be editing. In addition to those, I’m still interested in building some superstars in contemporary romance, something with a fresh hook and appeal, nothing old-fashioned, but a very fun, hip contemporary feel, and that has an ongoing series/trilogy potential. I’m also still interested in acquiring sports-themed romances (MMA/UFC included!) Last, I continue to look for a space opera w/a Wild West flair, fast pacing, incredible world building and fantastically drawn characters.

So, if you have anything that fits an editor request (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!

Note from the executive editor: If I can give you one tip to stand out in what we expect to be a busy submissions month, it would be to write an excellent query letter that clearly says what your book is and makes it stand out to us. We have some hints on that here on the blog. Also, f you’ve written something that fits what someone above is looking for, it really does help your submission chances to address it to them, rather than sending it generally addressed and letting me send it to who I think is best. If you can match up with one of these freelance editors, do! ~Angela

67 thoughts on “Carina Press–call for submissions, fall ’12!”

  1. My MS is already in your slush pile! It will definitely fit into what many of you are looking for…funny contemporary romance with series potential..and Angela’s Contemporary Crack! LOL! It’s called Try Me On For Size!

  2. Tara says:

    Oooh, I’m going to give the holiday anthology a shot this year I think! And I can’t believe my luck… it took YEARS to pluck up the courage to submit something, and when I finally do it, I do it a month before the ‘special opportunity’ for new submissions. Just my luck! Gaaah! :)

  3. Tara says:

    Hey Stephanie, mine’s the first in a contemporary series too. Must be something in the water. Good luck! :D

  4. LOL! I’ve never been inclined to write a series before, but this one has such a great supporting cast that their stories were already swirling in my brain before I even finished the first. :)

  5. Tara says:

    Snap! Only with mine, although a lot of the characters will show up, it is really only one that will feature heavily in every book. But she’s kinda special… what with being a talking cat (and a fairy godmother). Hmm, yeah.. I’m a bit of a nut. I love it when characters pop into your head with a full storyline to match. *sighs happily* Do you have twitter/facebook? I’ll investigate… I feel as if I shouldn’t be chatting here, but it’s always nice to connect!

  6. LOL! I’m on Twitter @stephanihaefner. I clicked on your link above and followed your blog :) Love meeting new people! :)

  7. Helen says:

    I’m thrilled to hear from the editors and what you all are looking for as well as what you’re NOT looking for! Thank you.

    I have a question I couldn’t find a reference to on the site. How hard and fast is the submission guideline for no minors in sexual scenes? I’m not asking about illegal sex with a minor, but about that “gray area” (17 yo male/33 yo female)where sexual contact is not illegal. I know a number of adult men who discovered their sexuality in this way and it seems a timely subject. Perhaps Carina Press isn’t the place for such a book? I don’t want to waste anybody’s time by submitting something that would be wholly unacceptable.

    Thank you again for all the quality information in your blog.

  8. Angela James says:

    @Helen: It depends on what genre the book falls in, how explicit the details are, etc. We wouldn’t publish say, an erotica with explicit details of this scenario.

  9. Helen says:

    Thank you very much for your reply, Ms. James. This particular MS is a sexual coming-of-age story and explicit in nature. I also have m/m adult erotica, but after reading your blog, I see that neither is quite ready for submission. This has been enormously helpful. Thanks again!

  10. Deb says:

    Are any editors looking for Romantic Comedies?

    1. Angela James says:

      @Deb many of our editors, besides Rhonda, are looking for comedy.

      If anyone is reading this and wondering if an editor is acquiring your genre: if we publish it, I promise there’s an editor who’s looking for it. Just because it’s not listed doesn’t mean we’re not eager to see it!

  11. Rhonda Helms says:

    I am! lol

  12. Deb says:

    Hot Dawg Rhonda…I’ll be sending…this week. I’ve entered the SYTYCW contest, the first chapter of my current romantic comedy is in the Desire Category entitled Sex, Lies, and Beauty Aids.

  13. Rhonda Helms says:

    That’s true–I jumped on here because I got the notification (since it’s my blog post), but a number of our editors love that genre.

  14. Tara Smith says:

    Well I’m glad that romantic comedies are wanted. I actually found it quite difficult finding a genre for mine – definitely romantic, definitely a comedy, mostly contemporary, but with fantastical elements… yeah, it was tough to nail it down to one genre. I think I want to go with a heart-wrenching drama for my holiday submission though. I like making people laugh, but I LOVE making people cry…*shifty*

  15. Deb says:

    Glad to hear there are more editors who love the comedies…I submitted and fingers crossed.

  16. Deb says:

    @ Tara Smith…are you on fb…if so, how are you listed?

  17. Rachel Riddles says:

    Hi there, I just read through what everyone is looking for.If I find an editor that is looking for the type of story I’ve written do I still send it to the Carina Press submissions email and just include their name in my query letter?

    I have a spicier contemporary romance, that will be the first in a series. It’ll be about siblings, their close friends with a small town vibe.


    1. Angela James says:

      Rachel, all submissions should go through the submissions email address for ease of tracking, but if you want to target a specific editor, just address your query letter to them.

  18. Varsha Dixit says:

    Hi, I’m a previously published author residing in USA published in India (you should see my frequent flyer card :))

    I have a completed brand new Manuscript, contemporary romance where food plays a pivotal role and yes the leads share the kind of chemistry only great lovers can.

    Who do I submit my MS too? Thank you.


    1. Angela James says:

      Varsha, I’d also note that Alissa specifically mentions foodie romance in her call :)

  19. Rhonda Helms says:

    Varsha, a number of us take contemporary romance, as you can see above. Thanks.

  20. Varsha Dixit says:

    Thank you for the nudge Angela :)

  21. Rachel Riddles says:

    Thank you Angela.

  22. Eva Sanders says:

    Drat and double drat!!
    I missed out on this opportunity…I thought I had until midnight tonight (Friday-Oct.12) to submit.
    Was so busy following the So You Think You Can Write contest (submitted an entry there), that I somehow confused the date.
    Will you be doing this again?–feedback from editors is priceless!
    Thank you
    Eve :-)

  23. Alison says:

    Rhonda, I’ll be sending to you very soon: an intelligant and super-steamy romance with mythological elements AND humor :-) Got a bit more polishing to do first…

  24. Elizabeth says:

    @Angela – I have an MMA themed romance ms in the early stages (approx 20K words). Who knew there were editors out there actually looking for this?? Must write faster…

    Do you think you’ll still have room for it in, say a month or two?

  25. Angela James says:

    Elizabeth, I haven’t acquired any yet, so I don’t see why I wouldn’t still have room for it. And even if I acquire one, doesn’t mean I can’t do another!

  26. Angela James says:

    Eva, we’re discussing doing something a bit more limited in scope using social media (Twitter and Facebook) in the coming months, to give authors following us a chance for feedback.

  27. Hunter James says:

    Response time? How long should I wait before sunmitting elsewhere? I submitted a paranormal romance (The Devil’s Armcchair) sometime ago. Do you also do print books? Thanks. Hunter James.

  28. Tia says:

    I didn’t know you considered same orientation romance, do you publish menage stories where the two men have a physical relationship as well as having one with the woman? If so I think this may fit your erotica profile.

  29. Angela James says:

    Hi Tara, yes, we publish a number of stories that fall into that category.

  30. Tia says:

    Thanks very much for your reply Angela :)

  31. Do you accept also translated work? I write in Spanish (because I am Peruvian), but I am looking to enter into the English market, I have a short science fiction new adults novel.

  32. Katherine says:

    I hope some of you editors are into historicals! That is mainly what I write, with the exception of a few ghost stories. Last night I came up with a brilliant idea for a series. I am already deep into my first MS. Expect it in a week or so!

  33. Katherine says:

    By the way, are any editors interested in historical Regency still? I do write books set in other time periods, such as Ancient Egypt or eighteenth century Russia, but at this moment my interest is in Regency. Is this still acceptable?

  34. Rhonda Helms says:

    Yes, we publish regencies, as well as lots of other historical eras. :D

  35. Katherine says:

    Thanks, Rhonda!

  36. Lauren says:

    So this is still open? When is the deadline? It looks like it should be October, but you tweeted it today… am I being dense? :p

  37. Rhonda Helms says:

    The call is still open–we’re not doing the feedback anymore, but we’re still looking for these submissions.

  38. Lauren says:

    Oh, okay, thanks!

  39. Joyce says:

    Recently I noticed you were accepting submissions in the horror genre, but I don’t see it listed anymore. Did you discontinue the line?

  40. Rhonda Helms says:

    We are still accepting horror, as far as I know. :D

  41. I have a novel ready to submit, but darned if I can figure out what genre to use. It is certainly a romance with an HEA ending, but the primary plot is the heroine’s search for who she really is after discovering her entire life has been filled with secrets and lies. Would this be classified as a mystery? Thanks much.

  42. Angela James says:

    Definitely not a mystery. You’ll need to do your genre research, but it could be either contemporary romance or women’s fiction (we don’t publish women’s fiction). You need to know what you’re writing!

  43. Terry Jackson says:

    Is it ok to product place in one’s novel? for example can I mention that her dress is Oscar de la Renta and her shoes are Jimmy Choo? Can I say he wears Tom ford suits? Can I name branded perfumes and drinks?

  44. Thank you for your reply, Ms.James. I realized, after I wrote on your blog, that it is a romantic suspense novel.

  45. Angela James says:

    Terry: There are a few reasons authors should be careful about product placement. First is that some products or trademarks are vigorous about defending their intellectual property (like NASCAR) and it’s impossible to know which trademark may feel that way.

    Second, product placements can absolutely date a book. A product placement can quickly make a book feel old-fashioned or out of date, rather than hip and contemporary.

    Last, product placement depends on your reader to be familiar with those brands in order to understand the reference. If the reader doesn’t get it, your reference is lost.

    So my recommendation is always to use as few brands as possible, unless absolutely necessary.

  46. Terry Jackson says:

    Thank you! That’s very clear.

  47. Serena Pettus says:

    I have a four part novella collection titled The Wolfe Brothers. These are paranormal romances with serious storylines, charming/comical characters, and HEA’s for all…after a little trouble of course. Would this fit into a category for any of the editors here? These are not dark paranormal by any means.

  48. Jacqui Carling-Rodgers says:

    I have a 96K Historical romance with a mid-hot steaminess level.

    I’ll double check your T&Cs and get the cover letter written.

    Thank you!

  49. Tess Mallory says:

    Would Carina consider a backlist book from published authors? I have an SF romance I think Jeff Seymour would love! : )

  50. Tess Mallory says:

    From a published Author not Authors. ha!

  51. Tia says:

    Can I ask a quick question? Do Harlequin not publish Spice anymore? I ask because if you go on the website as a reader they have Spice listed as a most popular imprint and have new books yet go on to submissions and click on Spice and it says they are not published anymore and to look at Carina or HQN NOcturne Cravings?

    1. Angela James says:

      Tia, Harlequin no longer has a Spice line, no.

  52. Lauren Smith says:

    I was wondering if anyone was particularly interested in a series of novellas set in the same universe. They would be paranormal romances with some world building around a supernatural creature hunting organization with reoccurring characters and connecting story lines, and set essentially in modern day America.

    I’d love to know which of the editors would be interested in this so I can direct my agent to the right editor for submissions.


    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Lauren, we’re always interested in things like this. If you send it to submissions, we have a number of editors who enjoy connected books and we’ll make sure it gets to one of them!

  53. Tanya Tynjälä says:

    Your have not answer my question. Do you accept translations? I write originally in Spanish but I would like to published in the English market. Yo can see the book I am talking about here:
    (of course, in Spanish)
    It is a science fiction short novel for young adults,ad bu the way, the phrase “Mas vendido” above the price means “best selller”

  54. Angela James says:

    Tanya, I apologize I missed your question. We would probably consider a translation, I don’t see why not. However, we don’t publish young adult so we’re not the right publisher for your work!

  55. Kathryn Johns says:

    Can someone explain please the difference between a hot romance and an erotic romance? Is there a certain kind of… activity that separates one from the other? I understand (I think) that the difference between romance and erotica has to do with a happily ever after, but what about erotic romance? Does it have to be ménage, or BDSM, to be erotic romance, or does that just mean that the sex, rather than the plot, is the focus of the story? Help!

  56. Angela James says:

    Hi Kathryn,

    The line between hot and erotic is quite subjective, but in a hot romance, there’s often perhaps only one or two sex scenes, they may or may not use explicit language and sex isn’t a key factor in the progression of the relationship.

    In an erotic romance, the erotic elements are tied into the plot, explicit language is generally used and there are most times, more than one or two sexual encounters, sexual fantasies or sexual scenes.

    To be erotic romance, there don’t have to be certain factors (ie there’s no requirement of BDSM, menage or certain sex acts).

    Hope that helps!

  57. Kathryn says:

    Ah, so what I write is erotic romance then. Hot, explicit and the physical relationship is a fully integrated FREQUENT part of the progression of the romance. Thanks for the help. I can’t wait to hear whether my stories have merit to anyone other than me.

  58. At first, I got the impression the call for submissions was months ago, but the last message was today, so I am assuming you’ll accept submissions? Am I correct? Would Mallory be interested in the first of a series starring a nerdy, socially-inept 18 year old library security guard who runs into a contract killer? With an out-of-control psychic mother warning him he’ll die if he gets involved, Marvin Spenser must figure out how to save three lives without anyone catching on…all the while fixing one-person gourmet meals. Synposis and full ms. ready to go (as is ms #2). Thanks for your time.

  59. Angela James says:

    Hi Lee,

    We did post this last fall but it’s always still relevant, even months later. However, I will note we’ll be posting a new one on Monday.

    I’ve forwarded your comment to Mallory, so hopefully she’ll come and answer, but even if she’s not interested, there’s someone who will be, I have no doubt, so you can always send it to us.

  60. Mallory says:

    Hi Lee,

    I would love to take a look! Please send the manuscript and synopsis to the submission email ( address the query letter to me. I’m looking forward to reading your manuscript!


  61. Tanya Tynjälä says:

    Ah! Ok, I make the confusion with New Adult. Anyway I have an alter ego called Nastia T. ans she is an erotic writer. So perhaps that is more on the genres of the publisher.
    My erotica has always supernatuaral elements. Is it ok?
    Thank you

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