Carina Press–call for submissions, spring ’13!


*Don’t miss the #carinapitch opportunity Thursday, April 4, 2013.

Hello, everyone! It’s that time of the year 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. :-)

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, GLBT, sci-fi/futuristic, romance (any steaminess level, though I do admit I loooove the super-hot stuff, hah), stories with a mythological element, historicals (especially featuring real historical figures/events), stories set in unusual locales, super-funny romances, books with kick-ass heroines, and anything with a multicultural element.

Meredith Giordan:I love being transported to another time or world when I read so I’d love to see SF, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and steampunk with great world building and interesting mythology and historicals set in any time period and setting but especially Ireland; Tudor, Restoration, Victorian, or Edwardian Britain; or Colonial America. I’m a huge fan of old stories told in new ways so whether it’s a contemporary take on Cupid and Psyche, a paranormal retelling of the Lady of Shalott, or a steampunk Rapunzel, I’m dying to read it. I’m also looking for contemporary new adult, terrifying horror, anything with spies as the hero and/or heroine, dark/gothic historical, and paranormal or urban fantasy featuring a supernatural heroine and human (at least for now) hero.

Megan Records:

  • Tortured heroes. I will never tire of them, especially ex-military heroes with war wounds.
  • Dark paranormals with fantastic worldbuilding. Make me want to camp out for a theme park of your universe. I’d love a world with enough depth to support 3 or more books. All creatures welcome! Just make them feel fresh. I’m a bit tired of the apprentice trope (hero/heroine discovers magical abilities and spends time training), but other than that I am totally open.
  • Flirty, fun contemporaries. Think Carly Phillips. I really like reunion stories or best friend-to-lover stories.
  • Historicals with unconventional elements: unusual settings, main characters with uncommon jobs/roles, lower classes, etc. I do still like traditional historicals as well, especially Scottish ones.
  • Steampunk with a strong romance arc.
  • In the end, I’m looking for something awesome. Something I didn’t even know I wanted until I read it. Something that makes me stay up too late and then wake up early so I can tell someone about it.

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 especially looking for those that feature paranormal, suspense, or steampunk elements.
  • 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.
  • Romantic suspense.
  • Historical Mysteries. Especially those with a gothic atmosphere.
  • Historical Westerns
  • “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.

Melissa Johnson: Melissa continues to look for books with characters who fascinate and challenge each other. She’d love them to be part of a fleshed-out world, whether fantasy, historical or contemporary, and she loves when the story and characters reveal interesting subcultures. Lately she’s been wanting to see an uptight and restrained hero who learns how to let loose a bit from the heroine, also a heroine from a humble background who rises to a position of power and blends her world with that of a powerful hero.

Tina Burns: I’m open to almost any genre, both romance and non-romance (incl. GLBT). Specifically I’d love to work on a Dystopion or Post-Apocolyptic series (romance or not) and really enjoy New Adult and Speculative Fiction (incl. AnyPunk, Alternate History, Alternate Reality, etc). I love unique stories and twists on the norm. I’m looking for flawed but redeemable characters that punch me in the gut and linger long after I’m done reading. At the same time I’m a sucker for a good boy/girl next door, beta hero, and LOL Romantic Comedy.

Elizabeth Bass: I’m a sucker for a well-paced story with memorable characters, no matter what genre. But I would especially love to read a gripping police procedural/thriller with a complex detective anchoring the story, with series potential. Also, I’m always looking for a creepy horror novel involving mutant critters, zombies, or really scary (not romantic) supernatural beings. (Some of my favorite horror authors are Brian Keene, Sarah Pinborough, and Sarah Langan.) I enjoy 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 mash-up, such as a time travel-police procedural—think Life on Mars—or a horror-historical. Nothing makes me happier than when an author takes an offbeat idea and then knocks it out of the ballpark.

Jeff Seymour: I’ve been having a great run of speculative fiction with queer elements, and I’d love to see it continue. I’m also looking for “pure” spec fic (love stories lovely, but not necessarily books that follow romance conventions), and I’d love to get a keep-the-lights-on scary horror story. And as always, anything with not-your-average hero/heroine characters, unpredictable plotting, and polished prose.

Bryon Quertermous: I’m new so I’m looking to acquire just about anything. I have a particular hankering for romantic heist novels, pulpy erotic fiction (like the old Nightstand/Midwood paperbacks), and a big pulpy space opera romance like Star Wars without the family squick. I’m also always interested in quality post-modern contemporary romance and quirky crime fiction or science fiction.

Deb Nemeth: I’m looking for fresh voices from authors who’ll write multiple books in the same genre to build their readership. I enjoy a wide range of tone and content—from romantic comedy to dark and angsty reads—but whatever the genre, I’m drawn to flawed, strongly motivated characters and high-stakes conflict. In my favorite stories, the protagonists have to suffer before winning their true love or saving the world. I’m crazy about exotic settings—I’d love to get a series set in Asia—and I enjoy multicultural characters and m/m fiction. Here’s a sampling of my wish list:

  • High-octane romantic suspense and thrillers
  • Sweeping historical romance in any period, especially British, European, Asian
  • Steampunk (especially Victorian/Edwardian), Renaissance-era clockpunk, and interwar period dieselpunk
  • Brain-teasing mysteries with a strong hook, a unique detective and series potential
  • Contemporary romance with a strong voice, sparkling dialogue and intense conflict
  • SFF, particularly epic/high fantasy and futuristic suspense

Gina Bernal: If you follow this blog (or me on Twitter), you know I love romance of all subgenres, from sweet to spicy. I’m always on the lookout for unusual historicals (whether in setting, theme or character), high-emotion contemporaries, and paranormal or fantasy romances showcasing strong world building or unique universes. Specifically, I’ve been craving lush settings like renaissance Italy or an atmospheric gaslight fantasy. Help me get over TV’s Army Wives jumping the shark with a compelling military domestic drama. I would also love to see a fresh take—whether historical or contemporary—on the classic marriage-of-convenience trope. In the world of non-romance, I’m seeking urban fantasy with larger than life protagonists, Criminal Minds-like psychological thrillers (seriously, freak me out!), and medieval-esque fantasy with lots of intrigue. I’d be eager to acquire a strong historical mystery where the heroine/sleuth is a woman who breaks the conventions of her time.

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. If he’s scarred or traumatized, he might be perfect for me!
  • 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.
  • I’m on the hunt for a New Adult submission with a voice that grabs me from the first paragraph. I’d particularly like Contemporary New Adult, but I’d also be glad to see other sub-genre combos like New Adult with paranormal elements, etc

Angela James: 

  • I’m still looking for submissions in my made-up “contemporary crack” genre. These submissions should be contemporary romance, be a little over the top in some way, and have a strong author voice.
  • I’m also still looking for New Adult in the contemporary romance genre. I’ve only got one author in this genre, so it’s of particular interest to me.
  • I’m currently particularly interested in 65k+ erotic romance submissions.
  • As always, I have ongoing interest in any sports-themed romance (any sport, really, including hockey, football, racing, boxing, MMA, rugby, baseball, soccer, etc. Someone should write a polo player. And Australian rules football (Buddy!) )
  • I also always have ongoing interest in a cowboy space opera (think Firefly).

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!

22 thoughts on “Carina Press–call for submissions, spring ’13!”

  1. Katherine says:

    When I send a submission, does it need to be to a specific editor? I have a historical set in 1880 Egypt that I’m finishing up, but I’m not sure who to send it to.

  2. Mary Eason says:

    Hi. I’m wondering if Carina Press has any interest in Inspirational romances.



  3. Gina Bernal says:

    Katherine, it’s not necessary to address your submission to a specific editor, unless there’s someone you want to specifically target. However, as you can see from the post above, several of us (including me!) like historicals with unusual/interesting settings.

    Mary, we currently don’t publish inspirational. See our submissions guidelines here:

  4. Katherine says:


    Thanks for the advice! It’s the fact that so many editors like historical that confused me! Luckily I did the #carinapitch today and received a request, so that settles that matter. Now all I have to do is tweak a few things and send it!

  5. Zena Gainer says:

    I’m noticing CP doesn’t have many (if any) IR/MC books in their bookstore. Is there a reason? I noticed a few editors stating they were interested in MC, but none said IR, unless you’re lumping them together. Just curious.

  6. Debbie Alferio says:

    Can I ask why you don’t accept inspirational romance? I was somewhat interested in submitting until I saw that comment. Thank you!

  7. What about previously self-published erotic romance? Does Carina accept? Or GLBT version of “Band of Brothers” with elements of ex-military erotic romance>paranormal?
    Thank you!

  8. Rhonda Helms says:

    Zena–I love IR, PoC, MC stories; yes, we are actively seeking them!! I have edited some, so I know they’re there. :D

    And yes, we are happy to look at previously self-pubbed, so long as you have the rights retained.

  9. Merritt Merri says:

    I love Carina Press and it’s great to see so many acquiring editors.

    While I know you don’t offer advances, can you give a little info about how payment works, and whether your authors have been able to earn any money with their submissions….? Also, any chance you may start offering advances in the future?

    Also, what are the word amounts for what’s above?

  10. I’ve written the first in a New Adult trilogy set in the Manhattan art world. I have the other two novellas scoped out in synopses. My question is this: at this time, the first story is 20k, but if you bind the novellas together, they’d be about full novel length. Should I wait to submit until I bulk up the first novella to 50k?

  11. Does Carina Press accept book proposals?
    I have just completed on the chap, 6 of a chap. 12 novel minimum, 50K ready end of the week to go to my professional editor, line editing while I work on the final chap. 6, now in summary form. There is also a synopses draft to be line edited.

    I am a published author, No Website of my own at present but listed on others. i.e Amazon writers; breinburg

    My book fits in with your Rhonda Helmer’s GLB(women -woman) and Multicultural(forbidden love) Set In London UK 1964-2012.publication date
    for 2014.

  12. Rose Wynters says:

    It’s really nice to know more about the editors, and what they are looking for! Thanks for sharing.

  13. lisa says:

    I second merrit’s questions, especially – what is the word limit for contemp crack?

  14. Amina Harrison says:

    From the beginning, I had tried to place an e-book submission via Harlequin with no results. Is Carina Press associated with Harlequin? Thanks, for responding to my e-mail soonest.

  15. Jann d. G. says:

    Hello! Dear editors, I am working on this novel that I call ‘Project Summer’; a romantic suspense that falls exactly under New Adult. Do you think Mallory Braus will be interested to hear it? ‘Cause I’ve been reading about her these past months and I think she’s my story’s soulmate. Or do I have to address it in general as ‘Dear Editor’? I would really love to hear your take on this. Thank you so much in advance!
    I’ts 2:13am here in Manila, Philippines.
    I will never, ever, send my query to anyone else until I hear something from you.

    PS: I love and enjoy reading all of your blogs. I’m your no.1 fan, Carina.

  16. Rhonda Helms says:

    Jann, you can definitely address that to Mallory!

  17. Jann d. G. says:

    Thank you, Rhonda! I must have done something good in the past to receive a response from you. I can barely sit still. My co-contributors in WikiMedia are telling me about you being one of the best freelancers in this industry. I love how, you guys, do your best in replying to almost all of the comments here. I’m so excited to know what Carina Press has to say about my query (and what you have to offer. I am more than willing to wait.) :)You are all so cool! This site is so cool! More power.

    Your fan,

  18. Rhonda Helms says:

    :D Glad to help. Thanks for the super-kind words, and good luck!!

  19. Jann d. G. says:

    Good afternoon, editors! I’m back again. I’m on the process of editing my material and I’ve read that you ask for double-spaced lines. Is it okay If I’ll Justify the whole document? Or should I align it left, right? Thank you in advance.

    from Manila, Philippines
    -jann d.g.

  20. Rhonda Helms says:

    I’d align left. Thanks.

  21. Jann d. G. says:

    Thank you, Rhonda :) As always, you’re so helpful ;) I’d definitely do that.

  22. Jann d. G. says:

    Good evening, Carina :) I need another information and I hope you can enlighten me. While your Submission Guidelines (NA) asked for a word count of at least 50,000, do you also have a maximum limit?

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