What Carina Press editors are looking for: February 2014 edition


Looking for the February 11th #carinapitch information post? Click here.

I want to take a moment to say a few words about submissions in general, as well as what’s specifically listed. Just because I list some info about the below genres doesn’t mean that this is all we’re looking for. If we publish it, we’re looking for it and want you to send it. You may be writing something we didn’t even know we want! Last time, Rhonda said this and it always applies: PLEASE note that in the end, what we really want is a good story, so even if yours doesn’t match the descriptions below but fits in the parameters of what we publish, don’t hesitate to send it to us anyway! Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it in our inbox.

I also want to remind you that we’re always open to submissions, so even if your book isn’t done now, we’ll still want to look at it once you’ve finished (and polished) it! Don’t rush, we’re always going to have a schedule to fill.

That all said, here are some specific things Carina Press could use:

  1. For 2014, we’re still seeking a romantic suspense novel-length (70k+) series we can launch. This is one of our top holes in the 2014 schedule!
  2. Also for 2014, we’re especially looking for these genres: historical romance, erotic romance, male/male romance, new adult romance and mystery.
  1. Historical romance: we’re looking particularly for someone to write a Scotland-set historical romance for us (we like kilts!) as well as more regency romance.
  2. Erotic romance: Here we’re looking for 70k+ books in particular, something with high sexual tension and series potential. Doesn’t have to be BDSM and, in fact, we’d love to see some non-BDSM submissions (no play on words intended).
  3. Male/Male: In addition to contemporary in this genre, we’d happily look at other subgenres as well as other fiction genres, particularly mystery. And we’d very much like to create a line of books that are new adult m/m.
  4. New Adult: While we will continue to acquire and publish new adult, we strongly believe the genre must branch out in order to thrive. Therefore we’re very interested in other subgenres of new adult, in addition to contemporary romance. And, as noted, we’re particularly looking to see if we can build a strong list of new adult GLBT.
  5. Mystery: we continue to build a healthy mystery list and still have openings for 2014. We’re open to all categories of mystery, including detective, cozy, amateur sleuth and crime fiction.

For my personal wishlist: Though I don’t have a wishlist, like the other editors do below because I’m not quite as actively acquiring, I’m still looking for that one cracktastic project to really pull me in. I’d go to bat in the acquisitions meeting for a great cowboy rebellion-type space opera, still (I wonder how many years I’ve been asking for that Firefly-flavored story? 8? 10?) I continue to happily read sports romance submissions of all sports, but I’d love to see a few break the mold and I wouldn’t mind a super, super sexy (but not necessarily erotic) contemporary romance with sexually charged dialogue, sexual tension build-up and a dirty-talking hero. Oh, and I’ve recently been longing for more motorcycle club-based books (I know, I know), a military romance series, and more books where the heroine or hero has a high-octane job. Sorry, but I’m not a sweet romance kind of girl ;) Basically, in my personal list I’m looking for some things that push boundaries, but I still love the traditional contemporary and erotic romances as well!

~Angela James, Editorial Director

Kerri Buckley, Editor: I’m constantly on the lookout for fresh new voices and time-stealers—the kind of stories that leave you bleary-eyed but exhilarated in the morning.  This applies to all genres, but I’m particularly interested in the following right now:

  • Contemporary romances with atypical heroines, snappy dialogue, and significant external conflict
  • Gritty, groundbreaking New Adult, both contemporary and paranormal
  • Full-length erotic romance (65-70k+) of all flavors
  • Big, juicy Regency romances with feisty heroines, dashing heroes, and off-the-charts sexual tension
  • Romantic suspense with equally gripping romantic and suspenseful storylines
  • Cozy and hardboiled mysteries with dry (or wry) humorous tones
  • Contemporaries, historicals, or alternate histories set in Eastern Europe

Freelance editors actively acquiring:

Rhonda Helms: Here are some types of submissions I’m always eager for:

  • New Adult (contemporary and other genres welcome)
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Romance in any steaminess level from sweet to spicy, though I love super-hot stuff. ;-)
  • Laugh-out-loud romantic comedies
  • Contemporary, historical or sci-fi/futuristic erotic romance
  • Genre blends (LGBTQ western? Paranormal Victorian? Hit me with ‘em!)
  • Multicultural and/or PoC (people of color) submissions
  • Action-packed futuristic/sci-fi/urban fantasy non-romance (or with romantic elements)

And now, a few specific submissions I’ve been craving:

  • LGBTQ romantic comedy
  • A regency/Victorian romance or western romance featuring PoC
  • A fresh take on the upstairs-downstairs romance (like Downton Abbey)–contemporary or historical
  • A sexy romance featuring heroes or heroines who work with their hands, like carpenters or skilled tradesmen/women
  • First-responders romances featuring firefighters, police officers, EMTs, etc.
  • Military romances
  • A dark, atmospheric, super-sexy gothic romance–contemporary or historical

 Deborah Nemeth: More than anything, I appreciate intelligent writing and sharp dialogue, and if your story features quick-witted protagonists, brilliant sleuths, brainy nerds/geeks, clever inventors or explorers, I’d love to read it. I’m also drawn to flawed, strongly motivated characters, high-stakes conflict and solid world-building. In my favorite stories, the protagonists have to suffer before saving the day or getting their happy-ever-after. I find unusual settings and multicultural characters appealing in any genre. I’m especially looking for manuscripts from authors who are interested in writing either a series or multiple books for us in the same genre to build their readership.

Here’s a sampling of my wish list:

  • High-octane romantic suspense that will keep me reading all night, of any flavor—military, revenge, espionage, terrorists, serial killers, smugglers, conspiracies and cover-ups…
  • Mysteries and crime fiction, particularly brain-teasing cozies and gritty procedurals, with strong hooks, unique protagonists and series potential. Also fast-paced capers and heists with elaborate cons à la Ocean’s Eleven and The Thomas Crown Affair.
  • Historical romance that will transport me back in time, especially Regency but also Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and the courts of the Tudors and Plantagenets.
  • Contemporary romance with a fresh voice, sparkling dialogue, solid conflict and emotional intensity. I enjoy a range of heat levels and tones from dark ’n angsty to lighthearted rom com with clever banter, and I have a special fondness for geeks, soldiers, cops, cowboys, athletes and blue-collar heroes/heroines.
  • For SFF, I’m especially looking for mind-bending futuristic suspense (think Inception), and steampunk, clockpunk and dieselpunk with strong SF elements.
  • I absolutely love stories containing political and palace intrigue, whether in epic fantasy (think Game of Thrones), in historical romance (Tudors), or in the contemporary corridors of power (West Wing, House of Cards, Scandal).
  • New Adult and m/m in any subgenre we publish

 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/mystery, or steampunk elements.
  • Stories with gothic 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 stand-out characters. Quirky! Deep, dark, vulnerable! Odd pairings!
  • I’d love to work with more contemporary mysteries/romantic suspense/thrillers. Especially if there is the set up for a series. I recently became hooked on the show Leverage, and the banter and continued growth as we follow the band of thieves kept me hooked to the end.
  • I’m also on the look out for a sweet M/M
  • Historical romance: I’m NOT looking for Regency settings. But anything after that era, up to WWII, is huge on my wishlist.
  • Historical Mysteries. Especially turn of the century, urban settings (like The Alienist).
  • “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. I love stories that cross genres in a unique way.

Alissa Davis:

  • Erotic romance with strong dialogue and great sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty, and I love heroes and heroines with blue-collar jobs.
  • I like books with high-stakes conflict, no matter the genre. Make the characters really work for the HEA and make me believe for even a moment that it might now work out for them.
  • I love New Adult, and I’m particularly interested acquiring more m/m New Adult.
  • Geeky heroes and heroines. The more awkward they are, the more I seem to love them.
  • M/M mystery novel where the guys are solving the crime and falling for each other in the process.
  • Foodie romance where preparing or eating food plays a large role in the plot and is part of how the characters come together.
  • Military romance, m/m or m/f. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.
  • Angsty, dark historical romance with real, high-stakes conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart.
  • Medical romance.
  • Sports romance, particularly soccer, football, hockey and baseball. I can’t catch a ball to save my life, but I love editing these books.
  • Romantic suspense with high-stakes conflict, twisted plots and awesome heroines who aren’t about to be damseled.
  • I’d love to see a teacher-student scenario where one of the adult characters is in the other one’s adult dance class, cooking class, film, etc.
  • Any combo of the above. New Adult mystery military LGBTQ romance, anyone? :-)

Jeff Seymour: I’m on the lookout for great speculative fiction in 2014. I’m especially looking for:

  • Sci-fi with plausible science and the pacing of a thriller
  • Character-focused fantasy (think less hero/heroine saves the world and more farmer saves her daughters)
  •  Historical fantasy
  •  Any spec fic with LGBTQ elements.
  •  Genre tropes explored, either playfully or seriously
  •  If someone sent me a great m/m steampunk book, I’d be ecstatic.

As always, romantic elements are welcome! I like my heroes sweet-side up and my heroines self-aware and empowered. I’m a sucker for great world building and characters who are unusual takes on an archetype as well. My favorite subs last time included a tongue-in-cheek time-traveling Conan the Barbarian-style romp and a steampunk/fantasy detective story.

Melissa Johnson:  I’m looking for stories with strong conflicts–big and believable ups and downs that keep readers turning the pages. I’m excited to find this in any genre, but am especially yearning for the following (in no order):

  • Contemporary and new adult romance with main characters who are sports stars or have other high-profile careers.
  • Romantic suspense with dangerous intrigue, and heroes or heroines who are knowledgeable and tough.
  • Historical romance with uncommon settings or unusual characters.
  • Paranormal, fantasy and science fiction romance with unique and coherent worldbuilding, as well as heartrending romantic conflict.
  • Genre-crossovers of almost any sort.

Tina Burns: I’m looking for romance, from sweet to erotic and open to any sub-genre. I love unique stories and twists on the norm. I’m looking for flawed but redeemable characters that linger long after I’m done reading. Specifically I would love to see:

  • New Adult (contemporary and mixed genre, New Adult M/M)
  • Romantic Comedies
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Historical Romance – Gothic, Paranormal/Psychic, Alternate, Wild, Wild West-ish
  • Mystery Romance with paranormal/psychic/Other elements.

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 stories!

14 thoughts on “What Carina Press editors are looking for: February 2014 edition”

  1. Lisa Wells says:

    For 2014, we’re still seeking a romantic suspense novel-length (70k+) series we can launch. This is one of our top holes in the 2014 schedule:

    Would you consider a paranormal romance with a suspense element that will branch out into two different series – a. adult paranormal romance & b. new adult paranormal romance?

  2. Angela James says:

    Hi Lisa, yes, we’ll consider it, but it wouldn’t fall in the romantic suspense category, it would fall in paranormal. We’re still acquiring paranormal but our hole is for a true romantic suspense series.

  3. CJ Black says:

    “I’d go to bat in the acquisitions meeting for a great cowboy rebellion-type space opera, still I wonder how many years I’ve been asking for that Firefly-flavored story? 8? 10?”

    Hello again, Angela:

    I have a couple of questions if it’s all right. I’m intrigued by your request, however I have never seen Firefly, although I’ve heard a lot about it. I’m going to see if it’s on Netflix or Hulu, but in case it isn’t, are there any other shows or movies to compare it to? For example, I’ve heard both Star Trek and Star Wars referred to as western/space opera. If you are into anime at all, would shows like Trigun or Cowboy Beebob be comparable? Thanks and have a great week!

  4. Angela James says:

    CJ, great question. If you like Cowboy Bebop, you should definitely watch Firefly!

  5. CJ Black says:

    Hi Angela,

    To my pleasant surprise, Firefly was on Netflix! I’m into the second episode and I’m very impressed! I’m going to wait until the weekend and marathon the series. Writing something similar to this would be challenge for me and I like a good challenge.

  6. MCS says:

    I wish the m/m steampunk mystery novel I’m co-authoring was finished, but alas, maybe halfway there! We’d have loved to query Jeff Seymour for that one.

  7. Elizabeth Thompson, writing as Lizzi Tremayne says:

    I’m just not exactly sure where to put my story.
    It’s historical, with suspense and romantic elements… but my protagonist is seventeen. However, it’s 1861, and she’s regarded as an adult… Would it fit under the New Adult genre, although she’s not quite as old as you mention above? She’s on her own in the Old West… and it involves adult issues.
    Thanks very much.
    Elizabeth Thompson writing as Lizzi Tremayne

  8. Wende West says:

    I have writer’s ADD! I have a modern, edgy romance. I have a steam-punky type story, a scary sort of serial killer type work, a sci-fi. Not to mention the epic work of the fantasy story.

    May I query more than one at a time?

    Scatterdly yours,

    Wende West

  9. Jessica says:

    I must be late for the party. I thought at one point Carina Press was interested in Zombie manuscripts. I see you are no longer interested in Horror.

  10. Kat Hollinghead says:

    If I have a novel on Kindle, can I still submit it to Carina for publishing?

  11. Heather Hill says:

    I’d just like to say how much I wish someone would take comedies that, for once, were not romantic, ie – woman doesn’t need man for her happy ever after. I have been scouring small press websites for days and found ZERO.
    It’s high time for a highly empowering shift in women’s fiction.

  12. Sherry Wendenland says:

    I submitted my first effort to Carina two years ago. It was a mess. One of the kind editors read it, and sent me an encouraging note about my disjointed effort. Now I am a veteran of two entries into the Amazon Break Through Novel Contest. No. I did not win. but the help and advice of professional writers on that site helped beyond belief. Now it is finished. Being polished for the last time. And without the kindness of that Editor, whom I think was Angela, I would never have kept trying to get that novel out of my soul. Thanks. And Carina Press Editors……You are all class acts.

  13. megan skelton says:

    my name is Megan Skelton I am interested in submitting pieces to your press and would like more information.

  14. Jackson D'Lynne says:

    I recently submitted by full length novel, and I am wondering if I submitted it under the correct genre. It is a time-travel, romantic suspense with heavy paranormal elements. A woman from 2013 travels to 1817…so is it also a Regency historical? LOL! You see my dilemma. I submitted it with attention to Kerri, so I hope she can shed some light on my cross-genre romance.

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