What the Carina Press Editors Want–Spring 2016 Edition


There’s an updated version of this post available here, because we’ve added four new editors to our team. Please visit that post for the most current version.

We continue to acquire projects in all subgenres and heat levels of romance, as well as mystery. However, for publication in 2016 and 2017, Carina Press is particularly interested in:


  • Paranormals (and urban fantasy): We know other publishers are saying no to paranormals but we are interested in acquiring and publishing them! While we’ll consider manuscripts across the genre, here are some things that currently appeal to us in particular: Great sexual tension, super sexy paranormals, male/male protaganists, series featuring shifters (wolves, cats, dragons…we draw the line at hamsters), ongoing series or trilogies, unique twist on old paranormal tropes and elements, band of brother/alpha heroes, paranormal with suspense elements, and stories that delve into clan politics.
  • Male/male romance: Though we acquire across LGBTQ, we have the most success with male/male and are most interested in acquiring within that subgenre. Right now we’re especially interested in paranormal, sexy contemporary/erotic, stepbrother romance, romances that tackle unlikely pairings or more “taboo” subjects, suspense/mystery, and scifi/fantasy series. Additionally, if you’re writing male/male that fits any of our other specific interests below, we want to see it.
  • Sexy sci fi romance: We’re looking for the fun, the unusual, the sexy, the silly, and even the over-the-top. Maybe the hero or heroine is an alien—a true alien, maybe it’s set on different worlds, has a Firefly-esque space opera feel, is a caper or heist set in space, or features space pirates or space cowboys. Bring it on!
  • We’re always looking to build erotic romance on our list and we’re looking for someone who can write a series or trilogy that’s extremely erotic (maybe even filthy ;) ). We’d love to see ménage or more, BDSM that’s not set in a club, darker erotic romance and there’s that word taboo again, so see more about that at the bottom of this post.
  • Something we don’t see nearly enough of, ever, and are eager to acquire is capers, heists, jewel thieves, etc. Books, characters and setups that are sexy and possibly cross-genre. You could have an anti-hero (or heroine), or maybe hero/heroine are on opposite sides, or maybe they’re both thieves, thrown together or moving from friends to lovers. Maybe your caper or heist has a fun vibe, or it could be humorous. Give us fast-paced adventure and a fun duo facing off or teaming up!
  • We also want your cowboys and contemporary westerns. We’re looking for cowboys to add to our list! There are so many possibilities here, give it a unique twist, make it a foreign locale. Or it can be high tension, high stakes American-set contemporary cowboy romance.


This is not a “current” call, but a reminder: we are always open to diverse protagonists, and have been since we opened years ago. That’s not changed, we’re still open to diversity across race, walks of life, physical challenges, ethnicity, and more. Diversity is wide ranging and we’ve always welcomed that in our submissions and our publications.  Here are only a few examples of what we’ve published over the years.


Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau

Rivals for Love by Eve Vaughn

The Devils Garden by Jane Kindred

One Real Thing by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox

The Companion Contract by Solace Ames

At the Brink by Anna del Mar

Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole

Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin

Hidden Impact by Piper J. Drake

Hero’s Homecoming by Rebecca Crowley


See here for more thoughts from Angela on diversity from this post.

Angela James, Editorial Director, and Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, generated the above imprint-wide list, and welcome all queries related to the projects above.

Angela is also looking for someone to write a fun, Cannonball Run/Rat Race-type fun adventure romance. Additionally, she continues to look for “contemporary crack” and would also love to see a few projects from the above list with characters who are in their late 30s/40s, dealing with different life issues than those in their 20s do. Not women’s fiction, “love stories” or “death” fiction where the characters die instead of get an HEA, she’s still looking for fast-paced and compelling, just with older characters.

In addition to the above imprint specific list, Kerri is also looking for romantic suspense (sexy) or mysteries (not necessarily sexy) with elements of psychological or emotional manipulation, contemporary romances where the HEA results in big, messy, blended families, stories told entirely in the male POV (all genres), and a cozy or amateur sleuth series set outside the U.S.

Our freelance editors are looking for the following, in addition to what’s listed in the imprint-wide selection above: 

Alissa Davis:

  • Erotic romance with strong dialogue and scorching sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty. I like very alpha heroes who might push boundaries and heroines who will stand up to them.
  • M/m in any subgenre and heat level, with conflict not necessarily centered around one character being closeted and the other being out. I’d also love to see m/m forced proximity romances, such as two lawyers who are both up for partner at the same firm, or two college students who keep getting paired up in their art class even though they can’t stand each other.
  • Sexy, edgy contemporary romance. I’d love to see friends-to-lovers romance featuring roommates, servicemen, coworkers, or teammates.
  • Military romance, m/m or m/f. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.
  • Romantic suspense with a political twist. I’d love to see heroes and heroines who either have dubious morals or work for people who do, with political tension and high stakes along the lines of House of Cards.

Deborah Nemeth:

I’m looking for manuscripts with high stakes and larger-than-life characters. Here are some specific stories I’d love to see:

  • Romantic comedy that sparkles with snappy banter, especially enemies to lovers, secret agenda, fake engagement, and arranged marriage stories
  • Mysteries with clever sleuths and cleverer twists, especially cozies and PIs
  • Historical romances, including witty Regency romps, erotic Victorians, dark Tudor intrigue and Viking warriors
  • Romantic suspense with a high action quotient and lethally competent heroines
  • Edgy urban-set contemporary romances with alpha heroes who fall hard
  • Con artist protagonists who execute deviously elaborate scams
  • A Bollywood-themed romance or mystery

Libby Murphy:

  • I’d love to see a hot, steamy series in the vein of Grey’s and House, and I’m especially interested in high drama settings like an emergency room, or in the field, like in Doctors Without Borders. But I’d also like to see quirky and comedic settings like in Scrubs!
  • Forced proximity romances, where the h/H can’t escape each other, but can’t resist each other, either! Can be a marriage of convenience (or other types of fake relationships), guy/girl next door, roommates, workplace, etc.
  • Alpha first responder/military/black-ops heroes. Dark, gritty stories are great, as well as stories with a high sense of adventure. I’d really love to see an Olicity-type relationship, too!
  • M/M marriage of convenience romantic comedy—can be sexy, but a sweeter romance is great, too!

Rhonda Helms:

  • Laugh-out-loud romantic comedies, LGBTQ romantic comedy
  • Mysteries, especially cozy (series please! romance not required, but a romantic subplot is great)
  • An historical erotic romance novel featuring PoC
  • Military erotic romances (series are great!)
  • A dark, atmospheric, sexy gothic romance–contemporary or historical

Here’s a handy, quick-view chart that gives you a look at which editors are acquiring in specific genres: 

Genre Editors actively acquiring in genre Not acquiring in genre
Erotic romance Angela, Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby
LGBTQ Angela, Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby
Contemporary romance Angela, Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby
Paranormal romance Angela, Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby
Urban fantasy Angela, Deb, Libby Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa
Fantasy romance Angela, Alissa, Deb Kerri, Rhonda, Libby
Science fiction romance Angela, Rhonda, Deb, Libby Kerri, Alissa
Romantic suspense Angela, Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby
Historical romance Kerri, Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Libby Angela
Mystery Kerri, Rhonda, Deb, Libby Angela, Alissa



For further information on our request for taboo, think along the lines of…

  • Dark, erotic thrillers and psychological thrillers
  • Stories of adultery and betrayal
  • Characters with unusual sexual kinks
  • Conflicts involving socially unacceptable pairings.

Examples include: Older woman/younger man & vice versa; step-sibling romance; prison guard and prisoner; student/teacher; mental health professional/patient.

  • Anti-heroes and anti-heroines. Real, unredeemable bad boys and bad girls
  • Tales of forced seduction and capture fantasies
  • Stories taking place in unlikely locations (such as prisons and mental health hospitals).

You’re probably wondering what types of things we’ve liked in the past, so here are some examples of books and even a movie example to get your brain firing.

  • The Dark Duet by CJ Roberts
  • Twist Me and Keep Me by Anna Zaires
  • Last Hit by Jen Frederick and Jessica Clare
  • Prisoner by Annika Martin and Sky Warren
  • The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith
  • Landslide by NJ Cole
  • Marly’s Choice by Lora Leigh
  • In other media: the work of adult video directors Zalman King (Red Shoe Diaries and 9 ½ Weeks) and Jackie St. James (The Submission of Emma Marx) are good examples on the erotic, dark & edgy side.

Other movies:

  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Basic Instinct & Sliver
  • Memento


6 thoughts on “What the Carina Press Editors Want–Spring 2016 Edition”

  1. Rachael Wilson says:

    I notice one major change from the last time I checked, are your editors no longer interested in New Adult fiction?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi everyone, apologies as I didn’t realize there were comments on this post so I’m answering them very late!

      @Rachael: yes, we’re still acquiring new adult.

      @Lorraine: if it’s contemporary it goes under contemporary romance.

      @Theresa: we don’t publish any type of non-fiction, including autobiographical work.

  2. Harper Miller says:

    This was an extremely helpful post. Providing a listing of what your editors are seeking is awesome!

  3. I have a completed Contemporary manuscript that has a 35436 word count. What category do you suggest I submit to? It is about a groom that is stood up at the altar and he takes one of the bridesmaids on the honeymoon trip. Of course, they fall in love.

  4. Good Morning,

    A wise man once said “to write well, write what you know”. My name is Theresa Byess from Fayetteville, NC. I came across your website in my search for a publisher for my work. At the moment, I write both fiction and non-fiction on erotica topics and short stories, as I explore the BDSM world, but am in the process of consolidating my work into a first-person account chronicling my experiences. Titled Proclivities of a Kinky Mind: A Journey Through The BDSM World.

    I’ve reviewed the submission guidelines but afraid I’m still a bit confused as to how to submit for work such as mine. I would very much like to explore publishing my work, especially considering so many have viewed it as relatable.

    I appreciate any assistance you can offer. Please feel free to contact me anytime via any of the information provided.

  5. Angela James says:

    Please note, there’s an updated version of this post available so I’m closing comments on this post. For the updated version, please visit: https://www.carinapress.com/blog/2016/05/what-the-carina-press-editors-want-updated-spring-2016-edition/

Comments are closed.


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