What the Carina Press Editors Want–Updated Spring 2017 edition



Carina Press publishes a variety of categories, subgenres, niches and word counts across all heat levels of romance (including contemporary, paranormal, LGBTQIA, erotic, romantic suspense and more!) as well as mysteries both with and without romantic elements. For publication in 2018 and 2019, here’s what we’d be most excited to receive:

  • Paranormals (and urban fantasy romance): We remain passionate about acquiring paranormal romance. 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 twists on old paranormal tropes and elements, band of brother/alpha heroes, paranormal with suspense elements, and stories that delve into clan politics.
  • LGBTQIA romance: We want to see submissions across LGBTQIA. Our list is heavily male/male, because this is where we’ve had the most success, but we are still very interested in and open to submissions across gender and sexual identities. 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 LGBTQIA that fits any of our other specific interests below, we want to see it.
  • Feel-good contemporary romance with a dash of humor. Think Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski books, Lucy Parker’s Act Like It and Jen Doyle’s Calling It. Low angst + high romantic payoff = happy editors and readers. Heroes and heroines without massively dark backstories, please!
  • Sexy alpha-alien science fiction 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.
  • Romantic suspense: We’d like to sign someone who can write a suspense-laden romance series that’ll make readers shiver…in more ways than one. Standalones also welcome!
  • Novellas: We’re on the hunt for short content. There are several ongoing special projects and anthology calls, but we’re looking for authors writing novella-length manuscripts (20k-45k) across the romance genres we acquire in. Bring on your shorter length work!
  • Cowboys and contemporary Westerns: This is a specific carryover from a recent submission call, and one that we are still actively acquiring in, especially full-length novels. 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. Novella or full length.

And check out our current submission calls:

The Dirty Bits from Carina Press (Erotic Short Romances)

More are coming! Please watch our blog and social media for updates.

As always, 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 always seeking diversity across race, walks of life, physical challenges, sexual and gender identity, ethnicity and more. We understand diversity is wide-ranging and strive to reflect that on our list. Here are only a few examples of diverse titles we’ve published over the years.

Hot in the City by Jules Court

Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau

The Devil’s Garden by Jane Kindred

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 more thoughts from Angela on diversity  in this post.


Angela James, Editorial Director, Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, and Stephanie Doig, Associate Editor, generated the above imprint-wide list, and welcome all queries related to the projects above. In addition, please see individual wishlists for Kerri and Stephanie below: 

Kerri Buckley:

  • Romantic capers in the vein of Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg’s Fox & O’Hare novels
  • Police procedurals or private detective novels with female leads (no romance necessary but series potential preferred)
  • Cozy mysteries set in the present-day UK and/or starring British protagonists
  • Highly emotional, super romantic contemporaries that will make me ugly cry in the best way possible (cf Isley Robson’s The First Word)
  • “Hot dad” romances. Bonus points if your hot dads are also silver foxes ;)
  • Over the top m/f/m or m/m/f (+ more!) erotic romances set on a desert island, in a remote mountainside resort, or on board a boat. Forced proximity menage.


Stephanie Doig:

  • Sexy contemporary romance featuring heroes/heroines with a sense of humour—no anti-heroes, please!
  • I’m feeling very trope-y lately: nanny/single dad, guardian/ward, fake relationship. Medium-high heat level, low conflict, high tension preferred
  • Urban fantasy romance with well-built and intricate magical worlds and alpha heroes/heroines butting heads.
  • Paranormal romance featuring fated mates.
  • Paranormal romance with magic-users and shifters
  • I’m a sucker for a hero/heroine who loves dogs. Just want to put that out there. :)
  • Royalty—UK setting welcome but not required.
  • Scottish historical romances starring swoon-worthy kilted heroes.
  • Fantasy with a strong heroine and a slow-burn romance—think Maria Snyder or Amanda Bouchet.


Alissa Davis:

  • Partners-to-lovers workplace romance. Whether we’re talking chefs in a restaurant kitchen, a wide receiver and his quarterback, FBI agents on an investigation, partners in a law firm, dragonriders defending the realm, or a prince and his personal secretary, I want to see them navigating sexual tension, hot sex and high stakes work-related conflict. I’d especially love to see this in a series, where there’s a slow, intense build over several books.
  • Royalty! I’ve been watching The Crown, and I’m hunting for full-length romances with at least one royal. Can be historical, futuristic, LGBTQ, fantasy romance, etc., as long as it has a sweeping romance, beautiful clothes and high stakes.
  • Male/male in any subgenre and heat level, with conflict not necessarily centered around one character being closeted and the other being out. I’d love to see m/m futuristic marriage of convenience romance and m/m shifter romance.
  • Erotic romance with kinky or taboo sex and scorching sexual tension.
  • Futuristic and fantasy romance series, especially those with aliens, elves, dragons, etc. I’m interested in new magic, new creatures, different magical abilities, new mythology, etc. and I’d particularly like to see more diversity in my fantasy romance submissions.
  • Sexy, edgy contemporary romance with a distinct voice and a strong hook that grabs my attention.
  • Military romance, male/male or male/female. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.
  • Romantic suspense with a political twist, featuring heroes and heroines fighting and resisting a corrupt system.
  • Romance where at least part of the story takes place in a restaurant or kitchen and cooking is part of the love language or the character arc. If you have a food critic/chef romance, please send it my way! I’m also especially interested in an #ownvoices romance series along these lines.
  • #ownvoices in any subgenre of romance. I’d love to see romances with heroes or heroines with a disability, where the disability is not the focus of the romance arc or a point of conflict in the relationship.


Deborah Nemeth:

I’m looking for manuscripts with page-turning conflict, especially:

  • #ownvoices mystery and romance.
  • Intense and obsessive characters who are driven by passionate goals, whether it’s to save the whales, steal the crown jewels or defeat the galaxy’s evil overlords.
  • Romances with forbidden love, enemies to lovers, secret agenda, forced proximity, reunion romances, fake engagements and arranged marriages tropes.
  • Mysteries featuring a brilliant sleuth or compelling crime-fighting duo. I’m especially interested in cozies, procedurals and PIs that focus on whodunit and have a strong hook/interesting setting.
  • Romantic suspense with high levels of action and lethally competent heroines.
  • Sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes who fall hard.
  • Historical romances, either witty, erotic or dark, especially Regency.
  • A Bollywood-themed romance or mystery.
  • Con artist protagonists who execute deviously elaborate scams with twists I don’t see coming.
  • Romances with themes of redemption.
  • Stories set in wild landscapes, whether forests, deserts, jungles or mountains.
  • Daredevil protagonists who are adrenaline-rush junkies, such as land-speed record-setters and extreme-sports athletes.


Mackenzie Walton:

  • LGBTQIA historical, especially male/male. Dukes, duchesses and ballrooms are fantastic—frankly, I don’t get tired of them—but I’d also be interested in seeing more unusual settings and scenarios.
  • Fun, sexy/erotic contemporaries, especially featuring those daydream/fantasy boyfriends—movie stars, musicians, athletes and the like.
  • Moody, thoughtful paranormals with complex world-building. I love characters who really contemplate what it means to be a paranormal creature in the mundane world.
  • Erotic ménage in any genre, especially male/male/female. A balanced relationship, with all participants of equal importance, is key here, as well as characters who seriously weigh the possible complications of such a relationship.
  • Some tropes I can’t get enough of, in any genre: marriage of convenience, forced proximity, enemies to lovers. Basically, if the couple is annoyed by how much they’re attracted to each other, I’m a big fan.
  • Ugly duckling/Cinderella-type heroines (or heroes for male/male)? Yes, please! I love seeing an under-appreciated wallflower get an HEA, in any genre.
  • Fun, action-packed science fiction with snappy dialogue and big personalities. Bonus points for rich, thought-provoking world-building and high personal stakes.
  • Virgin heroes, across the board. Can’t get enough of them.



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 Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Kerri
LGBTQIA Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie
Contemporary romance Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Kerri, Stephanie
Paranormal romance Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Stephanie
Urban fantasy Deb, Mackenzie, Stephanie Alissa
Fantasy romance Alissa, Deb, Stephanie Mackenzie
Science fiction romance Alissa, Deb Stephanie, Kerri
Romantic suspense Alissa, Deb, Kerri, Stephanie
Historical romance Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Kerri, Stephanie Angela
Mystery Deb, Mackenzie, Kerri Angela, Stephanie, Alissa


43 thoughts on “What the Carina Press Editors Want–Updated Spring 2017 edition”

  1. Kimberly Bernier aka Kimberlie L. Faye says:

    I have a self-published romance novella series based on Greek mythology. Are you accepting submissions of self-published work or only new manuscripts?


  2. Kerri Buckley says:

    Hi Kimberly,
    We’ll very happily consider previously published work but it’s preferable to have new (related) material available for review at the same time, so that we’re able to see where the series is going and push forward, not just republish.

  3. dayna says:

    Is anyone interested in Jazz Age Steampunk?

    1. Angela James says:


      We will look at steampunk as long as it is romance focused.

      1. dayna says:

        Sorry, this probably wasn’t the best place for this comment. ::sheepish::

  4. Greg says:

    I am from Australia.
    Is anyone interested in gay (female) erotic romance blended with a dash of crime.
    I have a 75,000 (approx) word story completed.
    The story has explicit open bedroom door scenes covering the two women central to the romance, but it also crosses into other characters moving about them and explores their bedroom antics, which is a non gay relationship.

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Greg, I just realized no one ever replied to you, so sorry! We do consider f/f romance.

  5. Lorraine Linthicum says:

    I submitted a story back in May. When I look at Submittable is says ‘still in progress’ Can I get an update status on this. It is call Full Bloom, by Raine Parsons. Thank You.

  6. Avery Milieu says:

    Never just one story going around, always a bookshelf full of ideas circulating.
    One that I’ve been playing with for a quarter of a century. Wrote the short story and left it to simmer and the modernization of it (includes a few new characters) has me pairing a non-binary with Partial Androgen Sensitivity Syndrome with an alien of a non binary species (no gender). Assuming I hit the tropes and all the appropriate turning points – would it be necessary to make it a sexual romance? All the emotion and likely no bedroom – unless tickling and long embraces count.
    I expect the story will be written, regardless, since it’s already got a file and a basic outline, some character studies – but I’d be curious to hear if it’s something that would sell to a publisher.

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Avery, it’s hard to comment on an idea and whether or not it will sell–that’s really based on the actual writing and storytelling, not the idea alone. As to whether any book has to be sexual, no. Many stories are not.

  7. Janet says:

    Hi, I have written a ghost story (approx 90,000 wds). It revolves around a couple, now separated & struggling to try again. The wife & two kids move into a haunted new home. While there is romance some scenes are considered tragic, scary & dark almost to the point of horror. Would you consider this type of story & if so would it be labeled paranormal? Thank you in advance.

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Janet, ghosts are considered paranormal, but as you describe your book as having horror scenes, it may be that you’re writing horror. I can’t say if we’d consider this type of book, you’d need to be the one to determine if it’s a romance, since I have no way of knowing. Take a look at our guidelines and what we publish, that will give you a basis of info. Keep in mind we publish romance and its subgenres, as well as mystery.

  8. Jessica M Gardner says:

    I’ve written a three part book series (only part one has been written,working on part two now)on an urban fantasy vampire/witch novle, that includes terror, taboo love and an unexpected twist with the villainous. A young sweet girl moves to a new city in the same state,after gram mother pass she gets a surge of Overwhelming power. She starts to find out she is From the Descendants of a Romanian coven, who lives way past their Dying age;Only to realize she is a reincarnation of one of the sisters. My characters are ones who find out who they are and grow with each other as they find their way through this unexpected Journey that Transport them back through time.
    I was wondering if anyone is interestedin this

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Jessica, as long as what you’re writing seems to fit our guidelines/what we publish, you are always welcome to submit it. We don’t really take pitches/queries via our social media properties except under special query contests. But there’s really no need to see if we’re interested in an idea–if it’s written, send it on! It’s the pages that matter most to us.

      1. Jessica M Gardner says:

        Hello again,
        Thanks and if I’m understanding this right u want me to send in the pages I wrote, and not worry about my pitch or query letter? If so I would like to know I’m I to send them to u or someone else? Thanks so much.

        1. Angela James says:

          No, you definitely need to submit an entire package with your submission. What I’m saying is you don’t need to post your query here and ask us if someone is interested!

          1. Jessica M Gardner says:

            Oh ok thanks. That’s all I wanted to know. Thank you.

  9. Jackie says:

    I have an alien series that I’ve started. The first book of the series is complete but is only 31k words. Is that ok or do I need to beef up the book a bit? And is this something anyone is interested in at this time?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Jackie, we’ll look at novellas in scifi romance. That word count isn’t a problem.

  10. Naomi Shaw says:

    What length stories are you after

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Naomi, if you visit our guidelines (link at the top of this page under Write For Us) there’s a lot of information there about genres as well as word count! Please let me know if you can’t find something.

  11. Dianne says:

    The characters in my latest (Ireland based) WIP are mid-to-late 30s. Is that an age range you’d be interested in for the light-hearted contemporary romance proposals?


    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Dianne, absolutely, we’re open to a very wide age range!

  12. kim says:

    My apologies ahead of time if I’m in the wrong slot.
    In Contempary Romance, is rodeo considered too harsh a topic? Not ranching or farming.
    Thank you

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Kim, we’re totally fine with rodeo in contemp romance!

  13. Lena says:

    I have a 41k scifi gay romance. Synopsis and blurb written (though I think I’ll need to expand the synopsis to meet your guidelines). Is anyone at Carina taking this type of writing at the moment?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Lena! Yes, several editors are acquiring in m/m and will happily read scifi.

  14. Sarah Myers says:

    Hi There,
    I submitted a Paranormal Romance to you in July and it is still saying it is “In-progress”. Should I consider it a rejection after this long or are there certain steps to follow to nudge this? I left a note on my file a month ago also.
    “Kindred” – 6/21/2017

    Thanks very much!

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Sarah, we respond to every submission, so no reply is never a no! Right now, we’re running a little behind on reading while I’m in the midst of hiring more freelance editors. I’m sorry for the longer wait!

  15. Agatha Rose says:

    Hi! I’m currently a writer on Wattpad. My book has over 300K reads and on hot list. Is it possible if I submit the ‘revamped’ version of it?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Agatha, since your book is done, there’s no need to submit it as a proposal. You can just submit it via the regular submissions process! But yes, we do look at books that have been on Wattpad.

      1. agatha rose says:

        Thank you for your reply.

        I’ve checked about the kind of books Carina is looking for and it might fall into the Light Contemporary Romance category and I read that a book that’s been published on wattpad is not eligible. Will it be okay to submit unde a rdifferent category? I published my book on Wattpad to see if it has what it takes to get in the market and 300K reads in two months after it’s first published convinced me that it may have what it takes to attract readers. That’s what gives me the motivation to submit here.

        P.s. the work on Wattpad could be unpublished or reduced to only first 3 chapters if necessary.

        1. Angela James says:

          Hi Agatha Rose, yes, you can submit under a different category. Just follow the submissions guidelines on the Write For Us page (link at the top of this page).

  16. Liam Wilbur says:

    I’ve got an idea for a mystery/romance, where the hero is an f-t-m police officer. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong areas, or not hard enough, but there aren’t a lot of female-to-male protagonists out there, so I’m wondering if there’s even a market for that.

  17. H A May says:

    Hi, I have a finished romance novel which I would like to submit to you, but I’m unsure which category to place it in.
    This is a story of a girl trying to find her feet in 1971. She is a new student teacher who, desperately wanting to be an artist, meets a man who helps her to find the confidence to change her life. Despite problems, she eventually makes the choice to become the manager of a new rock band.
    Could this be considered contemporary or historical romance, or young adult? The novel is also over 80,000 words at present and I assume this is far too much.
    Thank you.

    1. D. Woody Walker says:

      I have four published books and I have just finished a science fiction 63,000-word epic adventure, “2099 Heavenly Space”, loaded with action, romance, tense moments and an inspirational message. The exciting western, “Orphans West”, I wrote needs to be reprinted and marketed properly. I am now in the process of researching and writing a comical, fun, and frolicking story about senior living in “Sun City”. Thank you for your time and consideration.

  18. D. Woody Walker says:

    Thank you

  19. Raven Saint says:

    I self published my first 2 of 6 books and am ready for real publishing. My books are stripper/Army brat meets soldier… any one wanting this kind of book to work with?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Raven, we don’t accept pitches via the blog comments, but we are open to submissions and you are welcome to submit!

  20. Raven Saint says:

    I would like to know if you accept book that have been published through a self publishing company i.e. creatspace?

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Raven, you can see the information about previously published work by visiting our submission guidelines. The link is the “write for us” link at the top of this page, or you can go to bit.ly/write4cp

  21. Alexander Hamilton says:

    Do you publish YA with a phantastical element?

    1. Angela James says:

      Alexander, we don’t publish YA!

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