Top Five Reasons to Love Male/Male Mystery

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Detective and suspense fiction featuring two male protagonists taking “bromance” to its ultimate and most provocative conclusion is known as male/male mystery. If you enjoy mystery, men and romance, there’s a lot here to love…

1. The High Body Count. Dead bodies, yes. Naturally. But the doubly delicious live body count, too.

2. Variety is the Spice of Death. Just like in mainstream mystery, male/male mystery offers death and danger in every size and color: romantic suspense, cute and quirky cozies, hard-boiled PIs, FBI thrillers, comic capers and even spooky gothics. There’s something here for every mystery reader—including lovers of shy amateur-sleuth barista mysteries.

3. And Speaking of Size and Color… Male/male mystery is some of the most diverse, socially conscious and, frankly, original crime fiction out there. Bored with Mrs. White in the kitchen with the candlestick? Maybe it’s time to try Professor Plum in the study with a rope and—Mr. Green!

4. Cop Boyfriends. Need I say more? Those handsome, long-suffering, utterly indispensable partners in crime. Oh, and let’s not forget FBI boyfriends.

5. The Kiss of Life. Unabashed romance. The male/male mystery is, by definition, half romance novel. Here there is no sheepish effort to keep a romantic subplot from tearing off its shirt and dragging the whodunit into bed. It is the romantic subplot’s job to tempt and tease the mystery plot into taking dangerous chances and risking everything for love.


What do you think? Have you tried male/male mystery yet?


Author of over sixty titles of classic male/male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kick-ass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, Josh Lanyon is an EPIC Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for gay mystery and the first-ever recipient of the Goodreads All-Time Favorite M/M Author award.

You can find out more about Josh and her work at, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Carina Press is hiring freelance content/developmental editors.

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We are looking to expand our pool of freelance content/developmental editors. We’re in search of editors who are interested in the adult fiction genres we publish and have the marketing and editorial understanding of what is selling in the romance markets and what romance readers are looking for. Candidates must have previous paid editorial experience.

***NOTE*** I am particularly interested in hearing from applicants who have experience with Western fiction (not Western romance), as I need someone for a special project.

We are also particularly interested in freelance editors with a background in editing diverse romance, so please note this in your letter of interest.

Last, if you have experience in editing/publishing mystery, please bring this to my attention in your letter of interest.

Please read the below carefully. Respondents who don’t meet the requirements or who don’t include the requested material will not receive a reply. Please be sure to provide all requested material detailed in the paragraphs below.


    • Candidate must be open to diversity and romance in all its forms.
    • Three years’ minimum paid experience in an editorial position. Internships, beta reading or critique partner experience do not count toward this experience. The editorial position must have included actual hands-on content editing.
    •  Understanding of the difference between editing and polishing a book/offering insight into editorial issues and rewriting or interfering with an author’s voice. This is the one that gets most applicants in the testing phase. We are very serious about our editorial partners not rewriting an author’s work, but guiding the editing process instead.
    • Excellent editorial eye for content, story, characterization, plot and more but also the ability to assist author in line edits, polishing writing and improving craft.
    • Ability to follow a style guide and general understanding of CMoS.
    • Familiarity with Microsoft Word and its review functions, including Track Changes and comments.
    • Comfort with technology and digital books.
    • Ability to communicate editorial revisions to an author in a concise, clear and professional manner.
    • Genuine love of editing, reading and the craft of writing.
    • Ability to self-motivate, stay on task and meet deadlines consistently.
    • Ability to take direction and feedback and incorporate it into future work.
    • Interest in working in a freelance environment with a team atmosphere.
    • Desire and ability to help an author build his or her career.
    • Interest in working in the digital industry, being part of a growing business and joining a leader in digital publishing.
    • Willingness to engage in ancillary activities, both paid and unpaid, such as contest judging, guest blogging and interacting with editorial and author peers in an online environment.
    • Willingness to attend virtual editorial team and acquisition meetings on a paid basis.
    • Desire to learn about digital book marketing, as well as other aspects of digital publishing.
    • Thorough understanding of and insight into the genres you choose to edit.
    • Ability to work on multiple projects during the same timeframe.
    • Commitment to reading and evaluating a minimum of 25 submissions a month (this is a paid activity).
    • Ability to adapt and be flexible as the business processes and requirements change and grow.


If you meet these qualification requirements, are interested in working in a freelance capacity for a flat, per-assignment/per-task fee, and would like to learn more about the freelance editing position, please upload your CV and a letter of interest. In your letter of interest:

    • detail your qualifications
    • acknowledge understanding of the above requirements
    • verify that you meet the requirements
    • state why you are interested in working for Carina Press in particular
    • list what genres and romance sub-genres you feel you’d be most qualified to edit.


Upload all documents to the job posting at this link. Attention Angela James.


Required information (to be called Credential file) to be included alongside a CV and letter of interest:

  1. Title and author of last 5 books on which you were primary editor.
  2. Titles of any books you have been primary editor for that have won major awards or hit NYT or USA TODAY lists.
  3. Name and email address of 2 authors on whose books you acted as primary editor, who would be willing to answer questions regarding their editorial experience with you.
  4. Title and author of the three most recent books you read and loved/would recommend.
  5. Favorite book you read in 2016.

We will respond with further information about the position to qualified applicants who submit all requested information. Applicants who are being considered will be asked to complete an editorial test, so please be prepared to go through this process if you apply.

To apply: please upload, at this link, your CV as one document, upload required information in a second document called Credential file, and, in query letter area, include a letter of interest detailing your qualifications (please see above), why you’re interested in Carina Press, and what genres you’re most interested in editing.

We will accept applications for this freelance opportunity until April 17th, 2017.

**Should you forward this call or post it on forums or job search boards, please be sure to include a link to this post and the requirements. In the past we have received applications via freelancer job boards that have not followed our instructions/requirements as the applicants did not read the specific job posting. Thank you!**


First-Page Critique: Riches to Rags

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Meant to be a sneak peek into a Carina editor’s brain, and critiqued by a different editor each month, we’re going to post these first-page critiques monthly as long as authors are willing to let us use their work and people remain interested.

The idea here is to give you a quick insight into how we might look at a manuscript as it comes across our desks on submission. We’ll strive to be critical but not mean. Because it’s only one page, the amount of feedback is necessarily limited—we don’t have access to more than one page!

It’s important to note that this manuscript was submitted specifically for the purpose of first-page critique on the blog, we do not/will not use random submissions so no worries we’re going to pull your piece out of slush and critique it.

The next opportunity to submit a piece for critique will be open in April 2017, so please watch the blog or our newsletter for more.

This month’s editor providing critique is Carina Press Senior Editor Kerri Buckley.


* * *

The First Page


Author A described this manuscript as “a contemporary riches to rags” story and hints at all sorts of delicious inter-familial scandal and intrigue.


“That’s how clouds are made.” Her father’s long-ago explanation hit her full force. A recollection so vivid, she could almost feel the weight of his arm across her seven-year-old shoulders as they had stared out across the lake. Sudden tears spilled down Madison Reese’s cheeks. Tears sparked by the memory of the man who’d betrayed her and didn’t deserve them. Or, so she told herself countless times.

Amazing, after a year, she still had tears to give. Each day her emotional reservoir drained a little more, but when would it finally dry up? Especially since there was nothing new to cry about. Nothing left he could cost her.

Correction. There were still a couple things she held on to by her fingertips. Jeremy Reese’s passing had taken enough from her. From her mother, too. Stripped of life as she knew it, every memory of her father replaced with a stranger, she refused to also lose her rightful inheritance.

Madison wouldn’t allow it. She wouldn’t let her and her mother lose any more.

She swiped her wet cheeks, trying to keep her eyes on the soft cottony wisps of fog sprouting from the very water which sparked the memory. As if the so-called “cloud makers” would disappear before she got one last look. Would everything be a reminder?

Time to move on. Those days were in the past and there was no use reminiscing—it had all been an illusion anyway.

She didn’t know how long she’d been there, sitting on the top porch step of her family’s summer home. Definitely long enough to see the sunrise over the surrounding mountains, and for its rays to light up the colorful autumn leaves. Long enough for her legs to tingle and become numb from resting down the rustic wooden stairs.

* * *

The Critique

I’m a huge sucker for family saga/drama, and the author of the above hooked me with a pretty killer query that touches upon a secret family, a misunderstood playboy, and a hefty inheritance on the line. The concept of riches to rags in a contemporary setting can really work—has anyone seen the TV show Schitt’s Creek? You should. It’s fabulous. So I was on board with this, conceptually, from the very beginning.

Choosing to open your novel with a line of dialogue is always a bold move. It can work brilliantly…if that line is strong enough to carry the opener. Think about it: you’re relying on it to hook readers, to draw them in and make them want to keep reading. Author A is doubling down, here, somewhat—we’re being asked to invest in not only a single line of dialogue but one that the heroine is remembering. One spoken by her father, whom we haven’t yet met. I struggle with this choice, to be honest. I’m not terribly blown away by the way this particular memory sets up the dynamic between Madison and her father, and I’m just not sold on the cloud-convo-as-emotional-whammy that I think is intended.

All of that said, there is a lot of technical information included in the first three paragraphs. We understand from them that Madison’s father has betrayed her. It happened more than a year ago and has greatly affected both Madison and her mother. There’s an inheritance at stake. This is necessary background information that I don’t mind having right there up front. But I would encourage Author A to see where it’s possible to go back in and reshape how this information is conveyed, without relying on a somewhat random long-ago line of dialogue.

As a sidenote, a lot of focus on a heroine (or hero, for that matter!) crying can be somewhat tedious, no matter the genre. There are other cues—both physical and emotional—that can be used to indicate a character’s state of mind or distress. Madison’s ruminating on her own tears tilts my understanding of her toward the navel gazing, and I don’t think that’s what Author A was after.

Okay, moving on. Madison’s determination in paragraphs four and five is quite welcome! We get a small sense of the fight that’s to come. Fantastic—it feels as though things are turning around and the conflict is kicking off. Again, I’d look for ways to depict this that don’t include swiping at tears (somewhat clichéd) or circling back to the clouds, but the timing feels right and Author A’s instincts are solid.

From there, Author A lost me. The final two paragraphs here feel unnecessary, like they’re included only to fill space and spin wheels, or to move the heroine from point A to point B. I’d like to see something more active, a better illustration of Madison’s agency and ultimate character.

Would I keep reading? As Angela noted in her critique last month, a first page is pretty short. Plus, I’m generally an optimistic person and so yes, I would keep reading for at least 2-3 more pages. As I said above, I really do like the concept here. I think the author is just perhaps choosing to start in the wrong place and putting too much faith in the reader’s ability (or desire) to connect with what isn’t ultimately a super engaging or hook-y memory.


Do you have questions about my feedback or the First-Page Critique program? Email

Authors entering their work for critique can choose to have the blog post comments open or closed. Comments are closed this month.

Top Five Things That Make The Bay Area A Romantic, Sexy Setting

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I have long loved the San Francisco Bay Area, and when I began the Lessons In Control series, I knew this place had to be a prominent setting throughout the books. For one, the area is simply gorgeous. And two, a lot of the sights here strike me as primed for romantic and sexy moments. Since Maya and Dean started their D/s exploration in The Assignment (book 1), the next book, The Discipline, seemed like the perfect opportunity to take their exploration further while also showing off more of the region.

That’s why today, I wanted to share the five sexiest and romantic things about the Bay Area to me…

1. Rain, rain, perfect drops of rain.
In The Assignment, Maya and Dean share a hell of a rain scene in the early throes of autumn. The Discipline, book 2, is set deeper in the Bay Area rainy season. Our weather is mostly warm but sprinkled with rains, and while we don’t exactly get endless amounts of it, it is just enough to make a splash and raise all sorts of potential…

2. The views can do nothing but lead to great conversation—and conversation is hot.
Whether it be our updated Bay Bridge, the San Francisco skyline, or the bay’s water lit up by the moonlight, there are a bounty of amazing views to check out and discuss with a romantic partner. Maya and Dean grab a few peeks in the course of the book of some well-known sights:

3. Sailing and water life is entrancing!
Sailing and other coastal activities run aplenty here, and each of them can inspire relaxation and fun…never mind the opportunity for seductive make outs on the beach, above the steady sway of a boat (Maya and Dean can attest to this), or even walking along a quiet pier.

4. Lots of fog paired with coastal waves and sunshine = serious mood lighting.
Bring a blanket. There’s some cuddling happening with this kind of dramatic lighting available overhead!

5. Opportunities for dating adventure and exploration.

Maya and Dean’s first date took place at famous Jack London Square, but over the course of the series—and particularly in The Discipline—they visit and adventure through a number of amazing locales. They share dinner on the Embarcadero, walks along the Half Moon Bay coastline, and a smokin’ hot sailing trip into Ayala Cove, too. Beautiful, sexy fun!

What’s the most romantic and/or sexy destination in the San Francisco Bay Area to you, and why? And if you haven’t been here, what locations do you find sexy or romantic in your neck of the woods?

Jade A. Waters is an erotica author and poetess in California. Her short fiction is featured in anthologies from Cleis Press and Stupid Fish Productions, and she’s currently hard at work on the last book in the Lessons in Control series—The Reward, out June 2017. Visit her at

Call for Submissions: Contemporary Cowboy Romance Anthology

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Submit your novella to our cowboy romance anthology!

Carina Press is pleased to announce a call for contemporary cowboy romances publishing both individually as novellas and as an anthology. Please see below for specific information on what we’re seeking, closing dates and submission guidelines.

The novellas should be from 25,000 to 40,000 words each and will be digitally published both individually and as a collection. We’re accepting submissions of new material only; nothing that has been previously published (including self-published) for this particular call, please!

Description/story focus:

We’re in love with cowboys: they’re rugged, they’re sweet, they’re daring, and they look damn good in a pair of blue jeans. We want to publish a range of Western romances that showcase everything we love about cowboys. Novellas should have contemporary Western settings that are key to the story, conflict or character development.

Stories should stand alone, though they can be part of existing series, should contain a satisfying romance as part of the central plot and storyline, and should conclude with an HEA or HFN. Heat level can be from sweet to the erotic, as long as the focus is on the romance. Make us sigh, make us swoon, charm us right out of our boots!

Submission link:

Closing date: May 21, 2017 (all submissions due by 11:59pm Eastern on this date)

Decision made by: June 20, 2017

To submit:

  • Complete* manuscript in .doc, .docx or .rtf
  • Query letter containing a 2 paragraph description of the novella story, as well as introducing yourself as a writer.

*While Carina Press generally only accepts submissions of full, completed manuscripts, if you have previously published with Carina or another digital/traditional publisher, or if you have independently published multiple books with a solid positive rating history, please query us at about submitting a proposal. If we agree to look at a proposal in place of a full manuscript, the editorial team reserves the right to request a full manuscript prior to making a final decision, and all full manuscripts for accepted novellas would be due to editor 6 weeks after the close of anthology call.


Are same sex pairings permitted? Yes, we’ll absolutely consider same sex pairings or multiples in this anthology.

What’s the word count for this call? The word count is 25k-40k words.

What if I write more than 40k words or less than 25k? We’ll consider novellas that are within a few thousand words on either side (I know, we’re so strict) but if you write a lot longer, never fear, we’re acquiring longer books in this same genre outside the anthology call! If you write shorter, we hope you can add more plot, story, characterization to bring it up to 25k!

If I submit on proposal, when is the full manuscript due if my manuscript is accepted? Approximately 6 weeks after the anthology close date for each individual anthology.

Do I need to have a synopsis? A synopsis is not required for this particular call, but if you have one, please include it! In the event that we acquire your novella, we will ask for one at that point. What we do require is a two paragraph description of the novella story, to be included in your query letter.

When will the anthology and novellas be published? They will be released simultaneously in January 2018.

If I’m a returning author, should I submit to you or to my editor? Submit via the unique Submittable link for this anthology, please.

How do royalties work? These will publish individually as novellas, in which case you’ll get the full, individual royalties for your novella sales. They also publish as anthologies, for which you split the same royalty structure with the other authors–for the sale of the full anthology eBook only.

For questions about this call for submissions, please email us at

For more information about Carina Press, and to read our submission guidelines, please visit

*Permission to forward granted*