Have You Found a Horse or a Kelpie?
- Are you near water? (An ocean, river, lake, fjord, or loch?)
- Continue to Question 2.
- Chances are you’re looking at a horse, but to be sure, continue to Q2.
- It’s very dark and I’m not sure. Continue to Q2.
- Is the horse by itself, or with a herd?
- Solitary horse. Continue to Q3.
- Cluster of ponies. Probably safe unless you’re holding a bucket of apples, but check Q3.
- It’s very dark and I’m not sure. Continue to Q3.
- Is the equine gorgeous and proud, fit to be ridden by a king or knight? The kind of horse that could elevate a family’s fortunes if you captured it and brought it home?
- Best be cautious. In this case DON’T ride it like you stole it. Proceed to Q4 instead.
- Likely a wild pony or escaped domestic horse. See Q4.
- Is the creature wearing a bridle?
- Proceed to Q5.
- Proceed to Q6.
- Can you place an enchanted bridle upon it?
- It would not be wise to try that. Proceed to Q6.
- Where do you even get an enchanted bridle? Wal-Mart? Amazon? Tractor Supply? Q6!
- Is the horse being ridden, or accompanied by a person?
- If the person isn’t screaming, it’s probably just a horse. Proceed to Q7.
- No – proceed to Q9.
- Dear God, what is that thing? Next question, already!
- Are they filming an aftershave or beer commercial in the vicinity?
- You’re probably safe, but check Q8, just for giggles.
- Check Q8, quickly.
- WTF? – We’re being thorough, here. Check Q8.
- Is the rider screaming while being dragged into the water?
- Oh crap. It’s either a Kelpie or the aftershave commercial has gone horribly awry.
- Feel free to hang out and drool over the horse and/or rider.
- Does the creature seem to be urging you onto its back?
- Maybe, but I like to ride horses. #YOLO.
- Run. Run for your life.
- This is a horse.
- Is the creature attracted to the scent of cloves? Or fear? Or blood?
- Hello? Are you still there?
K.L. White writes. If not paranormal stories, then computer code or technical documentation. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. Often in the form of audiobooks playing in the cab of her big ol’ pickup truck. She lives on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country and breeds Norwegian Fjord horses. You can find her online at www.klwhite.net or on either Facebook and Twitter.
THE CARINA PRESS EDITORIAL TEAM WILL BE HOLDING OUR ANNUAL PITCH EVENT ON TWITTER VIA THE #CARINAPITCH HASHTAG ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7TH, FROM 9AM EASTERN TO 9PM EASTERN.
#CarinaPitch is the one time of year we offer an opportunity for authors to submit their work and get both an expedited response and feedback. We’ve had tremendous response to this, have acquired authors thanks to their pitches and, we hope, have aided a few authors along the way with some of the feedback we’ve offered.
Not only is #carinapitch popular with authors and those following along just for fun, it has been successful for us as well. Since the first #carinapitch four years ago, we’ve found nearly forty manuscripts that we’ve either requested revisions on or signed for publication—an amazing result! Our ultimate goal is always to find new authors to acquire, not new authors to reject. We’re thrilled to be jumping back in for 2017.
PLEASE READ ON FOR DETAILS ABOUT HOW THE EVENT WILL WORK.
On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, Carina Press editors will be monitoring the #carinapitch hashtag for book pitches from authors.
- If a book pitch is favorited/liked by an editor, that editor will review the full manuscript.
- Editors will respond with personalized feedback to all #carinapitch manuscripts they request.
- Expedited response time! All authors who receive a #carinapitch request will receive a response by the week of August 21, 2017.
**Please note that we ask authors not to expect paragraphs of critique, but specific feedback will be offered, noting what the editor sees as not working or needing attention.
**We also would like to emphasize that the nature of this business is subjective, so the editor may provide feedback the author may not agree with. We’re offering insight into why the book doesn’t work for us (should we choose to pass on it, rather than acquiring, which is certainly a possibility!), not providing detailed instructions on how to “fix” any issues we see.
ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE:
1) You must have a complete, ready-to-send manuscript that falls within the commercial fiction genres that we publish. (Please view our submissions guidelines here.)
2) You must be prepared to send your manuscript within 4 days of the #carinapitch session. Any manuscripts sent after midnight on Sunday, June 11th will still be fairly reviewed by editorial staff but won’t be eligible for the feedback/accelerated response time.
3) The manuscript you’re pitching must be new material, not previously published material, whether self-published or released via a publisher. Only new material will be considered during this event.
4) The manuscript cannot be one that has previously received a pass letter from Carina Press.
5) You may pitch more than one project.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
1) Wait until June 7th from 9am Eastern to 9pm Eastern, which is when the editors will be monitoring the hashtag.
2) Craft your compelling book pitch into one (no more than two) tweets. Indicate if it’s more than one tweet by using 1/2 and 2/2 so we can piece them together.
3) Post them to Twitter from your public account using the #carinapitch hashtag (the only way we’ll know they’re for us!)
*If your Twitter account is locked/private, we will be unable to see your posts on the hashtag or any @ replies you direct to us. Tweets from private accounts are ONLY viewable to those friends with the account. Your account must be public to participate.
4) Please do not post pitches for one book more than twice during the #carinapitch event. Even if you’re changing your pitch, please pitch the same book no more than twice during the day. Don’t worry, we’re reading every single pitch, so as long as you post it once, we’ll see it! Twice gives you the opportunity to change things up.
5) Watch for a reply/like/favorite from a Carina Press editor.
6) If an editor lets you know that they’d like to see your submission and your manuscript is NOT currently on submission with us:
- You will need to follow that editor on Twitter so they can DM you their private link for submission. Only those whose pitches are chosen will receive this link.
- Please follow the submission guidelines here and include all required information via the received Submittable link.
- If more than one editor asks for your submission, you may choose which editor to send to, though you may also wish to indicate the second editor who had interest, in case the first editor decides another editor would be better suited for your particular manuscript.
- Send your submission no later than midnight Eastern time, Sunday, June 11th, 2017. The link you receive will expire after that, and you will be unable to submit via this route.
If an editor lets you know they’d like to see your submission and your manuscript is already in our queue:
- Update your submission via Submittable, using a note.
- In the note, please include the Twitter pitch you used and your Twitter name (to help the editor recognize your request & verify that they asked for it) as well as the name of the editor who requested the manuscript via #carinapitch.
- Update your submission no later than Sunday, June 11th at midnight Eastern.
NOTES ABOUT #CARINAPITCH
- You don’t need to direct your tweet to a specific editor. We’ll all be monitoring the hashtag throughout the day. However, if you want to bring it to the attention of an editor you think it’s particularly suited for, you are welcome to do so. At the bottom of this post is a list of participating Carina Press editors and their Twitter IDs.
- Please don’t post your pitch more than twice during the day. We know you want to make sure we see it, so we don’t mind if you post it at two different times, but please don’t post one manuscript more than twice. Though you are welcome to craft each pitch differently, please don’t post any 1 manuscript more than twice, regardless of wording. Two pitches per manuscript, so the hashtag doesn’t become cluttered, and so that all authors have equal opportunity to be seen. Don’t worry, we will see your pitch and consider it, even if you only post it once. Thank you!
- You can find out what our editors are looking for by clicking here. You can see editor bios here.
- Information about what we publish, our submissions guidelines and specific FAQs can be found here.
- Feedback is welcome! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if ever you have specific, constructive feedback you’d like to share.
ONE LAST (VERY IMPORTANT) NOTE:
If your pitch isn’t selected by an editor, that doesn’t mean your project isn’t right for us. In the end, it’s the story that will get us to acquire the book, not the pitch, so if you’ve written something we publish, please still submit it to us. We’re always open to submissions, from agented or unagented authors.
*Permission to forward this post, use it on blogs and author forums is granted.*
Angela James @angelajames
Kerri Buckley @BuckleyKerri
Stephanie Doig @StephanieDoig
Deb Nemeth @DebNemeth
Alissa Davis @AlissaDenay
Mackenzie Walton @MackenzieWalton
Anne Scott @editorannescott
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:
Contemporary Royals Novellas
Ending soon: Paranormal proposals, last chance to get these in!
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
Enforcer’s Price by Sarah Hawthorne
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, Assistant 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Super-sexy romantic comedies (the hotter, the better—lots of delicious laughs and sexytimes!).
- Fresh cozy mystery series (romance not required, but I’d love a romantic subplot that builds in the series.)
- Multicultural/PoC romance series of any heat level.
- Military erotic romance with series potential.
- Erotic menage romances—super, super hot and dirty.
- Taboo stories—edgy, pushing the envelope. Can be dark, twisted, thrilling, as long as it’s within the guidelines of what we publish.
- Bad-boy erotic romances. I mean genuine bad boys with redeeming qualities but who may be on the wrong side of the law, etc.
- Fresh twists on classic romance tropes.
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.
- Great sexual tension in any genre.
- Competence in heroes and heroines—excelling at their jobs, outmaneuvering the bad guys, creating a magical solution during that black moment.
- Sense of humor. It doesn’t have to be romantic comedy or laugh-out-loud zingers; something more subtle can work wonders. Angst and serious reads can do really well with an on-point sense of humor.
- Good-guy heroes with complicated backstories
- Bourne- or Nikita-type romantic suspense, especially set in unusual locales with diverse characters. Bonus points for laidback or deceptively laidback heroes who are highly competent when the going gets rough, and do not get in the way of the heroine if she’s the one saving the day!
- Mysteries, where I’d welcome a very slow burn between two sleuths over a series of books.
- International and/or unusual settings where that time and place comes alive.
- High-octane fantasy or science fiction romance with personal stakes, strong world-building and compelling characters.
- 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:
||Editors actively acquiring in genre
||Not acquiring in genre
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Kerri
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Anne
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Anne, Kerri, Stephanie
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Anne, Stephanie
||Deb, Mackenzie, Anne, Stephanie
||Alissa, Deb, Anne, Stephanie
|Science fiction romance
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Anne
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Anne, Kerri, Stephanie
||Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Mackenzie, Anne, Kerri, Stephanie
||Rhonda, Deb, Mackenzie, Anne, Kerri
||Angela, Stephanie, Alissa
In my upcoming coyote shifter romance THE ALPHA’S CLAIM, I pair an aggressive alpha shifter with an oblivious human pancake house server and let the sparks fly. If Teddy had been a reader of paranormal romance, he might have seen some clues that Jim isn’t an ordinary man:
1. Never shoes teeth when smiling
Not everyone does. In fact, the act is discouraged in passport and license photos. However, if your main squeeze has mastered the art of laughing through slightly parted lips or if they have a habit of covering their lower face when smiling, they could be hiding fangs. They might be a shapeshifter.
2. Animals gather ’round
And not in the Cinderella or Snow White way that involves sweet singing birdies or mice with mad sewing skills. If your lover’s house seems to be a prime locus for dangerous beasts, and they think that’s fine—they might be a shapeshifter.
3. No respect for the clock
If your lover never has the same schedule two days in a row, tends to sleep in spurts, and has friends who tend to swing by at four AM to hang out, they might just be in college. But they’re probably actually a shapeshifter.
4. Extrasensory perception?
ESP isn’t a proven phenomenon, however some people do have unusual abilities to see, hear, and smell things moments before others do. If your lover always perks up and stares at the front door a few seconds before people ring the bell, they’re probably a shapeshifter.
5. No clothes, no problem
People who have to get naked by necessity—shifting into an animal form is rough on clothes—tend to have little shame about letting it all hang out. If your lover’s favorite outfit is their birthday suit and they show genuine concern about you being uncomfortable in so many clothes, there’s a good chance they’re a shapeshifter. (You might also discover that they have caches of spare clothing hidden in odd places, like in hollowed-out logs in the woods or in stone urns on their mother’s porch.)
6. Sweet obsession
If your new sweetheart is overly solicitous, never wants to take their eyes off you, and clutches you like a security blanket when they finally do sleep, they might be a creep. Or you might have a mate bond with them and they’re terrified you won’t come back. If you’ve made observations of at least three of the five phenomena above, the latter is most likely the case, and your lover is probably a shapeshifter. (Congratulations?)
Can you think of any other red flags that your lover isn’t quite human? Share them in the comments!
Holley Trent is an award-winning, best-selling author of dozens of romances. She writes about shapeshifters, psychics, demigods, fallen angels, fae, and more. Learn more about her books at her website, holleytrent.com. You can also follow her online on Facebook and Twitter.
WOLF IN KING’S CLOTHING takes place in 1912 in York, a walled cathedral city in the UK. When considering the setting for the story, I couldn’t get the image of York Shambles from my mind. It’s a warren of a place, and I imagined a younger Kent darting through crowds on market days or getting lost in the old factories.
While we can’t visit 1912 – and let’s be honest, who’d want to? They don’t have the internet – I wanted to share some of my favorite parts of York, which is a beautiful place to visit and has retained several aspects of its Edwardian (and much older!) past.
York Shambles – somewhere above this Kent makes the deal to search for Hadrian.
A view of the city – and the moon that shortens Kent’s timeline on his search.
Along the River Ouse, where Kent looks for – and finds – trouble.
And finally, Clifford’s Tower, looking far friendlier than it does when Kent sees it!
Parker Foye writes speculative-flavored romance under the QUILTBAG umbrella and believes in happily ever after, although sometimes their characters make achieving this difficult. Originally from the UK and currently based in Canada, Parker travels on a regular basis via planes, trains, and an ever-growing library. Visit them online at parkerfoye.com or on Twitter.