Hello, everyone! It’s that time of the year for our editors to do a roundup of what we’d love to get in our inboxes. Naturally, our standard disclaimer 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.
There is no timeline on when you need to submit, so don’t feel like you have to rush. We’ll be here, waiting for your amazing submission when it’s ready. :-)
Angela says: Much, much thanks to Rhonda for pulling together this call for submissions. She’s always the bomb! 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, as Rhonda said, 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!
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Kerri Buckley. Kerri is the first full-time editor to join me on the Carina Press team and she’s already made herself integral to the team. The freelance editors have always been and will always be the backbone of the Carina Press editorial success, but now I have someone I can ask to do all the things I couldn’t ask of those in the freelance role (like travel to conferences. And answer some of the many, many emails we get every day! And put together a subrights catalog. And do contracts) For 2014, Kerri is tasked with building her list to 2-3 releases a month, so she’s actively acquiring now as well.
Last, though I don’t have a wishlist below, like the other editors do 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?) 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, also, one last one: we could still use another contemporary cowboy series that’s either super sexy or erotic!
~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 in any genre we publish
- Romance at any steaminess level from sweet to spicy, though I love the super-hot stuff, hah
- Stories with a fresh or unique mythological element
- Tudor, Regency, Victorian or Edwardian sexy historical romances
- Super-funny romantic comedies
- Genre blends (LGBTQ western? Paranormal regency? Hit me with ‘em!)
- Any of the above that are multicultural and/or PoC (people of color)
And now, a few specific submissions that I’ve been craving recently:
- LGBTQ romantic comedy
- A regency romance or western romance featuring PoC
- A fresh take on the upstairs-downstairs romance (like Downton Abbey), either contemporary or historical
- A sexy romance featuring heroes/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, either contemporary or historical
Deborah Nemeth: I’m 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. 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 exotic settings and multicultural characters appealing in any genre. 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 a strong hook, a unique protagonist 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 (including m/m and New Adult) with a fresh voice, sparkling dialogue, solid conflict and emotional intensity. I enjoy a range of tones from dark ’n angsty to lighthearted rom com with clever banter, and I have a special fondness for cowboys, athletes, geeks and blue-collar heroes.
- • For SFF, I’m looking for mind-bending, pulse-pounding futuristic suspense (think Inception); rebels/outlaws in space (Firefly); and steampunk, clockpunk and dieselpunk with strong SF elements
- • 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).
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, or steampunk elements.
- Westerns—historical or contemporary
- 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 quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives. Etc.
- Gritty thrillers.
- Romantic suspense.
- 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.
- Erotic romance—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty.
- 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. (I’d love to see a romance novel along the lines of Like Water for Chocolate.)
- 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.
- Romantic suspense with high-stakes conflict, twisted plots and awesome heroines.
- I’d love to see a teacher-student scenario where one of the adult characters is in the other
- one’s dance class, cooking class, film, etc.
Jeff Seymour: I’m still looking for more LGBTQ fiction, particularly with speculative elements. If someone sent me a great m/m steampunk book, I’d be ecstatic. On top of that, I’m waiting for my mystery series in which the police station coffee tastes shockingly good instead of bad (or other genre conventions are playfully and skillfully flip-flopped). And in the romance arena (no contemporary for me, please!), I like my heroes sweet-side up and my heroines self-aware and empowered.
Melissa Johnson: Melissa is on the lookout for contemporary and historical romance series with main characters that are loosely connected. She loves to visit with past heroes and heroines in later books, but have each story be a complete romance. Authors are welcome to make her heart hurt and their main characters repent and transform themselves by the end of the book.
Tina Burns: I’m looking for romance, from sweet to saucy and open to any sub-genre. Specifically I’d love to work on a Dystopion or Post-Apocolyptic romance series and really enjoy New Adult. 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.
Elizabeth Bass: While I’m a sucker for a well-paced story with memorable characters, no matter what genre, what I crave right now is historical romance. Whether your story is humorous, filled with action, or moody and Gothic—any book that successfully sweeps me into a different time period is a treat. I love reading books from all eras, but especially Regencies and Westerns. I would also love to read contemporary romances, particularly ones with humor. And romantic suspense and mystery are genres I always enjoy seeing in my in-box.
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!