What the Carina Press Editors Want–Updated Winter 2017 Edition

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We continue to acquire projects in all subgenres and heat levels of romance, as well as mystery. However, for publication in 2017 and 2018, Carina Press is particularly interested in:

  • Paranormals (and urban fantasy): We continue to be 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.
  • Cowboys and contemporary Westerns: This is a specific carryover from our previous in-search-of lists, and one that we haven’t seen enough submissions for. 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.
  • 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 science fiction/fantasy series. Additionally, if you’re writing male/male that fits any of our other specific interests below, we want to see it.
  • 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!
  • Erotic romance is evergreen on our list and we’re looking for someone who can write a series or trilogy that’s extremely erotic (maybe even filthy—okay, definitely something filthy ;) ). We’d love to see ménage or more, BDSM that’s not set in a club, or erotic romance that experiments with boundaries.
  • Novellas: We’ll be on the hunt for a lot more short content in 2017. There will be special projects and anthology calls, but we’re looking for authors writing novella-length content (20k-45k) across the romance genres we acquire in. Bring on your shorter length work!

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 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.

Hot in the City by Jules Court
Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau
Devil’s Slave by Lola Hale
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 here for more thoughts from Angela on diversity from this post.

Also in 2017: We will be doing new anthology, proposal and submission calls. We also have a few special projects coming. Please watch our blog and social media for updates!

Angela James, Editorial Director, and Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, generated the above imprint-wide list, and welcome all queries related to the projects above. 
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In addition to the above imprint-specific list, Stephanie Doig, Assistant Editor, is also looking for the following:

  • Smart, witty contemporary romance—sharp dialogue, high on romantic tension but low on angst.
  • Urban fantasy romance with well-built and intricate magical worlds and alpha heroes/heroines butting heads.
  • Paranormal romance featuring fated mates.
  • Scottish historical romances starring swoon-worthy kilted heroes.
  • Contemporary romance featuring STEM heroines—suspense elements welcome but not required.
  • Fantasy with a strong heroine and a slow-burn romance—think Maria Snyder or Amanda Bouchet.
  • Novel-length holiday romances—think The Family Stone!

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

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Alissa Davis:

  •  Royalty! I’ve been watching The Crown, and now I’m hunting for 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 also love to see male/male 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.
  • 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.
  • Futuristic and fantasy romance, especially those with aliens, elves, dragons, etc. I’d particularly like to see more diversity in my fantasy romance submissions.
  • Sexy, edgy contemporary romance. I’d love to see friends-to-lovers featuring roommates, servicemen, coworkers or teammates.
  • Virgin heroes. Enough said.
  • Military romance, male/male or male/female. 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.
  • Foodie romance where at least part of the story takes place in a restaurant or kitchen and cooking is part of the love language one character uses to express feelings for the other. If you have a food critic/chef romance, please send it my way!

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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.

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Rhonda Stapleton:

  • Super-hot romantic comedies (the hotter, the better—lots of delicious laughs and sexytimes!).
  • Mysteries, especially cozy. (Series please! Romance not required, but a romantic subplot is great.)
  • Multicultural romance series of any heat level.
  • Military erotic romances (series are great!).
  • A dark, atmospheric, sexy gothic romance—contemporary preferred, but will also welcome historical.
  • Taboo stories—edgy, pushing the envelope (but still within 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.
  • Erotic science fiction romance (series preferred) with aliens and/or a rich futuristic setting.
  • Fresh twists on classic romance tropes.

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Lauren Plude:

  • LGBTQ: Male/male and female/female. Contemporary AND historical. All heat levels.
  • PNR: I’m looking for shifters (all kinds) and weres. I like my PNR to have strong world-building and an engaging mythology that can carry a series.
  • Erotic romance: Bring on the taboos—specifically menage and older woman with a younger man. I’d LOVE to see some “hot for teacher” projects. BDSM. Historical erotic is also very welcome. Two thumbs up for heroines unafraid to ask for what they want in the bedroom.
  • Romantic suspense/romantic thriller: I want my electrical bill to skyrocket because I’m sleeping with the lights on. I’m looking for dark psychological romantic thrillers (think Criminal Minds). I’ve got a weakness for FBI agents and complex plotting.
  • Contemporary romance: Billionaires, bad boys, romantic comedy (think a modern Beatrice and Benedick story), and I’d love to see some jet-setting/exotic destination settings.
  • Special call for law enforcement/military heroes: police, FBI, US Marshals, DEA, firefighters, search & rescue, and Navy SEALs.

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Mackenzie Walton:

  • LGBTQ 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.
  • Virgin heroes, across the board. Can’t get enough of them.

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Anne Scott:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cowboys and horses. I love it when the reality of the hard work of being a cowboy is brought to the story.
  • High-octane fantasy or science fiction romance with personal stakes, strong world-building and compelling characters.

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Penny Barber:

  • Heroes and heroines who are busy, involved, impacting communities.
  • Clever, resourceful, sassy heroines who hold their own with alphas.
  • Stories comprising a diverse array of cultures and characters.
  • Outdoorsy stories with camping, hiking, hunting, rafting.
  • Suspenseful story lines that keep inquisitive minds engaged.
  • Seemingly unstoppable villains who are fully fleshed and motivated.
  • People who rise to challenges and keep moving forward.
  • Detective duos who contrast yet complement each other.
  • Stories built around a vintage car club or motor sports organization.
  • Geeks, gamers or hackers snared in a secret intrigue or mystery.
  • Sidekicks and mentors with leap-off-the-page personality.
  • Newly turned beings coming to terms with their transformed reality.

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 Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Penny Anne
LGBTQ Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny
Contemporary romance Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny
Paranormal romance Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny
Urban fantasy Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny Rhonda, Alissa
Fantasy romance Alissa, Deb, Anne, Penny Rhonda, Lauren, Mackenzie
Science fiction romance Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Anne, Penny Stephanie, Lauren, Mackenzie
Romantic suspense Rhonda, Alissa,  Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny
Historical romance Rhonda, Alissa, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny Angela, Stephanie
Mystery Rhonda, Deb, Lauren, Mackenzie, Anne, Penny Angela, Stephanie, 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 and 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 and edgy side.

Other movies:

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

9 thoughts on “What the Carina Press Editors Want–Updated Winter 2017 Edition”

  1. Hi! I am an established author of BDSM erotica of over 55 Amazon best selling/multi-genre from victorian to scifi, Age-Play, paranoral, etc; and also involved in the lifestyle, so I write with a background of personal experience. I am seeking to try my hand at MM scifi BDSM romance. Is there room for this and how explicit do you want the scenes? I’d love to speak to someone about new series in the works and if/where they might fit. Thank you!

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Breanna,

      So sorry for the delayed response, I didn’t see this earlier. There is absolutely room for this and how explicit is up to you and what the story demands. We don’t define the amount of sex that appears in an author’s work.

  2. John Lack says:

    Dear Editors,
    I have been looking at publisher’s websites for months looking for good ones. Thank you so much for all the detailed information on what you are currently looking for. Many publishers do not keep their sites up to date. I have an erotic romance series ready. I will submit it soon.
    Thanks again, John

  3. Lyn Melnechenko says:

    I have tried several times to submit my story and got all the info typed in including synopsis and first 3 chapters…But when it comes to submitting the complete document it will not accept my file. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Colin Hinds says:

      I’m having the same problem trying to submit.

      1. Angela James says:

        Hi, please make sure that your files are in our approved file type, either rtf, .doc or .docx. The system will not accept any other file types (including pdf) so when you look at your file extension, please make sure the extension is one of the three I listed. If you persist in having problems submitting, please email submissions AT carinapress.com and you’ll receive assistance there!

  4. Sandy Thrower, writing as Sandra Daniels says:

    I’m a new author working on a paranormal series with several elements including destined mates, suspense (stalkers/serial killers/mystery), explicit sex, and an overarching villainous group we’ll see throughout the series, but not always in the forefront. The series is predominantly M/F with women of all body types and ethnicities, but I also have a M/M, M/M/F, and M/F/M in the works. My WIP introducing this world has over 63k words completed, with plans to have it over 80k when finished, and is an OW/YM (about six years difference) story. I’m hoping to have this to my betas in the next several weeks. The series will include shifters from wolf, lion, tiger, panther, bear, and dragon groups. I have ten or more additional books in various stages, as well as story plots for at least another fifteen. With all that being said, I noticed at least two of your editors are interested in paranormal romance. Should I submit to each or just do one submission? Also, I know it’s listed somewhere and I just haven’t seen it, but do you have a minimum/maximum length requirement? Thank you.

    1. Angela James says:

      Hi Sandy, sounds like a very multi-faceted series! Our minimum word length is 20k. There is no real maximum but it’s usually best to stay under 120,000 for digital!

      1. Sandy Thrower says:

        Angela,

        Thank you so much. When I’m ready to submit, I hope it will be something that fits what you’re looking to publish.

        I’m just writing what I love to read–romance and shifters, with a little bit of mayhem on the side.

        Thank you again,

        Sandy


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