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:
Contemporary Royals Novellas
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, 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