Punching Fear in the Face

facebook twitter

By Steve Vera, author of BLOOD SWORN 

There’s nothing like an exploding geyser of panic to get the juices flowing. I don’t know why I thought I had more than three months to write an entire novel from word-one, page-one—August had seemed so far away from November—but I suspect it had to do with the fact that my brain had been put on a spit and shish kabobed while re-writing and editing the first two books of the Last of the Shardyn trilogy.

By the time my brain did make the connection, as you might imagine, my sphincter puckered. Three months? It took me fourteen years to write the first one! I calmed myself by remembering that I’d increased time efficiency from fourteen years to ten months between Books I and II, Drynn and Through the Black Veil respectively. A 1400% improvement or something (I’m a writer not a mathematician, Jim!). I had this.

Of course, this wasn’t just any novel. This was the climax, the final installment of my Last of the Shardyn trilogy—a blend of Dragonlance style fantasy and Stephen King horror, mixed with a lil Tom Clancy. At least that was the plan. ;) This baby had to be legendary. I already knew how it ended, had it mapped out and plotted. My brain felt like the converging lasers of the Death Star right before it went planet-hunting. I was ready to fire, but first—venue.

CabinI made a quick call to my dear friend Abby who’d twice offered me her father-built cabin in the woods of upstate New York. When I say artist’s sanctuary, I mean fuggedaboutit. Loft, wood burning stove, electricity, plumbing—a perfect blend of rustic beauty and functionality.

Once there, I unleashed the green lasers. Whenever my brain began to ooze out of my ears from writing fourteen hours straight, all I had to do was open the door and stare outside. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the woods at night but the dark is different there, like a presence, and would seep into the cabin rather than give way to the light. I’d step outside onto that front porch and close the door behind me, heart-in-throat. Every chipmunk rustle was a lurking Drynn.  Every breeze a shadow without a body. Ten minutes proximity to primal fear was all that was needed to infuse me with another dose of inspiration and adrenaline. I’d go back in and fire it back up. Every time I did, I’d give myself a little smile. No witnesses, just me and God. Not only had I just punched fear in the face, but I’d used it. Owned it.

When I arrived at that cabin back in mid-October, I had about 40K words written. When I was done two weeks later I had 160K, cut down to 140K when I turned it into my editor (Rhonda, you were my compass). To that point, qualifying for the Pararescue Selection Team in the U.S. Air Force had been the most gratifying thing I’d ever done. Not anymore. Allow me to introduce you to Blood Sworn.

Book three of Last of the Shardyn

CARINA_0714_9781426898754_BloodSwornOnly scattered groups of exhausted heroes remain…

Veteran police chief Skip Walkins has really done it this time. After crossing realities to fight the onslaught of the Drynn, the spawn of the Underworld, he’s one of only a few motley survivors of an epic massacre. By his blood, he’s sworn to unite with Shardyn Knight Gavin Blackburn against the armies of Asmodeous the Pale, Lord of the Underworld and ruler of the Drynn. The two must seek resistance fighters wherever they can–even in Vambrace, among those who killed Gavin’s father.

Reformed sociopath Donovan Smith has traveled to Vambrace for his own reasons–the new voice in his head claims that there he will learn how he came to be the Antimage, impervious to the deadliest magical attacks.

Donovan’s secrets may hold the key to defeating the Drynn, but they may upset the delicate alliance of the Blood Sworn in the process. And if Skip and Gavin can’t fight together as one, the Drynn will attain total victory over Earth and its magical twin, Theia.

See how the forces of the Underworld were unleashed in Drynn and Through the Black Veil.

137,000 word

I hope you love it.


Steve VeraSteve out.

Connect with Steve: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Newsletter


The (Sometimes) Famous Side Character

facebook twitter

By Joshua Roots, author of SUMMONED CHAOS

I’ve always been a huge fan of Side Characters, the men and women of fiction who help the Hero/Heroine along the way. Playing a supporting role, they’re the ones who often get to say the things the Main Character can’t or won’t. Other times, they’re the ones who find an important clue that helps solidify the MC’s theory of whodunit.

The thing is, Side Characters sometimes get the short end of the stick since they are, on occasion, catalysts for motivation. Life is probably a little safer if you’re Hammer McThunder*, but what about Charlie Von Labcoat**, his fast-talking scientist buddy? The guy decides to work late in the lab only to be gunned down by international criminals bent on stealing the latest time-travel technology he’s been working on. Next thing he knows, he’s dying in McThunder’s arms. Sure, the MC gets to utter some awful catch phrase like, “It’s time to drop The Hammer” and then spends the next 200 pages hunting down bad guys, but that’s no solace to Charlie.

Poor, poor Charlie.

But not all Side Characters are under the Sword of Damocles. Sometimes they’re there to break up the tension. Add some spice to an otherwise dark situation. One of my absolute favorites has to be Zathras from Babylon 5. Stuck on a planet tending The Great Machine and with nothing but insects for conversation/food, the guy didn’t have a lot going for him. And yet, the few episodes where he appeared made a huge impression on me because he wasn’t 2-demnsional. The character had depth and humor, something that separates an outstanding Side Character from the ones that are Just Okay.

It didn’t hurt that he had some of the best lines in the series.

Side Characters can also serve as a point of reference for the reader by contrasting with the Main Character. Watson, no intellectual lightweight in his own right, is there so that we see the true extent of Holmes’ intellect. The fact that Watson is a deeply fleshed out person with motivations and desires, rather than simply being a story-prop, makes Holmes all the greater.

No matter what role the Side Character plays, the critical component for me is the connection. During the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when Indy’s partner, David, is killed, I remember thinking, “That stinks. Oh, hey Shorty!***.” There was no development and, as such, no sense of loss.

But Obi Wan? Oh man. Talk about a huge disturbance in the Force when Vader turned him into an empty robe.

In the end, Side Characters can make or break a story/series for me. Doomed from the start, used as a humor-tool, or serving as a reference point, I’ll struggle through a book if the supporting cast is lack-luster. But give me me a handful of well-defined, strong characters that I can connect with and I’ll gladly stay up till 4AM to gobble down every iota of awesome.

So what about you? What are some of your favorite side-characters and why?


Oh look, books!



Author Bio:

Joshua Roots

Joshua Roots is a former Marine, car collector, and beekeeper. He enjoys singing with his a cappella chorus, playing video games, and reading comic books. He is still waiting for his acceptance letter to Hogwarts and Rogue Squadron. He and his wife will talk your ear off about their bees if you let them.


Connect with Josh: Twitter | Website | Blog | Goodreads

*You can almost smell the testosterone wafting from this fake name.
** Alas, poor Charlie. I knew him, Horatio! Also, another made up name.
*** Shorty!

The Kowalskis and Musicals

facebook twitter

By Shannon Stacey, author of FALLING FOR MAX

Readers who remember Max Crawford from his introduction in All He Ever Dreamed know he’s not a typical hero for me. He’s shy and a little awkward, and there’s rumor going around Whitford he’s a serial killer. (Don’t worry. They’re mostly kidding.)

Max came about while I was writing Josh and Katie’s story because I realized Whitford didn’t have a sports bar and I needed a place where they went to watch games. Enter Max Crawford, with his awesome leather couches, big-screen television, and mysterious goings-on in his basement. Because his place had become the go-to place on game days, he’d developed friendships with some of the Kowalskis, as well as other residents of Whitford, which wasn’t something that came easy to him.

He was quirky and I fell in love with him immediately. What I wanted was for a fictional woman to fall in love with him, too. But Max works from home and Whitford’s not exactly known for singles hot spots so, when he decides he’s reached a point in his life when he’d like a woman to share it with, he starts at the Trailside Diner.

Tori Burns, who works part-time at the diner, sees Max strike out at his first attempt at conversation, and she’s intrigued. Not only is he Whitford’s man of mystery, but she likes him and thinks he’s funny. It seems to her, with a little bit of coaching, Max can find the woman of his dreams.

He took a sip of his coffee, probably giving himself some time to think. “How do you think you’re going to make me more dateable?”

“We’ll spend some time together and I’ll get to know you a little better so I can help you play up your better qualities. And, like I said, we can have practice conversations. It’ll be fun, like one of those dating makeover shows.”

“So that makes you Professor Higgins and me Eliza Doolittle?”


“From My Fair Lady.”

“Isn’t that some old musical? Like from the black and white days?”

Of course, as Tori goes about helping Max become more “dateable”, she discovers she likes him just the way he is. The problem is that she might just like him a little too much.

There are a few references to My Fair Lady in Falling For Max, and my feelings about the classic musical fall in line with Tori’s reaction when she watches it. (Sorry, you’ll have to read it.) My sister, who’s currently in college, loves it. (Okay, spoiler: I don’t love it. But I’m not telling you why. You really have to read it.)

How you do you all feel about musicals? If you’ve seen My Fair Lady, did you love it or not? (I must admit I sing “I Could Have Danced All Night” a lot.) What’s your favorite musical? I grew up rewatching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at every opportunity, but The King & I will always be my favorite. What’s yours?

About Falling For Max:

CARINA_0814_9780373002290_FallingForMaxMax Crawford has reached the point in life where he’s starting to think about settling down. Unfortunately, he’s always been a little awkward when it comes to social interactions, and working from home doesn’t help. He spends so much time alone, painting beautiful, historically accurate model trains that half of Whitford has begun to joke that he may be a serial killer. Not exactly prime husband material.

Tori Burns has found happiness in Maine, thanks in large part to her shifts at the Trailside Diner. She likes the work, and she loves the local gossip. When shy, geeky Max Crawford becomes a regular, she’s intrigued. When she finds out he’s in the market for a wife, she’s fascinated…and determined to help.

Molding Max into every woman’s dream turns out to be much easier than expected. But has Tori’s plan worked a little too well? As she turns his comfortable life all sorts of upside down, she’ll have to find a way to show just how she’s fallen for him…the real him.

About Shannon:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. She can also be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, www.shannonstacey.com and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook, and the eHarlequin.com community. Her current release, Falling For Max, is available now from Carina Press.

Congratulations to Carina Press Prism Award Winners and Finalists!

facebook twitter

On Thursday, July 24, the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FF&P) Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America announced the winners of the 2014 Prism Awards at #RWA14.

Carina Press authors were in attendance and received some pretty serious accolades. Please join us in congratulating Cathy Pegau, PJ Schnyder and Jeffe Kennedy on their recognition from FF&P.

Best of the Best and Futuristic Prism Award Winner

CAUGHT IN AMBER by Cathy Pegau

Caught_In _Amber_finalRecently out of rehab, Sasha James is determined to keep her head down, complete her parole and never touch amber again. The chip in her neck controls her cravings for the highly addictive drug, but also tracks her every move. Not that she goes anywhere other than work and the halfway house she calls home–a far cry from her luxurious former life as lover of the mining colony’s top drug dealer, Guy Christiansen.

Agent Nathan Sterling has no desire to see Sasha fall back into amber, but his sister has become Guy’s latest conquest and the unexpectedly attractive Sasha is the key to getting her back. So in exchange for an introduction, he offers Sasha the one thing she can’t refuse–her freedom. From the chip, her parole and even the planet if she wants. Though he would be sorry to see her go…

Torn between her growing attraction to Nathan, fear of Guy and the allure of amber, Sasha accepts. But who will save her if Guy refuses to let her go a second time?

Cathy’s DEEP DECEPTION was also a finalist in the futuristic category!

Connect with Cathy: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Novella Prism Award Winner


SingForTheDead final coverBook two of London Undead

Kayden, a lone were-leopard allied with the London werewolf pack to keep the zombie infestation in check, is used to working solo–until he discovers a beautiful fae woman surrounded by the aftermath of battle. He’s immediately drawn to Sorcha, but quickly discovers she’s much more than a pretty face.

Half Bean Sidhe and half berserker, Sorcha trained over centuries to become the perfect warrior. She agrees to work with local weres to investigate a new type of zombie capable of coordinated attacks–and is partnered with Kayden. He’s strong, darkly handsome and completely unafraid of her. And his kiss fills her with insatiable desire instead of bloodlust.

As Kayden and Sorcha work together, their attraction grows and their deepest scars are bared to each other. But with the force behind the deadly new zombies poised to overwhelm the city, Sorcha can only pray that the next time her bloodlust strikes, Kayden isn’t among the fallen…

PJ may have been a little excited about her win. ;)

Connect with PJ: Twitter | Facebook | Website | YouTube

Fantasy Prism Award Finalist


Rogues_Possession_finalBook two of Covenant of Thorns

A human trapped in the world of Faerie, in possession of magic I could not control, I made a bargain for my life: to let the dangerously sensual fae noble known as Rogue sire my firstborn. And one does not break an oath with a fae. But no matter how greatly I desire him, I will not succumb. Not until I know what will happen to the child.

Though unable–or unwilling–to reveal the fate of human-fae offspring himself, Rogue accompanies me on my quest for answers. Along the way he agrees to teach me to harness my power, in exchange for a single kiss each day and sleeping by my side each night. Just as I am about to yield to temptation, I find myself in a deadly game of cat and mouse with an insane goddess. Now my search for the truth will lead me to the darkest of all Faerie secrets.

Sequel to Rogue’s Pawnavailable now! Rogue’s Paradise releases September 8!
Connect with Jeffe: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Visit the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal website to learn more about the Prism Award.

Geeks Take on Hollywood!—by Julie Moffett

facebook twitter

CARINA_0714_9781426898730_NoBizLikeShowbizLexi Carmichael, geek girl extraordinaire, is back and this time she’s headed to Hollywood. For those of you not familiar with the series, Lexi is a geek first-class—a gamer, hacker, book nerd and fangirl who double-majored in mathematics and computer science and has zero social skills. Her day job for a hot new cyber-intelligence firm has landed her a job trying to track down a Hollywood hacker who is messing up the online voting for a popular reality dating television show.

The hacker is targeting a show called Geeks Get Some, featuring real-life geeks. After a series of mishaps, the producers convince Lexi to continue her investigation from the inside. What should be an easy hunt for the hacker turns ugly when he sets his sights on her. Add to that a studio obsessed with ratings, a bunch of nerdy contestants, and her own confusing love life, and unraveling this mystery might make her a star…or get her killed.

Need a laugh or two? Download NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ from Carina Press here.


I love writing about Lexi, her friends and their adventures. Who knew geeks could be so much fun? Haven’t tried a Lexi Carmichael adventure yet? Well, you’re in luck! Just for answering the following question on this blog, I’ll enter you in a random drawing to WIN any ebook of mine and some geeky swag to go with it. The question is: “Would you rather be in front of or behind the camera in Hollywood?”


By the way, feel free any time to drop me a line at my website, my Facebook page or on Twitter. I really enjoy chatting with readers, writers, and totally random people. In the meantime, “Get Your Geek On!”


Julie Moffett is a bestselling and award-winning author who writes in the genres of mystery, historical romance and paranormal romance. Learn more about Julie and her books on Facebook, Twitter and her website. She has won numerous awards, including the Holt Medallion 2014, EPIC 2011 Award for Best Action/Adventure Novel, PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel and Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002. She has also garnered nominations for the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.

The Foods of Home—by Inez Kelley

facebook twitter
  • Pepperoni rolls (no sauce! It is not a pizza sub!)
  • Sweet tea (brewed, not powdered)
  • Spinach on my pizza
  • Fried potatoes and Ramps (wild onions, very strong)
  • Venison loin
  • Slaw dogs (Hot dogs with chili and cole slaw)
  • Blackberry jam
  • Applebutter

This list above are foods I consumed within one week of coming home to West Virginia. The mountain views are gorgeous, the air is clean and we had a snake in our yard. But food brings you home in a way nothing else can. Something about those regional favorites that you can’t get anywhere else just cement the feeling of “home” in your belly.

Even if items were available elsewhere (and some are) they don’t taste the same. We’ve gotten many strange looks when we asked for pepperoni rolls in other places. Most times, people assume it is like a sub with pizza toppings. No. It is a hunk of pepperoni baked into a soft roll. That is it. The greasy perfection of it cannot be matched. Occasionally you will see if offered here with cheddar cheese baked in. Never mozzarella. It stems from when the poor Italian coal miners back in the day needed lunches and the pantry was low. They’d wrap a slab of pepperoni in bread dough, bake it and head to the mines. Being poor can sometimes create something wonderful.

Sweet ice tea… self explanatory. When I ask for sweet tea, I do not want to be offered raspberry tea or unsweetened tea with a sugar packet. BLECH! Sweet tea, all day, every day, everywhere.

Spinach on pizza seems normal to me (chain stores often offer it here) but the only places it was offered elsewhere were ‘gourmet’ pizza shops. And they call us hicks?

Fried potatoes and ramps are pure WV heaven. It stinks, true, but the taste is worth it.

Venison loin. I’ll take it over a steak any day.

Slaw dogs. I craved these while pregnant and while living out of state. Keep your ketchup and mustard.

Blackberry jam from a fair vendor, sold in a mason jar. I bought it by the case before I left and family sent it to us when the supply ran out. My children have NEVER eaten grape jam at home. They call it ‘school jelly’ and hate it.

Applebutter made in a caldron over an open fire, the air flavored with apples and cinnamon, once again sold in mason jars. It is the taste of fall in a glass container. Mild is my preference but my husband Big G likes it spicy enough to scorch his tongue. And in my state, applebutter is one word, not two.

I could go on and on with this list. Sausage gravy and biscuits, fried green tomatoes, rhubarb pie, fried bread, potato candy…

What food says “home” to you? And where do you call “home?”


Should’ve Been Home Yesterday

Sweet as Maple, Stubborn as Hickory and Strong as Oak:


Thirteen years ago, Webb Hawkins and Clay McCreedy were best friends, more like brothers than business partners. Determined to push Hawkins Hardwood into the future, their lives were intertwined on every level. Until Webb came home and realized little Molly McCreedy had grown up.

Stay away from my baby sister. It was the one thing Clay had asked of Webb, but it was a promise Webb couldn’t keep, and his actions did more than ruin their friendship—it changed everything. Now Clay is dead, Molly is pregnant after a night of memories and alcohol, and a guilt-ridden Webb needs to put things right.

As what begins as a marriage in name only slowly grows to include the love Webb and Molly have always kept carefully buried, a series of fires erupts across Black Cherry Canyon. And an infamous eco-terrorist sets his sights on Molly—the ultimate pawn in his vendetta against Hawkins Hardwood. To save one, Webb may have to let the other go

INEZ KELLEY was born and bred in the mountains of West Virginia. She currently resides there with her lumberjack husband, their teenage drama queen, Spawnetta, and the Demolition Duo – Damien and his twin, the Omen.

Signup for Inez’s newsletter to get sneak peeks and contest entries. You can visit her at her website http://inezkelley.com/  Follow Inez on twitter at @Inez_Kelley or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InezKelleyPage?ref=hl

The Magic of Editing—by A.M. Arthur

facebook twitter

On my last visit to the Carina blog, I yakked a bit about coffee and how I got addicted to it. I’m not going to bore you with a repeat of that experience, but suffice it to say that coffee makes a strong reappearance in Maybe This Time. Ezra Kelley loves himself a good cup of java and is a self-professed coffee snob. Me? I’m good with a can of Folger’s. And don’t worry. This revisit to the world of coffee is actually a gateway into a different topic: the magic of editing.

While initially drafting this book (which was a writing speed-record for me because Ezra and Donner would not shut up), coffee was mentioned a few times in an off-handed way. Ezra drank it because I drink it, so why shouldn’t everyone do it? But as I delved deeper into the story, I realized that Ezra had no direction. He kind of floated through his life with no real goals for his future, and a lot of that is because of his upbringing, as well as a response to a trauma when he was sixteen. But a character who’s stuck in a rut and won’t break free doesn’t make for a very interesting novel, does it? He needed a way out of that rut.

Ezra’s lack of focus is what makes Donner Davis so good for him. Donner has a steady job, a hobby that he loves, and he has family that supports him. He’s the exact opposite of Ezra in those ways, and his steadiness is what kicks Ezra in the butt and makes him want to do something with his life. Thanks to his friendship with Alessandro and Jaime (from No Such Thing), Ezra’s new direction seemed pretty obvious to me: a coffee shop.

At that point in writing, Ezra knew crap about coffee. So I did some Googling of my own, went back to edit a few scenes, and viola! A coffee snob is born. It’s a fun character quirk that gives an aimless man much-needed focus, and a chance at an independent future.

What about you? If you could be an independent business owner, what is your dream business? A restaurant? A kitschy clothing store? A used record album shop?

maybe this time CARINA_0714_9781426898716_MaybeThisTime

Maybe This Time 

As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can’t remember the last time someone was . . . nice. It’s more than he deserves.

Witnessing his lover’s death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern—living in his sister’s basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He’s not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That’s more than he’s ready for.

A passionate night leads to a connection that neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra’s been running from himself so long he doesn’t know how to live any other way. And Donner can’t risk his heart just to lose everything again. They’ll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

About the author

No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child, and scribbling them down nearly as long.  She credits an early fascination with male interpersonal relationships (and “The Young Riders”) with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories.  When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online (http://amarthur.blogspot.com/), on Tumblr (http://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur) and on Twitter (@AM_Arthur).


Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch is Coming!

facebook twitter

The Carina Press editorial team will be holding a pitch event on THE CARINA PRESS BLOG from july 23, 2014- july 27, 2014. 


Good news! Not all of the editors here at Carina Press are attending this year’s RWA Nationals in San Antonio. And those who couldn’t attend are taking your pitches in the Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session hosted right here on the Carina Press blog!

This pitch session will be similar to the very popular #carinapitch we held back in February, but this time all action will take place on the Carina Press blog. Our pitch sessions have been very successful events! Our February pitch event resulted in requests for over 75 manuscripts and resulted in three new contracted authors.

Our ultimate goal is always to find new authors to acquire, not new authors to reject!

Please read on for details of how the event will work.


Beginning July 23, 2014, Carina Press freelance editors will be monitoring the Carina Press blog for book pitches from authors.


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 3 days of the Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session

3) The manuscript pitched cannot be one that has previously received a pass letter from us

4) The manuscript cannot be one that is currently under review with another Harlequin imprint

5) You may pitch more than one project.

How to participate: 

1) Post your pitch as a comment on the “Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session” blog post which is where the editors will be monitoring the pitches. This blog post will go live on July 23, 2014 at 9am Eastern.

Get ready to submit your pitch in the format below. Please be sure that your query and first 100 words/first paragraph adhere to the word counts below.




Manuscript Word Count:

200 maximum word query:

First 100 words or first paragraph of your story:

2) Please do not post pitches for one book in the same blog comment. Enter a separate comment for a new book pitch

3) Please do not post your pitch for the same book more than once

4) Watch for a reply from a Carina Press editor

5) If an editor lets you know that they’d like to see your submission and your manuscript is NOT currently on submission with us:

a) The editor will send a Submittable link to the email address provided in your blog post. Please be sure to use a valid email address for this purpose.

b) 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 chooses not to read it.

c) Send your submission no later than midnight (EST) on July 31, 2014. The Submittable link provided will expire after that, and you will unable to submit.

  • Notes about carina press not-at-nationals pitch session: 

  •  You don’t need to direct your pitch to a specific editor. The editors participating will be monitoring the blog comments 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.
  • Please don’t post your pitch more than once on the blog. This includes not changing your pitch five times and posting it five different ways, please. This allows all authors equal opportunity to be seen. Thank you!
  • An updated list of what different editors are looking for is available 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 generalinquiries@carinapress.com 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 words you write in the story that will get us to acquire the book, not the words you wrote for the pitch, so if you’ve written something we publish, please still submit it to us. Your chances of having the manuscript acquired are just as good as those whose pitches we single out.

*Permission to forward this post, use it on blogs and author forums is permitted.*

Participating editors:

Deb Nemeth @DebNemeth
Alissa Davis @AlissaDenay
Melissa Johnson @MelissJohnson
Tina Burns @TinaBurns


The Best Laid Plans—by Caroline Kimberly

facebook twitter

Writing has always been my passion.  My best childhood memories are of floating on an inner tube in the middle of the lake during the heat of summer—my best friend and collaborator, Jami, floating next to me. We’d giggle and splash and dream up characters and plots, talking incessantly about all the adventures our fictional beings would have.  The possibilities seemed endless.  No idea was too silly or too small, and even the most unconventional storylines were given due consideration.  (Or at least as unconventional as a pair of preteen girls can be.)

For me, creating a character and watching how his or her distinctive personality unfolded was fascinating.  Crazy as it seems, it wasn’t long before I’d set myself aside and let the characters mold the story.  How would the heroine react to this obstacle?  What would the hero do in this situation?  Will they ever find their happy ending?  Letting characters evolve outside of the storyline always had an interesting impact on the plot.  Often, it led to unexpected twists and turns that weren’t originally part of the story.

That is certainly true with the writing I do today. Before sitting down to write, I outline each story and carefully consider each character.  I know how the story starts and I know how it (should) end.  Yet, somewhere, somehow, my characters take on a life of their own.  All my well-laid plans are suddenly in danger as unforeseen problems pop up: The heroine would never get herself in that situation!  Would the hero really do that??  How can I ever get them back on track???

It’s a bit frustrating when my own fictional characters derail me.

an inconvenient kiss CARINA_0714_9781426898709_AnInconvenientKissIt happened in my debut novel, An Inconvenient Kiss, a regency romance set in British India.  The heroine, Georgiana Phillips, is fiercely determined to be independent…so much so that she frequently becomes her own biggest obstacle.  Because Georgiana’s character grew even more feisty and headstrong than I’d originally envisioned, the hero, Simon Ashford, really needed to keep up.  Thankfully, Simon developed a great sense of humor and a healthy dose of grit.  Still, their path to romance wound up being more, well, adventurous than originally planned.

I’ll admit it’s not always an easy way to write. There were ideas and storylines I really wanted to include that just didn’t fit with Georgie and Simon’s personalities—and there were even a few moments when I worried they’d never make it.  In hindsight, however, I think the story is better for letting the characters run a little bit amuck.

And it leaves material for new characters who will undoubtedly run off with my carefully outlined plans and make them their own.

Do you ever have to modify projects because you’ve sabotaged your own ideas? If so, has the outcome been better or worse for it?

About the Author

Caroline Kimberly has spent most of her life making up stories to help offset the daily grind. It wasn’t until she was in graduate school, however, that she realized she wanted to write for a living. Since then, she’s worked as a newspaper reporter and as a copy editor for a children’s book publisher. Historical romance has always been her favorite genre, however, and brainstorming romantic romps makes her life as a soccer mom much more interesting.

She lives in Minnesota with her very patient husband, two busy daughters and three lazy cats.

For more information about Caroline, please visit her website at http://carolinekimberly.com/.

Video Game Culture Meets Erotic Romance—by Jeffe Kennedy

facebook twitter

When Carina asked me to do more stories like my Facets of Passion series, only as full-length erotic romance novels, I knew right away what the first story would be.

I’d long been following the travails of Anita Sarkeesian. For those who aren’t familiar with her story, here’s a concise summary from Wikipedia:

In 2012, Sarkeesian was targeted by an online harassment campaign following her launch of a Kickstarter project to fund the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series. At the same time, supporters donated over $150,000 to the project, far beyond the $6,000 she had sought. The situation was covered extensively in the media, placing Sarkeesian at the center of discussions about misogyny in video game culture and online harassment.

I was one of those Kickstarter supporters, not because I have much investment in the topic itself—I don’t play video games—but because I believe profoundly in a person’s right to research what’s important to them. That’s a basic human right.

going under Carina_0714_9781426898693_GoingUnderMore, I wanted to explore a heroine who’d go through this kind of thing, what kind of courage and resilience that would require. My heroine in Going Under, Emily, is a video game designer who runs afoul of this kind of misogynistic online harassment. Unlike Sarkeesian, however, Emily collapses under the pressure. She’s wicked smart, amazingly creative and has few social skills. Her career and marriage destroyed, she uses her hacking genius to create a new undercover identity and re-emerges as Phoenix, a reclusive and male video game designer.

What’s erotic about this, you may ask?

I figured what a woman like Emily—isolated, wounded, a literal hermit if not a virtual one—needs most to heal is human contact. Profound, hot and wildly sexual human contact. With a guy who is the opposite of the trolls who broke her spirit.

That’s where Fox comes in. He’s an investigative reporter determined to uncover the identity of the enigmatic game designer, Phoenix. He’s undercover, pretending to be a novelist. An ambitious, driven and sexual man, he decides very quickly that his lovely and skittish neighbor Emily is the perfect candidate to absorb his restless energy as he completes the painstaking work of waiting for Phoenix to make a mistake and reveal himself. His relentless curiosity and determined seduction are what can crack Emily’s careful walls.

His glad-hearted, playful and open sexuality is what allows her to heal.

Fox brings to Emily the kind of internal resilience she’d been missing. Of course, without realizing it’s her, he may also be the one to bring her career crashing down once again. That’s what I wanted to find—what it would take for someone to withstand that kind of horrific online harassment.

I’m not sure I could take it. But, wow, I admire women like Anita and Emily.

The official blurb!

Knowing all too well the damage online trolls can inflict, game designer Emily Bartwell takes privacy seriously. Living in solitude and working remotely under a male alias gives her a sense of security. The sexy writer renting the house next door ignites desires she’d forgotten she had, and when he invites her to play games of a very different sort, Em is ready and willing. Even if it means breaking all her own rules to abide by his.

Undercover tech reporter Fox Mullins is so close to the biggest scoop of his career: finding the elusive programmer Phoenix. An increasingly erotic adventure with his reserved but passionate new neighbor is the ideal way to heat up the chilly Pacific Northwest nights as he tracks the brilliant gamer.

At first Fox is happy to help Em explore her newly awakened kinky side, no holds barred, no strings attached. But as they push the limits of intimacy, both physical and emotional, Fox discovers he’s not the only one keeping secrets. And revealing hers may mean betraying the one woman who embodies everything he desires.


Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

IMG_47902-smallHer most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, will hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy