Rambling into my Local Diner

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By Brenda Buchanan, author of COVER STORY

If you were to visit Portland, Maine and ask for directions to the Riverside Rambler—where Joe Gale gets most of his nutritional and emotional needs met—you’d get blank looks. Both the town of Riverside and its breakfast and lunch joint are make-believe, though diners like the Rambler still exist across New England, serving up home-cooked meals seasoned with plenty of local flavor.

The Rambler plays a central role in every Joe Gale mystery because its owner—Christie Pappas—is Joe’s confidante and (so far) unrequited love. In Cover Story, Joe travels Downeast to cover a high-profile murder trial, but he calls Christie at her diner every morning to stay on top of the local gossip.

In my imagination, Riverside’s morning hub is one of the classics made by the Worcester Lunch Car and Carriage Manufacturing Company. Marble counter. Wooden booths. Stainless steel surfaces. Countertop jukeboxes stocked with classic tunes.

The Miss Portland is the Worcester Car diner nearest my Maine home, and it has all of that, not to mention corned beef hash to die for. But I found my inspiration for the owner of the Riverside Rambler at the Blue Moon in Gardner, Massachusetts, near where my mother lives.

I first visited the Blue Moon when I was conceiving the characters who populate my series. It was a snowy Saturday. I sat at the diner’s counter, ruminating in particular about how to bring Christie to life, when the answer appeared before me in the person of Jamie.

The Blue Moon’s charming and energetic owner has an impressive cooking-while-bantering-with-customers-and-singing-along-with-the-jukebox technique. Watching her moves, I realized my diner-owning character Christie Pappas would have the same sassy competence, and that she’d use the Rambler’s open kitchen as a stage for her warm, entertaining personality.

The real-life Jamie does all of that. Thanks to her example, so does Christie.

Because it’s not enough to be a good cook. To run a successful New England diner—the kind of place townspeople build into their daily routine—one must excel at simultaneously flipping pancakes, poaching eggs, recapping the previous night’s Red Sox game and singing along with Nancy Sinatra to These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.

The real-life Jamie does all of that. Thanks to her example, so does Christie.

Here’s a video of that kicky song, which we enjoy on every visit to The Blue Moon. In my mind it’s also a featured number on the Rambler’s jukebox, where Christie (of course) slays it.

Is there a diner or similar place in your town where the morning gossip is as hot as the coffee? Does it feature a jukebox other soundtrack to get you grooving into your day?

COVER STORY by Brenda Buchanan

Maine newspaper reporter Joe Gale is at his best when covering the crime beat for the Portland Daily Chronicle. In the dead of winter he heads Downeast to cover the murder trial of fisherman Danny Boothby, charged with burying a filleting knife in the chest of politically well-connected social worker Frank O’Rourke.

O’Rourke held a thankless job in a hard place. Many locals found him arrogant, but say he didn’t deserve to die. Others whisper that O’Rourke got himself killed through his own rogue behavior.

After Joe’s hard-nosed reporting provokes someone to run him off an isolated road, he realizes his life depends on figuring out not only who committed the murder, but who’s stalking him—O’Rourke’s prominent brother, friends or enemies of the dead social worker or members of Boothby’s family. As he digs deeper, Joe uncovers enough secrets and lies to fill a cemetery. He’ll have to solve this one fast…or his next headline may be his own obituary.


Brenda Buchanan is the author of the Joe Gale Mystery Series. The just-released second book in the series, Cover Story, features a contemporary newspaper reporter who finds himself the focus of a campaign of intimidation while covering a high-profile murder trial in a Downeast fishing community. A former newspaper reporter herself, Brenda lives and practices law in Southern Maine.

Spotlight on Paranormal Romance

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Looking for an exciting twist on your favorite genre? Add a magical touch to your ereader with these brand new paranormal romances!

New Paranormal Romances

Taming Her Wolf by Dee Carney

25771284For disgraced physician Kim Sharpe, Fire Creek was supposed to be a sanctuary, a place to hide from media scrutiny and the public eye. But when a group of wolf shifters break into her clinic and demand she save the life of a packmate, her serene world unravels. And when the wolf dies despite Kim’s efforts, she’s dragged into a hunt she can’t control, led by a man she desperately wants to understand.

All shifters live with their beasts, but Chris “Brick” Preston’s is dangerously close to the surface. And it wants Kim. Sex keeps the beast sated for now, but unless Kim can help him find a more permanent solution, Brick risks becoming a feral, banished—or put down—by his pack.

With each incredibly intense encounter, Brick and Kim grow closer. But time is not on their side. When Kim is faced with betraying the pack in order to save Brick’s life, the consequences may be more than they can survive.

Shadow of Flame by Caitlyn McFarland

25679123It’s been two months since Kai Monahan’s life changed forever. Retrieved from a suddenly unsafe Colorado by Rhys and taken to Eryri, the dragons’ home in the South Pacific, she lives a secret existence. Rhys—for all his awe-inspiring power—is afraid to reveal to his people that he’s heartsworn to a human. One he’s quite possibly in love with.

Kai hasn’t forgotten the terror or pain of the moment Rhys first took control of her mind and her magic, but neither has she forgotten the fire of his kiss. When she’s discovered, dragon politics—not to mention spies and ex-lovers—threaten her growing feelings. Rhys has more enemies than he can guess, and someone close to him is playing right into their hands.

The war Rhys never wanted is coming. For either of them to survive, Kai must open her mind to him as never before. This time, there will be no turning back.

More Paranormal Romances…

“A truly amazing story!”–Goodreads review, An Immortal Descent

“This was a great escape read for me.” –Goodreads review, The Second Lie

“I love when a book catches me right from the start and pulls me fully into the story. This book was intense and emotional.” –Goodreads review, Dreams of a Wild Heart

Spotlight on Jill Sorenson

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Are you an aspiring author who needs a bit of a boost? Jill Sorenson is here to help you get through your latest project! Keep reading for her advice and her new release, Shooting Dirty.

When the Going Gets Tough

Hello all! Just a short post today about sticking with it.

The publishing business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s totally normal to feel like giving up when things aren’t going well. Maybe the day job/kids/family stuff is interfering with your writing goals. Maybe you have plenty of time to write but the project has turned into a slog. Maybe you got some bad reviews, or hardly any reviews, when you really needed a bunch of good ones.

I hear ya. I’ve been serious about my writing since 2005 and I got my first publishing offer in 2007. You name a setback, I’ve had it. But I’m still here, finishing books and pushing through. I just started my 20th project, in fact.

Here are some tips for longevity and inner peace. Ohm.

  1. Be present: focus on your current project and daily progress.
  2. Be flexible: you can follow your heart and the market.
  3. Be healthy: get outside for some sunshine and exercise.
  4. Be positive: you are a good writer and people like you! Really!
  5. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your accomplishments.




About Shooting Dirty

0915_9781459290563_SHOOTING_DIRTY_WebShe’s his only salvation

Ace Clemmons has wanted Janelle from the moment he first saw her. Taking her captive while he carried out his last hit as a member of Dirty Eleven nearly broke him. Now that he’s gone straight, he’s back in her life, looking to stake his claim. He can’t erase the past but he’ll do anything to make it up to her.

Janelle Parker needs a new start, far away from the trailer park and the strip club. A down and dirty affair with a tattooed criminal is a step in the wrong direction, but she can’t resist Ace’s deliciously commanding touch, which has haunted her dreams for months. Soon they’re both in too deep, falling hard and fast—until an old feud with a rival motorcycle club explodes into an all-out war. Dirty Eleven’s enemies won’t hesitate to hurt Janelle to get to Ace. She has to fight to survive…and for the fiercest love she’s ever known.

Book two of the Dirty Eleven MC series

Trading House

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By A.M. Arthur, author of TAKING A CHANCE

Interior design is something I’ve been interested in forever, long before I began a decade-plus job at a retail home goods store. A lot of that interest came from television shows on what were, at the time, lesser known cable channels like Discovery and HGTV. I know, right? Remember when these channels were new? The obsession with design first came about during the heyday of “Trading Spaces.”

You know “Trading Spaces.” The show were neighbors redesigned a room in each other’s house, with the help of a designer and carpenter. This is the show that gave us Ty Pennington, people! I loved it for its quirky designers, and yes, even for the occasional meltdown when a homeowner hated the new room.


This show, along with Shrek, was the pop culture of my college experience.

Then came “Clean House,” the pre-“Hoarders” hoarding show with a bubbly host and humorously embarrassed homeowners who emptied their crap, had a yard sale, and got a nice little redesign. I lived for the before-and-after shots.

So when it came time to learn more about Augustus Rhinehart, the man Elliott Quinn falls for in “Taking A Chance” (Restoration #3), I didn’t want another bartender or cook. So I did a one-eighty and went for a design show host/carpenter. Augustus has had a long, successful career as a carpenter collaborating with interior designers—first his wife, and then when finally steps out of the closet, with his current partner Steve. And that partnership is what lands Augustus on Elliott’s doorstep and puts him on a collision course with the very last person on earth that he should fall in love with.

What are some of your favorite home renovation shows? Anyone else watch “Property Brothers” simply for the eye candy?


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) on Twitter (@AM_Arthur), and on Facebook (http://facebook.com/A.M.Arthur.M.A).




{57235B2E-7447-44BF-84E5-D12896E70578}Img100The last time Elliott fell in love, his fiancé cheated on him. Now fresh out of rehab, Elliott’s confidence lags behind his libido…not that that stops him from lusting after the sexy carpenter working on his kitchen—from a distance. He won’t risk his sobriety on another potential broken heart.


As half of an experienced home renovation duo, Augustus expects this job will be easy. Until he sees the house’s tenant, a man he never thought he’d meet—his ex’s other man. Augustus knows he should say something about their secret, shared past, but he’s tongue-tied by their intense, unwanted attraction.


Despite attempts to keep things professional, the two men can’t help but give in to temptation and forge a genuine connection,–and his developing feelings for Elliott leave Augustus in an impossible.. If he stays, his secret will always hang over the relationship. But telling the truth might send Elliott spiraling to a new rock bottom and cost Augustus the only man he’s ever really loved.


TAKING A CHANCE is available now at CarinaPress.com and your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

What Carina Press Editors are Looking for: Fall 2015

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Fall seemed like the perfect time to re-evaluate our Carina Press MSWLs and update this post! A full breakdown of what each individual CP editor is looking for right now is down below, but I also wanted to take a moment to highlight the areas we’re especially interested in as we build our 2016/2017 publishing schedule:

1.  Super Sexy Contemporary: Not-quite erotic but still off-the-charts crazy hot and full of dirty talk, sexual tension, and unique h/h pairings. Think Time Served by Julianna Keyes.

2.  Erotic Romance: BDSM welcome but not required. We are very hungry to build a brand-new erotic series at Carina, in the vein of Lynda Aicher’s Wicked Play books. 70,000 words and up, please!

3.  Male/Male: While we’re always looking for contemporaries, we’d also love to see different genres with a m/m romance at the center. Romantic suspense, sci-fi, and mysteries are all fair game (like Josh Lanyon’s Fair Game). New Adult m/m is a particular area of interest for us. Please see A.M Arthur’s Belonging series and j. leigh bailey’s Reckless Hope.

4. Romantic Suspense: Real danger, high stakes, and/or total alphas, please. Lisa Marie Rice’s Midnight Fire is character-driven RomSusp at its very best; Library Journal compared Edie Harris’s Blamed to “a James Bond movie.”

5.  Paranormal Romance: We’re on the hunt for a paranormal series that features alpha heroes, perhaps a band of brotherhood type warrior society or great clan/shifter politics. The series should be sexy, with great worldbuilding, and larger than life characters. Shifters, dragons, demons, vampires are all okay. What we are not looking for at this time is ghosts, psychics, angels, mythology, or ancient-setting paranormal. For examples, think Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, Jennifer Ashley’s Shifters Unbound or D.B. Reynolds’s Vampires in America.

As always, just because something is not listed above does not mean we aren’t acquiring it. If we publish it, we’re looking for it—and if you’ve written something that fits within our submission guidelines, we want to see it!

Angela James, Editorial Director:

This fall and winter, I’m looking for submissions to push my limits, give me an incredible romance to fall into, deliver a good alpha hero with lots of possessive qualities, and a heroine who isn’t timid, a pushover or afraid to go after what she wants. And I’m looking for it all from authors who want to write more than one book for me, will deliver on deadline and want to work with an editor who will take them to the next level (that’s me ;) or any of the other amazing and awesome Carina editors, of course!)

Here’s a look at some of what I’ve recently tweeted that I’m still in search of:

Otherwise, some of my wish list remains much the same.

• I’m still looking for that one cracktastic project to really pull me in.

• I long for a super, super sexy (but not necessarily erotic) contemporary romance with sexually charged dialogue, sexual tension build-up and a dirty-talking hero.

• I still love motorcycle club romance, and haven’t gotten to work on a contemporary-set project yet, so you’d be my favorite if you hit my dirty, rough, law-breaking notes there!

Mostly, I would really love to see projects that push the boundaries, make me squirm a little in discomfort, but still deliver a satisfying romance with a happily ever after and a great sexiness. All alpha heroes welcome, including those who are kind of jerks to start off with, but spunky heroines who aren’t doormats are an absolute must!

Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor: I’ve been doing a lot of walking over on the darker side lately, across genres. I plan on staying here a while longer—it’s fun ;). Please send me your:

• Dark, steamy romances with aspects of psychological manipulation or suspense

• Tales of sexual obsession

• Stories where the hero or heroine must compromise his/her morals in order to get that HEA…romances that involve real personal sacrifice

• Mysteries that could be classified as romantic thrillers

• Larger-than-life romance heroes: wicked billionaires, insatiable CEOs, misbehaving royalty (and so on and so forth) On the sunnier side of the street, I’ve been asking for a series reminiscent of Army Wives for years now and would love for this to be the year my call is answered. I can’t wait to see couples falling in love on the homefront and abroad, and especially combinations of both. Hero, heroine or both must be active-duty military.

Freelance editors actively acquiring:

Rhonda Helms: Here are some types of submissions I’m always eager for:

• Romance in any steaminess level from sweet to spicy, though I love super-hot stuff… ;-)

• Laugh-out-loud romantic comedies

• Contemporary, historical or sci-fi/fantasy/futuristic erotic romance

• Genre blends with fresh, unique voices

• Diverse submissions

• Mysteries, especially cozy (series please! romance not required, but a romantic subplot is great) And now, a few specific submissions I’ve been craving:

• LGBTQ romantic comedy

• An historical erotic romance novel featuring PoC

• A sexy romance featuring heroes or heroines who work with their hands, like carpenters or skilled tradesmen/tradeswomen (series are great!)

• First-responders romances featuring firefighters, police officers, EMTs, etc. (series are great!)

• Military erotic romances (series are great!)

• A dark, atmospheric, sexy gothic romance–contemporary or historical

• Edgy, envelope-pushing erotic romance, any genre

Deborah Nemeth: I’m looking for stories with high-stakes conflict and flawed, passionate characters who are super-motivated to achieve their goals. In my favorite books, the protagonists have to suffer before saving the day, figuring out whodunit, or getting their happy-ever-after.

Right now I’m eager to acquire more romance and mystery manuscripts, and I’m especially drawn to whip-smart characters and snappy dialogue. I’m actively seeking amateur-sleuth cozy mysteries with a strong hook, such as an unusual profession, hobby or setting. Think roadie, cartographer, cirque acrobat, wilderness tour guide, geocaching… In procedurals and PIs I like to see strong characters on which to base a series.

I like my romances sexy to erotic with alpha heroes who fall hard and are prepared to go to any lengths to win their love. Romance tropes I enjoy include marriage/engagement of convenience, enemies to friends, reunion romances, forbidden romances, and secret baby.

I love stories featuring cons and schemes and secret agendas and fake engagements. I have a special fondness for antiheroes, geeks, soldiers, cops, athletes, cowboys, scientists, blue-collar workers and spies. Included in my romance wishlist:

• Adrenaline-fueled romantic suspense—military, revenge, espionage, terrorists, serial killers, stalkers, conspiracies and cover-ups. I particularly enjoy RS that contain elements of action/adventure in rugged landscapes such as mountains, ocean, jungle, glaciers, desert…

• Edgy contemporary romance in urban settings with emotional intensity and off-the-charts sexual tension

• GLBT, especially m/m romantic suspense and contemporary romance. I’d love to acquire military-themed m/m, such as boot-camp-set NA, or a Tops Guns-type series featuring fighter pilots. I’m also looking for m/m with an extreme sports theme, a Southern hero, a May/December romance, a rock ’n roll theme, m/m erotic romance…

• For SFF and paranormal, I’m looking for sexy to erotic SF, PNR and UF romance with plenty of action/adventure, a band-of-brothers feel, and series potential.

• Manuscripts with diverse characters, including interracial romance, a Bollywood-themed romance or mystery, and a Veronica-Mars-type series featuring a heroine of color.

Alissa Davis: • Inter-office romance, where coworkers are faking it at the office and heating it up at home

• Erotic romance with strong dialogue and scorching sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty

• M/m in any subgenre and heat level, but especially stories with high emotional stakes and romance that will make me cry. I’d especially love college or NA roommates, coworkers, or teammates.

• Sexy contemporary romance (not small town, please) with memorable characters and an edgy voice • Marriage of convenience romance, either contemporary or paranormal

• Paranormal romance, particularly werewolves or other shifters

• Sports romance, particularly soccer, football, hockey and baseball. I can’t catch a ball to save my life, but I love editing and reading these books

• Geeky or shy heroes and heroines. The more awkward they are, the more I love them

• Military romance, m/m or m/f. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.

• Political romance with intrigue, betrayal, and quickies on the campaign trail

• Dark, dominant heroes who can coax a reserved heroine to broaden her horizons

• I’d love to see a teacher and student scenario where one of the adult characters is in the other one’s adult dance class, cooking class, film, etc.

• Any combo of the above. New Adult military LGBTQ romance, anyone?

Libby Murphy: • Steamy, laugh-out-loud funny contemporary romance with whip-smart banter, sexually charged situations, and characters with quirk. I’d especially love to see enemies-to-lovers, opposites-attract, marriage of convenience, and forced proximity romances with high concept plots and strong hooks.

• Athletic heroes (and heroines!). Prefer baseball, football, hockey, soccer, rugby, and swimming.

• Fun, smart, adventurous capers featuring rogue-ish heroes and/or heroines, along the lines of White Collar. Series potential is a must!

• Alpha first responder/military/black-ops heroes who have a secret geeky side. Give me an otherwise total badass who goes nuts over code, gadgets, or other geekery, especially if he uses gruffness as a way to cover up a bit of inner awkwardness. On the other hand, I’d really love to see an Olicity-type relationship, too!

• Teacher and student romance, whether it’s at a university, an ongoing class, or a quid pro quo arrangement.

• M/M marriage of convenience romantic comedy—can be sexy, but a sweeter romance is great, too!

• Edgy futuristic, paranormal romance, and science-fiction romances with high concept plots, cinematic writing, and lots of bite. Erotic heat levels preferred, and series potential is a must.

• Cowboys! Whether it’s a contemporary or a steampunk western, I want to see them.

• High-octane romantic suspense. Push the envelope, give it an edge, and send it my way!

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Spotlight on Dee Carney

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Looking for a new paranormal story to sink your teeth into? Check out Taming Her Wolf by Dee Carney, and you won’t want to miss her advice on how to be yourself and march to your own drum below.

Marching to a different beat by Dee Carney

25771284When I was in my early teens, my friend’s mom made a comment to my mother about my clothes. “Huh. I didn’t know mixing patterns, plaids and polka dots, was a thing.” I beamed with pride at my savvy fashion choices, not realizing her comment had been a polite way of saying, What on Earth is she wearing? While the other girls were rocking out Keds, I knew I was the bomb in my high top LA Gears. Banana clips forever!

It’s many (many) moons later and not much has changed about me. Everyone’s enjoying edamame and quinoa; I’m perfecting an extraordinary hummingbird cake. While people are oohing over Labradoodles, I’m falling in love with the perfect pound puppy. There’s something incredibly satisfying about doing things your own way, not for the purpose of being different, but because it’s what brings you joy. There’s a time for being one of the crowd, but many more times for being a creative warrior. Who knows…maybe one day I’ll set a new trend because of it. Plaids and polka dots, anyone?

About Taming Her Wolf:

For disgraced physician Kim Sharpe, Fire Creek was supposed to be a sanctuary, a place to hide from media scrutiny and the public eye. But when a group of wolf shifters break into her clinic and demand she save the life of a packmate, her serene world unravels. And when the wolf dies despite Kim’s efforts, she’s dragged into a hunt she can’t control, led by a man she desperately wants to understand.

All shifters live with their beasts, but Chris “Brick” Preston’s is dangerously close to the surface. And it wants Kim. Sex keeps the beast sated for now, but unless Kim can help him find a more permanent solution, Brick risks becoming a feral, banished—or put down—by his pack.

With each incredibly intense encounter, Brick and Kim grow closer. But time is not on their side. When Kim is faced with betraying the pack in order to save Brick’s life, the consequences may be more than they can survive.

Spotlight on Contemporary Romance

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You won’t want to tear your eyes away from your eReader with these great contemporary reads! Keep reading for three exciting recommendations, plus find out why our readers love Contemporary Romance!

Heat Exchange by Shannon Stacey

24692826Lydia Kincaid’s shipping back to Boston, but she’s not happy about it. She left to get away from the firefighting community—her father was a firefighter, her brother’s a firefighter and, more important, her ex is a firefighter. But family is number one, and her father needs her help running the pub he bought when he retired. Soon, Lydia finds it hard to resist the familiar comfort and routine, and even harder to resist her brother’s handsome friend Aidan.

Aidan Hunt is a firefighter because of the Kincaid family. He’s had the hots for Lydia for years, but if ever a woman was off-limits to him, it’s her. Aside from being his mentor’s daughter, she’s his best friend’s sister. The ex-wife of a fellow firefighter. But his plan to play it cool until she leaves town again fails, and soon he and Lydia have crossed a line they can’t uncross.

As Aidan and Lydia’s flirtation turns into something more serious, Lydia knows she should be planning her escape. Being a firefighter’s wife was the hardest thing she’s ever done, and she doesn’t know if she has the strength to do it again. Aidan can’t imagine walking away from Boston Fire—even for Lydia. The job and the brotherhood are his life; but if he wants Lydia in it, he’ll have to decide who’s first in his heart.

In Her Defense by Julianna Keyes

25680671Caitlin Dufresne has never loved anyone as much as she loves winning. A ruthless fifth-year associate at an elite Chicago law firm, she’s on the fast track to partner…until a stupid, serious error enrages her bosses. Caitlin’s continued refusal to share work—or credit—lands her a forced two-week vacation. She needs to regroup and learn to be part of a team, not just the star.

When she meets Eli Grant, head of the firm’s IT department, Caitlin knows the overgrown frat boy isn’t her type. But too much alcohol and a very public game of Truth or Dare turn into a dirty, breathless one-night stand. Which turns into a (mostly naked) two-week fling. Which turns into something that makes Caitlin incredibly nervous, despite the great sex.

Eli shows her the many upsides to sleeping in, and for the first time ever, Caitlin has more than the law waiting for her at home. But when she returns to the office and the relentless demands of a high-profile case, Caitlin must decide if winning this one is worth losing Eli forever.

Taking A Chance by A.M. Arthur

{57235B2E-7447-44BF-84E5-D12896E70578}Img100The last time Elliott fell in love, his fiancé cheated on him. Now fresh out of rehab, Elliott’s confidence lags behind his libidoénot that that stops him from lusting after the sexy carpenter working on his kitchen–from a distance. He won’t risk his sobriety on another potential broken heart.

As half of an experienced home renovation duo, Augustus expects this job will be easy. Until he sees the house’s tenant, a man he never thought he’d meet–his ex’s other man. Augustus knows he should say something about their secret, shared past, but he’s tongue-tied by their intense, unwanted attraction.

Despite attempts to keep things professional, the two men give in to temptation and forge a genuine connection–and his developing feelings for Elliott leave Augustus in an impossible situation. If he stays, his secret will always hang over the relationship. But telling the truth might send Elliott spiraling to a new rock bottom and cost Augustus the only man he’s ever really loved.


Why readers love Contemporary Romance…

“I highly recommend the Distric Ballet Company books 1000%.” –Goodreads review, Finding Center

“I strongly encourage anyone to take a chance with her books!” –Goodreads review, Penalty Play

“Oooh, this is a good one y’all!” –Amazon review, Jayhawk Down

Announcing Carina Press Virtual Critique Groups!

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We’re taking our popular critique group workshop online!
Enter now to win a spot in one of two virtual groups being held in October

These workshops are an opportunity for authors to solicit professional and peer feedback on their manuscript, in real time, in a helpful, constructive and kind environment. We’ll discuss overall story arcs, the all-important “hook,” pacing, characterization and tension (among many others). Attendees are e-mailed marked-up manuscript pages following the group discussion.

WIN the opportunity to join either Carina Press Editorial Director Angela James or Senior Editor Kerri Buckley and a small group of your fellow authors, and get feedback on your work-in-progress.

Virtual critique groups will be held via TeamViewer on Friday, October 16th, 2015 from 1-2pm EDT and Friday, October 23rd, 2015 from 1-2pm EDT.

Each author will be allotted 20 minutes in which they will receive feedback from Angela/Kerri and the other author participants. Participants are asked and expected to read and comment on all chapters prior to the event and not just attend to receive comments on their own work. All critiques will be expected to be helpful, constructive, and framed kindly. These types of groups are most successful with a variety of feedback and discussion!

Participants are encouraged to use Track Changes to comment directly on manuscript pages before the group meets, so they can be emailed to the Editors for distribution after the critique session.

To enter: 

  • We will select winners via random selection from qualifying entries on October 1, 2015. Winners will be notified by email.
  • Click here for Official Rules.


  • Manuscripts submitted for critique must be unpublished and uncontracted work (we do not want to step on another editor’s editing process!) but authors who want to participate may be at any stage of their writing career.
  • Manuscripts for the critique groups must fall within these adult fiction genres:
    • Romance (all genres/subgenres & heat levels)
    • New adult (all subgenres)
  • As we do not publish young adult or younger, we are unable to offer feedback on these genres/manuscripts in these critique groups.

If Selected:

Winners must confirm their attendance and upload the following (via link provided in notification email) by October 5, 2015:

  • 2 chapters
  • A longer synopsis (maximum 1 page, single-spaced with 12-point font), if desired
  • Please remove all identifying name/address/phone number information from your pages.
  • Chapters will be forwarded to all critique group participants for blind commentary prior to arrival at the critique group.


Additional Information: 

Those entering must be able to attend the virtual critique group via TeamViewer on the date and time selected at time of entry. No date/time substitutions will be offered and feedback will not be given at any other time. Participants must be aware that their chapters will be shared with the other group participants in order to provide commentary and critique. Winning authors may not transfer their place in the group to another author. In the event that someone cannot attend, a new participant will be selected. All authors must confirm their attendance no later than October 5, 2015. If attendance is not confirmed by that time, a new participant will be chosen.

Entries and/or submissions are not considered to be submissions to either Carina Press or Harlequin and all non-winning entries will be deleted.

Note: Authors should consider this an opportunity to solicit professional and peer feedback on their manuscript, not as an opportunity to pitch their project to each editor.  Authors who participate in these sessions are welcome to submit to Carina/Harlequin following official submission guidelines, but chapters for this session will be used only for the purpose of critique and will not be considered submitted for potential publication.

Please email editor@carinapress.com with questions.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Purchase or acceptance of a product offer does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes opens 9/4/2015 at 12:01 AM (EDT) and closes 9/30/2015 at 11:59 PM (EDT). Enter online at http://carinapress.submittable.com/submit/46827 (the “Promotion Website”). Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence or older. Void where prohibited by law. Void in Quebec. Ten (10) prizes available to be won consisting of a spot at one (1) of two (2) virtual critique group workshops being held online on October 16, 2015 and October 23, 2015 respectively. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Full details and Official Rules available online at Promotion Website. Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.

From the Editor’s Desk: Working with an Editor on a Series

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Here at Carina, we’re always looking for new authors to sign, publish and build. But we recognize that putting your manuscript out on submission can be an intimidating process. We’re here to demystify the submissions process by giving you some insight into what a Carina Press editor looks for when she opens up a submission for review.

Today’s post comes from Alissa Davis. Alissa edits multiple successful series with Carina Press, and she’s here today to chat with one of her authors about what it’s like to work with an editor on a series.

Working with a new author is always exciting. That initial exchange of calls or emails can feel like the prelude to a first date, and it’s exciting to find common ground with a new author, whether it’s because we’re both fans of Doctor Who or because we’re in perfect agreement on how to fix that pacing problem in the third chapter.

That said, there’s nothing I love more than getting the opportunity to build a great relationship with an author over the course of editing a series. Today I’m chatting with Julie Moffett, whose Lexi Carmichael series was one of my first Carina Press acquisitions. When I acquired Julie’s first book with Carina, my little girl was four months old. Now she’s almost six and is starting kindergarten! In the meantime, Julie and I have worked on eight books together and developed a fabulous author/editor relationship. Many authors wonder what it’s like to work with an editor, so I’ve asked Julie to share some of her thoughts about our work and her process.

ALISSA: You were already a published author when we started working together. Did you have any expectations or concerns when we started edits on the first book?

 JULIE: I really didn’t have any expectations or concerns at the start. I knew you liked the books and the characters (a lot!), based on how quickly you acquired it, so I felt comfortable with the idea that we could work out any needed edits together. You were actually like my fourth or fifth editor at that point, so I’d been around the block and back. Nothing scared me by then. Ha! Luckily, we were very compatible.

ALISSA: It’s true! No One Lives Twice, the first Lexi Carmichael book, was one of my most rapid acquisitions. Angela James sent me the submission in the morning and I had my acquisition report to her just a few hours later, begging her to get me this book. I loved Lexi’s goofiness from the start.

What aspects of editing have gotten easier the longer we’ve worked together? Harder?

 JULIE: A lot has gotten easier. First, I trust you implicitly. We’ve been together since the inception of Lexi and the gang. You know her and the supporting characters almost as well as I do. Sometimes better! It’s scary. :)  So, when you say something isn’t working, I don’t even think twice. I trust your gut. It gets a re-write.

Also, I think that after eight books together, you don’t have to explain in as much detail what you want me to do. I get you and you get me. It’s pretty simple and totally wonderful! That’s not to say there aren’t times when you need to boink me over the head about something—there are. However, usually one comment will suffice to help me get things back on track. I think we both have a quiet confidence in our ability to get the book pulled together exactly right.

Now, I’m going to clarify and say none of this applies to the start of the book. I think I’ve had to totally rewrite the intro to each book in the series at least once. It’s just a killer for me each time. Hahaha! But after I rewrite the start based on your suggestions or comments, I always like it ten times better—so you are spot on. I appreciate the pushback and the fact that you won’t let me sneak by when you know I can do better. Ha!

ALISSA: Edits have varied from book to book. Some were off my desk and back to you in a day, and others took longer. The benefit of having worked with you for almost six years is that if one of your books does end up needing a heavier edit, I never have concerns that you won’t be able to do what’s needed or that you’ll be too timid to ask me for additional time or guidance if you need it. We’ve built a lot of trust.

JULIE: Absolutely true! Interestingly enough, some books require more attention to the plot and others need more focus on the character arcs. Sometimes things are working and sometimes they aren’t. In my particular case that typically happens when the characters do things I didn’t expect or the story shifts in a way that is logical when I’m writing, but that I didn’t see coming in advance. Flexibility is key and taking a step back to decide what’s working and what isn’t. Occasionally things like copyright infringement (No, Julie, you can’t use Star Trek quotes, even as a cultural reference) can cause a major rewrite. :)

ALISSA: Oh man, I felt SO BAD about the Star Trek thing. You ended up having to invent a TV show for that character to quote, and it was a ton of work, because most of his dialogue involved him quoting that show. [ed. note: at Carina we work closely with authors and our Legal team to explore all options re: permissions; in some cases, like this one, editing/revising is the best solution.]

Do you have a specific routine for attacking edits?

JULIE: I have no routine when editing, probably because I squeeze in edits when I can. Luckily I work from home, and my day job is writing as well. I usually tackle one writing assignment at a time so I don’t get things mixed up in my head. When it’s time to edit a book, I turn my full focus on it. But it’s hard to predict when I’ll find time for edits, so there’s no special routine. Depending on the day job, that time may come in the wee hours of the night or morning. I wish I could give a glamorous answer and say I pour myself a glass of wine, listen to a relaxing soundtrack and wear a special nightie while feeling the breeze off the ocean from my open balcony, but that’s all fantasy. The reality is I’m wearing no makeup and have on yoga pants and a sweatshirt, my hair is in a ponytail, I’m eating a power bar because I missed lunch, and (in the summer) my soundtrack is “Mom, he touched my stuff,” followed by “That’s because he breathed on my arm,” ending up with “Help! I think there’s a bee in my shorts. MOM!”  :)

ALISSA: I can see how a bee in the shorts would definitely require parental intervention!

This seems like the perfect time to show you a picture of my favorite editing shirt, which I like to wear when I’m staying up late to work on edits. My coworker at Dorchester gave it to me, and it is from the Gap and has drawings of different dog breeds on it. It is the softest thing I own. It’s also the most disreputable thing I own, and even my five-year-old shakes her head when she sees me wearing it. See? No need to feel bad about your sweatpants.

Alissa Edit Shirt

 Any advice for authors on building a good working relationship with an editor?

Absolutely. I have a few cardinal rules:


  • Be Professional. That doesn’t mean your relationship can’t blossom into a friendship, because when two people work really well together, that’s often what happens. But you both have a job to do and you are required to do it together. Manners and positive interaction are always key. I always think humor helps a lot, too, especially in those critical days before a deadline.
  • Communicate. I know several authors who live in terror of their editor. That’s not the way it should work. You are a team working together to whip a manuscript into the next bestseller. Believe that for each and every If you have questions about your editor’s comments, ask. If you don’t agree, say so. Miscommunication or no communication is counterproductive and serves no one. Don’t be timid, but don’t be overbearing either. Go back to tip #1 and be professional. This is a business pairing and like any relationship, you need to communicate for it to work properly. The book is your product, so treat it as such.
  • Do Your Best Work Every Time. It’s not your editor’s job to write the book. That’s yours. Send in your finest, polished effort each time.
  • Learn From Your Editor. Writers should be constantly learning and working on their craft. Your editor can help with that. Stay open to suggestions and challenges. I almost never start edits right away, especially developmental edits. I carefully read everything my editor says and then I think about it, usually for a day or so. I cannot stress the importance of perspective and reflection during edits. Don’t be hasty or defensive. Make it a rule to take at least one full day to reflect.
  • Thank Your Editor. Remember that behind every successful book is a fantastic editor. If you find a good one, make sure they know it! J

Awesome tips, Julie. During my edit of your latest book, No Room for Error, I got to a scene where Lexi makes an extremely embarrassing mistake involving a pair of scissors and another character’s pants. My husband came down the stairs and saw me bent over my laptop, fighting off a case of the giggles. He watched me for a minute, then said, “I see Julie’s book is in.” :)

 When I’m working with a new author I always hope she’ll be happy with her book and we’ll be able to develop the type of easy relationship that makes the editorial process pleasant for everyone involved. And if that relationship evolves to include commentary about Doctor Who, sharing pictures of our sexy new shoes on Twitter, or swapping stories about our most recent recipe failures, so much the better!

 Thank you for reading—if this post piqued your interest in Julie’s Lexi Carmichael series, you can find the first book, No One Lives Twice, here. And the next book in the series will be out on December 7, 2015!

No Room For Error promo.

We hope this post has you excited to submit your manuscript to Carina Press! Here are some quick references to help you through the submissions process:

  • We’re always open to submissions!
  • We respond to all submissions within 12 weeks.
  • Have a question and can’t find the answer on our guidelines page? Email us at Submissions@CarinaPress.com and we’re happy to help.
  • Looking to target your submission to a specific editor? Find out more about editor submission calls here.
We are currently acquiring We do not publish/no longer accept submissions in
All subgenres and heat levels of romance (excluding inspirational romance) Non-fiction of any form, including memoirs, biographies, poetry
New Adult Women’s Fiction
Historical romance Horror
Mystery and Crime (all sub genres) Thrillers
Action Adventure Literary Fiction
Science Fiction (and sub genres) Faith-based/inspirational fiction or romance
Fantasy (and sub genres) General historical fiction (any historical fiction that does not contain mystery, fantasy, alternate history or romance as primary focus)
Interactive Adventures Young Adult


Looking for more information on our submissions process? We’ll have more posts coming in this series, and in the meantime, you can read about our acquisitions process here, and find out more about what an editor does here.

Ready to submit? Click here to start your publishing journey with Carina Press!

The Best of Opposites Attract Love Stories

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By j. leigh bailey, author of RECKLESS HOPE

There’s something incredibly exciting about an opposites attract love story. Whether it’s the build-up of sexual tension through witty banter, or the balance each partner brings to the other, I absolutely love watching two seemingly different people come together. Especially when they have to overcome themselves to reach their happy ever after ending.
To celebrate the release of my new opposites attract story RECKLESS HOPE (Letting Go, book 2), I’m sharing five of my all-time favorite opposites attract themed movies.

1. An uptight businessman meets good-hearted prostitute.

Pretty Woman

2. Naval officer meets free-spirited governess.

The Sound of Music

3. A spirited young lady meets proud aristocrat.

Pride and Prejudice

4. An ambitious TV personality meets stoned slacker.

Knocked Up

5. Poor girl meets rich (but sensitive) playboy.

Pretty in Pink

Now, I know there are A LOT of great opposites attract movies out there. I want to know—which are your favorites?


9781459290068-COVWhat’s life without a little risk?

Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.

Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.

Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.

A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.

Available now at CarinaPress.com and your favorite ebook retailer:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of New Adult and Young Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

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