Mi Kindle Es Su Kindle

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Hi, I’m Adrienne Macintosh, an associate editor at Harlequin, member of the Carina Press acquisitions team and a Carina Press blog virgin. I figured I’d introduce myself by explaining why I love my job…and occasionally hate my boyfriend.

You see, my boyfriend and I are in that lovely period in our relationship where I’m constantly going back and forth between his place and mine. And I’m constantly leaving something behind with him—earrings, clothing, embarrassing hygiene products, and, this week, my Kindle.

He called to say I’d forgotten it, adding he was glad it was there because he needed something to read. And then I thought, crap. What exactly is on my Kindle? I’d just downloaded a bunch of Carina books recommended to me by my fellow Harlequinites. Let’s see, I had a cozy mystery, a contemporary romance, a fantasy, a BDSM erotic romance, a historical erotic romance, a paranormal erotic romance…

This, actually, is what I love about working on the Carina Press acquisitions team. There’s such a huge variety—of genres, of lengths, of sensuality. And at the core of each book is always a great story that renews my passion for publishing every time. Which is great for me, and all the readers of Carina Press books.

But what about my boyfriend who reads techie thrillers? I figured a little romantic fiction could go a long way, so I told him to go ahead and open whatever he wanted to.

He chose the mystery.

What about you, would you let someone open your reading device?

#CarinaPitch is coming April 4th, 2013

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The Carina Press editorial team will be holding a pitch event on Twitter via the #carinapitch hashtag on Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 8am Eastern to 9pm Eastern.

Last fall, we provided an opportunity for authors to submit their work and get both an expedited response and feedback. We had tremendous response to that submissions call, so we decided to do something that would give authors the chance to get similar feedback and response time. I’d also like to share that, from that submissions call, we found over a dozen manuscripts that we either wanted to acquire or see further revisions for, so it was very successful for both authors and us in that regard. Our ultimate goal is always to find new authors to acquire, not new authors to reject!

Last time, we heard from authors who had submissions pending that they wished they could also have the opportunity to take advantage of that, so we’ve come up with a pitch event that will allow everyone, including those who currently have submissions pending, the same chances. Please read on for details of how the event will work.

On Thursday, Carina Press freelance editors will be monitoring the #carinapitch hashtag for book pitches from authors.

The benefits:

Book pitches chosen by editors will be reviewed by the editor who requested it. Response will be given by May 31st, 2013 and those manuscripts chosen via the #carinapitch will also receive personalized feedback. Please note that we ask authors not to expect paragraphs of feedback, but specific feedback will be offered noting what the editor sees as not working or needing attention. We also would like to emphasize that the nature of this business is subjective, so the editor may provide feedback the author may not agree with. We’re offering insight into why the book doesn’t work for us (should we choose to pass on it, rather than acquiring, which is certainly a possibility!), not providing detailed instructions on how to “fix” any issues we see.

Eligibility to participate:

1) 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 #carinapitch session. Any manuscripts sent after Sunday, April 7th will still be fairly reviewed by editorial staff, but won’t be eligible for the feedback/accelerated response time.

3) The manuscript you’re pitching must be new material, not previously published material, whether self-published or released via a publisher. New material only will be considered during this event.

4) The manuscript cannot be one that has previously received a pass letter from us.

5) You may pitch more than one project.


How to participate: 

1) Wait until April 4th from 8am Eastern to 9pm Eastern, which is when the editors will be monitoring the hashtag.

2) Craft your compelling book pitch into one (no more than two) tweets. Indicate if it’s more than one tweet by using 1/2 and 2/2 so we can piece them together.

3) Post them to Twitter from your account using the #carinapitch hashtag (the only way we’ll know they’re for us!)

  • Please do not post pitches for one book more than twice during the #carinapitch event. Even if you’re changing your pitch, please pitch the same book no more than twice during the day.

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) please follow the submission guidelines here and include all required information. Send your submission to the submissions email, not the editor directly.
  • b) Make your subject line: #carinapitch Title by Author (genre)
  • c) Address your query letter to the editor who requested your manuscript
  • d) At the top of your query letter, please include the Twitter pitch you used and your Twitter name (to help the editor recognize your request & verify that they asked for it)
  • 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.
  • e) Send your submission no later than Sunday April 7, 2013

6) If an editor lets you know they’d like to see your submission and your manuscript is already in our queue.

  • a) Send an email to submissions@carinapress.com
  • b) Subject line: #carinapitch Existing Submission
  • c) In the body of the email, please include the Twitter pitch you used and your Twitter name (to help the editor recognize your request & verify that they asked for it).
  • d) In body of email, please tell us the date you originally submitted your work, the title of the work, the genre and the name you submitted under. It’s helpful if your email comes from the same email address you used to submit the work.
  • 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.
  • e) Email us no later than Sunday April 7, 2013


Notes about #carinapitch

  • You don’t need to direct your tweet to a specific editor. We’ll all be monitoring the hashtag 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 and their Twitter IDs.
  • Please don’t post your pitch more than twice during the day. We know you want to make sure we see it, so we don’t mind if you post it at two different times, but please don’t post one book more than that. This includes not changing your pitch five times and posting it five different ways, please. Two pitches per book, so the hashtag doesn’t become cluttered and allows all authors equal opportunity to be seen. Thank you!
  • An updated list of what different editors are looking for will be posted here on the blog Monday. 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:

Even 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:

Angela James @angelajames

Tina Burns @TinaBurns

Deb Nemeth @DebNemeth

Jeff Seymour @realjeffseymour

Elizabeth Bass @ElizabethBass

Melissa Johnson @MelissJohnson

Gina Bernal @GinaBernal

Alissa Davis @AlissaDenay

Mallory Braus @MalloryBraus

Meredith Giordan @MeredithGiordan

Megan Records @MeganRecords





Series Books that Stand Alone

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If I fall in love with an author’s world and characters, it’s wonderful to discover that there are more of them—a series, available to buy and read now.

On the other hand, I hate starting to really get into a book and then getting the sinking feeling that I’ve missed something. That this book is part of a series, and to follow along I really need to read the previous however many volumes first. This forces a decision: do I go to the trouble of buying the first book(s), or DNF and read something else in my TBR pile?

While reading the books of a series in order can be rewarding, that’s not always how we discover them. As subsequent books come out, there will always be new readers checking them out.

I like it when authors make it easy for us to read their series out of order.

If I’m reviewing manuscripts submissions for possible acquisition, I look for this quality in a sequel. This means giving the sequel its own beginning, middle and end. Giving it its own villain, or at least introducing the villain of previous adventures in a new way, in action. Likewise, all characters need to be introduced again. Prior episodes should be treated as backstory, with the focus of the book on the current conflict, goals and motivation.

A book can become overcrowded if the characters of previous books appear for no reason other than to wave at the reader and announce the birth of their youngest child. If the cast is too large, a story can sometimes lose focus.

Of course I realize there are many series that tell one long story and are really best read in order. But if the stories are independent enough, why not write the series so that each book can work as a stand-alone read?

Chocolate Diamonds Are What’s Wrong With Society Today

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It’s Valentine’s Day here at the Carina Press blog and I’ve been thinking about the elements of romance and, not coincidentally, the elements of romance fiction. The other day on TV I saw a commercial for these chocolate diamonds which are supposed to be very special but just reek to me of gimmicky consumer manipulation. Instead of a classic, crisp, sparkling jewel, you get something that looks like it was dropped in coffee too many times. I get the need to be different, but sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason and doesn’t need to be changed.

In researching a different bit of writing the other day I came across a discussion from a few years back of the most hated cliches in detective fiction. After a bit of discussion of some of the most common cliches, the discussion veered off into a side discussion of whether the cliche was the issue or if the execution of the cliche was the problem. We’ve all seen tired and worn-out story elements and stock characters revived and renewed in the hands of a master. We’ve also all reveled in a book or movie or television show that may not have broken any new ground, but did everything we as a reader or viewer wanted it to do and did it well.

This is also true in real life. Many an hour has been spent trying to plan a unique date or a unique proposal or any other extreme way to differentiate our actions from those that came before it, but most times it’s not the gimmick that works, it’s the person behind the gimmick. So as we celebrate Valentine’s Day here as readers, and writers, and husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, and proud singles, let’s remember that it’s all about the heart and soul of something more than the gimmick.

What current novels, movies, or TV shows do well with the classical elements of fiction?

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

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If you believe the theories, tomorrow, December 21, 2012, is the Mayan Armageddon (and not the good one with Aerosmith tunes and Ben Affleck). Way to ruin my birthday, Mesoamerican Long Count calendar!

Personally, though, I think we’ll all be here come December 22. We better, as I have theater tickets for Saturday and a hard time pronouncing the word “apocalypse.” While I’m not prepared for end times in the stockpile a bunker way, I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about surviving in a post-apocalyptic world from reading many a book set in the aftermath of doomsday.

But what if “your” world ceased to exist before you were ever born? This question provides the backdrop for Eleri Stone’s Twilight of the Gods series. Although those around them are living in Earth as we know it, there are people for whom the apocalypse has long been a reality. In Demon Crossings, readers were introduced to the denizens of Ragnarok, Iowa, folks who can trace more than bloodlines to mythological times. They’re the descendants of the ancient Norse gods, a people who found refuge on Earth when their own world, Asgard, was destroyed.

What little magic remains in Asgard leaks through fault lines between worlds…but so do demon threats. Imagine being charged with protecting the lives of your own people as well as those of the unsuspecting humans around you. It’s a duty and a burden shouldered by the heroes and heroines who, while never having experienced the old way of life, are stilled ruled by it. But let’s face it, if I was starting over after the destruction of this world, Aiden and his hunt are people I’d want guarding my back!

That tension between duty and the old clan ways and modern, earthly desires is one of the things that make this series so fun to edit—and read. And a conflict that takes center stage in book two, coming in June 2013. Hopefully you’re all still around to enjoy it!

What traditions/customs from our current culture would you want to see make it through to a post-apocalyptic world? What fictional character would you want at your side if you had to go into survival mode?


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by Jeff Seymour, Carina Press Freelance Editor

As some of you probably know, last month was National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, and dreaded in some publishing circles as “the month before the month in which many things are submitted that probably should not have been.”

I’ve been curious about what NaNo is like for a long time, and this year, at the urging of my sister the middle school librarian, I decided to give it a try.

Watching NaNoWriMo from within the storm, rather than from a safe distance away, has been fascinating. There’s a remarkably friendly, upbeat, festival atmosphere to the event, particularly at the beginning. And there’s an incredible amount of what an old outdoor leadership boss of mine used to call “institutional knowledge” being passed around: Tips on how to write. Tips on how not to write. Tips on how to make it through the month sanely, etc.

So if you did NaNoWriMo this year, congratulations. You have done an amazing, astonishing thing. You deserve to be extremely proud of yourself and to crow to all your friends and family about what you’ve done. And now you have a manuscript burning a hole in your hard drive. If you’ve never finished one before, you might be wondering what to do with it. I have one piece of very simple, often difficult advice for you.


Or as Michael Jackson might say, “let it simmer.”

You’ve just spent a month pouring yourself into this project. Maybe it came easily for you. Maybe you had to grind out the last three chapters by sheer force of will. Either way, your brain is saturated in it right now, and unless you’re a phenomenally talented self-editor, you can’t look at it objectively.

So take a month away from it. It’s very convenient that December comes after November. Enjoy it. Spend time with your family. Read or write some things way outside of your normal genre. Go shopping for bad Christmas ties. Go to the library or a bookstore and ask a stranger for a book recommendation. Let your brain clear a little, and then come back to your manuscript in January and do a full revision of it. Then pass it around to friends and family and critique partners and get some opinions. Then revise it again.

And then, if you’re really, really happy with it, submit.

This is not new advice, but it’s worthwhile advice, and I have brought an anecdote and some sobering numbers with me today to back it up.

First, the anecdote: my NaNo book, which we’ll call “Nadya,” was meant to be a light-hearted mid-grade steampunk/fantasy adventure novel. By the time I finished it, it had become a young adult steampunk/fantasy adventure novel with romantic elements and some serious undertones. I love it. I’m proud of it. There’s a part of my brain that thinks that anyone who can read will feel the same way.

But clearly, it has identity issues. And I know it needs more work.

Second: the numbers. This year, 1,775,041,850 words’ worth of book was written for NaNoWriMo in the genres that Carina publishes. If I were to read 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, that would take me about 20 years to read. Even if all the rest of the Carina Press editors were to help me out, it would still take us more than a year to get through it all.

The point here is that it would be physically impossible for us (or most publishing houses) to read everything that was written during NaNoWriMo, even if we had nothing else to do, including eat and sleep.

So it’s in your best interest to take your time and make sure your book is the absolute best it can be before you send it in.

Giving Thanks for Series

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Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the U.S (and happy Thursday to everyone else)! Depending on when you’re reading this, I’m either helping prep an intricate turkey dinner, enjoying that delicious turkey dinner, or napping after said tryptophan-laden turkey dinner. Yum.

Today, many around the country are thinking about the things they’re thankful for. Me? I’ve got all the usual biggies on my list: family, friends, health. But on a lighter note, I’m just thankful I was able to finish the first five books in George R.R. Martin’s gargantuan A Song of Ice and Fire series before the end of 2012.

Cue the theme song

Like many recent fans, I was spurred to pick up the books after watching the HBO show. I downloaded Game of Thrones to my ereader on January 31, 2011 and turned the final page of A Dance with Dragons in the wee hours of October 29, 2012. Whew! Now I know why it’s called epic fantasy.

Reading a series—whether made up of thousand-page tomes or shorter, but more plentiful volumes (J.D. Robb anyone?)—requires commitment. And I don’t know about you, but I have some personal quirks when it comes to series. Aside from the length and my snails’ pace reading, one thing that slowed my journey through A Song of Ice and Fire was the simple fact that I bought the first book but checked the second out of the library. Because I’m a weirdo who doesn’t like to own some books in a series but not others (and who hates spending my precious book budget on things I’ve already read), I was at the mercy of the library wait list. See what I mean by quirks? Lesson learned: buy the book bundles!

All about instant gratification, I prefer to start a new series when there are at least two or three other books already available. I have mixed feelings about cliffhangers, but keep me interested and I’ll keep reading until I feel burned out or need a palate cleanser. Not that I haven’t fallen out of love with series in the past—sorry, Stephanie Plum. Sometimes I’ve fallen behind (again, J.D. Robb anyone?). And a recent post at the Dear Author blog sparked a thoughtful conversation about whether a seemingly endless run can possibly be detrimental to a series.

Still, despite the time investment reading a series demands, when an author creates a world or characters that capture the imagination, I’m happy to come back again and again. Treat me right, authors, and I’m a loyal reader.

What about you—series, yay or nay? Do you have any quirks about reading a series?

Feedback: An Editor’s View

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by Jeff Seymour, Carina Press Freelance Editor

A little over a month ago, Carina announced a special feedback opportunity. For every submission sent in during a week in October, we the editors would provide a few lines of personalized feedback. We would also provide responses within six weeks.

The opportunity caused no little excitement in the freelance editor pool.

Judging by all the submissions we got, it must also have been exciting for the writers who submit to us, and I wanted to take the time now that it’s winding down to let you know how the opportunity has looked from where I sit (which is on a couch, usually, but also sometimes at a desk, with a laptop or an iPad to work on, if you’re curious).

During the feedback opportunity, I received 25 submissions to read (plus a few that weren’t part of the opportunity). I went on to read full manuscripts for seven of them.

Just so everyone knows, that speaks to the overwhelmingly high quality of the submissions I received (this was true for other editors as well). I’m usually quite happy if I find three fulls to read out of 25 submissions.

The seven fulls I read totaled 693,000 words in length (though to be fair, I didn’t finish every one of them). I don’t have exact numbers for the other freelance editors, but I got the feeling that this was not an unusual amount to have selected to read. Of the seven fulls I requested, I went on to recommend one for acquisition. I ended up writing 1,682 words of feedback in total.

There were 10 of us, plus Angela, who participated in the feedback opportunity. That adds up to a whole lot read and written.

But I want to talk about more than the numbers today. Speaking for myself, and I think for many of the other editors as well: this has been fun. It was a break from the normal, and while cranking through 693,000 words of submissions in a week was hard, it was also exciting. Before I started working in publishing, I used to do things like climb huge mountains and paddle in long-distance canoe races. The feedback opportunity had a bit of that same “Oh my God, how can I possibly do this…oh my God, I just did” feeling for me.

It also had a bit of the old pizza and slush-reading party camaraderie that I associate with publishers whose editors all work in the same building. That, for me, was a lot of fun as well.

And I’d like to thank everyone who participated in it for that, from the bottom of my over-caffeinated heart.

So that’s what the feedback opportunity looked like from my couch/desk (Couchdesk? Somebody please send me a sci-fi with couchdesks. Bonus points if they have some kind of direct-brain, tentacular interface and someone’s big character tic is a mad conspiracy theory that they present an existential threat to human-(or other)-kind.).

What did it look like from yours?

The Devil is in the Details

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I was recently reading a contemporary romance for pleasure—not as an editor—and I had the annoying experience of being yanked out of a heartbreaking scene by some medical details that were inaccurate.

Did this ruin the book for me?  No.  Did I emit odd noises and mutter obscenities?  You betcha.  Do I imagine every reader of this scene had the same reaction as I did?  Of course not.  In fact, I went on to read quite a few reviews of the book, and apparently no one in the OB/GYN field happened to read this book and feel inclined to complain about this scene.  Go figure.

This experience made want to write here on the Carina blog about the special areas of expertise we have as readers that inform our experience of a book and cause us occasional “moments.”  In my case in my pleasure reading—we won’t get into my checking frenzy when editing—I unconsciously scrutinize medical details, anything in the financial field and use of the Spanish language.  Other readers can’t help but search for anachronisms in historicals, or see laws misunderstood or misapplied in romantic suspense.

I’m eternally grateful to fiction authors for allowing me to experience different worlds, bodies, careers, time periods, ages, situations, hobbies and passions.  Moreover, I think authors are incredibly brave.  They tread into the realms of their readers’ careers, personal experiences and passions.  Think of the knowledge an author needs to have to create a heroine who is a real estate agent, grew up in foster care and loves to parasail.  The authors I work with do an amazing job of researching for their books.  They interview people in the career fields of their characters, figure out the science behind breaking a car window, read countless history books and primary source materials to better understand a different era, find out how a person acts when coming out of a coma, and much, much more.

And does the work end there?  Heck no.  Now the writer has to weave in the details that enhance the believability of the story, without slowing things down or over-informing.  So, unless the information heightens the story’s tension or worldbuilding or characterization, readers don’t get every detail of it.  In my experience, fantastic authors tend to accumulate a lot of knowledge that doesn’t make the final cut.  (But I often get to see this overflow when authors respond to my queries in the margins.  Yay!)  This is also true in the genres of paranormal, fantasy and science fiction, where authors’ creative production in terms of setting, biology, history and language can be much larger than what appears in their books, and the authors fact-check against themselves to ensure consistency.

In a perfect world, all the various details in a book will ring true…ish, because reality is subjective, writers and editors are human, and you can’t please everyone.  So, have you ever read a scuba scene or calculated the time it took a character to knit a sweater…and groaned?  What are your specialties, the areas of expertise you’d like authors to write about after interviewing you?  And writers, what are you learning about for your current or next project?  What type of research do you find the most fun to do or most difficult?

Carina Press–call for submissions, fall ’12!

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It’s submissions week at Carina Press! Every day this week, we’ll have a new call for submissions. Friday will be a special opportunity, for one week only, for all authors sending submissions to Carina Press. I suggest holding your submission to send after you read the blog post that day (but that’s up to you, don’t say I didn’t warn you!) We’ve also updated our submissions guidelines, so please be sure to read the new information and guidelines before submitting. ~Angela

Hellooooo, everyone! As you’ve seen, this week has been all about new submissions Carina Press is looking for. Today, it’s time for our editors to do a round-up of what we’d love in our inboxes.

Of course, our standard disclaimer applies: PLEASE note that in the end, what we really want is a good story, so even if yours doesn’t fit the descriptions below, don’t hesitate to send it to us anyway! Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it in our inbox. :-) You can find out more info on all the Carina freelance editors on this page.

That said, here we go:

Rhonda Helms: I’m open to pretty much everything, with or without romance. But a few genres I’m eager to read more of right now include: new adult, atypical fantasy, sci-fi/futuristic, romance (any steaminess level, though I do admit I love the super-hot stuff, haha), stories with a mythological element, historicals (especially featuring real historical figures/events), stories set in unusual locales, thrillers/horror with unusual twists, super-funny romances, books with kick-ass heroines, and anything with a multicultural element.

Gina Bernal: Though always open to romance (of all subgenres and heat levels), urban fantasy and mystery/thriller submissions, there are a few specifics I’d love to see hit my inbox:

  • I’m definitely hungry to build my contemporary, non-suspense romance list. Treat me to anything from a small-town tale to a cosmopolitan love affair, just as long as the story has high emotional stakes.
  • Historicals are always a must-read, especially those that feature the grittier side of life (think shows like Spartacus, Deadwood or Copper), unusual time periods, countries or character types (non-British nobles need love too!). And it never hurts when the history comes with a hint of adventure.
  • For paranormal romance or urban fantasy submissions, the key I’m looking for is world building. Hook me with a fascinating new universe I want to return to again and again. Fill my Game of Thrones void with sweeping fantasy or fantasy romance submissions bursting with drama and intrigue. I’m also interested in steampunk and gaslight fantasy stories, particularly those set outside of Britain.
  • Regardless of genre, I’m seeking out authors with plenty of stories to tell, preferably consistently in one or two genres. I greatly enjoy working on series, so if you have a sequel, trilogy or more planned, make sure to say so in your query.

Melissa Johnson: Melissa is looking for a story in which the main characters have electric chemistry.  She wants to read about two people who can’t resist each other and are enthralled by each other’s strengths and flaws.  In the midst of their dramatic coming together, she’d like them to have meaningful friendships or family relationships, and exist in a fleshed out world.

Krystal Gabert: I’m currently looking for a captivating police procedural. Something with a female lead who is strong but not insufferable and with a narrative that is split between solving a mystery and exploring the relationships/personal lives of the detective(s). I’m also looking for a paranormal shifter romance in which the heroine is perhaps newly turned or is secretly a shifter and is dealing with the emotional issues of living a secret life.

Jeff Seymour: I’d love to see a sci-fi romance or romantic suspense played out in deep space. Bonus points for life-threatening situations involving monsters or ship breakdowns! Steampunk or alternate-history fantasy that takes place outside of Europe and the U.S. would be great as well. And, as always, anything with deep worldbuilding, heartstring-tugging characters, or can’t-put-it-down plotting.

Deb Nemeth: I’m interested in reading manuscripts by authors who plan to write multiple books in the same genre in order to build their readership. I enjoy a wide range of fiction and content—dark, lighthearted, any heat level—but, whatever the genre, I want to see stories with strongly motivated characters and high-stakes conflict. I’m attracted by writing with energy, passion, wit and intelligence. I’m especially drawn to characters on the edge, who have a lot to lose, whether emotional or physical; characters forced out of their comfort zone into no-win situations.

My wish list includes historical and fantasy romances with epic sweep, thrillers and romantic suspense with pulse-pounding tension, cozy mysteries with brain-teasing complexity, fun capers and clever heists, m/m romance, high-adventure space opera, gritty military SF, and contemporary romances with snappy dialogue. I’m looking for historicals in periods other than Regency (Medieval, Tudor, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Jazz Age). I’m crazy about exotic settings—I’d love to get a historical series set in Asia. I enjoy Arthurian and myth-based stories, multicultural characters, blue-collar heroes, SEALs, smugglers, rebels, concubines, sheriffs, spies, bluestockings, nerds and outcasts of all kinds.

Elizabeth Bass: I would love to read a gripping police procedural/thriller with a complex detective anchoring the story. Also, a creepy horror story involving mutant critters, zombies, or really scary (not romantic) supernatural beings. Historical romances of all eras, but especially ones with World War (I or II) settings, Western historicals, and historicals involving actual events/people. I’d also love to see a good mashup, such as a time travel-police procedural or a horror-historical. Nothing makes me happier than when an author takes an offbeat idea and then knocks it out of the ballpark.

Alissa Davis: I edit and love both m/f and m/m and would be happy to see either of those pairings in any of the scenarios I mention below:

  • Tortured heroes. I love ‘em.
  • Reunion romance. I’d love to see submissions where our hero or heroine returns home and falls for an old flame.
  • Interesting settings.
  • Foodie romance. In these books, food or cooking plays a pivotal role in the love story.
  • Forced proximity situations that lead to love. Whether it’s a historical where the heroine is blackmailing the hero or a contemporary with a hero who has a love/hate relationship with his sick child’s doctor, I love books where the characters are stuck with each other.
  • Erotic romance, menage, BDSM, etc. Turn up the heat!
  • Heroes or heroines with blue collar occupations.
  • Fantasy romance with amazing worldbuilding.
  • Professional rivalry/conflict. Got two heroes with competing restaurants or two swimmers up for the same scholarship? Send them my way!
  • My list is low on contemporary romance, and I’m looking for authors with a strong contemporary voice.

Mallory Braus: Mallory looks for characters first. Three dimensional and relatable characters—with depth and vulnerabilities—pull her into a story faster than anything else. She’s looking for all genres, but there are a few things she’s especially keeping an eye out for:

    • New Adult! I’m so excited that Carina Press will now be open to submissions in this genre!
    • I’d love, love, love to find a romantic suspense or contemporary romance that’s set amongst the Amish (non-inspirational)—like Witness or Karen Harper’s romantic suspense series.
    • Psychics – Especially if you have psychic FBI agents or members of a special government agency…
    • I adore quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives. Etc.
    • Gritty thrillers.
    • Historical Mysteries. Especially something set in 19th century Urban America. I’ve recently started re-reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr and would love to read a story set with a similar atmosphere!
    • “Band of Brother” type series. Examples would be Nora Roberts’s trilogies, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, or J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Where an emphasis is on the building of multiple characters’ relationships.
    • Stories with unique worlds/setting, including, but not limited to: steampunk, post-apocalyptic, futuristic sci-fi, and urban fantasy.

Angela James: If you’ve been watching this week, you’ve seen three calls I did. I’m going to acquire at least one New Adult author with an ongoing series to edit myself, I’m also avidly seeking what I’ve called “contemporary crack”, and yesterday I posted the 2013 holiday collection call, which I’ll be editing. In addition to those, I’m still interested in building some superstars in contemporary romance, something with a fresh hook and appeal, nothing old-fashioned, but a very fun, hip contemporary feel, and that has an ongoing series/trilogy potential. I’m also still interested in acquiring sports-themed romances (MMA/UFC included!) Last, I continue to look for a space opera w/a Wild West flair, fast pacing, incredible world building and fantastically drawn characters.

So, if you have anything that fits an editor request (or even just a great book in general!) to submit, visit our submissions page and follow the directions there. You can address your submission to one of the editors above, or the editorial staff in general. Thanks, and we look forward to reading your amazing stories!

Note from the executive editor: If I can give you one tip to stand out in what we expect to be a busy submissions month, it would be to write an excellent query letter that clearly says what your book is and makes it stand out to us. We have some hints on that here on the blog. Also, f you’ve written something that fits what someone above is looking for, it really does help your submission chances to address it to them, rather than sending it generally addressed and letting me send it to who I think is best. If you can match up with one of these freelance editors, do! ~Angela