Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session

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Feel like you’re missing out by not attending RWA Nationals this year? Good news! Not all of the editors here at Carina Press are attending either! And those who couldn’t attend this year are taking your pitches in the Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session hosted right here on the Carina Press blog!

Have a manuscript you want considered by our fabulous editors? Now’s your chance! Post your pitch below in the comments section and check back to see if an editor has requested your material!

Editors participating in the pitch session:

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

PITCH CONTEST INSTRUCTIONS

Authors are invited to pitch their 200 word (maximum) query and first 100 words or first paragraph for submission. The contest will run from July 23 – July 27 – pitches submitted after this date will not be considered. Please check back on the blog! You must submit your pitch with a valid email address. Authors whose pitches are chosen will be contacted via email. Editors will request materials from authors by July 28. Send your submission no later than July 31, 2014 midnight Eastern. The link you receive will expire after that, and you will be unable to submit via this route. Good luck to all!

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 Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch Session.

3) The manuscript 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 9am Eastern.

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 contact you via your email address which is required to comment on the 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.

d) Send your submission no later than July 31, 2014 midnight Eastern. The link you receive will expire after that, and you will be unable to submit via this route.

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:

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.*

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.

Name:

Title:

Genre:

Manuscript Word Count:

200 maximum word query:

First 100 words or first paragraph of your story:

What Carina Press editors are looking for: July 2014 edition

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Looking for the July 23-27 Carina Press Not at Nationals Pitch Event information post?  Click here: #CarinaNANPitch

Ah, summer. It’s always a busy time at Carina Press–some of us are off to RWA Nationals next week, some of us are heading out on vacation, some of us are sticking closer to home. We’re all hungry for enough excellent submissions to keep us reading well into November. A full breakdown of what each individual editor is looking for right now is down below, but I also wanted to take a moment to highlight six areas Carina Press is especially interested in as we build out our 2015 publishing schedule:

  1. 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. Mysteries, romantic suspense, sci-fi, you name it! And we are really hunting for New Adult m/m–all  heat levels considered.
  2. Erotic Romance: Sexual tension is a must in this genre, and we’d really like to see projects with strong series potential. BDSM welcome but not required. 70,000 words and up, please!
  3. Romantic Suspense: True detective/FBI/true suspense, organized crime, and more. High stakes and real danger rule, and again we’re very interested in building a killer (ha!) series. 70,000 words and up preferred.
  4. Historical Romance: Send us your kilts, please! Scotland-set historicals are on our wish list this year, along with Regencies.
  5. New Adult: As noted above, M/M New Adult is a particular area of interest for us in 2015. We’re also looking to acquire other subgenres of NA, beyond contemporary.
  6. Mystery: Cozies, amateur sleuths, detectives, offbeat mysteries & grittier crime fiction. We want ‘em all.

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:

Right now my personal wish list focuses heavily on two things: a dark erotic thriller that pushes the edges of exploring forced seduction, fantasy and eroticism, and a romantic suspense series that features mercenaries who are anti-heroes and anti-heroines.

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

  • 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’d go to bat in the acquisitions meeting for a great cowboy rebellion-type space opera, still (I wonder how many years I’ve been asking for that Firefly-flavored story? 8? 10?)

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, Editor: I’m actively acquiring in all genres except for sci-fi. Here’s what I’m crossing my fingers to find in my submission inbox ASAP:

  • Dry, funny, or sarcastic mysteries, cozy or otherwise. If your gumshoe has a standout or off-color sense of humor, please send him/her my way
  • Darker, grittier mysteries, particularly psychological thrillers
  • Heroine-driven romantic suspense. Kickass girls with guns/knives/lasers/nunchucks. Unusual, non-traditional professions a bonus: female firefighters, submarine captains, military unit leaders, etc. Emphasis on the suspense (rather than the romance) or a 50/50 split
  • Contemporary *and* historical projects set in Eastern Europe and/or involving Eastern European families, traditions, mysticism, lore. A lot of flexibility here, but no time travel, please
  • An Army Wives-like contemporary series where the focus is on the homefront rather than the battlefield

Freelance editors actively acquiring (* indicates the editor will be participating in #CarinaNANPitch July 23-27):

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

  • New Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy/futuristic, historical)
  • LGBTQ romance
  • 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 (LGBTQ western? Paranormal Victorian? Hit me with ‘em!)
  • Multicultural and/or PoC (people of color) submissions
  • Action-packed sci-fi/futuristic non-romance (or with romantic elements)
  • Epic fantasy series with clear, thorough worldbuilding and unique/atypical elements

And now, a few specific submissions I’ve been craving:

  • LGBTQ romantic comedy
  • A regency/Victorian romance or western romance featuring PoC
  • A fresh take on the upstairs-downstairs romance (like Downton Abbey)–contemporary or historical
  • A sexy romance featuring heroes or heroines who work with their hands, like carpenters or skilled tradesmen/women (series are great!)
  • First-responders romances featuring firefighters, police officers, EMTs, etc. (series are great!)
  • Military romances (series are great!)
  • A dark, atmospheric, sexy gothic romance–contemporary or historical
  • Edgy/envelope-pushing New Adult romance, any genre
  • Edgy/envelope-pushing erotic romance, any genre

Deborah Nemeth*: I’m looking for stories with flawed, passionate characters and high-stakes conflict. In my favorite books, the protagonists have to suffer before saving the day or getting their happy-ever-after. I’m drawn to antiheroes and clever characters, and I have a special fondness for alphas, geeks, soldiers, cops, athletes, cowboys, blue-collar heroes/heroines, and bad boys who walk on the wrong side of the law.

Here are some things on my current wish list:

  • Romantic suspense so adrenaline-fueled it will keep me reading all night—military, revenge, espionage, terrorists, serial killers, stalkers, conspiracies and cover-ups…
  • Male/male, especially New Adult, mystery, romantic suspense or contemporary romance
  • Mysteries and crime fiction, particularly brain-teasing cozies and gritty procedurals, with strong hooks, sharp sleuths and series potential. Also fast-paced capers and heists with elaborate cons à la Ocean’s Eleven and The Thomas Crown Affair
  • Historical romance that will transport me back in time, especially Regency but also Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and the courts of the Tudors and Plantagenets
  • Contemporary romance with solid conflict and sparkling dialogue in any heat level/setting
  • Edgy New Adult with a fresh voice and emotional intensity that pushes the envelope
  • Political and palace intrigue, whether in fantasy (think Game of Thrones), historical romance (Tudors) or contemporary settings (West Wing, House of Cards, Scandal)

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 wants to dive into the complexities of character relationships. And even more, discover characters who may be morally ambiguous—people who do bad things for good reasons. The more complex the character, the more layered and complicated, the more she wants to read about him/her.

She’s looking for all genres, but there are a few things she’s especially keeping an eye out for:

  • New Adult! I’m especially looking for those that feature quirky characters
  • Stories with gothic elements
  • I’ve been hoping to find a sweet M/M
  • Historical Romance—While I don’t edit Regencies, I am always looking for intriguing historical settings. Anything WWII set or prior is fair game
  • Romantic suspense
    • An especially thrilling find would be a suspense that’s set amongst the Amish (non-inspirational)—like Witness or Karen Harper’s romantic suspense series
  • I adore quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives, etc.
  • Gritty thrillers. Bring on bad boys/girls, ambiguous morals, complex characters!
    •  I recently became hooked on the show Leverage, and the banter and continued growth as we follow the band of thieves kept me hooked to the end.
  • Historical Mysteries. Especially turn of the century, urban settings (like The Alienist).
    • Think Copper or Hell on Wheels
    • If you have a character similar to Jax, from Sons of Anarchy, but in a historical setting, Mallory will bribe you with pie to send the book to her
  • Cozy mysteries
  • “Band of Brother” type series. Examples would be Nora Roberts’s trilogies, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, or Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series. Where an emphasis is on the building of multiple characters’ relationships and continued development of the world/external stakes
  • Stories with unique worlds/setting, including, but not limited to: steampunk, post-apocalyptic, shifter-paranormals, and urban fantasy. I love stories that cross genres in an unique way.

Alissa Davis*:

  • Erotic romance with strong dialogue and great sexual tension—bonus points for heroes and heroines who rock at talking dirty
  • M/m in any subgenre and heat level
  • Marriage of convenience romance
  • Sports romance, particularly soccer, football, hockey and baseball. I can’t catch a ball to save my life, but I love editing these books
  • New Adult, particularly m/m New Adult
  • Geeky heroes and heroines. The more awkward they are, the more I love them
  • Foodie romance, where preparing or eating food plays a large role in the plot and is part of how the characters come together
  • Military romance, m/m or m/f. The hero or heroine can be active military or retired.
  • Angsty, dark historical romance with high-stakes conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart
  • Medical romance
  • Romantic suspense with high-stakes conflict, twisted plots and awesome heroines who aren’t about to be damseled
  • 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 mystery military LGBTQ romance, anyone?

Jeff Seymour: I’d love to get my hands on a great romantic suspense or some truly can’t-put-it-down speculative fiction with romantic or LGBTQ elements, particularly:

  • Romantic suspense with pedal-to-the-floor pacing and a high spice level
  • I’m still waiting for my m/m steampunk romance
  • Genre tropes explored, either playfully or seriously

I like my heroes more interested in nurturing than controlling and my heroines self-aware and empowered. I’m a sucker for great world building, interesting settings, and characters who are unusual takes on an archetype as well.

Melissa Johnson* would love to acquire:

  • A contemporary romance with heroes and heroines who are passionate about each other and about something in their lives: community, career, family, hobby…etc. She’s looking for the couple’s personal conflicts to be woven with strong external conflicts.
  • A traditional historical romance with the classic rake who is ready to reform and the innocent who disarms him and gains sophistication. Melissa would love them to have exciting and slightly devastating misunderstandings and obstacles.
  • A fantasy/science fiction romance that combines elements of history and an imagined future to create a robust and unique world. She’d be thrilled to see an author build a new genre, comparable to steampunk, but with a different era, region and tech/historical elements.

Tina Burns*: I’m looking for romance, from sweet to erotic and open to any sub-genre. I love unique stories and twists on the norm. I’m looking for flawed but redeemable characters that linger long after I’m done reading. Specifically I would love to see:

  • New Adult (contemporary and mixed genre, New Adult M/M)
  • Romantic Comedies
  • LGBTQ romance
  • Historical Romance – Gothic, Paranormal/Psychic, Alternate, Wild, Wild West-ish
  • Mystery Romance with paranormal/psychic/Other elements.

Carina Press Not-at-Nationals Pitch is Coming!

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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.

Eligibility:

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.

Name:

Title:

Genre:

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

 

Romantic Suspense – Give Us Your Drama!

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Publishing trends can be funny. What’s “dead” one year could very well be on a must-have list the next, and vice versa. Romantic Suspense is all the rage at the moment—it’s being asked for at conferences, highlighted on third-party retailers, and hailed as the next “big thing,” once again. That’s exciting to us, because the Carina editors have a special kind of love for heart-pounding stories of love mixed with danger, and Romantic Suspense has always been a genre we actively acquire.

We’ve seen incredible success with and reader investment in Marie Force’s New York Times bestselling FATAL series and others, and are eager to expand our already-robust offerings in 2015 and beyond.

Angela James, Editorial Director, has been asking for a great series featuring mercenaries. Anti-heroes and anti-heroines welcome. Strong female protagonists a must! She is looking for something both action-packed, with lots of things blowing up and getting shot (she’s bloodthirsty!), and also sexy. Heroes who are totally into their heroines will be adored. Heroines who can hold their own against alpha dudes and kick some ass will be moved up to the top of her reading queue.

Kerri Buckley, Editor, would like to see a romantic suspense series set in the wilds of Alaska. Think “Northern Exposure” with a strong suspense arc. She’s also looking for romantic suspense with Eastern European anti-heroes. Real Russian bad boys, please. And finally, suburban spies. Kerri would love to see a high-octane romantic suspense series centering on spies gone deep undercover in an American suburb.

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, is actively seeking a New Adult romantic suspense. Angsty, thrilling, with active characters and a real sense of danger. LGBTQ/PoC welcome—show her the diversity!

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, would love to acquire a military romantic suspense series, featuring intense alpha heroes and men or women in uniform—SEALs, Rangers, SAS, marines, firefighters, pilots, smoke jumpers…

Melissa Johnson, Freelance Editor, would love to edit a romantic suspense standalone or series that has a new adult flare. She’s looking for well-crafted danger and intrigue, and high emotional drama between the main characters.

Mallory Braus, Freelance Editor, is looking for romantic suspense series that feature a ”Band of Brothers” feel. Especially stories that involve a group-a specialized FBI team, a crew of firemen, a police unit, etc. Where the job risks are high, and there’s a solid connection. Also, thanks to a sudden obsession with television shows “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD,” she’d love to read a series based around a fire rescue squad or an intelligence unit.

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor, would like to find a military romantic suspense series—m/m or m/f, historical or contemporary.

Have you been working on something that fits the bill for one of our editors? Submit your story HERE.

 

Pride Month Submissions Call!

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We’ve come a long way, baby!

It’s Pride Month and, this year, we couldn’t be prouder. Especially in the world of sports, 2014 has been a big year for the LGBT community. From Jason Collins coming out publicly, to the selection of Michael Sam in the recent NFL draft, it seems finally, finally, mainstream media and fans alike get it—we can be who we are, without fear.

We at Carina Press, are so proud of our June Pride Month male/male releases.

Check out our fantastic titles!

CHASING THE REBEL by Tyler Flynn, Ava March’s SHARP LOVE and L.B.Gregg’s MEN OF SMITHFIELD: SAM AND AARON all available now!

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Can’t decide? Just released are the SECRETS OF NEVERWOOD trilogy by G.B. Lindsey, Diana Copland and Libby Drew as well as our Contemporary Male/Male Romance Box Set!

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Our readers have always gotten it.  So have our editors and they want more of it!  We’re looking for your male/male submissions in celebration of Pride Month, so send them our way!

Here is what we are currently looking to acquire:

Angela James, Editorial Director, wants to acquire a contemporary new adult male/male series.

Kerri Buckley, Editor, wants to acquire male/male romantic suspense with strong series potential. Agencies, cops, ex-military, rogue agents…must be high-octane but also emotionally driven.

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, wants to acquire a sexy male/male romance with intense emotions. She’d love historical or contemporary, with series potential. Give her your unusual, damaged, flawed, compelling heroes!

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor, wants a male/male series featuring heroes competing with each other—in school, or sport, theater or work, as they struggle to find love.

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, wants to acquire a male/male romance featuring athletes, blue-collar workers or military heroes.

Jeff Seymour, Freelance Editor, wants to acquire a superby written male/male speculative fiction. If you write like John Tristan, he wants to read your book!

Send your submission HERE and be a part of the pride!

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?

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?