Celebrating—and Reminiscing on—Five Years of Carina Press PLUS a Giveaway!

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By Angela James, Editorial Director, Carina Press


It’s been five years since one of the most crazy periods of my life. Last week, our team was reminiscing on Carina Press’s first anniversary via email and a member of our leadership team mentioned that he didn’t think I slept during the six months leading up to our launch. I’m sure he’s right, but launching a business is similar to childbirth in some ways: the sleepless nights, the stress, the worry, and the heartache along the way—they’re all worth it to see the thing you love grow and thrive.

This week, it hardly seems possible that we’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of Carina Press! Many things have changed in the past five years (there are fewer sleepless nights now that we’re full grown) and often those changes feel accelerated at warp drive, because five years is a very long time in digital publishing, where things change daily. But so many things have remained from our early days, including our commitment to acquiring and publishing fantastic stories by wonderful and talented authors. If anything there has changed, it’s a daily increase in my gratitude to those authors who continue to choose us to publish their incredible stories, in a time when they have an array of publishing choices.

The other thing that hasn’t changed is our promise to readers: to find and publish compelling books that they think about, talk about and share. Along with that is our continued promise to be the publisher you can trust in genre fiction. Romance readers, no messing around with that happy ending!

As I reflect back, and okay, ask for a little help from our numbers people, it’s astonishing to realize we’ve published almost 900 individual titles, worked with over 400 individual authors, launched several dozen debut authors’ careers and sold over 6 million books around the world. In five years. Maybe I do need a nap now.

But it all started in June 2010, when we published 40 books. And we got there in just six months, after we opened our doors to submissions in November 2009.  No wonder people think I didn’t sleep; sleep wasn’t possible. Still, when I reflect back on some of those titles, and how far those authors have come today, how far Carina Press has come, it truly was all worth it, and if I had to go back and do it all over again, I totally would.

Here’s  a look back at just a few of those first books.

CARINA_9781426893513_ExclusivelyYoursEXCLUSIVELY YOURS by Shannon Stacey

Book one of The Kowalskis was one of 10 books that released our very first day! Since then, Shannon has written eight more books in The Kowalski series, five novellas, and on August 25, HEAT EXCHANGE, book one of Boston Fire will be available in print and ebook. Featuring the brotherhood of a Boston firehouse, this series packs plenty of heat!

If you’ve read and loved Shannon’s Carina books already, check out some of our other contemporary romance authors from the past five years:

CSP_MotorCityFaeMOTOR CITY FAE by Cindy Spencer Pape

Cindy wrote three more books in the paranormal shifter series Urban Arcana before the release of STEAM & SORCERY in 2011, the first book in The Gaslight Chronicles, her steampunk romance series.  Steampunk is just one of the many genre trends and mashups that Carina Press has been on the forefront of over the years. Cindy has written eight steampunk romances for us, including ETHER & ELEPHANTS, out in August.

If you’re a fan of Cindy’s Urban Arcana series and want more steampunk or shifter books, try these Carina authors:

JSB_TheBloodgateGuardianTHE BLOODGATE GUARDIAN by Joely Sue Burkhart0515_9781426899898

This fantasy romance was Joely’s first book with us. Joely has written three more for Carina since, including the deliciously dark erotic thriller ONE CUT DEEPER, which released last month. Seriously, you want to read this book.

If you read and loved ONE CUT DEEPER (and if you haven’t, go on, we’ll wait!) and want more dark, intense romance, check out these Carina authors from the past five years:

FATAL AFFAIR by Marie ForceFatal-Affair-covers

Marie Force and her wildly popular characters Sam and Nick have been with Carina Press right from the beginning. There are now eight books in The Fatal Series (plus the novella FATAL DESTINY), with FATAL FRENZY releasing this September. And there’s more! The Fatal Series has had three cover changes. The gorgeous Washington, DC-inspired covers showcase the newly available print editions.

9780373002573_prdIf you can’t get enough Marie Force, make sure you check out the print edition of Fatal Affair, in stores now, to read ONE NIGHT WITH YOU, a brand-new prequel novella about Sam and Nick’s intense first night together all those years ago.

And if you’re looking for more romantic suspense reading, add these Carina authors to your TBR today:


CARINA_0413_9781426895685_TEXASTANGLETEXAS TANGLE by Leah Braemel

Proving that cowboys are always hot, Leah has written five books from Carina Press, ranging from contemporary to historical, from erotic to ménage to BDSM—always with a cowboy hero (or two). TEXAS TANGLE is the first in Leah’s Texas Tangle duology, also available in a box set.

If you’re eager for more erotic romance, check out these talented Carina authors:


LIFE AFTER JOE was the first male/male title Carina Press published, but it was far from the last LGBT book we acquired. Harper went on to write Nine Lights Over Edinburgh and Winter Knights for Carina Press, and was joined by many authors who write inclusive fiction across all our genres.

Looking for more male/male or female/female books? These Carina Press authors are some of the best in their genres:


 Comment on this post with your favorite Carina Press book for a chance to win 1 of 5 Carina Press prize packs! Sweepstakes ends June 12, 2015 at 11:59pm ET. Open to US and Canada only, excluding Quebec. Full rules HERE.
CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to our winners, Amy M., Susan T., Heather Coulter, Leanne Hiner and Christina Marie Rose!

Spotlight on Feeling the Heat

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Find your athletic soul mate in Alison Packard’s Feeling the Heat series, featuring plenty of sexy sports heroes guaranteed to get your pulse racing! Don’t miss out on the latest book in the series, Stealing Second, or start from the beginning to find your dream athlete!

Stealing Second

{B4D3D24C-76AA-41C7-BA67-86141BD4CDFA}Img100Katherine Whitton doesn’t purposely avoid men and relationships, but she doesn’t mind that side effect of immersing herself in her job with the San Francisco Blaze. Years ago she was betrayed by her one true love, and she’s never fully recovered, though she’s tried by building a new life in a city she loves.

It’s taken seventeen years for Tom Morgan to get over Katie–Katherine now. Sober now and faced with the incredible opportunity to manage the Blaze, he thinks he’ll finally be able to handle working with this beautiful woman without falling to pieces…as long as she doesn’t get too close.

A crisis with the team’s star pitcher forces Tom and Katherine to put in long hours together. Years of animosity melt away as the sexual tension between them ignites. But it’ll take more than scorching kisses to avoid the wreckage of the past. And neither Tom nor Katie are sure they’re ready to trust each other or risk their hearts for a second chance at happiness.

More from Feeling the Heat:

Breaking His Rules

{51D1D7FA-094A-4743-AFA4-CB1C0C8C8039}Img100Losing fifty pounds is an incredible achievement. But for Melissa Atherton, progress doesn’t come with praise–a scathing comment from an evil cousin at a bridal shower threatens to crush her new self-esteem. Who will she bring to the upcoming wedding? Showing up without a date would be humiliating. It just isn’t an option.

Personal trainer Jake Sawyer was attracted to Melissabefore she lost weight, but her progress has him floored. When she admits she plans to hire a male escort–and why–his heart all but breaks. Melissa’s come too far to be knocked down, especially by her own family. He’ll go as her date…and figure out a way to keep his hands to himself.

But when a steamy hotel room encounter takes them both by surprise, Jake balks. He’s sworn never to date one of his clients, not again. And Melissa can’t bear to be just friends with the man who treated her so tenderly, even if it was only for a weekend. Jake’s helped her see she’s strong enough to stand up for herself, but will she find the strength to pursue the only man who’s ever seen the real her?

Catching Heat

{50DF3701-7A6A-4A9D-A6F0-5C34BA51C3F1}Img100Life has taught Angie DeMarco that all baseball players are womanizers, and her incredible one-night stand with sexy San Francisco Blaze back-up catcher J.T. Sawyer seemed to prove it. Determined not to give in to their sizzling chemistry a second time, she’s kept her distance ever since, focusing on her accounting job with the team. But now she’s laid off…and pregnant.

J.T. was hurt by Angie’s rejection, but with one more year with the Blaze, he has no time for love. He needs to spend the off season training hard so he can negotiate a better contract with a new team at the end of the year. But when Angie shows up on his doorstep, he’s overwhelmed by wanting to not just do right by her but pursue a relationship with her. Hoping for a second chance, he proposes.

Angie agrees to marry J.T. on one condition: the marriage will be purely a business arrangement. But as Angie spends time with him and his family, and J.T. neglects his training to spend time with her, what begins as a union in name only slowly grows into something more–something that looks a whole lot like love and friendship.

The Winning Season

{B14B9968-68C1-45E6-B0DD-B7C3AA34F923}Img100Kelly Maxwell has finally landed her dream job as publicist for the San Francisco Blaze. But the team’s newest member, handsome bad boy catcher Matt Scanlon, is refusing every interview. She’s got to get him to open up before the season ends, or she may not be back next year. And after everything she overcame to achieve her dream, Kelly’s not about to let that happen.

Matt Scanlon just wants to be left alone to rebuild his life and his career. After a year of masking the pain of a recent loss with hard partying and fast women, he finally hit rock bottom and was traded to a team he’s loathed his entire life–a team with little to no chance at the post-season.

Butting heads is getting Kelly and Matt nowhere but annoyed, and with the team’s schedule on the road, they can’t avoid close quarters–or their surprising attraction to one another. As the season winds down, Matt finds his growing feelings for Kelly have brought his numbed emotions back to life. But when betrayal shatters their fragile trust, winning it all seems more impossible than ever.


Click here for more from Feeling the Heat!

Spotlight on HelenKay Dimon

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Are you looking for more Contemporary Romance for your eReader? You’ll definitely want to check out HelenKay Dimon! As an author for both Carina Press and Harlequin (her new book, Cornered, is out this month!), you won’t run out romances to read any times soon!

Why readers love HelenKay Dimon

“It was fun, sexy, and engaging. I finished it in one night with a big, happy sigh at the end.” –Goodreads review, It’s Not Christmas Without You

“A delightful holiday anthology with lovely, heart-warming and sexy stories” –Goodreads review, Romancing the Holiday

“I adored each character and I can’t wait wait for more of this series.” –Goodreads review, Chain of Command

More from HelenKay Dimon

The Greenway Ridge series:

Chain of Command

{E073E7AD-BEB9-41E6-8952-9559613D7BE9}Img100Book one of Greenway Range

Retired marine Sawyer Cain can’t forget all he’s seen and lost, but he can try to start over. Opening a gun range with his closest friends is the first step toward a new life–one where he finally buries the guilt he can’t seem to shake. So much depends on the property he needs to buy…and the gorgeous but completely frustrating woman who refuses to sell it.

Hailey Thorne is done–with loss and with anything military, after the closest thing she had to an uncle died in Afghanistan. When Sawyer shows up on her porch he has military written all over him. He’s one more in a long line of people who wants the land she inherited, and suddenly he’s everywhere she goes. Hailey can’t get the broad-shouldered, dirty-talking, dead-serious man out of her head. Or her life.

Sawyer’s not above using his skills in the bedroom to try to convince her to sell, and Hailey is more than willing to let him. Their pleasure-only arrangement works…until emotions get in the way. But Sawyer has a secret he’s convinced will have Hailey hating him forever, and Hailey’s not willing to risk loving anyone she could lose.

The Holloway Series:

Just What He Wanted

{C8DA3CB3-FB08-4DB1-99D3-FE2A6236877D}Img100Book four of the Holloway series

Travis Yardley thought he had everything he needed, but one look at Andrea Patterson shows him he was wrong. Andie is a gorgeous, curvy blonde who moves to town to manage a nearby campground. Seizing the chance to get close to her, Travis volunteers himself as tour guide and “bodyguard.’

After a bad breakup, Andie is looking to start over and determined to put her heart on hiatus. She’s working on her self-esteem, and she is not ready for the likes of Travis. He comes on strong, with all the energy of a guy almost ten years her junior, which is exactly what he is.

Even as Travis’s troubled past catches up with him, he pulls out all the stops to convince Andie he deserves a chance. And with the spring thaw hitting the Mountain View Resort, Andie discovers her own temperature rising whenever Travis looks her way…

Click here for more from this series!

Discover from HelenKay Dimon on her website, Facebook and Twitter!

The Fashion Items that Olivia Christakos Can’t Live Without

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What is the one fashion item that you can’t live without?

Me, I’m pretty low maintenance, but I sure love my leggings and warm boots in the wintertime. For summer, I like a loose-fitting tube top while I garden and a cowboy hat to shade my face. I also need chapstick, which isn’t exactly a fashion item, and my glasses, which make me look smarter. I also like comfy shoes for work (or all the time, really—the last time I wore heels was at my sixth grade dance) cardigans because I get cold easily.

Olivia is much more into fashion than I am. It would be difficult for me to pick just one item that she couldn’t leave behind, but if I had to choose, it would be shoes. Oh man, that girl loves her shoes. If she had fifty dollars in her purse and had to choose between groceries for a week and a new pair of shoes, she would definitely pick the shoes. She’s embarrassed by how many pairs she has.

Follow Olivia Christakos’s board Fashion Items I Can’t Live Without on Pinterest.

Her Pinterest board is full of shoes, among other things. She likes strappy heels mostly, with a girly style to them. Italian leather, animal print, and fake bling pumps…she loves them all. She also likes dresses and skirts (preferably leather, but she’d take faux leather in a pinch). She also loves designer bags, but can’t afford them. Her secret love is celebrity fashion. She doesn’t know why she cares so much, but she just loves to see what famous people are wearing. If she could pull off some of the crazy things they wear, she’d do it.

When Olivia loses her memory, though, her tastes change drastically. I think the new Olivia would probably chose a comfy old pair of jeans and ballet flats over high fashion any day. She doesn’t go for a lot of jewelry and her hair is usually pulled back in a ponytail. She does this at first because she’s confused about her relationship with Wyatt and doesn’t want him thinking that she’s dressing up for him. But after a while, she gets more comfortable and the dresses start to make an appearance again.

So what is a wardrobe staple you have to have in your life? Sweatpants? Your grandma’s ring? A headband to keep your bangs out of your face?

CARINA_0615_9781426899911_OliviaChristakosandherSecondFirstTimeMy perfect life…

True, I’m in the hospital waking up from a coma, but my loving parents and adorable boyfriend, Wyatt, are here by my side. It’s weird that I don’t remember them—thanks, amnesia! Wyatt’s an amazing person. He’s a Big Brother, volunteers at soup kitchens, delivers food to the hungry—your basic angel. Your basic filled-out-in-all-the-right-places, naughty-thoughts-inducing angel, that is.

Might be the perfect lie…

In fact, the more I get to know Wyatt the harder it is to believe he’s my boyfriend. The more I find out about my life before the accident, the more I don’t like who I used to be. I can’t understand what a guy like that—kind, considerate, generous—would see in a girl like me.

I don’t know what’s worse, living in the darkness of amnesia or discovering the despicable person I once was. But I’ve got to figure out if I have what it takes to be the person Wyatt truly deserves—before I lose my heart as well as my memories.

91,000 words

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo

Dani Irons is a teacher, mother, wife, and gardener. She shares her life with four messy guys (her husband and three sons), two heelers, twenty-five chickens, two turkeys, and a handful of quail. Her house is never very clean because she’d rather be reading or writing than picking up.


How Well Do You Know Lexi Carmichael (or How Geeky Are You?)

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By Julie Moffett, author of NO WOMAN LEFT BEHIND

To celebrate the release of the seventh book in my humorous, geeky Lexi Carmichael mystery series, NO WOMAN LEFT BEHIND, I’m offering the chance to match wits with the geek girl herself. For those of you not familiar with the series, Lexi Carmichael is a twenty-five year old geek, fangirl, gamer and hacker. She has a high IQ, but struggles with social skills and personal relationships. Being a female in a male dominated career field also makes getting the job done a lot more difficult. But by using her brains and wit, she always seems able to save the day, world, guy…whatever. Throw in a couple of sexy spies, hot secret agents, capable hackers, and cute geniuses, and life for Lexi gets really, REALLY interesting.

So, come test your knowledge with my little quiz to see if you pass the geek test. There are questions about Lexi and the gang with a couple of geeky questions thrown in for fun. Get Your Geek On!




If you score 100% — You are a True Geek (and a real Lexi fan!)

If you score 90% — You are a Geek-on-the-Edge

If you score 80% — You are a Geek-in-Training

If you score below 80% — Read some more of the Lexi Carmichael series! J

Put your score in the comments below to be entered for a signed PRINT mass market paperback copy of NO ONE LIVES TWICE. Good luck!

CARINA_0615-9781426899782_NoWomanLeftBehindMy mother’s life goal has been to see me, geek extraordinaire Lexi Carmichael, happily married. So bringing my first boyfriend, Slash, home for dinner has me hyperventilating. Things get a lot worse when bullets start flying over our corn chowder.

Now the entire alphabet soup of government agencies want my help finding the man behind the attack—Johannes Broodryk, a cyber mercenary I foiled on my last case. He wants revenge and he’s taken something of mine to ensure I’ll play, so it’s game on. But the government has its own agenda, and Slash is not on board with the plan. Things are a bit bumpy in paradise.

Although I’m more comfortable with computer code than commandos, I’ve been assigned a team of navy SEALs to help bring Broodryk down. The question is, will they survive me long enough to solve his cryptic puzzles and save the day?

Don’t miss Lexi’s first adventure in No One Lives Twice!

81,400 words

Get your copy of NO WOMAN LEFT BEHIND from Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GooglePlay | iBooks | Kobo


Julie Moffett is a bestselling author and writes in the genres of historical romance, paranormal romance and mystery. She has won numerous awards, including the prestigious 2014 HOLT Award for Best Novel with Romantic Elements, a HOLT Merit Award for Best Novel by a Virginia Author, a PRISM Award for Best Romantic Time-Travel and Best of the Best Paranormal Books of 2002, and the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Action/Adventure novel. She has also garnered additional nominations for the Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.  Follow Julie on Facebook here, or on Twitter @JMoffettAuthor, or her website at www.juliemoffett.com. Watch an interview with Julie on the Lexi Carmichael series here.

From the Editor’s Desk: Dialogue

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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. How do you make your manuscript stand out, from the query letter to the last page? 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 Rhonda Helms. Rhonda is a freelance acquisitions and developmental editor with Carina Press, where she’s worked for over 5 years. She’s actively seeking submissions in a wide variety of genres and encourages you to send your compelling reads to her. Rhonda’s here today to talk about how to make your dialogue amazing.

We’re all aware that dialogue is a vital part of a story. We get to know characters, learn key information about the plot, snicker at jokes, cringe from awkward confessions, and even swoon with romantic lines. Nailing dialogue in your manuscript can help you hook an editor, fast.

Here are my do’s and don’t’s for making sure dialogue rings true and fits the story:

  • Snip that info dump! As an editor, I see this a lot, authors using dialogue exchanges to relay information to the reader. I’ve heard people call it the “as you know, Bob” syndrome. If your characters are telling each other stuff they both already know (“As you know, Bob, our father ran away with his secretary last year”), then it’s not reading realistically. In fact, it’s kind of annoying and even weird in real life when people do this to us, right? So find a better way to layer in key story information—preferably in the narrative, and only when it’s relevant to helping us understand your current scene.
  • Watch for proper name/job title/nickname abuse. People rarely say each other’s proper names or job titles (sir, Doctor, Officer, Detective, etc.) when we’re speaking, so keep use of those sparing. And when your character is using a pet name/nickname far too often, it comes across as inauthentic and even cheesy.
  • Contractions matter. I typically see this in sci-fi, fantasy, or historical submissions, the utter lack of contractions. While it may be tempting to avoid contractions to make a character sound fancy, intelligent or foreign, more often than not it makes them sound stilted and can create awkward dialogue. Please, use contractions—love an editor. ;-)
  • Make sure your characters sound different. If we strip out your narrative, your dialogue tags, can we essentially tell who’s speaking based on your dialogue alone? There are lots of ways to help your characters feel unique—keep in mind their gender, age, location, education level, etc., and layer those distinguishing touches into their speeches. That said, think of it as seasoning. It’s easy to veer too far and make your character hard to understand or, worse, clichéd or stereotypical.
  • Careful of…overuse of…ellipses… Characters tend to drawl off, to stop and start sentences. I get it; that’s realistic. We all do it. But too many ellipses make your character sound goofy at best, and asthmatic at worst. “But…I just…love…your eyes…” It sounds like that person is drawing a deep breath every word or two. Someone give him or her an inhaler! Lol. Yes, an exaggerated example, but I do see ellipsis abuse in dialogue quite a bit.
  • Dialogue should be realistic, yes, but not boringly so. Think about how real people talk and borrow those elements, but make sure to keep your dialogue interesting and compelling and purposeful. We don’t want boring back-and-forth about how someone’s day is going, or people rambling about other things that don’t matter to your plot. And be careful about having one character go on and on without a break in the prose. People interrupt each other—how often does someone in real life actually speak for paragraphs on end without anyone else doing or saying something in response? Also, we know that people repeat themselves, or go off on tangents all the time. So use those elements in your dialogue, of course, but sparingly. Purposefully. Pepper them in, and keep that pacing tight, your narrative focused.
  • Make dialogue tags your friend—a casual friend you don’t overuse, that is. ;-) Dialogue is more than just the words being spoken. It’s the manner in which those words are spoken. It’s the facial expressions and body language of the speaker, the emotions manifesting in the body while talking. You can use dialogue tags, and the narrative around the dialogue, to convey what’s not being said in the words themselves. But be careful about repeating yourself. If a character is saying something that sounds angry, no need to also say that the person said it angrily. Trust your dialogue, and/or the way you show the anger in the character’s body language, to convey that emotion. Also, don’t be afraid to stick to a simple “said” for your tag, but if you do go beyond that into something more descriptive, don’t go overboard with it.
  • Watch for parroting/echoing dialogue. I see this so, soooo much, characters repeating each other. It slows your pacing and can even make your characters sound like they’re not that intelligent. “I washed your car,” he said. “You washed my car?” she asked. Characters don’t need to echo each other unless it’s for intentional purpose, because it can get annoying, fast. So if you use it, that’s totally fine, but I suggest you keep it very, very sparing.

Thank you for reading—we hope these tips have 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!

Enter to Win a Group Critique in New York City!

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We’re bringing our popular critique group workshop to RWA in New York City and giving you a chance to win a spot in the group!

This workshop is 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 given marked-up manuscript pages to take with them when they go.

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 from both Angela/Kerri and your peers on your work-in-progress.

Critique groups will be held concurrently on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 from 1-3p EST in New York City at an office location a five-minute walk from the RWA conference hotel, the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

At the event, each author will be allotted 20 minutes in which they will receive feedback from both 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 print out the pages and comment directly on them, so they can be handed directly to the authors after the critique session.

To enter: 

  • Visit https://carinapress.submittable.com/submit/42944 and follow the onscreen instructions to submit title, genre, target market and 150-word summary of the story you would like to have critiqued at the Critique Group.
  • We will select winners via random selection from qualifying entries on July 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)
    • Mystery (of any subgenre/niche)
    • 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 July 8, 2015:

2 chapters

A longer synopsis (~500 words recommended), 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 critique group on the date and time set above in person. Potential winners may not attend via any other means, including conference call or video chat. 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 July 8th, 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.  Sweepstakes opens 6/1/2015 at 12:01 AM (EDT) and closes 6/30/2015 at 11:59 PM (ET). Enter online at https://carinapress.submittable.com/submit/42944 (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 a critique group workshop in New York on July 23, 2015. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Full details and Official Rules available online at Promotion Website. Sponsor: Harlequin Enterprises Limited.



Infographic: Happy 5th Anniversary, Carina Press!

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Next week we celebrate 5 years since the very first Carina Press books went on sale. We’re thrilled to celebrate our anniversary with our favorite people: Carina readers and authors! So here’s a “countdown” look at how it all started and what we have to celebrate in 2015:

5 Years of Carina Press Infographic_Final


Spotlight on Action Heroes

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Do you like characters who are brave in the face of danger and have no problem standing up for themselves and the ones they love? These brave heroes and heroines will definitely catch your eye. Look below and discover the action hero of your dreams!

Deadly Strain by Julie Rowe

{A35A5F21-5B9D-4E2E-B372-EF77C1E67CD8}Img100Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob “Sharp” Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace’s most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can’t watch someone else she cares about die–but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

Midnight Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice

81M7ZdjiUQL._SL1500_ (1)When a gorgeous, bleeding woman on the run falls into the arms of Sean “Metal” O’Brien, the former SEAL medic knows just what he can do. Heal her. Tend to her. Keep her safe.

What he can’t seem to do is keep his guard up. Something about the haunted, hunted beauty knocks down all his defenses.

Felicity Ward is no stranger to secrets. Raised in the Witness Protection Program, her whole childhood was a lie. But she couldn’t have known that her family’s secrets–secrets she didn’t even know she was keeping–could spark a nuclear war.

And nothing could have prepared her for the tough, sexy warrior who first saves her life and then vows to protect it, no matter what.

No Women Left Behind by Julie Moffett

{FA5A30D4-3F1F-4272-AEFB-1624E1B2A4B8}Img100My mother’s life goal has been to see me, geek extraordinaire Lexi Carmichael, happily married. So bringing my first boyfriend, Slash, home for dinner has me hyperventilating. Things get a lot worse when bullets start flying over our corn chowder.

Now the entire alphabet soup of government agencies want my help finding the man behind the attack–Johannes Broodryk, a cyber mercenary I foiled on my last case. He wants revenge and he’s taken something of mine to ensure I’ll play, so it’s game on. But the government has its own agenda, and Slash is not on board with the plan. Things are a bit bumpy in paradise.

Although I’m more comfortable with computer code than commandos, I’ve been assigned a team of navy SEALs to help bring Broodryk down. The question is, will they survive me long enough to solve his cryptic puzzles and save the day?

Do you have a favorite action hero? Let us know in the comments below!


Spotlight on Dani Irons

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Looking for a New Adult romance to add to your summer reading list? Be sure to check out Olivia Christakos and Her Second First Time by Dani Irons–your eyes will be glued to the page! Read on for a note from the author herself and to find out more about this exciting new read!

Finding Your Genre by Dani Irons

It took me a long time to figure out what genre fit me as a writer. I started to write in YA when I was reading Sarah Dessen and had first discovered TWILIGHT. I heard about a Stephenie Meyer who, like me, who had three small boys and was able to get writing done during the day. So I decided I could too. It took me three years to get the book done, and it still wasn’t any good. The premise was interesting, I think–and unique, for sure–but the writing itself wasn’t there and some elements were just too weird to most people.

I tried stories that were a little less weird–a magical realism YA, an MG set in Kazakhstan, even a chapter book–but nothing came out the way I wanted it to. I kept trying to put in mature, adult elements in some of the younger stuff I wrote, but I didn’t think writing adult fiction suited my writing style. So when New Adult came to my attention, I thought, “Well, maybe…”

So I tried it and it fit like a glove. I love the flexibility NA has. It can be straight contemporary with a little romance or fantasy with a lot. I think it still has a long way to go, too, to develop into the genre it will end up being in a few years.

Currently, my books tend to lean toward contemporary with mild to moderate romance. But I feel I can stretch my writing muscles in the maturity department as far as I want to go. I like to be able to cuss and talk about things that are borderline taboo because I know my audience can handle it.

Sometimes it’s easier for writers to choose their genre than it was for me. I don’t remember where I heard this, but someone said if you want to know what to write, look at your nightstand. Meaning, write what you like to read. But I read everything. Chapter books, picture books, MG, fantasy, crime, thrillers, YA and memoir. So it wasn’t as easy for me to pick what I should write. Actually, it’s taken six years. But in that time, I’ve learned a lot. Sometimes I wish that I would have figured my genre out sooner, but I met a lot of different kinds of writers, learned what I did and didn’t want to do, learned some tough lessons, and felt the loss of more than half a dozen shelved books.

I try not to look back over those six years, only forward, and hope that someday that’ll get me to where I want to be as a writer.

About Olivia Christakos and Her Second First Time:

{77A58807-63D5-4521-A725-1F69FADFEAEA}Img100My perfect life…

True, I’m in the hospital waking up from a coma, but my loving parents and adorable boyfriend, Wyatt, are here by my side. It’s weird that I don’t remember them–thanks, amnesia! Wyatt’s an amazing person. He’s a Big Brother, volunteers at soup kitchens, delivers food to the hungry–your basic angel. Your basic filled-out-in-all-the-right-places, naughty-thoughts-inducing angel, that is.

Might be the perfect lie…

In fact, the more I get to know Wyatt the harder it is to believe he’s my boyfriend. The more I find out about my life before the accident, the more I don’t like who I used to be. I can’t understand what a guy like that–kind, considerate, generous–would see in a girl like me.

I don’t know what’s worse, living in the darkness of amnesia or discovering the despicable person I once was. But I’ve got to figure out if I have what it takes to be the person Wyatt truly deserves–before I lose my heart as well as my memories.

Visit Dani Irons on Twitter, Facebook and her website!