Not your usual copy meeting

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It was an ordinary Thursday morning and six people gathered around an inauspicious conference table to workshop cover copy changes for a number of upcoming Carina Press titles. Some have had coffee, some not so much. But this is more or less how the conversation goes in the first five minutes:

“We could go with ‘save the girl, squash the chupacabra.’”

“Squash, tackle, I feel equally enthusiastic about those words.”

“Are we JUST squashing the chupacabra or…?” *

The chupacabra in question was a reference to an upcoming Ricardo Sanchez book, “Bigfoot Blues”(on sale in May 2015!). Discussion on this particular line of copy continued and more edits were put on the table. Minutes later, the chupacabra and the final back cover copy were put to bed.

The mood in the room is generally relaxed and humour-filled. For an hour, the team goes through five to six upcoming titles, usually varying genres, to make sure the tone of the book is reflected on the copy. Also, I mean, where else can we have conversations like this?

“I’m not sure how I feel about ‘more than a notch on his bedpost’. Do people still say that?”

“What do people say? A swipe on his Tinder?”

“More than just a hookup?”

“More than just a meatsuit.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why Carina Press cover copy meetings are perfection.

*No chupacabras were harmed in the creation of this blog post.
Patty Anasco (@pattyanasco) is Site Operations Manager for and a member of the Carina Press Acquisitions team.

What Keeps You Safe?

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By Alyssa Cole, author of RADIO SILENCE

Everyone has that special item that they tuck in a purse pocket, perch on their desk or drape over the foot of their bed. You know, that seemingly insignificant thing that somehow wards off any bad guys, bogeymen, or ne’er-do-wells who might try to do you harm. It could be as cliché as a rabbit’s foot or, if you’re religious, a rosary. For others, it might be a blanket passed down from one generation to the next. The Peanuts gang always made fun of Linus for his security blanket, but even as adults we hang onto those things that make us feel protected and loved.

My own personal talisman was a camping axe; I slept with it beside my pillow for several years of solo apartment dwelling (and that one time I had the creepy roommate who opened my door and watched me sleep. Tip: never trust Craigslist for electronics or living partners.). I’d picked it up before my first big camping trip, just in case I had to show some stray bear that he’d chosen the wrong tent to raid (N.B.: a bear would have used my mini axe for a toothpick after eating me, but such is the power of a talisman that I thought I could ward one off). My friends thought my choice in sleeping partners was weird, but as a woman living alone, my little axe gave me just enough peace of mind to get some much needed shut-eye every night. I never had to use it, thank goodness, but its presence lulled me into the belief that it would keep away anyone who might go bump in the night.

In Radio Silence, my heroine Arden and her best friend John flee their college town in the aftermath of an unknown cataclysmic event. They have a long hike ahead of them and they must pack light. One of the only items Arden carries with her is her Louisville Slugger, a gift from her dad when she moved across the country to attend school. She hopes that it can keep her and John safe; unfortunately, she is wrong. Luckily for her, John’s brother Gabriel intervenes when they are attacked, kicking off a contentious relationship that evolves from disdain to desire.

I’ve revealed my security blanket, and Arden’s as well. Now it’s your turn! List your lucky charm in the comments for the chance to win your very own Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

9781426899638-COVNo one expects the apocalypse.

Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety.

When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.

No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

Book one of the Off the Grid series

Get your copy of RADIO SILENCE at Carina Press or your favorite ebook retailer:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC life and island-paced life in the Caribbean. Her recent releases include the historical romance shorts Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight (Scottish medieval ) and Be Not Afraid (Revolutionary War).

Connect with Alyssa!
Website | Twitter | Facebook

What We Want—Male/Male!

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Carina Press has been a proud publisher of male/male fiction for almost five years now—and we’re eager for more! Here are some details on the types of male/male books our editors are looking to acquire.

Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • Mismatched heroes—think lawyers with bikers or professional dancers.
  • Adult or new adult male/male romance featuring heroes falling in love while in high-stakes competition with each other–on sports teams, for the same college internship, or for a big promotion at the hospital where they work.
  • Dark, angsty male/male romance with high stakes and series potential.
  • Male/Male historical erotic romance.
  • Raw, badass antiheroes, like mercenaries or assassins.

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • M/M erotic romance featuring people of color—series welcome!
  • A deliciously funny m/m romantic comedy.
  • An m/m gothic romance, dark and emotional and intense.

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • M/M military romantic suspense with a high level of action and intense sexual tension.

  • Sports-themed contemporary m/m romance with strong external and internal conflict.

  • New Adult m/m romance with a virgin hero.

Submit your male/male manuscripts to Carina Press now, right here!

The Carina Press team looks back on 2014 (with GIFs!)

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Hey, 2014. We kinda miss you. For this first ‘getting to know your team’ post, I asked a few folks from the Carina Press Acquisition team to share some of their favourites from 2014.

Jenny Bullough
Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Assets
“As a longtime fan of Chris Pratt (on Parks & Recreation) I’ve been overjoyed to see 2014 turned into The Year of Pratt. Between his voice work in The Lego Movie and his starring role as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, millions of others have finally jumped on the Pratt bandwagon – which is great, because it means MORE PRATT in 2015!!”

Margot Mallinson, Copy Editor, Editorial

“I haven’t been able to get over Disney’s Frozen, mainly because my 4-year-old still occasionally bursts into song. So my life is still filled with Frozen, Frozen covers, Frozen parodies… and that’s okay, because—have you seen the movie? It’s really quite good. And the songs are catchy.”

Brendan Flattery, Assistant Manager, Digital Commerce

“Scientology aside, Beck’s new album after 6 years was a highlight for me.”

Malle Vallik, Director, Editorial Digital Initiatives
“Jane the Virgin. This delightful, charming show reveals how to write the modern virgin, add in a Presents worthy hero and telenovella drama!”

Mine personally was Benedict Cumberbatch’s Ice Bucket Challenge because of ALL THE ‘BATCHES! What was yours?

Patty Anasco is a part of the Carina Press Acquisition team and is Manager, Site Operations for Want to know more about the CP team? Tweet us at @carinapress and use the hashtag #CPinsider to ask your questions. Patty (@pattyanasco) will keep an eye out!

What We Want—New Adult Romance!

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Happy New Year! Carina Press is always excited and proud to publish wonderful, genre-crossing New Adult fiction—some of which you’ll see above—and we’re looking for more in 2015! Here are some details on the types of New Adult books our editors are looking to acquire.

Angela James, Editorial Director, would like to see:

  • New adult heist caper and romance. (I’d actually take a heist story in any age range, but this is a good place to start!)
  • A spy or military-set suspense new adult romance.
  • New adult-set male/male romance, particularly deeply emotional or angsty romances. Would also love to see a story that is super sexy or even erotic.
  • Dark new adult romance that deals with the darker side of obsession, jealousy, possessiveness and discovering sexuality and kink.

Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, would like to see:

  • New Adult romantic suspense—sons and daughters swept up into dark family businesses, military heroes and heroines, nonstop action combined with traditional NA themes.
  • Super sexy New Adult set outside of college campuses. Supremely alpha heroes preferred.
  • New Adult mysteries or NA novels with mysterious elements

Rhonda Helms, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • Diverse New Adult romance—LGBTQ, people of color, multicultural.
  • Edgy, intense, emotional contemporary New Adult romance.
  • Non-contemporary New Adult with strong characters, emotion, resonant romance.

Deborah Nemeth, Freelance Editor, would like to see:

  • New Adult with multicultural and interracial couples. African-American heroes, Latina heroines, Bollywood romances…

  • New Adult featuring heroes or heroines in uniform, including m/m, contemp and suspense.

Submit your new adult manuscripts to Carina Press now, right here!

Welcome Elizabeth Harmon, Caitlin Sinead and Alyssa Cole to Carina Press!

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This February we’re welcoming three new authors to Carina Press. Elizabeth Harmon, Caitlin Sinead and Alyssa Cole are here to introduce themselves and their fantastic forthcoming books! Comment on this post for a chance to win one of three sets of all three books when they release next month! Sweepstakes ends 11:59pm ET, January 31, 2015. Open to US/CAN residents, excluding QC. Full rules HERE.

Elizabeth Harmon, author of PAIRING OFF

The first time I laced on a pair of figure skates, it was the start of a love that’s lasted all my life. Though I never reached the Olympic podium—or any podium for that matter—the beauty and athleticism of figure skating leaves me in awe.  I also love the romance of it, especially when I watch a man and woman skating two as one, the essence of pair skating.

To capture that emotion was my goal when I wrote my debut novel, PAIRING OFF. The story of Carrie and Anton not only depicts the challenge of training to compete on the world’s biggest stage, the Winter Olympics, it’s also the story of a pairs figure skating duo who fall in love despite their differences.

Since I love fish out water stories, I decided to take my all-American heroine out of her comfort zone (and mine!) and drop her into the country best known for champion pair skating, Russia. Getting to know more about Russia…and Russians was a blast.  It was also fun to present that world and a sexy Russian hero, in a slightly different way.  “Pairing Off” is humorous and heartfelt.  And hot, especially when Anton and Carrie dive in for a late night skinny dip in a deserted swimming pool.

PAIRING OFF is the first installment in my debut Carina series, Red Hot Russians. I’m very excited to share three handsome heroes who know how to warm up the coldest nights, and show their heroines that in any language, love is a beautiful thing.

9781426899508-COVPAIRING OFF (available February 2, 2015)

American figure skater Carrie Parker’s Winter Games dreams were dashed when her philandering partner caused one of the greatest scandals in skating history. Blacklisted from competing in the United States, her career is over…until she receives a mysterious invitation and is paired with the most infuriating, talented—and handsome—skater she’s ever met.

Russian champion Anton Belikov knows sacrifice. He gave up a normal life and any hope of a meaningful relationship to pursue his dream. And he’s come close—with a silver medal already under his belt, the next stop is the gold. All he needs is a partner. While he’s never forgotten the young American skater he seduced one long-ago night in Amsterdam, he never expected to be confronted with their past…never mind share the ice with her.

When what starts as a publicity stunt grows into something real, Carrie and Anton’s partnership will test their loyalties to family, country and each other. With only a few months to train for the competition of a lifetime, can they master technique and their emotions, or will they lose their footing and fall victim to the heartaches of their pasts?


Preorder your copy now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


Connect with Elizabeth!

Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Caitlin Sinead, author of HEARTSICK

When I found out Carina Press wanted to publish my debut novel, I did a rather awkward, but very fun, happy dance. I couldn’t believe it. And now that we’re so close to the release date, I’m pinching myself even more!

I got the idea for HEARTSICK two years ago, but it has changed a lot since its original inception. Initially, I wanted to set the story in a small town that had been quarantined for a few years. Eventually, though, I decided that the start of the quarantine would be more interesting.

I didn’t set out to write a contemporary romance, but I love heavy romantic subplots, so I knew Quinn would also be falling in love. And after each revision, Quinn and Luke’s story become more and more prominent. I’ve surprised myself several times because on the 23rd, 48th, and 67th reads of certain scenes, I still get all giddy over their interactions.

While their relationship is a large aspect of the novel, the story also involves a mystery and speculative elements. I like to think there’s a little something for everyone. I’m very excited to share it with readers!

9781426899607-COVHEARTSICK (available February 16, 2015)

Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that’s before she meets Luke, a hot townie who’s moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it’s before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people’s eyes purple.

Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?
Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?
Is it the mark of the devil?

Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he’s kept carefully hidden. That he’s so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn’t a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle.


Preorder your copy now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


Connect with Caitlin!

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Alyssa Cole, author of RADIO SILENCE

Like most writers, I draw inspiration from both the world around me and the dark, creepy recesses of my mind. Radio Silence was written during a time when preparing for the Apocalypse was becoming a kind of trend—there was even a reality show! I found the whole thing interesting, because preparing for disaster had always been a part of my life. When I was a kid, I enjoyed collecting flashlights and Swiss Army knives, just in case. As an adult, friends made fun of me for my purse that was always stuffed with basically anything you could need in an emergency situation. In a way, preparing for the worst is a way of warding it off. But what if the Apocalypse, or something just as world changing, actually happened? How would people deal with the loss of creature comforts like Internet and cell phones, and the things that have become basic human rights, like clean water and access to food? What would you do if you were separated from your family, and how would you adapt to being thrown into an uncomfortable situation? Arden, the heroine, is a tough cookie, but she’s also just a girl who is worried to death about her parents. Gabriel is a smart, capable hero, but his main objective is keeping his family safe and happy. Radio Silence is a romance about finding laughter, hope, and love in the face of an uncertain future.

9781426899638-COVRADIO SILENCE (available February 2, 2015)

No one expects the apocalypse.

Arden Highmore was living your average postgrad life in Rochester, New York, when someone flipped the “off” switch on the world. No cell phones, no power, no running water—and no one knows why. All she and her roommate, John, know for sure is that they have to get out, stat. His family’s cabin near the Canadian border seemed like the safest choice.

It turns out isolation doesn’t necessarily equal safety.

When scavengers attack, it’s John’s ridiculously handsome brother, Gabriel, who comes to the rescue. He saves Arden’s life, so he can’t be all bad…but he’s also a controlling jerk who treats her like an idiot. Now their parents are missing and it seems John, Gabriel, their kid sister, Maggie, and Arden are the only people left alive who aren’t bloodthirsty maniacs.

No one knows when—or if—the lights will come back on and, in the midst of all that, Arden and Gabriel are finding that there’s a fine line indeed between love and hate. How long can they expect to last in this terrifying new world, be it together or apart?

Book one of Off the Grid


Preorder your copy now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo


Connect with Alyssa!

Twitter | Website

Confessions of a Resolution Junkie

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I have a confession to make, Carina Press readers. I’m a resolution junkie: making no less than 3 resolutions a year, I venture out and try a few new things—some dubious, some really, really fun. (And speaking of fun things: one year, my resolution was to get onto a TV show, and true enough, ended up getting into Canadian Idol auditions—that was both terrifying AND AMAZING #truefact.) But unfortunately, one thing or the other often sidetracks me from my goals and those once-exciting plans are forgotten.

BUT! I am determined to break that streak, readers, and I’m not only here to help myself but to help YOU. Do you want to read more in the New Year? Write more? Shop more responsibly? Play Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood less? (It gets addictive really quickly, amiright?) I have JUST the tools to help you succeed in 2015.

Do you have dreams of being a kajillionaire?—both the app and the website—provides you with tools to stay on budget and plan for your future! Free to download and sign up, they provide you with budgeting advice, investment information and, bonus, colorful graphs to tell you how much you REALLY spent last month at Starbucks. There is nowhere to hide, friends.

Do you want to write more? The internet is chock-full of writing resources but I love, love, love Hanx Writer (created by Tom Hanks himself); not only because of the typewriter interface and sounds, but it’s also easy to use and get lost in.

Do you want to learn new skills? Duolingo and (both free, iOS and Android) have made learning new languages fun and achievable. Codecademy (free, browser) will help you learn how to code that first website or app all by yourself.

Do you want to make sure you can stay motivated throughout the year? Lift (free, iOS and Android) promises to “help you reach your goals.” With a number of categories you can choose from, you can get prompts from goal “coaches,” get support from the Lift community of users and easily keep yourself accountable throughout the year. No excuses.

So, are you ready for 2015 yet? I know I am! What are your go-to apps and sites that help keep you motivated?


Patty Anasco (@pattyanasco) is Assistant Manager, Website Operations for and a member of the Carina Press Acquisition team.

Holiday Travel Survival Guide from the Carina Press Team

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While we at Carina Press are wrapping up 2014 in a nice and tidy bow before the holidays start, we haven’t quite talked about the amazing, crazy and sometimes challenging period called “Holiday Travel Season”.

Our fearless leader, Angela James, has documented proof that the very best planned itineraries don’t often go smoothly.

So what do you do to maintain your holiday cheer in the midst of travel delays? Or how do you ensure road trips don’t get sidelined? Here are some tips from the Carina Press team (a.k.a. your holiday travel experts) to help survive the season!

“Put any liquids in Ziplock bags – spills in suitcases happen!” – Amy Loosemore (@amy_loosemore), new homeowner and packing expert!

“Wear festive gear if you can get away with it. Last year, a reindeer headband got me a business upgrade for free!” – Patty Anasco (@pattyanasco), holiday cheer-leader

“If travelling by car, assume the trip will take twice as long as you think, due to weather and/or traffic. Plan to leave early and kill time sightseeing if necessary.” – Jenny Bullough (@jennybullough), road warrior

“(For airport delays) Make sure you talk to a rep and be super nice and see if you can get a free hotel stay or free meal vouchers. Oh and make sure your Kindle/ebook reader is fully loaded with books beforehand.” – Carly Chow (@carly_chow), world traveler

And speaking of books, heed Carly’s advice and make sure you plan ahead for your holiday reads starting today! Here are a few recommendations to keep you entertained on that trip back home:

  1. The Season for Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set – Three holiday themed stories to keep you in the spirit of the season during your travels. Only $0.99 until January 2, 2015!!
  2. A Christmas Reunion by Susanna Fraser – A romance set in regency England, Susanna Fraser tells us about a romance between a soldier of the British Army and a lady engaged to someone else. It’s a compelling read even while under an airline blanket.
  3. All I’m Asking For: A Contemporary Christmas Anthology featuring stories by Christi Barth, Brighton Walsh and Kat Latham – Last year’s anthology will warm your heart wherever you are.

We’re sending positive vibes that your holiday travel is on schedule and filled with free meals and seat upgrades! And may your road trips be filled with scenic routes and open highways!

Now it’s over to you, dear reader. What are the best holiday travel tips you’ve received?

Carina Press Team Share Their Favorite Holiday Moments

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The holiday season is upon us, and what better what to spend the festive season than doing the things we love with those we care about. The Carina Press team has come together to share some of their favorite holiday moments.


Angela James, Editorial Director, Carina Press

2012-12-25 10.34.42 I like presents as much as the next girl, but my absolute favorite part of the holidays is the traditions we’ve established since my now 10-year-old daughter was 3. For the past seven years, we’ve created traditions that she already loves and enjoys every year. On Christmas Eve, we all go as a family to a nearby town and ride the “train” through the park, where a giant light display is set up. From there, we go out to dinner as a family, then sprinkle reindeer food on the front lawn for Santa’s reindeer (recipe here) and put out milk and cookies and a letter to Santa. Every year, my daughter and I wear matching Christmas pajamas to bed and then wear them when we open our stockings and gifts on Christmas Day! On Christmas morning, we have homemade monkey bread and mimosas (for the adults), open gifts, and then play board games together in the evening, after a special dinner of prime rib.  I love our traditions!


Kerri Buckley, Senior Editor, Carina Press

My college friends and I do  a crafty Christmas, meaning we exchange only handmade gifts. Always on “Friends Christmas Morning,” always the day after a massive rager of a holiday party in NYC.

It’s highly secretive and usually one concept per person, produced on a small scale. In other words, everyone makes one craft and makes enough for everyone. The circle has grown to include spouses and kids, as you do, but we’ve been going strong with this since 2004. It’s always a lot of work, sometimes a hysterical misfire, but usually just a really good time with a lot of thought behind it.

Ana Luxton, Marketing Director, Single Titles

ana holidayMy favorite part of the holiday season is the tradition of St. Nicholas. In Many European countries, on the night of December 5th kids shine up their boots and leave them by the front door for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts and treats overnight. At the same time, he checks up on the children to see if they were good, polite and helpful over the last year. If they were not, St. Nicholas will have a tree branch in their boots instead. My husband and I have started this tradition with our kids and I love seeing how excited they get and how seriously they take it.


Heather Goldberg, Marketing Coordinator, Carina Press

ChanukahThough I don’t celebrate Christmas, few things get me in the holiday spirit as much as the first playing of Josh Groban’s Drummer Boy. I reserve listening to this until that first day when it’s so cold that there’s no denying that winter is on its way.

My favorite Chanukah moments are gathering with loved ones to light the chanukiya, followed by eating crispy latkes and sweet soufganiyot.



Alissa Davis, Freelance Editor

101My favorite part of the holidays is when my little girl and my husband dance together in our local production of The Nutcracker. Last year, when Virginia turned four and was finally old enough to get cast as a party guest, my husband agreed to play Drosselmeier. Virginia strutted around like a peacock in her party dress, telling all of the big girls that Herr Drosselmeier was really her daddy. When the holidays rolled around this year, Virginia was quick to inform Jeff that this was their holiday tradition and that he had to be Drosselmeier again. I suspect he’s stuck in the role until Virginia graduates from high school, so it’s lucky that he’s both a good sport and a daddy who really does enjoy dancing with his little girl.



Jenny Bullough, Manager, Digital Assets

There’s a word in Danish, hygge, (pronounced like an old-timey car horn sound), that has no direct English translation but that succinctly sums up everything I love about the holiday season. Put simply, hygge is the warm, cozy feeling of being surrounded by loved ones enjoying good food and drink and conversation. During the parts of the holiday season that are stressful – shopping in crowded malls, driving in bad weather – I look forward to the times that will be hygge: Christmas dinner at my mom’s, cuddling up with my kids on the couch watching classic holiday movies, having hot cocoa after playing in the snow.


Malle Vallik, Editorial Director, Author Engagement

My favorite part of the holiday season are gingerbread cookies. My mother did not bake but she made these every year and despite the fact that they were usually burned, I liked them. True story: my mother heard this weird noise in the house in my brother’s room (he was about 7). She investigated but didn’t see him in the bedroom, then she heard the loud sound again coming from the closet. She found him inside, with a glass of milk, hammering her cookies into smaller pieces to eat. Yes, the cookies were that hard.


Brendan Flattery, Assistant Manager, Digital Commerce

My favorite part of the holidays is breakfast on Christmas morning. Every year we slowly rouse, open a few gifts then make crepes with fresh fruit, freshly whipped cream, chocolate and other delicious toppings, enjoy Bailey’s in our coffee and/or a mimosa (or two!), and generally relax before opening the rest of the gifts. Spending time with the people I love, truly enjoying our holiday from work and the day-to-day, and eating/drinking our favorite things.


Patty Anasco, Assistant Manager, Website Operations

Gingerbread022The Digital team runs a gingerbread house competition each year. These have been the highlight of my time at Harlequin and honestly, it gets more fun every year! The other competitors get really into it so we constantly have to up our game…and this year is no different!

Watch for Patty’s monthly blog posts that will take you behind-the-scenes of day-to-day operations at Carina Press, starting in January.


Jennifer Gould, Designer

My favourite part of the holiday season is watching ‘A Christmas Story’. It is a hilarious tradition that we have kept up every single year since its 1983 release in the theatres.

From all of us to all of you, we wish you and yours all the best for a happy and healthy season of celebration and a wonderful year ahead. 


Favorite Part of the Holidays

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By Shannon Stacey and Jaci Burton

The backstory… When asked to do a joint blog post about our favorite holiday things, Jaci and I agreed. We diligently added it to our calendars and I set up a reminder on my phone, imagining a work session involving a Word document and possibly bullet points. But, as best friends, Jaci and I have chatted every morning with Messenger and coffee for years, so it simply became a conversation. —Shannon

The following conversation takes place between 10:00am and 11:00am… cue ominous clock sound.(Sorry. Jaci and I are both 24 fans, too, which has nothing to do with the holidays.)

Jaci:  So hey, Shan, it’s the holiday season. Is your tree up yet?

Shannon:  Not yet. We have a fake tree and it’s stored in the basement. I was thinking of just throwing some decorations on it and we can have Christmas morning in the cellar this year.

Jaci:  Sounds good to me. Since our kids are grown and gone, we have a one foot Christmas tree with fiber optic lights. And three ornaments. It’s worse than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but hey, it works for us. But it plays music! Bonus points for that, right?

Shannon: Of course! I would have to hack into it so it plays Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” over and over and over and over.

Jaci: As long as we can also add Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” to the loop. Sorry, I’m a traditionalist

Shannon:  Okay, so our favorite things about the holiday season…mine’s the food. It’s always the food.

Jaci:  I love holiday food. Turkey and dressing, of course. I can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year. And I love rum balls during the holidays. My favorite, though, has to be pie. Every year I make a chocolate cream pie and a coconut cream pie, recipes from my mother-in-law, who made the best pies ever. What’s your favorite holiday food?

Shannon:  It’s no secret I can’t really cook. And by “can’t really”, I mean not at all. But I do have three fun, very-bad-for-you dishes I only make for the holidays. Cracker Candy, using the recipe from our editor, Angela James, is a huge hit with my family. And we all gather for a Christmas morning breakfast, to which I bring Sausage Balls (also one of Angie’s recipes) and Crack Potatoes. They started as a way to make sure I got a delicious (naughty) Christmas breakfast despite my egg allergy and have become my “signature dishes”. (People who know me well just snickered.)

Jaci:  I also make cracker candy and sausage balls. Yummy stuff. Clearly, we both like food during the holidays.

Shannon:  I also love presents, but I don’t love wrapping them. Gifts from me tend to look like they were wrapped by drunken elves and the recipients have to gnaw their way through the excess tape. What about you?

Jaci:  I love buying gifts during the holiday season. It gives me such joy, though I think the UPS man hates me the entire month of December because boxes come to my house every day. Though really, shouldn’t he be enjoying those overtime paychecks? But wrapping. Oh, I hate the wrapping. Gift bags are your friend, Shan.

Shannon:  My UPS guy actually asked me one year if I could make lists and shop once a week instead of making him stop by every day in December.

Jaci: Hahaha. Poor UPS men. I feel kind of bad for them in December.

9781426898969_p0_v14_s260x420Intermission:  About five minutes of Shannon watching an old repeat of Keeping Up With the Kardashians while Jaci chats with her son on the phone. Then more minutes of talking about our kids while Shannon thinks about the slice of leftover pizza in the fridge.

Shannon:  Okay. One of the best parts of the holidays is, of course, holiday romances! Have you read your first one yet?

Jaci:  The first holiday romance I read was yours, actually. I loved Her Holiday Man. It was sweet and emotional and really tugged at my heartstrings. The story between Christina and Will—the hardships they both faced in life and how they fought through them together, was the perfect touch of tender, heartbreaking emotion and uplifting romance. I loved it.

Shannon:  Aww, thank you. (I inserted the little emoticon guy who’s crying into the conversation here, and then we commented on the fact he looks like he has a runny nose, which is a little gross.) I have your Holiday On Ice ready to read, but my first holiday read of 2014 was The Twelve Nights of Christmas, a Harlequin Presents by Sarah Morgan I somehow missed in 2010. So recommended! And, speaking of holiday reads, we both have a box set of holiday novellas this year. Tell me about yours!

Jaci:  I know, how exciting is that? My Kent Brothers Trilogy is now available as a boxed set. Three brothers, three holiday novellas, all together in one easy-to-buy boxed set. What about yours?

Shannon:  I love connected novellas, and I loved your Kent Brothers, so everybody should grab that boxed set if they haven’t! Mine is The Season For Love: A Shannon Stacey Holiday Box Set and has “Holiday Sparks”, “Mistletoe and Margaritas”, and “Snowbound With The CEO”. My novellas each stand alone, but they’re all fun Christmas romances.

Jaci:  Okay, I have to go let the dogs out–Hey, now that we’re totally in the holiday spirit, we should put antlers on our dogs. Or no?

Shannon:  Yes! I’m going to add Christmas dog antlers to my shopping list right now. (Poor UPS guy.) I’ll skip the cat antlers, though. They have no sense of humor.

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About the authors:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Jaci Burton and Shannon Stacey would probably get more done if they spent less time talking to each other, but good friends are a precious gift, especially during the holiday season.

Jaci’s Website/Twitter/Facebook

Shannon’s Website/Twitter/Facebook