The Worst Bad Dates

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At what point would you give up on finding love? Or at least take a break from it? A handful of bad dates? Six months’ worth? A year? And how horrific would they have to be for you to finally throw in the towel and declare yourself off the market and on a break from it all?

Those were all thoughts that went through my mind when Olivia’s character from Plus One first came to me. After that, I started getting bombarded with all these absolutely horrendous dates that she’d been on. There was the cat pee guy. The plumber who discussed his work over dinner. The thirty-five year old who lived in his mother’s basement and brought porn along for their first date.

Wretched, right?

Now, I’ll admit—I’m not the authority on this subject. I’ve never really had a bad date. In my defense, I’ve been with my husband since we were wee little babies at the age of fourteen.

But still.

I hear stories—awful, horrible and (forgive me) sometimes hilarious stories—from friends who are fully immersed in the oftentimes dreadful dating scene.

But even with all these bad dates, you can’t give up hope, right? There still has to be that glimmer in your subconscious that thinks, Maybe it will be different with this one… Otherwise, everyone everywhere would have given up on dating a long, long time ago.

And, yeah, I’m a hardcore romantic, in case that wasn’t clear.

Once Olivia’s character was fleshed out completely in my mind, I wanted her to have hit rock bottom on the dating scene. To be completely fed up with the crap that goes along with it. And I wanted her to have kissed a lot of frogs before giving her a chance at her prince. (In case it wasn’t obvious, Ian is one hell of a prince.)

But I think the one thing that worked for Olivia was, even when she’d declared herself on a break from all things men and dating, in her heart, she didn’t give up. Even though she was taking a break from the true dating scene, she was open to the possibility. Of a connection. Of meeting someone when it seemed like she’d gone through the entire state population of Minnesota in her quest for her prince. Of love.

And, really, that’s what it’s all about, right?

What was your worst date? And did anything ever come of it? Post in the comments and on Wednesday I’ll pick one winner to be the happy recipient of a shiny $10 gift card to your choice of e-book retailer.


Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn’t want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can’t pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn’t expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.

When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn’t take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia’s desire to stay “just friends” becomes clear, Ian’s feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?

Plus One available for purchase at: Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Brighton bio pic Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Whether through words or pictures, she’s been weaving tales for as long as she can remember. After decades of cultivating her writing, she finally decided to give life to the voices in her head and set forth to write her first novella. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she’s not writing, she can be found with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy. She lives in the Midwest with her swoony husband and two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper. She frolics around online frequently and loves to chat, so stop by and say hi. website | twitter | facebook | pinterest | goodreads

The Yearbook Curse

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Cover, Most Likely To Succeed

Five years ago, I went to my high school reunion. During the big Saturday night dinner, we voted for the “Mosts” – Most Interesting Job, Most Kids, Traveled the Furthest Distance, etc. (I lost Most Interesting Job to the woman who designs displays for the Lego company. I couldn’t really complain.)

In any case, the “Most” voting reminded me of the awards page in the typical high school yearbook, where classmates are voted Most Likely To Succeed, Cutest Couple, and more. So of course, that set me off on a round of “what ifs” – what if the kids who’d “won” those designations found their lives turning out the exact opposite of what they thought would be?

And thus, the Yearbook Curse was born.

Most Likely To Succeed? Stuck in a dead-end job, embarrassed at her lack of success on the professional – and personal – front.

Cutest Couple? Broke up right after graduation, and haven’t seen each other since.

Life of the Party? Still hiding behind her best buddy persona and unable to let anyone see the real person inside.

And now it’s ten years later. Can their high school reunion be a chance to get back on track?


The most challenging aspect of this series, for me, is that all three novellas take place over the exact same weekend. (Can’t really have a high-school-reunion book that isn’t during that weekend, right?) So I had to find ways to have the characters interact throughout all three novellas without relying on too much repetition.

This week, the first of the three novellas comes out. Find out what happens to Kelsey, voted Most Likely To Succeed, when she has to own up to her lack of success to the person whose opinion matters most to her – Nathan, her high school lab partner (and secret crush). I hope you enjoy!

What would be your “most” if a vote were held today? Most outgoing? Most changed? Let us know in the comments!

Where to find Kate:

Twitter: @kate_davies




You can buy Most Likely To Succeed here!

Holidays in June

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That’s when I first started thinking about the holidays–in June. And technically, in terms of the publishing world, I was late! I should have been thinking about the holidays in the spring. But, well, you know…there was this small matter of this imprint we were trying to launch by June, so I was a little distracted last spring.

Once launch rolled around though, my brain automatically kicked into “what’s next” and I’m fairly certain we had only *just* launched (possibly even the same week) when I said to the team, “You know, we should really do a holiday novella collection.” Most specifically, I wanted to do a by-invitation collection of holiday novellas that could be purchased as collections as well as individually. After I’d convinced the rest of the team–okay, not that much convincing needed–my next step was to decide who I was going to invite.

Not an easy step because I’ve been fortunate to have worked with extremely talented authors over my editing career, plus I’m familiar with a whole lot of digital-first authors who I’ve never worked with but whose work I’ve long admired. But eventually I came up with a list of 11 amazing, fantastic authors that I wanted to invite. So I composed my best email, sent it out to these 11 authors and sat back to wait–more than a bit anxiously–for their replies.

Thankfully, through a mix of sheer flattery, outrageous bribery and flat out pleading, all 11 of these authors agreed to participate in our holiday collection and I’m excited to introduce their books, which are now on sale from Carina Press and various 3rd party retailers.

The collection of Winter Wishes:

A Twist on Tradition

A woman has the Christmas Eve from Hell. Two cat shifters play naughty games. And a witch brings out the beast inside the man. The magic of the season takes on a whole new meaning in these three fantastic—and festive—novellas from some of the best voices in paranormal romance.

Anthology includes:

Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend

No Angel by Vivi Andrews

Freeze Line by Moira Rogers

The His for the Holidays collection:

Spicing Up the Season

Hope brightens a bleak Edinburgh December. A man gets a second chance with his high school crush. A decade-long game of cat and mouse comes to a passionate conclusion. And Santa Claus drives a red muscle car. Heat up your holidays with this collection of four festive tales from some of the top talent in the male/male genre.

Anthology includes:

Mistletoe at Midnight by LB Gregg

Nine Lights Over Edinburgh by Harper Fox

I Heard Him Exclaim by Z.A. Maxfield

Icecapade by Josh Lanyon

A collection of Naughty and Nice contemporary holiday novellas:

‘Tis the Season for Romance

A famous singer reunites with an old flame. A couple explores their desire to be truly bound together. Newlyweds heat things up when they’re trapped indoors. And sparks fly when the lights go out. Whether you are naughty or nice, you can still get what you really want for Christmas in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Anthology includes nice novellas:

Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey

All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton

And naughty novellas:

Unwrapped by Megan Hart

Believe by Lauren Dane

Show me something novella

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Sorry, sometimes I can’t help but play with the blog titles. Earlier this week, while participating in an #askeditor chat on Twitter, someone asked if we were looking for/accepting novellas. The answer is emphatically yes and I mentioned that I’d been preparing a call for novellas.

As we plan our 2011 publication schedule, I’ve noted that we have plenty of novels (70k+), which is fantastic but we like to insert novellas into our publication schedule as well, in order to give readers access to stories that don’t involve quite the same time commitment. I’m actually a big fan of novellas myself, because they fit much more easily into my editing schedule than novels do.

So this is our official call for novellas. I did this once before, via Twitter, and we had great success from it. Right now, we’re particularly interested in seeing shorter works from 15k (nothing under that, please) to 40k. Of course we’re still very actively acquiring above 40k, but we’d love to see some novellas along with our longer submissions. We’re not seeking in a particular genre/sub-genre, so please feel free to submit both romance and non-romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy and any sub genre in between. If you’d like to target a specific editor, you can see what they’re seeking here.

Please keep in mind that we aren’t currently acquiring YA. You can find out more details of our submissions guidelines and FAQs on our website (that’s probably where you’re reading this but just in case… and submissions will be ongoing. This isn’t a limited-time call!

I should also mention that right now, everything submitted prior to October 15th has been assigned to an editor (and shortly, that will be everything submitted prior to this week) so manuscripts submitted now won’t be sitting around long waiting to be seen by an editor!

Any questions can be posted in the comments here of the blog, or on Twitter to @CarinaPress or @AngelaJames (just remember it’s easy for us to miss @ replies there so if we don’t respond, you might comment here instead). And you have full permission to forward the text of this post and use it on any forum or blog you think might be interested. I look forward to seeing your submissions!