Reproduced with permission…… Rhonda Helms | April 1st, 2013

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Hello, everyone! It’s that time of the year for our editors to do a round-up of what we’d love in our inboxes. Of course, our standard disclaimer applies: PLEASE note that in the end, what we really want is a good story, so even if yours doesn’t fit the descriptions below, don’t hesitate to send it to us anyway! Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we get it in our inbox. That said, here we go:

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

Meredith Giordan: I love being transported to another time or world when I read so I’d love to see SF, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and steampunk with great world building and interesting mythology and historicals set in any time period and setting but especially Ireland; Tudor, Restoration, Victorian, or Edwardian Britain; or Colonial America. I’m a huge fan of old stories told in new ways so whether it’s a contemporary take on Cupid and Psyche, a paranormal retelling of the Lady of Shalott, or a steampunk Rapunzel, I’m dying to read it. I’m also looking for contemporary new adult, terrifying horror, anything with spies as the hero and/or heroine, dark/gothic historical, and paranormal or urban fantasy featuring a supernatural heroine and human (at least for now) hero.

Megan Records:

  • Tortured heroes. I will never tire of them, especially ex-military heroes with war wounds.
  • Dark paranormals with fantastic worldbuilding. Make me want to camp out for a theme park of your universe. I’d love a world with enough depth to support 3 or more books. All creatures welcome! Just make them feel fresh. I’m a bit tired of the apprentice trope (hero/heroine discovers magical abilities and spends time training), but other than that I am totally open.
  • Flirty, fun contemporaries. Think Carly Phillips. I really like reunion stories or best friend-to-lover stories.
  • Historicals with unconventional elements: unusual settings, main characters with uncommon jobs/roles, lower classes, etc. I do still like traditional historicals as well, especially Scottish ones.
  • Steampunk with a strong romance arc.
  • In the end, I’m looking for something awesome. Something I didn’t even know I wanted until I read it. Something that makes me stay up too late and then wake up early so I can tell someone about it.

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

  • New Adult! I’m especially looking for those that feature paranormal, suspense, or steampunk elements.
  • I’d love, love, love to find a romantic suspense or contemporary romance that’s set amongst the Amish (non-inspirational)—like Witness or Karen Harper’s romantic suspense series.
  • Psychics – Especially if you have psychic FBI agents or members of a special government agency…
  • I adore quirky characters. Nerdy/dorky heroines or heroes. Funny relatives. Etc.
  • Gritty thrillers.
  • Romantic suspense.
  • Historical Mysteries. Especially those with a gothic atmosphere.
  • Historical Westerns
  • “Band of Brother” type series. Examples would be Nora Roberts’s trilogies, Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters, or J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. Where an emphasis is on the building of multiple characters’ relationships.
  • Stories with unique worlds/setting, including, but not limited to: steampunk, post-apocalyptic, futuristic sci-fi, and urban fantasy.

Melissa Johnson: Melissa continues to look for books with characters who fascinate and challenge each other. She’d love them to be part of a fleshed-out world, whether fantasy, historical or contemporary, and she loves when the story and characters reveal interesting subcultures. Lately she’s been wanting to see an uptight and restrained hero who learns how to let loose a bit from the heroine, also a heroine from a humble background who rises to a position of power and blends her world with that of a powerful hero.

Tina Burns: I’m open to almost any genre, both romance and non-romance (incl. GLBT). Specifically I’d love to work on a Dystopion or Post-Apocolyptic series (romance or not) and really enjoy New Adult and Speculative Fiction (incl. AnyPunk, Alternate History, Alternate Reality, etc). I love unique stories and twists on the norm. I’m looking for flawed but redeemable characters that punch me in the gut and linger long after I’m done reading. At the same time I’m a sucker for a good boy/girl next door, beta hero, and LOL Romantic Comedy.

Elizabeth Bass: I’m a sucker for a well-paced story with memorable characters, no matter what genre. But I would especially love to read a gripping police procedural/thriller with a complex detective anchoring the story, with series potential. Also, I’m always looking for a creepy horror novel involving mutant critters, zombies, or really scary (not romantic) supernatural beings. (Some of my favorite horror authors are Brian Keene, Sarah Pinborough, and Sarah Langan.) I enjoy historical romances of all eras, but especially ones with World War (I or II) settings, Western historicals, and historicals involving actual events/people. I’d also love to see a good mash-up, such as a time travel-police procedural—think Life on Mars—or a horror-historical. Nothing makes me happier than when an author takes an offbeat idea and then knocks it out of the ballpark.

Jeff Seymour: I’ve been having a great run of speculative fiction with queer elements, and I’d love to see it continue. I’m also looking for “pure” spec fic (love stories lovely, but not necessarily books that follow romance conventions), and I’d love to get a keep-the-lights-on scary horror story. And as always, anything with not-your-average hero/heroine characters, unpredictable plotting, and polished prose.

Bryon Quertermous: I’m new so I’m looking to acquire just about anything. I have a particular hankering for romantic heist novels, pulpy erotic fiction (like the old Nightstand/Midwood paperbacks), and a big pulpy space opera romance like Star Wars without the family squick. I’m also always interested in quality post-modern contemporary romance and quirky crime fiction or science fiction.

Deb Nemeth: I’m looking for fresh voices from authors who’ll write multiple books in the same genre to build their readership. I enjoy a wide range of tone and content—from romantic comedy to dark and angsty reads—but whatever the genre, I’m drawn to flawed, strongly motivated characters and high-stakes conflict. In my favorite stories, the protagonists have to suffer before winning their true love or saving the world. I’m crazy about exotic settings—I’d love to get a series set in Asia—and I enjoy multicultural characters and m/m fiction. Here’s a sampling of my wish list:

  • High-octane romantic suspense and thrillers
  • Sweeping historical romance in any period, especially British, European, Asian
  • Steampunk (especially Victorian/Edwardian), Renaissance-era clockpunk, and interwar period dieselpunk
  • Brain-teasing mysteries with a strong hook, a unique detective and series potential
  • Contemporary romance with a strong voice, sparkling dialogue and intense conflict
  • SFF, particularly epic/high fantasy and futuristic suspense

Gina Bernal: If you follow this blog (or me on Twitter), you know I love romance of all subgenres, from sweet to spicy. I’m always on the lookout for unusual historicals (whether in setting, theme or character), high-emotion contemporaries, and paranormal or fantasy romances showcasing strong world building or unique universes. Specifically, I’ve been craving lush settings like renaissance Italy or an atmospheric gaslight fantasy. Help me get over TV’s Army Wives jumping the shark with a compelling military domestic drama. I would also love to see a fresh take—whether historical or contemporary—on the classic marriage-of-convenience trope. In the world of non-romance, I’m seeking urban fantasy with larger than life protagonists, Criminal Minds-like psychological thrillers (seriously, freak me out!), and medieval-esque fantasy with lots of intrigue. I’d be eager to acquire a strong historical mystery where the heroine/sleuth is a woman who breaks the conventions of her time.

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

  • Tortured heroes. If he’s scarred or traumatized, he might be perfect for me!
  • Reunion romance. I’d love to see submissions where our hero or heroine returns home and falls for an old flame.
  • Interesting settings.
  • Foodie romance. In these books, food or cooking plays a pivotal role in the love story.
  • Forced proximity situations that lead to love. Whether it’s a historical where the heroine is blackmailing the hero or a contemporary with a hero who has a love/hate relationship with his sick child’s doctor, I love books where the characters are stuck with each other.
  • Erotic romance, menage, BDSM, etc. Turn up the heat!
  • Heroes or heroines with blue collar occupations.
  • Fantasy romance with amazing worldbuilding.
  • Professional rivalry/conflict. Got two heroes with competing restaurants or two swimmers up for the same scholarship? Send them my way!
  • My list is low on contemporary romance, and I’m looking for authors with a strong contemporary voice.
  • I’m on the hunt for a New Adult submission with a voice that grabs me from the first paragraph. I’d particularly like Contemporary New Adult, but I’d also be glad to see other sub-genre combos like New Adult with paranormal elements, etc

Angela James: 

  • I’m still looking for submissions in my made-up “contemporary crack” genre. These submissions should be contemporary romance, be a little over the top in some way, and have a strong author voice.
  • I’m also still looking for New Adult in the contemporary romance genre. I’ve only got one author in this genre, so it’s of particular interest to me.
  • I’m currently particularly interested in 65k+ erotic romance submissions.
  • As always, I have ongoing interest in any sports-themed romance (any sport, really, including hockey, football, racing, boxing, MMA, rugby, baseball, soccer, etc. Someone should write a polo player. And Australian rules football (Buddy!) )
  • I also always have ongoing interest in a cowboy space opera (think Firefly).

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

Angela James | March 30th, 2013

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

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

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

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

 The benefits:

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

Eligibility to participate:

1) A complete, ready-to-send, manuscript that falls within the commercial fiction genres that we publish. (Please view our submissions guidelines here)

2) You must be prepared to send your manuscript within 3 days of the #carinapitch session. Any manuscripts sent after Sunday, April 7th will still be fairly reviewed by editorial staff, but won’t be eligible for the feedback/accelerated response time.

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

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

5) You may pitch more than one project.

How to participate: 

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

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

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

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

4) Watch for a reply from a Carina Press editor.

5) If an editor lets you know that they’d like to see your submission and your manuscript is NOT currently on submission with us:

  • a) please follow the submission guidelines here and include all required information. Send your submission to the submissions email, not the editor directly.
  • b) Make your subject line: #carinapitch Title by Author (genre)
  • c) Address your query letter to the editor who requested your manuscript
  • d) At the top of your query letter, please include the Twitter pitch you used and your Twitter name (to help the editor recognize your request & verify that they asked for it)
  • If more than one editor asks for your submission, you may choose which editor to send to, though you may also wish to indicate the second editor who had interest, in case the first editor chooses not to read it.
  • e) Send your submission no later than Sunday April 7, 2013

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

  • a) Send an email to
  • b) Subject line: #carinapitch Existing Submission
  • c) In the body of the email, please include the Twitter pitch you used and your Twitter name (to help the editor recognize your request & verify that they asked for it).
  • d) In body of email, please tell us the date you originally submitted your work, the title of the work, the genre and the name you submitted under. It’s helpful if your email comes from the same email address you used to submit the work.
  • If more than one editor asks for your submission, you may choose which editor to send to, though you may also wish to indicate the second editor who had interest, in case the first editor chooses not to read it.
  • e) Email us no later than Sunday April 7, 2013

Notes about #carinapitch

  • You don’t need to direct your tweet to a specific editor. We’ll all be monitoring the hashtag throughout the day. However, if you want to bring it to the attention of an editor you think it’s particularly suited for, you are welcome to do so. At the bottom of this post is a list of participating Carina Press editors and their Twitter IDs.
  • Please don’t post your pitch more than twice during the day. We know you want to make sure we see it, so we don’t mind if you post it at two different times, but please don’t post one book more than that. This includes not changing your pitch five times and posting it five different ways, please. Two pitches per book, so the hashtag doesn’t become cluttered and allows all authors equal opportunity to be seen. Thank you!
  • An updated list of what different editors are looking for will be posted here on the blog Monday. You can see editor bios here.
  • Information about what we publish, our submissions guidelines and specific FAQs can be found here.

Feedback is welcome! Please email us at if ever you have specific, constructive feedback you’d like to share.

One last (very important) note:

Even if your pitch isn’t selected by an editor, that doesn’t mean your project isn’t right for us. In the end, it’s the words you write in the story that will get us to acquire the book, not the words you wrote for the pitch, so if you’ve written something we publish, please still submit it to us. Your chances of having the manuscript acquired are just as good as those whose pitches we single out!

*Permission to forward this post, use it on blogs and author forums is permitted.*

Participating editors:

Angela James @angelajames

Tina Burns @TinaBurns

Deb Nemeth @DebNemeth

Jeff Seymour @realjeffseymour

Elizabeth Bass @ElizabethBass

Melissa Johnson @MelissJohnson

Gina Bernal @GinaBernal

Alissa Davis @AlissaDenay

Mallory Braus @MalloryBraus

Meredith Giordan @MeredithGiordan


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