Carina Press–Call For Submissions!

Amanda McCabe is not feeling quite the thing today, so we offer a post from Angela James, Executive Editor at Carina Press. Angela (and her staff) are looking for historical manuscripts; details below, and good luck!

Hoop skirts, brocade, feathered headdresses, kid gloves, kid slippers, horses, carriages, talk of locomotion (not Kylie Minogue’s!), Queen Victoria, cowboys, discussion of women’s suffrage, ratafia, corsets, chemises, calling cards, pelisses, peers of the realm, cutthroats, Mary Wollstonecraft, six-shooters, hothouse flowers, wallflowers, parties lit by candles, cowboy hats, bluestockings, hunts, hounds, masquerades, horses, operas and operettas, tours of Italy, grand tours, wars (Napoleonic, Crimean), revolutions (French, Russian)…

Do you love these things? We do, and we want to read more about them—and share them with our readers! Carina Press’s acquisitions team and editors have begged me to find more historical fiction and romance, so I’m putting out the call. If you have a completed historical manuscript, 15,000 words and up, Carina Press would love to see it. We’re looking for both historical romance and historical fiction (with or without the romance subplot) of any steam level (including none, none at all). Historical Victorian, Regency, Western, turn of the century or whatever other time period you’ve chosen to write in, we’re interested in publishing some amazing historical work. Our submissions guidelines can be found at www.carinapress.com/submission-guidelines and we’re working through submissions very quickly, due to the large number of us reading them, so you won’t be waiting until summer (or next year) for an answer!

We hope you’ll take this post and pass it on, post it on your blog, direct your friends to it and let them know: Carina Press is looking for historical fiction and romance!

Want to know more about the people behind the Carina Press acquisitions and their love of all things historical? I asked them to share thoughts about favorite authors, books and just what they love about historical romance and historical fiction in general.

I’ll start (Angela James, Executive Editor): I love historicals for the things I learn. When I was in sixth grade, I visited the junior high, as a kind of orientation for the next school year. We were all assigned a seventh grade buddy, who we attended classes with for the day. In her history class, the teacher asked, “What was Queen Mary’s nickname?” I was the only one who knew the answer was “Bloody Mary” and that was because of the historical romances I’d been reading (yes, in sixth grade). I got mad props from the seventh graders (upperclassmen!) for knowing that answer!

I adore Julie Garwood’s old historicals and have for many years. They’re some of my very favorite re-reads, and books I will never give up because, even after all these years, they still make me laugh out loud, smile, and fall in love with both the hero and the heroine. Despite historical inaccuracies and what some might call a wallpaper-historical effect, I love them and I continue to recommend them to friends for the fun storylines and relatable characters.

Amy Wilkins, Acquisitions Team: I love The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig for its incredible blend of adventure, comedy and romance.

(plus it amused me that the hero and heroine are named Amy and Richard — my boyfriend’s name is Richard!)

Melissa Johnson, Editor: I love Kresley Cole’s MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy because one of the heroines is actually not from France or the British Isles, and Cole’s heroes are all crazy-hot for the women they love. I don’t even mind that the brothers are each crazy-hot in basically the same way.

Deborah Nemeth, Editor: I love the sparkling prose and witty dialogue of Eloisa James. In the Desperate Duchess series she went beyond the typical Regency to the Georgian period, one that I love.

I’d also love to get some historical manuscripts set in the Italian Renaissance and the Tudor/Elizabethan courts that feature political intrigue. The Roman empire between Augustus-Claudius (the setting of the I, Claudius series) would also be good for this type of political story.
I’d also love an adventure story set during the Crusades–perhaps from the Saracen point of view. A romance featuring a troubadour during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine. I also enjoy the roaring twenties, Paris during the Belle Époque, and England during both WWI and WW2.

Andrea Kerr, Acquisitions Team: You can quote me: “I admit it: I love historicals for the gowns!”

More seriously, one thing I really like about historical romance is that there is built-in conflict. Relationships between men and women were governed by very different and intricate social rules that simply could not be crossed. So it’s believable to me that the hero and heroine in a historical can’t be together because they are on different social levels, for example, or because they are unable to come out and say how they feel. In a contemporary romance, it takes a LOT more to convince me that two available people who are obviously attracted to each other can’t just sit down and work through their differences and be together.

Gina Bernal, Editor: I love the emotional depth of Mary Balogh’s historicals, because she takes characters to the lowest of low points and yet makes me believe time and again that love does conquer all. Lately, I’ve been hankering for a good harem romance and love all sorts of unusual settings and underexplored time periods–from Vikings, Romans and Celts to Caribbean pirates and WWII resistance fighters.
Emily Matheson, Acquisitions Team: I love Eloisa James. Everything she’s written. Not only do I love her characters (they’re always smart), but I always learn something– be it about politics in Georgian England or how migraines were treated in the regency period. It’s the best way to be educated.

Elizabeth Bass, Editor: I`d love to find an author who could single-handedly bring western historicals back into popularity!

Jenny Bullough, Acquisitions Team: Like most of us here at Harlequin, I’m a huge fan of Deanna Raybourn’s MIRA historicals, because as much as I love Regencies it’s a treat to read historical novels set in the Victorian era for a change! With Carina Press open to any and all eras and settings, I’m always excited to read submissions that are set in unusual or different eras or places — from ancient Rome or Egypt to turn-of-the-century America or WWII Japan, from the Salem witch trials to Renaissance Italy!!

Kymberly Hinton, Editor: I love Judith McNaught’s rich, evocative language because it makes me feel like I’m right there with the characters, and she’s the first author who helped me to realize that “reformed rakes make the best husbands.” I also adore Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series because she has a rare ability to make me laugh, cry, and jump for joy all in the same book.

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Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Great look at the team and what they’re looking for.

(Angela & Megan: May I post the first part about the Call for Submissions on my blog, too?)

Quick question for Angela: What are the differences between what Harlequin Historical Undone is looking for and Carina is? Thanks! (At first glance, it seems that Carina has no heat level requirement, whereas the Undones are definitely smokin’ hawt!)

Angela James
12 years ago

Thanks, Megan, for being the first to post this.

Keira, you’re welcome to post what you’d like. Megan was kind enough to post it here, even understanding it wouldn’t be exclusive content.

Harlequin Historical Undone has a very specific word count requirement: 10-15,000. We’re looking for 15,000 up. So the two aren’t competing in any way, because we don’t take less than 15k and they don’t take more than 15k!

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Angela, et al, thank you so much for allowing us to be the first to announce this wonderful opportunity!

12 years ago

I love the variety of content! Italian Renaissance. Ooh. Westerns, yay!

Jane Austen
12 years ago

I have what I think is a fun idea for a romance series that takes place in different time periods, but I fear I lack the dedication to pull it off. If only I could be like James Patterson and tell someone my idea, have them write it and then put both our names on it. Oh well. I will continue to work on my modern update of Northanger Abbey, which does not fit with you submission requirements, but I’m really writing it for fun. Hope you get some great manuscripts. I’d love to read some more about some of these time periods.

Angela James
12 years ago

@Jane our submissions guidelines and what we accept is so broad, I don’t know how something could NOT fit in there (unless it’s poetry or YA).

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Thanks, Angela. I’ve scheduled it for posting next week.

And thanks for clarifying that the differences between Carina and Undones are based on word count.

” our submissions guidelines and what we accept is so broad, I don’t know how something could NOT fit in there…”

And yet, and yet, there are “those” submissions… 🙂

Jane Austen
12 years ago

Angela, sorry I thought you were just looking for historical manuscripts. Mine is modern day and would be considered Women’s Fiction. NOw that I’ve read your guidelines I do see it fits. Thanks for clarifying. I may have to work on it a little harder.

Susan Wilbanks
12 years ago

I have two linked but standalone Regency-set historical romances, though the second is more of a Napoleonic Wars-set historical–several battlefields but not a ballroom in sight. I think they’re both good (of course I do, since I wrote them!), but I’m especially fond of my war story. Should I submit both together or one at a time?

Angela James
12 years ago

Though we do take simultaneous submissions, I always think it’s better for an author to do one at a time, because we will sometimes provide feedback/revisions on first manuscript that you might want to apply to the second. However, if you’re impatient (I know how that goes) you may want to submit both at one time. They’ll likely be read by different editors, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.

Susan Wilbanks
12 years ago

Thanks, Angela! I’ll take a look at them and decide which one makes most sense to submit first.

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