Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview with Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press

Today we have something very exciting going on at Mysteries and Margaritas. Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press has agreed to stop by and answer your questions. Deb’s an avid mystery reader and one of Carina Press's freelance developmental & acquisitions editors, and she’s actively seeking more mystery submissions. And guess what, people? She’s willing to take your online pitch today only. Here are the rules. She'll take the first 50 mystery/suspense/thriller pitches (no longer than 5 sentences each and only one per person) but she won't comment online. She'll send her response directly to you (If you add your email address or send it directly to me at, it will be easier to get back to you.) So, sit back and relax, grab a margarita (okay, it’s early – better make that a coffee.) and pick her brain.

Good morning, Deb. We’re so excited you agreed to join us. I know the readers will have lots of questions for you. But first – on to mine.

Liz: Can you tell us a little about Carina Press and when it got started?

Thanks, Liz. I’m excited to be here today. Carina Press is the digital-first imprint of Harlequin Enterprises. We publish across a broad range of commercial fiction, pretty much everything except young adult—mysteries, thrillers, horror, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, women’s fiction, gay/lesbian, and erotica, plus all subgenres of romance. Right now we’re releasing approximately 3 books a week, and I expect that number will increase midyear.

Our ebooks are available on the Carina Press website in either pdf or ePUB format, free of DRM (digital rights management) so readers are able to read stories on a variety of devices. They’re also sold through third-party retailers such as and Audible Inc. has produced audio versions of many Carina Press titles and made them available at, iTunes and

Although Carina Press is primarily an ebook publisher, some titles will be issued in print. The first ones to go to print will be part of Harlequin’s Mystery and Suspense DTC (Direct to Consumer) program and will also be available to order on Titles selected for this program so far include Fatal Affair by Marie Force, In Plain View by J. Wachowski, and Presumed Dead by Shirley Wells, with more to be announced.

Liz: As a mystery author, myself, I’m very excited that Harlequin is now in that market. Can you tell us what kind of mysteries you’re looking for? Do you publish thrillers?

I’m looking for all kinds of crime fiction, from cozies to police procedurals to hard-boiled private eyes to capers. I’m also interested in hybrid genres, such as historical, space opera or dystopian-set mysteries. I’d especially love to acquire a steampunk detective series.
I really enjoy clever writing and intelligent characters who are larger-than-life—memorable in a compelling way. If the story involves an amateur detective, the hero or heroine needs to have strong motivation for getting involved in a case. I want a mystery that’s going to make me work damned hard to figure it out—maybe even one I can’t work out, but makes complete sense once it’s solved. I generally don’t like it if too much information is withheld from the reader. I want a chance to pit my wits against the fictional detective.

Thrillers? Yes, yes, yes, yes, I want to acquire thrillers. I haven’t acquired any so far, but I’m actively seeking them.

If you’re not pitching to me today but are interested in submitting to Carina Press at a later date, you can visit our website to check out our submission policies.

Liz: A lot of people don’t realize there is a difference between a cozy and a straight mystery. Can you enlighten us?

A cozy mystery typically features an amateur sleuth in a local/confined setting, one with a strong sense of community and a limited group of suspects. While the bodies might pile up, the deaths are handled with a minimum of gore and violence. The tone is less gritty, the sexual content and language less graphic than you’ll get for example in an urban-set police procedural. The sleuth commonly has an occupation or hobby that serves as a theme or focal point of the book or series, such as a catering business or a quilting circle. Relationships and motives are important, as is the whodunit/whydunit puzzles. Cozies tend to be more escapist, engaging the mind, providing cerebral entertainment without edgy, hard, cold realism. I have a real soft spot for cozies and would love to acquire more for Carina Press.

Aside from cozies, there are a variety of mystery subgenres, including legal, medical, police procedural (focusing on the step-by-step process of crime-solving by professionals), and hard-boiled (first-person terse style featuring a tough-talking PI). If your mystery has a light, comic tone, possibly featuring a heist and/or offbeat characters, with feats of audacity and clever twists, it’s a caper. Mysteries featuring private detectives, cops, forensics specialists, crime reporters and medical examiners tend to be darker and grittier than cozies or capers, containing more violence, danger, sex, blood and guts, often in urban settings.

Liz: I have personally read Amy Atwell’s Lying Eyes and Kathy Ivan’s Desperate Choices, and both were excellent. What are some of the other authors you acquired from the slush pile and what caught your eye with them?

I can’t take credit for Desperate Choices, but I was lucky enough to pluck Amy Atwell’s manuscript out of the submission queue. Lying Eyes is an absolutely delightful romantic suspense caper set in Las Vegas, with a jeweler heroine and an undercover cop hero. I was very impressed with the energy of her writing and her ability to deliver emotional punch in a light tone, an uncommon skill.

Shirley Wells’s British PI mystery Presumed Dead was another one of my exciting slush-pile discoveries. I was captivated by Shirley’s natural voice and dry wit on the very first page, fell into the story and didn’t come up for air until I finished it. Dylan Scott is the most likable chauvinist I’ve ever come across, and her writing fits this detective’s character perfectly. This title will be one of the first Carina Press books to go to print. And I’m happy to announce that in August we’re publishing a second Dylan Scott mystery, Dead Silent.

My very first slush-pile find was Toni Anderson’s romantic suspense/mystery Sea of Suspicion. I immediately fell in love with her Scottish detective hero, Nick Archer, and I especially love the way he uses the heroine in his pursuit of revenge. The setting is depicted brilliantly, and the story works equally as well as mystery and romance. Toni followed that up with another Scottish-set romantic suspense, Storm Warning, this one with paranormal elements but a hero just as compelling.

Some of my mystery and suspense acquisitions came not from the slush pile but from authors I or other Carina Press editors worked with previously.
Shelly Munro’s The Spurned Viscountess is a Gothic historical romance set in Georgian England. I just love the way she layers in tension in this atmospheric novel.

Clare London’s Blinded by Our Eyes is a gay mystery romance set in the world of contemporary London art galleries. It’s a fascinating character study and psychological mystery, with a strong focus on whydunit.

I was thrilled to acquire Josh Lanyon’s upcoming release, Snowball in Hell, a gay historical mystery about a crime reporter and a police lieutenant in Los Angeles during WW2, the first in his Doyle and Spain series. Josh’s writing is so smooth, and his voice in this ms suits the period perfectly. It doesn’t release until April, but another one of Josh’s m/m suspense novels, Fair Game, is currently available from Carina Press.

Carina Press will be doing a romantic suspense spotlight the first week of September, and Anne Marie Becker’s Only Fear will be one of our featured titles. I was impressed by the intensity and clarity of her prose, and the use of fear in the story. Her villain, a killer who stalks a talk-show psychiatrist, takes “chilling” to a whole new level.

My most recent suspense acquisition is from W. Soliman. Her Unfinished Business, a Charlie Hunter mystery, features a reluctant private eye who loves jazz and lives on a boat on the south coast of England, and will be published in late 2011.

I also have a cozy mystery offer of publication pending. So, as you see, I like a variety of mystery and suspense books, with and without romance or sex, both dark and lighthearted. The common threads are good storytelling, crisp writing, conflict and suspense.

Liz: Mystery and Suspense is all about creating tension. Do you have a magic check list an author can use to make sure he/she gets just the right amount of it into their writing?

No magic list. The best measure is whether I can easily put the book down. You want to hook the reader’s interest as soon as possible. You can grab us with voice and character, description and mood, but above all, hook us with conflict and tension. Introduce questions in the readers’ minds and make us care about the answer, so we want to turn the page to find out what comes next. Will the woman walk home alone? What’s in that package that was just delivered? Why did the husband hide that letter from his wife?

In a mystery, it’s best to be concise with the story’s setup, so we get to the mystery as soon as possible, maybe a missing persons case or the discovery of a dead body. We also need stakes. Why is it important to the protagonist to solve this crime? Why should the reader care? Give us well-rounded, strongly motivated characters whose goals we’ll care about, then stack the deck against them. Feed us the clues, and increase the level of unease as we uncover motives and identify additional suspects, wonder which characters the heroine can trust, and worry when she’s alone with one. Raise the stakes as the story progresses.

Suspense is different from mystery. In a mystery, the focus is typically reflective, to discover whodunit and whydunit. Or, if we already know the perp (like in the old Columbo TV-movie series), the focus is on whether, how and when the detective will figure it out. We don’t need to have action or danger in a mystery, although we often get both at the climax.

In suspense, the protagonists are in danger of their lives, and we might get action, too. The focus is on stopping a villain—and surviving. It’s less cerebral and depends more on creating anxiety. The readers might know about the danger and be biting their nails over whether the killer hiding in the closet is going to jump out and clobber the heroine. There needs to be more pulse-pounding moments in a suspense novel than in a mystery. The odds against the protagonist’s survival need to grow as we reach the story’s climax.

In a thriller, the stakes are larger. It’s not just a small group of characters in danger, but a building’s worth. Or a city, country or planet, and it’s up to our heroine/hero to save all those lives. It should be packed with constant action and surprise. We don’t always see the villain loading the weapon, we just see the explosion. Pacing is hugely important in a thriller.

Liz: Is there anything specific that turns you off when you’re reading a manuscript, other than the obvious newbie mistakes like weird fonts, typos and bad grammar?

Tired openings can turn me off, and huge info-dumps, long expositions that stall the story. Lack of goals/motivation/conflict is another biggie. Pacing is important, and repetition and wordiness can make the pacing drag. I don’t like preaching, didacticism or political screeds, and for some reason I’ve seen a lot of thriller submissions with heavy-handed agendas that overwhelm the story.

Most rejections are of the not-quite variety. The writing is not quite there, not subtle enough, too overwritten. Or maybe the writing is strong but the story just doesn’t stand out quite enough or get me excited enough. Maybe the characters don’t engage me, or the mystery is too easy and feels too familiar. These are the ones that take me the longest to make up my mind about, often requiring a full read. They’re also the hardest rejections to send. On the other hand, a ms that I feel is “not quite there” may really appeal to another editor, because the acquisition process is just as subjective as reading published books—not everyone likes the same thing.

Liz: Can you take us through the process of making an offer on a submission and taking it all the way to publication?

When I read a submission that thrills me, I draft an acquisition recommendation and send it to Carina Press’s Executive Editor, Angela James. This includes my assessment of the title’s strengths, marketability, and editorial needs. A member of the Carina Press acquisition team will do a second read. A submission needs at least two editorial recommendations in order to make it to the next step. Once a ms receives a second acquisition recommendation, the team discusses it in a meeting and makes a decision to move forward with an offer of publication.

Once an offer has been accepted, terms are agreed and the contract is signed, the editor is notified, so that’s when I’d get involved again. I’ll send a new author a welcome letter, let him or her know if a new title will be needed, and get started on edits. Each manuscript is given at least three rounds of edits, using tracked changes. I do developmental (content) editing and line editing rounds, then one of Carina Press’s copyeditors does the final round of copyediting. The author is sent cover copy to review and a cover art form to complete, giving input on the cover design. Approximately a month before release, our titles are uploaded to Netgalley, a site that makes electronic review copies available to book reviewers. The editing process takes about three months, and the production process another four, so a title can sometimes be released as soon as seven months after an author signs a contract.

Liz: We’re hearing more and more about the way publishing is changing, and the road seems to be leading to e books and self publication. Can you tell us the advantages of epublishing to author?

This is a really exciting time for digital publishing. The sales of ebooks exploded this past year as ereaders and tablets became mainstream devices. Epublishing opens up new avenues for writers at all phases of their career. If authors haven’t been able to break into traditional publishing, digital provides additional opportunities to establish themselves and build a readership. Many ebook authors have successfully moved on to bigger print publishers, although it’s possible to earn good money in digital publishing itself. Last week, an ebook romance by Maya Banks hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Epublishing can benefit authors at other points in their career too. Perhaps an author didn’t earn out her advance, and the traditional publisher passed on her next book. It’s possible an digital publisher might be interested in that ms, even if it’s a series.

Digital publishing provides an author with creative flexibility in terms of length, content and genre. Perhaps your big, fat urban-fantasy thriller weighs in at 130,000 words, an expensive proposition for print. Or your mystery is only 38,000 words—too short for print, but not for an ebook. Carina Press accepts anything from 15,000 words and up. Maybe you’ve written a space opera mystery or other hybrid genre that’s hard for an agent to sell. Or maybe you write in a genre that’s out of fashion. Family sagas, glitz-and-glamour novels, chick lit, and historical romances set in unglamorous locales such as Poland are not something traditional publishers are likely to buy, but digital publishers are more willing to consider them. Digital also lends itself well to the interactive, choose-your-alternative multiple-endings story. At Carina, we’re looking for great stories, period.

I do advise authors to choose their digital publisher carefully. Not all houses out there give their editorial staff adequate training, and you don’t want to trust your masterpiece to someone who isn’t properly trained or paid to give it the care it deserves.

Liz: And finally, how involved does Carina Press get with author promotion? Any advice for any author out there on how to increase his/her sales?

Carina Press staff members conduct author training sessions on topics such as social media, web site design, author branding and promotions. Authors blog on Carina Press’s website during their release week, and CP supports their release on Twitter and Facebook. Carina Press has an online community, part of eHarlequin. Carina Press also runs banner ads on many sites and in specialty magazines.

Advice on sales? Always write the best book you can. Don’t send a ms out unless it’s your very best effort, so you never disappoint your readers. If you’re interested in maximizing sales, then I’d say the best way to develop and grow a readership is to keep giving them the same sort of book, and you’ll gain new readers with each release. By this I mean writing in the same or similar subgenres, and the same voice. If you follow up your gritty procedural with a witty romantic caper, they both might be books of your heart but you will confuse your readers, dilute your brand image and quite probably hurt your future sales. Also, write steadily. Try not to make your readers wait three years between books.

Find out where readers in your genre hang out online and engage them. Develop a social media strategy that works for you, whether it involves Facebook, Twitter or blogging or a combination of them. Keep your website updated and clean. Design your site so that it’s easy to find out about your new and upcoming releases, and to identify which books are connected in a series (and what order to read them in). Make sure buy links are prominently displayed so it’s easy for browsers to purchase a book. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when authors make it hard to find them online.

Well, there you have it, folks. Even I now understand the difference between mystery/suspense/thriller writing. Now get those pitches and questions ready.


Laura Morrigan said...

Great post, Liz! Thank you, Deborah, for explaining such a nebulous genre.
I do, however, have a question.
How would you categorize the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich?
My mysteries tend to lean in that direction-- zany characters, action, humor and dead (sometimes violently dead) bodies....
Not a cosy, a caper? Do capers have professionals (cops/ PIs) as lead characters?

Anonymous said...

Liz and Deborah,
I enjoyed reading the interview.
My query follows:

Financial executive, Jason Townsend, has stumbled into a nightmare featuring "The Firm," and "Erin Brockovich." Fired for protesting illegal activities, Jason Townsend, a by-the-book financial analyst, watched his new company bury nuclear waste and learned of townspeople getting sick. Reporter Ashley Adair, can't forget her feelings for Jason, but fears he won't accept her because of her tarnished past. After threatening to expose his company, she forms a shaky alliance with him to uncover the truth, but terrorists kidnap her and threaten to blow up an American city, forcing Jason to take action. (Romantic Suspense 97,500 words, 417 pages.)

Shirley Wells said...

A terrific post, ladies!

I can't say how proud I am to have Deborah for an editor and to be a Carina Press author. The whole team is awesome.

Love the blog, by the way. Glad I found it.

Cynthia D'Alba said...

Hi Deb and Liz. Here's my quick pitch..

Friends, Lovers and Blackmailers

A father who reappears after sixteen years doing deep undercover work
A mysterious Italian club owner who exudes equal parts charm and danger.
A best friend being blackmailed into marriage for a murder she didn’t commit.
An old boyfriend assigned as the detective on the case.
Ex-computer hacker Jacqueline Black’s calm life has suddenly gotten very complicated.

Deborah Nemeth said...

Capers typically have anti-heroes and are generally structured around a heist. And keep in mind that these subgenre boundaries are rather fluid. I've seen the Stephanie Plum series referred to as parodies of the hard-boiled genre, romantic adventures, lighthearted mysteries, romantic comedies, and chick thrill, and I'll probably think of others after I've had more coffee. If you describe your mysteries as lighthearted or humorous for the purposes of a query to Carina Press, you'll be good.

Jonispice said...

Liz and Deborah...
I have been wondering about Carina Press. Sounds like it is quite diverse, which I think surprised me the most. Has me looking at CP very differently. Thanks!

Amy Atwell said...

Great interview, Liz! And for anyone wondering, I'll just chime in and say that working with an editor of Deb's calibre has been a joy as well as an education. She really puts a polish on a manuscript without changing an author's voice. I count myself lucky to have caught her eye!

Angelina Rain said...

Hello Liz and Deborah, great interview. I do have a question about pitches; does the novel need to be already written or will you be giving the winners time to finish writing and polishing their work?

Deborah Nemeth said...

Good question. Please pitch only manuscripts that are completed and ready to submit. I realize that might be disheartening, but there will always be other opportunities to catch an editor's eye. Carina Press current has 14 freelance editors, and we often blog or tweet about what we're looking for at any given moment. We also accept unagented submissions, so you can follow the guidelines on our website once your polished ms is ready to submit.

chris k said...

I have to admit I've been impressed with Carina's marketing and support of their authors.

I am however one of those old fashioned dragons who truly likes having a paper book in hand.

Even though epublishing is indeed exploding. Is there any consideration being given to eventually offering digital first followed by POD as other epubs such as Wild Rose and Samhein offer?

and thank you for this wonderfully informative interview

Laura Morrigan said...

Well, then, here's my pitch for Thieves, Murder in Paradise.

There are two things Della Mae Allen does well, making one-of-a-kind sea glass jewelry, and attracting oddballs.  Usually, the eccentrics she encounters are still breathing, though.  After Della finds, then loses the body of a known con artist, she has more to worry about than preparing for the grand opening of her new jewelry store— the cops think she’s part of a plot to help the swindler escape arrest.  To prove her innocence, Della must  juggle family obligations, deal with the shop’s ornery ghost,  dodge Mardi Gras floats, and catch a killer.

Thanks so much!

Vicki Batman said...

What a fantastic interview, Liz. Thank you, Deborah, for enlightening us.

Deborah Nemeth said...

Chris K,
Yes, consideration is being given to print, and some mystery and suspense titles are being issued in print beginning this year. But since at this time CP has not announced plans for issuing all titles in print, there are no guarantees, so if you decide to submit to Carina Press, it would have to be with the understanding that your book would be published digitally, and with no other expectations.

Deborah Nemeth said...

Shirley, Jonispice, Amy, Vicki,
Thank you for the kind words.

To all authors pitching,
I'm reading and taking notes, and you'll be hearing back later.

Sir John said...

I know commissions is one thing many publishers don't want to discuss.
However, is there any kind of guideline or range you can offer for someone like me setting on the sidelines trying to decide if it is worth submitting or holding out for a print publisher.

Lynn said...

Seaport Roast

Just another lovely October day when Jasmine, Sherry and Tony return from having a drink after work to find their workplace alight with police flashers and portable flood lights. Set at a small maritime museum on the New England Coast, they need to help the police so they can get back to work as usual. A traditional mystery with murder, fraud and historical lore.

Lindsay said...

Here's my pitch for Target Identified-
When Alison Swanson’s father is kidnapped, by Shane Goodrich, his rescue falls on her. Because of her father’s military security the police can’t be involved. With the help of top secret technology, she helped develop, Alison saves him and others important to her.

Deborah Nemeth said...

Sir John,
If you're asking me to give you an idea of the royalties earned by Carina Press authors, I'm sorry but as a freelance editor I'm not privvy to information about sales or royalty payments.

I can tell you that many romance authors make a comfortable living writing and selling ebooks. They don't get rich off their first ebook, but the ones who write steadily and promote themselves effectively have built a loyal readership. Other genre readers, such as mystery and SF/fantasy, have been slower to embrace ebooks but I think we're seeing that change now.

Liz Lipperman said...

Deborah, a question just occurred to me that I forgot to ask in the interview.

Is there any particular subject/plot line YOU'RE looking for?

Any specific ones that have been way overdone in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview, Liz. Amy Atwell whispered in my ear about this pitch session. Thanks, Amy. Here goes:

QUEEN'S JUSTICE/RS/90,000 wds/complete

Over 100 Mardi Gras queens are crowned every year in South Louisiana.

Former Mardi Gras queen, Alex Devereaux, left New Orleans in a straightjacket after falling victim to a psychopath. Now she’s back, armed with a Ph.D. in psychology and ready to face the fears that drove her away from New Orleans and suppress her memory. But her heart is defenseless when justice-obsessed attorney, Quentin LeBlanc, is tangled in her quest. Her chilling memories resurface, sending Quentin and her searching through the tight circles of New Orleans society and the bayous of the wetlands to stop psychopath from claiming his next queen. The stakes are life and death, love won or lost, all hinging on the truth. Together they find the answers that end the psychopath’s rampage and seal their love.

Liz Lipperman said...

Anonymous(Queen's Justice author), Deborah is going to respond privately to you, but I need your email address. Send to

Deborah Nemeth said...

Interesting, unusual and exotic settings, imaginative world-building, and mysteries with a strong sense of place appeal to me, whether it’s an Alaskan lighthouse or the streets of Istanbul. I also love historical mysteries of any period, and I’m especially interested in steampunk mysteries. For a while now I’ve been on the lookout for a space opera or futuristic mystery. I’m an unabashed Anglophile, so I’m a sucker for a traditional English cozy or a Scotland Yard detective. I’m also interested in detectives and hooks that a series can be based on. I’m also looking for any well-written romantic suspense or thriller…

I can talk for ages about what I’m looking for, but it’s important to keep in mind that editors don’t really know what they want until they see it, because that wonderful twist or new concept isn’t something that occurred to us. Secondly, the writing trumps everything. We see a lot of similar-looking romantic suspense submissions, featuring detectives or agents, with the hero or heroine being chief suspect, or with serial killers or conspiracies/cover-ups. However a different spin or a strong voice, with compelling characters, can still make these stories work for us and for our readers.

Tonya Kappes said...

Great interview! Thanks for hosting Deborah and letting us pitch. is a humorous, paranormal cozy. is more than Olivia Davis ever dreamed of when she launched the online break up service where she does the dirty work under the alias of Jenn. No one can find out she’s the mastermind of her internet sensation, especially when they threaten her for breaking their hearts.

More importantly, Olivia can’t keep a job. The problem is, she has a "gift". Or what she considers, a curse- reading auras. When a bunch of auras collide, Olivia isn’t able to function. So having an online business works out great.

But when two of her clients turn up dead and puts her company at risk, she’s the first one on the trail. With future on the line, it’s time to use her "gift" to figure out who the killer is and who’s trying to set her up.

You never know who's behind the monitor.

Kathy Ivan said...

Liz and Deborah -- Thanks for the terrific interview and the mention of my book. High praise indeed from Mz. Liz.

I cannot say enough how much I've loved working with Carina Press and their wonderful and supportive editorial staff. Although I personally haven't worked with Deborah (my editor is the fabulous Gina Bernal), each and every editor at Carina goes above and beyound to make our manuscripts the best they possibly can be.

Good luck, everybody, with your pitches. And thanks again, Liz, for your wonderful words about Desperate Choices (available now at Carina Press). :-)

Kathy Ivan

Steve Liskow said...

This is one of the most informative interviews I've read in a long, long time. Congratulations to all.

Now to the pitch:
The Whammer Jammers (80K words) is a character-driven caper with chicks on wheels, dirty deals, and everything you never dared ask about roller derby.

Suspended after a “questionable” shooting, Hartford cop “Trash” Hendrix protects the local skaters from vandalism while they prepare for a fund-raising match to support a women’s shelter. He thinks a skater’s ex-boyfriend is responsible, but the guy has an alibi when someone torches the women’s shelter—and an even better one when he turns up dead. When a skater takes a bullet intended for Hendrix, he knows someone plays rougher than the roller girls…and he hasn’t found the tunnel under the bank vault yet.

My web mistress, former captain of the Queen City Cherry Bombs in Manchester, NH, facilitated my attending practice sessions for both Connecticut roller derby teams, where I interviewed skaters, coaches, referees, and supportive husbands and boyfriends.

(Liz, I've blogged here, so you should have my email:

Lindsay said...

With the recent bankruptcy filing by Borders, how do you see that along with many of their stores closing effecting print sales and helping ebook sales? Or do you think there won't be much change?

Sir John said...

Here is my pitch for THE DREAM MASTER

Have you ever met someone you thought you knew somewhere before − someone that can very well be your soul-mate from a previous life? And if you suspected such, how far would you go to discover the truth?

Thanks to an evil and abusive ex-husband, Jacquelyn − now, simply known as Jack − falls far away from her destiny. When her last minute desperate prayer makes its way to the Dream Master she receives guidance in learning the four steps to finding her true love − a man she barely misses connecting with in many previous lives.
She has only a limited amount of time until her opportunity for true love closes forever. With no choice, she has to confront the dark forces of her ex-husband that’s not about to give up easily.

Phyllis said...

Here is my pitch- wrote:

When police officer Bethany Banks kills a man in a shootout and is nearly killed herself, she's shaken enough by the experience to leave the department. Danger follows her, though, when she's stalked by a vengeful villain connected to the shooting. Bethany 's boyfriend, police officer Sam DeLuca, is skeptical of her claims that she's being stalked, believing instead that the experience has left her delusional. By the time Sam discovers the truth behind Bethany ’s allegations, the trust between them is shattered. Now he's determined to keep her safe, put the stalker behind bars, and restore the love they've lost.

Melissa said...

Thank you for the opportunity, Deborah.
My query for Killer Tide:

The daughter of the most reviled man in Molokai history, Jill Jones returns to Hawaii to search for answers and confront her past—including her childhood sweetheart, now politician, Kapono Kalahiki. Kapono never stopped loving Jill, but he can't lead the islanders’ quest for vengeance with the daughter of his father’s killer by his side.

When Jill’s snooping puts her on a hitman’s short list, Kapono risks everything to ally himself with her. Teaming with a mismatched pair of detectives, they soon unearth the truth that they were prototypes in an illegal medical experiment to create a class of super-soldiers. This new bond reawakens the passion they once shared, but saving their island home from disaster and securing the vengeance they crave means sacrificing their every personal desire—including each other.
Thank you,

Deborah Nemeth said...

I don't see a big change from that, at least in the near future. The Borders situation is probably caused in part by the increase in ebook purchasing over print, but of course other factors such as management decisions played a very large role.
Customers of the closing Borders stores may still buy print books from other booksellers--an indie, a big box store, another chain such as B&N or an online merchant such as Amazon. I think if they switch to digital it will be for other reasons. I really don't know how authors are going to be affected yet, and I'm not sure anyone really does, although many publishing industry bloggers have been speculating about this over the past week.

Lindsay said...

This one's for Liz,
You still have my email addy cirrect?
And Deborah, thank you for the information about Borders.

Liz Lipperman said...

I gotcha covered, Lindsay.

Wow! These are all great pitches. Let's make Keep 'em coming.

Loni Emmert said...

Are you also taking pitches for contemporary romances or only mysteries today?

Liz Lipperman said...

And there, folks, is why you should never post anything on the web without checking it twice. I meant to say, "Let's make Deborah work for her supper", then decided she probably works way too hard anyway. Unfortunately, I only deleted half of it.

I'm a dork!

Deborah Nemeth said...

Today I'm focusing on mysteries, suspense and thrillers. However, I acquire all subgenres of romance, so you can visit the Carina Press website for more information about submitting your contemporary romance. You can address your query letter to me or one of the other CP freelance acquiring editors. Two of my CP authors have recently released contemporary romances: RiverTime by debut author Rae Renzi and Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley.
Good luck in your pursuit of publication.

Lindsay said...

Liz, you may be a dork but we still love you.

Cassy Pickard said...

Deborah! This is great. It's wonderful to have you be so honest in an industry that is sometimes hard to figure out. I write suspense that takes place in Italy with American women "out-of-place" and in over their heads. I spend a lot of time in Italy, so hopefully they are authentic.

Could you talk about what the appeal is for settings outside of this country?

Thanks. Great piece Liz- you are the best.

Cathy said...

Hi Liz and Deborah

I enjoyed the informative interview and am excited to see Carina’s interest in mysteries.

Here’s my pitch for So About The Money, a 95,000 word, fast-paced, fun mystery.

Holly Price knows how to make a deal. When her father runs off with his yoga instructor, she strikes a bargain with her mother. If Holly will leave her Seattle-based merger and acquisitions team and run the family’s small town accounting business for a year, her mother will never again mention the words “marriage” and “children” in Holly’s presence. Finding a friend’s body beside the Snake River isn’t supposed to be part of the package, especially if it means dealing with Detective JC Dimitrak, her ex-fiancĂ©.

In order to clear her name, Holly follows her curiosity through a web of financial fraud and interconnecting corporations. A few too many accidents later, someone apparently decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass. If she doesn't back off, the next body found beside the river could be Holly's.

Deborah Nemeth said...

I actually think my interest in unusual settings may be atypical. Many readers prefer the tried and true, the familiar, whereas I love being transported somewhere different. I’d be very interested in an Italian setting, others prefer the streets of San Francisco or NYC or small-town settings. What appeals to me are the elements of escapism and armchair-traveling, the evocative sensory descriptions, and the chance to possibly learn something new about a place or time I’ve never experienced. Sometimes this can be conveyed by a world-within-a-world, too, such as an unusual occupation. I don’t know much about polo, for instance, so a cozy mystery that immersed me in that world might give me a similar feeling of experiencing something new.

Mary Martinez said...

Wow, thank you so much Liz and Deborah. Wonderful great information. I've been thinking of researching Carina Press, but now I won't have too. It's all here.

Thanks again,

Toni Anderson said...

Great interview, Liz and Deb.
So proud that Deb is my editor. She is great at seeing the strengths and weaknesses of a story and helping to make each manuscript better. Good luck to the pitchers :)

Mary Ricksen said...

A blazing car fire following a horrific accident near Stowe, Vermont, is the catalyst for a trip one hundred years in the past.
Alacia McCalley dons the Celtic ring and finds herself cared for by a handsome Scottish immigrant. Faced with the scars from her ordeal she cannot face the sister she followed to 1878.
Sean McKenzie finds a beautiful young woman and her dog King, in the middle of a blizzard and she is badly burned.
A man who has lost everything he holds dear, forgets his problems and cares for a woman who is a total stranger. Who killed his parents and why did they do it? Was there a common denominator?
Visions from an Abenaki female shaman guide them. Two lonely people battle the elements and their own pasts, while they avoid a killer. Their pasts come back to bite them. From the wilds of Canada to the peace of the Green mountains, Lacy and Sean fall in love. They have a lot to learn.

My book is called Burned Into Time

Loni Emmert said...

Thank you Deborah. This has all ben so informative. I will check out Carina's site for my submission. We really aprpeciate you being here with us!

Ellis Vidler said...

Carina has a much broader range than I realized. I'm so glad you posted this interview. I'm late to this party, but I'd like to send a query to Carina and Deborah.
Ellis Vidler (Blogger doesn't like me this morning, so this may post as anonymous.)

Deborah Nemeth said...

Thanks so much to all the authors who pitched. I'm pleased to say that some of them piqued my interest. Liz will be sending you my responses privately.

Ellis, you may visit the Carina Press website submission guidelines for information, and you are welcome to address your query to me.

Good luck to all in your writing careers.

Liz Lipperman said...

Okay, guys, Deborah has sent responses to all of you who submitted a pitch except Lynn and Cathy. If either of you are are reading this, send your email address to me at

One final thanks to Deborah Nemeth for gracing us with her knowledge yesterday.

Be sure and check the blog on Monday when I'll be talking about Twelve Step Programs for Writers.