Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gina Bernal - Editor Interview & Pitches!

Posted by: Nicole North
Hi everyone, today I'm excited that Gina Bernal, my editor at Carina, has agreed to tell us what she is looking for and take pitches from you. She will select at least one pitch and request more material from the author. Please keep your pitches brief, a one paragraph blurb with pertinent details (title, genre, word count.) Also please leave your email so we can contact you if you are the winner. Thanks!
About Gina:
Gina Bernal is a freelance acquisitions editor for Carina Press. She comes to Carina with over seven years of publishing experience, having started her career at the Berkley Publishing Group and most recently serving as the editor of the Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. She holds a B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University and currently resides in the Boston area. You can follow her on Twitter @GinaBernal
Welcome, Gina! Thanks for agreeing to visit with us today and take pitches. My book, Laird of Darkness, was recently released from Carina Press. I'm curious, what was it about my story that caught your attention?

Thanks, Nicole, for inviting me to Here Be Magic… Now let me be a gushy editor and brag on you for a bit.  Laird of Darkness combined many favorite themes and elements (the Scottish setting, a laird hero, kidnapped brides, a family feud) with an old folktale, and then gave them a fresh spin. Duncan isn’t only metaphorically tormented by his past, he’s quite literally plagued by demons. The heroine, Alana, is no simpering miss and a good match for him. I loved that she was not a virgin but wasn’t ashamed of the fact. She recognizes not only his lust for her but her desire as well…and isn’t afraid to indulge. You told their story with a sly humor that made it a pleasure to watch them fall in love.
Thanks so much! Naturally I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. :) How do you feel about Scottish/ Celtic stories?
I’ve always been a sucker for a man in a kilt—blame it on Braveheart or Highlander: The Series. Plus, I’m a huge Celtophile. Despite the fact that my ancestry is actually Spanish, I was a part of my college’s Celtic Society (a social/musical club) and can belt out an Irish lament, a Scots ballad and a variety of drinking songs with the best. I studied abroad in Ireland and have travelled through Wales and Scotland. And, though I’m very rusty, if you ask nicely I might play my bodhrán for you. In other words… Celtic stories? Yes, please!
Wow, I'd love to hear you sing and play. Which other recent Carina Press projects are you excited about?
So far 2011 has been good to me with the variety of projects I’ve been able to work on and see published. The Bartered Virgin by Chevon Gael is a turn-of-the-century historical that’s funny and packs a little heat. Seleste de Laney’s Badlands is an adventure-filled alternate history steampunk with one of the toughest heroines I’ve seen. I’m super excited about the back-to-back April/May publication of Carol Stephenson’s Courting Disaster and Courting Death, which round out the Legal Weapons series she started back in Silhouette’s old Bombshell imprint. This summer you’ll also be seeing a sexy contemporary with a stripper-with-smarts hero, romantic suspense debuts by two talented new authors, and a fun western historical about a bounty hunter and his troublesome bounty.
Those sound wonderful. What kinds of stories are you looking for currently?
I love character-driven books, so I’m looking for stories with strong central protagonists that make me care for them from page one.  I love a tortured hero or a crazy-as-a-fox villain, but I’m equally enchanted by characters who have a sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously. Basically, I’m an emotional reader—if you can make me laugh or cry, you’ve got me.
What are your favorite subgenres?
I’m a big history buff and always on the lookout for new historical romances, fiction and mysteries. Unusual settings or characters are a plus. I’m seeking paranormal romance and urban fantasy featuring strong and original worldbuilding, and, like Laird of Darkness, stories that combine history and the supernatural. I’m also actively looking for more contemporary romances that are not romantic suspense and focus on the hero/heroine’s emotional journey. Outside of the romance genre, women’s fiction with family drama at its heart (a la Jodi Picoult) is a favorite of mine, as are creepy psychological thrillers.
Thanks again for being our guest here today. Okay, writers, it's your turn. Feel free to post your pitches in the comments. Gina will be reading them but not critiquing or commenting on them. She will select one, and the winner will receive a request for more. Please keep your pitches brief, a one paragraph blurb with pertinent details (title, genre, word count.) Also please leave your email so we can contact you if you are the winner.
Thanks! :)


  1. Thank you for this opportunity,

    Name: Viviane Brentanos
    Title: Past Undone
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 50,000

    Sometimes Sofie Jamison wishes her father were a plumber. Her life certainly would be less complicated. At nearly twenty-one, she is a little tired of paying the price for her Director father’s caped crusader routine. She wouldn’t mind so much but the bodyguards he periodically hires to protect her possess as much charm and wit as Colonel Kaddafi.
    Nik Lloyd is no exception. Mr. Lloyd has one simple set of rules: do as I say and don’t speak unless spoken to. Sofie wants to hate him on sight but it’s a little difficult when every time she looks at him, her feet leave the ground and she spins on an emotional roller coaster. Hidden away together in his beautiful Greek island home, Sofie soon realizes Mr. Lloyd is an ‘international man of mystery’, and a man, if his housekeeper is to be believed, who is hiding dark secrets. The housekeeper claims he is a tortured soul. The livid scar on his back convinces Sofie she may be right. Who does he cry for at night? It looks as if it will turn out to be one helluva weird summer. And just who is the mysterious young girl, Bella, who turns up out of nowhere, latching on to Sofie with all the tenacity of a limpet?

    Viviane Brentanos

  2. Very good and informative interview. Thank you for reading my pitch.
    Name: Annie Quinty
    Pen name: Annie Callaghan
    Book title: Reborn by Blood
    Word count:120,932
    Genre: Paranormal romance

    “Reborn by Blood” is about Clementine Greene a woman on her way to midlife with a broken heart, a job that is getting her nowhere and a writing block. Gifted with an unusually intense intuition and befriended by a wizard, Clementine will meet Ichiro, a man she thought she had created as a fictional character years ago. A mundane encounter in a subway station will lead Clementine to a world she had only suspected existed until now. Set in a well known urban landscape Reborn by Blood is the story of Clementine and Ichiro a vampire DJ with a trickster side and a woman who gets a new chapter in her life with a jolt of unseen adventure and several bites. Ichiro, who initially asks Clementine to write his biography, may have other plans that will take Clementine through chaos and dramatic changes.

  3. Osiris, wears a sarong (Egyptian kilt) and is a tortured hero.
    Mona Risk

    OSIRIS’S SECOND LIFE is a completed paranormal romance of about 90,000 words inspired by an Egyptian Mythology legend.
    Seth, the evil god of storm, killed his brother Osiris, chopped him into fourteen pieces and flung them all over Egypt. Isis, goddess of family, has always loved Osiris and reassembles thirteen of his body parts. Since she couldn’t find his supernatural male member where his godly power is stored, she reattaches a human one to make him whole.
    Osiris, the charming god of labor, is now a mortal without power, anxious to recover both his own magical organ and his godly status. Guided by oracles Isis utters during their lovemaking, they search for his missing organ and fight Seth until they find Osiris’s magical manhood and he recovers his godly attributes. Osiris has fallen in love with Isis but will the sins of his past catch up with him in the present and interfere with their future?

    I wrote this story after visiting Egypt and cruising along the Nile River in April 2010, and I brought back a large collection of pictures and brochures of the ancient monuments.
    Thank you for your time and kind attention.

  4. Welcome, everyone! Wonderful pitches so far! Keep them coming. :) And best of luck to everyone!

  5. Name: Kathleen Bittner Roth
    Title: A Most Unusual Lady
    Word Count: 105,000
    Historical romance: Victorian Era
    First in my "Unusual Lady" series

    Third cousin to the headstrong Empress of Austria, Lady Edwina von Seeburg is an independent, sassy daughter of an Austrian count and Italian princess who thinks nothing of turning Victorian London on its ear with her unruly antics. A gifted artist, she throws her wild passions into her work and passes off everything she does, fair or foul, as a great adventure. Men adore her, but her heart holds a dark secret, and so she shuns suitors at every turn. Lord Worthington, a powerful man with an unfairly tainted reputation thanks to the lies of an old arch-enemy, avoids two things: assuming his deplorable father's duties and marriage. When he returns to London after ten years in Venice, he is confronted by more lies from his nemesis. Infuriated, he snatches the man's sister from a ball to convince her of his side of the story. The trouble is, he's never met her and captures her friend, the feisty Lady Edwina, instead. He discovers a woman who not only sets his soul afire, but who shares his love of horses and Italy. She, however, is staggered by their volatile chemistry, and what she fears most in life rears its ugly head. She flees to Venice where Worthington's shadowy secrets are exposed, and her life takes a shocking turn. Can Worthington redeem himself? Can Edwina heal her soul and rediscover the joy and spunk that defined her before all is lost?

  6. Well, the fact that Gina picked "Laird in a Kilt" to publish makes me respect her already. I adored this book, as I do everything Nicole writers, and I can't wait to see what she picks! Thanks for doing this, Nicole. I love watching pitch sessions. There are so many great stories out there--I don't envy Gina's job! :)

  7. Thank you Gina for taking pitches! =)

    Name: Carrie Spencer
    Title: Man Hunter
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 70,000

    MANHUNTER is a 70,000 word romantic comedy. She’s a fiercely independent screenwriter determined to find Mr. Right, he’s a hard-ass ex-FBI agent just as determined to stay Mr. Single. Ten years ago, when Kendall dumped him for bright lights and big city, Grant swore he was done with romance. Love schmove. Kendall's recovering from a humiliating break-up with her Don Juan ex-boss, and is on the look-out for the Perfect Man. After a tumble from a cruise ship, Kendall and Grant find themselves stranded on a deserted island, facing a hurricane. They'll have to overcome high winds and hot tempers to survive - but being trapped together brings out the deeper feelings they once had for each other.



  8. Great interview! And Gina, it's great to hear someone else loved Highlander: The Series! Some of those characters were the inspiration for my first romantic suspense. (Granted, it wasn't any good, but I had fun writing it!)

    Good luck deciding on a pitch!

  9. Title: Just Beyond the Garden Gate
    Genre: Scottish Time Travel
    Word Count: 94,000
    First in Garden Gate series

    The Scottish Highlands—a place where fairies and brounies and other fey creatures dance through time. As does Laurie Bernard when a challenge given by the Queen of the Fey forces a banished fairy princess to attempt to unite the burned out business consultant with the 16th century Clan Chief Patrick MacLachlan while the Clan brounie vows to keep the unlikely couple apart.

    The arrogant clan chief doesn’t know what to make of the strange lass in his arms, especially when he recognizes the brooch pinned at her shoulder as the one his stepmother wore when she and his father disappeared. Laurie sets his blood afire and he's determined to have her. She's resolved to return to her own time and the quiet country life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina that she’s always dreamed of, yet she finds her desire for Patrick impossible to resist.

    With the fey interfering at every turn, the couple must learn to trust one another while combating an enemy clan, exposing a traitor from within, and discovering the true fate of Patrick’s missing parents. Against all odds, they learn the most important truth…love transcends time.

    Thank you for the opportunity to present my pitch.

    Dawn Wolzein w/a Dawn Marie Hamilton
    dawn @ dawn marie hamilton . com (no spaces)

  10. Name: Colleen Greene
    Title: A Run For Love
    Genre: Humorous Historical Romance
    Word count: 76,500

    Thank you for this opportunity to introduce you to my characters and tell their story:

    TORI HENDERSON just became the sole parent of her four nieces and nephews, and is now getting ready to join the thousands about to race into Oklahoma Territory to grab a piece of free land. Certainly disguising herself as a man will protect her from unwanted attention. Won’t it?
    Set in 1889, during the Oklahoma Land Run, one of the most amazing events in our nation’s history, pits the feisty Tori against the arrogant JESSE COCHRAN, attorney at law, and her new neighbor in Oklahoma.
    This slightly overweight, spectacle wearing, no-nonsense woman has no time for men or the entrapment of matrimony. However, sparks between these two combatants turn into flames and an unexpected pregnancy results in a forced marriage. But events pull them apart, even as they work to find an everlasting love.

  11. Nicole - Well done interview and your book sounds really great. Thank you, and Gina, for this opportunity.

    Title: Setting the Record Straight
    Genre: Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 55,000

    Do you remember the night of your high school graduation?
    Riley Kincaid can remember every moment in startling detail.
    Colin Campbell’s memory of that night has more holes than the PGA tour.
    While Colin is home, taking a break from his band’s chaotic schedule to attend his twin sister’s wedding, his own world is rocked when he confronts Riley to learn why she has scorned him for almost ten years.
    Riley has vowed to be the perfect bridesmaid to her best friend, Kerry, even when she is forced to spend three days with the man that literally loved her and left her.
    After Colin and Riley begin to practice full disclosure about their past they agree to take a chance on their future. But, will their new tenuous relationship survive the launch of his band’s rock tour and domineering manager and her formerly absent but currently intrusive parents?

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  13. Title: Bagpipes & Bullshot
    Word Count: 85K
    Genre: Humorous Contemporary Women’s Fiction

    When Innes Buchanan inherits the title of Laird, he is entrusted with the Scottish family estate, the ancestral home, and centuries of noble tradition. Sadly, he also inherits the family bank balance which, after death duty, is crumbling faster than the walls of their ancient castle. After exhausting even the most unlikely of cash generating alternatives and with bankruptcy on the horizon, Innes stumbles across one last initiative, a research scholarship in Texas to establish a new herd of cattle. With a lifetime of sheep farming and no room for failure, Innes’s luck returns on a chance encounter with Orley MacKenna, a born and raised Texan cowgirl who needs little convincing to leave her past behind. Though a likely couple, the two settle for an unlikely business partnership, and return to Scotland to try and save the Buchanan fortune. Told with timeless Scottish romanticism and a knowing sense of humour, Bagpipes and Bullshot twists an everyday love story with a whole cast of village eccentrics into a entertaining play on rural life.

  14. Great interview and congrats on your book!

    Book: Spiral X
    Genre: Paranormal Action/Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 101,000

    In the Eternal War of Heaven against Hell, Cheryl Erikson is a Hunter of demons and vampires. Since her father's murder by vamps she has dedicated her life to fighting against the foot soldiers of Hell, and this time is no different. In the midst of tracking down vampires who are distributing a drug that gives such a high to humans that even the vamps can experience it, Cheryl finds out that there is a contract on her head. On top of that, a shadow government organization is pursuing her for unknown reasons, a nosy police detective is looking to pin a triple homicide on her, and a powerful vampire in the region is a little too interested in what she's doing. So maybe this time around it's a little out of the ordinary. But when she meets Rev, another hunter, everything she knows about the Eternal War is turned upside down in ways she could never imagine.

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  16. Title: Richard Berkeley's Bride
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Word Count: 103,000

    In Charlestowne, 1769, a ship docks containing a treasure—Lord Edward’s lovely daughter—destined for one fortunate man, Richard Berkeley.

    An arranged marriage to Alexandra is the key to unlocking the door to everything Richard ever hoped to achieve but the viper in the nest is a threat he failed to expect, a treacherous enemy who wants him hung for a murder he didn’t commit.

    Her deep-rooted fears, that she refuses to reveal, prevent her from finding happiness in marriage but love is important to Richard and her love is a prize worth protecting—if only he can survive long enough to help her achieve it.

    I loved the interview! And thanks so much for this opportunity.

  17. Thanks again to Nicole and Here Be Magic for having me. I'm looking forward to reading all the pitches throughout the day.

  18. Thanks Nicole for a great interview. And thank you to Ms. Bernal for giving us this oppertunity to pitch to you today.

    Genre: Historical Romance with time travel elements
    Word Count: 94,000

    ALEXANDER MACPHERSON longs to escape the pain of losing his wife and child the year before, but the recurring dreams of a beautiful woman lure him into yearning for a future he knows is a betrayal of the past. MARLANA CRAWFORD is a 21st century, independent woman, who wants nothing to do with men after a cheating boyfriend leaves her for another woman, but the dreams of the sexy Highlander land her in Alexander’s arms in 1704 Scotland. When Alexander’s enemies attack and kidnap Marlana, he must fight two battles: one to save Marlana’s life and one to win her heart.

  19. Thanks for this opportunity.

    Title: Magick's Pawn
    Name: A.C. Ruttan
    Word Count: 50,000

    Ophelia was not the best witch. She wasn’t even a mediocre witch. Disastrous would be a better word. When her beloved uncle dies mysteriously she takes over his Pawn Shop in the Yukon. With her two trusty familiars, a laid-back bulldog and a stuck-up cat, she runs Magick’s Pawn with relative ease; until an eerie man by the name of Mr. Fuzzy comes in looking for the Book of Souls, and he isn’t about to take no for an answer. Ophelia suddenly finds her world turned upside down and her self-doubt over her inept magic skills makes her question her abilities. She tries to protect the book from hordes of zombies and other strange paranormal creatures, as she tracks down the Berth of Souls to send the book back to where it belongs; she faces the real probability that her magic just might not be good enough to stop Mr. Fuzzy and his unholy army from taking over the world.

  20. Joselyn LaSalle has been so focused on obtaining her dream home in the posh Hyde Park district nestled in Cincinnati, Ohio, she shelves the rest of her life. But moonlighting as a waitress, she comes across a southern gentleman who opens her eyes to the world she pushed away three years ago. Victor Wingfield only sees a gawky astrophysics professor when he looks in the mirror until a fleeting flirt session with his waitress at the Clifton Bistro leaves him feeling like a prince. The last thing this silent millionaire expected, was to feel a connection with his waitress instead of his blind date. Will Joselyn be able to fulfill her wish of finding true love with Victor and still keep her dream of owning a beautiful home? Can Victor open up to his waitress turned girlfriend and reveal the painful secret of his wealth? Waiting For Love is a steamy contemporary romance, with twenty-three chapters and 80,000 words.

    Thank you for your consideration and this opportunity.

    Elizabeth Grosse

    Writing as Quinn Flannery

  21. A marvelous opportunity indeed--thank you!

    Isles Of The Sea
    Christine London
    Contemporary Romance
    85,600 words, complete
    A book that arose from my travels to the Hebridian Isle of Skye off the western Scot coastline, Isles of The Sea is a romantic adventure of the heart. Isles of the Sea is the first of three tales spanning two hundred fifty years. Complete at 85,600, it is ready for your evaluation.
    Tess Bryson MacBrayne MacDonald adored childhood summers spent with her Grandmother on the Scot Isle of Skye. When she pulled up Seattle roots taking her young daughter to move to the island all she wanted was to escape the threat of her violent ex. Skye is not the safe haven she’d imagined. There she is caught up in the murder of a powerful laird. Two centuries old, its ramifications changed the very course of the throne of Britain, her clan MacDonald, its rival MacLeod and the mysterious man of MacLeod lineage that comes into her life unannounced.
    Descendent of the alleged perpetrator, Graeme MacLeod has spent a lifetime trying to live with the echoes of that murder; jobs denied, injudicious scowls of contempt and denunciation as a man of proper marriage ability have all plagued him. He’s no patience for home and family until the new resident American woman provides him a clue to his past he cannot deny…or resist. Will the path to the centuries old journal of his ancestor disclose the truth? Will Tess’ ex make murderous good on his vow of retribution and will the reluctant team of Tess and Graeme be silenced before they have the chance to change history?
    I wish you even half the fun and intrigue this story and setting has brought into my life. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    Warm Regards,
    Christine London

  22. The Lady's Heart is a 400 page historical romance set in England. The Lady’s Heart is the story of Kenrick, Duke of Marbury, who is save from highwaymen and near death Clarisse, a woman the villagers have dubbed a ‘witch.’ Kenrick embarks on a journey to find this mystery woman. When he finds Clarisse and tries to help her shed the ‘witch’ moniker, he never expects the trouble it would cause or the love he finds. This manuscript was a finalist in the Molly Contest, earning the honor of top score given by a judge in the contest.

    Thank you for looking!

    Best wishes,
    Victoria Marshal

  23. Let's give this a try.

    Jennifer R. Povey
    Urban Fantasy
    Complete: 80,000 words

    Anna McKenzie should have listened to the witch. Then she would not have been out on the canal towpath with her brother that night. The night he was brutally murdered. The night she found out magic was real and the supernatural was all around her. The night she met Victor Prince. Surrounded by strange events and pursued by a beautiful and terrible Lady of the Unseelie Fae, Anna was caught up in ancient conflicts between good and evil. And then there was Victor, a man who claimed to have no soul. A man who claimed himself to be incapable of love.

    I also have an unfinished sequel and several other concepts for the same world. Thank you for your consideration.

    Jennifer R. Povey

  24. Rebecca, thanks so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed my book!

    Gina, thanks for being here today to take pitches!

    Thanks, everyone else, for visiting and pitching!

  25. Fated
    Angela Skaggs
    Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

    They’ve been here before, long in the past and are chosen once more to become the physical manifestation of the Gods, tasked with recreating the ritual of Midsummer Solstice and continuing the cycle of life. Brought together by fate, together they must find a way to complete the ritual of Midsummer Night.
    Magazine writer Sabrina Grady has been sent to England to do some research on Solstice rituals for an upcoming article. When she falls into a barrow with the man of her dreams, she finds much more than she bargained for.
    Patrick Mason has been chosen by Cernunnos to be his avatar in this world to complete the ritual of Solstice. Given a second chance with the girl that got away, can he overcome the past to find a future?

    Thank you for reading!

  26. Title: Noni’s Vision
    Genre: Contemporary romance
    Word Count: 92,000

    Near broke LA portrait artist Jennifer Benedict grabs the chance when her former schoolmate, nicknamed the Drama Queen, hires her to paint vineyard landscapes in the Santa Ynez Valley. However, the woman exacts a price. She claims her in-laws are out to ruin her marriage and threatens to fire Jennifer if she doesn’t do a little snooping. Loath to actually spy, Jennifer decides to fake her reports. But she can’t fake her reaction meeting Dan Patterson, the woman’s supposedly wicked brother-in-law. Jennifer is focused on finding artistic inspiration, not a temporary tumble with an unsettled cowboy. The world champion bull rider isn’t interested in his Native American grandmother’s fanciful vision of a special woman destined to tame his restless soul. He’s too busy fighting his brother and sister-in-law’s attempt to convert their historic cattle ranch into vineyards, while simultaneously planning his return to the circuit. His tenacious grandmother sees Jennifer as “the one” for him and does everything in her power to unite them.

    Thanks for the read.
    Sheila Tenold

  27. Awesome pitches! I'm enjoying reading them. Please feel free to keep posting pitches up until midnight tonight. Thanks!

  28. I don't have anything I am prepared to pitch just yet, but thank you to Gina and the folks at Here be Magic for the great interview! Now I know who to query at Carina!

  29. Thanks for reviewing my pitch!

    Name: L.L. MacKinnon
    Title: The Magick Addict
    Genre: Paranormal / Time Travel Romance
    Word count: 65,000
    First in the “Brotherhood of Magick Penance” series

    Ethan Adair is a recovering magick addict trying to pay penance for the harm he’d caused at the height of his obsession. What better place to avoid temptation than in the 21st century, a time when people no longer believe in the supernatural? But temptation takes another form when the reincarnation of Ethan’s long-lost love walks into the hospital he works in. All her life social worker Sara Hawkins has been plagued with nightmares of a powerful energy surge, and the face of a devastated man as he holds her broken body. Then she meets Ethan, who’s so tender, protective yet distance. Ethan is convinced that he’d killed Sara, his Sara, the night he went overdosed with magick. He’s determined to stay away from her modern counterpart, but it’s soon apparent that someone – or something – is threatening her life. Together, they must travel back to Ancient Ireland and piece together that fateful night when Ethan lost control, before the dark forces behind it make certain that history repeats itself.

  30. Thanks for reading our pitches, Ms. Bernal, and thanks for hosting it, Ms. North. Especially thanks for the great interview!

    140K contemporary romance

    Pro snowboarder Joey Talmadge over-rotates a 540 backside rodeo in the halfpipe, crash-landing his collarbone and his season. Life seems determined to keep him from coming back: his sister's an alcoholic and so is his best friend, his beloved grandmother is seriously ill, and his brother doing hard time for killing his wife, who was Joey’s mentor. And now Joey's girlfriend is pregnant. He'd be crazy to inflict his dysfunctional world on a helpless kid, even crazier to try to bring a family into the freewheeling slopestyle life, but he can’t imagine living without Alyssa, either. If he doesn't figure out some kind of balance, he's going to crater the most important hit of his life.

  31. Name: Diva Jefferson
    Title: To Love An Irishman
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Word Count: 45,870

    After the death of her father, the fire-haired beauty is left with two choices: make profits on a farm in Ireland or succumb to life as a married woman. Unable to abandon her independence or her dreams, she takes the journey overseas and meets an Irishman who desires her from afar. Although, their connected past pulls them closer, they know "nothing in this world goes according to plan".

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
    -Diva J.

  32. Hi Nicole and Gina,

    Thanks for the opportunity and consideration!

    Author: Anya Richards
    Title: The Edge of Destruction
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Word count: 50K
    Email: Anyarichardswrites AT

    Seventeenth Century Port Royal is not a place for the weak—or the moral—and all Lisette Carlyle wants is the chance to get back to England and the respectable life she left behind. Desperate as she is to escape her brother-by-marriage and his house of ill repute, she never thought Captain Peregrine Delacorte would be the one to aid her. It may have been years since the ex-pirate rejected her for the sea and his ambitions but the attraction has never waned, and it does not take much to ignite that lingering spark into flames. As danger and passion envelop them like the tropical heat, Lisette and Perry struggle to trust, to surrender—and to stay alive in a world where intrigue, lust and greed threaten to take them beyond the edge of destruction.


  33. Title: Savannah
    Genre: Woman's fiction with romantic elements
    Word Count: 90K

    Sex and the City Meets Gossip Girl…

    Savannah chronicles the lives of three friends and one frenemy, as they live life to the fullest as only the rich can do on the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia.

    Holly, the humanitarian and CEO’s daughter at the accounting firm, learns how to play tough when Scott moves back to Savannah, and wants to take over the firm when their fathers retire.

    Samantha, an upscale boutique owner, who wants to expand her business with the help of her parents, refuses to give in to her mother’s demands, and continues her relationship with Josh, even though he’s from what her mother considers, “gutter trash.”

    Amy, the school teacher from a lower middle class family, meets up with old college friends, and finds herself swept up in an elite social circle, with lives as steamy as the air after a thunderstorm on a summer afternoon-- against her domineering mother's advice.

    Melinda, the sexy, devious, partner’s daughter, who has her eye on Greg for the chairman’s seat, so she can control him and live the life she wants, of course.

    An unknown insider uses Facebook and Twitter to expose it all.

  34. Robin J. Boisseau
    GENRE: Historical Romance (Georgian England)
    WORD COUNT: 106,000

    Scandal bought him the woman of his dreams; now he will pay any price to win her heart.

    Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam—kidnapped, sold at auction in London’s notorious House of Pleasure—must pit her wits against the masked stranger who purchased her. Although overwhelmed by her attraction to the man, Kat returns to her senses before he causes her utter ruin, bashes him over the head and escapes.

    Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury—rake and master swordsman—is one scandal away from social ruin when he discovers his latest romp has compromised a lady. He seeks out the fiery Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal and gain the wife he needs to carry on his family line. Instead he finds his heart ensnared by the beauty who wields a sword as well as he.

    The marquess’ scandalous reputation convinces Katarina that he has no feeling for her other than lust. She weds him to protect her reputation, but refuses him their marriage bed in an attempt to spare her disillusioned heart.

    As he struggles to become the husband Katarina deserves, Duncan uses desperate measures to convince his wife that what began in scandal can become her dream come true.

    Thank you, Nicole and Gina, for the great opportunity!

  35. Thank you for a great interview and the opportunity to pitch.

    The Matchmaker Chronicles: The Werewolf King
    Genre: Paranormal
    Word Count: 106,000

    After a yearlong mission to outlaw human/werewolf mating, Xavier Robertson’s plan to find a suitable queen is blown to hell when a mystical matchmaker insists his fated match is none other than Merry Carter—a human.

    Merry, a jaded research specialist has no interest in the arrogant, condescending Xavier, but to save her top-secret research from enemy clutches, her only choice is to trust him to keep her safe.

    When a Werelion Pride leader’s interest in Merry takes an unexpected turn, will the Werewolf King realize that a woman once thought beneath him is worthy to be his Queen, or will he let her Pride, and his, stand between them?

    Melissa Stark

  36. Title: Home Again
    Genre:Romance Suspense
    Word count:90,000
    Denice A'Hearne has made a mess of her life,Burnt out in her career,betrayed by her ex-fiance,she is alone and plans to stay that way.

    An unexpected inheritance gives her a chance to make her dreams come true. She buys back her family farm and moves back home,to Louisiana.

    Ran McKnight left the Marine corp special ops unit to take over his deceased fathers business empire. He has turned his back on love and wants nothing to do with the shallow, greedy women pursuing him for his wealth until he meets the fascinating new owner of the farm across the river.

    Swept off his feet,he finds himself married to Denise A'Hearne.Neither realize their union will ignite the fury of an unknown and dangerous enemy.

    When suspicious fires,explosions,and bullets leave four people dead,Ran realizes a killer has them in his sites and will stop at nothing until he and his wife are dead.

    ran will do anything ,including using himself as bait to keep Denice safe.But his stubborn wife has no intention of letting her husband take all the risks, and together they lay everything on the line in a desperate gamble to unmask the killer before he silences both of them forever.Thank you for your consideration and time. Pam Owldreamer

  37. Name: Kelly Whitley
    Title: Into the Red
    Word count: 108K
    Genre: Paranormal romantic suspense

    Dear Gina:
    What if human blood was an illicit and highly addictive drug called Red that drove vampires crazy and eventually killed them? Red-addicted vampires known as Poisoners are killing women as part of a plot to extort money, leaving a trail of bodies, but one victim survives…
    Evan Nichols is an oncologist—and a vampire. Lone male vampires are at risk to become Poisoners, and the race’s governing body, the Alliance, has ordered him to choose a mate—or they’ll choose one for him.
    Tara West beat cancer, but has lost everyone: her parents, her best friend, her cheating fiancé. Cynical about love and relationships, she’s searching for her birth parents, hoping to fill the emptiness in her life.
    The two are thrown together to work on a fundraiser. Evan’s desire for romance flairs to life, but Tara is wary of his overtures. During this stormy courtship, a Poisoner attacks Tara, and she survives long enough for Evan to rescue her. He suspects Tara’s previous leukemia and chemotherapy uniquely changed her blood, and that this anomaly may have helped her survive the attack—and be the source of her draw for him. The curing vaccine for humans requires the venom of the culprits, and Evan must find them before they die of their addiction and make saving her impossible.
    So begins a journey into the Red.

    Thanks, Kelly Whitley

  38. Name: Michele Mahon w/a Michele Mannon
    Title: "A Dalliance with a Devil"
    Genre: Historical Romance (French Revolution)
    Word Count: 92,000

    The year is 1792 and Paris is amidst a bloodthirsty revolution.

    TIME. For novice, British spy Marielle Dubois Reynolds, time is everything. Minutes to judge someone’s character, friend or foe? Seconds to pull a blade from beneath a disguise to eliminate an enemy, or grow wings and flee. And a heartbeat to decide whether to attack or escape. Or seduce.

    Trained at a British Spy School, Marielle is a quick study, mastering skills of knife throwing, deception by disguise, and decoding messages. Yet her role is to be a swallow spy, one who seduces information from a target. A challenging task for an attractive, quick-witted virgin.

    Her first dalliance is to squash the revolt and restore the French monarchy. King George III demands it. But Marielle has her own personal mission, to locate her parents, who were urgently summoned to her noble mother’s family estate, in France. And disappeared.

    Only one person is privy to her secret, her reluctant mentor.

    Handsome, veteran, professional STEPHEN BARTHOLOMEW BRENNAN has honed his skills to the point where tenderness is replaced by indifference. This is how he lives his life. A lifestyle perfectly suitable for a provocateur, a spy trained to stir up trouble. So how can one willful, naïve chit crumble his resolve, stone by stone, much like the storming of the Bastille?

    Marielle earns the unexpected assignment as a prober, a spy who ferrets out and reports information rather than a swallow. Disguised as a lad, she transports messages between her two contacts in Paris.

    The dalliance consists of a complex network of spies all with assumed identities unrecognizable even to their peers. Which causes problems for Marielle. She decides to seduce a hideously scar-faced man, a member of the revolutionaries inner-circle, for clues about her parents.

    Only in the world of spies and revolution, nothing is ever what it seems to be. The man she dreads seducing turns out to be the one man she loves the most. Stephen.

    Revolt seems inevitable. The revolution grows violent and the dalliance falters. Yet, with Stephen’s help, Marielle locates her parents, and in turn, saves the lives of many noble families.

    Marielle is forced to recall all of her training as her furious evil cousin seeks blood. Her’s and Stephen’s, who has been imprisoned. She defeats her cousin and rescues him.

    Marielle is left with one final mission, to provoke Stephen into accepting that their love is his greatest strength.

  39. Ms. Bernal, Jodi Picoult is a favorite of mine, too. Thank you for your time and consideration in reviewing all our pitches. It's much appreciated.

    Name: Kathleen Irene Paterka
    Genre: Women's Fiction
    Word Count: 98,000

    When small town reporter Lucy Carter wins the lottery, good fortune seems guaranteed. But even $70 million in cold hard cash can't buy Lucy a way out of some cold hard facts. No amount of money will buy back Grandma's mind, nor buy Lucy a reprieve from her estranged mother Lila, who's moved back to town to keep an eye out for Lucy. Or is it Lucy's money that Lila has her eye on instead? When an auto accident forces mother and daughter to live under one roof, even a luxurious 4,000 square foot condo seems like a tiny bungalow, and Lucy's got her hands full with a whole new set of problems she never expected.

  40. Hi Gina,
    Thank you for taking the time to look at pitches and to do the interview.

    Title: Angel of Death
    Pen Name: Lilah Rune
    Genre: Light Paranormal
    Word Count: 85,000
    Email: brendaknutson @ ca (dot) rr (dot) com

    Kayla is an angel of death (there are many) that has the Hollywood region (fun & games here). She is already skirting the line and is about to land on probation. She has a crush on a human, and he turns out to be number seven on her next "To Do/Hit" list. She refuses, and, of course, lands on probation with a real jerk for her probation officer. Having never actually spoken to her crush, she now must find a body to transfer his soul while her probation officer isn't watching. After checking out good-looking coma victims, she succeeds, only to learn that he is a complete air-head! She ends up falling for her jerk probation officer (he's not such a jerk after-all) and has some loose ends to tie-up (her ex-crush).

  41. Janine Whalley
    Title: First Saturday in May

    Thank you for taking pitches Gina.

    Kylie Pamela Louise Adams needs a trainer to turn her young colt into a Kentucky Derby contender. She must also clear her family name and get back the respect it deserves in the horse and business world. But she’s alone after the suspicious death of her father and looses the family holdings. Wounded and hurt, longing for love and a family Kylie is unable to break through her wall of self defense. Kash Dalton a disgraced trainer, sabotaged and set up for drugging horses, he’s stripped of his training licence. He’s tried to clear his name and is still fighting but sometimes it’s easier to get lost in the bourbon bottle. How can he get his licence back and regain the trust of horse owners? He’s homeless, penniless and alone.

    Kash and Kylie each have something the other needs. He accepts her proposal to be her trainer and handyman in exchange for room and board. While living under the same roof their relationship grows and flourishes. But they also challenge each other with their own independence. Time is running out to qualify Fool’s Gold for the Kentucky Derby and if they can’t work together both of their goals are lost. They must concede to each other and only then will the healing begin.

  42. Title: SNOW'S MAN
    Author: Laura Kaye
    Genre: Paranormal Romance with a Christmas Theme
    WordCount: 65,000

    On a retreat to escape the haunting memories she associates with the holiday, 29-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she shared with her husband every Christmas - and collapses in tears against the snow man at the sight of what she'll never have. Called to life by the power of Megan’s tears, long-exiled snow god Owen Winters reveals himself to Megan in the midst of a raging blizzard - and finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body. When Owen vows to win her heart and a chance at humanity, Megan is tempted by his mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things, but she must let go of her widow’s grief and learn to trust love again before the snow melts or risk Owen’s chance to become mortal forever.

    Thank you for the opportunity!

  43. Wow, this is such a great opportunity. Thank you to both ladies!

    Nicole Helm
    Title: All's Fair in Love & Politics
    Contemporary Romance
    55,000 words

    All’s fair in politics and war, but what about love? Doug Kapshaw is a political journalist hoping he can get some dirt on the father of the subject he's covering in his next article. Abigail Fortman is an aspiring politician hoping to break away from her father's ruthless control and overwhelming shadow. Together, they can bring Grant Fortman down, but when they fall in love, Grant's darkest secret pits Doug and Abigail against each other. Doug and Abby must determine what dreams really matter and find a way to overcome the lies that divide them.

  44. What awesome pitches! I wish they were already in print. :-)

    Teri Linscott
    w/a Lynn MacIver
    Title: Highland Pawn
    Genre: Scottish Historical(1742)Erotic Romance
    60,000 words

    Maggie Fraser is determined to free her wrongfully-imprisoned uncle and save her family's lands from the English. In order to gain the Duke of Westingham's alliance, she must seduce him and offer him what he desires most... her maidenhead. Though she knows this will ruin her chances of a happy future, she's willing to pay the price to save her family.

    Alexander MacKay rescues his friend's sister when he finds her at Kell Creek. The area is a notorious hotbed of perverse activities and he's incensed to find Maggie there, unprotected. She claims she's there to learn the art of seduction and asks him to tutor her. Though he knows she's up to something, he humors her and agrees to give her lessons. He will escort her back to her family, but first he must find an ally who will help him dispose of his enemy -- the notorious Duke of Westingham.

    Amidst the lusty activity at the creek, Maggie must fight her growing attraction to Alex and keep her maidenhead intact. But can she do it when his wicked lessons have her begging for more?

    Thank you, Nicole, for hosting this event. Thank you, Gina, for reading all of these wonderful pitches!

  45. Wow, Gina, you have your work cut out for you.

    Great pitches, all!

    Romantic Suspense
    60,000 words

    US Special Ops agent, Brandon “Tex” Blake is in Australia to deal with those responsible for the brutal murder of his kid sister.

    Raging wildfires and local evacuations stall his plans until he connects with Nola Clarke and discovers she is harboring his prime suspect at her remote country home.

    As they navigate the fires, mutual respect builds and adds to their growing attraction but Tex cannot allow himself to fall for a woman this close to the killers and Nola cannot love the man using her to get close enough to destroy her reformed father.

    Thank you for the opportunity to pitch.
    Vicki Lee

  47. Manuscript Name: Hidden Salem
    Author Pen Name: Kiki Howell / Author Legal Name: Kirstein Howell
    Email Addresses: or
    Genres: Paranormal/Magic Realism, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
    Word Count: 78,674

    Intuition alone brought Makayla to Salem, Ma in search of a story, but her research has her confronting more than she bargained for. With her empathic gifts stronger in Witch City, she physically suffers, landing her literally unconscious in the arms Noah Ayers, local cop and in trouble while researching with Dylan Baines, local history teacher. Yet, it is Lauri, a witch who owns a local shop, who teaches Makayla about who she is and what she can do.

    Immersed in things she never expected, like an old legend and nemocracy because of residual hauntings, the race is on to stay safe from a dark coven and to protect her heart from a certain sexy cop. But,is Lauri correct in thinking Makayla might just have encountered the only real witch in Salem in 1962? And, do they share the same bloodline?

    *I actually just submitted this manuscript to Carina a couple of days ago. I hope you don't mind me pitching it here as well. Thank You!

  48. I hope it's not too late!

    Terri Osburn
    Single Title Contemporary Romance
    80,000 words

    Emma Dawson knows failure well. She’s failed as a wife, is seriously failing as a sister, and trying like hell not to fail as a mother. The one thing Emma does well is teach, but even in that area, she’s fallen short. Her first effort at securing much-needed new books lands her in a compromising position and all but guarantees there will be no new books anytime soon.

    Nate Campbell is well acquainted with success. A winner from the first swing, years of hard work paid off the day he got the call and joined the Major Leagues. An injury may have put an end to his playing career, but he’s not ready to walk away from the game he loves. His drive and experience along with raw talent and teamwork should have the less-than-stellar Pineville High baseball team winning trophies again in no time.

    Before Emma can fix the mess she’s made, things go from bad to worse when her book money is reallocated for new baseball equipment. She would have bet the return of Mr. Baseball was going to stir up her quiet little town, but what she didn’t realize is how far Nate will go to convince one stubborn English teacher he really is playing for keeps.

    Thanks for this opportunity and good luck to everyone. Lots of great pitches here.

  49. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

    Name: Michelle de Rooy
    Title: Appleseed
    Genre: Fantasy Romance
    Word Count: 88,000

    When Alli is ripped from her home in New York and dumped into the middle of another planet’s simmering civil unrest she learns her entire life has been a carefully constructed lie. Not the least of which being that she is not even human. Now as a trainee mage and the princess of a royal house she has to learn how to survive and win both the war for her throne and the war for her heart.

    With his people already ravaged by hatred and mistrust, D’Artan cannot afford to make a mistake; not with the stakes so high. And he certainly can't afford his attraction to Alli, the daughter of his enemy.

    Pawns in a game they cannot win alone, Alli and D’Artan must learn to trust each other. But in order to save their races and propitiate the gods they must not, cannot, risk falling in love. To do so would invite the annihilation of everything they know; their hearts and their world, unleashing a slumbering malevolence nothing can stop.

    Thanks again!
    Michelle de Rooy

  50. Hold Me
    By Lucy River, writing as Lucianne Rivers
    Contemporary Romance, w/elements of suspense
    20K words, book one of three novellas

    Thanks to her mother's will, news anchor Jane Caldwell has no choice but to find the father she thought she had lost twenty years ago. Her search leads her to Guatemala to investigate a man claiming to be her long lost father and the heir to her family fortune. Needing a translator, she hires the mysterious, sexy Harrison DeNeuve, who has his own agenda for hiding out in a third world country. Is the man calling himself Jack Caldwell really her long-lost father or an opportunistic con artist in love with her family estate?

  51. Thanks for this pitch opportunity, Gina.

    Title: A Heat Of The Moment Thing
    Word Count: 86K
    Genre: Contemporary Romance with Humor

    There’s only one thing worse than a love triangle: when your sister makes it a square.

    Becky Jansen, T&T’s freshest travel lecturer, thinks she’s got men out of her system until she meets Matt Frobisher, her new boss. Sizzling-hot and take-charge, he has Superman aspirations and, dammit, he’s gunning for her to be Lois. No way will she risk her career on a workplace fling—been there, got the scars—so she takes desperate measures and goes for a no-strings distraction. Mr. Distraction, however, is about to spark a full-on Disaster-fest that will challenge Becky’s understandings of love, loyalty and life itself.

    Matt, with his surfer-blonde hair and lean hard body, looks better suited to Baywatch than lecturing. He’s fascinated by the accident-prone Becky, who ignites his protective instincts— and a few others, too. Driven by demons from his past, he’s fiercely loyal but ruthless when betrayed—even if it costs him the very woman who’s taught him to love again.

  52. Hi Gina and Nicole.
    Thank you so much for this opportunity.
    Title: Savage Possession
    Word count 92,000
    Genre Historical Romance
    Name: Margaret Tanner

    Wuthering Heights in Australia 1870's
    Martin Mulvaney, a wealthy recluse, lives in a mansion shrouded with dark secrets and scandals.
    He finds a young woman collapsed on his doorstep. She remembers nothing except the Black Stallion. Believing she is on her way to work at the Black Stallion, a classy bordello, Martin takes her to his bed, and sets about turning her into every man’s fantasy.
    Weeks later, he is stunned to find out that his little whore is named Elizabeth, and she is the granddaughter of his mortal enemy, Fergus Campbell. By this time she is with child and Martin is forced to marry her.
    When her memory returns, Elizabeth finds herself married to a stranger. Gradually she realizes Martin is not the black hearted devil her grandfather painted him. Their marriage is doomed unless she can she teach this man, who thinks women have been put on earth purely to satisfy his carnal needs, the difference between love and lust?


  53. Pitches are closed now. Thanks so much everyone, for dropping by and pitching! Gina will now decide on a winner. Best of luck!

  54. This message from Gina:

    Thanks to all the writers who participated in the pitch. It was tough to narrow down the choices to just one, so I've selected the following 5:

    SHADOWWALKERS by Jennifer Povey
    MAN HUNTER by Carrie Spencer
    TOP PRIORITY by Vicki Lee
    THE EDGE OF DESTRUCTION by Anya Richards
    PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Terri Osburn

    Instructions to winners: Congratulations! Please email your full ms in an .rtf file, along with a short synopsis, to Address your query to Gina Bernal and indicate in your first sentence that you are enclosing requested material from the Here Be Magic Pitch. In the subject line of your email, please type the manuscript's title, your pen name and the genre. All submissions will receive an auto-response acknowledging receipt of submission. Please allow up to 16 weeks for an editorial response to your submission.

    If your pitch was not selected by Gina, it’s possible that another one of Carina Press’s editors might be interested in your story, so you may still submit your manuscript to Carina Press by following the submission guidelines at

  55. Congrats to Anya, Terri, Vicki, Carrie and Jennifer! And thanks to all the entrants. There were so many good ones it couldn't have been easy. I hope you all plan to sub them to Carina the traditional way.

  56. Wow.

    Full is indeed on its way to Gina.


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