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Angela James and her journey to Harlequin with Carina Press


Today Harlequin is announcing the creation of Carina Press, a digital only epress from Harlequin.   On a personal front, this news is exciting because Angela James is a friend of mine and will be the Executive Editor of this new line.   On a reader front, I think this move signals how important the digital space is becoming.

You can read all about Carina Press at its website:   The plan is to launch in Spring/Summer 2010.   Carina Press will release DRM FREE!!! ebooks on a weekly basis.   The books will be available for sale at Carina Press and through other etailers.   Carina will be publishing steampunk, sci fi, futuristic fantasy, multi cultural books – “if readers are blogging about a genre with passion and interest, we’ll publish it.”   A whole list of genres can be seen here including thrillers, mysteries and erotica in addition to romance.

The Press will consider nearly any length of novels including short stories, genre novels between 50,000 and 100,000 and “complex narratives” of over 100,000.   In short, it seems like Carina Press has few restrictions for authors in terms of genre, length or subject matter.

There are no advances and the books will be royalty based.   Carina will be looking to relaunch digital editions for titles that are out of print.   (Someone contact the Curtis’ stat!   We need Windflower and Bad Baron’s Daughter out in eform!)

In any event, here are a few words from Angela James and her journey to Carina.


Sometimes it’s hard to believe everything happens for a reason, when you’re the one it’s happening to. Four years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old daughter. I’d left a job I loved as an occupational therapist in a psych hospital in order to stay home with Brianna. To keep myself occupied (because I’m someone who loves to work) I’d been doing some casual work for Ellora’s Cave as a proofer, something I’d started doing while I was pregnant. I actually applied for a position as an editor, but didn’t quite make the cut, and in mid-2005, they restructured how they did the editorial and I was cut loose as a proofer.

By that time, I had the editing bug, I’d made contacts with some authors and I wanted to do something to stay in the business, so I began doing freelance editing. Right around that time, several authors mentioned to me that a new publisher was going to be opening its doors, the owner was looking for editors and would that be something I’d be interested in, because I’d be good at it? Heck yeah! So I was introduced to Christina Brashear and in September of 2005, I found myself the first editor for Samhain Publishing.

I loved working for Samhain, and helping build a fantastic publisher in the digital community. I learned a lot during those first few years, and it was an unforgettable experience. In the past year, I’d had some soft interest from others in the industry, with potential job offers, but it wasn’t until the crew from Quartet Press came along that I started giving serious thought to leaving Samhain. After four years, I felt almost inexorably bound to Samhain, with an emotional connection that I’d certainly never had to my jobs as an occupational therapist. It was a difficult thing, contemplating leaving, giving up the easy camaraderie I had with the other editors, who I found an amazing source of information, talent and support, leaving behind all of the authors I’d worked with, many of whom I’d watched grow their careers from their debut books with me, and walking away from a company I felt entwined with.

But at the same time, I was ready to grow my career and do something that would help grow the digital publishing industry even further. So when I say the decision to leave Samhain was not made lightly, I mean the decision was made after weeks of sleepless nights, long talks with my husband, close friends and the partners at Quartet. And weeks of stress, anxiety, tears and a headache I was convinced had taken up permanent residence. Once I finalized the decision to leave, I still had to move past telling Samhain, my co-workers and authors. After that, there was a period of dealing with the public reaction to my departure, something I hadn’t anticipated. Shock, excitement, and from some, dismay and a sense of betrayal. All of it difficult since it was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made. At the time, I compared it to being similar to all of what I’d experienced when my first husband and I divorced.

Beginning work for Quartet was an amazing period of discovery and anticipation. I truly believe the industry has room for more quality digital publishers, and with the assembled team at Quartet, I believed we were in a fantastic position to create that press. I had an immense respect for my teammates and was flattered that they felt similarly about me, enough to woo me from my position at Samhain. So imagine my complete and utter shock when just a few weeks after I’d begun, I got an email stating the press was closing its doors. I had little information as to why or what occurred to cause the decision, and suddenly, there I was, playing my (urn)employment drama out in public again while trying to deal with they myriad of not-so-positive emotions I experienced.

This is where I realized how lucky I was because the outpouring of support was immense. I got blog comments, personal emails, messages on Twitter, Facebook, message boards and elsewhere offering sympathy, suggestions and any kind of support I needed. People I barely knew or didn’t know at all wrote. Friends and acquaintances put out the word that I was available for hire. No less than three companies emailed me that first day to soft query me about possible jobs. Sure, there were a few people who felt I’d somehow gotten what I deserved, but overall, overwhelmingly, the publishing community, from readers to authors to editors and publishers, let me know it was going to be okay, and that everything happens for a reason.

And you know what? They were right. You were all right. The day after Quartet announced it was closing its doors, I got a phone call from someone I admire tremendously. Some might call it a phone call offering the opportunity of a lifetime. Malle Vallik of Harlequin called to say, “I heard what happened, I’m really sorry but-this might be really good for us and we might have an interesting proposition for you.” Okay, hello! The Harlequin digital team wanted me to consult? And help with this new digital-only press they were building. And they thought there might be a spot for me at this digital-only press. Dear God. How much emotional rollercoaster can one person handle? Devastation and fear to instant euphoria? Harlequin was (and is) my dream publisher. They’re forerunners in the digital field, I’d been reading their books since fourth grade, and they throw the best RWA Nationals party. Heck yeah!

So here I am, almost two months after becoming publicly unemployed, and keeping Carina Press a secret for that entire time, finally able to share my news, my excitement and my joy with everyone. And finally able to publicly say thank you to everyone who supported me these past months, and who believed all this time that something awesome was right around the corner for me. I think I really did get what I deserved. I’m so glad you all were right when you told me that everything happens for a reason.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Deidre Knight
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:43:25

    Huge congrats to you, Angie!! Such exciting news! Deidre

  2. Ava Gray
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:47:55

    I think I really did get what I deserved.

    I’m so glad you got to deploy this line. That ROCKS. Congrats again.

  3. hapalochlaena
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:50:06

    Marvellous news. Congratulations, Ms. James!

  4. Jaci Burton
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:53:28

    You so deserve this Angie….and I knew something wonderful would happen for you.And though the process has been painful, the end result is wonderful. You and Harlequin will be fabulous together. I can’t wait to see all the great things you and Carina Press are going to do! Love you.

  5. Leah Braemel
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:54:32

    As one of Angie’s authors at Samhain, I was heartbroken to see her leaving Samhain, and equally hurt to see what happened with her at Quartet. But I’m thrilled to see her land on her feet in today’s economy.

    To quote an old cliche, cream rises to the top. It sure did in this case. Harlequin’s made a good choice.

    Congratulations, Angie!

  6. Courtney Milan
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 09:55:23

    Yay, Angie! I knew that everything would turn out for you–quality always rises, and you’re definitely that. Congratulations!

  7. Danielle Yockman
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:03:12

    Congratulations on such an amazing opportunity! I can’t wait to see what Carina Press does for digital readers!

  8. Rhian Cahill
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:03:30

    Congrats and best wishes for your new job.

  9. vanessa jaye
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:03:45

    Not surprised at all at this recent turn of events. Congratulations, Angie!

  10. Shannon Stacey
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:05:20

    Congratulations, Angie! A happy ending and a wicked exciting new beginning, all in one!

  11. Amy Ruttan
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:06:23

    I knew there was something out there great for you! I am so excited for you. Congrats!

  12. Sunny Lyn
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:10:47

    freakin’ awesome :) HUGS & CONGRATS!!!!

  13. Gennita Low
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:10:55

    Great news, Angie! Can’t say I’m surprised either–you’re a great editor. Congratulations!

  14. Patrice
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:16:44

    Congratulations Angie!
    I’m so happy for you and excited there will be a new digital press with quality ebooks for us to enjoy. Wishing you much continued success (and fewer emotional headaches!) ;-)

    And Thanks DA for keeping us in the loop with new pub news! If Carina ebooks pan out I may start reading more Harlequins than the ones my MIL hands off to me!


  15. EC Sheedy
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:20:40

    Excited for you, Angela, and excited that Harlequin is so *fully* investing in digital publishing. They have a great team there and now it’s even better. Will look forward to fabulous books from Carina Press. Congratulations and good luck! (This makes me so glad I’ve got my Sony reader :-)

  16. Elyssa Papa
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:22:31

    Woohoo! Congrats, Angie!!! I can’t wait to see what you and Carina does.

  17. Tessa Dare
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:23:33

    Congratulations, Angie! This is wonderful news. I knew someone would snap you right up. You are a great secret-keeper. No surprise – should have known that from the time you actually waited for Christmas to open your Secret Elf gift! Sheesh. :)

    Wishing you and Carina much success!

  18. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:29:48

    Congrats, Angie. Very cool news! I’m so excited. Here’s to taking chances and discovering new opportunities. YAY!!!

  19. Heather Howard
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:36:46

    What a rollercoaster! But I’m so glad it all turned out for the best for you. Congrats!

  20. Jia
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:37:38

    Congratulations, Angie!

  21. Lori Toland
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:39:07

    You deserve this. Harlequin should be very honored to have you working with them. When I saw Quartet Press had closed, I was heartbroken for you but I knew another door would open. Something much bigger and better was on the way.

    I am totally excited for you! You rock!

  22. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:42:59

    You go, Angie! I am so proud to have had you as my editor at Samhain and chuffed to little mintballs that this has happened for you!

  23. Alisha Rai
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:47:08

    So exciting and congratulations! I’m sure Harlequin knows how lucky they are to have you. :)

  24. Charlene Teglia
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:48:37

    Yay! What a perfect fit. And talk about your happy ending.

  25. Katie Reus
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:50:10

    Congrats! What an exciting new venture :)

  26. RStewie
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:51:27

    WoW! Talk about highs and lows!

    Congratulations, and I’m so excited to see what HQ does with digital publishing. This is just what the industry needs: a big name with a hugely successful presence taking digital seriously.

    Boo-Ya for you! (and us!)

  27. Keishon
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:51:49

    I am excited for this new line and a huge congrats to you Angela! Awesome!

  28. Kati
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:52:41

    Wonderful news, Angie! Congrats, it’s a position very well earned. Can’t wait to see what wonderful works you have in store for us.

  29. Karen Erickson
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 10:59:06

    Congratulations Angie! So exciting – I wish you much success in your new endeavor!

  30. Bonnie L.
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:03:08

    DRM free and Angela James? Maybe I will be asking for a e reader this Christmas!

    Congratulations Ms. James! I am very excited to see what you all do at Carina Press.

  31. Kate Pearce
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:16:07

    Congrats Angie and lucky old Harlequin!

  32. Sheryl Nantus
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:17:48


    you GO, GIRL!!!

    hope HQN knows how lucky they are to have you!

  33. Mel Francis
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:23:00

    I knew you’d land on your feet! Congrats, Angie. I’m so happy for you!

  34. Angela James
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:24:14

    Thanks, everyone! I’m pretty well out of unique adjectives to describe how excited I am about this, but I do appreciate all of the support!

  35. Little Lamb Lost
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:34:55

    I had followed the announcement of your leaving Samhain and the devastating situation with Quartet Press. That last bit had seemed so vastly unfair. However, this conclusion is the kind of storybook ending that I love to read. Of course, conclusion of that episode really just means a new chapter to exciting times. Thorough congratulations!

  36. RKCharron
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:36:13

    Hi Jane & Angela :)
    Thank you for the excellent news!
    I am looking forward to the e-division of Harlequin!
    I am enthused that Angela got an even better position with an even better company.
    (An email to notify?! Really!!)
    Thank you again for sharing,
    Love & Best Wishes,

  37. Elise Logan
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:39:52

    I already said congratulations, but it bears repeating. What an exciting venture. I am really interested in seeing what you can do with this – a partnership between you and Harlequin sounds like Hollywood casting was involved: A dream come true.

  38. Robin
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:48:07

    Congratulations to Angie and to Harlequin — great success to you both!

  39. Erin W
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:52:33

    Angie, you rock… in more ways than one. And I’m so proud that I can say “I knew her when…” lol Huge hugs and congrats; I know today is an unbelievably happy day for you… Enjoy every second of it! :)

  40. Caligi
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 11:53:11

    Congratulations to you, Ms. James! After following the whole saga online, I felt I knew you, so it feels like hearing a friend got a new job she deserved.

    And congratulations to us, the readers, because there’s no way this doesn’t mean great things for us! Having another epublisher, and one with such great minds behind it, is sure to be a wonderful thing.

  41. Maia Strong
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:00:06

    Wonderful news! Congratulations!

  42. Rebecca Goings
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:27:57

    Congratulations, Angie! HQ is my dream publisher too, and I’m bouncing off the walls FOR you! :D

    Is it wrong to be sifting through my WIP pile to see what I can finish yesterday to submit? :P

    You’re going to kick ass there. I can’t wait to see what Carina will do for the eBook industry!


  43. Mary G
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:31:58

    Congrats Angela!
    I’m one of those people that said that things happen for a reason. This is one of those nice times to say “I told you so”.

  44. Nice Mommy~Evil Editor » Blog Archive » Look, Ma! New job!
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:44:54

    […] it’s with great pleasure that I get to say today* that I’ve accepted a position as executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s new […]

  45. Lori
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:47:59

    What a brilliant HEA for you and Harlequin. I’m overjoyed that things worked out as they did. Congrats!

  46. Lori Sizemore
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 12:50:50

    After the graceful and positive way you’ve handled everything you mentioned, you truly deserve the best.

  47. S. W. Vaughn
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:03:05

    HOORAY! :-)

  48. BevQB
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:03:10

    WOOT! Way to work your evil genius, Angie! Congrats! –%-@

    Now, if only all those announced eReader devices would hurry up and get released so I can actually READ an Angela James edited author from Carina Press. :-(

  49. Today has been a great day… already! « Crazy Comma Momma
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:10:11

    […] Speaking of my friend Angie… Check out her awesome news here and here. […]

  50. library addict
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:23:45

    Congrats, Angela. I’m looking forward to the wide range of books Carina Press will offer.

    I hope the venture is a huge success and that the Harlequin/Silhouette ebooks also go DRm free.

  51. Zoe Archer
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:30:10

    This is so incredible, Angela! I am extremely excited for you and can’t wait to see how Carina revolutionizes publishing. This definitely calls for buying some celebratory shoes.

  52. Debra Saturday
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:30:41

    So great news Angela. YAY!

    Love Harlequin ! Always have. And now even more reason to.:)

    Proud of you very proud.

    Thank you DA for giving me a reason to smile today. You gave me hope that other great things will happen soon.


    Debra Saturday

  53. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 13:49:33

    I’ve just got one question…. how in the world did you keep quiet on this for two months, Angie? If I tried to keep quiet on something THAT big for that long, I’d explode…

    major congrats to you, and good luck to you and CP, as well.

  54. Wandering Chopsticks
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 14:36:33


    I was sad when you left Samhain since you edit some of my favorite authors, but even more dismayed after what happened with Quartet Press. Grrr.

    But this is wonderful news. Yay!

  55. Janine
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 15:17:24

    What terrific, exciting news! Congrats, Angela! And yay for Carina Press.

  56. kirsten saell
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 15:23:51

    Oh, congrats, Angela! It’s good to know you’ll still be a mover and shaker in the digital book world.

    And harlequin? Holy crapoly, that must be exciting! Good luck.


  57. Evangeline
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 15:37:35

    Very exciting news! I knew you’d come out on top! And I love that it is the romance genre–that fussy, bon-bon eating, frustrated housewife genre–that is leading the way into the digital age and that out of the genre are thousands of talented people (nay, women) from the unpublished to the editors to the art department and beyond. Huzzah!

  58. Jan Springer
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 15:40:01

    Congratulations, Angela!
    Wow, it’s true what they say. One door closes and another one opens.
    Best Wishes in your new position!! Very cool.:-)


  59. Vicki
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 16:02:02

    This is awesome news and I’m so excited for you!!!

  60. Likari
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 16:08:40

    I think I really did get what I deserved.

    This is such a joyful, life-affirming statement.


  61. Estara
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 16:30:18

    Yay, new books from a publisher with a proven record and an editor I trust in. Congratulations Ms. James and Harlequin!

  62. Sherry Thomas
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 16:55:52

    Wow, excellent news!

    We’ll have to bump and grind next year at the Harlequin party.

  63. Maureen McGowan
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 17:18:20

    Very exciting news. Fabulous. Good luck in the new job!

  64. Bonita
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 17:27:13

    [quote]…They're forerunners in the digital field, I'd been reading their books since fourth grade, and they throw the best RWA Nationals party….

    Harlequin isn’t a forerunner in anything digital nor DRM free ebooks. They’re more than a decade late behind a model they’ve watched and copied.

    But I’m not surprised they opened up a whole other press. They can’t taint their mainstream lines which are still stuck in some kitchen in the midwest with June Cleaver and Harriett Nelson, who would clutch their pearls if their tried and true standard offered up a romance that featured a relationship between two men or a white man and a black woman. Oh my stars!

    That’s why I’ve never read a Harlequin…

  65. Angela James
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 17:45:01

    Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your enthusiasm.

    Shiloh, it was very, very difficult. But now there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that I’m good at keeping secrets :P

  66. Kate K
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 17:47:28

    Awesome recruiting on Harlequin’s part.. I love Angela James’s projects :)

  67. Deb Kinnard
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 17:50:31

    I have to say “mega-gratulations” to Angela while agreeing with Bonita in spirit if not in tone. Harlequin is only doing what many quality e-presses have been doing for 10+ years. Now let’s see if digital books attain “instant legitimacy” with some large romance writers’ groups we all know & love…

    Angela, currently consuming a piece of ultra-high-quality dark chocolate in your honor.

  68. theo
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 18:13:19

    Congrats, Angela! *snoopy dance* I never doubted for a minute you’d survive and thrive. But I’m with Shiloh. I’d have exploded long ago if I had to keep that kind of secret for more than 24 hours!!

    You Go Girl!

  69. Linda
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 19:04:26

    Congratulations! :D

  70. Melisse Aires
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 19:14:47

    I’ve read your posts on Romance Divas for years and I’m so glad you landed on your feet! Best of luck with the new venture, it sounds so exciting.

  71. Research Steampunk Style! Encounter with Tim Powers « MUSETRACKS
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  72. For Writers: Research Steampunk Style! Encounter with Tim Powers
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  73. Tabitha C
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 20:58:43

    Happy, happy news. Congrats!

  74. KristieJ
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 21:12:24

    Angie: Having had the opportunity to meet you a few times now, I consider you a friend. I’ve watched this situation play out and thought to myself how difficult it must have been to see things play out in public. So I am ecstatic for you and this incredible opportunity and I am so happy for you and this new opportunity.

  75. Keira Soleore
    Nov 09, 2009 @ 21:52:38

    Lucky Harlequin for getting you, Angie. Congratulations on a very short unemployment run. Looking forward to what you and Carina Press bring us.

  76. whey
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 13:59:57

    Noooooooo, my plans to hire you as my Life-Editor-In-Chief foiled!

  77. Carolyn Jewel
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 16:54:37

    Let me add my congratulations. I’m not surprised at all that Harlequin snatched you up. This is a great combination and I wish everyone the best of luck in this endeavor.

  78. Kalen Hughes
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 17:40:49

    Very cool. Can’t wait to see what you and they get up to . . .

  79. sula
    Nov 10, 2009 @ 18:40:59

    This is awesome! Congrats, Angie, and I wish you all the best.:) As for good parties at RWA, I still think the Denny’s grand slam breakfast you treated us to in SF can give them a run for the money. lol.

  80. Karen Scott
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 14:40:46

    Harlequin isn't a forerunner in anything digital nor DRM free ebooks. They're more than a decade late behind a model they've watched and copied.

    Jesus, Beezus, who pissed in your cuppa?

    Congrats Angie. I knew you’d be fine. :)

  81. Jenny Schwartz
    Nov 12, 2009 @ 17:48:07

    Ok, so I’m a bit slow catching up with the news, but congrats Angela. This is a happy ending to the Quartet story for you that I didn’t guess–and which is exciting for all us readers.

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