Monday, November 15, 2010


By Maria C. Ferrer

I am no longer Maggie—I am the kiss, I am the sensation, I am longing and lust and need and something that might be love. --- from “Lingua Franca”

Love may make the world go round, but it is Passion who is in the driver’s seat.

Passion that explores. Passion that pursues. Passion that conquers. Passion that launched a 1,000 ships.

As editor and author Rachel Kramer Bussel states: “ Passion. It can mean greed, desire, love or simply, emotion.” And all these are celebrated in her new anthology collection, PASSION: EROTIC ROMANCE FOR WOMEN (Cleis, November 2010) – 20 stories by such celebrated erotic romance writers as Saskia Walker, Donna George Storey, Portia Da Costa and Jacqueline Applebee.

For me the story that best summarizes this anthology is “Rekindle” by Kathleen Bradean. After 16 years of marriage, this couple is in a rot, the sex routine but a special birthday wish and a lot of passion rekindles the spark in their marriage.

“I’m marking you on my heart,” states the wife and lover. “I’ve grown too accustomed to you. I want to get a fresh perspective so that I can feel every nuance over again, like a jazz interpretation of a classic song. I want to fall in love with who you are now.”

Love may keep them together, but it is Passion that will remind them why and have them falling in love all over again.

For example, passion is what drives a policeman to call in a few favors so he can get stranded with his lady love and convince her that the “Third Time’s the Charm.” Passion has a chivalrous knight rescue the fair princess and then devour her completely. Passion is what gets two “horny workaholics” to connect on a dark road, in the headlights. Passion is what keeps an efficiency expert organized and prepared even when dealing with girl trouble, and what makes a cowgirl, who loves riding wild things, realize that the hot sexy bull rider at her side doesn’t want to tame her but race alongside her.

Passion is what puts the romance back in sex, and that is just what this anthology is all about. From the couple in “Big-Bed Sex,” who find the bigger the bed the better the sex to the down-on-their-luck couple in “Crave You Close,” who fall on hard times but their love and passion keep them together to Rachel Kramer Bussel’s own story, “Five Senses,” where even the hottest sex becomes routine until this couple purposely engages all their senses and are “sore in a good way.”

I’ll end with this quote from “Rekindle:” Any long term relationship took work, but keeping the magic between us felt more like play. The real trick was remembering to take time to do it.”

What is the Passion in your life and are you taking the time to pursue it?♥

To watch the PASSION book trailer, click here.

NOTE:   This book was provided by the author, but the review is all mine.---mcf


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monuments to War and Love

By Lisbeth Eng

My recently published World War II romance novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, presents two conflicting themes: love and war. In fact, I had once considered the title In Love and War for my novel, reminiscent of Francis Edward Smedley’s famous quote, “All’s fair in love and war,” but then discovered that was already in use as the title of a 2001 Hallmark Hall of Fame World War II movie, set, like my novel, in Italy. (A pure coincidence – I didn’t even hear about the movie until after I had finished the first draft of my book!)  I know that titles cannot be copyrighted; I could have called my book Alice in Wonderland had I wanted to, but didn’t want my title so close to a work (in this case a film) with the same setting and similar theme (romance). I credit my late husband Kenny for coming up with In the Arms of the Enemy.  I rather like it, even though at least one other romance novel has the same title. (I didn’t find that out until years later, either.)

But let us return to monuments.  It has recently struck me how many monuments there are all over the world dedicated to wars, or at least to those who have fought them. I live in New York City and have the pleasure of frequent walks through Central Park. I can’t tell you how many war monuments there are, but I have encountered several in my travels.

“The Seventh Regiment Memorial of 1861 – 1865” is a handsome, lofty tribute to the fifty-eight members of that regiment of the New York National Guard who gave their lives “in Defense of the Union”, or so it says on the stone pedestal. I have passed this monument many times during walks through our lovely municipal park, sometimes even on my way to work.  Recently, I stopped to take a closer look. 

Standing atop is the stalwart bronze figure of a Union soldier, his rifle at the ready, staring off into the distance. I wonder who posed for the statue. Was he an actual soldier or an artist’s model dressed in an Army uniform? What is he looking at? Is he merely standing guard?  Is he thinking of his lost comrades or is he one of the fallen himself, perhaps reflecting on his short life and the loved ones he left behind.  Maybe he is contemplating his enemies, Confederate soldiers who fought and died for the cause they believed in. On each of the four sides of the base are bronze medallions, emblazoned with the words “Pro Patria et Gloria.” I have never studied Latin, but with my knowledge of French and Italian I am able to decipher a rough translation: “For country and glory.” 

Another famous statue (in Grand Army Plaza, near the southeast entrance to the Park) is that of Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman, astride his mount, blazing in gilded-bronze and led by the winged female figure of “Victory”. Foreign warriors honored in stone or bronze throughout the Park include Polish patriot King Władysław II Jagiełło and South American military and political leader Simón Bolívar.

Not all statues in Central Park are warlike.  There is the lovely “Angel of the Waters” at Bethesda Fountain, as well as figures of William Shakespeare and Hans Christian Andersen. The Park possesses a representation of Alice in Wonderland and a statue honoring the canine hero “Balto,” dedicated to the sled dogs that led teams through a snowstorm to deliver medicine for a 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska.

But does Central Park have of a monument to Love?  Outside the Delacorte Theater stands a bronze sculpture depicting Shakespeare’s famed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, entwined in an embrace. As a romance writer, as well as a woman who believes in the power of love (and who is not so enamored of war), I am grateful for that. 

In Verona, Italy, the setting of In the Arms of the Enemy, a bronze statue of Juliet resides outside one of the popular tourist attractions of that city, the “Casa di Giulietta,” alleged home of Shakespeare’s heroine. I have been to Verona and have seen this statue and the crowds who pose to have their pictures taken beside her.  It is considered good luck to touch her right breast, and that particular part of her anatomy is a shinier bronze than the rest – likely from the caresses of thousands of hopeful lovers (or superstitious tourists!). 

I did not choose the city of Verona as the setting of my World War II romance novel because of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.  I chose it because during the period of the war in which my novel takes place (late 1944), that was the actual location of German military headquarters in Italy. The romantic connection is sheer coincidence.  And I promise that the hero and heroine of In the Arms of the Enemy enjoy a far happier ending than do Shakespeare’s tragic lovers.

BIO: An English major in college, Lisbeth Eng has also studied Italian, German and French. Lisbeth is a native New Yorker and has worked as a registered representative in the finance industry for the past 25 years. Her first novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, is available in e-book and paperback at The Wild Rose Press. Lisbeth invites you to visit her at

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Guts, No Glory: When The NaNoWriMo Going Gets Tough

National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in 30 days. Now THAT’s what I call a challenge. Good thing challenges turn me on. Get me going. Rev my writer’s engine. But on the other hand, engines are prone to break-downs and there’s a stop light on every corner, it seems.

Right now I’m stalled on the side of the road, flashers blinking, with no NaNo AAA in sight!

For several years I’ve done NaNo, start to finish, loving my story and racing to the 50,000 word finish line, no problem. One year, though, I hated my story after a week, and dumped it in favor of a whim. And I didn’t get the NaNo checkered flag that year. Things fizzled and I went into a funk and it ended there.

This year is starting to take on that Groundhog Day-like quality, and I am finding myself hard-pressed to keep my NaNo “no guts no glory” energy in high gear. I started with a contemporary, category story idea that I’d plotted out in advance. After 2 days, nuh-uh. Wasn’t giving me that old spark. SO I switched to an erotic wild, wild west historical that I’d had rambling around in my head for a while.

Too much research. I was writing but I knew full well that I had places, language, historical facts wrong, wrong, wrong. Like I had sand in my gas tank, I ground to a halt.

After a weekend of ZERO words, this morning I tossed THOSE pages (over 4,500 words) and have gone back to square one, to start again. This time I’m hot and heavy about my erotic thriller – one that I have been plotting and researching and doing character work on for six months (even though I had the niggling suspicion it was too complex for NaNo). BUT - It feels good. It feels right. I’ve already done the research I need to write fast; and it is erotic romance, which is what currently blows my skirt up, creativity-wise.

What do I NOT have?

The first 7 days of November that are already gone, baby, gone.

So, here’s the challenge: Can I do it? Can I catch up? Today’s minimum total (at 1,666 words per day for 30 days) leaves me 13,328 words in the hole. Now, I’m a fast writer. I’m totally into my story: I despise my horribly villainous, psychologically manipulative serial killer and his sadistic, sociopathic minions. My hero and heroine are hot, sexy, dark, troubled, courageous and driven. And the uber hot sex that is to be blended with the danger makes for a perfect match.

But there’s this little thing called life that keeps cropping up. Long, hard days at my day job. Nights of errands and chores at the old homestead (I KNOW, NaNo is the month to let it all slide, but when you have caretaking responsibilities, well, some things just have to come first). I cram my writing into my commute (3 hours daily, round trip on train and bus). I write during my lunch hour (when I can take it). (Which adds another wrinkle to this writing race – I write long-hand a great deal of the time and then have to transcribe onto the computer; which means duplicated effort for the same output BUT I can’t lug my laptop around without getting my back out of whack.) And I’m still holding out great hope for my nights – fingers crossed that they are uneventful and uninterrupted and that my Mother’s snarky mood dissipates sooner, rather than later.

Everyone participating in NaNo has a bugaboo that gets them all worked up, stymied, stumped or depressed. An internal editor who makes that Prada-wearing Devil seem like Mother Theresa. Family responsibilities that suck the life right out of you. Too many demands from the job that keeps a writer in WiFi. Physical ailments, and even the negative feedback from friends and family members who, maybe, just don’t “get it”, and don’t hesitate to tell you it is a waste of time. Maybe the no-holds barred writing style is not YOUR style. Your plot isn’t holding together, your research isn’t sufficient, you hate your characters, a different story is tickling your cerebral funny bone.

Each problem is like a big old speed-bump on the NaNo highway.

But I’m nothing if not up for the challenge (whether I’m am up TO it, will be determined). So I’m forging ahead. I’ll let the support and enthusiasm of the wild and crazy NaNo’ers buoy me up. I’ll set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier to jump start my day. And I’ll turn a blind eye to the dust bunnies and worry about a healthy diet later AND I’ll say a little prayer for me.

If you are afraid you’re backsliding, or having a rough time of it, you aren’t alone! Keep your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, and think of me. Toiling away amid the dust and unwashed laundry as I frantically try to commit murder, have my protagonists fall in love while heating up the sheets with kinky sex, AND catch a serial killer!

By 11:59 PM, on 11/30/10, in 50,000 words or more.

Monday, November 1, 2010


By Maria Ferrer

National Novel Writing Month starts today. Are you ready to Nano?!

Join me. It’s just 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1,666 words a day – about 6 pages a day.

I did a quick survey of my NaNo Buddies and there were no surprises.

• Most of us are using a laptop or desktop computer to write our story. It helps keep a better word count. Of course, we reserve the right to use pen and paper on the subways or the road.

• One of my friends is writing her NaNo novel on her iTouch. It is amazing how she types away on her tiny screen. And her new iTouch comes with a camera so she can even illustrate her novel if need be!

• One out of five of us made an outline/ synopsis for our story. I am a great plotter, and I need my outline to help me focus. Of course, my story doesn’t follow the outline word for word, after all, detours can be so much fun!

The main thing to remember about the NaNoWriMo is that it’s all about the writing.  Try to write every day. Write every where and anywhere – on the bus to work, during your smoking break, at lunch, on the subway home, while waiting on line at the bank/supermarket/bakery.

And, you are not alone.   NaNoWriMo's are being held around the world.  It's as far out as India, Russia and New Zealand.   And, closer to home....the NYC Regional NaNo Chapter has daily write-ins around the city and all are welcome. Maybe I’ll see you there.

In the meantime, You can still register to enter the NaNoWriMo by going to If you enter, do add me as a Buddy.

Good luck and Happy Writing to Us All!

Maria Ferrer enjoys participating in the NaNoWriMo. She considers it a great way to get butt to chair and pen to paper. Maria has won two NaNoWriMo’s. She’s hoping for a third win. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, October 25, 2010


By Maria Ferrer

I won a free vacation in Bermuda, which is where I was this weekend instead of at the NJRW conference. I didn’t meet with any editors or agents and I didn’t pitch my books, but as I laid on the beach, under the warm sun, the gentle breeze playing with my hair, I did think about possible plots for my November NaNoWriMo project. Truly!

The plots considered and discarded included, a murder mystery where the program director is found dead and the meeting planner-turn-sleuth discovers the killer; a sci-fi drama where the planet’s male population is dying of a mysterious ailment at the age of 25 and the red-haired princess must discover the cure before her beloved brother dies; or a tale noir where a repressed woman explores her sexual appetites. Good choices all, but too cliché and easily discarded.

This author is still in search of a plot and characters.

For people who like outlines and structure (ME! ME!), not having a plot, let alone characters, can cause severe head-throbbing trauma. For others, “no plot, no worry” is a sweet siren’s song and welcome challenge.

I am forcing myself to remain calm and sane, even as NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month aka November—is pulling up to the curb and I haven’t even finished dressing. Gulp!

But I am not going to panic.

I am going to relax. I am going to pretend I am back on that Bermudian beach, my toes digging into the pink sand, with the hot sun toasting me to a nice pink, with the cool breeze combing its fingers through my hair. I am going to close my eyes and envision plots and characters—maybe a murder, maybe a mystery, maybe a medieval. Hmm. Maybe a Laird, maybe a pirate, maybe a police detective. Hmm. Maybe a jilted bride, maybe a princess, maybe a thief. Hmm.

The possibilities are endless as I wait for inspiration to settle on the beach chair next to me.

Where do you find your inspiration?♥

For more information on NaNoWriMo, visit
The challenge begins November 1. Good luck.

Maria Ferrer enjoys participating in the NaNoWriMo. She considers it a great way to get butt to chair and pen to paper. Maria has won two NaNoWriMo’s. She’s hoping for a third win. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Researching Research

Just about everyone I know in the writing community does their research on line. Now, admittedly, there is a wealth of stuff out there for the savvy researcher (who knows to beware of the legitimacy of the source - Wikipedia, for example, is a great place to start, but never ever take their word without confirming info!). And of course, even for folks like me, who love to do hands-on research, some places are too far flung or don't have the right sources in their neck of the woods. But hands-on research can be so much richer.

Which brings me to the beauty of Manhattan. Within it's boundaries you'll find countless sources for researching, everything from bondage and discipline to the history of the NYPD (bondage and discipline of a different sort, you might say).

On this 22 square mile island are found such a cornucopia of resources that a writerly girl could spend her life wandering from museum, to library, to society, to theatre, to arts organization, to club, to restaurant, to historical site. Seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, watching, up close and personal, can add a layer of specificity and detail to my writing that I could never hope to achieve by merely reading on line. Or seeing a photograph on a computer screen, or hearing & watching a YouTube video.

In the Tenement Museum on NYC's lower East Side, you can walk through an actual building, re-created as a tenement from the turn of the twentieth century and get an uncomfortable feel for the way the immigrants lived. Speaking of immigrants, Ellis Island offers an incredible look into the welcome those arriving got, after passing the majestic Statue of Liberty. And stretching further back in time is the Fraunces Tavern Museum of the American Revolution.

How do you describe a symphony in writing? You can listen to it on a CD or YouTube, but nothing compares to the feeling of sitting in a space at Alice Tully Hall or
Carnegie Hall or the dozens of other venues and sensing the vibration of the music, feeling the wall of sound as it sweeps out from the orchestra. My character in my WIP Torch is a singer. Where better to embrace the throbbing pulse or mournful wail of blues and jazz and hear for yourself the power of those songs than at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club?

What about food? Try describing an ethnic dish without ever having tasted it. Welcome to the Big Apple where there is no dish, that you cannot find and sample - if you dare. Including haggis, for those of you writing those wonderful Scottish highland romances. Just wait for the annual Robert Burns Day celebrations!

The Fashion Institute of Technology has clothing exhibits. The Pierpont Morgan has literary exhibits. The Museum of Natural History has animal, vegetable and mineral exhibits. The Museum of Sex has, well, sex exhibits. And speaking of sex, if you're writing an erotic romance with some paddling involved? Where better to "research" than the club, Paddles, where demonstrations of same are yours for the price of a blush! Or you can really put yourself out there and mingle with members of the NY Eulenspiegel Society promoting BDSM on one of their "novice nights".

If the paranormal is more your thing, well, then never fear! We have the Theosophical Society founded on Madam Blavatsky's teachings, Tarot organizations, Wiccan and pagan shops, and haunted New York tours.

Short trips outside Manhattan proper to the neighboring boroughs will take you to even more great spots. Sagamore Hill of the Roosevelt Family. The Walt Whitman Museum. You can see a Scottish Highland Games at the Westbury Gardens and tour a Gold Coast-type estate at the same time. Or trek further out into Suffolk and enjoy the annual Shinnecock Indian powwow at their newly Federally recognized Reservation. Then there is The Brooklyn Botanical Garden, The Bronx Zoo, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM to all New Yorkers) and Long Island's Cradle of Aviation museum (where one day you might find me in the cockpit of a WWII bomber plane getting a "feel", for my pilot character in the WWII women's series already underway), plus dozens more.

Beyond all of these unique opportunities to visit historical sites, view artwork, taste food, and listen to performances, there is also the glorious, expansive, New York Public Library system. It is truly one of the greatest things about New York that it supports such a vast operation, dedicated to the enrichment and enlightenment of us all.

And beyond the books, and vast collections of papers and writings, there are the specialty branches that offer even more. The NYPL Science & Technology branch is mind-boggling and for those interested in the history of performing arts in NY, the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts has everything from sheet music that can be copied, tunes that can be listened to, and varying exhibits of costumes, memorabilia and biographical subjects.

Let's not forget, either, the researcher's best friend: the indomitable NYPL librarian. They are a fount of information unlike any computer. Ask for help and you'll find suggestions, resources, clues and ideas you hadn't thought of.

So, when I launch my Gilded Age NYC set historical romance series, you can be sure you'll be seeing me, out and about, at all of the best places. The best places for research, I mean.

See you at the museums!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foodie Confessional

I was always a foodie. When my mother took me to the local pizza place, I liked a lot of garlic on my slice and instead of folding it in half like everyone else, I piled all of the cheese to the center so I could savor the concentration of its flavor. I would chew it until there was not a bit to taste.
Pizza remains one of my favorite things in the entire world. All different kinds of pizza. Whether it be the neighborhood pizzeria or something more upscale like Otto's in the East Village, I love pizza. At Otto's, I fell in love with their olive oil gelato. Sweets are my other food obsession, but that is the next part of this post. When I traveled to Connecticut to try pizza at Pepe's, all my New York friends questioned why I would leave New York to have good pizza. I am going to New Jersey soon for cupcakes as well. I have wended my way through endless New York City neighborhoods to have different culinary excursions. Any place I go in the city I can tell you where I will eat, or what place I want to try.
Will travel for food.
I think about food all the time. Anywhere I go, whatever activity, I wonder where am I going to eat before or after. Preferably after because then I have something to look forward to as I rehash whatever experience it was that I had. In the past week, I have had Russian, French and Ethiopian. I am due to have Moroccan and Indian in the next few weeks; I like all kinds of cuisine. I'll try anything. I recently signed up for Gastronauts because I really am everything they embody and I patiently wait to be invited to my first dinner!
And after dinner there is dessert...
Ahhh dessert, the thing that I live for the most. The cherry on top of every day. Chocolate is a big love of mine. I remember a quiz in Cosmopolitan to determine how sensual are you. One of the questions was which food can you not get enough of--gooey, cheesy pizza and rich decadent chocolate mousse were two of the possible answers. Honestly I could not answer because both of them create a sense of insatiability in me if they are good.
Is it the flavor, is it the punctuation that food creates around so many experiences in my life since I was a child? Is it the exploration of other cultures, or my love of novelty and trying new things? Whatever it is, food and eating and the environment I do it in are major productions, almost like theater in my daily life. Three times a day, the show must go on...
Recently I was studying up on Ayurveda, and implementing parts of a sattvic diet in mine,
getting recipes from Aparna Khanolkar's site. I read Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet and have implemented vegan and vegetarian aspects to my diet. My relationship with food is like any love relationship; I try things that I have never tried before. Try never to be complacent with eating the same things all of the time. Life is too short and there are too many edible things that I can try. I recently became a fan of beets which I never liked as a child and now love. Brussel sprouts and goat are my next targets. Whether I hit the bullseye or not, whether they become new favorites or not it is the experience. I am all about the experience with food.

Photographs by F. Solomon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Unique New York Experience

by Lisbeth Eng

“Isn’t everything in New York unique?” you ask. Perhaps a valid question, but in my forty some-odd years in this city, this was a new experience for me. The setting was Yankee Stadium. What could be more iconically “New York” than that?

But then reality shifted and I entered what I will call the “Alternate Baseball Universe.” Three friends had persuaded me to join them at a Yankee game. (My arm still aches from the twisting.) Now it’s not that I don’t like baseball, but being a life-long, die-hard Mets fan, this was not easy. That, and the one hundred dollar ticket price. But I later found out that the regular price for these tickets was $150 and it included food and soft drinks, so it was really quite a bargain.

I was told before I arrived at the stadium that this was a luxury suite. I had been in one once at Shea and it was quite lovely. A private room for about 25 people with your own bathroom and covered open seating facing the action. It was a playoff game in 2000 and I had gotten the ticket through my job. (Not the romance writing job, but the rent-paying job.) My co-worker and I seemed to be the only ones interested in the game and I got the feeling that the other “fans” were out-of-town business people just there for the free food. When the score became lopsided – I think the Mets were losing by seven runs – the others retired to the comfortable living-room-style suite and watched a football game (!) on the television screen provided. My friend and I remained outside in the now-empty covered seating section, leaning out of the opening, cheering on our team and trying to capture the feeling that we were actually attending a baseball game – a playoff game, at that!

Though the Mets lost that game (they went on to become the National League Champs that year – we won’t talk about the 2000 World Series) it was a pleasant experience. I enjoyed all the hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and chicken fingers I wanted and even got a free Mets cap to take home.

But back to the Alternate Baseball Universe. Riding the D train to The Bronx, I pictured a similar setting for our Yankee game – a covered luxury suite with an endless supply of typical baseball-stadium fare and all the bottled water or soda I wanted. We had already been told beer was extra. Bummer. When we got to the stadium we had no idea how to find our seats. A lovely young woman with a pin-stripe-adorned “May I Help You?” sign pointed us toward a guarded glass door. That led to an elevator and we got off at the level for “Audi Yankees Club” – that’s what it said on our tickets.

This was not a luxury suite – it was a restaurant seating some three hundred guests! Instead of French fries and hamburgers we feasted on lobster fritters, pan-fried soft-shell crabs, shrimp cocktail as big as your hand, sautéed asparagus and very rare filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. No kidding. Oh, and there were fries – sweet potato fries. The miniature pastries on the dessert bar were as tempting as any delicacy from the finest bakery. But lest anyone feel deprived (or forget that he was inside a Major League ballpark), hot dogs were provided, along with potato chips and popcorn. The food was wonderful and gracefully dished out buffet-style by servers wearing chef hats inscribed with the famed “NY” logo.

Yet that wasn’t the weirdest part. Our seats were arranged dinner-theater style before long tables all facing the field. But between the “regular” fans and us was a huge glass picture window. Here we were, watching a baseball game from inside a hermetically-sealed, soundproof, climate-controlled restaurant. We couldn’t even hear the National Anthem (we stood anyway since they piped in the soundtrack) or the roar of the crowd. It was like watching the game on a humongous TV screen, and to underscore the TV-like ambiance, the play-by-play telecast of the entire game was piped in, too.

We were attending a baseball game…but it didn’t feel like it to me. During particularly exhilarating moments – the scoring of a “go ahead” run or a breathtaking defensive play – excited fans are often moved to high-five the complete strangers seated near them. Yet this would have felt unseemly within the sophisticated milieu of the Audi Yankees Club. We were there at a ballpark, but not really there. All the action unfolded before us but we were removed from it. Part of the experience and much of the fun of attending a baseball game is to be among the other fans, not separated from them by glass. Fans are collectively referred to as the “tenth man”. We are part of the game and our “root, root, rooting” for the home team helps spur them to action. Sequestered within our opulent isolation booth, we became observers, not participants.

I don’t regret my expedition into the Alternate Baseball Universe of the Audi Yankees Club. (Yes, there were brochures hawking the luxury autos on a discreet rack near the exit.) The food was wonderful and the company agreeable. It just wasn’t an authentic baseball experience.

Now, this is where I usually make some obscure connection from my blog post to my upcoming World War II romance novel. Hmm…. World War II… war…. Well baseball is a little like war…. Ok, that’s a stretch. So I’ll just refer you to my website at for more info about In the Arms of the Enemy, coming October 1 from The Wild Rose Press. See, I can write a blog post without gratuitous, blatant self-promotion!

Oh, and in case you’re interested, the Yankees lost.

BIO: Lisbeth Eng is a native New Yorker who works in the finance industry by day and plugs her soon-to-be-released World War II romance novel In the Arms of the Enemy every chance she gets. Visit her at

Sunday, August 15, 2010


by Maria C. Ferrer

“Fast is a (Sexy) State of Mind” ---Rachel Kramer Bussel

Fast Girls.

You know who I mean. Those women who are always dressed to the nines: their skirts a little too short, their blouses a little too tight, their cleavage a little too exposed. Their eyeliner is black and sharp, their lipstick bright and confident, and they walk with the greatest of ease on towering heels. Men flock to them, take them home and call them the next day.

You see them at work, on the trains. You remember them from high school, college where they seemed to know something you did not. They still do.

If you haven’t guessed, I was not a “fast girl” growing up. I wasn’t a wallflower either, as I preferred the label, G.D.I. -- God Damn Independent. But, I dreamed. I wanted to send up a signal and have Billy Joel throw me a line but Catholic guilt was better at stamping out hot-blooded passion than a cold shower.

Now as a grown woman, I AM a Fast Girl in that I am in control of myself, my body, my desires and, especially my reading material.  I just read FAST GIRLS: EROTICA FOR WOMEN, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press). It’s an excellent collection of short stories about strong, confident women in control of their sexuality and their fun.

Like Tracy, in Kayla Perrin’s “Temptation,” who at 37 isn’t afraid of getting it on with a 20-year old stud with the hots for her. Like Kirstie, who makes room in her dorm shower for three extra guests in “Communal” by Saskia Walker. (Talk about conserving water!) Like “That Girl” by Cherry Bomb, who offers no apologies for being promiscuous because she enjoys being “hot and spent, tangled between sheets, skin on skin….”

Even in their submission, Fast Girls are in control for nothing will happen without their consent. Take Claire in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s “Whore Complex.” Her lover Adrian treats her like his private whore, and she allows it. She even allows him to offer her services to others. Why? Because Claire enjoys the rewards just as much as he does.

And, finally, how about a good-girl Fast Girl like the heroine in Charlotte Stein’s “Married Life”? This wife is horny and frustrated by her missionary-position-once-a-month husband. She wants sex and she wants it now, but no one will do but her hubby. So when she discovers her husband is a closet hedonist, there is really only one thing to do -- punish him, wickedly!

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

As Rachel Kramer Bussel states in her introduction to FAST GIRLS: EROTICA FOR WOMEN, “Fast is a (Sexy) State of Mind.”

Fast Girls are bold, free, confident and in full control of their lives and their beds. Fast Girls doesn’t mean naughty or slutty…unless they want it to.  Are you a Fast Girl?♥


For more info on the book and its editor, click here.

To order from, click here.

Maria C. Ferrer enjoys reading all about fast girls, daring men and deep, dark, mouth-watering desires. If only her life were full of the same. There’s a New Year’s Resolution waiting to happen!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Need A Hero!

Why I Write & Read Romance
Lise Horton

In recent days the gossip-ravenous media has latched on to the latest Mel Gibson saga. There’s been his long-reported history of over imbibing, fisticuffs and DUIs. A while back there was his anti-Semitic rant. More recently the revelation that this member of an extreme Catholic sect, husband to Robyn and father of seven children with her was being divorced. Fast upon the heels of this was the exposure of his extra-marital affair with the beautiful, much younger, Oksana Grigorieva and the ensuing love child (kid # 8).

Now the latest. Lurid, downright ugly tapes have been released and are being listened to and reported on in every news outlet available. Racist, sexist, violent, threatening and lewd screaming at the mother of his child who alleges that Gibson also hit her and threatened her with a gun, in the first case while she was holding the baby in her arms. A restraining order is in place and the entertainment trades reported that his agency, William Morris Endeavor has removed him from their roster. Which, I assume, means they fired him.

Add this to the cacophony of other news of men behaving badly. John Edwards, Al Gore, Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen, Chris Brown, Mark Sanford, Elliot Spitzer, and those are just the guys who’ve been leaving broken hearts hither and yon. How about the truly abhorrent cases of mad love like Scott Peterson, Brian David Mitchell, Josef Fritzl, Bruno Fernandes? Every day’s headlines bring more horror, betrayal, disappointment (and don’t get me started on the likes of Bernie Madoff, Ken Starr, Jack Abramoff, Scooter Libby – it isn’t just in the arena of love where guys are doing their darndest to disappoint!) It begs one to ask the burning question:

Where have all the heroes gone?

It is this tawdry state of public affairs, my readers, that is the reason I write and read romance. When this gal’s faced with a tsunami of infidelity, disloyalty, dishonor, rage, hatred, and homicidal acts, not to mention back room business double dealings and greedy shenanigans, I need to escape. Where I turn for solace from the daily grind of reality is to a good fantasy. As in a romance novel. Where a man may have a stock portfolio or a race car, fur or fangs, but he treats his woman right, he’s brave, loyal and true, and, after some good loving, a girl’s guaranteed a happily ever after.

But it’s a fairy tale, you say! My response? Darn right it is! The kind that helps me escape to a world where good triumphs over evil, where the bad guy always gets his just desserts and men don’t cheat with the babysitter, beat the crap out of their lover, or kill them and feed the body to their dog. It’s where heroes and their women battle the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune side by side and hand in hand and share smooches and a glorious, happy ending.

I’m sure that there a oodles of good guys out there, and women lucky enough to have them. For the ladies who enjoy both a good romance and a good man, congratulations on your good fortune! (Would that the press saw fit to cover everyday heroes and honorable men doing good deeds. But NOOOO! What fun would THAT be? So the bilious deluge continues.)

For me, however, I create the heroes I’d love to encounter in my own romances, and I voraciously read others’ novels about their ideal men. And there are great romances to enjoy. Entertaining stories filled with wonderful characters and terrific tales of love. There’s a genre for every taste and heroes and heroines for every sensibility, from virtuous Regency misses to kick-ass urban fantasy heroines who never let their dudes forget they are men, to the Scottish rogues and starship troopers who can make a girl’s bosom heave with a single sardonic glance.

So when I cannot stomach another exposé of a man who done his woman wrong, I indulge in romance. Rather than ponder the broken marriages, destroyed lives, damaged children and families, instead, like Dr. Frankenstein-builds-a-romance-hero, I create my own perfect men. I compile the characteristics of the sort of fella I’d like to get up close and personal with. The kind of dude who’d do my heroines justice and though they may be high maintenance, they’re never low down dirty dogs. When not penning my own, I enjoying the romantic literary fruits of other creative minds. It is how I keep from despairing over the sad state of affairs that is in my face at every turn.

Say what you will - that I’m being unrealistic, that I am turning a blind eye to the harsh truths of life. True and true. But I am certainly less angst ridden, less depressed, and more hopeful for it.

In these trying times, that’s my reason for loving romance novels.

What’s yours?

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I believe that everything happens for a reason. Such as why my yoga class was canceled and I decided to indulge myself in its place by buying Apple gadgets and essential oils. It was in the store with said oils that I met a model--an alternative model who does fetish. I was fascinated. Recently I began a short story about a model who almost suffocated in a corset. I had read as Diane Kruger described in Allure magazine that feeling and it inspired me. I wrote the first few lines organically, after combining it with a piece I was working on that I had gotten stuck on. Meeting this model who told me that yes it can happen, that you can suffocate while wearing a corset if a photographer does not know what s/he is doing. She also described the beauty in what she does and how her background made her to want to make people think about expressions of their sensuality in different ways. She believes that people are creative in every other part of their lives but when it comes to sex and intimacy they are one-sighted. I read, write and watch erotica. I think a lot is learned about people in how they express themselves in that way.

I had the pleasure of spending time recently with Thea Devine about whom I am going to be doing a Bits and Pieces on, my regular column at the RWA-NYC blog. She changed the way that I think about everything with my craft. I identified with the way she described love and sex and I found my eyes wider because of her. I even got a tiny black Moleskine to write down observations that I make and--surprise, surprise--there are only sensual bits so far! Maybe they will make it into a story but they definitely show me how I see the world and what inspires me...

I am taking an art course focusing on Francis Bacon and for the most part I do not think anyone would describe Bacon as "lovely" or "sexy." When I saw my first Bacon I thought, why would anyone like that?! But I changed my mind about him. I love the rawness of his work--there is a lot lovely and sexy about him. Not even considering that a lot of his work focuses on his lover who was his muse, or that his paintings are featured in the opening credits of the Last Tango in Paris. In my art course, we were shown a Diane Arbus photograph, which I commented on that the two people depicted could not have been a couple because they did not look happy. The instructor said to me that all couples do not have to be happy. I think my mindset was that an unhappy couple would not pose for a picture. But the idea that everything romantic does not have to be happy...When people call me a romantic the last thing they are saying about me is that I am unhappy! I am typing this post on my MacBook with the screen for Before Sunrise minimized, happy for a change that I am able to listen to it and not need to glance at the subtitles. I am fond of the ironically darker love themes in love movies from other countries. Hearing the instructor voice aloud that romance does not have to be happy, it was not that I did not know that, not that I have not explored the themes in fiction and maybe in real life...but to hear something makes it less indelible in my mind. When the fetish model told me you can suffocate in a corset, I had to reread fashion guru Polly Guerin's post about corsets!

I have been writing a lot more since then; the fairly dark love story that I have been working on is developing...which I am going to work on as soon as I finish this post. Every encounter should lead to something that can be transferred to the page or the computer screen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


By Maria Ferrer

In honor of the movie release of “Eclipse,” the latest installment of the TWILIGHT series, I am releasing a list of my favorite Hollywood vampyres, including those that frighten me and those that I’d gladly stick my neck out for – pun intended.

We’ll start with Mr. Evil Incarnate – Nosferatu. That is a face no one could love and makes one run, not walk, to the nearest church.

Bela Lugosi gave vampyres class and sophistication, and the man could certainly work a cape.

But the man who can suck my blood ANYtime, ANYwhere, is none other than Dracula, aka Frank Langella. He made vampyres sexy.

It’s the eyes. The eyes – the windows to the soul – and this Dracula’s eyes say, “Come here. Don’t be afraid. I want to share love’s last kiss with you.” And because of those eyes, not only did Lucy and Mina succumb, but so did I and millions of women around the world.

In case you didn’t know, Frank Langella played Dracula on Broadway and on the big screen. To this day, his is “the” reigning vampyre on Broadway. And, not even Phantom’s award-winning Michael Crawford could knock him off his throne. Crawford’s “Dracula: The Musical” closed weeks after its debut.

Back to my list of sexy vampyres.

Jason Patric and Keifer Sutherland were two “Lost Boys” who definitely found trouble in sunny California.

Wesley Snipes brought color and martial arts to the world of vampyres. The fight between good and evil vampyres is on, and Wesley cuts right through to the heart of the matter.

The triple threat of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Antonio Banderas in Anne Rice’s “An Interview with a Vampire” rocked the vampyre community. These vamps don’t hide. Hell, they have a stage show and flaunt their vampirism for all and sundry.

David Boreanaz as Angel in the TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is another hottie. Unfortunately, he turns good and there went the sex-appeal. I make no excuses. I like my vampyres hot, sexy and dangerous. The new-and-improved Angel drops from the list.

Kate Beckinsale's Selene makes the list. I’m not into women; I just wish I looked that good in leather. She is not the first female vampyre but she certainly can claim the title of Warrior Queen Vamp.

Hugh Jackman makes my sexy vampyre list. No, he’s not a Vampyre, but he is a Vampyre slayer. He’s just too sexy to leave off.

Now there is a new Prince of Darkness--Edward Cullen.

And though Bella and I are not getting any younger, Edward remains young and vibrant. I get a little frustrated with his “woe is me” spiel, but let’s face it, he’s a teenager. He will always be a teenager. Bella better be converted ASAP before she matures any further and outgrows him.

As for me, I’m waiting for Frank Langella’s Dracula resurrection. It’s the eyes, the window to his soul (Note to Edward: Yes, vampyres have souls; being damned is something else all together.)

Back to Frank’s – to Dracula’s – eyes. It’s the eyes that seduce you, that tell you that you are the one, that only your blood will give him life. Only you. He will starve without you.

And so I give in. I am his slave, his lover. His fangs are sharp against my lips, my neck. I can feel my blood rush towards his kiss. I can feel his arms getting stronger as he tightens his embrace, and all I can think to say is, Bite me, baby, one more time!

Who is your favorite vampyre? Which one would you gladly succumb to? Do tell.♥

Maria Ferrer loves watching vampyre movies.  She likes her vampyres mature, sexy and a lot dangerous. Forget the bad boys; give her a dangerous man any day or night.   Maria also loves to read vampyre books. Some of her favorite vampyre authors are Caridad Pineiro, J.R. Ward, Maggie Shayne and Lara Adair.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Au Courant

I guess I am the one that Lise was referring to when she spoke about the fourth horsewomen who goes for the "au courant erotic literary experience."
I am a romantic; a violent one at that. I see romance everywhere. Every part of my day is a romance in the way I see things. I remember reading a scathing comment about Anais Nin in a review of her biography saying that she was writing the things that she was writing (about her erotic life and erotica) while there was a war going on and I thought to myself who were they to criticize?
There are politicians who leave their office because they want to be with a woman that they love in another country, or who get caught with their pants down, literally, and surely these are not exemplary behaviors, but it goes to show you that love and sex, at the end of the day, are the things that drive us more than anything else, no matter who we are. They are basic, human and it is the truth. I am watching Remember Me, My Love, and what I am viewing is underscoring this point. Earlier this evening I was watching The Apartment while I was moonblogging h
ere, and it as well was even more demonstrative of this point. I love it.
I see love and romance everywhere I am. I was at Nocello drinking Nocello with the other three horsewomen and there was this photograph (all the images here are Horst P.Horst). A bunch of Horst P. Horst photographs and this one (right) struck me. It is a costume from Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus, 1939. Surreal and erotic to me at the same time, apropos of Dali and the Surrealists. This restaurant had the best bread and the scent of Nocello liqueur alone is an experience--walnut and hazelnut combined! But it was the abundance of photographs that remained with me. I like erotic images as well as erotic literature. I resent that men are considered to be the visual ones because I always judge a book by its cover!
The world that we live in is designed by love and sex. It is an inevitable truth; we would not be here without one, the other or both. Women read romances on my train, to and from work every morning, from all walks of life. Erotica-- is what usually can be found in my hands. Friends tease me that I could find the erotic books in a pile--not so much on my train, but it is on the rise and people are taking it more seriously. Still not the most easily accessible genre by any means. It is kind of hard to define. I guess it is clear that I like romantic erotica for the most part, but not all of it is romantic. I like variations--I am constantly intrigued by plots that I have not seen before. I love innovation within the erotica. Right now there is a bloom for innovation with erotica, The Erotic Readers and Writers Association always inspires me because I am always learning something new from their site--there is always some twist and turn on the genre which I love.
Not sure if I am au courant as Lise gave me credit for since my archetype for erotica is Anais Nin--I read from her Little Birds at my RWA-NYC Chapter sister Rachel Kramer Bussel's In The Flesh Reading Series last year. I am as yet unpublished as an erotic writer and in a lot of ways am still honing my craft. Sometimes I write pieces that are erotic, but there is not a bit of sex. Is that possible? I think that half of what makes something erotic is the power that another person has over another person, the surrender. I think that we surrender as a part of every day life and that is why it makes such compelling fiction. The things we do for love and sex...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sex and THIS City?

by Lisbeth Eng

When I first moved from the hinterlands of Staten Island to the chic isle of Manhattan four years ago, one of my co-workers excitedly remarked, “Lisbeth will be the new Terry Bradshaw!” “Huh? Terry Bradshaw?” I replied, bewildered. What did she possibly think I could have in common with the bald football announcer? “Carrie Bradshaw!” she corrected with a laugh, and went on to explain her prediction that my new life as a Manhattan single woman would be as exhilarating, fashion-forward and sexcapade-filled as that of the fictional heroine I had barely heard of. Yes, that’s right, I have never watched even one episode of Sex and the City, nor either of the two movie versions, nor read Candace Bushnell’s book upon which the TV series was based.

I, a forty-something-year-old widow, am probably as un-Carrie-Bradshaw-like as a native New Yorker can be. I have lived in four of the five boroughs (alas, the Bronx will probably never enjoy the privilege of my residency), having spent the longest period, thirty-five years, in Staten Island, which, in case you were unaware, is part of New York City. It’s amusing that transplanted mid-westerners (among others) seem to think of themselves as more “New York” than those of us born and bred in the outer boroughs, simply because they have lived in Manhattan a few years and know all the “in” places to eat, drink, shop and pick up men. But I digress.

First a disclaimer: since I have never watched the TV show (or seen the movies or read the book) I am in no position to judge the lives of women who seem more interested in their Manolo Blahniks and cosmopolitans than in global warming or human rights abuses in Darfur. But I’ve really no right to make such a self-righteous comment. For all I know, Carrie and her friends may spend their free time volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and I’ll bet they donate last season’s Jimmy Choos to the Salvation Army so that the disadvantaged can get “back on their feet”, properly shod.

All right, perhaps I’m just jealous. I am seldom fashionably attired (for me, comfortable shoes trump high heels and pointy toes every time), and engaging members of opposite sex has always been a challenge for me, especially after I became single again at the age of forty-four. I live in one of the most exciting cities in the world – “the city that never sleeps.” Well, I sleep. Even on weekends I’m usually in bed by midnight. Nightlife? Does watching the eleven o’clock news count?

So how can a single gal living in New York City lead such a boring life? I don’t. There is more to this city than a quest for sex and cocktails. Besides world-famous museums, opera companies, orchestras, Broadway theater (not to mention off- and off-off-Broadway theater), there is a soul to this city that may not be obvious to the casual observer. An army of volunteers delivers meals to the homebound elderly and AIDS patients. Community gardeners beautify hidden corners of this concrete jungle. The socially conscious meet to strategize against pollution, political oppression, poverty and hopelessness. As for me, I enjoy the above mentioned museums, opera and theater, study foreign languages “just for fun”, volunteer for Amnesty International on behalf of prisoners of conscience and write romance fiction for self-fulfillment and for the remote possibility of selling the movie rights to my soon-to-be-published debut novel for a seven-figure sum.

Which brings us back to sex. And self-promotion. For sex and another city, how about Verona, Italy circa 1944 where a woman torn between two lovers, one her compatriot and the other her enemy, battles the Nazis? You can read about her (and her lovers) when my World War II romance novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, is released by The Wild Rose Press on October 1, 2010. In the meantime, please visit my website at for a preview.

BIO: Lisbeth Eng is a romance author and financial services representative (that’s how the rent gets paid) who inhabits the lovely island of Manhattan where she continues her search for spiritual awakening, inspiration, the meaning of life and yes, well… ahem…sex. Visit her at

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We'll Take Manhattan

The Big Apple has long been the source of inspiration for songwriters the world over. I consider one of my favorites, by the inimitable Rogers and Hart, "I'll Take Manhattan", to be the unofficial "love song of New York City". Both for those of us who love this burg, and for the lovers among us. As the last line of this lovely, lilting tribute goes, "The city's bustle cannot destroy, the dreams of a girl and boy, I'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.". (Lyrics/Lorenz Hart; Music/Richard Rodgers/"The Garrick Gaieties 1925). A quick peek at Wikipedia's entry, "List of songs about New York City" gives insight into the popularity of this place as a musical muse. Witness, from the sublime to the ridiculous, literally hundreds of songs about Manhattan and its environs. Indeed entire musicals have been written about this place, including "Forty-Second Street", "On The Town" and "Wonderful Town". And the music captures perfectly the frenetic pace, the exuberance, the thrill, the solitary loneliness, the wonder, the mystery, the romance - there's a song for every New York state of mind (thank you Billy Joel for a most evocative theme!).

Not merely the musically minded have wallowed in our town. Painters have painted it. Photographers have photographed it. Architects have designed it. This place inspires like nobody's business.

Perhaps more than any other group, since the first boats landed, it has been a haven for writers of all sorts. From poets like Walt Whitman who roamed the streets shouting their rhymes, to playwrights like Neil Simon who captured the heart of the city and indelibly etched the image of our home for audiences the world over. From the famous brought low - Dylan Thomas drinking his last at The White Horse Tavern - to the obscure raised high like James Baldwin, Dorothy Parker, and Betty Smith - author of the perennially embraced A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. My how the written word has thrived in this tumultous corner of the world! Comedy and tragedy. Mystery and horror. History and science. Poetry and polemic. And never let it be forgot, ROMANCE!

Hence it should come as no surprise to find that today, on this very island purchased by Peter Minuet for a song and $24.00 (conversion from 1626 wampum dollars not available at this time), four intrepid writers lurk. We are of various backgrounds, ages, political leanings, talents and fashion sensibilities. And you, you lucky few, get to hang out with us as we bring home the bacon, dodge cabs, avoid subway perverts, and pursue our dreams of writing the great American romance novel.

That's right. We are romance writers. We say it loud and proud. C'mon. Fess up. You just love a good love story, doncha?

Welcome to the blog of The Four Horsewomen of the Metropolis. The metropolis of Manhattan. A tiny island with a huge heart, a fire in its belly, and a stalwart soul.

For a writer of any ilk, this is a cool place to be. For people watching - on buses and subways and City streets - to help us create great characters. For research and investigation we have libraries and museums that cover any manner of subject. Even (be still my heart), the Museum of Sex, which, naturally, is right up our, ahem, alley, though our personal writerly styles differ in dealing with those luscious pleasures of the flesh. But never fear! We'll surely have a story for every desire, be your preference sweet and low down, or bawdy and naughty.

For catching a breath of somewhat fresh air, we have parks of every sort to stretch out in and rejuvenate our muses when they weary of our work-a-day grind and need a little R&R. From Central Park to The High Line we can sit and contemplate our stories, and watch the high-flying hawks for inspiration. Or the helictopters of the NYPD. (I don't know about you, but I am VERY inspired by a man in uniform!)

There are street musicians and mimes, performance art and protests, food carts and film crews. Where else can you be a part of a Law & Order crowd scene, or bump elbows with a celebrity, sans finery, as they make their nightly trek to a star's dressing room at one of the dozens of wonderful theatres on the Great White Way? And experience it all while noshing a pretzel the side of a hubcap?

Writing is a solitary profession but in NYC we four gather together to commiserate and brainstorm and raise a glass (or three) in celebration of our triumphs and achievements. Many an evening we can be found at restaurants and watering holes like Kennedy's on West 57th Street, or Heidelberg on the upper East Side. Or perhaps we've been spied at Cancun on 8th Avenue where the margaritas flow like, well, water, and we leave weak with laughter, the waiters richer for having met us. When we need variety? How about organic food, Thai food, Italian, Chinese or a tray of sliders. A Beer at a pub, or a glass of merlot at a side-walk cafe can help us wind down. And when winding up is called for, there's a Timothy's, Starbucks or Tim Horton's on every block.

To feed our creative souls, we have other, diverse interests and pursuits. One of us loves cabaret and intimate song stylings at Michael Feinstein's or the Algonquin - where ghosts of the fabulous writers of the round table of the same name drift about the crowd. Another craves her classical fix, a third entertainment with a Latin flavor and a Fourth Horsewoman goes in for the au courant erotic literary experience. Broadway is down the street and over on the West Side. Lincoln Center is across the Park (where the Shakespeare Garden gives life to the Bard's words) where ballet, opera and symphonic delights abound. Jazz at The Blue Note in the Village. Lectures and concerts at the 92nd Street Y. And that's just the tip of this urban iceberg.

Though it is a city of millions, a diverse foursome such as we still happened to meet. Our "day jobs" are in utterly differing worlds, and we had no mutual friends. Yet we connected because of our mutual, abiding interest: Our love of writing romantic fiction and of the books that celebrate love and romance in all its myriad forms. We found ourselves together at the Romance Writers of America New York City chapter and the rest is, or will be, history.

That reason has drawn us together in camraderie, four urban cowgirls, banded together (we ride the subway, silly, what did you think?). We are an opinionated crew, and tend toward the loud and raucous. You will soon discern these disparate natures as we blog, and blather, discuss writing and publishing and romance and sex (on the PAGE, for goodness sake!). We'd love to invite you along for the ride as we share our love of books, this town and our lives and our search for success as published authors.

Stop by from time to time and get to know us. Chat with us about great romance novels and romantic fiction. Share your thoughts on our thoughts, and enjoy what we share about the business, and books, the craft of writing and the madness of a few good Manhattan gals.

We want you to think of us as your friends. But remember - if you invite us over, you'd better have lots of cocktails on hand, put the kids to bed early, and be prepared to let down your hair!

We are the Four Horsewomen - and when the going gets tough, we saddle up!