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!


  1. A lovely intro and welcome for our new blog, Lise! New York has so much to offer for every taste, and is an almost inexhaustible source of inspiration, plotting and character sketching for the aspiring writer. I join Lise in welcoming you to our blog!
    Lisbeth Eng,
    Romance Author, Horsewoman and Financial Services Rep

  2. Hey, did I miss this when you opened up shop? Great job, love your title and I am an ex-New Yorker (reluctantly). So I'll try to follow along. I never knew you had a thing for men in uniform. Me too. Even though, when you get a close look, it's too often not pretty. Still that's what a good fantasy is for!