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.