Monday, December 17, 2012


by Maria C. Ferrer

This is a scene from a work in progress.  Enjoy.--mcf

The girls loved the cabin, the snow, the fireplace and the two weeks away from school. They were ecstatic, and having fun running around looking into rooms and closets with equal zeal. The girls. His daughters. Twin bundles of joy that had turned his life upside down less than four months ago.

His chest still tightens whenever he thought of them.

Jon was sterile, had been for the past ten years. Thoughts of having a child of his own had died a hard death when he’d been diagnosed with chicken pox and came out of it well, but sterile.

He had met some nice women with children. There was one in particular that he thought may have been the one. He knew now that it was the boy he had wanted and then the mother. It would not have been fair to her, but Jon would have been a good father and husband.

Now, it turns out, that he was a father-- a father of twins.

They had changed his life with that one phone call.

He remembered it vividly. He’d been packing. He’d lost the child and the woman he wanted so he had applied for a transfer at his accounting firm, and had tendered his resignation at the grade school.

He was packing when the phone rang. He thought to ignore it, but then changed his mind in case there was an emergency at work, at the school where he coached pee wee soccer, or in case his ex-girlfriend had changed her mind and wanted him back.

“Are you Jonathan Cruz?” A small voice had asked over the phone.  There had been some rustling, and then another small voice got on.

“Did you go to Platt High School? Do you know a Helen Soto?

“Are you our daddy?”♥

To read more Tuesday Tales, visit

Maria C. Ferrer is happy to join the talented authors at Tuesday Tales. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America /New York City chapter and the Latino Authors Writers Society. Maria writes contemporary romance under her own name and erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Her short story, “Geeky Bowtie,” was published in the GEEK LUST anthology by Ravenous Romance. Plus, her work has appeared in Star, Cosmopolitan for Latinas and Penthouse magazines. Visit her at and



This past Saturday, Santas took over New York City!  They were everywhere...literally. 

It seems that December 15 was SantaCon in the Big Apple.  Hundreds of Santas populated the streets, along with green elfs, white snowmen, sparkling angels, tall trees and even some gift-wrapped gifts. 

SantaCons are planned in 276 locations and 37 countries this year alone.  If you missed Saturday's event, fear not!  Long Island's SantaCon is this coming Saturday, December 22

To register for the Long Island SantaCon, click here.

You must dress as Santa, in full regalia; a Santa hat alone does NOT count. If you want to dress different, use your imagination and try going as a gingerbread man or woman. How about a reindeer or a snowflake? Again, use your imagination.

NOTE:  SantaCons are not pub crawls.  The site warns that every time someone says that, a poor Fairy dies.  That a lot of pubs offer the Santas discounts is another story.  (Those poor Fairies must be dropping like flies.)

Here are some more pictures from the NYC SantaCon.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays! --maria



Friday, November 9, 2012


Del Carmen is pleased to announce the sale of another erotica story just in time for the Holidays!

"The Bow Tie" was sold to Ravenous Romance for its GEEK LUST anthology (Nov 2012), edited by the fabulous F. Leonora Solomon. 

For an excerpt, visit

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TUESDAY TALE: 27 Webb Avenue

By Maria C. Ferrer

George Stuart pulled the legs apart and arranged them against the white fabric. The red blood provided a good focal point, which he liked. He stepped back and looked at his creation – stoic, still, lifeless.

He walked down the stairs to the edge of the sidewalk and turned to look at his new home.

Ghosts in the windows, check.

Giant spider web on porch, check.

Vampire bats, pumpkins, Frankenstein monster, check, check, check.

George smiled with satisfaction. It was his first Halloween in his Victorian home and he was finally opened for business.

Yes, the whole street was full of bed and breakfasts but George was not daunted. He knew it was a risk, but the market was down, his job downsized and this house was all he had left. It was this or a job at Mickey Dee’s. But the Jersey Shore had always been popular with out-of-towners in good times and bad, and it retained its popularity thanks to Snooki and her posse. George was counting on the Shore’s continuing attractiveness, now more than ever.

Just as he stepped toward the house, a cab pulled up in front, and four women stepped out of its multiple doors; each unique in beauty and demeanor.

“This is it,” said the tall blonde with straight hair, as the cab driver unloaded suitcases from the back.

“I love it,” cried the short exotic beauty in gothic black, clasping her hands against her chest.

“You love everything,” said the dark-skin lovely with wild curls and familiarity.

“Do you think there are enough ghosts?” asked the buxom brunette, as she scanned the face of the house.

“There can never be enough ghosts in a haunted mansion, Ladies,” answered George, as he walked up to greet his first guests – romance writers on retreat. ♥

To read more Tuesday Tales, visit

Maria C. Ferrer is happy to join the talented authors at Tuesday Tales. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America /New York City chapter and the Latino Authors Writers Society. Maria writes contemporary romance under her own name and erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Her short story, “Ride A Cowboy” was published in the WOMEN IN LUST anthology by Cleis Press. Plus, her work has appeared in Star, Cosmopolitan for Latinas and Penthouse magazines. Visit her at and


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All Women Are Like That

As an aficionado of classical music, few things thrill me more than listening to Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini or Wagner. Opera in particular (the word comes from Latin for “the works”) offers wonderful music, elaborate sets, sumptuous costumes, glorious singing and almost more passion and drama than one can pack into a three hour extravaganza — in other words: ”the works.” At this very moment I am listening to a recording of Beethoven’s one and only opera, Fidelio — but more on that later.

Mozart’s comic opera, Così fan tutte, translates to the title of this post: All Women Are Like That. Though I adore the music, as a 21st century liberated woman I find the plot of this opera rather difficult to swallow. It involves two friends who, spurred on by a cynical acquaintance, test their fiancées’ fidelity by donning disguises to see if either of their ladies will succumb to a stranger’s affections. Each man attempts to seduce the other’s fiancée. As much as I pray that at least one of the women will resist temptation and remain faithful, proving after all that “all women are not like that,” both yield to the wooing. Since this is the 18th century equivalent of a romantic comedy, all ends happily. The gentlemen forgive their fiancées for their transgressions — after all, they are members of “the weaker sex.” Despite Mozart’s glorious music, I can’t help but feel a little disheartened by the condescending portrayal of my gender. But I try to forgive the storytellers, hindered as they were by living in a less enlightened age than our own.

So I look to other operas for more inspirational models of womankind. There’s another lovely opera by Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). The heroine, Pamina, courageously stands by her hero’s side through a perilous trial of fire and flood. She is certainly an exemplary feminine archetype. But misogynistic themes permeate the libretto. The villain is a woman, Pamina’s own mother. Pamina’s wise male guardian advises her that “a man must guide your heart, for without a man, a woman would not fulfill her aim in life.” The hero, too, is warned to ignore the counsel of women because “a woman does little, chatters much.”

Operatic heroines often fall victim to frailty, intemperance, or their own or their lovers’ errant ways. Violetta (La Traviata), Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Mimi (La Boheme) all succumb through illness, suicide or murder. Though a more sympathetic prototype than the villainess, these are not models that a strong, self-sufficient, modern woman would care to emulate.

But back, as promised, to Fidelio. Beethoven’s opera, first staged in 1805, weaves thrilling melodies into a tale of intrigue. Yet it is the heroine, Leonore, who shines above all. Disguised as a man, she rescues her husband from certain death. The divine music is that much sweeter because Beethoven has lifted the female ideal to a higher plane. In the magnificent, soaring finale the chorus exalts “the devoted wife, the savior of her husband’s life.” In Fidelio, I discovered a synthesis of music, lyrics and plot that affirms my deeply held convictions. Through Leonore, the opera devotee’s faith in the strength, courage and fidelity of heroines is restored. And I do believe that many (though not all) women are like that.

You’ll find another courageous heroine — along with a dashing hero — in Lisbeth Eng’s World War II romance novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, available online at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and The Wild Rose Press. Please visit her at

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Who Knew Hot Sex Could Be So Much Fun?

When I first started writing romance back a few years ago, one of my primary fears was whether or not I’d be able to write good love scenes. I certainly loved reading sexy romances, but could I render heat on the page?

Then one year I was participating in my very first NaNoWriMo. I’m generally a pantster, so I went into the process with just an idea for a story & two characters. As I plowed through the month, I encountered various times when I got stuck, plot-wise, as to how I wanted to move forward. The first time I thought, I’ll just write a love scene! It seemed like a good time for my characters to get hot & heavy (this was before I’d really gotten a grip on the concept that love scenes should flow organically from the plot, and have a real purpose to them!). I penned one fairly painlessly, and the next time I had a block? Another love scene! I got to the end of the challenge with a completed novel that pretty much was some chit chat in between love scenes. And hot? Ooh, baby. What started out fairly generic ended up being all dominance and submission all over the place with lots of naughty words in place of those vague euphemisms.

Longer and hotter love scenes one after the other.

Who knew?!

So here I am today, with my very first published piece and it is, not surprisingly to me now, an erotic romance short story. Ménage a Quatre, to be exact. Short, hot, and a terrific 4-way HEA. What could be better?

As with any other aspect of my craft, I’ve come to understand the point of love scenes in a romance, and I’ve come to understand that I write stories with an incendiary heat level. No closed bedroom door. No vanilla M/F. I populate my stories with BDSM elements, ménage and kink upon kink. And I love it!

Just as I learned how to perfect dialogue, to create effective description, to lose the back story, and develop realistic, but heroic characters, I have honed the craft of writing sex. Making it hot, but still pertinent to the story. Involving my heroine and, in this case, heroes, in exceedingly graphic and edgy scenes, while striving too to convey their humanity, their psychology and their emotions. I hope that my combustible love scenes offer eroticism as well as great romance to my readers.

An excerpt gives you an idea of just what fun my heroine & her boys get up to:

“My mind flew back to the wild, uninhibited fantasy I’d spilled into my journal, the book I knew Jake read. Had I been trying to tell him something? Trying to relay a desire that I couldn’t voice? The things I’d said in the journal made me blush. I knew immediately why the scene had played out. Because I’d wanted it. I’d said I wanted to be used. Used over and over until I couldn’t walk.”

And for anyone out there who hesitates to try their hand at writing steamy love scenes? My advice – just this once, close the bedroom (or study) door. Turn on music that makes you yearn. Light some sexy incense, put on an outfit that makes you feel wanton, picture your perfect hero – and fire up that computer.

You never know. You may discover that you’ve got the knack. Just make sure you’ve got the fire extinguisher handy.

“Share and Share Alike” is my story in the new Ravenous Romance digital anthology, “My First Threesome”, edited by F. Leonora Solomon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


by Maria C. Ferrer

Last week I attended a JimmyJane products demo at Babeland in Soho, and one of the things that I had to have was one of their massage candles.

Massage candles have always intrigued me since I watched 'Body of Evidence' with Madonna and William DaFoe. She had killed her client with sex and he was the "innocent" family-man lawyer set to defend her, whom of course she seduces. 

In one of their encounters, Madonna pours hot candle wax all over DaFoe. I cringed along with him, imagining the heat of that wax as it burned into his skin. The pleasure-pain of it all was so erotic.

Well, these new massage candles from JimmyJane are wonderful. They can be poured directly onto the skin and will not burn. Instead, they are warm and sensual, as they trickle on your arm or down your back. And for those of you organically minded, they are made from soy and other natural ingredients.

The company has over five combination of massage candles.My two favorites are the Bourbon with its robust, musky, rich aroma; and the Cucumber Water with its soft, fresh scent. 

Note there are other companies that also make slow-burning massage candles, and some folks have even been know to make their own. The maker is a personal preference. Mine is JimmyJane.

I encourage you to try these candles, and let me know which are your favorite flavors.

And, if you have another favorite scene from 'Body of Evidence,' let me know that too.##

Monday, July 30, 2012


by F. Solomon

Now the truth of the matter is that I am not actually packing for sleepover camp. Even when I went to camp as a child, I went to day camp so I got on a bus to and from.         I am packing ideas for Camp NaNo. Now NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month), I have done and won for six years. When I got my Winner's email and saw Camp NaNo, I signed up right away. I choose not to have bunkmates, and I am just absorbing life so on August 1 I can just go at it.
         I have never believed in the idea of doing an outline. My mother's mother always said never plan because it was a surefire way to be disappointed. In my own experience, I have learned never to plan an itinerary for travelling. I am getting ready to leave the country and the only thing I have been preparing is how to recognize Celsius from Fahrenheit.
         NaNo is always a trip, an excursion; and, it is to be enjoyed, which is why I absorb my life at the time, and the things and people around me influence me. The best way to write is to live.
         Whether it be taking mental or actual photographs; reading; talking; writing. It's best when you take in the world around you. Your real experience makes the story, because it always allows you to be creative, to see life in a way you usually do not.
          I just had a conversation with a woman who was very self involved but struck me as a character, and maybe she will manifest in my story. Coming from an erotic writing workshop with Rachel Kramer Bussel, gave me perspective and exercises I might want to expand upon; and, walking home from that with friends, I was telling a joke and that joke might be my first scene and get me writing in a genre I have never written before!
         Ahhh, sitting in the garden of a cafe which I usually do not do, not soaking up the sun but the life around and in me...surrendering to summer NaNo...and looking forward to camp.

Photograph by F. Solomon

Thursday, July 19, 2012


by Maria Ferrer

No, I'm not talking about last night's date or FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. I'm talking about writing. Truly!

Your eyes meet across the room; then travel up and down –what we hope is –a hot body. Attraction sparks; desire races up and down your spine. You both make a move towards the other, and thus, the seduction begins: That first look. That first move. That first spark.

In our writing, we also want to seduce our reader to our side. We want them curious, excited and eager. We want her –it’s usually a her –to look at our cover and fall in love with our hero. (Let’s pretend a leaner, more virile Fabio has been found and is draped across the front of our book cover.)

We want to titillate her enough that she picks up our book and runs, not walks, to the nearest cashier. She rushes home to be alone with our book, to turn that first page, to lose herself in our words.

The excitement builds. Alone at last. Now comes the good part. Some people keep the bedroom doors closed, others throw them wide open. Both ways are exciting and filling.

The deed is done. The climax reached. The last page turned. The Happily Ever After is ours. Mr. and Mrs. Hero ride off into the sunset and our reader is sexually satisfied and emotionally fulfilled.

Today, a cigarette may be passe, but a nice glass of wine is a good way to celebrate the satisfaction of a good read, a good night.

Satisfaction is key, because if it was good, our dear reader will want to do it again, and we certainly want to leave her aglow and asking for more.

As writers, we must seduce our readers. We must give them pleasure -- yes, sexually and artistically – and most of all, we must satisfy their need for a good story, a good romance and a happy ending. And, if she tells all her friends, that’s an extra bonus for us.♥

Maria C. Ferrer is working on a secret baby book and a romantic suspense. She also writes erotica under her nombre de pluma, Del Carmen. Her first short story, “Ride A Cowboy,” was published in the WOMEN IN LUST anthology (Cleis Press, 2011). Maria blogs regularly at, and

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thanks For the Martian Memories, Ray.

The NY Times had a wonderful obituary for, and Times critic Michiko Kakutani had a lovely editorial about, legendary author Ray Bradbury who died Tuesday at 91, after enjoying a writing career that lasted 70 years.

I thought that for those of us writing in the romance genre, one of his comments was emminently applicable, and a nice affirmation for us, as romance authors so frequently put upon by the denigrators. When faced with complaints that his writing was not serious enough he said, "I have fun with ideas; I play with them. I'm not a serious person and I don't like serious people. I don't see myself as a philosopher. That's awfully boring. My goal is to entertain myself and others."

And for me, he certainly succeeded. My favorite Bradbury novel is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which was horror/fantasy, rather than science fiction. And his wonderful Fahrenheit 451 sits alongside Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here as warnings against governmental intrusion and societal controls.

He may not have intended to be serious, but his work carried with it a serious weight.

If you have not ever read any of his stories or novels, give yourself a treat, and pick one out from his canon.They're wonderful!

And perhaps be inspired by his output - As Kakutani notes, for the majority of his career his regimen included at least 1 short story per week.

Certainly something to aspire to!

And I loved the final quote she included of Bradbury's, which, to me, sums up a writer's curious glee in storytelling:

"All my life I've been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn it over and say, 'Hey, there's a story.' . "

May your journey into the unknown continue apace, Mr. Bradbury.

Lise Horton

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012


by Maria C. Ferrer

Here are 10 basic editing tips to help make your manuscript better. Good luck.

1. Be merciless. Don’t be afraid to use a red pen and don’t be afraid to delete your work where needed. Remember that you can always save these “deleted scenes” to use for your website.

2. Start in the middle. The best way to get your readers involved is if you open your story in the middle of an action. Action is a great hook.

3. Show, don’t tell. Show the emotions not the experiences. Cut all the superfluous stuff.

4. Use action words. Word selection is important. Review your words and use the ones that move the story forward.

5. Watch your mouth. Your dialogue should match your characters.

6. Short, sweet and to the point. Dialogue is key. If your characters are talking nonsense without a reason, delete, delete, delete.

7. Skip the history lesson. Cut out all the extra history /research if it doesn’t move the story.

8. Setting is another character. While you should trim off the excess history / research, you still need to set the time and place of your story. Use the important bits for ambiance and setting.

9. Conflict, conflict, conflict. Make your characters work to achieve their goals. The conflicts should escalate as the novel progresses. Their achievements –and failures! – will make the reader care for them.

10. Happy Ending. A definite must. Just remember to tie up all loose ends before the hero and the heroine ride off into the sunset.♥

Maria C. Ferrer writes contemporary romances under her real name, and erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Visit her at or

Monday, April 23, 2012


by Maria C. Ferrer

ATTENTION:  This is not legal advice. These are just some basic legal terms writers should be familiar with. RWA National has lots of great legal articles in their archives, which are available to all members. (  Plus, there are plenty of legal websites for writers to browse through. Please do your research.

Advance: Money the publisher will pay up-front for your book. You will need to earn this amount in royalties on sales before payout of royalties begin.

Copyright: This is the right of ownership for a work. The author always retains copyright ownership. The publisher registers the published work for a separate copyright, which includes the artwork and book design. The duration of a copyright is the author’s lifetime plus 70 years. If you use a pseudonym, its 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation of work, whichever is shorter.

eBook: A book ―published online or digitally, like in a PDF format. No print copies. These books are printed for e-readers, computers, electronic devices, etc.

Non-compete clause: Be wary of this one. It states that you cannot write another book in the same genre or style as the one they have bought from you so it doesn’t compete with theirs. Negotiate to be specific with this clause. Limit the genre and the time period.

Piracy: The act of stealing published works and loading them onto ―free‖ distribution sites. If you see one, tell your publisher. If you’re your own publisher, write them and tell them to stop immediately. Most piracy sites will but they may just change their name and pop up elsewhere. Be vigilant.

Plagiarism: Using or declaring another author’s writing as your own.

Print-on-Demand: The publisher will only print the exact number of books requested. There will be no inventory of books.

Pseudonym: The assumed name under which an author writes. Also, referred to as a pen name.

Publication date: A clause in your contract that says that the Publisher will print/issue your book in said amount of time. If they don’t, your contract should provide that your rights revert back, that you do not forfeit the advance, and can re-sell the book elsewhere.

Out-of-Print: When your publisher is no longer printing or distriuting your books (to a contractually denoted quantity for a contractually specified time), then the title is deemed to be ―out-of-print.‖ You can then request reversion of your rights (see below). Again, be specific with this clause. For example, your book will be considered out-of-print unless total sales –in any format – total 300 copies a year.

Reversion of Rights: This is the clause in the contract that says that if the publisher stops reprinting/reissuing your book in said amount of time, then you get the right to your book back and you can sell it elsewhere. See also out-of-print.

Right of First Refusal: This is an option clause in your contract that grants your publisher the right to see your next work BEFORE you show it to another publisher. You want to be very specific with this clause. Make sure your contract states that the clause refers to your next book in the same genre as the first, and that they have a set time frame in which to review the option book and offer for it (say 90 days), otherwise you will send it elsewhere.

Royalties: The amount the publisher will pay you (in allotments) for sales of your book.

Self-Publishing: In this case, you are your own publisher. You do the edits, pick the paper, the format, the cover, the marketing, etc. You find venues where to sell your book or eBook.

Subsidiary Rights: Rights granted to publisher usually for book clubs, foreign sales, movies, audio books, etc. RWA recommends authors hold all their subsidiary rights, just in case.

Subsidy Publisher: Also referred to as a Vanity Press. These are publishers you pay to publish and distribute your book. Most do not offer a royalty. RWA does not recognize these publishers.

Vanity Press: See subsidy publisher.

Work-for-hire: This is just what it says; you have been hired to write one specific book or series for a set amount and you will not see a penny more, nor will you hold any rights in the work.♥

Reference Books
Author and former lawyer, Anna DePalo, recommends KIRSCH'S GUIDE TO THE BOOK CONTRACT, KIRSCH'S HANDBOOK OF PUBLISHING LAW, and THE WRITER'S LEGAL GUIDE (CRAWFORD). All books available at or through your library.

Maria C. Ferrer writes contemporary romances under her real name, and erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Visit her at or


Friday, April 20, 2012


by Maria C. Ferrer

Cosmopolitan For Latinas.

The new Cosmo is aimed at American-born Latin women who are bicultural and bilingual. There will be two issues this year – Spring and Fall – with a print run of 500,000+ copies hitting newsstands in heavy Latino states, like New York, California, Florida and Texas.

The whole of the Latino community is excited over this magazine. “Everyone can’t wait to see our first issue. I think there are a lot of young women out there who have been looking for a cool take on being young, hot, and Latina today,” said Editor in Chief, Michelle Herrera Mulligan.

In terms of the direction of the magazine, their tagline says it all: “Cosmopolitan For Latinas, Cosmo’s fun, fearless spirit takes on a Latina voice. The magazine will be an insider’s approach to everything Cosmo with the Latina sensibility—from beauty and style to dating, relationships, family, the hottest celebrities and the coolest parties—Cosmo Latina will cover it all with an extra dash of spice.”

11 days and counting!

To read the original launch article, click here.

Monday, April 16, 2012


by Lise Horton

Have you ever found yourself reading a romance and experienced one or more of the following: Teariness? Knots in your stomach? Smiling? Arousal? Heartbreak? It could be that the author of that novel was just THAT GOOD. Or it could be partly because of the physical experience of being a reader. It may seem odd, but science and fiction go hand in hand and romance fiction, in particular, in understanding the way people read; which can in turn guide us in how we write.

In Shakespeare’s day science was ruled in large part by superstition. Yet even without a Sigmund Freud to parse the human psyche, he wrote complex characters and timeless stories that continue to be beloved the world over. But what would he have created if he’d had access to the information we have today? Information provided by constantly advancing technology which has uncovered wondrous information about people, the human sexual and romantic experience, and how readers read?

How much time do you devote to the study of human physiology, neurobiology, psychology and sociology when you craft your stories? It is not as far-fetched a question as it sounds. We research sex and relationships, certainly, to ensure honest portrayals of what we write: love. But there is so much more to be discovered; discoveries that can add richness and astute detail and at the same time, be created to be read with the greatest impact.

How much thought do you give to the experience of a reader’s reading of your novel when writing? Not just the craft questions like plot, pacing, grammar and myriad other details: Do you think of how readers read? How the physical act of viewing words becomes recognition and how they engage, and are translated in, a reader’s mind?

In past workshops I’ve discussed the fact that the average reader “hears” the words she is reading, and how that knowledge can help author craft successful passages by choosing and arranging words to maximum effect. In another workshop on the five senses, I pointed out the difference in the way scent is interpreted by our brains from touch, sound and sight; scent is translated in a combination of brain activity, one linking the sensory experience with memory and feelings, making scent an exceptionally powerful sensory detail to use. I am purely fascinated by this kind of revelatory reading, not just for the science but for how I can apply this information to my writing.

Two recent articles in The New York Times, “Your Brain On Fiction” by Anne Murphy Paul (Sunday Review sec., 3/18/12) and “The Brain On Love” by Diane Ackerman (Sunday Review sec., 3/25/12) offer amazing theory and research.

In Paul’s article, fascinating details are revealed. For example, the choice of descriptive words being read alters the neurological response in a reader. Words that invoke touch sensations “rouse the sensory cortex”. So a choice such as “the singer had a velvet voice” evokes a more potent response than does “the singer had a pleasing voice”. Further, words like lavender and cinnamon and other scent descriptors elicit a response not just from the expected areas where language is processed, but other areas devoted to scent interpretation. Additionally, words describing motion “stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas”, leading to revelations that these words incite activity in the motor cortex – the area of the brain involved with movement. Final observations indicate that the brain “does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life”.

In addition to the physical, there are the social implications. One psychologist uncovered that “there was substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals”, and as readers we “identify with characters’ longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers”.

Other scientists have shown that readers learn from their reading and, particularly in social situations, put this learned experience into play in real life (the “theory of mind”). Contrary to the British doctor who was certain that reading romance would make women have unreal expectations, could it be romance novels actually lead to healthier and more successful loving relationships?

Beyond the understanding of a reader’s physical perception, there is also the psychology and sociology of love, sex, romance and human relationships to explore.

Esquire magazine’s April sex survey issue revealed some startling (to me, at least) results: Men actually prefer smaller (albeit “perky”) breasts to more bountiful bosoms. And the preferred sexual position with 30% of the vote is cowgirl (or woman on top) which beat out the old standard missionary position by 2% points. The author’s own informal survey showed that 8 out of 10 men prefer giving oral sex to receiving it. Another source’s study showed that the first thing a man notices about a woman is a gorgeous head of hair (legs, lips, face and body lag behind). And yet another study showed men react most strongly to women in red.

A past NY Times article discussed studies which provided new information about men, women and physical attraction; information that challenged commonly held thoughts about attraction and desire. Science continues to uncover challenges to long-held beliefs in numerous areas, which shed light not just on human physiology, but on the human experience itself – and how the two are interconnected.

In Ackerman’s article she delves into the new field of “interpersonal neurobiology”, in which studies have shown that people are actually neurologically changed in the course of relationships. Lovers bond in a fashion similar to the bonding of mother and child, and literal physical changes occur in the brain. Science, too, has actually explained the “whys” of the feelings following break-ups that our heart is “breaking”, or you can feel physically ill. Just as a disastrous romance can do that, being in a happy relationship changes the partners’ stress levels, fear reactions and actual physical perceptions. Women in happy relationships were given shocks to the ankles while alone, and their physical reactions gauged. They were then put together with their partner, holding hands and this time the shocks produced much reduced pain responses in the women. In another study, partners viewing a picture of a loved one experienced a “lighting up” of the reward centers in their brains. Ackerman concludes that “Loving relationships alter the brain the most significantly”.

Articles and books on these subjects can prove wonderfully enlightening for a writer who seeks to imbue her human characters with as much complex subtlety as possible, while engaging her readers on every level, from the conscious to the subconscious. So the next time you spy an article on science – don’t automatically pass it by. You never know what you’ll learn!

Can you imagine what amazing use Bill S. would have made with this knowledge?♥

Lise Horton is currently writing in her two favorite genres, and keeping abreast of the fascinating changes in the world of publishing. Find out more about the industry on her blog, The Publishing Game,  Lise also blogs at

Monday, April 9, 2012


By Maria C. Ferrer

If you are itemizing your taxes and want to take writing expenses, you are going to need to file a Schedule C with the IRS. Note that if there is no income, the IRS will disallow all expenses unless you can show proof of a profit motive—that you are writing so you can make money. (Aren’t we all?) Also, remember that not all expenses are deductible. Be honest and be prepared to defend your expenses to the IRS. Here are some tips to help make tax time easier:

  • Keep good records and keep them in a safe place.
  • Keep all receipts. When in doubt, keep it.
  • Keep log of expenses. For example, membership dues paid to which organizations; conference fees; contest fees; research books; etc.
  • Keep track of contest entries, queries and submissions. For example, what you sent to what publisher and when. This log shows proof of profit motive.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence especially from agents and editors.
  • Keep business cards from conferences as they are proof that you are working on your writing.
  • Document everything! When in doubt, keep it!

NOTE:  This year, the deadline for taxes is Tuesday, April 17.  Good luck.♥

Maria C. Ferrer writes contemporary romances under her real name, and erotica under the pen name of Del Carmen. Visit her at or

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cosmo Latina Magazine Debuts in May

A new Cosmopolitan magazine for American-born Latin women, who are bicultural and bilingual. The new Cosmopolitan Latina will debut in May. The new editor will be Michelle Herrera Mulligan – editor, writer, artist.

Ms. Herrera Mulligan said the magazine would focus on issues like entertaining, beauty and how Latinas related to their families. The overall voice of the publication, she said, will be one that asks readers, “What makes you more confident, what makes you bolder?”

Who can ask for better than that?! ---mcf

Below are some more links about the launch of the new Cosmopolitan Latina:

New York Times

Hispanic PR Blog

Folio Magazine

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


By Lise Horton

Like a Costco of love scenes, Shakespeare has something for everyone. While there is no sex on the page, there is plenty of innuendo. Some rowdy, some sly, some witty, love scenes of every flavor abound from passionate, lusty, or dark, to outrageously funny, poignant, or earnest.

Shakespeare’s lovers are virginal youths, gods and goddesses, attractive opposites, and murderous spouses. The wonder of Shakespeare’s characters in love, coupled with his brilliant language – that can be bawdy, or transcendent – is something you will be struck by again and again. You’ll never fail to find gems within his work that will inspire your own creation of both evocative love scenes and rich characters.

Revisit the most famous, and oft-quoted, of his plays – “Romeo and Juliet” – and you’ll be wallowing in romance, desire, and rapturous words of love. He captures with eloquence the youthful energy and passion of the pair. Witness the speeches of Romeo and his Juliet where their impatience and lust are so evident. Romeo’s famous Act II, Scene II speech “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks, It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.”, conveys his emotions and hormones running amuck. And Juliet, as she awaits the return of Nurse, her agitation blatantly clear, bemoans, “O, she is lame! . . . Had she affections and warm youthful blood, She would be as swift in motion as a ball;”. Later, the all-encompassing power of her love is laid out for the reader in Act II, Scene II with its stunning conclusion:

“…Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
O, I have bought the mansion of a love,
But not possess’d it; and though I am sold,
Not yet enjoy’d. …”

On the opposite end of the love scene spectrum, you have the witty adult banter replete with sexual innuendo, foreplay if you will, between Kate and Petruchio, in “The Taming of the Shrew”. This famous meeting is a terrific example of Shakespeare’s bawdy bent (Act II, Scene I):

             Kate: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
             Petruchio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.
             Kate: Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.
             Petruchio: Who knows not where a wasp
                      does wear his sting? In his tail!
             Kate: In his tongue.
             Petruchio: Whose tongue?
             Kate: Yours, if you talk of tales; and so farewell.
            Petruchio: What, with my tongue in your tail?
                     Nay, come again, Good Kate, 
                     I am a gentleman.
            Kate: That I’ll try.

For the author crafting love scenes, reading the plays of Shakespeare provides a bountiful wealth of inspiration.

In addition to his plays, there is also the breathtaking beauty of his poems and sonnets – rife with intense romantic emotions. Perhaps the most famous, Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) presents a lover’s litany to his lady of all her beloved characteristics. But my personal favorite never fails to choke me up. In a few short lines it expresses the all-encompassing power of love:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

To paraphrase Portia, I rest my case.

P.S. Of course, among the canon of dramatic literature, lovers and love scenes abound. For other tastes, you might try:

“Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” – a great exploration of post-coital emotions by John Patrick Shanley

“Talk To Me Like The Rain and Let Me Listen” – a lyrical outpouring between 2 lovers exposing their deepest longings, by the master, Tennessee Williams.

“Frankie and Johnny In The Claire du Lune” - Terence McNally’s quiet exploration of two strangers, hesitant, ordinary, who succumb to loneliness and longing. This is an exquisite, passionate play, as lilting as the song title it references.

“Fool For Love” – Again, this Sam Shepard play is sizzling with erotic tension and action between the two incestuous sibling lovers.

“Desire Under the Elms” – Like some other plays of Eugene O’Neill, “Anna Christie” and “A Moon For the Misbegotten”, “Desire”, with its theme of forbidden lust and love, is a deep and dark exploration of the human heart.

One of the most tortured pair of lovers in all of dramatic literature is Tennessee Williams’ very own Maggie the Cat and her husband Brick. The dynamics of familial pressures on a couple, Brick’s tormented secrets, and Maggie’s unrequited lust for her handsome husband are brilliantly explored. And perhaps the universal desperation of lovers can be summed up in Maggie’s classic speech:

“You know, if I thought you would never, never, never make love to me again – I would go downstairs to the kitchen and pick out the longest and sharpest knife I could find and stick it straight into my heart, I swear that I would! But the one thing I don’t have is the charm of the defeated, my hat is still in the ring and I am determined to win! What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof? I wish I knew . . . Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can . . . Later tonight I’m going to tell you I love you an’ maybe by that time you’ll be drunk enough to believe me….”♥

Lise Horton is the new RWANYC Chapter President. She is currently writing in her two favorite genres, and keeping abreast of the fascinating changes in the world of publishing. Find out more about the industry on her blog, The Publishing Game,  You can also visit her at

Friday, February 10, 2012

WRITING TIP: How to Write a Love Scene

From Del Carmen

With Valentine's Day around the corner, what better way to celebrate the day, the month!, the romance of it all, then by making love, physically and mentally.

Here is my writing tip on How to Write A Love Scene.

The secret.....always incorporate the five senses – touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing – to paint a full picture. Using all the senses heightens the sexual tension and makes for a better seduction and surrender!

Del Carmen’s “Ride A Cowboy” was published in the WOMEN IN LUST anthology (Cleis Press, November 2011). It was reprinted by Penthouse in their February 2012 issue. Visit Del Carmen at

Monday, February 6, 2012


by Del Carmen

You want to write a romance, but do you know what kind? And, yes, Virginia, there are lots of different kinds of romance.  Here are some of the basics.


There are two recognized formats – series or single-title romances.

• Category romances are novels that are distributed in a sequential numbered series every month. Think Harlequin. They are the King in series/category romance. For example, Harlequin Presents, Desire, Blaze, etc.

• Single-title romances are just what their name implies – they are released as single books.


Now for the fun part--your genre. The main plot of course is boy-gets-girl and they live happily ever after, but setting, plot elements and even tone also helps to define and differentiate genres. And, nowadays, you can even mix and match.

• Contemporary Romance. Set in the “now,” in present time. Includes everything after WWII / 1945. (Note: Some publishers consider anything after 1900 a contemporary. Always research publishers before submitting.)

• Historical Romance. Just want it says, historical; novels set before WWII. These can be medieval, Regencies, Regency Historicals (yes, they are different), Westerns, Pioneer, Indian, Victorian, etc.

• Paranormal Romance. Everything from time travel to vampires to dragons to fairies to angels.

• Young Adult Romance. These are novels geared toward young adult readers, usually 14+. Think TWILIGHT, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.


Within all these subgenres are more subgenres, a few which have become their own category. Below are a few of the more prominent examples:

• Inspirational Romance. Religious or spiritual beliefs play a big part in these novels and in the romantic relationship. Christian and Amish novels are included in this category.

• Regency Romances. Are romances written specifically during the Regency period of the British Empire. These have specific mannerisms, language, style. Think Jane Austen. Think Signet Regency Romances.

• Regency Historical Romances. These are also set during the Regency period, but they take liberties with the mannerism and language of the Regency period, and are wider in scope.

• Medical Romances. These were the original romances where the hero was always a doctor and the heroine a nurse or secretary. They are still popular.

• Romantic Suspense. These romances have lots of mystery and thriller elements in the plot.

• Novels with Strong Romantic Elements. These are novels that have a romance in them, but the romance does not headline the story. Nor is the HEA a guarantee. For example, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

• Erotic Romances. Are romances that leave the door wide open and allow the reader to “watch” what goes on between the sheets, in the backseat, in the pool….well, you get the idea. These are both naughty and nice.


And, if you are scared to write a 80,000-word manuscript, you can always start small. Consider writing a short story in any of the genres above, or maybe try your hand at a confession. Writing these can help hone your craft and keep you motivated. Good luck and Happy Writing.♥

Del Carmen is the sexy alter ego of Maria Ferrer, who is looking forward to exposing more of herself. Visit her at

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reading Lolita

by F. Solomon
It might be surprising that I am just reading Lolita for the first time, to others and to myself. I have spent so much of my life frequenting bookstores that I know authors and books that I have not read simply because they caught my periphery. I knew who Anais Nin was even before I started reading her because she was close to Nabokov. I purchased Lolita years ago; it was on my ambitious pile of to-read books--a tiny Tower of Pisa in my place--that I have not get around to reading. Inspired by my friend, my used copy purchased for practically nothing was carefully removed from the pile.

Talking with him about the The Pregnant Widow which he had loaned me, he mentioned that he could not finish Lolita. I had to know why so I have been reading the book for a few months. Not because it is a bad book, but because editing occupies most of my reading time. I am an Acquiring Editor of erotica for Ravenous Romance.

The Pregnant Widow marked the return of me as a reader, and Lolita has cemented my return to reading for pleasure. Once when I was in college, I was told that you could tell New Yorkers because they are the only people who read so avidly on the train. I cannot deny it. It is not very often that I read at home, but I have always love to read on the train going to and coming from school or work. Sometimes a book might be so good that I do have to read bits at home, but for the most part nothing like squeezing between two strangers on the train and reading a novel so good you miss your stop!, which happened to me with a Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ novel, Forever in Your Embrace. This was right after 9/11 so it was hard not to think about what was going on but that book was able to keep me so rapt...there is nothing like reading a novel that engrosses.

Nothing like reading for pleasure or editing good erotica, except writing yourself. I have been doing so much reading I have wanted to...but in ways have abandoned writing. This post is one of the few things that I have written unless you count my tweets and how many words are in tweets?! I did some free writing and that felt like a luxury, like I should have been reading something instead! Writing for me is like breathing or bleeding though--necessary for life. I do not berate myself anymore about writing or not writing. It is too much a part of me, it will be….

It was completely pleasurable today on the train out of the cold and squeezed next to just one stranger reading Lolita, which I have been careful not to talk about because I am not done with it. Will need another post called Finishing Lolita when I am done....

photograph by F. Solomon


Tuesday, January 3, 2012


By Maria Ferrer

It's a New Year.  A time for joy, for peace, for goodwill, for resolutions.

But resolutions are easily broken. Heck, it's a tradition to break them, and yes, Virginia, the sooner you break them the more points you get.  Hence, I don't like the word or the idea of "resolutions." I prefer goals or, my all-time favorite, to-do lists. I get orgasmic if I can cross something off a list. Ooh.

So I've compiled my to-do list for 2012. The "trick" to a good to-do list is to be specific, to be realistic and to keep it short. For example:

1. Get up one hour early on weekdays to write or revise manuscript.

2. Have new pages for Critique partner every other week.

3. Attend monthly RWA Chapter meetings to network and energize.

4. Submit short story / enter contest every quarter.

Short, sweet and to the point -- and better yet, these items are achievable and affirming to the Writer within. And, isn't that the whole point of New Year's Resolutions?

What's on Your to-do list for 2012?

Maria Ferrer writes erotica and contemporary romance. She's published in one and hopeful on the other. Visit her at and  (This article also published by the RWANYC at