Wednesday, July 23, 2014


by Catherine McNally

Have you found your soul mate? Is your partner the person you were des­tined to be with?

Fated love – the concept that there’s a pre-destined perfect match for each person in the world – is a universal theme that can be traced back thousands of years. From oral folklore to written stories, there is a long tradition of tales about couples who are somehow cosmically meant to be together. These stories run the gamut of fated love, where the couple goes on to live a long happy life together, to ill-fated love, where the couple is destined to fail in their efforts to be united.

One genre where fated love is found in abundance is in fairy tales. The recurring theme in many of these stories is a heroine or hero in distress who overcomes adversity with the help of the person destined to become their spouse. From Cinderella’s transformation into the belle of the ball under the loving gaze of the handsome prince, to Sleeping Beauty who is awakened from a spell by the kiss of her one true love, the power of connect­ing with the one person you were meant to be with has universal appeal.

Everyone wants to be loved and cherished, and many of us believe that our soul mate is out there somewhere and it’s our destiny to be together. The idea that life is not random – that there’s a greater power controlling our fate – can be a comforting concept for many people.

We see the fated love theme play out in all kinds of novels. From historical novels like GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell where the hero and heroine are destined to carry on a passionate love affair across the backdrop of the Civil War; contemporary romance novels like THE NOTEBOOK by Nicholas Sparks where the lead characters overcome many obstacles to finally unite and remain bonded despite the onslaught of de­mentia; to ill-fated love stories like A FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green where a young cancer-ridden couple fall deeply in love only to be parted by the tragic disease that consumes them.

The appeal of fated love is here to stay, and can inspire us as writers of our own romance stories. From fated love stories with a “happily ever after” ending to ill-fated love stories that end tragically but teach us meaning­ful life lessons - destiny is a powerful concept. ♥
Catherine McNally is an aspiring author of contemporary romance who recently finished drafting her first novel. She joined Romance Writers of America in 2013 and found her way to RWA/NYC where her local chap­ter members inspire her to pursue her dream of becoming a published author.

Monday, July 21, 2014


by Lisbeth Eng

The English language is challenging enough, I admit, but try studying a foreign language if you really want to exercise your gray matter. In German, for instance, there are six different ways to say the word “the.” First, one has to consider the noun’s gender (masculine, feminine or neuter). Then, one must determine case, and we have four possibilities there: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. Don’t worry – you don’t have to memorize these!

“But surely there is no such thing as ‘case’ in the English language,” I hear you say. Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know there was such a thing as case in English either, until I began to study German a few years ago. Well, I didn’t know what it was called, but it was always there, nonetheless.

Case refers the function a noun or pronoun takes in a sentence. These are the cases in the English language:

*Nominative: the subject of a sentence, the person or thing that is performing the action of the verb. The nomi­native pronouns are I, you, he, she, it, we, they.

*Accusative: the direct object, that which receives the action. Pronouns are me, you, him, her, it, us, them.

*Dative: the indirect object, that which is indirectly affected by the action of the verb. A preposition must be included or implied. Examples include to him, with her, for them, etc.

*Genitive: This is the possessive case, exemplified by the pronouns my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, etc.

Okay, I know you’re stuck on that “implied preposition” thing in the dative case. I’ll explain in the following example:

I gave John the book. Clearly, “I” is the subject (nominative), the one performing the action. But what is the direct object and what is the indirect object? The book is the direct object (accusative) because the book is the thing that is being given. John cannot be the direct object because he is not the thing being given. But if John is the indirect object (dative) where’s the preposition? The implied preposition is “to” because what you are really saying is, “I gave the book to John.” Aha, indirect object!

But the real question you should be asking is, Why should I care about any of this? I’ll give you a practical example.

Consider the following: “A few members of my critique group sat down with Janice, an agent with Beastly Books, to discuss our manuscripts. The only writers Janice invited to submit were Gertrude and I.” This is in­correct. It should be, “Gertrude and me.” But wait – isn’t “I” is the subject because I am one of those submitting – I am performing the action of the verb “submit?” Therefore “Gertrude and I” take the nominative case, right?

Read the sentence again. Janice is the subject because she is performing the action of the main verb in the sen­tence: “invited.” If you simplify the sentence it will become clear. “Janice invited us to submit.” You wouldn’t say, “Janice invited we to submit.”

In complex sentences, with multiple clauses and parenthetical elements, it is sometimes difficult to identify the role each word takes. The more words that come between the subject and object – in this case “Janice” the subject and “Gertrude and me” the object – the more mindful we must be. Knowing the names of the cases (nominative, accusative, etc.) is not important. Understanding the principles behind them is. From a practical standpoint, for example, you wouldn’t want your query letters to be filled with errors. Proper grammar is es­sential if we are to be taken seriously as writers. ♥

Lisbeth Eng works as a Compliance Officer in the financial industry by day and writes historical romance by night. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, and speaks a smattering of German, Italian and French. Please visit her at

Friday, July 18, 2014


Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from one of
New York's Leading Romance Authors. Enjoy!

by Eileen Palma

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


by Catherine Greenfeder


Do we have soul mates? How would we know them? Is it instant attraction, the unexplainable knowing of a person the first time you meet, karma, or all of these things?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a soul mate is “a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet -- a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior.” In addition to this, “your soul mate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around them. And when you are not around them, you are all that much more aware of the harshness of life, and how bonding with another person in this way is the most significant and satisfying thing you will experience in your lifetime. You are also all that much aware of the beauty in life, because you have been given a great gift and will always be thankful.”

As someone who enjoys reading and writing romance stories, this sounds like the perfect match of the hero and the heroine who are fated to be together. Yet, we know that life isn’t a romance novel, and love isn’t all smooth sailing. However, I think there is something to be said for the possibility of fated love and kindred spirits.

When I met my husband in high school, I felt a strong pull which felt beyond the normal hormonal rages and at­traction of late adolescence. It’s a connection that I still feel to this day, decades later, despite many changes and experiences.

In experiencing hypnotic past life regression, I encountered not only my husband in another lifetime but also other members of my family. It explained some of the relationships and issues I’ve encountered in the present lifetime.

This idea both fascinated me and inspired me to write about the possibilities of reincarnation and soul mates for my paranormal romance, SACRED FIRES, where the doomed lovers from ancient Aztec Mexico are reunited in present day Mexico to solve a mystery, pay a karmic debt, and fall in love again. I have also used the idea as snippets in other books including my recent young adult novel, A KISS OUT OF TIME. Although that is pri­marily a ghost story featuring a psychic teen, there is mention of finding one’s soul mate when Georgina, the teenage psychic, considers her own romantic involvement with fellow ghost hunter and best friend Jake.

I’m not sure how it happens, but I’ve come to believe in the possibility of soul mates or fated love as well as the concept of kindred spirits, people who once knew each other and have a strong but not romantic connection from another lifetime. I’ve witnessed this with friends who feel more like brothers or sisters, and perhaps they were in some other lifetime, which might provide material for future stories.

So, if you ever wonder about feeling an instant attraction or an immediate dislike to someone upon first meeting them without any logical explanation, you might consider the notion of fate, karma, and soul mates. You might also consider it for your own story ideas.  Happy writing!♥


Catherine Greenfeder is the author of four published novels including SACRED FIRES, ANGELS AMONG US, WILDFLOWERS, and A KISS OUT OF TIME. She is currently working on a sequel to her young adult novel and a woman’s mainstream fiction book.

Monday, July 14, 2014


by Lise Horton

The masochistic heroine is tough enough to write. Delight in pain, for the en­dorphin “sub space” glow, or to please her Dom, can be difficult to write con­vincingly and sympathetically. She needs to be strong of spirit and true of heart and to meld that with submissive desires can be tricky.

But even harder? Crafting the romantic, loving, sympathetic sadist hero.

He’s the possessive guy who cherishes his lady, but also loves inflicting pain on her. That it is “erotic pain” helps differentiate him from the sadistic villain, but in order to capture the reader’s heart, this hero must be perfectly drawn.

The author crafting such a character walks a fine line, allowing him to indulge his carnal appetites on the willing heroine’s flesh, yet be strong, loyal, loving and tender, by turns. If you don’t want to end up with a kinky Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde scenario, you need an exploration and deft explanation of his desires, plus exposing just how awesome it feels when the heroine is swept into the maelstrom of “pleasure/ pain” (as it’s often referred to these days in BDSM erotic romances).

And on top of the issue of doling out pain, I’ve noticed of late a new and darker flavor being added to the S&M romances already being done so masterfully, and that is erotic humiliation.

Having a hero call his loving heroine a “slut,” or putting her in a position to be exposed in a position of humili­ation as an aspect of the “play” – or punishment, can be a high wire act. The readers who get it are already on board (I’m one of them). But names like “slut” or edgier, and humiliation play, that can be interpreted by some in a derogatory way (as has happened in recent years when critical public statements have led to the term “slut shaming”) can be startling at best to the unwary reader, and offensive at worst.

So, this is yet another element of a razor sharp sub-genre whose potential is great for the most swoon-worthy uber-alpha sadistic Dom character to ever singe the pages; but if ineffectively done, for the most cringe-worthy misogynist douche bag to ever come down the pike.

Still, edgy romance of this sort is an “eye of the beholder” thing and full-disclosure is always your best bet when talking about a character. And read, study, and craft your raw romance hero with the precision of a sur­geon’s scalpel.

Examples of some authors who have beautifully mastered the art of the loving sadist: Maya Banks in her “Sweet” series, Roni Loren’s “Loving On the Edge” series and Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin’s “Edge” series. ♥

Lise Horton writes edgy, kinky heroes who love masochistic heroines beneath their hands. Of her short story under her pseudonym, Lydia Hill, “My Master’s Mark” [Cleis Press’ May 2014 Slave Girls: Erotic Stories of Submission], Library Journal’s starred review said “surprisingly poignant”. Visit and for free, naughty reads stop by her Lust In the Afternoon blog,

Friday, July 11, 2014


Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from one of
New York's Leading Romance Authors. Enjoy!
Untold Love stories of the American Revolution
by Alyssa Cole
Kate McMurray
Lena Hart
Stacey Agdern

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


by Vanessa Peters


There has been an unyielding sense of ennui that has wrapped itself around my shoulders. It laid in like a second skin and I just couldn’t seem to shake it. So I turned to what has always been my comfort… books and the stories that live within them.

My status as a constant reader, while it’s had moments of wax and wane over the years, has held steady as a necessity for me. It is within a book’s pages that I turn when I find myself lost in moments of weariness. I looked through my catalogue of books already read knowing it would be there that I would find my reprieve. This feeling which grew from a mild nagging to a sudden constriction of my creative flow would only be improved by the familiarity of a story, well-known and loved.

I settled on a novella I’ve read a couple times already. Some would pan the choice, I’m sure, but everyone’s comfort is their own, and I find no shame in mine, nor have I ever cared much what others thought of my choices in literature. But I digress…

I eased into the story and familiarity of the characters created by author Patricia Briggs in ALPHA AND OMEGA, and felt the tightening slowly alleviated with each page turned. The story, a paranormal romance, is also one of fate and destined love. It is the story of Anna, a broken and battered woman, and Charles a power­ful, heart harden and stoic man; a story of soul mates. Their story, as favorite stories are known to do for those that love them, improved my mood. It was through the storytelling and writing (thank you Mrs. Briggs, I have been your Constant Reader for some time now) but also in something much deeper that I found solace in.

Within the lines of this story lies a tale of hope; even when life feels at its most dire there is light and within that light is love strong and unwavering. This may be the opinion of one foolhardy romantic, but it was that thought that eased my restless heart.

So, my message to you, my fellow Constant Reader is to go fourth and seek out your comfort, wherever it lives and cherish it.

This is my candle in the dark…what is yours?♥


Vanessa Peters is a Latina writer and artist who lives and works out of Brooklyn, New York. She writes stories with characters that reflect the diversity of couples and love in America. She is the author of the forthcoming novel, ALMA, a multicultural romance set in New York. Visit her at