Monday, July 28, 2014

FATED LOVE AND THE MAGIC OF THE KOOKABURRA

by Mac Perry



During my lunch hour the other day, I was reading Joseph Campbell’s HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, on my iBook application. I was struck by the part about dreams being the stuff of unresolved childhood issues, which are the seeds of unrealized potential. As adults, we may have to regress to find those seeds again, in order to undergo transformation, which is a way of returning to the immortality of our soul. That got me to thinking about God, faith, and fate. And, of course, you can’t ponder such things without thinking about love, soul mates, and a sense of purpose. Thus, the theme for this month’s Keynotes, “Fated Love,” was born.

And then I needed to pee.

When I returned from my bathroom break and illuminated my iPhone, iBook had mysteriously switched to my Nook application, and my animal totems book was open to the Kookaburra, of all things. The subtitle read, “The Kookaburra is your power animal.”

Huh. Well, that was curious! Not only because some ghostly hand had decided I needed to read this passage (and is apparently up on the new OS 7), but also because I had no idea what a Kookaburra was. Turns out, a Kookaburra is a bird.

The text said: To manifest your dreams, stay centered, maintain your focus and determination, and let nothing deter you. The best way to overcome your fear is to face it and do whatever you need to do in order to accom­plish your objective. Release behavior patterns that no longer serve you.

I started crying. Yes, again, at work (but not as hard as I did this morning on the toilet). I think the waterworks were for three reasons: One, because I felt like somebody was paying attention to me (so what if only an angel or disembodied spirit? Who am I to be picky?) Two, because it was terribly vague (if the great beyond wanted to give me a don’t-give-up pat on the back, they could have at least included a time table. Like, “An agent will pick you up in approximately three months at 18:00 hours”). And three, I wasn’t sure if they were talking about ambition or love.

Naturally, I had to get my boss’s input. She said, “I don’t think whatever is in charge could get any clearer than that. Your need for further clarification is just a manifestation of your baseless doubts about achieving what you are obviously destined to do. Take it for what it is, which is a ‘good job, keep up the good work.’ Focus on what you’ve been doing and it will be fine.” Have I mentioned I have an awesome boss?

“But what if I end up alone for the rest of my life? I’d like to think I would be okay with that, but I wouldn’t be. And I think that makes me flawed and weak and common.”

She rolled her eyes. “Men are not going to let you live the rest of your life alone. It’s not possible. Look at you.”

“No, but what if it is?”

“It’s not.”

“Youth sags, and beauty fades.”

“Stop assuming everyone else’s problems. You’re not them. Your story is your own.”

Later that evening, I sought the male opinion from a pen pal. He said, “You won’t be alone, you require some­one.”

Ugh! I cringed. Like I had gone to school naked and forgotten my homework on the bus. “How do you know that about me? Doesn’t that make me co-dependent and pathetic?”

“It’s not, Red. Everyone wants someone. It’s human nature.”

As much as I’d like to deny it, relationships have deeply affected my self-concept, (not the least of which, my failed marriage). Campbell states, “In the United States there is a pathos of inverted emphasis: the goal is not to grow old, but to remain young; not to mature away from mother, but to cleave to her. And so, while husbands are worshiping their boyhood shrines...their wives, even after fourteen years of marriage and two fine children produced and raised, are still on the search for love--which can come to them only through the mythical crea tures of their dreams or the big screen.” I don’t know one woman over thirty who wouldn’t understand this statement (and a few over the age of twenty-five).

Look at the popularity of Romance fiction, for example, which was the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2012 at 16.7 percent. Of that 16.7 percent, 91 percent are women. And these women are no morons (as my grandmother would say), these are women between the ages of 30 and 54, earning between $50,000.00 and $99,000.00 per year, more than half of which are married or have a significant other. And they are loyal readers; 44% percent considering themselves “frequent readers,” and 41% percent have been reading for over twenty years.

Okay, so, here I am. Trying to be a romance writer, a weaver of fantasies and a proponent of the “happily ever after,” aka, Fated Love. Maybe that seems like a wrong direction to take if I want to find love in reality, but a belief in fated love is closer to reality than you might think.

Campbell states, “The happy ending is justly scorned as a mis­representation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending; death…and the crucifixion of our heart... The fairytale of happiness ever after…belongs to the never-never land of childhood…just as the myth of heaven ever after is for the old. [But] these in the ancient world were regarded as of a higher rank than tragedy…of a deeper truth, of a more difficult realiza­tion, [and] a sounder structure. The happy ending of the fairy tale, the myth, and the divine comedy of the soul, is to be read, not as a contradiction, but as a transcendence of the universal tragedy of man.”

In other words, the happy ending is not a contradiction to “real life,” but hints at the transcendence of the soul—which is im­mortal, sustaining, and capable of transforming. To believe in the happy ending is to integrate anxiety-provoking ambiguities. This helps us endure and change, when the world around us remains the same.

I like that. And I’ll take it. In fact, between Campbell and the Kookaburra, I’m feeling pretty damn optimistic right now. So, I will embrace the Kookaburra’s magic, and keep reading and writing happy endings. Because in every happy ending, we are fated to find love, whichever way you slice it. ♥

 

Mac Perry is a Creative Arts Therapist, adjunct professor, and aspiring author of urban fantasy. When she is not corralling her three-year-old son, she is blogging and working on her passion’s pursuit. To learn more, check out her web site at www.macperry.com, or her blog at www.macperrysblog.blogspot.com.

Friday, July 25, 2014

BOOK COVER FRIDAYS: SURVIVAL OF THE FIERCEST by Chloe Blaque


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

 
 
SURVIVAL OF THE FIERCEST
by Chloe Blaque
Loose ID
 
 

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

LOVE IS OUR TRUE DESTINY

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

THE GIDDY GRAMMARIAN: A Case for Case

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 www.lisbetheng.com.

Friday, July 18, 2014

BOOK COVER FRIDAYS: WORTH THE WEIGHT by Eileen Palma

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

 
 
WORTH THE WEIGHT
by Eileen Palma
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MATES, KINDRED SPIRITS, AND A WRITER’S JOURNEY

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

SPANK YOU VERY MUCH

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 www.lisehorton.com and for free, naughty reads stop by her Lust In the Afternoon blog, http://blackrosediaries.blogspot.com.