Thank you to Romantic Historical Reviews for what has just become my favourite review for Prohibited Passion. Reviewer Anita calls the prose ‘beautiful’ and the portrayal of the Prohibition era ‘fascinating’. Best of all, are her comments on the sexual tension – ‘sweet but hot’.

You can read the rest of the review here: http://www.romantichistoricalreviews.com/prohibited-passions-by-rae-summers/

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ProhibitedPassion-1 (Large)One of my favourite moments of being an author is when you click open the attachment from the cover artist, your heart in your throat as you wonder if the cover will do justice to the words you’ve laboured so long and so hard over.

With Prohibited Passion, I didn’t have that fear, because the cover existed before the book!

I knew the story I wanted to write, so when an opportunity to win a custom cover design came up on Brenda Novak’s auction, I thought “what the hell?” I set my bid limits and duly forgot about it. Lo and behold, I won the bid and the services of the wonderful Viola Estrella.

Viola’s cover is breathtaking, I’m sure you’ll agree. I kept this image on the pinboard beside my desk all the way through writing the book, and it helped keep me focussed on the characters and the feel of the story. I’m still in love with this cover, not just because it’s so atmospheric, but because it matches the book so well. It’s an upside down way of working, but I highly recommend it!

Prohibited Passion will be on sale on Amazon at the end of April. For a sneak peek at the story, check back here on #SampleSunday.

I wasn’t going to dignify this article or this one with a comment, but since a local Afrikaans newspaper has also picked up and headlined the story, I’ve decided to weigh in on the debate with my two cents.

These aren’t the first articles of their kind, and since the press has a long history of writing blatantly incorrect, sensationalist stories about romance novels (such as this laughable cheap pot shot) it’s unlikely to be the last.

The debate will continue to rage for years to come, I’m sure, on whether watching violent films makes viewers turn violent, or reading romance turns people … well, romantic. (I notice crime novels don’t get blamed for sending people into lives of crime, but that’s another story!)

But it’s not this issue that has me up on my soap box today, but rather the underlying issue as I see it: that in our contemporary, supposedly enlightened, society, women who expect their real life heroes to aspire to some sort of ideal are ‘irrational’ or ‘dangerously unbalanced’.

It has become the norm in society for people not to take responsibility for their own actions. So we blame romance novels for the breakdown of marriages instead of admitting we might have failed. We blame unrealistic expectations for the fact that women value themselves highly enough to want to be treated well. I somehow doubt that it’s the romance readers themselves saying their marriages broke apart because of what they read. More likely the disgruntled husband who doesn’t want to admit that his wife left him because he’s a drunken layabout.

I strongly believe that women should have high expectations of their husbands, just as men should have high expectations of their wives.

Marriage should be the place where we bring out the best in ourselves, not the worst. Our marriage partner should be the one person in the world we treat better than everyone else, not worse. And romance novels can teach us this. They set the benchmark of what we should aspire to, not a physical ideal (after all, those cover models often don’t truly represent the characters inside the books!) but rather the values of a love so deep and enduring that it is worth striving for.

I will continue to proudly read, and write, romantic fiction, because I believe in a world in which women are taught to value themselves enough that they do not settle for less than they deserve. And for a world in which women who do so are not ‘unrealistic’ but rather the vast majority. I can guarantee it’ll be a much happier world, and one filled with love and romance. Can you think of anything better?

Incidentally, if you’re wondering what a romance writer really does look like, check out this brilliant response by Julie Cohen.

And thanks to Lorraine Minx for pointing me to this interesting rebuttal.