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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I PICKED UP A "HUNKY" PRESENT WHILE SHOPPING!

Here I am, wearing an apron while shopping! (use your imagination with me on this!) When I saw this "Santa" in his cute little hat and socks, I just couldn't resist. After all, I'd already gotten presents for others (see the bottom of my cart...did you even notice the gifts until I mentioned them?)

No matter how much you beg, I won't tell what store I was in or how much he cost...that's my little secret! Now I have to decide whether or not to gift wrap him and put him under my tree until Christmas, or treat myself to an early Christmas gift! Decisions, decisions!

Speaking of gifts, I got a nice "surprise" a few weeks ago. I sold another book! "Anything You Can Do", by Marianne Stephens, will be published by Breathless Press. No release date has been set. The new cover is here on my blog and on my website: http://www.mariannestephens.net.

Unofficial BLURB:
Daycare director, Allison Minetti, challenges Ryan Industries CEO, Jeffrey Ryan, to spend a week in daycare with her. Clueless to childcare programs , he calls her business “just babysitting” and hesitates to donate financial aid to her center.

They agree to the following terms: if he makes it through the week, she’ll stop funding requests and spend a friendly weekend with him. If he can’t survive the five days, he’ll seriously consider donating to Ryan’s Rugrats, where his employees send their children. Allison makes sure he gets a full dose of childcare daily routines, including Diaper Day, Kitchen Day, field trips and swimming lessons. All of these test his orderly realm of sanity.

Instant mutual attraction leads to a week of seductive teasing and brief steamy encounters. Both welcome the weekend and satisfy their lustful passion in a series of lovemaking encounters. Hurtful lessons of betrayal from past loves haunt each of them so trust is vital in their relationship. Will someone else’s interference in their challenge lead to mistaken conclusions and pull them apart?

Happy Shopping! Let me know if you find a present like mine!

http://www.mariannestephens.net

http://www.aprilash.net
http://www.breathlesspress.com
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=11
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=13

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'm Thankful For...

So much to list! Family, friends, good health, career... The list is endless.

I love Thanksgiving! It's been years since I've been able to have the entire family sitting around our dining room table, sharing a turkey and all the trimmings. Children grow up and have families of their own...and create their own Thanksgiving traditions either living nearby or moving far away.

Photo: feltmouse's photostream, Flickr

One event on Thanksgiving I absolutely adore...Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This always signals the start of the Christmas holiday season...although stores have Christmas items on display even as I write this! I love watching all the balloons and seeing the groups marching through the streets of New York. My mother says I've been to one of the parades as a child, but, sadly, I was too young to remember any of it.

I've asked those on my newsletter list to tell me what they're thankful for and will add their comments below during the month:
Marianne/April - Besides what I mentioned above, living in the US

Misty - I give thanks to my family.

Maureen - I am thankful for my wonderful family and health.

Tracey
- I am thankful for many things this year. I'm thankful for finally landing a job (I was out of work for about 6 months). I'm thankful to have my loved ones healthy for another year. I'm thankful for the endless support of my family and friends. I'm sure there are more but those are the ones that popped into my mind first.

Tamsyn
- I give thanks for all my loved ones and friends and that I still have a job!

Audra
- I'm thankful for my family and that they are healthy, and that I still have my job.

Melissa Keith
- I'm thankful for my hubby, family, kitties, and my friends. I'm also thankful for Hershey's. It was extremely thoughtful of them to create Hershey's Kisses!

Karen Haas
- I am thankful for my good health. That sounds a bit trite, I know, but considering the fact that I am now the sole survivor of my immediate family (parents & 2 older brothers are all dead now) and I have passed the ages my brothers were at their deaths (54 and 61), I do feel fortunate...and thankful!

Dena
- I'm thankful for my daughter. I have a lot of medical problems and it was a very difficult pregnancy. She was born early (6 weeks) but had no medical complications. Even though she will be twenty-one in February, I still am amazed that she's my little girl, well young lady now. I am also thankful for the rest of my family and especially my sister, without her help through the years I wouldn't be here.

Roberta Harwell
- With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I start thinking about what I'm thankful for. I think about the members of my family who have passed this year. It might bring a tear to my eye, but I know they are in a better place and no longer in any pain. I'm thankful for the members of my family who are still here. The friends who have stood by me through my trials without being judgmental. For having a home and a wonderful man to share each day with. For having two handsome boys, tow beautiful girls, and two beautiful granddaughters with another on the way are the apple of our eyes. They bring us such joy.

Beverly
- Hum. What I'm thankful for. Everyone asks me that a lot now this time of year but even all year. I'm thankful for the good friends whom I see, all family, my husband, and my children, our nieces and nephews, my parents cause without them I wouldn't be. And most importantly, I'm thankful for the ability to read. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, literacy is a huge issue and I'm thankful everyday that I can read and I was one of the lucky ones.

Sue A.
- I'm thankful for my health, which has allowed me to be in a position to help a family member through their own health issues.

Gayle
- I am thankful that my father-in-law is getting treatment for his liver cancer, my sister is beginning to walk with just a cane after her knee replacement, my friend's father is able to function by himself after his stroke and that we all are doing pretty good right now. The other surgeries seem to have fixed the problems with the children and we are very lucky that we are doing as well as we are. I am thankful things are not worse. God truly has blessed our family.

Jackie Wisherd - First, I am thankful for my good health...as they say "When you have your health you have everything". Then my family and my dog Sandy, who has been with me for 18 years.

Stacey Smith - I give thanks for my nieces and nephew. They give me reason to keep living and see how their lives are going to turn out. It's fun watching them grow up.

Amira - I am thankful for my wonderful husband, my stepson, and my great in-laws. I am also thankful for my ever-loving family.

Brenda Rupp - I am giving thanks for my husband and my grandmother. My husband has gotten me through seven surgeries and bacterial spinal meningitis, and saved my life literally twice. My grandmother is 94, still works and is in fabulous shape. She is awesome and keeps me level and gives me something to work towards, as she is such a role model. I give thanks for those people in my life!

Carol L. - I am eternally grateful for my 22-year-old daughter's health. She had Osteo-Sarcoma (bone cancer) and survived a one-year stay in the hospital for chemo. She's now a healthy 22-year-old. Thank God.

Earlene Gillespie - I'm thankful for my family most of all. My parents are still with us even though they have health problems. I'm thankful that I have a secure job in these trying economic times.

Molly Daniels/Kenzie Michaels - Right now, I give thanks every day for a healthy family, a roof over our heads, and plenty of food in the house. Also for the support and encouragement of wonderful author friends! It it wasn't for my writing ability and faith, I'd be an angry, depressing mess right now.

Jeanette Bowman - I'm thankful that my family is all here and healthy.

Vicki Hancock - I am very thankful for the birth of my first Grandson this year. Also for my family and my parents. My Dad had a lot of health issues this year and we thought we would lose him so I am VERY thankful he is ok for now.

Joy Isley - I am thankful for a lot of things, especially that I have a lot of time to read, read, and read.

Sherry Haut - I'm thankful that I have a healthy child and a wonderful husband.

Debby - I am going to give thanks for my family. My daughter is missing a leg and needs some prosthetic work but I heard about someone who lost theirs. My sister is going in for a lung biopsy but she will be with us this Thanksgiving. Some sisters are not. So I know that everyone will give thanks for the family. That is what we truly should be thankful for when we sit down to enjoy that meal. They many not be there next time.

Mina Gerhart - I work with mentally challenged people in an institution and I'm thankful that I don't have the developmental challenges these beautiful have to deal with every day. I'm thankful for my family's and my health, a good job, roof over my head, and all of God's blessings he's seen fit to give me.

Jody Faltys - I'm very thankful for my family who have stood by me ever since I became a quadriplegic at the age of four. They have encouraged me to live life to the fullest and helped me attain as many of my dreams as they could.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Don't Forget to Vote 12-30 November in NIGHT OWL ROMANCE'S KISS SCENE CONTEST! Go to:

MARIANNE STEPHENS' ENTRY IS # 4




http://www.mariannestephens.net
Cerridwen Press:
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=13
Breathless Press:
http://www.breathlesspress.com
"Anything You Can Do" Release Date TBA
http://www.aprilash.net
Ellora's Cave:
http://www.jasminejade.com/default.aspx?skinid=11
"SEXY GAMES"
http://www.jasminejade.com/p-7393-sexy-games.aspx
5 HEARTS, Diana Coyle, Night Owl Romance, REVIEWER TOP PICK

Thursday, October 1, 2009

HUNKY HALLOWEEN ANGEL!

I swear some people spend their days just looking for "chain letter" emails to send out. I rarely will forward anything to anyone, and never give a second thought to the "bad luck" I may get if I don't, nor do I wonder about the "surprise" or "good luck" I'll get if I do.

SO, BE HONEST...how many of you REALLY ENJOY getting them from every person in your address book?

Here's one I received and just can't resist sending to you through this blog. Forget the "cutesy" angels you normally get. This version is different.

Take some fairy dust:


Add a "cutsey" angel:



And, POOF!




Did you smile? Have you finished trying to see up his loincloth? YOU JUST LOOKED AGAIN, DIDN'T YOU?

Hmm. My creative mind is spinning away with thoughts of a story centering on a hunky angel now that I have plenty of time to just stare at his...ahem...charm, grace, and saintly attributes.
RIGHT! Get a good look at this guy...don't you wish he was on one of your covers?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

My newest release, "Sexy Games", by April Ash, has the hero and heroine donning costumes and testing adult role-playing games. Too bad I hadn't seen this hunky angel before I wrote the book. I could have written him and his costume into a scene!
www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Do People Influence the Characters You Create?

I'm old enough to have "senior moments", so I guess I've met all kinds of people in my long life. Do they creep into my writing? Do I find them in my books?

One person in particular crept into my writing in ALL the earlier books I attempted (poorly) to write. My first three books all had nasty women named "Laura". Yep. Used that name with vengeance in my heart and a need to make "Laura" a villain.

Over the years, I still don't talk to "Laura", but I no longer put her in my books. Had my full of her and my need to seek revenge of some type. But I do see some hints of others I know or have known in my books.

My erotic books have no basis whatsoever on anyone I know. Not me. Not my husband. Not friends or family. Although, in "Strip Poker for Two", I made the hero an Army captain and have known men in the Army, including my husband. But, we never played strip poker!

I'm starting to think that some heroes and heroines have characteristics of TV or movie personalities. We're constantly bombarded by images on screen and those have to slip into our heads as we write. I see the image of Sandra Bullock, the heroine in "While You Were Sleeping" and think of Katie in my book, "Gone to the Dogs". I see the heroine of "Ugly Betty" and think of Eileen in my book, "Street of Dreams"...someone always trying to prove her worth.

I see a combination of my daughters in some of my heroines as they search for true love and maneuver the pitfalls and rocky roads to love. Didn't I do the same thing? Only a few of my friends/family members fit into the category of "love at first sight" with their first and only love. The rest of us had to tread water and separate the nice guys from the losers.

What about you? Do you see others in your heroes and heroines? When you read a story, can you "see" someone you know?

Visit www.mariannestephens.net and www.aprilash.net for updates about our books. Join our newsletter for a monthly contest and news about our books there, too! Email either marianne@mariannestephens.net or april@aprilash.net and put "Join Newsletter" in the subject line.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Write What You Know - Do I?

We've all heard "Write what you know" many times...but how often do we stretch our imaginations to delve into unknown areas? Surely, those who write paranormal and fantasies do just that.

I have to admit, I don't always follow that rule. My life might seem too boring to put on paper and turn into a page-turning romance book. I taught school. Raised kids. Play bridge. Bowl. Everyday stuff lots of people do.

Do I write about historical figures or wealthy world travelers? No. I'm not a history expert and certainly not wealthy. Travel? I've taken a cruise, been to Canada and Mexico, and visited lots of states here in the USA. But, can't say I've been to intriguing spots of the rich and famous?

Does the Grand Canyon count?

My first book, "Second Sight Dating", is definitely pure fiction. I never used a dating service. But, I know two couples who did and got married. Am I psychic? No, but that didn't stop me from making my heroine one. I have no background in detective work (unless you count the endless detective TV shows I watch), but I did ask a former police officer a few questions.

I guess I kinda wrote what I knew. Hmm.

My second book, "Street of Dreams", is a paranormal. This time, I could make up stuff and not have to have real background for it. But, I did have some knowledge of the time setting since I sent my H/H back to 1965...a time I remember. And, I sent them to a specific place and time that I could relate to and had knowledge of.

I guess I kinda wrote what I knew. Hmm.

My third book, "Gone to the Dogs", I wrote in first person. Yep, I have a Corgi and put him in the book. Wrote things in the book about the Wizard of Oz and Kansas...where I live. But the advertising business...I kinda threw in things I remembered from TV shows again.

I guess I kinda wrote what I knew. Hmm.

Now the next two books are erotic romances. I think I'll end this blog here, and not give away information about "writing what I know" for those. Although, I do play cards and my husband was in the military...like my book "Strip Poker for Two".

Then there's my newest release, "Sexy Games"...and it's time for me to stop!

So...do you write what you know? Enjoy reading books and wonder if the author is doing just that?

"Sexy Games", by April Ash, is now available from Ellora's Cave:
http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419922978

Saturday, July 4, 2009

RWA - Should I Remain a Member?

I've been upset with RWA since 2007, a year that saw my first book published and filled me with joy. Finally getting published, a goal I strove toward for over the course of many years, satisfied my need of fulfillment and confidence. I did it. I wrote a book and found a publisher.

The RWA conference in 2007 took away all my happiness and managed to irritate and anger me in those four days in Atlanta. Instead of proudly wearing my "pink ribbon" indicating I was a first-time published author, I found myself disenfranchised with the whole RWA organization, including PAN.

From an editor, a published author, and a new author whose book wouldn't release for TWO years from a NY publisher, I found myself on the receiving end of disinterested looks and comments...all because I was published by an ebook publisher, Ellora's Cave.

I went from a euphoric feeling of elation to a dismayed and barely tolerated third cousin of those "big" publishers and their authors.

Change is needed and will come. Enough people have been stewing about RWA's attempts to squash epubs and small print publishers in favor of the old, familiar print publishers...most from the NY area. Rules of acceptance and recognition have changed to "legitimately" block and keep epubs and small print pubs from being "blessed" by RWA.

One survey done shortly after the dreaded 2007 conference was worded to benefit RWA's stance on issues. When I tried to add comments, I found myself limited to only about 10 words, not enough to voice my displease and challenge the wording on their survey.

I battle with myself every year as to whether or not I'll rejoin. My initial reason for joining was to share in their wealth of information, but I believe a desire for power has made those in control go overboard with their personal ideals of "purist" romance books...and bias for big, NY print publishers.

Will things change this year? Next year? I don't know, but there are a hell of a lot of people unhappy with the way and direction RWA seems to be heading. Purist heads are going deeper in the sand, ignoring the advances in technology...namely, the improvement and popularity of ebooks. Some will never change their ideals or compromise.

My biggest pet peeve is simple. It's no one's business what my contract says, what I agree to, how much I make. That information is privileged information between myself, my publisher, and the IRS. Period. Simple. My financial situation isn't public knowledge.

RWA has my blessing if they want to exclude self-publishing, vanity presses and authors. I can also compromise and agree to making a publisher be in business 3-5 years before being recognized. These seem like reasonable requirements...keeping in mind that both ebook and print publishers have gone out of business at times.

Reluctantly, I paid my RWA dues again this year, only because I don't want to lose the friends and support I've found at my local chapter.

It's funny. Not one person has ever asked if I was a member of RWA...no one at a book signing, talk, etc. No one on the many non-rwa sponsored loops I'm on nor anyone on my newsletter list has asked either. Makes me wonder as to exactly what benefit I gain (other than my local chapter) by agonizing over sending in dues every year.

April Ash, www.aprilash.net, has a new erotic romance book releasing 24 July! Look for "Sexy Games" at Ellora's Cave, www.ellorascave.com.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Switching Gears in Writing

I write romance books. Always loved the "happily-ever-after" books and movies.

I started writing "sweet" romance stories, having decided I could never create a book showing what goes on behind closed doors. My first books always left you wondering as the bedroom door closed at the end of a scene or chapter.

In 1994, I went to my first Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. Loved every moment of my hectic and confusing time there. I had a roommate, unknown to me before we shared a room, who wrote, what I considered, "hot stuff". She had sex in her story and actually wrote about what happened after that bedroom door closed.

I told her I could never do that.

Boy, have I changed!

I gradually wrote books that let the reader enter the bedroom with the hero and heroine. Sometimes they even opted for sex in a tub, shower, living room. Once I got started throwing descriptions in my books, just hinting about sexual encounters never crossed my mind.

Heroes and heroines had sex. Readers wanted to know what they did and in order to "feel" that emotional connection the lovers obtained. The more books I wrote, the bolder my writing became. I finally ended up selling my first book to Ellora's Cave (Cerridwen Imprint) and told my editor I could never write an erotic romance.

Once again, I denied my ability to tackle a new edge in how sexually explicit my writing could get. After selling three books, my editor said that since they were all "very sensual" in nature, I could probably write an erotic book.

Dilemma. Would readers who knew me as Marianne Stephens, mainstream romance author, accept me as an erotic romance author? I decided to use another pen name, April Ash, and wrote "Strip Poker for Two".

Now, this did not please everyone. Some people thought I'd "sold out" to the dark side in writing erotica. I've decided I kinda enjoy explaining exactly what goes on and can follow guidelines so I don't cross that line of porn for porn's sake only. These books, erotic romance stories, are just that. Romance books written with erotic, graphic descriptions.

As I told one friend, I know all the correct names of body parts and how to use them. I'm not ashamed or embarrassed by what I write. Questions about where I get my descriptive ideas from always have me answering, "Some come from experience and then again, I'm very creative."

I have to keep everyone guessing about that...can't divulge all my secrets!

April has sold another erotic romance book, "Sexy Games", to Ellora's Cave. No release date yet!
Check www.aprilash.net for more information.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Writing Space

As an author, I need my space to write and feel comfortable. I love having my own office while my husband has his in our finished basement. Bonding with your spouse is wonderful, but there are times I need to work and not be interrupted!

I recently bought a new desk. My old roll-top had outlived its usefulness. It had the monitor near the left side and a pull-out writing board on the right. Great for people who are right-handed, but not convenient for those of us who are left-handed. I constantly set up a tray table on the left side to give me room to scribble notes. Not pretty or comfortable, but functional.

My new desk has the monitor right in the center. The two shelve/drawer inserts are movable, so I can place them where they're not in my way. And, I have two pull-out writing boards, one on either side. Of course, I have lots of space now on the left side to scribble my notes without any difficulty.

I don't listen to music while I write. It distracts me. I hear the cuckoo clock in my dining room as it alerts me to every new hour or half-hour. Sometimes, though, I'm so engrossed in writing that I don't hear a thing. I'll admit, however, that I've toyed with the idea of getting a small TV in here, just so I can keep track of baseball games as I'm a big fan of two teams.

I like lots of light when I write. I open the drapes to let in the sunlight, and always have the overhead light on. At night, I also turn on a lamp on my desk. Maybe it's "old eyes" syndrome, but I need to have things really bright.

I'm surrounded by bookshelves, cabinets, and a fireplace. And, of course, lots of photos of family and friends adorn spots with shelf space. I have one vase with flowers received from Mid-America Romance Authors, my RWA chapter here in the Kansas City area. And I'm into glass flowers, so have four different vases with various sizes/types of glass flowers throughout the room.

My desk chair is comfortable and "worn-in" to suit my needs. I also have a rocking chair near the window, one I've had for almost 34 years.

This is where I create my stories. I can see out the large window near my desk and watch as the season change when I need a break from writing. I'm happy in my writing space and feel fortunate to have it all to myself!

Where do you write? Or, where do you go for some private time?
Marianne/April

Check out www.mariannestephens.net and www.aprilash.net for updates on their books. April just received a new contract so another erotic book will soon be available!
Marianne and April blog at www.goddessessofstorytelling.blogspot.com on the 8th of every month and also at www.romancebooksrus.blogspot.com.
Join our newsletter for a monthly contest and updates! Send an email to marianne@mariannestephens.net or april@aprilash.net and put "Join Newsletter" in the subject line.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blind Dates, Part Two

I blogged about the weird blind dates and the toads I'd come across. As promised, now I'll tell you about two blind dates that turned out fine.

Again, these happened while I was in college.

BLIND DATE NUMBER THREE: Once again, my college roommate, Carol, and her boyfriend, Bob decided to try once more and set me up with another friend of theirs. I made them promise no playboy types and it had to be someone who'd at least stick by me for our date night. Embarrassed by their first try, they were anxious to match me again and show they could get it right.

This time it worked.

Steve was studious and in the ROTC program at their college, just like Bob. We hit it off right away since I'd always respected military life after listening to my father's stories of being in the Navy.

We dated for about six months and Carol and I spent many weekends double-dating at the guys' college. Even went to a ROTC military ball. Eventually, Steve and I went our separate ways as he graduated and went into the Army.

BLIND DATE NUMBER FOUR: Carol wasn't done with me yet! Even though she and the guys had graduated and I was a college senior, she tried again...thinking she had figured out how to "match" me. This guy was from her hometown but now in the Army.

Mike was great. Really considerate, great listener...and I really liked him. I dated him on weekends he was home and I visited Carol. Even had him come to my home during spring break and thought we'd had a wonderful time.

Sadly, I was wrong. Mike decided he didn't want to get serious with anyone, and I was looking for a commitment with a future together. The next time I visited Carol, he said he couldn't get home. Carol and I went to a dance club one night and saw Mike there with another girl. I'd lost him, but still have nice memories of our dating.

Have you been on a blind date? Good or bad? Or, have you had different experiences like I did?

Don't forget to visit www.mariannestephens.net and www.aprilash.net for information about their books! Join their newsletter for a monthly contest! Just send an email to marianne@mariannestephens.net or april@aprilash.net and put "join newsletter" in the subject line.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blind Date, Anyone?

Spring is here, love is in the air...and matchmakers are on the loose! It's time for them to find you the perfect date and they nag you until your strength depletes and stamina wavers so you agree. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Now you're in for it!

I've been on a few blind dates in my younger years after high school. Two were particularly strange.
BLIND DATE NUMBER ONE: Good friends John and Mary asked if I'd go on a blind date with John's friend, Sam. Apparently Sam had been ill, was recovering, but had lost all his hair (I can't remember what the illness was). I agreed, figuring I'd known Mary since grade school and John since we took accordion lessons together in middle school. Surely their friend would be a pleasant date, and hey...I considered myself an interesting and fun person to be around.

Wrong.

Not about me, but about Sam. The entire evening had me conversing with John and Mary. Sam barely uttered ten words, very few in sentences. Our trip to a club proved disappointing. He didn't dance. When we went to a diner to eat, he scooted into the booth seat next to John. In the car, he sat in front with John and was the first to be driven home.

We then figured Sam still had issues with being out in public (although I don't think I kept looking at his bald head even though I knew it was there). Blow to my ego? Kinda. I felt like I wasn't interesting enough to make him comfortable.

BLIND DATE NUMBER TWO: Carol, my college roommate and her boyfriend, Bob, set up a blind date with Jim, a friend of Bob's at their college. Carol was sure we'd hit it off as he'd dated another of her friends and I was "just like her". Bob came to our college to pick us up and drove to his and Jim's college. We were dropped off to spend the night in a sorority house.

Strange thing, though. Every time I told girls there I'd be going out with Jim Smith, I'd get the weirdest reactions. Some just blinked, others whispered to each other. And their responses were always "Oh".

Jim and Bob came to pick us up at the sorority house. I took one look at him and thought dreamy, handsome...trouble ahead. He flashed a big smile to ALL the girls there and flirted before we had a chance to leave.

We went to a frat party where he led me to the chairs, said he had to talk to someone and would soon return, and stayed away for twenty minutes. I was annoyed as I watched him flit about the room being sociable. When one of his fraternity brothers asked me to dance, I did. I danced with him for another twenty minutes until my "date" showed up to claim me.

I was out with an ever-popular playboy and apparently wasn't his type. Nor was he mine. When it came time to leave, he hugged and kissed me and we parted after talking about our friends and the argument they'd had. Jim promised to pick me up for church the next morning so I figured I'd see him one last time.

He came to get me, and had four other girls in his car. Jim drove us all to church and sat in a pew with five girls surrounding him.

When it came time to drive us back to our college, Bob stopped at Jim's dorm to see if he'd like to go with us. I told Bob not to bother as I already knew he wasn't interested in me. Bob seemed surprised and said I was wrong. He went in, came out alone and angry, and said Jim had to study. I thanked Bob and Carol but said ours was not a match Jim wanted any part of. Nor did I.

Later this month, I'll blog about two blind dates that turned out fine. Good things can happen, but watch out for the toads if you agree to a blind date!

Matchmaking is a job one of my heroines does. In "Second Sight Dating" by Marianne Stephens, Serena uses her "second sight" to match couples. Read it to find out about one client she can't seem to find a perfect match for. Is it because she wants him for herself?

To sign up for my newsletter, Marianne's Musings & April's Antics, send an email to marianne@mariannestephens.net or april@aprilash.net and put "join newsletter" in the subject line. I offer a monthly newsletter contest!

Check out:
www.mariannestephens.net
www.jasminejade.com
www.aprilash.net

www.ellorascave.com

Monday, March 2, 2009

What Stops Me From Writing?

I always have thoughts racing through my head, either plotting out scenes in a current book I'm working on or a future one. Right now, thoughts of finishing two books I've started and revamping four others to make them read-worthy keep my mind busy.

So...what's been holding me back from actually sitting in front of the computer and writing, putting ideas in print? Every night before I go to sleep, I go through scenes I want to use for the two books I'm determined to complete. I've also got another new book plotted out (except for a few minor details I need to work on to make the conflict important). Night after night, I go through these and plan to write the next day.

But, my motivation ends with sleep.

Okay. I've had a rough time with hospital stays, complications and surgeries. Yep. I've got the excuses ready. Why can't I overcome them and get back to work?

I'm tired a lot, and the idea of sitting in front of the computer instead of napping never wins. I've been able to do more on the computer now that drug-induced "brain fog" has disappeared. I'm catching up with email and rejoining loops I've been "no mail" on for some time.

Am I just being lazy? Couldn't I push myself more? I'm firmly determined to start March off right, and get back to writing. I keep thinking of a friend who kept writing, even while her husband was dying of brain cancer. She managed to keep motivated and bless her for doing so.

I've got to put my pity party tactics behind me and write! Yes, I've gone through some miserable stuff...and it looks like my husband will be losing his job...but maybe it's time for me to challenge myself and get busy!

My first erotic book, "Strip Poker for Two", by April Ash, is now available in both ebook and print versions at www.jasminejade.com . This website is for Ellora's Cave. The book should show up soon at Amazon.com, Border's and Barnes & Noble websites. I need to promote this. I need to spread the word. I need to do my job.

I've kept up with my newsletter, and welcome emails from the people on my list. I run a contest every month, and try to keep readers motivated. You can join my newsletter by sending an email to marianne@mariannestephens.net or april@aprilash.net.

Keep motivated to do what you need to do, and my plan is to do the same!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Are You Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions?

Every January 1st., lots of people begin with making New Year Resolutions they hope to accomplish throughout the year. How many succeed? How many fail?

Mine always seemed to have to do with losing weight. Where and when did the pounds attach themselves to my hips? Was it just "holiday eating"?

I asked my newsletter fans to tell me about their resolutions. Here are some of them:
Lose weight
Get healthy
Clean closets and house clutter
Reading more and reading books other than romance
Keeping in touch with family
Quit smoking
Exercise more

See yourself among my fans and recognize a resolution as one of yours?

Why don't we follow through? Lack of interest, other things detour us, too stressed?

I'd hoped to make 2009 a healthier one and for once didn't resolve to lose weight...since I'd lost so much after my surgery. But, I never made it through New Year's Day without complications from my previous surgery appearing. So, I'm back to step one, facing more hospital visits and surgeries.

Regardless, I'm determined to finish editing a book I wrote and send it to my editor. I'm already planning on having my laptop at the hospital (if allowed) and working!

GOOD NEWS!! "Strip Poker For Two", by April Ash, will soon be available in paperback!

May You have a Wonderful New Year and accomplish your goals!

Marianne/April
www.mariannestephens.net

www.aprilash.net

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