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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Who says Latin is a dead language?


















The Latin language sounds pretty lively to me!

After quite a bit of soul searching and a lot research in general I finally finished my first revision of my historical, “Owned By Rome” very late Sunday night.

I actually finished “early” my editor had given me until 5 a.m Monday morning… lol

I must admit it was a hard start, as I mentioned in a previous blog I was very reluctant to give up a few of my favorite everyday, hard-working, plow-horse, comfort words such as “Clit”, “Cock” and “Balls” but go they did. Not only did I find acceptable Roman-era substitutes, I found a few vivid, fun-sounding words that have crept into my private life. I’m thrilled to have more naughty words at my disposal and I hope a few of you will take them for a test drive as well.

If you do feel inspired to role-play with your significant other, may I suggest you take the role of the cunning, defiant Celtic slave and he play the tall, dark Roman magistrate who believes he has complete dominium over you. That’s right lure him in, let him think he’s the MAN until you’re alone together in the heart of a dense forest and then spring into action and show him what you’re made of. Be sure to give your loving Dominor a thorough soul pounding and turn his world inside out before you surrender to him and share the highest elatio voluptaria imaginable.

Need I say this advice is aimed at adults in stable, supportive relationships, who have heavy drapes on their bedroom windows and don’t live too close to their neighbors…

Remember, voices carry. “Writer’s research” can startle unsuspecting people. If you do get caught tell the neighbors you are using the Rosetta Stone language course or better yet “The Leon Latin Language Course for Lovers”… And for goodness sake, close the drapes.

I didn’t mention my new naughty words did I? Actually I don’t have them anymore. I had to basio them goodbye and send them all to my editor. She has them safe and sound but they’ll be back soon and I can share them with you when “Owned By Rome” gets a release date. lol

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No Longer a Virgin

Conference Virgin that is. Yes, I attended my first writer’s conference this past weekend. The RWA-NEC conference. I’m a member of NEC and I must say there are a lot of EC authors! Friday my friend Donna and I arrived early. We met up with another friend for lunch. After we got settled in our rooms we registered.
The first workshop of the day was Brenda Novak. She spoke about emotion. This was a great two hour talk. The time flew by. During the Q&A someone asked if she was a plotter or pantser and her response struck a cord. She said she was a pantser. She said when she tries to write after plotting it feels forced because she feels in a lot of ways she’s already written the story. It was a light bulb moment for me.
I’m a self-proclaimed pantser, so this made sense to me. I like to let the characters explore and decide where they’re going. Looking back my rejected work has been plotted.
The food was to die for. At dinner my one friend H had the agent and editor sitting at our table laughing at her tales of drunken sluts in her books. This broke the ice for her agent appointment the next morning. She doesn’t really have drunken sluts in her books.
Dessert was a Q&A with Annette Blair. She is one of the sweetest women you’ll ever meet. I’ve known her for a little over three years and she continues to amaze me with her generosity and knowledge sharing.
The keynote speaker for breakfast was MaryJanice Davidson. OMFG, she is so funny. We laughed all through breakfast. Of course she received a standing ovation after her speech.
I attended a bunch of great workshops throughout the day including one given by fellow EC author Nina Pierce. She helped my friend H out with her workshop. H tends to write very long and Nina gave hints on how to write shorter.
There were free books and promo items galore. The conference ended with a book signing. I spent way too much, but that’s okay. That’s what it’s all about, right? Hopefully next year I’ll be sitting at one of the tables signing too.
I signed up for RomantiCon yesterday. Maybe I’ll have a print book for that conference. We’ll see.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Interviewing a Romance Hero and Heroine

"Anything You Can Do" now available at: http://www.breathlesspress.com
Diana Coyle, Night Owl Reviews: Reviewer Top Pick: 5 STARS!
Top 7.5% Best Selling Romantic Comedy at http://www.allromanceebooks.com
 
I've done romance book character interviews before, but this time I'll do both the hero and heroine at the same time.

Today I'm interviewing Allison Minetti (A) and Jeff Ryan (J), the hero and heroine from " Anything You Can Do".  To give you a little background, Allison wants Jeff's company to become a partner with her childcare facility. It sits directly across the street from Ryan Industries and all her clients work for Jeff's company. When he calls what she does "babysitting", she challenges him to spend a week in Ryan's Rugrats with her. I'll let them tell you more.

Q: Why did you make/accept the challenge?
A: I really needed funding for the center. I was annoyed when Jeff called what I do "babysitting" and thought he needed to see what goes on in a childcare facility. Throwing in the part about him losing and considering helping financially seemed like a plus. I never expected him to make it through the week. (She shifts in her seat and frowns) I didn't expect Jeff to add that part about spending the weekend with him if I lost, but it kinda thrilled me.
J:  She surprised me. Hey. Kids in daycare? I figured all they did was play all day. How hard could that be? She surprised me by daring me to spend a week with her. But, I wanted to get to know her better anyway so I figured, sure. I could do it. And, get her to spend the weekend with me when she lost.

Q: That elevator episode sounds interesting. What happened?
A: (Pink blush stains her cheeks). We, uh, fell together when it jerked into motion. I landed in Jeff's lap, and, well, we kissed. Kind of a-
J: Instinctive move on both our parts. Allison wanted it as much as I did. We hugged and-
A: Kissed. Yes. But it stopped and the elevator door opened.

Q: Did you make things hard for Jeff?
A: (sits up straight in her seat and gets defensive) Certainly not. He just got to experience what I do every day. Of course, he had it easy since some of the kids were missing.
J: (frowns) Hey. That wasn't my fault. I did pretty good the first two days with all the kids. Mostly, anyhow.

Q: Moving on, Jeff...did you give Allison a hard time?
J: I couldn't keep my mind off her and wanted to touch her all the time. She kept enticing me with her looks, great body, sexy voice, loving comments-
A: Sure. That's all I had time for. Enticing you. You drove me crazy. Always within reach, so wonderful with the kids. I couldn't resist your charming charisma and how you kept drawing me to you.

Q: Any passionate episodes at work?
A: (blushes again) A few encounters away from the kids. Couldn't let them see or hear us. It wouldn't be professional.
J: (runs a finger along Allison's cheek) We couldn't stay away from each other. The need to touch, kiss, desire to hold each other, all exploded at times. But, she's right. We had to be careful with the kids.

Q: Tell me about the weekend.
J: Glorious. We finally had time for just us and could let our passion loose.
A: (rubs her hand on Jeff's thigh) We spent most of the time exploring ways to satisfy each other. I never felt so wanted.

Q: You two ran into a "black moment". What happened?
A: (serious look on her face) Someone interfered in our challenge. Things got very confused.
J: (leans forward in his seat) Can't tell you everything, now can we? Let's just say a series of events happened and made us rethink our relationship.

Q: How does this story end?
A: (laughs) We can't tell you. Readers have to buy the book and find out.
J: (nods in agreement) Lots of stuff happens throughout the book leading up to our final page. Some of it is funny, some serious, some sexy encounters. Guess you'll just have to buy the book and read our story. (smiles at Allison)

Q: One last question. I heard something about a second elevator episode. Can you talk about that?
A: (smiles and giggles) Nope. Read the book.
J: (laughs loudly) Let's just say we know how to make use of elevators for other things than just riding up and down.

You can find out the missing pieces of Jeff and Allison's story by buying "Anything You Can Do" at http://www.breathlesspress.com.
Visit http://www.mariannestephens.net for information about my contemporary/paranormal romance books.
Visit http://www.aprilash.net for information about my erotic contemporary romance books.
TWO BIG CONTESTS! Lots of prizes for two lucky winners. Visit http://www.mariannestephens.net for information!
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Older is sometimes better...

I nearly swallowed my tongue when I learned that this hot and hunky cover model is over 50.

O-M-G!!!

I wonder what he would think if he knew this old lady was lusting over him! LOL! He would most likely head for cover and beg for asylum in some foreign country until I am in my grave.

I could be this guy's Cougar! Except I don't think Cougars are over 60. Not sure what they call us really old farts who lust after younger men...(dirty old ladies, maybe?) There is a term for us, but I prefer not to hear it. :P

Seriously, this year I will be officially "old". But I feel like I am still somewhere in my late thirties. Too bad my body doesn't look like it's still in it's late thirties. I could genuinely handle that. I could live with that. Yeah...

I have set a goal for myself to lose 30 pounds before I go to Romanticon this October. Now if I could just convince my taste buds that chocolate tastes like cow pies and whipped cream taste s like whipped rutabagas...and carrots taste like nougat and beets taste like strawberry shortcake...

Anyone got any ideas that would help this hedonistic old fart to make that goal? (Besides wiring my jaw shut?)

Let me know...

Fran


Friday, March 26, 2010




























I am too dang tired to write a dang thing.


So here are some of my favorite things -


























Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lets Go On A Date!


Spring is in the air! Little flowers are coming up in my garden, buds are on the trees and there are enough birds in my back yard that I feel like I’m in an Alfred Hitchcock movie! Squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks are bouncing around happily and the geese flying overhead loudly announce their return. Tis the season for renewal and of course, love.

So what subject do my thoughts naturally wander to? How in the hell do young couples these days go out on a f*cking date? Here in Michigan, they’re lucky if one of them has a job. Filling up the gas tank of a mid-sized car will be $30 or more. I shudder to think what it costs for one of the Hummers whizzing down the road. Going to the movies on a Saturday night can set you back $40 if you get crazy and want a pop and popcorn. A visit to the Detroit Zoo runs $30 without including food or beverage. The Detroit Science Center will cost the lovebirds a whopping $50.00!

One of my favorite things to do is attend a live performance at one of the many venues in the metro Detroit area. I think it is very romantic to be listening to music or watching a play with the one you love.

Spring here also means that the summer concert schedule is released for DTE Energy Music Theater. Back in the day, this was one of the most economical things to do on a date. Tickets were extremely affordable and you could bring a cooler filled with goodies of your choice.

I just bought tickets to see Iron Maiden in July. Let us breakdown what this evening of watching a band that had their heyday thirty years ago will cost, shall we?
Ticket - $42.00
Facility Charge - $3.00
Convenience Charge - $10.55
Order Processing Fee - $4.75
Mailing Fee - $5.00
One small, warm, skunky beer - $8.00
Two more beers - $16.00
T-shirt - $25.00
Grand Total - $114.30 *PER PERSON*

No wonder my daughter and her boyfriend spend Friday nights eating at the dining room table with hubby and I and then watch a movie on TV!!
Tessie

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beautiful Strangers are coming!

Beautiful Stranger

I just finished second edits and got my new cover for my next novel-length e-book, “Beautiful Stranger”.

I don’t have a release date but it’s coming soon from Ellora’s Cave Publishing as part of the Sophisticate series. My heroine Lily discovers unexplored possibilities in her life with a gorgeous, younger man.

I couldn’t wait to share the cover and short blurb.

Blurb:

Lily Fontaine is a former beauty queen and media personality but those roles don’t suit her anymore. She’s healing from a hurtful divorce and ready to make big changes in her life, but first she needs her sexual confidence back.

She wants a lover without the risk of heartbreak and considers hiring a male escort as a special treat. Her best friend offers a provocative solution to her request. On her birthday, Lily returns to New Orleans, the place of her birth to meet a special man. She plans to fly in and fly out for a three-day weekend of cool music, great food and hot sex with no emotional attachment and no further contact with the man. She wants to pay to play and hopes to stay in control -what can go wrong?

David is perfect, the man of her dreams. He’s gorgeous, intelligent and knows how to take charge. The attraction is instant. With just the clothes on her back Lily sheds her old life and follows a Beautiful Stranger into bayou country for the adventure of a lifetime.

(I will say Lily’s plan does go wrong. She and David do fall in love and end up on an adventure that will take them both far from where they started…. Bring a tissue, because I just love messing with lovers! lol)

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sometimes Even the Best Intentions...

I’ve been down and out lately, having some minor health issues that seem to be getting better. I’m only writing in spurts and blowing off the blog. Hopefully that will change over the next few days.

For Christmas the DH gave me the Dragon Speaking Naturally software. I finally got around to installing it on my laptop today. I was very excited about using it. I’ll admit sometimes I’m lazy and figured speaking would be easier. I’m not so sure right now. You see you must dictate everything – period, comma, question mark, etc. Oh and new line.

The other downfall of this software is quotations or lack of. I can write a sentence and add the tag, he said/she said, but it won’t put it in quotations. Speed would be nice, but to sacrifice the other things will be a PIA when it comes time to edit.

I’ll try it for a few more days and see if it’s worth it.

In other news I signed a new contract last week for my new series – Freedom Fantasies. Book 1 – Pretend with Me will be the story of Paige and Jed.

Here’s a short blurb I threw together:

Freedom Fantasies is a place where women go to live out their ultimate fantasies.

Paige is tired of playing second fiddle to her husband’s best friend. When she tells her best friend she wants to have sex with a stranger, Kim knows exactly what to do.

Kim, owner of Freedom Fantasies, schedules a room and a hot stranger – actually Paige’s husband Jed.

Paige and Jed work on finding their way back to each other with a game of pretend. When they bring Tommy into the mix things get even better.

I’ve past the halfway mark of Book 2 so the goal is to have it submitted by month’s end.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do Vampires Have Birth Certificates?

Okay...I admit I like an occasional vampire story that's not too bloody. I'd rather read a good vampire romance book than watch a vampire movie. Too much bloody stuff for my viewing pleasure (?)  isn't for me.

I started to wonder about vampires and everyday life. Yes, we suspend disbelief for most of this stuff in order to concentrate on the "real" story...that of the romance and passion between the hero and heroine.

But let's talk about some "real life" issues a vampire might face. They can't all be rich, can they? Live in mansions, own expensive cars, never work? Right?

So...how does a vampire get a birth certificate? A driver's license? Social Security number (in the US)? Does a vampire pay taxes?

Maybe there's a secret central Vampire Identification Unit that works solely on providing necessary documentation like fake passports, licenses, birth certificates. And, now in the age of advanced technology, these could be updated quite easily.


Surely a 300-year-old vampire can't provide an original birth certificate. In fact, a new one would have to be issued every 30 + or - years to keep the vampire in question "looking" close enough to be in a particular age bracket. With eternal youth at whatever age a vampire was first bitten and "turned", you could only say, "I've had plastic surgery" so long before people would get suspicious.

Now that I'm dwelling on all this, what about resumes? Do vampires get phony ones? Would anyone do a background check and start asking questions?

I guess moving every 30 or so years would help, but new "ID proof" would surely be needed even then. What about voting? Can vampires register? And, here's another question from a far-off tangent from the inquisitive side of my brain...what costume does a vampire wear on Halloween?


Sigh.

I'm thinking way too much about this. I should sit back and enjoy a vampire romance book at face value...as a romance without pesky "hows" getting in the way.

Photos: Flickr: Design Haus, Robin Hutton, and kevandem's photostreams. 


http://www.mariannestephens.net
"Anything You Can Do" is now available as an ebook at: http://www.breathlesspress.com.
http://www.aprilash.net
JOIN A NEW YAHOO GROUP: ROMANCE BOOKS R US at:
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Your Cheatin' Heart...


Poor Sandra!

What is it, less than two weeks after the Academy Awards and Sandra Bullock's husband is outed?!? After all the nice things she said about him...I feel so bad for her. If anyone watched the Babara Walter's special after the awards show - which I did for once in my life because it was her last special and the woman is getting quite frail - Sandra said of her marriage - that for the first time in her life, she knew what it was like to have someone watch her back. Psyche! Wow, what a blow! On the other hand, Monique - who won for best supporting actress, claimed in her interview that she and her husband have an open marriage, that if her husband has a sexual relationship with someone else, it is not a deal-breaker. Wha? Huh? Well...I guess...if it works for you...then c'est la vie.
I mean for me, it's a deal-breaker. Having witnessed the dissolution of so many of my friend's marriages, my relative's marriages, all I can say is - while you might conjecture in your little logical mind that it's all good, chances are your heart says otherwise.
I guess that's why cheating is a no-no in a romance novel. Nothing good can come of it. I know I want a man who wants to be with me and if he doesn't then I hope he has the decency to tell me, especially before I make a fool of myself. Damn!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How Time Flies

One year ago today, my first book, Ageless Desires, released with Ellora's Cave.
It was a dream come true to be published, but I had no idea where things would go afterwards. Let me just say, a lot can happen in a year!
* I have met the most wonderful people on the planet - writers, editors, publishers and readers who have welcomed me into this magnificent world of e-books. I cherish the friendships made, and am honored to count so many as members of my extended ' author family'.
* I now understand Yahoo groups, chatting, blogging, track changes, FLE's, LMFAO, BBW and HEA! I have a laptop, and sometimes I even throw caution to the wind, unplug it from the wall, and write someplace else besides in my basement.

* I pushed WAY outside my comfort zone to attend Romanticon 2009.

* Was blessed by the kindness of Regina Carlysle to be invited to participate in the Carnal Reunions anthology at Resplendence Publishing.

* Learned the ins and outs of difficult edits in order to make Oasis of Pleasure the best book it could be.

* Did the happy, happy dance when Possessing Eleanor was accepted by RP.

* And on Monday, my editor at EC let me know she is interested in contracting my vampire book!

I am so incredibly grateful for all that has happened!

Tessie






Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Got Possession?


We have a treat today. Tessie Bradford is going to share her upcoming scorcher “Possessing Eleanor”.
Here’s a piquant little taste:
Blurb:
Eleanor Lewis is perfectly content with her comfortable, quiet, relationship free life until she finds herself on all fours at the feet of Jackson Royce. Eleanor is stunned by her instant and intense attraction to the power and confidence radiating from the devilishly handsome building contractor. He scrambles her brain and heats her body to the boiling point.
Jackson always trusts his gut instincts. The ultra sexy woman sprawled on the floor is a sexual submissive. How intriguing that the all business, sensible shoe wearing office manager has absolutely no idea? The moment he takes her into his embrace he vows to possess her mind, body and soul.
From their first sizzling encounter, through a whirlwind courtship, Eleanor discovers being possessed by a man who loves her absolutely is what she had been searching for all along.

KL: First I have to say I covet the book cover for “Possessing Eleanor”. I love the soft lighting and poses. The art department at Resplendence Publishing did an absolutely gorgeous job with this cover.

TB: I really, really love it! The artist incorporated every suggestion from my cover art request form and created something more beautiful than I ever imagined!

KL: I know there is something different about this story. What makes Possessing Eleanor different from your earlier books?

TB: “Possessing Eleanor” is ménage-free!!! As soon as Jackson came to life, I knew without a doubt he was not a man who would share his lady!

KL: Hooray! There’s a lot to be said for possessive, territorial men. I like Jackson already. What inspired you to create such a sexy creature?

TB: My inspiration, believe it or not, was Hagan from Oasis of Pleasure. After writing a very ‘commanding’ alien, I wanted to delve more deeply into what a Dom/sub relationship is about.

KL: And what did you discover after “delving” deeper? Lol

TB: The Dom/sub relationship is hot!!! Throughout the book, Jackson demonstrates he is a master at drawing out pleasure, heightening all the senses so making love is about so much more than the big O.

KL: Any good editor will ask, “How did you do your research?” This is a sizzling book. Tessie how did you do your research?

TB: Research – I’m so glad you asked this one!! What I did first was re-read two favorite D/s stories and two that I really disliked. Then I went on the internet and learned WAY MORE than I intended! Some of the sites were very helpful and some scared the crap out of me! Let me tell you, my idea of the D/s relationship is TAME, TAME, TAME compared to some of things I discovered!

KL: You’re holding back I can sense it. If you’re not ready to publically discuss your days as an Argon love slave, I understand…Wait a minute, that was “Oasis of Pleasure.” lol

TB: Remember, Kat, I do have a highly skilled Head of Research and Development who takes his job VERY seriously!!!

KL: Your husband is a bold and noble man to be so willing to roll up his sleeves and do the hard R&D! This is exactly the kind of work you do want to bring home from the office. lol “Possessing Eleanor” is a very relationship-driven story, what would you like the reader to come away with?

TB: What I hope I’ve been able to communicate is the depth of emotion and trust in a D/s relationship and how the submissive partner is an equal partner.

KL: Honest answer, what male trait catches your eye?

TB: Believe it or not, his hands! Large, slightly calloused from years of hard work, long digits with nails well kept but not pampered, well defined knuckles - my libido instantly switches into overdrive! Who needs store bought toys??

KL: After reading the blurb, I think everyone wants to know, do you wear sensible shoes to the office?

TB: Tennis shoes – all day, every day!

KL: You’re smart. It’s much easier to work up a sweat and “sprawl” on the floor wearing tennis shoes! lol

“Possessing Eleanor.” Available March 23, 2010 from Resplendence Publishing.
Good Luck Tessie, this book sounds great!
XXOO Kat

Thanks so much, Kat, I adore chatting with you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Cover Art


I'm lacking for things to blog about this week. I've been sick and out of it. I do have cover art for Dante's Desire coming in Aug 2010. It's part of the Alluring Arts theme at EC. I just love Angelo. Not only is he sexy, he fits perfectly for the hero. Dante isn't as buff as Angelo, but that's okay too.

And don't forget I have a new release Friday - Research Required from Ellora's Cave http://www.jasminejade.com/

Monday, March 15, 2010

Clean Your Closet Week: What's Hidden In Yours?

(It's FABIO'S Birthday! Visit http://www.fabioifc.com for info about and photos of FABIO!)
Before I start this blog, I'm announcing a NEW YAHOO GROUP you can join: ROMANCE BOOKS R US, at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/romancebooksrus  Authors and readers are welcomed...check the schedule on the Home Page!
And: TOMORROW is the last day to vote in the Book Boost's BEST FIRST LINE CONTEST! Go to:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HHC8TC2  I have two entries:
 "Your dog ate your underwear." (from "Gone to the Dogs" by Marianne Stephens)
 AND
"I'm upping the ante. Bring underwear." (from "Strip Poker for Two" by April Ash)
Would appreciate your vote for either one!

BLOG:

I've put this off as long as I could, but now that an official week is dedicated to doing this, I guess I should boldly go where no one has gone before...namely my closet.




Oh, I've tried "weeding" out stuff over the years, but other stuff just gets added to the mess and seems to multiply what's inside my closet. Where did I get it all from? Why do I keep it all?






The where is easy...sorta. I buy stuff. Shoes. Lots of shoes. Also have enough medications/pharmacy items in drawers and on shelves to rival drug stores. Then, there are all the promotion items I save to give out. And, my handbags. And, clothes. Lots of them. All sizes. All colors. For all seasons.


The why isn't easy to answer. I'm...a shopaholic? Love to buy things? Use my closet to store stuff because there's no other room in the house to put things? Holding onto my clothes has been ingrained in my being. What if I gain weight? Lose weight? Styles change? Styles that were out are now in again?

Sigh.

I have a dress from the 60s/70s. Wore it for a retro party. Held onto it all these years, although I was finally able to fit into it last October. But, damn. I had that hanging in my closet for decades and wouldn't part with it.

Another confession. I have a Dr. Kildare shirt from the 60's (anyone remember that TV series?) that will never fit me...but yet, I've been unable or unwilling to part with it.

Could I sell it on eBay? Is it worth anything? That might get me motivated to part with it.

When we first moved into this house, there was only one master closet...for the two of us and all the medications and all the towels and sheets since the only linen closet was on the second floor and our bedroom is on the first floor. Since then, we've added a closet (for my husband and I kept the larger one), and also added a first-floor linen closet.

And yet, I still don't have enough room. And probably never will...until I clean my closet to make room for future purchases.

In "Gone to the Dogs", my heroine, Katie, spreads out all her closet items on the floor as she sorts through to look for "something to wear". You know that feeling. Full closet but "nothing to wear". I didn't have the heart to make her throw out what no longer fit (she had some pounds to lose) so maybe I put something of myself in her character?

Are there any treasures hiding in your closet? How will you know if you don't clean. Anyway, that's the mantra I'll be parading through my head as I gear up to do battle with my closet. Never know what I might find!

You have a better chance of "finding" a treasure if you enter the TWO CONTESTS I'm running at my website to celebrate my latest book, "Anything You Can Do". Go to http://www.mariannestephens.net/ for information about the contests and my mainstream contemporary/paranormal romance books.
Visit http://www.aprilash.net/ for information about my erotic contemporary romance books.
"Gone to the Dogs" is available in ebook and print format at:
http://www.jasminejade.com/m-310-marianne-stephens.aspx
"Anything You Can Do" is now available at: http://www.breathlesspress.com/
Photos: Flickr: debcil, Praveen Rajan (Marketing.com), slurpiesandstraw's photostreams. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cost of food and Rx--who will still be healthy in a few years

Have you begun to visit local farmers markets?
We have. First, just to look. What do they have? How much does it cost? Shall I try and see if I like it better than store-bought?
My conclusions?
The veggies are definitely cheaper. BUT you can't buy just one tomato like a French woman. And you must buy a GI-NORMOUS bunch of spinach. Tastes great, but wow, I had it allllllll week. Sauteed, in salads, in sandwiches. Got tired of getting my super iron dose, lemme just say.
Of course, I am cooking for two. Not my original 5. Makes a big difference.
But I have noticed that food prices are steadily rising. A dozen eggs last week were $1.69. HUH? EGGS?
My son who is with Whole Foods tells me the cost projections show food prices will rise very quickly very soon. And the only bulwark? Is to buy at the farmers markets.
Fine. I can do that.
But I must say the other set of products that are rising beyond BELIEF are drugs.
A med I paid $5.00 for a 60-day supply of, I recently paid $25. (And bear in mind, this is the ONLY Rx I take!!!) My hubbie recently had a med that used to cost him $25.00--and he just paid $120.00 for a refill of 60 day supply.
And supposedly, we do have what the current debate in Congress would term "GOOD INSURANCE." So those $$$ amounts are AFTER the insurance co-pay. (And Congress has great insurance, btw, that they awarded themselves in 1970!! 40 years ago. hmmm.)
Meanwhile, in the past year alone, our family insurance premiums rose by 12%. On "GOOD INSURANCE."
At this rate, we can all go broke by just:
eating
medicating.
I am ready for insurance regulation.
And I am healthy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reviews and Ruminations

I've received several great reviews recently -


I got a Recommended Read from Fallen Angel Reviews and from Dark Diva Reviews for Captured and Rebecca over at Dirty Sexy Books had some very nice things to say about the book. It's also pretty cool that the book is on Amazon and can be uploaded onto a Kindle.

I have to ask the question though, do readers read reviews? I'm genuinely curious. I read reviews, but perhaps that's because my friends are authors and I like to know what's up with their books. I also read reviews to figure out what I might want to purchase for my own TBR pile.

What are your thoughts? Do you purchase books based upon reviews and which review sites do you rely upon? Sometimes it seems to me...okay, I'll be honest...it seems to me that ebooks get the shaft when it comes to many high profile review sites - as if we don't exist, but I do see more and more reviewers discovering the hidden gems in epublishing - our hidden gems! I get ignored a lot, but I send my books off to the big sites anyway.

It means a great deal to me when somebody like Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books or Susi at The Geeky Bookworm or Larissa at lala's Book Corner or Katiebabs at Babbling About Books or Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos pay attention to ebook authors. Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tagged!


I was just about to post a blog about absolutely nothing again when I read that I’ve been tagged by Kat!!So let’s see what I can come up with about my dream man.


Hair?
Long, thick, more straight than wavy, clean and well kept. Although I wouldn’t have turned Brad Pitt away during his long haired phase, I don’t normally go for blondes.

Eye color or facial features?
The eyes should be piercing, expressive, a window to his soul. The color doesn’t matter. His face would be more ruggedly manly as opposed to cover model pretty. Appropriate dental care is a must and no unibrow!

Height?
I’m almost 5’8”, so 6’2” or so would be perfect – I want to be able to gaze lovingly up at him.

Visible age?
Well, I don’t want there to be any confusion as to whether I’m his mother, grandmother or caregiver!

Bangability?
What are we going for here? Of course I want him to set my heart a flutter and make my knees weak but I don’t want him to be so blatantly ‘sex on a stick’ that I am constantly fighting off other females. I am not into hairy guys and overly muscle bound ones scare me. Regarding his equipment - not so small that I have to search for it, not so huge that I have a panic attack and LOTS of skill in its usage!

Human or other?
I’m a very open minded woman! Shifters, aliens, vampires, dragons, Gods, demons…okay!!

Paranormal skills?
I think it would be very cool to have a telepathic connection as long as there were boundaries. Flying, being held in his strong arms as we soared through the sky has merit. His ability to clean my house or do the laundry with the wave of his hand would be greatly appreciated!

Interests?
Me, of course, but he can’t be clingy or needy. “Well rounded” actually comes to mind; a mix of intellectual, physical and artistic interests would be perfect. Okay, fine: sex, yes he must be highly interested in pleasing, experimenting, playing, mastering, teaching and learning!

Habitat?
Castle, yacht, villa?? Heck, he can live with me in my little house as long as he pays his half of the bills!

10 special qualities or skills?
Honesty, effective communication, sense of humor, hard working, knot tying, plumbing, ironing, cooking, car repairs and stamina!

Thanks, Kat, this was a riot - lets keep it going - I tag Amber!!!
Tessie

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tagged! What I Love in a Man.

I got tagged this week by the deliciously lovely Julia Barret author of the upcoming “Beauty and the Feast.” Trust me, you’ll want a taste of that book!

This is supposed to be a boyfriend blog but I love MEN! I’ll take a man over a boy any day and we all know childish boys come in all ages… So lets look at some men!

Hair?

Not important. I love what’s under the scalp but short, brushy hair on a man with a great jaw line and strong profile is a-okay with me. I also love long wavy hair and bald isn’t bad either. I admit I do prefer my Rock Stars to have longish hair and be dark.

Eye color or facial features?

It’s the eye shape that attracts me. I love twinkly eyes or eyes that tip upward at the corners. Thick, expressive brows are a huge plus. Warm hazel eyes attract me in real life but “snapping” sloe-black eyes like Yul Brenner’s or Gregory Peck’s haunt my dreams.

Height?

In fantasy always tall and dominant –like Robert Mitchum. (Heaven knows I love “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison”!) In real life I like medium height and muscular. The man has to have a “big” personality and I do not mean loud or show-offy I mean confident and competent.

Visible age?

Big plus. I’ve loved older men since it was illegal! My first big crush was Sean Connery at the age of five. I still stand by that decision. Clint Eastwood was my girlhood dream. I like tough guys who look like they could survive a crisis. Lines, life-experience and a few gray hairs just put my mind at ease… lol

Bangability?

Yes Master… He better know how to take charge of a strong woman. That’s all I have to say.

Human or other?

I’m not a xenophobe. I’d be open to meeting and greeting non-humans as long as they had compassionate, caring values.

Paranormal skills?

I’m not sure I could bear to live with a mentally chatty telepath… But sexy animal shifters are always welcome just as long as they vacuum up their shed hair.

Interests?

Yes I’m always interested in men. lol

Habitat?

I’ll follow him anywhere just as long as they have a farmer’s market and DSL connection.

10 special skills?

Creative, responsible, respectful, loyal, funny, loving toward children and animals, smart, active, motivated and spiritual. That’s my husband and he’s a pretty good package!

That’s my written confession and that’s what I love in a man.

I tag the over-worked Tessie Bradford! Let’s hear what she has to say for herself. lol

PS. check out my new book cover for “Owned By Rome” my upcoming Ellora’s Cave Publishing, release. Dar Albert is the talented artist who did this cover and I’m very grateful to Dar!

XXOO Kat

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Working Woman's Day

What a hoot! Isn't everyday a "Working Woman's Day"? Like, we don't work all the time, either at home or somewhere else? I don't know about you, but my days are always crammed with things to do!


This should be called "Every Woman's Day" since working happens without needing to be mentioned. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are some women out there that don't work...ah, but they're called "the rich and famous". And, they probably have to "work" at staying that way.






I propose a "Take the Day Off Day" for all females not in school...gotta keep the kids in school and getting their education. So, let's combine the two: "Working Woman's Day" with "Take the Day Off Day" and honor women everywhere. Period.

Ladies, go pamper yourselves. Enjoy the day. Relax. Be catered to. Forget your daily stresses and focus on pleasure. Kudos to all working women...and that means every woman reading this!

Another suggestion: read a romance book to "whisk you away from it all". You know...Fantasy Land. Where you can drool over the hero and forget it's snowing outside, your preschoolers are screaming, your boss is bitching, your clothes are pinching and hinting you either need to lose weight or buy new clothes, or people are asking, "What's for dinner?" as soon as you walk through the door.


"Work" at something different on "Working Woman's Day". Work at pleasing yourself and have a great time!

And while you're doing something for YOU, enter the two contests that I'm running at my website to celebrate my new book, "Anything You Can Do": http://www.mariannestephens.net. I've got lots of goodies to give to two lucky winners!

Visit http://www.mariannestephens.net for information about my mainstream romance books.
Visit http://www.aprilash.net for information about my erotic romance books.
"Anything You Can Do" is now available as an ebook at: http://www.breathlesspress.com.
"Gone to the Dogs" is now available in print at: http://www.jasminejade.com/m-310-marianne-stephens.aspx
Photos: Flickr: NIOSH, kharind, juliejordanscott's photostreams.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar watching. Red carpet dying....

Is it only ME who thinks that the Red Carpet shows ought to be MUTED?
When interviewed these stars talk about nothing.
Jitters, I understand.
Poor interviewers, not so much. I have met them on a stage myself, fielding their comments and trying to entertain, for godssakes, the viewers beyond the cameraman. I have even taught people how to deal with those who do not know how to ask an open-ended intelligent question.
BUT PLEASE. Can some of these folks take a course in media training? No ahhhs, umms, "Yeah, wow, well ya know" fillers.
Or do they only read scripts? Are they just vessels to be filled with someone else's dialogue?
Maybe so.
Still. Sigh. I am a glutton for the Red Carpet Glide. I get my bowl of popcorn, jump up during the UBIQUITOUS tv spots, and get another root beer or other, fail to cook dinner for anyone. Boo. Night off!
I am a creature who loves great clothes and BLING!
Bring Cerise the BLING please.
CIAO, Bella!
May your faves win tonight!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beauty and the Feast

Beauty and the Feast

Coming March 16th from Resplendence.

Blurb:

Eva Raines is an uncomplicated country girl who’s all about food. Eva moves to the Napa Valley where her culinary skills come to the attention of the owners of a start-up and Eva finds her niche as a personal chef. Now all she needs is a man as perfect as her cooking, but she has serious doubts such a creature exists.

When wealthy entrepreneur, winery owner, and noted lothario, Gabriel Abbott, makes plans to seduce his flavor of the month, his assistant hires All Things to All People to cater a gourmet dinner. Eva expects to use her way with food to showcase the startup. What she unexpectedly discovers is that her culinary skills showcase far more. Gabriel Abbott finds himself seduced by her voice and the sensual flavors and textures of her food and his previous plans are quickly forgotten. He begins to obsess about meeting his little chef in person. He’s not alone. Once Eva hears Gabe’s voice and spends time in his home in the Napa Valley, she begins to wonder about the real man and her dreams of him are so hot they could ignite a barbecue.

When Eva and Gabe finally come face to face, the question is, how hot will their fire burn?

Feel free to stop over at my website and check out a month-long contest. You can win a copy of Beauty and the Feast. http://juliarachelbarrett.net

http://www.resplendencepublishing.com/

Next time...the excerpt. Not G-rated!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Almost Blank Post!



I'm a wee bit overwhelmed by life right now, so I will simply wish everyone a happy Thursday!
Tessie

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Clit That Time Forgot.

I’ve done a very foolish thing and now I must pay the price.

I wrote a historical but before my editor digs in with a pitchfork to remove my unintentionally humorous errors I must first fumigate the manuscript for anachronistic words.

Please don’t think I’m completely naïve. I did a lot of research and I was very careful about terrain, clothing items, personal titles and “internal dialogue” but I completely forgot about clits! I didn’t even think to look for them. I assumed clits had always quietly worked behind the scenes bringing people together. Frankly, I couldn’t imagine a fictional world in any time or place without clits and cocks. I allowed clits and cocks to slip under my radar because I wrote an erotic adventure and I didn’t want to force contemporary readers to wade through swampy purple prose right in the middle of the hot stuff.

I thought perhaps we could just let it go… Sadly we can’t. Shame on me. I was wrong clits didn’t exist in ancient Gaul and they can’t exist in my manuscript. The actual word “clit” is getting the boot. Pardon me, I didn’t mean to say, “boot” I meant to say heavy-soled caligae with leather ankle straps and brass embellishments…Now what about that other matter?

I’m banned from using “cocks” and “clits.” Now what do I do? I love those words and I use them a lot. The ancient terms sound stilted and odd. I’m just going to make up body parts and hope they don’t sound foolish.

Some people are great at this kind of thing and are completely capable of creating descriptive euphemisms. I’m not convinced I’m one of them.

The British naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson wrote his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton requesting she prepare “The dear thatched cottage” for his return. Can you imagine having to write that phrase again and again and yet again in a love scene? Neither can I.

I love U2 and the 1991 classic rock album “Achtung Baby” has at least nine references to oral sex that I can think of. The best of which comes from the fifth track “Who’s gonna ride your wild horses.” Bono’s line “Who’s going to taste your saltwater kisses…” Is my favorite cunnilingus reference in all of rock ’n roll. I can’t do better than that.

The worst is also from someone I love. He’s a wonderful artist, performer and humanitarian but Peter Gabriel’s reference to a woman’s vagina as being a “Fruit cage” is as heavy handed as a “Sledgehammer.”

So I ask you as writers, readers and interested citizens of the world, if you were stranded in ancient Rome and had a scorching hot Roman lover thrust on you, what would you call it and it?

Help me please! I’ve lost my clit… lol

(That’s Steve Reeves in his prime bending wrought-iron yard furniture with his bare hands. Dig that crazy pompadour!)

XXOO Kat

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Research Required

I’m very excited about my newest cover. Research Required will be available from http://www.jasminejade.com/ps-8228-50-research-required.aspx on March 19th! Woo Hoo!

Blurb:

Ethan’s on the run from the mob. He’s in for a surprise when he knocks on the door of his sister’s neighbor. The last thing he needs is a distraction like Bailey. She’s sexy and sassy and dressed in skimpy shorts. He wants to take her where she stands.

Sex with a stranger? Bailey would never think of it. Ethan’s no stranger though. He’s her friend Jenna’s brother, so that makes him a friend too, right? Sex in the kitchen, sex in the bedroom, sex on the couch, it doesn’t matter. Bailey can’t get enough of this hot-blooded stranger.

Will Ethan’s past catch up to him and ruin any hopes for their future?

Excerpt:

“What’s your name?” she demanded.

“Ethan.” He smiled revealing dimples.

Bailey melted under his intense smile.

“I’m sorry, Ethan. I don’t know who you are or what your business with Jenna is, but I’m not going to give out any information about her to some stranger. For all I know you could be some rapist or something.” In fact hadn’t she just read somewhere there was a guy going around posing as a cable guy raping innocent woman. Fear knotted in the pit of her stomach. “I have to go.”

She kicked his foot, hoping he’d move it, but it didn’t budge.

“I’m Jenna’s brother. I’m not going to rape anyone.” He reached behind him and Bailey screamed.

“Whoa! What are you screaming for?” He pulled out his wallet.

“I thought you— I…” What could she say? She thought he might be reaching for a gun or a knife to hurt her with?

“Look,” he said, removing his driver’s license.

It read his name. Ethan King. Same last name as Jenna.

“Okay so you aren’t a murderer, but if Jenna was expecting you why didn’t she leave you a key or something?”

“I don’t know. I’m worried because it’s not like her to be late.”

“Ha! You don’t know your sister too well.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Jenna will be late to her own funeral. She can’t seem to arrive on time for anything.”

“Are we still talking about the same Jenna? Because my sister has been punctual since the day she was born. Our mother jokes about how she even came on her due date and not a minute late.”

Bailey couldn’t help but laugh. He was funny and cute and oh-so-sexy.

Just then Kyle decided to make his arrival.

“Got your pizza, Bailey. Sausage and peppers on one side, pepperoni on the other.”

She could see Ethan looking at her quizzically.

“What? I couldn’t decide what I wanted, so I ordered both.”

“Options. I love options.”

That twinkle in his eye didn’t go undetected. He was flirting with her.

“Thanks Kyle.” She handed him the twenty. “Keep the change.”

“Enjoy the pizza.” He bounced away happy with his tip.

“I’m going to eat my pizza before it gets cold. So if you’ll excuse me.”

“Look, before you go. I’ve traveled twenty-three hours in my cramped little car to get here. I’ve been outside Jenna’s door for another hour and I could use a soft chair to sit on.” His stomach growled.

She was under a tight deadline. She didn’t have time to make small talk with this stranger or share pizza. She had to dive back into her article while she ate. Then a thought hit her.

“I’ll feed you if you’ll answer a few questions for me. I’m working on an article for women. What men find appealing and what they don’t like.”

“I’m your go-to guy. I have a lot of experience in that field.”

Bailey hesitated. “Are you a player?” Because the last thing she needed was a player’s advice for her article.

His stomach growled again.

“Oh just come in,” she relented. She couldn’t leave Jenna’s brother on the doorstep waiting for her to come home, but if he was a player then he wouldn’t work for the article. She needed someone sincere. Someone honest.

She felt his eyes on her as she walked to the coffee table. Her skimpy shorts rode up her ass revealing she wore no panties. He must love the view she was giving him, no matter how unintentional.

“Can I offer you a beer or soda or something?” She placed the pizza on the table and turned practically bumping into his hard chest.

He was close. Dangerously close. If Bailey moved her head forward just a hair their lips would touch and she could find out what those sexy lips tasted like.

As if reading her mind he inched closer, reaching out to graze her lips.

Bailey licked the spot where his lips had met hers. She stood there mesmerized. She wanted more. She needed more. Her pussy lips swelled at the mere touch of his lips. She felt the electricity of his touch run through her down to the tip of her big toe.

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