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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hello all Mariannes and Marianne-o-philes! The positive thing about being the last to blog is that I got to read everyone else first. You ladies are hard acts to follow, lemme tell ya!

I am Marianne Strnad and yes, the surname is spelled correctly. When I was single I had a lovely Italian last name bursting with vowels and syllables. I gave all that up when I married my husband who is Czech by ethnicity. “Strnad” is an actual word in Czech, meaning “yellow bird”, as in a bunting. Quite a different meaning from from my maiden name “Nicoletto”, which means “small bed”.

How ironic that I should marry someone with an avian surname like that of my mother’s maiden name, “Tortorici”, which means “one who raises turtledoves”. Perhaps it means that no matter where I came from or where I go, I’ll always be “flighty”!

But, I digress. By day I’m a mild-mannered medical technologist who works in the chemistry lab of a VA hospital in the Pacific Northwest. By night I am a fledgling author penning her first book, a young adult paranormal novel set in the lab. One day I experienced an epiphany while working at the urine bench. Out of a frustrating microscopic examination of a slide containing the sediment of a spun urine sample, the idea for a novel was born. I’m betting not too many novels begin that way!

I love reading paranormal romances and I can thank The Twilight saga for that! I have all the books, and in hardback no less. I’ve read them all several times. When that became old, I searched for adult versions of similar stories, and there I met my favorite authors. After noticing a very sexy man on the cover of Kerrelyn Sparks’ book “Secret Life of a Vampire” I became a huge fan of her “Love At Stake” series when I bought the book which was already number six in her series. I loved the fun humor, well-developed characters, and the world she built in her series. Most of the rest of her books landed on my Kindle, and now I have several print versions signed by Kerrelyn herself. I finally got to meet her at RWA in Orlando this year, and it was a HUGE moment for me!

The great thing about owning a Kindle is all the available free books out there. Soon after receiving the e-reader, I was cruising the Amazon website for paranormal romance books. I had been devouring books in record speed and kept searching for new ones whose authors I had not yet read. One freebie was “Kiss of Midnight” by Lara Adrian. That book was like “literary crack” to me! I was amazed by the fresh new take on the vampire world Lara created, and her characters were utterly irresistible to me. Fortunately, that book was the first in her series and I got to read the rest in chronological order. Lara was the one who recommended that I join RWA to fast-forward my writing dreams. I am so glad that I took her advice because RWA turned out to be everything that she said it would and a whole lot more. I haven’t met Lara yet, but I am hoping that I will in 2011.

So why write young adult when I love adult paranormal so much? Because my field of work is experiencing a huge personnel loss and brain drain. Everyone knows what nurses and doctors do, but few can explain what transpires in a laboratory. Information that a laboratory provides can contribute to as much as 70% to medical decisions, yet the lab can comprise only 5% of a hospital’s budget. That’s a LOT of bang for the buck! Culturally, labs were known only as “the place where blood samples got lost or mixed up”, no thanks to many TV shows and movies. It’s only been since the advent of “CSI” that we finally got our due props! However, real life in the lab is much more mundane than what is presented by Hollywood, but it’s no less important; heck-even Bill Gates needs to know his cholesterol level! Since fewer young adults are entering the field, many measures have been taken to increase our visibility. My professional colleagues are doing what they can to increase our numbers, I’m just taking a different approach. My book will combine romance with just enough science to make it sound awesome, and humor to keep it light and entertaining. That’s my plan and I sure hope it works out!

You can read more at my personal blog at:
Thanks for spending time with me here!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To regurgitate or not...that is the question.

If the title of this blog post just made you go "Huh?" or "Eeeewww!"...I apologize. But at least I've got your attention. "So what's up with this...," you may ask. Well, I'll tell you.

I've been thinking for a week now what to write about in my blog. At first, the topic was going to be about writing and the overuse of pronouns. But a very good author friend of mine, Kelly Abel, beat me to the punch and covered it on her blog. So, grumbling, I went back to the drawing board.

Then I started thinking about the author's rule of thumb...Write what you know. Hmmmm. Interesting. Well, we're all romance writers here, and yes, we're all named Marianne or some variation thereof. But we all have very different voices.

Unlike my gracious, southern namesakes, I'm from the Big Apple. A yankee through and through, who likes to shoot from the hip and is not afraid to aim for right between the eyes.

So again...What's up with the talk of spewing?

The kind of regurgitation I'm talking about is in reference to what an author faces when writing a sequel. So to ask the question again more politely...does a writer just regurgitate the plot of their first story when writing a sequel, or do they leave most up to imagination and inference?

I've pondered this dilemma for days, suffering as I sit watching the cursor blink aimlessly on my laptop screen. The sequel to my novella, Hunter's Blood, is due to my editor by January 1st. So far I have 5k written and I am grappling with the whole 'what do I put in and what do I leave out' thing. I want to make the sequel a stand alone novel. In order to do this, I need to bring my readers up to speed quickly and seamlessly, but how?

Many an author friend has suggested dream sequences or flashbacks. From their advice I understand that it's bad form to have your characters rehash events or situations in too detailed a fashion, since they were 'there' initially. That it's unnatural and unrealistic for them to talk ad nauseum about things they already know. So what's a gal to do...huh?

I've already got my main character losing sleep over what happened in book one, she tosses and turns and her mind churns with memories of events and their repercussions. So the scenario is set. Okay. Great.

My question to all you saged and savvy authors and well-read readers, is how much regurgitation is actually necessary? How much do you think readers really want, and should it be taken care of for the most part in the first couple of chapters of the sequel?

What do you think? My blinking cursor and I await....

Marianne Morea
Author, Hunter's Blood
kNight Romance Publishing, August 2010

Visit Marianne Morea on the web at

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I’ve never done a blog before. I know I’m supposed to talk about my scripts and romance, but I think I’m going to deviate. So much is going on in my life right now that I’m compelled express my feelings. I have been to five funerals since July, all of them family and friends but the one I have yet to face will be the hardest.

My brother was diagnosed six years ago with lung cancer. I remember it clearly. We were at his daughter’s wedding and he went home early because he didn’t feel well. We stayed at the festivities and had a grand time, never once thinking about his illness as anything more than an overindulgence of spirits. The next day he seemed fine, joking around with Larry and me, his siblings, teasing the grandkids, and later watching the video of Amy’s vows. We went home with beautiful memories and the promise to make more.

A month later that image was shattered. Not feeling well, Dennis went to the Dr.’s. They took an X-ray of his lungs, saw a dark spot, and presumed it was pneumonia. Two weeks of antibiotics and he still felt bad so a cat scan with contrast was performed. A huge spot the size of a softball appeared. Amy, a radiologist, fought tears as she looked at it.

The Dr. refused to give a conclusive diagnosis until a biopsy was performed. Larry and I attended. Our younger brother, Bob, couldn’t make it so we kept him in the loop. Sure enough it was cancer, the most aggressive kind there was: small-cell . . . yet it responded the best to treatment. Since the tumor was wrapped around his pulmonary artery, surgery was out of the question. In fact, the Dr. went on to say, they didn’t operate on small-cell cancer. That’s how deadly it is. They gave Dennis a month and a half to nine months to live.

He started chemo and radiation treatments with a very good attitude. If he was afraid, he didn’t show it. Dennis met the battle head-on.

I don’t know how to explain it other than I felt positive things were going to turn out. Something told me Dennis was not going to die.

A couple of months into treatment my best friend’s daughter had a dream. “Your brother is going to live, Aunt Marianne,” she told me (we always called each other Aunt, Uncle, or cousin even though we weren’t by blood). “I had a dream. The tumor in his lung got smaller and smaller until it fell off.”

As she told me this I again felt reassured all would be well.

Approximately two months later a friend of my brother’s had a dream, one where the tumor shrank until it vanished. Life really is more unbelievable than books. I mean . . . the same dream? By two different people? And people think we writers have such great imaginations! They’ll read the book thinking it never happened when it did. LOL!

Dennis had a body scan five months after hearing the same dream for the second time and the cancer was gone. My feeling was validated and we rejoiced.

The key to overcoming cancer once it has been found is to have check-ups. Sure they can be an inconvenience, but they save lives. My sister-in-law’s mother lived with cancer for thirty years that way. We were hoping for the same.

All the periodic visits and body scans showed Dennis to be cancer free. Four years passed before the cancer returned . . . in the same lung, this time in four lesions instead of one, the curse of small-cell. It comes back in multiples.

Chemo was ordered except this time they couldn’t radiate his brain. Small-cell cancer is notorious for traveling from whatever spot it first shows up in and to the brain. None was there, for which I was thankful. As before, I knew all would be well . . . and it was. The four spots shrank until they were gone.

The doctors were amazed. To beat such odds once was unimaginable. To do so a second time was phenomenal. Everyone knew who to thank for these ‘miracles’.

Two years passed cancer free. Dennis’ and my birthday’s fall in April two years apart, his on the 7th, mine on the 13th and a Friday to boot! As children we celebrated together. As adults we called, never forgetting the fun times we had growing up. Dennis acted weird when I called this year. My brother Larry asked if I knew anything about it. I presented stress as a possibility. Things never stay the same no matter who you are and what you faced . . . and chemo does something to a person. It changes them, on small levels.

Three weeks later we got the news. The small-cell cancer had returned - ten spots in his brain. Treatment began, as my brother insisted, but I know it will not work. I do not have that sense of security like I did before. My heart tells me to make the best of what time I have left. I had six extra years to enjoy Dennis’ company. Now it was time to say good-bye.

That’s pretty much what’s been happening. The three tumors on the front of his brain have fused into one big mass, taking his ability to function normally; the other seven located though out his brain are growing as well. My summer has been spent trying to create memories to sustain me for the time when Dennis becomes just that . . . a memory.

Am I angry? No. I am grateful for those six years. Am I sad? Yes. Who wouldn’t be? He is my brother, a part of my life. We fought, yes, but we also stood up for one another. No one would date me when they learned who my older brother was! Love was the biggest part of our relationship as a family. I never realized how much I had it in my life until I grew up and met people who didn’t.

And so - I want to thank you, Dennis, for walking with me in life as my brother. For the good times and the bad, for marrying Valorie and giving me another sister (Joanne was the first when she married Larry, the eldest), for my nephew, Eric, and my three nieces, Lisa, Becky, and Amy. I want to thank you for the three great nephews and four great nieces born since, even the one on the way - so many beautiful memories in each and every one of them! But most of all, Dennis, I want to thank you for being you. I love you and always will.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hello from yet another Maryann...

One of the most fun things about this blog has been discovering all the variations of the spelling of Maryann. I think I am the only one with this spelling, which doesn't mean people have not tried to make it two words, or add an 'e' at the end. Most of the time I don't mind the liberties taken with the spelling, as long as my name is correct on my books and on my royalty checks.

For my introductory post I thought I would describe my workspace just a bit and tell you about some things that mean a lot to me.

I have an old Royal typewriter - vintage 1940 - that I bought when I discovered that I had to type manuscripts to submit short stories to magazines. Mind you, I did not buy the typewriter new, so I am not older than dirt. Just close. I bought it second hand from the drugstore where my boyfriend worked.

I had submitted a story, written out in my neatest handwriting and submitted it to Redbook Magazine. The editor there was kind enough to send it back - I didn't know about SASE's either - with a note that handwritten manuscripts were not accepted. So I bought the typewriter and got the story typed and resent, but they still didn't buy it. I really thought that was all it was going to take, so you can imagine my disappointment.

On the wall above the old typewriter, I have framed certificates from contests I have won, as well as a framed copy of the first check I earned for a short story that was published in a national magazine - not Redbook. This one was in Lady's Circle. I thought about framing the check itself, but my husband reminded me of how many groceries we could buy if I cashed it.

Just to the left of my computer monitor is a window, and I must say that can get quite distracting. We live out in the country, so all kinds of birds, bunnies, and other critters make their way through the yard. Of course, I must stop writing now and then to take a picture.

Above my monitor is an array of cards, cartoons and pictures that all have a special meaning. Some are cards I received congratulating me on a new book, others are special because of the pictures on them. I have a dear friend who is a sculptor and she sketches on small cards and sends them out to brighten someone's day.

I'm a horse lover, so I have one whole wall of my office covered with pictures and postcards of horses. I even have an emblem from an old Ford Mustang that I found on my property when I was hiking one day. It is up there with all the horses.

I work at a computer desk with a hutch to my right. The hutch is filled with knick knacks, the most prized ones being a collection of angels my husband has gifted me with over the years. The desk itself is a mess of papers, but I do kinda have some order to my disorder. Which works well until one of the cats decides the top of my desk is his or her favorite spot for today.

John, who started life with us as a kitten and was called Little John, no longer fits that moniker. He is the most frequent visitor to my office, usually when he wants to eat. He will jump up between me and the monitor screen, trying to make me stop. If that doesn't work, he will plop down on the desk and "accidentally" push a few things off. That's when I know it is time to quit and go feed the cats.

When I am not fighting with the cats for space, I work pretty much all day in my office, and I am glad it is big enough for me and all my mess, as well as the cats. I am Managing Editor of, an online community magazine. I blog regularly on my blog, It's Not All Gravy, and I am with a wonderful group of editors who do The Blood Red Pencil blog. We are doing a series this week on sex scenes and love scenes that is quite interesting.

And, oh, yes, now and then I work on a new book. LOL

For those of you who are dying to know more about me and my books, there is a lot of information on my Web site, and I have put the covers of two of my books up here; Play It again, Sam, and One Small Victory.

I am really thrilled to be part of this talented group of writers and look forward to getting to know them better, as well as all the romance fans out there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Opening The Book

Hi y'all! I'm Mary Anne Graham and I'm honored to be an indie romance voice on the blog. Like my greeting, I'm Southern and like my name I'm a little old fashioned. My day job is practicing law in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and my dream job is writing full time. I write historical and contemporary romance. If you're jonesing for more info about my bio (which I'd find just a wee bit odd) you'll find that here or here. If you want more info on my books or you want to pick one up (which would make me delirious with joy) you'll find those links here.

This is my opening post on ADAN so I thought I'd talk about what makes me open the book, particularly with historicals. 'Cause I just know that all of y'all are dying to find out what makes the insane duck lady hit the buy button.

Here are some of the plot lines that almost always draw my deeply fractured attention:

The Forbidden: I go quacking nuts for stories where the one woman the hero can't have is the only woman he can't live without. She might be the girl he raised who grew up to be the lady who lights his fire. Or perhaps she's his brother's betrothed. She could be the hero's ward or his best friend's baby sister. I like the inner conflict created by the lure of the forbidden. Haven't we all been drawn at one time or another by the people or things we can't have? The lure of the forbidden will almost always hook my attention. It means I'll get to spend a lot of time in the characters' heads and I'm an unrepentant head-trip junkie.

Different Ages Or Stages: Romance between a hero and heroine of different ages or generations is another of my fab faves. This one is often closely related to the forbidden and finding them intertwined in a plot is almost a sure-fire winner for me. They get all twisted and tangled in plots where she's his student or his best friend's daughter or his daughter's best friend. I like to get twisted and tangled right along with 'em. But there are also tales where the age gap problem stands alone and they can be great too. With this one, I have a confession. It springs from that old-fashioned nature I mentioned. I like these books when the hero is older and the heroine is younger. I can hear you sighing out there. Don't be like that. How about correcting me? What books have you loved where the heroine was the older one in a generation gap romance?

Reforming The Rake: I'm a big fan of Regency romance and they feature lots of rakish heroes. In those tales, the rake is often a bachelor who's having too much fun to settle down. He's usually a member of the gentry who likes his friends fast and his women faster. I really like to be along for the ride when a rake meets his match. Rakes are rabid about avoiding encounters with respectable ladies they might have to marry. In my favorite of these tales, a rake meets a respectable lady who's a rebellious female. She's a little bookish and has outlandish notions about female freedom. He'll want to avoid her like the plague but she draws him like a warm fire that keeps getting hotter. By the end of the story, he's taught her about sex and she's taught him about love. He's become a reformed rake with a slower pace and a wider horizon. There are lots of these, but when they're done right, they go on my keeper shelves. I've seen Johanna Lindsey and Julia Quinn do these beautifully. What are your favorite rakish keepers?

A Good Laird Is Hard To Find: I have to give a wee quack out to Scottish highland tales that I also adore. I'm fond of the stories where a laird fancies a lady from a rival clan, and I sometimes even enjoy the ones where he captures an enemy lady who bests him in a battle of the heart. Some of my favorite of these stories are, again, the cross-overs (Yes, Virginia, I see the theme too). It surely draws my eyeballs if the laird falls for a Regency lady. He hates everything English and he really, really wants to hate her too but his heart keeps getting in the way. I'm always on the look out for good ones that fit this category. Have you read any lately that you'd recommend?

As sure as ducks quack in the pond, I could go on (and on, and on...) because there are lots of plots that pluck my interest. With all of them, they'll only make me hit the buy button if the characters carry the story. Well-crafted characters will sometimes get me to buy a book that's way out of my normal interest zone. Even if I buy it, the tale only lands on my keeper shelf if the author puts the romance front and center. I don't need a lot of stuff about political intrigue or about how the office gets run or the estate gets managed. I want the author to dish it up hot and spicy with a sweet finish.

Now, it's your turn. Tell me about the plots that make YOU hit the buy button.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back on Nov. 18th but be sure to visit often!

Mary Anne Graham
Quacking Alone Blog
Visit the Quacking Alone Facebook Page!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Marianna Jameson: An Introduction

Hi everyone! I’m Marianna Jameson, and I’m so delighted to have been invited to join the "Mariannes" blog! I wasn’t sure if I’d belong, since I haven’t written a romance novel in a few years. In fact, I only wrote two before I was sidetracked. Romantic comedies MY HERO and BIG TROUBLE came out in 2005 and 2006, and then the opportunity to write eco-thrillers with a celebrity co-author fell into my lap. I’ve been busy creating mayhem ever since!

The thrillers haven’t won as many awards as my romances (Holt Medallion, Aspen Gold, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, Anne Bonney Readers’ Choice, and Golden Quill) but readers have definitely noticed some resemblances to my romances. They are character-driven works featuring strong female leads, dark humor, and smart repartee—three things I love to find in any book I read, so naturally they’re in everything I write.

And writing thrillers hasn’t been without its own set of thrills for me as a writer. My first eco-thriller was CATEGORY 7, which wove together weather manipulation, spycraft, and political intrigue as a man-made hurricane aimed toward New York City wreaked havoc along the East Coast. That book, by the way, was mostly written before Hurricane Katrina—which some conspiracy theorists assert was man-made—hit the Gulf Coast. It also made the New York Times bestseller list, which was a very cool thing to happen to the first thriller I’d ever attempted. The second, FROZEN FIRE, tells the story of a billionaire up against eco-terrorists who destroy his undersea methane-mining operation and place the entire Caribbean, and the world’s climate, in danger. If that story line sounds a little familiar, it might be because you heard that the primary suspected cause of this summer’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is undersea methane bubbles. You can find out more about that at my website: and in this blog post: that I wrote a few months ago.

My next eco-thriller, which will be released in July 2011, is DRY ICE. It is set in the driest, coldest, darkest, most remote spot in the world: the high central plain of Antarctica. That’s where TESLA is located, Flint AgroChemical’s secret Antarctic installation and the place where Flint scientists have cracked the code to controlling the world’s weather. And where the project’s sociopathic lead researcher has decided to hijack this latest game-changing corporate weapon and turn it against the agro-industrial giant, and the world at large. DRY ICE features scenes of epic destruction set in locations around the globe as international politics collide with bleeding-edge science and corporate espionage.

I really, really hope that I won’t be able to link that book with any real disaster! LOL

So, though I started out writing romance, for the last few years I’ve been concentrating on doing all kinds of research that I never thought I’d be doing—on chemicals, weather manipulation technology, sociopaths, murder techniques, weapons real and imagined, etc.—while also destroying environments, killing bad guys, and torturing my heroes and heroines. I’ll admit I’ve got a few more of those books in the pipeline, but I’ve decided to give myself a little professional “vacation” by going back to my roots: romance. I’m balancing my writing time between my next thriller and a romantic women’s fiction novel that I’ve just started. I’m so excited about it. No details yet, no title, and no deal finalized, but the brain is churning, the words are flowing, and the ooh-la-la heat is getting turned up!

I’m looking so forward to making readers laugh again! Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people tell me they can’t watch the weather reports quite the same way since reading my eco-thrillers, but I still get a big kick out of readers telling me they’ve tracked down my romances and laughed and cried along with my early heroines.

So that’s what I’m looking forward to doing again: making readers laugh (you can never have too much laughter in life—especially these days!) and maybe cry just a little (release is good, right?). And I am really looking forward to being part of this wonderful group blog of All Day All Night Romance Divas: The "Mariannes" of Romance!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nat'l Dessert Day...Food and Sex

I picked a good day to blog about my two favorite romance things to and sex! What more could a romance lover ask for?

Most popular dessert treat? Anything with chocolate. I don't think there's a woman on this planet that doesn't want chocolate and dreams of the tasty warm feeling it makes as it slowly melts in your mouth and slides down your throat. It's an aphrodisiac, a food that spices up a romantic encounter.

Yes, it's a comfort food and used in times of stress...or anytime the urge strikes. But mix together candlelight, chocolate, and an adoring hero, and how could a heroine avoid rampaging hormones? Feeding each other chocolate, and the taste/smell of it, will send your sex drive into overtime.

Food always seems to creep into my romance books. Eating can be so sensual and enticing. Using food to...ahem...make lovemaking more lust-filled and passionate, can create a mouth-watering image as a reader fantasizes about a yummy scene. Chocolate, strawberries, honey...I've used all of these in my sex scenes, and also cannoli cream!

Hungry yet?
In "Strip Poker for Two" (by April Ash), my hero and heroine find ways to spread and then lick off cannoli cream they've put on each other's body. Honey is mentioned in "Gone to the Dogs" (Marianne Stephens). Strawberries and champagne are in "Anything You Can Do" (Marianne Stephens). And, I have a fondue scene in a restaurant that I hope leaves readers craving warm chocolate in "Gone to the Dogs".

Getting some ideas for lovemaking feasts?

Here's a dessert recipe for something yummy:


1 cup flour
½ cup chopped nuts
½ butter or margarine
9 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powered sugar
2 cups Cool Whip
2 3-oz packages instant pudding, any flavor (chocolate is great!)
2 cups cold milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix together flour, nuts and butter/margarine. Press into a 9X13 glass baking
dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
Cream powdered sugar and cream cheese until creamy.
Add 1 cup Cool Whip.
Spread over cooled crust.
Mix pudding packages with milk. When thick, spread over cream cheese layer.
Spread 1 cup Cool Whip over pudding layer and freeze.
To Serve, thaw slightly at room temperature. Refrigerate remaining dessert.

Share this with someone you love! AND...calories don't count on National Dessert Day so be naughty, indulge, and enjoy!

"Guilty Survivor", nonfiction TBR 1-26-11
"Halloween Anthology Vol.1"

Photos: Flickr: Christine, Chris Breeze, and Donna62's photostreams

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hello Out There!

Hello, everbodeeeee!! (Shouted in my best Grover voice)

::::waves madly::::

I'm here! I'm here! I wasn't sure I'd make it on time, but I managed.

Who am I? I'm another Marianne -- Marianne Arkins. Truthfully, Marianne is my pen name, but I actually respond to it better now than I do my legal name, to the point of signing personal emails with it (note to my husband: maybe I should just sign notes "Love, Your Wife" so I don't confuse you).

A little about me? Um ... I love animals in all shapes and sizes, but am only owned by one old, cranky cat and one crazy but loveable three year-old dog. I raise butterflies in the summer, and homeschool my daughter. I live in New Hampshire but hope and pray every day that I'll move south and out of the frozen north. So far, that hasn't happened.

What else?

I write romance in various genres and decades, though I tend to lean toward lighter fare. I don't like to call my work "romantic comedy" because it's not laugh-out-loud funny all the time, but it seldom takes itself seriously ... with some exceptions (most notably, my two vintage romances, "Miles From You" and "Don't Fence Me In", neither of which is in the least bit funny ... in fact, I have one friend who cries at the end of "Don't Fence Me In" every time she reads it.)

Mostly, though, I figure life in general pretty much sucks (have you looked at the news lately?), so why write books that are depressing, too? Plus, I just tend to think funny thoughts, so that typically oozes on over to my writing. It's a good ooze, don't worry. You won't need antibactierial gel.

The tagline on my website says exactly what I feel about romance: "No Matter the Decade, Always Happily Ever After".

I don't do Nicholas Sparks. I don't do Oprah bookclub novels. I want to have my heart sigh and my lips smile when I read something, so naturally I try to write stories that reflect that desire.

What about you? Do you enjoy reading the kinds of books that leave you a little sad? Be honest... are you a Nicholas Sparks fan? If so -- why? If not -- why not?

How about sharing some of your favorite "Happy Ever After" books? I'm always looking for something good to read.

And, thanks, too for joining me here today!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teacher of schoolgirl fantasies...

Hello everyone. This is my first post on this blog, so I guess I better introduce myself.

I write as Marianne LaCroix. "Marianne" is a pen name, but I have been called that as long as I can remember. Most of my writer pals call me Mari (Mar-E or Mary). Even my BFF calls me Mari. LOL

I write erotic romance as Marianne, and I have books out with Ellora's Cave, Pocket Books, Resplendence Publishing, Total-e-Bound, and soon, Imajinn Books. I've had two RT "Top Picks" which went on to be RT Reviewer Choice nominees. I've had a few CAPA nominations, and one CAPA win. Several of my books have been on "Recommended Read" lists on review sites like Fallen Angels Reviews, eCataromance and Road to Romance. I've also had a few PEARL nominations, and a PEARL Honorable Mention. One of the coolest recognitions I'd ever had was being featured in the RWA's magazine, the RWR, in Febriary 2010 for their Writers on Writing feature.

I've written many subgenres of erotic romance from vampire (Descendants of Darkness, Eternal Embrace), shapeshifter, (Beast in My Bed, Lady Sheba), historical (Crossed Swords), time travel (Sea Hawk's Mistress), contemporary (Rosy Cheeks, Let's Get Naked) and paranormal fantasy (Warrior Lover, Scorpion King). I don't really have a favorite as it changes all the time to whatever inspires me at the moment.

My upcoming releases are both from Ellora's Cave, Rosy Cheeks and Let's Get Naked. Let's Get Naked is a freebie in the Naughty Nooners series. My story is a quick tale of an older woman lusting for a younger man. I admit, this particular fantasy was fueled by a hot younger man I know. Heh heh.  Rosy Cheeks is a very scorching story featuring the schoolgirl fantasy paired with lots of spanking. Picture a "Gil Grissom" type hero teaching a much needed lesson to his naughty pupil who asks to give lip service for extra credit in algebra. Think he can be bribed? Nope, I don't think so either. I know all too well that stern algebra teachers can not be bribed. Heh heh. Rosy Cheeks is part of the Merry Kinkmas series coming this holiday season.

Currently I am working on a historical vampire novella for Imajinn Books. The novella, The Devil's Web, is a spin on the old poem The Spider and The Fly. I admit, a man gave me the idea when he acted like a predator to me in a little messaging. I was, of course, the innocent prey. (After all, I am innocent, right? No? Yeah, you're probably right.) When he said to me "said the spider to the fly", the idea hit me. What if the prey wanted to be caught? (No, he never did catch me by the way, but I still had fun.)

Marianne LaCroix

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to the world of Marianne, Marianna, Maryann, and Mary Anne!

Our name is many ways to spell it but it sounds the same (with the exception of Marianna since there's an "a" at the end, but it's close enough for our group!). We're all writers/authors of romance with a passion for different genres.

Busts of French "Marianne"

"Marianne" on face of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

Here are some facts about "Marianne":

Songs of "Marianne":

"C'mon Marianne": The Four Seasons
"Fare Thee Well, Marianne": Happy Traum
"Marianne": Toni Amos
"So Long Marianne": Leonard Cohen
"Mary Ann" (sifting sand-most popular): Harry Belafonte
"Mary Ann with the Shaky Hand": The Who
"Jimmy Loves Maryann": Josie Cotton
"Frustrated Maryann": Arlene Hattori
"My Girl Maryanne": The Spongetones
"Mary Ann Regrets": Burl Ives
"Marianna": Gibson Brothers

Famous "Mariannes"

Mary Ann Cotton: English Serial Killer!
Mary Ann Shadd: Journalist, lecturer
Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot): Author (Silas Marner)
Mary Ann Mobley: Miss America 1965
Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke: Famous Civil War Nurse
Marianne Faithfull: Singer
Marianne Moore: Poet
Marianne Williamson: New Age Guru
Marianne Jean-Baptiste: Actress
Marianne Timmer: Olympic Medalist
Marianne Vos: Netherlands Athlete

Meaning of "Marianne": Sea of Bitterness

History of the name, "Marianne":

Marianne is a national emblem of France. She represents France as a nation and its history.
Her profile is on the official seal of France, first appeared on a postage stamp in 1849, was on the French franc and now on French Euro coins.

Both artist Honore Daumier and sculptor Francois Rade gave "life" to images of "Marianne".

French "Marianne" Franc Note

French "Marianne" Stamp

Stop by on our blog days and see how "Mariannes", although we share a similar sounding name with different spellings, all have one thing in common...romance!

CONTEST: Win two decks of Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press playing cards AND a gift card for Godiva Chocolates! Contest ends midnight ET, 31 October.

To enter:
1. Become a Follower. Click on the FOLLOW button on right sidebar.
2. Comment on our October blogs (something more than "Nice blog"). The more blogs you comment on, the more entries you have...there will be eleven blogs this month!