The lovely Cheryl Malandrinos invited me over to the Book Connection blog for a chat about Mariah’s Marriage and me. Does a writer need to be asked twice before telling a story? The resulting chat is here:

Do hope you’ll drop in and leave a comment.


People’s Book Prize: Mary Smith Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni

An account by Mary Smith, who lived and worked among Afghani women, is among the finalists for the People’s Book Prize. The brilliant title:


must draw in the curious. Why not stop by and vote for Mary’s book at the People’s Book Prize, non-fiction category.

The winner will be decided by public vote using an online  voting system. The link to Mary’s book is:

Voting is open until 10am on Wednesday, May 29 and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in London the same  evening.”

Wedding Belles June 1st Mayfield Salisbury Church and Maytime Blog tour


WEDDING BELLES is the name of an event being run by a local Christian Aid committee. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many activities to raise money for the charity – Christian Aid. Some of them, knocking on doors in the street collection, are less pleasurable than others, selling second hand books, perhaps.

With a long time brand, there’s always the danger of donor fatigue, so local organisers must be ever vigilant in their efforts to part the general public from their cash. I think WEDDING BELLES is set to be a winner.

The ladies of our local church have been asked to donate their wedding dresses for the day. They will be modelled down the aisle of Mayfield Salisbury Church. Worn, if possible, by the owner, but modelled by someone else if not. The event starts at 2.30 and tickets are available locally – and probably on the day at the door.

At a summer event

At a summer event

Those of us in the ‘wedding party’ or audience are asked to come in the finery we wore to a recent real-life wedding and fizz will be served. All for a modest £10 donation.

Flyers advertising Mariah’s Marriage will be available, too. The romance need not stop as you leave the building. Curl up with Mariah and Tobias’s story to round off a perfect afternoon.

Christian Aid works throughout the world trying to ensure people everywhere get to live before they die. Much of the focus of their activities is in providing the means to farm or grow vegetables for home consumption and sale.

Thursday’s blog tour halt is at:

Maytime Blog Tour: MARIAH’S MARRIAGE

MARIAH’S MARRIAGE launched on 3rd May and has already collected TWO five star reviews on Amazon. Accolade for Mariah's Marriage at RNA summer party??????????????????????I’m touring blogs through May and into June telling the world of readers and writers all about her. How did she come about? What matters to her? Why did I want her to be a teacher – as if I had a choice. Here’s the timetable. I hope you’ll be able to drop by and leave a comment for me, Mariah or our hosts.

20th – that’s today – I’m with RNA associate, Lin Treadgold.

21st – that’s tomorrow – I’m sharing a Dear Reader letter on my publisher’s blog. MuseItUp are here:

23rd – that’s a Thursday – I’m talking about dancing and its effect on young hearts at Rosemary Gemmell’s Reading and Writing blog. that’s here:

31st – that’s Friday of next week – I’m guesting with Cheryl and answering a few of her perceptive questions. Link to follow.

The Party’s Over – How did Mariah Do?

Back from London clutching my certificate and cheque as a contender for the 2013 Mariah's MarriageJoan Hessayon award. The overall winner is Liesel Schwartz with her steampunk romance, A Conspiracy of Alchemists.

There are photos here:

I stayed in a small hotel called Searcys. They welcomed me with a tray of coffee and lovely biccies and brought me breakfast in my room. Getting in is like joining an Agatha Christie set as you press the intercom and they send the lift down to street level. Does make you feel very safe once inside and it was only 2 stops on the underground to Park Place where the RNA party was happening.

The party was full of the romance world. Serena Clarke, another JH contender, had flown over from New Zealand. Several of my Scottish writing friends were there to cheer me on and take yet more photos, later, later. There was wine, fizz and canapées.

The romantic novel of the year was also announced and it went to Jenny Colgan who was looking really Glam.

I had allowed myself Friday morning in London and spent it well. You can read about that, if you like, on my Plays’ blog, here:

RNA Blogspot My Interview

The Romantic Novelists’ Association has been a big help in bringing my efforts to publication standard and today, I’m interviewed by their Freda Lightfoot. Distinguished company on there for a first time novelist.

The interview is here:

if you’d like to take a peek.

Mariah’s First Review

I sent off several pdfs of Mariah’s Marriage for possible review and am sooooo happy to say that the first bite is such a goody, I really want to share it.

It’s here:

Write Romantics are a group of New Writers’ Scheme writers belonging to the RNA and Mariah’s review was wrtten by Lynn Pardoe. Their blog is a fairly new venture and I wish them all success with it. Thank you ladies for recommending Mariah’s Marriage.


Titles are not copyright, but I wouldn’t presume to write a novel under the one above which was so well served by Nigel Nicholson’s portrait of his parents, Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson.

I’m borrowing it here, however, because their story is a fascinating example of what a marriage might contain, suffer, exhibit and yet still survive. When I thought up the title for my debut novel, E-published on Friday 3rd May by MuseItUp, I was looking very clearly at the creation of a marriage, not its endurance. That’s why it was surprising to have to constantly bring myself back to what was going on in getting to the altar. The brain was racing on with scenarios of what these people would do later. Maybe that’s where the title, Mariah’s Marriage came from because it served as an anchor holding me in check.

I find one of the hardest things about writing is the constant need for the protagonist to lose out and suffer. As a fairly rational individual, I do find it hard to write characters who make wrong decisions even if for the very best of reasons. I do find it incredibly hard to write quarrels which could be resolved in a few minutes by some clear-headed thinking.

However, I did find it therapeutic to write the villains for Mariah’s Marriage. Lucas Wellwood and his sister, Amarinta, gave me hours of satisfaction. There are those, maybe in the counselling worlds, who would say the real villains in any marriage are found within the psyches of the partners. No villains needed.

Maybe after you’ve read Mariah’s tale, you’ll have a view. I’d love to read it.


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Mariah's Marriage

“I thought it time to break the habit of having women fall at your feet. I am convinced it cannot be good for your character,” she said.

copyright anne stenhouse

The manuscript for Mariah’s Marriage, was presented to the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2011. It was critiqued by a published writer, I don’t know who, and returned to me with suggestions. I made changes and trawled it. After Mariah was taken by MuseItUp, I became eligible for full membership of the RNA and she became a contender for the Joan Hessayon award.

The Joan Hessayon Award is supported by Dr David Hessayon in memory of his late wife, Joan, who was a long-standing member of the RNA. There are nine contenders in this year’s crop. You can view us all here:


The award winner will be announced on Thursday 16th May at the RNA’s summer party. Win or lose, the scheme has been wonderful for me and Mariah. I commend it and thank my reader most warmly.