Counting Down with Author Rachael Stapleton

As you know, I am having a Cover Reveal Countdown Party on Facebook this Sunday, March 8th, 2015 for my debut historical fiction AVELYNN. I’ve invited lots of wonderful friends to join me. They will be answering questions and giving away free books! The fun starts at 12:00pm EST and goes all day until 8:00pm!

Pop in to the party between 5:00pm – 6:00pm EST and meet Author Racheal Stapleton!

 

Curse%20of%20the%20Purple%20Delhi%20Sapphire%20Banner%20851%20x%20315Finalxx (2)ng

The Temple of Indra Series

Book One: The Temple of Indra’s Jewel

Book Two: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire

Rachael Stapleton

Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Time Travel Romance

Series Description: As a librarian, Sophia Marcil loved reading, especially books about ancient curses and reincarnation, but she never imagined the legend of the Purple Delhi Sapphire was true until she inherited her Great Grandmother’s ring and was transported back to a past life. Now she knows that not only is reincarnation real, but so is the madman chasing her through time.

Book One Trailer: http://goo.gl/6vtX2r

Book Two Trailer: http://youtu.be/VCeG9eA09Fg

 Rachael%20Stapleton%20HeadshotBlog

About the Author: Rachel Stapleton spent her youth cultivating a vivid imagination inside the book lined walls of an old Victorian library where she consumed everything from mystery to biography, creating magical worlds, hidden elevators, and secret spiral staircases. At sixteen, she penned a column for the local newspaper and in 2006, wrote her first book featuring an adventurous librarian. She now lives in a Second Empire Victorian with her husband and two children in Ontario and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers. She is the author of The Temple of Indra’s Jewel, Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire and is currently working on the third and most likely final book in the Temple of Indra series.

Send Rachael some love! Subscribe to her website and follow her on social media.

www.RachaelStapleton.com

http://RachaelStapleton.blogspot.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Rachael-Stapleton/137831156290570

https://twitter.com/RaquelleJaxson

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7271862.Rachael_Stapleton

http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Stapleton/e/B00IE9W804

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RachaelStapleton/posts

Day 2: Countdown to Cover Reveal Party with Friends

Avelynn Cover Reveal Teaser #2

Good morning, everyone!

It’s day 2 of the Cover Reveal Countdown with Friends cover tease for my debut historical fiction! Collect the words in the puzzle images and enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Join me and my friends on Facebook Sunday March 8th for lots of author giveaways and loads of fun! :D Party starts at noon!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

AVELYNN Cover Reveal & Publication Countdown Party!

Secret word "Campbell"

Secret word “Campbell”

AVELYNN is coming! September 8th, 2015!

In celebration of this awesome feat, I am having a Facebook 6 month countdown to publication party this Sunday (March 8th) with guest authors and the BIG reveal of the cover! For the next 5 days I’m going to give you a tease – a tiny piece of the cover with one word hidden in the image. Collect the words and bring the list to the Countdown Party. Get them all right and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

But that’s not all! My guest authors will be giving away free copies of their books, and/or gift cards for anyone who comments! Giveaways EVERY hour! As a bonus, anyone who signs up for my author newsletter list (Top Right Corner of the Webpage!) not only receives my sexy, short story Italian Delicacy, but will automatically be entered to win a signed copy of AVELYNN! (September 2015).
Pop over to the Facebook events page and JOIN!
In gratitude,
Marissa xo

Bullying Madonna

Below is an article I wrote for Madonna Tribe a few years ago when Madonna preformed at the Halftime show during the Super Bowl. Before we dive into the past, however, let’s flash forward to 2015 and the Brit awards. During the live performance of her song “Living for Love” Madonna experienced a terrible wardrobe malfunction that sent her careening backwards down three stairs. She landed hard. She was dazed, lost her mike, and for a moment no one breathed. Then she got back up and continued the song.

Instead of people being inspired, or giving her at least a little credit for being a kick-ass performer with a no-fail attitude, people took to twitter and social media in droves to attack her. And where did they start? Her age. At 56, apparently life is over. How dare she still show off her phenomenal body. How dare she still strut her considerable stuff on stage like a twenty year old. ‘Granny’s fallen and can’t get up.’ was a typical sentiment.

A friend of mine recently asked for my opinion on bullying. Our children’s school advocates Pink Shirt Day to encourage students to rise up and speak out against bullying. Yet the backlash surrounding Madonna’s fall was not coming from elementary school kids, rather it was being perpetuated by adults.

We teach by example, and we need to practice what we preach. Walk the talk. It’s one thing to wear a pink shirt and speak to our children about the negative impacts of bullying and then criticize a woman we see walking past us for her choice of clothing, or hair style, or make-up. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Pink Shirt Day is to bullying as Valentine’s Day is to love. It’s a nice reminder, but we should be practicing these values on a daily basis.

When I’m 56, I’m still going to put myself out there. I’m going to dance like no one’s watching and sing as loud as I can in the car at red lights. I’m not going to stop living because others feel I’m acting inappropriately for my age. Age is a mindset, and in my mind, I’m never getting old. :) xoImage by Alessio85 via Creative Commons

Madonna. One word conjures up so many images, opinions, and judgments. When you add two more: Halftime Show, the world goes crazy! Let me be clear right up front, I love Madonna: always have, always will. But let me tell you why she inspires me as it pertains to living a life of happiness and fulfillment.

When we join this wonderful life experience, from the moment we are conceived to the moment we take our last breaths, we are subjected to everyone else’s opinions, judgements, biases, and prejudices. The trick is to not let those beliefs influence us. When we are young this is almost impossible. We are heavily influenced by our parents, our siblings, our friends, the media, our society, our teachers, our government and our entire global framework. They send us a plethora of messages; we filter some, but absorb others thus creating an image, an idea about ourselves—who we are and how we fit into the world around us.

We tend to cling to that constructed image of ourselves because when we step outside other people’s expectations and opinions we run the risk of being rejected. Many of us will continue believing something, or saying or doing things that other’s want to hear or see, just to remain within their comfortable circle of influence. We do this out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of abandonment.

What type of clothes do you wear? What type of house do you want? What type of job is acceptable? Simple questions, but deep inside our choices are typically influenced by others. As a teenager, if you wore different clothes from your friends would your peer group ridicule you, or oust you? If all your friends have big expensive houses with fashionable furnishings, would you buy a smaller home that you could actually afford and place meagre belongings in it? Would you worry about inviting your ‘better off’ friends over for coffee? Do you want to be an artist, a singer, a dancer, a writer, but feel you need to get that executive position to prove to everyone you’ve made it? It’s rare we think this deeply about the motivation behind our actions and decisions. But what is really motivating those choices is fear. When we push against the current, when we stand up for what we want and what makes us truly happy, we risk rubbing those around us the wrong way. We risk censure or possible exile from our comfortable groups, from our comfortable lives.

Enter Madonna. I am quite confident Madonna has fears. And I am sure society’s condemnation of her actions on occasion has smarted considerably. But it has never stopped her from doing what she wants to do. It has never stopped her from being who she really is. She has passion, she has vitality—and she has guts. Guts to step outside of society’s comfort zone, guts to push against other people’s opinions and judgments. She may have fears, but she doesn’t let them stop her.

A lot of the backlash I read about her performance at the Super Bowl Halftime Show stemmed around her age. At fifty-three apparently she needs to pack it all in and stop performing. Stop doing something she loves, stop engaging in something that invigorates and enlivens her. I hope at one hundred years old none of us stop doing what it is we enjoy—what it is we genuinely love.

Don’t let fear of rejection stop you dead in your tracks. Don’t let fear detract from what you want to do in life. Don’t let it influence who you want to be. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, removed from everyone else’s expectations and judgments. Get out there on your own personal stage and give this life experience the best damn show on earth: YOU! J

In gratitude,

Marissa

Wanton Demands

When I first set out to write the second book in the AVELYNN series, I had toyed with the idea of giving Alrik his own POV.  In the end, I cut the scene along with some 30,000 other words. But I thought, hey, you guys might enjoy a little peek into Alrik’s world, or mind, or pants so to speak. :D

Wanton Demands

Gods she was a vixen. Teasing, cajoling. He had no power in her bed. He was helpless, lured by her eyes, transfixed by her body. He released the belt at his waist and removed his tunic, setting them both neatly at the head of the bed. Finding her ready and wet he slid inside her, groaning in pleasure. She gripped him tightly, his cock finding no room to spare as he pulled back slightly, each stroke a vise of pleasure wrapping around him. He was careful, easing in and out until her legs softened—his cue to push deeper. Her back arched; a throaty gasp followed. Each sound she purred only made him harder, his need for her more urgent. He pulled out, hovering on the edge before driving deep inside her. He kept the pace slow, his body slick with the sweat of restraint, as he pushed her to the edge of wantonness, watching her blossom and open to him, her body making its own demands of his flesh.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer’s Patience (or How to Drive a Writer Crazy)

This is part of an entertaining post that I wrote for Relentless Writers, a blog I contribute to monthly. To read the full article click here. :)

Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer's Patience

One of these things does not belong:

  • I am impatient
  • I am an extrovert
  • I require immediate gratification
  • I am an author

 

It is possible, given the traits listed above, that I couldn’t have picked a more ill-fitted career for myself than writing. In a previous post, it was duly noted that the publication process takes time, in fact, everything in the world of a writer takes time—lots and lots of time—and this got me thinking.

Here then, without further ado, are the:

Top Ten Ways to Test a Writer’s Patience

Or How to Drive a Writer Crazy

1. The WIP 

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Writing takes forever!

2. Blog Posts

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Waiting for someone to read your blog.

3. Twitter

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Watching your feed for retweets and replies.

4. Facebook

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Why doesn’t anyone share?

Want to know steps 5 – 10 (plus a bonus)

click here and pop over to Relentless Writers to read the full post!

In gratitude,

Marissa

 

In Defence of Fifty Shades and Dragons

 

www.marissacampbell.com

www.marissacampbell.com

According to Box Office Mojo, Fifty Shades of Grey grossed $239,670,000 worldwide during its opening weekend. The book itself has sold over 100,000,000 copies worldwide. There are many who have a hard time understanding this phenomenon, believing it a fluke—chalking it up to the power and momentum of hype and suggestion. For fans and devotees of E.L. James, the appeal is obvious, simple. From the other side of the fence, however, there is nothing simple about it. Most of the negative and hostile reviews are written by people who have not seen the film or read the book, however, many have done both and were horrified by what they read and saw. They interpret the messages in the book as reprehensible: rape, forced seduction, restraint, control, manipulation, abuse. Fans beg to differ.

Years ago, I moved to a new city. I didn’t know anyone and after several months, I became lonely and depressed. I used to walk my son to school every morning, and there was always a group of women standing around and chatting long after the bell had rung. I longed to join them. Then the day arrived when they invited me over. It felt like I had been given a glass of crisp spring water after stumbling through a barren, arid desert. At first, I was a little shy and uncertain, but after several mornings, I began to loosen up, laughing and chatting animatedly, enjoying the friendly camaraderie. That is until I told a joke.

One of the women regaled the group with a joke she had heard. It was cute and witty, and I chuckled along with everyone else. I offered up one of my own, one I had recently heard on a radio station. It was provocative, sexy, and a little dirty (seriously, it was really, really, funny). Except, when I delivered the punchline, I was the only one laughing. I was awarded a few polite smiles, and the conversation was diverted. That was a hard limit. Sex was off the table.

I went home that morning in a daze. I wanted desperately to fit in, and given the strict guidelines of the group, I adjusted my behaviour accordingly. I closed off a really fun, witty, playful side of myself in order to toe the line of respectable conservatism.

A part of me died that day.

Let’s flash forward a few years. I taught yoga, and I co-wrote an inspirational book called Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. I blogged about finding balance, about managing expectations, about finding the beauty and joy in our every moment. In my actions and thoughts, I tried to embody peace and serenity. I strove for balance and attempted to reduce stress in my life. There was an image I was expected to project, and at first, I embraced it willingly, but after a few years, I found myself wanting more. I was missing something. Part of me was still shut off. I was still toeing that line.

Let’s catch up with the present. In addition to Life, I’ve now written a historical fiction, Avelynn, which will be released this fall through St. Martin’s Press. It’s sexy, sensual, gritty, powerful, and compelling. I’ve also written a sexy, short story: Italian Delicacy, which is very yummy. Should I have written under a pen name? Hidden this other side of me? After years of tamping down my vivacious half, I coaxed it out of hiding. I offered it flowers and chocolate, begged it to come out to play. In fact, I’ve pushed so hard against the constraints and limitations that once bound me, that I’ve externalized that journey with a tattoo.

Dragons and Oms

Now, what on earth does all this have to do with Fifty Shades of Grey? Like the dragon and the OM. There are two parts of me. One is calm, the other likes to roar. One is peaceful, while one is rebellious and wild. One is mystical, the other one magical. One is powerful, one surrenders. One is dignified, and one is downright naughty. I am a kaleidoscope of colour and nuance. All women embody that brilliant tapestry. We are sexual and conservative. We can be dignified and respectable, nurturing and matronly, but we can also be playful and mischievous, hot and wild.

Women have a rich internal world and a vibrant external one. But too often, we are expected to live outwardly in a completely opposite fashion from who we really are deep down inside. Let me give you another example. Several years ago, I went out with my husband on a date. After months of spit up and diapers, I wanted to dress up—I wanted to feel sexy again. As I was leaving, kissing my children good-bye, my mother-in-law asked me if I was really going to wear that out. She was referring to a lovely blouse that showed off some considerable breastfeeding cleavage. She said this in front of my eldest. At the time, I was too dumbstruck to speak. It wasn’t until later that I explained to my son that I was a mom, but also a woman, and it was okay to be both.

I was done with shutting down that vibrant part of myself. The world needed to accept all of me. Every part, whether that fit into their expectations or solicited their judgments and disapproval. I was tired of being flat and colourless. I needed to be me. E.L. James fans get this. And they want to be given permission to enjoy the movie without condemnation and censure.

In my opinion, the appeal of Fifty Shades of Grey rests on the broad shoulders of female sexual fantasies. The part of us that we don’t always show to the world, the part that ignites a spark of desire and arousal that might not seem politically or socially acceptable—the dragon.

Studies show 30 – 60% of women have rape fantasies. For a couple interesting articles discussing these findings, feel free to investigate here and here.

To fans, the movie and books are not extolling abuse, but rather are condoning women’s fantasies, bringing to the screen a fantasy that upwards of 60% of women find arousing.

Anne Rice defended women’s fantasies in a recent Facebook post: She wrote: “Lecturing women on their fantasies, telling them NOT to like “Fifty Shades” because it includes abuse is just as bad, in my opinion, as telling women that “nice girls” don’t imagine being kissed, loved, touched, ravaged, swept off their feet. “Nice girls” can imagine anything they want.”

For a unique perspective. Huffington Post recently broke down another study by a team of researchers from the University of North Texas and the University of Notre Dame.

According to the article, there are two schools of thought as to why so many women get aroused by behaviour that the detractors of Fifty Shades of Grey consider deplorable. One is the ‘sexual blame avoidance’ theory, the other, newer, more enlightened theory is an ‘openness to sexual experience.’

The sexual blame avoidance theory proposes that women fantasize about being controlled and forced into having sex because they are unable to own their sexuality and instead worry about how society will perceive them. Being forced into and ultimately enjoying sex because of their submission removes personal responsibility—they couldn’t help themselves, it wasn’t their fault.

The women who fell under the new classification, described themselves as being open to sexual experience and didn’t feel a need to hide or repress their sexuality. They had high self-esteem and while enjoying the idea of being forced into sexual situations similar to what is depicted in Fifty Shades of Grey, they were also just as likely to fantasize about overpowering and forcing a man to surrender sexually against his will.

In Defence of Fifty Shades and Dragons

Fantasies are a natural and very normal part of our sexual lives, for both men and women, and we do ourselves a great disservice when we disavow that part of ourselves. A part of me died the day I hid the sexual, fun, flirty side of my personality. Rather than tamping down the gains we’ve made as women to express ourselves, (thank you, Madonna) to own our sexuality, to admit freely that we enjoy and think about sex as much as men do, we need to embrace all aspects of who we are. We are a dichotomy, and one aspect is not better than the other, we are both, we are all. We can stand against all forms of violence and abuse, whether it be against women, men, children or animals. We can fight injustice and ignorance. But we can also have a rich and varied fantasy life. We can be both the dragon and the OM.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Italian Delicacy

New Sexy Short by Marissa Campbell

New Sexy Short by Marissa Campbell

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

In the spirit of free love and delicious romance, I am giving away a free copy of my sexy short: Italian Delicacy, to anyone who signs up for my author newsletter!

Click on the link in the top right corner of the webpage, and I’ll send you an exclusive copy!

Happy reading! xo

In gratitude,

Marissa

Stars, Garage Doors, and Open Minds.

Love and Relationships

Originally published Friday February, 6th 2015 in the wonderful Brooklin Town Crier, I’ve posted it here, because, well, not everyone lives in Brooklin. :D xo

Happy Valentine’s Day Brooklin! (And everyone else reading this no matter where you live! ;).

A time of love, romance, roses, and chocolates, relationships bloom in the frigid temperatures of a Canadian winter, but what makes a relationship? How do we define it? For the sake of this conversation, my good friend Webster defines relationship as: a romantic or sexual friendship between two people. That casts a wide net to include parameters such as: same sex, married, common law, dating, casual, and open. Is one type of relationship better than the other? Is one method right, making the other wrong: married vs. common law, dating vs casual, open vs monogamous? Every couple must evaluate their own relationship and define it in a way that suits their needs and desires, not by the expectations and/or judgements of others. I like to think we live in a pretty open-minded community. But how open are we?

To play devil’s advocate, I watched a fascinating panel discussion yesterday. The video, recorded at the French Institute Alliance Francaise, featured Esther Perel and Dan Savage.

The talk was entitled Infidelity: The Truth About Love, Lust, and Loyalty, and as always when Perel is involved, it made me question society’s beliefs about the institution of marriage. Depending on culture, upbringing, and personal experience, we all come into marriage with a list of preconceived notions, one of which involves a moral aversion to adultery. In fact a Gallop pole cited in the discussion discovered that 91% of Americans felt that cheating was the most morally reprehensible act out of a list of options that included, among others, suicide, polygamy, and cloning.

Stars, Garage Doors, and Open Minds

There’s a good reason for this. Infidelity hurts. Divorce rates are soaring, and just as many women as men are likely to cheat. Today’s relationships place an awful lot of expectations on our partners. Not only are we looking for the ‘other’ to complete our need for acceptance, validation, love, safety, and comfort, we want variety, adventure, fun, and passion to boot. A dichotomy that Perel feels is very difficult to balance. So what is a couple to do?

Apparently, we live in the swingers’ capital of Canada, though I’ve yet to see any actual proof of this. There are wonderful rumours that if a star is placed somewhere on the outside of a home, it means swingers live there, or if that fails, one can always examine the garage door, for if it sits half open, you better guard your keys because the swingers are open for business.

Savage described his relationship with his husband Terry as ‘monogamish,’ saying that they were more monogamist than not, but they allowed for freedom of exploration within the relationship. Savage believes that for many, marriage is doomed to fail if there is a binding, clad in stone, no wandering eyes or other body parts policy. He believes humans are not monogamist by nature and feels marriage is often a time bomb waiting to detonate. In fact, he encourages many of his readers (he has a syndicated column where he gives poignant and blunt sex and relationship advice) to cheat, or become open to a polyamorous relationship, acts which he believes can actually strengthen and save a marriage.

In her book, Mating in Captivity, Perel titillates with the concept of ‘inviting the third’, whether that third person is welcome within the bedroom or a part of the couple’s outside interests and pursuits. She feels it can add an element of the erotic and spark renewed passion in couples who may be experiencing the strain and lack of mojo often found in long-term, committed relationships.

Savage was quick to point out that commitment does not necessarily mean monogamy, and that often, having outside sexual interests is what keeps a couple together, actually supporting lasting commitment. He believes all people want to sleep with other people, some of us just don’t want to admit it, and trying to ignore the elephant in the room only leads to deception and cheating.

Emotional monogamy and sexual exclusivity are apparently not the same thing. One can be emotionally monogamous with their partner, keeping all the love, security, comfort, and joys of raising a family, and building a life together within their committed core relationship, yet remain free sexually to explore eroticism outside the typical boundaries and notions of a traditional marriage.

What do you think? Is it time to renegotiate the contract, open the garage, and introduce a little monogamish into our lives? :D

In gratitude,

Marissa

 

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb

Kicking Anxiety to the Curb

Reading an excerpt from AVELYNN

You may not know this, but for almost a decade, I suffered from debilitating panic attacks. I didn’t know what they were at the time and every few months, I would find myself in a doctor’s office or emergency department with a plethora of reports to my name: blood work, CAT scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds, x-rays, EEGs, and EKGs. No one could figure out what was wrong, and never for one minute did I think my mind could be making me so violently ill.

It took a great deal of investigating and personal research about my symptoms to begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. After seven years of suffering and fearing the next attack, I finally knew what was going on. I was experiencing repetitive panic attacks. Wave after wave after wave of attacks that would last two weeks at a time, keeping me bed ridden with nausea, dizziness, pain, migraines, and even a low grade fever. My mind had taken over my body and was controlling it like a helpless marionette. But knowledge is power. Once I learned what was happening, I was determined to make it stop, determined to get my life and my body back under conscious control.

One of those interventions involved recognizing panic and anxiety the moment it started. I gave my anxiety a name: Bob. I got very good at sensing the warning signs, the little indications that Bob was going to pay me a visit, and when that happened, I would dance.

My heart would race, my hands would turn clammy, and the surging wave of panic would start to build, but instead of letting it take over, I seized the reins and turned on my stereo. I cranked up the bass and danced and jumped, turned and twirled until Bob slunk back to his hiding place.

Bob doesn’t come around much anymore. But there are occasions where I still feel anxious. Speaking in front of groups is one of them.

Last night I had to get up in front of a lovely supportive group of writers and read an excerpt from my new novel Avelynn. I’m getting better at calming the nerves, but each time I get up behind a podium, I’m reminded how much I need to keep practicing. It’s like building a muscle at the gym. The more I use it, the stronger it gets.

I talk all the time in my yoga classes. I’ll ramble on about life, wellbeing, the chakras, philosophy, or even regale the class with amusing antidotes and jokes to lighten the mood during a tough set of poses. I don’t get nervous, and I can talk for hours.

Years ago I was involved in local theatre, once even delivering a monologue twenty-six, single-spaced, typed pages long. It was a feat of memorization and iron clad balls. But I did it, in front of a room full of strangers and discriminating judges. I preformed on stage in several plays, never once feeling nervous or worried about missing a line. But then out of nowhere something changed. I blame hormones.

I had just given birth to my third beautiful son when I started having terrifying dreams of getting up on stage and forgetting my lines. Despite the fact this had never before happened, the fear seeped into my consciousness, and I had to quit the theatre. Flash forward several years, and too many panic attacks to count, and getting up to talk in front of even one or two people became challenging.

I was determined to get my anxiety under control and enrolled in Toastmasters, a wonderfully supportive group that encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and lasso fear for good. I learned a lot during my time in the group. The most important? Practice makes perfect and reading out loud, in front of others, over and over again slowly desensitizes you to the fear.

I still get nervous reading, but no one else seems to notice. My hands still tremor a little, my knees still quake, but my voice is strong and confident. My relationship with public speaking is now healthy. It won’t be long before I can step back onto that stage as if it’s just another day in the yoga studio. :) xo

In gratitude,

Marissa