I will assume that you have done all the correct sanding, with all three grits of paper, did you then steel wool it? Then wipe it down with a very moist rag, then steel wool it again.
Then I have found the most important thing to do after sanding and before staining is to wipe down the wood with a good quality sand sealer. This makes the wood stain uniformly and nicely.
If you are having trouble staining after this, maybe the wood is too dense or it cannot soak up any moisture or liquids like stain.
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