Seeking a True Account of Cinderella

cinderellabrideEvery tale … should be a Fairy Tale

That’s my new tagline. Do you like it? I do.

I’ve been quiet for a few months, but now I’m bursting with news, on two fronts. One is that Shop and Let Die, the first book in my mystery shopping mom series is in production and will be released June 15th (at last!).

The second is that I’ve taken my cue from some other successful indie authors and begun working on a second series. While that novel won’t be out for a while yet, I have begun working on the tie-in short stories. There will be a thousand of them (yes, 1,000).

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June Wedding Blitz: Lilian Darcy and the Instant Wedding

Please welcome Lilian Darcy to the blog today. Lilian has a very interesting wedding story to share with us. I know I think an Australian wedding sounds much more romantic than one in New York! Which would you prefer?

My Instant Wedding

 It happened this way:

 We met in New York City on May 23 1988, and were engaged within ten weeks. Problem was, I lived in Australia, was only in New York for a few months, and had to fly home the following week, in early August.

We agreed he would come for a visit to Australia in November, and that I’d then wind up my life and come to join him in New York as soon as I could. We planned a wedding for the following April.

Well, the nearly three-month separation was pretty hard, but we dealt with it through letters and phone calls. No email or skyping back then! A few days before he was due to fly across the Pacific, and when I’d begun the process of applying for something called the “Fiancee Visa” so that I could return to the US on a one-way airline ticket, he happened to be talking to an immigration lawyer, who told him, “Don’t touch the Fiancee Visa! It can take six months or more to process, and they’re very likely to turn the application down.”

Not that I panicked or anything, but,  “How about we get married next week, when you’re here?” I suggested. It’s much funnier the way he tells it, but apparently I told him that I already had the dress, the cake, the invitation list, and the civil marriage celebrant lined up, and there was no pressure but could he make a decision by the next afternoon?

“What was I going to do?” he says. You’ll have to imagine the Brooklyn accent.

I went ahead with organising the wedding, and a few days later he arrived. At this point there took place what I considered to be a pleasant, low-key drive through panoramic landscapes but was to him an endless journey into terrifyingly isolated bushland. 

“It’s kind of lucky I didn’t get cold feet,” he muses. “I wouldn’t have known how to get out of there.”

I didn’t get cold feet, either, but I got a truly horrible head cold and felt miserable all four days before the wedding. Having organised it at such short notice, we only had twenty guests, all the food was home-cooked, and my dress cost $40 – a steal, reduced from $200 at a local bridal store, because it was too simple for anything but a garden ceremony, and apparently most local brides didn’t go for those.

And yet it was such a happy occasion, and everyone said how relaxed and fun it had been, and nearly twenty-four years later we haven’t had a moment’s regret.

A postscript to the Fiancee Visa thing: When I was at the US Consulate in Sydney, after we were married, to pick up the visa I was now entitled to, I met a young woman who had indeed had her Fiancee Visa application turned down. She’d had her whole wedding organised and then she wasn’t allowed to enter the country. Her fiance had had to fly to Australia for a quick ceremony after they’d had to cancel all their previous plans.

Ever since our funny little wedding, whether in fiction or real life, I’ve had a taste for those quirky weddings – the ones with endless planning where nothing goes right, the ones with no planning at all, the ones that seemed like a disaster on the day but can end up much more memorable than the weddings where everything goes like clockwork. In fiction, weddings can get even quirkier. There might be a major emotional scene right in the aisle. There might be a last minute change of bride or groom. Someone might stand up in the church and say, “Stop this!”

In my book All Dressed Up, Emma and Charlie don’t even make it to their wedding day. Emma calls the whole thing off on Page 1, during the wedding rehearsal, wearing the actual dress because her attention to detail has gotten totally out of control and she needs to see if the wide skirt of the dress will fit down the aisle. Charlie isn’t amused by the fact that she’s made him wear an airplane mask so he won’t see the gown before the big day… and then there’s no big day at all. Bridesmaid Sarah, Emma’s younger sister, can only watch helplessly as the whole train wreck takes place, and then do her best to help the whole family pick up the pieces. Does the wedding – or any wedding – ever happen in the book? Sorry, I don’t want to spoil the story.

Lilian Darcy

You can find out more about Lilian Darcy on her website

Readers, if you liked this wedding related tidbit, there’s more. In honor of my daughter’s upcoming wedding, in the June Bride Blitz I’ve assembled a month’s worth of authors with wedding and bride related novels — and wedding stories and trivia to share. You can see more by clicking on the More June Bride Blitz on the sidebar to your right. I’m also picking a related item to feature on Amazon, just for fun. You can see those in the widget on the sidebar to the right, too. Don’t forget that I have wedding related books, too (look up in the navigation bar). Oh…and you can see the June Wedding Blitz on Pinterest, too.

June Wedding Blitz: Jillian Dodd on Planning A Wedding with a Wedding Board

Please welcome author Jillian Dodd to the blog today. Jillian planned out her character’s wedding on a wedding board. Sounds like a perfect application for Pinterest these days, doesn’t it? Since I’m someone who isn’t all that visual, I can see how useful this would be, whether planning a wedding, or planning a book. Not to mention fun!

cover for that wedding
Using Pinterest to Plan a Wedding … or a Book

In my new book, That Wedding, I had a blast planning out an entire wedding for the characters in my series. Because the book was about their engagement and wedding and she would be planning the wedding throughout the book, I had to actually plan out every detail. From the perfect dress to their wedding gifts to each other, all the little details are sprinkled throughout the story of their life.

In the first book of the series, That Boy, you follow the characters growth from age 10 until age 22. Knowing my readers would be invested in having the perfect wedding for these two, I immersed myself in online wedding sites, bridal magazines, and wedding shows.  I had a lot of basic details picked out then went to a sorority sister/wedding planner friend of mine and said I need help. She reread the first book and came up with so many ideas to make the couple’s wedding personal.

I started out with photos pinned up on a bulletin board over my desk, but then progressed to Pinterest, and finally came up with some overall planning boards.

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Turtle Mom Wedding Whinesday: Upcoming Pinterest Intersection

So, a quick note today that Daughter and I have decided to put some of her Pinterest choices up for a (non-binding) vote in the near future. If you want to join in the fun, you may want to add my wedding board on Pinterest.

Daughter made me change my picture (I had one of me touching a Vandegraft generator with static-y hair…she said it made me look crazy). I defaulted to the hat picture. I need a good picture of myself, but I take truly awful pictures. Eyes closed, red patches, upside-down smile. Blah. Anyone who has tips on how to learn not to become Frankenstein in front of the camera — please share!

I just may take some (natural, not professional) pictures of myself in various attempts to look approachable, human, and non-crazy and put them up to a vote on Pinterest. Hmmm. I wish I’d thought of that yesterday. Will definitely do for next week. I need help!

Right now, I’ve copied over some of Daughter’s choices that reflect her wedding colors of yellow and gray (not up for a vote, she’s really happy with them). I am responsible for getting suits and ties for DH and sons, though. There are a lot of yellow tie possibilities. Expect that to come up for a vote very shortly.

Also, I think her wedding photographer is going to do a guest post for me very soon on how to work with your photographer for the best wedding pictures ever. Hmmm. I will definitely ask her advice on looking non-crazy in the wedding photos. I can’t be the only one who need remedial help on this, not when every smart phone now comes with a camera.

Very exciting stuff!


Turtle Mom Wedding Whinesday: Wedding Planning in the Digital Age

ANNOUNCEMENT: For any Kindle owners who don’t want to miss a second of the Turtle Mom Wedding saga (which began last year with Confessions of a Turtle Mom), you now have the option to subscribe to the About a Wedding blog on Amazon. Unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to blogs with the Kindle app yet, so you non-Kindle folks can Follow the blog, or the RSS feed, or sign up for the monthly newsletter for a reminder.

I got married before the digital age hit. We did the old-fashioned thing — paper invitations, phone calls (on phones with rotary dials!), going to individual stores to register for gifts.

Daughter has a wedding website (complete with section for RSVP and gift registry). Guests can get updates online (in theory, I’m not sure she’s been keeping it up as she is very busy in her work and wedding planning, not to mention with her new puppy).

Since I’m involved in the whole Daughter-getting-married thing, I’ve become aware of this digital twist to the planning. My blog is one angle — 30 years ago, I don’t know how I’d have flogged books to fund the wedding without using up a lot of gas and paying long distance charges as I wore out the dialer on the rotary phone. I think some of it feels more personal (it is nice to see updates and little tidbits of what is going on as the planning progresses). Some of it feels less personal (still not sure if digital RSVP is better or worse — although I’m personally more likely to RSVP online than actually mail back an RSVP, which is not to my credit, I admit).

But it wasn’t until I was browsing FlipBoard (best app ever) on my iPad (best tablet ever) this week that I realized the digital twist to wedding planning is mainstream now: Mashable actually had an article on How to Plan the Perfect Wedding Online. Mashable. (a website that focuses on social media news, for those who don’t know).

Browsing their top suggestions (Pinterest used as a way to get/share dress/decoration ideas; for crowd-sourcing your music choices with your guests…if you trust them), I realized that I approve of this new way of bringing guests into the fun of planning. A wedding can be a small community of 10 people, or a larger one of 200 people, but it is a community. The more a community shares, the more they each take away from the sharing. Sharing doesn’t have to be limited to the day itself any longer, and that’s a good thing.

Now, I know there is a downside, so I’m not suggesting that the bride should have a poll about which dress to choose — tastes vary and every bride deserves the dress she wants, and to hear nothing but “You’re going to look beautiful in that.” But for her to share why she picked the cake choice she did, or the venue, or photographer? Or even to ask each guest to choose their favorite song to be played at the reception? Isn’t that a good way to make everyone feel like an important part of the big day?

Well, at least those who are online. The rest will have to look at the display when the come to the wedding. It will be on my iPad, for all the non-digital world to see.

P.S. Mashable also has an article on the 10 Best iPhone Apps for Wedding. I downloaded all the free ones.

Turtle Mom Wedding Whinesday: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

ANNOUNCEMENT: For any Kindle owners who don’t want to miss a second of the Turtle Mom Wedding saga (which began last year with Confessions of a Turtle Mom), you now have the option to subscribe to the About a Wedding blog on Amazon. Unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to blogs with the Kindle app yet, so you non-Kindle folks can Follow the blog, or the RSS feed, or sign up for the monthly newsletter for a reminder.

The really horrible thing about weddings is that they involve a lot of decisions: cake, dress, venue, food, guest lists, photographers. Any wrong decision can spell problems (at least, to those, like me, who used to overdose on the daily judge shows). A photographer who overexposes film. A DJ who gets drunk and hits on the guests. A mother-of-the-bride who loudly expresses her doubts during the ceremony (true story!). The number of decisions involved exponentially increases the potential for something to go wrong. Apparently, it does not help the bride for her Turtle Mom to point out that when things go wrong, they make good stories for the holiday dinners to come.

So Daughter was stressing over making these decisions (complete with interesting nightmares that the cake went MIA for the reception). I tried to comfort her — she’s leaning toward cupcakes, and it is much harder to disappear a lot of cupcakes than one cake. This observation did not relieve her stress.

I don’t blame her. I hate making decisions on big-ticket, or important items like the right gift for those I love and have to share a holiday with. I will dither over airline prices for days — keeping every travel site page open, just in case a 99 cents airfare deal comes along (never has, but hope springs eternal in this woman’s heart). When I finally come down to the wire and need to make the purchase, I get an electric thrill of fear from toes to pate as I push the “No Backsies” button (I almost always book nonrefundable hotel/airfare deals because they’re cheap…like me). And then, as soon as I get the email confirmation, I peruse it with dread, fearing that I accidentally selected the wrong date, the wrong time, the wrong departure/arrival airport. So far, I never have. But I know myself — I could.

It is no wonder that I almost always leave the final decision on big purchases to my husband (for example, the dishwasher we bought last week — he did the research; he picked the model, I gave the thumbs up without a single thrill of fear). After all, he made the decision, so if things go wrong — I can be the person who says, “It’s only a dishwasher, hon, don’t feel bad. Who could know that it would explode through the roof and take the cat to the moon? None of the reviews mentioned that possibility.”

When it came to our wedding, I let my husband-to-be’s and mother’s choices rule. To be honest, all I really cared about was celebrating the marriage with family and friends. I knew my mom and my husband-to-be cared much more about some of the details than I did — and none of the things they cared about were going to interfere with my goal of family and celebration. So I let them make the final decision.

I know Daughter and future Son-in-Law will make great decisions, and I told her so. But I also know the biggest fear that comes along with making a decision is that you’re missing a bigger/better choice. When the wedding decisions start piling up, the tension over roads untaken rises. Happily, as I told Daughter, once the decision is made the tension begins to dissipate. Once you’ve made your choice — chocolate/vanilla wedding cupcakes with tan and cream icing instead of a fondant three-tier — you’re done, and you can take a deep breath. And move on to the next decision — how to create a menu that accommodates guests with gluten allergies, vegetarians, vegans, and red meat lovers?

As I told Daughter, she’s good at decision making, and the people who come to her wedding will not miss the cupcakes if they mysteriously disappear. Much. They’re not there for cupcakes. They’re there to celebrate with her. And there will be plenty of family around to run out to the nearest bakery for a big box of cupcakes, just in case. And I will be on standby for the obligatory, “Don’t worry honey, everything else went perfectly. No one noticed that the special vegan green bean dish wasn’t served.”

How often do you second guess yourself when making an important decision?

Do you let someone else make the final decision and play the part of “Don’t worry, honey, you couldn’t have known that puppy was descended from Cujo?”

Do you watch those judge shows? I had to stop. I thought I would learn how to avoid problems, but all I really learned is that there is no way to avoid problems — and most people don’t see them coming — and some smug judge making a ruling based on “you should have known better” is very small consolation when you don’t.

Turtle Mom Wedding Whinesday: How Many Cards Tuck Into a Wedding Invitation?

ANNOUNCEMENT: For any Kindle owners who don’t want to miss a second of the Turtle Mom Wedding saga (which began last year with Confessions of a Turtle Mom), you now have the option to subscribe to the About a Wedding blog on Amazon. Unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to blogs with the Kindle app yet, so you non-Kindle folks can Follow the blog, or the RSS feed, or sign up for the monthly newsletter for a reminder.

Whine Subject of the Week: Invitations

Who decided that a wedding invitation needed as many pieces as a do-it-yourself bookshelf? The invitation, a reception card, an RSVP card, a directions card, some filmy bits of paper that serve no purpose (but make good kindling for a wood stove).

Daughter sent Save the Date cards and is now panicked because she is hearing from almost everyone that they’re excited to attend. Don’t get me wrong, she wants to see all these people. She just worries I’m not going to be able to afford to feed them all. She’s used to my “write a lot – make a little” lifestyle. I tell her the Once Upon a Wedding series is selling well, that I’ve put The Fairy Tale Bride on 99 cents sale on every venue I could think of  until after the wedding, but she worries.

So she called me this week to let me know that she has decided to follow the example of a few of her friends and make her invitations. No RSVP cards, No Reception cards, just a handmade invitation. I offered my color laser printer for printing (and as if it knew, it promptly stopped working yesterday…but I will get it fixed, or die trying). She wanted to know if I objected. Me? Who would be fine with having people RSVP on the website. To be fair, she called her grandmother first, as her grandmother does care about such things (but economy and the allure of personal crafting was an easy sell to Grandmom).

I was tempted to give her permission to go paperless for the modern generation, and only send invites to the older generations (some of whom — her Mommom, for example — don’t even own computers). But that would be a hard sell for Grandmom (who is totes tech-savvy, btw), who would then have to decide who could handle an electronic RSVP without a tech meltdown.


As I thought about it more, I wondered how long it will be before formal invitations go by the wayside. Not for the really fancy wedding folks (those people who plop down $100,000 or more and do real china and sit down meals instead of Chinet and BBQ). But for families who have to deal with real life budgets and make a dollar stretch until it sings.

Will we end up with Text invites? Dude, u & +1 r invited to my weds – 1/1/2100 B there or B square

Or maybe Twitter will be the medium of choice? #Wedding @bride and @groom U r invited RSVP http:ourweddingsite.nup

The more traditional (and wordier) folks can gussy up a Facebook Page and sent FB invites.

One thing I realized after talking to Daughter. No matter how I am invited to a wedding of people I love, if I can possibly make it, my RSVP will be: Count me in!

So I’m glad that the people she has invited are excited and planning to come. The more the merrier.

What about you? Do you mind if the wedding invitation isn’t as formal as you’re used to? Do you give allowances for brides on a budget? Or do you think tradition rules?

I’m off to fix the printer. I’ll share the final product with you when I get one. Daughter is a perfectionist, so I’m anticipating an awesome invitation…without all the card and filmy paper poop to go with.


Turtle Mom Wedding Whinesday: Reality Sets In

Not *the* dress, but cute.

ANNOUNCEMENT: For any Kindle owners who don’t want to miss a second of the Turtle Mom Wedding saga (which began last year with Confessions of a Turtle Mom), you now have the option to subscribe to the About a Wedding blog on Amazon. Unfortunately, you cannot subscribe to blogs with the Kindle app yet, so you non-Kindle folks can Follow the blog, or the RSS feed, or sign up for the monthly newsletter for a reminder.

2012 is here. I was happily thinking I had 8 months to get ready, but Accountant Sister pointed out my time math is lacking and I only have (had!) 7. I keep having a recurring dream that I get the date wrong and show up too late to see my daughter get married. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen (just like I never actually forgot to attend a college class I signed up for, despite the many dreams that I had). But what if it does?

Can you tell I’m panicking? I just realized I have a lot of work to do to get ready, and not a lot of time to do it. Some things are set. But many things still need to be figured out, arranged, and then carried out. Reality is setting in, hard.

in 2011, Daughter was engaged and all was exciting and golden…but there wasn’t a date, so there was this surreal feel to it all. Then she set a date, way into Spring 2012, so it still didn’t feel real. Then, in June, we met in mid-America and went dress shopping with my mom, Accountant Sister, my cousin and my niece. Felt a little more real seeing her in a parade of dresses, but as no decisions were made, and 2012 was soooo far off…

In the late summer we started talking venue more seriously. Science Dad pushed the East Coast, I favored Florida, Daughter was set on getting married in the redwoods. Daughter and Fiance found a reasonably priced place among trees and nature. Yay! But Spring was no longer a good choice for that venue. Boo!

In late fall, the venue and date were finally fixed for summer 2012, and the deposit made. Still soooo far away. [Stop laughing those of you who are not time-challenged.]

Over the holidays, the guest list was made, re-made, winnowed, and sighed over. There are people we want to invite that we can’t, but not too many. The Save the Date cards were ordered (who decided brides needed Save the Date cards? Oh for the day when everyone who was invited lived close by, or could be alerted with a family phone tree).

Last week, we got our Save the Date card. Science Dad promptly shot off an email that we had a conflict with that date (we’re so witty in our family). Daughter, naturally, did not deign to reply.

Last week, I began my campaign to transform into an elegant mother-of-the-bride. I received several comforting comments that I’m fine as I am. I also received several tips on places to go for support. So far, I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in June, Sparkpeople, and I’m eyeing P90x…but I need a little more stamina before I can do that one.

Still to come: menu for rehearsal BBQ, menu for wedding, bridesmaid dresses, my dress, travel arrangements for our family, including Daughter’s travel-challenged Mom-Mom. Oh, and the real invitations still have to be chosen, filled out, mailed. Then we need to find something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new…. What am I forgetting? I know I’m forgetting many things. I haven’t been part of planning a wedding since I got married (and my mom did all the work on that one).

My goal for this 2012 blog is to get advice from experts, and share it here, all while trying not to panic that I’m going to forget something important. I’ll also solicit and share wisdom from the family members and friends who have been married for a while about what makes the years that follow the wedding day work well.

But experts don’t have all the answers, so I welcome suggestions and advice from readers who have been there, done that. Or, just lots of wishes for luck! I have a feeling it’s going to be a very bumpy 7 6 months.

P.S. Did I mention the dress has been ordered? I can’t show it, of course, because the groom-to-be might see it. But I can give you a peek at what was not chosen. Her choice was half-price because it was a floor model. Next comes alterations. And shoes. And headwear. Fortunately, Daughter is a fashionista, so whatever she chooses will be perfect. It will just take a while to find the right thing.



Houston, We *May* Have a Wedding Venue!

Not the place. The place her dad is advocating for. But beautiful. Natural. Peaceful.

Update for supporters and followers of the 50 Day Wedding Promo and Confessions of a Turtle Mom Series: Daughter may have chosen her wedding venue. You can get a glimpse of her top choice (for now) here, at Twenty Mile House.

To save a little money, she’s thinking of having the wedding on a weekday, because most people will have to travel anyway, or so her thinking is going right now…she’s letting the interested parties weigh in on the decision at the moment [which means, family and friends, if you have an opinion, let her…or me…know ASAP].

I’m very impressed at how she and her fiancee have approached having a thoughtful, family-oriented wedding on a budget. She wanted a natural setting, and this (so far) top choice is both a serene site of natural beauty and a place that has a great history. It should allow guests to relax, catch up with each other, and celebrate the wedding in comfortable style.

Of course, no decisions (er, deposits) have been finalized yet. Her dad is still lobbying for a similar natural setting on the other coast. But costs are being accounted, and a decision should be finalized any day now. And then on to the cake (cupcakes?). And the dress, of course, which will depend on the setting.

There’s a lot of planning that goes into the wedding. Google Docs is making it easier, I have to admit.

Thanks for helping us get there! The 99 cents sale is over, but all sales of The Fairy Tale Bride from now until the wedding will go into the fund to cover incidentals such as the rehearsal dinner (looking like a BBQ at this point, but don’t know whether it will be a western style BBQ or a southern style BBQ; guess it will depend on which family member gets picked to be head cook).