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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On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: The Wedding!

Kelly here again (you didn’t think I’d let Jim have the fun of talking about the wedding, did you?) Thank you for hanging in with us as we reported on our roadtrip to the wedding. Apologies for taking so long to get to the main event. We’ve been sifting through pictures and memories while resuming our normal lives. We were blessed to have many pictures from friends and family to choose from, but that takes time…and space.

The trip to the wedding was worthwhile, but the wedding was… perfect from the little ribboned bell sticks to flower petals strewn along the path to the ceremony site, to the thoughtfully prepared and nervously spoken wedding vows.

One post can’t possibly do this justice, so we’re going to dedicate the next week to pictures of the wedding (including behind the scenes shots and tributes to everyone who contributed to make this event perfect in every way). One of the things about doing a wedding as inexpensively as possible is that the wedding party and families do much of the work. We have a lot of people to thank, and we’ll be thanking them in the next few posts.

But today is reserved for the Wedding ceremony. The raison d’etre for the gathering and the roadtrip.

At Last — The Wedding

We should start with the waiting groom and his officiant Jacob (a good friend of the couple; this was his second time in the officiant role and he did a fabulous job).

Next came the flower girl, Lena (utterly adorable daughter of my cousin Sean and his wife Alana). She did a lovely job of scattering flower petals as she came up the aisle, although she was unsure of what to do when she got to the end and still had flowers.

She debated whether she was supposed to go back and scatter some more, but was persuaded she’d done a great job and could stay put.

There had been some discussion about whether Jim wanted to take the traditional role of walking the bride down the aisle. That was an affirmative. Father and daughter made their way down the aisle (with daughter whispering, “Faster, faster!” …or so I hear.

I’d had a hard time picturing the yellow and gray wedding colors, especially given that the setting was outdoors. The wedding party made a stunning tableau.

The beautiful bridesmaids were Kristen’s (and now Pete’s) great friends and my only niece.

The handsome groomsmen and the officiant were all Pete’s (and now Kristen’s) great friends.

The ceremony was touching and meaningful, as they read their vows (and stumbled a little, which was captured on the video for posterity).

They were proudly presented as a Mr. and Mrs. for the first time as they walked into the reception.

And then, it was official…time to party (see reception coverage in tomorrow’s blog).



On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports From Jim — Brick Oven Pizza and S’Mores at Chalet View Lodge

1 day until the WEDDING!!!

I admit it was a bit of a blur; we met family at the continental breakfast while plans for the day were made. A hike was planned but my blister kept me sidelined and I seemed to have enough to keep me busy. Those who went on the hike climbed mountains and valleys for 5 hours and had a great time. My brother confided he worried a bit about keeping up but his pride wouldn’t let Kelly’s aunt outdo him!

The groom-to-be’s family kept with the casual and friends-and-family focus for the rehearsal dinner. Since most of the guests were staying at the Chalet View Lodge, they arranged for brick oven pizzas on the outside patio.

The rehearsal itself was very casual (Twenty Mile House, where the wedding would take place, was busy with another wedding). It was all the participants circled around the bride-to-be being told not to worry too much about it, it would all work out. And then on to the fun.

The hotel had an outside area with a brick oven for gourmet pizza so pizza, along with some great sides, beer, wine and mojitos were on the menu.  No toasts or speeches tonight, just good conversation.

Kristen is blessed with many friends with professional level baking skills so one group provided amazing desserts for the dinner (with approval from the hotel).

The hotel then set up a SMore’s area around a fire pit. The sticks were a bit short, which led to some interesting attempts to toast marshmallows. Fortunately, no one had their eyebrows singed off. The winning technique seemed to be to connect the sticks with marshmallows and then quickly eat the results before they fell apart.

After all the planning, dreaming and waiting the Wedding was tomorrow!

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — The Flocking of Family and Friends

Wedding: Two Days or Bust

I forgot to mention, the previous night, after a quick checking out of the house we headed for the hotel where the Rehearsal dinner was going to be held and where most of the family would stay (The Chalet View Lodge). In an amazing coincidence all of Kelly’s sisters, mom and we arrived within 20 minutes of each other, something we couldn’t have pulled off with months of planning. We confessed the no food situation, but promised there would be a big cookout gathering at our place the next day. We invited everyone to stop by and hang out on the deck.

Since we had not eaten all day and still had not found a grocery store we decided to see what we could find.  In a town about 15 miles away we found a tiny little store with mostly alcohol. A bit more searching turned up a small grocery store with friendly people.  It was too late to plan and have a cook out so we went next door to SubWay and ordered 5 or 6 subs and seemed to overwhelm them. I feel bad for the people that came in while we were being served.

We took an upstairs bedroom at the front of the house that had a small porch we could sit out on, but instead complained of the heat and managed to sleep. It gets nice and cool in the evenings but the coolness was too shy to enter until we were asleep.

The next morning we headed back to The Chalet View Lodge to find that more guests arrived, including my brother and our mother. John was nice enough to fly to Delaware, pick up mom and fly with her to Reno and drive her to the hotel.

After checking out the hotel and the house we three decided Mom would be happier at the house so Kelly and I checked into the room we had reserved for her. This made things somewhat confusing as we had already unpacked (for the first time in over two weeks) at the house and ended up with things at both places.

The agenda for today included the previously cancelled cook out. Web searching was difficult as the internet at the house was out and I had single g on my data plan (thanks Tmobile). Eventually I found another town, about 20 minutes away that was the only town with a real supermarket; turns out they have 2! B and I, armed with Kelly’s shopping list , went in search of vittles. Our goal was a SafeWay by we first came across a SavMor, a discount chain a bit like a club but no membership.  They had everything we wanted so we loaded up the car (If we had found a grocery store on the way to Graeagle there is NO WAY we could have gotten the stuff in the car-A had ridden with us from SF taking up a seat).

Beer, burgers, and dogs-check, Already checked the grill worked (and replaced propane tank), now the invite went out.

Many family and friends still traveling but we had a great turn out and I think we all had a great time hanging on the great decks. I bought so much food (and beer) that we ended up cooking out a few more times for smaller parties.

On the Way to the Wedding Roadtrip: Reports from Jim — We Arrive at the Wedding Venue

Winding Our Way to Graeagle

It was a 5 hr trip from SF to Graeagle, where we rented a house for the wedding. We could choose to travel back on I-80 (through the Donner Pass), which we had done on the way from Reno or the back route, about same time according to Mavis (and future son-in-law Pete). We took the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (no toll in our direction-saved $5!) on 580 to 80 to Sacramento. We crossed a small bridge which cost $5 (no free lunch for us). Left SAC for 99 north to Yuba City.

The plan was to stop and get lunch, gas and groceries along this stretch. I assured Kelly we would have plenty of choices. We had none, there was nothing there.

In Yuba we stopped for gas at an ARCO that did not take credit cards (they did take debit). Decided to pass and had to wait for the guy in front of me to fill up before I could leave. Paid a bit more to gas up a few miles away but missed the Carl’s Jr where we planned to have lunch.  There would be more places  I said confidently (there weren’t) so we had “lunch” about 5 pm. Took 20 to 49. 49 was a twisty winding mountain road where I made up a lot of time.  We formed a sort of convoy with two other vehicles, an SUV and a truck carrying 5 or 6 bicycles (no idea who these people were). These two cars took curves at somewhat amazing speeds. I kept up for a long time but decided we were traveling too fast (seeing a highway patrol car helped convince me, as well as what little common sense I still possessed).

Mavis directed us pretty well with one mishap; she directed us to the “Old Golden Chain Highway”. The turn went into an apparent parking lot for road maintenance with a narrow dirt road leading up into the mountains.  I opted to skip this path and just continued driving figuring (hoping) Mavis would find another route. She did and put us on the “New” road which was paved and undergoing new paving (but minimal interruptions to our travels).

We were concerned that our rental house could be a scam (blame all those scare-tactic reporters) because we had minimal contact with the owner.

Or that it could be too small, lacking, etc. (we’d rented sight unseen except for two small pictures).

We drove slowly, with our hearts going a little bit fast, looking at every house number and comparing it to the tiny picture we’d seen of the outside.

Except for Mavis saying our house was on the right when it was on the left, we arrived and were very impressed (and relieved).

It was a beautiful house, with big driveway for many cars, 2 garages and a couple of decks.  We were not disappointed when we went in. We just wished we had food, so we could have a cookout for any other wedding guests who’d gotten into town that day.

The Ex Files is Available at Last!

The Ex Files by Kelly McClymerA book walked into a bar and said…


I’m heading off for a two week drive across the country this morning. It’s going to be epic (or not, judging by how some of these grand plans have gone in the past). We have a brand new digital camera that can even take 3-D images (don’t know why, you’d have to ask the dh). We have incredibly dedicated cat sitters  installed in the house to take care of the 23 year old cat, who needs a lot of affection and reassurance. We’ve stocked the refrigerator and pantry for our cat sitters, fixed the leak under the sink, and put off tearing out the kitchen cabinets.

Before I go, I want to welcome The Ex Files into the world. Today is a day I thought would never come for a book I thought I would never finish after the chicklit genre became The Genre Which Must Not be Named.

Diana’s story was one I wanted to know the end to — but I had other books to write. Books that publishers paid me to write. So I wrote them. In a twist of irony, Simon and Schuster did — kind of — want The Ex Files. They just wanted me to make the character younger (to fit my new YA audience). So Getting To Third Date was written. That wasn’t really Diana’s story. It was Katelyn’s story. The story of a college freshman who doesn’t give guys much of a shot of a second date because she’s so critical.

The Ex Files is Diana’s story — the story of a woman who realized more than once that she was with the wrong guy after he proposed. Awk. Ward.

I hope you enjoy Diana’s story as much as I did!

And, by the way, if you have a favorite destination in the middle of the U.S.A., please leave a comment to give us an idea of where to go next on our Road Trip of a lifetime. It’s Mount Washington today, but who knows where the day after. We’re heading toward our daughter’s wedding spot in California, with a  vague plan to veer by Mount Rushmore — and what we don’t catch on the way out, we may just swing by on the way back. No rules, baby. Except one: have fun.


Wish us luck and/or tell us where to go (nicely please…)

About a Wedding: Invitations Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Do it Yourself Wedding Invitations

I’ve been meaning to share Daughter’s budget friendly wedding invitations for a while.

One of the more expensive aspects of a wedding can come in the form of the invitation, especially if you have a reception card, a stamped RSVP card, and embossing or engraving done. We’ve all received one of those invitations that seems to have been invented by the person who invented the Russian nesting dolls (you know, the big doll opens to reveal a slightly smaller doll inside, and that one opens, and so on and so forth).

Daughter has been to well over a dozen weddings in the last year and a half and so had a good idea of the variety of options open to her. After getting some friends to agree to help, she finally decided to make her own invitations.

After looking at many options online, and talking to friends who had created their own invitations, she decided they would be simple, in the colors of the wedding (gray and yellow), and that the RSVP would be done online (a savings on postage, but she needed to include a phone number and make arrangements for relatives without internet connection).

I think you can see it was fun. However, Daughter reports it was also time consuming. Partly, that was because she had four layers (a gray heavy weight backing, a yellow, a white that she printed the invitation on herself, a gray strip, and a yellow circle, which was stamped with a special stamp she bought for the occasion.

It was definitely budget friendly, although after the paper and the special stamp they bought, it wasn’t quite as inexpensive as she planned (about $400 in all for 200 invitations).

I printed the envelopes on my laser printer (they looked nice, if I say so myself 🙂

Did you make your own invitations? Would you?

Oh — and as a special celebration, The Fairy Tale Bride is now free on Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Smashwords. Yep. Free. Tell everyone you know who likes historical romance.



June Wedding Blitz: Ella Ardent Likes How The Best Laid Wedding Plans Can Go Awry

I goofed! I was supposed to feature Ella Ardent on the blog last Thursday and I spaced (Note: the reason I spaced is that The Ex-Files was in the last stages of being readied to release on July 15th … see the gorgeous cover my genius cover designer Kelly Pernell did in the slideshow at the top of the page…by the end of today). So the June Wedding Blitz gets a BONUS day today, as we welcome Ella Ardent to put a little sizzle in the summer!

The Best Laid Plans…

For many of us, a wedding is probably the most thoroughly planned event of our lives. There are halls to book and caterers to arrange, dresses to have fitted and tuxes to be measured, napkins to be chosen and music to be selected, vows to be revised or reviewed and prayers to be made for good weather on the day in question. There are hundreds and hundreds of decisions to be made – including the guest list – and each one of them can be the source of conflict. Weddings famously start squabbles. The smart bride plans well and plans early, making choices before anyone else in the family can get ideas, much less put them into action.
But no matter how well planned a wedding is, something always goes wrong on the big day. Sometimes it’s a small detail, and sometimes it’s huge. The idea of the best laid plans going astray was the inspiration for my new erotic romance series, The Wedding. (NOTE: the series is not yet for sale, but you can find out the scoop on the release date by going to
I wondered how much could go wrong without the characters sacrificing their respective Happily-Ever-After. I’d rather explore the possibilities in fiction than in real life, but the fact that the series is fiction means I could have a lot of fun.
The Wedding is a trilogy of erotic romances, all set during (surprise) a wedding. Each features a different couple, taking a detour en route to HEA.
Just to amplify the strain on relationships, the bride in my series (Jessica) is determined to have the wedding of her dreams. She’s set the stakes high, and insisted that she be married on a Caribbean beach with all her friends and family around. The wedding has been booked at a resort that specializes in hosting such events, but not everyone in the family is thrilled by the cost of attending the festivities. Although I can understand Jessica’s desire, this kind of plan has always seemed ripe for trouble to me – in fact, Jessica and her groom are at odds over this detail before the series even starts.
I like the idea of playing with people’s reactions to this fantasy wedding. The maid of honor is Jessica’s best friend and her reaction would be the same no matter where the wedding was held – her best friend is getting married and Christine doesn’t even have a date. She resolves in the departure lounge at the airport to do something about that. A trip to an exotic locale is the perfect chance to make a change and take a risk. Her story is told in THE BEST MAN.
A great many people would think a trip like this was a kind of vacation – in fact, the cost of attending such a wedding might mean that it becomes their vacation. What do people do on vacation? They tend to let loose and have fun, and that’s what one of the bridesmaids decides to do. The resort is filled with gorgeous men, so Fiona is determined to celebrate her own unmarried state. When she forgets her responsibilities to the bride, that undermines her friendship with Jessica in ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID.
And the happy couple-to-be are at odds in the days leading up to the big event. Jessica’s not a bridezilla, although her groom is starting to think she might be one. She doesn’t understand why he’s not more enthused or cooperative. They come to the brink of calling it off in FOREVER BOUND – it’s not really a spoiler to tell you that love conquers all and they win their HEA after all.
You’re invited to a wedding, one at which a great many things go wrong but everything ultimately goes right.
If you liked this wedding related tidbit, feel free to look back at the past month’s worth of blogs on weddings. 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: 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: Sharon Ihle Reveals the Wedding Bandit Known as Cake Finger

Please welcome Sharon Ihle to the blog this week. Fittingly for the month of June, Sharon has a warning all brides must hear, so that they can make sure that someone guards the wedding cake at all times! I think I’ll take that duty at my daughter’s wedding (but don’t ask to check under my fingernails…I’ll have to refuse under the grounds I may incriminate myself).

The Saga of Cake Finger

Let this be a warning for all you brides-to-be; there is a stealthy woman out there known as ‘Cake Finger,’ and she might just surprise you by taking what we’ll call liberties with your wedding cake. (Note: this warning does not apply to brides who insist on whipped cream or non-dairy frosting.)
To those who prefer truly satisfying buttercream or even lard frosting, I strongly suggest you hire a friend or trusted family member (pick me, pick me!) to guard your wedding cake during the festivities. I’ve attended many weddings over the years and Cake Finger always manages to get a swipe of frosting before the bride and groom have the opportunity to smear it across one another’s lips.

Cake Finger has been doing this for years. It is almost like a badge of honor. During one truly outrageous moment, she even had the audacity to raise her frosting-laden finger on high and made sure the mother of the bride (her best friend at the time) saw this display before destroying the evidence in a truly tasteful way.

At yet another event, Cake Finger was dancing a rather raucous polka with her own husband, and managed to whirl and twirl her way to the cake table where she took her swipe without slowing down or even missing a beat. And nobody was the wiser, not even her husband who noticed she had something white on her lip.

This went on for more years than I can count. Even brides who dared to thwart her by offering a cupcake tree instead of a cake, were doomed to be outsmarted by Cake Finger. At the height of her career, she’d perfected the art of slicing off a frosting rose or decoration, then fluffing the resulting void in a way that went completely undetected. Oh those were heady times for Cake Finger. And then the unthinkable happened.

Photo of Sharon IhleAt the very last wedding she attended, the joining of two very dear friends, the bride ignorantly asked Cake Finger if she would do her the honor of cutting the cake at her wedding. HUH? I tried to warn her, honestly, I really did, but she was intent on having me … uh, Cake Finger … do the honors of cutting her special cake. It was something, let me tell you; the wedding was cowboy themed, the cake a lovely rendition of a chuck wagon pulled by a team of plastic horses. Frosting flowers, reins, pots and pans, and other doodads decorated the cake as well as the tray it rested upon. What was Cake Finger to do?

I can’t talk about it anymore. The moment was too disturbing and yet gratifying at the same time. Cake Finger did a magnificent job that day, to the point of almost passing out from a sugar high, and even managed to blame most of the carnage on uninvited guests who must have made a run at the cake. So again, you lovely brides-to-be out there, I warn you; hire someone to watch over your special cakes. I’m available most weekends. And I know what the thief looks like!

The Bride Wore Spurs


Kathleen Lacey O’Carroll knew she faced an uncertain future when she arrived in Wyoming as a mail-order bride—especially when she learned that the man she was to marry hadn’t actually ordered her. How could John Winterhawke, a fiercely independent and unsettling handsome half-Indian possibly make room in his heart and in his life for her?

As far as Hawke was concerned, the last thing he needed was a high-spirited, overeager Irish wife who knew nothing about surviving on the harsh prairie. But once the determined Lacey sensed the rough kindness and simmering hunger under Hawke’s forbidding demeanor, she set out to match his dark passion with her own—and claim his wild heart on her terms.

The Bride Wore Spurs is from Sharon Ihle’s  The Inconvenient Bride Series.


Sharon Ihle is the best-selling author of more than a dozen award-winning historical romances set in the American West. A lifelong Californian, Sharon recently moved from the sunny beaches of San Diego to the frozen plains of North Dakota. Hard to believe, but it’s true.