When I was a teenager, my older cousin Cindy got married.
It was in Ohio.
In the cold and snow.
I was all of 13, but fit in well with two of her sisters who were a year older and younger than me, so I was quickly enlisted in the bridesmaid corp. It was my first winter wedding. It was my first wedding as part of the wedding party.
We wore burgundy velvet, floor length gowns. Our hair pieces were head bands with silk poinsettias glued to them and instead of bouquets of flowers, we carried white furry muffs with another poinsettia pinned to the front of them. It was an afternoon wedding, but the grey winter sky that threatened more snow made it feel like late evening, almost dusk.
I remember little about the ceremony itself. My cousin married the man who is still her husband nearly 40 years later. My cousins and I had fun getting ready, doing our hair, walking down the aisle and partying with everyone later.
That was a much different wedding than the other important December wedding in my life, the one that took place between my mother and father.
They decided to get married 3 days before Christmas. They had very little money, so they just went to the Justice of the Peace in their little hometown to elope. No months of pre-wedding planning. No bridesmaids, no bestmen/ushers, no flowers, no cake. Just two people deciding they wanted to spend their lives together.
And they did.
For the next 61 and 1/2 years they stayed together. Through thin times (and there were many of those in the beginning) and through thick. Through rich and poor. Through sickness and health. Through three kids, three in-laws, eight grandchildren, and a bunch of great-grandkids. Through ups and downs. They stuck it out.
The last fall I was home before my daddy passed away, I noticed something. They touched each other often. Daddy would walk by Mom as she sat at the table talking to me. He’d just pat her shoulder and she’d reach up and pat his hand. Then he’d head to the family room. This happened several times a day. It seemed the older they got, the more the need to touch each other became. When I asked Mom about it, she said, “We just like to remind each other we’re glad we’re here.”
When I moved away from home many, many years ago, I decided it would be fun to send my parents a flower arrangement for their anniversary. It was usually a centerpiece of holly and evergreen and red candles for their dining room table or poinsettias for their fireplace. Sending it on the twenty-second let me surprise them on their anniversary and know they could enjoy them through the holiday season.
The last two years, since Daddy died, I’ve made sure there were red roses in the arrangement. See, he grew roses, Mom’s favorite flower, and every day during rose season, (May-Sept in Ohio), he’d cut fresh roses for her vases in the kitchen and family rooms.
So, when I decided to write a Christmas novella for the Westen series, I naturally titled it CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS. And when I think of the phrase close to Christmas, it reminds me of my parents anniversary which was always…close to Christmas. 🙂 And winter weddings can be such fun.
Here’s the blurb for the novella:
It’s been a long dangerous year for the town folks of Westen. A celebration is just what they need. It’s four days before Christmas and the town is not only decked out in their holiday best, but looking forward to the wedding of Sheriff Gage Justice and his love, Deputy Bobby Roberts.
First Bobby’s lawyer sister, Chloe comes to town looking over her shoulder, which has the quiet deputy, Wes Strong wondering what has her running scared. Then problems start to happen with the wedding plans.
Has Chloe brought trouble to Westen?
Or does someone in town want to ruin the wedding this close to Christmas?
And I even borrowed my parents wedding anniversary for the date Gage and Bobby are getting married. Thanks, Mom and Dad!
So, do you know anyone who was married close to Christmas? Have you ever been in a winter wedding? Do you think they’re romantic? Have you been a bridesmaid? How many times? (I was 6 and a matron of honor once.)
Since this is a little launch party and I’m celbrating my parents anniversary in two days, how about I give out 2 print copies forCLOSE TO CHRISTMASas part of the Bandita 12 Days of Christmas?
After Bandita Susan’s post the other day about “I Do” – and receiving a very cool wedding invite just today! – I’m in the mood for a wedding! Also, I’m ever so fond of Bandita Anna S’s Quick Fives, so I thought I’d try my hand at it and make it a combo! Grins. By the way, Bandita Nancy was also a bit of the inspiration for this post, since she and her DH have been married 26 wonderful years, as of yesterday! (Congrats, Nancy!!)
This one, however, is about relationships. Whether you’re in one or not, you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. As Romance writers and readers we delve into the whole dynamic of relationships, and get to see both the best and worst of what happens. As writers, we often create terrible relationships in our characters’ past so that they are overcoming those wounds in the present, and with the help of their heroine or hero, they come to see the joy and grace that CAN be in relationship.
In short, we create characters who have either found the will to love again, or have opened up to it when they meet their match.
So….here we go….
1. What’s the longest running HAPPY relationship you know of?
For me, this is my Aunt, as she and my Uncle were married for 53 years prior to his passing and were always giggling and happy with one another as well as respectful and supportive! Oh, wait…there’s also Pat Cochran – Bandita Buddy Extraordinaire – she and her Honey have been married quite a while too! And Bandita Jo has put in some years as well….
(And NO, that picture on the right is NOT a picture of any of the aforementioned! Hahahah!)
2 A If you’re married, how long have you been married? (Or if widowed, how long were you married?)
I’m joyfully heading for the fifteen year mark! That’s me and the DH up there with the Dalmatians.
2B If you’re not married, but in a relationship, how long has it been going on? Or what’s the longest running relationship you’ve had?
This IS the longest relationship I’ve had (Almost 17 years together!), and although I’d been married before, I gotta say…this is GREAT!
3. What is the best thing, to you, about being in a relationship?
For me, its about laughter, connection, sex (sorry, honey, gotta brag!), and shared experiences…and of course love, love, love!
4. If you were/are single today, and were a heroine or hero in a book, what would be the most importantpositve trait you’l look for in a mate? (Isn’t that kilted groom pic on the left fun? Pic from Wikimedia commons, as is the Grace Kelly photo.)
For me, the positive trait I looked for and found (besides physical compatibility!) was laughter/sense of humor!
5. If you were planning a wedding for yourself today, or vow renewal, and money was no issue, would you go for a big party and a new wedding dress?
White or cream or a color?
Or would you go for a big party or BBQ, and just have fun with friends and family?
Or would you go to the beach/mountains/special place with just a few close friends and say those words all over again?
Describe!! (There’s a picture – above right – of the incredibly elegant Grace Kelly on her wedding day…do you think Nicole Kidman’s going to pull it off in the new movie?)
If I were doing it again – the wedding or vow renewal with the darling DH – I’d do it in October and have all the pumpkins and hay bales and corn stalk bundles and mums I could possibly find. Grins.
(Cake pic from Yahoo Images, pumpkins and other pics from my collection)
This should be fun! I can’t wait to hear what YOU would do!
And just because it’s FALL and FOOTBALL season and I’m LOVING it (and the delight of going to a wedding again!), I’m going to randomly give out some Starbucks Cards to today’s commenters!!
Duffy sends her apologies for forgetting she was blogging on May 23rd. Many of you know that she’s a co-sponsor of the RAGT (Readers & Writers Get-Together) that is happening this weekend in Cincinnati. She says she was insane to think she could do anything this close to RAGT 🙂 However, she is still sending out prizes – two KILLER IN CRINOLINES tote bags (and they are cute) to:
Congratulations!! I’m emailing her your contact information AND personally handing it to her this weekend. No excuses 🙂
posted by Nancy Jessica Andersen joins us today the release of Storm Kissed, the sixth book in her wonderful, hot Nightkeepers paranormal romance series. For those of you who’re new to the Lair, Jessica’s debut Harlequin Intrigue was an RT Top Pick. Her Intrigues have made category bestseller lists and have been nominated for the RITA Award. Welcome back, Jessica!
Ahoy, Banditas! I’m thrilled to be visiting here today to talk about STORM KISSED, which hits shelves today—I couldn’t think of any other group I’d rather hang with for the launch of Dez and Reese’s story. In fact, this is one of only two blogs I’m doing for this book—I’ve kept the appearances trimmed way back because I’m otherwise deep in revisions and other chaos … and it’s that other chaos I’d like to talk about today.
But first, the blurb:
Dark forces stand poised to crush mankind beneath a vicious rule of terror and blood sacrifice. Our only hope rests with a group living in secret among us: modern magic wielders called the Nightkeepers.
Dez is no angel. The former gang leader spent years in jail and alienated the love of his life, Reese Montana. Now he has a second chance to join forces with the Nightkeepers and master the Triad magic. Even better, Reese is back—taken on as the Nightkeepers’ sexy bounty hunter. But this time the stakes are even higher for Dez and Reese.
The sexual electricity between them is still alive, but when Dez goes rogue on a hunt for a powerful artifact, Reese can’t help wondering if he’s been playing her again all this time … What will become of the Nightkeepers with a potential traitor on the run?
Dez and Reese’s book has some of my favorite storylines in it—the bad boy magic-wielding hero who comes back from the dead a changed man; the bounty-hunting heroine he once betrayed, who now kicks butt on her own terms; and stakes that are getting higher by the day as we get closer and closer to the 2012 end date predicted by the Mayan calendar.
Not only that, but STORM KISSED contains the first wedding in the Nightkeepers’ series. So I’d like to hear some of your thoughts on fictional weddings.
Personally, I like weddings that are true to the characters and maybe even continue to advance their story. Oddly, one of my favorite fictional weddings happened off-screen (unless I missed a story, which I don’t think I did): Eve and Roarke. For me the important part for these characters was the lead-up to the wedding, and the two of them working through their fears and getting the pieces in place. The ceremony was icing, and while I can imagine its fabulousness (it would have to be fabulous, of course … this is Roarke we’re talking about), I didn’t feel like I needed to be there.
Another fictional wedding that stands out for me, albeit a TV/movie one was Carrie and Big from Sex and the City. Now, disclaimer time, I’ve only seen probably twenty episodes plus the first movie, so I’m far from an expert. But I appreciated how we saw the way a wedding can take on a life of its own, until it turns into something very different from how the bride and/or groom envisioned … and I liked how in the end it was down to the two of them, their peeps, and a courtroom ceremony.
I’m not going to talk about what happens in STORM KISSED—hello, spoilers—but I hope you’ll check out Dez and Reese’s story, which includes a wedding that I think is exactly right for the characters involved.
Now, though, I’d like to hear what you guys think about fictional weddings. Love them? Hate them? Have a favorite you’d like to give a shout-out to, or something you wish authors would avoid? Let’s hear it!
One random poster will be selected to receive a signed copy of STORM KISSED. So let’s talk!
For more about Jessica and her books, check out her website.
I get to attend a wedding this weekend – my husband’s cousin is getting married. YAY!! I love weddings. they are both a beginning and an ending. The beginning of a life together, and for most romance novels, the end of the story (note, I didn’t say the end of the romance *g*)
When I think weddings, I immediately think romance. Shocking, I know. Romance author on a romance blog thinking weddings are romantic. The promise of forever, the beauty of the ceremony and all of the lushness and pageantry.
Like romance novels, there are so many possibilities for a wedding. The hero and heroine are front and center, but it’s the bride (our heroine) who sets the tone for the story. Romantic or sophisticated. Beach babe or nostalgic. Sexy or sweet. She really does epitomize the genre of the wedding.
The secondary characters begin with the attendants, as many or as few as the bride needs. The guests, the father of the bride, the potential conflict and drama. From the tears to the applause to the distractions, the secondaries are there to support the heroine and her hero, right?
And the setting. Oh man, the setting. So many times when writing, we’re told that setting is character. The reception, the flowers, the food, the cake, even the music. They all create the world for our characters to live out their romance.
There are specific acts or turning points in both a book and in a wedding. The walk down the aisle and the beginning of the story. The ceremony – or the first meeting of the heroine and her hero. The first kiss. The first dance (oooh yeah baby!). The toast and the feast build the relationship. Thankfully most weddings don’t have a dark moment, but you could say that wave good bye as they leave the reception in a cacophony of tin cans or old shoes is a good climax. And the resolution? How about opening all those wedding gifts *g* The oohs and ahhhs and realization that yes, this lovely heroine and her hero are ready to start their life together.
Tell me what you think – do you like your romance novels to end with ‘the promise of marriage’ (a proposal, a wedding, or something similar) or is the lovely dovey commitment enough to make you close the pages with a smile? When it comes to weddings, what’s your favorite part?
And… the biggest question I mulled while writing this blog… if the heroine sets the tone and genre in a wedding… what –really– is the role of the hero? I’ve got an inkling of an idea, but would love to hear yours!!!
A baby was baptized this Sunday at church & I wept like a proud grandma.
I am, however, not this child’s grandma. I am not her mom, her auntie, or even her cousin. Her mother is a Facebook friend. An acquaintance, really. I’ve only seen the kid once or twice–just enough to know that she got a double scoop of cute and that she’s wicked fast on her tiny little feet.
But that’s not why I cried.
I cried because I’m a sucker for ceremony.
I cried because I think it’s gorgeous and touching and extravagantly optimistic to make a deep and private emotion into a public promise.
I cried because watching a community of people embrace a new member touches me.
Hearing that community pledge with one strong voice to guide, shelter and love a child all but wrecks me.
And the welcoming hymn? That powerful, unified voice raised in song?
Forget it. By then I’m a bawling mess. (“I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry” puts me over the edge faster than “Child of Promise” but they both slay me.)
And it’s not just baptisms. It’s weddings, too. Funerals. I’m a non-denominational crier. I cry at graduations. Dance recitals. Band concerts. Anything where a community welcomes, celebrates, recognizes or loses one of its members.
It’s thrilling, isn’t it? When people crack open that window into their truest hearts? When they try their hardest, perform their hearts out, bring their beloved child into the larger community or simply muster up the courage to declare their love?
I think that’s why I love romance novels. For me, the payoff is that moment of pure vulnerability that comes with saying “I love you” to somebody who might not say it back. It’s bearing witness when somebody pledges their heart. It’s foolish, bold and gorgeous, that kind of risk. And it brings tears to my eyes every single time.
So what about you? What is it about romance that trips your trigger? Do you like a good cry, or are you more a witty repartee kinda gal? Is it the sexual tension, or the alpha male with a tender streak? Why do you love this genre?
Hmm, that sentence looks rather odd. Now he’s released, can he still be a captive?
Aaaaarrrggghhh! It’s all too much to think about!
When we’ve got a…WEDDING to plan!
More about that to come. Hmm, I must be excited. I seem to be restricted to one-sentence paragraphs! Always a sign of rising agitation in a writer.
First, here’s the blurb for CAPTIVE OF SIN:
He pledged his honor to keep her safe . . .
Returning home to Cornwall after unspeakable tragedy, Sir Gideon Trevithick comes upon a defiant beauty in danger, and vows to protect her whatever the cost. He’s dismayed to discover that she’s none other than Lady Charis Weston, England’s wealthiest heiress—and that the only way to save her from the violent stepbrothers determined to steal her fortune is to wed her himself! Now Gideon must hide the dark secrets of his life from the bride he desires more with every heartbeat. She promised to show him how to love—and desire–again . . .
Charis has heard all about Gideon, the dangerously handsome hero with the mysterious past. She’s grateful for his help, but utterly unwilling to endure a marriage of convenience—especially to a man whose touch leaves her breathless. Desperate to drive him mad with passion, she would do anything to make Gideon lose control—and fall captive to irresistible, undeniable sin.
There’s already been a couple of great reviews. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said: “Luscious love scenes. Readers will cheer for these lovable and well-crafted characters.” ROMANTIC TIMES gave CAPTIVE OF SIN a Top Pick and a 4.5 star rating. They also gave Gideon a K.I.S.S. (Knight in Shining Silver) Award. Their wonderful review included these lovely words: “Campbell holds readers captive with her highly intense, emotional, sizzling and dark romances… a romantic, deep-sigh tale.”
So I thought, how best to celebrate this momentous occasion in Gideon and Charis’s (not to mention Anna Campbell’s) life.
As you’ll gather, this is my first marriage of convenience story. I suspect it won’t be my last. That’s just such a fun theme to play with.
Gideon and Charis elope to Jersey in the Channel Isles where she’s legally able to marry without the permission of her guardians even though she’s under 21. Prior to the Marriage Act of 1822, the Channel Islands operated as a de facto Gretna Green for people in the south of England. You could marry there without the restrictions that applied on the mainland. Actually this part of the research was really fun – although quite hard to do. In the end, I had to write to a library in Jersey and get them to help me with details like where the marriages took place and whether there was a residency requirement before the ceremony. The answer was that the marriages, like Charis’s and Gideon’s, usually took place in the inns and hotels that did a roaring business out of the runaway couples and you could make your vows the moment you set foot on the island. So eternal thanks to the Library of the Société Jersiaise in St. Helier.
Speaking of things that are fun, I had a great time finding pictures for this blog. If you google, weddings, you get the most amazing selection of drool-worthy images.
I’ve now decided I want to get married in Barbados.
Um, or Costa Rica.
Or why not go for a classic like a castle in the Scottish Highlands? That picture really did make my heart beat faster with excitement. Although I supsect the weather in Barbados, Costa Rica and Fiji might be a bit more reliable!
Anyway, back to Gideon and Charis. After all, this is their day! Of course, this brief ceremony in an inn parlor isn’t any girl’s dream wedding. Charis is wearing shabby borrowed clothing and she knows her groom doesn’t love her.
Hmm, could she be wrong, my friends?
Nonetheless, I feel Charis and Gideon deserve something a little more spectacular. So I’ve lined up the cabana boys. Sven has given up massaging and has promised to be an usher. The Banditas will make wonderful bridesmaids. We have tubs of margaritas out the back ready to go. I feel perhaps I should step in as mother of the bride!
All is set for a fairytale wedding.
Um, except where? How? What fabulous celebration shall we throw to celebrate the joining of Lady Charis Weston and the very gorgeous Sir Gideon Trevithick, national hero and baronet?
Well, Banditas and Buddies, that’s up to you!
Tell me about the wedding you’d put together for Charis and Gideon. My favorite three answers win signed copies of CAPTIVE OF SIN! Good luck, my wonderful wedding planners! May the best cake win!
We’re having a wedding in our family this month. My youngest and only son. Eric, is getting married in three days time. We love his fiance and she already feels like a part of the family. While I loved helping my daughter and son-in-law plan their wedding, and she wasn’t any kind of bridzilla, I’ve decided being the mother of the groom truly rocks!! Way less stressful.
This is a picture of me and my hubby on the day of our wedding. Good lord, we looked so young! I’d already been a nurse for two years and thought I was so grown up at 22. I remember everyone telling me you plan on only 75% of the people you invited actually showing up for your wedding. When they opened the doors to the sanctuary it was packed to capacity! Every single person invited who lived in town showed up. I was overwhelmed by their desire to attend our wedding. Most of the day was a blurr of smiling at my husband through the ceremony and saying hello to everyone at the reception. (It was a small church, by the way.)
This is the group picture of my daughter’s wedding party. It was a very relaxed wedding. She wore flowers in her hair instead of a veil, walked down the aisle to instrumental celtic music and her punk rock band, (including her spouse, brother and another groomsman) played for the reception. So when the photographer told them to go crazy, well you see what we got! By the way, everyone who attended had a heck of a good time.
I love weddings. Not just the ceremony itself, but the falling in love, getting engaged and then the wedding. Weddings symbolize a future full of hope and promise, love expanding, a new family. It all speaks to the romantic in me. Well, duh, I read and write romances!
Over the years I’ve seen some fabulous weddings both on TV, (Princess Di and Prince Charles) and in person, (my friends Terry and Bob). Princess Di’s was the wedding that stopped the world. Doesn’t everyone know where they were when they saw her go down the aisle? I do. We were at work, and all the nurses gathered in an empty room to watch the ceremony. We oohed and ahed at her arrival and going down the asile with that huge train! It was grandiose and a fairy tale come true. Even though it all fell apart, for that one moment in time, we believed in the fariy tale.
Terry and Bob’s wedding, while not stopping the free world, was a testament to two people falling in love and forming a bond, despite adversity in their lives. And as their friend I couldn’t have been more honored to be in the wedding. They’ve been married for 32 years now. A romance story come true. So, I love books that have weddings in them. SAVING GRACE by Julie Garwood has the hero and heroine married fairly early in the book. They have yet to fall in love and the wedding is for her protection. It’s not the typical wedding. She stops it several times to the frustration of her husband-to-be, his clans (he has two), and the priest. But when she hears the hero’s name is Gabriel, the protector of women and children, she stops her stalling. What a great wedding!
So tell me, what’s your favorite wedding from a book or movie? Was there something unique or fun about your wedding?
Disclaimer: Our guests run the gamut from personal friends, to interesting authors who've asked to appear, to authors whose books we love. We have not always read our guests' books before hosting them here. Some of them provide us with free books though most do not. We do receive a commission from Amazon for every book purchased through links on our site. For purposes of making purchasing decisions, visitors should assume the bandit sponsoring the guest has a personal connection of some kind to her guest and may have received a free copy of the guest's book.