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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Weddings and Writing

Today's guest blogger is the talented Virginia Kantra, who also happens to be my critique partner. She's also the one who helped me come up with Serena's wedding tips in the front of SOS Marry Me!

Writing about weddings and having someone planning one at the same time was oh-so-helpful to me, but as you'll read, Virginia had some writing of her own going on at the time. Enjoy!

A year ago this month, I was planning a wedding and writing a book. That sentence should come with one of those disclaimers you see at the bottom of car commercials:
“Do not try this at home.”

But as I explained to my critique partner Melissa, I didn’t have a choice. I had a deadline. And we have a daughter, an amazingly competent, intelligent, energetic, on-fire professional woman whose response to all things wedding was “Mommy Do It.”

So I did, and it was mostly a joy.

For five months, I was consumed by details of The Dress (by Maggie Sotterro)

I interviewed florists,

debated over cake,

and ordered fourteen pairs of shoes from Zappos.

“Don’t worry,” Melissa kept saying as she was tackling her own line edits for SOS Marry Me, “this is great material for a book.”

I snorted. “Yeah. Yours.”

Except, you know, Melissa was right. The following is from Sea Fever, book 2 of The Children of the Sea, an August release from Berkley.
Chapter 1

The night the only eligible man on the island got married, Regina Barone got drunk.

Getting laid would have been even better.

Regina looked from Bobby Kincaid, whose eyes had taken on the wet glaze of his beer bottle, to fifty-three-year-old Henry Tibbetts, who smelled like herring, and thought, Fat chance. Anyway, on an island with a year round population of eleven hundred, a drunken hook-up at a wedding reception could have serious consequences.

Regina knew all about consequences. She had Nick, didn't she?

The wedding tent's tiebacks fluttered in the breeze. Through the open sides, Regina could see the beach where the happy couple had exchanged their vows--a strip of shale, a tumble of rocks, a crescent of sand bordering the restless ocean.

Not your typical destination wedding. Maine, even Maine in August, was hardly St. Croix.

And the beach wedding described in Sea Fever is not my daughter’s wedding. The couple getting married are the hero and heroine of my July release, Sea Witch.

And yet…
With less than a month to plan and prepare, with only a clueless bride and the groom's awkward sister for support, Regina had pulled off the wedding she'd never had. The rented tent was warm with lantern light, bright with delphinium, daisies, and sunflowers. Crisp white linens covered the picnic tables, and she'd dressed up the folding chairs from the community center with flowing bows.

Flashback to our two tall, handsome sons on their knees in the reception hall the day before the wedding, tying organza sashes around 150 white-covered chairs.

Finally, there was the look in the groom’s eyes:
The naked intensity in Cal's eyes as he watched his wife closed Regina's throat.

In her entire life, no man had ever looked at her like that, as if she were the sun and the moon and his entire world wrapped up in one.

On the day of their wedding, our new-son-in-law looked at our daughter just like that.

It was enough to make you believe in happy endings.

So, which would you opt for? Destination wedding or family church? Or doesn’t it matter as long as the man waiting for you at the end of the aisle has just that look in his eyes?

Virginia has graciously donated a copy of Shifter, an anthology featuring her novella Sea Crossing which is a prequel to her upcoming releases, to be given away on the blog today. The winner will be selected from those posting comments! Good luck!

A six-time Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist, Virginia Kantra is the winner of numerous writing awards, including the Golden Heart, Golden Leaf, Holt Medallion, Maggie Award of Excellence and two National Readers' Choice Awards. After writing her popular "MacNeill Brothers" and "Trouble in Eden" series for Silhouette, Virginia turned her hand to romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her new series, Children of the Sea, debuts with the back-to-back releases of Sea Witch (July 2008) and Sea Fever (August 2008).

To read more about her or The Children of the Sea series, visit Virginia on MySpace!

All wedding photos copyright Mindy Gorman Photography. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Linda Goodnight said...

Great blog, Virginia. I love the way you mixed the book romance with the real life wedding. Congrats on that new son-in-law. He sounds like a keeper!

June 26, 2008 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Hi Virginia. Great blog post. It is great how you used your wedding experience in your books.

June 26, 2008 at 7:18 AM  
Anonymous JoLynn Backes said...

Definitely family church. My husband and I were very lucky when we got married. The priests who baptized us (one his uncle, and one a very good friend of my family who also performed my mom's wedding ceremony) co-officiated our service. The look in their eyes as they pronounced us man and wife were priceless. It's one of my favorite pictures from the wedding.

June 26, 2008 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger Sarita Leone said...

The look in the groom's eyes...


It just doesn't get any better than that! Great post!

June 26, 2008 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Virginia Kantra said...

Thanks for the welcome!

Yes, our daughter's husband is definitely a keeper. While our daughter danced with my husband, I was dancing with the groom. He looked me in the eyes and said, "This is the best day of my life. Thank you."

I melted.

Jolynn, our newlyweds also chose to be married by a priest who has known our girl since she was eleven or so. It made the homily so much more personal and touching!

June 26, 2008 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger WK said...

Ohh Virgina, congrats on your daughter's wedding. I don't think I've said that yet. What a great post and great excerpt. Dang you!LOL

You just gotta tease don't you?

As for your question, I got married in the Church I was baptisted in and had attended for years. A beautiful old church. And hubby was waiting at the alter with the pastor who baptisted me and had retired but wouldn't hear of anyone else marrying me. I remember my cousin walking me down the aisle and hubby never took his eyes off me. Once cuz kissed my check(a surprise) he gave my hand to hubby and hubby leaned in and whispered "you are so beautiful".LOL We in fact just celebrated our 12th anniversary on the 22nd of June.

so for me, it's more about who I was marrying, rather than location. I will add that my wedding was a LOT cheaper than it looked. We had friends who donated flowers, friend who donated a pig for the reception(country folks we are so we had a pig pickin'), another friend gave us a deal on the fountain and candles, the church donated the programs, the singer did it for free.....etc...so we really really had a wedding that everyone had a hand in.LOL


June 26, 2008 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Welcome Virginia,
Zappos is awesome. I guess if you can't find the right color you could always bring them to Baker's and have them dye it for you. Does anybody remember Baker's?

June 26, 2008 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

The pictures you posted are lovely.
I sometimes wish we were married somewhere else, but that's past. What I remember most wasn't the location, it was the look in my now Hubby's eyes as we said "I do". I might trade locations, but never that look.
Thanks for the post and Congratulations on your new Son. *G*

June 26, 2008 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Cheri2628 said...

Awww...what a sweet story. I loved the line about how your son-in-law looks at your daughter. As her mother, you must feel so blessed that she has found a man who loves her that much!

June 26, 2008 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Lily said...

Congrats on that wedding... The dress is fabulous!

It is nice that all that planning helped Melissa in her book too :-)

June 26, 2008 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Tori Lennox said...

I keep saying if/when I get married, I'm opting for Vegas. Oddly, nobody seems to take me seriously despite the fact I am. *g*

June 26, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Nathalie said...

Thanks for sharing this spceial moment with us!

It was funny how Melissa was so supportive! Talking of a great critique partner ;-)

June 26, 2008 at 3:23 PM  
Blogger cpullum said...

I love wedding stories!!!!

June 26, 2008 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger catslady said...

My daughter's wedding is 5 weeks away and I love hearing about all these wedding stories. I can see pluses and minuses to both kinds of weddings. My daughter debated on the destination wedding but knew a lot of people wouldn't be able to make it and then there's the passports etc. - they opted for marrying in a gazebo at a historical hotel instead.

June 26, 2008 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger Virginia Kantra said...

Thank you all for the kind comments and congrats!

It really was such a joyful day. I think that's what makes wedding stories--wherever they're set--so emotionally evocative for so many of us. Catslady, your daughter's site sounds beautiful.
And Vegas, well, what more do you need than the bride, the groom, and Elvis?

Melissa was a definite support. Plus we got to go virtual shopping for wedding dresses!

June 26, 2008 at 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Cathy S. said...

I enjoyed seeing how reality and fiction overlapped.

I think it would be fun to go for a destination wedding, although we didn't get to.

June 26, 2008 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Greetings! What a romantic post! Your book sounds wonderful. Please enter me in your drawing. Thanks, Cindi

June 26, 2008 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Virginia Kantra said...

Thanks, you all, for visiting and posting! Melissa, let me know when you've drawn a winner.

June 28, 2008 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Loved your post! I love the way you talk about your wedding and use it in your stories.

June 28, 2008 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Virginia said...

Loved your post! I love the way you talk about your wedding and use it in your stories.

June 28, 2008 at 6:50 PM  
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