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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Upcoming this week...

I'll be kicking off this week on the Wedding Planners with a post about Christmas weddings and the one I always thought I was going to have until we decided to get married in April!

On Tuesday, I'll have a link where you can read about Tasty Holiday Treats. Some of the other Wedding Planners authors gave me links to recipes, and boy, do they look yummy!

On Wednesday, Susan will be blogging about her upcoming December release.

On Friday, Shirley will talk about a wedding shower do-over.

Also, I'm running a contest on my blog. Today (Sunday) is the last day to enter. The three prizes are e-gift certificates so if you want a shot at winning, post a comment there.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wedding Pie?

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my mind is on food. Imagine that! When thinking of wedding food, we usually think of cake first, right? But did you know that wedding pie actually preceded the cake in weddings?

As best we can tell, the Bride’s Pie first appeared in the middle of the 17th century and was popular well into the 19th century when cakes took over. The bride’s pie was filled with sweet breads (a nice name for animal organs-yuck), mince meat, or may have simply been a mutton pie. A wonderfully fun "ingredient" was a glass ring hidden inside the filling. Tradition claimed that the woman who found the ring would be the next to wed. I guess the hidden ring was a lot like tossing the garter. One can only hope the lady who found the ring didn’t bite down too hard. Ouch!

By the late 19th century, pie had fallen out of favor and was replaced by the cake. But guess what I discovered over at Food Network? Wedding pies are gaining popularity with some brides and grooms. Take a look and see what you think. If this doesn't make you hungry and ready for tomorrow's big, big dinner, nothing will!


Sorry, I had hoped to post the video here but the best I can do is provide the link. Go and check it out and let me know what you think about 'Wedding Pie'.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wedding in a snow globe!

Like so many people today, one young couple last year had to make some tough choices, use their money to buy a house or pay for their wedding. They opted for the house, but one day when the bride was listening to a radio show, she heard about a special contest and she entered.

The prize? An all expenses paid wedding. The catch (or the bonus, depending on your viewpoints)? The wedding would take place in the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade in the McDonald's Snow Globe!

Here's the video:

It's definitely a wedding day that won't be forgotten soon.

Just a note: I'm running multiple contests this Christmas at my website (when one ends the next one begins), but if you leave a comment on the blog this week (today through Friday the 28th), I'll automatically enter you in the current contests.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, week, everyone!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stop in and Visit This Week!

Christmas is coming (as if you didn't know), and…somehow talking about weddings at this time of year just fits and doubles the excitement.

Check back tomorrow when I'll be talking about a very special (and unusual) wedding. Then come back on Wednesday when Linda Goodnight will be posting on...well, I haven't read the post yet, but I thought I saw something about pie. That conjures up all sorts of great feelings and memories and scents and...I can't wait. Say the word pie and I'm there!

And since this is Thanksgiving week, I'd love to know if you've ever been to a Thanksgiving week wedding (at least, it's Thanksgiving in the U.S.--my apologies to those who live elsewhere, but please feel free to join with your own memories of weddings from holidays in your own country. I'd love to hear them).

Don't forget to check back tomorrow!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Theme Weddings With A Twist

I was married in December and had a Christmas-themed wedding. We had the traditional poinsettia flower arrangements and green, red and gold decorations.

But I didn't put my bridesmaids in red velvet. I chose green satin instead. My flower girls (my sister Tammy and niece Kelli) were in white dresses with red dotted Swiss. I didn't want to be 'too' traditional in my approach to my Christmas themed wedding.

There are a lot of ways you can go with Christmas themes. You don’t even need to stick with red and green. http://www.allweddingideas.com/christmas-weddings suggests that gold, silver and burgundy are also Christmas colors.

Lifestyle.iloveindia (http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/christmas-table-decorations-3781.html) has the wonderful idea of using white, blue and pale shades of purple to give your Christmas table a winter look. They also suggest placing an ornamental silver candleholder in the center of the table and surrounding it with things like ornamental snowflakes, little snowmen, strands of clear beads, snowy white garlands, etc.

If you're really in a Christmas mood, todays-weddings.com suggests little stockings stuffed with chocolate for guest favors or a personalized ornament for each attendee's Christmas tree.

David's Bridal (Davidsbridal.com/styleguide_dressguide)has a fabulous (and simple!) guide to show you what kind of dress will look best for your figure! You can add a cape with white fur-trimmed hood to almost any of today's strapless gowns to even give yourself a little Christmas flair.

But the best way to have a Christmas themed wedding is to take a look at your family's holiday traditions and the traditions of your groom to personalize your wedding to make it special for the whole family.

susan meier

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hello Kitty...Wedding!

We have talked about themed weddings on this blog before. People have different passions, hobbies and favorite places that most can be incorporated into a wedding somehow.

I'm a big Star Wars fan and I must admit the thought of a wedding on the terrace of Villa Balbianello overlooking Lake Como where Star Wars ll: Attack of the Clones was filmed gives me the tingles.

But this one is a new for me...a Hello Kitty Wedding!

Check out this video of a couple in Hong Kong and their Hello Kitty wedding. Based on all the cameras and that it seems to take place in a train station or something, I wonder if it was a contest prize. The bride and groom look happy, but I wonder if this was his first choice of a wedding theme!

In case you might think they were the only ones to want a Hello Kitty wedding, think again. Hello Kitty is a very popular wedding theme.

I couldn't figure out how to embed this video, but it's a news report on the popularity of Hello Kitty weddings. At least one hotel in Japan offers a Hello Kitty Wedding package! There are even Hello Kitty wedding rings. And to make things even easier on the bride, they've designed an entire line of Hello Kitty wedding gowns. I'll have to ask Serena what she thinks about these dresses!

Imagine wearing a themed Hello Kitty wedding dress so everything coordinates on your special! But a warning, these dresses are not cheap. This pink one is around $4000.

I know one person who thinks this is the best idea ever! My five year old daughter wants to sign up now. She would love to have a Hello Kitty wedding and be a Hello Kitty bride especially if she could have Hello Kitty as her bride's maid. What about you?

Melissa McClone

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Monday, November 17, 2008

The Cookie Connection

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE food. I especially love dessert. The hardest part about being on a diet (and I'm perpetually one because I love food and dessert, and sadly, those two things don't go along with fitting in a bathing suit) is that you can't have cookies for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.

I know. The world is unfair.

But in my novels, I can create whatever world I want. I can create a world where people fall in love because of cookies. Hey, I would ;-). Actually, I'd probably fall in love over a chocolate chip, but then again, I'm easy to please.

That's the premise behind Marry-Me Christmas, which comes out in December. The heroine, Samantha Barnett, owns a bakery that makes cookies rumored to make people fall in love after they eat them. She doesn't know if this rumor is true because she bakes the cookies--but doesn't eat them, just in case. Then a reporter, Flynn McGregor, comes to town, to disprove this absolutely insane theory about the cookies.

It's my second book set in Riverbend, Indiana (those of you have read Miracle on Christmas Eve and remember Earl, will be pleased to know he gets more of a starring role in this book). Christmas is alive and well in Riverbend again this year and Flynn, unlike CJ in Miracle on Christmas Eve, is bah-humbugging his way through town. Until he meets Samantha, and starts to wonder if maybe he's been missing out on a little something by avoiding the magic of Christmas.

All kinds of foods are rumored to be aphrodisiacs. Oysters (ugh!), chocolate, figs, asparagus, champagne (okay, I can get behind that one. Give me the champagne and chocolates, but hold the oysters). Discovery Health even has an article on this phenomenon, that says the scent of pumpkin, as well as that of buttered popcorn, can get people in the mood for love. I don't know about you, but buttered popcorn has me ready for a theater and a double-feature with George Clooney.

Oh wait, maybe I am falling in love over popcorn ;-).

Tell me, do you believe in the whole "food can make you fall in love" thing? Do you have a food that you definitely can't live without? One that if your special someone brings it home, all is forgiven? Do share...virtual calories are waistline friendly!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Coming up this week..

I always love Sundays. I love getting up early (I know, you'd think I'd sleep in, but that getting up early thing is so ingrained, both in me and my dogs, that I just can't), grabbing the paper and sitting back with a cup of coffee to read. I always feel like I'm starting everything all over again when I do that, because it's the only day I have to begin the day in that leisurely manner.

And here we are, starting another week on The Wedding Planners, with three of our authors blogging--myself, Melissa McClone and Susan Meier.

You can always count on Melissa to have something funny and entertaining, like her post on Wedding Movies, or the horrifying failed ring exchange. I read her posts, watch those videos and say, "Thank goodness that wasn't MY wedding!"

And Susan, she is just a never-ending fountain of knowledge ;-). Whether it's tips from moms of the bride and groom, or tips for DIY brides, she's always got a great post to help out.

This week, we also have a special guest. On Thursday, author Tracy Wolff will be stopping by. Her first Harlequin Superromance, A Christmas Wedding, is in stores now, so check that out.

It's bound to be a great week! So grab a cup of coffee and read along with us!


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Sword Ceremony-A Romantic Military Custom

To me, there is nothing quite as manly and handsome and sexy as a man in uniform! So, I thought I would investigate the traditions unique to having a formal military wedding. One of those traditions is the Arch of the Swords (or Sabres). This tradition is so military and formal and full of pomp and ceremony and chivalry, I just had to tell you about it.

Arch of the Swords/Sabres: The tradition comes from both the American and the British in which the bride and groom pass beneath an arch formed with upraised swords. This arch is formed by uniformed officers as a means of ‘welcoming’ the newlyweds into the service. Strict protocol applies to the display and must be done in accordance with the rules specific to the bride’s or groom’s branch of military. Generally speaking, six ushers form the sword detail except in the Air Force. This branch prohibits the saber bearers from serving in any capacity other than the arch.

The Sword Ceremony takes place immediately following the closing blessing as the bride and groom turn to leave the chapel. The sword detail lines the aisle, doing so with sharp military bearing and in perfect form and unison. At the soft command of the leader, they raise their swords with one swift and continuous motion. The honor guard continues to stand at stiff attention while the bride and groom pass beneath the arch. As soon as the couple has cleared the archway, they pause with the sword detail behind them (and sometimes kiss). Then, again at a soft command and in perfect unison, the swords are lowered, and the couple continues the recessional. This same ceremony may take place as the couple passes into the reception area.

Cake Cutting:
The sword is also used to cut the cake. Again, strict protocol is adhered to. An officer lays the sword over his left forearm, cutting edge away from the body, hilt towards the bride. The bride takes the sword and cuts the wedding cake, with the groom's right hand resting over hers on the sword's hilt and with his left arm free to place around his bride. (Sigh) So romantic and chivalrous.

I like this so much, reader beware: It’s probably going to show up in a book someday!

I’ve never been to a military wedding but now I want to go! Have any of you ever been to one? If you live outside the U.S., does your military have any unique customs to share?

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marrying the Prince…or Not

When I was growing up, I was always hoping that something big and romantic and magical and (unfortunately) totally unlikely was going to happen to me. Of course, in my heart of hearts, I always knew that I was not going to marry a prince or be the prom queen or slay a thousand men's hearts, but I'm not sure it really mattered. The dream of having a special fairy tale moment was enough.

And as I grew older I realized that love and romance (and magic) are often born slowly, over time, out of situations that might not seem romantic at all, at first.

That's how I feel about the hero and heroine's situation in my November book, Her Millionaire, His Miracle. They're an unlikely pair. Jeremy's rich, Eden is anything but. She had a stunning crush on him when they were younger, and he didn't know she existed. And now…he's going blind, he's put brakes on his future (no marriage, no children) and she wants children more than anything else. It's clear that this isn't going to be simple. Eden isn't going to wake up and find herself marrying Jeremy, the prince of her younger years. Instead, there's deep emotion that builds, a slow awakening, the promise of tremendous heartbreak, some tears and…here's an excerpt:

Turn around. Go back home. This could all go so wrong. What was I thinking when I decided to go through with this? Eden Byars tried to appear calm as the housekeeper at Oak Shores showed her into Jeremy Fulton's north suburban Chicago mansion, but her thoughts didn't seem to be willing to play the game.

Just keep moving forward, she ordered herself. This was too great an opportunity. She couldn't let old, uncomfortable memories mess things up.

"Excuse me?" the housekeeper asked.

Eden blinked. Had she spoken her thoughts out loud? Maybe. "The house is beautiful," she said, trying to regain her poise. "I'd forgotten." And she had never actually been inside. Not even inside the gates or down the long, winding drive shaded by oaks. In fact, she'd only ever seen glimpses of the imposing mansion in the winter when the leaves had fallen.

The woman tilted her head. "Yes, there's no other like it. Mr. Fulton is in the library, right through there. He's expecting you." She indicated a massive set of mahogany doors and left to return to her duties.

Eden stood before the doors, smoothing her hands over her old navy-blue skirt. Silly to be nervous. She'd barely known Jeremy ten years ago. They'd hardly exchanged a dozen words beyond hello and goodbye. Different social classes, different everything. It had been a nonexistent relationship.

Except for the fact that she'd had an overwhelming secret and painful crush on him until…

Eden's face grew warm with embarrassment. She took a deep breath.
Dusty history, Byars. He won't remember. Please. And even if he did, it couldn't matter. She had to have the job she'd heard Jeremy was trying to fill. Fate had thrown her a curve last month just when she thought she was back on her feet. Suddenly she was down on her luck again. Creditors were calling and all of her plans were on the brink of evaporating if she didn't do something quickly.

A sick feeling slipped into her stomach. The thought of standing before Jeremy and revealing her desperation while he judged her brought back old flashbacks from high school of never fitting in.
But that had been long ago. Awkwardness was no longer her constant companion. She'd changed.

Apparently, so had Jeremy. In one major way.

Eden closed her eyes, remembering what she'd heard. She tried not to think of how he'd once been with that disarming amber gaze and those wild, reckless ways that made girls forgive him anything. Fast and brilliant and very openly temporary, he had been the most vital, alive male she'd ever known.

And now he was…

Eden backed away from the thought. Don't think about it. I can handle this, she told herself.

Could she? Maybe. Yes. She had to. Jeremy's situation wasn't her concern. No man was, not in a personal way. Besides, he was no longer a boy she coveted. He was just a man with a job to fill, someone who could aid or ruin her, and loitering outside the library wasn't helping things. If she didn't prove to Jeremy that she was the best—a term no one would have tagged her with when she was younger—if she didn't convince him to hire her…

I'll lose everything I've worked for. The distant dreams that had kept her going this past year would never materialize.
"I won't let that happen," she whispered. Not again. Ignoring her pounding heart and a lot of unfortunate memories, Eden took a deep breath, pushed at the massive mahogany door and prepared to confront her past.

Jeremy rose from the desk where he'd been sitting when the door opened. His housekeeper had buzzed him to let him know Eden was here several minutes ago and he'd been wondering why she hadn't appeared yet.

Well, sort of wondering. He imagined it took a bit of courage to face an old acquaintance under these circumstances. But he refused to examine his circumstances. Too many dangerous emotions down that path, something he'd learned to avoid. Instead he concentrated on the moment… and the woman. He would have preferred someone who'd never known him as he once had been, but Eden had been sent here by her cousin, Ashley, an old friend of his whom he trusted implicitly.

He looked toward Eden, turning his head slightly to catch the best possible view of her. It was a habit he'd had to get used to of late, and it worked, albeit imperfectly.

Showtime, Fulton. Put the big smile on for the lady.

I loved writing this book. The characters spoke to me, and Jeremy is a truly special man, both very powerful and vulnerable and…achingly unattainable. I guess I do get to have those magic moments, after all. Writing this book was one of them (and okay, I've had my share in real life. My husband and I spent the morning at an art museum, went for a romantic walk and then he took me out to lunch. Who needs to marry royalty when I have my very own prince)?
As Melissa mentioned earlier, The Wedding Planner authors have a number of books either out now or next month. Here's the schedule:

November – Her Millionaire, His Miracle by Myrna Mackenzie
Rescued by the Magic of Christmas by Melissa McClone
December – Marry-Me Christmas by Shirley Jump
Her Baby's First Christmas by Susan Meier

Also, in honor of Christmas I'll be having several contests at my website (in addition to the usual quarterly one, so please stop by and enter, or if you comment on today's blog entry, I'll automatically enter you in the first pre-Christmas contest, a grab bag containing a book and miscellaneous goodies).

Wishing all of you some of those very special romantic and magical moments. So...what was your "Marrying the Prince" fantasy when you were young?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jane is the Winner of Linda's Book!

In the random drawing for Linda's new book, The Millionaire's Nanny Arrangment, Jane Beckenham from New Zealand is our winner. Congratulations, Jane! Please send me your address and I will ship a copy to you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Here Comes the Bride By Deborah Bennetto

From my friend Deb's research. Enjoy!

Beneath the ocean, dangling from a parachute, aloft in a balloon, clinging to a rockface - what do these all have in common? They are all wild and wacky venues some adventurous couples choose for their wedding. But while the style of getting married is only limited by a couple’s imagination, the majority still favour the traditional ceremony steeped in customs that date back thousands of years.

The word “wedding” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” meaning a pledge. In the past, a wedding was more a financial arrangement than a romantic union. Relatives and friends from both sides would get together to thrash out the details. It was considered foolhardy to leave things to an experienced young couple when there were castles and large estates at stake. In some cases the details would take years to finalise. The nuptials between the Dauphin of France and Marie Antoinette took fourteen years to arrange.

Not being at liberty to choose one’s own spouse may seem outrageous to us, but it was a more civilised way of getting hitched than other customs employed by ancient civilisations. In Babylon, fathers would take their daughters to bride markets, to be sold into marriage. In parts of Europe, women were literally stolen from their homes by barbarians and forced to marry them.

Once a man had nabbed his bride, he would quickly marry her before someone else grabbed her. For this reason he made sure he was standing to the right of his bride with his sword hand free to fight off any unwelcome guests. Today the groom still stands on the right of the bride in Western ceremonies.

In fact, there are a few customs which date back to the days of marriage by capture. Once the ceremony had taken place between the man and his captured bride, he would whisk her off to a secret hiding place known only to one of his raiding escorts, the “best man”. This period of hiding is supposed to be the precursor to the honeymoon.

Whilst in Western cultures, arranged marriages are no longer common, the practice still continues in many places around the globe. The process involves relatives and friends of both parties coming to some agreement about the settlement of wealth or labour for their prospective in-laws. A dowry is money or property given by the bride’s family to the groom. Even in Western Cultures, some of today’s customs relate to the providing of a dowry. The exchange of wedding gifts; the practice of single girls collecting household goods such as linen and silver for their “bottom drawer” or a “hope chest” and the custom for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding are all traditions related to the practice of giving a dowry.

But it is not always a case of the bride’s family having to pay up. In some cultures the groom has to give things of high value to the bride’s father. This is known as the “bride price”. It is intended to show respect for the bride and her family and to compensate them for the loss of their daughter’s services. If the marriage fails, her father has to return the bride price, unless there are children of the union. The children would be deemed as belonging to the groom’s family and considered adequate compensation.

So how did men pop the question in days of yore? Did they gallantly drop to one knee? In fact, men often didn’t propose in person. Instead their representatives; either friends or members of their family would do the honours. If the party met a blind man, a pregnant woman or a monk on the way, they would abandon their mission for these were considered bad luck omens if they continued. If, on the other hand, they met nanny goats, pigeons or wolves they were happy. These were thought lucky (although many might disagree about how lucky it is to meet a wolf – especially a hungry one!).

An old Celtic custom was that of handfasting. This was a type of temporary marriage. The right hands of both partners were binded together during the ceremony. A period of one year and a day followed, at the end of which the couple could renew their vows if they wished, or call the whole thing off. For the residents of Dunmow in Britain, a side of bacon was awarded to those couples who renewed their vows. This became known as the Dunmow Flitch.

In Mediaeval Britain, when the parents of a betrothed couple met for the first time it was known as flouncing. This celebration established a legal agreement between both parties. If later one or the other of the couple broke things off then the other party was entitled to half the other’s property.

During Elizabethan times in England, it was permitted to withdraw from a marriage contract under certain circumstances, namely if any of the following applied to the other party:

• Found guilty of heresy, apostasy or infidelity.
• Seriously disfigured
• Proved to be previously (and still) married
• Guilty of enmity, wickedness or drunkenness
• If a long separation had occurred between both parties.

So which is the best day to marry? In the West, Saturday is the most popular day, but according to this famous old rhyme it is also the unluckiest:

Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

And some helpful advice to find the perfect month to marry:

Married when the year is new,
He’ll be loving, kind and true
When February birds do mate,
You wed nor dread your fate
If you wed when March winds blow,
Joy for Maiden and for Man
Marry in the month of May,
And you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow,
Over land and sea you’ll go.
Those who in July do wed,
Must labour for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change is sure to see.
Marry in September’s shire,
Your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry,
Love will come bur riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November,
Only joys will come, remember
When December snows fall fast,
Marry and true love will last.

June was considered an ideal month in which to marry because the month was named after Juno, the Roman Goddess of love and marriage.

The banns are the public announcement of an intention to get married. They were introduced in 800 AD by Charlemagne, a Germanic King who was made Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. He wanted to stop marriages between close family members because they were causing genetic problems and madness in society. Announcing the banns gives the community time to advise the authorities if they know that the betrothed couple are brother and sister. Today the banns still form part of the wedding preparations in many countries.

Rings were introduced by the Egyptians around 2800 BC. For them a ring signified eternity – a circle with no beginning or end. Exchanging rings became part of the religious wedding ceremony in Europe around the 11th Century. Some believe their significance goes back to the days of Ancient cultures who used cords, woven from rushes and grasses, to bind themselves to their mates as a symbol of unity. Others believed rings evolved from the chains used by barbarians to capture their brides.

The third finger of the left hand is the common choice for the wedding ring. This is thought to date back to the Romans who believed (incorrectly) that there was a special vein in this finger called the vena amoris which ran directly to the heart.

Different cultures choose different fingers on which to wear their wedding rings. Jewish people wear their rings on the index finger of the right hand. In India they favour the thumb and in the Greek Orthodox Church girls wear the rings on the left hand before marriage and the right hand after marriage. Whichever the finger chosen the important thing is not to drop the ring during the marriage ceremony. It is considered an omen of disaster.

Diamonds are popular stones in an engagement ring, for they symbolise everlasting love. The first diamond engagement ring was reportedly given by Maximilian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. The ancient Greeks believed diamonds were splinters of stars that had fallen to earth.

Part Two next time!

Has anyone got a really weird and wacky wedding to outdo the walrus or the gangsters? A copy of The Bridegroom's Secret to the weirdest one!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Rescued by the Magic of Christmas

If you've read book #3 of The Wedding Planners, SOS Marry Me, then you've already met Jake Porter, the hero of my November Harlequin Romance, Rescued by the Magic of Christmas. It was fun getting to introduce my hero in SOS Marry Me.

From Chapter 8 of SOS Marry Me:
"You won't find a better group of men and women. One of the best SAR experts in the country is out there, too. Jake Porter. He's from Oregon Mountain Search and Rescue and was training our unit this past weekend. When the call came in on Sunday, he decided to stay and join the team in the field."

Belle forced a smile. "Well, you can't ask for more than that, can you, darlin'?"

The strain on Charlie's face eased. "I guess you can't.

From Chapter 8 of SOS Marry Me:
"You're in good hands, Miss," Ray said. "Freeman's new at this, but Porter is from Oregon Mountain Search and Rescue. He knows exactly what he's doing."

She looked up at Porter. "I've seen those mountain rescues in Oregon on the news. I'm sure I'm in good hands."

"Hey," Freeman said. "We have mountains in Idaho, too."

Porter winked. "You've got foothills here, kid."

From Chapter 9 of SOS Marry Me"
"We're almost there, Serena." Jake Porter encouraged her along the snow-covered trail as they traveled on horseback. The way he had for hours. "Warm enough?"

"Toasty and dry in these clothes you guys loaned me." She appreciated his humor and upbeat attitude not to mention his killer smile and blue eyes, but she was ready to get there. Wherever "there" might be. "Thanks."

In Rescued by the Magic of Christmas, Jake Porter is back home on Mount Hood in Oregon. The sister of his late best friend is back in town for the holidays after being away for six years. Jake is determined to she'll enjoy herself. If you'd like to read an excerpt, click here.

I love reading Christmas romance novels so I was thrilled to get a chance to write another Christmas story. Imagine listening to Christmas carols in the summer and fall. I also got to dream about gingerbread houses, mistletoe and snow! I'm a total Christmas junkie and could spend hours in a Christmas themed store no matter month of the year.

Do you love Christmas? What about Christmas romance novels?

Everyone who comments on this post will be entered into my blog contest for the month of November. The prizes are:

1st prize: $25 gift certificate (your choice of any website that offers email gift card/certificates)
2nd prize: $15 gift certificate (your choice of any website that offers email gift card/ certificates)
3rd prize: $10 gift certificate (your choice of any website that offers email gift card/certificates)

For more contest details, click here.

It's a little early to wish you Merry Christmas, but remember Harlequin Romances make great stocking stuffers.  Four of the Wedding Planners authors, Myrna, Shirley, Susan and I, have books coming out in November and December.  Lots of Christmas cheer and happily ever afters for you!


Melissa McClone

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Would You...On Camera?

There's lots of TV shows popping up lately like "I Propose" on the Style Network and "My Super Proposal" on Spike TV that are all knock-offs of shows just like them from years before. Basically, put some poor guy through his paces, make him go to desperate measures to create an amazing proposal, and hope the girl says yes.

Talk about a lot of pressure.

Not just for the guy. I mean, guys are nervous enough. First, they have to get up the nerve to ask the girl. Then they have to get the ring. Pick a date to ask. Pick a location. Come up with a speech, or at least something better than "wanna get hitched?" and then there's the worry about whether she'll even say yes.

But when you add in TV cameras, a live (or even not live) audience, and dozens of family and friends waiting behind a curtain to jump out and yell, "Surprise," you've created an entirely new dynamic.

What happens if the girl doesn't fall for the ruse? What happens if the proposal is refused? And then that most humiliating moment is replayed, over and over again, on national television for years to come. It's bad enough to live through it in real life (no matter which side of the ring you're on), but to have it blasted on television screens throughout North America (and don't forget You Tube and the network's website, and people's blogs...)...it's a wonder anyone signs up for these shows.

Yet, they do. What I wonder is whether YOU would. Would you say "Yes" on camera? Would you propose on camera? Or would you rather keep that in a quiet, private, just the two of you moment? I know my DH was nervous enough, without the added pressure of a camera crew ;-).


Monday, November 3, 2008

Dresses for the Mother of the Bride

Yesterday, as I was cruising for ideas for this blog, I found several sites where a mother of the bride can either window shop -- which means check to see what's available and at what price -- or actually purchase some very nice mother of the bride dresses.

Nordstroms at Nordstrom.com has beautiful dresses that give a mother of the bride plenty of options. Though I didn't look at all the pages, prices I saw ranged from $120 to $400.

If you're looking for a designer dress...


has a few really beautiful options. Of course, you're going to pay a little more there. But if you're not looking to buy, simply looking for what's in style, websites like this give you the perfect opportunity to see what's out there.

We're all smart enough to know that we have to take our figure into consideration when we choose a dress! For those of us who aren't quite as svelte as we were in our youth -- before our child was old enough to become a bride! -- there are plenty of links of us too.

www.sydneyscloset.com/asp/category.asp?categoryid=52 - 46k -

The dresses I found here were gorgeous! Colors were bright and cheerful. It heartens me to realize that when my kids decide to tie the knot, I don't have to look frumpy just because I put on a few pounds!

What if you actually want to buy online? Keep two things in mind. First, I typically buy 2 sizes. My normal size and one size up. If I'm lucky and the normal size fits, all I have to do is send the "up" size back. It costs me postage. If my normal size doesn't fit, if I'm lucky, the "up" size will. Second, if neither size actually fits, then you'll have to get the "up" size altered. Why? Because though we all believe a smaller size can be taken out...your chances are better that a bigger dress can be cut down.

Shopping for a mother-of-the-bride dress can be a wonderful experience. Check prices online before you actually hit the stores and you'll not only have an idea of what you'd like to wear; you'll also have a better idea of how much to spend!

susan meier

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Week Ahead

This week Melissa McClone will post the cover for her November release and an excerpt!

Tomorrow, I'll be discussing mother of the bride dresses.

Hope to see you!

susan meier