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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Halo Wedding

We've had a few posts on wedding themes here at the Wedding Planners, but a wedding held in Orlando, Florida on January 17th was a new one for me. This bride and groom themed their wedding on a video game.

The newlyweds met playing Halo so the gamers thought a Halo-themed wedding would be perfect. I know nothing about the game, but one of the characters named Master Chief presided over the ceremony. I suppose this is no different than any of the other themes people pick, except this one sure generated a lot of publicity.

Here's a peek from MTV who covered the Halo nuptials:

Is there a game you love enough to make it the theme of your wedding? And if you had to choose between a Halo or a Hello Kitty wedding, what would you pick?

Melissa M

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Like Starting Over All Over Again

DH and I bought a new house last week, which will make for our first big move in 11 years. We're not moving far--just about 10 minutes away from where we live now--but we are making a big change.
The house we bought is currently an empty palatte. It's all white inside. White paint, white floors, white tile, white cabinets. We looked at that and thought "cool," we can give it our own stamp.
Uh-huh. Easier said than done.
We started with the furniture. We've been married nearly two decades, and still had a lot of Early Marriage Furniture. You know the kind--the stuff donated by well-meaning relatives, or the stuff you find at garage sales or on the side of the road (that is where my dining room "hutch," really an overgrown bookcase, came from). We wanted stuff that matched. That was meant for the room it went in, i.e., a real hutch ;-)
Furniture took us through a lot of uh...heated discussions. Yeah, they were discussions. Ahem. Really. We survived enough to choose appliances. Then we moved on to paint.
Don't get me started on THAT. Took us nearly two weeks to decide on paint, and we finally nailed down all but one color last night -- when the painter arrived to pick up our final choices because he's starting today. Between him and the interior decorator/flooring designer we had called, we had enough people (think mediators ;-) to make decisions.
It's kind of like when we first got married and had to merge our two highly divergent personalities and tastes in one tiny apartment. It took us weeks to make decisions on everything, and we ended up painting over a few rooms because our compromises turned out to be awful decisions, LOL. We lived and learned, and eventually settled on beige the longer we stayed together (the true compromise ;-). But now we want something vibrant, some real color to go with all those windows and height, and so we had to start at Ground Zero, merging two different views to find a compromise.
So, by next Friday we should have replaced the white with color--a bold step, for beige people--and then be living in our new house a few days after that.
And I'm sure we'll never have another uh...discussion about decorating again ;-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wedding Planners

I'm sort of a idiot when it comes to the Internet and/or anything technological. So this morning when I needed to write a new post for this blog, I googled weddingplanners@blogspot.com. Which is our URL...or so I think. I never really know.

Because I didn't get our blog. Instead I got a list of blogs on "how to become a wedding planner".

I was a bit surprised, but then I was intrigued. Wedding Planning would be fun. Sort of. Maybe. If you could deal with all the insanity that surrounds a wedding. LOL

On further investigation, I found a wedding planner course, a school for wedding planners and a wedding planner institute.

But the site I found on FabJob.com was by far the best site I found. Partially because it has tons of information, but also there's a link to a book you can purchase.


I found that site by going to this site...


It's a blog by wedding planner Max. Max gives practical advice for how to learn to become a wedding planner. Nitty gritty, nuts-and-bolts stuff he learned along the way. You can "hear" his enthusiasm all through the post. It's obvious he loves his job!

I especially love the quote in his profile, "I never regret for being able to help brides' create the ultimate experience for life's grandest celebration."

Weddings are life's grandest celebration! And if you're interested in a career in wedding planning, checking out Max's blog might be a great place to start.

susan meier

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Week Ahead

Good Morning

Unless I misheard our weatherman last night, windchill took our temperatures far enough below zero that only incredibly foolish people went outside! I notice the Midwest is in a deep freeze too! We're not expecting a warm up until the end of the week, so it seems to me this is the perfect time to get caught up on blog reading!

Shirley, Melissa and I are posting this week. So it should be fun!

Grab your cocoa, hot coffee or tea and join us.

susan meier

Friday, January 23, 2009

Does that wedding ring come with guacamole?

I really didn't intend to post another wedding message right now. Certainly not another "unusual wedding" post. But then I saw this and I just had to share it. Just let me begin by saying that I am a frugal woman. I really am, so I am, of course, impressed at the cost of the dress in this video. Furthermore, I love unique and creative ideas. And yet...unusual wedding setting might be a bit too unique for even me. Or maybe not. If I was really strapped for cash, maybe I would do this. At least everyone seems to be having a good time. What do you think?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Note from Linda: I mistakenly referred to Merrillee as the M.O.G. when, in faact, she was the M.O.B. Please join me in welcoming Love Inspired author and Mother of the Bride, Merrillee Wren!

This past Monday the photographer who took the photos of my daughter’s wedding called to let me know the wedding albums were ready. I rushed right over to get them. Although we have plenty of snapshots and 4 x 6 prints from the wedding that friends took as well as those of the photographer, there is something about the official wedding album that captures all the moments that meant the most to the bride and groom. After all, they spent hours going over four hundred plus photos to choose ten percent of them to put in an album that would capsulize the memories of that day.
Even though I had already seen the photos my daughter and her new husband had chosen, seeing the photos in the album with the special matting and trim made the pictures stand out. Also looking at the photos again took me back to that special day in October 2008 when they exchanged vows on the beach near our home.

My other daughter got married on that same beach a couple of years ago, and I blogged about that experience here in May 2008 if you’d like to check out the archives. Since I already had the experience planning a beach wedding, I was convinced that this time around would be a piece of cake—wedding cake that is. We would use the same caterer, photographer, florist and rental place for the tent, tables and chair for the reception. However, we found it easier to use a Bose system with an iPod dock for all the music from the processional on the beach to the dance music at the reception. It worked beautifully. We had no worries about getting sand and salt air in any instruments on the beach or wiring speakers for the reception.

The wedding day arrived, but it was overcast and looked like rain—not a welcome sight for the bride whose heart was set on getting married on the beach. The beach had also been torn up by storms and covered with dried seaweed—not the same beautiful beach conditions that had greeted our other daughter’s wedding in May 2006.

The ceremony was set for five o’clock so we were praying that the skies would clear by then. When I took my daughter to get her hair done at one o’clock, sprinkles of rain dotted the windshield. My daughter looked as gloomy as the clouds overhead, but our prayers were answered. When I picked her up about an hour later, the sun peeked through those clouds. By the time we had loaded the wedding cake in the trunk of my mother-in-law’s car, the sun was shining and the sky was a bright autumn blue.

After delivering the cake, we showered and headed to my mother-in-law’s house to dress for the ceremony. My son-in-law and brother-in-law were out on the beach raking away seaweed. I carried a couple of torches and the table for the sand ceremony, but we were running out of time. The guests were arriving, and I had to get dressed. Where had all the time gone?

As the guests arrived, I directed them through the gate toward the path that led to the beach and handed them each a torch to carry and place in the sand to form the aisle down which the bride would walk. Despite the seeming chaos of the last hour before the ceremony, everything turned out.

Was this wedding a piece of cake? Not exactly, but what would we have to talk about if everything had gone smoothly? I finally came to the conclusion that even though I had done this all before, if you are the wedding planner and have the reception at your house, the wedding day will be chaotic no matter how well you plan.

In my book, Mommy’s Hometown Hero, a January 2009 release from Steeple Hill, my hero and heroine attend the wedding of the hero’s brother, who happens to be the hero of my February 2008 book, Four Little Blessings. I used the some of the memories of my daughter’s beach wedding while I wrote that scene. What would a romance be without a wedding?

Do you have some wedding memories?

Linda's Note again: Arent't these wedding photos and this cover just lovely?

Monday, January 19, 2009


I have a new puppy!

Yes, I hear you out there, asking what in the world does this have to do with weddings or romance or even books. Bear with me. I’ll explain.

But first let me introduce Moki, a Jack-rat mix adopted from a kill shelter two weeks ago. Some time past, Melissa McClone told me about Petfinders and after our wonderful old rat terrier died, we decided to adopt a shelter dog. I searched for a while but when Moki’s sad little face appeared, (above photo) I knew he was for us. A little battered from mistreatment, but eager to love, Moki is now thriving.

That’s the thing about dogs-a lot of love and attention garner a pet owner an enormous return. Such is the case in my current Harlequin Romance, THE SNOW-KISSED BRIDE. (See, I told you I’d get around to the wedding and romance part.) The book’s heroine, Melody has two search and rescue dogs that she considers family. Ace and Chili play big roles in the book, so of course, when it comes time for the wedding, guess what two, loveable canines step up to do their part?

So, tell us, have you ever been to a wedding that included a pet? Or maybe you’ve read a book or seen a movie with a dog that stole the show?

One last thing, I have to know. How many of you have seen the new comedy movie, “Marley and Me”? Did you cry?

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Coming up this week

It's cold out there! January winds are fierce and the temperatures painful, so instead of fighting the chill, why not stay inside, curl up with a cup of cocoa and enjoy some blog time with thet Wedding Planner authors? We'll be right here waiting. I'll even share my marshmallows.....

Monday - Please come by and meet the new addition to Linda Goodnight's family!

Special Guest! One day this week (Tuesday if all goes well) we're scheduled to host author and recent M.O.G. (Mother of the Groom) Merrillee Wren. Please be here to say hello.

Wednesday - Melissa James will be posting from the beautiful land of the Swiss.

Friday - You won't want to miss Friday when Myrna McKenzie shares "Does this wedding ring come with guacomole?"

Is that an intriguing title, or what?

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Friday, January 16, 2009

From Brides to Bridesmaids

In my next book, The Bridesmaid and the Billionaire, I got to switch gears a little bit and write about a bridesmaid (actually the maid of honor). It was a lot of fun doing the perspective of the maid of honor -- and pairing her with the best man, an out-of-town and undercover billionaire.
The coolest part about this book is Harlequin's promotion for it. It's being released during Harlequin's Diamond Anniversary, and to celebrate, they're giving away a really cool diamond necklace and a spot in a book to the person who shares the coolest wedding proposal. Check out the contest here.
Anyone can enter -- not just a new bride or to-be bride. So polish off your pen and get your entry in ;-)
Ironically, during the month that The Bridesmaid and the Billionaire is in stores, I'm writing a novella -- about a best man, to be released in a two-book compilation featuring the bridesmaid in one story and the best man in the other. :-) I think I'm going to have to go into the wedding business after this!
Seriously, though, it's been fun. I've been married so long that writing these books lets me relive all that wedding magic. It's sort of like having a little Christmas with each book--all the glitter and glam, without the work or expense ;-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weight Wars

Have you ever had one of those defining moments in your life when it suddenly felt like the whole world stopped while you caught up?

I had one this holiday. I knew I had been gaining weight over the past few years, but when my sister showed me a picture of me with a few of my thin sisters, I gasped, then choked and dropped the cookie in my hand. I've never been thin. I honest to God have big bones. I know what you're thinking. Everybody says that. But I seriously have big bones. At 108 pounds (and almost 5'6") I wore a size 8. I've never been smaller than that. And with my recent weight gain, well let's just say that if I wrapped my boobs and put on a helment any professional football team would be proud to have me on their defensive line.

I seriously gave dieting a good shot. The day after Christmas I started on the treadmill, working to get my butt off the back of my knees and rather than buy the expensive frozen meals from the company on TV, I bought lunches and suppers from the freezer section of my local supermarket. For a week, I was diligent (and hungry) and eagerly jumped on the scale, only to discover I'd not lost an ounce.

Nada. Nothing.

I tried another verion of eating less and added a few minutes to the treadmill and again nothing. I felt like Tim Allen in the Santa Claus movie and scoured the want ads just in case the old Santa had died and they were looking for a female replacement.

Luckily, over the weekend, someone on one of my loops suggested that I had to build muscle mass before I could lose weight. Ah. Now things were beginning to make sense. I broke out my Ten-Minute Trainer tapes and started working to bring my muscles back to life because muscle burns more fat.

So for all you brides out there who are hoping to wear a size smaller for your wedding day...and mothers of the bride, hoping to look good for pictures...let me suggest you start now! Eat right, don't starve. Get some healthy exercise and start slowly as I did. Don't think you can jog for an hour if you haven't exercised in years! See your doctor for an exam to be sure you're in good enough shape to begin exercising.

Don't wait until the last minute in case your body's like mine, in need of a bit of coaxing before it will let go of its (obviously beloved) fat rolls!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rehersals and Weddings

Today's guest blogger is Harlequin Romance author Donna Alward. Donna also oversees the Harlequin Romance Authors blog for which of all of Wedding Planners are most grateful for. We think you'll like Donna, too, once you read her post today. Enjoy!

Like most events in life surrounded by romance and hype and sentimentality, (Christmas anyone?) weddings are the most beautiful and also one of the most stressful events we’ll ever go through.

To be honest, most of my wedding planning was stress free. I had my dress well in advance and I loved it. We booked the church and the reception venue with a minimum of fuss. We had a few moments of head exploding frustration as we did our own invitations (and spent an outrageous amount of money on a colour inkjet printer, long since obsolete). We were so on the ball that my mum even went on a trip for the entire month before the wedding, coming back only 10 days before the big day.

But as most brides know, that’s all the easy stuff. Because it’s the last 24 hours that everything comes together and when there is the most potential for things to go wrong.

The first thing that happened was we realized that the cake topper I’d bought wouldn’t work with the cake we had AT ALL. Cue a 2 hour delay as I had to drive into town and had a florist make up a fresh flower top. I didn’t want fresh flowers. And while it sounds like a small detail, when you have everything scheduled just so, two hours is a big deal. I will admit though that the flowers looked just right and the cake was beautiful.

Then there was going to the church to decorate. We were married the week after Thanksgiving and the windowsills were decorated with apples, Indian corn, preserves. It actually looked very nice and we kept much of it but added a cloth, took out the jars and replaced them with fresh cut mums and asters. But there’d been a mess as there was a squirrel getting into the church and one of the jars had been knocked over and broken leaving a sticky mess behind. Then there was the fact that many of the apples had bites out of them. I had horrible visions of the squirrel running up the aisle during the ceremony a la Mississippi Squirrel Revival by Ray Stevens.

But we got it all sorted and I loved the harvest feel to the decorations. Being a farm girl, it just felt right. (I should also note a lovely bit of symmetry. The fresh flowers came from the garden of a family friend, Ethel. Ethel died a few years ago, and I’m very lucky her husband is now my step dad. It’s another thing that feels right – the connection that goes so far back between the families.)

But really the stress really happened at the rehearsal.

It was bedlam. I’m an organized person and the chaos was so disconcerting. My pew markers were not cooperating and I handed the job over to my sister in law and aunt. There were arguments and noise and it was bad enough the minister patted my hand and said, “I’m so sorry.” At one point I ended up on the back steps just trying to breathe. If it was all going so very wrong the night before, how could anything come together the next day?

We departed for my inlaws house for a rehearsal buffet and then I was told – perhaps a fabricated saying to calm my nerves – that a bad rehearsal meant a flawless wedding day.

They were right. No crazy rodents scurried up the aisle. The music was lovely, everyone walked up the aisle just right, the day was lovely and sunny and warm. After the ceremony we climbed into a limo with our best man and maid of honour and drank champagne as we drove to a park for pictures.

I don’t know if that saying about bad rehearsals is true, but it was true for us, and we definitely had a magical day.

I have a book out this month with Harlequin Romance, The Rancher’s Runaway Princess. The nice thing about writing is that you only have to make special moments stressful if you want to. You can leave the stress behind and create something magical if you want, and that’s just what I did for my heroine, Lucy Farnsworth, AKA Princess Luciana Navarro of Marazur. There was a little bit of fairy dust as I wrote the ball scene, a time when everything just seemed to fit. As a writer, it is one of my favourite scenes. As a reader, I hope you enjoy it too. Here’s a snippet:

Alexander met her at her door and escorted her down the long curving stairs to the foyer and then to the doors of the ballroom. “Happy Birthday, Luciana,” he murmured, and then nodded at the footmen. The doors swung open and she entered on his arm, everything in a haze, including being announced as Luciana Navarro, Princess of Marazur.

Never had she been in such a place. Liveried servants circulated among the guests, and Lucy, her father and brothers formed an official receiving line where she could be properly – and personally – introduced. It was very surreal as she was addressed as Princess Luciana or Your Highness. She smiled, thinking she should really just be called “Lucy of the Stables” but then her father squeezed her elbow and smiled at her and she was suddenly glad she had him there at her side. And if her thoughts drifted to Brody now and then, that was okay. One didn’t get over a broken heart in a few weeks.

There was cake, a frothy concoction of vanilla fluff and real flowers, and enough champagne to float the entire island of Marazur. Lucy was holding a glass when Alexander touched her elbow and said, “We are ready to start the dancing.”

He cued the orchestra and held out his hand. She took it in her gloved one and bit down on her lip at the look in his eyes. And when he pulled her into his arms and guided her steps, she leaned ahead and whispered, “Thank you, Papa,” in his ear.

At the end of that dance she was paired of with Raoul, who complemented her on her dancing, and then Diego, who made a joke about her wild hair and the tiara and which caused her to snort in a most unladylike way. Grandma’s shoes made several more turns with the heads of influential families in Europe before she was passed back to Alexander once more.

“Are you tired?” he asked, as their waltz was nearly over.

“A little.”

“And your feet?”

She smiled. “I’ve been on them all night.”

His smile broadened suddenly. “Do you think they can manage one more dance?”

“I suppose, but why…”

“Your birthday present has just arrived.”

He turned her a half turn towards the doors.


Everything in her slammed to her chest. He was here. In Marazur. Standing twenty feet away from her in a tuxedo, his hat nowhere to be found, his dark eyes glittering at her dangerously. Instead of a bow, a bolo tie gleamed at his throat.
To her, he was perfect.

Alexander leaned ahead, still holding on to one shaking, gloved hand. “When there is a choice to be made, my darling, one should always choose love.” And he let her go, stepped back.

Everything in her wanted to race across the floor and fling herself into his arms. Yet she held herself back and waited, heart pounding, as he took step after torturous step until he was before her, in the middle of the ballroom, with three hundred pairs of eyes on them.

And when the orchestra started playing Let Me Call You Sweetheart, he took her in his arms without a word and turned her around the floor.

Oh glorious, glorious day. Her heart swelled to bursting, she soaked in the feeling of his hand at her waist, the way his fingers curled around hers and the heat of his body as he led her across the floor in the effortless waltz. She looked into his eyes, unable to look away from what she saw there. “This was what was missing,” she whispered, as he executed a sweeping turn.


“You. Just you.”

Donna Alward is one of two Canadians writing for the Harlequin Romance line. Her debut Romance, Hired By The Cowboy, won the Bookseller’s Best Award – Traditional this past August. The Rancher’s Runaway Princess is the first of her books set in her fictional town of Larch Valley.

Donna lives with her husband, kids and spoiled dog just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can learn more about Donna at her website and her blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Valentine's Day Gift Giving Prep for the Guys

My husband never shops until the last minute. It's a man thing, I know. But this year, due to a ten-day winter storm, he found himself braving crowds, ice and snow in order to buy Christmas gifts. A few of my local female friends found themselves with empty stockings and no presents under the tree because their significant others had waited to buy gifts, too, and couldn't get out to go shopping due to the "arctic freeze." You can bet all their men had plenty of gifts to open on Christmas morning.

Even when the weather cooperates, it's rare to find a man who doesn't need a little direction (and/or a push) buying gifts. I hate to generalize because I do have one friend, Mike, who always gave me the most perfect gifts. His wife is so lucky. But in general, my experience hasn't been all that great so I couldn't stop laughing the first time I saw this commercial. You may have seen it before, but in this holiday season and with February right around the corner, I thought it would be good to give the guys a little primer on what not to buy their loves so they can stay out of the doghouse.

So this is for all the grooms, husbands and boyfriends out there. This is about what happen when you find yourself in the proverbial doghouse after some thoughtless gift-giving and/or not-totally-thought-out words.

So guys, you might want to think about staying out of the doghouse when you shop for Valentine's day. Remember...it's only a little over a month away! 

And to help you out, here are a couple gifts you should avoid buying the woman in your life for Valentine's Day:

1) Any appliance that plugs into the wall and is meant for cleaning
2) A membership to a weight loss center or a diet book

Do any of you blog readers have other suggestions of what not to buy for a Valentine's gift? I'm planning to send a link to this post to my hubby, so please help me out here!

Melissa M

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

This week....

I'll be blogging on Monday about men and gift buying. It could be a post you might want to send to the guy in your life with Valentine's right around the corner ;)

Harlequin Romance author Donna Alward will be guest blogging on Tuesday.

Susan Meier is up on Wednesday with another one of her great posts.

And Shirley Jump rounds out the week on Friday.

Sorry, I don't have more details on the posts, but I was sick most of last week and forgot to ask the other Wedding Planners what they were blogging about!

Hope you have a great Sunday and we look forward to seeing you this week!

Melissa McClone

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Just off the plane...

Hi, it's my day for a blog but just off a flight from Australia back home to Europe this morning, so I honestly can't think of a wedding topic.

Trying to readjust to time zones, I'm staying awake watching one flick after another with my son, who fortunately (for him as well as me, the girls love knowing a guy who'll watch girly films without making fun of them!) likes chick flicks and is always ready to watch anything. So I put on A Walk in The Clouds which has to be one of the most romantic movies I know. I love the Mexican theme, the settings, the war hero suffering recurring nightmares, the funny grandfather, the notions of honor and love unspoken, both by the father and the hero, and the generational wedding-night bed, the dancing in the wine vat, the butterfly wings putting heat on threatened grapes - and finding a family. It has visual beauty, romance, sadness and strength. I'm so glad I revisited a favourite of mine.

What's your favourite romantic movie?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009


by Linda Goodnight

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises. All rights reserved.

The call for help came late at night. They usually did.

Only this one was the worst kind. A child. Lost in the unforgiving Colorado mountains.
Melody Crawford replaced the receiver and rolled out of the bed, shoving her feet into heavy boots as she pushed to stand. She'd been asleep less than thirty minutes.
Within another ten minutes, she was wide-awake, dressed for the frigid temperatures and rummaging in her "rescue closet" for the equipment she might need on the snow-covered trail. In more than fifteen years of rescue work, she'd never stopped feeling the adrenaline rush that came with a call.

Backpack always loaded and ready, she reached for her dog's leash and vest and heard the soft pad of canine footsteps crossing the kitchen and coming toward her in the narrow hallway.

It was Ace.

A little piece of her heart broke off.

Smile wide, thick fur fluffed and ready with one hard shake of his muscular form, the big, black-and-silver German shepherd gazed up at her in question. As always, Ace was ready to work, ready to run, ready to rescue the lost.

"Sorry, old chum," she said, laying one hand on the wide, intelligent head. "Not tonight."

Not any night in the near future, although Ace was the best air-scent search and rescue dog she'd ever trained.

As if he understood, the dog whined softly and collapsed at her feet to stare up at her with sad eyes.

"As soon as I get the money, boy. We'll have you fixed up and good as new."

But money, for Melody, was hard to come by. Even by training and boarding other people's dogs, her income was limited. The monthly check from her father's insurance barely covered necessities, and the surgery to correct Ace's damaged hind knees was expensive, far over her budget. But he'd sustained the injuries in the line of duty and deserved a chance to work again. Somehow, even if she had to take an outside job, she'd find a way to help her partner and friend.

The idea of working at a regular job made her shudder. Not that she was lazy. She worked long and hard up here in her secluded section of the mountains. It wasn't work that bothered her. It was people.

"Chili," she called softly and was not surprised to find the affable, reddish-brown Lab waiting quietly in the doorway behind her. Trained to search by air and ground, Chili was an excellent rescue dog who loved kids. With a little luck and by moving quickly, he had the best chance of finding the missing child.

With regrets to the depressed Ace, she snapped Chili into his bright orange rescue vest and, flashlight in hand, headed for her truck.

One step outside and she burrowed deeper into the muffler around her neck, thinking of the search to come.

The night was still as death and ten times as cold. Unless the lost kid was well dressed or found shelter, he was in serious trouble. The colder he became, the less scent he gave off. Without scent particles floating into Chili's incredible olfactory glands, the dog couldn't do his job.

The knowledge spurred Melody to work faster. If anyone could find the boy, she and Chili could do it. They were the best in the mountains. Maybe the best in the country. They never quit until the victim was found—alive or dead. She preferred alive.

As she passed the snug kennels, the rest of the dogs, all boarders in training, slipped out of their houses to stretch and shake beneath the white moon. Silver vapor puffed around their wide, sturdy heads. Like Ace, none of them would make the trip tonight. They weren't her dogs. They were brought to her by folks too busy or disinclined to do their own initial obedience training. Melody didn't mind. Working with dogs, anyone's dogs, was her life's work and ambition.

Ace and Chili, on the other hand, were her babies, her children, her family. She took care of them and they took care of her. Together, they didn't need anyone else, but a lot of people needed them. Occasionally. And when the need was met, people faded away from her wilderness cabin like the foggy vapor faded into the night.


She touched the barely visible scar at her hairline.

Not her favorite species.

Intentionally, she turned her thoughts to the little boy lost somewhere beneath the flat white moon. He would be scared. Scared of the black, inky darkness. Scared of the night cries of wolf and owl. Scared even of the bare aspen limbs rubbing together like dead bones.

Kids were a different matter. She didn't consider them people yet. They didn't have prejudices and ulterior motives. They were at the mercy of adults, just as she'd been.

But no more. She was captain of her own fate, in control of her life, which did not include people most of the time. Thank God and Grandma Perkins, who'd left her this remote cabin more than sixteen years ago when life had been hell.

She opened the truck door and waited for Chili to leap easily into the passenger side, ready for the trip to a ranger station four miles down the mountain. As she climbed in behind her dog and cranked the engine, Melody wondered why she'd awakened tonight with the old memories so sharp.

But memories were okay, occasionally. They kept her focused, kept her mindful of why she'd never permanently leave this mountain again.

4 1/2 Stars from Romantic Times Magazine.

A reader writes: "I read the last chapter over and over, not wanting the book to end. A very unexpected read. I always appreciate your books but this one goes on the top of the top of the top of my keeper pile."

Available January 13 from Linda Goodnight. Order now.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Meet new author Kimberly Lang

We'd like to introduce to you Kimberly Lang, a new Harlequin author who has a book out in the UK. She'll be stopping back by when her book hits the shelves in April in the US.

I’m so tickled to be here on the Wedding Planners blog because, once upon a time, I wanted to be a wedding planner. Of course, I’d never actually planned a wedding (not even my own because I eloped), but I’d been a guest at several. I was working as a conference and event planner at the time, so I knew how to organize events, negotiate with hotels and caterers, and I was a hopeless romantic at heart. It seemed like the perfect idea – I had the basic training, how hard could it possibly be?

Then my friends started getting married, and I got to see the inner workings of wedding planning up close and personal. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. I hadn’t realized what emotional minefields weddings could be. When I’d planned scientific conferences, it didn’t matter that the napkins were more mauve than lilac. No one burst into tears at the sight of carnations in centerpieces or spent hours debating bow ties versus ascots. It didn’t matter what kind of stamps went on the envelopes or if someone got a strange haircut at the last minute.

My pride in my professional credentials started taking a beating. I – the person who’d managed to get 250 non-English speaking scientists to a conference being held an hour from the nearest airport without losing any of them – couldn’t manage to get my best friend into the shower on her wedding day. As I forcefully threw my BFF into the bathtub over her wails of “I don’t want it to be my special day anymore,” I knew that whatever I was going to be when I grew up, it sure wasn’t going to have anything to do with planning any weddings.

With that in mind, you might find it a little amusing that my first book, The Secret Mistress Arrangement (Mills and Boon Modern Heat – on sale in the UK now!), opens at a wedding, where the frazzled Maid of Honor is at the end of her tether and about to snap. There’s certainly a little bit of me in my heroine, Ella Mackenzie, in that first chapter, but I think anyone who has ever been involved with planning a wedding will be able to sympathize with Ella.

Most of my friends are married now, so my bridesmaid days and all the wonderful book fodder they provided have come to an end. However, I had such a great time writing the wedding in The Secret Mistress Arrangement, don’t be surprised if more weddings show up in later books. Give me some inspiration by sharing your favorite (or worst, depending how you look at it, I guess) wedding snafu!

Oh, and to celebrate the release of my first book, I’m running a couple of contests this month. Visit my website for details.


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Monday, January 5, 2009

Starting the Year Off...Romantically

For some reason, movies and the beginning of a new year are inextricably linked in my mind. Whether it's because I finally have a chance to slow down and see a movie or two after all the frenzy of the Christmas season has passed or because it's a time of year when we all tend to reflect on what we want for the coming year and I, being a romantic, always want romance, I'm not sure. But, I love to catch a romantic movie or two to start the year off right.

So, in the spirit of ushering in a romantic new year, here's a montage I discovered.

Enjoy and have a wonderful beginning to your new year!

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Week to Come

This is my first official post of the new year, and I get to invite you to visit with us this week.

I'll be posting tomorrow (I think it's a romantic movie montage, but that might change since several new ideas have been swirling through my thoughts), and on Wednesday and Friday there will be posts with Linda Goodnight and Melissa James. With our new expanded format, I know they'll have some interesting things to offer.

Plus, join us on Tuesday when our guest will be Kimberly Lang.

See you all then!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Internet and Brides

As I've posted before, one of my nieces is getting married this summer. On Sunday night, we had a movie night and the Bride's sister showed us the gowns for the wedding simply by going to the designer's site. In a few keystokes we went from saying, "I can't wait to see her gown --" to "Oh, that's so beautiful!"

Brides can find ideas for anything from flower arrangements to unusual (or inexpensive) favors to gifts for their attendants. Some of these things can even be ordered online!

Some department stores allow you to register for gifts online.

Email can keep an entire list of people "in the loop" about plans. A savvy bride can even create a Yahoo loop to ensure that nobody's name is accidentally dropped.

Realsimple.com has basically everything from wedding invitation timetables to a basic list of what needs to be done for your wedding.

The day after the wonderful day you get your ring, go online! There is no easier way to prevent mistakes than learning from someone else's experience! So take advantage of all the sites and services online to make your wedding absolutely perfect.

susan meier
HER BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS, Harlequin Romance 12/08