Friday, 7 June 2013

Letters revisited - June kicks off with our Wedding theme with a real-life wedding ceremony, book reviews, movie review...and more...

Hello fellow Correspondents!

Hasn't it been ages or is it just me? RFW has come back bigger and better. Note that from now on we're having themes across the whole month as per a schedule that will be posted at the beginning of each month. Check out our June Weddings schedule - look forward to a post about something wedding-related each Friday, starting today. In future the wrap up will be posted at the end of the month.

Now did you have fun writing your Letters excerpts? Or if  you didn't post, did you enjoy reading the submissions? There were a lot of interesting entries to this challenge which was multi-generic, incorporating a different text into your stories.

Concepts ranged from journal entries, letters to/from lovers away at war, a paranormal and letters received after death, hidden letters to forbidden lovers, to online dating. The two most unique (for me) was returning member Lisa Voight’s confession letter from prison, and the blog/live journal entries from Charmaine Clancy. And a late entry from Michael DiGesu's Noir continuation, which used a couple notes for the inciting incident for the scene, but was not the focus of the scene. Denise and I thank you all for your participation, and welcome those who are new to the blog, and those who have been away for an extended time.

I was a bit surprised that more of the Letters excerpts did not include wedding invitations, as marriage would be a most natural outcome of love letters. Many of the excerpts alluded to wedding potential though, or were written to spouses. Marriage is on my mind lately, as my daughter is marrying her long time live in boyfriend in July.

My daughter, Lori (and Dave), will be married in Reno Nevada, at the Circus Circus hotel and casino. They've already booked the chapel, the minister, and their honeymoon suite. All very modern; non denominational minister, half an hour window to assemble the witnesses/attendees, say the devotional words, flash flash of pictures, corral it all along to the purchasing of the photo disc and/or DVD of the ceremony; then head out the exit to get to the casino, and hopefully a champagne celebration.

Although the bride is unlikely to wear a traditional white dress and there will be no three tiered wedding cake with presents and a reception, there will still be some tradition followed. Bachelorette party the night before (she promised me Chip N Dales), brides maids and grooms men, exchanging rings, the required kiss, tossing the bouquet, and the three ring circus that is mutual children, in-laws, re-uniting of divorced parents, bickering about who sits where and who pays for what; and most importantly, which grandparents sit with the children while the rest go out and party and the bride and groom have their night alone in their suite.

I think I’ll bring condoms, as three grandkids are quite enough already from this adorable couple. Yep, Circus Circus will be the perfect place for this wedding.

How about you, fellow RFWers? Are any of you hosting/attending a wedding in June? Share your story in the comments...we'd love to know about it. 

Now, if any of you have been around here a while, you know I’m not really a romance reader/writer, though I enjoy romance in novels and movies. Romance in epic fantasy mostly; but I do like some contemporary authors like Nicholas Sparks’ Choices, or the horror variety of Stephen King’s Misery or Lissy’s Story. I've even been known to approve of RomCom movies like Runaway Bride and Life As We Knew It. And anyone who doesn't think Star Wars (especially Episodes 1-3) isn't a romance should seriously watch it again.

And Brokeback Mountain made me cry and laugh and cheer as much as any hetero romance. And its a modern cowboy movie!

But fantasy will always be my favorite genre, and all quests basically begin and end with romance. One of my favorite romantic fantasy novels is Silverthorn, book 3 of the Riftwar Saga, written by Raymond E Feist.

During book 2, Magician Master, the broody Prince Arutha of Crydee is forced into hiding within the unfamiliar catacombs of Krondor with the princess Anita while escaping the genocide attempts of of Duke du bas Tyra.  Arutha is attracted to the young princess mostly as a sense of duty to aid in her protection and the preservation of the royal lineage; and of course she is of marriageable age and station. Not to mention she is beautiful.

But as the months of their refugee status lengthen, and the dangers surrounding their discovery mount, Anita displays a strength of character beyond her years and expectations.  The traits Arutha falls in love with is her ability to show compassion to all in need, regardless of their station or profession, her quick mind in politics and protocol, and her refusal to shirk from any task, no matter how menial. She did not try to command, but she knew how to take charge and speak her mind.

Book three Silverthorn, could fool the reader into thinking it’s a category romance, if you had not already been invested in the characters and the continuing story. The reader does not see the love letters that have been exchanged between Arutha and Anita during the year long separation between book 2 an 3, but much teasing is made of the fact. And as soon as the Royal Fleet makes port in the crown city of Rillanon, Arutha races to ask his true love for her hand in marriage.

Arutha’s brother, King Lyam, consents immediately to the betrothal, and plans are made for the royal family to travel to Krondor, the city that is the center of Arutha’s principality and will be the site of the marriage. Lots of devious story and character plots are explored in the first six chapters, but Chapter Seven is all about the wedding.

Well, not all about the wedding. The young thief Jimmy The Hand is now Squire Jimmy, and most of his duties are to prowl the Thieves Highway (rooftops) and deter any possible criminal activity within or near the castle, and in his prowls on the day of the wedding he comes across a Night Hawk (Assassins Guild) in a protected nook preparing to assassinate Prince Arutha as he takes his wedding vows to Anita.

Being smaller and less skilled in the arts of hand to hand combat, the Night Hawk overpowers Jimmy, ties him up, and basically ignores the young squire as he awaits the perfect time to attack. Meanwhile, the wedding is proceeding as planned. The chief guard is checking security, the bride is having conversations with her ladies, Arutha and Anita have a stolen moment together, King Lyam and Arutha have a short meeting with the Keshian delegates.

The wedding is not just about the pompous ceremony and the newlywed couple; the wedding is a plot point (inciting incident) for the overall story concept. Jimmy is able to break free of his bonds enough to deflect a killing cross bow bolt from striking Arutha, but the poisonous dart embeds into Anita instead. The rest of the story is the quest that takes Arutha and his trusted confederates on a quest to discover the antidote to cure Anita.

Thoroughout the quest, Arutha never forgets his purpose, the ultimate goal of saving his one true love, even as he makes ruthless decisions of who lives, who dies, and whether he is the one to enter the sacred temple to retrieve the antidote, or send another willing companion to possibly die in his stead. Does he eventually win through all the Dark Powers and discover the antidote, bring it back to his princedom, and eventually complete his marriage? Or does the quest continue to book 4, a Darkness at Sethanon? Or perhaps the Prince fails, becoming a bitter old man and leaving room for a secondary character to rise to herodom in the continuing saga.

Guess you have to read the stand alone novel to know how it all ends . .

And that is how I like my romance.

How do you like your romance? Is it all about the love interest and the ultimate wedding and happily ever after? Or do you like romance to contribute to your stories, but whether or not the ending is satisfactory or HEA depends on the story and how invested you are in the character plots?

RFW invites you to submit your romantic Wedding stories; in prose or poetry, fiction or non-fiction, published works or original creations, of up to 1000 words, for our June Challenge. Bring on the bride and groom!

Your stories or poems will celebrate the wedding motif, spotlighting anything from the culmination of a long-planned wedding, a sudden elopement to another city/town or a last minute civil ceremony at the local courthouse/registry office; and include anything from the HEA fairy tale ending, to the interrupted "any reason this couple should not be wed."

Or, You may like to treat this theme completely in an opposite way. Always A Bride's Maid/Groom's Man. Our lover could be at the wedding and find their true love - or have the true love declare their love at the wedding of another - or perhaps a long lost lover will show up and propose to a member of the wedding party or a member of the congregation.

For non-fiction authors, you may elect to report on your own wedding, a family member’s wedding, or some other wedding you attended that influenced your perceptions of romance in some way. All the RFW hostesses ask is that you adhere to the same criteria as non-fiction writers and poets.

Or you may like to work through a classic fairy tale story, jazzing it up for the modern day, or twisting it in some way, but of course, there still must be a bride and groom.

It would be very interesting to set your wedding in a foreign country, or a different culture, so we can all learn something new.

So many choices. We can't wait to get underway....


There will be no Featured Writer or Runner Up awards and no voting for people’s choice. However, the co-hosts have agreed that OUR favorite will receive a $5 Amazon gift certificate, and the second place choice will receive a 2 chapter critique from either myself or Denise, winner's choice.

Any genre, any POV, as long as a wedding is imminent, in progress, or just concluded; and one or both of the newlyweds MUST be present in the scene, however briefly.

Specific criteria to win the prize:

 - a bride and/or groom MUST be present in the scene (even if they are not the focus of the scene)
 - setting is the wedding day; the place the wedding will commence or the reception hall
 - time frame is immediately before the wedding (1-2 hours), during the wedding, or during the reception (1-2 hours after the wedding)
 - 1000 word limit (post your word counts with the excerpts)

Linky will open on June 21 and close on June 24 (Australian time). Please add only your direct link to your post this time.

Please return on June 14 for guest author Kate Walker (and a giveaway). Kate has guested at RFW before and this time she will be specifically discussing how she writes about weddings in some of her 61 Mills and Boon novels. A visit to her blog is a treat as you can pick up all sorts of writing craft posts. You can check out Kate's guest post on Romance Writing here and her post on Training Yourself as a Plotter here.


  1. Donna, you'd probably like to know that Raymond E Feist is speaking at my local library in mid June. Sounds good.

    1. Ah man, I wish I could be there! Enjoy it for me :)


  2. Are we excited about weddings? I am! And congratulations to all the participants and all the awesome submissions :)


  3. Thanks for the mention :-) I prefer my romance reads to be set in a different country, culture and/or time period and have an additional subplot. Too much mush sends me running for the hills!

    1. In other words Li, you prefer Romantic to Romance. There is a huge difference. That's why stories such as Gone With the Wind were enourmously popular - there was so much going on, yet there were strong romantic elements underlying the action. Another country, culture or time period always makes for interesting reading.
      Thanks for participating in the Letters prompt.

  4. Hello,

    Congrats Donna on your daughter's wedding, first of all.

    June is going to be rather packed for me, in the middle of a house move this month, plus sundry other things, but definitely will be back for the posts and hope to be back for the challenge.

    1. Thanks Nila. And good luck with the move and all your sundry projects this month. You'll be a better author with all those life issues effectively handled - and possibly have more ideas from the adventures :)


  5. HI, Donna, and Denise,

    Thanks for the mention. I am so glad you both enjoyed another step back into 1940's Chicago.

    Of course, this month's prompt is filtering through my creative muse. I have SEVERAL scenarios which may work with this theme. Just think of the atmosphere and DRAMA I can create during a wedding. Ooooo. LOL. Such fun!

    DONNA... Congrats on your daughter's wedding. It does sound like CIRCUS CIRCUS is the perfect venue for this event.

    1. Thanks Michael;

      Glad to see those creative juices of yours flowing :) Can't wait to see what you come up with.


  6. I like my romance to be hard, brave and loyal, and I like it to come about because of something more important than the desires of two people.

    Got my wedding story ready to go, so I'll be signing up :)

    1. Brave and loyal: yes, two words I can definitely get into for a romance Charmaine. Don't forget, this is a prize Challenge, so polish up :)

      I can't wait for the linky to see what you wrote!



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