Friday 28 June 2013

Wrap Up Post - June Wedding - Prize winners announced.

Hello romantic writers!

Before beginning the wrap up, I'd like to thank our Guest Poster, Mills & Boon author Kate Walker, for her great guest post on weddings she has created in her novels. Thank you for those who visited and left positive comments. Much appreciated by Kate and your hosts.

Kate was very generous in choosing four winners to receive a print copy of one of her books. The lucky winners were:

SALLY - A Throne for the Taking
DONNA - Sicilian Husband Blackmailed Bride
NILANJANA and REKHA - The Duke's Secret Wife (novella)

Congratulations to each of the above commenters. I hope you've contacted Kate with your details so you can receive your gift in the mail.

The Wrap Up...Well, the first thing to comment on is the dearth of posts for June Wedding. Hopefully it was just life that got in the way of more entries, not something wrong with the challenge. Any comments welcome.Your hosts are spending much more time at RFW, hoping to make it a more fulfilling experience for all writers. Let us know what you think of the changes so far. We are always keen to hear from you.

Those who did post to the June Wedding challenge, we thank you. Perhaps our guidelines were a little too stringent which resulted in some of the entries unable to be considered for the prizes. Both Nilanjana and Yolanda acknowledged their entries broke the 'rules' which was a pity, as both were excellent.

  NILANJANA: Poetry, Hennaed Hands, was fascinating. Set in medieval times, this poem resonated with the power of love.
  DONNA: Combined The Thrill of it All blogfest with RFW this month. A very modern wedding ceremony presented, replete with cell phones, texting, looking after siblings...and we just missed a dance up the aisle!!
  ANNA: Anna's post successfully combined Cat World Domination Day with her RFW entry. Anna's wedding story was told through the eyes of the cats Penelope and Miranda. Their conversation with the church cats was very cute.
  YOLANDA: Broken Vows was a very powerful and sensual entry. Told from the male POV it was a very passionate, regretful tale. Is it all over for Steven and Sarah?
  SALLY: Gave us a real-life wedding. Very nostalgic walk down memory lane. The lovely original photos remind me of the black and whites of various great grandies on my walls.
  ROLAND (linking as VICTOR): Took us to Ancient Egypt this month. An enjoyable creepy story with so many mythological references. I found the female Pharaohs especially fascinating.
  CHARMAINE: Shared a grisly horror story of murder/suicide. So well done...some foreshadowing, but still caught me at the end.
  DENISE: Took a trip to Venice to showcase a wonderful work of art and recounted the Biblical story of the wedding at Cana. Secondly, she primped the wedding scene from her most recent WIP Fijian Princess. I valued the feedback before submission.

Now, Donna and I have collaborated on the prizes for the month...(((drum roll))):

WINNER: Receives a $5 Amazon Gift Card -- Sally for real-life, creative non-fiction entry. Congratulations Sally. The Amazon Gift Card is yours. Please take the Featured Writer badge, post it onto your blog, and link it to your winning post.
RUNNER UP: Receives a 2-chapter critique from either Donna or myself -- your choice -- don't be shy...
For her grisly murder-suicide, we choose Charmaine. Congratulations, Charmaine. You are welcome to post the Runner Up badge on your site, linking to your story. We shall await your critiquer choice.

Our next ready by July 19 to post your entry...we'll let you know when we add this challenge to the Challenges Page

See you on July 5th, for Donna's introduction to Honeymoon...

Friday 21 June 2013

June Wedding Inlinkz sign up. Give us your stories, poetry or non-fiction

get the InLinkz code

Friday 14 June 2013

June Wedding Guest Post -- Romance Author Kate Walker

Thanks Denise and Donna for offering me the Guest Post today. I've been specifically asked to talk about...

Weddings  I've Created -  for my hero and heroine, that is!

The cliché about a romance novel is that they all  start off with the hero and heroine at odds with each other, deep in some form of conflict. That conflict is resolved as the story progresses – and then there is the traditional  Happy Ever After ending,  one that inevitably, naturally, leads to a wonderful wedding at the end of the book.

Well, yes, that’s how it is sometimes. I’ve written 61 romances for Harlequin, some for the Romance line,  but most for  Presents  (Modern romance for Mills & Boon in the UK) and over the years I’ve created all sorts of stories, with all sorts of heroes and heroines, and yes, they do all end up heading off ‘into the sunset’ and their 'happy ever after.' But the ways they get there, the stories that  are behind them, the conflicts they have to deal with, are all very different,  unique to the man and woman in the story.
And as a result, the wedding ceremony in each story can be very different too. 

Sometimes the wedding is right there, centre stage,  described in some detail.  The wedding in The Konstantos Marriage Demand was like that.  My heroine, Sadie, was a wedding planner and the hero – Nikos Konstantos, whose family had held a long-running feud   with Sadie’s  – had tricked her

into coming to his private island on the pretext that he wanted her to arrange his wedding for him.  Of course, in the end, the wedding she ends up planning is her own, and the final scene in which the couple is  married in the tiny chapel on the island was needed to round off their story and show that as well as their happiness being complete, the feud has ended too.

But sometimes the wedding isn’t even ‘on stage’ in the book. If the story is a reunion story, where the hero and heroine have been married before, then that wedding may have taken place some years before and the couple have split up, even be on the verge of divorce. This is the way that The Proud Wife begins  or perhaps the novella The Duke’s Secret Wife. In this story, the  hero and heroine were secretly married (well that’s obvious from the title isn’t it!) two years before. That was when the hero,  Luis de Silva fell madly for  Isabelle and rushed into marriage with her. A sadly short-lived marriage when very soon he believed that she had been unfaithful to him. But now, because

he is  to inherit  the family dukedom  after the death of his brother, he has to have a wife to provide him with an heir and as  his family doesn’t  accept divorce , he comes to find his ‘Secret Wife’ to ask her to marry him all over again.  (At least that’s what he claims, but anyone who reads the book carefully will see that really he has never been able to forget her and that this is the only way he can think of  of  getting her back.) Here I had some fun playing with the contrast  between the wedding that Luis and Isabelle had had in the past – sweet,  simple and innocent – and the formal, elaborate ceremony that is being prepared for the Duke and his  Duchess.

Of course, the ceremony of a wedding, the way that  everyone is gathered together to enjoy the ceremony gives such potential  drama, particularly when that drama is acted out in front of a large crowd of family and friends.  I’ve always wondered  - as I’m sure you have – just what could happen in those silent moments when the celebrant says the words - ‘If any person here present knows of any reason why these two should not be joined. . .Then let him speak now  or forever hold his peace . . .’  
What if  someone did step forward  - and even worse, what if they said :
‘I do . .  .  I know of a reason why these two should not be joined together in holy matrimony.’

It was such a wonderful scene that I just had to write it  - and the of course I had to think of just who would step forward and say that. And I had to think of a reason why   they would say it.  Inevitably, the person saying those words  had to be the hero, the wedding he broke up  and ruined was the heroine’s  - and the reason why he said them? Ah, you’d have to read the book to find out.  That book was Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride – and if I tell you that it starts with another, very different wedding – again a simpler, more innocent one like the one in the Duke’s Secret Wife, perhaps you can guess why my hero, Guido Corsentino, is so determined to stop this ceremony.

Weddings have this huge  scope for emotional upheaval and drama.  Everyone is hoping that the day goes perfectly, the bride will be beautiful,  the  groom handsome and strong, the flowers gorgeous,  the ceremony fabulous . . . so it’s great to throw a spanner in the works and watch the resulting explosions!  Romance writers are such sadists, really. We love to make out heroes and heroines suffer.   We put them into forced marriages as the result of blackmail, marriages of convenience like the one in The Hired Husband where the heroine thinks that the hero is agreeing to a marriage  in name only – to discover that that’s not what he has in mind at all, and she’s committed to a very real and very sexual relationship! Or what about the  bride in The Hostage Bride, who gets into the car that has come to take her to her wedding only to find that she is being driven in quite the opposite direction – by a handsome,  sexy chauffeur!

But perhaps the most intriguing wedding – for a writer anyway – that I created for my heroine  in Saturday's Bride - was the wedding that never was. The one I   almost had to write backwards.  Puzzled? Well, so was my hero!  Connor Harding came back to the town in which he’d grown up to discover that the girl he’d never been able  forget- Jenna Kenyon- was getting married in a week - to the wrong man! But he knew that Jenna was determined to prove him wrong, despite the passion still smouldering between them. Connor decided that all was fair in love and war. Only five days remained before Jenna became Saturday's bride, but that was more than long enough for him to persuade her to change her mind.

The truth is that the wedding’s actually  for Jenna’s sister but all the way  through the story I had to make it look   as if it was going to be Jenna’s big day until the truth finally dawns on Connor. So I had to make sure that every scene fitted with the ending I had already planned- right at the gate to the church!

Of course royal weddings have  a very special impact – all that glamour and ceremony – at least here in the UK. The coaches, pulled by beautiful horses, the jewels, the military uniforms,  the crowded streets, the cheering crowds.  It was as a result of the marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011 that I wrote my first ever ‘Royal Romance’  - A Throne for The Taking -  the book that is out in the shops just now. I  was asked to teach some workshops on writing a royal romance and that set me thinking. Of course I could  never had planned the fact that it came out just as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting the arrival  of their first baby any time soon - that was just good luck!  But it fits wonderfully into the time of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation  and the expected arrival of the new baby prince or princess.

I have a special reason to celebrate this year too, and that expected date of the royal baby’s arrival has a real significance for me. It’s the date of  my wedding day – and this year it’s really special. My DH  and I are celebrating our Ruby Wedding – I was a child bride, honest!

So as I’m celebrating and I’d love to share the joy with you – I am offering a giveaway to one person who comments on this post.   I have either a copy of A Throne for The Taking  or one of those other books where I’ve talked about the wedding ( The Duke’s Secret Wife, The Konstantos Marriage Demand , Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride –sorry, I don’t  have copies of the others) to give away. Just tell me which of these weddings you’d most like to read about – or perhaps which wedding in a novel you’d most like to have been at!  And I’ll get Charlie the Maine Coon on the job of picking a winner.  (If you’d like to know more about Charlie he has his own post on the Pink Heart Society blog tomorrow.)
If you want to know more about my books then please check out my web site   - or there's my personal blog where you'll find all the most up to date news.

Thank you Kate. Always a pleasure to host you here at RFW, where it's all about weddings this month. So RFWers and visitors, leave a comment for the chance to win one of Kate's books. I've read plenty of her romances and they're wonderful. I also swear by her '12 -Point Guide for Writing Romance.'

Donna and I hope you're all busy planning your entries for June Wedding for the 21st posting date.

Just to keep you in the romantic mood, here is Harrison Craig, a 19 year old who is tipped to win The Voice Australia next week. Amazing voice!

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.