My Bookish Wedding

Less than two months prior to my wedding day, I stumbled across a post, picture or musing about a bookish wedding somewhere on the interwebs. The world went quiet as I sat back and realized I had to have this – or at least some of it.

A google-second later, I landed in book heaven. And also, a little bit of hell. So many decisions had already been made. Could I change them? Did I want to? So much work had been already done and my allocated wedding planning time was already in short supply as I was splitting the time with readying my novel for publication – which I was silly enough to schedule shortly after the wedding, a deadline I didn’t quite hit and had to extend from May to June.

I browsed the awesome ideas, wondering if I could use them or if I could incorporate some of them and some of the ones I dreamed up into what I already had planned. There were so many options from cake toppers to cakes themselves and book-stacked centerpieces doubling as hostess gifts. Everything could all be books! I realized I had some serious decisions to make – and one hands-on groom to convince – and in the end, some books and even some writing made it to our wedding, making this bride even more pleased with her big day.

First things first: A novel poked out the top of my wedding bag. Yes, there might have been a few cocktails consumed the night I threw it in there, because what bride has time to read on her wedding day? But I tend never to go anywhere without my book so my current read tagged along to my wedding. I wish I’d snapped a shot of it, alongside my shoes and jewellery, but it never crossed my mind – probably because I never had two seconds to crack it open.

More writerly than bookish, I decided to take the most jitter-inducing moment of any wedding and make it even more nerve-wracking. I wanted us to write our own vows. I wrote them in spurts, languishing and agonizing over the words again and again until perfected. Words of love, honor and cherish and “I promise to wake you with coffee and quiet on every morning I am able” (a morning person, my husband is not) gave us the perfect blend of meaningful with a few chuckles. I might even be a touch teary thinking about it now.

My Google searches uncovered that library cards were often used in a bookish wedding for initiations. Much too late for this, I re-purposed the idea and used them for place cards instead, immediately placing an order for library cards – yes, I was a bride on a mission. I then grabbed two hardcover books off my shelf, folded each page in half and then tucked them into the center until it fanned out accordion-style when laid flat. I slid the cards inside in alphabetical order.

Yes, I defaced a book. Two of them actually, but one now sits on the front table in our hall and collects our mail and various other items that would clutter the counter (someone tipped too much red wine on the other to salvage.) So I consider that a win. In case you were interested Jennifer Weiner’s In Her Shoes made the cut. Yes, Jennifer Weiner attended my wedding. Sort of. Sadly, I forgot to request the photographer take shots of each of these items, so this bookish aspect didn’t receive a dedicated shot, but in the periphery of the photos below, you can get the gist.

We also had a ‘Wordy Wishes’ guestbook. The dictionary that fostered my love of words throughout my childhood lay splayed open to the heart-circled word love. A frame with the following instructions accompanied it: “Circle a word to describe our special day, your thoughts of us, or your well wishes. Write some words, sign and bookmark.” Mini-bookmarks accompanied the dictionary so we could easily find the inscriptions we encouraged guests to write.

From bookish back to writerly, our kissing game was having the tables or individuals write a poem and read it out loud. Some guests stepped up to the challenge and spouted off romantic to silly poems, and even an R-rated one.

I heart my bookish wedding. It was perfect in every bookish detail and beyond, particularly my groom.

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One Wedding, One Honeymoon and One Missed Deadline

So, I’ve been MIA lately and here’s why:

This happened:

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And then this happened:

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As my niece and nephew call me Lala, I had to endulge in this, the drink of Roatan, the Monkey Lala. This potent concoction contains Vodka, Irish Cream, Coffee Liquor and Coconut Creme. YUM!

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IMG_2595Yep, it all went down a couple of weeks ago and the time leading up to the wedding left me more harried than a mother of two sets of twin toddlers. The good news is that everything (mostly) went off without a hitch. The not so good news: Redesigning Rose is going to be a tad delayed as I was forced to take a hiatus for a month. But I’ve returned from my honeymoon relaxed and eager for life to return to normal – or as normal as can be expected in a writer’s world.

I’m closing in on finishing yet another round of edits after some fabulous beta reader feedback. On its heels will be copy edits. Once completed, I should be done, right? Not so much in the self publishing world. I need some proofreading and then I will embark on a quest to become a formatting genius for my Amazon upload. And then I’ll move onto the other ebook providers. Only once perfected will Redesigning Rose become available and you will be able to read all about my beloved Rose. I hope you love her as much as I do – and her side kick, whiskey-slinging Becky, too. And have I mentioned Scott and Adam yet? I’m told they’re pretty dreamy.

I’m hesitant to set a new release date until I have a more firm idea of when the editing will be completed as I do not want to disappoint and change it again – I am hopeful for June. I’m immensely grateful for everyone who has reached out and asked about my novel, given me a nudge or words of encouragement. I am truly blessed. Thank you for your support! And your patience!

My Book Baby

The first feedback of Draft 5.5 is in. My mom was really impressed with my changes and stated “Your writing is really good.”

Yes, it was my mom, but for anyone who doesn’t know my mother, this is high praise. She who disuaded me from writing soap operas at thirteen (OK, maybe she was right about that) and whose reading genres of choice are James Patterson serial killer thrillers and Robert Ludlum conspiracy theories, thinks my writing is not only good, but really good! I sunk into my car after her comments and cried, thinking maybe the three years of blood, sweat, hair pulling and poverty might have been worth it. Maybe my manuscript isn’t so bad. Maybe people won’t think my baby is ugly.

Then I rallied and went off to a book cover meeting – something I still can’t believe as I write it almost a week later. And now the lovely lady who is assisting with my cover design is also loving my story as is another reader (both of whom have never read previous drafts, nor anything else I’d written). I’m floating on a cloud now while I wait for further comments, a few more critiques, feedback from my editor and then I can schedule a release date, revise, proofread, and create and implement a marketing plan. Who said writing a book was just writing down a few words? Right, no one said that. Ever.

So, I’m ready! OK, maybe I’m on step 2 out of 6, but progress is being made. I’m even ready for the harsh critics. (Uhm, this could be a fib). And because many have asked, here’s how things are going down with my first novel:

I am going to self-publish.

There, I said the six little words so many in the industry consider dirty.

After hours of research, a few years of waiting while writing to see how the industry would develop and a lengthy internal debate, I have decided to self-publish. Initially, my book baby will be available only as an e-book and then we’ll see how things go.

There were many reasons I decided to do it alone. And when I say ‘alone’, I mean without a publisher because you’re never an author alone with Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google Plus. Here’s a massive Thank You to all my lovely friends, near and far, new and old, for all their support over the last three years! I couldn’t have made it through without you! And I’ll still need copious amounts of hand holding in the next few months – OK?

I digress. My go-it-alone reasoning:

  • I have watched the e-book and self-publishing industry evolve and gain momentum during the last three years.
  • I have read multiple self-published works this year that exceeded some of the releases of the big publishing houses.
  • I am committed to only releasing high quality work and spending money upfront on all the necessary steps including professional editing and cover.
  • Marketing is mostly a DIY adventure for most authors unless you’re a Stephen King, so I have to do it myself anyway.
  • I believe that self-pubbed novels are becoming publisher’s slush piles and more and more self-published authors are inking traditional publishing deals (when they work hard and produce quality work).
  • So I’m left with, Why Not? Besides the upfront costs – really the only detriment – why wouldn’t I give it a shot?

So, I’m hoping the three year journey will culminate in a release date in May 2013. I’m leaning toward the 13th. It’s my lucky number after all.

But we’ll see how things go with further editing, my work on Book 2 and just a little bit of necessary wedding planning between now and April. And I need to work. And sleep. It’s no wonder insomnia has become an issue with the plethora of lists in my head. Speaking of which, I should get back at crossing things off.

Blog Post – Check!

Choose Your Own Writing Adventure – How I come up with Ideas

Often when I tell people I am a writer, they pepper me with questions, and during such discussions I’m often asked ‘Can I be in your book?’ or warned ‘You won’t ever write about me… right?’. So I figured I would blog about my writing process now that I’ve written for a while and can actually say how I come up with ideas, characters and situations as well as the metamorphosis they undergo even as I write and rewrite. And overall, as you will see below, I can make no promises, but even if I happen to write a little something about you, the odds are you won’t even recognize it.

First, something has to strike my writing fancy. Sometimes these ideas come from eavesdropping (OK, most times). Sometimes they are things that have happened in my life. Or sometimes they come from events that have occurred to friends, family, and acquaintances. “Hmm, that’s interesting.” I think. “I wonder how that would work or what if that happened to someone else, someone with this or that type of personality.”

With each idea, I take that situation and think about it, mull it over add many ‘what if’s. In fact much of the process contains ‘What if…”. It’s like a massive huge choose your own adventure novel. And it goes a little something like this:

Idea 1  – Overheard in a food court:

A sister’s neighbour’s roofer accidentally got an address wrong and no one noticed until everyone came home from work and the job was completed.

  • Ouch. That’s a huge mistake. What’s the fallout? What happened and what happens floats through my mind: Does he lose his house because of the botched job he now has to pay for, loses his wife, his family, his children? Why did it happen – was he exhausted because of a newborn or because he was having an affair. Was it even his mistake? What transpired when they all found out? Was a normally passive housewife consumed with rage? Did the roofer go out, get drunk and drive home only to cause a tragedy for someone else. What if, what if, what if…

Idea 2 – Overheard at a temp job:

A young couple travels overseas to Asia on a dream vacation. They break up mid trip and are forced to fly home on the same flight – with her parents.

  • This was from a male’s perspective. First I would change to a woman’s point of view, because I write mainly about women. Then I ask all sorts of questions: How did they break up? How did she feel? Who broke up with who? Why didn’t either of them change their flight? I would make them married and force them to sit together on the plane. With her parents. Is there a dispute on the flight? Maybe with her parents. Maybe she’s pregnant and no one knows. What if she’s relieved and has been having an affair the entire time? What if she was waiting to break up with him until after the trip? Travelling is a huge stressor on relationships. This is an intriguing for plot and character development to me. Hmmm….

 Idea 3 – While doing some data entry:

The last name Roach appeared before me.

  • I continued typing, all the while thinking – What if a girl was deathly afraid of cockroaches and suddenly the man of her dreams appeared with the last name Roach? Does she turn him away because of it, stay and never change her name when they marry? What if they bump into each other over and over again over the years and fate is trying to push them together? What if they have kids who go the Bob Marley way? ‘Hey roach, pass the roach?’ All these thoughts floated through my brain within seconds. Interesting…

Now: Marrying the three ideas, here’s the loose idea I’ve come up with:

  1. A married couple and kids are on a flight to Caribbean. She’s terrified of roaches, but married a man with the last name Roach. She never changed her name. (in all likelihood, unless I have a good reason for it, this might get dropped somewhere along the line – Although there are huge roaches in the Caribbean…hmmm…)
  2. Just before the flight, he gets a call about a roofing job gone awry. He owns the company. He works. A lot. “Workaholic” her wife says. They argue on the way to airport. His almost cancelling the trip was the last straw in their relationship (although honestly, in my mind he’s already changing into a big shot executive who never takes breaks and had grumbled constantly about the vacation he doesn’t want to take).
  3. But now they’re flying south. To the Caribbean. For a family wedding! And he hates her sister, who is the one getting married – just made that last bit about the sister up – fun really! Although I have no idea why they hate each other yet.
  4. No one knows they’ve just split. It slowly unravels over a week.
  5. Heck, maybe they’re in Jamaica, just to keep things even more interesting….

The possibilities are endless and obviously there are other characters and many scenes to sort out, but this is how it all starts.

These are just a few examples that I overheard that piqued my interest that I probably wouldn’t ever use (although its all sounding more interesting as I added elements, truth be told). As you can see, it’s all one big Choose Your Own Adventure and by the time I’m finished with it, the situation is vastly different from any original I might have heard or experienced.

They all get muddled, thrown together and are melted down like chocolate into a gooey mess. Then as I work my way back up and mold them into the shapes I want and with each rewrite (this is because I’m a pantser and things change – too often), they alter, have additional layers and texture added like wafers and caramel and hopefully the end result is a delicious treat.

Characters are a bit different and are actually largely molded based on the ideas I’ve come up with and how I think different personality types would react to the situation I’ve created for them.

But I’ll save that for another post…