Thank you so much for allowing me to be here today as The Authors of Main Street releases the boxed set Weddings on Main Street. It’s so exciting and I get to share it with you and your readers. In fact I’m feeling a little like a bride. All that nervous energy, building over months of planning, has finally come together, and this is the big day! It’s a day of hope and excitement.
June is the month for brides and who doesn’t like a wedding? There’s something wonderful about them, maybe because they represent love and hope for the future. They can be solemn and formal occasions filled with religious significance and often held in a place of worship. But they can also be fun occasions with just a few family members or friends present.
Today more than ever, brides have choices. Historically, marriages were often arranged and the bride didn’t even know the groom or barely knew him. Young women were married to men with the hopes of preventing wars and politically binding countries or lands together. They were married to maintain the family money or rank in society. They were married to get them out of the house so there was one less mouth to feed. The list goes on and on. Today, most women, in most countries, marry men they have met and the couple has fallen in love.
We all watched Kate Middleton marry Prince William, but did anyone stop to think that this was one couple who actually knew each other? And it was one of the few times in Royal history that the couple had fallen in love? Naturally that wedding was the epitome of a formal wedding – a fairytale-come-true event.
Prince Charmings come in all sizes and shapes, and so do their bank accounts. And since women have entered the workforce in droves, that bank account no longer means that much. As long as there is food on the table, it doesn’t matter who is buying it.
The cost of a formal wedding today can run twenty thousand dollars or more. It’s become an over-the-top expense for many families. Brides are looking for alternatives. Beach weddings, backyard barbeques, and simple ceremonies are becoming quite common. But brides still want to look their very best, even while wearing a wedding gown made of camouflage material. I’m sure you are raising your eyebrows – but why not have fun with that special day? Why not do what makes everyone happy?
A few years ago, a friend’s daughter decided to marry. They wanted something special and nice for the whole family, but the family was scattered throughout the USA, from Boston to San Diego. This young woman and her future husband had just graduated from college, and with PhD’s in their hands, they knew they had jobs waiting for them in Florida. Both sets of parents were broke from sending them to college and the bride and groom didn’t want to impose more on their families. They tallied up the costs for a traditional wedding and decided they had a better idea. They flew their family to them, and rented a condo on the beach in Florida. For a whole week, the families vacationed and got to know each other. With moms and grandmoms doing the cooking, the meals were excellent! The women spent one afternoon that began with a formal lunch at a nearby teahouse and ended with lots of shopping. The last night they were together, was when the wedding took place – on the beach – as the sun set over the water. The bride wore a pretty white cotton dress that hung to her ankles, and the groom wore white cotton pants and a matching cotton shirt. They were barefoot. Their biggest expense was roundtrip airfare and they got a super deal on it via a travel agent, which included special VIP services for some elderly grandparents. The cost for everything, including the grocery bill and teahouse luncheon, was less than six thousand dollars.
Many years ago, I went to a very tiny but formal wedding held in a chapel on a military base. He was an officer and a pilot. She had no family and his mother wasn’t able to travel. She wore what is called a candlelight white gown that was stunning. The wedding was done by candlelight with magnolia blooms throughout the tiny church. There were probably only twelve people in attendance. Afterwards there was a lovely dinner at a local restaurant.
I wrote about a wedding that was done during a company picnic. That was based on a real wedding. The real one was just going to be a fun, Sunday get-together at the community pool and clubhouse with family and friends. When the pool closed at five, the party moved indoors to the clubhouse and everyone changed into blue jeans. But before the guests had a chance to grab some food, the one guy asked for everyone’s attention because they had a little announcement. Considering the two guys throwing the party were chefs and owned a restaurant, everyone expected them to announce the opening of a second restaurant.
He asked his girlfriend to come stand with him. After a little giggling, he coaxed her out of her casual shirt leaving her standing there in a white tank top. Then he took off his shirt. He had on a black T-shirt. They turned around and the words bride and groom were written on their respective shirts. Considering that the groom and his best man were chefs… The cake looked like a sandcastle. In fact, it looked more like a table decoration than a cake. Under the dusted brown sugar confection, was a delicious apple spice cake. The cost for the wedding was the little clubhouse rental and some groceries along with some beach toys that were used to hold plastic spoons, etc.
So a wedding can be anything a bride might like, and they don’t have to break the bank to get married. With a little planning anyone can have a wonderful wedding. With so many choices today, it can be formal or informal. And brides no longer have to wear white!
Being June is such a wonderful month for brides, the Authors of Main Street decided that we wanted to write another boxed set for our readers about weddings. I had this bright idea for a bridal salon and a woman who designed bridal gowns. The group thought it was great and most decided their brides would order from the salon.
I jumped in and started to write, except we were supposed to be aiming for 25K words. At about twenty-two thousand I knew I wasn’t even half way through my story. Uh-oh! One of the other authors made a suggestion to me and I jumped on it. I took the hero’s adopted grown daughter, Julia, from the first story and used her as the heroine for the second story. Now I had two stories!
With This Ring is DeeDee Drayden and Cody Montgomery. He’s got two failed marriages behind him and a passel of children from those marriages. He’s sworn off women – all women, until he meets DeeDee.
She’s got her eyes set on success, and she doesn’t want anyone getting in her way, including Cody. She’s never been married, and her only serious relationship ended abruptly when she caught him with another woman. Weddings and marriage are for other people, not her. She doesn’t even believe in a happily-ever-after. But after years of working her way up through some of the top fashion design houses, she’s ready to strike out on her own and create wedding gowns to make every woman feel special in a gown specially made for them.
I Thee Wed is Julia Montgomery’s story. She gave up dating the local boys when she went to work for Main Street Bridal Salon. But when the redheaded, freckled-faced Aaron Symons sends her a large floral bouquet with his request for a date, she realizes this is no ordinary invitation, and Aaron is very much a man.
Thrilled with her job, she feels as though she’s building a career within the company. And Aaron is everything she ever dreamed of in a guy. Although every family has its secrets, Julia thought she knew everything there was to know. Another secret is unveiled to her after her nineteenth birthday. This one changes everything!
I had a blast writing these stories. Cody was a wonderful character. He had all the right alpha qualities and yet he had this wonderful sensitive side to him that really made him a good father even though he was far from perfect. DeeDee was the ideal foil for him. She’s talented and intelligent. She, too, has been burned and assumes that marriage is for other people. Theirs is a mature love between two thirty-something people, who’ve never been lucky when it comes to relationships. But they’re sneaking around, trying to hide the relationship from Cody’s teenaged children. Julia and Aaron are the young lovers, full of energy, and with a zest for life.
I’ve never written a family saga sort of thing where the characters are so intertwined. Watching Julia blossom into adulthood, and Cody letting go of that little girl image that he held in his heart, created all sorts of undertones to both stories. Yet, each was written to stand-alone. And yes, I plan on writing more!
With This Ring and I Thee Wed, as a single title, should be available by June 16, 2014.
The boxed set Weddings on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street, which includes I Thee Wed, debuts today, June 9, 2014. The Authors of Main Street consists of thirteen, contemporary authors who write from sweet to sexy and are all well suited for the average reader. The majority of the Authors on Main Street have spent weeks as Amazon overall top 100 authors. Many have won prestigious awards for their books and are well known within the romance genre. There are eleven brand-new stories in this wedding-themed set.
An excerpt from I Thee Wed.
When Aaron reached Julia’s driveway, he walked her to the front door, and then pulled her into his arms. “I had the most wonderful evening with you, and I want to have many more.”
She pointed upwards. “Smile for the camera. My dad is probably watching.”
“No problem. I have nothing to hide.” He pulled her back into his arms and held her tight to him.
A small mew escaped her throat as he touched his lips to hers.
The earth quaked. Fire ripped through him as their kiss deepened. Tentatively he touched his tongue to her lips and parted them. She willingly opened to him. With one hand on the small of her back, the other threaded its way through her hair and held her nape. He kissed her until he was certain that he couldn’t go on without embarrassing himself in front of the camera. Three months would be a long wait between kisses. But she was worth it.
He’d kissed a lot of women and none had ever rocked him the way Julia did. She oozed the sexuality of a wild cat, yet it was packaged in a refinement that wasn’t often seen in young women.
Julia found her dad sitting in the kitchen.
He glanced up from his newspaper and grinned. “I wasn’t spying on you.”
She looked at the remote controller on the table and then over her shoulder at the monitor behind her holding steady on the camera by the front door. “Oh, no, not at all. I can see that.”
“That was a serious kiss.”
“It was a very serious date.” She pulled the chair out across from him. “He leaves tomorrow to go back to school. He’s twenty-eight and getting his PhD in veterinary genetics.” She dropped the bomb and watched her father’s face for any signs of disapproval.
“Yes. I can see why you’d call it a serious date. Where did he take you?”
“The Gray Duck Tavern. Ever hear of it?”
Her father raised his eyebrows. “Not too many young men can afford to toss that sort of money around.”
She shrugged. “His father owns a delivery company.”
DeeDee walked into the kitchen. “Are you talking about Aaron?”
“What’s his last name?” Cody asked his daughter.
“Symons. Spelled with a y instead of an i.” DeeDee answered. “He substitutes for the National Delivery drivers.”
“Only when he’s come from school.”
DeeDee poured a cup of coffee and joined them at the table. “Seems as though I walked in on an important discussion. Did your date go well?”
“It was fabulous.”
“Good. You’re opening for me tomorrow. I’ll be at the factory.”
Julia stood, then looked at her dad who seemed to be staring at nothing. “I’ve been invited to stay with Aaron’s family over Thanksgiving weekend.”
Cody shook his head. “No way. You’re spending it with your grandparents. You know that.”
“It’s not up for debate. That’s the rules. We go home for Thanksgiving.”
Julia shoved her chair a little too hard and stormed out of the kitchen and into her room. There were times she hated Cody Montgomery and this was one of them. You’re not stopping me.
Would you like to win a copy of With This Ring? Leave a comment with your email address and I’ll toss your name in the hat for a free copy. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the boxed set, Weddings on Main Street. This is a limited time offering to our readers. And make certain you read all the stories, including mine at the very end. Well, I certainly couldn’t go first and give away all the secrets in the other books! And I’ll be in and out all day to answer your questions and read your responses! Right now, I need coffee and chocolate!
Where to Find E. Ayers on the Web
(Shared Blog) http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com
(Amazon Author Page) http://amzn.com/e/B005AYJ0XE
(Authors of Main Street Newsletter) http://ow.ly/xel3e
Other Books by E. Ayers
Wanting (A River City Novel)
A New Beginning (A River City Novel)
A Challenge (A River City Novel)
Forever (A River City Novel)
A Son (A River City Novel)
A Child’s Heart (A River City Novel)
Campaign (A River City Novel) coming in June 2014
Coming Out of Hiding (a novel)
With This Ring (a novel) available June 16, 2014
I Thee Wed (a novella) available June 16, 2014
Weddings on Main Street (boxed set) available June 9, 2014
A Fine Line (a novella) *
Mariners Cove (a novella)
Ask Me Again (a novella)
A Skeleton at Her Door (a novella)
A Snowy Christmas in Wyoming (a novella) *
A Cowboy’s Kiss in Wyoming (a novella) *
A Love Song in Wyoming (a novella) *
A Calling in Wyoming (a novella) *
A Rancher’s Woman (a historical novel)
Sweetwater Springs Christmas (anthology) *
* sweeter reads