Are you ready for Volume 3 in the Tales Behind the Veils series? Because Diary of an Engaged Wedding Planner is almost ready for release! Today, in honor of Valentine's Day and the spirit of romance in the air...I'm revealing the cover for the new book. Members of my street team, the Ultra Violets, voted for a blue cover, and I think they knocked it out of the park with this one. It looks so pretty with the pink and purple volumes. My cover designer, Robin Ludwig Cover Designs, did a fabulous job--as always--and I couldn't be more pleased with this cover. What do you think? Isn't it beautiful? Here's the rundown on this one: Tyler felt like the luckiest girl alive when her very own Prince Charming proposed. Her euphoria was short-lived, however. Before long, she was wishing she could skip right over the fairy tale wedding and go straight to the happily ever after. In her job as a wedding planner, Tyler has grown accustomed to dealing with demanding brides and their challenging family members. But nothing in her career prepared her for dealing with the most difficult Mother of the Bride she's never encountered--her own mama. It doesn't take long for Tyler to decide her best wedding option may be to elope. The third volume in the Tales Behind the Veils series follows Tyler's hilarious efforts to rein in Mama as they both plan the same wedding with very different visions. It's enough to make an engaged wedding planner feel sympathy for bridezillas, even as she struggles not to become one. THIS BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE IN FEBRUARY 2016! CHECK BACK FOR A RELEASE DATE SOON!
I feel like it was just early November a second ago, and then I blinked. Bam! It's February. What happened? The holidays. Taxes. Life. But just before the days took off at warp speed, My Knight and I traveled to Roanoke, Virginia for our anniversary and to visit our brother and sister-in-law. On a relaxing, lazy, chilly morning, my brother-in-law took us to charming downtown Roanoke to visit the Roanoke Pinball Museum. I had no idea such a thing even existed. I've later discovered there are many such locations throughout the U.S., all paying homage to an almost obsolete favorite pastime. At the Roanoke Pinball Museum, you pay one entry fee and then you can play unlimited pinball for the day. Holy Cow! Gone are the days of digging through pockets and car consoles for quarters just to play one more game. I don't remember the first time I played pinball, but I played it most often during my college years. Being in the pinball museum surrounded by the flashing lights and old familiar sounds transported me back in time in many ways. I could clearly remember the rush of releasing the plunger on the first ball. The exhilaration of hitting multi-ball and watching the board go crazy. The panic of trying to coax a ball away from the side alleys. The sinking feeling when the ball comes straight down the middle and into the abyss out of the flippers' reach. As My Knight and I traveled from machine to machine, rediscovering old favorites and finding delight in those we'd never seen before, it was amazing how much it all came flooding back. We'd only been there a few minutes when an old familiar sound popped above the constant din of bells and sirens. A loud crack that sounds almost as though the ball has struck the glass. Hearing the sound immediately gave me a little thrill, a little burst of excitement. "What was that?" My Knight asked, and though it had been probably over 25 years since I heard it, I immediately knew. "Someone just won a replay," I answered with a grin. Each machine had a threshold of points that would award a replay if you passed it. Back in the day, it was an accomplishment to be proud of. A goal to achieve. A way to enusre you could play again even when you were out of quarters. It was funny how my body and my mind reacted to the sound and carried me back to the way it felt to hear it years ago. The same thing happened when our game ended and we breathlessly waited to see if we got a "match." If the last two numbers of your score matched the randomly chosen number at the end of the game, you got to play again without needing a quarter. Watching the match numbers spin still filled me with hope and anticipation, even though we'd paid for the day pass and didn't need to "win" a free game to keep playing. We even found my favorite all-time machine---The Fun House. I squealed like a kid on Christmas. I couldn't wait to show My Knight my mad skills at making the balls ride the rails and locking in for multi-ball. Unfortunately, the mouth on the Fun House no longer opened and closed, which I am positive contributed to my astounding loss. In addition to playing on a variety of machines--many so old they didn't have digital numbers and eventually rolled to all zeroes if you scored high enough--we learned quite a bit about the pinball industry through the displays, photos, and video slideshow. I never knew pinball was outlawed from the 40s to the 70s, and only got reinstated in New York City as late as 1976. Because it was seen as a game of chance and not luck, it was branded as a form of gambling. Pinball didn't disappear during those years, but it was relocated to speakeasy and seedy bars and largely became associated with mafia activity. The police would often raid the establishment and destroy the pinball machines. In fact, even after it was legalized, pinball was still seen by many as a corruptor of youth, which explains why so many movies, songs, and TV shows often portrayed the pinball wizard as someone on the margins of society. Who knew I was being a rebel all those years ago, standing in a convenience store in my tiny hometown, cramming in quarters and craving the distinctive pop of a replay?
I'm beginning to think smartphones may be making us dumber. My Knight and I made an impromptu decision to head over to the beach to see the Blood Moon rise, and thanks to our smartphones, we were able to Google the predicted times for the moon's rise, the beginning of the eclipse, the moment the eclipse would be at its fullest, and when it would be over. We also used our smartphones to stay in communication with friends who were meeting us there, to find them once we were all at the beach, and to check out the menu and operating hours of a nearby pizza place. While we sat talking on the beach and watching the clouds for any glimpse of a spectacular lunar event, we all used our smartphones to read up on the trending topic of the world's imminent demise and to post pictures on Facebook of our lackluster view. We shot the breeze, enjoyed the breeze, played in the waves and tossed a frisbee until it got too dark to see. Eventually, we all gave up on the moon and gave in to the clouds. My Knight and I were cruising back home, sunroof open and music blaring when his phone lit up in the console between us. We both glanced at the screen to see "Look at the moon." Assuming it was our friends from the beach, we immediately began searching the skies. We couldn't see any peek of the moon, though. We looked out every window, and I even raised up out of the sunroof to get a 360 degree view. No moon. Our excitement and frustration grew. We couldn't imagine how they would be seeing the moon when we were heading the same direction as them along the same timeline, and yet we couldn't see it. So I picked up his phone to text and ask their exact location. Which is when I discovered it wasn't from our friends after all. It wasn't even a text. It was a reminder My Knight had set on the phone a couple of days before so he wouldn't forget to look at the lunar eclipse. Pretty smart, huh?
Okay, I have something new to obsess over when traveling. Not that I needed something new. Or was looking to fill an empty spot in my obsession closet. But thanks to Owen Wilson's new movie NO ESCAPE, I have new fears to address. I already knew that traveling to foreign lands carries with it an inherent danger. Well, let's face it, traveling anywhere--domestic or abroad--can be dangerous. But when you leave your country and travel to another, you are at the mercy of their laws, their government, and their problems. I have always weighed those risks against the benefits of meeting other people, experiencing other cultures, and expanding my life horizons and found that the benefits far outweighed the possible issues. I still feel that way, and I'll still travel. As much as possible. But thanks to NO ESCAPE, I've learned a few new things I should be concerned about.