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Before you self-publish, LEARN

Writers who are thinking of self publishing, please, PLEASE do your research before you write a check to anyone. Even the once-trusted names are stepping into the Vanity Publishing zone, this time Simon and Schuster.

These packages are overpriced, managed by a third-party company known for poor work (Author Solutions), plus S&S takes HALF of what you earn, after CHARGING you to publish it. And for nothing–the S&S name is nowhere on your work and they have nothing to do with it.

The farther you go from working directly with the cover artist, formatter, and editor, the worse your experience can be. Hiring direct and uploading your work yourself is always in your best interest. Need a list of who to hire? Here’s a great one:  Helpful Links for Indie Writers

And never, EVER, pay to have your book formatted and prepped and then ALSO give that company part of your earnings. It’s one or the other, not both.

Realize many authors learn these steps themselves and have ZERO cost to publishing their book.

But if that is not you, here’s current rates for getting a book out in the world if you hire out every single step:

  • Digital book cover design: $50 to $300
  • Wrap around book cover design for paperbacks: $145 to $450
  • Ebook formatting: $50 to $100
  • Interior paperback formatting: $150 to $800 (depending on complexity of book, novels on the low end, nonfiction with graphics are more)
  • Copy Editing an 80,000 word novel: $500 to $3000 (proofreading for grammar on the low end, line editing for content on the higher)
  • Proofs and miscellaneous: $50 to $150 depending on if you get your own ISBN or run several proofs

Total for getting your book in the world if you don’t do anything but write it:

Ebook only: $600 with editing

With paperback: $950 with editing

If you have a grammar Nazi in your family, then you can probably do it for as little as $100 for cover and formatting.

What Simon and Schuster will charge you for these same services:

$4700

And take half of your earnings.

Just. Don’t.

A letter to Chris Baty on the eve of NaNoWriMo 2012

I’m sure all those years ago, when you and a few friends cooked up the crazy idea to write 50,000 words in a month, you had no idea the impact this new event might have on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the world.

Let me tell you how much it changed mine.

In October 2005, I had a broken heart, two small children, and no idea how to find the time to write the book I wanted so much to get on paper. As a self-employed single mom who lost most of her friends in the divorce, I struggled in every way.

But a librarian had told me about NaNoWriMo, and I wondered if I should try it. Somewhere between diapers and custody hand offs and school pick ups and photography clients, I would make it happen.

So I got myself to the Midnight Write that year, organized by the incredible Austin Penguins, a well-established local chapter. I didn’t know a single person but sat at a table in a 24-hour cafe, surrounded by other determined writers, typing the opening words to a novel I’d been thinking about for a year.

Deanna & Ivy at Austin Java 2005

About a week in, at a writing meet up at a coffee shop called Austin Java, I sat down by two women, who let me know it was cheap wine night and to avail myself of a glass. They introduced themselves as Ivy and Audrey. A few minutes later, a fourth person, a guy who went by Fool, joined us.

The evening, greased by red wine and a sense of hilarity in trying to write novels on such a short timeline, caused us to laugh and joke and try to out-wit each other with ridiculous scenes.

Ivy, Deanna, and Audrey on the night of the end of NaNo party 2005

We  became tight friends, and on the last night of November, I made my word count, as did Audrey and Fool. I had done it. 50,000 words. A novel more than half finished. And friends.

We celebrated the next Saturday at a party hosted by the Penguins, then made our way to a jazz bar called The Elephant Room. We were met by a man named Kurt, a friend of Audrey’s, who wrote me a few days later to ask if he could read my work. With the encouragement of the Austin Java crew, Kurt and I began dating.

Our Bookstore Wedding

This last June, we were married.

The Austin Java group, now bigger and even more amazing, still meets every week for wine and writing. Many of them flew to New York for our destination wedding. We held it in a bookstore, of course. Both Kurt and I do NaNoWriMo now. It’s something we always make time for.

The expanded Austin Java group in New York at the wedding.

Three of my NaNoWriMo novels have been published. I am living my dream of being a full-time writer, and I have a following now who signs up to read my NaNo excerpts as I release them during November.

My life is amazing.

So Chris, maybe you had no idea that your idea would have such an impact. But the trajectory of my life completely altered by what you started.

And so, thank you.

The original Austin Java group had a reunion in 2011

I’ll be at the Texas Book Festival

I’m super excited to be at the Texas Book Festival this year with Baby Dust and the prequel book, Stella & Dane.

It’s been an amazing year with Baby Dust. Thousands and thousands of copies out in the world. So many new friends. So many bloggers featuring the book. I have to pinch myself almost every day.

If you’re attending the book festival in Austin, you can find me easily at two times:

  • The Writers’ League of Texas is sponsoring a book signing at their booth in the festival tents for me on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 3-4 p.m. I will have all my books there.
  • I wil be hosting the Writerly Lunch on the Lawn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on the lawn of the Capitol behind the food tents. I’ll have signs up, plus my pink pigtails are hard to miss. Come say hello!

At the Texas Indie Authors booth I will have Baby Dust and In the Company of Angels, the memorial book for recording details of your pregnancy. I might end up doing a signing over there too, but right now I’m planning to step aside and let all the other awesome TIA authors have their moment since I will already have a signing time.

It’s exciting and amazing! I hope you say hello if you are there!

October 15th is Pregnancy Loss Remembrance

2012 Candles

For those of you in the US, this post is going up a bit early due to the international nature of my site, but Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This day was designated by all 50 states in the US through the efforts of Robyn Bear (a lovely fellow-Texas girl!)

On this day, at 7 p.m. your time, grieving families light a candle for their babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or early perinatal death for one hour. As each time zone extinguishes their candles, the next one will light theirs, creating the continuous Wave of Light across the world.

Some families opt to do this alone at home. Others will invite friends, family, or fellow baby loss moms to come over. Across the world, official walks and candle lightings are formed. To see if there is one near you, check this page: http://www.october15th.com/activities-walks/

Here in Austin, Texas, I have hosted the candle lighting for many years.

We will be down at the pond behind the Long Center. (This area is called Butler Park and is near the lighted fountains, at the base of the hill.) We will light our candles between 7 and 8 p.m.

Parking is easiest along Riverside or in the lot off Dawson Road. Most of the runners are leaving, so you can usually find a spot if you see someone heading to their car. You should be able to spot us by our candles and signs. I will have candles for everyone, and many parents will bring theirs too.

Here is a map.

See the Facebook page for more info.

If you need music to play during your hour, I have compiled a list of YouTube videos that will play in order and be long enough for your hour.

 

 

Give aways for Baby Casey, who would have been 14 years old!

Every year we celebrate what would have been Baby Casey’s birthday with new site features, prizes, and give aways!

This year we’re trying this trendy new gadget called the Rafflecopter (see it down below)! You enter the giveaway by doing certain tasks—including telling us your baby’s name, finding us on Facebook, and other activities that get you points toward the give aways.

While we’re celebrating baby Casey, my book Baby Dust is only 99 cents for the ebook or $5 for the paperback now through Sept. 13! This is a GREAT time to gift the book to a friend, to snag it if you haven’t had a chance yet, or to donate a copy to a hospital for another mom who might need it.

Baby Dust 99 cents for Nook

Baby Dust 99 cents for Kindle

Baby Dust $5 for paperback (shipping is $3.97 in the US)

____________________________________

HERE ARE THE PRIZES!

A HeartBeat Bear. Super cute bears are recorded with a heartbeat at the rate of your baby that is activated when you hug the bear. You can tell us based on sonograms or NICU stats what your baby’s last heartrate was, or we can record a heartrate for your baby’s gestational age. Wonderful little bear.

In the Company of Angels Memorial Book. This hardback baby book has pages ready to fill out about your baby, whether you were only a few weeks along, or delivered a full-term stillbirth. No page will go blank in your book, and gentle prompts on gorgeous pages will guide you to remembering every moment of your pregnancy.

Here is the Rafflecopter. I had to sort of puzzle it out the first time I used one—you’ll get it! Each thing you do gets you more entries in the contest! Only do what you feel comfortable with.

  • +1 entry — Tell us your babies’ names or how many unnamed babies you have!
  • +2 more entries — Become a fan of “A Place for Our Angels” where we talk about our babies (if you’re already a fan–just log in and it will know!)
  • +2 more entries — Follow Deanna Roy (that’s me!) on Twitter. Except I talk about random things. Like Crunch Berries. Follow at your own risk! 🙂
  • +3 more entries — Tweet about Baby Dust being 99 cents. Don’t worry about “finding the link.” Just hit Tweet and the text of the tweet will come up.
  • +1 more entry — Go hit the “like” button on Amazon for Baby Dust or for In the Company of Angels. This helps the books be more visible on Amazon!

When Rafflecopter picks a winner, the entries will be verified. Yay! Good luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stella & Dane: A Honky Tonk Romance is OUT!

Stella & Dane: A Honky Tonk RomanceNot long after my novel Baby Dust was out, readers immediately began writing me asking about Stella, the group leader who is a central figure in the book. Where did she come from? What happened to Dane? Why did she stay with him?

I knew Stella had a heck of a story to tell, so last November I went ahead and started writing the romance between her and Dane, when this Harley-riding bad boy roars into her small Missouri town and upsets the balance of the locals by dating too many hometown girls in too quick a succession.

But despite either of them—Stella with her determination to leave town for good, and Dane with his insistence on avoiding entanglements—their collision spirals out of their control.

Including Dane’s temper. He’s been on the bad side of too many of the town’s hot heads, and eventually trouble was going to erupt.

I’m so excited about the book and how it played out. I’ll talk more about it in the coming days, especially leading to the broader release in August, when the paperback will come out, and I’ll be on a ten-blog tour where hard-core romance reviewers will be chewing up and spitting out their opinions about my first actual romance. (I’m terrified!)

I hope you’ll go download the sample and see if it fits the sort of reading you like. Both of the authors who (so wonderfully!) endorsed Stella & Dane read it within a day or two and at least one early reader got through six chapters in secret bathroom breaks since she decided not to call in sick, which she regretted. I LOVE you guys!

Go see Stella & Dane on the Amazon book store!

 

 

 

INDIEpendence Day: A review of my fave indie book

As part of the IndiePendence blog hop, I’m writing a review of my personal favorite independently published book: A Dignified Exit by John J Asher.

In A Dignified Exit, Monroe is a painter living in rural Texas with a devastating secret. Rather than burden his aging small-town friends, he makes the decision to take this secret with him to Mexico and live out the rest of his life alone.

He leaves behind an ailing adult son, Robert, who spurns him one last time before Monroe goes, and an angry ex-wife who isn’t too sorry to see him gone.

Despite this, the reader learns to like Monroe, who seems a bit lost in his personal life, but determined and competent as he makes the move to Mexico.

His plans to stay alone are very quickly changed when he can’t help but intervene in a fight between a young couple that earns him a bloody nose. The girl, Angelina, ends up destitute and abandoned in Mexico. Monroe decides to take her in so she can earn wages as his help to get back to the States.

The book becomes an unusual romance, with Monroe knowing he can’t fall in love with the girl, as it’s too late for him.

The story has commercial undertones but a literary feel, so that the pacing never suffers under the weight of the beauty of looking at the world through Monroe’s artist eyes. We might linger on a meal, or a scene to be painted, but the story still moves as Monroe’s son comes to visit, tragedy inserts itself, and some of Mexico’s unusual citizens become players in Monroe’s drama.

As Monroe’s secret unravels and his relationship with Angelina spirals into something neither of them expected, Monroe and the reader will be reminded that any of us can find salvation through love, even when it is almost, but not entirely, too late.

Buy for Kindle

Buy Paperback

Discover more amazing indie books by visiting other stops on the IndiePendence blog hop.

 

My book is part of a Kindle Fire giveaway on the 4th of July!

20 or so authors got together and chipped in for this contest. It’s not a big company or anything.

  • Grand Prize: 1 FREE Kindle Fire with all participating authors’ books loaded on to it.
  • First Place: 1 FREE regular Kindle with all participating authors’ books loaded on to it.
  • Second Place: 10 FREE eBooks of their choice from the participating authors
  • Third place: 5 FREE eBooks of their choice from the participating authors

All the books are for middle grade readers (ages 9-12) but that doesn’t mean you have to give the Kindle to your child! Go see the list of books!

The Rafflecopter below is the way the contest is run. Each time you follow one of the authors on Twitter or like a Facebook page, you earn another entry. You can get over 60 entries.

The book of mine that will be on the winning Kindles is Jinnie Wishmaker !

(NOTE—I’m not running the contest, just participating, so I’m not sure whose blog you follow for the first choice of the Rafflecopter!) Right now the only thing of mine on there is the Twitter link.

Middle Grade Books and Kindle Fire Rafflecopter giveaway

The story behind Baby Dust

Fourteen years ago, a book saved my life. I had just lost my baby, inexplicably, when a sonogram five months into my pregnancy showed a motionless baby  floating in his amniotic sea. No one could give us a reason. They told us just to have faith, to hope, and to try again.

I didn’t have that faith. I didn’t have any hope. My life had become consumed by fear.

The book was Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah Davis. My then-husband and I read it together and worked through everything she told us about allowing ourselves to grieve.

In the years that followed, as I developed my own web site to help other women in the same predicament as me, I sold hundreds to thousands of copies of Deborah’s book. It was one of the few I could whole heartedly recommend. And I still do.

But publishing changed during those years. Books I read and suggested to grieving mothers became rarer. The midlist shrank, and with it, niche books like ones about miscarriage and stillbirth disappeared. I found I had little to tell these women to buy.

In 2007, I could see a big hole in the market but wasn’t sure what to do about it. I had been a journalistic writer all my life, but anything longer than ten pages was a stretch for me. Still, I knew there were women who needed stories that would help them, and the anthologies of anecdotes, while wonderful, all dealt with the acute stage of grief—the actual miscarriage and its immediate aftermath. My site was almost ten years old and no one was helping the women over the long haul, most especially those who never had children at all.

And so, I started a little blog (it is still up!) where I asked women for their stories. As I put together the characters in Baby Dust, I took those real accounts of pain and despair, and success and joy, and shaped what I hoped would be something that would not just tell the story of loss, but of surviving it.

Many times along the way, I didn’t think the book would go anywhere. The agents I submitted to believed in the book, and complimented the story and the writing and the message. But it was too small a market. A publisher wouldn’t want it. It wouldn’t sell well enough. All I heard was, no, no, no, no.

So I did the only thing I knew to do. I started my own publishing company. And since then, Baby Dust, and another title I put together, a memorial book for babies for whom traditional “Baby’s First Year” books would never work, have been the basis of my new life.

Since I published Baby Dust in 2011, I’ve had the amazing pleasure of corresponding with Deborah Davis about her book and mine. When I see on Amazon our two books “frequently bought together,” I am overwhelmed by gratitude that she was there to lead me through my dark days, and that with her help, I could move forward to help women through theirs.

__________________

Learn about Stella & Dane, two characters from Baby Dust who got a book of their own, to be released July 15, 2012!

When two writers get married, you gotta have a story arc, right?

When two writers get married, you gotta have a story arc, right?

Unless you’re writing a bedtime tale, every good story has to have its falling and rising action, its complications and cliffhangers. So when you meet the man of your dreams through a writing group and get married in a bookstore, you have to brace yourself for the extra punch that is bound to find its way into your love story.

I’m a big believer in Jack Bickham’s story structure. He tells us good narratives are built when each scene contains a goal, an obstacle to the goal, and a disaster that carries us into the next goal. So here is our wedding day story, told Bickham style, with all the disasters perfectly in place.

We begin with Scene #1.

Goal: To meet friends and family in Central Park for a laid-back gathering the morning of the wedding day.

Obstacle 1: Our hero couple is late. Kurt runs ahead to meet with everyone.

Obstacle 2: Ten-year-old daughter Elizabeth suddenly starts feeling very bad on Fifth Avenue. She has a headache and starts crying.

Disaster: They can’t even make it into the park, as she starts turning sort of gray. She has epilepsy and may be starting the wedding day with a seizure in Central Park. And who has the medicine? Kurt.

That worked, right? You are hooked in the story. I wish it were fiction, but this is how the day begins. So let’s move to the next scene.

Goal: To get Elizabeth her medicine before she gets any worse.

Obstacle 1: Kurt has already run into the park. So Deanna calls him. He starts heading back.

Obstacle 2: It’s really noisy and difficult with construction near the park entrance. Elizabeth and Deanna start moving, one bench at a time, into the park. Elizabeth can’t really move more than a few yards at a time, clutching her mom.

Disaster: Kurt arrives, and the panicked couple realizes they didn’t pack any meds in his backpack.

You see how this day is going. Wedding is in 7 hours and we have a full-blown crisis on our hands. Now for Scene #3.

Goal: To find medicine for Elizabeth to see if they can make her feel better to head off a seizure.

Obstacle: They’re in Central Park with no idea where a drug store is. Kurt asks for directions. CVS is five blocks away. He takes off running.

Disaster: When he gets there, they don’t have anything he recognizes as something that would help. He calls, but Deanna is intent on Elizabeth and doesn’t even hear it buzz.

Ticking clock. All essential story elements. But the hero is on his way.

Goal: Kurt: to bring something that will help. Deanna: to get Elizabeth closer to friends and family should they need support if she seizes.

Obstacle: Kurt starts heading back, hoping one of the three things he bought will work. Deanna keeps moving Elizabeth one bench at a time toward the group, and they all finally converge at the Alice in Wonderland statue.

Resolution: Elizabeth manages to take some dissolve tabs and perks up. Within half an hour, she is running all over the park and climbing rocks with the other kids.

So you think the wedding day will go on normally now, right? You would be so very wrong. Before leaving this chapter, we have to get you another cliffhanger to ensure you keep reading. No problem.

Goal: Deanna has to get to the salon to start the preparations. She says goodbye to everyone and heads up Fifth Avenue, managing to locate a taxi and get back to her apartment.

Obstacle: The salon is not far from where she is staying, so she thinks she will walk. She also thinks she knows where she is going.

Disaster: She gets lost. And it starts to rain. Seriously. Rain. If this were fiction, the editors would cross this out. Cliché, they would say. Nix it. But it’s really raining.

Deanna is not one for pity parties, but it’s been enough of a day already, and after crossing Houston St. three times (foreshadowing for the future Houston St. crossing from hell!), her cell phone failing to connect to the salon for help, she sort of leans against the brick wall of a random building and busts out crying. But of course, she has to have a new goal. One can’t stand on a corner and cry all day. The narrative must move forward.

Goal: To find the $#%* salon. She pulls out the printout of the appointment confirmation to try the number again and sees that they do have a picture of the entrance to the salon.

Obstacle: She knows she’s on the block, but there are several doors exactly like this one, all locked, all with buzzers to apartments. She buzzes one. An annoyed random New Yorker tells her to keep walking. Finally, she sees that there is a 10-inch sticker on one pane of one door that says the name of the salon. She goes in and reaches in her bag for all the stuff she needs for the appointment.

Disaster: No fascinator. No hair style print outs.

When compared with the other disasters, a little thing like this is really nothing. They get on the computer, the stylist tells Deanna everything she likes is dated, and sits down to do whatever she likes. Deanna tries to call someone to fetch the fascinator, but everyone’s in museums and sightseeing, so she just lets it be.

We pick up our story again at Deanna’s parents’ apartment. She has carefully packed everyone’s things. She’s calmly sewing the straps to her back-up wedding dress in case the bustle on the train to her primary dress doesn’t seem to be holding (it fell when they tested it), so she can dance in the second dress without tripping. Kurt delivers the girls safely to her and leaves to get ready. We’re about to head into the tight-timeline of the last two hours, exacerbated by the make up artist being overbooked. Elizabeth gets her hair done, and Deanna glances in the mirror to notice that her $250 hairdo has already started to fall.

Goal: To get makeup artist to help with hair problem.

Obstacle: Makeup artist is late.

Obstacle: Deanna has to start reversing the order of things to leave time for the makeup artist, and packs up wedding dress for move to the venue. Can’t find shoes.

Obstacle: Every time she moves, her hair falls more. Her mom orders her to sit. Mom has pretty shaky hands and can’t fix it herself. Dad starts the search for the five-inch platforms that are essential for the dress, which will drag the ground otherwise.

Disaster: Makeup artist calls but keeps getting disconnected. Says she’s outside the door but can’t get in. But she’s not there.

Deanna is really trying to laugh about everything. They finally get through to the makeup girl, and she’s two blocks away, banging on the wrong door. They are crowded in the apartment now, with a videographer, a photographer, two kids, two parents, a bride, and a makeup artist. And no booze in the house. (That should be a disaster right there.) But Leora fixes the hair with hair pins donated from the photographer, who goes above and beyond the call of duty by taking her own hair down for the bride’s. Makeup commences. Dad finds shoes. But boy, is everything late. Let’s move on to the next series.

Goal: To get to the bookstore on time.

Obstacle. Dear reader, just start laughing now. Because the way things are about to go…yes, just laugh now.

Obstacle: Nasty mean taxi driver. He doesn’t know where Housing Works is. He doesn’t know Crosby Street. Deanna explains that it is near Houston and Lafayette. She has no idea what he’s about to do.

Obstacle: Traffic is horrible, sometimes causing a 10-minute wait at an intersection. Deanna was supposed to be setting up the tables ten minutes ago, and dressing now. It’s 20 minutes until the wedding, and she’s in a taxi and not dressed.

Obstacle: He stops many blocks away from the venue. Deanna has two giant boxes of books and decorations, a wedding dress bag, a ten-year-old, and a mom who can’t walk more than about a block without assistance. She tells him they have to get closer. He circles the block, which takes ten more minutes. Deanna is supposed to have the tables set up, be in her dress, and should be sipping white wine out of view while people arrive. Instead she is in a taxi four blocks away with everything for the wedding in it.

Obstacle: The taxi driver says, “This is it,” and puts it in park. They can see Housing Works, but it is far. Across the enormous Houston Street, which has a walking signal barely long enough for regular people to cross in time, and they have all the wedding stuff, a child, and a mom who has left her walker back at the apartment.

Disaster: They get out anyway.

Now I can tell you are probably either laughing or upset at what’s gone on. And honestly, when we got out of the car with all those boxes and bags, and really no way to carry them, I didn’t see what we would do. I gave the wedding dress to Elizabeth, my bride bag to mom, and I carried the two stacked boxes in front of my face as we set across this crazy street full of traffic, about 50 yards across. For you Austin people, it would be like crossing I-35, if the highway had a red light in it, one that serves more as a suggestion than an actual traffic stop.

Goal: To get to the wedding without dropping everything.

Obstacle: Halfway across this mega-street, Deanna simply cannot carry the boxes any further. The light changes, and they are trapped by a low concrete construction barrier. They stand near it. Deanna sets the boxes on the barrier, knowing that if she doesn’t hang on, they will fall into some utility construction pit. Her arms are screaming, and she knows she is going to be feeling the pain for some time (and five days, later, they still hurt.) Mom is gamely holding on to the barrier. Traffic is whizzing on either side of the trio.

I honest-to-God start looking around for someone to pay to help us carry these things. I see no way we can get the rest of the way across this road. But New Yorkers go on their merry way, the light changes, and people start moving.

I tell Elizabeth she has to help, and I give her the lighter box. Mom gets the wedding dress. I carry the box full of books and know we simply have to do this.

Obstacle: The light turns while we cross.

Screw it. At this point I’m ready to get run over.

With about 10 minutes until the wedding, Deanna sits Elizabeth and Mom on concrete steps next to some random interesting looking characters and makes a mad dash down the street to the venue. They are waiting, probably wondering exactly how to start a wedding with no bride. They hurry down to fetch the boxes and help the others to the bookstore. Deanna goes inside and realizes:

Disaster: We also have no groom.

It’s moving swiftly now, isn’t it? Moving into that climax! Bickham would be pleased with our structure!

Deanna’s Goal: Decorate tables, put on dress, get FREAKING UPSTAIRS TO HER GLASS OF WINE! Thankfully, The staff was all ready, so after some quick instructions, they got the tables done and she dashes to the bathroom to put on her dress.

Kurt’s Goal: To get to the venue.

Now Kurt was dealing with similar obstacles as far as traffic. He had Emily and the bride’s Dad. But they were unencumbered, so when they got a few blocks away, they hopped out and headed toward the venue, where many of the guests were all gathered, waiting to be allowed in since Deanna was still having the tables set up.

Disaster: But as Kurt approached the crowd of people, he remembered he didn’t have the black hair tie Deanna had made for him. It was in his backpack…which wasn’t on his shoulder. He turns around, shocked at himself. He has left his backpack in the taxi. And it wasn’t just holding his hair ribbon. But Deanna’s $3000 professional camera that she uses for work.

We should stop here, right? I mean, that’s a hell of a disaster for a groom, right? How does he tell his bride, five minutes before their wedding, that her livelihood just drove off into a sea of yellow? But we must go on with our tale, take it to its conclusion.

Goal: To find the *^&% taxi with the backpack in it. Kurt gathers a few people and they rush in the direction of the taxis, which are all blending together.

Obstacle: There are hundreds of them. They are looking in windows, trying to find the one with the backpack.

Disaster: They fail.

Blake Snyder (RIP, Blake!) talks about the “Long dark night of the soul.” In every story, there is a moment where there seems there is no way out. No way to solve the problem at hand. We’re there.

Goal: Kurt is trying to recover from what has just happened. The people who know decide to keep it from Deanna until after the ceremony.

Now, during all this, Deanna is upstairs, gulping wine and wondering why everyone is still being held outside. The tables are ready. She calls down to tell them to open the door and asks a friend how Kurt is doing. Nervous, she is told. Figures. It had been a tough day.

The wedding coordinator comes up. It’s 45 minutes past the wedding start time. Deanna is shrugging. It’ll happen. They suggest we go ahead and start.

I’m happy to report that the disasters that occurred DURING the wedding were the hilarious sort:

The officiant called Deanna the wrong name twice, and she finally spoke up, asking Kurt, “Is that the name of your other girlfriend?”

The bakery neglected to inform us that the top layer of our book cake was actually fondant-covered cardboard. So we sawed through it for several minutes before realizing it could not be cut.

Otherwise, spot on perfect. Vows. Music. Cocktail hour with gloriously delicious appetizers. Photos. Four-course dinner. A lovely blessing by Deanna’s Dad. A sweet message from Kurt’s mom. A hilarious toast by friend Audrey. Then waltzing.

We roll to the conclusion of our wedding story as we approach that time when Deanna must be told about the camera. Their marriage is three hours old.

Goal: Kurt wants to wait until they are in the limo.

Obstacle: Deanna is puzzled why the venue is giving them vodka and champagne when they have vodka and champagne in the backpack. She suddenly remembers the backpack. Where is it? she asks Kurt.

Realize that at this moment, the limo is in the street, the driver waiting by the open door. Everyone at the wedding is standing outside the bookstore holding white rose petals.

Obstacle: The wedding coordinator arrives with a paper. They have filed a claim with the taxi company for the contents of Kurt’s backpack. Deanna realizes what has happened.

Kurt tries to launch into a “I didn’t want to tell you” spiel, but Deanna already knows all that. She would have done the same thing. It’s just a camera. An expensive one, sure, but just a piece of equipment. That can be replaced.

She does know this: What they can’t get back, can never get back, is this moment, walking out of their wedding, friends and family ready to send them off, showering them with petals. She tells him to put it from his mind, and they walk out into the New York Street, and everyone cheers, and petals waft through the air, and they duck into a black limousine and on to the rest of their lives.

Epilogue:

The camera has never been found.

And a bigger disaster unfolded over the next few days: our marriage license was unsigned and unwitnessed. Emails with the officiant went very badly and by Monday we were certain we’d have to go to City Hall and have a second ceremony to make our marriage legal. Kurt played the hero again, intervening after some rather difficult and unpleasant correspondence between Deanna and the officiant, and met the woman to get the license signed.

We are safely home now (despite United Airlines doing their best to keep us from getting here.) We try to laugh about the disasters of the day, and do take to heart what everyone says—today’s difficulties are tomorrow’s great stories.

Thank you for reading ours.