Friday, April 23, 2010

Guest Blogger Cara Summers

I absolutely love the Blaze Babes. I admit, I might be a little biased but I think we're awesome. And Cara Summers is no exception to the rule. Not only is she a fabulous writer, she's one of the sweetest people I've had the pleasure to meet in my journey as a writer. So dust the sand off the swings and please give her a warm Playground welcome!

Wedding Bell Blues

You wouldn’t think a romance author would have them. Weddings are practically our business. I may not end all of my books with a walk down the aisle, but that scenario is a pretty sure bet for each of my heroes and heroines. And I love weddings. But right now my life is a continuous series of crises because my son is getting married in three weeks.

Three weeks! The knot in my stomach just tightened. Don’t get me wrong. My son and daughter-in-law-to-be are a perfect match. Their story is one that I could develop a book about. They met through an online dating service, and they are so right for each other. I love both of them.

But each day brings a new detail to check off my to-do lists. I have four of them—scribbled on paper plates on the island in my kitchen. One list for each life that I lead. First, the teacher. As an instructor in writing at Syracuse University, I have essays to read, and grades to turn in (all before the wedding). Then there’s the author, and I have a deadline for my next Blaze—in June! As Cara, the person, I have to get a new car by the end of the month because the lease on my current one is running out. But the longest list, by far, is for the mother of the groom.

And the one thing that seems to be giving me real anxiety attacks is deciding what I’m going to wear to the wedding! I ordered the dress out of a catalogue a couple of weeks ago, and last Sunday, I finally found the courage to try it on. (It was the only item left on that particular paper plate. I was very busy, finishing my taxes, and throwing a bridal shower. I thought those were perfect excuses for postponing the day I would have to face myself in the mirror.

The dress is pink—okay Rose Dore (a deeper shade of pink.) It’s a sleeveless sheath with a jacket. Perfect, I thought for the mother of the groom.

Only it’s not right for me. Pink? Okay, it’s a good color for me, but when am I ever going to wear the dress again? Certainly not at my day job where dress jeans and a good blazer work very well. And as far as the “writing job” goes, I can do that in my sweats or even better—my pajamas.

The dress fits—sort of. My goal is to lose five pounds before the wedding. I’ve already added to my MOG list: walking every day and digging out the Wave thingy I purchased while watching an infomercial on The Firm. But whenever I look at the scribbling on those four paper plates, I get an almost irresistible desire for chocolate!

I asked two of my doctors what I could do to survive and minimize the stress. One suggested yoga. The other wrote me a prescription for Xanax. (Love him! But the Xanax could interfere with paper grading and car shopping, etc…)

So my question to all of you is the same that I put to my doctors. Yoga and Xanax aside, what can I do that would help me through this stressful time? And if it would also allow me to breathe in the “pink” dress, that would be a bonus.

To the authors of the top five suggestions (the ones that make it onto yet another paper plate), I will send an autographed copy of my May Blaze, Led Into Temptation.

As an added motivation, let me tell you that Led into Temptation is my most wicked forbidden fantasy yet. And I had a lot of fun writing it.
Don't forget to visit Cara at her website


Kathy said...

Hi Cara! Waving to you from the sandbox. ;)

Ah! First, congratuations on celebrating your son's wedding!

If you stick to your schedule, you should look fantastic in that pink dress. I've married off one son and a daughter, with two still to go. With my son, I felt so detached because I couldn't make many of the decisions. That was hard for me because I wanted everything to be perfect (and I'm a control freak). But everything turned out beautiful anyway! With my daughter, I was able to help a lot more to a certain degree. (#2 is very decisive and knew exactly what she wanted, sometimes to our chagrin. And didn't I mention I'm a control freak?) Thankfully, her wedding was a spectacular affair!

My advice is celebrate your pink dress, exercise, drink LOTS of water (8 glasses a day will do it), THINK thin (so many times we focus on where we are right now. Imagine yourself where you want to be), eat right (which will make you feel better) and get plenty of sleep (which will make you look younger and feel more refreshed. Also, we burn calories while we sleep.) Know that there will be things you can't control. And most important of all, love your son and his future wife. Being there for them is the greatest gift you can give.

Wishing you much happiness!

Minna said...

Yoga and Xanax aside, what can I do that would help me through this stressful time?

Meditate. I do it, although unlike in the instructions, I just empty out my head:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy,

This is Cara! Waving right back at you!

I tried posting a comment, and I don't thing it went through--so you may be getting two of these.

I have three sons, so I will never experience the pressure of being the mother of the bride. You are so right on how we focus on where we are right not. So I'm going to think thin and about how much the dress will please my daughter-in-law to be. (And my eight-year old graddaughter will LOVE the dress!)

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, send me your address at:

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Minna,

This is Cara! I used to meditate when I was much younger--fifteen minutes a day. But I haven't tried it in years.

I like the idea of just emptying my mind.

Thanks so much for your comment. If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, send me your address:

Thanks again!

Instigator said...

I haven't had the pleasure of marrying off a child yet (mine are 8 and 5...I hope that's a long way off :-)). But I vividly remember my own wedding. We did quite a bit of things ourselves in an attempt to save some money. At one point I went into a major meltdown and got mad at my dad for not doing something. Something really small that in the grand scheme of things made no difference at all. I can't even remember exactly what it was now. But what I do remember is that he was very calm in the face of my tears, tantrum and frustration. That more than anything helped me. So my suggestion is just to stay calm, focus on the purpose of the occasion and enjoy every minute of the experience.


Denise said...

Congratulations on your son's upcoming wedding!

Try to find things to laugh about, if you can! Laughter can be a great stress reliever. Here's an article on the LiveStrong site on destressing with laughter:

Liza said...

Hi Cara! Congrats on your son's wedding. One of the ways I relax and dump stress is to exercise. Right now I only walk or jump on the elliptical machine, but after a few minutes going, I start to relax. Reading a book or taking a nap also helps with my stress levels.

I too was wondering if you could wear the dress to the RITA/Golden Heart awards.

Anonymous said...


You've made me reecall my own wedding. The funny thing is that I was really calm that day. Well. I did cry all the way though making the vows. (The poor priest had to feed me the words two at a time!) Perhaps that's what relieved the stress.

What really helped me stay calm, I think, is that my mom never lost her cool.

So I'm going to try to be like her and really enjoy myself.

One of the stress factors is that I'm sort of anticipating trouble from one of my sons (the one who lives out of town. Behind his back, I call him the "instigator" because he likes to push his brothers' buttons. (And he knows which ones to push.)

But I'm not going to anticipate trouble. I'm going to celebrate the occasion.

Thanks so much!
PS--if you'd like a copy of my May Blaze, email me your address:

Anonymous said...


This is "anonymous" Cara again. Thanks so much for reminding me to laugh. Usually, I'm able to do that.

I think the ability to laugh as you go through life makes you live longer too.

And I really appreciate the link you sent.

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, just send me your address:

Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Playground Monitor!

Thanks for posting! I write lists on everything--paper napkins, colored index cards, and just notebook paper too. But the paper plates are eye-catching and they don't seem to vanish in the other debris of lists.

And thanks for reminding me of the RITA Awards. I don't think I've ever worn a dress to them. (I'm such a pants suit girl.) But the pick dress has possibilities.

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, please send me your address:

I'm taking a deep breath right now.
Thanks again,

Anonymous said...

Hi Liza!

It's Cara again.

An elliptical machine! I'm impressed. I have to bribe myself to use my treadmill. But the weather has finally changed in upstate New York, and there's a lake near my house that I can walk along...

Thanks so much for posting.

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, send me your address:

Have a great day!

Sherry Werth said...

Aahh! From one stressed out Mother of the Groom to another! LOL But I don't have 3 weeks..I have 1! May 1st at 6:00 to be exact. Yikes. I am not ready. I have a dress but no shoes or accessories. My house is a wreck and we have family coming in. Hubby needs a new suit and I'll have to drag him kicking and screaming to the stores this weekend. There's more but..oh well. Somehow we will both make it through this and the weddings will be lovely and then we'll wonder why we were so stressed out to start with. Congratulations to you and your family! :-D

BTW- try the Xanax - I take yoga classes and I sprained my stupid toe this week! Good luck!

Congratulations on the new release!

gigi said...

Hi Cara,
Congratulations on the upcoming nuptials .

Xanax is wonderful. I took just half of a small pill and I felt fine on my first ever airplane flight.

Get plenty of sleep. Life look better when you are well rested and you can handle stressful situations. The body just works better when it has time to recharge.
You might want to lay off the caffeine it can make you stress.

As for buying a new car check out that site is great for figuring prices and how to negotiate. It really helped with the last car I bought.

Good luck and enjoy the wedding.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sherry,
LOL to you! May first?!

I'm feeling less stressed just thinking about you!

I have the shoes and purse (which I like better than the dress). And I was supposed to take the groom shopping for a nice suit. Then my daughter-in-law earned my undying love by deciding that he should rent a tuxedo. Taking a man shopping is not fun.

Have a wonderful day!

If you'd like a copy of my May Blaze, send me your address:

I'll be thinking of you on the 1st.

Anonymous said...


Thanks so much for posting!

And thanks for the suggestions, too. I really needed the reminder about laying off the caffeine. I try to limit myself to two cups--but then when I have a long day, I'll sneak in a diet pepsi. (More caffeine).

I'm going to try switching to herbal tea.

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, send me your address:

Have a great day!

runner10 said...

It is the best stress reliever I know. Start out walking. Add a short distance running slowly. Then build up your endurance.
It is a great way to unwind at the end of the day or a great way to start your day.
Your book looks like another great one!!

Problem Child said...

Hi Cara! So sorry I'm late, but you would not believe my To Do list... or maybe you would! ~g~

I've learned the magic of massage for stress release. While I have to get deep tissue for my neck and shoulders (which isn't fun), the times when my therapist just massages nicely are quite the stress release. And it sounds like you've earned a nice massage.

And, btw, congrats on your double final in the NRCA!! See you in Nashville!

Anonymous said...

Hi Runner 10!

Running is great advice. I used to run and I like it better than walking. And your advice about how to build up endurance is great too.

Even if I combined the walking and running, it would probably work better as a stress reliever.

If you would like a copy of my May book, send me your address:

It's early Saturday, and I think I'm going to put on my running shoes and head out the door with a book on CD.

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi Problem Child,

Thanks so much for blogging with me. And thanks for the congrats on the two NRCA nominations. I'm thrilled. And you will see me in Nashville. Hmmm, perhaps that awards ceremony will be the perfect occasion for that pink dress...

And thanks for the massage advice! I hadn't even thought of it!

If you would like a copy of my May Blaze, email your address to me:

Have a wonderful weekend!