After 500 Weddings

After 500 Weddings
by M.M. Genet and Michele Roger

Originally published at

Your Maid of Honor has confirmed that the flower garland is elegantly wrapped around the archway in the garden where your grandparents were married. (Just like you planned with your florist.)

Your guests have filled the rows and rows of chairs that form the aisle way where you will tread lightly and beautifully in your dress. (A dress that you’ve had altered three times.)

The people you love most join you in the most beautiful vision of your bright future. (Okay, at least one of your parents or soon-to-be in-laws is planning for that future to include grandchildren and NOT a grand-dog.)

And here I am, playing the well planned soundtrack to wedding day.  Moment by moment, your day is cherished and captured in your heart much like the digital frames snapped by your rockstar photographer.  And hopefully all your guests will respect your request to refrain from posting on Facebook until after the professional pictures have been posted.  (Your favorite uncle will get drunk and post but the picture will be blurry and your cousin will delete it before you even notice.)

I play at least twenty-five weddings a year.  Sometimes I play more.  Maybe I’ve played for yours.  Twenty-five weddings per year multiplied by twenty years of performing.  This year, I will have played my 500th wedding.  Here are some things that I’ve learned from those 500 weddings and the brides and grooms I’ve run into afterwards.

Plant a garden, even if you work sixty hours a week.  Plant an herb garden, even if that means buying the biggest pot of rosemary and setting it out on your patio next to the deck chairs that look great but you never sit in.  Then, invite those same grandparents over.  Break them out (or sign them out) of their assisted living apartment and sit with them.  In the chairs.  Next to the rosemary.  With a bottle of champagne (not tea.)  They used to be fun.  Help them remember how much fun.  Take notes.  They were probably cooler than you.

Sell your wedding dress or your tuxedo.  While the sentiment is nice, rarely will your future son or daughter want to wear your vintage wedding duds.  If they do, it will altered to such a state that you will not recognize it.  Are you okay with that?  Yes.  Vacuum seal away.  No?  There is a bride or groom on a shoestring budget who will appreciate your discounted attire.

I’ve written about this before but, if you’re going to have theme music for your wedding at least pick something classical or timeless.  You’ll thank me in twenty years.

And lastly, be sure to thank all those people who couldn’t contain their joy (or their vodka and tonics) and posted pictures of your wedding on Facebook or Instagram before your photographer did.  These are the pictures, conveniently timestamped by social media, that you missed. In the years to come, these are the pictures that you will treasure like gold because you missed that entire subsection of the evening. These are the photos of your octogenarian aunt sneaking out to smoke in the parking lot with the twenty somethings while the rest of us health conscious people assumed she went outside to lecture them.  It’s the pic the flower girl snapped accidentally while looking for her favorite game on her mom’s cell phone.  She just so happened to capture your mom staring at you with tears in her eyes and mascara running down her cheeks.

Wedding perfection is the three and four year old ring bearer and flower girl dancing in the aisle instead of leading the wedding party.  It’s your brother in another country attending via Skype.  It’s a bride who’s so nervous that she has to breathe into a paper bag and delays the wedding by twenty minutes.  It’s the groom getting dressed and discovering his mom secretly swapped out dress his shoes for running shoes in his tuxedo bag, just in case he changes his mind at the last minute.

Weddings are about love but not in the way it’s sold to us on tv or social media.  Weddings are about all the out-of-the-box experiences, both good and bad that define not only who we love but how we love.

Guest Blog: Press presents…Kill Switch

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time? 


A sneak peek inside…


If the five children in our family represented sensory organs, I would have been the ears. I loved everything about sound, every nuance, every tone. I found music especially fascinating, enchanted by any song from little ditties to the classic melodies of a grander nature. And speaking of nature, those were the sounds I liked best—the rustle of the wind in the trees, the rap of the rain on the roof, and the twittering of the birds on a sunny day. That’s how it used to be, anyway.

In addition to its ears, I was the family “oops.” I was the reason my parents had married when my mother was only sixteen. This was also why a great gap in age—eight years—existed between me and the next oldest of my siblings.

Mikey was the eyes of our five. He hadn’t come along until my parents were ready for him. No “oops” there. Same with Abigail, three years after him, and Peter, three years after her. Lizzie, while an after-thought, had been planned as well.

I was just about to start university when the youngest of our passel made an appearance. Mom had said no more kids after thirty-five, so I’m guessing Lizzie was her swan song before she hit that mark. Lizzie was all about touch, grabby little hands that had to finger everything she saw. She didn’t have to put everything in her mouth like most babies, but she insisted on knowing how it felt.

The strangeness leading up to my family’s unhappiest incident started when I came home to visit my second summer after leaving for school. I was studying to become an audiologist. Lizzie, two and a half, wouldn’t leave me alone at first. After mauling my luggage, she latched onto me. As annoying as it was having toddler fingers entangled in my hair and sticky hands pressed against my face, she was irresistibly cute. I tolerated her explorations until my novelty wore off for her, then she wandered away in search of something different to manhandle.

Used to rising early for my classes, I was the first up the morning after my homecoming. I awoke to sunlight on my face and decided to stroll the old neighbourhood before breakfast, taking in familiar sights and, better yet, sounds. Everything was as I remembered it until a lilting birdsong from a simple sparrow caught my attention. It started out right, the expected trilling twitter, but it rolled out into an ending that was just off.

I might have shrugged it away if it were not a sound I had listened to more than a thousand times before. Not that the song was discordant, but when you are waiting for a well-known ending to a familiar beginning and it doesn’t come, it just doesn’t sit right. Suddenly, you are on the lookout for everything else a little out of place, or comparing it to the things you knew did fit.

Rather than returning home refreshed and relaxed from my walk, I arrived on edge. I had played witness to that faulty birdsong several more times along the way and the wrongness of it had tweaked my anxiety level with every repetition. I wasn’t sure why it had bothered me so much, but it did. I mentioned it to Mikey over cereal. He gave me a funny look.

“Are you sure it’s the same kind of bird? Maybe you have them mixed up. Maybe it’s something almost the same that’s not normally found around here.”

“When have you ever known me to confuse sounds? I can describe every bird out there based on its song. You know that. I wish I hadn’t noticed it because it’s silly to obsess over something so insignificant, but the song keeps playing back over and over again in my head. It’s like listening to a Beatles tune and having it switch to something by Peter Gabriel just before the fade out. I’d definitely recognize the song from the start and know that’s not the way it’s supposed to end.”

Putting it like that made it a little easier for Mikey to understand, but I’m sure I could have convinced him if I could have explained it in visual terms. He shrugged it away, and I tried to do the same, but the uneasiness lingered.

Dad decided to barbecue for lunch that day. The entire family sat on the back deck, eating our slightly charred burgers when I heard the errant bird again. I gave Mikey a nudge and gestured toward the sound.

“There. That’s the one. Do you hear it? It’s strange enough to make the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Not so far off that it sounds entirely out of place. Just enough to be irritating and sort of scary.”

Mikey couldn’t tell the difference. It was too subtle for him. He shook his head but squinted in the direction I pointed. He hesitated, not in response to the odd song, but rather to something he spotted there. His brow creased.

 “You’re right. There’s something wrong with that bird. Its eyes don’t look right and the way it moves… Let’s get closer. I need a better look.” He grabbed my arm with a firm grip. He wasn’t as strong as our father, but he was athletic enough that it hurt.

We slid out of our plastic chairs and sauntered toward the tree where the bird perched. Even with us moving slowly, it still noticed our approach and flew off before we got close.

“Did you see anything else?” I asked my younger brother.

He glanced back at me, his freckled face pale and his hazel eyes frightened.

“Its eyes looked like tiny camera lenses. It was too stiff for a regular bird, too. Not quite as bad as a mechanical toy, but it reminded me a little of one. Maybe it’s one of those drone things. They talk about them all the time on the news and the Internet.”









Available now on Amazon! 


Meant to Be Kissed...I'm in This One!

I contributed a bit of flash fiction to this new holiday romance anthology.

Here’s an excerpt:

Will I miss James? We’ve never been apart but there is a sick part of me that looks forward to writing him long, aching emails. I might even be driven to pen and paper, which is strangely even more exciting when I think about it. My mother has warned me, “It’s going to feel like a piece of your heart has been taken from you.”

Meant To Be Kissed by Meant To Be Press is now available for pre-order at

Meant To Be Kissed: A Second Story

From the talented writers of Meant to Be Press, comes the new, holiday romance anthology, “Meant To Be Kissed.”

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be – KISSED is a collection of short stories for you to get a sampling of Meant to Be Press romance authors.

Excerpt from “Lady Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal


“I wouldn’t think you the dancing sort,” she said, once they had joined the set.

“On the contrary, I am always willing to dance. I believe I won my wife because…” The word wife stuck in his throat and he swallowed hard. They danced a few steps away from each other and he could not look in her eyes when they met again.

“I’m sorry I caused you pain,” she said.

“Oh no.” He gripped her gloved hand above her head and one at her waist and they spun slowly, looking into one another’s eyes. “You’ve done nothing of the sort.”

They split and went round the outside before meeting again and grasping hands for the next set.

“I…” She paused, letting out a sigh. “I would never wish to.”

He smiled. “I believe that. After all, we’ve saved each other. What more could one do for another?”

“What indeed.” Her right eyebrow arched as she smiled a mischievous smile.

Meant To Be Kissed is coming soon! Visit

Meant To Be Kissed, A New Holiday Anthology To Be Released

From the talented writers of Meant to Be Press, comes the new, holiday romance anthology, “Meant To Be Kissed.”

Love sweet romance? Meant to Be – KISSED is a collection of short stories for you to get a sampling of Meant to Be Press romance authors.

“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother.

Read a sample of The Grand Gesture:

“My dear!” Lady Termington, their hostess, reached the bottom of the stairs in time to wheel back from the rising, mud-coated form of Miss Shelby. “You must… you must…”

With great certainty, Lady Rosamund Windham knew that her mother’s lifelong friend and adversary was going to suggest the child be bundled off in her carriage. The story would be retold at every ball the girl attended in the future. Her soft blue eyes, so eager, would fall with shame and even her stammering attempts at conversation would leave her. The girl was not equipped to handle a long season of subtle jibes about clean dresses and absent grace.

“Oh, my!” Rosamund cried loudly. Her feet went out from under her and she slipped off the step into the hearty mud. She landed on her hip, ensuring mud clung to her from top to bottom and stared upward at the hapless footman, who stumbled back with his hands raised, as if to show he had not shoved her. Her sister loomed on the step above, mouth opened in an appalled ‘o’.”

Get your copy by visiting Meant to Be Press at

My New Book: The Harpist

Elizabeth O'Toole has finally gotten her life where she likes it. She plays harp for the local symphony. She shops high fashion labels at vintage stores. She'd recovered from a tragic past and she has her close friends Catherine and Alan to thank. After suppressing her extra sensory perception with intense study of her harp, she finds her music is suddenly connecting with a new audience; particularly a young girl, Emma Brady, who has been murdered. With each ghostly visit, the hauntings grow more intense and more terrifying. Investigating the case is ruggedly handsome Detective Mike Flannery. Known for his fast thinking and bravery on the force, he has his own past and reputation he's trying to keep at bay. Coming from a rich and powerful family, he's out to prove he can fight for justice by being a good cop rather than moving up the ranks through nepotism. Mike and Elizabeth's paths collide at Emma's funeral. The daughter of a Senator, the family wishes the investigation done quickly and quietly. Mike can't close the case because some of the pieces just don't fit together. Elizabeth holds the key to the murder mystery but will he believe her and her unusual connection to the dead victim? Will she and Alan find a way to help the dead tell their own stories? A novel that spans two worlds. Two time periods. One part science fiction. One part paranormal mystery. All romance. Intertwined is a love story of the most unlikely couple. A killer is on the loose and both of them are on the hit list. If they work together, Mike just might solve the case before more people fall victim. But he can't do it alone. He'll need the help of Elizabeth as she connects her living world to that of the dead. She'll need Mikes protection and he'll need the talent and bravery of The Harpist. Get your copy

I'm A Double Agent For Love

I’m A Double Agent For Love




I have a secret.  I live in two worlds.  Half the people who know me from one world, don’t know my other life in my alternate reality.  Vice versa, the same is true.  In all actuality, its far more glamorous than it sounds.  By day, and on weekends, I teach and perform as a harpist.  At night, I burn the midnight oil writing stories about paranormal love and romance.


I do my best to keep my worlds apart.  


Music is extremely competitive.  When I once mentioned to a parent that I wrote a kids book, they looked at me stern concern. “I hope this won’t effect your dedication to your students.”  A similar experience happened when I was in a marketing meeting with a music promoter.  I talked about adding a short story I’d written to my website.  His words cut through me, “People don’t let anyone in the public eye be more than one thing at a time.  It’s just not natural.  You’re going to have to pick a muse and stick with it.”


But I don’t want to pick.  I love writing.  I love playing the harp.  And sometimes, just sometimes, a day like yesterday happens.  Since we are approaching summer break, some of my students are away on vacation.  I was basking in the delicious freedom of a late morning cup of coffee and a large block of writing time when it happened.


My female character, Elizabeth had just revealed her secret ability to help solve murder cases.  In the scene, she is afraid and has left herself feeling vulnerable and open to the leading man, Detective Flannery.  Like any good, red headed woman, she deals with vulnerability by being quick witted and silver tongued.  Flannery falls deeper in love with each sassy attempt she makes at deflecting her feelings.  He doesn’t want to fall in love with her.  The timing is inconvenient (he’s in the middle of a case, for God’s sake!).  His boss is breathing down his neck.  The press is trying to squeeze him for a comment on the high profile of the victim. To make things worse, all clues lead to suspect that will rip the city apart with controversy.  Alas, none of that matters to Flannery.  He wants nothing more than to comfort Elizabeth who’s paper thin armor is coming apart at the seams. 


While my writer mind typed away, my inner composer suddenly gathered together an entire harp orchestra.  A soft, beautiful theme glides into the story from the other side of my brain.  Flannery and Elizabeth’s finger’s brush against one another.  Then, they are holding hands for the first time.  Both of them begin to breathe a little quicker…or not at all. Suddenly, the writer in me puts on the brakes.


What just happened?


I listened in the silence; hushing the two potential lovers on the screen in front of me long enough to playback the soundtrack in my head.  I asked myself what every musician asks at the moment of eureka.  Is this melody my own or have I heard it before?  I played it again in my head.  Thankfully, I was writing in my music studio yesterday morning. It’s only two steps from my couch to the wooden seat next Aiden, my harp.  


My right hand found the melody.  Eventually, my left hand found the accompaniment.  My two hands, like the two young lovers in the chapter work together and yet play off of one another.  The theme to their love song is born.


The conundrum before a writer harpist rears its ugly head.  Time flies.  When I looked up, it had  been nearly five hours that have flown by.  The song was solid in my head but not recorded or written down.  Will I forget it?  The chapter in my computer needed to be finished as the couple begs to be just a little closer to one another before I hit save and close the lid of the lap top.


That’s the problem with being a double agent for love.  Sometimes it’s unclear who’s side I’m really on.

Free Sci Fi Horror: Just Like Dolls

This short story by me, Michele Roger was originally published at on March 17, 2018.  I'm offering it here, for free.  Please, please comment and share if you enjoy it.  Thanks

Just Like Dolls

by Michele Roger

I make the coffee in the French press like I do every morning.  Then, I regret it by the time I reach the City Freezing Works.  A doubled edged elixir, the coffee rouses me from bed and then inspires uninhibited vomiting but the time I reach downtown.  I can’t blame it all on the coffee.  The Freezing Works is a place of immeasurable hope and devastating despair.  I want to find him. Yet, I pray that I will never come face to face with his waxy stare.


As I walk the six blocks downtown, I think of myself at his age and the comics that consumed me.  The technicolor, paper end of the world glowed with an intense inferno of nuclear devastation.  Who could have predicted that the actual apocalypse would have been so silent, lethal?  Plausible deniability enrobes governments in a blanket of stoicism while they all point the finger at one another.  It doesn’t matter who released the virus-infused nanotechnology.  Humanity is dying in new and confounded ways.


There is a sound of suction as I push open the doors.  The one-time car factory is now another world encased in ice.  A light precipitation falls gently like snow from the ceiling as I show my ID to the guard.  While his movements confirm that he’s alive, this place, this frozen hell shows the toll it has taken on his soul.  His eyes are as lifeless as the bodies inside.  The sound of him flicking the switch makes my stomach lurch again.  I swallow the juices erupting to the top of my throat and the water flooding my mouth.  This factory that once built a shining city and carried a nation befittingly showcases its dead.  Just like dolls, its citizen’s faces frozen in time.  


Wrapping my arms around myself in an attempt to physically hold myself together, I enter the side conveyor labeled the children’s section.  I tremble from cold and fear as I gaze into each little face.  I want to brush back the tattered hair in their eyes.  I want to tell them their mother is coming.  I want to lie to them and say it will all be okay.  One by one, I confirm none of the milky eyes that stare up at me resemble my own.  A part of me exhales.  He’s out there, hiding like a good boy.


At the end of the month, the factory will re-route the factory conveyor belt.  The line will not return to the industrial freezer.  Instead, the corpses will travel to the other end of the building where the City has installed an incinerator.  I wonder when I too will join the line.  Who will be left to claim me?  What will the nano-bots feast upon when none of us are left?


The Irish Harp

While archeology tells us that the harp was likely "invented" when early human hunters played the string(s) of their hunting bows, that simple weapon-turned-instrument took on many metamorphoses along the Silk Road. Eventually the harp became popular in Irish society in the 12th Century.  Due to it's technical difficulty and the young age that harpers needed to begin their training to reach professional status by adulthood, the harp and the education of harpers was coveted by Gaelic aristocracy of the era.

By the 19th Century, the harp was a metaphor for the poor and downtrodden of Irish society.  In songs like, "The Minstrel Boy" and "The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls" the harp is a symbol for a nation that has fallen into financial and political strife. Around the same time, the RIC (The Royal Irish Constabulary) embellished the their caps and uniforms with the Celtic harp and used it as a symbol of solidarity and national pride.

Presently, the Celtic harp is on the national coin and the government of Ireland's national seal.  While many Americans will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day this March 17 (if not sooner,) I thought I would share just a little bit of history of my favorite instrument.