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With one of those anniversaries coming up, I started thinking it might be time to update the fairy tale…


Once Upon a Time

Smilebox_191495658Chapter 1

A girl met her prince. He was tall, dark, and handsome. (Actually, he was a Republican. But he was definitely tall.) They fell in love, and got married. *

Chapter 2.

He brought her to his castle and they lived happily ever after.**

The End***

*Okay, so thirty-five+ years of life happened between Chapters 1 and 2. They included:






Changing diapers


Getting offspring into or out of carseats


Driving to Sunday School

48 bazillion

Driving practice with teenage drivers. (Note: this item is multiplied by Parental-Terror units, which include the number of times your life flashes before your eyes…)

134 down, 10 to go

College tuition


Thinking up something to have for dinner


Playing with my grandchildren (but I’m not bitter. Much…)

**In the romance-writing biz, we aim for the HEA (Happily-Ever-After), or—if we’re milking it for series potential—at least a HFN (Happily-for-Now. No, it doesn’t mean Hell-eFfing-No…).

I was thinking about the HFN today when I went to a friend’s birthday lunch. She’s 93, so I asked her to tell me about her favorite birthday ever. “Considering the alternative,” she told me, “Every birthday I make it to is the best one ever.” So of course, I asked for her secret to a long happy ever after. She answered right away. “Have a lot of friends who remember you even when you can’t remember their names.” A few minutes later she added, “Don’t say no to sweets.” And finally, “Don’t look back.”

***UPDATES: So it turns out that my Chapter 2 was a HFN, and we’re about to start on we’re well into Chapter 3:

  • We’ve downsized from the castle to the Hobbit House. Hint: What do Scots wear under their kilts? I now know!
  • The College Tuition entry can now move to 144 down, 0 to go.
  • And the best update of Chapter 3?  I can change that last line of the chart to read: MONTHS: 2    SPENT: Playing with my grandchild

Grandparenting rocks. Turns out that Chapter 3 is the real HEA!

What is your best advice for a happy-ever-after? I’ll bet it’s not nearly as funny as Betty White’s tips.