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Monday, December 1, 2014

I DARE YOU


How many times in your life have you heard this taunt? My family moved about every six months when I was a child. For several years, we were transient, moving from one oil field to the next, living in very odd places. This meant I changed friends and acquaintances with every move. I was always "the new girl," until we finally settled in one town and stayed.

As the new girl, I had to test the waters, so to speak, waiting and wondering if someone would ask me to play. I wasn't a tomboy, really, but I would take a chance here and there to try something new in order to win friends. Often, a girl or boy would "dare" me.

In first grade, no one would seesaw with me, but I stayed close to the seesaws, hoping someone would ask. A boy stepped up and said, "I can walk up one end of the seesaw and all the way down the other side. Want to see?" Of course, I did. I nodded and he demonstrated the daring feat. As he neared the center, he paused, held his arms straight out, and ran down the other side as his weight lowered the seesaw. Then he dared me to try it.
Okay. I slowly walked up one side almost to the center, but my leather-soled white high-tops were slick, causing my feet to slide backwards. I fell forward and my mouth landed on one of the big iron bolts that held the seesaw to the iron rail. The fall split my bottom lip, and I fell off, also scraping my knees because I wore a dress. Now blood poured from my lip and my knees. A teacher came running and took me inside to call my mother. A doctor put stitches in my lip and the flesh below. I still have a scar there.
But I took the dare.

In another town, a neighbor boy dared me to stand on the edge of the cesspool covered with a loose piece of tin. I did, holding my nose from the stench. My mother came slamming out the back door and yelled at me. She called me to the house and told me a story of a little boy falling into a cesspool and drowning. Sure, that scared me silly…but I had taken the dare.

Another boy invited me to his house to play. (I most often played with boys, I guess.) In his room, he told me he had scary comic books in a box under his bed and asked if I wanted to see them. I said, no, I didn't want to read anything scary. But…he dared me. We spent the afternoon reading scary comic books.

As an adult, at age forty, a friend taught me to play golf. She was a firecracker. Often, I'd want to "lay up" when I approached a water hazard, but she'd always say, "I dare you to go for it." Oh, of course, I did. Most often I failed, but at least I tried.

You'd think I learned my lesson over my lifetime of taking dares. But no…I still try new things, sometimes on my own, sometimes at the urging of a friend.

Years ago, my best friend urged me to play hooky and drive to Dallas to see Bruce Springsteen in his "Born in the USA" world tour. I took the dare and we went…and we were the teachers!

In 2004, I had to stay in a recliner much of each day because of a couple of medical problems. Bored to death, I complained I had nothing to do. My husband placed an old used laptop in my lap and said, "Well, write something."

I took the dare and wrote an entire novel, and I'd never written anything in my life. Now, I have a dozen contracts and still writing.

In case you think I'd try anything, don't. I do have limits. I said no when urged to try a cigarette; I said no to boys who wanted to go too far; and I said no climbing the town water tower.

However, taking a chance…or a dare…on something you'd really like to do can be a good thing. Suppose you, as an author, would like to try writing, oh, a space opera romance instead of the sweet girl-next-door romances you prefer, but you don't know where to begin or if you'd be successful. Or perhaps you'd really like to enter one of the most prestigious contests around, but fear a dreadfully low critique.

I believe most authors are risk-takers. Otherwise, we wouldn't send our most beloved manuscripts to strangers, hoping they'll love it. We wouldn't take the chance on a bad review by sending our published novel to the best reviewer we know.

Go ahead. Try something different. I dare you.
~*~*~
A Western Romance Short--
Kathleen: Trinity Hill Brides-Book I

Marianne gasped for breath as she gripped his shoulder.

"Pa. There's a bad man in the house. He has a gun..."

Cynthia interrupted and spoke in her high pitched voice. "And he held me and then he put my dress hem under the legs of the chair and then he wouldn't let me pee-pee, and I had to go ...in...my...drawers."

Marianne took up her story. "...and I poured red ants on him, and Gwendolyn grabbed the gun..."

"All right. Stay with Lucas out here. Lucas? You hear me? Do not let these girls leave this spot."

"Yes, sir."

Marianne jerked on Josiah's pants legs. "But...but Pa, he called Gwendolyn, I think, Kathleen."

Cynthia nodded. "He did. He said Kathleen. Not Gwendolyn."
_________________________________________________________
{{The first Chapter of "Kathleen" is under the top tab titled "Kathleen--Trinity Hill Brides-Book I}}

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Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
My Website
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Sweethearts of the West-Blog
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ARE YOU YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY?



Stop and think—do you sabotage your own success? This can happen on many levels, most of them subconscious, but all are self-destructive. How do I know this? I’ve done so many things to make myself fail or at least feel like a failure, I can’t even count them. We can’t address all the ways we writers/artists/creators knock ourselves down, but we can discuss a few. You might be able to add to this list.

What is Your Passion? Mine is writing. I write novels, short novels, short stories, and blogs. Your passion may be writing, as well, but any creative activity counts: painting, photography, quilting, making doll houses, cooking gourmet meals, singing, dancing, playing an instrument--the list is long. Maybe you're like one of my talented friends who writes literary novels, but she also paints and is a wonderful photographer, too.  

Is Your Attitude Positive or Negative? Ever hear the saying: “Can’t never could do anything.” I do admit I often say, “Well, I just can’t do that.” Maybe the statement is in response to rewriting a story that seriously needs an overhaul; to a ten-day blog tour; to spice up a manuscript; to take a workshop that I really need. Instead, be the Little Engine That Could and tell yourself, “I think I can.” Doesn’t that sound much better than “I can’t?”

If you are a writer, is Your Book The Best It Can Be? Does it have reader appeal? Pretend you’re someone else reading your book. (I pretend I’m a lady I know on-line who is rather hard to please—will she like my book?) Does it have urgency, intensity, and enough drama to capture a reader’s heart? Does your own book interest YOU? Remember these principles, and you may just write a Best Seller.

Do You Treat Yourself As Well As You Treat Other Writers? Now, this is simple. If you have a writer friend who is faltering, what do you do? Don’t you try to bolster her confidence, telling her that she is competent, that she is as good a writer as anyone else, and that you have confidence in her? Then, why not tell yourself these things? Then act that way.

Do You Play At Writing Instead Of Taking It Seriously? By serious, I don’t mean act that way. The one thing you DON’T want to do is lose the joy of writing. Why write if it makes you miserable? Remember how excited you were when you first realized you were a storyteller, and you wanted more than anything to succeed? We need some level of obsession to take ourselves seriously and make others believe it, too. If writing is your dream, then make it happen. Write!

If you don't write, apply any of these bits of advice to your own particular talent.
If you'd like to try writing--by all means, sit down at the computer or grab a notebook and pen, and write!

Until next time--

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
My Website
My Blog
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

START Where the STO-ry Be-Gins



HOW to get a-WAY with MUR-der

No, this post isn't about writing murder mysteries. It's about great beginnings that "start where the story begins."

This new TV series starring Viola Davis (The Help) opened to a roaring beginning. The way she says the title, "HOW to get a-WAY with MUR-der," might be the most clever way to open a series ever. I read that the producers and Viola worked a long while to get the cadence and the emphasis just right. And, wow, did they ever. I listen for that before every episode.

What grabs your attention when you choose a book? It's been argued that the cover is most important, or the blurb alone determines whether you read it or not, or perhaps the first line, the first paragraph, or the first chapter.

Or if the book starts "Where the Story Begins."

Beginnings. That's what it's all about--how to make a reader choose your book. For this little exercise, I have chosen first lines from ten books written by author friends or acquaintances. In other words, this list does not contain, "It was the best of times, it was..." Or with the weather. You get the picture.

Want to take this poll? Read the ten lines and choose three you like best, or those you think would make you buy the book. Rank your three choices  using the letters...and tell me in a comment. If you want to take the time, tell me why your first choice caught your attention.

List them in order of best first in your comment. Ready?

A-The front door slammed shut, silencing Lizzy's eighteenth birthday celebration.

B-"He has walled us in alive! Our own lord has abandoned us!"

C-Gideon entered his sister's crowded SoHo gallery in Manhattan and glanced at his watch.

D-"Reese, if you weren't dead, I swear I'd kill you!"

E-Her swift fingers rushed over the keys like a flood of water tumbling over a dam.

F-"Sorry you got shot, Cole. Damn, this is gonna mess up all our plans."

G-Dallas McClintock sprawled on the ground, three rifle barrels pointed at his chest.

H-'...but other women my age have a lover.'

I-"Don't kill me! Please!"

J-Absorbed in her thoughts about Mark, the man who jilted her on what was to be her wedding day, she almost drove past the baby grand piano sitting out in the front yard of a little cottage.

~~*~~
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
My Website
My Blog
Sweethearts of the West-Blog
My Facebook Page