Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Memories of Autumn Leaves

“This heat and humidity is killing me,” my husband mutters as he carries out yet another loaded box to the van. “Can’t wait to get on the road.”

The calendar reads October fifteenth, but in Texas the ever-present heat and sweltering humidity still tortures us.

“Um-hum,” I answer, when he re-enters the kitchen and I hand him another filled box. “Me, too. I hope the trees have turned real pretty. Do you have plenty of memory on your camera? My card holds only two hundred and fifty shots.”

“Yeah, I think I have three hundred or so. We can always get more.”

“Well, remember, half of my photos will be of the boys. Aren’t all three of them at cute stages?”

He walks out the garage door carrying the box without answering. Upon return, he replies, “Sure they are. I just wish they didn’t live in Michigan.”

“You do?” I ask, surprised. “I love the three-day drive. Even northern Arkansas will have pretty autumn trees.”

“No, that happens more in November. Remember the year we drove up there just to see the leaves? It was November.”

I pause and think. “Oh, that’s right. Well, I bet we start seeing some color by the time we’re half-way across Tennessee.”

“Most likely. I love our live oak trees, but they don’t do anything. Just stand there and stay green all year. At least it’s better than West Texas or the Plains. I grew up not knowing a thing about trees and certainly nothing about autumn leaves.”

“Me, too. When I was in grade school, I loved autumn because we got mimeographed pages with different outlines of leaves. I had no idea what kind they were, but I knew to use my orange and yellow and red crayons, because I had seen them in picture books.”

My husband leans his back on the kitchen counter and crosses his arms. “Isn’t it funny? Our son sees those beautiful leaves as nuisances. I guess I’d understand it, though, if I had to rake them all up and dispose of them.”

“I suppose. Oh!” I exclaim happily with my hands clasped under my chin. “I can’t wait to see them! And for three whole weeks.”

He throws his head back and laughs. “What? The grandchildren or the autumn leaves?”

Celia Yeary


Print and eBook available at:

SHOWDOWN IN SOUTHFORK:eBook available at:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Beloved Cats--RIP

When our daughter was in the sixth grade, she said to me one day after school, “Mom, I want a kitty.”
My dissertation on the fact that we were a dog family and already had one of those did not deter her.
“Poco’s my brother’s dog,” she said matter-of-factly.
We relented, of course, because she was a child who rarely asked for anything. Some children might beg and cry for a certain toy, doll, or game, but she simply did not do that. How could we deny her the pleasure of a sweet little kitty? The only stipulation she stated was that it not be a Siamese cat. “I’ve heard they’re mean,” she explained.
As soon as the local paper arrived later that evening, she spread the Classifieds out on the kitchen table. With great excitement, she ran her finger down the columns until she found “Pets.” We told her it should be a free kitten. She carefully read each ad, but all of them were about dogs. Finally, she located only one ad that listed cats, and it said “Kittens-Free.”
I watched as her narrow shoulders slumped. She was near tears. “There’s only one ad for kitties, and they’re Siamese. They have six.”
As any wise mother would do, I consoled her by saying we would look each day until we found the right one. But she decided then and there that she would take one of those, after all. I knew she did not want to wait.
By eight o’clock that evening, she was the proud owner of a small, beautiful, male Siamese kitten. From that moment, they were inseparable at home. She would lie down on her bed or lean back in a recliner, and the kitten jumped in her lap. If he saw a button anywhere near, the kitten sucked on it, soaking the surrounding fabric. Our daughter tried to break him, but it was a no-go. They only thing she could do was to wear clothing without buttons on the front. Of course, he became Buttons.
Before the year was out, a friends of hers said they had a new litter of kittens—Russian Blue. The first thing she ever begged for was one of those tiny balls of blue-gray fur. We relented once more, as loving parents sometimes do against their own rules; in this case, one dog, one cat per household. She chose another male, which she named Simon. My husband, ever the comedian, tried to convince her to name him Bows—so her cats would be Buttons and Bows. She did not think this was funny. So, he suggested she change Buttons to Garfunkel—then she would have Simon and Garfunkel. With a long-suffering sigh, she said, “Ohhh, Dad. That is not funny.” He gave up.
Buttons became a hunter of the first order. His daily mission became stalking a poor hapless bird, lizard, garter snake, or field mouse. With his wiry, fast body and smart brain, he was excellent. Very often, he caught something, but rarely did he kill or even maim. His goal in life was to wag it to the patio door and sit patiently with it squirming in his mouth until he received his hard-earned praise. Any one of us would step out to the patio, tap Buttons on the head, and he would release the small animal. Thank goodness, most of the time it scampered, slithered, or flew away. I asked my daughter once, “Why doesn’t he eat the animals he catches? A stalker usually does that.” Her answer was that he preferred Little Kibbles.
Simon, on the other hand, grew to gigantic proportions. The Russian Blue is naturally large, and when one is neutered, he adds more weight. He attempted to stalk, but he was far too lazy. I always said he needed “remedial stalking lessons,” because he ran his version of “full out” toward his prey. Actually, our lovable sloth lumbered along, giving the animal plenty of time to escape. In fact, a bird would watch and continue pecking at something, teasing until Simon was almost upon him. The cat never in his life caught anything.
There is always an ending to a story. Our beloved three animals behaved themselves very well and got along beautifully. I can’t say they were ever chummy, but they stayed near each other and did not fight. We were all family.
Our son and daughter grew up, graduated, attended college, married, or roamed the world. My husband and I became the caretakers of the animals. The dog was only a couple of years older than the cats, so they all became elderly together. In fact, I told people that my husband and I ran a nursing home for a dog and two cats. The three of them lived to be very old, for animals. During their lives, we spent as much money on veterinarians as pediatricians, so anyone could see that we took very good care of them. Each one lived with various old age ailments and met his demise simply from a deteriorating body. My husband, grown children, and I cried each time, as if we had lost a member of our family. Their photos are in an album with the caption, “Rest in Peace—Poco, Buttons, and Simon.”

Celia Yeary
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Release--Showdown in Southfork

Greetings: This Wednesday is a wonderful day. My newest release is on the main page of The Wild Rose Press--title: Showdown in Southfork. This is a 100-page novel and part of the Wayback, Texas rodeo series--"Where a cowboy falls in love every eight seconds." When I first signed on with Wild Rose, the Wayback series caught my attention. The editors had created an entire fictional town named Wayback, Texas--located somewhere out in West Texas in a triangle sided by Abilene, Lubbock, and Odessa, or something like that. The creators of this little town intentionally kept the exact location a mystery--actually they had no idea because they made it up--which added to the intrigue.

Early in my getting-acquainted period with the Wild Rose authors, two very wonderful ladies helped me learn the ropes. They became my first on-line friends.

One is Rita Thetford, a West Texas girl herself, and she wrote the very first Wayback story, titled Hot Night at the Blue Bug Saloon. Now, doesn't that sound intriguing? And the little story was as hot as Rita herself! Rita has a personality that knocks your socks off. She is a little outspoken, a little naughty, and a whole lot of "pure-d-Texas good ol' girl!" Love the woman!

The other lovely lady is Judith Rochelle, another Texas girl by way of Michigan. Her home is not too many miles from mine. She is an amazing writer, extremely prolific, and dedicated not only to her craft, but to her Texan husband--she married him so she could live in Texas! She wrote the second Wayback story, titled Shadow of the Hawk. I am honored to know her.

If any of you buy the book, please read the dedication page. You'll never guess who!

Now, you know a little history of Wayback, Texas. I've lost count of the number of novels in the series--more than a dozen, I think. The idea for this series was a stroke of genius, and I'm not certain exactly who thought up the plan. Can anyone give us an answer?

Here is a short excerpt from Showdown in Southfork.


Smiling lazily, he looked her up and down, at her short white shorts, pink stretch T, and red flip-flops. With that salacious grin, he continued back to her hair, hanging to her shoulders in a tangled mass of curls, but right now, there was no time to brush it properly. Some day she would just get it all whacked off and stop worrying about it.

“Stop staring,” she demanded.

“Well, I can hardly keep from it since you’re standing right in front of me.”

“Oh,” she muttered, straightened, and moved to the side.

He kept staring at her even though she’d moved out of his direct line of vision.

“You know, if there’s anything I like in this world, it’s a woman with red hair.”

“It is not red. And if there’s anything I hate in this world, it’s a man saying my hair’s red. For your information, it’s strawberry blond.”

“Strawberry blond. Whadda you know? Now, I like that even better.”

Narrowing her eyes at him, she said, “Well, I’m just as pleased as punch.”

Celia Yeary

ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS-a Texas Historical
Available in eBook: The Wild Rose Press
Available in print:, B&N
Showdown in Southfork--

Friday, September 11, 2009

Two Winners!

Congratulations to Judy Cox and Linda LaRoque for correctly identifying the actor and actress I chose to play my hero and heroine in the "movie version" of All My Hopes and Dreams.

The actor is Gael Garcia Bernal, a young Mexican actor who began his career at age one. In Mexico, at age nineteen, he was on his way to becoming a soap opera hearthrob. However, he moved to London to study acting. His biography lists starring roles in numerous movies, awards, and nominations.

The actress is Kate Bosworth, a young American actress who has several roles in movies to her credit. She is also a model.

Judy and Linda--please e-mail me at and list your preferred win. All My Hopes and Dreams is a Western Historical Romance, 278 pages. Showdown in Southfork is a contemporary short novel, 112 pages. It is part of the Wayback, Texas rodeo series. (Release date--September 16, 2009)

I hope you enjoy your read.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gorgeous Hero, Stunning Heroine, and Free Books!

Who are the actor and actress I’ve chosen to play the role of my hero, Ricardo Romero, and my heroine, Cynthia Harrington? (More later about the identities of these movie stars.)
How does Cynthia Harrington see Ricardo? Here are a few of her thoughts, randomly selected. Maybe you will learn a little about this young man who eventually captures her heart, and if my actor fits the character.
“Why doesn’t he wear a Western hat like all the other men in Texas? Why does he have to wear those tight, brown pants with the silver conchos down the outside seams? And why must he wear those fancy-stitched boots, instead of nice, serviceable ones like everyone else?”
“He stood next to the mare with his arm slung over her back and his hat hanging down his by the cord. He looked young with his inky hair, mussed and errant strands falling over his forehead. He wasn’t as old as she thought.”
“Cynthia caught her breath when she perused his body, now clad only in cotton drawers. His appearance was almost wild, as if he was a savage who lived in the forest, but his smile was gentle, teasing, as he held his hand out to her.”
“She laid her hand upon his face and looked into his black eyes, made even darker with desire, and they seemed to bore into her soul, and even her heart.”
“Land sakes, alive; he was so different. Even his skin was dark, and his eyes resembled shining pieces of obsidian. And oh, such arrogance and haughtiness!”
How does Ricardo see Cynthia? Here are a few of his thoughts about her.
“Ricardo was an expert at handling women and horses. The little mare watched him with big baleful eyes, as if she dramatically and silently willed him to touch her. Women often looked at him the same way. This woman, though… This one was different. She was one reserved lady, and he knew without a doubt no man had ever laid a hand on her.”
“Carefully, she held the knife with the fruit on the tip, leaned to the side, and bit off a small chunk of sweet peach. The juice ran down her chin, but she daintily wiped it away. Again, her delicate, feminine lips wrapped around a bite. Ricardo held his breath each time, his eyes riveted on those lips and mouth. His heart beat hard and heavy in his chest, something it had never done in the presence of a beautiful woman.”
“Whatever she was doing, it unnerved him. Why was he tense and too aware of her? She had a way of smoothing errant strands of hair away from her face with her small, elegant hands. Her movements were slow and easy, as though she performed a private dance. So far, she hadn’t lost control or become hysterical, and for that, he was grateful. Couldn’t stand high-strung women.”
“He kissed her through the wet fabric, and instead of pulling away, she pushed toward him. She rolled her head back with her eyes closed. He saw a desirable woman. He saw her as his wife, his partner, his companion. Most of all, he felt the sensation of…falling under her spell.”
For this contest, give me the names of the actor and actress I chose to portray Ricardo and Cynthia. If you don’t recognize them, go to Love Western Romances where I am in the Author Spotlight for the month. Read my interview and find the names. Please do not post the names on this blog; instead, you may e-mail the answers to me at I’ll choose winners from those who leave a comment. Thank you !
The link for Love Western Romances:
I’ll choose two winners—in the event of multiple correct answers, I’ll make a random selection. The winners may choose a pdf of All My Hopes and Dreams or a pdf of my newest release, a short novel titled Showdown in Southfork (A Wayback, Texas novel.)

Celia Yeary
eBook available at:
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review Your Own Book--An Insider's Tips

A reviewer uses the same guidelines as any good writer, so allow me to explain that there’s nothing secretive or magical about the process of reviewing. In my opinion, a good reviewer points out a few weaknesses in the novel, as well as the strengths. Depending on the way the scales tip, a reviewer will give a mediocre, fantastic, or a poor score. I can safely say no reviewer wants to give someone’s special project a low score.
I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing for a short while. The only drawback to the task is the time factor. A reviewer uses much of her/his valuable time to read the book and write the review—usually with no or few perks. But I enjoyed it, and I may take on another review task when I feel I have extra time to do the assignment justice.
Receiving free books is one perk of the job. I read novels I never would have, because some of the genres weren’t my usual reading fare. In essence, I broadened my horizons in a positive manner.
I learned as much from reviewing as I did by reading how-to books, studying, or attending a writer’s group. Why? Because the Reviewer’s Guidelines impart a wealth of knowledge.
When you finish a manuscript, what methods do you use to self-check your writing? Self-editing guidelines? I have a set downloaded and use it all the time. Ask a partner to critique it? I do that, but on a limited basis. Another good method, to put the icing on the cake, is to consult a set of reviewer’s guidelines.
So, sit back, or grab a notepad and pen, and learn how to review your own book.
1. Is the title appropriate? I like titles that give a hint about the book. Have you ever picked up a book, read the title, and not have a clue about the contents? Titles may not be important to one person, but they may be to another. Also, a reader doesn’t want a title that sounds like peaches and cream, but turns out to be a murder mystery.
2. Are the hero and heroine multidimensional and interesting? Are their goals apparent? Will a reader understand details and reasons for their behavior? Are their actions believable and not forced or contrived? Does each have internal and external roadblocks?
3. Does the plot gather momentum as the story moves forward? Pacing can make or break a book. Think of one you’ve recently read. Did the action slow to a crawl, bogged down in backstory? Is the pace appropriate for the targeted line?
4. Does the story evoke emotions? As a reader this is extremely important. If I don’t shed a tear, have chills down my back, sit on the edge of my seat, can’t put it down, laugh, or sigh—then the book has not touched me. I must like the heroine, or if she annoys me a little, I must see a reason for this behavior and believe she’ll change.
5. Is the storyline interesting and exciting? Storyline—the skeletal framework of a novel. Does the basic plot invoke some sort of feeling? Is it interesting and does it unfold naturally? Could it stand alone as an interesting book? Number five is the basis of a synopsis. You simply tell about the story—without the dialogue, the action, or the internal dialogue. This is why an editor wants a synopsis—to read the entire novel condensed into three pages.
6. Is the book original, different . . . or perhaps a bit too familiar? Ahhh, this can be tricky. You’ve begun to read stories that sounded too familiar, haven’t you? Probably, you weren’t certain you wanted to continue. Don’t you look for something original—a little different? So does a reviewer.
7. Are the transitions smooth during the storyline, or are there gaps? This one is the most difficult. What is a gap? I think it’s a lack of smooth transition. If the writer jumps from one scene to something unrelated with no warning, that takes me away from the story.
8. Does the ending leave you satisfied? Sigh! Cry. Pump your fist and say, yes! Comment to oneself—this was so good.

9. Is the dialogue well-balanced with the narrative, and believable and unique to each character? Example--the narrative written in a formal literary style, while the dialogue is breezy with many contemporary slang words. Or perhaps a character speaks in a formal manner to his best friend or wife, but speaks naturally and easy to his co-workers.

If you’ve ever entered an RWA contest and received critique sheets, you’ll find the same questions as you might find on a reviewer’s guide sheet. If you don’t like these suggestions, take the ideas you think are important and make your own review guideline sheet. In the end, you can review your own book. What score will you assign? Five Stars? Four Lumps of Sugar? Three Lattes? Try it. You may discover flaws in your book you never caught before. Then, you can repair the damage before a real reviewer gets her hands on it.

Celia Yeary
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