Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Cactus Cafe, Kirkus, the 2010 Olympics, and The Book Spa

Turn Out the Lights…the Party's Over…..

With each opening, the participants feel excitement and anticipation. With each closing, the participants might alternately feel sad or elated…depending on the circumstances. Often a closing leads to something newer, better, and more worthwhile, and more often than not, everyone is better off in the long run.

THE CACTUS CAFÉ: The University of Texas owns and operates The Cactus Café on campus in the Student Union Building. It's been there for decades. In this venue, live bands—after all, Austin claims it is the "Live Music Capital of the World"—perform there while students eat or drink during free time. University students have free time? I never knew. When the school announced the closing, a great cry arose from the land. Now, a month or so later, a group of alumni is contemplating taking it over, redesigning, and reopening. It may not be the old shoe that fit so well, but the students just might learn to love the new one, too.

KIRKUS: Nielson Business Media shut down Editor and Publisher and Kirkus Reviews, two long-time trade journals for the books and publication industry. Again, the announcement disturbed a great number of people, but new owners stepped in to rejuvenate and revive the publications. All's well that ends well.

2010 OLYMPICS: What a grand Winter Olympics this has been! From the Opening Ceremonies to the Closing Ceremonies, Canada has "done themselves proud." Their national anthem plays in my head all the time—"Ooooh, Ca-na-da, hum, hum, hum." Great, world-wide anticipation preceded the opening, and now on the last day, viewers and participants alike share the feeling of a job well done. But while we woke up every morning for fourteen days with Olympic Hangover, we now feel slightly relieved it's all over. It was a good run, a great race, but….nothing lasts forever.

THE BOOK SPA: And so it is with the Yahoo Group we called The Book Spa. Maggie Toussaint and I are the last of the original moderators, and while we feel we performed our job well, there comes a time to move on. As with the Olympics, the original foursome experienced a great high, our days filled with planning, discussing and yes, a little bit of arguing. When at last we set the "Go Live" day, I didn't sleep the night before because of adrenalin surging through my body. Since I am Chatty Cathy much of the time, moderating came easy, and soon I felt at home with my new friends and my new tasks.

A great deal can change in a year and a half, and so for various, varying reasons, we are shutting down the Spa March 4, 2010. We've made new friends, helped a few others promote their works, and built a small community of like-minded authors. We've laughed with you, and yes, we've cried with you, because after all, life crept in among the blogs, blurbs, and excerpts.

See y'all around the loops!


Celia Yeary
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas

TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print



Published by: The Wild Rose Press

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ten Things I Learned This Week

Greetings, y'all, from Central Texas.

If we're not learning something each and every day, well then, we might as well go to our grave. Never fear. I just made that up and truly don't believe it. But you can be sure if you stop learning, you will get in a rut, become stagnant and boring, and above all else, live in a vacuum.

So, what did I learn this week?

1. First, I learned something that is obvious to most people in the world. If you are disgruntled with the government in any form or fashion, do not fly a plane into a building to get even, killing yourself as well as a few others, destroying a beautiful building, and making your wife and daughter homeless because you also set your own house on fire. (Austin, Texas)

2. Write from the heart. If you follow this tenant, you will at one time or another sell your book, receive a wonderful review, or at least, give yourself a thumbs-up. Do you always need outside approval to validate your talent and ability?

3. You have the option of becoming an Indie Author. Yes, you may have one or more books published in a traditional manner (submit, wait, get a contract, sign, see book published), but you also have options you might not have considered—publish your book yourself. I believe one day brick-and-mortar bookstores will have a section containing only Indie authors and their works. All other venues have done this successfully—Indie Movie Producers and Indie Musicians. (Austin, Texas—for example)

4. Our children, no matter their age, never do what you want them to.

5. A wealth of information and enticing stories may be found as near as your closest Retirement Home. I've become acquainted with an elderly lady who lives down the road in a Retirement Home. She's still mobile, very sharp, and appreciates the fact I pick her up and take her to our women's Bible studies. In discussions with her, I learned: she never married, spent her entire adult years up and down the west coast of Africa, working in U.S. Embassies and facilities as a trouble-shooter and organizer. She tells great stories! And what a life she's led.

6. I absolutely love ice skating in all forms—women, men, couples—and can watch it for hours. I also love speed skating and Apolo Ohno. But I do not like nor appreciate anything with the word "luge or skeleton," as both look too dangerous and downright silly. Sorry.

7. I learned that a few athletes, if they score less than their perceived worth, may whine, complain, object, act goofy, deliberately jump on the Gold Medal stand when he only won the silver, laugh during the national anthem of the Gold Medal winner, and generally act as if he were three years old. I expected him to place his thumb in his mouth. Kudos to all athletes of all nations who act like real champions, whether they win or lose.

8. I learned the thrill, however so slight, of having a fan base of readers who wait for my next book and buy it. Now, I ask you, how much more can we ask?

9. No matter how many problems you may have, someone else will always be worse off. Even though you are allowed to wallow in your misery, remember there are many less fortunate.

10. And last, but not least: Good, loyal friends are worth more than any amount of gold. (okay, I may have to rethink that one.

Have a great day!

Celia Yeary

Romance…and a little bit o' Texas

TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print



Published by: The Wild Rose Press

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Morgan Mandel-Small Press Author Does Indie

My Take on Non-Traditional Publishing
by Morgan Mandel

Celia asked for my take on non-traditional publishing. My first two books, Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams, were published by a small publisher, Hard Shell Word Factory. I was allowed to give input on the covers, such as what colors I liked, but had no real say on that or other important aspects, such as price and release date.

For over a year and a half I concentrated on publicizing Girl of My Dreams and spent very little time looking for a home for Killer Career. When I realized I’d wasted valuable time, I sought to remedy the situation. The fastest way to do that was to self-publish Killer Career.

I have to say I worked harder on Killer Career than the other two books combined. Not only did I learn how to start my own company, Choice One Publishing Co., but I also had to control every aspect of getting the novel ready for printing. I chose Lightning Source, a division of Ingram, as the printing company because of their quality craftsmanship, reputation and distribution policy. I chose Helen Ginger as my editor, because I respected her abilities and wanted my book to appear as perfect as possible. Among other things such as which countries my book would be sold, I picked out a cover, the font, even the color and texture of the paper.

The process was very time consuming. Although the stigma is lessening, self-publishing in many circles is still looked down upon, even if you present a quality product. Because of that, I had to make sure my book turned out as professional as possible.

Because I have the full rights to Killer Career, with the help of a friend to whom I paid $60.00, I was able to set up a Kindle edition and name my price for the book. Lightning Source already had set up the print edition at Amazon and at a number of other venues, such as Barnes and

I’ve also made autographed copies of Killer Career available at Tony Burton’s Digital Bookshop at , as well as e-books other than kindle. Tony charged me $30.00 to set up the e-books, which seems reasonable to me.

I may set up an account at Smashwords, but haven’t done so yet. I’ll probably offer an e-book there about my self-publishing venture at some point, but so far I’ve been busy on other projects, and I haven’t had a chance to get it ready.

CreateSpace and Lulu were considerations I rejected, since Lightning Source seemed to offer more value and distribution for the investment.

My advice is, if you want to self-publish, think it through and do it right. I’m glad I did it. I learned a lot and I’ve received some great reviews for the book. I may try it again, but first I need to finish my works-in-progress before I decide.

Morgan Mandel



For Killer Career -  for autographed copies of the book

Killer Career, plus Two Wrongs and Girl of My Dreams are all at  in print and kindle. The easiest way to find them is to go to and type in Morgan Mandel.

Romantic Suspense, Killer Career, gets 5 stars from The Midwest Book Review

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Texas Love Story--the Kings

A TRUE TEXAS LOVE STORY—Robert and Henrietta King

In 1853, Captain Richard King purchased 68,500 acres that had been Spanish and Mexican land grants called Santa Gertrudis. The now-famous Santa Gertrudis breed, first strain of cattle originating in the Western Hemisphere, was developed in The Wild Horse Desert area of South Texas. The ranch sprawls across 825,000 acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Henrietta Maria Morse Chamberlain was born in Missouri in 1832. She was the only daughter of a Presbyterian missionary, and she was only three when her mother died. She was often left with relatives when she was young and alone when she was older. After college, she moved with her father to Brownsville, Texas, where in 1849 he established a Presbyterian mission. Henrietta was a tall, lovely young woman, and her heart went out to the lonely, the sick, the poor, and especially, needy children.

Robert and Henrietta married in 1854, forming a most perfect union. Together, side-by-side, they ran the King Ranch. Their first home was a hut on the cattle ranch. She wrote in her memoirs:

"When I came as a bride in 1854, a little ranch home then — a mere jacal as Mexicans would call it — was our abode for many months until our main ranch dwelling was completed. But I doubt if it falls to the lot of any a bride to have had so happy a honeymoon. On horseback we roamed the broad prairies. When I grew tired my husband would spread a Mexican blanket for me and then I would take my siesta under the shade of the mesquite tree. ... I remember that my pantry was so small my platters were fastened to the walls outside. In those days, large venison roasts were our favorite viands. ... At first our cattle were longhorns from Mexico. We had no fences and branding was hard work" -Henrietta King

Richard died in 1885, leaving his wife of 31 years alone to run the ranch. Henrietta King lived until 1925, and she made the ranch profitable. She further developed their cattle breed which became the popular cattle variety across Texas. During her years alone, she built a public high school, a Presbyterian Church, and she supported local colleges and hospitals. She created the town of Kingsville by donating land when “Captain” died. She became the sole owner of the world’s largest ranch, and she ultimately created an empire of over one million acres.

“I doubt if any bride had so happy a honeymoon.” Henrietta King

Celia Yeary
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas

TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print



Published by: The Wild Rose Press

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Censor...or Not?

An article in the local paper piqued my interest. The Texas prison system routinely censors all reading material for inmates. What do the officials look for? Anything that promotes or describes explicit sexuality, plans for escape, extreme violence, or fighting tactics is placed on a banned list.

This might be well and good, but the topic only interested me because none of us is completely exempt from censorship sometime in our lives.

Since J. D. Salinger died this week at age 91, I thought about his one great success, the book Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951. I was a young girl at the time, so I probably did not pay attention to the release of this novel. As I grew up, though, I learned groups had challenged and censored it many times. Why? It contained profanity, sexuality, and teenage angst. While he wrote it as an adult novel, what do you suppose teenagers did? They sought out the book whenever possible. As a teen, I knew not to touch that book. I never read it. Now, I will.

Gustave Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary in 1857. The novel contained adulterous affairs and obscenities. I knew about the book but did not read it until I was in my thirties. Even then, I timidly read it, hoping no one would discover my little secret. I liked it, even though it was rather depressing and dreary.

Even comic books have landed on a censored list. As a child in the third grade, my parents forbid me to read horrid comic books. They allowed Archie comics, Little Lulu, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, but nothing bad. Truthfully? I didn't know bad ones existed. But I played with a classmate—a boy—who lived down the block. Guess what he had under his bed? A big flat box filled with comic books about crime and horror. I read and saw the graphics depicting murder, gore, severed heads, cannibalism, and torture. I wonder if his parents knew he had them. If not, where did a nine-year-old obtain enough money to buy these—and where did he find them? I'll never know, but I do know I never wanted to see them again.

As a teenage girl, my mother told me never to read romance magazines. I didn't know about those, either. One of my girlfriends did, though, the one who was just a little different from the rest of us in my little "crowd." She read Modern Romance, Secrets, and Revealing Romances. I went through a time in which she'd bring a couple to school, hand them over to me, and I'd stuff them in my thick, leather zippered notebook to take home. I soon became bored with them. 

Certainly, we need to protect our children and grandchildren. I wouldn't have wanted my children reading some of the things I did, either, but probably they did and I never found out. And you know? They…and I…turned out to be worthwhile adults without any serious psychological problems. I've often wondered—should we allow any person to read whatever he could understand? No matter the content? For myself, I have always censored certain literature, movies, and music. Why? Because of my personal preferences—not moral standards particularly. I really don't care about the reading material of others, as long as it doesn't affect me personally.

Censorship will always be with us.

Celia Yeary

Romance…and a little bit o' Texas

TEXAS BLUE-eBook and Print



Published by: The Wild Rose Press