Saturday, September 25, 2010

Meet Author Caroline Clemmons

I met Caroline on-line when I won a copy of TWRP’s civil war anthology, Northern Roses and Southern Belles. She wrote a short story titled “Long Way Home,” and I loved it so much I e-mailed her and told her. That message turned into an enjoyable friendship, as well as, a professional one. Since I know and admire her writing, I invited her to be my guest. My first question concerned her history in writing, her first published novel, and if she still loved the book.

She answered, “I began writing about 1990 to 1992. My first published novel was a contemporary, BE MY GUEST, published in 1998 by Kensington for their ill-fated Precious Gems line. I hate that book for several reasons, but am thankful it made me a published author and a member of RWA PAN. It’s sold in numerous foreign countries and been good to me financially.”

I guess I understand, but if a book was good for me financially, I might conjure up a little love! But let’s continue. There’s a commercial on TV that sings, “And that’s what I like about Tex…as!” If someone wrote a song about you with that same title, what three things would we like about Caroline Clemmons? Come on now; don’t be shy.
 “Only three when there is so much of me to love? What can I say? I’m on a diet. [1] My writing, I hope! [2] My sense of humor. [3] That I’m friendly.”

I love your answers! Now, just for fun, I like to check my (theoretical) biorhythms occasionally on a little internet chart. In percentages, it measures my physical, emotional, and intellectual levels for that day. In your life, on an average day, which of the three would be the highest overall and which would be your lowest?

“Lawsy, I hope you’re measuring after ten in the morning! Oh, I don't mean I sleep until ten. I get up early and can even check email, drive to a meeting, do laundry, etc., but I'm pretty much on autopilot. At ten o'clock the other part of my brain wakes up--sproing!--and I'm a person. Whoever recognized biorhythms was a genius. I often listen to chakra tapes while I write, so I hope my chakras are aligned, at least. I am so not a morning person. My physical peak is from about ten in the morning until noon, and sometimes into early afternoon until about three. My intellectual peak is from eight in the evening until midnight. My emotional peak—do I have one of those? Hmm, it’s possible it’s aligned to my physical peak. Certainly, I’m more optimistic at that time.”

It seems you understand yourself pretty well, and I should think that would be useful for all authors. Speaking of authors, they fall into one of two categories: risk-takers or easy-does it. Which are you? Can you explain?

“I suspect I’m an easy-does-it. Could be it depends on what mood I’m in at the instant an idea occurs to me. Not that I’m moody. No, who said I was?”

Don’t worry. I know you’re an even-tempered, lovely lady. So tell me, what are three best things that have happened to you recently?

“My family is safe and supportive. My thyroid cancer is—hopefully—gone. Two of my books were published this year.”

And those would make anyone happy. I had no idea you had a health problem, but then you don’t talk about yourself like I do! Let’s move on to your newest release, The Texan’s Irish Bride, newly released by The Wild Rose Press. Why did you choose an Irish bride? What do you know of the Irish in Texas in the nineteenth century?

“I love Ireland! Not that I’ve lived there, but my husband and I have traveled there twice. We would both be ready in under an hour if someone offered us a return trip. While we were driving from one point to another, our wonderful tour guide commented on the landscape and its history. So many things fascinated me, like the penny walls, the stone fences, the intense green of the landscape, and…well, everything Irish.

Many Irish fought in the battle with Mexico for Texas Independence. My family is mostly of Scot-Irish ancestry, so I identified with this country. They are so friendly to Americans because so many of us are of Irish ancestry. The immigration to Texas began in the late 18th century, but accelerated in the 19th century with the Potato Famine. We have no idea how hard life was there even before the famine. But during the famine, hundreds of thousands of poor literally starved to death while the English were eating well. I can say this since I also have English ancestors—the English wouldn’t allow Irish children to attend schools, hence the “hedge row” schools for Irish children to learn to read and write. If caught, though, the teacher and the parents would be jailed for breaking the law. So, many illiterate Irish made their way to America and drifted to Texas. Many settled here.

In the book, most of the Irish are Irish Travelers, also known as tinkers. They aren’t gypsies because they are of pure Irish lineage, but they are often confused with gypsies due to the wagons in which they traveled. The heroine and her family are not Irish Travelers, but they are traveling with a band of them. When turned off their land in Ireland, the heroine and her O’Neill family were forced to leave with only what they could carry. The Travelers took them in and they made their way to America with the lure of free land. How they arrived and how they traveled to Texas is something you’ll have to learn by reading the book. Aren’t I devious, though?”

Well, yes, but I love your honestly! I learned facts I never knew, and I see why you’re so fascinated with the Irish. Visiting Ireland is on my Bucket List, by the way. And guess what, Caroline? I just read a review for The Texan’s Irish Bride from The Romance Studio, and she gave this novel Five Hearts! And…a Top Pick from Night Owl Reviews. Isn’t that exciting? I know it a great story, and you know how I feel about the cover—it’s gorgeous.

One more question: In a one-sentence blurb, tell us about The Texan’s Irish Bride.

“Texas rancher is forced to wed an Irish woman and inherits her entire family.”

Excellent. Now, do you have a blurb for us?
“Cenora Rose O’Neill knows her father somehow arranged the trap for Dallas McClintock, but she agrees to wed handsome stranger. She’d do anything to protect her family, and she wants to save herself from the bully Tom Williams. A fine settled man like Dallas will rid himself of her soon enough, but at least she and her family will be safely away from Tom Williams.
Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything. Ah, but what is he to do with a wife and her wild Irish family?”

How about an excerpt, too?
“Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.
Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.
No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.
Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?”

Buy link is www.thewildrosepress/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html

Caroline, thanks for remembering the Buy Link and your website. I appreciate your visit this morning, and I wish you much success with this wonderful story. I know it will do well.

“Celia, thank you so much for having me as your guest today. I’ve really enjoyed the visit.”

Thank you again, and readers, thank you for visiting, and please leave a message for Caroline. She loves to visit!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
New Releases
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Avoids: Part III--Useless Characters

Just as Elmore Leonard tells us to avoid useless words, useless adverbs, and useless descriptions, he probably would tell us to avoid Useless Characters in our stories, too. You know--those walk-ons, walk-offs we never see or hear from again. In other words, if the character has no vital part, no duty to perform, or no interest to the reader, then take some time to triage your manuscripts. Who are these useless people?

1. They don’t make anything happen.
2. They get along with everyone, neither creating nor enhancing conflict.
3. We aren’t interested in knowing any more about them.
4. They are not connected with either the main character or the main character’s story.
5. They don’t generate plot.
6. They walk on, then walk off, and we never hear from them again.

There are many reasons an editor rejects a manuscript. I can’t begin to list the vast number. Many times it may be you’ve chosen the wrong publisher for your novel, or the editor is having a bad day, or your writing is excessively sloppy, or that your plot is indecipherable.

But have you ever had a manuscript rejected because your characters were in serious need of help?
EXAMPLE: I wrote a story about a brilliant professor of Renaissance literature, stuck in her own little world and in a rut. She meets the new football coach in town. He courts her, encouraging her to try new things. My rejection letter said my heroine was “too staid, boring, and proper—too nice.” (See Number Two above.) The editor nailed the description of my heroine. Maybe I should make her a little quirky and funky, instead of proper and well mannered.

The protagonist must have a worthy problem. If he or she doesn’t, we won’t be interested in them. (See Number Three above.) Every good novel or short story I’ve read had a main character with a real problem. Now, he doesn’t know his REAL problem at the beginning, even though he thinks he does. That’s how a plot should move forward, with the protagonist learning more about his problem and what to do about it.
EXAMPLE: In the beginning of GONE WITH THE WIND, Scarlet had a problem. She thought it was to find a husband who could properly care for her, but in the end, her real problem became learning how to save herself.

Don’t introduce a character unless he/she has a specific role somewhere in the plot.
EXAMPLE: In TEXAS BLUE, I introduced an old man living alone in a shack far away from a town. My hero and heroine happened upon him, ate breakfast with him, and learned how many more miles they had to go to the next town. I had no further plans for this old man, except later he became a source of vital information for the heroine, and he became her partner in a rescue attempt. This is a case of the author—me—not realizing I had written a useless character, and inadvertently made him vital to the story.

TRIAGE: the sorting of and allocating of treatment of patients, esp. battle or disaster victims according to a system or priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors.
Note: substitute “characters” for patients and victims.

Thank you for visiting my blog—
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome to Western Romance!

Why I Write the West
The first Western Romance novel I read was “This Calder Range” by Janet Dailey. Before that, my adult reading material came in groups. One genre kept me busy for months or years, until I moved on to another. I first read Science Fiction, dozens over a period of a year or so. But I cannot remember one author or one title. The plots and otherworldly creatures fascinated me at the time, but I soon selected something else. So many books—so little time! I began Willa Cather’s books, and when I’d finished all those, I selected a new kind of novel I’d not seen—women’s fiction. Maeve Binchy, Rosamund Pilcher, Belva Plain. Each author received my undivided attention until I’d read all I could find. Next, westerns. Plain old shoot-’em-ups, stories depicting cattle drives, rustlers, outlaws, and lawmen. Oh, I loved these novels, and Louis L’Amour became my favorite because he often had a little love story in there.

Romance? Didn’t read it. None, zip, nada. Too trite, I’d heard—the novels always ended the same way—happily-ever-after. Same plot, boy meets girl, they fall in love, have a falling-out, make-up, get married. “What’s wrong with that?” I asked a cynical friend.
Then, one day in 1990, I visited a used-book store and bought a paperback by Janet Dailey titled
This Calder Range.
 I couldn’t put it down. Remember, I love Westerns, and this even had a HEA. I fell in love. I searched the used-book stores and eventually the library until I’d found and read all ten in the Calder series. Her latest, I believe, was released a couple of years ago.
 From there, I discovered LaVyrle Spencer, a master of romance writing.


Maggie Osborne
—plus many more. I still search for new authors who write exciting, satisfying Western Romance.
In 2004, I sat down and began to write a story. And yes, it was a Western romance—a historical. Probably I’ll never be in the same category with my favorite authors, but each one has been an inspiration and a benchmark for me.
Why do I write the West? I find it difficult to put into words.

 The Last Frontier, perhaps? That’s the name for space exploration and Star Wars.
Romance in Sweeping Vistas with a love story set in a different time, perhaps? That’s how we describe novels set in early Scotland.
The Era of the Strong, Silent type who always gets the girl while he brings justice in full measure, perhaps? That’s how we describe Indiana Jones adventures.
See? I cannot exactly describe my feeling when I begin a new Western Historical novel, either reading one or writing one. Oh! Now I know Why I Write the West! It’s like falling in love.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Note to Myself, via My Horoscope

“You might be experiencing the sensation of wandering around in a daze, with your feet planted on solid ground, but your head in the clouds.”

So, that’s my problem!

I’ve been in a daze for weeks, now, or so I’ve thought. But what does “daze” mean?
Daze: to become weary, lazy, tired; to stupefy, stun, or bewilder.

Not exactly complimentary, but truthfully, much of this describes how I feel and how I’ve been acting. For the life of me, I cannot figure out my problem. Maybe I have a physical condition of some sort, but no…I don’t think so. I have no pain, I sleep very well, I certainly haven’t lost weight, because I have not experienced a sudden loss of appetite.

The feeling must be connected to something, though, and until I figure out why I’m out of sorts, i.e., in a daze, who knows how long it might continue? If it does continue, I’ll never finish any of the three WIPs that are staring me in the face; I’ll not get through two months of promotion before I leave town for two weeks; and I’ll never write all those blogs that are on my calendar.

In the midst of whining in this blog, I stopped to make a dozen banana nut muffins and ten sausage biscuits for the freezer for my husband’s breakfasts. During that time, the house was quiet, the only sound being the sizzling of sausage patties in a cast-iron skillet, the breaking of one egg into a bowl, the clink and clank of a spoon against an aluminum mixing bowl, and the ‘shhhhh’ of vegetable spray into muffin cups.

These comforting sounds allowed my mind to wander wherever it wanted, and I think I’ve discovered something.

At first, I thought I needed something new, but that’s not exactly it. Here it is: I’m suffering from The Empty Nest Syndrome.

Since late spring, I have worked very hard to find homes for my manuscripts. The effort paid off, because every one of them—except one yet to be determined—now is under contract or already released.

I’m lonely. That’s my problem. All my babies are gone, and while I reared them to maturity so they could live independently from me, I miss them.

So, I need to get busy and finish one of my WIPs or begin a new story. Then I can have that feeling of anticipation of finding a good home for it.

Excuse me, please. I have work to do.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
New Releases
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress


Saturday, September 4, 2010

MAKING THE TURN-new release!

I'm pleased to announce my first novel in the category of Women's fiction. While it does have a light romance--what's a good story without a little romance?--the story centers on the lives of three generations of women living together for the summer--and not by choice. Throw in a widower and his young son who have their own problems, and the plot becomes busy and a little complicated. Oh, and of course! The story setting is small-town Texas.


Starting over at age thirty-nine is no picnic under any circumstances, but the task is daunting for Sara Daniels. Living an affluent lifestyle her entire adulthood in Dallas does not prepare her for instant bankruptcy, especially if a philandering husband dies suddenly, leaving her penniless, debt-ridden, and homeless.

Planning on moving in temporarily with her cantankerous mother in the small town of Del Rey, Sara faces more problems than she can handle. During the long, hot summer, she and her daughter, her mother, and a handsome distraught widower and his charming young son learn they can have second chances.

After a moment of hesitation, he said very softly, “Sara. I apologize. That should never have happened.”

Shaken by the kiss, Sara turned and gripped the door handle without replying. Instead of opening it, she turned back around, holding the cake platter against her chest with crossed arms. Managing to keep her voice under control, she said, “Well, it won’t happen again, that’s for sure. You won’t be seeing me anymore anyway, probably, unless we just happen to run into each other. I start work tomorrow, and besides, I won’t be staying in Del Rey very long.”

“You’re not moving here?” he asked with some surprise.

“No, I told you from the beginning I was visiting.”

“But you have employment.”

“Yes, but, well…that’s just to help Jeff out temporarily while I’m here.”


“The golf pro. So, you see, you really don’t need to worry about my coming around anymore.”

At this juncture, Sara stood as stiffly and silently as Rick.

At last, Rick spoke softly. “It’s mainly about Aaron, Sara. Don’t you see? He needs a lot of things, but right now in his life, I’m the one to supply everything for him—physically and emotionally.”

“Oh, I understand,” she began in a low voice and leaned toward him. “Having your life change drastically is traumatic on anyone, especially a child. But we adults can just suck it up, can’t we, Rick? We carry on, no matter whom we lose, or how much the loss endangers our well-being, or how the circumstances destroy our self-concept.” She paused and looked toward the house and bit her bottom lip. “I need to go.”

Sara drove away. She looked in her rear-view mirror and could barely make out Rick through the near darkness, still standing in the driveway with his hands shoved deeply into his pockets, watching after her as she turned onto the highway.

“Damn,” she whispered to herself. “I can’t please anybody. First kiss in over ten years, and the man apologizes.”

In Print or eBook: click here and scroll down to my book--click on the cover.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas