Friday, September 30, 2011


Just what is "complaining," anyway?
I call it "griping," because that's the word my mother used. "Celie Ann, stop your griping and make your bed. It's not going to make itself."

To be fair and also to defend myself, I most often complain when hunger strikes me. Maybe I have low blood sugar or something, but if I'm hungry, don't push me. All my friends know this."Uh-oh, feed her so she'll shut up."

As a general rule, I'm not a complainer...much. Most of the time I do it out of boredom or to make conversation or some other inane reason.

A couple of years ago, my friend gave me a purple bracelet--one of those rubber ones that make a statement--that reads, "A Complaint Free World." The bracelet was to remind the wearer not to complain. If you found yourself grumbling, then you were obligated to switch the bracelet to the other wrist. Well, the bracelet kept me busy with the switching. Several of us wore them for a while, enough for us to realize how much we complained in the course of a day.

I learned that complaining, though, is not all bad. It can actually be a creative act. The more you complain, the more you summon your creative energies to attract something to complain about. Maybe the complaints seem fully justified, but realize that whenever you complain, you set yourself up for more of the same. Just remember the part about "complaining is a creative act", and you might find yourself writing a novel. Hmmm.

Complaining is the act of reinforcing what you don’t want. Is this bad? I think not. Perhaps it's therapeutic.

A warning: Complaining is also addictive. The more you do it, the more it becomes an ingrained habit, making it more difficult to stop.

Some people complain too much about their own lives. This is a trap that gives this person a constant source of something to complain about. "Bad luck follows me; Life is too difficult; Why can't I get a break?" The complainer may tell you their reality is causing their complaints, but it’s more accurate to say their reality is reflecting their complaints.

"If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it." ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Do I complain? Yes, but after analyzing myself, I believe I complain about trivial events that really have nothing to do with me. When I fully realized this, I honestly try to keep my mouth closed and push the ugly thoughts away.

We have a neighbor who refuses to mow his property, so that the tall dead grass is a permanent fixture. I say something about that every time we pass the house. It has nothing to do with my life, it just annoys me. So, why do I persist in complaining about it? The time has come for me to ignore it.

Bad parkers really make me complain. You who know me understand I sort of go ballistic over a vehicle parked diagonally in a straight-in space, a driver in front of me who sits at a green light because he/she is on the phone or texting, or someone who throws litter out a car window. I really don't think I can stop complaining about these....sorry.

I wonder if any of my characters complain? Only one comes to mind...Cynthia Harrington, the heroine in my very first book, All My Hopes and Dreams, the socialite who decides to run away from her banker father because he has arranged a marriage for her.
If I’d known running away would be this hot and this dirty, she fumed, I’d have stayed home. With her dainty lace handkerchief, Cynthia Harrington dabbed the perspiration from her upper lip. She sighed heavily for the one-hundredth time today and impatiently brushed the dust from the skirt of her best lavender day dress.

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

Monday, September 26, 2011


Conversations about banned books have been prominent on FaceBook this week. The topic always interests me. Who has the right to ban or censor reading material for another? I realize the words have different meanings, but in reality they result in the same thing: one person or institution placing limitations on the reading material for another person.
This is just not the American way!

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.

J. D. Salinger wrote in such a way his most famous book became the focus of censorship. 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. I should, though.

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. I am a real scaredy cat.

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Anything? Or are you perfectly satisfied with your writing and publishing journey? I've had time to think and re-think some of my choices over the last few years, but since we cannot change the past, we must move forward, one foot in front of the other, onward to some goal that might be the perfect thing or...not.

I've accomplished so much in less than a decade, that I sometimes sit and did I do that? My learning curve was as steep as the Matterhorn, and I felt as though I climbed every day, never reaching my goal, but only moving a few feet forward.

Realistically, we'll never reach the top. Why would we want to? If we did, we'd have nothing else to look forward to, nothing to work toward, nothing else to learn.

Learning is the name of the game. I am convinced that continual learning keeps us mentally sharp, although some days I sit and stare, day dream, and wonder what shall I do next?

I wonder if I made a mistake by writing in several genres. All are related, but still there are distinct categories. The Western Historical Romances I wrote as a series seemed perfect to me. All four ms were completed, and all I needed was a publisher who would take all of them. But after having two published, the third and fourth presented a problem for that publisher, so much so I was forced to take the last two and move somewhere else.

The last two published as a "sisters" series made perfect sense. Yes, I'm very pleased with those, but still...they're separated from the first two. I still wish with all my heart all four were together.

"If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then we'd all have a Merry Christmas." Ah, well. We can't have everything.

Then there are those contemporaries I wrote and successfully placed with publishers. Even though I felt a little out of my element writing contemporary, the books turned out well, and all have not only homes, but wonderful reviews and a nice reception from readers.

Two of these contemporaries are a mix of romance and women's fiction. While each has a light love story, the relationship between the man and woman is not the focus of the story. The spotlight belongs to the main female character and other females whom she relates to in some manner.

Lastly, there's a stand-alone novel that fits no exact niche. Again, this one contains a love story, and while that in itself drives the story it does not define the plot. The plot is a "coming of age" story about a sixteen-year-old girl in 1901 in North Texas. The story spans three years as she grows up and finds her place in the world as a woman--and not the "caretaker" for several other characters.

All the books or short stories do have one central theme which ties them together--they're "all Texas." Whether in 1890, or 1899, 1901, or 2011, every story takes place somewhere in The Lone Star State.

~*~*~*~All titles are found on Amazon. The titles are also scattered among B&N, The Sony eReader Store, the KOBO store, Fictionwise, and my six publishers.

So, what would you change in your writing life?
Thanks for visiting.
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Monday, September 19, 2011

FIRST LINES--What Appeals To Us? Check out the winners.

Every first line got some attention, but there were a few clear favorites. I intentionally selected as wide a variety as I could, knowing that we, as readers, do not all like the same books. And how wonderful is that? What a dull world it would be if there were only one genre of novel to choose from.

In the case of this little experiment, it seems that readers like humor, guns, and heroes with cool names like Dallas, Cole, and Reese. Does this give you a hint? I've listed four, because these were so close in numbers, I couldn't leave out a number 4. The remainder received a lot of attention, too.


Number 1: "Sorry you got shot, Cole. Damn, this is gonna mess up all our plans."

Number 2: "Reese, if you weren't dead, I swear I'd kill you!
ONE FOR THE ROAD by Lynne Marshall

Number 3: Dallas McClintock sprawled on the ground, three rifle barrels pointed at his chest.
 THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE by Caroline Clemmons

Number 4: "He has walled us in alive! Our own lord has abandoned us!"
TO TOUCH THE KNIGHT by Lindsay Townsend

The rest of the First Lines came from--in no particular order:
IN YOUR EYES by Adelle Laudan
FIRE EYES by Cheryl Pierson
THE COUNT'S LAIR by Stephanie Burkhart
BITTER NOTES by Sarah J. McNeal

Some comments of interest that caught a reader's attention:

"Because I want to know who shot Cole and I need to know what those plans were."
"What comes to mind--what has happened to stop a party?"
"Who hasn't wanted to kill a man at some point?"
"Because it's funny, and it shouldn't be, and it got my attention."
"It made me smile and I want to know why."
"Love the imagery of the water."
"It poses a mystery."
"I liked the snappy dialogue."
"It's very dramatic."

Thank you for taking part--
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Thursday, September 15, 2011


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.

Firsts. That's what it's all about--how to make a reader choose your book. For this little contest, I have chosen first lines from ten books written by author acquaintances. In other words, this list does not contain, "It was the best of times, it was..." 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 1, 2, 3 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.After a couple of days, I'll determine the top three winners--and reveal the authors and the title of the book.

I'm using letters. 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 the 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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Grandmothers--for Grandparents' Day

When we were expecting our first grandchild, friends asked me,
“What will your grandchild call you?”

Interesting, because I never realized grandparents had a choice. My flippant remark was “Mrs. Yeary,” but of course, I wasn’t serious. When our first grandchild began to speak a few baby words, his dad would say, “Go to Granny.” The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Granny? I think not. I instructed him to say “Grandmother” to his young son, so the child would know that was my chosen name.

“Granny” was my daddy’s mother, and every grandchild called her by that term. The grandmother on my mother’s side answered to “Mama.”

Whether a Granny, a Grandmother, a Mama, or a Mimi, she holds a special place in the grandchild’s life. I inherently knew this because of my feelings for my grandmothers. Our first grandson—the only kind of grandchildren we have—made a deep impression upon my heart, and with that unique feeling came the realization that perhaps
 I did not know how to be a good grandmother.
What does it take?
 My "Granny" lived in a country house that lacked many amenities, such as running water and indoor plumbing. God love her, she also lacked teeth and good health. She died before I turned eight, but the memory of her is strong. Her soft, puffy lap held me, her plump arms circled my small body, and her kisses upon my cheek felt gentle and sweet. I never remember her scolding me or swatting my backside. She told me I was a good girl, a sweet girl, and she hugged me when she said it.

My strongest memory is sleeping in her big feather bed. When she lay down, I rolled toward her, snuggling up and sleeping soundly. She’d pat my shoulder and say, “Nitety-nite.”

I followed her to the chicken coop to gather eggs, to the orchard to find pears on the ground, and to the garden to pick tomatoes and string beans.

My other grandmother, "Mama", was entirely different. She lived in town, wore a business dress, hosiery, pumps, and worked as manager of a huge laundry in the basement of a big hotel. I visited her because my parents did, not because I looked forward to seeing her. The day never turned out to be as much fun as it did at Granny’s house, because Mama had nothing to offer in comparison. Not once did she hold me on her lap or tell me I was a good girl.

However, when the afternoon ended, Mama always led me to her bedroom. There, she opened the top drawer of her chest of drawers, and allowed me to stand on tiptoe and look in. Dozens of packages of gum--Juicy Fruit and Double-Mint Spearmint--covered the bottom. I got to choose one, and while I held it in one hand, she’d tell me to open the other. Then, she’d place a nickel in my palm. I said thank you, and that was it.

But I loved those packages of gum and that nickel. That’s how I remember her.

Over the years, I learned very well how to be a good grandmother. What memories do I have of my two grandmothers? The hugs? The undivided attention? The gifts? Everything I remember of both of mine, even though the two women differed so much, can be summed up in one phrase—unconditional love. Was I always a good girl, just because my grandmother said so? Probably not. Did I deserve all the attention because I was special? No. Was my due in life to receive gifts? Absolutely not.

Both my grandmothers made me believe I was worthwhile and important to them, by either actions or words. Not once did one of them say, “Bad girl.” Or “Shame on you.”

This grandmother business is easy after all. We have three young grandsons, all brothers, and believe me, they can be a trial. Subconsciously, though, I refrain from saying, “Look what you did!” “I told you to stop slamming the door.” “If you make a mess again, I’ll have to punish you.”
 No, instead, I say, “Come here, sugar, and let me show you how to close the door quietly.” Or, “That’s all right, baby, I’ll get some paper towels and you can help me clean up the spilled milk.”

Nothing in this world can top a little boy throwing his arms around my waist, lifting his face with his lips puckered to give me a kiss. Nothing is more precious than a small boy bringing a book I’ve already read to him fourteen times, and saying, “Grandmother, will you read this book to me?” And when I sit on the sofa, he scrunches as close as he can to snuggle while we read. My heart bursts with joy when the twelve-year-old who now is taller than I am, runs down the skyway, saying, “Grandmother!” and nearly knocks me down with his hugs.

Ah, the joys of grandparenting. We can love, spoil, and indulge, and at the end of the day, hand them back to their parents to clothe, feed, and nurture. I wouldn’t take anything for my own two children. But grandkids? They’re a special breed all together.

Celia Yeary, Author
Romance…and a little bit o' Texas

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement.
Fearing further conflict, legislation was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law.
The September date--the first Monday-- was chosen by the CLU of New York. The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations.

However, over the decades and an entire century, Labor Day Activities have come to represent many, many more things. As we all well know, there is a list of things that come to an end with
 the Labor Day Celebration.

First off, everyone, at least everyone in the South, knows you cannot wear white after Labor Day. I never did, especially white shoes. To this day, I do not wear white shoes--not even Keds or athletic shoes--after Labor Day. I believe the heavens will open, and an avenging angel will trumpet to the entire world--
"Nine-year-old Celia Ann Davis is wearing her white patent leather shoes to church after Labor Day!"

To prove this is a nation-wide rule, I asked my good Southern friend Maggie Toussaint about the shoe rule. Here is her answer:
"You can’t wear white shoes after Labor Day, everybody knows that. And the people who flaunt the rule are – wait for it – tacky! Tacky is the ultimate insult around here. It means: poor home training and got no chance to ever make anything of yourself. If someone ever called you or anything you did “tacky,” it was a physical slur on you and your family. God forbid we ever did anything tacky. Even today, I stress more about being put together than I should. Still holding myself to the standard of trying not to embarrass us all by my clueless wardrobe choices.
The funny thing is I don’t even own a pair of white shoes now. And how inconvenient it must have been for our parents to buy white Mary Janes for us at Easter and then have to replace them with black patent leather shoes by Labor Day. But I must have subconsciously channeled that seasonal shoe buying as I love to get new sandals for summer, and then comfotrable flats for fall."

...Maggie Toussaint-Award Winning Author of romances and cozy mysteries-see her Amazon page for all releases.

With the advent of Labor Day, all summer activities come to a close.
1. No more "boys of summer," the All-American pastime of sandlot or city-wide baseball games. (This does not include The World Series.) From now on, it's football, football, football, whether you like it or not.
2. No more going barefoot. Oh, you can in the house and perhaps a little outdoors, but you cannot run free all day with no shoes. School...remember? Gotta wear shoes.
3. No more Summer Vacations--obvious reasons. It's not summer anymore and school begins.
4. No more freedom--back to work and school. 

The 1955 movie "Picnic," one of my all-time favorites. It tells the story of an ex-college football star turned drifter who arrives in a small Kansas town on Labor Day and is drawn to a girl who is already spoken for. The cast is headed by William Holden, Kim Novak, Susan Strasberg, Cliff Robertson, Arthur O'Connell, Nick Adams, Betty Field, Rosalind Russell and Verna Felton. The film covers a 24-hour period and is sometimes cited as a richly detailed snapshot of life in the American Midwest during the 1950s.

Please remember those who are out of work but are still searching. Bless them all.

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