Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Aren't eReaders Standardized?

This is probably a foolish question, because many items in our world are not standardized . But they should be. We all know hot dog buns come eight to a package, but the wieners come ten to a package. I could name numerous examples of such annoying practices, but at least we, the customers, are not restricted from purchasing either.

My complaint is with e-readers: Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony, Diesal, and Apple.
This is a huge problem, if you ask me. I bought a Kindle, but I also have books on B&N, the Sony Store, and a few scattered others. I only buy books from Amazon, though. Why? Because I have a Kindle. If I preferred to buy the book from B&N, then I would need to buy a Nook. Right?

This is grossly unfair, and very tacky, in my opinion.

We can buy gasoline from any station we want and pay for it in any manner. I carry three credit cards, but prefer to use one particular card. I've not been turned down yet when I pull out that card at any station. Suppose Shell required the driver to have a Shell credit card to purchase a tank of gas?

The same is true with our televisions. We pay for a server, but that server doesn't mind if I have a Motorola, a Sony, or a Samsung television. All's fair and everyone plays nice.

Cell phones. I have T-Mobile as my server, but I don't need to buy a certain phone, do I, to have T-Mobile?

I'm finding the electronic reader problem more and more aggravating. Yes, Amazon carries every book known to mankind, but need they be so exclusive with their eBooks? I'm not picking on Amazon, because all of them are the same way.

Should this problem be addressed in Congress, so that The People will have a voice in this matter? Forget I even mentioned such an absurd thing. What am I thinking, trying to get Congress to make a decision?

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What I Did In Church Today When My Mind Wandered

Today in church, we had a double blessing--the baptisms of two babies. These little ones are close to the same age...about five months old. Just adorable, both of them. Both sets of parents had numerous family with them, so the entire service was joyous and uplifting.
One baby was a beautiful, black-haired angel, a little girl, and the other was a sandy-haired little hunk, a little boy. The female wore a white lace dress and white lace bonnet, and the boy wore little dress-up pants and shirt.
Ah, so what did my writer's brain do during the process? I wrote a romance novel, of course. Forward, oh, say about 25 years and they are in love. Certainly, they have been their entire lives, having been reared together, attending the same nursery, then the same Sunday School classes, youth group, and young adult class.

And now, I see them standing before the altar, she with her "raven" black hair and he with his dark blonde hair, both dressed for their wedding.
Stop! I cannot move them right into matrimony. Every couple must go through the fire, so to speak, and emerge strong and determined that no one or no earthly entity can break them apart.

Hmmm, what conflict can I hoist upon them? Every romance novel must have a huge conflict between the two prospective lovers. Right? The service ended before I moved very far along with my outline.
You can be sure, though, that my story will be: Girl meets boy at Baptismal font in their diapers and baby clothes and fall in love; Boy loses Girl, maybe due to something stupid he did, or maybe an outside force tore them apart; and then Boy gets Girl back, and they Live Happily Ever After.

Writing a romance novel is so easy, a child can do it. Right? I bet you've heard that many times-- a romance novel plot is just too simplistic. Oh, but the fun of it all is creating a scenario that will push them apart, and then find an emotional, satisfying way to bring them together at the end.
I can hardly wait to begin my next novel.

So, what are you working on?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Monday, January 16, 2012

Page 99 Test for "Crystal Lake Reunion"

Page 99:

"Excuse me, sir. Excuse me?"

The banging ceased and two young men in coveralls, stained with oil and dirt, popped up.

"Yeah? Whadda ya want?"

"Do you own this building?"

The tall one walked loose-limbed toward her and pulled a dirty red kerchief from his back pocket. After wiping his face, he looked her up and down before he spoke. "Yeah. Me and my brother here. You need a car fixed?"

"No, I only wondered if you knew the previous owners."

"Nope. But if you’re looking for the graveyard, it’s back yonder a ways—behind that stand of trees." He pointed to the far back of the lot. "Somebody comes by once in a while to find it."

Dana swayed before she felt Grant’s arm around her waist.

Grant spoke. "You mean a cemetery?"

"Same thing, ain’t it? ’Cept no one’s been buried there as far back as twenty or so years ago. That’s all I know. The kids play up there sometimes. It’s cooler than down here."

"Thank you," said Grant. He turned to go, but Dana asked to walk back there. The owners agreed that would be fine.

As Dana held Grant’s hand, they began to walk up the hill toward the stand of trees. When they had taken several steps, the owner called after them.

"Not much up there. Just a few of those babies' graves."
So, would you consider reading this book?

The beautiful cover for Crystal Lake Reunion is one of five finalists for EPIC's ARIANA awards coming up. The story has also received wonderful reviews! 
I invite you to visit the small Texas town of Crystal Lake:
Premise: Twenty-five-year-old Houston realtor, Dana Dawson, has no reason to believe her life is not as it seems. When Ruth Dawson, her mother, travels thirty miles to Crystal Lake for her twenty-fifth high school reunion, she becomes ill. Dr. Grant Adams summons Dana to the small town she has never seen. There Dana begins to unravel a secret about her past she did not know existed.
Dana keeps her suspicions to herself and remains in Crystal Lake when her mother goes home. During the next week, she becomes acquainted with the charming young doctor and elicits his help to discover her true birthplace. There she finds a shocking truth that not only changes her life, but also almost destroys her mother and another entire family. ******
Thank you!
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Avoids, Part III: Melodramatic Words, Foreign Words, and All That Jazz

My last "Avoids" blog was quite some time ago,  and I felt a need to clarify a few more items. Remember, no hard and fast rules exist for these, but our sources do urge us to beware. The experts I most often use are Strunk and White,, and my all-time favorite, Elmore Leonard.

AVOID FOREIGN LANGUAGES: Best advice--write in English. That is, if your first language is English and you live in an country in which English is dominant, then stick to what everyone knows. If--in a desire to show off--you throw in foreign words or expressions with abandonment, you will only succeed in annoying your readers. And we simply must not annoy our readers. (No further explanation is needed about that.) However, remember: rarely will you find a definite rule for this, so by all means use a foreign word or phrase if it is fitting for your story.

AVOID MELODRAMATIC WORDS: Beauteous, prodigious, inchoate, fulsome, austerity. Now, there's simply nothing wrong with these words, but how many in your audience can immediately recall the definitions? How many of your readers will stumble over the word, which makes him stop reading? Trust me, you do not want your reader to stop because of something he cannot understand. Most all adults, though, can understand, beautiful, enormous, incomplete, flattering, or severe.

As more than one expert has said: "Don't use a ten dollar word when a ten cent word will do." Oops, I think I just used a metaphor--or at least, one of the below.

AVOID METAPHORS AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Idioms, colloquialisms, metaphors, aphorism, metaphors, simile, hyperbole, and personification.  All these words can be categorized under a more familiar term: Figures of Speech.  Lest you think I know the meanings and uses of all these, think again. I certainly do not. However, I can detect one in a text, although I couldn't correctly categorize it. All I know is if I read, "Quick as greased lightning," or "Hanky panky," or "Reading him the riot act," or "The apple of his eye," I will usually shudder slightly but continue to read.

Yes, I know I'm guilty. In one book I wrote, "All hell broke loose." did, and those are the only words I could write.
1. Why, then are there so many versions of one word? Maybe because the one that is used the most is the familiar one. I suppose if we'd begun to use "inchoate," then we wouldn't understand the word "incomplete."
2.  What's wrong with using a few foreign words here and there? Nothing, except the reason I gave--your reader may stumble over the word. We want our words to flow and move easily, not slow down to a crawl, as the reader wonders about their meaning.
3.  When is it more appropriate to use figures of speech?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Can a Story About Ordinary People Hold Your Interest?

As  readers and authors, we don't want all material to be the same. That would be like eating the same meal every day, three times day. We like variety, yes, but still we pick and choose those foods that appeal to us from a wide variation of the same kind. I love tomatoes, and I'll take any kind or variety of tomato that I can find. However, some are often tasteless or too mushy or too acidic, making my stomach churn.

But I wouldn't eat a raw oyster on a bet. First, they're distasteful looking, slimy, and just plain awful. Plus, I've seen too many things under a microscope, and trust might think twice about eating one. However, I've seen people eat them with gusto and enjoy every morsel.

To each his own.

The same is true with my reading and writing material. There are certain genres and styles I enjoy, and there are others I wouldn't read....well, on the same bet.

Often I crave "just stories," nothing contrived, but a tale about...Ordinary People. Yes, I think many of my stories are about ordinary people. (I'm omitting my 99cent Western Trail Blazer shorts--those are a little overdone, but all in the name of fun.)

My favorite kind of movie, too, is often about ordinary people. (Here, I'll exclude the James Bond movies with Daniel Craig. I know they're totally unrealistic, very loud, and often brutal. But...that's my one foray into a secret vice--I LOVE his James Bonds movies!)

But back to movies about people, with their angst, their longings, their heartbreak, their loneliness, their phobias, and yes, even their weaknesses. Dysfunctional people and families can make the most interesting and emotional movie or book.

Here are four Storylines--Have you seen the movie? Hint: these are not new.


Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together.
~*~Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch,
Timothy Hutton~*~

Lester and Carolyn Burnham are on the outside, a perfect husband and wife, in a perfect house, in a perfect neighborhood. But inside, Lester is slipping deeper and deeper into a hopeless depression. He finally snaps when he becomes infatuated with one of his daughter's friends. Meanwhile, his daughter Jane is developing a happy friendship with a shy boy-next-door named Ricky, who lives with a homophobic father.
~*~Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley,
Mena Suvari~*~

In the Salinas Valley, in and around World War I, Cal Trask feels he must compete against overwhelming odds with his brother Aron for the love of their father Adam. Cal is frustrated at every turn, from his reaction to the war, to how to get ahead in business and in life, to how to relate to estranged mother.
~*~Julie Harris, James Dean, Raymond Massey, Richard Davalos~*~

Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma's marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora's interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways.
~*~ Shirley Maclaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Daniels~*~

All of these feature dysfunctional individuals and families or how a family copes with tragedy and heartbreak. To me, they are some of the best stories ever written. Movie goers and the movie industry think so, too. All four movies were blockbusters, and all four earned multiple Academy Awards.

Still, I don't care for a steady diet. Occasionally I yearn for a good loud, outrageous Western, or a comedy such as The Bridesmaids or Sex and the City.

What about you? Steady diet or variation? 
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas           

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Instead of resolutions, I like to clean up my space. It's a kind of starting over, a new beginning, and a second chance to do better. So, what surrounds me, whether physically or mentally, that needs to be removed?

#1-Clean out the refrigerator. Case in point: that little dab of bean dip in the square bowl, no one is going to eat; the month-past-due single carton of yogurt; the two limp carrots, now trying to re-sprout; the four bags, each holding about 1/2 cup frozen vegetables, now frozen into a solid mass I never got around to using; the 1/3 package of six month old Chinese noodles which now taste like cardboard; shall I continue? No, you get the picture.

#2-Thin out your closet. I once read a column by a fashion consultant that claimed any article of clothing in your closet that you have not worn for two years, should be given to Goodwill, or perhaps burned. She claims you will never wear it. (I have reservations about this...I have found a couple of sweaters stashed toward the back I hadn't worn for five or more years...and now I'm wearing them.)

#3-This is related to #2. Please, by all means, get rid of any article of clothing with shoulder pads!

#4-Like clothing, throw out old make-up. For one thing, foundation and mascara, especially, become contaminated with bacteria and can cause eye infections. Besides, this is a very good time to take advantage of the new "look" in make-up, whatever it might be. If you don't use make-up, then disregard this advice.

#5-Writing supplies- This one I love! First, go through all your pens and pencils and throw out all that skip when you write, are dry, are ugly, have Super 8 Motel or Weir's Insurance written on the side, and anything else that generally doesn't make a mark that is pleasing. Me? I prefer a fine-point pen, like the Roller Ball pens, and if I can find the Super Fine, then I'll grab those. I'm very picky about this, but still...there are those others I really should use. But no...this is New Year's and I get to throw them out.

#6-Stupid story ideas and old partial manuscripts-my files have many such items, and I know in my heart none will ever turn into The Great American Novel. Now is the time to delete all those so I won't stare at them and can I make that plot work? Out, out it goes! No, wait. Maybe I was a bit hasty. Perhaps I'll just create a new folder titled "Manuscript Dump." That way, when a good idea does come....yes, that's a better idea.

#7-Throw out or consolidate notes- old sticky notes or single note sheets scattered in various places on my desk must go. Useless newspaper articles, quote of the day, all kinds of words on paper that mean nothing. I do have one spiral notebook that I keep a running list of things to do that concern writing or promotion, and that system works well for me. However, I cannot break myself from scribbling these nonsensical notes. Out!

#8-And while we're at it, let's throw out our negative thoughts about our ability to be a good writer, or our jumbled thoughts about the possibility of changing genres, or maybe even our sense of failure...or at least, our sense of not accomplishing as much as we would like.

New Year's Day gives us a good re-set point, a do-over, or a back to basics routine.

New Year's Day gives us a chance to look ahead...not back.

New Year's Day gives us a chance to Delete old thoughts, old feelings, and old failures.

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