Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Texas Drought Gone Awry


For the last two years in Texas, including here in Central Texas Hill Country where I live, the state has suffered through a most horrific drought. It never reached the "worst" level in history, though, leaving the drought of the 1950's still unmatched. 

Acreage turned brown, ground cracked, lake levels lowered, and trees died, while the sun beat down daily for months, creating 100+ degree endless days. The prediction was more of the same through end of 2011and on through 2012.
But I guess God doesn't listen to weather forecasts, because the rains began toward the end of 2011, and have continued this year. Miraculously, the aquifer level rose, the lakes filled--not to capacity, but on their way--the fields and pastures burst into green grass and flowers, and the trees revived.
Thanks be to God.....
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Apostrophes Gone Wild!-Plus: The Three Little Ps

~*~Disclaimer:I'm not an expert editor. I love eBooks--fourteen of my own books are eBooks~*~
The number of errors in eBooks is increasing daily. Once upon a time I rarely found a typo, wrong word usage, or a punctuation error. The eBook novel I'm reading now is filled with errors. I began to make note of them but gave up--the book is long and my list became out of control.
I decided to concentrate on very common, all too frequent errors, to the point they seem to be commonplace and completely accepted by editors and the general public. Someone please tell me our writing skills have not degraded so much.

I. Apostrophes in Contractions

If the writer is using "curly apostrophes," then the apostrophe has a tail. The tail is turned to the right or to the left. When single apostrophes are used to enclose a word or quote, the first has the tail turned to the right; the second has the tail turned to the left.

In contractions, though, the single apostrophe is always...ALWAYS...turned to the left--even if it appears at the beginning of the word. Why, then, are so many authors and editors allowing apostrophes at the beginning of a contraction to turn to the right--as though it wants to enclose the word?
The rule is that no matter where the apostrophe occurs in a contraction, the tail should be turned to the left.

I have seen this rule broken on publisher's websites, especially around Christmas when the word 'tis was used frequently. It appeared over and over on TV in commercials.

Common contractions with the apostrophe at the beginning are:
'tis, 'til, 'fore, etc.    In each instance, the tail of the apostrophe should be turned to the....LEFT. The program may use the wrong one, but you can change it.

II. The Three Little Ps-Peek, Peak, Pique

In truth, these words are bothersome, for even I admit using them wrong when in a hurry. However, if I use one in a manuscript, I should take time to write the one that fits the sentence.
Peek: to glance or look quickly
"She peeked around the edge of the curtain."

Peak: a pointed end or top; to reach a highest point or summit; the highest or utmost point of anything.
"The house had a peaked roof."
"The mountain had the highest peak of all."
"Production peaked at an all-time high."

Pique: a fit of displeasure; ruffled pride; to arouse or provoke
"In a pique, she stomped away from him."
"Trying to hold her head high, she was piqued that she did not win the championship."
"Her interest piqued, she sat down across from the handsome man."

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

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Advice from Betty Crocker

In my opinion, when one needs a little charge of energy because that one feels lethargic and listless, one can never go wrong by following the sage advice of Betty Crocker from my 1956 hardcover ring-binder cookbook, now held together by duct tape and hole reinforcements. The book may be old, but the wisdom for the average housewife will never go out of style. Let's see what we can learn in 2012. Oh, my lands, I just realized how many years that is.

Betty Crocker: For personal outlook, every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a dash of cologne, and perhaps some simple earrings. Does wonders for your morale.
Celia: Uh-uh, bad advice for some of us. I must drink  coffee for thirty minutes, then in my jammies and uncombed hair, I make it to the kitchen island where I will eat Cheerios and read my paper until I feel like talking.

Betty Crocker: Prevent unnecessary fatigue. Use a dust mop and a long-handled dust pan. Use self-wringing mop (no stooping.)
Celia: What is a self-wringing mop and dust pan?

Betty Crocker: Do head work while dusting, sweeping, washing dishes, paring potatoes, etc. Plan family recreation, the garden, etc.
Celia: I dust twice a year, I never "sweep," I have a dishwasher, and I do not plan family recreation. They can plan their own recreation. I'm busy.

Betty Crocker: If you feel tired, lie down on the kitchen floor on your back, put your hands above your head, close your eyes, and relax.
Celia: If I did that, my husband would walk in, gasp, and call 911.

Betty Crocker: Before your husband comes home from work, change your dress, refresh your make-up, add a little more cologne, and greet him at the door with a hug and welcome home kiss.
Celia: Okay, excuse me here. I'm laughing so hard I can hardly stand up.

Betty Crocker: Have the sink, work table, counter tops, etc. at a height that is comfortable to eliminate strain. If your dishpan is too low, set it on a box.
Celia: Huh?

Betty Crocker: Harbor pleasant thoughts while doing your household chores. Think of going to the beach, playing an outdoor game, sailing on a boat, or dancing with your husband.
Celia: I do all this on a regular basis. It's called daydreaming, and I'm very good at it. That's when I usually create a new story or scene in my head.

Betty Crocker: Check up on yourself. If after following all these rules for proper rest, exercise, diet, you are still tired and depressed, have a medical check-up and follow doctor's orders.
Celia: could take my advice. Eat some chocolate, drink some wine, read a romance novel, and make a comfort food for dinner, such as a Broccoli Rice Casserole.

 Comfort Food from the Fifties:
Broccoli Rice Casserole
Butter a 9X13 casserole dish
Sprinkle 1 cup raw rice evenly over the bottom
Chop one small onion and sprinkle over the rice
Cover rice with 2 pkg frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
In a one-quart mixing cup, blend:
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
Pour over rice and broccoli
Over top, sprinkle one cup grated cheddar cheese
Cover with aluminum foil
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (uncover the last
ten minutes)
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Does Cover Art Sell Romance eBooks?

A book cover advertises the story within. With prints, whether paperbacks or hardbacks, I believe every reader either picks up or rejects the book on sight based on the cover--unless the reader is looking for a particular author. The cover alone, though, does not entice the reader to buy. A reader also checks out the blurb or first page.  

For me, a cover should have colors I like, a theme that appeals to me, and letters than are pleasing to the eye. I admit I prefer "pretty" covers. Since I don't select horror or anything very frightening to read, then it follows that red blood, a dead person, or anything resembling pain or death really turns me off.

Choosing a hard copy of a book is easy--it's right there in front of me, I can pick it up, turn it over, and run my fingers over the cover. I can flip the pages and determine if I like the font, the spacing, oh, and several more picky little things. Each of us has our own list of likes and dislikes, and each of us is entitled to choose how we wish.

With eBooks, though--precisely romance eBooks--the game changes. We can't feel the book, but we can see the cover. In fact, the cover may be the most important thing about your book. Yes, I truly believe that.

When I discovered the small presses and realized the possibility existed for me to get a book published, I knew I had some choices to make. Since I'm picky about covers, and I'm old enough to do what I want, I studied publishers before I selected one for my very first submission. Yes, that's right. I chose the publisher most likely to give me a cover I liked. Curious to know which publisher that was? It's no secret, for anyone can find out by publishing dates of my books on Amazon--every single one is there.
The publisher was The Wild Rose Press. The covers were beautiful, for the most part, very well done, professional, and enticing. I studied the Home Page where numerous covers were all in neat rows and out of a dozen, there were maybe one or two I didn't like so much. Those, as I recall, were in a category of stories I just didn't care for. It follows, right?

Why am I so very careful to choose a publisher that shows covers I like? Besides the cover giving me a hint about the contents, I also envision my own books in print. Fortunately, The Wild Rose Press offered prints as well as eBooks, so all was well.

Still, the publisher must sell eBooks, and the competition is fierce, isn't it? Look at the rise in the number of eBooks published each week, the increase in the number of small presses, and also the increase in the number of Indie authors. It's staggering.

A publisher or an indie author must have professional, eye-catching covers. Think of how many book covers the eye scans on any one Home Page or list.

I have read conversations about omitting covers altogether for eBooks, and some agree. Me? No. I believe the cover for an eBook will become even more important.    

Thank the artist who made your wonderful cover. Today, I thank Gemini Judson for the gorgeous cover for my Women's Fiction/Romance novel Crystal Lake Reunion with Whiskey Creek Press. On Monday, I believe the winners of EPIC'S ARIANA AWARDS (for cover art) will be announced, and Gemini and I are keeping our fingers crossed! Not only is my cover up, I believe she has several scattered among the categories.
So, good luck, Gemini! I hope to see this cover in print one day soon. 

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Confessions from a "Closet Print Reader"

The time has come to confess a weakness in my character. Here I am, an author of nine novels, four novellas, and three anthologies, and while I am in awe of the opportunity to have a dream come true, I'm not 100% satisfied.  I am conflicted and feel guilty.

Each book was born as an eBook, and is now available on all manner and kinds of electronic readers and numerous eBook sites. If it weren't for small presses, sometimes called ePresses, I feel certain I would not be published. So, why all the guilt?

Because I still want all of my eBooks in print. Somehow, someway, someday...I hope to make this happen. My creations are scattered among several publishers (I'll skip over how this happened). Each publisher has a different plan for publishing prints for their contracted authors. Yes, as many publishers I have, there are that many different plans.

Of my nine full-length novels, five are in print. The remaining four are not yet, but a major goal for me is to have those in print, too.

What is important is my need to talk about loving prints, even though I own  Kindle and don't want to give it up. But honestly, it's just not the same. I've heard all the arguments on the side of  eBooks, and I do understand each and every one. Still, prints hold a place in my heart.

Last night I finished a western collection of short stories by Jory Sherman. I loved his writing and the stories are memorable. Now, I'm reading The Violin, an intriguing story by Sarah J. McNeal. Both of these are on my Kindle.

Yet, I have two books on Hold at my public library.

Home Front by Kristin Hannah. I eagerly awaited this newest release from one of my favorite authors, and found it on Amazon the day it was released. But because the eBook was $12.95, I did not buy it. I wasn't upset; I was secretly thrilled. Why? Because I can get the print at my library! I watch my Inbox every day for a message: "The book you have on Hold is now available." Yea!

At the time I placed Home Front on Hold, I asked the librarian to order a second one: Death, Island Style by Maggie Toussaint. Whichever I get first will be fine. I can't wait.

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

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Welcome, Paula, to "Romance...and a little bit of Texas." You've come a long way to visit! I know you live in the UK, but where?.. in general terms, of course. What does the area look like?

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Celia! I live in the suburbs of the city of Manchester in North West England. Manchester is probably best known these days for its two football teams, but it’s a fascinating city in many other historically ways, too. We have the remains of a Roman fort here, and a few remnants of the medieval market town. During the 18th century Industrial Revolution, Manchester became the centre of the cotton industry, with hundreds of cotton mills (spinning and weaving). The first modern canal was built here in 1761 and the first passenger railway ran from Manchester to Liverpool.
Can you tell from this how much I love the history of my adopted city? I could also tell you so much more about North West England, which is where I’ve always lived, but my favourite part is the Lake District, a National Park about 50 miles from Manchester, which is a beautiful area of lakes (as its name suggests) and mountains, and holds a lot of wonderful memories for me of my many visits there. It’s where I’ve set two of my novels (so far).
For us in the United States, read "soccer" when Paula speaks of "football!" Okay, back to the questions.
The cover for Fragrance of Violets is stunning. How long have you been writing? I know you're a retired teacher--like so many of us--but when did you first begin to write?

Since I learned to write, I think. I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember and started writing them when I was about 7 or 8. My first stories were school stories (so maybe I was destined to become a teacher?). I progressed to romances when I was in my teens. They were very ‘cheesy’ but were read avidly by my friends! I had my first romance novel published when I was in my 20’s, and although I had a break from writing novels for nearly 30 years, I’ve now come back to writing romance again.
What stereotype would you describe yourself? Methodical or haphazard? Impulsive or deep thinker? Happy-go-lucky or hesitant? Plotter or Panster? 

Oh, I used to be so methodical and organized when I was teaching, but that went slightly out of the window once I retired! Now I try to be methodical but it doesn’t always work out that way! Impulsive – yes, sometimes, but I’ll weigh up pros and cons before making any big decisions. I can be hesitant about some things, but happy-go-lucky with others. And I’m definitely a pantser! I start a new story with what I like to call a ‘vague idea’ but then the characters take over. Sometimes I try to haul them back, but more often they know better than I do. So I let them run with their story! So-what stereotype? A bit of a mixture, I think!
It's a good answer--I like it. Maybe we're all a mixture of stereotypes. So, why do you write--for money or the love of it?

I never made any decision to ‘become’ a writer and never thought I’d make any money from it. Writing is as natural to me as breathing, so any money is a bonus. The money I got from my early romance novels (with Mills and Boon/Harlequin) was, of course, very welcome at a time when I was bringing up two daughters on my own. But, when I came back to writing fiction, I started with fan-fiction which had no monetary reward. Basically, I want to writes stories that I enjoy writing and other people enjoy reading. That’s enough reward for me.

What kind of movies do you enjoy? Do you ever cry in movies?
My taste in movies is somewhat eclectic; I enjoy a whole gamut of different genres. I’ve always liked musicals (both on stage and screen) – and can’t wait for the movie of Les Miserables to come out later this year, with the wonderful Hugh Jackman. I like movies based on real events, too, unless the ‘history’ has been distorted out of all recognition. Minor inaccuracies I can cope with but a blatant disregard for truth has my hackles well and truly raised. However, movies like ‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘Apollo 13’ are among my top 10 favourites. I enjoy Rom-Coms too, with Bridget Jones being one of my favourites, together with ‘The American President’. I don’t like paranormal or fantasy, and definitely don’t ever watch horror. Crying in movies – it’s usually a happy ending that makes me cry, such as when Emile returns at the end of South Pacific. I always cry too when Jim Lovell’s voice is finally heard over the radio after Apollo 13 gets back to earth!  

No wonder you're such a good author--you're a bundle of emotion! What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Write. Don’t put it off until you can ‘find time’, otherwise you’ll never find the time. Learn by reading other books in the genre which appeals to you, not by studying all the ‘How to Write’ advice. There’s so much of the latter on the internet, it’s impossible to take it all in, and if you’re struggling to follow all the so-called ‘rules’ you’ll never get further than the first chapter.

The advice to "just write" is the best kind. How else can a new author learn?
Describe your novels in one sentence without mentioning names or titles.

Whoa! Good question! One sentence—okay: My novels are usually about two characters who have some issue(s), either internal or external (or both) to resolve, but who struggle to overcome these and, in the process, learn more about themselves and each other.

Excellent answer--I don't know how you could do it any better. Your newest release, Fragrance of Violets sounds like a wonderful love story. Will you give us a short synopsis of the story?

The title comes from a quote by Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that had crushed it”, and it’s a story of two people who need to forgive each other and also deal with other issues in their lives.
~*~*~*~Abbey Seton distrusts men, especially Jack Tremayne who destroyed their friendship when they were teenagers. Ten years later, they meet again. Can they put the past behind them?

Abbey has to forgive not only Jack, but also her father who deserted his family when she was young. Jack holds himself responsible for his fiancĂ©e’s death. He’s also hiding another secret which threatens the fragile resumption of his relationship with Abbey.
Will Abbey ever forgive him when she finds out the truth?  

Now the best part--an excerpt:
Abbey swung her car into the car park and pulled up beside the shop. After she’d unlocked the side door and switched on the light, she returned to the car and opened the boot.
She’d just lifted out the first box when a voice startled her.
“Want some help with that?”
She spun round in the direction of the voice. It was dark but she didn’t need to see him. Her mouth went dry and her hands tightened on the box.
“No, thanks, I can manage.”
Jack Tremayne stepped into the dim light cast by one of the car park lamps. As her eyes adjusted, Abbey caught her breath. His dark sweatshirt stretched across wide shoulders and broad chest, and mid-blue jeans encased his slim hips and long legs. No longer a teenage boy, but a man whose compelling figure exuded confident masculinity. Something deep inside her turned a double somersault.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Resentment at her involuntary reaction to him lent an extra sharp tone to her voice.
“Welcome to Rusthwaite,” he said with amused irony.
“You aren’t welcome here. Not by me, not by anyone.”
He shrugged. “Maybe not, but I’m back, and I intend to stay.”
Shock ran through her like a cold shower. “You’re staying?”
“Why not? It’s my home.”
“The home you betrayed,” she said bitterly.
“That was eight years ago. People forget.”
As he took a few steps towards her car, the light spilling from the shop doorway illuminated his face. His blond hair seemed to have darkened to the colour of light sand and was brushed back instead of the tousled look she remembered. But several stray strands escaped over his broad forehead, and her glance took in his handsome features – the blue eyes, the high cheekbones, the well-defined jaw, the perfectly shaped mouth and the cleft above his chin.
A quiver rippled through her but she ignored it. “No, Jack. This village hasn’t forgotten. People here won’t ever forgive you.”
“What about you?” His eyes challenged her, forced her to remember the night everything had gone wrong between them.
She returned his look with a defiant glare and tried to distance herself from the unwanted sensations inside her that threatened to destroy her composure. “I don’t think you and I have anything further to say to each other. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to unload this shop stock.”
“Are you sure I can’t help?”
“Absolutely sure.”
“Okay,” he said briefly as she turned away and took the box into the shop.
When she returned to the car, he’d gone. She stared through the darkness towards the main road, but he’d obviously walked quickly. There was no-one there.
She made herself concentrate on carrying the boxes into the storeroom and stacking them tidily, ready to be unpacked the next morning. But as she put down the last box, she realised she was shaking.
Meeting Jack Tremayne again had catapulted all her feelings.
Where can we find this book?
In e-book and paperback format from Whiskey Creek Press and also from  or  It’s also on Bookstrand and should also appear on Fictionwise soon.

Where can we find you?
My personal blog is and the group blog to which I contribute weekly is
In celebration of Whiskey Creek Press's Ninth Birthday Party this month, some of the novels were selected to go up for 99cents--Paula's first novel, His Leading Lady, was chosen as one of the nine. "Nine for 99 cents." Try it!    DIRECT LINK FOR HIS LEADING LADY, 99CENTS FOR WCP BIRTHDAY PARTY.
SHORT BLURB FOR His Leading Lady--99cents.
Jess Harper decides to pose as her twin sister who has disappeared. Attraction sparks between her and theatre director Kyle Drummond, but is he treating her as a substitute for Lora - in real life as well as in the show?

~*~*~Paula--Thank you so much for being my guest today. Congratulations on your second novel with Whiskey Creek Press, and many best wishes for its success!