Monday, April 30, 2012

What Did I Win?

The romance group called "Authors by Moonlight" holds a monthly give-away. I actually didn't know that, but I commented on a post and my name was thrown in the pot. And lucky me! I was the winner for March.
What did I get? A $25 Gift Certificate for Barnes and Noble! Since I have a Kindle instead of a Nook, I was actually thrilled. Now I could get all three prints at once of a series by one of my favorite authors--Linda Lael Miller.
I love prints! And I collect and save certain authors' books. Linda Lael Miller is one of them.

The series is a trilogy about the three McKettrick brothers. The titles are:
McKettrick's Heart--Keegan McKettrick oversees his family's corporation and worries about his young daughter whom he rarely sees, and Molly Shields makes him suspicious of her goals.

McKettrick's Luck--Jesse McKettrick, world class poker player, loves the thrill of taking a risk, but when it comes to the Triple M Ranch, he refuses to take the gamble beautiful Cheyenne Bridges offers.

McKettrick's Pride-Rance McKettrick wants a fresh start with his two young daughters away from Indian Rock, his hometown, but Echo Wells makes the decision difficult.

What could be better?
My sincere thanks and admiration of the Moonlight Authors:
Sherry James
Tiffany Green
Fleeta Cunningham
Ann Stephens
Calisa Rhose
Beth Trissel
Francesca Hawley
Linda LaRoque
L.K. Below
Debra St. John
Beth Caudill
Patricia A. Rasey
You can find these authors at their beautiful website:

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Our Insensitive/Too Sensitive World

People seem to be offended very easily these days, usually about something that doesn't even make sense or matter.
But on the other hand, people are sometimes too insensitive to others.

On the way home from a road trip, we stopped at a McDonald's to have one of those dollar sundaes. We sat next to a wall where I could "people watch." 
Nearby, we watched a young woman in some kind of uniform that resembled scrubs talking intently across the table to a young boy--maybe ten years old. He wore khaki pants, belt, and a polo shirt that appeared to be a school uniform. The child kept his head down, as though he didn't want to look at the woman. She talked, he sat still and listened. But never looked up. After a few minutes, she stood and walked toward the door, leaving the child in the booth. I thought the woman appeared a little angry, but not really--just intense. Then the boy slid out of the booth, stood up, but still looked down. From his pocket, he removed a gadget that looked like a short metal rod.
Then he pulled on it, extending it out to about three feet long. It had a white tip.
Then he looked up, and we saw his sightless eyes. The woman stood by the door, and talked him toward her. He used the cane to guide himself, making sure nothing was in his path.

We were a little stunned.

Two young men stood hear the counter, obviously workmen on some crew, waiting for their orders. They watched just as we did. One sort of snickered, but the other one looked at his friend and solemnly shook his head.
One sensitive young man, one insensitive.

And then there're the overly-sensitive among us.
In fact, we take great pains in our present society not to offend anyone or any group. Well, this becomes incredibly cumbersome, in my opinion.

As I analyze the "too sensitive" syndrome, I realize the real problem is misunderstanding of others. If there's something in particular that we don't like or makes us uncomfortable, then we'd like to have that changed to suit our own agenda.

We take it personally.

When our children were in school, they would have some sort of problem that they wanted to relate to me in detail. I listened as any good mom would do, but then asked what he/she intended to do about it. The answer usually was, "Mom! Can't you do something?" Each of them wanted me to change someone or some situation so they'd feel happy again, no longer uncomfortable, and no longer sensitive to a predicament.

The best thing we taught our children was to learn to cope in their environment. We cannot change everything--but we can learn to cope and move along.

The little blind boy was learning to cope with his environment.

The insensitive young man was learning that his friend didn't like his attitude.

And the sensitive young man looked, inwardly sympathized, but moved on.

"Live and let live; you cannot control others."

What does all my rambling mean?
~*~We don't like to be criticized.
~*~We don't like to be wrong.
~*~We don't like to be on the losing side.
~*~We don't like a bad review.
~*~We don't like to appear uninformed.
~*~We don't like to be reprimanded.
~*~We don't like anyone telling us what to do.
~*~We don't like to get out of our comfort zone.
~*~We don't like rejections.
~*~We don't like changes.

I'm still learning about the coping vs. the active changing. I face this often with my writing, my publishers, my editors, my...whatever. Do I cope and let them run the show? Am I being too sensitive to push for a change? Am I too aggressive trying to make things go my way?

I wonder if I try hard enough sometimes to understand the other side.
I admit...I'm not very good at it.
Shouldn't the other side try, too?

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have You Ever Lost Something Valuable?

"Valuable" is in the eye of the beholder and subject to interpretation. We've all lost something we considered valuable; however, I am referring to things we can live without. In other words, losing a loved one in death shouldn't fall into this discussion, because at times the death of someone we loved can seem almost too much to bear.

In the fifties, my mother lost the beaters to her electric mixer, the big kind that sits on a stand. She'd had the mixer for several years, and she used it almost every day. She had all three of us girls searching everywhere we could think of. One of us said, "You threw them in the trash by accident. That's the only explanation left." She would never, ever accept that. She'd say, "No, I would never do that." And even twenty years later, she'd wonder, "What happened to those beaters?"

My husband and I at separate times have lost our matching wedding rings. I wrote an entire blog about that a few months ago. I remember how we felt, thinking we'd never find them, but we did. In retrospect, though, we could have lived without them. Our marriage wouldn't tarnish, nothing in our life would change, and we'd manage just fine. We might have even bought new rings if we hadn't found them.

Last Christmas, my husband bought a beautiful pen and pencil set for me. Really, this set is special, very beautiful, as well as practical. I keep them on top of my desk, to the left, at the base of my little blue lamp. One day I noticed the automatic pencil to the set was not there. I began to search. Did it fall into the nearby trashcan? Did it roll off the desk and under my dresser? Is it in a drawer? A pocket? I went through every single thing in the room to no avail. When had I used it last? Could I have taken it to the hall desk where I have two built-in bookshelves? Could it be anywhere in the desk? I consulted my husband. Did you borrow my pencil? Is it anywhere in your office, on your desk, in your closet?

He and I searched the entire house, opening everything that could be opened. Bottom line, we scoured the house--and the vehicles--until we could not think of any other possible place to look.
I searched off and on for days. He told me he'd buy a new set for me.

No, I said, I want this set—just like my mother wouldn't accept the fact those beaters were gone.

But he began searching for another set anyway. When he found one he thought I'd like, and before he ordered the set, he sat down with me and said: "That pencil did not disappear into thin air. It's in this house somewhere. Now, think. What were you doing when you last used it?" I couldn't remember, of course, but I kept thinking about the hall desk. "I think I looked up a phone number, and the book is on the first bookshelf."

He said, open it—see if you left it in there. Nope. No pencil. While we stood in the hallway where this little desk is built into the wall, he reached up and pulled down a book, one I use often. He said, "Look." Sticking out at the top, between the pages, was about an inch of that mechanical pencil. Then I remembered having the book on my desk, open, and using the pencil to take notes. I have a habit of laying a pen or pencil in the groove of the open book. He's taller and saw it, but I couldn't unless I stood on tiptoes.

Would you believe that I cried? But really, would the loss of the pencil have changed my life? No.

Sometimes I think we waste too much time remembering and regretting something we've lost.

A rejected manuscript.
A friendship.
A connection with a family member.
An opportunity.
An entire unproductive morning.
A chance for success.
A visit with someone before it's too late.
An unfinished project.
Our youth.

I hope that you and I will evaluate our lives, accept that which we cannot regain, clear our hearts and minds, and move on.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You Can't Fix It, If You Don't Know What's Wrong

I've been in discussions recently about promoting and why some books sell, while others don't.
For example: All of us promote, using many of the same methods to some varying degree.

So, why does Book A sell very well, but Book B doesn't, when you, as the author, have used the same methods for both?
If you knew the reasons and you could pinpoint the problems, then you might be able to make corrections in some manner.

So, what's wrong with your book? If you say your book is fine, then what is the reason it does not sell?
I'm not pretending to know the answers, here, but there are ways and means by which to make some difference in your promoting methods.

Is your book in the correct category or genre? I say this because I have two that are not selling, and I firmly believe by switching the genre would make a difference. I'm in the process right now of working on accomplishing this. Both books could be one or another, therefore it will be perfectly honest to make the switch.

Does your book have an enticing cover? Yes, I am a visual person, and if the cover turns me off, I won't go any further. Does the cover portray the plot and characters adequately? This can often be such a personal feeling, that it comes down to you, the author...and what you like.

Do you take advantage of the Promo days on the big Yahoo Group sites to promote your book? By all means, if you don't, you might want to make a chart of the days, and have something at your fingertips to post about the book that's not selling. Get in there with everyone else.

Be creative with your subject line on Group posts. I wish I were as witty as many authors, but at least I try. If your excerpt is a scene consisting of your hero and heroine--and it should-- then write something in your subject line concerning that scene. Instead of: "Sally and Harry fight--from When Harry met Sally." might say, "Who Wins This Fight?" (see, I told you I was not good at this.) Here are a few catchy subjects I've seen today:
~*~Not One, Not Two, but Three!
~*~Writers, Pay Yourself First!
~*~Who Loves Bears?
~*~Has Focus Leaped Out of Your Grasp...Again?

Is your book cover displayed prominently on your blog? I'm guilty here, but I intend to change it.

Are your excerpts too long? Do they have a hook at the end? Here I am, beating my drum again about posting short excerpts. Trust me, it's a scientific fact, a reader on the loops will not read long excerpts. So even if you do have a nice hook at the end, she will not get there.

Is the price too high on your ebook? One of mine that's not selling is priced at $8.95 for the ebook. I can't change it--the publisher made that decision. This is one of my books I will have returned to me in a few months when my contract expires. I have nothing against the publisher. They did everything for my cover I asked for. Still, it's one of those situations that only I can fix when I have control of it once more.

Should you find new sources for promotion for your book? This is not easy, I can vouch for that. After a while, we think...what else is there? Well, the reading public is a fickle group, which means we're jumping here and there, seeking something new, perhaps. I like to see authors try something new and get some attention. Here are a few new sources I've joined recently and believe I see some progress:
~*~FaceBook groups
~*~Study your blog/posts. What kinds of posts get the most attention?
~*~Please, please, visit other blogs--and not only those of your friends--branch out!

Whew! It's a tiring process, I know. But you need not do something every day. In fact, take a break from it all once in a while, and then when you all looks new and exciting.

Best of luck to each and every one of you!
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easters From the Past

I don't know about you, but I'm a little distressed by the over-commercialization of Easter. We've long bemoaned such a practice concerning Christmas, and now we're over-doing it for Easter, too. When did Easter become like a second Christmas? I began noticing this several years ago when the stores advertised, "Play More--For Easter gifts, buy electronic games, hand-held videos games, dolls, stuffed bunnies and chicks, cars, guns--you name it, and We Got 'Em!" I've also heard of families holding "Easter parties," in which many children are invited. There might be a clown, an air castle, exchange of gifts, and if someone Easter egg hunt.

All the slick ads from Sunday's paper are filled, not only with clothing and shoes for children, but far more pages urging parents and grandparents to buy toys.
Remember the little woven baskets we made in grade school (notice I said "grade school) with strips of colored construction paper? I loved those, and even made more at home using strips of any kind of paper I could find.
Remember the straw Easter basket? I know those are still available, but I promise the children today don't hold those with such reverence as I did. We had no such thing as plastic eggs, either. No, Virginia, plastics have not always been around.
Remember PAAS Egg Coloring kits? All we needed were the boiled eggs, white vinegar, small bowls, and a spoon. I learned to write something or draw designs on the egg with a crayon before coloring, and the egg would be nicely decorated. I can still smell that vinegar.
Remember new clothes and white shoes? We always got a new dress. One year the dress was yellow satin with a sash tied in a bow in the back. Tiny white buttons ran down the back. We drove 225 miles to our grandparent's house for Easter weekend, and Mother had not sewn on the buttons. But she took all the needed materials to finish our dresses before Sunday. However, she became very ill there, and had to spend Easter Sunday in the hospital. Daddy sewed the buttons on our dresses, helped us dress, tied the bows in the back, brushed and curled our hair, and took us to church. I will never forget that Easter.
In fourth grade, the Room Mother Parents held a school-wide Easter egg hunt. This was on the South Plains, my friends, near Lubbock. The playground was mainly dirt and rocks. A late-spring Norther blew in, but we still had the Easter egg hunt. All the girls wore dresses, of course, and the wind picked up sand and small pebbles which stung our legs and faces. Still, the entire school population raced out to find eggs for a basket. It was announced there was one Golden egg--wrapped in gold foil--well hidden, and the lucky person who found it would also get a prize. I spotted it, but a boy had, too. He saw me, and I saw him. We raced, but he got there first. Just as he reached down to picked it up, I ran up and kicked it away, then grabbed it. And you thought all this time I had been a sweet little girl. Not always.
In first grade, we lived in a small duplex. We had no yard, as such, so we worried how we'd find eggs. When we woke up Sunday morning, Mother said the Easter bunny had left eggs and a gift inside. Behind a door, we found two paper mache bunnies with a small basket on his back. The grass awaited there, so we raced around the rooms, finding eggs everywhere.
Do you have any special memories of days gone by?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas