Friday, October 26, 2012

"Flighty"--the Essence of Creativity?

Flights of Fancy 
Though not exactly the same words, this thought was one of my daily horoscope readings. It stayed with me, because while I'm not a classic flighty person, I do occasionally drift into flights of fantasy.

The dictionary has numerous meanings for "flighty."

1. Given to capricious or unstable behavior
2. Easily excited
3. Characterized by irresponsible or silly behavior.

None of these suited or pleased me. All are somewhat derogatory. I am none of those.

The Century Dictionary gave me this interpretation:

1. Indulging in flights or sallies of imagination, humor, caprice, etc.
2. Given to disordered fancies and extravagant conduct.
3. Volatile.
4. Giddy.
5. Fickle.
6. Slight delirious.
7. Wandering in mind

I appreciate this group of definitions much better, especially "wandering in  mind." This seems to be a common condition of those who write fiction--maybe non-fiction, too. My husband has brought me back to earth often by speaking a little more loudly to get my attention. Yes, he knows my mind has wandered off into some unknown realm, but he doesn't understand that I'm in deep, creative thought. It only appears that I've become addle-brained.

The second good definition is "indulging in flights or sallies of imagination."
Don't we who are authors consider this an absolute necessity to write fiction?

Where do we get our ideas? Books, movies, images, people, places, dreams, and even news headlines. Any one of those might set me off into the wild blue yonder, imagining the beginning of a story or creation of a character. 

What attributes do we need to be good storytellers? Passion, patience, a thick skin, ambition--and perhaps an occasional bout of flighty behavior.

At least, I don't think it would hurt.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Lone Star Dreaming-a Western Romance Collection
Four Novellas--$2.99-Kindle or Nook
Also available in print at Amazon and B&N
  Angel and the Cowboy
Addie and the Gunslinger
Charlotte and the Tenderfoot
Kat and the U.S. Marshal
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Suzie Tullett tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.
She took part in the fun, too, so please visit her blog, read the answers she gives to the questions, and leave a message for her.
My turn to answer the questions:

What is the working title of your book?

A Life Worth Living, although I think that's a little boring. I'll change it eventually, when I finish the manuscript. I've written off and on to complete this book, but it's two years old now, and I haven't finished it yet. cy  

Where did the idea come from for the book?

My sisters and I found a letter written in 1918 by our mother's mother. In the letter, she described how ill she felt, but had to keep working canning the few vegetables she'd found left in the garden. She described the late October heat, and hoped she felt better soon. But grandmother...died a few weeks later from the Spanish Flu that swept the world in a pandemic that killed more people than were killed in WWI--known then as The Great War. cy

What genre does your book fall under?

Romance, but it's not a typical romance novel. The main focus is partially the love story between them, but also the hero's arrival home from the war to find he'd lost everything while away, including his parents, brother, grandfather, and his home. The conflict is within himself, and with the neighbors who burned his entire place to the ground. cy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I wish I could give an answer here, but I don't know movie actors that well. Guymon Reynolds, the hero, is tall, lanky, with dark hair. The heroine, Teresa Logan, a widow with two little girls, has black hair and a petite body. Very pretty. Maybe someone can give me suggestions? cy

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As Teresa Logan attempts to care for herself and her two young daughters, Guymon Reynolds returns home from Europe and finds he has nothing left--until he meets Teresa. cy

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Not self-published--I'm not that brave yet. I hope Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery will take it, as she has published several others for me. cy 

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Haha! I'm not halfway finished, and this much has taken two years. This story is complicated and emotional, and I've hit a roadblock in the plot. As soon as I figure out how to proceed, I intend to do so. Usually, I write fast--but this one is different. cy

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Possibly Texas Promise, when the hero Dalton King returns home from a two year absence, presumably dead, and must find a way to reconcile with his wife. cy 

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

After I read the letter from 1918, I became interested in WWI and the stories of soldiers returning home. We forget how horrendous that war was, and we forget exactly what it accomplished. cy

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It's difficult to say. Maybe the turmoil Guy goes through at home in comparison to the turmoil he endured in Europe. Also, the story takes place in North Texas in a farming community. While cities and town had electricity, many in this kind of situation lived as their ancestors did in the Nineteenth Century--kerosene lamps, wood stoves, and a self-sufficient farm. cy

Thank you, Suzie Tullett, for tagging me. To see her book on Amazon, click here:

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

CLEAN WRITING--and I don't mean "Sweet"

Writing science research papers taught me the process of clean writing—manuscripts free of too many useless words. "Just the facts, ma'am." As a result, my first fiction manuscript was a failure. The editor told me my writing sounded like a textbook. That sort of hurt, but the statement opened a floodgate of words that's still gushing. I could use adjectives! And adverbs! And descriptions! But also…too many useless words and phrases.  

Still, I absolutely love to embellish sentences with adjectives, adverbs, and well…a long list of writing errors. If I remove the useless words in the previous sentence, I think it reads like a textbook. Where is that fine line?

AVOID USELESS WORDS: My favorite topic. We consider good writing concise, vigorous, and active. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, as a machine should contain no extra parts. Fine idea. But an automobile is a machine. The first cars were little more than a buggy with an engine attached. They were unattractive and uncomfortable. The automobiles today contain endless useless parts, but we buy them because of those extra appealing parts.  

I do agree, though, certain useless words or phrases need to go.
1.  "there is no doubt but that" should be "no doubt" or "doubtless"
2.  "this is a subject that" should be "this subject"
3.  "the reason why is that" should be "because"
4.  "owing to the fact that" should be "since" or "because"
5.  "he is a man who" should be "he"

AVOID USE OF QUALIFIERS: A qualifier is a word or a word group that limits the meaning of another word or word group. The worst offenders are rather, very, little, and pretty.

"I should do pretty well on the exam, for I am a rather brilliant student, but if I make very many mistakes, I'll try to do a little better."

AVOID LOOSE SENTENCES: A loose sentence is one consisting of two clauses, the second introduced by a conjunction or relative. Too many loose sentences in one paragraph will sound mechanical and singsong. The compound sentence is the framework of writing, when used wisely and sparingly.

Read the next paragraph very fast:

"The last concert of the season was given last night, and the hall was filled to capacity. Jane Doe was the soloist, and John Smith accompanied her on the piano. She proved to be quite capable, while he performed admirably. The concert series has been successful, and the committee was gratified. The committee will plan for next year's programs, and they will offer an equally attractive program."

Did you hear the sing-song effect? Blech!

Today's subject appeared because of the editing processes I've undergone. A kind editor—in so many words--told me: You begin too many sentences with well, now, so, or why. In some cases, these words are acceptable, especially when included in dialogue. Southern people talk this way, but in narration, use sparingly.

This made sense to me, because when I talk with a friend—on-line or face to face—those little words pop up all the time.

"What did she say when you said her hair was orange?"

"Well, first she stared. Then her eyes sort of bugged out, and before I knew it, why, she started bawling."

"Oh, my goodness. Now, here's what you should have said, darlin'. You just do not want to make her any madder."

"So, what should I have said?"

And so, well, I need to bring this post to a halt. I need to make a little lunch, because the fact is that my husband is mowing this morning, and he'll be starving. There's no doubt, though, that he won't say an unkind word to me if lunch if just a little late.
(if you can edit this paragraph correctly, you will receive an A+)



Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Fathers-How They Shape Our Characters

I began to think about fathers from the children's sermon yesterday, and how important they are in the development of a child. As adults, our entire personality might be more shaped by our fathers than our mothers. Yes, I wanted the approval of both my parents, but if I rebelled against one of them during my growing up years, it most likely would have been my mother. Not that I was a rebellious child--no, I was somewhat of a pleaser and did not like to argue. But Daddy was away working while Mother was right there all the time. She made the rules, for the most part, except when Daddy made a decision about something and he meant it.

He was a Fifties Daddy, one that worked hard, knew his place, obeyed the laws of the land and the Bible, and was faithful to his wife and three daughters. He was proud of all of us.

Daddy always told me I was pretty, and therefore I thought I was.
He provided enough money for a good house he built and for all the little things we needed..or wanted, within reason, and therefore I thought we were rich. At around age fifteen I realized neither were exactly true, except in the eye of the beholder. By that time, though, I had learned "to act pretty" and "act like we had everything."
I hope I am truly the person I see in my mind's eye, one who loves easily and one who cares about others. The man I married is a good man. I wouldn't have chosen any other kind. And I look up to him just as I looked up to my father.

In thinking all my novels, novellas, and short stories, I believe I have the mention or presence of a father in every one of them. This is not the norm, I don't think, because the majority of the books I read have no mention of a father.
If one of my characters has a severe problem with the opposite sex, then I blame it on the father. If one of my characters has loved and adored his/her father, then I portray that father in such a manner.

The last of my Texas Books, TEXAS TRUE-BOOK II: The Cameron Sisters, features a hero who does not know how to love. Sam Deleon marries the good and sweet True Cameron, and because she adores her father, she expects that kind of love and admiration from her new husband. Since Sam seems incapable of loving anyone, she immediately knows she's clearly misunderstood his motive.

Sam is not cruel--he's just cold or demanding. Why? His father treated him that way, and kicked him off the ranch at age sixteen and out of inheriting a fortune.
Sam suffers, because deep down, he doesn't want to hurt True. But he simply does not know how to treat her like a wife, and certainly knows nothing about how to love her.
This scene is in the oil camp where Sam is the overall foreman. True takes his orphaned niece and nephew there to live in the camp with the other women:
Sam removed his hat and swiped his hand down his face.
"Go back to Mother's and explain to her that I said to allow you to live there with the children until I am finished with this job. Then, we'll go from there."
"Don't you mean, Sam, that she is to allow me to live there until I am with child? And not a minute longer?"
"Where did you get a notion like that? I'll send a man over in the morning to help you pack." He turned to go when he heard her last declaration.
"You can go to hell. And if you send a man over here, I'll tell him the same thing."
Sam did not send a man the next morning to help her pack, nor did he ever. Once a week, he rode over to have supper with the group to keep up appearances, and once a week, they had physical relations. Each and every time, he dressed, said goodnight, and rode away.
True's heart was broken, but she no other recourse. She must carry this through.
In this scene, Sam had another conflict with True, in which she got the upper hand. He lost his temper, and she told him to leave.
He wasn't certain of anything anymore. As long as he was on his own, roaming about, working here and there, and finally becoming involved in the exciting oil business, he had felt safer and more satisfied with himself. But the inner turmoil of what he had endured his whole life never quite went away.
His True. Their marriage would never work. She might love him and be helpful now, but eventually, he would disappoint her again. Just as he had disappointed his mother and his father. For a long time, he was strong, useful, and successful. Now, he felt used, washed up.
This scene is a confrontation between Sam and his younger brother, Emilio:

Sam just glared at the only brother he had and thought he was as much of a stranger as any man he'd ever seen. He did not answer.
Emilio laughed under his breath. "I see that you don't know. Well, I'll tell you. I was the lookout for Father. I kept an eye on you. I could always go to him and tell him how you were slacking off, whether you were or not, and where you were, if you were hiding. He always rewarded me in some way. Usually, it was just a pat on the head, but sometimes, he gave me money. He always called me "his good boy."
"That's despicable. We played together. We rode together. I thought you and I were real brothers."
"I couldn't stand your guts. You were always so upright and dared to stand up to Father. Even when you knew he'd punish you, you tried to say what you thought was right. Idiot. That only made him madder and gave him more reason to stay on you. You were the oldest, and he really, really wanted you to be like him so you could take over. But he knew, as well as I did, that you were too righteous, too soft to ever take his place."
 "So, you became the favored one."
 "Sure. Why not? It was a hell of a lot better than being in your shoes. All I had to do was to stand back and watch you destroy yourself. You know what your trouble was?"
"No, I guess not, he said between clenched teeth. "Are you going to tell me?"
"Yeah. Your trouble was that you expected love. Love! Father didn't love anybody, not even me. He didn't love Mother, either. He didn't know the meaning of the word."
"But Mother knew. She loved us." Sam sounded pathetic even to himself. He wished he hadn't said that.
"Yeah, right. Even now, she's out to help herself. She's only trying to regain what she lost. She wants to come back here and live like she used to, and you're her ticket. You and that woman and that baby. But. Doesn't that baby have to be a boy? Yes, indeed, it does. A boy baby is the only thing that can get Mother back to her beloved home, and she expects you to do it all."
Sam stared at his brother. He understood his mother wanted help, but was it all for herself? Now, that's how it looked.
TEXAS TRUE- Instead of running from a marriage built on deception, True Cameron takes charge of her own life. She works to make her husband see her as a partner and that he is worthy of true love.


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