Saturday, December 28, 2013

THINGS I LEARNED IN 2013



Have you heard the phrase, "He's forgotten more than you'll every know." Usually this term is in reference to an elderly person who has always been intelligent but has begun to lose some memory.
Well, I think to stay ahead in the memory and intelligence game, one must continually learn. What we learn doesn't seem to be important--anything will do.

In this vein, then, what did I learn in the year of 2013?

1. First, I learned that true friendship weathers storms of all kinds. I have categories of friends, and I suspect everyone does. Good friends are to be cherished, because when you lose one, it's like losing a family member. The adage is true, that "God gave us Friends to Make Up For Some of Our Family."

2. Second, I learned that good health is our most valued gift from God. Ask me about any medical problem, and I bet I can tell you something about it. How do I know so much? Google will tell me anything in this world I need or want to know. Since I'm always interested in medical issues, I have learned how to research, read, and comprehend just about anything medically. Some think I'm a little weird about this, but think about how much I've learned.

3. Third, I learned that humans as a whole have good hearts. Show me the most caustic, hateful, rude, irreverent person, and I believe somewhere, somehow, something will make tears come to that person's eyes. We're all wired to be at least somewhat sensitive to others. (This belief does NOT include Charles Manson, chronic child molesters, Kim Jung Il, or Bashar al-Assad."

4. Fourth, I learned that our world is in a big messy battle. I don't think I recall a year in which so many countries are in extreme turmoil to the point of collapse since WWII. And I believe I learned every one of these battles is based on a particular religious belief. We can fight many enemies, but we cannot fight other religions and win. It's just not going to happen.

5.  Fifth, I re-learned:
There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,   
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,     
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,    
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,  
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,     
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,     
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace

6. Sixth, from Ecclesiastes 3 (see #5), I learned that "Everything You Need To Know You Can Learn From This Chapter of the Bible." To me, it's the wisest, the most comprehensible, and the most common sense advice I really need.

7. Seventh, I learned not how much I know, but how much I don't know. And this list is endless. If I don't wake up every morning and find something good in the day to learn, then I have wasted an entire precious day of my life.
~*~Don't do that. Yes, at times we have more to do in a day than we can complete, but count your blessings for that.
~*~We needn't be a driving force all day every day, but sometimes take the advice to find "a time to dance."
~*~Now, I sound like a preacher, and I'm far from that, I assure you.

 8. Eighth, my last and final thing I learned: Don't do something because you feel obligated. Been there, done that. The activity really gets you nowhere. I don't mean throw your obligations aside, such as refuse to cook dinner ever again, but if you are involved in anything that seems like a chore, a burden, or a big waste of time...then you have my permission: DON'T DO IT.

AND WITH THAT, MY FRIENDS,
HAPPY NEW YEAR
CeliaYeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas

Friday, December 20, 2013

CHRISTMASTIME IN TEXAS



"Chocolate Covered Cherries"

Today in Walgreens, while waiting for a prescription, my husband and I strolled toward a row of chairs to wait. Dividing the row in half sat a table filled with bright red boxes of "Chocolate Covered Cherries"--A gift for a loved one. Chocolate Covered Cherries? Remember those? The chocolate was good, but not spectacular, and when you bit into one, the cherry juice ran out. Oh, the cherry is good, too, but all in all...it's a messy experience. Still, I remembered a boy in 8th grade who gave me a box of Chocolate Covered Cherries, and my husband said he recalled buying a box for his mother one year he was in high school. Good, messy, or not...they do bring back sweet memories.

"The Perfect Decoration"

Do families still decorate their Christmas tree with silvery icicles? This decoration is the most fun, the most controversial, and the most baffling of all. Grab a bunch and throw them on the tree? Or take painstaking care in separating them one by one and placing them exactly where you want? My younger sister like to throw bunches. I preferred placing single ones carefully in specific rows. We ended up with a half-and-half tree. Her side--covered in messy clumps--in my opinion--and my side? Covered in beautiful single strands perfectly placed.





"Trivial Pursuit"

When children become teenagers, Christmas morning doesn't hold the thrill and excitement as when they were young. Our little family preferred Christmas in our own home, so the four of us had leisurely Christmas Days. When our daughter was a junior and our son was a freshman, Christmas morning was cold and wet. My husband built up the fire, and we sat on the floor in front of it to open presents.

I'd bought a Trivial Pursuit game for our son. When he unwrapped it, he cleared a space on the rug and set up the game. "Want to play, Mom?" He asked his sister, too, and his dad. But Dad doesn't play games. So the three of us sat in our pajamas and began to play. After an hour or so, I suggested breakfast--my special Christmas breakfast of sausage patties and pecan waffles. "Uh-uh," they said, "let's just eat Pop-Tarts so we can keep playing." We did. At noon, same thing. "Let's just snack on crackers and cheese or something." The game we had going was hot and tense.

At twelve, I called time out so we could all dress and brush our teeth. Then, right back to the game. By four in the afternoon, I had a horrible thought. I'd forgotten to thaw my turkey and bake cornbread for the stuffing and make fruit salad! We could not have our traditional dinner.

But the kids said, "We don't really like all that stuff anyway. Why don't we just have nachos?"
For the remaining years we had children at home, this was our pattern. Even when they came home for Christmas, nachos were always ready.

P.S. Our ninth grade son won every game.
~*~
Nothing really matters at all on Christmas, except that we love each other and give whatever gift we have.
It is, after all, the birthday of the Christ Child, and He brought all we need.

I wish you all a happy Christmas season,
the Birthday of the King, and love and happiness among us all.
Celia Yeary
omance...and a little bit of Texas

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Christmas Scene in WISH FOR THE MOON


  WISH FOR THE MOON-a 1901 North Texas coming of age story about sixteen year old Annie McGinnis.
Excerpt--Christmas

The year was 1902, and Annie McGinnis, the youngest child of the family, now at seventeen finds herself the lady of the house--the home she grew up in. The position is not one she wants, but Annie has a very strong sense of duty and responsibility, and in this case...taking care not only of the household chores, but seeing after her widowed father, Grover, and Old Blind Jarrel, a neighbor man they took in. Her brothers, Kyle and Clifford have married and moved away.

Max Landry, the man Annie fell in love with after saving him from the hangman's noose, has moved on, too...or so she thinks.

Christmas time nears, and Annie goes to town to sell her pecans, eggs, and jars of jelly. She hopes to earn enough money to buy a gift for her father and Jerral. She also hopes she has enough to buy a bar a lavender soap for herself.

She finds a tiny cedar tree and uses it for a Christmas tree. She places it on the end of the kitchen table, decorated with strings of juniper berries and bows made of bits of colored cloth and old lace. On each side, she places a candle.
~*~*~*~
WISH FOR THE MOON--99cents for the Kindle--(regular price $5.49)-Through December 31

EXCERPT:

On Christmas Day, Annie placed her offerings in front of the tree. She sat two candles, one on either side, and lit them.

“Jerral,” she said, “give me your hand, and you can see the tree.” She helped guide his hand, so he could feel each part, and the gifts underneath. Carefully, she guided his hand to feel the candlesticks, and waved his hand over the flames so he would know they burned.

After breakfast, Annie told Grover to stay at the table so he and Jerral could open their presents. Grover, though, took Jerral to the bedroom first, and when they returned, each held a gift, wrapped in white paper with red string.
Jerral loved his suspenders, and exclaimed over them, how he liked the thick, woven texture, and the feel of the smooth metal clasps. She helped fasten them to his pants and adjusted them to the right length on his bony shoulders. “Oh, you look so fine, Jerral. These were just made for you.”

He asked if he could kiss Annie’s cheek, and she happily let him.

Grover said little about his new blue-striped shirt, but he held it in his lap and stroked the soft fabric for a long time.

Finally, he told her the other two gifts were for her—one from him and one from Jerral. Jerral gave her the only thing he had—his family Bible.

Jerral said, “I can’t read it, Annie, and I don’t have any kin. You’re as close to a daughter as I’ll ever have. I want you to have it.”

Annie cried and hugged him around his neck and kissed his cheek. “Oh, thank you, Jerral. I’ll treasure it and add it to my bookshelf where I have the other books. And guess what? I’ve baked you a vanilla-raisin meringue cream pie!”

Grover gave her a small box of chocolates from the drugstore. They were in a gold colored box with a fancy seal on the top. The label read, “Golden’s Chocolates, Made in Chicago.” Each one had a different center—vanilla fondue, strawberry and lemon creams, nuts, coconut, and caramel. Tears ran down her face. Never in her life had she received such a grand present.

“Thank you so much, Papa. I will savor each one, and the box will look so pretty on my dresser. If I ever get a necklace, I’ll keep it in the gold box.”

Annie,” he said gruffly. “I’m sorry I missed your birthday. I just plumb forgot. Helen would have my hide if she knew I didn’t remember our baby’s birthday.”

Annie laughed and cried some more, and soon, all three choked up.

Christmas had come, after all.
~*~*~*~
Blurb:

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, sixteen-year-old Annie McGinnis wishes for a chance to see more of the world, since all she’s ever known is the family farm in North Texas. A mysterious visitor arrives who will change not only her life, but her family’s as well. To save Max Landry from a bogus charge, she follows him and the Texas Rangers back to the coal-mining town one county over where a murder occurred. The short journey sets Annie on a path of discovery—new horizons, an inner strength, and quite possibly…love.   
Buy Link on Amazon for Kindle:
http://www.amazon.com/Wish-Moon-Celia-Yeary/dp/1466452382/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324864096&sr=1-8  

Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas
    
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Creativity or More Marketing?


Suppose I ask a friend, "Which would help me sell more books? Learn how to be more creative with my writing? Or learn better marketing skills?"

The two go hand-in-hand. One without the other is nothing, a big zero, a failure.
However, I think most writers are better at one than the other.

Take Example #1: Jane Author. Jane is a writing machine. She can turn out stories without even trying. She's highly creative, always taking notes, observing, thinking about scenes in her recent WIP, or a plot for an entirely new story. Her products are very good, if not superior to many writers. But her marketing skills are weak, and she doesn't know exactly how to improve them.

Example #2: Mary Market. Mary knows all about marketing. She's even written a book that teaches others how to market themselves as well as she does. But she's a slow writer, and often has more than one manuscript unfinished. Her one book sells very well, because she knows how. But selling one book will not help the bank account.
Both writers will soon suffer burn-out.

The question is: How do I strike a balance between the two?

Personally, I am better at writing than marketing. Writing requires a good imagination, above average command of the English language, and knowledge about writing fiction. All these still require continued learning, for none of us ever know everything. At least, I'm comfortable writing, and so far I have not suffered burn-out.

Marketing, though, is still a bit elusive--and boring. At the moment, I do as much as I know how, and that's not much. Many other venues exist that I have not mastered.
Question: How important is the fact we should market ourselves....instead of the book? Does this make sense? I've read articles that suggest marketing ourselves goes a long way in selling our product.

Maybe our individual personality helps sell--or not. Personally, I'm drawn to authors who are positive and fun and friendly. That doesn't mean I haven't read books by authors I know I wouldn't like in person--it only means it's not the norm for me.

I study commercials for car and trucks on TV. Most are rather obnoxious, in my opinion. However, one of the most obnoxious ones sells the brand of truck we just bought. But the dealer we bought from was here in town, and not one person in there was obnoxious. In fact, they go out of their way to be kind and courteous and happy. Also, they serve breakfast--really! Four kinds of coffee, fresh, glazed donuts, and sausage rolls. In the afternoon, they switch to big bakery cookies with white chocolate, packages of cheese crackers, soft drinks, and popcorn.
The dealer on TV is in Austin, and I would not go there simply because of the man and woman in the commercial. Completely outrageous and loud.

This is a case of personality. If we hadn't been very happy with the dealer and the particular salesman, we would have gone elsewhere.
I think anyone would have.
And this applies to selling anything--our books and/or us.

It pays to be nice.
Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DON'T GET MAD--IT WON'T HELP ONE BIT!


 
I know there are times when you want to scream, have a hissy fit, or throw something against the wall. (Just don't kick the cat.) We've all been there, but truly, did the tantrum help? The answer is "no," unless you want to count the fact you feel a little better after venting. That's okay. Really.
But did it solve your problem or turn a negative into a positive? No, probably not.

Years ago, when I played a lot of golf, I was a member of the WGA (Women's Golf Association) at the local Country Club. First, this was truly a kind of "country" club. Not one member was an elitist in any shape or form. Every member was just like me--a working person who could afford the low dues and who had time to play.

Since I was a member and had earned a fair handicap, I could play in the championship tournaments. Now, that didn't mean I played in the Championship Flight, but I could enter in the First Flight (There was a Second and a Third Flight, and I always worked very hard to stay above those.

So, the season's championship tournament began. The format was a two-person one-on-one...and there were six two-person groups. First round, half were eliminated. The second round, another half were eliminated. This continued over a period of days until only two players remained in each flight.

During the last round, I had survived and the First Flight trophy would go to one of us. The other player was a much larger woman than I. I am not tall or big, and I am not strong. I hit "short," but almost always in the middle of the fairway, and I worked on my short game all the time--chipping and putting--which is the key to winning or losing.

She and I played 18 holes and at the end, we were tied. She was not happy. I was ecstatic.
So we had to start over on #1 and this time, play Sudden Death.

First hole, we tied. She cursed a little.
Second hole, we tied. She cursed and threw a club.
Third hole--short Par 3, uphill.

My shot flew straight and true and landed just short of the green. She hit and landed in the water on the left. She dropped another ball, hit her Penalty shot, and landed on the green.

I lay ONE, she lay THREE. She became very, very angry, stomped around, threw things, cursed at the sky, and I stood to the side, thinking...I have beaten her. I chipped close and one-putted for a three, she two-putted for a five.

I win!

Why? She lost her temper. Yes, her anger and temper defeated her. She was a better player and hitter, but I took the trophy. She remained angry at me for, oh, about eight more years.

Righteous or moral anger against a humanitarian crime or sin is okay. We should be angry when the weak and defenseless are crushed.

But allowing our anger to overcome us for personal desires, something we work for and don't obtain, won't get us anywhere.

The best plan--stay cool and calm. Think through the problem. Can you fix it? Or is the problem out of your hands?

During the last few months, I have been frustrated that sometimes a release just doesn't sell.

Any attempt to find a reason fails, and the frustration builds. I know there's something more I could do, but for the life of me, I can't find a way.  

After a few weeks, I decided the problem is not worth agonizing over, and just let it go.

We do the best we can, and if it doesn't work...don't get mad. It won't help one bit.
My advice is to study the problem, devise a new plan, and go in a different direction.
Or forget it and move on.

But whatever you do...don't get mad. You'll lose every time.
Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dagnabit!



I love the commercial in which the old farmer comes out to spell "cow." I guess he's in a spelling bee. He spells, "Cow. C-o-w-e-i-e-i-o." {{Buzzz!!!}} He says, "Dagnabit!" This makes me laugh every time.

However, it's not a bad word to use when one is disappointed or frustrated. I, myself, say "dagnabit" on occasion, as when I dropped the jar of jalapeno peppers on my kitchen tile floor, or when I stuck my mascara wand into my eye.

In this case, I'm frustrated and disappointed that a few of my best stories are not big sellers. This may be a personal bias, of course, since I wrote them, but I do believe these stories of which I speak are truly much better than some of my others that sell very well.

Now, you might think I'd begrudge a novel or novella selling really well, when I know in my heart it's not my best work. Not true. I love everything I've ever written--I'd be a poor example of an author if I didn't--but I just know some are better than others.

Why is that? Why does a perfectly good story that gets good reviews and wonderful praise from my local readers...not sell on the commercial market?

Why? Because they have no or too little sex. Sorry, sex scenes are not what makes a good story.

Why? Because they have no singular one-on-one interaction between a man and a woman, a true romance story. Sorry, a true romance is fine--I like them, too--but they're not the only good stories out there.

Every story I've written tells a love story. But some of my full-length novels tell more of the story than just the love part.

COVER BY GEMINI JUDSON
RUNNER-UP IN 2011 P&E READER'S POLL
 
CRYSTAL LAKE REUNION-A young woman in Houston owns a real estate agency with her mother. She loves her mother, and they've always been alone since her father died in combat when she was one month old. The problem is, she learns that her life is not as it seems when she goes to a small town north of Houston--Crystal Lake. There, she slowly learns that she is truly someone else. She meets a young doctor and even though she does most of the research and sleuthing to find her true heritage, he helps and encourages her along the way. It's unfortunate other families and other lives will be disrupted, but she is determined to learn the truth.
And she falls in love.
***This novel has been reduced to 99cents on my request.
http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Lake-Reunion-ebook/dp/B0056BC41G/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382303865&sr=1-7&keywords=celia+yeary

 
HEART OF A HERO-- Matt Carrington escapes a terrorists’ prison while in the Army, but he has difficulty escaping the trappings of a demanding fiancĂ© and his own parents. To get away to think, he meets pretty, girl-next-door Lauren Delaney, the kind of woman he desires. But his fiancĂ© and his parents have other plans, and they determine to have their way—no matter what Matt wants.
Lauren Delaney is an independent young woman who quickly befriends the soldier hero who comes to town. Knowing he has another life in Dallas, she holds a secret, too. But she pretends neither have a problem in order to have the summer with him.
****
Kindle Version: $5.99    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-of-a-Hero-ebook/dp/B0059WEBUO/ref=sr_1_16_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1382304200&sr=1-16&keywords=celia+yeary
~*~
Both of these novels received very good reviews, and I'm proud of them.
Both have great covers--Crystal Lake Reunion was a P&E runner-up for best cover.
Both are set in Texas, as are all my stories.
Both have plots that involve other characters.
Both are contemporary Texas--big cities and small towns.

Thank you! Celia

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Self-Editing Isn't Hard--But It's Not Easy, Either


"She said, She thought, She heard, She felt, She knew...Noooooo!"
Writing a new manuscript is exciting. By the time I reach the end, though, I'm usually a little weary of the story. It's easy to think, "Whew! I'm glad that's finished!" But no...I'm not.

Even though I write for an Independent Publisher, my manuscript still needs editing. However, with an Independent Publisher, she nor her staff changes my story. It's as though I am self-publishing, but not doing all the technical work.

We are required, though, to do the basic formatting and editing. In addition, each of us is to have a reader to help find those nasty, elusive writing errors. And finally, an author/editor will help clean it up.

Before I get to that step, I use a set of Self-Editing Guidelines I've had for several years. These are easy ways to pinpoint common mistakes.
For now, we'll look at only one but very important error. Highlight your manuscript to find them and rewrite the sentence.

SEARCH AND HIGHLIGHT "Telling phrases" that indicate Passive Writing:

Saw:
Wrong: She saw the waiter carry a tray of drinks past her.
Right: The waiter carried a tray of drinks past her.

Watched:
Wrong: He watched her brush out her hair.
Right: She brushed out her hair.

Other words that also can be changed are:
Heard
Felt
Thought
Knew

What exactly is Passive Writing? In easy terms, Passive Writing uses weak verbs, and in this case, "telling phrases." This is another way to describe "Show...Don't tell."

Everything the character hears, smells, sees, touches, and thinks is reflected through POV.

If the author writes, "She saw him grab the money," the writing is telling...and also becomes passive. The writer is telling the reader what is happening.

Instead, the writer should allow the character's POV to explain the action.

(Wrong) She saw him grab the money.
(Right) "He grabbed the money," Mary whispered to Susan.

Even though I believe my writing is clean of such errors, I check anyway. To my surprise, I always find too many instances.

In the manuscript I'm working on now, I first highlighted "saw." Guess what? The word "saw" was highlighted 16 times in a 66,000 word novel.

Each must be reviewed, because all of them may not be an error. Using "saw" in narrative is almost always weak, but using "saw" in dialogue might be correct.

Example I:
Narrative:
Looking toward the west, she saw two riders approaching.
Change to:
Emilie looked to the west. Two riders approached.

Example II:
I'll keep this sentence as is, because it's dialogue:
"Some of the men kept their gazes on Lee, but a couple looked out across the pasture and saw the shooter mount his horse, turn, and ride away over a slight rise."

Example III:
Narrative:
She saw that Lee and Tex kept their horses at a lope.
Change to:
Lee and Tex kept their horses at a lope.

Other highlighted passive words in my manuscript:
watched-23 times
heard-30 times
knew-64 times.

I'm not surprised by these numbers, because it's a common way to write. You might try this test on a manuscript you're working on, if you don't already do so.
I write the same as I talk, and in speaking, I use these words often. But this fact doesn't make it right.

Years ago, a contest judge sent the document about self-editing. She said my story was good but filled with weak or passive writing. I've been forever grateful that she took the time to explain.

I printed the six pages for reference, and now the corners and edges are frayed. The pages have been read many, many times.

As a reader, too, I might find a novel that's too passive, but the story is interesting anyway. In that case, I overlook the errors and read on.
The main idea is to write an exciting or emotional book.

Thank you for reading.
Celia

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Greatest Weakness

We all have our weaknesses, but I'm not talking about craving  dark chocolate or cheesecake.  I'm referring to a personality weakness, a particular aptitude I have which is probably not good.

While finishing my bachelor's degree in education and biology (at age thirty), I inadvertently signed up for a class that sounded like classroom management. It appealed to me, not only for the content, but because a man I knew taught the class. In my thinking, if this gentleman, who had been a military man, taught anything about managing people, he would undoubtedly be an expert.

However, when the class began and each of us had an opportunity to introduce ourselves, I was startled by the reasons for taking the class. Most were males, and each once spoke of needing to learn more about "how to be a school principal and keep order."

No! Not me. I had no intention of being a school principal.

At the end of the first session, I spoke with the professor.

"I think I should drop this course. It's not for me, and I don't know how I misinterpreted the class description."

He answered, "No, Celia, you don't need to drop. You will find the information and discussions valuable in managing students. Plus, I'd like to have you in the class."

I remained.

Throughout the teaching and discussions, in which each of us spoke in response to a particular scenario, I thought I was doing really well. However, half-way through the semester, this professor spoke to me privately. What did he want? To point out my major weakness.

My greatest weakness, as it turned out, was "giving individuals the benefit of the doubt too easily."

Really? What's wrong with this? In my mind, nothing, but he tried to explain that for whatever infraction a student might incur, I had the tendency to say, "I'll let it go this time" or "I know you didn't intend to break a rule or act inappropriately, so I'd like you to think about what you did."

He said, "When I heard your answers in class, I imagined you patting the student on the head, saying, 'now, now, let's be nice. Please don't do this again.'"

I taught high school students for twenty-something years. Yes, I gave many the benefit of the doubt. In some cases, there was no doubt the student had to face some kind of punishment for his severe infraction.

It wasn't that I believed the story a student--usually a male--told me, it was that I weighed the costs of seeking punishment against the value of discussing the problem with the young man.

My professor and most of the men in the class saw things in black and white. You break a rule--you pay the price.

What does this have to do with writing romance novels? Or writing in general? Probably nothing, except it might come in handy when writing a scene that includes some sort of crime or  situation.

In the WIP, TEXAS DREAMER, Emilie McDougal King must take over the ranch business and the drilling of a possible oil well, and she's facing men who aren't too happy. Her husband's life was threatened and he is injured such that he must stay in bed and medicated. She's not a particularly soft-hearted woman, but she has no taste for being harsh, either. Instead, she uses charm--as much as she knows how--and compliments the men on their willingness to carry on and take orders from her.

But along in the story, another secondary character tries to harm her behind her back. In this case, she stiffens her backbone and does not give an inch. No benefit of the doubt for this person.

In conclusion, I think our characters sometimes act as we do in real life.

I think I'm an Emilie McDougal King. I don't jump to conclusions, but I don't let anyone run over me, either. In other words, nothing is black or white.

But most of those men and the professor in the class saw the world as just that--black or white, right or wrong, no in-between.

It was a lesson well-learned for me.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Don't Mess With the Wizard of Oz!


The Wizard of Oz was released in1939, a year before I was born. The movie was a wonderful cinematic event,  a movie that began in black and white and changed to color. It also included a perfect set of characters, as we all still know and love today. It received an Oscar  nomination for  Best Picture of 1939, but it lost out to the grand Civil War epic, Gone With the Wind.

Today, in September 2013, seventy-four years later, film producers have converted The Wizard of Oz to 3D. Frankly, I don't want to watch anything in 3D.

Why mess with a perfect movie?

At around age ten or eleven, I think, Mother allowed me and my younger sister go to the movie theater to see The Wizard of Oz. Yes, it was several years old, as was I, but what did that matter? Today, the seventy-four year old movie still holds the allure it did back then.  Making it into 3D won't make it any better.

When my little sister and I settled in the theater and waited for the movie to begin, I couldn't wait to see a film in color. Before this, we had gone to the Rose Theater to watch Saturday Afternoon Matinees starring Western cowboys--Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Lash LaRue, Hopalong Cassidy, and the Lone Ranger.

The movie began with a grand entrance, but all in black and white. I watched with great intensity, waiting for the color to begin. But it didn't. After a while, through my near-sighted eyes, I squinted. Maybe I saw a little color.

I punched my little sister's arm. "Do you see color?" No, she said. I told her , squint your eyes. I think I see color when I do that.

Well, we convinced each other this was true. But when the real color came on the screen, I almost fell out of my seat. From then on, I sat forward on the edge of the seat to make sure I didn't miss anything.

However, being a natural born fraidy cat, the flying monkeys scared me silly, and I curled up in the seat and closed my eyes.

Many years later, when our son and daughter-in-law brought the grandsons to Texas, I rented the movie The Wizard of Oz. I think they were seven and six. I let them drag old sleeping bags and pillows into the living room so they could sit or lie down and watch the movie. Their dad--our son--got on the floor with them, and I popped the video into the player.

The younger one lay down besides his daddy and watched every minute of the movie. But the older one became frightened right away, and he chose to stand behind me in my recliner and watch from afar. When those flying monkeys came screeching out, the child ran around into the dining room and hid in a corner. Talk about a fraidy cat! I tried to get him to sit with me, but he'd have none of it.

Imagine the flying monkeys in 3D.
I'd be the one to hide in a corner.

I just don't understand re-making any classic movie. An old black and white should not be colorized. A silent movie should not be made into a "talkie." And a excellent classic such as The Wizard of Oz should not be in 3D.

Next thing I know, the movie people will colorized all those old black and white Westerns, and add 3D.

They've already gone too far when they allowed Johnny Depp to be Tonto.

And that's a wrap.
 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crossroads--Decisions, Decisions

 
Whether an author or not, we all face moments of indecision. Sometimes these moments stretch into long periods of time.

~*~Go to work, or be a stay-at-home-parent.
~*~Keep the old minivan a couple more years, or buy a new SUV-After all, life is short.
~*~Buy  a new dress for the anniversary party, or wear last year's--who would remember anyway?
~*~Stay with the old job for security, or launch into unknown territory to do something you love.

Some decisions are trivial and some are life-changing.
Consider, though,  decisions based on a problem that is purely personal. These decisions won't change my life or destroy the way I live.
At this moment, my problem concerns my writing and which direction I'll take. I could do one or the other, or perhaps both eventually. But for the moment, only one can take center stage.

My first novel was Western Historical Romance, and so were the next three. Writing this genre is fun, almost like fantasy, and filled with action.

But along the way, I wrote several contemporary romances. While I enjoyed writing those, I couldn't wait to return to westerns with a romance set in the Old West. Since the return to this genre, I've written six novellas, and almost have a full-length finished--another "Texas book."
Now, I'm at the crossroads again.

I have made one decision--that is to write novella length for a while, whether contemporary or western historical. If I yearn for prints, I can always put them in a collection, as I did with the Dime Novels--titled Lone Star Dreaming, or put them in a boxed set.

Here are my two possibilities:

I. Western Historical Romance:



Mail Order Bride Series titled "Trinity Hill Brides." First one concerns a man eaten up with guilt and has separated himself from the community to live and survive in the hills alone. A citizen of the town, a wealthy, elderly lady, takes it upon herself to order a bride for him. I could use the same lady as the source for other brides.
Question: Is this category of romances still viable? Do Mail Order Bride Series still sell? I have loved every one I've read over the years, but are authors still using the vehicle? Are readers still reading them?





II. Contemporary Romance:

Small Town Texas Series titled "Welcome to Del Rey, Texas." First one--maybe--is now titled Lily Marie, but should be something else--concerns a young university professor in a small college. She is rather prim and proper, and her best friend is another professor. They teach the same thing, so they spend time together. He's somewhat of a nerd, but they get along well. Enter the new football coach in town, and he moves into the small empty house across the street. Now, her life changes.
Question:
Are novellas selling as well as I think they are?
Of the two options above, what is your opinion of which would draw the most readers?
If you're an author, do you write in more than one genre?
If you're a reader, do you stay with one genre, or cross over to another some of the time?
~*~
Thank you for visiting my blog. Comments are not only welcome, they are wanted!

Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/celiayeary
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Note: Photo of Couple: Connie Breton and Kyle Chandler from "Friday Night Lights."