Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Cleaning! It's fun!

April is almost upon us, the time of newness, the time of throwing out the old, and the time to take a deep cleansing breath of fresh spring air. (If you suffer from allergies, please ignore the last suggestion.)
At my house, the first thing we do is open all the doors and windows. We feel as though the air is stagnant, since it's been behind closed doors during the cold months. So, out goes the clogged air, and in comes fresh air.

But cleaning the house and porches are necessary tasks, and while they may be fulfilling to my soul, I personally like to clean my own personal space better.

1. Clothes closet--this cleaning job is complete. Instead of doing this in the spring, I work on it here and there until I have winter clothing on the back of the racks, and newer spring clothing toward the front. Any article of clothing I haven't touched in two years goes to Goodwill. It's pretty clear I'm not going to wear it.

My desk and surrounding area--
It's a very small desk with a two drawer file cabinet next to it.
The top of the file cabinet gives me a little more space.
2. Tasks:
--Go through cup with the cat on it that holds pens, pencils, and a nail file. Check each one--throw out the dry ones or nearly empty ones, and if a pencil hard a hard eraser, chunk that in the trash, too. Then go to stash of brand new shiny never-before used Foray Stylemark Fine Tip pens and choose the hot pink, purple and a new black one.

--Go through small wicker basket that holds various business cards for doctors, Holy Week church schedule (I now have it memorized), old receipts, and several small sheets from a notepad with insignificant or outdated information.

--From the desktop, remove prescription bottle that reminded me to order from Caremark, a stack of 5x7 cards with dozens of notes that are now indecipherable, four sticky notes from last week, a catalog for Clinique special for this month, a flyer that explains how to download Free Books for my Kindle from my library because the instructions don't work, and a little pile of colored paperclips.

--From the top of the file cabinet, throw out old notes and, spiral notebooks, and an old yellow legal size notepad.

--To my left, keep the all-important 9.5 x 6 spiral notebook I use for "Tasks for today." When I have everything checked off a page, I turn it back and begin a new page. This works really well for me. Also, break open the package of new 3/4 colorful notepads and choose pink (remember, it's spring.)

--Not to be dismissed lightly, please do dust and clean all surfaces as you go, including your computer.
--Last, but not least, nor can it be done in one day, Delete all old files, manuscripts, notes, etc. that's loaded on the computer. But by all means, be careful--do not delete anything important.  However if I do, I can retrieve it from the Recycle File.

There. Now I feel better.
Try it--you'll like it.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Could I? Would I? Should I?

Self-publish, that is.

I'm a teacher by nature and profession, and I'm also a self-learner. Some of my ventures sounded far-fetched to my family, such as going to college at age 27. But I did, and found ways to do all the work, and still run a small home, see after two small children, and be the best wife I could be.

Then golf interested me. At age 40 I took up that crazy, maddening game. I am not an athlete at all, and always had an aversion to playing a game with a ball that was thrown at me, that I was supposed to catch, and that I was supposed to either run with or throw to someone else. In golf, the ball is stationary, and it sits there until I'm ready to hit it. A much more civilized kind of game.

Writing a fiction novel then interested me. At first, only the writing kept me enthralled. I didn't care if I followed proper procedure or not...I only had fun making up and writing the stories.

But as with most, if not all authors, there came a time when I looked around and noticed women like me were publishing books with beautiful covers, and selling them. My next goal was to entice a publisher to give me a contract.

With the first sold book, I caught on fire. Several novels and short stories later, I'm now falling under the spell of self-publishing. Never in a million years would I have thought to do this--I like having publishers. I LOVE my publishers.

Still, there's that same old challenge standing in my way, blocking all else except, "You, too, can self-publish."

And so, I'm hooked, caught up in the game, and trying to learn the ropes before I take the plunge.

Which story will I use first? I have two more manuscripts I pulled from publishers that are just sitting in my files. Use one of those?

Or will I write a new story, a virginal one, clean and pure, never touched by nor tainted by anyone else's hands?

The instructions from Amazon Kindle are waiting for me to read and study a little more.

A program to make a cover is part of the sticking point right now, but I have no doubt I will find something that suits me that I can conquer.

Now. I'm close to the starting block.

Stay tuned--I'll let you know how this turns out!

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where's the Thrill?

Remember when you first began writing? I know some authors have written most of their lives, but some of us are still rather new compared to many others.
In a discussion this week, I tried to answer questions for a person beginning a novel. Right away, I realized errors this person was making and pointed out one--only one. His answer was, "I don't care right now. I'm just having fun writing."
Now, that was refreshing. Writing should be fun.

Somewhere along the way, though, do we become a little jaded? Tired of certain tasks connected to our writing projects/career?

What pleases you most? Do you still get a thrill from at least parts of the process?
What do you dread most? What takes the fun out of writing and publishing?
Like any other job, there are rewards, but there are mundane chores, too.

Me? I still become excited about writing a new story. The idea is formed, I think about it off and on for days, and finally sit down and write that first sentence. I can see it all now. This story is going to be good!

Some stories almost write themselves, but I struggle with others. That's fine, because I'm still writing a new story.

So, now it's finished. Now what? Where does this story belong?
When you decide whether to submit here or there, or..gasp!...self-publish, then what?

Whichever you choose, the book must have a cover.
Forgive me for being shallow, but this causes the most excitement. Since I am a visual person, it is all important.  Once I work with the artist and come up with the best we can do, I am super-excited.
The cover is almost the best part!
So, the thrill has not gone away for these two tasks--writing a new story and the cover.

However, the never-ending promotion can become tiresome. I enjoy some of the process--I'm just not thrilled by it.
I don't even mind editing, because I like to clean up a manuscript. Even though we might consider ourselves just about perfect, trust me...we are not. We need outside help with editing.
But if the editing becomes re-writing, forget it. I've pulled more than one manuscript because the editor wanted too many re-writes, which in some cases would destroy the story.
If the thrill is gone, my suggestion is to step away for a time.
But I do hope you return and regain that thrill.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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Monday, March 4, 2013



Read an Ebook Week began March 3 and will last through March 9.

Participating authors and publishers use this nationwide opportunity to promote ebooks, share the joys of ebook reading, and acquainting readers with new to them ebook authors.

Below is a list of free and discounted ebooks from many of our participating authors at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Western Trail Bazer. Please click on the title to go to the applicable book page, get the coupon code provided, and proceed through checkout to get your copy. HaPpY rEaDiNg!

Free Ebooks
Christmas in Bayeux by Stephanie Burkhart

Lucca: Warriors for the Light by Karen Michelle Nutt

The Devil's Wolf by Karen Michelle Nutt

Last Assignment by Les Williams

Unwanted Reputation by Les Williams

The Prodigal by Chuck Tyrell

Deirdre by Miriam Newman

Changing the Future by Paula Martin

Death at the Whistling Swan by John D. Nesbitt

Rose of Durango by John D. Nesbitt

The Trouble With Fishing by Rebecca J. Vickery

Now Spit by Troy D. Smith

The Windigo by Troy D. Smith

Crashing the Superbowl by John Duncklee

A Distant Call by Gerald Costlow

Mars Needs Men by Gerald Costlow

Ianthe's Dream by Clova Leighton

The Hands of Time by Laura Shinn - PG15+

The Infidels by Troy D. Smith

The Last of Her Kind by Cheryl Pierson

Scarlet Ribbons by Cheryl Pierson
Texas Promise by Celia Yeary
Familiar Shadows by Bert Goolsby

The Trials of Lawyer Pratt by Bert Goolsby

Catch the Lightning by Madeline Baker

25% Off Ebooks

I Bit the Silver Spoon by John Duncklee

Long Ride to Limbo by Kit Prate

Bound for Texas by Kit Prate

Brothers in Arms by Troy D. Smith

Colorado Justice by Lee Aaron Wilson

Fire Eyes by Cheryl Pierson

Ties That Bind by Anne Patrick

Surviving With Love by Rebecca J. Vickery

Following Destiny by Rebecca J. Vickery

Looking Through the Mist by Rebecca J. Vickery

In the Shadow of the Hills by Madeline Baker

Tales of Western Romance by Madeline Baker

  50% Off Ebooks

Jessie's Girl by Amanda Ashley

A Court Lady by Clova Leighton
Chances Are by Laura Shinn

Dixie Cup Assassin by Jerry Bohnen

First Love, Lost Love by Jory Sherman

FLYER, a novel by Judith McAlister

The Devil's Galley by Michelle Rodriguez

Four Horses Dead Ringer by J. D. McCall

Palomino Days by Mart Shaughnessy

Song of Hoofbeats by John Duncklee

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

Friday, March 1, 2013


Authors surely know that fiction should be in three acts, resembling a play. I honestly did not learn this for a long while into my writing experience.

All it means is that your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each part is distinct from the other. This is not particularly easy, nor are the parts clearly identifiable. However, if we use the concept as a rule of thumb, we may write a better novel.

I: THE FIRST ACT: Main characters and the Incident
The first act is to establish main characters, their relationships, and their place and time. The main statement we hear today from editors and publishers is "begin where the story begins." I had a terrible habit to break in which I felt I should explain and describe for the reader to inform him of the coming story. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The opening is the "hook," and it bodes well if we spend some time working on that very first sentence or paragraph.
Throughout the first act, the main character is involved in or aware of some incident that leads to a turning point. This turning point ensure the main character's life will never be the same, that he will confront this issue until the end of the story. He has a problem, an enemy, or a question to solve, and his life now revolves around such an issue.

II: THE SECOND ACT: Action and Character Development.
During the second act, the main character finds himself confronted with some entity that appears to thwart his goal. This may be in the form of a person, force of nature, or even an internal personal problem. In fact, the main character cannot solve the problem easily because he might not have the skills to do so. He must go through a learning process to repair his predicament. In doing so, he may need the help of another character in the form of another major character or a mentor.

III: THE THIRD ACT: Climax and Resolution.
Now, during the third act, the main characters reach a turning point, intensifying tensions and reaching a conclusion. The character, as well as any others connected to him, find their way, a new direction, or a new life.  

This is a simplified version of many articles and books written on the subject. If I were an expert, I would give more instruction. This much is the skeleton framework I try to follow, and I find it amazing that often a story naturally takes this route.

In a romance novel, the skeleton framework is boy meets girl, boy and girl face dissension and part, and boy and girl make up and live happily ever after.

In RODEO MAN, a novella about a city girl and a rodeo man, follows this skeleton in this way:

I: Marla inherits an abandoned town in West Texas. When she arrives to camp out for a week she finds a stranger there, whittling and whistling. The main characters have met.
They talk, argue, have fun, and learn about each other. Then Marla receives a threat--the incident-- and they must leave the town.

II. When they arrive in the rodeo town, Cody helps Marla track down the person or persons who made the threat, and why. During this time, the two become more acquainted, but Marla is ever diligent about becoming involved with a man who might have a girl in every rodeo town.

III. Cody and Marla confront the perpetrator of the threat and have him arrested. But do the two fall into each other's arms? Not yet, not until Cody proves that he is her man.

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