Monday, January 20, 2014


 A person is born "determined" or not.
Maybe. I don't think I was born with a strong will or a strong desire or a strong determination to do anything in particular. As life went on, though, I can see that the strong determination to do something did pop up on occasion. Otherwise, you might call me a "floater," one who goes along with the flow unless something stops me...or speeds me up.

As a public school student, I floated. I liked good grades, but goodness me, I did not go out of my way to make them. Courses were mainly easy with no huge obstacles to learn a subject.

I married, and it has turned out really well. But I did not set out to marry--it just came along, and I lucked out and got a really good man.
Babies just happened, too. My desire to be a mother was nil, but when did get pregnant, I very soon turned out to be a pretty good mother.

Mother bought a piano for me and my sisters, but I was the only one who enjoyed the lessons. But was I determined to be excellent or outstanding? Or did I ever have a great desire to be a pianist? No. The piano was there, I took lessons, and I loved it so much I practiced and played all the time, to the irritation of my sisters who wished I'd "quit banging on that piano." I didn't call it banging--I was playing and having the time of my life. It was fun.

During the Sixties, though, I became restless, probably because the nation had become restless. Young men were burning their draft cards, and women were burning their bras and going to college. My bra wasn't big enough to make much of a flame, but a sudden urge to go to college burned in my chest.

The problem was that we had two pre-school children.
 Without relating the boring details, I did enroll, put our kids with a baby-sitter, and my husband worked two jobs so I could do this. (He already had been in the Army and had also earned two university degrees.)

Working for a degree beginning at age 27 became The Holy Grail. I had to have that degree, no matter what happened, and believe me, with two young children, plenty did.
During those years, I worked so hard and lost so much sleep, I literally became sick. I lost weight--way too much--trying to be the best mommy I could be and the best wife, too.

But my main story is the Year of Physics.

Physics? Me? Heavens, how in the world could I get through something so difficult?
During those years, education majors with science as a teaching field at Texas Tech were thrown in with physics and mathematics majors. Some of these young men aspired to go to the moon! This was not fair, but I either had to pass or lose my degree. I could not graduate without physics.

On the first lecture day, I climbed the steps in the huge lecture hall and found an empty seat about one-fourth the way up. As it happened, I sat next to a young pretty blond co-ed. We became acquainted. She was an education major, too, and both of us had science as a teaching field.

In walks the young professor, swaggering, head up, swinging his arms, and threw his book bag on the table down in front.
Really, he grinned and rubbed his hands, he was so arrogant and confident.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he began. "Today you will either learn what I teach and remain in the class, or you will not understand, leave the hall, go to admin, and drop this class."
I shook and almost cried, but I'm not a cry-baby, so I waited.

He began and drew so many figures and problems on the board I got dizzy. I tried to take notes, but there was no way, because he talked and drew so fast.
After forty-five minutes, he stopped and said.
"Now if you understood, remain. If you did not, I invite you to leave now."
At least one third of the class left.

The young lady beside me grabbed my arm. "I didn't understand," she wailed to me. "Did you?"
I told her, "No, I did not understand one thing."
"Are you going to drop?"
"No, I have to have this course, and if you do, too, then stay with me."
That girl and I got through physics.

A young man told me something he'd heard:
"For the labs, write thick reports with hand-drawn illustrations--in ink--you'll get an automatic A, and those grades will be averaged with the lecture exams."
Determined? Oh, yes. But the labs just stumped us. There was always some apparatus on each table we were to manipulate. We had the outcome--we knew what was to happen in the end, so I told this girl--let's work backwards, and we can write the equation and formula backwards, then turn it around.

Don't ask me details, but that's what we did. Also, my written lab reports were about fifteen notebook sheets of paper, complete with drawings and labeled illustrations I found in a physics book in the library. And with no errors.
I passed with a C and a B to go with all my other grades--A's. And that C and B meant the world to me.

To this day, though, I don't know much about physics.

Most of you know I'm now talking about writing. Truthfully, I did not set out to become an author. I only wrote stories for fun. After four completed manuscripts, I discovered electronic publishers that did not want authors with agents, and I could submit electronically. No paper submissions.

Yes, I became determined to get a contract, but I did not go about the process willy-nilly.
First, in my newly found determination, I made a list of about ten new electronic romance publishers I found the the RWA magazine.

At first, I didn't care what their requirements were, I was interested in MY requirements:
~Nice covers without naked bodies
~A website that was inviting and easy to read
~A publisher that offered prints
~And an open invitation to submit, with an exact list of the requirements 
I chose five publishers for my first submissions. One was The Wild Rose Press. I was offered a contract within three weeks.

The rest is history.

But my determination now? I still have a high level. Yes, I'm still just as determined as ever to write a good story, submit it, get a contract, and have one more book published.
Of all the things I learned to do later in life--learning to play golf and bridge--becoming an author with multiple books is at the very top of my favorites list.
I'm as determined now as before, and I will not stop until I become bored...or something else stops me.
Many things in life just ordinarily happen, don't they?
But how many things happen completely out of the blue, things so weird and different you wonder how you could succeed?

I'm certain many of you out there can identify. I'd love to hear your story.
Celia Yeary
Romance...and a little bit of Texas


  1. Celia, I loved this, although I relate to absolutely not one bit of it except the physics class. For me it was botany and I was both happy and frustrated with that C- because I tried SO hard and still understood nothing of it. Odd experience for me, and maybe a good one.

    I have determination to the point it might go too far and cross the line to stubbornness. I've fought for everything. Maybe I need to take lessons on how to just flow along with you because I'm kind of tired by now.

  2. Wonderful article! My favorite part is about starting at the end and working back. That is a gift to be able to look at a problem and attack it from a different angle. Very good!

    There are so many challenges I've faced in life, I can't even begin to tell you about all of them. Some of the goals I've met, some I haven't, but I tried my best. That's a lesson that's still hard to accept sometimes, but what else can we do? Plan your attack, take a deep breath, and work at it.

  3. LK--Yes, there's a difference between determined and stubborn, I think, Having one child who was very stubborn and one who was not taught me that the stubborn child was the squeaky wheel who got the grease--and got his way, usually without my help or my blessing.
    Botany--one of my favorite courses.
    I might say I'm a floater because of my easy childhood--no conflicts in the house, no pressure to make the honor roll, nothing except, "Do your best, honey."
    I don't know--it's strange why we're one way or another.
    Thanks for your comment--

  4. Valerie--I never thought to put it that way--"to attack a problem from a different angle." That's good.
    It's a good thing I was born as I am, because I haven't had to face many challenges. Little was expected of me from my parents--they were the head-patting kind, you're fine, just don't worry," etc.
    As a result I grew up as a Pollyana, and I'm still like that.
    What I learned later in life that underneath I have a little bit of a killer instinct-if I want something, don't get in my way!
    Thanks so much for visiting.

  5. I took physics for footballers in college. I took pass fail, meaning it wouldn't count for or against my average but I had to get at least a C-. It was touch and go. I knew the science and could explain it all verbally, but when I had to write out the equation...

    I am both stubborn and determined, and my mother learned early that the best way to get me to do something was to tell me that I couldn't do it. LOL!

  6. Celia, being the youngest in my family gave me quite a bit of determination to get things my way. By the time I was 8, both my sisters were out of the house and away at college, then soon married. Dad was an alcoholic and gone a lot. I literally wore my mother down, and that was hard to do, because she was very stubborn and not wont to change her mind once she'd made it up about something. Often she'd say, "I hope you have a daughter just like you." Well, she got her wish--but not only did I get a daughter just like me, I also got a son just like me. But Jessica is determined, and Casey is stubborn. I can see the difference so clearly now. And I had to be a different kind of parent to both of them. As for me...I'm not really competitive. I really do the best I can do, but I realize that there are things I have no control over that affect the outcome of what happens. It took me a while to realize that--there are just some things beyond our control, no matter how determined or stubborn we are. My bit of philosophy for the day...LOL

  7. The suggestion to move between inductive and deductive reasoning is excellent - let's all get out of our boxes! Right now!

  8. I had decent grades, despite the fact that I often decided projects like cleaning my room had to be done the night before a big test.
    I confess to going to college because I wasn't sure what else to do with my life, and financial assistance was available to me.
    As a writer, I am very determined to write good books and be successful, despite the fact I find multitudes of projects to do right when I get stuck with a scene in one of my books.

    Morgan Mandel

  9. Hey Celia,

    You are one determined lady! I so admire that about you. I also like how you study a problem from all angles and devise the best way for you to solve it before going forward.

    As a science major, I was required to take 2 courses of physics. The courses people dreaded in the science department were organic chemistry and p chem. I thought I was lucky because I didn't have to take them. But physics baffled me. I could not make physics flow through my brain, so I did the best I could at memorizing the material. I made it through the 2 courses by the skin of my teeth because I wouldn't let that stop me.

    But whatever you do, don't ask me how fast the dock in the lake is moving backward when someone dives off of it and a boat goes by. I can not give you an answer and would rather not hurt my brain considering it. ((smile)) Thank goodness I don't need that skill set in writing.

  10. This is one of the best posts I've read in a while. Maybe it's just that I can relate so much to the road you had to walk to get where you are now and the determination it took to get there.
    I didn't want to be a nurse, but my dad thought a medical career was the only solid career on earth (a man speaking from the Great Depression era.) So, to satisfy him, I became an LPN (licensed practical nurse.) I worked for several years as an LPN until I entered coronary care. I had to have an RN to stay in critical care. For the longest time, I hated nursing until I came to work in CCU. I loved it and I loved the high intensity and knowledge level of working in such an environment. So, I went back to college and worked full time--fortunately, the nuns allowed me to work 12 hours every Saturday and Sunday on a Baylor program so I could complete college. God bless them. My husband took care of the house and actually cooked so I could finish. Like you, I had to take a mandatory class to get my degree--the dreaded chemistry. I had done very badly in chemistry in high school so it scared me to death. I remember gulping down TUMS while taking my final exam. But I made it and enjoyed working CCU for 21 years. I spent the last 17 years in the ER.
    I wanted to be a writer from the time I was 9 years old. My dad and I butted heads about my education because I really wanted to major in English and he just couldn't see the practicality in it. All the while I was working as a nurse, I took correspondence courses in writing, then college classes in creative writing, a journalism class and workshops through my local chapter of RWA. I sent in my fist story at age 13 to Seventeen Magazine--rejected. But, like you, I kept working at it until at middle age, I finally published a book with New Concepts Publishing. I've been through a few publishers since then--some fit and some don't. I finally found a footing in the publishing world and, now that I'm retired from nursing, I'm finally working at the job I always wanted. I really get it about determination. I think it's a major factor in whether a writer gets their dream or not.
    Great post, Celia. I'm sorry I'm late and for leaving such a huge comment--but your post really spoke to me.
    All good things to your corner of the earth.

  11. KEENA--I can look at your photo and tell you are very determined about your career or anything you want to do. But I also see a young woman who does not dwell on failures or setbacks. That may be your best attribute.
    I never liked having someone tell me I couldn't do something, but not everything became a battleground. Sometimes mother or daddy was right.
    Physics for Footballers? I love it!

  12. CHERYL--I think you strike a good balance--determined enough to wear down your mother, but on the other hand, you're not so competitive. It's when you put those two together that things might become more difficult and tense. I have been competitive in my later life--determined to learn this or that, an in doing so I learned I wanted too win, too. But if I lost--I spent no time wailing about it.
    You have some difficulties growing up, and I bet you see now that your mother was trying to protect you by not always saying yes. I'm sure, with an alcoholic husband, that you were the sunshine in her life--just as you are today for so many.

  13. Ashantay--Yes! Sitting in a box will not get anyone anywhere. Thanks for you comment--you have a great knack for saying something big with a few words.

  14. MORGAN--I had no doubt about your determination. It shows in all your successes and creative blogs. You're a people person, too.
    I had to fight to go to college, but my husband did say yes very soon. I had no way to go unless he agreed because those were our poor days, barely making it and driving an old car--and with two small children. But he knew I would not rest until I went, and he knew I needed to go to have some kind of insurance. I married at 18 and knew nothing.
    It all turned out in the end.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  15. MAGGIE--I love your word problem! And yes, often they sounded just that hard, and why in the world would we want to know that anyway?
    I didn't have to take organic chemistry, either. The very word makes me shudder.
    We do have a few things in common.
    Thanks, my friend.

  16. SARAH--I absolutely love long comments, and you and Cheryl do it so well.
    One big difference between us is that my parents did not want any of us girls to go to college. We were expected to "get good jobs," and get married, preferably early. Which we all did. But I parted ways with the college business, and I believe now that because I just happened to have married a very smart man who had the drive to get a phd--and he came from a family of 12 kids--you think anyone wanted him to go to college? None of them knew a thing about it. So why did he? He doesn't know to this day where it came from, and he and I have that in common.
    I enjoyed learning about your nursing career and how it evolved. You finally got where God meant you to be. And writing--you had that all along.
    Thanks so much--I always love to hear what you have to say.

  17. I'm impressed you didn't drop Physics - I never took it but my children did. I know it's not easy. You did great and good you encouraged the young woman next to you in class.

    I've always had to work hard. I had an overbite and a boy made fun of me and called me buck teeth. My dad took me to the orthodontist but this was in the sixties and when my farmer dad heard it would cost $l,000 for braces, he said I didn't need them. I carhopped at a root beer stand for 3 years (16-18 during h.s.)and paid for my braces myself and the dentist (went to a regular one - was cheaper) was so amazed that I was paying for the dental work myself, that he gave me a discount. My dad did allow me to drive the car to my appts. Then I wanted to get contact lenses my jr. year which was a big deal back then. My dad said I was crazy and I'd get eye cancer so I worked and paid for them myself. He didn't want me to go to college and wanted me to follow in my sisters' footsteps and become a secretary. I wanted to go to college so I worked the first quarter and did terrible with working and going to classes and my accum. was 1.9. I had to learn how to study and did much better later. I lived with my sisters the first two years before I was able to move to a rooming house my 3rd year. But I think all this prepared for my biggest challenges in life when we were blessed with 6 children - 2 with DS. Then I rec'd so many rejections for my book submissions, I almost gave up but then Samhain gave me 3 book contracts within one month. And sorry this is so LONG! LOL
    I'm proud of you Celia, you are a wonderful person, author and an inspiration to me!

  18. Dear Diane--I think we must be kindred souls in many ways. I wasn't nearly as brave or determined as you were, and I stand in awe of you and your accomplishments.
    I had crooked teeth from wisdom teeth pushing the front teeth together. I begged for braces, just like you, but mother said, no way--too expensive. Mine weren't so bad that anyone really noticed, but I did. Only one girl in all my high school had braces, and she was "the rich girl." You don't know how I envied her. In my later years, I did have a little work done, enough that my teeth are fine now.
    Yes, and oh, yes,...get a good job and go to work. My mother got a job for me at the bank before I finished high school, working hours out of school, and that was fine--for a while.
    Both my sisters--younger and older--worked in banks and in a parole office.
    They resent me to this day because I got two degrees--somehow they see that I did something underhanded to do this...not that I worked myself into being sick.
    Oh, those days and those past years--it was hard, wasn't it, Diane? But my husband and I did everything on our own--no handouts, helpful checks, and not a penny of inheritance from either side of the family. We did it alone, and somehow, like's that much sweeter.
    Bless you,'re one in a million.

  19. I never understood Physics and dropped it as soon as I could at school. I've always said I don't have a scientific (or mathematical) mind, and can't summon up any interest in sciences. I'm definitely arts orientated!
    As for determination, well, I am sometimes, and other times, not so much! I shall be coming to the States for a month in June. I know I shall have some problems because of my mobility problems and waling difficulties, but I'll cope somehow. Is that determination or simply foolhardiness? I'll let you know!

  20. That's should be walking difficulties, not waling difficulties LOL!

  21. Paula--my interest in science was geared toward the life sciences--biology, botany, entomology, genetics, anatomy and physiology. Don't think I know anything on the chemical or engineering side!
    I hope you have a wonderful time over here. I don't think you're fool hardy at all, but I would want you to be very careful about your walking. I really didn't know you had any kind of problem. You know mind, but even so, I can at least walk. Traveling is very difficult. We gave it up a few years ago after going to Europe four times, which included the Scandinavian countries and St. Petersburg, and we thought to do more, but began to tire of it all. So, we traveled all over the interior of Mexico until it became too dangerous, then we did Canada and Alaska, and honest to God...We finally got around to touring the good ol' USA! Have a great time.

  22. Celia, I'm glad I read this blog tonight even thouogh I'm "road weary." I am amazed at how may of these authors have had parallel experiences which I also relate to. My feared college course was statistics. I avoided it like the plague and didn't choose a psychology major because it was required. Then the get an ED. Specialist Degree I had to take it. I also became friends with a younger female student and together we worked the problems and actally made an "A" in the class. With hard work and dog-with-a-bone detrmination I have been able to reach most of my goals in life. I think I can truly say I have done a little of everything I really wanted badly to do but just not all I would have liked to do of each one. But I'm not finished yet. You know the quote about "Man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?"

  23. Hi, Linda! Road weary...oh, how I remember. It's a deep down weariness, isn't it. Just wrung out.
    I recall teaming up more than once with other students to try to get through a course. Hard work? Lands, yes.
    And I agree that so many of us have had the same experiences. Kindred souls, and all that.
    I'm so glad you're getting to Florida. Stay in touch.

  24. Celia,
    I think we must be kindred souls in many ways or kindred sisters. LOL We both had to work hard for so many things in life, but we appreciate our accomplishments so much more.

    I've been struggling with Apple so I can sell my books there - it's been a pain but finally got the 1st step done with the Apple application so hopefully it will be approved.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Big hugs,