Wednesday, March 19, 2014


How many times in your life have you heard this taunt? My family moved about every six months when I was a child. For several years, we were transient, moving from one oil field to the next, living in very odd places. This meant I changed friends and acquaintances with every move. I was always "the new girl," until we finally settled in one town and stayed.
As the new girl, I had to test the waters, so to speak, waiting and wondering if someone would ask me to play. I wasn't a tomboy, really, but I would take a chance here and there to try something new in order to win friends. Often, a girl or boy would "dare" me.
In first grade, no one would seesaw with me, but I stayed close to the seesaws, hoping someone would ask. A boy stepped up and said, "I can walk up one end of the seesaw and all the way down the other side. Want to see?" Of course, I did. I nodded and he demonstrated the daring feat. As he neared the center, he paused, held his arms straight out, and ran down the other side as his weight lowered the seesaw. Then he dared me to try it.
Okay. I slowly walked up one side almost to the center, but my leather-soled white high-tops were slick, causing my feet to slide backwards. I fell forward and my mouth landed on one of the big iron bolts that held the seesaw to the iron rail. The fall split my bottom lip, and I fell off, also scraping my knees because I wore a dress. Now blood poured from my lip and my knees. A teacher came running and took me inside to call my mother. A doctor put stitches in my lip and the flesh below. I still have a scar there.
But I took the dare.
 In another town, a neighbor boy dared me to stand on the edge of the cesspool covered with a loose piece of tin. I did, holding my nose from the stench. My mother came slamming out the back door and yelled at me. She called me to the house and told me a story of a little boy falling into a cesspool and drowning. Sure, that scared me silly…but I had taken the dare.
 Another boy invited me to his house to play. (I most often played with boys, I guess.) In his room, he told me he had scary comic books in a box under his bed and asked if I wanted to see them. I said, no, I didn't want to read anything scary. But…he dared me. We spent the afternoon reading scary comic books.
 As an adult, at age forty, a friend taught me to play golf. She was a firecracker. Often, I'd want to "lay up" when I approached a water hazard, but she'd always say, "I dare you to go for it." Oh, of course, I did. Most often I failed but at least I tried.
 You'd think I learned my lesson over my lifetime of taking dares. But no…I still try new things, sometimes on my own, sometimes at the urging of a friend.
Decades ago, my best friend urged me to play hooky and drive to Dallas to see Bruce Springsteen in his "Born in the USA" world tour. I took the dare and we went…and we were the teachers!
 In 2004, I had to stay in a recliner much of each day because of a couple of medical problems. Bored to death, I complained I had nothing to do. My husband placed an old used laptop in my lap and said, "Well, write something."
 I took the dare and wrote an entire novel, and I'd never written anything in my life. Now, I have a ten novels, six novellas, several anthologies, and I'm still writing.
In case you think I'd try anything, don't. I do have limits. I said no when urged to try a cigarette; I said no to boys who wanted to go too far; and I said no climbing the town water tower.
 However, taking a chance…or a dare…on something you'd really like to do can be a good thing. Suppose you, as an author, would like to try writing, oh, a space opera romance instead of the sweet girl-next-door romances you prefer, but you don't know where to begin or if you'd be successful. Or perhaps you'd really like to enter one of the most prestigious contests around, but fear a dreadfully low critique.
 I believe most authors are risk-takers. Otherwise, we wouldn't send our most beloved manuscripts to strangers, hoping they'll love it. We wouldn't take the chance on a bad review by sending our published novel to the best reviewer we know.
Maybe all authors should write something very different once in a while.
Maybe readers should read something very different once in a while.
Go ahead. Try something different. I dare you.

Celia Yeary

 Note: My newest release is TEXAS DREAMER, my 4th "Texas book," another Western Romance novel. See top of blog, right corner. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Sony, and iTunes store. Thank you. 


  1. I never liked dares when I was a child - I was a scaredy-cat! These days I sometimes 'dare' myself to do things, but mostly I prefer to stay in my own comfort zone!

  2. Oh, I talk big, Paula! I have said I'm a Natural Born Scaredy Cat, but that's with scary movies, mostly. But over my life, I have done surprising things that no one I knew thought I would.
    It's kind of fun to surprise people now and then!
    However, they're all pretty safe. I won't take risks with my life...just things that won't kill me.
    Listen you caught a lucky break when St. Patrick's Day came along and Rebecca promoted Irish books. Wow, that was wonderful for you.

  3. Celia:
    Wow! a dare led to a late in life passion. How great!
    You have to wonder how many people would discover their hidden talents if they accepted some of the challenges thrown down by others, even if they never had any interest in said subject before. Sometimes the biggest stumbling block in accepting a dare such as the one your husband threw in your lap is not immediately deciding you can't do it, or that you wouldn't like it if you tried.
    Rebecca threw me my last challenge. I was figuring to be a "one and done" author until she let me know she was expecting a followup out of me. At first, I balked because I didn't feel I could come up with an interesting enough story, but she suggested expounding upon an incident mentioned briefly in my first try. She was thinking "short story" but by the time I got to the end just yesterday, it totaled a whopping one hundred and fifty-five thousand words. I had no idea I could string that many words together.

  4. Fans, Celia, I never would have imagined you as a risk taker. You're constantly amazing me.
    I don't recall being dared to do something, but I certainly have taken some risks. I'm terrified of flying, but for the sake of writing a technically challenging scene in a paranormal book I was writing, I flew with a doctor from work in a little Cessna. I also skipped work (something I never did) to fly in an Air force C 130 with my Air Force friend. I got to talk one on one with a general and learned how different injured soldiers are medically treated on a flight compared to treatment on the ground. Well, who knew?
    I do agree with you, Celia, in that I believe writers will do extraordinary things for the sake of a story.
    I always enjoy reading your blogs. Each time I learn a little more about you...and it's fun.

  5. BTW, I hate auto correct. It was supposed to be dang, not fans. Suresh!

  6. J.D.--Don't you adore Rebecca? She's not only a terrific business woman, she has a heart of gold and is always trying to push authors to do more than we think we can. I have books with five publisher--was six until I pulled three books from them--and none compare to Rebecca. I'd pull everything and give it to her if not for the fact that is drilled into every author--"Don't put all your eggs in one basket." But I may do that some day.
    Thanks for reading the blog, and please do keep writing and writing and writing. Even stuff I consider mediocre or trivial, I place in an Edit Dump, and more than once I go in, pull something out, change it up, and somehow make it into a good story.
    Keep writing--sometimes we have something hidden deep within us we don't know about until we experiment.
    Thanks so much for visiting.

  7. Sarah--I remember your telling about the flying to write your story. That was truly living up to a dare. And look what it did for you.
    As I've said, I don't take risks that would endanger my life. Well, I do take that back because I did twice in my know, that time in your life when your mind turns to mush and you're sometimes acting 16 again.
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post--I love to read what you think.

  8. Great post Celia. Sometimes you have to take risks to discover where you're supposed to be.

  9. Thanks for the challenging post! Enjoyed reading about your exploits. Your comments reminded me of a quote- don't know whose - "If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits." Just seemed fitting to share.

  10. Debra--very true. It's so easy--for me, at least, to get in a rut and fear getting out of it. Of course, a rut keeps us stuck, doesn't it?
    Thanks for visiting!

  11. Ashantay--now, that's a good quote to remember. I'm glad I entertained you for a bit. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. I'm not ordinarily a risk taker, never have been! What's daring to me might seem very blase' to others.

    Still, it's a good thing to stretch the wings once in a while and get out of the comfort zone. I'll need to try more often, or at least let the characters in my books do so!

    Morgan Mandel

  13. Morgan--I think all authors let their characters spread their wings more than we do in real life. There's nothing wrong with the status quo, either. I'm in that place now--not wanting to try anything too new, just do what I'm trying to do a little better. Thanks for your note.