Monday, December 1, 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.

Years 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 dozen contracts and 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.

Go ahead. Try something different. I dare you.
A Western Romance Short--
Kathleen: Trinity Hill Brides-Book I

Marianne gasped for breath as she gripped his shoulder.

"Pa. There's a bad man in the house. He has a gun..."

Cynthia interrupted and spoke in her high pitched voice. "And he held me and then he put my dress hem under the legs of the chair and then he wouldn't let me pee-pee, and I had to go"

Marianne took up her story. "...and I poured red ants on him, and Gwendolyn grabbed the gun..."

"All right. Stay with Lucas out here. Lucas? You hear me? Do not let these girls leave this spot."

"Yes, sir."

Marianne jerked on Josiah's pants legs. "But...but Pa, he called Gwendolyn, I think, Kathleen."

Cynthia nodded. "He did. He said Kathleen. Not Gwendolyn."
{{The first Chapter of "Kathleen" is under the top tab titled "Kathleen--Trinity Hill Brides-Book I}}


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  1. Celia, I can totally see you as a risk-taker. Good on your dear husband for insisting you cure your boredom by writing. That little dare produced quite a few lovely reads. I'm glad you're still taking the dare.

    I haven't had a chance to read KATHLEEN yet, but that excerpt sure hooked me. Plus, how could I not read something titled "Kathleen." ;-)

    BIG HUGS, sweet lady!

  2. Celia,

    I'm so glad your husband dared you to write and you took the challenge. Your stories would be missed.

    I believe life is one big dare. We're dared to live to the fullest, or miss out and never really live.

    I have Kathleen and hope to get a few days over Christmas to catch up on reading.

  3. Celia, Sounds like the little boys in the new towns made the first friendship overtures! I'm so glad Jim dared you to write or we'd never met.

    I've done a lot of goofball stuff on dares. My friends and I dared each other to jump off the roof of the carport when we were kids, with umbrellas, to see if we could fly like Mary Poppins. No flying, but no broken bones either. Ruined all the umbrellas.

    Happy December!

  4. I was always a boring scaredy-cat who never responded to dares, and it's stayed with me all my life. I am definitely not a risk-taker at all!

  5. KRA--Listen, I didn't even know I was a risk-taker until I turned 40, when I learned to play golf. That was the first thing I ever did--besides go to college with two preschoolers at home--and I learned I loved to win. I worked to win. I'd often hear, "Wow, you came to play!"....followed by how busy they were and just didn't have the time to learn to play very well... and my answer would always be, "Why would I come out here and play to lose?" Made no sense to me.
    My husband became my biggest supporter in everything, once he got over the shock that I was no longer the naïve 18 yr. old girl he married.
    Thanks for everything, Kathleen--you're a good cheerleader!!!

  6. Kirsten--Thank you so much. Like you, I have my Kindle loaded with books I hope to get read by the end of the year--you know, to start all over.
    I agree that "life is one big dare." How boring my life would be now if I hadn't waded in, often over my head, to try something new.

  7. Maggie--It's funny, I did not like boy games, such as sports, etc. It just seemed like boys always lived around us. Honestly, I do not recall one little girl I played with as a child--always boys.
    Oh, I love your story about jumping off the roof of the carport. I would never have done that, but a boy next door--in 3rd grade-jumped off a shed in our back yard. I thought he'd killed himself. (It's in one of my many anecdotal stories I've saving for a little autobiography book--like the one you wrote.)

  8. Paula-mmm, I'm not so sure you don't have some daredevil in you. Nothing physically daring--not me, either--but daring to do something in which you have a possibility of getting hurt.
    Writing a manuscript and allowing others to read it? That is daring.
    Thanks for visiting.

  9. I imagine your mother was pulling her hair out with all those terrifying dares, Celia. Thank goodness you did possess some common sense in there about some of them.
    I think you're right about writers willing to take chances. I think most are up for a challenge and are willing to try something new. Personally, I think it's a challenge to write blogs. I always admire the ease you seem to have coming up with something to interest everyone.
    I have the first book in your new series and I am determined to get the time to read. I know it's going to be excellent.

  10. Sarah--oh, thank you, Sarah. Nothing is easy, though, is it? Writing a blog is easy--it's the thinking part, coming up with some idea, that the hard part. I keep a notebook and if I read, hear, or see something interesting, and I can make it into a goes there.
    We always think the Christmas holidays will allow us some free time to read all those books we have stocked up, but's really the opposite. Things add up and the season can be filled with what I call "too much
    hoo-rah." Have a good time...that's what counts.

  11. Celia, you little dare devil, you. Well, like you said all of must have some dare devil in us to write. It's taken some added spunk and a lot of determination for me to finally, after years of writing and not submitting after numerous rejections, to get back out there. And I'm so delighted I took that final step. So you've made my day with your blog. And let me tell you that when I was a teenager I was dared to walk into the police station, and steal a sign over the chief's desk. Oh yes, I ran as fast as my feet would carry me let me tell you and I was more than shaking in my shoes. I could only imagine what my cool,calm father would say about his sweet shy, proper daughter doing such a thing. And of course, my dad knew the chief. Oh crap. My father did find the sign and he didn't dare me, he ordered me to put it back. Long story short--I snuck into the police station and no I didn't hang it back up. I just put it on his desk and ran like hell.After that I took dares but they didn't involve and cops after that. And now I will be buying Kathleen--you've hooked me good. Wishing you much success.

  12. Hi, Beverley--I'm happy to meet you. You will be happy with Cheryl Pierson and Livia Washburn and their wild wily crew of authors.
    When I first began writing, I submitted to all the big NY publishers. This was just before the ebook/electronic publishers began to make a dent in the new world of publishing. I chose one of my best manuscripts--I had four--polished it up, and studied all the small epresses to find one that suited me. (I'm particular about covers, etc.)When I finished my spread sheet--The Wild Rose Press had come out on top, so I submitted to Rhonda. I had a contract within two weeks. I thank TWRP every day for giving me validation of being a real author. As you probably notice, I have pulled all my books from them and they are all re-issued. This was nothing against TWRP. My books were over five years old and Rhonda encouraged all those in this category to pull our books. So, I did.
    Thanks so much for your comment--I loved the story about the sign in the police station. Trust me, I would never have been that brave or daring.

  13. Great blog, Celia, and I always love the comments that follow. I don't take physical dares but I take quite a few other kinds of dares. I do love a challenge!

  14. Hello Celia,
    This posts shows such a different side of you. A Bruce Springsteen's Concert??? How awesome. You sound like a new kid in town I would certainly befriend. You're writing is always so straight forward and real. I am so happy you took a chance and started writing and that I've got to know you via fb.

  15. Hello Celia,
    I entered a comment but it disappeared. You sound like a new kid in town I would certainly befriend. Taking chances is something I do with hesitation, so afraid of failure. But as I have gotten older I am less afraid of what others think. That doesn't mean I'm not holding my breath as I submit a new manuscript to an editor. I enjoyed your blog so much. I am still shaking my head at the Bruce Springsteen concert though.

  16. Linda--don't you love to read other visitors' comments? Often they say more than I do, and add so much more interest, too.
    A challenge versus A dare..hmm. At first glance I'd say they are the same thing, but that's not so.
    A dare is trivial and fleeting.
    A challenge can be important and long-lasting...hopefully..and perhaps even life-changing.
    You have face and met huge challenges in your life, never bothering with the trivial.
    So, that's why I admire you so much.

  17. Barb--both comments did show up.
    I thank you so much for the compliments.
    But I have to tell you about the Bruce Springsteen concert--during the 80s, his Born In The USA tour. He had a show in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl. We live south of Austin.
    Remember I taught at an exclusive private military boarding school?
    One day a male student came to me and said, "Mrs. Yeary, I have two tickets to the Bruce Springsteen concert but I can't go. I'd like to give them to you. Find a friend to go with you."
    These tickets were pricey--but our students were wealthy.
    I left my classroom and literally ran down the hall to my best friend Carolyn's room, and called her out into the hall. "Look what I have. I'd love to go. Can you?"
    The concert was on a Friday night.
    So, we decided to each take a "personal leave" day on Friday and drive to Dallas.
    I went in first to tell our principal so he could get a substitute. He's a good man but a little clueless. He's not supposed to ask why I want one of my two personal leave days--they are to be kept private. But he did ask, and I answered, "I'm going to a concert." His answer, "Oh, that's wonderful. Laura and I love the symphony. You and JIM have a great time."
    I told Carolyn what to say, and she did. He said to her, "That's funny, Jim and Celia are going to a concert, too. Are you going together?"
    Trying not to laugh, she said, "Uh, yes."
    During the sell out concert, we sat on the field on folding chairs. We stood in our chairs the almost the entire concert. Oh, it was wonderful.
    Sometime during it, I smelled something like smoke, but it smelled sweet and odd, kind of sickening.
    I asked Carolyn, "What is that smell?"
    Without missing a beat, she said, "Marijuana."
    My worldly friend. I was, and still am, rather naive.

  18. Celia, what a wonderful story of your life that I think made you a strong person. I also am glad your hubby gave you that laptop!
    I had a dare in elementary school to climb on the pitched roof was above a cement walkway going into the basement of the school. I did, I fell and had three stitches on my chin. Still have the little scar. I also still take dares to a certain extent. Makes us stronger if we survive.

  19. Shirl--did a girl ever dare you anything? None did to me--it was always boys, until I was grown and my friend taught me to play golf. Then she dared me to take this shot or that shot all the time.
    I liked playing with boys...although I do have a negative story or two about some.
    Thanks for the comment.