Saturday, April 18, 2009

Author Interview: Celia Yeary

(Be sure to read my review of her book below!)


Celia, thank you for taking the time to be here, especially on such short notice!  First, let me give you a chance to respond to my review. Is there anything you would like to add, argue, or comment on?

CY: Loraine, I appreciate your nice comments. They somewhat mimic comments I've heard in person from friends in town and acquaintainces all over. "Fast-paced" is one I heard repeatedly. Bop Cynthia on the head? Oh, yes, she surely did need her 'comeuppance,' didn't she? I love to redeem characters, and she did need that. I wanted her to grow and my editor said this all through the edits--how Cynthia changes and grows and transforms into a lovely lady.

You mentioned the POV issue. You're the first reviewer or reader who has mentioned this. I will explain: the Mother-in-law drives the story. Without her, the story would be full of holes. I could not explain through the hero or heroine her POV. For The Wild Rose Press, an author is allowed only two POV's-H/H. At first, my editor deleted everything she said. It took away a fourth of the book and I was upset. So, I explained it to her. Yes, she saw that, so she had the head editor read it, and they agreed that if a villain is a very bad one, she can stay in. And Felicitas was a very good--bad?-villain. You don't know how many comments I've had about the mother-in-law!!

Yes, the author's needs for the story should always be supported, since no one "gets" it quite the way we do. I'm glad you stood up and were able to keep what mattered to you. The mother-in-law was indeed key and a memorable villain! 

What was your inspiration for this story?

Cynthia and Ricardo appeared in my second novel for TWRP--TEXAS BLUE. They stayed in my head until I wrote their story. Odd, though, I wanted ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS published first.

Interesting that they demanded not only their right to a story but the first one published! Tell us a bit about your process of getting it contracted and how you celebrated.

The process took four years. I am not a life-long author. I wrote fifteen novels, long and short in four years. That's all I did--write. Then came the learning process, and my learning curve was--still is--steep. I celebrated by crying first, then my dh broke out a bottle of wine--it was two o'clock in the afternoon. He still cannot believe the things I do, now, on the computer.

Fifteen in four years is incredible. Talk about stepping up and running with it! From our personal chats, I know that racial themes are a highlight in your life from many perspectives. Did you purposely set out with this book to address that or did it just happen to develop within your characters?

Racial themes are natural, I guess. I never really thought about it. Maybe it comes from being a Native Texan. Hispanics and Spaniards--there is a difference--are a big part of our state--then and now. I never have an agenda when I create a person other than Anglo. I'm not trying to make a statement. It just seems natural. In other stories, I have Blacks (African-Americans), Hispanics, Spaniards, Apache, and Comanche. All part of our state, even in the 1880's.

What do you like to do in your play time (I won't say free time since writers don't tend to have actual free time)?

Movies, but we don't see many. Traveling, even though we slowed down in recent years. We've been to many countries, and really became tired of the hassle. We like day trips in Texas to find something historical, take a lot of photos. Friends, certainly, are a necessity for play-time.

Is there anyone you would like to mention as inspirational or supportive of your work? Authors, readers, family, groups, etc.

I had no inspiration in my life to begin writing. No one knew I wrote--it was my little secret life. It was a form of entertainment, never thinking I'd have anything published. A writer friend here in town gave me confidence to submit. She's been a wonderful support system.

Ah, I kept that secret for a long time, also. Good for your friend! So, tell us a bit about what you're working on now.

"A Life Worth Living"--a romance set in North Texas just as the first World War ended and the Spanish flu took more lives than the war did. "Reunion"--a contemporary women's fiction novel. It's complete--but something is wrong with it. My mind is cluttered with that story. Right now, I have nothing contracted and I'm finished with all edits. In September, Showdown in Southfork (a Wayback, Texas series) will be released. and Texas Blue sometime in 2010.

Celia, thank you so much for being here and best of luck with all of your current and future projects!

And thank you, Loraine. I do appreciate your support.

Find more about Celia and her work on her website:

Book Review: All My Hopes And Dreams - Celia Yeary

AllMyHopesAndDreams-CeliaYearyAll My Hopes And Dreams
Celia Yeary
Wild Rose Press
Western Historical Romance





Celia and I met on a writer's list some time ago and made a connection in that we both write romance that is non-erotic and focuses on the relationship and the issues surrounding the relationship. We chat often now on a list Celia helps to moderate only for non-erotic romance writers and readers. So when her first novel came out, I had to pick it up. Since I bought it on Ebook (although it is now in print, also), it sat waiting for when I found a better way to read them than on my desktop. A Netbook was my answer.

A disclaimer: I rarely read westerns. In fact this may be my first. Oh, I grew up watching John Wayne movies since Dad is such of fan and there are a few western movies I actually enjoy, but I've never been taken to pick up a western novel.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed following the Texas-set story of Cynthia Harrington, a typical wealthy daughter of a controlling father growing up with everything done for her, and Ricardo Romero, a hard-working rancher of Mexican and Comanche descent who rescues her from an arranged marriage. Ricardo is attracted to Cynthia's stubborn spirit but also seems somewhat intimidated by her. The interplay between the two, with a lot of back and forth "will it work" confrontations, is the basis of the story.

Behind that, there is beautiful western scenery, complete with horses and inside knowledge of ranching that was interesting for this town girl to learn. There's Texas history and conflict between the Mexicans and the Whites as they both work to build their ranches and lives sharing the Texas territory. It's handled well, showing the conflict on both sides as well as understanding and willingness to get along on both sides.

I was a bit iffy about the POV jumping from one character to another, but that's largely personal preference and it was easy to follow who was in charge at each moment so it didn't throw me. There were also a few POV segments from minor characters I wasn't sure was necessary, in particular Ricardo's mother. We get right away that Mrs. Romero does NOT want her son married to a "spoiled" white girl from East Texas and is overtly hostile. It's shown very well from Cynthia's POV so having the short scenes from the mother-in-law's view, also, felt somewhat repetitious. However, they were short and didn't bother anything to be there.

At times I wanted to bop Cynthia upside the head and tell her to stop being so distrustful and stop and SEE Ricardo as he was. Ricardo is a widely appealing hero, handsome and romantic, but also flawed enough to be human. Every character was well defined and I could almost see myself there getting to know the ranch employee wives along with Cynthia.

Anyone who enjoys western historical romance will enjoy this fun, quick-paced read. And be sure to check Celia's website for her soon-to-come "Showdown in Southfork" and her free reads at The Wild Rose Press. Don't skip over the photos of her native Texas while you're there!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Joyous Easter Blessings


It has been a nice week around here, full of sunshine and baseball and red-budding trees. The daffodils are wide open and flaunting their bright yellow. The tulips and lilacs and forsythias are showing hints of the colors to come.


I think that has to be much of why I love spring as I do. Of course, it also signifies winter's end and the hope of warm shirt-sleeve weather. But the colors of spring are amazing and filter joy into my soul.


This week has also been a time of more interaction with young people: the boys on the field, the children buzzing around the bleachers, children again on their bicycles and on shank's mare (a Scottish term for on foot). On top of that, I received a lovely letter from an eighth grader wanting to know more about what it's like to be an author. It was flattering and joy-inspiring. Touching the minds of young people is an honor. It should always be respected as such.


Speaking of, my children are waiting on me to finish Easter dinner and go watch a fun movie with them -- our Easter tradition. Afterwards, we'll work it off romping with the dogs.


I leave you today with a link to a free story I wrote some time ago, Jacob's Cross. "Alicia goes fishing in the dark of night to wrestle with her grief and to try to understand the nature of loss and sacrifice." It's religion centered but also has general life connotations. If you check it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Wishing you a beautiful, spirit-filled, peaceful Easter and a beautiful spring full of joyous events, large and small.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I Have a Huge Fixation

books1152-500lkhMy to-be-read list is growing like moss in a forest. This is a small section of my bookshelf. Two of these I've read. The rest are waiting. All of them, I can't wait to get to. I'm a bit of a fanatic, I think, and that thought came to me today when I was in the bookstore and found Frank Delaney's Tipperary, as well as a brand new one -- Shannon, I think -- and the one that got me started: Ireland. I haven't yet finished Ireland -- it's not a quick read, but it's so delightful. I felt like I won the lottery finding he has TWO more out! I didn't pick up Shannon because it's only hardcover so far and wouldn't match Tipperary which is trade paperback. Of course, Tipperary doesn't match my mass market Ireland so ... I very nearly picked up Ireland in trade paperback so it would match. I may still. Then I'll pass mass market Ireland along to a family member who would enjoy it. I like trade paperback size.


Other than these gorgeous novels, I have probably 10 Ebooks on my Netbook waiting for me, as well, and a bunch of classics and historicals I've picked up mainly at library book sales. I think I would have to do nothing but read all day for two months to catch up with what I already have on my shelves and I know the next library sale I see, I'll have to browse. I don't see the two-month-straight-reading thing happening but my fingers would be happy since all the typing I've been doing has them pretty sore.

I also picked up another kid's book today: The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Treasury. I loved Mrs. Piggle Wiggle as a kid. The other side of this same fixation is that I've been picking up lots of kids books when I find them on clearance, some of which are historical/educational puzzle books with incredible photos, some are art books. Okay, there's nothing strange about buying kid's books, right? Except my youngest is nearly 16, and trust me, he won't read what I've been buying. But they're filling out my kid corner so well:kidsbooks1154-500lkh

So, although I don't have kids here to share them with yet, they'll keep until I do.


I suppose having a book fixation isn't bad. I'm not into fashion or shoes or handbags, so I should be allowed something to splurge on, right?

Never mind my CD/music collection or my urge to get to the garden store and add to my bulbs and bushes collection. Some fixations truly are healthy. Really. Just like having fantasies ... ah, but that's for a different entry.

What about you? What are some of your fixations? What books do you have lined up to read or are waiting to get your hands on?

By the way, I'm now a moderator at Classic Romance Revival's Yahoo group and we're looking for book reviewers! You don't need to be an experienced reviewer. You only need to enjoy reading classic romance, that is romance with heart and story but no erotic detail, and be willing to follow a few reviewing guidelines. Books will generally be in Ebook format. Email me at if you're interested and I'll pass your information along to Judah Raine, our trusty, hard-working leader. :-)


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

When a Thing becomes a Character

1708What happens when part of a setting is so completely integrated into a story that it magically transforms from a Thing into a Character?

Take this rock wall from a photo I snapped somewhere along one of our road trips. It could simply be part of the setting -- background detail to help ground the reality of where our characters are and what they see, maybe even showing how they feel about it that defines them somewhat. This is the typical use of description, even when it's describing such a gorgeous scene as this wall.

On the other hand, it could become such an important part of the story that the story wouldn't be the same without it. It could be a catalyst for a character to change. Maybe he passes it every day and ponders it for miles afterwards, so much so that it becomes a part of him. Maybe he becomes as rigid and strong as that rock wall while allowing enough subtle growth to let himself flourish like the hardy vegetation hanging on to its side.

I used this device in Finishing Touches, my novel about a young artist fighting against being an artist because she marries one and feels she can't compete with him. Throughout the story, she often refers to the huge window in their loft that allows her to look out at the world while staying safely closed within. To my delight, one of my readers picked up on the characterization of the window and how it helped define Jenna herself. It reflects her struggle to look out or to stay in, her urging to explore her art and use it, or to give in to her insecurity of not being good enough. This theme reaches beyond art and into other areas of her life.

Her artist spouse, who she loses just before the story begins, paints a scene of them wrapped in only a blanket looking out at the river below. The window, here, becomes a metaphor of the exposure Jenna feels because of his professional career, because she becomes known as his wife and attracts another young artist who is a fan of his work. Still, it keeps a boundary. She may be exposed but she's beyond anyone's bounds to be able to reach. Or so she believes.

The window becomes a character. The story would hardly be the same story without it.

[originally posted at Lindsay's Romantics 26 March 09:]

Finishing Touches is available as a Trade Paperback and as an Ebook. Find its website for more information at