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Wednesday, July 19, 2017


By: Celia Yeary
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.
I had always written full length novels, but discovered I liked to read the novella length, too. So, I tried my hand at writing this shorter story, and learned I could not only do it, but readers liked them, too.
An Example: from a coming release: A Western Romance Short--titled
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."

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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  1. Celia, you have it right. I truly believe we grow and enjoy the fruits of life by 'taking the dare'. I didn't move around like you, but those dares...they were fun. (Don't worry, I knew my limits).

    Life is so rich when we look 'fear' in the eye and go for it. I'm glad I did.

    On another note, loved the excerpt. Doris

    1. Hi, Doris...I never looked the part of a dare-devil because Mother kept us in pretty dresses and daddy kept us in polished shoes. I looked like a miss priss, as Mother would say--or prissy.
      And I was quiet. Maybe that's why other thought to torture me with these dares..I didn't see them that way, though...just things I wondered if I could do.
      Glad you liked the excerpt. And thanks.

  2. You little devil-cat, you! LOL I was so much like that growing up, Celia. But somewhere along the line (I think it was after I had kids) I stopped doing TOO many daring things. I quit riding roller coasters, and of course when I was pregnant I quit drinking--even quit drinking my beloved Cokes! I became pretty boring. But...probably the most daring thing I did later in life was to write my novel(s) and short stories and send them off to be "judged" by others and accepted or rejected. Oh, many tears were shed when those rejection letters came--but that was part of growth.

    The most recent "daring thing" I've done is to join in this wonderful partnership with my "soul sister" Livia, opening PRP and all our imprints, meeting so many wonderful authors and making friends that will last a lifetime. Great post! Made me think back on all those daring things I did.

    One of the things I did when I was about 11 or 12--several of us rode bikes all over town but we had our boundaries. One day, we decided to push those limits, and...we rode right up on top of a Hell's Angels camp. Oh. My. Gosh. You have never seen anyone pedal a bike so fast! I bet we could have all won the Tour de France that day!

    1. Cheryl--I would love to have seen you on those bikes, riding "hell-bent-for-leather" to get away from that camp!All in all, I was not a daredevil at all. Sometimes something just comes up and I agree to it. But I guess I was a little mouthy at times to other kids--but only if they deserved it.
      At 10 I was playing Jacks on the sidewalk during recess. This boy came along--he had a cast on his leg from the knee to his ankle. He used that cast to kick our jacks off into the dirt. I jumped up and...with those same kind of white high top shoes, I stood up and kicked his cast. He hollered and reached up and jerked my earring, splitting my ear lobe a little. They were little gold hoops my aunt gave me after she enticed me into the back bedroom to "secretly" pierce my ears. Scared? Goodness no, not when the prize was those earrings! But in jerking the earring, I started screaming and yelling at him and out comes the teacher. I swear,all she heard was "she kicked my cast!"--and boy, could he bawl. We got the same punishment..sit on the ground against the building till the bell rang.
      I've come to know writing a novel and letting someone else read the raw ms is one of the most frightening events.
      Ah, anyway, here we are, doing what we love because we dared to. Thanks.

  3. I got a chuckle from your post, Celia. While I was never 'dared' too much, I've always been curious. Sometimes that's been a good thing, and sometimes not so much. :-)

    1. Kristy--I think curiosity is the main ingredient needed to try something knew. People who don't have any of that don't know what they're missing. Thanks for your comment.

  4. First, I want to say thank God you didn't climb the water tower. Second, no I have always been a coward and never took a dare. I don't even remember anyone daring me to do something. Fun read. I am glad you survived your childhood. :)

  5. Paisley--I came close to climbing the water tower, but I was third to go up when cars pulled up..why, I don't know, but we ran.
    Thanks for the comment.

  6. Loved your post. We are so happy your husband dared you to write. Dad made our seesaw on big metal wheels. So my big brothers would dare me to stand in the middle and roll it down the driveway. Of course it would pick up speed and the only break was stepping forward or backward the make the board drag. It's a wonder we didn't break anything. If my brothers would do, I would attempt...the barrel rolling down the drive, both inside and on top...the homemade zipline in the trees...jumping off the treehouse... Those I did, but I never dived off the high board. That thing scared me silly.

    1. Livia--your stunts sound downright dangerous. I grew up in a house of all brothers or boy cousins.
      My husband dared me to write so I could answer my own emails. You see, I would not touch a computer--scared me silly. Both my sisters used computers and would email Jim...and he'd call me into his study to read it. To answer? I dictated to him.
      He became tired of doing that, mainly and thought since I was held captive in a recliner, maybe I could learn something.
      As soon as I could sit in a chair at a desk, I used that computer--for a while. It was inadequate. So he transferred my meager writings to his and we took turns. Soon, I dominated the computer time and he said, Let's go to Best Buy--you need your own computer. Oh, joy! One of the happiest days of my life.
      Thanks for your childhood it.

  7. This was a fun journey back to my growing up years. I was a tomboy who had broken bones, stitches, bumps and bruises, sprains, black eyes, concussions... As a teenager it was fast cars and rodeo. Seems like I was in the ER or had surgery a couple of times a year. lol I broke my parents in for my younger brother. Now we was the daredevil. lol

  8. Yikes. No, I was not a tomboy at all..the only injury I recall was a BB shot into my shin...where it lodged. Since this boy was not allowed to bring his Red Ryder BB gun into our yard, I sat on the porch and picked the BB out of my shin--on the bone, so it was easy to get out.
    I don't remember is Mother ever knew that or not.
    You impressed me--you were a real daredevil! I imagine it helped you in your life being fearless and impatient.

  9. Yes, authors are risk takers. We put our work out there and hope that people will like it!

    1. That's it. We write, we allow other to see..and than..what will be will be.
      Thanks for visiting!

  10. I wasn't much for taking dares. I got in plenty of trouble all by myself. But I'm glad you took your husband's dare about writing. You stepped right into your creative spirit and walked a whole new path.
    I loved KATHLEEN, as well as all the books in the Trinity Hill Brides triology. Aren't you happy you took that dare? Better than that whole see-saw episode. LOL
    All the best to you, Celia.

    1. Hey, Sarah. Actually, I was rarely "in trouble." Whatever I did....and got by with...Mother rarely knew. She knew about the see-saw incident because she had to come get me to see a doctor for those stitches. She rarely, if ever, scolded me.
      I'm so glad you like Kathleen. It's my favorite of the three Trinity Hill brides. But Lorelei was the BIG seller. I'm still trying to figure that out, because I honestly still think Kathleen is the best one.
      Thanks, my friend. Stay close.

  11. You were a daring girl and still are! I never did anything like you did as a kid, although I did get into a fight once on the playground with a bully-boy who thought he could boss everyone around, including little ole me. He went inside crying after I, uh, set him straight. I have never liked bullies!

    I know what you mean about taking a dare in our writing. I guess that's why I decided to introduce psychic characters in my westerns and now in my contemporaries. I believe in psychic powers and felt compelled to share that belief, even at the risk of driving away some readers.

    1. Lyn--I also hate the boy who kicked our Jacks into the dirt. Sorry to talk about him, though--he died at an early age, I think around 40.
      I haven't taken much of a dare in my writing. I know you have, though, by introducing psychic powers.
      If I did anything daring, it might be to write women's fiction...which went out in the 80s, I think. Guess I'm a little late for that.
      You're a good writer...keep it up!

    2. Thank you, Celia. I think if we follow our heart, we will be happiest. If you want to write women's fiction, go for it. I have a good friend who loves reading that genre. It can't be completely gone.