Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guest Blogger, Mary Connealy

(Guest Blogger, Mary Connealy is one the finest authors to exemplify the new generation of Inspirational Fiction writers. Her acute perceptions and infectious humor grab the reader from page one. Obviously Barbour Publishing, her publishing house, recognized her talent and has launched Mary's books across three of their lines: Short Historical, Long Historical, and Cozy Mystery. Mary is a finalist in the Book Of The Year contest hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Petticoat Ranch finaled in Debut Author; Golden Days finaled in Short Historical. The winners will be announced at the conference in September. Way to go, Mary!! -audra)

Christian fiction is the fastest growing area of all fiction genres. If you
haven't checked out Christian fiction lately, you need to give it another

Whatever your favorite kind of reading, there's a Christian version of it.

If you love suspense, give Brandilyn Collins and Ted Dekker a try.

If you loved the sassy chick lit style of Bridget Jones Diary, try Kristin
Billerbeck and Camy Tang.

If you love the romantic comedy of historical Julie Garwood, check out my
books, Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon.

We've got cop dramas, courtroom dramas, angst ridden melodrama, cozy
mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, and sweeping family sagas.

The main difference in Christian fiction is there are Christian characters at
the heart of them. No profanity. No sex between unmarried couples and once
they are married, we let them go into the bedroom alone and swing the door
shut. C'mon, that's just good manners!!!! :)

The books are the same fast-paced, funny, sharply written content you enjoy
in any of your favorites.

If you've tried Christian fiction before and found it too mild...and I make
no apologies for some of the mild, beautiful stories out there, but if that's
not what hooks you, then it's time to check in again. Christian Fiction is
growing fast for a reason. We're having a lot of fun.


Calico Canyon – Lassoed in Texas Book #2 is a suspenseful, inspirational, historical western, romantic comedy. In Petticoat Ranch I talked about a man who’d never been around women, dropped into an all-girl world, so I decided to do the flip side of that story in Calico Canyon.
I took prissy, Miss Calhoun, the school marm, and shoved her, completely against her will, into an all-male world.

The thing with trying to do this is to focus on their complete fish-out-of-water story, make it as extreme as possible and still have the hero be heroic, the heroine be delightful and loveable. Not that easy when she doesn’t understand anything about his wild, ill-mannered boys, less about him and nothing about marriage.

There’s a line in Calico Canyon I loved while Daniel is watching her cry, terrified of tears:

He and his boys stood absolutely immobilized. The wind moaned around the house and Daniel wondered if he’d have to dig them out in the morning. They lived on fairly high ground. They got a beauty of a snow storm once in a while, he’d heard. A blizzard might cut them off from civilization for a spell, if you could call Mosqueros civilized. Then he realized there was no way they were going to get to church in the morning. Daniel liked church. He did. But once he showed up with Miss Calhoun in town, his marriage was a done deal.

And that’s when he realized he was still trying to think of a way out of this. But Daniel Reeves was no fool. He could dream all he wanted. He was tied to this woman.

John whispered again, “Is she supposed to get all sad like that, Pa?”

“Yep, in my experience with wives, they’re supposed to fuss about something all the time. I’ve never had me one that didn’t cry up a storm at the drop of a hat.”

Grace lifted her head and scowled through her tears.

Daniel was surprised at his urge to laugh. She was really a mess. The oh-so-tidy Miss Calhoun kept getting herself slopped up more and more. He wondered when she’d gather her wits together enough to care about that.

“Did it ever occur to you that you might be doing things to your wives that make them cry?” She pushed her hair off her soggy face with shaky hands.

“Nope.” Daniel shrugged. “Never was nothing I did.”

This is just Daniel being absolutely clueless and having no idea what it takes to make a woman happy.

The main trouble between Daniel and Grace isn’t the fact that they loathe each other—although that’s huge. It’s the fact that Daniel completely blames himself for his first wife’s death in childbirth, plus how brutally hard it was for him to survive with newborn triplets. He is so deeply traumatized by it that he won’t risk letting another woman bear his child.

That’s all fine as long as he and Grace can’t stand each other, but, once he calms down and accepts his fate, Daniel has a perfectly natural desire and ever stronger desire for his new wife.

Calico Canyon is a he said/she said look at a forced marriage and getting inside Daniel’s head, as well as his sons, was the most challenging part of the book, and the most fun.

Do you think a woman can ever really know how a man’s mind works?

And is that even fair? Maybe one man is completely different than another. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I really nailed it, but seriously how can they be sure?

But guys do seem to kind of all think alike in some weird ways.

How about you, can you think of something your husband/brother/father/son or whoever did that made you just think, “He is such a guy!”


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, thanks for having me on Five Scribes.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary! I love your books!!! I hope those who haven't tried Christian fiction will give your fun books a try.

Guys are clueless. When I'm upset, mine wants to fix things when all I want is a hug and a "you poor thing." I suggest telling your guy what to say. Then he'll never get it wrong and you'll always hear what you need. LOL


Donnell said...

Hi, Mary, thanks so much for being with the Scribes today. I'm sending this from Portland Oregon where it's absolutely gorgeous! I have to tell you I read most every genre, but I was particularly fortunate to judge inspirational in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence this year and I was overwhelmed with the talent I saw. Inspirational fiction has indeed come a long way from *preaching to the choir* to *inspiring the reader* I will make it a point to pick up your books... Audra thank you for having Mary as a guest blogger. As for men, I'm married to a chemical engineer. Do I get extra points? :) all best and thank you

Mary Connealy said...

Donnell, I've heard engineers are super organized...and that maybe 'super organized' is putting it kindly.

Is your husband like that?

Thanks for stopping by Janet.
We all have to be really careful around Janet. Her first book, Courting Miss Adelaide just released into her book club and she's so excited she's a danger to herself and others.

I got an advanced copy, which will be in bookstores in September and it's so great. I loved it.

Cheryl Wyatt said... husband does something every day that makes my heart melt. But....he also does things to aggravate me. LOL! Part of the problem is that I'm OCD and he's ADD.

LOVE this blog ladies! I know several of you scribes from contests and other loops.


Cheryl Wyatt

Janet Dean said...

LOL, Mary!! I am a danger to myself! I'm running around like a headless chicken--I've actually seen that and it isn't a pretty sight--trying to get ready for the RWA conference.

Mary, thanks for the sweet words about Courting Miss Adelaide!

Waving to Audra!

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, guy story. Absolutely true.

My SECOND daughter, we’d gone out for a movie with friends who hung around for quite a while at our house afterward. I was five days overdue and I’d been having twinges all evening…but c’mon, I’d been having twinges for six months!!
Our friends left, it was near 1 a.m. and I told my husband, “I’m not sure, but I think I’m in labor.”
His response, “If you knew you were in labor why didn’t you tell them to go home. Do you know how many hours of sleep I’m going to get now?”
We got to the hospital and my husband, now an old hand at labor and delivery, knew where the coffee pot and the refrigerator were at the small hospital where our children were born.
He got coffee, hunted up a comfortable chair and chatted (no, I will NOT say flirted) with the nurses the whole time.

I swear they invented stirrups on hospital beds to restrain the wives trying to kill their husbands.

Donnell said...

Mary, my husband is focused. I WISH I had his focus on some things; others well, let's just say I'm glad I'm the one with the common sense. If my dh calls and says he's walking in the door at 6:23 he's walking in the door at 6:23. The worst thing he can say to me is I'm illogical. At least if I walk in the door at 6:24 I'm able to get through the day :) Waving hi to Cheryl!

Donnell said...

Mary, my husband is focused. I WISH I had his focus on some things; others well, let's just say I'm glad I'm the one with the common sense. If my dh calls and says he's walking in the door at 6:23 he's walking in the door at 6:23. The worst thing he can say to me is I'm illogical. At least if I walk in the door at 6:24 I'm able to get through the day :) Waving hi to Cheryl!

Leslie Ann said...

Hi Mary,
Welcome to the scribes, we're having a lot of fun with our new blog, even some serious stuff...sometimes.

Your post was fun. Seriously...My DH is an attorney, so listening is his business, until he gets home. Love the man to death, but selective hearing? OMGoodness, and it seems to have gotten worse:)

Can we really know if we've written a guy well? I guess a man would have to read it and let us know, then...that depends on the man. I can't wait to read your books, scribe pal Audra highly recommends them.


Audra Harders said...

Janet, thanks for visiting!! You are on my list of authors to guest blog, so either step up, or run and hide, LOL! Same goes for you Cheryl! Ahh, the new breed of Inspirational, I love it!!

Clueless guys? Hmm, not to them : ) Like the excerpt you offered Mary, I vividly remember instances of *don't you think you might be the cause?* Only to receive a blank stare and a *nope* : ) Their only saving grace is that they need us : )

Thanks for the great conversation, guys!

Pam Hillman said...

Enjoyed the blog post, Mary! Hi Audra. We finally tracked you down. Miss talking to you.

If I let my three guys think they're always right, we all get along JUST fine.

Mary Connealy said...

More guy stuff.

I’ve been married 32 years. I still seriously have NO CLUE what my husband is going to say most of the time.

People will say, “You want to go and try this new restaurant (or whatever)?”

All I know is, when I pitch a new idea to my husband, I absolutely cannot predict yes or no, but which ever it is, he will be adament.

Now, if he feels so strongly about something, how come I don’t have a clue what his answer will be?

I know he hates musicals, movies or theaters. I can always predict that. No idea why he feels that way. Maybe a piano fell over and broke his leg as a child, or somehow a symphony conductor thrashed him with a baton when he was in his formative years. But he hates musicals.
His favorite musical of all time?
Paint Your Wagon.
Except for the singing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great post Mary. I agree that Christian Fiction has come a long way. I loved your characters in Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon. You do a great job with the men pov.

Hey Audra. Great to see your photo and know you're doing great. Best wishes.

Julie Lessman said...

Great interview, Mare, and ladies of Five Scribes (Hi Audra, honey!)!!

And Christian Fiction is rockin'!!! Just finished Mary's Calico Ranch and laughed more than I have in weeks -- what a great, fun, humorous tale to lose one's self in!!


Mary Connealy said...

Focused is a good word, Donnelle, I can let you have focused.

And Leslie Ann, you've asked the eternal question. People say, wow, how'd you get inside a man's head like that.

All I can say is, "Did I?"

Who really knows what's going on in there.

Mary Connealy said...

Here's a guy-ish scene from Calico Canyon. Daniel's trying to find out if, the one night he was weak, he and Grace created a child together.

By the way, my own husband said this scene was very embarrassing.

there’s a scene in Calico Canyon where the clueless husband Daniel is trying to find out if his wife is pregnant.

Here’s a little of it:

He leaned close and whispered, “Are you carrying my child?”

Grace dropped her hands. In the darkened bedroom, moonlight streamed in through the cracks in the shuttered window. The tears ran, unchecked down her face.

“Quit crying. I can’t abide a woman’s tears.” He tightened his grip on her shoulder.

“How could I know such a thing?” she whispered. “I wasn’t even aware that. . .well, what I mean is, I’ve never had a mother to explain things. And. . .for a child to begin. . .I’ve never given it a thought.”

“You’ll know because your. . .” Daniel fell silent. He had to force the words past his throat. “Y-your. . .uh. . .lady’s time—” He lapsed into silence.

She gasped. “I’ll not discuss such with you, sir.” She tried to step away from him.

He held on doggedly, his eyes closed tight so he wouldn’t have to look at her while he discussed such an embarrassing subject. “A lady’s time. . .doesn’t. . .come when a woman is with child. Has yours come?”

“It doesn’t?”

Daniel shook his head.

“But that will take months to know.”

“No, it doesn’t. It only takes a month.”

“Why is that?” Grace asked, her eyes wide with confusion.

Nearly in physical pain from the topic, Daniel growled, “Because it comes every month, so if it doesn’t come that month, then you know.”

“Mine doesn’t. . .come. . .every month.” Grace licked her lips as if her mouth had gone stone dry. “I mean, it never has. I had no idea it was supposed to.” With a sudden flare of temper, Grace added, “Every month? That will be a nuisance.”

She exasperated Daniel past his embarrassment. “You’re a woman grown, Grace. You’re supposed to have one per month.”

“Well, I’ve only had a couple of them in my whole life.”

Daniel glared at her. “How old did you say you are?”


“I was married at seventeen. My wife was the same age. She told me it started when a woman was twelve. Every month. You’re not doing it right.”

Grace looked angry for a moment, then her mouth formed itself into a straight line and her brow wrinkled. “I’m s-sorry.” Her eyes filled with tears again. She looked down at her skinny body.

“It’s okay. I reckon you can’t help doing it wrong.” He patted her on the arm with his big clodhopper hands.