Friday, August 01, 2008

Author Mary Connealy - CALICO CANYON - Free Book

Mary is here to promote her second book in the Lasooed in Texas series.

Welcome, Mary. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I wrote for a long time before I got published, Lena. I wrote in many genres and had a lot of fun doing it. Petticoat Ranch is just the one that finally hit. So I’m thrilled to keep writing in that genre. I really love the voice of westerns. I love having my hero kick the dust and adjust his Stetson and say, “I reckon.”

But Barbour, bless them, wants the historical romantic comedy series, but they’ve also let me write for their cozy mystery line and Heartsong Presents, which I’m doing a contemporary three book series for. So I’m getting to write in those different styles and I love it.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

The day my first daughter was born. I’ve got four daughters and having each one of them come into my life was such a miracle. The only difference between the first and the others is the newness of it. I remember vividly just being almost stunned by the force of my love for that little baby. There was a fierceness to it that seemed deeper than my mind, it went all the way to my instincts. I had loved my baby from the moment I knew she was on the way, but being struck by the visceral knowledge that I had someone in my life that I would gladly fight and die for made the joy of having her all the more powerful.

How has being published changed your life?

It’s changed it in a lot of ways, but most remarkable I suppose is how my life has really continued on unchanged.

The changes…I’m busier on weekends because of promotion events, book signings for example. My writing is different emotionally for me. There’s a different kind of fun in it, knowing it’s going somewhere specific. I travel more, though not much more, I’ve never traveled much.
I do find people asking me for advice and quoting me, which amuses me. I always thinking, ‘Honey, if you’re coming to me for advice, you’re in a lot of trouble.’

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Julie Lessman’s A Passion Most Pure, which I loved. I really think this is going to be a classic. It’s so smart and it’s challenging and emotionally so engrossing and satisfying. I love the way Julie Lessman’s mind works.

I’m in the middle of Glory Be by Jon and Janet Benrey, it’s a lot of fun.

I loved Sushi for One by Camy Tang. I am amazed at how much she made me care about those characters. That’s a real gift. And now I’ve finished Only Uni, another great read.

I thought Missy Tippens’ Her Unlikely Family was so fresh and funny and sweet and charming, absolutely excellent. And Cheryl Wyatt’s sweet, heartwarming A Soldier’s Promise makes me want more from her.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m finished with the third book in the Lassoed in Texas series. That series includes Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and now Gingham Mountain. I’m on book three of a new three book series Barbour has contracted. The working title is Wildflower Bride about a woman who was raised in an Indian tribe until her village was massacred by white men. She is spared because she is white and she has terrible feelings toward the white men. We can’t use the term ‘rage issues’ in a historical, but the woman has those in spades. :-)

The hero is a quiet man who has a deep faith but his peaceful ways and soft, loving heart aren’t a good match for the untamed west. He’s trying to convince her all white men aren’t like the ones she hates. She has to teach him he can be a Christian and still be really tough. He has to teach her that loving others isn’t a suggestion, it’s a commandment.

I’m having a lot of fun with this one. She is so sassy, he is so perplexed by her defiance and so drawn to her courage.

What would be your dream vacation?

I think any vacation where I didn’t have to feel like I was being irresponsible would be nice. I’ve got a full time job and the books and I always feel a little itchy when I’m away from those things. Like, I should be working!

My husband’s mom lives in far south Texas right on the Mexican border, in a retirement community. We went to see her right after Christmas this year and were gone for…eight days at least. It was the longest vacation I’ve had since my honeymoon thirty-one years ago. It was great.

We went to the ocean and Mexico and ate great food and soaked in my mother-in-law’s pool. We even played shuffleboard. You know, I could really see myself being retired. :-) I know, little early in life for that for me, but what’s bad is two of my daughters were able to come along, one mid-twenties, one 18. And THEY wanted to retire. Not that’s pretty scary

I think a dream vacation might be spending some real time in the Rocky Mountains. Rent a cabin and just soak in the beauty. I don’t know how long I’d be able to soak…maybe a month…maybe only a couple of hours. Heaven knows I’ve never gotten a chance to try it. But I’d like to see. Maybe sit in the middle of all that beauty with a laptop and write.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

Well, Texas was easy. In fact setting your book in Texas is so easy that it’s like a whirlpool that you need to fight or it’ll just suck you in. So I was writing a historical western…Texas…of course.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Who would I really love to talk to? I’m having trouble with this one. I’ve got authors dashing through my head but the real problem is being afraid that I’d find out they were just human. Or maybe not even very nice. I’d hate to find that out.

Okay, I’m stumped. Francine Rivers was the keynote speaker at the first writer’s conference I attended and I loved her. I wouldn’t mind spending some time with her.

I’ve always wanted to meet Wanda Brunsetter.

I’d love to see how Rene Gutteridge’s mind works, and Angela Hunt. I love their work and think they’ve just got a creative knack that is rare.

Right now I’m so lonely for my pals on my blog that I could cry. I hope to see them in Minneapolis in September at the ACFW conference but they won’t all be there.

I’ve always wanted to meet Julie Garwood.

I think Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney are extraordinary women. I’d love to spend an evening with them just to see how you survive the white hot pressure they’ve lived with all these years.
Oh what the heck, Lena. How about I get to spend the evening with you? We’d have a great time.

Yes, we would, Mary, and I will be in Minneapolis. I'm really proud of all you've accomplished since I was able to help you a little way back there. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Well, hobbies, huh? My family boats on the Missouri River in the summer. I love going to Omaha and going out with my children or some of my husband’s or my brother’s and sisters. Great company, great restaurants.

I’m like a crossword puzzle Savant. No kidding, I’m pretty good. Sudoku puzzles too, but I’m not so great at them.

Mostly I read books. I know, you said not to include that one. So I won’t.

I just found a computer Sudoku game, and I've become pretty good at playing it. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

I love to write. I really see no obstacles to it. The hardest part is probably marketing, but I’m trying to be very brave and do personal appearances when asked. I’d always rather be behind my computer typing, though.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Write. Study and learn and read great books, find out what you love to read, then write what you love, use what you’ve learned. You can’t improve, no matter how much you study writing, unless you put it to the test, try to remember everything you’ve learned then apply it to a book. You should be churning out pages, don’t just write one book and stop until it sells, keep writing, writing, writing.

I like contests, and conferences and think they’re a great route to publication, but fundamentally you need to write.

Mary, I love your new cover. Purple is my favorite color. Tell us about the featured book.

Calico Canyon is the flip side of Petticoat Ranch. Petticoat Ranch was a man who’d never been around women who is dropped into an all-girl world. Calico Canyon is a woman who’s never been around men (and when she was around a man, she hated him) who finds herself married to a widower with five sons.

Prissy Miss Calhoun, the school marm from Petticoat Ranch and Daniel Reeves with his five unruly boys star in Calico Canyon. She kicks his boys out of school. He gets her fired. A completely innocent compromising situation sees them married the next day.

Five little boys are horrified.
Daniel is a trapped rat.
Grace is stuck in her worst nightmare.
And then things get really bad.
Calico Canyon has suspense but it’s more of a flat out comedy than Petticoat Ranch. I hope people enjoy it.

My copy just came. I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Well, I’m all over, probably too much all over. Besides my website and my blog, I’m also involved in the Seekerville blog, about writing contests, and the Petticoats and Pistols blog, which I love and am honored to be involved with, about historical westerns.

Thank you for spending this time with us, Mary. It was fun.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Calico Canyon, then hurry over to check out her web sites.


Julie Lessman said...

Lena and Mary -- WONDERFUL interview!! Just when I think I know all there is about Mary, I learn something new! A crossword puzzle Savant?? Who knew?? Gosh, our own little "Rain Woman."

And, WOW, Mare, thank you for your incredibly kind words about A Passion Most Pure. But you and I are members of the same club, I think (MAS -- Mutual Admiration Society) because Calico Canyon is one of the best books I have read in a long, long time -- funny, tender, funny, poignant, funny, inspirational and then just plain laugh-out-loud funny. Not to mention incredibly well written and one of the best premises for a romance I have ever read!! Can't wait for the next one!!


Mary Connealy said...

Hey, Julie! You found me hanging around at Lena's blog.
Julie's book 'A Passion Redeemed' is next for her, coming very, very soon.
I'm eager to read it, but I'm really hoping the bratty little sister Charity, from A Passion Most Pure gets major payback landed right on her head before you give her Happily Ever After.

Mary Connealy said...

And since I wrote this, another of my Seekerville Sisters has gotten a book out. Well, almost out. Janet Dean has Courting Miss Adelaide coming soon.

I got my hands on a copy early and It's so well done. Absolutely excellent.

And I didn't mention Debby Giusti's suspenseful romances either. We've got all the bases covered with the Seekers.

WK said...

OHh great intereview!!! I loved PETTICOAT RANCH, and can't wait to read CALICO CANYON.

Thanks for this and hugs,

highlandlovesong at yahoo dot com

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Wendy. Good luck. You're name is in the drawing.

Thank you for the kind words about Petticoat Ranch.

ladystorm said...

This book sounds like a blast, please enter me in the contest.


ladystorm282001 at yahoo dot com

Karen said...

I absolutely loved the interview and really, really, really want to read this book. Please enter me in the contest.

Laura Beth said...

Hello Mary,

I really enjoyed Petticoat Ranch. I loved the western theme with so much comedy mixed with romance. It was something different and refreshing. I would love to win a copy of Calico Canyon. I look forward to reading it!
Laura Beth Young

Cheri2628 said...

Mary, I just read Petticoat Ranch, and I loved it. It was the first book of yours that I have read, and it won't be the last. I loved the humor, suspense, family drama, and faith in the story. The characters were easy to care about. I am looking forward to reading Calico Canyon.

bookwurm70 said...

Thanks for the interview, very interesting. I can't wait to read the book. Please enter me.

bookwurm70 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, I promise I only looked away for a minute and here you all are. :)

Good luck with the drawing.

Laura Beth and Cheri, thank you for the kind words about Petticoat Ranch.

Lena does great interviews, she keeps me on my toes. :)

I think Calico Canyon is every bit as much fun...thanks, Julie.

There's a book three coming February 2009.

Mary Connealy said...

I was going to include the title of Book Three in the Lassoed in Texas series. Gingham Mountain.

MaryZ said...

I just finished Petticoat Ranch; it was delightful! I am looking forward to Calico Canyon. Please include me!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, maryz. Your name is in the drawing. Good luck to each of you.

Lucie said...

I would love to win this book as I have been hearing great things about it on ACFW! Please enter me!
Thank You!


LucieInCA [at] aol [dot] com

Anonymous said...

Mary is a word diva!!

She keeps whooping me at Scrabble.

I am totally loving Calico despite the beating.

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview! The book sounds fabulous and I can't wait to read it. Please enter me in the drawing.

Deborah Piccurelli

Camy Tang said...

Great interview, Mary! And thanks for your nice words about Sushi for One and Only Uni (I'll pay you later...)


Jo said...

What a interesting interview. The book sounds wonderful. Please enter me in the drawing.


Vickie said...


It's cool to learn more about you. Can't wait to read your new book.

Delia Latham said...

Mary, Mary...what a wonderful interview - and what a greatbook! I read it, and it was fun and engaging. I love your style, and I'm going to read this wonderful book again, just to learn something about writing this time - if I can keep from sinking too far into the storyline again, that is! :)

Lindsey said...

I am totally intrigued and eager to read Calico Canyon now. :-) Thanks for the interview and the opportunity to win!

ladyufshalott at yahoo dot com

Crystal said...

I'd love to win this book! And I love Cami Tang's books too!!!


sarahw said...

sounds like a really good book. please enter my name in the draw.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading Petticoat Ranch and then on to the next two in the series. My kind of author, also hoping to be included in the drawing.

ChristyJan said...

Please enter me to win a copy of CALICO CANYON ~ it sound like a wonderful read!


Missy Tippens said...

Great interview, Lena and Mary!!

And Mary, thanks so much for the shout-out on my book. That really means a lot coming from a author whose books I love and enjoy so much! :)


Pam said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

Ivan Girl said...

that's a very interesting interview of the author.

the book sounds wonderful to me; curious about the plot. :)

and the cover? i love purple. it's a favorite.

hope to win this copy.


~Ley said...

I LOVED Petticoat Ranch. I got almost my entire "family" to read it. An amazing accomplishment considering our differing tastes in books. Can't wait for the rest of the series! Please enter me!


Cheryl said...

I have been trying to win this book maybe I'll get lucky this time. My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net

Carolynn W. said...

Please enter me, I can't wait to read it, thanks for the chance to win!

MLethbri said...

Not sure if this contest is still running or not, but I'd love to be entered in the drawing if it is! MLLoudRed [at] gmail [dot] com Thanks!

Smilingsal said...

Please enter me!

Norma said...

I'd love to read this book! I think I will have to look for Petticoat Ranch as well!

Just.Me said...

This book sounds like such a fun read. I love that it is an original idea and kind of reminds me of a Doris Day type movie, which I love.

Cheryl Wyatt said...


THANK YOU for mentioning my debut book!

And I can't wait to see you in September at the ACFW conference.