Sunday, January 24, 2010

THE HUSBAND TREE - Mary Connealy - Free Book

Always a joy to welcome you to my blog, Mary. Tell us about your salvation experience.

I went forward to accept Christ at a Lowell Lundstrom Concert when I was sixteen. I went and looked him up when I started answering this question. But I remember really believing in Jesus, understanding—much younger. So, although that was my public profession of faith, I don't really count it as my salvation experience because I knew the truth already.

How did you and your spouse meet?

My husband and I were high school sweethearts. Our Junior prom was our third date. We dated for nearly four years, until I graduated from college, and got married and I moved in to a home three miles from his parents and ten miles from mine. He farmed and ranched with his dad and two brothers. We'll be married 33 years January 29th. A great family centered life.

You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?

Lena! We have talked about this mean question before. Okay, who would I really like to spend time with? Could you make the rule that they have to be nice to me, please? This is your fantasy after all. I'd say…Mel Gibson's wife. I've heard the woman is a saint. :) Don't know if she can write. Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Love that woman's blog. Bill O'Reilly, in the hopes he'd talk about my book on his show. Rachael Ray, she could cook for us. But she couldn’t distract Bill. She's got her own platform.

Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.

No, please God, I could not possible dislike something this much and be called to do it. I've gained some comfort answering questions but giving speeches…nightmare.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?

Shut up.

Oh, all right. Yikes.

Here's one I'm willing to talk about.

I was in radio and TV when I was in college. I once started laughing on air on the nightly news. I was the anchorman. Horrible. The teacher came out of the control booth screaming at me…after going to a commercial, and threw me off the set. It was terrible, seriously. Just writing about it is causing my brain chemistry levels to go off track. It's been thirty-four years and now I can look back on it and laugh. (no, forget that laugh part, I'm still traumatized)

I took a radio and TV production/direction course, too. My favorite thing was running the TV cameras, which were much larger all those years ago. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?

I have a kind of standard answer I give lately. I say, "There are two separate parts to writing a book.

1) There is the mindset/personality type/temperament that will allow you to sit for long stretches of time, alone, makin' stuff up.

2) And, there is the craft of writing.

You can't be a writer without the first and I don't think you can learn it. It's either how you are or not and if you're not that way, just be grateful because it's not very normal behavior. But if you have the first, you can learn craft.

Tell us about the featured book?

Belle Tanner buries her third worthless husband and makes a vow over his shallow grave. She’s learned her lesson. No more men.

Silas Harden just lost his second ranch because of a woman. The first deserted him when times got tough. Now he’s had to quit the whole state of New Mexico to avoid a trumped-up shotgun wedding and the noose of matrimony. He’s learned his lesson. No more women.

Belle needs hired hands to move a cattle herd late in the season and there’s no one around but seemingly aimless Silas. She hires him reluctantly.

Silas signed on, glad for the work, though worried about a woman doing such a thing as hiring drovers, only to find out he’s the lone man going with five woman, including a baby still in diapers. After the cattle drive is over, he might as well shoot himself to speed up the process of being embarrassed to death.

A fast approaching winter.

The toughest lady rancher you’ve ever seen.

A cynical cowboy who has to convince five women he’s right for their ma. . .and then convince himself.

And one thousand head of the crankiest cattle who have ever been punched across the backbone of the Rockies.

Please give us the first page of the book.

The Husband Tree

Chapter One

Belle Tanner pitched dirt right on Anthony’s handsome, worthless face.

It was spitefulness that made her enjoy doing that. But she was sorely afraid Anthony Santoni’s square jaw and curly dark hair had tricked her into agreeing to marry him.

Which made her as big an idiot as Anthony.

Now he was dead and she was left to dig the grave. Why oh why didn’t she just skip marrying him and save herself all this shoveling?

She probably should have wrapped him in a blanket, but blankets were hard to come by in Montana. . .unlike husbands.

She labored on with her filling, not bothering to look down again at the man who had shared her cabin and her bed for the last two years. She only hoped when she finished she didn’t forget where she’d buried Anthony’s no-account hide. She regretted not marking William’s and Gerald’s graves now for fear she’d dig in the same spot and uncover their bones. As she recalled, she’d planted William on the side nearest the house, thinking it had a nice view down the hill over their property. She wasn’t so sure about Gerald, but she’d picked right most likely because she’d dug the hole and hadn’t hit bones. Unless critters had dug Gerald up and dragged him away.

Belle had to admit she didn’t dig one inch deeper than was absolutely necessary. Maybe a little less than was necessary. This was rocky ground. It was quite a chore. Her husbands had made too many chores for her over the years. Digging their graves was the least of it.

She’d risked her own life to drag her first husband, William, out of the cattle pen, the one any fool would know was too dangerous to go into—which Belle always did, not being a fool. Rudolph, their longhorn bull, was a mite cantankerous and given to using his eight foot spread of horns to prove himself in charge of any situation.

Then Gerald had gotten himself thrown from his horse. His boot had slipped through the stirrup, and judging by his condition, Belle figured he’d been dragged for the better part of the three-hour ride home from the Golden Butte Saloon in Divide by a horse whose instincts told him to head for the barn.

Anthony’s only good quality was he’d managed to get himself killed quick. They’d been married less than two years. For a while there Belle feared he’d last through pure luck. But stupid outweighed luck. Stupid’ll kill a man in the West. It wasn’t a forgiving place. And Anthony was purely stupid so he didn’t last all that long.

Between William and Gerald—that is between being married to ’em—Belle had changed the brand to the T Bar. Known as the Tanner Ranch from then on, it never changed, regardless of whatever Belle’s last name happened to be at the time. She’d also had a real smart lawyer in Helena draw up papers for Anthony to sign so the ranch would always belong to Belle, and if something happened to her instead of a worthless husband, Belle’s wishes would be carried out.

She tamped the dirt down good and solid. About the fifth tamp she admitted she was using more energy than was strictly necessary. She’d whacked it down especially tight over Anthony’s pretty boy face. Three sides of the the Husband Tree used up. She wasn’t up to puttin’ up with a live one or buryin’ another dead one. The tree roots wouldn’t appreciate it.

And neither would the children.

She said a quick prayer for Anthony, reflecting silently as she spoke that knowing Anthony as she did, it was doubtful there were enough prayers in the world to save his warped soul. Never had it been necessary for God to perform a greater miracle, and Belle asked for just that, though she didn’t hold out much hope.

She finished the service in one minute flat, not counting the digging and filling which had taken considerably longer. It had been early in the day when she’d found Anthony dead beside the house. Planting him had interrupted chores, but there was no help for it. She couldn’t leave him lying there. He was blocking the front door

Mary, you are a hoot. I've got to read that book next! How can readers find you on the Internet?

Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Once again, we had a wonderful time, Mary.

Readers, here's a link where you can order the book. By using the link when you order, you'll help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


mariska said...

what a romantic story :)

i'd like to read this book !

Little Lady said...

sounds like a great book (of course! :D)

crittyjoy said...

What a fun interview! I so enjoyed the first book in the series and the second one sounds just as good!

crittyjoy {at} gmail {dot} com

Dawn Ford said...

Mary, I love your sense of humor. Your female characters are always so real. I can't wait to read it!!

Rose McCauley said...

what an interesting concept, and I'm sure it will have Mary's humor so sign me up!

Terrie said...

Sound like it's a good book to read. I really enjoyed all of her books. Great blog

Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

Ohhh I'd love this book! Mary is such a riot and her sense of humor shines through in her writing!

Thank you for the great interview!

xoxo~ Renee

G.R.I.T.S. said...

Please Enter me! I love this author!!!

Rae Byuel

Lourdes said...

Like her other books this one sounds great can't wait to read it.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I just finished The Husband Tree and it is my favorite! I just love Belle! I love how she changed her tune about men...Silas in particular...without giving up her fiesty spirit. AWESOME!

apple blossom said...

Love to win this book Thanks.

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Mark said...

I'd like to enter, thanks

Michelle said...

Thank you for entering me! I would love to read this book.

scraphappy71 at sbcglobal dot net

Ausjenny said...

I so have to read this book and one way or another I will get it. (told mum today she can buy it for me for my birthday along with a couple of others.
I really need to see what happens to Belle I liked her from Montana Rose.

Coolestmommy said...

I had the pleasure of riding with Mary to a book signing. She is a wonderful and friendly lady. Now that I've discovered her books, I love them. Hope to win this to add to my Mary collection. :-)

coolestmomy2000 at gmail dot com

Judy Glidden said...

I have this on my "to read" list and was excited to have a chance to win it. I enjoy reading books by Mary Connealy!

Sylvia M. said...

Oh, I have the first book in this series and am really interested in reading the second.


Unknown said...

This is a 'must read' on my reading list! It sounds awesome! Please enter me in the giveaway.
thank you =)

Casey said...

I would enjoy reading this book. I read Montana Rose for the ACFW book club this month and liked it. I would love to find out what happened to the other characters. :) Thanks for the chance.

Anonymous said...

Great salvation story! Thanks for the opportunity. :O)
estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Unknown said...

Sound like a fun book!

Linda said...

Lowell Lundstrom has a church in our area! Actually, Londa just took over the pastorship. From his website, it looks as though he wants to go out and preach again. Where did you get saved? Small world!

I'd love to win The Husband Tree. Finished Montana Rose to do the ACFW book club. Great storyline. Amazing character development. Please enter me.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Linda said...

Just finished Montana Rose for the ACFW's bookclub. Look forward to seeing Mary's development of the characters in The Husband Tree!

Please enter me. Thank you.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

kristen said...

This sounds like a fun story!!
Please enter me!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

As soon as I read the first sentence, of the first page, I burst out laughing! Mary's books are the best! I would love a chance to win.

Thank you so much,
~ Lori

sugarandgrits at hotmail dot com

Mary Connealy said...

Hi everyone.

I'm sick today. Disgusting flu. So I'll comment here but I may not make much sense. Sorry.

Ummmmm I liked being the news direction, Lena. I could handle that. Being on air talent was a nightmare. I think seriously, it's at the root of my aversion to public speaking. I started hating it around that time. I never exactly LIKED it.

I'm just finished the last edits for Wildflower Bride, Wade's story. All the Montana Rose and The Husband Tree characters have a part. Wade has shaped up into the man God wants him to be. And he finally gets to rescue a woman. Too bad she keeps pulling a knife on him when he gets too close.

Megan said...

Mary - Hope you are feeling better! Your book does sounds wonderful though! Thanks for the interview and chance to win, Lena!


Patricia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Dean said...

I enjoyed hearing these tidbits of your life, Mary.

I feel for your embarrassment all those years ago. Some things are just never funny, but at some point, if we can laugh, it does help put it in perspective.

Don't enter me. I've read and loved The Husband Tree!


Sheila Deeth said...

I've been reading books with my Mum and I know this is one we'd both like.

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to read this book! Please enter me. Thanks!!!

Carla said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Sounds great! Please enter me!

Anonymous said...

This book looks wonderful! I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story and loved your interview.
Have a wonderfull day.

Amber Holcomb said...

I would love a chance to win this book! I really liked "Cowboy Christmas" by this author, and I would love to read this one! Thanks!

Carole said...

I will read anything Mary writes and would love to win a copy of The Husband Tree. Thank you for the interview and contest.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Nancye said...

This looks like a great book!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, sorry not to have stopped in more. I spent yesterday with the flu. I honestly hesitate to even write this comment for fear you could catch it through the computer. It seems to be highly contagious. My husband has it now. He's shaking it off pretty well though. The man is TOUGH.

it isn't a long lasting plague. I seem to be better today.

And yesteday blizzard.
And yesterday no electricity for about half the day.


Summer will come again, right?

cheryl c said...

So sorry that you aren't feeling well, Mary. The flu can be debilitating and so hard to shake.

This sounds like another fun story! I love the humor in your books.

Martha A. said...

I am sure this one will be as good as Mary's other books!!! I am looking forward to reading it! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Katherine said...

I LOVE Mary's books! I was so excited to hear about this new one, especially since I loved Montana Rose! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to win this book!


Anonymous said...

would love to read this book...thanks for the opportunity :)


Deborah M said...

I've just read "Montana Rose" and Belle was a character in this book. I would like to see what she is up to in "The Husband Tree". Will she bury any more husbands? LOL
Deborah M.

Unknown said...

Hi Mary, what a great post! I love the sound of this book and I can't wait to read it! I think it will have me laughing all the way through! Please enter me!


Ashley E said...

I love all of Mary's books. Please put my name in the hat! said...

I would really love to read this book! It sounds like a great story.

dancealert at aol dot com

Trinity Rose said...

Please enter me in your contest.
Would love to read this book.
Have a blessed day.
Wanda Chamberlain

Patty Wysong said...

boy-oh-boy, do I ever love Mary's books! What an opening to a book!

Esther Wysong said...

I would absoultly love to read The Husband Tree. Please enter me. Thanks! Esther

Sarah R said...

I would like to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing! Thanks : )

Carman said...

I would absolutely love to win this book! Please enter me. :)