Monday, October 06, 2014

THE ADVENT BRIDE (12 Brides of Christmas Collection) - Mary Connealy - One Free Ebook

Bio: Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She has been a finalist for a Rita Award, Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards and a two time winner of the Carol Award.

Mary has over a half a million books in print. She is the author of bestselling The Advent Bride, included in the ebook only 12 Brides of Christmas novella collection, Tried and True, the newly released book #1 of the Wild at Heart series, Kincaid Brides series, Trouble in Texas Series, also; Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie’s Daughters series and many other books.
She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

Welcome back, Mary. What kind of files takes up the most space on your computer?
Probably pictures but that’s just because they take a lot of space. I’ve got a zillion Word documents and by NUMBER I’m sure there are more of them.

Do you have plans to ever retire from writing? Why or why not?
I picture myself at age 105, dying while halfway through writing a book. I doubt I’ll ever quit writing because … that’s just who I am. It’s what I love to do. What am I going to do instead, Lena? Play golf? I don’t think so!

Excuse me, while I recover from picturing a 105-year-old cowgirl writing. Are you a stay at home kind of person, or do you like to be on the road a lot?
I love being home and even when I’m out running around having a great time, I’m looking forward to getting back home.

Please share a Bible verse or passage that has had the most impact on your life.
The one that popped into my head first (there are so many!) are Matthew 43, 44, 45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

There’s a passage in Tried and True, my book that released in September where the heroine says something like, “A lot of things in the Bible can be confusing. Verses can be interpreted differently by different people and sometimes a verse speaks to us in unexpected ways when we need it to. But there is one verse that is absolutely clear. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. There is no give on that.”

I think that’s so challenging and so wise and so HARD TO LIVE BY.

Do you have a favorite Bible character? Who is it and why?
Beyond Jesus, of course, one of my favorites is Peter. He just struggles so much. He’s such a strong man and submitting and trusting and believing are hard for him. And I think that’s so true for so many of us that I find him fascinating.

What has been your favorite time in your life? And why?
Well, now’s pretty good. Let’s just go with now. I loved when my own children were little. But I love being a published author, too. And I do love my grandbabies.

Oh, yeah. Those grandbabies, and great grandbabies are wonderful. Do you have an ereader? If so, what kind do you use?
I have a basic Kindle, the cheapest one they have. I use it a fair amount. But I still want all my most beloved books in paper. I like thumbing through them and reading scenes that are especially good and thumbing is hard with a Kindle.

That’s why I gave my basic Kindle to my husband and bought me a Kindle Paperwhite. It can save your place while you look back to find something and then you can go immediately to where you were reading. I love it. Do you read mostly print books or ebooks?
Mostly print books. I’d say 25% or less ebooks.

I read print books the most, too, but I carry my Kindle in my purse. It’s handy when we have to wait. Do you like to read books in the genres you write, or do you read only other genres … and why?
I’m a big regency romance freak, so no, not too much in my genre. I’m a little afraid to read to heavily in it for fear I’ll start being derivative. I also like romantic suspense and am currently reading the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box, about a park ranger in the Rocky Mountains. Very cool.

Your writing is so unique that I can’t imagine you ever being derivative. Please tell us about the books we’re featuring today.
The Advent Bride is book #1 of a series of ebooks from Barbour Publishing. You can find out about all the books here:
Mine, The Advent Bride, is Melanie Douglas, a lonely school teacher and widower Henry O’Keeffe, the overworked, grieving father of her most troubled student. When Melanie challenges Henry’s negligent fathering, Henry, to avoid admitting any failing, challenges her to be a teacher and manage her school. Melanie finds a mysterious box in the cold, attic where she is boarding with a cruel old woman—the only house with an available room in the small Nebraska frontier town.

Hidden drawers give her an idea of how to wring good behavior out of Simon.

As Melanie and Simon search the box for hidden gifts, Henry becomes involved and finds the tender heart for his son that seemed to have died with his wife. The three of them journey toward Christmas one secret at a time, learning about God, about each other and about how love can replace sadness with joy.

I can’t wait to read it. Please give us a peek at the first page of The Advent Bride.
Lone Tree, NE
November 29, 1875
Melanie Douglas realized that being a teacher was turning out to be a little like having the flu.
Simon O’Keeffe. Her heart broke for him at the same time her stomach twisted with dread for herself. The churning innards this boy caused in her made a case of influenza fun and game.

The small form on the front steps of the Lone Tree schoolhouse huddled against the cold.
Shivering herself, she wondered how long seven-year-old Simon had been sitting with his back pressed against the building to get out of the wind.

On these smooth, treeless highlands the wind blew nearly all the time. No matter where a person sought shelter outside, there was no escape from the Nebraska cold.

Just as there was no escape from Simon.

Picking up her pace and shoving her dread down deep, she hurried to the door, produced the key her position as school marm had granted her, and said, “Let’s get inside, Simon. You must be freezing.”

And what was his worthless father thinking to let him get to school so early?

Simon’s eyes, sullen and far too smart, lifted to hers.

“Did you walk to school?” Melanie tried to sound pleasant. But it didn’t matter. Simon would take it wrong. The cantankerous little guy had a gift for it. She swung the door open and waved her hand to shoo him in.

The spark of rebelling in his eyes clashed with his trembling. He wanted to defy her—Simon always wanted to defy her—but he was just too cold.

“My pa ain’t gonna leave me to walk to school in this cold, Miss Douglas.” Simon was offended on his father’s behalf.

“So he drove you in?” Melanie should just quit talking. Nothing she said would make Simon respond well, the poor little holy terror.

“We live in town now…leastways we’re living here for the winter.”

And that explained Simon’s presence. He’d started the school year, then he’d stayed home to help with harvest—or maybe his pa had just been too busy to get the boy out the door. And before harvest was over, the weather turned bitter cold. The five mile walk was too hard and apparently his pa wouldn’t drive him.

The day Simon had stopped coming to school her life as the teacher had improved dramatically. That didn’t mean the rest of her life wasn’t miserable, but at least school had been good. And now here came her little arch enemy back to school. It was all she could do to suppress a groan.

Closing the door, Melanie rushed to set her books on her desk in the frigid room. She headed straight for the pot-bellied stove to get a fire going.

She gathered an armful of logs, pulled open the creaking door and knelt to stuff kindling into the stove. She added shredded bits of bark and touched a match to it. A crash startled her and she knocked her head into the cast iron.

Whirling around, expecting the worst…she got it.


Glaring at her.

Around his scruffy boots was a pile of books that sat in a tidy pile on her desk.

Dear God, I’m already weary and it’s just gone seven in the morning, with nearly two hours until children show up. She was on her knees. What better to do than pray?

The prayer helped her fight back her temper. After seeing no harm was done…not counting the new bump on her forehead, she turned and went back to stoking the fire.

Melanie swung the little iron door shut and twisted the flat knob that kept the fire inside. “Come on over and get warm, Simon.” Kneeling by the slowly warming stove put heart into her. Her room at Mrs. Rathbone’s was miserable. She spent every night in a mostly unheated attic.

Simon came close, he must have been freezing to move next to her.

The little boy’s dark curls were too long. He was dressed in near rags. Was his father poor? Maybe a widower didn’t notice worn-out knees and threadbare cuffs. And it didn’t cost a thing to get a haircut, not if Henry O’Keeffe did the cutting himself. And water was certainly free, the boy had black curves under his ragged fingernails and dirt on his neck.

There was egg on the front of Simon’s shirt too. Sloppy as that was, it gave Melanie some encouragement to know the boy had been served a hot breakfast.

The crackling fire was encouraging and the boy was close enough to get warm. She reached out her hands to garner those first precious waves of heat.

“Soon, I’ll have to get to work, Simon. But you can stay here, just sit by the stove and keep warm.”

A scowl twisted his face. What had she said now?

“It ain’t my pa’s doing that I was out there. He told me to go to school at school time. I’m the one that got the time wrong.”

Leave a seven year old to get himself to school. Henry O’Keeffe had a lot to answer for.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She has been a finalist for a Rita Award, Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Awards and a two time winner of the Carol Award.
Petticoats and Pistols
My Blog
My Website
My Newsletter
And Twitter:

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this new ebook with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Mary Preston said...

Thank you for a wonderful first page./

Mary P


karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this story :)

karenk....from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

I would absolutely LOVE to win a copy of Mary's book. Thank you for the chance!

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Mary! Glad you liked the excerpt.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Karen. It was hard to pick a place to stop with the excerpt so I probably went on too long.
Melanie survives the day with Simon (barely) and then Simon's father shows up VERY late to pick him up.
And then the fireworks begin.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Cindy W. Good luck in the drawing.

Unknown said...

I Love Mary Conneally! Her bok are great!! thanks for the chance!


Anonymous said...

Love Mary's books! Shelia from MS

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Sierra, thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate them.

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jana Vanderslice said...

This is going to be a good one! Don't you just love Christmas books?!

Granny's Attic said...

I have always enjoyed reading Mary's books, so I expect this one would be just as good. I would really like to have a copy. lisajcowell(at)cs(dot)com

Joan K. said...

I love Christmas books and read them any time of the year. This one sounds so interesting! Would be so much fun to win.

kec200 said...

Great interview! Thanks for the sneak peek.

Kathy from Wendell, NC

kam110476 said...

I'm very much looking forward to this entire 12 Brides of Christmas collection and Mary's The Advent Bride just sounds wicked cute!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Vera Godley said...

I would love to win Mary's Advent Bride book. I thoroughly enjoy her books. Just recently reviewed another of her stories! :)

Vera in North Carolina

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Jan H said...

I love reading a story where a teacher takes the time to reach a troubled child.
Jan H in West Texas

A J Hawke said...

Ahhh, another Mary Conneally story.
Reread The Husband Tree last month. Still one of my favorites. Thanks for the opportunity of a giveaway.

A J Hawke

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy Mary's books & would love to read this one! I enjoyed the interview, and thanks for the giveaway! :)

~Aerykah in Oklahoma

Bonnie Roof said...

Thanks for the interesting interview, Mary and Lena!!

"The Advent Bride" sounds like a beautiful, heart-warming story I'd love to read!!


sm said...

This Christmas Brides series looks like it's just down my alley. I love reading Christmas fiction and would love to win this book. I like Mary's sense of humor, pictures of her husband with farm animals-cows, etc. She has a great sense of humor. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pam K. said...

I always love Mary's books so am looking forward to reading this new novella. I'm curious to learn how Melanie wins over Simon. Thanks for the interview with Mary and the chance to win this book.


Emma said...

I am looking forward to reading this book. wonderful excerpt.Thank you for the opportunity to win.PA.

PriviesAndPrims said...

All I need to know is that Mary wrote it, and I want to read it!


from Lancaster County, PA

Merry said...

Mary is on the top of my must read list, I love her books and how she makes me smile! Please add me.
Merry in MN

Amanda T said...

This sounds like a great book!
Amanda T. from Michigan