Are YOU Conference Ready?

Stop by for the next three weeks and get some conference tips from fabulous authors like:

Denise Hunter

Rachel Hauck

Ruth Logan Herne

Siri Mitchell

Mary Connealy

Kaye Dacus


Look for the weekend lineup on Saturday so you’ll make sure to stop by for a quick note that will help prepare you for ACFW or any other writers conference you might have in your sights. It all starts on Tuesday, Sept. 6.


A Day Off to WRITE

I can’t remember the last time I had a day off JUST TO WRITE!

The last day off I took to write, two of my kids got sick the night before and were home from school with me.

But today….


I am sitting at the kitchen table staring at an empty house and getting ready to open up a manuscript to DIVE INTO.

FOR. THE. DAY!! (or until 3:30)

It’s my big attempt to get ready for ACFW which happens in THREE WEEKS! I will get to meet CASEY HERRINGSHAW, ANGIE DICKEN, MARY VEE, WENDY MILLER, and SARAH FORGRAVE!! My ALLEY CATS!!!

Did I mention Casey is a FRASIER FINALIST!!

Did I also mention I get to stalk…er…meet RUTH LOGAN HERNE!!!

Anyone else get excited about writing days? I’m feeling very Connealy-esque here. Might have to shoot somebody! 😉

Mary Connealy is OUT OF CONTROL

Oh my, what a fun book! Have I ever mentioned how much I love awesome heroes who kiss women senseless?

Who wouldn’t want to be kissed senseless? Seriously!

Add senseless kissing along with a half-crazed cutie, a pregnant widow, an evil hitman, and two control freaks and you have Mary
Connealy’s newest historical romance, Out of Control.

The story is really about Rafe Kincaid, the eldest of three rancher-brothers – and the man who is always ‘in control’. So how else to start the book except to have him be completely Out of Control by meeting Julia Gilliland who is trapped inside a cavern.  – a cavern that has a deep hold onver Rafe’s past.

Rafe’s guilt over his parents’ grief and his youngest brother’s pain shadows his decisions and his ability to live freely. He strives to control everything, because losing control is dangerous.

But then comes Julia – and a kiss within the first 2 minutes of meeting each other. Oh yeah!

Thus begins the adventure.

Julia, an extremely bossy palaentologist-wanna-be, stumbles in Rafe’s life after getting trapped in a cavern while exploring.  Actually, someone trapped her – someone who is after the money her father stole.

The dreaded cavern ruined Rafe’s family but introduced him to a woman  who might be the answer to the loneliness in his heart. She wants to research the wonders of the mysterious cavern – he never wants to visit it again. As they try to solve the mystery of the man hiding out in the cave, will their different goals push them apart?


Is it a perfect match made through stubbornness and trouble? (with lots of senseless kissing and a FABULOUS supporting cast to add the perfect blend of funny, romantic, suspenseful, and crazy.)

Maybe losing control will be the key to losing the guilt of the past and bringing new hope for the future.

If you’re a Mary Connealy fan – get ready for another wonderful story.

If you need a reason to find out what all the excitement is about a Connealy Classic, go pick up the first book in the The Kincaid Brides series – and lose control with Out of Control.

Check out her website at

The GENESIS of Friday the 13th

Friday was a very special day. You know why? I started off my morning by taking a driver’s training. Yep – I was chosen from the other faculty members at the university where I work to take the training to drive 15 passenger vans. Exciting stuff, let me tell ya.

I think I heard the phrase “Large passenger vans have a longer stopping time.” “Create a cushion of safety around the van.”

Enthralling, really.

Another repetitive mantra? Don’t BACK UP unless you HAVE to. Hmm….life motto? 😉

This past year, particularly this past semester has been a tough time for me and my writing. Between my first grandmother’s death in October (which shook my world), then an insane work schedule in the spring, plus two boys who needed lots of extra school support, a pastor hubby’s crazy regular schedule, a pretty intense family sickness, and finally my other grandmother’s death two weeks ago – writing time has taken a seat in the trunk….until this week.

What was so special about this week?

Monday – I turned in grades for the semester. PRAISE GOD  I SURVIVED!!!!!!!!

Tuesday – I went to Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference as a day-guest….with NO agenda at all. I went for the ‘soul’ purpose of fellowship and encouragement with other Christian writers. DiAnn Mills Writing Romance course was fantastic. Lisa Carter was SUCH an encouragement. I had the fabulous opportunity to meet Gina Holmes, author of Crossing Oceans. It was a beautiful day!
(you can see pics on my facebook page )

Wednesday – I drove back to BRMCWC. Chatted with Deb Raney. Revelled in Ramona Richards “Writing a Lady to Love” workshop (FABULOUS!!!)
Just felt an overall encouragement to start fresh – but don’t BACK UP!!! Start where I was and move forward.

Thursday – Had a great lunch with friends and was promoted to Assistant Director of Clinical Services at East Tennessee State University.
Pretty cool, eh? Sounds fancy, which means a lot more work 😉

Thursday night I prayed for all of my wonderful pals who awaited news about the Genesis. Especially my Writers Alley Buddies, Angie Dicken, Krista Phillips, and Sherrinda Ketchersid. Other pals were Susan Mason, Jeannie Campbell, Jessica Nelson, Anita Mae Draper, Diana Sharples, ….so many wonderful ladies.

Friday – Drivers Training course, then I had to drive to my children’s school during my lunch break to remove a tic from my daughter’s head (happy times – that’s a story for another day). I got back to work. Around 1 (EST)I got a call from  Erica Vetsche. My heart started doing the mamba in my chest. I was either excited or the 24oz of Mountain Dew I’d just consumed was starting to cause arythmias. My YA had finaled in the GENESIS!!! NO STINKIN’ WAY!!!

I’m sure Erica thinks I need medication, btw.

I called my mom right away and while I was on the phone with her,  another call was trying to come through. Since I work with college students from all over the world, I’m used to seeing phone numbers from different places – so I told mom I’d call her back.

When Becky Yauger said my name on the phone, I answered with a VERY shaky ‘yes’. She informed me that my CR had finaled too.

Whether it was professional or not, I did a little happy dance (including junior-high scream) right there in the middle of my very
professional office…(if you don’t count the toys on the bookshelf, the Dr. Pepper lunchbox in the corner, the happy face coffee mug full of chocolate, and
the stuffed chicken in the corner) It was AWESOME!!

I called back my mom, Casey Herringshaw (who told me so), Ruth Logan Herne, Sherrinda Ketchersid, and left a disturbing message on  Mary Connealy’s voicemail (something about how her demotivational technques really worked – I was sHOCKED).

I wish SOOOOO much I could celebrate with my buddies too. Of course, I can. I know my Alley Cats are celebrating with me. I love them for
that. They’ve given me so much love and encouragement this year. You guys are AWESOME!!! (GO ANNABELLE)

Congrats to Jessica Nelson – who is a partner in crime with me in the CR category.  I wish you the best of luck with my whole heart, Jessica!

Now, I’d better start writing, eh? DO NOT BACK UP unless I have to – and move forward…to whatever God has planned.

I’m pretty sure my dear sweet beautiful Grannies are up in Heaven smiling. I know I am.

Thanks all of you who’ve prayed, encouraged, and loved me.
It’s wonderful to share this news with all of you!!!



Mary Connealy’s in DEEP TROUBLE

Seriously – I think Mary is always in deep trouble. Or at least her characters are 🙂

Well, if you’re a fan of Deep Trouble, then I have a book for you.

Mary Connealy’s newest adventure takes the reader deep into the heart of the Grand Canyon-  back when the west was young, men were cowboys, and women didn’t midn being rescued…mostly.

Shannon Dysart is trying to redeem her father’s name. Even if her father’s is dead, she’s determined to discover the city of gold he’d spent his life searching for. But her big city ways and naïve decision to hire a group of greedy stragglers leaves her wounded and trapped inside a cave to starve to death (Not to mention stalked by those same murderous stragglers who want to become rich from this ‘city of gold’.)

Along comes Gabe Lasley – a wanderer and resident -woman-roper (Read to find that one out). Gabe runs from heartbreak right into Shannon, and does what any self-respecting cowboy should do. He rescues her, and then regrets it. Unable to leave this intriguing and infuriating city-girl alone, Gabe finds his heart falling off the edge of reason and right into a whirlwind adventure.

With 5 sinister outlaws, a city of gold, and a canyon as beautiful and dangerous as love itself, Shannon and Gabe embark on a journey for true treasure. (and let me give you a hint – where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is too)

 Will Shannon discover that the best treasure can’t be wrapped in a thousand year old city, or will the pride of success and greed for acceptance destroy her life?

Deep Trouble follows along the same fast-paced adventure as Mary’s typical Connealy Classics. Add a dose of Indian Jones meets Dances With
Wolves, and you have an amazing story of cliffhangers (literally), treasure, and true love. Of course there’s humor too.

Make sure you take the time to discover this gem of a tale. It’s one of my Connealy Classic Keepers!

Deep Trouble… Mary Connealy?

Guess what I picked up today at the bookstore?

Well, from the pic I guess I need to say…

My daughter, Lydia, is in Deep Trouble 🙂

I can’t wait to get into this story and enjoy the fun! The first page is already a…um…cliff hanger? 😉

Anyone read it yet?

Spotlight – Coming Soon from Mary Connealy

Well, if you don’t like waiting long between books from your favorite authors – Mary is the author for you. With an incredible list of new books released last year, she continues to keep her fans happy with a new novel about every 3 or 4 months.

Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Starting off the year with her novel, Sharpshooter in Petticoats, Mary’s next novel comes out in May. Deep Trouble sounds like another fun ‘ride’ and great romantic adventure. It’s available on May 1, but I’m hoping to find it a week or two early 😉

Mary’s next ‘cowboy book’, Out of Control, is set to be released in August. It’s her first novel released by Bethany House (right, Mary?)

You can learn more about it on Mary’s website at

In October, Mary steps outside her usual genre and enters the world of contemporary suspense. Her novel, Ten Plagues, holds a very different plotline from her usual historical romance genre, but I’m sure the same clever writing and high action will be intact.

To learn more about Ten Plagues visit – since she’s being published under a pseudo-pen name 😉

Do you have a favorite Connealy Classic? If so, which one?

Spotlight on Mary Connealy – Doctor in Petticoats

In summer 2010, Mary Connealy started a new series. Sophie’s Daughters series.

Taking the rambuncious and eclectic bunch of gals from Petticoat Ranch, Mary began a series related to the main character (Sophie)’s daughters varying romances. Without losing one bit of pace or humor, Mary charged right in with Beth’s story. Have fun reading this review from July 2010.

Yep, it’s another fabulous book by Mary Connealy. That woman can write books faster than Scarlet O’Hara can get into trouble…or maybe I ought to say, faster than Belle Tanner can fire a Winchester. Because when it comes to Mary’s books, it’s about cowboys, tough-as-nails women, romance, and loads of humor.

And I’m NOT talkin’ sugar-sweet romance either. I’m talkin’ the kind of romance where you’re not sure whether the two are going to kill each other or kiss each other. It’s that simple – and that funny.

Mary’s ramped up the adventure to full-throttle with her newest novel, Doctor in Petticoats. This book takes one of the daughters from her first book, Petticoat Ranch, and allows us to follow, no wait, we’re kind of dragged along on a fast-paced journey. From the first scene which ends in a stage-coach accident to the final scene in a fort prison, and all the near-death experiences in between, it’s nonstop action with a few kisses smashed in between.

One thing I appreciate most about Mary’s books (besides the humor) is how deep into the character point of view she gets. She’s brilliant at writing deep point of view, and allowing the reader to ‘feel’ and ‘experience’ the book. Fabulous. It’s why I keep coming back for more :-)


About the book:

When an unlikely pair have an electrifying connection, sparks are bound to fly.

All Beth McClellan wants to do is get home for her sister’s wedding. After spending four years out East training to be a nurse (with a physician as her mentor), she’s ready to put her hard-earned skills to practice. Unfortunately, no one will believe she’s the doctor, and the one guy who IS a doctor, doesn’t have the spine enough to use his gifts…unless she’s right beside him.

Alex Buchanan’s past as an army physician, and now deserter, leaves him frozen with the memories of the atrocities he saw on the frontier. Determined to leave his skills and memories as far in the past as possible, he hides within his own depression, but Beth McClellan won’t let him stay there. The bossy blond nearly drags him from his stupor and forces him to be the man he really is.

Now if they can just survive a bounty hunter and death sentence, all should be fine. Right?

You’ll just have to get the book. Buy it, borrow it, visit a library. It’s worth the effort to read the newest Connealy Classic.

Spotlight on Author Mary Connealy – Petticoat Ranch

Looking for some great books for summer reading?

Here’s your chance to get a sneak peek into some wonderful options from fantastic authors. For the next few weeks, stop by for the Author of the week – Spotlighting a new author each week with reviews of his/her books.

Who better to start the party off than with Mary Connealy!

Mary’s romance with cowboys…er….

Mary’s cowboys and romance…um…

Mary’s books about cowboys and romance are not only well-written, but fast-paced and funny. So let’s look at your options from the Connealy Classics, shall we?

And where better to start than the beginning.

Here’s my review from December 2007 – when I first got my hands on a Mary Connealy book.

I can’t wait to read more from Mary Connealy. This delightful novel really brings out the battle of the sexes in a fun, spunky, and hilarious way.

Sophie Edwards has been a single mom long before her husband was killed, and now she thinks she’s seeing ghosts. When Sophie’s husband’s unknown twin brother, Clay, stumbles upon her ranch and her four daughters, the last thing on her mind is romance. At first, she’s only worried about saving this insane stranger’s life, then she’s worried about going insane herself at his likeness to her dead husband. Somehow, within the expanse of a few days, she’s married to him, but now, besides figuring out how this new husband of hers fits into her life, she’s also battling against the men who killed her first husband and want to own her ranch.

Clay, on the other hand, is a good guy with the right intentions, but absolutely unsure of how to manage a household of crying, emotional, and talkative ladies. With a hint of intrigue, a gallon of drama, and a ‘wagon load’ of sidesplitting male-female relationship humor, this novel is a must read.

What’s new from Mary Connealy?

Her next book, Deep Trouble, comes out in May. Another great Connealy classic filled with cowboys, laughter, and adventure is sure to hit my bookshelf by then. Learn more about it at

Love at First Thought with Mary Connealy

Ever wondered where story ideas come from?

Especially the stories that linger in your thoughts long after the last sentence.

Do the authors filter through pages and pages to create these novels? Are they inspired by family histories, television shows, strange and stranger occurrences, other stories?

Well, if you want to find out, you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to the first post of my blog series, Love At First Thought.

I can’t think of a better way to start than with cowboy-author-extraordinaire, Mary Connealy.  In Mary’s free-time, she writes.

A lot.

The evidence is in the fact that she turned out five new books last year, and has four more on the way for 2011. It’s astonishing what this lady can do.

I want to be like her. Do you think she’s share her DNA? Or at least her creativity? 😉

Speaking of creativity, let’s go back to the beginning with Mary’s first book, Petticoat Ranch.

In Mary’s case, her first novel was inspired by Dirty Harry.

That’s right.

In fact, here’s what Mary has to say:

Petticoat Ranch started with two ideas.

The second Dirty Harry movie, the one about vigilantes, and he said/she said.

A man in an all girl world.

(And if you’ve never read Petticoat Ranch it’s a MUST. SOOOO hilarious, with a hefty dose of Mary’s trademarks: male/female banter, adventure, gunfire, and humor. WONDERFUL!!!

But Mary didn’t stop there. To get a good taste of the various ways in which inspiration may come, here is a quicklist of Mary’s novels – and the ‘thoughts’ that inspired them. (my comments are in italics)

Petticoat Ranch: Vigilantes. Dirty Harry, the 2nd one with vigilantes. I think it’s Magnum Force. (faith message, how does a Christian handle very justifiable hate) A movie inspiration

 Calico Canyon: A Sunday School class I taught once. (faith message, you’re not truly free if you’re living with constant fear)

Real-life inspiration

 Gingham Mountain: Orphan Trains (in the beginning, in Gingham Mountain, Charlie was an angel, really, but when that got vetoes, I made him a seriously badly behaved little trouble maker. But he saves the day in the end and that was the remnant of the angel)

Historical research inspiration

 Montana Rose: Love Comes Softly (by Janette Oake)…with gunfire and mayhem (abuse can break the spirit and it’s hard to heal when your self-doubt is deeply embedded)

Novel Inspiration (stealing from someone else…with a twist 😉

 Wildflower Bride: Two people who belonged nowhere except with each other. Faith message (How does a strong, independent man turn his life over to God.

A ‘what if’ inspiration

There you have it, guys. Some tips about where Mary’s books originated. Have you ever gotten a novel-idea from a movie?

Give us a glimpse into your story the movie inspired.

And thank you, Mary – for letting us have a little glimpse into your creative world.

Inspirational Thought:

For the length of this series, I want to introduce you to some verses in the Bible that have the phrase ‘in the beginning’.

The very first one?

Genesis 1:1 “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

In the beginning, God’s story began. A story he would write from His first ‘Word’ to the very last. He took the emptiness of darkness, and filled it with His light, and the great Storyteller began to weave a tale greater than any other in all of history.

A tale of rescue, redemption, riches, ruthlessness, and royalty.

But most of all – a story of love.

Into the darkness, God brought forth light with just a word.

And into our lives, he brings forth stories. Inspired by His ways, wisdom, and words.

In this world, created by His words, we step with wonder- waiting for inspiration to unfold at any turn.

Out of a darkened, empty page – God guides us into situations that dawn a novel in our minds. He’s created us as writers – for His glory.

But most of all – He’s brought us out of the darkness of our sin, and lightened our soul with His love. A love that should inspire us to show the world what true love really is.


Stop by Wednesday to find out the inspiration behind Margaret Brownley’s first inspy novel, A Lady Like Sarah.