Win a copy of Mary Connealy’s Gingham Mountain

I’m thrilled to have a great friend and wonderful writer at Cup of Faith today, Mary Connealy. Mary’s sold a bunch of books that have garnered numerous awards. Recently Calico Canyon was named a Christy Award finalist. She’s a dynamo, managing to work fulltime and write. If you leave a comment, your name will go into the drawing for Gingham Mountain.

JD. Hi Mary! Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

MC. I’d say no. I read like always. I may read a bit more critically but if I’m editing a book while I’m reading it that’s a bad, bad sign. I like to get lost in a book and mostly I can.

JD. Tell us about the featured book Gingham Mountain.

MC. A rancher runs head-on into the new schoolmarm, who believes he’s made slave labor out of eight orphaned children.

Grant Cooper crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright’s cruel father. Grant’s family of orphans has been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is being cranky just like all the others, except she isn’t really bad to his children…it’s Grant she can’t stand. And none of that would be so bad if Grant didn’t catch himself kissing Hannah every chance he got.

JD. Gingham Mountain is a fun read! I loved it! What attracted you to western historical romances and how does the taming of the American West dovetail with themes of inspirational writing?

MC. I’d been writing for a long time before I got published and had a lot of finished books on my computer in many different genres when Petticoat Ranch, the first book in this “Lassoed in Texas” series, found a home.

The “Lassoed in Texas” series, including Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain are all suspenseful, historical western romantic comedies…which is such a specific genre I’m afraid I’m the only one writing it…at least it’s a small crowd. I have so much fun writing like this. There’s just something about a cowboy, fighting the elements, quick with a fist and slow with words. And a cowgirl, tough in her own right, not all that willing to back down. I enjoy writing romantic comedy westerns a lot.

JD. You’ve created a genre, Mary. You capture the “he’s from Mars, she’s from Venus,” male versus female conflict in a very humorous way in your stories. What do you see as the differences between the male view of the world versus the female viewpoint?

MC. My husband likes to say, “Woman talk things through and men think things true.” Of course all ‘tru-isms’ have limits. There are chatty men and quiet woman, but as a rule of thumb, when I’ve got an idea rattling around in my head, I like saying it out loud. It helps me marshal my thoughts. And my husband is more one to just out of nowhere say, “Here’s what the problem is and here’s the solution.” So, I try and capture that in my characters, talk-y women, quiet men, of course I’ve taken it to extremes in the books for the comic value.

JD. In your stories, the children play a central part in the plot and often get into the kind of trouble that will be very familiar to any mother. With four daughters, do you have any personal experiences either as a mother or a child that you’d like to share that helped inspire some of these scenes?

MC. Do you know any little boys with big and little sisters? If you watch them in action, you’ll soon see that the boys thrive on tormenting their sisters. “Yay! I made her scream! Yay! I made her cry! Yay! I embarrassed her to death in front of her friends!” My husband never learned that. Instead, when the girls cry, he can’t stand it. He’ll do almost anything to get them to stop. Bribery, yelling, sometimes he’ll run. We’re pretty used to it and there’s a lot of comedy in watching him react to the girls.

The next book I’ve written after Gingham Mountain has no children in it and I’ve had trouble with that. Children bring a kind of chaos to a scene that I enjoy working with. But I wanted to tell this story, and I think it ended up being very good. But it doesn’t have those mouthy children to liven things up so I had to find other ways.

JD. What are you working on right now?

MC. Gingham Mountain is the last of the “Lassoed in Texas” series and next up is a new series we’re calling “Married in Montana.” It’s got the same suspenseful, romantic comedy with cowboys as this series and it was really fun to write.

Montana Rose—Book #1 in the series. Left pregnant and widowed in the unforgiving west, Cassie is forced into an unwanted marriage to rancher Red Dawson. Montana Rose was actually inspired by Janette Oke’s beautiful classic novel Love Comes Softly. Of course, I’m not Janette Oke (unfortunately for me) and my novel has taken an alarming turn to romantic comedy, suspense and chaos. One of the reasons I mention that it’s inspired by Janette’s lovely book is because NO ONE would ever get it if I didn’t just say so right out loud. Kind of like Petticoat Ranch was inspired by the second Dirty Harry movie (or maybe it was the third?) and Clive Cussler. So when people ask me, where do you get your ideas, I always seriously consider just making something up because the truth is too weird.

Here’s a bit about Montana Rose.

No decent man could turn away from Cassie and leave her to the rough men in Divide, Montana. Red Dawson can’t turn his back on spoiled, snooty, beautiful Cassie. Now he’s got himself a wife he’s sure God never intended. And when he informs her there’ll be no more silk dresses and she has to do some work around the ranch he’s surprised to see her trying to help with everything. Too bad she’s a walking disaster. His ranch may not survive her efforts to pitch in.
Now, instead of a spoiled wife he’s got himself an overly obedient and badly incompetent one, Red’s so charmed by her he can’t bear to scold. He’s not much for bossing people around, anyway. Red also realizes the Cassie is so obedient he can’t really know what she wants. Which means she might allow his affections even though she doesn’t welcome then.
While Red tries to survive Cassie’s help and Cassie tries to use her own mind instead of meekly obeying for the first time in her life, an obsessed man plots to make Cassie his own, something he can’t do as long as Red lives.

JD. That overly submissive wife has to have a fascinating story of her own. Can’t wait to read it, Mary! How can readers find you on the Internet?

MC. I am too much all over, Janet.
Seekerville: (where I hang around with Janet every day)
Petticoats and Pistols:


  1. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi Mary! I love seeing that warm smile at Cup of Faith this morning! Welcome!


  2. Mary Connealy
    Apr 22, 2009

    Good morning, Janet.
    Thanks for having me on Cup of Faith.
    I told you I’ve got Courting the Doctor’s Daughter in my hot little hands, now. I can’t wait to read it.
    I loved your last book Courting Miss Adelaide.

  3. Myra Johnson
    Apr 22, 2009

    Mary said: My husband likes to say, “Woman talk things through and men think things true.”

    I love this! What a neat, tidy way to sum up the differences between men and women!

    Great interview, gals. Looking forward to the Married in Montana series, Mary! You rock!

  4. Tina M. Russo
    Apr 22, 2009

    Good Morning, Mary. Lovely to stalk you today. Congratulations on your Christy final.

  5. Diana
    Apr 22, 2009

    pick me!!!! I loved Mary’s other two books in this series. I so want to read this one.

  6. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi Diana, I love your enthusiasm for Mary’s books. And the pencil dancer tag. 🙂 So cute! Good to see you here. You’re in the drawing.


  7. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi Myra, I thought Mary’s husband’s saying was clever, but I’m not always sure my d/h thinks true. But often enough I guess. 🙂


  8. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    I hope you like Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, Mary. Thanks for the sweet words about my debut!


  9. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    I’m with Tina, Mary. Congrats! The Christy nomination is awesome!


  10. Mary Connealy
    Apr 22, 2009

    I didn’t say my husband used good JUDGMENT when he thinks things through.

    I still think talking about pros and cons, debating a little ‘what if’ is a good think when you’re making decisions.

    Of course my ‘what if’ gene is hyperactive…which I think is what makes me a writer…so I might just possibly be annoying to the poor man.

  11. Renee
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi!!! I need some books to take on vacation with me and I LOVE Mary’s books, I read the first 2 in the seris and they were great, please enter me!


  12. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Thanks for stopping in, Renee! Hope you’re vacationing where it’s warm. Though things are looking up here in Indiana. The sun is shining and it’s supposed to climb into the 70s tomorrow.


  13. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    You could never be annoying, Mare. Not possible. But I understand that hyperactive gene. My d/h sticks his head firmly in the sand while I’m trying to dig him out with the “What ifs?” 🙂


  14. Cheryl Wyatt
    Apr 22, 2009

    I agree, Mare, you could never be annoying. But you are riotously funny.

    In case my other comment didn’t come through I wanted to say I LOVED Gingham Mountain as much as the first books. (I hit a wrong button! And the screen disappeared so sorry if you get this twice or thrice…but anyway, can’t wait until your next series, Mary!)

    Also, Janet, I’m jut getting ready to read Courting the Doctor’s Daughter after I turn in my deadline book. CANNOT WAIT!


  15. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Thanks, Cheryl! You and I are racing toward our deadlines full speed ahead! Hope you enjoy Courting the Doctor’s Daugher when you can take a breath.


  16. Cara Slaughter
    Apr 22, 2009

    Great interview, Mary and Janet! I love historical romance, so I really enjoy your books.

    I don’t think anyone writes as fast as you do, Mary! Do you have any stashed under your bed?

  17. Mary Connealy
    Apr 22, 2009

    Book? Stashed under my bed you mean, Cara? My bed is made solely of huge stacks of unpublished books.

    All heartbreaking works of staggering genius the world has yet to be gifted with.

    Evrything from country girls who grow roses to Chicago cops battling a serial killer.

    No wonder I can’t sleep! I’m getting terror vibes from osmosis on my bed. Maybe I ought to just buy a mattress but I haven’t needed one.

  18. Ruth Logan Herne
    Apr 22, 2009

    Mary, the book-bed thing might be a clue as to the insomnia.

    Just a thought.

    Or the guilty conscience for bothering a nice, true-thinking man like Ivan by making him TALK.

    What are you thinking, woman?

    And I’m reiterating the congrats on the Christy final. So wonderful to see a humorous book make the cut. God loves humor. He invented it. And good, honest humor makes us feel better about everything. Love it, love it, love it.

    And Janet, can you enter me in the drawing for the new Home Depot kitchen complete with Gingham curtains to celebrate Mary’s success? I’d love to be the one picked!!!!



  19. Patty Wysong
    Apr 22, 2009

    I loooooove Mary’s books! Great interview, too. 🙂 Put me in the drawing please! 🙂

    patterly [@]

  20. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Ruthy, if Home Depot would be so kind as to give away a kitchen remodel or perhaps Barbour or hey, even Mary, I’d also love to be picked. And since I’m the one doing the picking…you’re out of luck. 🙂


  21. Janet Dean
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi Patty! You’re in Sunday’s drawing. I’ll e-mail the winner and announce the name right here.
    Thanks for stopping by!


  22. Jeannie Campbell
    Apr 22, 2009

    i’ve got a book coming from mary herself…not sure which one, though! mary, which is it? 🙂 if it’s not gingham mountain, put me in the drawing! well, even if it is…i’ll give it to my best friend. 🙂

  23. Mary Connealy
    Apr 22, 2009

    Hi, Jeannie. I don’t remember which book either. Let me know if it never shows up. I’ll try again.
    I fear the mail and the mail fears me.

    Good luck in the drawing.
    You think God invented humor, Ruthy? I’m always afraid He’s a little appalled by mine. But I can’t seem to control it.

    I’ve had a great writing day. The hero is shot and presumed dead. The heroine is looking for someone to kill as payback. And secondary character just gave birth all alone and has this great, “As God As My Witness, I’ll Never Go Hungry Again.” moment, ala Scarlett O’Hara.

    Only my heroine’s is more like, “As God as My Witness, I loathe men and I will never trust or depend on one again.”

    She and her absent husband are getting their own book to iron that out. 🙂

  24. a.anonymous
    Apr 25, 2009

    Hey, I’d like to be entered if the contest is still going, I just got through reading the second one in this series. It was great and hilarious. Thanks.


  25. Janet Dean
    Apr 25, 2009

    Hi a. anonymous. The contest is still on. Glad you enjoy Mary’s books as much as I do.


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