Posts Tagged ‘Mary Connealy’
Posted on August 23, 2012 - by Dawn Ford
Today we’re taking a trip over the edge with writer Mary Connealy. Her newest book, and third in the Kincaid Brides series, is a trip into the mad world of Seth Kincaid. If you’ve read the first two books, Out of Control and In Too Deep, you know you’re in for a treat with her latest installment, Over the Edge.
Book blurb: Seth Kincaid remembers almost everything…except getting married!
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he hasn’t been the same since. Then he fought in the Civil War and returned to Colorado crazier than ever.
Somewhere along the line, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he has a lot of excuses, but his wife isn’t too happy to find out Seth doesn’t remember her. Callie isn’t a long-suffering woman. When Seth disappeared, she searched, prayed, and worried. Now she’s come out west to wrangle her long-lost husband.
Seth is willing to make amends. Callie is more interested in shooting him. Can they rekindle their love before one of them goes over the edge?
Mary, who/what spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
You know, I just love it. I love everything about writing. I love the original creation. I love revisions. I love launching a book and doing interviews like this one. My stories come from all over. I think writer’s play a ‘what if’ game with everything. This book, Over the Edge comes from a seed planted nearly 35 years ago when I went to Carlsbad Cavern. This was long before I was writing, but I walked through that cavern and it captured my imagination like few places have ever. I could just BE the first explorer who was down there. I could feel the terror, the darkness, the danger and the staggering beauty that would lure you on, to look deeper. I saw floors that looked like they’d broken. How could anyone know they were walking on stone as thin as an eggshell? I’ve had this story in mind to do for a long time, to try and capture the tug between the lure and the terror. Out of Control ended up being so fun to write. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Which character did you connect to the most? No character in any of the three Kincaid Brides series was more fun than Callie, the heroine of Over the Edge. I guess Callie is what I’d call my ‘wheelhouse’. The other heroines are great characters but I just really love those tough Texas cowgirls, those feisty lady ranchers. It’s just a sweet spot for me when I’m writing them and I had a lot of fun making her so tough everyone took a step back and learned some respect when she came onto the scene.
Which character was the most difficult to write? Well, I’ve tried to challenge myself. I’ve tried to not just have all my heroines be feisty lady ranchers and all my heroes by tough, slow talking ranchers. But those are so fun. I tend to always love the characters in the books I’m working on now. So it’s not a fair test when I say THIS hero and THIS heroine is the favorite or the hardest, but writing Seth Kincaid was a challenge. He’s crazy you know….I had to get that right and it wasn’t easy. I remember one editorial comment which was so exactly right, that said, “Let’s stop referring to Seth as a madman after about Chapter Six.” I’m laughing as I think of it. I had so much fun making him be vulnerable and tough and a little bit loco. But he had to straighten up eventually. And he did. I ended up loving him too, even hard to write as he was.
What was your favorite scene to write in Over the Edge? I try to EXPLODE a book. Start with really compelling action and I loved the beginning of Over the Edge. But my favorite paragraph is right after the big, bad gunfight is over, Callie’s badly hurt, and too late to help, here comes Seth. Callie has come west searching for her runaway husband, scared to death he’s dead and mad enough to kill him if he isn’t. She’s wounded, bleeding, furious, killing mad and heavily armed.
This is the beginning of Chapter Two:
Seth saw the stagecoach driver lying halfway in the bushes on the side of the trail. He’d ridden right past him. Seth wheeled around to go help.
A bullet whizzed out the window of the stage and missed him by little more than a foot. Seth drew his six-gun.
“Seth Kincaid you get back here and let me shoot you, you low-down skunk.”
A woman who knew his name.
A woman who knew his name and wanted to kill him.
He’d never had much luck with women.
You will be on the edge of your seat to see how she can redeem a varmint such as Seth Kincaid while laughing at the situations her characters get into. A lucky person will win a copy of Mary’s Over the Edge by leaving a comment today. The winner will be announced this weekend.
Posted on July 29, 2012 - by Lorna Seilstad
“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. –Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience, 1892
I guess I’m with Miss Alcott’s character Christie then. I, like most of the Inkspers, am too fond of books, and with all of the great books releasing this fall, I fear my brain turns just looking at their gorgeous covers. We want to help you all navigate those marvelous choices and help you decide which you want to add to your fall’s TBR piles.
Now, for the hunks!
Last week, we had our county fair. We have a large fair with a lot going on all the time, no matter how hot it gets. As a 4-H leader, a communications superintendent, and a mother of two 4-H’ers, I spent a lot of time there. I was so proud of my girls and their hard work in 4-H. My youngest daughter has three projects advancing to the Iowa State Fair, and my oldest was awarded the Outstanding Senior 4-H Member for our county, along with a scholarship.
So, while I was at the fair I saw a lot of cowboy boots. This is a new trend in Iowa. For the most part, only those who raised horses wore cowboy boots. Everyone else tended toward work boots if they had livestock and flip flops if they didn’t. I guess it got me in a cowboy mood, because when I perused the upcoming books for the fall, the folling selections caught my eye. (Okay, it might have had something to to with the covers.)
Saddle up your Kindles and Nooks and get ready for a rip roaring, rootin tootin good time with these fall reads. There appears to be a trend to have men on covers–especially cowboys. These hunkilicious reads seem like the perfect way to keep warm this fall when the nights start growing a bit chilly. Here are a few I already have my eye on.
It’s the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she’s going to have to trust someone if she’s to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband’s half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door? The latest historical romance from award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher and the second book in the Where the Heart Lives series, Betrayal will take you to the high desert of western Wyoming, through the crags of the Rocky Mountains, and into the hearts of two seekers learning to trust God’s love no matter the circumstances.
Over the Edge, book 3 in the Kincaid Brides Series, by Mary Connealy
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he’s never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he’s gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever.
After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he’s got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn’t happy to find out Seth doesn’t remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she’s come to the Kincaid family’s ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.
I got a sneak peek of this book and got to read it early. Boy howdy! It was great. You’ll be sorry if you miss this one, folks. I reckon you should just move it right to the top of your TBR pile.
Texas, 1874. Long ago, Scout Proffitt gave up on ever being a man of honor like his Civil War hero brother Clayton. But when Scout steps foot on the rundown remnants of the Circle C ranch, he wonders if maybe-just maybe-the Lord has something different intended for him.
Rosemarie has lived most of her life doubting her worth and shouldering the blame for her brother’s death. But when a stranger rides onto her ranch, claiming he owns it, she suddenly is given a choice: either keep looking at the dark side of life . . . or dare to dream.
So lasso yourself up a mess of books this fall and make sure these books with their hunkilicious covers are packed in your saddlebags.
Posted on April 10, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
I’m celebrating Drop Everything and Read day by sharing some favorite lines from recent reads:
From Buffalo Gal by Mary Connealy:
Posted on March 13, 2012 - by Shannon Vannatter
This post was tough for me. I don’t really pay attention to covers and can honestly say I’ve never bought a book based on the cover. My perusal of the cover consists of looking for layers of fabric, dead bodies, or bonnets and buggies. If it’s not historical, suspense, or Amish, then I’m good. I turn straight to the blurb and see if the story grabs me. Only four covers have really intrigued me. And I still didn’t buy the book–I won one, influenced for another, and still don’t own the other two.
Christine Lynxwiler’s Along Came a Cowboy was the first inspirational romance novel I ever saw with the guy on the cover instead of the girl. I thought it was a novel idea. I mean–romance readers want to read about the guy, not the girl. I got lucky and won this book and it’s still one of my favorites. One I’ll definitely keep and re-read.
Karen Witemeyer’s A Tailor-Made Bride was the first historical to ever intrigue me. I love clothes. Not layers and layers like this, but I can feel her cringe as this rude, ruffian steps on the hem of her dress she probably spent months hand-stitching. I didn’t buy the book and probably never well. No offense, it’s just not my genre. But if you’re a historical reader, I’ve heard it’s really good. Seeing that dress just makes me mad. I’m way too modern. If I wrote historicals, my heroine would be ripping off layers. “Don’t you people know it’s 105 and we don’t have air conditioners. I’m not wearing this mess.” Probably wouldn’t go over very well, so I’ll stick with contemporaries.
Jennifer Rogers Spinola’s cover intrigued me partly because I sat across from her at Barbour’s author reception one year and partly just because it’s such fun. She was so fun to talk to and her story was so interesting, I asked her to be on my real life romance blog and received an influencer copy of Southern Fried Sushi. This is another keeper that I’ll re-read. The unsaved heroine is so unapologetically selfish and it’s so fun to watch her change and grow. Her reactions and thoughts are so real and true, it made me take a good look at myself and repeat, It’s Not All About Me. I recently received my copy of the sequel Like Sweet Potato Pie. Another keeper. The difference in the heroine since she met a certain Savior is like night and day and I can’t wait for the third installment.
Linda Yezak’s Give the Lady a Ride caught my attention because I was researching bull riding for my rodeo series. Her book is about a woman learning to bull ride. I thought it sounded like a nice twist and I really like the cover. Partly because if I had a backside like that I’d wear blingy jeans just like those. I haven’t bought it yet. But if I happen upon it in a bookstore, I probably will.
Usually, the way I decide to buy a book is by author name. Sorry, but that’s just the facts and true for a lot of readers. Which means this no name author needs to get busy and make a name for myself.
Lorna asked me what I was going to blog about and I told her I didn’t know because covers don’t matter a lot to me. I said, “The ones I really like are the ones with the guys.” And she said, “That’s what you should blog about. It’s a new trend.”
So for your viewing pleasure:
Mary Connealy’s Over the Edge–this guy might convince me to buy a historical. Not to read mind you, just to look at him.
The trend has caught on over at Love Inspired too with Debra Clopton’s Her Rodeo Cowboy. I really like this guy and might have to buy the book. This surprised me since Love inspired covers are mostly couples or families.
One question, why are there only cowboys gracing covers? Okay, I love cowboys too, wrote three books about them, but regular guys are hunks too. Nothing curls my toes like a man wearing a nice button up shirt, jeans, and no shoes. Maybe sitting in the sand on the beach. I haven’t found that cover yet. If you find it, let me know.
It sounds like I don’t get books unless I get them free, but it’s not true. It’s true I grew up a library mouse, so for years I never bought books. But last year, I decided that if I wanted people to buy my books, I needed to be a book buyer. I’ve bought more books in the last year than I have in my whole life. I just didn’t make my purchases based on the cover.
Time to chime in. Does the book cover affect what you purchase? What do you think of the trend with guys on the cover?
Posted on December 19, 2011 - by Lorna Seilstad
Are your halls decked? Is there a “ho ho ho” in your home? Studies show that those who decorate for the holidays are more apt to enjoy the holidays. We here at Inkspirational Messages want to invite you into our holiday celebrations this year.
Celebrating for me began last week. I had the honor of hosting the I.N. Group at my home. I.N. Group is made up of Iowa and Nebraska Christian writers. Ten of us were able to gather for a night filled with conversation—some directed toward writing and publishing and some directed toward other things. We enjoyed dinner (creamy chicken enchiladas with sour cream), a book exchange, and of course, lots of fellowship.
Yesterday, we joined with the extended family on my side for Christmas. There were 32 of us gathered at my sisters. Last year, we met my house. Everything was beautiful and the food was delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures. However, the picture at the right is of four of my grand-nephews and one grand-niece. The youngest in the picture, Chase, LOVED all his presents. He’s at such a fun age and was absolutely delighted with his penguin pillow pet. (P.S. My talented niece, their mother, was the photographer.)
This year has been quite different than last year for us. Christmas preparations seemed sandwiched between time spent at the hospital as my husband was recovering from lung surgery. Just before Thanksgiving, he developed pneumonia and the fluid remained in his lungs until it had to be surgically drained. He got out on Christmas Eve.
Despite the time constraints, we still managed to go to the tree farm and pick out our tree (left). We picked a 12 foot tree so we had to cut off about three feet of it. Our living room ceilings are 9 feet tall, so we usually have an 8 to 8.5 foot tree. My son was home from college and put it up for us.
Our tree is a collection of ornaments with significance and trimmed with red and gold. There is a collection of musical notes and musical themed ornaments on it. Those are the ones my husband and I purchased for our first tree. Back then, we said we were always going to have a theme tree. Then, we had kids and those baby’s first Christmas ornaments, and everything changed.
We have two other trees in our house. The Shoe Tree is a little three foot tree in the dining room that holds a small collection of fancy shoe ornaments, and upstairs, my son has a four foot tree filled with S’more ornaments. They are fun because A.) he loves s’mores, and B.)the ones he has often mirror different times in his life–camping s’mores, fishing s’mores, baking s’mores, or snowboarding s’mores.
Last year, Parker also had to put up all the lights for us and brought down all my Christmas Rubbermaids from the attic. I think there are 12 or so. I have a rather extensive Santa collection.
Oddly enough, Dawn’s son has been over at our house on several years when it was time to tote the Rubbermaids back up to the attic or down to the main floor. This year, we almost called him to come help just for fun. He never fails to be shocked by the number. I told Dawn I was doing my part to educate him on how different women can be.
One especially sweet surprise last year was from my dear author friend Laura Frantz. She sent me these flowers as a thinking-of-you gift during the stressful time. God blessed my husband with a great recovery, and this year, he’s been able to enjoy all of normal Christmas preparations.
Another favorite memory from last year came when my daughters and I wrote a book for my nieces called “Mr. and Mrs. Mouse at Grandma’s House.” We found these two mice, wrote the story, and took pictures of the mice to add to the book. This was especially fun since my poor mother-in-law battled a few of the said rodents earlier that fall.
This is just a glimpse into our Christmas—past and present. Now, tell me. Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? Do you have a preference? And how do you decorate your tree? Theme or collection? It will be fun for all of us to know, so please share.
Posted on December 1, 2011 - by Regina
It’s Christmastime and time for a novel,
Time to read about the little King,
To fill the mind and roll out a myst’ry,
Don’t want to miss a thing . . .
And that’s the whole point of reading books about Christmas, isn’t it? We don’t want to miss a moment of the joy, the festivity, the FEELING of Christmas!
I haven’t had a lot of time to read in the last few weeks, but I did manage to read a couple of novels that have been on my list for a while. The first is The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren. It’s a heartwarming read about a mom who just wants to make it the best Christmas ever for her family of grown children, something I’m identifying with more every day! Here’s the blurb:
Marianne Wallace loves the holidays. From dressing the tree to her traditional Christmas dinner, it’s all about creating memories for her family. But when her children begin to leave home – and their traditions – behind, she has one last chance to create a holiday they’ll never forget.
Unfortunately, she’s soon in over her head, and one impulsive decision leads to a string of events that will change the way her family – even her small Minnesota town – sees the Christmas season.
Hint: There will be football, and who DOESN’T like a good football story?
Another favorite that I read last year, and plan to read again this year, is Mary Connealy’s Cowboy Christmas. Full of Mary’s classic “romantic comedy with cowboys,” Annie and Elijah make for a great story of redemption and love. The back cover:
Singer Annette Talbot used her voice to spread the gospel with a traveling missionary troupe. When the Latrells take over and want Annie to dress provocatively and give up singing her beloved hymns, Annie flees to Ranger Bluff, Wyoming, dreaming of uniting with her father for Christmas. But trouble chases her – right off the edge of a cliff!
Elijah Walker’s heart turned as cold and barren as the high plains in December after his ex-fiancee betrayed him and caused his father’s death. But when he rescues Annie out of a freezing river, Walker’s instincts tell him he must help a stranger in need.
With her hermit father retreating to the high country and the Latrells intent on kidnapping her to make money off her singing, Annie may have no way out.
Has Annie hidden the truth about wanted posters bearing her face too long for anyone to believe her now?
Can Elijah overcome the painful past and learn to love again?
Will there ever be peace in their hearts in time for Christmas?
Such a good book!
A few books I like to read most Christmases are John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas – which by the way, is much better than the movie, although it IS entertaining, and Grace Livingston Hill’s The Substitute Guest. If you get a chance, and just want a nice, tender read, this is the one for you!
Joanne Fluke also has some great Christmas cozies, The Candy Cane Murder and The Sugar Cookie Murder, and like a lot of Christmas books, are a little shorter than the average novel, which is great for this time of year! Oh, and Joanne’s books ALWAYS have recipes!!
Happy Christmas reading, everyone.
Posted on August 27, 2011 - by Brenda Anderson
Oh my, company’s coming to Inkspirational Messages!
And, we’re giving away books too!
Does that mean you have to scrub the floors? Dust on top of the ceiling fan? Take a toothbrush to the grout?
Goodness, no. Just make yourself comfortable. Take your shoes off, pour yourself a cup of lemonade, grab some chocolate, and relax in your recliner.
Ah, that’s better, right?
Now, who’s stopping by, you ask?
Well, we’ll be catching up with our own Lorna Seilstad, Shannon Vannatter, Linda Fulkerson, and Shari Barr. We’re welcoming some old friends: Laura Frantz, Mary Connealy, and Kaye Dacus. We’re even meeting new friends: Sandra Orchard, Gina Holmes, and Jennifer Rogers Spinola.
Oh, and don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about those free books. For those of you who stop by to chat, you’ll have an opportunity to win books by a couple of our guests: Deep Cover by Sandra Orchard, Love Remains by Kaye Dacus, and The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz. PLUS, we’re throwing in two additional books from the Love Inspired line: Marrying Miss Marshall by Lacy Williams and Hearts in Flight by Patty Smith Hall.
Now, there are a few small rules you need to follow if you want a chance to win the books, but no worries, they’re not too difficult:
Comment on our “Company’s Coming” topic dated August 29, 2011 through September 9, 2011. Every time you comment, your name will go into a drawing for the books. Contest closes Saturday, September 10, 2011 at midnight. The winner will be posted on Sunday, September 11, 2011. Winner must provide a mailing address in an email to Brenda AT brendaandersonbooks DOT com. Do not post your address anywhere on this blog.
Posted on January 4, 2011 - by Shannon Vannatter
It’s me. The least well-read Inkster. You’ve heard the familiar tale. I haven’t had time to read anything lately. Between deadlines, booksignings, a potential new series, hubby, pastor’s wifing, and mothering, not necessarily in that order, my life is a constant race. This year, I plan to try to do better. But as usual, I’m behind so I’m reaching into last year to read the books I never got around to reading.
I’ve wanted to read They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti since it’s debut. The story of a woman whose husband is missing and she’s mad at him for finding an out before she could intrigued me. I’ve heard Cynthia speak several times at the ACFW conferences and I got to meet her at the Barbour Publishing dinner last year in Indy. She exudes sweetness, gentleness, and kindness. It caught my interest to hear she wrote such a complicated book.
When Libby’s husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died…and if Greg hadn’t been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance…if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby’s presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.
Several months ago, I read something on a blog. I can’t remember where or the exact words, but the gist of it: The reader was amazed that Myra Johnson, writer of a sweet book like Autumn Rains also wrote One Imperfect Christmas. I googled the second title and loved the cover. Another complicated book with complicated characters. I met Myra in Indy also and convinced her to be a guest on my other blog. We featured the book and I was sold. I’m in the process of receiving a copy in my hot little hands.
Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.
Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.
Hmm, I think I like to read about messy marriages. Not really, but I love to read about broken people who finally realize they can’t fix it, but God can. Just like life.
On Seekerville, I read the totally shocking opening of The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy. Expecting a grieving widow, it had me laughing. Out loud. But I’m a contemporary gal. When I heard Mary was delving into contemporaries, that caught my interest. Mary’s tagline, Romantic Comedies with Cowboys, tugs at me. What woman can resist a cowboy? Before it’s over with, I might just have to read The Husband Tree too, but I’ll start with The Black Hills Blessing trilogy.
Enter the world of compelling, contemporary romance with award-winning author Mary Connealy’s spellbinding three-in-one collection. Ride the range with Buffy Lange, a woman bent on seeing majestic buffalo reclaim their territory, no matter how hostile local cattleman Wyatt Shaw becomes. Meet rancher Emily Johannson who would leave her derelict neighbor Jake Hanson alone if she didn’t feel duty bound to keep saving his hide. Take a stand with Jeanie Davidson, a single-again woman who’s finally gotten her life together, only to have her ex-husband Michael walk right back in, determined to make amends. Can love redeem these hearts and lives?
I met Kaye Dacus in Little Rock when she spoke for my local writers’ group. No particular book intrigued me, but Kaye did. Instead of going to the school of hard knocks, Kaye went to college. Her thesis became her first published book Stand In Groom. Struggling at the time, I asked her for advice, which she freely gave, and it worked like a charm. I like this series because there are men on the cover. I’d rather look at a nice-looking man rather than a woman any time and I like the premise. She thinks he’s getting married. It’s bound to get complicated.
When wedding planner Anne Hawthorne meets George Laurence, she thinks she’s found the man of her dreams. But when he turns out to be a client, her “dream” quickly turns into a nightmare. Will Anne risk her heart and career on this engaging Englishman? George came to Louisiana to plan his employer’s wedding and pose as the groom. But how can he feign affection for a supposed fiancee when he’s so achingly attracted to the wedding planner? And what will happen when Anne discovers his role has been Stand-In Groom only? Will she ever trust George again? Can God help these two find a happy ending?
My final selection is White Doves, the second in my series. This book was the hardest I’ve ever written. I’m a seat of the pants writer and I hate, hate, hate outlines. But I had to turn in a chapter by chapter synopsis of White Doves before I wrote the book in order to sign the contract. How was I supposed to know what would happen in chapter nine or any other chapter for that matter. I groaned, gnashed my teeth, and churned out the synopsis. My editor liked it and I signed the contract.
Then from out of nowhere, writers’ block clamped its unyielding jaw around me. Writers’ block which I’d believed to be a myth, until it got me. With great advice from Kaye Dacus, the block lifted. Yet every word was like pulling wisdom teeth. I wrote the beginning almost word for word as it is now, then decided that wasn’t good enough and stuck a whole different scene in front of it.
Halfway through, a great detail revealed itself, which often happens in my books. This detail pulled the whole puzzle together, but it wasn’t in the synopsis. So, I tried to stick to the synopsis, but added this whole new conflict.
I turned the book in before my first deadline with days to spare. A week later, I got a gentle e-mail from my editor. The gist of it: I’d packed everything but the cast-iron kitchen sink into this book, when I should have forgot the synopsis and went with the new conflict. We had to do an extra content edit and pull several entire threads of the story, before we could even do a regular content edit. One of the threads to cut: my second beginning scene.
So yes, I’m anxious to read White Doves and see how my wonderful, worth their weight in gold, genius editors pulled this book out of the toilet for me. After all that work, it’s kind of a blur. I’ve only had my author copies since October. Did I mention I’m behind? Thankfully book three wrote itself.
It’s a good thing. At this rate, I’ll be behind all year. Have you read any of these books yet?
Posted on July 30, 2010 - by Kav
There is nothing like meeting a no-account, detestable, treacherous, rotten, evil-to-the-core miscreant within the pages of a book. These secondary characters gleefully wreck havoc on the plot. They delight in delivering angst and tension (and not the romantic kind!) that keeps us turning pages and devouring every word.
They provide a stark contrast to the hero and heroine – evil vs. good, darkness against light. These annoying, ornery secondary characters raise our ire and send our frustration levels soaring with their elusive counterplots. They exist to thwart, outwit, setback, irk and vex our hero and heroine. In fact, these supercilious villains dare to hold our happily-ever-after hostage!
In other words, we might not love them, but we sure do love to hate them!
But what happens when an author has a heart? What if she takes the time to really get to know that diabolical blackguard(ess)? What if she does some in depth background research? What if she puts her psychologist’s hat on and combines it with a theology seminar on counselling and employs a dose of empathy and some heartfelt prayer?
Why then she might be Julie Lessman or Mary Connealy and write a book about the reformed knave(ss). But would readers actually switch their alliance? Would they pay to read about the despicable lowlifes who caused them such agonies just one short book ago?
Yep. Albeit reluctantly.
Take Charity O’Connor for instance. She was the heartless, cruel, underhanded, jealous, devious (the list goes on) sister in A Passion Most Pure. She schemed and connived her way into the hearts of her sister’s suitors. Yes, more than one and she was unrepentant right to the very end! Who could find any redeeming qualities in that character?
Uh, Julie Lessman.
That’s why she wrote A Passion Redeemed as the next book in the series. It was Charity’s turn to play heroine and I don’t know how many times I picked up that book and put it down again, tucking it way at the bottom of my TBR pile. Nu-uh, I wasn’t going to read it. Charity did not possess a single iota of heroine charm. Why would I want to read about her? Humph! Besides, I was quite content harbouring ill will towards that O’Connor harpy. Julie Lessman couldn’t possibly change my mind…could she?
Once I cracked the book open (and sneaked a peek at the last page to be sure I wouldn’t be devastated!!!!) I started reading…and couldn’t stop.
How did Julie Lessman transform Charity from villainous to heroine? I’m not quite sure, but somewhere between the first chapter and the second she opened my heart a smidgeon. And then she started pouring in understanding, compassion, a couple of HUGE aha moments and pretty soon I was Charity’s staunch supporter, rooting for her every step of the way…even though she could still be pretty darn annoying. Charity hasn’t learned to deal with a problem head on. She still takes the long, convoluted, angsty road towards redemption. Which is a good thing, I guess or the book would have been a chapter long. And now, A Passion Redeemed is one of my favourite books in the series.
Mary Connealy, that’s who. If you want the meanest, lowliest, downright rottenest Wild West bad boy, just pick up one of her books. When I read Montana Rose I became acquainted with Wade Sawyer, notorious slimeball personified. Can I just say Ewwwwwwww? He was downright creepy, stalking poor Cassie Dawson, drinking all the time, getting into fights. You might say he was ornerier than a coyote with a nose full of porcupine quills! And even though Mary showed some mercy towards him at the end of the book, I didn’t hold out much hope. I mean skunks can’t change their stripes, right?
Not right away, they can’t. Mary knew that so she eased us into the idea of a redeemed villain by giving him a secondary role in The Husband Tree. He’d come a long ways since his stalking Cassie days, but he still had a way to go and Mary allowed us inside his head so we could see just how far he’d come from. By the end of the book I was cheering him on, my heart a little lighter at the transformation in that poor pathetic excuse of man. But would I really want to read a whole book about him?
Mary thought so and, since I’d learned my lesson with A Passion Redeemed, I gave Wade Sawyer a fighting chance. He comes into his own in Wildflower Bride, which is one of her best books to date. About a month ago, I thought it was her best book but then I read Doctor in Petticoats and that’s left me in a conundrum over which book is best. And in Doctor in Petticoats we get to revisit with another less than stellar individual. One Tom Linscott. He’s always been gruff, brusque and ready to settle an argument with his fist. Only there’s a couple of scenes in Doctor in Petticoats that shows us a different side to ol’ Tom and he gets his own book in January, Wrangler in Petticoats (only Tom isn’t the one wearing the petticoats).
Posted on May 23, 2010 - by Lorna Seilstad
Giddy or gutsy? Proud or pouty? Winsome or weak-willed?
When it comes to romance, the star of the page is inevitably the heroine. Whether she’s a damsel in distress, a take charge lady, or a problem solving grandma, a book’s heroine has to leap off the page and directly into our hearts. But why do some heroines stick out in our minds more than others?
In the next two weeks, here at Inkspirational Messages we want to discuss what make a heroine endearing to the reader. Why do we cheer for her? And what does she need to make her come to life on the page? Along with that, we want to bring up some of the heroines that starred in our favorite books or in our recent reads.
Since I’m the first Inkster to write on this topic, I am not going to hog all the good qualities. Instead, I want to focus on the one quality I like to bring into my own characters—strength. I’m not talking about the heroine with Wonder Woman powers or ninja kicking abilities. I’m talking about a female character who knows who she is, what she wants, and is willing to go for it. She isn’t perfect, but she has an inner strength that allows her to stand on her own.
Recently, I finished Mary Connealy’s The Husband Tree (Barbour). Oh my goodness, her Belle Tanner literally jumped off the page! Not only was Bell a unique and fascinating woman, she was incredibly strong and capable. You believe in her and rooted for her from the beginning. Here’s the beginning of chapter one:
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 most likely picked right, 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.
Can’t you feel Belle’s grit? Her strength? She’d survived three husbands now and buried them herself –but not an inch deeper than necessary, of course. In the book, we learn she manages her ranch better than any man and plans to drive her cattle to market, with our without a man’s help. This fortitude and inner strength made me want her to not only survive, but have it all in the end.
Naturally, movies and television have their strong female characters as well. So with that, it’s your turn. Which heroines in movies and television have admirably displayed the quality of strength? And do you think assertiveness and a show of strength makes a female character less attractive and less feminine?