Monday, May 6, 2013

God Bless the Broken Road that led me straight to a book - 3 Tips to Walking the Broken Road

I’m writing a novella collection with three other authors.
No, it’s more than that. I’m writing THREE novella collections with two different sets of three ladies.
I hope as I've gone through this process I've learned a few things and guess what lucky group (of Seekervillagers) get to hear about it?
Four authors trying to decide what to write is fun...but it’s also complicated.
The first novella collection is: A Bride for All Seasons, releasing mid-June and TODAY is the first ever in the known universe giveaway of A Bride for All Seasons. The three authors involved with me are Robin Lee Hatcher, Margaret Brownley and Debra Clopton. Brainstorming these books has been about the most fun brainstorming experience of my life.

I like brainstorming. I like how one idea inspires another and jumps to another until in the end you may have something so completely different than you started with that you’re not even sure how you got there.
In brainstorming A Bride for All Seasons, Margaret Brownley had an idea in her ‘maybe someday’ file about the owner of The Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalogue . Melvin Hitchcock reads letters from those looking to get hitched and knows he can do better. So a few quick additions or subtractions from the letters and he can match up almost anyone.

Unfortunately this leads to:
1. A heroine who travels halfway across the country to meet her fiancé, who’s dead.
2. A fervent Christian showing up to meet a man who specifically requested no ‘Bible thumpers’.
3. A woman showing up in a rough and tumble mining town with her two children in tow, to meet a man who never wants kids.
4. And a tough little Irishwoman marrying a man who specifically told her he was dying and only wanted to marry to find a mother for his children…except that part of the letter got thrown out.
Once Margaret tossed her idea into the hat we made three firm decisions
1.  The books need to be very loosely connected.  The more slight the connections, the less we had to know about each other’s books. The only connection is Hitch, who gets about a page in each of our books at the beginning to work his mischief. We had to know his name and maybe how he looked and his meddling proclivities, but that was all. We were free to write.
2.   Despite the books being so loosely tied, we needed a theme beyond ‘Mail Order Bride’ and we decided to each pick a season of the year. I’m winter. The books in this collection are:  Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley, An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton, Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher and Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy. The books are spread all over the country in the year 1870.
3.   Let one author take the lead and do most of the communicating with the publisher. We aren’t hard and fast with this, and maybe one would be in charge for a while and, if a deadline looms, let someone else deal with things. A Bride for All Seasons is published by Thomas Nelson and Robin and Margaret are both with them for their longer books, so those two took turns asking questions or being on the receiving end of most information we needed. Thomas Nelson was great to work with and they absolutely would talk with each of us individually and as a group. I’ve gone to them when I had a question or idea, but mostly we let one author ask the questions, then pass the info along to the rest of us.
My second novella collection is A Match Made in Texas, coming in January from Bethany House with Karen Witemeyer, Carol Cox, Regina Jennings and me, then a third with Robin, Margaret and Debra again, in summer 2014. The novella with Karen, Carol and Regina was a little different. I love what we wrote but we set the books with a starting-off point in the same town.

This took more work than we anticipated. All sort of things really mattered. There was  a sewing circle in this small town and it was the center of the women’s activities. It was only obvious that each book should refer to that circle and if one of our heroines wasn’t involved in it, since nearly everyone was, there needed to be a good reason. We needed a layout for the town. A name for Main Street businesses if a character in our books entered the General Store or the bank.

My heroine is a school teacher, so where is the school house? Where is the church. We created a map to layout the town using an Excel spread sheet. Mostly this wasn’t really important information, but still it was necessary.

In a couple of the books it didn’t matter at all because they begin with the heroine out of town or leaving town. But still, once I knew the name of the General Store, and that the bank was almost directly across the street from it, I needed to let my co-authors know. A good example of the trouble we had, that was fixed through solid editing from Bethany House, was weather. This was near Amarillo, Texas. I had a really cold weather scene. Someone else had a winter scene that wasn’t quite so bitterly cold. Guess who thinks winter in Texas is colder than anyone else? Me! I had to re-write a scene that was centered around the cold weather.
We got the second Novella written. And we had fun doing it. A Match Made in Texas contains: A Cowboy Unmatched by Karen Witemeyer, An Unforeseen Match by Regina Jennings, No Match for Love by Carol Cox and Meeting Her Match by Mary Connealy

If we intertwine the books too closely, we need to hammer out details and go back and forth a lot more. I like that they intertwine but it’s a more difficult way to write a collection.

LEAVE A COMMENT TO GET YOUR NAME IN THE DRAWING FOR A BRIDE FOR ALL A SEASONS. Let's talk about series and/or collections. Either ones you've written yourself or with others. And also series/collections you've read. Do you like them closely connected? What works for you and what doesn't? What's your favorite series, either regular length or novella length?

A little bit about A Bride for All Seasons coming June 18th and available now for preorder:
It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue…Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn’t dishonest—not exactly. If he tweaks his clients’ applications a bit, it’s because he’s looking out for their best interests.

A Bride for All Seasons--Four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.

And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she’d travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!

An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.

Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back. . . 

Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?


  1. I can only imagine the silly details that create havoc when writing with others.

    Details create havoc in my own books and it's just me!

  2. I had a lot of fun writing Rainbow's End with Annalisa Daughety, Cara Putman, and Nicole O'Dell. Nicole and I created the geocaching event that all our characters participated in. We were all able to work in small cameos with some of the other characters in our novellas, and kept in touch when we needed something dramatic to happen, like who would win the event!

    Yours sound fun. Erica Vetsch did some very fun stuff with mail order brides in her 4-in-1 Sagebrush Knights, too.

  3. Just finished reading Swept Away about 15 minutes ago and I'm already needing another Conneally "fix" so throw my name in that there hat to win a copy of A Bride for All Seasons. It sounds delightful - mail order brides - gotta love them!

    Can't wait for the second book in your Trouble in Texas Series. Heck, I'd even relish reading your grocery shopping list!

  4. here it is 1.38am and jetlag has set
    in! I LOVE novellas loved hearing how they are put together.

  5. I can't imagine how you keep everything straight! I worked on a novella collection once with three talented authors and enjoyed the process very much. In a solitary profession it is fun to interact with others on a project.

  6. It sounds like a great book.

    I love brainstorming sessions. You're right about ending up in a different place than you started.

    Have a great week everybody.

    Jackie L.

    Please add my name to the drawing. Thanks!

  7. I can't imagine how you keep it all rolling—a true juggling act!
    My hats off to you ladies!

  8. Oh, the stories sound wonderful, Mary! I can't wait to read it.

    You know, I love books that have characters that overlap, characters that I get to visit again. But I also love the idea of the way y'all connected the stories by the one matchmaker. I think that was a great idea.

  9. Fun to see the different processes with your novella collections, Mary! All the stories sound fantastic. Can't wait to read them! Fun to have ready-made brainstorming partners. I love making up small towns.

    The common thread that Victoria Bylin and Pamela Nissen and I had for our novellas in Brides of the West was a bride. Though the title implied a western story, my book was set in the Midwest. Evidently west enough. :-)


  10. LOL, Jan!! You know, I'm sure there would be something in Mary's grocery list that would make me laugh. :)

    Around my house, if I'm on the computer and laugh out loud, my husband and kids always ask what Mary's up to. :)

  11. Jenny, hope you get rested from that icky jetlag so you can enjoy lunch today!


  12. thanks Janet i got too sleep and got 3 more hours eoke 7.30. USing new tablet and getting use to small text area.

  13. Mary, you make me dizzy! And you sprung a book on me that I didn't even know was coming out! That's exciting! What a powerhouse team!

    As a reader I love pretty much everything about series EXCEPT cliffhanger endings. It's fine to leave some threads dangling, but I need some resolution to feel satisfied. I've read series that practically 'end' mid-sentence and I haven't gone back to buy the next one.

    One of the best continuous type series that I can think of is Shelley Shepard Gray's The Secrets of Crittenden County series. It's a murder mystery and we don't find out who dunnit until the last book. BUT each book had enough loose ends tied up that it felt complete (though you wouldn't want to read them out of order) and they were released every third month so the wait between was reasonable.

    As to novellas -- I adore them too. And I do like it when they share something in common. Can't wait to read yours!

    P.S. Was it hard to write a shorter story?

  14. Good morning people!
    Been away from S'ville for a while, personal business like making a living, trying to get back into communication. Missed you guys. Got my computer back from the company and guess what, my fiction was NOT gone from the hard drive!!! God is so good! Mary, thank you as always for sharing. Plz. enter me in drawing.
    Kathy Bailey
    Pre-0ubbed in New Hampshire

  15. I love the concept of "A Bride for All Seasons" - the meddling matchmaker. Something tells me that even though he seems to have bungled things for these four brides, everything is going to turn out just fine.

    And why am I not surprised that Mary, while working on the Trouble in Texas series, has three novellas coming out in the next year? And who knows what she's working on that we don't know about yet!

    Just keep on writing, Mary. And might consider posting your grocery list on Facebook for our entertainment :)

  16. MELISSA It's the little details that get you, Melissa. The affect the story very little but if you get them wrong they really make the story suffer and, if you get them right, they make the story richer and more fun.

    ps experiementing with bolding words.

  17. Love the themes of both your novella collections. How blessed to be working with such wonderful writers.

    So does the experience of having daughters help when working together?

    I am a fast reader so normally prefer longer reads but novellas fit the bill when there is a theme tying them together.

    Put me in for the drawing but I am going get it one way or another!

    Peace, Julie

  18. Very interesting and helpful. I love novellas - from both sides!
    And while it's nice to not have to work out those details, I think they also make the reading more fun.

    One thing I'd add is that due to schedules not everyone can be working on a novella at the same time. Yet the questions need to be asked... now.

    Sounds like a couple 'power team' collections!

  19. I'm excited to read both novella collections. ANything with Mary Connealy's name on it is wonderful.

  20. VALERIE The first book I was contracted for was a three book series for Heartsong Presents with Cathy Marie Hake and Kathleen Y'Barbo.
    So three different authors in a family in Alaska. That took some work, but it was great to learn right at the beginning how to brainstorm and cooperate.
    Our main goal was to treat the other author's work and characters with respect and make sure they didn't do anything out of character in our own books.

  21. JAN I saw that you wrote about it on Facebook. Thanks so much for the kind words. We really had a lot of fun with A Bride for All Seasons. These three authors were so great to work with.


  23. TERRI Well, I hope we kept everything straight. Great editors who have a talent for seeing the big picture really help.

  24. HI JACKIE You're in the drawing. I really felt like A Bride for All Seasons came out well. We had so much fun with that.
    And A Match Made in Texas is also turned in and we got a lot of great characters there.

    The one thing that is frustrating about novellas is, sometimes I have a LOT more story to tell but the word count is so restrictive.

  25. JULIE HILTON STEELE I think the experience of having daughters makes EVERYTHING BETTER!

  26. This is an exciting sounding book and I love those that follow a person/family for a bit. My favotite? I don't know I just like to read! :D I read Christian historical mostly. I love your work, Mary and I have read after Robin for years--love her work and also Debra,s so I will only say that I do like it when the story "continues! Thanks for the opportunity to enter. Blessings! Darlene

  27. HI MARY HICKS Juggling, I like that. I sometimes have a vision of me and my writing as juggling, just books I write alone. Me tossing ideas up in the air, flipping them over, catching them, changing them, tossing them, until I get something I like.

    So now it's a four person juggling act. Very fun.

  28. Mary, when I saw the title of this blog post, God Bless the Broken Road that led me straight to a book--3 Tips to Walking the Broken Road, besides thinking it was a ridiculously long title, I thought, Wow, I better read this one carefully, since my road is definitely broken. Getting told the publisher for your very first adult novel series has decided to get rid of its fiction line entirely and cancel your contract would certain qualify as a broken road, don't you think???

    Seriously, I'm not sure you tied this in to a broken road, Mary. I need an explanation. Where's the broken road and what did you do about it??? I need a self-help blog post and I need it now!!!

    Just kidding, sort of. God is good and I'm doing okay and I have faith that everything is going to work out better than I could ask for or imagine. So there. Take that, devil.

    But I do love the sound of that novella collection! I totally love me a good mail order bride story. Please put me in the drawing! What an amazing line up of authors too.

  29. MISSY I really think a tightly woven book, if it's done well, makes it far more interesting.

    I read series books in order if at all possible.

    Harry Potter comes to mind as a book so tightly woven you end up with readers going over and over and over to catch every fun detail.

  30. JANET I am raging on this BOLD thing, huh?
    See your collection, Janet, is a great example of a loosely tied collection.
    Didn't Log Cabin Christmas do that? The connection was a log cabin and Christmas, but all the characters lived in their own location, didn't know each other or in anyway react to each other.

  31. I loved what Missy said: if I'm on the computer and laugh out loud, my husband and kids always ask what Mary's up to. :)

    So funny and true! :-)

  32. Good morning, Mary. It used to be that I didn't even like novellas because they were too short to really have any depth. You've come a long way, baby. Now I love them, and Mom has always loved them. Would love to win all of yours, Mary. Swept Away is close to the top of my TBR pile...a reward for myself when I have a few more reviews written!

  33. You guys will have to get used to me hanging around again, making lots of comments, now that I have a lot more time on my hands ... That comment will no doubt get a scolding from Ruthy and Mary!!! LOL! I should probably delete it ...

  34. Would love to be a little birdie when the collaboration is coming together with three great writers all in one spot with a specific goal. I bet there is a lot of laughter in those sessions. It was fun to read a bit of the process behind the scenes. It takes good teamwork to produce a great final product. Thanks for sharing and a chance to win a what will no doubt be a fun read. M.

  35. KAV I know what you mean about cliffhanger endings. A book needs to stand on it's own!!!!
    Yes if you create great characters hopefully readers will want to see how their story comes out, but cliffhanger endings, especially when book #2 is months away is irritating.

  36. KAYBEE Welcome back! I'm so glad you found your books!!! What a nightmare, girl. YAY! You're going to start faithfully backing up everything now, right? Start emailing your books to yourself daily, and keep a file in your email folder for BOOKS. That way, where ever you are, you can access those books.

  37. JAN I try and keep my grocery list strictly business. Believe it or not, My Cowboy husband becomes (on rare occasions of course) a bit weary of my lovely wittiness!!!!

  38. DEBRA that is so so true about working on the books when you have time.
    You need to find a gap in your schedule. So one of us would be done and another not begun. We talked a lot and I'd find out some detail from their book that I loved incorporating into mine. Yes, it was work, but I really loved watching that town come to life.

  39. CINDY You sweet thing!

  40. SPANGLDLADY We got such a great team for A Bride for all Seasons What a great bunch of authors to work with.
    A Match Made in Texas we just loved doing that, too. I'm such a loner, it's just really energizing to have to crawl out of my writer's shell and talk to other authors.

  41. I like books that are closely if it is a series I definately want to know what else has happened since the last time I was reading..I know it can't overpower the new book but it sure is nice to visit with old friends. truckredford(at)gmail(dot)Com


    Talk about a cast of thousands! Yay, Connealy!

    Oh my stars, working with someone else on a book is just great fun... I have a Christmas novella coming out with Anna Schmidt this October from Summerside Press and it was so much fun because first, Anna is just an amazing woman and writer and second...

    Wait For It:



    And oh mylanta, it was just so much fun to play in post WWII NYC at Christmas!

    So Mary, I totally get what a fun experience this is! Good for you and I'm totally psyched about reading these!

  43. As a reader, I haven't read many of these collections by different authors where the stories are tied together, even loosly! I would think it would be quite a challenge and I am very impressed by all of you...

  44. MELANIE I think you'll find, if you check carefully, that almost all of my blog posts begin on a high note and immediately begin sinking into blather.

    Sorry about the book being cancelled. I don't know what to say except I believe in you. I know how talented you are. I know your books are successful and award winning. I think and hope and pray that you losing this publisher is going to make other publishers realize they have a shot at you and be eager to get you on their team.
    God bless you.
    Broken roads come in all shapes and sizes.

  45. MARIANNE Writing such a short book is a challenge. I had so much more I wanted to say about my hero and heroine in Winter Wedding Bells. I fall in love with them and don't want to leave.

  46. Fun reading your three points learned, Mary. Writing these novellas has been such a good experience for me, as well. I would brainstorm with this bunch any time!

    I'll be participating in the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt and giving away copies of A Bride for All Seasons. Grand prize is an iPad mini loaded with 31 new novels, including A Bride for All Seasons. It begins on the 17th. For more info, readers should check out:


  47. Sounds like a great book! :) I can't wait to read it! I cannot imagine writing a book with others... I'm sure it was lots of fun!

  48. MELANIE I think on this one I'm not going to give you too much trouble. This is a major disappointment and Seekerville is here to listen and support.
    We love you.

    (I can't promise RUTHY won't be mean of course!)

  49. MEL I really liked the brainstorming. I got a real feel for how all those different, creative minds, working together, come solve almost any problem in a fun, really fresh way.


  50. HI ROBIN LEE HATCHER! Am I supposed to be helping with this contest? (Sometimes I miss stuff!!!)

    It wasn't long ago we brainstormed this last book in a conference call and I just loved the process. It's the most fun I've ever had brainstorming. I wish I could do more of it, the storm in my own brain could use a break!!!!

  51. ELIZA What you said about the old book not overpowering the new book is so true, and yet we want to know! Where is everyone else? I got to write the last book in A Match Made in Texas and I gave a wrap up of 'where they are now'. I ran it by each of the other authors to make sure I've got it right. But I love that in my own reading, finding out where they are now, but not at length, just hit me with the high points.

  52. MARY!! Yay for mastering the BOLD tags in the comments. :)

    I can't wait to read your novella collections. I have enough trouble trying to keep things straight in my own books...I don't know how you juggle it with four other authors...

    PS Thanks to Valerie Comer for her kind words re Sagebrush Knights. :)

  53. Oh my word but these novellas sound fun! What twists and turns! Put my name in the cat dish, please.

    I've never written a series. Well, I started, but book two isn't finished even though I started it in mumble2010mumble.

    A friend of mine has a novella in an anthology released last week. The other three authors are Australian and the stories all take place in Louisiana. She had a heck of a time explaining the proper usage of "y'all." It's natural to those of us who grew up in the south. There's you and there's y'all and then there's all y'all. Got it? LOL!

    Marilyn -- who is back to revisions before she has to leave early for work today to pick up records for a court case

  54. Wow, Mary! Those books sound a lot like all the detailed work we had to do with the "Texas Twins" continuity series. Our stories were very intertwined and all six books had portions of, or the majority of, scenes set in this one small town and the family ranch and intermingling with townfolk and family members. So we had to make sure our descriptions and sequence of events matched!! Challenging to say the least! I can hardly wait to read your story and the others!

  55. Hey Mary and Everyone! Just dropping by to say I had as much fun as you did writing this novella collection! I'm very proud of A Bride For All Seasons and do think readers will love it too.

    Like you, I loved the brainstorming sessions. It was sooooo fun seeing into the minds of you, Margaret and Robin.

    Hey, and I noticed your other title it Meeting Her Match my 5th book was titled Meeting Her Match :)

  56. Mary,
    Each story sounds wonderful. Love how you gals tied them together. Congrats!

    Heading to the ATL airport area to meet JENNY BLAKE, our Ausjenny! Patti Jo, Edwina, Patty Hall, and Missy will join us for a delightful lunch with our Down Under friend!!!

    Can't wait!

  57. DEBRA CLOPTON I didn't mean to steal your title but now that I've thought of it, plan on me doing it ALL THE TIME!!!

  58. Well, thanks, Mary. It is sort of pathetic, isn't it? *sniff*

    But I can still be optimistic. I've been through worse things, and now would be a great time for God to make something amazing happen.

  59. RUTHY'S WRITING A HISTORICAL!!! I think you're going to just liven up the historical world like CRAZY, Ruthy! We have been waiting for you!!!


  60. PATTY It's a challenge but it's so fun to do something different, too.
    I remember one day we had a brainstorming session, Robin, Margaret, Debra and I and then, the next morning, here comes an email from Margaret with a new idea that just was that perfect last piece of the puzzle. So the brainstorming session had come a long way toward giving us our story idea, but then with a little bit of simmer time (and Margaret's creative mind of course) it really came together.

  61. hello Mary, These are some great authors that you are collaborating with -I love reading all of them. I am looking forward to your story. You are a busy lady.
    Paula O

  62. Hi Mary, working with you, Robin and Debra was a real treat! I'll brainstorm with the three of you any day!

    P.S. Working with Mary was a dream. Hers was the first novel I read while trying to decide whether to write for the inspirational market.

  63. LISA I read books with co-authors and I don't even know how they do it.
    This is different in that we all write our own books, but they need to be connected. But each Novella stands on it's own, hopefully.
    What GLYNNA said about her CONTINUITY series, that is a whole 'nother ball game. Those books are tightly interwoven and take a lot of work and cooperation and scads of details.

    We had it much easier than that.

  64. Hugs, Melanie. I had just read Steve Laube's article about changes at B & H and had no idea who was affected before coming here and seeing your post. That's a tough blow, but you have lots of prayer support. Hang in there.

    Mary, I like shorter reads. And I like connected stories. So novella collections work for me.

    Would love to win this one.


  65. Mary,

    What a great group of authors you get to work with! Awesome!

    And the stories all sound like fun! Please enter me in the draw!

    MEL (I have no idea how to do bold), sorry for your book deal going south. But any publisher with a brain would snap that contract up in a minute! Hold tight and something even better will come along. I'm absolutely sure of it! And congratulations again on your final in the Golden Quill!!


  66. Debby & Missy,

    Have a fun lunch with Aussie Jenny! Pictures please!!

    And Ruthy, I almost missed that! YOU writing historical! Wow. Awesome, Can't wait to read it!


  67. PLAYGROUND MONITOR (MARILYN) Couldn't your friend have been an Australian IN LOUISIANA? That would be a nice culture clash. :)

  68. OH , sorry I'm wordy today, but I had to share good news.

    For the first time since before Christmas, my son WENT TO SCHOOL TODAY!!! God is so good!

    What an amazing thing to see him up and dressed in his school uniform, headache free this morning. Taking one day at a time, but rejoicing today!

    Thanks for all your prayers! They helped immensely! (For my sanity, too!)


  69. What a great idea for a series of books! I would love to launch myself into those books and loose myself into those characters lives. Please toss my name into the hat for a chance to win a copy of A Bride for all Seasons.

  70. DEBBY! What fun! many many pictures!!!!!

  71. JUST A REMINDER I don't have my author's copies yet. Whoever wins will get their copy as soon as I get mine. The book releases June 18th, so just over a month from now so I should have my books soon but be PATIENT!!!

  72. Mary, Margaret, Robin and Debra (in case she stops by)

    I love the sound of this collection and I know it will be great fun reading it when it comes out. Yes, please put me in the cat dish (or whatever is being used for the drawing).

    I read that about B&H this morning and I prayed for all of the writers affected. It is one less outlet for those of us who are pre-pubbed but I can't imagine what that must have been like to have your contract cancelled. God's blessings to you, Melanie.

    Enjoy the lunch while I am at work, ladies (Someone on twitter used the acronym EDJ which means Evil Day Job. I would not say that since I like to eat and have a place to live, but today, I am really bummed about missing the lunch)!

    Good for your son, Susan! Hang in there!


  73. SUSAN ANNE MASON that is such wonderful news. Praise the Lord.
    Thank you for telling us!!!!

  74. HI KIRA! You're in the drawing! Thanks for leaving a comment! I think you'll have a lot of fun with A Bride for All Seasons

  75. EXCUSE ME PIPER!!!! Ruthy uses a cat dish. When I have a drawing we use a STETSON

    We can only pity poor Ruthy and her limited DRAWING options.

  76. I LOVE the authors in this book! I can imagine writing as a collaboration with other authors can be fun and interesting. I'm so looking forward to reading this!

    Wanda Barefoot

  77. A Bride for all Seasons has been on my to-read list ever since I heard about it... I can't wait to get a copy! Thanks!

  78. WANDA BAREFOOT what a terrific name! It was fun, a chance to work with great creative people and a chance to get better acquainted with ladies I admire.
    I think I'd met all six of my collaborators before (why does that make us sound like WWII spies?) but to really work with them was a treat.

  79. AH HEIDI!!! THANKS!!! I really had fun reading the finished product from A Bride for All Seasons.
    I've had a chance to read A Match Made in Texas, too. I love the book we came up with.

  80. Connealy is using bold letters!!!

    I'm so proud!!!!!

  81. I AM PROUD TOO....AND SURPRISED! Any new learnin' is mighty hard for me.
    Right below the comment box is a clue for HTML tags so we open with 'greater than b less than', but to close the bold we use 'greater than backslash b less than' I'd use the actual symbols instead of the words except then my instructions would vanish and the words I'd type would simply become bold.

  82. What does the 'a' do.
    Ignore me while I experiment.

  83. I love books in series even when they are very loosly connected! When they are separate books by the same author I hurry to buy the others. When they are all in the same book, I often scurry to find other books by those author as there is almost alwaysd an author I had not read before.

  84. LILSIS first of all, are you someone's Little Sister? Because I am too. :)
    I like reading series and I try hard to read them in order.
    And if the first book hooks me I'm sometimes dismayed because I KNOW I'm going to have to read all of them. But it's also fun because I read a lot and now my life stretches out before me in order for a while. :)

  85. Hmmm it did nothing, the 'i' should italicize

  86. Gosh this is so nice. To just pop in and see all these nice comments :) wow. This was my first Historical and the Mary, Margaret and Robin held my hand and I knew going it they would be perfect match.

    I just want to take moment to thank them all here publically for making me so comfortable entering the world of historicals and for all their help. Thanks Mary, Margaret and Robin!!!!

    And Mary you're a great gal to share a title with! I might grab one of yours too hehehe

  87. Go for it Debra since I found out you can't copyright a title I've just been using other people's either deliberately or by accident all the time!

  88. Hi, Mary!

    I've often wondered HOW IN THE WORLD anthology writers keep the details together. Seeing how you did it made things a lot clearer. Sounds like ya'll had fun!

    Do put me in the drawing, please. The premise for these stories and the blurb for Winter Wedding Bells made me smile. So excited about your upcoming anthologies.

    P.S. I love your bolding. I laughed out loud at "It worked!" :)

  89. A Bride for All Seasons looks like a wonderful book!
    I love when novellas are connected, either closely or in a small way.
    I can't wait till it comes out!! :)

  90. NATALIE MONK REST ASSURED that my novella with the dying husband has a happy ending.

    I know, it doesn't sound like comedy, but trust me!!!!

    My little Irish laborer woman--after she recovers from the shocking news...a day AFTER the wedding, that her brand new husband has a year to live...decides it is nonsense and she's having none of it.

  91. Haha! I love it already. Can't wait for the release date.

  92. Melanie! I'm so sorry to hear about your publisher folding on fiction! I was REALLY looking forward to your adult series. And I'm sure I'm only one in, like, three or four billion that feel the same way. Your writing is amazing. I'm praying God will show out and you'll get a dreamy publishing deal for those adult novels soon.

  93. DEBRA MARVIN I know, it's like ....sound the alarm! Sound the air raid siren! INCOMING!!!!!!!

    (is there some way to make the comments font bigger???)

  94. HI HANNAH!! Well, you're going to love the character of Hitch. He's pretty sure he knows best and isn't afraid to 'help' people. But then when disaster strikes, where is he, huh? He's busy 'helping' someone else

  95. Speaking of RUTHY, Did you name your MC in Swept Away after our Ruthy? Of course you did. As I read it, I kept imagining you stabbing out those letters R-U-T-H-Y while laughing maniacally. Ok, maybe not maniacally, but certainly sinisterly...with an ornery expression on your face. No? Rosie/Ruthy was not fashioned after our Ruthy? If that's the case, please don't tell me. I had way too much fun thinking that you were picking on her all through the book and wondering if Ruthy is going to retaliate in her next book. Thanks for all the hours of entertainment!

  96. NATALIE I know Melanie's books will find a home just because I WANT TO READ THEM SO BADLY THEY HAVE TOO!!!

  97. Do you think all this bold stuff kinda sounds like I'm yelling?
    Or like I'm typing while my hair is on fire, or I'm being chased by wild dogs.



  98. How do you do three novellas at once? Plus a book or two. You are amazing!

    Thanks for the shout-out for "A Match Made in Texas". I can't wait.

  99. JAN I did name that character after our Ruthy and I have a sister named Ruth, too, so that's saying something that I picked our Ruthy over my own sister. Of course I can't quite seem my very lovely sister whacking people over the head with a gun butt either. Where as with Ruthy Logan Herne?????


    The other heroines in this book (and a few side characters thrown in) are Glynna, Tina, Janet and Missy. Oh, yeah, I torture them all. It's payback time!!!

  100. HI REGINA!!! one of my co-authors for A Match Made in Texas.

    Honestly it gets a little confusing sometimes. I take extensive notes.
    You know what I've found myself doing really wrong? I've got email file folders with all emails pertinent to each series.
    But I go to those folders and find emails for the OTHER series in the wrong folder.

    I keep hoping I not messing up more deeply and profoundly than that.

  101. All these authors and novellas (like 12 stories in all, or is it 16, or 32..., sorry, I lost count...) sound delightfully hilarious and like a tornado full of fun!

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall listening to all these ladies plot these stories out.

    Only Mary could keep all this straight! lol

  102. This sounds awesome, and what a great bunch of authors!! Mary, my husband and I have read several of your books in the past two months, so we are new fans. We are really enjoying your writing, and my husband normally does not read for pleasure at all, so that says a lot!

  103. I have a lot to learn. I don't know why my comment posted three times. ;)I'm enjoying seeing all the comments by such wonderful authors on here.

  104. Mary, working with you, Karen, and Regina on A Match Made in Texas was an absolute hoot. What a delightful group! It was wonderful to be part of a team that worked so well together.

    And...just wanted to say that I've read A Bride for All Seasons, and it's WONDERFUL! Loved the premise, loved the stories--even if I did want to smack Hitch every once in a while. ;-)

  105. These all sound so good! Can't wait to get my hands on them. ;-)

    I usually find 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 Barbour novella collections at Goodwill, or my sister sends some to me. I really enjoy those! I do remember one book called THREE WEDDINGS AND A GIGGLE (Liz Curtis Higgs, Carolyn Zane, Karen Ball) that I loved because it was romantic and funny; I ended up reading that one twice because I'd run out of fiction to read.

    I found a book of yours free, Mary, so it will be my first time reading your writing! It's OUT OF CONTROL, and I finally figured out how to download it to my old Nook (one of my hubby's cousins sent it to me as a surprise a couple months ago when she got a new one!).

    Would love to win A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS! Thank you for the opportunity!


  106. I have to go back adn look Tina. I have no idea how that happened. Going back and looking won't probably help neither.

  107. JOELLE!!!! Your HUSBAND??? That is so fantastic. I've had a really great response to my books from men IF ONLY I CAN GET THEM TO READ THEM!!!

  108. In the group for A Match Made in Texas, Carol Cox was the one who'd done a lot of collaborations. I'd say she was probably the brains of operation. :)

  109. Here's how it happened. You were cutting and pasting and I was in your cut in paste.

    If you have time could you cut and paste your bank account and password. I need a new couch.

  110. ERICA!!! HI!!! Erica and I got contacted this weekend to help with a writer's retreat at the Blue Belle Inn in St. Ansgar Iowa. Very cute place we met for a writer's retreat once.
    And the Blue Belle Inn's owner is a member of ACFW and a Christian author.
    Oh this will be so fun!
    It's located about two hours straight south of Minneapolis if anyone wants to come!

    It's right now tentatively scheduled for August 16th or whatever weekend that is. Nothing is firmed up yet. But it'll be fun.
    We're both supposed to teach a class but I am already hard at work trying to get out of that.
    Erica seems to think we should try but that can only lead to disaster.


  111. On the advice of counsel I have deleted Tina's email address out of the comments.
    So now, her comment above about my bank account number just sounds STRANGE. Which is why I left is and am currently snickering as I type.

  112. Although a new couch sounds really SWEET!!!!!!!!!!

  113. Oh, my stars! I'm such a ditz that I didn't even realize that the other characters (Glynna, Tina, Janet and Missy) were other Seekerville authors that you snuck (sneaked?) into the book.

    I do have to admit that I fantasized that "Janny" was really named for me. Except, of course, that her real name was Janet and mine is Janice...ah, well, maybe next time.

  114. My last book's heroines were named Julia, Audra and Callie. (I know I had a huge Seeker op and blue it, but I had this ITALIAN thing going with Callie and just had to do a lot of work to come up with an Americanized version of some really Italian sounding name.
    What was it? Callisandra? Callista? I can't remember now.
    time lapse
    I went and checked it was Calandra.
    I tried to do Myralanetti or Carolissimo, I swear.

  115. "I'd say she was probably the brains of operation. :)"

    Mary, I'm laughing so hard, I can barely type. I think I'll print that out and frame it. Maybe send it to you to have it autographed first. That may be the first (and most likely the last!) time I've been accused of being the brains of anything. Thank you for that. ;-)

  116. Mary, your post's are so funny, you could make them into a book! 'Time lapse,' lol!
    Please put my name in the hat.

    Susan, I'm so glad to hear your son is doing better!! Migraines are bad enough for adults to handle, children shouldn't have to.

    Melanie, Seekerville will pray you through this.
    Just remember, when God closes a door He opens a window.

  117. I love mail-order bride stories, and the ones in A Bride for All Seasons sound like such fun. I already had the book in my Amazon cart.

  118. This thread is getting long, so I'll be short. Please drop my name in the Stetson. I love reading about women crazy enough to travel across country to marry a complete stranger.

    I'm 58% through Swept Away and didn't know Ruthy was named for our Ruthy. That'll make the rest more fun.

  119. It's interesting to know that Mary had no problem imagining our Ruthy bashing someone over the head with the butt of a gun!

  120. Well, Elaine, I made my Ruthy be exactly like the REAL Ruthy, except when it didn't suit me.
    Or the real Ruthy was too wonderful to be true, so I had to fictionalize my character to make her less like Ruthy and thus, believable.

  121. "the real Ruthy was too wonderful to be true"

    I could have used a spew alert on that one.

  122. Back from the fun lunch with Ausjenny, Patti Jo, Missy and Patty Smith Hall!

    We talked for THREE HOURS! (If only I could bold like Mary does. )

    Had a ball. Talked books and Seekerville and everything in between!

    Jenny is just as wonderful in person as she in online. Her vacation in the USA sounds amazing, and she promises to keep us up-to-date on her travels.

    She's on her way to Chattanooga! Home of the Choo-Choo!

    Safe travel, Jenny. Thanks for being with us today.

  123. Just saw the Genesis semi-finalist list! Lots of Seekervillagers! YAY!!!

    Big maga congrats to all of you!!!

    Snoopy dancing in Georgia!

  124. I also just read the Genesis semi-finalist list. Familiar names there!!!

    Susan Mason
    Carol Moncado
    Casey Herringshaw
    Debra Marvin
    Jodie Wolfe


  125. This comment has been removed by the author.

  126. Congrats to all the ACFW semi-finalists, but a special happy dance for my daughter, Carol Moncado (double finalist) and fellow CWOW (Christian Writers of the West) member, Lindsay Harrel!

    I know that Seekerville has been an incredible inspiration and support to Carol. Thank you all!

  127. Also...
    Nancy Kimball
    Pat Davis
    Suzanne Deitz

    I'm sure we've missed some!!!

    What a great list! Whoot! Whoot!

  128. Mary, very informative! Your novellas sound wonderful. I just wonder how you find the time to write so much!

  129. and, speaking of novellas (can I say this?) The novella category of the Genesis was canceled and I know at least one person's historical romance SEMI FINAL entry came from the novella cat.

    They might be small, but they are mighty!

  130. i am in Chattanooga waiting for my friend. Had a great time at lunch.

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  132. A Bride For All Seasons looks really good!


  133. Great article! I haven't written any series, just a reader of them, lol. I tend to like a series when the next book picks up right where the previous one left off if possible. It's not that I don't like the series that seem to have a span in between the books or jump from 'one family to another' so to speak because I enjoy them all.

    Thank you Seekerville authors for all you do for us readers than can't write, lol.



    Oh my stars, I'm so stinkin' proud o' youse!!!! Look at that list of names!!!!!

    You will not believe how big my smile is....

    How stinkin' wide!!!!

    I mean this is like 2 thumbs-up awesome!!!!


  135. What a WONDERFUL list of writer's on that Genesis contest! Congrats, all!

  136. Listen, Radcliffe, I bet Mary MEANT THAT EXACTLY AS SHE WROTE IT...

    The real Ruthy was just too good to be true...

    Come on, we all know it's most likely more fact than fiction so the pretend Ruthy...

    The "MacNeil" chick....

    Is only Mostly Ruthy... It's like being Mostly Dead on The Princess Bride...

    Close, but no cigar!!!

    DEB MARVIN you little cutie pie...

    Yes, historical because if Mary can do it????




    (I used the "a" there and want to see if it does anything.... Be careful. We may explode."

  137. I keep going back and just LOOKING at that lovely list of finalists!!!!


  138. Okay, I stopped by this morning and I must say, a song has been playing through my head all day long. Thank you Mary. I love Bless the Broken Road. :)

    I read a collaboration novel recently and each main character was written by one of four different authors. They did such a wonderful job that it was really hard to tell that four different authors wrote it. I enjoy reading them and look forward to reading A Bride for All Seasons.

    Have a wonderful week...and God Bless the Broken Road which leads me back to here....

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  139. I got cut off from the internet for nearly three hours and now I can't remember how to do BOLD. I think this happened before. I think I USED to know how.

  140. Congrats to all the amazing Semi-Finalists in the Genesis contest.

    What a great addition to an already great day! I was so surprised to get the call b/c that ms just tanked in another contest!

    I can't keep up with the Facebook posts!!

    I'd like to thank all my friends in Seekerville for their support and encouragement! (Just practicing... LOL).


  141. Cindy W. My Cowboy husband was reading it, the ARC of the collection and he said hekept getting mixed up thinking he was reading a book I'd written.
    We chose the authors for how our work intersected and it made for a good match.


    wait I can DO THIS
    For something THIS IMPORTANT!


  143. hello everyone found out the hard way I can't post anonymous :-( and limited options at work for how I can log on to stuff.
    anyways...I prefer full length series by one author - this type is usually my least favorite because of the length and different authors and the big negative of being historical. Being different authors makes it hard to shelve - which author do I shelve it with?! of course now that I've gone ebook I dont' guess it matters. It sounds like something I'd like to read though so if I don't win it I'll probably get the ebook :-) but ya'll don't turn Debra historical - I'll cry. she's one of my autobuy authors and I don't want nothin' messing with that! also I DO think Texas gets really cold - esp when you're not used to subzero temps- it hit 48 here the other night and I was freezing!
    Susanna who will try to log in - hopefully will work..

  144. Congrats to you authors on A Bride For All Seasons . Sounds like all of you ha e put a really good book together . Sounds like one I would really like . Thanks for the giveaway . I have read some of your books and enjoyed them .
    I would love to win this book it sounds so good .

  145. Susanna,
    Love your mention of Debra C being one of your "autobuy" authors! Great term!

    Glad you could stop by Seekerville this evening. Come back often. We always give away books!

  146. *MELANIE!* That publisher's loss will be another publisher's gain. And yes, I will say "Told ya so" when it happens :-)

    Nancy C

  147. This comment has been removed by the author.

  148. Good gracious -- all that good news about the Genesis! Congrats to every one of you!

    Nancy C

  149. Oh ... and Mary ... enjoyed your post :-)

    Nancy C
    a/k/a She who is waiting impatiently for 'Fired Up' because I want to see Glynna find happiness ... but mostly because Dare Riker is gonna be great in a book of his own. I do hope I haven't hurt Luke's feelings ...

  150. Awe thanks Susanna! I'm a contemporary girl at heart and that's where my main focus remains :) However writing An Ever After Summer and working with this group of gals was so much fun that I'll have to do it again every once in a while!

  151. Quilt928 Susannah....thanks for struggling to defeat the internet gremlins to sign in. :)

  152. HI ELIZABETH Thanks for commenting.

  153. NANCY! I'm writing as fast as I can!!!!
    Fired Up, Glynna and Dare's story was a lot of fun!

  154. Wow, I'll just echo what so many others have said: Mary Connealy is amazing!

    I love novella collections and look forward to reading these.

    Waving at Jenny (now in Chattanooga) and smiling at the fun time we had at lunch today! Wish all the Seekers (and Seekervillians) could've joined us.

    CONGRATS to all the Genesis semi-finalists---YAY!!! :)

    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

  155. I have enough trouble keeping my own story straight at times. I can't imagine working with other authors to coordinate all of the details. I know I would be making mistakes everywhere.

    One of the stories from my Japan series is set in Kyoto and I found a map from the time period. It made things much easier.

  156. Mary - this probably wouldn't be a good time to tell you that I have read Melanie's first grown up Regency.

    It's all that.

    And a bag of chips.

    Benefits of being a first reader :D.

    I can't wait for these novellas!!! They look so great!!

    And CONGRATS to all the semi-finalists!!!!!!!!!!


    Such an impressive list - I can't believe that li'l ol' me is on it with all the others!!!

  157. So much to co-ordinate writing a series with others. My hat is off to you!!

    I do enjoy reading series however they are connected.

    I would love to read A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS!!

  158. Love mail-order bride books - hoping for a win! Thanks for the opportunity!

  159. I like novellas. I like to see the variety of different authors in one story. My favorite novella to date is Central Park Rendezvous.

  160. I love novella collections, but I can hardly imagine the work it takes to get the minute details correct. Of the ones I've read, I think I prefer the less connected ones. I'm sort of nitpicky about details and catch some of them in novels, as well as novella collections. It doesn't stop me from reading them though. :)

    Would love to win. It sounds like it was a fun set to write.

    Ginger dot solomon at gmail dot com

  161. I can't wait to read this book. :) I love mail order bride novels.

    Thank you for the well wishes. I'm so blessed to be a part of those who made it to the semi-finals.

    Jodie Wolfe

  162. My favorite novella series is Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers. I love how the women in the line of Christ are characterized in this series-Fictional but threaded with history. It made me realize God can use anyone. Thanks for the giveaway:) I would love to read each novella in A Bride for All Seasons:)

  163. okay i'm a day late (was traveling by car with toddler), but hopefully not a dollar short to get into the hat for a shot at a Mary Connealy book (novella or not). The stories sound fantabulous. I'll be marking it on my Kindle wish list for sure...

  164. I would love to win this book,Enter me!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!
    Sarah Richmond

  165. Super topic, Mary! And congratulations are again in order. Know each will be a success.

    Sounds like lots of hard work and fun, fun, fun too! :)

    I'm working on book 3 in the May the K9 Spy series.

    It's been a blast! Some of the challenges are: to remain consistent throughout, to have characters grow, to continue with what worked before and tweak what didn't, to devise new plots and characters, when to stop (if I should) and move on to other things...

    I've very much enjoyed your series-es(?). Recently, I've discovered Karen Hancock's work, starting with Light of Eidon. Wawzah.
    Tolkien, Lewis, Addams. Those are all top of mind.

    Can't wait until I can take a moment and look through the comments! :)

    may at maythek9spy dot com