Monday, May 5, 2014

When is a car NOT a car? When it turns into a Parking Lot

I'm the one on the right
And when is a collection of stories not a saved and forgotten computer file? When it turns into a novella.
I’m posting this novella on my blog. Closer Than Brothers.

I talked about it here a while ago.

Tina’s post on Jack Reacher actually reminded me that I did this novella with the backstory of my heroes from Trouble in Texas because of Jack Reacher.

And no...Seekerville isn’t going to become the ‘All Jack Reacher All The Time’ blog. (well we’re not going to make it a rule or anything, but who knows?)

But I’m a Jack Reacher fan and I waded through all sixteen (or however many) books so fast I was close to death from sleep deprivation and then I found these little….well, not novellas really. These strange little shorts…you might say. SHORT books about Jack Reacher.

One that I particularly loved was called Second Son.

Click to Pre-Order
This little novella…’s an ebook, so how can I really tell how long it is? I’d say maybe 10,000 word, was just fun. This glimpse of Reacher as a … maybe... 12 year old child. His family, his trouble at a new military base and the framework of who he became.

I loved it.

I’ve read it multiple times. Lee Child just did a really cool job of being true to Reacher as a boy.

So that got me to thinking….always dangerous…who have I got that I could write a SHORT about out of my published books?

It gets tricky because I have to abandon the romance novel that I love writing because, of course, all my characters already have their romance in my books right? So I guess I could write about Sophie McClellen falling in love with her first husband, but that ended badly and he was a bad husband. Where’s the fun in that?

And Belle Tanner? What? Hating her first three husbands? Being hurt by her father? Bummmer of a story!

You know…it makes sense that the backstory of most of my characters is sort of difficult…because that’s the book right? All they’ve been through to bring them to their love story is often a struggle. Torturing our characters—especially in their past—is almost required.

And it’s not like I have ONE enduring character who was true to the future Reacher even as a child.

So I came up with this idea for how my Trouble in Texas heroes met in Andersonville and I just started writing some scenes. I’d done all the research. I’d even written up some backstory scenes. And from writing the books I actually had most of these ideas in my head. This grew into Closer Than Brothers.

I knew what bound them together.

I knew what inspired Dare to continue doctoring after the war.

I knew Luke was very sick and very angry and that ended up driving him away from his family in Texas later.

I knew Vince was invincible.

I knew Jonas had ridden the outlaw trail before he found God on a battle field.

But then I started talking to people I really respect and they were nervous about BRANDING.

Closer Than Brothers has some comedy in it but it’s set against this dark, brutal background.

There is a tiny hint of romance right at the end because--who should walk into my story of Luke in the hospital after the war but Seth Kincaid, and then Luke’s sister Callie. That was fun to write but it ended very badly as you know if you’ve read Over the Edge--romances do not 'end very badly'. That's a law.

And honestly, the book is just barely a story. A story needs a beginning, middle and end. It needs conflicts and black moments and (if you’re me) Happily Ever After.

But Callie and Seth are going to get blown apart when Seth disappears.

Luke is going to go home and fight with his pa.

Vince is so sick he goes home to Chicago and his father’s mansion only to run into all kinds of trouble that will be revealed in his story, Stuck Together.

Dare's going to be a doctor but with no schooling past fourth grade he's a real shady one.

Jonas is going to head west because he’s a wanted man back east, breaking his little sister, Tina’s heart.

So this isn’t my brand, there’s no one ropin’ or ridin’ anywhere, no HEA, not much comedy.

So I decided to give it away on my blog. One chapter at a time leading up to the release of Stuck Together. Mainly because I dread the though of people buying it, even for 99 cents and being disgusted with it. The worst reviews on Amazon say, "This was free but it was still too expensive." (those really pinch)

And one chapter at a time might be annoying so maybe no one will even keep reading it.

But I still love that idea of Second Son, the ‘Reacher as a Boy’ book. So I might do it again.

But maybe this isn't the best way. 

Any  thoughts from your own work? Any short stories you’d like to publish? Any opinions, if you’ve read the chapters I’ve published up to this point? Is it frustrating? Boring? I’m doing two per week so they’re coming pretty fast, but maybe not fast enough.

This is a celebration of doing SOMETHING DIFFERENT and I’d appreciate any ideas, input, suggestions…I mean it, if you think I’m screwing up TELL ME.

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. (that’s a bribe to speak up, just in case you have no idea what in the world to say about this!!!)

I’ve got two books releasing in June.  So maybe next month we can all move on from this novella ‘experiment’ (fiasco?) and talk about real books.

Invincible Vince Yates has finally run into a situation he can't handle.
He never meant to be the unpaid town sheriff.
He never expected his family to leave Chicago and bring all their considerable problems to his doorstep.
He never planned on having to decide what to do with a prisoner who seems really sane, except when she's trying to kill people.
And he is Invincible Vince Yates after all. He probably could have handled it...if Tina Cahill hadn't come to town.
She is infuriating, a troublemaker and the little sister of one of his best friends, Parson Jonas and ... Vince has no idea why such a little pill keeps ending up in his arms.
Invincible Vince has met a woman who is too much for him and his intentions are completely dishonorable because he has no interest in getting married. So he'd better stop kissing her before he makes Jonas shoot him. That'd be real hard to preach around come Sunday morning.
What you see here is a genuine crisis. My Cowboy said the words, "I've never seen that before..." about fifty times. He also said a few words I won't be typing here.
The crisis?
The little black calf in the foreground is the new baby. Beautiful, shining black, big, sturdy.
The black cow in the background is the mama.
The slightly larger brown calf between the new baby and the new mama?????
She's not supposed to let a strange calf do that.
Now we don't know if the new calf sucked because My Cowboy can tell my looking at the mama's udder.
So, new baby and mama have to be driven into a holding pen alone.
Then the baby has to be fed with a make sure he's eaten, though he did suck a bit so he probably has.
Then the cow--which is named Hoier but My Cowboy made a radical decision and changed her name to BIG & DUMB in the midst of this crisis--can't be put back in the yard with the other cows and calves because we'll never be able to tell if the calf is sucking. But the holding pen doesn't have any grass or a feed bunk, though we did give her a bucket of food.
sigh. So she and the calf have to be moved. Get the cattle trailer out, load the cow, figure out where to put her.
It's been about an hour and a half.


  1. Love your start! So "Mary"! Personally, I don't like chapters per month, or week or day ... Not even hour. I want it and I want it NOW!!! Even though your books are stand alone, they are part of a series and it's so hard to wait in between. First thing Mom asks when she picks up a new book ... This is book 1. Next day as she finished it she says where is the next one? I come by it honestly! Thanks, Mary. Love your post. Branding is good, but not all your novels have to be that.

  2. I literally laughed aloud since you are trying to talk us out of thinking this story is any good. That is so me. If you really want to hear me talk about my books, I'd tell you that I often agree with the 2-3 star ratings of my books over the 4 and 5s. I could talk you out of reading any of my books by listing their many faults.....ha ha. So I just keep my mouth shut.

    LOL again, I press the link to read it and you're still trying to talk me out of it!

  3. Hi Mary:

    After reading all his books years ago, I’ve recently become re-hooked on Louis L’Amour. Right now I’m reading one of his classic books, “Dark Canyon”, that runs up and down the outlaw trail. It shows how the outlaw trail worked as a major part of the plot. It is just fascinating history just like your inside view of Andersonville prison.

    So while reading L’Amour, I’ve also been reading, “Closer than Brothers”, and I think that this is the best thing you’ve written. I just love it and each WE I feel like a winner when I get to download the next chapter. It has all the energy, authenticity and punch that L’Amour is famous for. It is definitely a story and a great one at that. Romance genre fiction might need three parts and an HEA but not mainstream fiction. It just needs to be a narrative that entertains and holds the reader interest captive.

    I’d say that if you could just write fist fight scenes as well as Louis (he was a professional fighter in his youth), you’d be right there with master in writing as men like it.

    As I said, I’m reading you both at the same time and I can feel the resonance. It’s like two tuning forks vibrating at the same frequency. It's the reading pleasure that feels so much the same. Write more!

    Your novella is automatically a story since it is a prequel to three novels. Here's the story: How these characters survived Andersonville and became who they are when the first novel opens.

    About branding: I think the big problem will be with male readers who find out, after all the wonderful realism in the novella, that your novels are romances!!!

    Perhaps you can use this pen name, Healy Connealy. Now that is a cowboy name with rugged trail music already built in.


    P.S. Vince, on the cover,
    looks just like my father at that same age. His name was also Vince. I really think I'm going to like this book! : )

  4. MARIANNE I really agree with you about series and wanting them all NOW.
    And when I can't get them, especially if it's long between, I forget.
    I read one lately and it's like...I don't really remember the names from before. And some of the references make me ask, "Did I miss a book?"

  5. Melissa, I am all about lowering expectations. Hopefully then the truth will be a good surprise...instead of a BAD one!

  6. VINCE I think we've talked about the fist fight in Swept Away.

    That's the first fist fight I've ever written. I was really scared of it because it is so much work to make a scene that packed with action MOVE.

    And yet it was because I was scared of it that I did it. I knew I couldn't let my inexperience stop me from trying something different.

    You want MORE fist fights, huh?

    I might be able to do that. I tend to just whack people over the head with a rock instead. Must simpler.


  7. And VINCE thank you so much for the Louis L'Amour comparison.
    My Husband says that too. He's been re-reading Louis L'Amour this winter. He hadn't read them for years but he used to read them all.

    So he said once that he was reading along and whatever was written he caught himself thinking I had messed up. I had written something outlandish and I had the history messed up. And then a few seconds later he remembered he was reading a Louis L'Amour book and not one of mine.

    I took that as a major compliment.

  8. I am absolutely loving reading the chapters on your blog! Though I'd love to be able to have it in one chunk I will take your writing anyway I can get it! I also think it would do well on Amazon. Yeah they'll be a few bad reviews from the people who didn't look close enough to see what it is and then get mad. But you have such a great fan base that the good reviews would far outweigh the bad. From the part I've already read I know that anyone who is a fan of your books will love this! And if you're worried about it not being technically your "brand", the disclaimer you put at the beginning of the chapters is enough to let people know exactly what they're getting!
    But hey that's just my two cents!

  9. Mary, I can't get over the fact that you are unsure about your writing. I look at you and think you've arrived, girl. Your fans are going to love the freebies, though faster is always better!

    I'm currently working on a novella and I keep thinking this thing stinks. The fact that YOU worry has given me new hope to push on through.

  10. Very interesting. I can see your dilemma. Way to forge through those obstacles and write the story.

    I've ordered some Jack Reacher novels to take on vacation. (I live in a small town with no book store.) You all have convinced me they are worth reading.

    Thanks for sharing your process.

  11. Sounds like you're in a conundrum! LOL

    I really loved Belle and have yet to read her story. Hopefully soon. :-)

    It will be interesting to see you solve this. Heeheeeheeee.

  12. Hi MARY, I have to agree with Marianne. I like the book right away. I'm not fond of series either for the same reason. If I know its a series, I usually wait until they are all out so I can read them all at once. So I'm waiting on your novella until it is finished.

    But a comparison to Louis L/Amour. Wow. Maybe I'll take a peak. I loved his books as a child.

    have a great day.

  13. Mary, Mary, Mary. You shouldn't doubt yourself. I LOVE the novella so far, and I can't wait for the next chapter to come out. You've left us with a poor guy BACK STABBED!!! The writing is definitely still in your voice.

    Like Marianne and Sandra, I like to have my books all at once when they're a series, which is why I've been waiting so long, since Swept away came out until reading it.

    And is anyone else on Seekerville today nervous??? Today is the day ACFW announces the semi finalists.

  14. Mary,
    I think it's a good idea. It's like a little "lagniappe" (a New Orleans term, I have no idea where I got it) for your fans. An itty-bitty treat to keep 'em comin' (without building a baseball field, SO 20th century) and also to reward them for BEING fans. I love it. I may try it with some of the minor characters in my stories that have positive marital relationships and try to figure out how they got there, such as Ben and Martha in the "Trail" story. You can never have too much backstory, you just have to be careful how you use it.
    I will try to check out the novella if I can get some time, this is also my month with Jill Elizabeth Nelson and I am chomping at the proverbial bit to get into Deep POV.
    Thanks, Mary, for giving us another option.
    Kathy Bailey

  15. Now Mary, why would I want to read this if it is as awful as you are trying to convince us it is? I'll tell you why - it has the name Mary Connealy on it. And so what about all that branding stuff? These are characters I know and love and I also know this is setting me up for something great. So hurry up with the next chapter already. Oh, but I have to say - the Seth and Callie thing breaks my heart. Thank goodness I know the ending!!

  16. Your novella chapters have hooked me on these characters, and I like backstory.

  17. I won't believe in your self-deprecation Mary! I think publishing it on your blog is a great enticement. Good for you!

    And you've been an inspiration to me (I can't speak for others) in the novella approach. I have ideas for others already. So I applaud you!

  18. Oh, Mary! You literally have LOL here.

  19. Mary, you CANNOT write anything that I won't like! You are the absolute best. When I see your name on a book, I grab it! Or rather, preorder it.

    I'm not creative so I can't write anything of my own.

    However, Amazon gift cards are the gift that I request from everyone! Love to spend them.

    Thanks for giving us a chance.

  20. HI Mary! I love your books, and although I usually cannot WAIT to get my hands on the newest one, I think this gradual releasing of the background story in novella form is working! I usually don't like purchasing novellas, because they leave me wanting more for my money, so the way that you are gradually releasing this...a free chapter at a time... helps stretch it out, and gives us something to look forward to rather than reading it all in one setting and wishing there were more!! Thanks!! :)

  21. Oh, Mary, I LOVE the idea of shorts or novellas leading up to a story, and I have certainly toyed with the idea A LOT because I have several sub plots on the cutting room floor from the O'Connor books and a hankering to write a short on a character from the Heart of San Fran series too.

    My only problem??? Not sure I can write "short." A Light in the Window was supposed to be a novella, but you saw what happened there.

    Cannot WAIT to read Stuck Together!!!


  22. I salute you for doing something different, Healy Connealy.

  23. Mary, you could write the phone book and it would turn out to be lively, engaging, and entertaining!

    YOU GO, GIRL!!!

  24. Abbi, I actually went in my blog and read the whole thing again yesterday.

    LOL CHEATING I KNOW. But I like reading it all together too.

  25. TERRI It's not really that I'm unsure about my writing

    It's just that, (and we ALL feel this way here at Seekerville) I am so honored and humbled that my books keep selling.

    I guess I don't know if all authors feel that way but the Seekers all have had a hard journey to get where we are.
    We ended up teaming up because we felt like we knew each other, the same names above or below me on contest after contest. And yet we just couldn't quite kick our way through that stubborn door to publication.

    Maybe because of that...of how long it took me and how many books I'd written...I just never ever get over being so delighted that people like my books and say such kind things, like you all are doing today.

    And I guess that, more than anything, makes me not want to put up a book on Amazon and wring 99 cents out of people that have been so wonderful to me. My readers.

    So that made me hesitate and once I'd hesitated I started considering my options and finally came up with the idea of posting it online as a build up to the release of Stuck Together.


  27. I've got to duck out for a few minutes. Hoier calved.

    If you're following the saga of baby calves with me on Facebook, you'll know what that means.

    Be right back with pictures. :)

  28. Lol...Mary, I can't believe that anyone would every say, "This was 99 cents but it was still too expensive" about your writing. ;)

  29. As usual, you make me smile, Mary. As a series reader--and writer--I love these short little bits of insight into characters, families and situations.

    Now, I just have to remember to go read! That's asking a lot of my mind.

    Started reading Swept Away last night and got swept away. :)

  30. I will read any book that you write but since this series is different than your usual writing I am glad you are letting us read at least five chapters. I have read all of them and they don't have the humor you usually have but I think it is a great story. I love history especially Civil War history so I am hooked already. I am looking forward to reading the whole series. You make us care for the characters right away and you want to know what happens to them. This is a wonderful series so don't doubt yourself.

  31. Mary "L'Amour" Connealy,

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your novella and the idea of posting a little bit at a time to whet our appetites for the coming Stuck Together. Brilliant! (said like the dude in that old beer commercial) It gives your fans a fix for their Connealy addiction before the next book.

    I'm with Susan Snodgrass - any book with your name is an automatic "gotta get it" book.

    I'm still itching to create a book cover for Closer Than Brothers. Ideas are percolating on the back-burner of my mind since I'm sort of busy working on my Killer Voice entry - but don't think for one minute I've forgotten about you or that cover. I soooooooooo want to create it.

  32. What a great idea. Good for you.

    So far all I know about Jack Reacher is that I've seen the movie. That doesn't count, does it. I think I will have to read the series.

    I usually wait on installment books until they're all done so I don't get left hanging. I know, that's the point right? But I'm not a patient person. (I love watching series on Netflix because they're all available with no waiting.)

  33. As a reader I think it's a great idea to use your chapters as bonus features on your blog to promote your upcoming new release. I've been loving them and appreciate the backstory coming a little at a time- it's like a treat that I can savor rather than some of the material not being focused on quite so much because I'm reading them all together.


    Calf is fine, baby is fed, husband is gone back to work (like this wasn't work!)

    We named the calf Dave, because he is the son of a bull we bought from our neighbor Dave.

    I know, we've got a naming problem. Mainly spawned from laziness.

  35. I've considered having a name the calf contest but My Cowboy, when I suggested it, just sort of stared at me ... for far too long.

    I'm pretty sure if I have the contest, I can't promise he would actually use the name.

    So the whole thing would be a big old LIE. Uh....yeah, sure, we call the baby by the name you suggested....uh....let's just move on here.

  36. Sorry, I'm supposed to be talking about books.

    I'll get my head back into the ball game. in just a few minutes.

  37. Julie writing short is tricky.

    I guess I'm getting on to telling 'smaller stories' because I've been doing some novellas and I'm learning to enjoy it.

    But with the idea of SHORTS it's not really a story. It's more like a snapshot of a moment in time. A scene almost.

    But that makes it sort of weird, not a real story with a beginning middle and end.

    Like the end of this book, well, I believe the last words have something to do with Callie thinking, "I need help so I'm going to find my baby's uncles. And if my husband is still alive and I find him at home with his family, I'm going to kill him."

    Which is exactly where she was at mentally when she found her runaway groom.

    1. Loved your post! Vince sounds very interesting! Please enter me in the amazon gift card drawing.

  38. Hi Mary,

    Congratulations on the birth of baby Dave. I'll be following his antics on FB.

    I've enjoyed Closer than Brothers. Just the history is worth the read. I have lots of ideas for prequels and shorts if I ever need them, so thanks for a new way to promote.

    Funny so many are reading Louis L'Amour. I recently read one of his books because I had a fight scene and wanted to get the feel for it.

  39. I don't know how I missed your blog, Mary, but I'm an email subscriber now. :-) I adore the idea of shorts to give away on a blog. I've toyed with that idea myself, but I don't have any books (yet!) to promote. I'm looking forward to catching up on reading your shorts.

  40. Wow, I just realized that I am a series (or possibly 2) behind in your writing, Mary. I'm still in the Sophie's Daughter's series. I feel like a Seekerville failure! Guess what I'll be getting if I win the gift card? ;)

  41. And now I have company. A distant cousin in town visiting his father asked to use my computer printer/scanner.

    He's a nice man but it's hard to check the blog.

    I am aaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllll about excuses today. Sorry I'm not talking more.

    He's working now so I've got a chance on my laptop.

  42. He's a priest so I'm being polite.

    Not that I would be rude to a lay person, but still..........

  43. ELAINE the history of Andersonville was so gripping. Not fun but fascinating to read.
    Once I started I just kept finding more and more. I particularly liked the first person accounts, sometimes found in diaries years after the war.

    That's where I read about the baby born in Andersonville prison, which is coming in one of the next chapters. And about Wirz, the camp commander and how some absolutely thought his was Satan on earth...he was hung after the war for war crimes.
    But others just thought he was trapped in that job and there was no food for the prisoners and he couldn't get any.
    Some of the stories talked about how hungry the guards were, there was no food for them either.

    And the whole story of the Regulators, I plunked my characters down the middle of that, but the background of it is all true.

    Even the words I have Wirz say are quotes, though of course they're quotes from a first person account, possibly written years later, so that was questionable just how accurate that was. But I tried to catch the spirit of the place, the depravation, the bond that formed that made my heroes Closer than Brothers.

  44. Jennifer Smith, shall I go copy and paste some of the ONE STAR reviews from Out of Control, which is currently free in ebook format?

    Plenty of people who got it for free complaining about it.

    Lots of great reviews, too. That's just the way it works if you put yourself out there. The rule is....anyone who wants to, gets to have an opinion.

    And the writer can either get used to it or get out of the business.

  45. ANNA book #1 of the Kincaid Brides Series is free right now in all ebook formats. So grab that one.

  46. One think that's very different about this SHORT is that I had NO EDITOR.
    No one to clean up typos, though I went over and over and over it.

    No one to say, "This right here makes NO SENSE."

    So it's a little scary. I'm just muddling through!

    1. Robin Patchen of Robin's Red Pen is a phenomenal free lance editor if you decide to use one. Reasonable rates and she has edited indie books for several published authors. You can contact her at

  47. Jackie the Reacher books are NOT Christian Fiction, just in case there is any confusion on that point.

    They're not particularly graphically sexual or violent. But Reacher is a law unto himself. BE WARNED.

  48. Healy Connealy here.

    Or how about Cary Monnealy

    ? You know I had to name myself for the books I released under a pseudonym and it is surprisingly hard. My maiden name was hopelessly common ... even my middle name it was taken. (I'm talking like...websites.)
    My mother's maiden name...boring.
    My grandmother's maiden name...I toyed with that
    It just got so HARD. And in the back of my mind I kept thinking I should name myself something ROMANTIC...
    Like Desiree Adora...or something like that.
    Tiffany Champagne

    Monique LaFlesh

    It just got very very confusing and honestly sort of embarrassing.

    So when I picked Mary Nealy people looked at me like I was so LAME but I'm telling you I worked HARD to pick that name.
    And picking it was sort of admitting defeat....but if I'd published Ten Plagues under the name Anastasia Dionne we would all be worse off...

  49. I love this idea!! I've been playing around with writing shorts in between novels in a series and love the idea of posting them serially (so Charles Dickens!!!)


  50. Hahaha, Healy Connealy! Love it, Vince!

    Mary, I still need to head over to read this prequel! I'm sorry to say I haven't yet. But I'm sure it's excellent.

  51. Hi Mary! Dave is an AWESOME name for a calf. My grandfather ranched a bit when he retired from his office job, and he had four cows, one of them named LeRoy after his former boss. I think LeRoy ended up at the butcher!

    Anyway, I haven't read your chapters yet, but I really like the idea behind them. I'm always hunting around on authors' websites for "extras" about their books, and a prequel to a current novel (or series) is a great way to capture eager readers. In a way, it's like the special features on a DVD/Blue Ray. You can watch (in this case, read) the original story, but the extras give you more background and are there for those who are interested.

    Have a great day!

  52. Terri I saved the email address of the editor, thank you!

  53. Christen go for it!!!! (It's scary out here alone .. well, alone except for Lee Child!)

  54. Here is the link to the Genesis contest semi finalists:
    My name found its way onto that list twice, and I also recognized Pat Jeanne Davis!

  55. Yeah, Crystal and Jeanne! I'm so happy to see your names on the lust. And twice for Crystal - wow!

  56. STEPHANIE My plan is to gather all the chapters together and paste them into one document, once they've released, and publish it as one novella on a separate page on my blog (and maybe website, too.)

    I've seen those EXTRA tabs on websites. I could do that.

  57. And Leanne Bristow, Meghan Carver and Jackie Layton. Sorry ladies for forgetting to mention you before, I'm still in a fog! Congratulations!

  58. Genesis Semi-Finalists!!!


    Robin Archibald

    Sally Bradley

    Kimberli Buffaloe

    Lindsay Harrel

    Brandy Heineman

    Tanara McCauley

    Holly Michael

    Carrie Padgett

    Linda Sammaritan

    Jennifer Sienes

    Historical (Through Vietnam Era)

    Because of a three-way tie, Historical has 12 Semifinalists

    Heidi Chiavaroli (double semifinalist)

    Pat Jeanne Davis

    Mark Fisher

    Kathleen Freeman

    Jennifer Lamont Leo

    Dana McNeely

    Joanna Politano (double semifinalist)

    Cynthia Roemer

    Terri Wangard

    Lora Young

    Historical Romance (Through Vietnam Era)

    Misty Beller

    Paula Bicknell

    Patricia-Riddle Gaddis

    Kristi Ann Hunter

    Robert Kaku & Gail Kaku

    Elizabeth Lukinuk

    Rachel Muller

    Marilyn Rhoads

    Delores Topliff

    Abigail Wilson


    Janice Boekoff

    Andrew Huff

    Mary McCay

    Marion McNair

    Timothy Moynihan

    Dena Netherton

    Deb Read

    Dennis Ricci

    Chris Storm

    Bob Sweet


    Renee Blare

    Nicole Deese

    Beatrice Fishback

    Sarah McDaniel

    Grace Olson

    Crystal Ridgway & Destanie Ridgway (Co-Authors)

    Craig Savige

    Christine Schimpf

    Chandra Lynn Smith

    Peggy Trotter


    Jennie Atkins

    LeAnne Bristow

    Ashley Clark

    Susan Crawford

    Tari Faris

    Laura Hodges Poole

    Sherri Murray

    Dena Netherton

    Laurie Tomlinson

    Andrea Michelle Wood

    Romantic Suspense

    Nancy Blosser

    Loretta Eidson

    Emilie Hendryx

    Jackie Layton

    Michelle Lim

    Sara Luther

    Carolyn Miller

    Linda Rodante (double semifinalist)

    Chris Storm

    Short Novel

    Meghan Carver

    Peggy Miracle Consolver

    Candee Fick (double semifinalist)

    Nicole Jarrell

    TC Larson

    Kelly Anne Liberto

    Sally Pitts

    Crystal Ridgway & Destanie Ridgway (Co-Authors)

    Preslaysa Williams


    T.J. Akers

    Carol Eaton

    Megan Ebba

    Jennifer Gallagher

    Clint Hall (double semi-finalist)

    Margaret Hamlin

    Lauricia Matuska

    Don Palmer

    Luke Scott

    Young Adult

    Erica Collins

    Jennifer Dyer

    Carol Eaton

    Jessica Edgerton

    Sara Ella

    Glenn Haggerty

    Karley Kiker

    Ashley Mays

    Sarah E. Morin

    Kristen Joy Wilks


  60. Congrats to the semi-finalists! That's awesome! :)

  61. So cool to recognize so many names on the Genesis! Congrats.

  62. Thanks, Terri, Mary, Anna, and Connie! Two out of seven entries in a first contest isn't bad.

    I also spot Sara Ella's name on the list! Congratulations to everyone!

  63. Big congrats to all of the Seekervillagers who semi-finaled in the Genesis today! Good going folks!

  64. Congrats on the new baby Dave, Mary! :)

  65. And congrats on our Genesis semi-finalists!!!! Woo hoo!

  66. Cheers for the Genesis Semi-finalists ... and for all those who encouraged and helped them :-)

    Nancy C

  67. About branding. I don't see any reason a good writer can't do several types of stories. One of my favorite writers, Jodi Thomas, has written both contemporary and historical, some with romance, some with very little.

    What I'm buying when I buy a book is not the writer's brand -- it's the assurance of the writer's talent from having read that writer's previous work.

    Thanks for stretching your brand and sharing these men's backstory. Enjoying the installments!

    Nancy C

  68. Great story and I loved the picture/predicament at the end!!

    My degree is English composition but my minor is technical writing. I'm afraid my wip is going to be novella length and I don't know what to do...


    Add it to your writer's resume and your email signature line. Claim the win!

  70. Having things like this to add is part of building a writer's resume and no one can take it away from you.

    You can add to it. You can add finalist and winner, but this semi-finalist is your forever!!!!

  71. And building that resume is a big part of why you enter contests to begin with!

  72. Mary,

    I'm trying to imagine anything of yours being bad. Everything I've ever read of yours is hilarious.

  73. Mary,

    I have to admit I don't care for the chapters so far apart. I am such a book junkie! Reading is what I do for fun. I read for hours every night. I usually have a book with me when I go somewhere.
    I love the covers of the books.
    Keep up the wonderful writing!

  74. I love the story all in one really. I can never wait till the next one comes. What a awesome giveaway

  75. S. Trietsch maybe you should just write a novella. Have you considered that?
    But chances are, once it's done, you'll find you need to develop scenes and deepen characters and add the five senses.

    All those things we all do to make the story come to life. All the places we find full of TELLING when we should have been SHOWING.
    And showing is always LONGER than telling so that adds length.

    So write the book beginning to end--don't let worry about the length stall you. Then start revisions and see if you don.t have more story than you expected.

  76. CHERYL and DIANA thank you for telling me that.

    I do intend, once it's all played out, to create one document with the whole novella. It'll still be free but if chapter by chapter is no fun for you, hang on, because it's all out there by the end of May!!!

  77. Mary, I love any blogs you write! They just me right up! A Monday just isn't the same when it starts with you! Thanks for making me laugh today! I especially love the cows. Just keep on writing, girl! Love your stories :)

  78. Mary, this story is great! I love your writing. By the way, I received the box of books and look forward to reading them. A lady in my church brought me a box of books that a friend of hers was getting rid of and in it was one of your books. (Deep Trouble).

    Congratulations to all the semifinalists!

  79. WILANI...DEEP TROUBLE??? THAT IS SO WEIRD THAT YOU MENTIONED IT BECAUSE Cheryl St.John is re-running an old post I did for her blog and it's about Deep Trouble.

    From the Heart - Cheryl St.John

  80. Hope "Dave" is doing well!!!! lol
    I enjoy series books, and find myself anxious for the next one to come out!
    Count me in for the gift card!

  81. Dave is good. He has been sequestered with his mother so she can only feed HIM. This should NOT be necessary.

  82. Mary- your novella sounds fun. Why wouldn't you think everyone would like it? Especially if it's going to add depth to each of the novels in the series.

    When you are finished releasing all of your chapters, are you planning to put the novella into one file? I'm one of those people that it drives me crazy not to have the whole story so I can finish it as I have time. Plus, I would love to upload it to my iPad so I can read it on the go.

    I like reading novellas. My only problem with reading them is that if it's a story I really like, then I'm not happy when the story is over too quickly. :)

    By the way, I've been showing my grandson all of your cow video clips on Facebook (my family no longer has their cattle ranch since my grandfather's passing) so now he's walking around the house saying "Mooo" all the time. It's funny and cute.

  83. By the way- plop my name into the give away hat. If I happen to win, I'll be buying me some Connealy books! Gotta love 'em.

    (I'd buy your books anyway, Mary. **wink**)

  84. Oh, Hoier!!!!!

    She's not Big and Dumb, she's Generous.

    Ivan. Ivan. Ivan.

    That poor cow was so overdue that she probably is just grateful beyond "moos" to have someone relieving her of some milk....

    What a giving spirit!

    Sorry I'm late, I was working with little peeps all day and then set up my EGG STAND outside to sell farm-fresh eggs.

    That means I've washed the dirt/stuff off them (the farm part) and they're newly laid (hence the fresh label). And I have a country sign for my eggs.


    I forgot.

    This isn't all about me. Sorry!!!!

  85. Aw, dag-blast, are all these folks here to blow sunshine at you????

    "Mary, of course it's good!!!"

    (hangs head...)

    "Mary, I'll read anything you write!!!" (gets a little sick...)

    "Mary, you could SELL THIS NOVELLA THING and I'd buy it!!!" (Oy. Oy. Oy.)

    Honey, if you were fishing for compliments, you coulda just called me. I'd say something witty and bright and very sister-friendly and you'd be happy and Seekerville would be SPARED Andersonville.



    Ya' had to do it, and you've got folks eatin' out of your hand.

    Now I suppose I'll have to play nice and tell you what an out of the box person you are, but first: Is there chocolate? Because I'm better at this stuff with chocolate.

  86. Hi, Mary. I agree with all of the prior posts: I want a whole book so that I too can stay up half the night and live the life that you have created!!!! I will name the calf if you would like however.
    Please enter my name in the drawing for your generous gift.

  87. I loved serials when I was a kid. Betsy McCall, in the McCall's magazine? They had a little chapter in each month's magazine and I would jump right in when I went to visit or stay at Aunt Isabelle's house...

    And she'd save the magazines for me so I could cut out the Betsy McCall paper doll clothes. :)

    But the serials... Loved 'em!!!

  88. Mary, I have to echo what Terri W. said: I look at you and think you've arrived. Seriously!!
    You have great talent and a sense of humor - - you are Mary Connealy ( my husband called you at ACFW last Sept., "Mary Reacher" LOL). So, whatever you write will be read AND loved by many.

    And about the cows...I sure hope the mother and baby bond and the baby gets fed, poor little thing.

    Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo (a Mary Reacher fan) ;)

  89. RUTHY!!!! I remember those Betsy McCall paper dolls!! Oh my, I haven't thought about those in years! Thanks for a sweet memory!

  90. Well, at least Hoier had her calf, and if you decide to get rid of her, I imagine Vince, Luke, Jonas, Dare and the rest of the gang at Andersonville will be MORE than willing to take her off your hands!

    I for one am enjoying Closer than Brothers.

  91. Mary! The serial installment is brilliant marketing & builds anticipation for the new book release. It brings traffic to your website and puts the book cover in front of a lot of faces. It Works!

    And please enter me in the drawing! Do we have to say that every time? :)

  92. RUTHY!!!
    Your new Favorite #!!!

  93. For better or worse, here's my take:
    The feeling I got reading "Sharpshooter in Petticoats" when I realized Grace and Daniel's rambunctious instigator, Mark, was going to marry Silas and Belle's Emma and then Hannah and Grant's Charlie was going to stake his claim on Sarah... Oh my word. It was like seeing long lost family again.
    That poignancy is something I can't figure out how to replicate in my stories. Maybe it takes a long story or set of series to produce?

    Anyway, all that to say, these Closer Than Brothers stories are going to produce the same thing--where the reader truly owns the character as a friend. That is one of the coolest things about fiction and I'm so excited to see you going for it! :)

  94. I'm to impatient to wait, so just giving me a story a bit at a time would test my patience to the nth degree.

  95. Keep writing. I'm just getting started on your stories.

  96. Lately I've been "doing" Kindle books, but I figured someone I love might enjoy your writing, so I bought "Swept Away" in paperback and left it by his pillow.

    This morning I ordered Fired Up and the 3 Kincaid Brides, all in paperback......for my cowboy. He named them off and I typed them in.

  97. Jana you do NOT have to say that everytime. Every commenter is in--unless they specifically request to NOT be in like if it was a drawing for a book they might say, "Don't include me, I've already got mine."

    No one says that about Amazon gift cards!!!!!

  98. Natalie not everyone would get this but you might.

    My favorite moment of all the books I've ever written is when Mandy and Sidney are walking toward their home pulling a hand cart and they see a fire and realize there's a cattle herd outside of Helena and when Mandy calls out HELLO, Belle Tanner steps close enough to the fire that Mandy can see her.

    To me, that moment just gave me chills. That's the first indication in that book that the Montana Marriages characters were going to overlap with the Petticoat Ranch characters and when someone who knows my books sees Belle they know Mandy's going to be okay.

  99. Dee, I've had a great reaction to my books from Men! If I can just get them to read them!!!!

  100. I haven't read any Jack Reacher books, or Louis L'Amour - I think I should change that. :) And honestly, who cares about branding?!? I haven't read Closer Than Brothers yet (been busy with work and music at church), but you trying to convince us not to read it made me want to read it even more... It's written by Mary Connealy - why wouldn't I read it? Waiting until now just means that I can read 5 chapters in one sitting. :)

  101. All reading is not equal.

    Reading is like eating: there are big sit-down gourmet meals that take hours to enjoy as well as hamburgers on the run. There is everything in between.

    Reading a novella in weekly installments is like wine tasting. You take a short sip to which you give your full attention. You try to notice everything about the flavor. Because of this focused attention you experience aspects of the wine that contribute to provide the unique pleasure of drinking that wine. These are nuances that you might never experience if you just were drinking a full glass of wine at a party while carrying on a conversation. It is a far difference experience.

    When I sit down at my computer to read Mary’s latest installment, the experience gets my full attention. I’ve waited a week to get to this opportunity. I know it will not take long to finish the installment. I want to enjoy it. I want to pay close attention to what the author is doing. I’m on the lookout for all the elements of excellent writing.

    I ask questions as I read like: How was the hook crafted? (After all, there are going to be many first sentences to savor.) Does the dialogue ring true? How much is 'showing' and how much is 'telling' and how well is it being done? Does the setting add to the emotional impact? Are the characters likable? How is conflict being shown? In what ways is the reader being rewarded for reading the story?

    There are dozens of additional insights that can be derived from a thoughtful ‘tasting’ of the story.

    Next I ask the large questions: Do I remember the story from last week? Is the narrative memorable? What did the author do to retain my memory of the story events? Do I still look forward to reading the next installment? If so, what is it that keeps me coming back? How is the story coming together in my memory? Is the story unfolding as I thought it would or am I being surprised? How is the author adding this element of surprise?

    I think reading a novella online with installments one week apart is an ideal way to get to know an author's wrork up close and person. It’s like when you’ve taken the time to taste several wines, given each your genuine consideration, and then purchased the best one. After that effort you can drink and enjoy the wine with little thought. You’ve diligently tested the wine and you know it is to your liking. So drink up and enjoy!

    I wrote in my first post yesterday that I thought this novella was Mary’s best writing. That could be objectively true. It could also be because I was forced to take the time to read the story more closely than her other books. I was able to notice each word and turn of phrase. I did not have an opportunity to hurry, hurry, hurry, to see what happens next.

    Weekly installments force the serious reader to stop and smell the roses along the way because --it is not possible to run ahead to see the ending faster.

    Given all this, I believe that the best way to enjoy this learning experience is by reading the installments in real time. This way you get the full ‘after-taste’ experience between weeks. You also become a living part of the unfolding experience that many others are sharing with you. All this goes beyond simple reading. It is a different kind of reading enjoyment.

    While reading weekly installments is a good way to get to really experience the author’s craft, it is also a big risk for the author when the writing does not stand up well to having a week between installments.

    Some authors write with natural beauty while others do not appear as attractive when viewed under a magnifying glass.

    Mary’s “Closer the Brothers” is beautiful writing from a craftsmanship point of view especially when seen under a magnifying glass. I strong recommend jumping on the bandwagon and reading her novella in real time. You’ll enjoy a rare opportunity to enjoy a different kind of reading pleasure.


  102. Personally I would rather have the whole book at once. When I start reading I can't hardly put the book down and if I didn't have all of it to read I don't know what I would do! lol Just keep writing Mary, love your books.

  103. Mary, did you know that I love your cow stories and pics almost, yes ALMOST, as much as I do your books? Ü

  104. Mary, I'm really late to the party but I'm excited to read this novella series! Can see how the history of Andersonville Prison is both disturbing but fascinating.

    I loaned my daughter A Match Made in Texas Anthology for a business trip she was taking and she loved all the novellas. And that she could read one on the plane. You and your fellow authors found a fan.



    Now it's like the PRESSURE IS ON! :)

  106. Patty if you can't stand it, then wait, the whole novella will be up there by the end of May, you can read it in one sitting then!

  107. CINDI A, you like the cow stories, huh?

    Well, that is wonderful.
    I am going to try and keep posting on Facebook a little longer this year.

    The last calf is now born. So no new developments and the real hard part is My Cowboy moves the cows away from the house into a big grassy pasture. I have to go hunt them up and sometimes I can't find them, let alone spend enough time with them to catch them being cute.
    But I'll try.

  108. Mary Wrote:


    I wouldn’t worry.

    I’ve found that if someone can write in beautiful French in the morning they will be able to write in beautiful French in the evening.

  109. Hi Mary:

    As I was driving to work this morning, there came a bolt out of the blue! I was struck with a perfect pen name for your dark side persona. (The side that strongly appeals to male bonding and camaraderie.)

    Get ready. Here it is:

    Evel Connealy

    This name calls to mind the great American dare devil Evel Knievel. What better way to show readers you are daring to break new ground under that name?

    I think it may be unique in all literature to have a pen name in which it is the first name that changes everything. And ‘Evel’ would be a first name that just explodes with the right connotations. What readers would expect from an author with that name, would be what they get.

    I also think that ‘Evel Connealy’ would be the most instantly memorable name at any writers’ conference. I can just see gift pens in everyone’s hands with the inscription, “Have you met Evel Connealy yet?”

    I’d sure read a western by an author named Evel Connealy.

    You are a PR person’s dream!

  110. Thank you Mary for the encouragement!


  111. A serial is a good quick read. With our quick lifestyle I think that they would sell well.