Monday, June 2, 2014

How to tackle intensely serious sometimes heart wrenching topics, all laid out using terms and attitudes carefully chosen to not disturb contemporary politically correct hyper-sensitivity without being unfaithful to historical accuracy and all while making people laugh.

I'm the one on the right
Battered Wife
I very often write about intensely difficult subjects. I hope no one has noticed. But I do.

I hope they're laughing and flipping pages to see who's going to start shooting next.
That can get tricky if you’re writing about the Civil War and slavery and the frontier and clashes with Native Americans and the attitudes of men for women and women for men and mental illness and abuse. And it all has to be set in politically correct terms.

Mental Illness,
Psychotic Breaks
Early Onset Alzheimers
I had a review of one of my books once, when Mandy McClellen stayed with her awful husband Sidney Gray rather than leave and/or divorce. The reviewer said, “Connealy gives her heroine the mentality of a 1950s housewife.”

Meth Addiction
Uh, excuse me, no I didn’t. I gave Mandy the mentality of an 1880s housewife. People just didn’t get divorced. It was considered a terrible sin. To break a vow made before God was beyond the pale even a cheating, runaway husband wouldn't consider divorce. Add in that divorce was hard. Almost impossible…it was just not considered an option.

But that review tells you what I have to deal with. Reviewers, reading an 1880s set historical and critiquing it using views from 2011. What’s more, secular 2011.

This is a pet peeve of mine. We take a terrible risk, I think, when we judge history using modern attitudes.

A good example:

The point is, counting slaves as 3/5ths is often mentioned as an example of racism. But it was supported by fierce abolitionists--those fighting to free the slaves.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
So how do I incorporate my love of truth into my books without stepping on any toes? Well, there are many words that are just not allowed in modern work that probably permeated historical language. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn comes to mind.

Fortunately I have no wish to use such words and find alternatives quite easily.

Second, I create feisty women who in large part defy the conventions of the 19th century.

Third, I have Christian characters and they treat others (except maybe outlaws) with Christian love and respect…and this come through in any era.
Abusive Adoptive Father,
Post Partum Depression

Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse
And as for tackling serious topics, such as, in Stuck Together early onset Alzheimer’s, psychotic breaks, insane asylums and what to do about all of it, there were no correct terms for any of these things back then. So I try and make what’s REALLY happening clear to a modern reader without using the modern terms. They talked about being furiously mad. They talked about old people being dotty or ‘in their dotage’. But I trust the intelligence of my readers to know what I mean by it all.

Emotional Abuse
Demon Possession
 Okay, I think I've failed to explain any of what I promised (which was easily predictable) so just play along and leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of Stuck Together and a SECOND give-away, a signed copy of the novella collection with Robin Lee Hatcher, Margaret Brownley and Debra Clopton...Four Weddings and a Kiss)

And if you'd like to see more examples of me dealing with various types of horror in my odd, lighthearted and deeply questionable way, go read my prequel to the Trouble in Texas series, CLOSER THAN on my blog. It's all there now!


  1. Mandy was one of my favorite characters of all the ones you've created. Tell the reviewer to go jump in a lake. :-)

  2. The coffee pot's been unreliable lately. But it's brewing tonight.

    Good points, Mary. As only you can 'splain'em.


  3. Mary, I loved this post.

    Please enter me in either drawing. Both books are on my want to read list.

  4. I'm kinda excited to see what you tackle next.

  5. Great points! I can't imagine how hard it would be to figure out all those little details and you authors have my greatest admiration!
    Please enter me in the Stuck Together giveaway! I can't wait to read it!

  6. Great points, Mary. A former pastor of mine always admonished the congregation to find the meaning of a verse in context. It seems kinda the same in historical fiction. It must be read in the context of the time. I think that's the biggest reason I love reading it but the idea of writing it right gives me the heebie-jeebies. Loved your examples. :-)

  7. Yes, what fun it is to play PC and historically accurate all at once.....not. But hey, I like challenges.

    I just read Roseanna White's Jewel of Persia and was impressed that not once did she slip in any modern "Harem's are bad" viewpoints in there. They considered it a part of life, difficulties and all, and I still felt satisfied by the romance. Kudos to her. Still uncomfortable reading, but well done.

  8. LOL -- I shouldn't laugh because I'm sure that review was frustrating but it is funny when you think about it.

    No need to enter me in the draw -- I have both books. I'm reading Stuck Together right now and if I don't get the time to finish it soon I may go furiously mad because it's that good! Thankfully it's a work day so I have a two hour commute to read through. Hmmm...maybe I'm already a little bit mad because you have me thankful over long commutes.

  9. I didn't know about Ben Franklin and the slave laws and how it was used to oppose slavery. I found it really interesting and who you described it makes me wonder why people get it so wrong.
    I guess some readers don't think when reading or reviewing that a book is set in history at a time when things were different to today. At the same time there would be readers who know to much about history and pick up every tiny error which would also be annoying.
    Unless the error is glaring like say having something electric before people had electricity, I wouldn't really notice it.
    I am currently reading the novella and should have it finished on the bus trip to the city Wed (this time to see a specialist about the head pain and another issue, I am just hoping he doesn't think I am imagining the pain or tell me its all in my head which I know it is but you know what I mean I hope). The latest med is working better but the pain level is still around 4 most of the time.

  10. Wow! People are amazing.

    Thanks for sharing today!

  11. Helen Gray!!! We'll always cover the pot (coffee pot, that is!!!) when you've got other chores... It takes a village, sweet thing!

  12. Mary, you are the master at disguising the ills of humanity while exposing them through humor.

    Folks learn life lessons without meaning to and your portrayal of the tough women of the 1800's makes my day!

    When I model a heroine, I think "Can she kick Mary's heroines to the curb????"

    And if she CAN...... then I continue the book.

    :) BIG LAUGH HERE!!!!

    I'm not a wimpy heroine book-lover or author, so I jump in and love your stuff. When I meet up with indecisive, wishy-washy heroines, I realize I'm not the author's target audience and I quietly shelve the book.

    Or throw it across the room.

    Nicely, of course.

    Seriously, we know that not everyone who reads our books will love them, but the fun diversity in reviews is a hoot.

    Might as well go in for a sheep as a lamb....

    Which means go big or stay home in today's speech.

    You go big. I love it!

  13. Mary,
    I agree. And I agree with Meghan. Even the Bible -- or especially the Bible -- can be taken out of context. Take the Epistles of Paul. Based on some of his comments about women, one could join the liberal media in thinking Christianity and Christ are anti-woman (bzzz, WRONG ANSWER) or go too far in the opposite direction and create a cult where women are completely subjugated (bzzz WRONG ANSWER). Which is why we have to read the whole Bible in context, preferably with a relationship with Jesus. It's the same for fiction.
    In addition to the stigma of divorce, there's the practical matter that there weren't as many jobs for women, and some of them were questionable. Also, how would an abused/oppressed woman get away to find a lawyer?
    How can you write about the Irish, or India, or Colonial America without making the English look like jerks?
    I think I've veered from your original point...
    It is a balancing act.
    Please enter me in drawing.
    Kathy Bailey
    Thinking things through in New Hampshire

    I always remember the true story of Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter Rose Wilder Lane when it comes to divorce, and it's much more contemporary, about 1920. her husband, the 'Lane' guy, abandoned her. He was a bum and a louse and he took off for parts unknown.
    She finally filed for divorce but she had to have HIS PERMISSION and signature.
    Well, he was gone. There was no abandonment provision. He stopped by a few times but refused to sign the divorce papers she had on hand.
    She remained married for the rest of her life.

  15. HELEN!!!! It is so nice whenyou make coffee. Ruthy's isn't as good as yours. Shhhhhhh. Don't tell her. She (Mz Tough Heroine) cries.

  16. Mary
    I'm with Walt on what to do with your mistaken reviewers.

    I love the way you deal with tough topics. You do so well, I think people don't realize they've just been taught something. Your X Plagues was awesome, IMHO. I have to wait to read Stuck Together because I'm frantically (to the power of infinity) writing my Killer Voice entry.

    It's too bad modern society gets all hot and bothered about historical stuff that doesn't fit into their "modern enlightened" *bleah* paradigms.

    Would love a shot at the Four Weddings book.

    Good stuff. Like always. Love Seekerville.

  17. Thanks Wilani. Your name's in the drawing.

  18. ABBI Talking of little details, I'm just finishing a novella right now and I got to a scene I wanted to write and realized I needed the heroine to have her horse close by for some reasons. So I got back in the book and set it up (not hard) so she'd had the hose nearby. But being able to back up and add and change makes an author look good to you when maybe the writing process isn't so smooth

  19. A 1950s housewife? How old was this reviewer?? My mom was a 1950s housewife and I cringe thinking of her in one of your novels :) Circa June Cleaver is no match for the heroines you create either, nor the situations you shoot them into!!!

    Silly people.

    I love how your mind works, Mary Connealy. I hope it churns out many more books...

  20. MEGHAN know....I probably should have used THAT as the title instead of my somewhat LONGER one!

  21. Let me add here, a 1950s Housewife was a wonderful thing. And when you think of it, those women, with such 'traditional' roles and little work outside the home, brought all these intelligence and work ethic and talent to the job of making a home and raising children, which is a wonderful thing.

  22. Melissa, I love that. It sounds so DIFFICULT and I love that an author tackled it and did it well!!!

    And get back to WORK!!!

  24. VIRGINIA I'm hoping everyone wasn't too worn out from the title to read the blog. LOL

  25. Jenny LOL I know what you mean by 'glaring'. Like if the cowpokes sitting around a fire during a cattle drive suddenly made popcorn in the microwave, right?

    Hope you get to feeling better.

  26. Thank you Mary Connealy!
    I've read several historicals where it seems the author have tried to "modernize" history. Frustrates me to no end.

    Love the ways your stories tackle these serious topics.

  27. Jackie I'm trying to think if I read historical books and they are laced with modern thinking. It seems like the context of the times is a big part of what makes it fun, but I don't know.

  28. Oh ... I don't have Stuck Together, though I've read and reviewed Four Weddings ....and a Kiss. I love it when an author tackles the hard subjects, like you do!!! The times I have trouble writing positive reviews is when the editing is REALLY bad ...thanks for the coffee, Helen. I'm never sure how you make it so great when you don't drink the stuff!

  29. LOL ... I will attest that nobody writes difficult subjects with more panache and wit than you, Ms. Connealy. Somehow you manage to sneak in these politically incorrect subjects like they're everyday fare and nobody blinks an eye (well, except for Miss 1-star Reviewer, who both of us know is unbalanced) ... they just laugh, which is exactly why you are SO beloved in your genre.

    And I'm with you -- nothing ticks me off more (other than a 1-star review) than a review that lambasts me for the "chauvinistic" mindset of my heroes from the early 1900s. I just want to slap, then sentence these hare-brained reviewers to a 3-year history course on the social structure and mores of the early 1900s. They're called "historicals," people, so if you want 21st-century mindsets, stick with contemporary, okay??

    Gosh, that felt good!! Thanks, Mare.


  30. Mary, I admire your ability to keep in the genre and still get the message across.

    I can't imagine attempting to write accurate historical information while staying 'politically' correct for the nit-picky readers more interested in finding an error than in enjoying an entertaining story. :-)

    I like feisty, gutsy girls—and I like to include myself in that group!!

  31. Mary, excellent points on how to handle sticky subjects without raising the ire of modern readers, at least for those who realize the stories you tell can't use language and actions that were impossible at that time.

    I struggle with some of the same issues with my books. Like you, I use feisty heroines to defy convention. If not openly, at least in their thoughts. Those thoughts will hopefully help readers commiserate with and better understand the society in which these women lived.

    I love your humor. Humor binds us together. That humor is natural to you, to your personality and you use it effectively to reveal your characters and what's really going on underneath.


  32. Mary, you do a great job of tackling very serious subjects in your books, but without making them overly heavy. In fact, your books are so much fun to read, and so FUNNY!!! But I think it's your tackling of the serious issues that makes your books so worthwhile and make me feel like I've been challenged. So, GREAT JOB!!!

    With my stories, I sort of try to do the same thing. I try to be true to the serious issues that come up, but not make my readers depressed. With God there is always hope, and He makes things work out when it seems impossible to us. That's what I'd really like to impart to my readers. :-) Great post, Mary!

  33. And yeah, you get hare-brained reviewers sometimes. It's inevitable. But I get the ones who complain that my heroines seem too modern in their mindsets, which makes me angry too, because they seem to think a person could never have their own thoughts or think differently from the PERCEIVED norm. When it comes to reviewers, you just can't win 'em all.

  34. I didn't mean to undermine the importance of staying true to history with good research.

    Divorce was not common in the 1800 hundreds, but it did happen—to gutsy, feisty girls!

    I know of a woman who dared to join the navy as a young girl—against the furor of her five brothers. She was considered a loose woman after that.

    She was later voted as 'teacher' of the year, four times over her teaching career.

    She died last year at 93. Many of her gray haired students spoke about how she had changed their lives with her forward thinking. She started her class with a scripture reading each morning.

  35. Kaybee, you are so right about the Bible being taken and used incorrectly. :(
    I suppose, thought of like that, I should be HONORED someone takes my book out of context.

  36. CONNIE so you're saying you NOTICED? I try to sneak the tough topics in quietly!!!!!

  37. I do keep promising myself I will no longer have LUNATICS in my books, but then OOPS and a madman slips in.

  38. Hi Marianne thanks for the Four Weddings and a Kiss review. God bless you.

  39. Sometimes many years ago(okay, a LOT of times) when Mary told us what she was writing about, I used to wonder how she was going to pull if off. But she always did.

    I no longer wonder. I just trust her to DO it. Amazing!

  40. Oh, don't give us permission to vent, Mary!

    You hit on one of my pet peeves, though - interpreting history through a modern worldview. You just can't do it. The Benjamin Franklin example was perfect. Before the slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person, they weren't even a smidgen of a person - at least not legally. So the 3/5 compromise was a huge step forward!

    I'll stop now. None of has time for a rant ;)

    But I love writing historicals because you can explore the history of some of these intensely serious topics and hopefully help people understand that the way society is now isn't the way it's always been - for good or bad.

    In my current WIP I mention prostitution, and one of the secondary characters is a young woman trying to escape from that life. Your post today will help immensely as I tackle that subject in a Love Inspired book.

    It's the challenges in life that keep us young, right?

    And yes! Put my name in the drawing! I don't have either book yet :)


  41. Julie, sweetie here at Seekerville is a safe place to vent!!!! LOL

  42. "But I trust the intelligence of my readers to know what I mean by it all."

    Yes! And thank you for that.

    Have you ever noticed that reviewers/critics who consider themselves history experts have rarely written historical fiction? ;-)

    No need to enter me in the drawing.

    Nancy C

  43. This is all so funny. And (oops) I learned something new about Ben Franklin. I have to say that my favorite character in Mary Connealy books, is Mary herself, always lurking in every scene, directing or donning the old-fashioned skirts, hats, trousers or whatever is historically (and apparently politically) correct. :)

  44. Mary Hicks, well, you know we didn't INVENT PTSD, right? We didn't invent post partum depression, we didn't invent Ahlheimers.
    But often they didn't really have scientific terms for that back then. They didn't even really had a medical understanding of mental illness.
    So I try and (you might say) ACT OUT the illness without using the words.

  45. I loved this post, Mary! And, to be honest, I'm too busy laughing and flipping the pages of your books to dwell on the deep stuff. Wish I could do that in my writing...

    Please enter me for the giveaways! Would love to win either book!

  46. I agree with you on the divorce issue, you RARELY heard about divorce, back then. And yes, in the 1950's divorce was not heard of very often. I know that because my Mom and Dad were divorced when I was two, my brother was four. We were an 'oddity' in school because of if even though there were kids where the parents fought, never seen together, or lived apart. I remember having a disagreement once about it being harder to have your parents divorced than to have one of them deceased, now remember I wasn't very old and taking in the era and my situation of course I thought it was harder to have a father that only came around when he was drunk and have everyone know that they were divorced. Then again in society today it seems like more and more people don't want to work at their marriage, let one or the other do something wrong and there is no forgiveness or trying to work on that marriage, it is too easy to just give up and start over now days. I have been married 43 years now and we have had a lot of bumps in the road, maybe even mountains to climb over, around and through, but we work at it together and our marriage is something we can be proud of. Yes, I do know and accept that sometimes couples are better to divorce and move on, but if you have to do that remember the children and NEVER say anything bad about the 'other' parent in front of them, let the kids find out for themselves, and at least put on a front of getting along, for the kids sake, in front of them.

    Now that I got that off of my chest, lol, thank you for the chance to win one of your books.


  47. Melanie, tackling serious subjects without making your readers depressed.



  48. Mary Hicks you should use that lady to create a character. I LOVE HER ALREADY!!!!

  49. Pam you trust me?

    Wow, I'm a little weepy.


  50. Wendy, sorry for your pain growing up. Divorce is always hardest on the children.

    Mary, you could tackle any problem and make it fun to read. :)

    Love the discussion about historical facts. Many of the children today don't know history, and often have an altered version of what really happened. I'm awed by and grateful for our brilliant forefathers who sacrificed so much to create this great nation.

  51. Jan one of the unexplored topics I'd love to see written about is just how RADICAL the founding fathers were.

    They lived in a time it was believed the King of England was named by God. To defy the king was to defy God.

    It was a truly RADICAL way to think and many people were horrified by it.

    People like Thomas Paine and Sam Adams ... just wild men.

  52. Yes, Mary, those were amazing.

    Such thinkers.

    I need to read more of their writings.

  53. NANCY Sort of like most Child rearing advice books are written by people with ONE KID or even NO KIDS. Once you have three or four, you KNOW nothing works with every kid and you're pretty much just making it up as you go along after that.

  54. DANA I've had a smart mouth all my life. I'm glad you enjoy it. Believe it or not, my husband gets a little tired of my WIT!

  55. CRYSTAL that's what I'm going for. In fact I'm not sure why I do have these troublesome topics. I really don't sit down and think, "I'm going to write a book about a wife beater."

    But I need a man to be evil and that's what I decide to use to illustrate it.

    As for the lunatic Lana Bullard, well, honestly the inspiration for that was that woman who killed her five children a few years ago. Remember her? I read about psychotic breaks. A reasonable sane, functioning person who could just SNAP and do awful things and then come back to themselves. And I wanted to explore that a bit.

  56. Wendy I had a neighbor lady who's husband was known for being grouchy. Not an evil man. A hard worker and he could be fun but wow could he gets grouchy.

    She said to me once, "There were years when it was hard to be married to him. But divorce was unthinkable so we figured out how to make it work."

    And here they were married for 60 years and he'd mellowed and they really had a good life the last few...well, honestly DECADES. She was glad they'd gotten through the hard years.

    And she thought of course some people just had to get away from abusive marriages but if people just HAD to stay together. Most of them would figure out a way to get along.

  57. Let's be kind and provide Mary with a list of possible topics:

    1. Global Warming

    2. Lead Poisoning

    3. Middle Child Syndrome

    4. Magnetic Reversal

    5. Upcycling

    6. PMS

    7. Male Menopause

    8. Male Pattern Baldness

    9. Early Onset Crankiness

  58. btw I have a daughter named Wendy. I love that name!!! :)

  59. NANCY C!!! It is time for you to have a photo next to your name.

    You can do it. I have faith in you.

  60. Debby that's so true about people not knowing history. I suppose as a historical author I'm particularly in love with history because the history that survives is almost always heroic and tragic and adventurous and dangerous.

    I love historical research and I'm always amazed at how little people know.

    Once in a while I find someone who is a real expert on a topic I'm researching and I LOVE THAT.

  61. TINA wow, printing off that list. THANKS!!!

    (eye roll)

  62. Mary, fun post. You do deal with heavy topics in your books, and you do it well. You're right—it's a challenge to address 1880's issues using language from that time frame, while making it appeal to the 21st century reader. My hats off to you!

  63. Excellent, excellent advice, Mary. Good points, especially for writers who struggle to be truthful, factual but are afraid of stepping on toes.

  64. Either book would be fine. I was thinking while feeding the baby chicks this morning that perhaps we need to go back to teaching home ec in high school. The way the nation is going, our young people may need to learn how to wash dishes by hand, prepare vegetables, cut up know, the things farm wives from the 50's knew how to do. Keep writing about women who could and did. We still need character models.

  65. Mary, I love your wit too. I get some great belly laughs out of your books. I love to read a book that has lots of humor in it. Your ability to be PC without loosing you voice is fantastic. The reviewer has no idea what housewives in the 50's did so let the review roll off your back and head off to your newest full steam ahead. Please enter me in both giveaways.

  66. Well at least SOMEONE trusts my intelligence! Thank you, MARY!

    Your books are funny and smart. What does that say about you? I trust that when I read your books, I will enjoy every minute. Off to read the prequel.

    It's raining cats and dogs and something that looks like baseball sized hail...Oh wait...Just hoping the new rose bushes make it this time!

  67. Hi Mary,

    I think it's those serious issues you weave into stories told by funny characters that make your books so memorable.

    As a child of the 50s & 60s I can tell you everything wasn't like Beaver Cleaver's world. Societal taboos have to be addressed sometimes or we'd never learn the truth. That applies today as well as in history.

  68. Waving to Lyndee!

    Hope the roses make it through the storm.

  69. Hi Jeanne T, you say that like you've never noticed before. :)

    That's what I'm hoping.

  70. Leola, these days don't we ALL have to be careful of those tender toes.

  71. Mary, thanks for the wonderful post.

    I Would love to win another great read :)

    I think you've done a wonderful job balancing historical accuracy, political correct-ness, and heart-wrenching topics with your great wit. :) Thanks for using your talents for God.

  72. Hi Dee. You know I can do most of that stuff and my mother in law was a genius at it.
    Sewing clothes is becoming a lost art!

  73. Lyndee, funny and smart, huh? I'll take that! :D you know before I was published and I wrote over the map, I wrote a middle grave series called Whiz Kids about a group of troubled kid geniuses.

    The real stumbling block for me was, I wasn't smart enough to know what they'd say or think!!!

  74. Hi Elaine. You're right about the 50s and 60s. Most of what we think we know is just one more stereotype.

  75. Hi Crystal, thanks for stopping in!!!! You're in the drawing!

  76. Today there's much talk about the separation of church and state, but back in the day Congress voted to print Bibles for the people. Church services were held in the Capitol's rotunda. Now that needs to be in a book.


  77. I'm struggling to remember the older technology (no cell phones, email but not much www) writing in the 1980's...can't imagine going back to the 1880's!

  78. Mary, you are so funny and brilliant---Yes! I am sincere--you really are. Being able to tackle those issues, be realistic AND make readers laugh is a true talent. And YOU have talent (and cute cows, too). ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  79. S. Trietsch it's just John Wayne movies. Simple to remember. :D

  80. Thanks, Patti Jo. God bless you, Sweet thing!!!

  81. Janet, I just always think it's s FOOLISH to be in the middle of a battle about separating church and state.
    If people don't have a set of rules they live by through their own faith, then we just have to hope they all just be nice, directed from their own conscience.
    God goes out of a society...and suddenly you just can't hired enough policeman.

  82. Having written only contemporary, I've never thought before of the difficulty!

    Mary, I'm still laughing hysterically at the very first photo caption (that's me on the right). :) :)

  83. LOL, Virginia!! I know! I didn't even know you could fit a title that long! :)


  84. Hi Mary, I thought you did very well with your explanations. Can't imagine writing like you do and having to take so much considerations while doing so. I was born in 1935 and still remember so many sayings. And, people have changed the meanings of so many also. Makes me mad that sometimes I start to say something and then remember how people have changed a word's meaning.Guess they weren't smart enough to come up with a different name. I would love to win your books. Keep up the good works. Yo do a terrific job. Maxie < mac262(at)me(dot)com >

  85. Good stuff, Mary! Thanks for sharing !

  86. 8. Male Pattern Baldness

    Thank you, Tina, I just spewed all over my laptop. :(

  87. Where to begin?!

    That title has to be one for the archives. Oh wait, it will be starting tomorrow. Should be easy to do a search for. :)

    In all seriousness, this is what I enjoy about your books. They are good reads, not all fluff and nonsense but you take meaty topics and make them palatable so the reader has to think about them while laughing. I'm not sure that makes ANY sense but it's important that a reader's time is respected. You deliver way more than you promise is what I guess I'm trying to say.

    Thank you for it!!!

    Now I'll peruse some of the other comments. :)

    Happy Monday, Happy June, Seekerville!!!

    kc & May too may at maythek9spy dot com

  88. Loved the tidbit on Ben Franklin. Very interesting.

  89. Mary, I always enjoy reading your posts. :) I totally get what you're saying. Reading reviews of some great books on Amazon, I've noticed that some people seem to write reviews with chips on their shoulders!



  91. Okay, I'm late to the gathering, but not that late....

    and the 50 shades of chicken have arrived in my garage. Within days, super-uber-cute will morph to smelly, BUT.... they're just babies and they're not potty trained yet!!!

    Mary, you're politically correct naturally, darling. As long as you don't talk.



    Your friend,


  92. Mary, I rarely listen to reviewers for this very reason! Unless I'm the reviewer, of course, ha ha! Puhleeze! Put yourself in the right time period in which the story was written before you critique it! Even now there are things that are hyper-sensitive! Keep on writing your fantastic books and we'll keep reading them! I hope I win your books! I love them all!

  93. You do it well, Mary. I love your books. The Closer Than Brothers prequel was interesting to read too.
    I would love to win either Stuck Together or the novella.


  94. Early Onset Crankiness...I love it. I'm nabbing that one, Tina! Thanks!

  95. Jeanne T!!!!! Congrats on finalling in the Frasier!!!!!! I hope you're going to the conference!!!!!!

  96. Just now jumping in...
    I think the reviewer must have been coming from his/her own personal stuff.
    You have a great balance! The issues just seem to be part of the story. It all just flows and meshes together. If it were totally inaccurate or messed up, I would have noticed. (I have a phd in counseling...not that I know much, but I would have noticed.)
    Actually, it is pretty FORWARD THINKING to include some mental illness and still have the characters treated with respect and love.
    Good Job!!!!

  97. Tina??? What is magnetic reversal??? Next time I'm late somewhere I think I'm going to claim that! It's sound cool!

  98. Mary, I enjoy your books. History is history and we can't change it. A lot of times someone's bad review is why I end up purchasing a book, especially if they don't like it for the reasons I would like it. Would enjoy winning either book.

  99. I didn't include Doctor in Petticoats in this blog. PTSD for the hero. He was pretty crazy.

  100. I think I have Early Onset Crankiness. It started when I was about six!

  101. Mary, I enjoy your books! It seems that there are some very "touchy" subjects that come up when writing historical fiction. You made some very good points here! Thank you!!

  102. Mary, thank you for the post.

    I am reading In Too Deep in the car on my family vacation. I like Audra's character. Even though the book is set in the 1860s, I think her waking up to her own strength (I'm only halfway done with the book) is a timeless message.

    Thanks for the post. I love the title. The title alone is a post unto itself.

  103. Stuck sounds interesting about early onset alzheimer's. My cousin has been diagnosed with this disease. He is 60. Love to win your books. Thanks for challenging yourself with these difficult topics. sharon wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  104. When I read an historical piece I like to immerse myself, so brava!!

  105. Brothers. Got to love them. Love your books. Great interview.

  106. That has to win the prize for the best blog post title ever! Great post, Mary, thanks!

  107. These sticky issues are woven so well into your story line, that it almost natural. The focus stays on the story and I just accept the characters for what they are. Today we label everything, which just draws attention to the issue, not the person. You handle it all wonderfully, Miss Mary. Put me in for either book. Thanks! Love the post title :)

  108. If art is to imitate life then books will imitate the triumphs and tragedies of life. As writers we have to be willing to step out on a limb and bring those things into our stories to present them in their reality, because we aren't living in Utopia, ya know. It is a savvy writer who can do that and inspire the reader to make a change or help someone else through their story. Keep up the good work Mary. You are doing it!!

  109. Mary~ I never really notice the depth of the subject matter at first. I start out thinking, "Boy that guy is really a jerk." Or "Now his a few eggs short of a dozen." Or "That poor girl, her dad is a total loser!"

    Eventually I get the deeper meaning, but I mostly just dive in and see where the story goes.

    If it's not too late, put me in for the Four Weddings drawing. Unfortuately I don't have the books preceding Stuck Together, and I hate reading them out of order...and there's no way it could sit unread on my shelf for any meaningful length of time.

  110. This post was the jelly. I really needed this advice!

  111. This post was the jelly. I really needed this advice!