Monday, April 2, 2018

The Accidental Guardian

Releasing Tomorrow
http://a.co/frtZOeJ
We agreed with the Continued Journey of Seekerville to do things a little different. If we wanted.
To be a little more laid back.
So, today I'm doing that.
This is just me talking about my book releasing tomorrow, The Accidental Guardian.
The nugget of this book was the boy, abandoned alone, in the wilderness. How would he survive? What would he do? And in my research for many books, I've gotten just an inkling of the vastness of the American frontier.
In this day of GPS and Smart Phones with mapping and Google Maps, not to mention PAVED ROADS WITH SIGNS!!! I was enticed by the question of what one man (a half-grown boy really) would do in that situation.
His wagon train had taken off from the main trail, a small group. While he's away hunting the wagon train is attacked and everyone killed.
There he is alone. 15 years old. Can he survive? What does he have to do? And, in keeping with the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, could he get so hopelessly lost that he just plain can't find anyone. Can he just settle in and live in the mountains and get so settled in that when he does find a way out, he doesn't take it.

So that's the background, the fundamental question of the book. Can Trace survive.
Well, yes. He survives. In fact, he's not been living in the wilderness for ten years. He didn't speak to another human being for four or five years....he sort of lost count of the number of winters he lived though so he'd not sure.

And now another wagon is attacked. This time the survivors are two young women and the children they'd taken out into the tall grass when the three year old girl....needed to...ahem...step away into the tall grass for a minute.

I guess if this is a post that could be interesting to a writer, I'd ask you to think about the very most fundamental nugget of your story. The kernel that caught your attention, then grew and caught fire. (I might be mixing metaphors, if your growing kernel catches fire, then your cornfield is on fire and now you need to stop writing and call 911 for the fire department, but let's ignore that.....)

So Trace survives and man is he tough, and he's bad at talking to woman...when he says she's almost the first one he is NOT kidding.

A quote from The Accidental Guardian.


Deb survives the massacre and when a man comes riding from the direction opposite where the killers had gone, she risks everything in this dangerous land and runs out to beg him for help. He seems nice but why does Trace keep talking to his horse and dog instead of her?

I'm excited about this book. I really ended up loving these characters and all the trouble I put them through.

To celebrate I'm giving away a signed copy of The Accidental Guardian. And I'd like to talk about the nugget of YOUR work in progress. Or, if you're a reader, think about this, the most fundamental part of a book and tell me about one you loved.

The Accidental Guardian

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he'd finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He'd
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together--yet every day approaches the moment she'll leave forever. 




143 comments:

  1. Mary, this sounds like such a fun book! I love the excerpt you shared. :) And what a great way to come up with a story idea. I think boiling it down to one sentence is a great way to force yourself to make sure the conflict is strong enough. If someone asks about your story and it takes you ten minutes to describe it, then that could be a problem. :)

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    1. Missy I've worked with aspiring authors trying to get an elevator pitch out of them.
      I say ONE Sentence
      ONE paragraph
      ONE minute.


      45 minutes later they're still telling me their story. To cut it down is HARD. I still have a fight on my hands trying to put an 80,000 word book into a paragraph.

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  2. Mary, you have really whet my appetite for this book with what you've shared. I'm looking forward to reading it. And the cover may be one of my favorites of the year, it manages to say so much of what the book is about with one glance.
    I think a good cover like yours may be the equivalent of the one fundamental question you were talking about for what first attracts a reader, can the cover intrigue me enough with one glance to read the summary and find the fundamental question of the story. So yes on both counts!
    Many authors use the fundamental question at the end of their summary to hook the reader, it can be very effective. For example my last Seeker book, Ruthy's Her Secret Daughter, the fundamental question at the end of her summary is, "...will her secret stand in the way of their happy-ever-after?" Or your own Too Far Down, "..will putting herself in harm's way be more dangerous than anyone expected?"
    Happy Monday Seekers and Villagers!

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    1. That cover caught me, too, Tracey! The rugged cowboy, all manly and tough, and that wisp of little girl sweetness. And all of his attention is on her. I love it!

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    2. HI Tracey, I do so LOVE this cover. It may be my favorite ever.
      You know I didn't think of it, but the cover and the nugget of the story, that's such a great point. Yes we want our cover to say what is at the heart of the book.

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    3. Hi Jan thanks so much for talking to everyone, :D
      I had car trouble yesterday, a tire went almost flat then the sensor that says LOW TIRE went on, the My Cowboy fixed the tire, but he couldn't make the sensor SHUT UP!
      So today, unexpectedly (though I knew it's happen sometime) I got sent to the tire place and am just now home.

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  3. Congratulations on the latest, Mary! Looks to be ANOTHER good one! :)

    When developing my stories I like to write a 1-2 liner that encapsulates that "nugget" you mentioned and keep it posted nearby so I stay focused and don't wander off and get lost. :)

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    1. That's a great idea, Glynna! I post my Moral Premise statement in the same way, and it really does help me keep on track with the story.

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    2. I'm not sure I can do that, Glynna. I don't maybe KNOW the nugget at the beginning. Or the Moral Premise. I often come at the story from different directions searching for the heart of it.

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  4. Mary I love this. The premise. The glimpse of the characters. This is why I love the West...it took almost everything these people had in order for them to make it. Trace must have had some extraordinary skills to build up a ranch out of nothing. And I love love love the idea of them joining forces to survive the winter.
    Mare, I'm not a linear writer and consequently have several WIPs, but I guess I want to talk about the sequel to my own Oregon Trail story. Pace Williams, the trail boss from the first story, is tired of running and wants to put down roots in the verdant Oregon Country. Falls in love with Oona Moriarty, a spirited Irishwoman and the sister of his scout on the trail. Wants to make a life with heri n Oregon Country. But she is bent on returning to Ireland and avenging the loss of her family home to the English landlords. He won't go with her, reasoning, "Ain't my fight." He has to realize that his home is in her, and she has to realize her home is now in him, before they can plan a future together. And of course they both need to come to the Lord, their true Home.
    "Can Pace and Oona come home to the Lord and each other?"
    I'm a planner and I always start out with an idea of the conflict and the resolution, but it deepens and ages as I write. Sort of like cheese.
    Got my edits for my first book (!!!) and was initially daunted when I looked at the first page. Honestly, there was more red ink than there is in my budget. Had to remind myself that these edits are meant to pummel and shape my story into the best it can be. Just as God is constantly pummeling and shaping me to be the best I am in Him. He's the great Editor, isn't He?
    I hope everyone had a good Easter.
    I brought food today, homemade wheat bread from a Russian bakery near my town, it's really cute, they sell the bread out of a gypsy caravan. And a vat of scrambled eggs with Danish blue cheese, which gives it a piquant edge. I almost sound like I know what I'm doing...
    Back later, Monday errands and krapola.
    Love,
    KB

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    1. I've learned to love working through those edits, KB. With my first book, I had the same kind of reaction..."If they hated it so much, then why did they buy it?" But when I finished the edits and saw how much better my story was because of that work I had done, I had a light bulb moment. I also had the encouragement of the Seekers, and learned that edits are just a step in the path to producing a great story. :-)

      Have fun with them!

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    2. kaybee, I love hearing about your process. Every author has her/his own way and NO ONE WAY IS RIGHT OR WRONG! It's whatever works for you.

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    3. Oregon Trail fun fact I heard. When the first men traversed what because the Oregon Trail, there was no trail wide enough for a wagon. There were steep ascents and descents that a fleet footed horse could cross but when wagons first started on that trail they had to be lifted up steep cliffs and lowered down steep cliffs.
      All that became the Oregon Trail, was widened and cleared by soldiers for this purpose.

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    4. Mary, YOU inspired a lot of my process with your "Be ready" advice. I started the sequel to the first Oregon Trail story before the first book got accepted. I guess I knew on some level that the Trail story would eventually be accepted by someone, somewhere, and I wanted the sequel to be ready. That took a confidence I didn't really have, but I guess it worked out all right. I've also got sequels drafted for my New York settlement house story and my contemporary Christmas romance. I won't do the third book in any series, that's pushing my luck, but I do try to have a draft of the sequel so I can Be Ready when the book sells. Then I circle back through the books, rewriting and editing as the situation demands. Obviously now I'm going to be spending more time on Pace and Oona, getting that story into respectable shape. But the way I figure it is, I'm going to be writing something anyway, might as well be a sequel. Works for me and saves time if and when something sells. There were some things in the Pace and Oona book that Pelican wants changed in the original, so that will be my next editing foray into the sequel, making sure it's consistent with the edits.

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    5. Mary, see, SOMEBODY listened to you.

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    6. Jan, thank you for the advice on the edits. Yeah, I know it's for my own good, and that they must have seen something in me to publish me in the first place. AND...it's better than trying to figure out what they want on my own.

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    7. Start writing the next book instead of waiting around to hear about the current book. Good for you!!!

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  5. First, I am two thumbs up loving a more relaxed demeanor... although I am troubled to think of you sporting an unrelaxed demeanor because you fool people into thinking you're quite relaxed... while writing 10 books/year.

    ;)

    Now I want to sell bread out of a gypsy caravan food truck!!! How fun would that be???? I love it! KB, I need one of these!

    Okay, back to Mary... I love that you got Deb's name into the book! AWESOME!!!! So fun, Connealy!

    And since I'm already in love with your books, I can't wait to have time to savor this newest one.... Happy dancing in WNY!!!

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    1. Ruthy! You need a gypsy caravan! It would make a great addition to the farm.

      One of my favorite authors, Miss Read, had a gypsy wagon that took center stage in a couple of her books. "Thrush Green" was one, then in another book the wagon was moved to the doctor's backyard...but I forget which Thrush Green book that happened in. I need to read the series again.

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    2. Ruthy with a bread truck! This could work, Ruthy. PS you need to teach Farmer Dave to bake. (maybe he already can!)

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    3. PS Deb Harkness my heroine. I smile when I read it.

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  6. Mary, I love that you shared your "nugget" with us and how it grew. This sounds like such a fantastic story. Goodness knows the cover alone just makes you want to snatch hold of it. I love that cover and how much you love this story. I, for one, can't wait to read it.

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    1. Thanks, Mindy. Isn't that the best cover!!!

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  7. Mary, this sounds like such a great book! And I love the nugget that got you started on this story! And the cover? LOVE IT.

    My current WIP is about two sisters who both want what the other has, to keep it simple. It's been fun to explore sister relationships and what could break up two former best-ever friends.

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    1. Jeanne, I have four sisters if you need any tips! :D

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  8. Mary, I love the cover of this book and it sounds so interesting. Please put me in the drawing. I guess the nugget of my WIP is how will a town find hope and move forward after their beloved church and much of the town is destroyed in a tornado. Each major character also has his or her own story as well.

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    1. Sandy that is such a NEBRASKA story!!!! Sad but true!

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  9. First, I just love this cover! It would sell the book without the nugget.

    Anytime characters overcome impossible situations, our hearts are already melting and we cheer for them. We're almost willing to accept any trait that stems from the ordeal.

    Just think of Tom Hanks bawling "Wilson" as the ball floats further away. So if Trace would rather talk to the horse and dog, we get it.

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    1. Connie I hadn't thought of that Tom Hanks moment but when I read it here it twisted my heart. It was his friend.

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  10. Your story sounds like it's going to be really good.
    My nugget of an idea I got the other day is that Paige sees a poster of a missing person who looks familiar, but she can't place him until he walks into the coffee shop where she works. Trouble is, he doesn't know he's missing.
    I haven't figured out exactly where to go from there, but I think it's going to be fun to follow where it leads. :-)

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    1. Amy that's a fantastic hook.
      What if, instead Paige sees a milk carton with a picture of HERSELF on it and she doesn't know she's missing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. Hmm... seems like I read a story like that a while back. :-)

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  11. I just checked on Amazon - my copy of The Accidental Guardian is supposed to arrive tomorrow by 8 PM!!! I've been waiting for this one ever since you first shared the cover.

    I'm working on a series idea (which means the stories are still a few years away) that starts out in that uncharted, unmarked, vast, empty West that you described.

    Even today, I can go places where there is absolute silence except for the wind, and not a smidgen of a hint that humans live anywhere around, and it takes my breath away. But even in that setting, I know that the paved road is just a mile back down the trail and I'll eat supper with a solid roof over my head.

    What was it like in the early/mid-1800's for those early explorers? For the Native tribes who wandered the prairies, a village of maybe twenty or thirty people alone in that vast wilderness?

    Yes, it captures the imagination. And yes, I can't wait to begin the research for this series...

    But the series I'm working on now has me busy enough - the nugget is about the Amish during the Civil War. As uninvolved in the world's affairs as they wanted to be, the war crept into their communities. In some places, the war was on their doorstep, seizing their food and livestock, destroying their peace. How do peaceful, non-resistant people react to that intrusion into their lives? Does it change them, or cause them to be even more dedicated to their beliefs?

    I love this series, called "The Amish of Weaver's Creek," and I can't wait to see how the readers react to it!

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    1. Jan, when we went on vacation to Wyoming years ago with my sister and her family, my brother-in-law found this place to visit where we could view petroglyphs in some rock. It was truly in the middle of nowhere as we could not even hear any traffic. Our children were small then and my brother-in-law warned them that wandering off would be a good way to not be found. It was certainly enjoyable to be in such a quiet out-of-the-way place.

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    2. Jan you're going to write COWBOYS!!!!!??????? SWEET!

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    3. Sandy there are so many places of beauty that we just never see! I wrote a book about a trek down the Grand Canyon and I just wanted to do that walk so BADLY. But even then I knew I'd have to wait for the paved highway to go down. When are they going to get that that anyway???

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    4. Yes, cowboys are on the horizon! How can I live in the West without writing about cowboys???

      A friend of mine went hiking in the Grand Canyon. She hikes extensively in the Black Hills, and still had to condition herself to pass the physical test to be able to go on that hike. And yes, she loved it.

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    5. It's HIGH TIME, Jan!!!!
      I've heard they have helicopter rides to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I could handle that! (Probably!)

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  12. Great article--this really was like sitting down to talk with you in a relaxed way. Using that question to get to the kernel pushes the stakes to the forefront. Your premise is intriguing, Mary, (even if it does catch fire, just view it as tasty, roasted corn because you have captured readers with this one). I just hit my 1-click button on Amazon and can't wait to get the book.

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    1. Hi Darlene! I'll explain why the cornfield being on fire is a good thing!!!

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    2. Will you be at ACFW again this year? It was so nice to see you.

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  13. Mary, I seriously giggle-snorted at this:

    "The kernel that caught your attention, then grew and caught fire. (I might be mixing metaphors, if your growing kernel catches fire, then your cornfield is on fire and now you need to stop writing and call 911 for the fire department, but let's ignore that.....)

    I absolutely LOVE this cover and CANNOT wait to read the book!

    The nugget in WIP is can my heroine prove her innocence before she's convicted of murder. At least I think it is.

    Happy Monday!

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    1. Sharee I loved your book Secret Past. I can't wait to see what's next for you!!!

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    2. Sharee and I, along with Erica Vetsch have a book signing Saturday, April 14th at the Barnes and Noble in Sioux City Iowa. Come if you can!

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    3. Mary, I'm writing that as a banner across my website! Mary Connealy loved my book!!! SQUEAL!

      And yes, please ALL come to the signing!

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    4. Happy debut release day, Sharee! Loved SECRET PAST!

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    5. It's a good book, Sharee. Excellent. Now for the next one!!!

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  14. My current work in progress is about two ladies who desperately want to be married. One chooses foolishly grabbing the first who comes along and the other chooses wisely.

    I will want to get your book. It sounds wonderful but then any Mary Connealy book will be awesome.

    I thought of you the other day when I was researching how much a calf would weigh in a calf roping contest. You probably would have known the answer and wouldn't have to google it.

    I hope everyone has a great week.

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    1. :) I am such a dependable source for cow info. Always feel free to come to me with questions.

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  15. The first book I wrote began with a walk on the beach. There's an waterway between two islands and I wondered what would happen if you witnessed a murder from a distance and you couldn't get across the water in time to save the victim. I kept talking to my husband and imagining this story, and he finally told me to write it. He knew writing had been my dream for years, but this was the first step to pursuing the dream.

    Great post, Mary!

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    1. Jackie, I LOVE THAT! Your imagination going wild. Your husband telling you to write it! That's a terrific nugget story and a terrific 'what made you start writing' story.

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  16. Great post, Mary! I love the "nuggets" of truth in Christian fiction.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    Blessings!
    Caryl

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    1. Hi Caryl, you're in the drawing. All Christian fiction does have that one foundational nugget of truth based in faith. Great point.

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  17. I love your nugget in this awesome book that’s releasing tomorrow. Tarzan in the Wild West.... I love it!

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    1. MJSH LOL, wow, now I've got an idea for another story!!!! A little far north for a loin cloth though.

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  18. Finally, a book with a character representative of those of us who are more comfortable talking to animals than we are talking to people! :-) I ordered my copy a couple of weeks ago. Should arrive in the mail pretty soon. Not soon enough. This looks like a great read.

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    1. Jenna let me know when it shows up. I never know if they arrive on their release date, or if they ship and arrive a couple of days later.

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    2. I'll let you know as soon as I get the text message that it's been shipped.

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    3. So I pre-ordered in from Amazon on March 6th. As of right now (release day, I do believe) it has not shipped yet. Maybe by the end of the day? They estimate arrival 4/9-4/13.

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    4. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO another week!!!???

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    5. I know. A few years ago I sometimes actually received a book a day or two before the official release date. I suppose it would be smarter for me to get the ebook version...but I don't want it. My historical novels need to be on paper. It's part of historical vibe :-)

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  19. Love me a Mary Connealy book....and the cover on this one....awesome! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for your giveaway!

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    1. Jackie, Hi! Thank you. It's TOMORROW!!!

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  20. Yay! This sounds like another winner! :)

    The nugget of my current story...An FBI agent desperate to clear his name volunteers for a dangerous assignment--going undercover in the Barker-Karpis Gang in 1930's St. Paul.

    :)

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    1. Erica, you know so much about Minneapolis/St. Paul history. This is genius to use it!!!

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  21. Tomorrow! This book I've been looking forward to will finally release tomorrow. Yippy!

    The story I'm working on now sprang from genealogy research. No, no, nothing about the family (although two of them were Texas Rangers waaaay back). I was frustrated by how many times records were lost in courthouse fires. I thought what a tragedy it must have been -- all those records and documents up in smoke. And then the idea that became the nugget for my latest WIP took hold -- what if a town was GLAD when the courthouse burned and took all those documents and records with it. I'm having a blast with this WIP.

    Congrats on another book, Mary! Is Heath Kincaid in it ... maybe? ;-)

    Nancy C

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    1. For some reason I can't seem to use my Chill'N Blogger ID ... Blogger eats the post ... so I'm just anonymous Nancy C for now :-)

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    2. Nancy C! I've got it that you're ANONYMOUS!!! Very mysterious. No Heath sorry. He really should be in EVERY BOOK!!! I will consider this!

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  22. Sounds like a good book and, based on your other books, I'm sure it will be another favorite. :)

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  23. Congratulations Mary, Trace's story sounds fascinating and I hope to read it soon. As s reader, I think that it is often "the darkness before the dawn" or the lowest point in a character's story. When they know that they will survive, they will succeed, they will prevail!
    Blessings,
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie one weird quirk of Trace's is that he is a fast runner. He lived without a horse to ride for years and he got so he ran everywhere. I loved that about him.

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  24. Congrats on the release of your newest book. I have to pick just one, Calico Canyon I just laugh at the thought of how she would survive not one, not 2 but the five boys and how wild they are but how great they turned out as adults. And to add more children that she has with him.

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    1. Ah, poor little Grace Calhoune Reeves. What a mess I made for her!!!

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  25. The story sounds wonderful, Mary! Plus, I love the heroine's name! :)

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  26. Congratulations, Mary! Your cover is fantastic! The nugget for my current WIP was sparked while I was getting infused at the hospital. A fellow patient asked me if I'd ever write my disease, Crohn's, in a story.

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    1. Jill, Your emotions and physical challenges will be so authentic. I hope you really bring all involved with your struggle into the light.

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  27. Mary, I can't pick a favorite book, but you are a favorite author. If my mom still had her memory she would tell you that Petticoat Ranch was her favorite book. She read it dozens of times! I can't wait to read this newest book!

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    1. Thanks, Denise. Thanks for coming by Seekerville. Is your mom able to read much these days? Could she handle a novella, maybe? I can get a copy of Calico and Cowboys to you.

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  28. This is probably your best book cover yet (though I'm still partial to Rafe on the cover of Out of Control). I recently giggled my way through The Calico and Cowboys Romance Collection. I love that your books are just pure fun to read. After I read one of your books, I find myself speaking or even thinking like your characters, though I don't think overly long about it. Thanks for your books, Mary, and the chance to win The Accidental Guardian.

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    1. I love that collection, Pam. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just indulging myself. I love all those old characters but I might be boring a whole lot of people. At least a few are with me!!! YAY. Thank you.

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  29. I love the nugget concept of this book!
    I love when a book gets to the point of the characters recognizing how they belong to the story and to each other and how God had helped and provided for them to get to that point.
    This will be a wonderful story to read. Thank you for the chance to win!

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    1. Terressa what a cool way to put it. I like it. Yes, when someone says, is your book plot driven or character driven I just say, "It has to be both. C'mon! You have to have solid plot that moves the characters, but your characters have to be 'alive' enough that they react to the story unfolding with their own ... self turning the story this way and that.
      That's less sense than what you said. :D

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  30. I saw the cover of this book awhile ago when Amazon sent it to me and I've wanted to read it ever since! I loved it! You know how much I love your books and this looks like another winner. At this time of night, after driving many miles to pick up my adult daughter at the airport to bring her to our house to surprise her dad for his birthday, my mind is mush so I can't even think about answering your question so I'll just say....can I enter your drawing anyway????? :)

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  31. Actually the style of writing is fundamental to me being totally engrossed.

    Count me in thank you.

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  32. I’m a reader so no nuggets/kernels to catch on fire in my writing. What I like in a book is the emotional connection when I can begin to imagine how I would react in the situations that the characters find themselves in. Your new book sounds really good I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy

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    1. Anne, that's the secret to writing, maybe???? The book draws us in so we can imagine it all happening to us???

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  33. Mary, congrats on your new release! I think the nugget in my WIP is can a mother love too much?

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    1. OOoo...I like that, Karen. Interesting!

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  34. Hi Mary! Thank you for the chance to win your new book!!
    I think, as a reader, the most fundamental part of a book is character development and relationships. The setting and time period aren't as important to me as relating to the characters. I enjoy your books very much!

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    1. This is a deep truth, Karen. So that is the nugget then? (I'm thinking of it for myself.......why does this book make me THINK!?)

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  35. Hello Mary!! I'm a day late in commenting, but wanted to say I'm SUPER EXCITED because my copy of your book arrived in yesterday's mail!! WOOHOO!! :) Will begin reading tonight and cannot wait!!

    I'm thinking I read on facebook that you have SNOW?!?! I wish I could send you some Georgia weather! (and a peach cobbler!) ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Yes, Missy Tippens mentioned your 72 degrees. (gloating!)
      It's a gloomy, snowy, windy day. Blick

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  36. I'm super excited about this book! You are my favorite author and I know you won't disappoint. The cover is absolutely amazing. Yes, I judge books by their covers!

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    1. Kimberly, thank you so much. I'm honored to be your favorite. I'm not sure I just a book by it's cover ultimately, but the cover is often what makes me pick it up to begin with!!!

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  37. Thank you for the giveaway

    alysap at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi JCP. You're welcome. And you're in the drawing!

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  38. This book sounds fascinating! Hmmmm... I'm not far along in the process yet, but boiled down to one sentence, the kernel for my story would be: Travelling to London to be with her expectant sister when her RAF husband is declared missing after his plane is shot down, Leona adjusts to different cultural expectations amid the turmoil if the Blitz. Thanks for the giveaway! Danandlyndaedwards at msn dot com.

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    1. Lynda, this sounds so cool. London during the blitz! Great setting.

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  39. Your book sounds so interesting! I'd love to read it. Thanks for the chance.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  40. I love all of your books but a favorite from another western writer, Louis L'Amour is A Man Called Noon, I loved how he was injured and couldn't remember who he was but he still knew to go back to all the familiar places.

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    1. Naomi, I love Louis L'Amour! My Cowboy and I just the other day were trying to remember 'the one where the hero had amnesia'. I will get this one!!!

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  41. Wow! It looks great! I am an avid reader and a former literature teacher. I love a story that pulls me in and takes me away. Sometimes, we need an escape, especially this stay-at-home mother of two autistic boys. I love watching characters grow and develop, more than fast-paced action. Seeing a character overcome struggles and watching their faith develop is what is exciting to me.

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  42. Congrats on the new release! I’m not a writer, but I love to read. I think a kernel would be a book that builds a story but doesn’t make you ask questions about something that doesn’t make sense or fit into a time frame, For example: would a young female be chaperoned by someone who’s not a relative in the 1800’s? That kernel would also have to keep me guessing without thoroughly confusing me. So I would say my “kernels” are more structural than the actual storyline itself. I hope this makes sense.
    perrianne(DOT)askew(AT)me(DOT)com
    Perrianne

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  43. This sounds like a great story. I am a reader and I really like a story that grabs me in chapter 1. I'm likely to put it aside for something else if not. I haven't read any of your books - yet! But I have heard so many wonderful things about your writing. I'm looking forward to reading my first!

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  44. Hi Mary! Your book's a winner!

    As I finished my first manuscript, a middle grade book inspired by true events in my grandparents' lives, I wept. It was while typing the last sentence that I understood the nugget, the core of my book. The plot weaves around conflicts and struggles for an eleven-year-old girl to make sure her poor farm family's home is wired for electricity in 1939. However, the true message is that where grit fails, God fills in with grace. I am forever humbled by what writing this book has taught me.

    And thank you, for sharing your words!

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  45. I look forward to this series! I loved the Cimarron Legacy because of the historical/suspense aspect. :)

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  46. Hi Mary, a big congrats on the new book baby!!! I'm certain it will be nothing but exceptional :-) I really love the premise of the story and when I first learned about, I wondered how a young boy/man would survive in the wilderness so long. Would he go crazy not talking to or seeing another person for so many years? I'm sure reading this would give me the answers to my many questions!

    Throw my name in the hat to win a copy, thanks so much. And congrats again!!

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  48. As a reader, I think the fundamental part of a book to me is whatever keeps me turning the pages - where I don't want to put the book down. That may be an interest and/or developing character, the situation that's occurring or the sweet romance that is unfolding before my eyes.

    Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy of "The Accidental Guardian". I have this book on my TBR list and would LOVE the chance to read it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  49. The cover is captivating! I’m so excited to read it!

    In my WIP my heroine was forced to leave the police force when PTSD from having to shoot a suspect during a standoff starts to interfere with her job. A couple of years later when she is shot at during a community event she is brought face to face with her former field training officer, now detective. She is forced to deal her feelings of betrayal for him to help find who ever has it out for her.

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  50. Hi Mary! Congrats and am looking forward to reading! Good writing challenge - to pin down the nugget. Mine is - finding hope as we break out of the prisons we lock ourselves into. I’m still playing with the wording, but you get the idea! Blessings!

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  51. Sounds like a delightfully interesting book!

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  52. The cover caught my attention. I always enjoy Mary's stories.

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  53. This sounds sooo good! I will be adding this to my reading list!

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  54. Can't wait to add this one to my collection!!
    Denise Hunter

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  55. I am intrigued by the synopsis of this book. I love books that show growth in the characters and i can see a huge potential for growth here. This looks like a must read for me.
    I'd love to have an autographed copy to make it even more special.

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  56. So excited to see anything you have releasing. Can't wait to read it. Joy K Massenburge

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  57. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations, Mary. I loved the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Blessings

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  58. Mary, congratulations on your new book release. It looks and sounds absolutely fascinating. I adore the cover--cowboy, little girl, mountains! And the premise is so creative and unique. Thanks for the great post.
    Throw my name in the cowboy hat for the draw.

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  59. I am so excited to dive into this one! It sounds absolutely fabulous, Mary!

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  60. oh how i love this cover. it says so much. a rugged man who knows what he is doing on the ranch and a sweet little bit of a girl. dedication is what i see on the cover. i would love to read this. right now my nugget in my life is making a baby quilt with a fox on the front for a new great nephew.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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  61. Love the cover and you gave just enough information of the story line to tease your readers! Yes, I want to read this book! :)

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  62. I can't wait to read it! I am #2 on the wait list at our library. As a reader, I just love to find the life lessons the characters so vividly portray as they go through the ups and downs of life. I recently read Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings and enjoyed the main characters coming to love each other and being willing to make sacrifices to express that love. Also loved the details and humor that make it come alive. Can't wait to meet girl-shy Trace!

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  63. haven't ready anything by you I haven't liked! and your sense of humor in your books!

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  64. We have your books in the church library. Our readers enjoy reading our historical fiction books.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com

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  65. I love historical fiction and would love to read this book

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  66. I love Historical Fiction and would love to be entered to win a copy of this book. I have read a lot of books, but one part of Sophie's Heart, by Lori Wick that stands out, is when Sophie helped the family heal after loosing a family member, in different ways of course.

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  67. I love your books and really enjoyed this blog post. I felt like we were sitting down enjoying a cup of something warm and you were telling me the story of how your book evolved. I still haven't figured out how to plan a book well enough that I can finish writing it yet, but I have several with 30-50k written on them that I plan to go back to once I learn more about writing so I can do them justice. Until then I keep blogging and trying my hand at fiction. Thanks so much for posting! I'd love to be entered in your contest.

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  68. oooooo... I'm so excited to get this book because well... obvious reasons. *grin* But I'm always loving a Mary Connealy book and boy, does this one sound interesting even with the added bonus of name sharing.
    I do like the question that started it all off. It makes me feel pretty good about the different questions for story ideas I have come from.
    Thanks for the "laid back" post Mary!

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    1. Deb, I hope you like your namesake. :)

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  69. This sounds so intriguing, Mary! Congratulations on this newest release! I love how you authors can take one germ of an idea and grow it into the foundation of a story! Amazing what you can do with words! ;)

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  70. This book sounds very interesting. I'm sort of a loner. I guess 15 yr. olds were were more prepared to live in the wilderness in those years.
    I think that the first chapter is most important. I got a book once because the title sounded interesting but when I started reading, I didn't like it--it was more biography and history probably not fiction.
    Another set of books, I kept reading even when I couldn't see why the descriptions were so important. Later in the story I under stood. That set of books became some of my favorites.

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  71. The first chapter pulls me in, I haven’t read any of your books yet, this one sounds so interesting. It has a cowboy, kids and a woman. The setting is intriguing and it kind of reminds me of little house on the prairie books, with the hardships. All in all it seems to have it all. How do they survive the elements and each other, he’s surely going to have a rude awakening to this family just being there. I’ll bet he loves it as it unfolds. I do want to read it.

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  72. I love the cover of this book and the story sounds like it would keep me reading.

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  73. I would love to read this. The cover and story sound amazing.

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