Monday, July 7, 2008

Calico Canyon Drawing

Calico Canyon is the story of the prissy Miss Calhoun from Petticoat Ranch and her forced marriage to Daniel Reeves the father of her most unruly students.
Five little boys who are as horrified to have her for their new Ma as she is to find herself stuck with the Reeves men.
She got his boys expelled from school.He got her fired.
And then a completely innocent occurence forces them to marry.
No two people could be more unhappily married.

Calico Canyon is in bookstores now.
Such a great moment and such a panicky moment.
I wonder if the day ever comes that I get used to this, a book releasing, worrying that it'll sell. The reviews are good...mostly. I'll spare you the shades of gray and maybe write a blog about them someday.
We're having a drawing for a free copy of Calico Canyon and we're going to draw from the comments left all week on ANY Seeker blog post, not just mine. And if you comment every day, your name will be put in multiple times, once a day max.

In the meantime, one of the responses I've been getting about Calico Canyon, similar to Petticoat Ranch, is 'how'd you get inside a man's head so well?'
All I can say is...who knows if I did?
How can any of us really KNOW if we've figured out men. And CAN we figure out MEN. We can maybe...eventually...figure out A man, one we know personally, but is it fair to paint with such a broad stroke?
All men don't think alike, maybe.
All men aren't after only one thing, maybe.
All men aren't alike, maybe.

My husband says, Men think thinks through. Women talk things through.

Literature says, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.

A jump rope ditty I remember goes:

Boys are rotten, made out of cotton
Girls drink Pepsi to get more sexy
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider
Girls go to Mars to get more candy bars

George Carlin says: Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.
Nicole Hollander: Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women.
Mary Poppins: “Though we adore men individually, I agree that as a group they're rather stupid."
Most women tell you that you're a fool if you think you can change a man- but those women are quitters. -Marge Simpson
The thing I remember my girls saying about boys is, they're always wrestling with each other, not fighting, not punching, wrestling. They'd go to some Junior High party and at no time would there not be at least a couple of the boys wrestling. What's that about?

What I'd like to hear from you is 'guy stories'.
Can you think of a story with your son, your boyfriend, your co-worker, your brother, your husband that just makes you say, "He is SUCH a guy!"

In Gingham Mountain I've got a family of orphans, boys AND girls, who are being raised by a father who is also an orphan and can't resist opening his home to any child in need.

This guy, my hero in Gingham Mountain, really understands women well. He's raised about ten of them. After Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon, I had a lot of fun trying to create a man who deals with women with some sensitivity.

Of course he deals with women as DAUGHTERS. He had a terrible time when one comes along for whom his feelings are in no way paternal.

More about Gingham Mountain another time. Or if you want more details now, go here:

I'm only mentioning it here because I got the almost finalized cover of Gingham Mountain just recently. It's possible there will be some changes but my editor gave me permission to use it if I made a point of saying it's not finalized. It'll be very much like what you see here.
Seeing all three of them together......................
well........................ sweet it is.

Tell me your 'guy' stories. And anyone who leaves a comment for the next week---up to once a day

...not just today...

gets their name in the drawing for a signed copy of Calico Canyon. And do you write your guy stories into your books? Do you write your LIFE into your books?

They always say, Write what you know...but how about write what you THINK you know and hope other people don't 'know' something completely the opposite.


  1. Guys are easy to write. Three grunts and a smile.

    Women are tough because they are complex.

    Great post, Mom. I mean Mary.

  2. My guy templates are my husband, my dad, my brother and my brother-in-law. I feel blessed to have all great guys in my family.

    Each is a little different -- a farmer, two engineers and a missionary; two neat freaks and two slobs; three red-necks and a Yuppie; and no athletes at all -- but they have a lot of the same attitudes.

    I would rest easier at night without so much of their "Can-do" attitude, but, on the other hand, they do get a lot done and the rest of us wives, moms, children and sisters feeling safe and secure.

    I hope that comes out in my stories.

  3. Mary, another wonderful post and another beautiful cover!! And I want you to know that Calico Ranch is one of the funniest, most tender and well-written books I have had the pleasure to read -- and to top it off, it has spiritual truths that absolutely pierced my heart! What an incredible combination, Mare. Huge kudos to you!

    My favorite "guy" story is actually not personal, but from an episode of Home Improvement in which Tim and Jill are having communication problems. Tim turns to his Tool Time TV audience and tells them that a man invented the stopsign. How do I know, Tim asks?

    He holds a stopsign up in the air and says, "Because it says 'stop'." If a woman had invented it," he says, flipping the sign over, it would say, "If you really loved me, you would know what to do right now."

    Omigosh, NO truer words!!

  4. I have to say i love Calico canyon (and I would love to win a copy mine is an arc which i would like to replace with the official book)
    I cant wait for the next book. I love Calico Canyon and its interesting seeing how the men think.
    Mary have you had many men write to you about the books?

  5. I heard a quote this last week that had me snickering:

    "The problem with some women is they get all excited about nothing -- and then marry him." -Cher

    My guy story...on our first date, my DH and I were driving up Ward Parkway in Kansas City (very swank mansions on immense expanses of grass) on our way to the Country Club Plaza to see the holiday lights. We passed a cathedral, and I commented on what a beautiful building it was. My date's ultra romantic comment? "Wonder how much it costs to heat that place?"

  6. I'm sitting here reading Mary's post and thinking that I don't write realistically about men at all. I make my heroes the way I WISH men were, not the way they really are. Because, let's face it, the way they REALLY are isn't very romantic. AT. ALL.

    I would share a few guy stories, but it's making me a little depressed just thinking about it.

  7. I am NOT whoever that very strange person was pretending to be your mother, Tina.

    If you don't know what I'm talking about go back and read the last two posts. Someone pretending to be Tina's mother...and honestly T it IS your mother, now admit it. She's just as funny as you, it MUST be family.
    There was a lot of grunting and scratching in my book. :)

  8. Ann, the Can-Do this is nice but when you've got a stressful or upsetting situation you just want to talk about, and the guy starts trying to FIX IT...then the Can-Do thing gets a little old. :)

  9. I know some folks don't give it much credence, but I tested my male POV chapters on that Gender Genie thing. It came back saying a male had written the text. Made me feel good, anyway.

    My guy story? I have so many (guys and stories). Let's go with this one:

    I found myself in exactly the same situation as Miss Calhoun after I married a man with four little boys. I had one daughter, a sweet, obedient little thing. When I had to send her to her room, she would sit in the middle of her bed and "think things over" until she felt ready to apologize. So the first time my brand-new ten-year-old son needed discipline, I sent him to his room.

    Highly offended, he set up an unholy squawk. After a long period of silence (where I patted myself on the back for a successful time-out experience) I opened the door to find the window slung wide and the boy...gone.

    After a few heartsick hours, we found him safe and sound. That's the day I realized I didn't have one clue about raising boys, and I had my work cut out for me. :D

  10. Had to comment on Erica's comment. I had a similar experience with my hubby. On a trip to Las Vegas, he said:

    What I wouldn't give to be this city's light-bulb salesman. :)

  11. Julie, your post is a great example of something I want to CLEARLY POINT OUT.... the quotes here have a lot of male bashing in them, but there are plenty of female bashing jokes out there, too. Men have no monopoly on being the butt of jokes.

    Ex. Why do they call it PMS? Cause mad cow disease was already taken.

  12. Oh, Melanie, you make me laugh. Come on, there's got to be at least one good guy story? Half of one, at least?

    Mary, I loved Calico Canyon. It was my first arc copy ever to read. I discovered reading upside down isn't so fun afterall.(LOL) Once I figured out where to turn to next and that the pages would go upright later on, I whizzed through it, just like with Petticoat Ranch. I'm working on a review of it now.

    Hubby saw me pick Calico Canyon up in bed, recognized your name, and said "Do you think you could laugh quietly this time?" He was extra tired after working on our stone patio and didn't want his sleep disturbed. He knows your writing, Mary, without ever reading it.

    Okay, the guy story you asked for, not counting the one above. My fondest memory of the know-it-all-guy syndrome that rears its ugly head now and again in my man was back at our old house. Hubby was trying to rewire for the phone for some reason and I kept telling him it would be really simple. "Just go in the furnace room and use the existing line you see in the ceiling, just push it up through the existing hole."

    He kept telling me "You just don't understand, Eileen." The "Eileen" is what got to me-- we rarely use our given names, we have pet names for each other and reserve our given names for when we're ticked, angry, or annoyed with the other. (Okay, we'll also use the given name when we're in the mocking mood, too, but that's all in fun of course, and he wasn't in the mocking mood this time, he was annoyed with me.)

    Anyway, finally, I grabbed his hand, walked him down the steps and showed him exactly what I clearly had explained a dozen time and his face went white (not difficult, considering his pale skin tone, anyway.) He's learned to check my suggestions out before refusing to accept them now.

  13. Jenny, I haven't had a lot of response from men but what I've had is good. To my delight.

  14. Melanie, I think you've got it EXACTLY right.
    Do we right men the way 'they' are? (c'mon people, everyone is an individual...still men do seem to have some specific traits) Or do we write them the way we WISH they were.
    The term hero comes from somewhere, we're writing heroic men even is we make gentle fun of them.

  15. Ah, Eileen, why am I forced to comment here that I'll bet you've been married a while.

    When keeping your husband awake in bed is something he WORRIED about.

  16. Erica, that is PERFECT.
    How much does it cost to heat that?

    A guy, caught in one sentence. LOL

  17. Marcia...light bulb salesman... perfect.

    As for raising little boys, I don't know, did it get better?

    I always thought I'd have been a bad mother to little boys. I KNOW I wouldn't have been a good sport about their wild ways, bodily noises and ...ummm let's say SALTY language.
    And would probably have turned them into wimps or had outright rebellion on my hands.

  18. Eileen, your 'working together' story reminded me of a story I heard about premaritial counselling. A pastor's pre-maritial counselling sessions were one simple chore....

    Wallpaper a room together.

    Pick a color, set a budget, paper the room.

    If the couple still wanted to get married, he'd perform the ceremony.

  19. Guy stories? Hmmm....

    Husband and three sons. Two brothers. Lots of nephews.

    How about it never ceases to amaze me that my husband can yell at the boys about running through the house and then hours later, he's leading the pack, as they sprint up and down the stairs, chasing each other and, you guessed it, wrestling?

    It's a guy thing.

  20. Pat, motion, movement, action, that's guys. In fact I often wonder if one of the reasons boys seem to get labeled hyperactive so often these days is becuase of the sedentary lifestyle we all live. I think maybe running wild for a couple hours after school everyday, instead of sitting motionless in front of the TV or computer or video game, might not cure a lot of ADD.
    One of the funniest 'guy' stories I know is one I will have to use euphamisms for....hmmmmm how to tell this....
    My husband was with his cousin and they were trying out a few of the naughtier words they'd learned from their older brothers.

    His uncle came upon them cussing and says to them,
    "You boys stop your G!@$! D!@$! cussing. It sounds like H!@#$!"

    I'll click on this to put it up, but later in the day I may come to my senses and take it back down.

  21. I live in a house with my husband and two teenage sons. We even have a male dog. Every day of my life is a guy story!!

    I just returned from a vacation featuring my two sons and their four very male cousins. It's all about who's the tallest, the smartest, the most buff (whatever that is!), men just have to be the most at everything! Funny thing is, they can't keep up with a schedule, their own clothing or anything else remotely resembling order. They think an awful lot of themselves to be so helpless! He! He! He!


  22. P.S. Mary, I got carried away with my man story....I LOVED Calico Canyon!! And you did nail the men in that book! I could totally relate with all of them!!


  23. The arc had part of it'self upside down? I've got an arc? Have I never looked through it?

  24. Kim, it seems like so many people have all boys or all girls. I'm sure it's no more common than a mixture but it still comes up a lot.

    You could consider getting a girl dog, at least next time!!!

  25. Hi Mary,

    Congrats on your newest book and I love the Gingham Mountain cover.

    Hmmm...guys. I think I agree with Tina. :-) Oh, and feed them. It's true the way to their heart is through their stomach. lol

    On a side note, Congrats Ruthie on your Golden Acorn first place. That's awesome!

  26. Tina, it's three grunts and half a smile, but other than that you got it right. lol

    Good stuff! It's Monday here, so my story is going to be REALLY short.

    Birthday party. Fourteen 12 yo boys. (Once I counted fifteen... oh well.) Banned from riding the 4-wheelers.

    Oh? Then we'll catch a calf. The calves weighed about 400 lbs. What would it hurt? They couldn't REALLY catch them. Let 'em rip!

    Cows, calves, and bulls assume a pack of snarling, screeching coyotes have invaded their territory and go STARK RAVING MAD.

    We didn't find dh's very new, very EXPENSIVE bull for 2 days. One poor steer expired. Poor thing.

    It wasn't funny at all at the time, but who'da thunk it!?!?!

  27. Ummmm... Pam, they actually managed to finish one off?

    Did they eat it afterward???

  28. My husband can't even be bought through his stomach these days.

    He's converted to grilled or broiled meat, steamed vegetables and no dessert ever. "We don't need the calories."

    I don't even know if he likes that stuff, although he SWEARS he does.

    He just is torturing me by denying me all the great food groups, sugar, fat and salt.

  29. That's his way of being supportive of you, Mary, and your diet. He's showing you how much he loves you by helping you resist.

    See how depressing this whole discussion is?

  30. Mary, congrats on the release of Calico Canyon! Your new cover looks awesome too. I'm really enjoying these man stories.

    I like to tease my husband about the time we went to Cancun (without kids - woo-hoo). We stopped at a bookstore to pick up reading material for the beach. I got fashion magazines and romance novels (of course!) He got "The Rules of Baseball" and a manual called "Understanding Unix" (as in, the operating system). Yikes!

    I do love it that guys are so different though. Keeps life interesting!

    I've never heard of the Gender Genie (from Marcia's comment) but it sounds intriguing. I'm going to Google it now! :)

  31. Nope. Didn't eat it cause we didn't know until later.

    Excerpt from a married couple on a road trip. Tags and names have been deleted to protect ...uh... somebody.

    "Honey, look at that house? Isn't it pretty?

    "Hey, look at those cows. He's got Hereferd-Braunveih cross. Haven't seen those before."

    "Oh, look! I'd love to have a gazebo like that."

    "That's the kind of tractor I've been wanting. Look at that front-end loader!"

    PS...the female part of the conversation (that really happened btw) was a deliberate test to see how long the conversation went on like this.

    The test lasted a looooong time and from all accounts the male partner never knew there had been a test, a house, or even a gazebo...

  32. Mother and daughter on road trip:

    "Mama, what do you and Daddy talk about on the road?"

    "Oh, this and that. What do you and hubby talk about?"

    "Bulls. Whadya think?"

    ....Nuther true story. Sigh lol

  33. Melanie, you're right. Now I'm depressed.

    I think I'll cheer myself up by spending money and eating. (okay that could be a girl joke...true but still...)

  34. Pam, one thing good...I guess... about being married for a long, long, long time is, we can drive along in complete silence for hours. I'm day dreaming up my next book or having conversations in my head ... doing his part too, since he makes more sense when I do his part.
    Him? Who knows. Watching the road I suppose.

    Married men live longer than single men, but married men are more willing to die.

  35. I am loving the stories about men and boys. I just got back from teaching at church camp in the center of Nebraska where they go mudsliding for fun. One thing I noticed is that boys love potty humor and anything remotely close to that. Hence, the success of the Captain Underpants series. (BTW, they are hilarious.)

    My own little red-headed brother should be fodder for a hundred books. One day, in the middle of "Little House on the Prairie," he suddenly sat up from lying on the floor and bit my toe while I sat in the recliner. Why? He said it was to make me stop crying.

    And Ruthie, I wanted to send my congrats as well.I hope you went out and celebrated. I was thrilled to get second in inspy.

  36. Mary,

    One of my favorite man stories goes back to the evening when my hubby (to-be) took me out to celebrate our engagement. At one point during the meal he leaned forward, took my hand in his and gazed lovingly into my eyes. My pulse race shot up to something an Olympic athlete might experience after a great performance as I anticipated his words. Ever so tenderly he uttered them," Once we're married, I'd really like it if you'd reduce your salt intake."

    True story, but I married him anyway. It's twenty years later, and I can laugh and realize he was really trying to say, "I love you so much I don't want to lose you."

    He does better much these days. And the tremendously supportive guy doesn't even get tired of me asking him, "How would a guy say this?" over and over when I'm trying to get a line of dialogue pinned down.

    And please don't enter my name in the drawing for Calico Canyon cuz I already won at copy over at The Yielded Quill. :-)

  37. Oops. I previewed my comment, honest.

    Hubby does much better these days, but I still blow it on occasion. LOL.

  38. Oh, guys I really had a good chuckle over all the posts. Read them after work. Thanks for sharing your moments. Too cute.

  39. Yay, Keli.

    So...just askin' has anyone ELSE gotten one with upside down pages????

    I checked through my copies and so far havent' found one. I wonder what's up?

    Make sure and save the defective copy. No doubt it will someday be worth millions, like a misprint on a dollar bill.

  40. The one my hubby picked up for me today at Family Christian has a whole section of upside down pages, pages 129-160. I'm eagerly devouring it--it's SOOOOO GOOD!--so unless there are pages missing, I don't expect it to slow me down!

  41. My husband is a CEO of a heart group. Yet, when looking for something in the refrigrator I have to draw him a map.
    Enter me in the drawing. I've seen a lot of post about your book.

  42. Guy story: The two guys are my husband, Rob, and my son, Josh.
    Rob and Josh have wrestled together almost from the day Josh was born--honestly, it seemed like that to me! I've caught them wrestling in among the bookshelves in Barnes and Nobles, for goodness sakes! (And at the time, Josh was in college.) They cannot be together without having a wrestling match.
    Call it male bonding.
    For them, it is some sort of Father-Son tradition.
    And yes, there will be wrestling in my WIP.

  43. Oh, my goodness, this is cracking me up! Funny stuff! I have a husband and 2 boys, so you'd think I should have some funny stories, but right now all I can think of is how when I don't feel good, all 3 of my guys gather round and try to make me feel better. They rub my back, my toddler gets me his blankey, my husband runs out for fast food - anything they can think of to help me. Does it get any sweeter?


  44. Mary!! I love your new (not-yet-finalized) cover!!!

    And let me say here how much I truly enjoyed Calico Canyon!!