Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Calico Canyon
Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)
Mary Connealy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation. Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process? Running from her abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas. As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they? Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.When God throws Grace and Daniel together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

My REVIEW: LOVED IT! Oh, man, this book was terrific. I was so happy to return to Mosqueros, Texas and greet the friends I made in Petticoat Ranch. Mary keeps getting better and better. Daniel is a rugged, very appealing hero, and Grace is a tender and tough heroine. I laughed all the way through the scene with the parson, feeling their frustration, like being caught in an avalanche. You won't find a better historical romantic comedy on bookshelves this year. (At least until Mary's next book comes out.)

Mary graciously agreed to answer some of my questions about Calico Canyon, and I thought I would post her answers here for you to enjoy as well.

A Q&A with Mary:
Q. How on earth did you manage such a large cast of characters so smoothly? Each of the Reeves boys has his own personality, and I never once got confused as to who was who. One of the classes I hope to take at the conference is Rene Gutteridge's managing the ensemble cast, but I think you could teach a course on this yourself.

Erica, this was a serious challenge, especially with those boys. I wondered long and hard about having so many and making them come to life. I’m so glad you think I did it. You know the scene where Grace tells the boys how she tells them apart?
Yes, there were physical differences but then, at the end of that, when she glared, good naturedly at Mark and says, "I know you from the fire in your eyes", well, I tried to give Mark that fire through the whole book. He was the most developed of the five, but all the boys were real to me, and I focused on having every word they said, within this parameter where they all acted so, so much alike, to be faithful to those differences.
I got the idea for Luke the so-tough-he’s-scary youngest from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ if you’ve seen that and remember Gladys Herdman, she was the youngest and the meanest of them all.
And I liked the idea that the oldest would SEEM to be the leader but he was very subtly taking orders from a stronger personality than his own.
Throw in Ike, the animal lover and the ‘good one’ John and I had the whole set.

Q. I love how you balanced the passion and the humor. And I love how you handled Daniel's POV. What do you do to make sure you're "Thinking like a man" when you write the male POV?

I guess with this, just like telling the boys apart, I’m mainly just delighted that you think I managed it. I try to base a lot of my men characters on two things, one is something my husband says a lot. “Men think things through, Women talk things through.”
I think he means that as an insult. LOL
Anyway, so I have Daniel making unilateral decisions, without explaining WHY and without letting anyone else in on the process of making the decisions.
And the other thing is; I don’t think men are very sensitive to ‘vibes’. If a woman glares at them and says, “Fine!” and stalks off—the man goes his own direction thinking things are really fine.
How foolish of him.
Q. Will Hannah appear in further books? She was such an endearing character. I want to read more about her.

Hannah is the heroine of book three, Gingham Mountain, coming next September. I really loved Hannah. She is so quietly strong, but not particularly brave. She is particularly afraid of men. She doesn’t confront of fight, she just endures and has a heart so big she can’t say no to a child in need even when it means she goes without.
When she runs into a man who adopts children—just like her awful father Parrish—she immediately imagines the worst. Grant Cooper's family of orphans has been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children—it’s Grant she can't stand.
Thank you, Mary, for answering my questions. I loved the book, and I know my readers will too.


  1. I'm so excited to read this book! It just arrived the other day, so I'm getting a late start.

  2. Erica, you're going to be at ACFW right? It's in your back yard, girl!
    Thank you so, so much for the kind review. It's wonderful to hear you liked it.

    And Georgiana, Hi!
    It's nice to see you over here. I hope you enjoy Calico Canyon.

  3. I, too, loved the book, but haven't gotten my review up yet on my blog. You did a great review, Erica.
    My DH noticed that you comment frequently on my blog. He thinks it's cool and that you must be a very nice person. I assured him you were and that I was anxious to see you again at ACFW.

  4. Oh, man! The plan is to be front and center at the ACFW with ALL my best friends! And I count you three girls among that group.

    :D 85 days and counting!

  5. All right, a countdown!!!!!!

    Now you're talking. LOL