Friday, July 4, 2008

Calico Canyon and a Contest!

Funny lady Mary Connealy joins us today. And we have a contest!

Just leave Mary a comment anytime today or tomorrow. I'll choose a name at random, and Mary has graciously agreed to send the winner a copy of Calico Canyon, her exciting new release.

I’m the mother of four daughters, no sons. My husband is from a family of seven sons, no daughters. In Petticoat Ranch I felt like I was really writing what I knew. I can bring a lot of authenticity to a novel about a woman with four daughters and a man who’s never been around women.

So it’s time for the sequel, Calico Canyon. What could I do but tell the flip side of the story? Grace Calhoun is a prissy schoolmarm who’s never been around men. She’s forced into a marriage with Daniel Reeves, the father of five sons…her most unruly students. They’re monstrous brats.

Or maybe they’re just boys.

Grace has no idea what boys are supposed to act like, but surely it’s not like these rude, hyperactive, messy little sons she just acquired.

Calico Canyon is written in the same style as Petticoat Ranch but Calico Canyon, though it has suspense elements, is more of a flat out comedy. Those five boys just lent themselves to comedy.

The whole book was tricky because I have no sons. I’ve had exposure to lots of little boys, brothers, classmates, cousins, neighbors, students, nephews. But can I bring honesty to the story?

To bring the authenticity I needed to it I listened a lot to my mother-in-law, Marybelle, the mother of seven sons.

She’s got this great love for her sons but she’s very clear-eyed in her understanding of the behavior of little boys. And Marybelle tells great stories.

I love the story of the time, in response to some article she read, in an effort to make her little sons more sensitive she bought them each a doll. I guess in modern language you might say she was trying to help them get in touch with their feminine side. One of the boys ran the doll around on the floor on its belly making vroom-ing noises. One "rounded up" the doll, found it guilty of heaven knows what and hung it.

You can’t believe the list of stitches resulting from fights and dare devil behavior and general mayhem. One son was hanging by his fingertips from the eaves of her house, one went head first through a window, one backed over the other with a tractor, one swung a hoe back to whack a week and smashed the hoe into his brother’s head. The boys all lived but there are lots of stitches and blood in Marybelle’s stories.

She says she can laugh now, but at the time it wasn’t a bit funny. Like the time one started walking home from the movies. The movie wasn’t close to over. It’s a ten mile walk home. He had to walk across a highway. Marybelle was waiting for him and his four big brothers in the coffee shop next door to the movie. He was four.

She thinks boys are different than girls. It’s hard to convince her it’s all nurture and not nature. But really how hard did she try except for the dolls, huh?

I dedicated Calico Canyon to Marybelle Connealy, my mother-in-law and one of my very favorite people on the planet.

So what do you think? Are boys different than girls? How? How much is nature or nurture?If you have boys and need advice, go ahead and ask. I can’t help you, but I can check with my mother-in-law and get back to you. If you’ve got girl problems, bring it on. I am a master.


Marcia Gruver said...

Mary, I love the "hanging doll" story! It's so typical of little boy behavior.

Julie Lessman said...

Mary, I am 3/4 of the way through Calico Canyon and am already getting that sick little feeling when I don't want a book to end!! I was supposed to be making my husband's lunch yesterday, and he caught me in the kitchen, reading your book because I couldn't put it down!! You may be in dirt with him, but I think both you and your book are wonderful! Can't wait to write the review on this one!! No need to send me a book as I have my very own already and I would rather you share the wealth. And Calico Canyon truly is ... a treasure chest of humor, heart, romance and fun. Congrats!!


Marcia Gruver said...


Let it be known there will be no giving away spoilers or plot secrets or we'll be hanging more than dolls!

I've ordered my copy from Amazon and can't wait to get my hot little hands on Mary's second book in the series. Loved Petticoat Ranch, so I've long anticipated Calico Canyon.

Remember now...shhhhh.


Susan said...

Mary, I have only girls no boys but I'm about to have a grandson so I guess I'll find out. Sides anyone who is married knows boys (men???) are totally different than girls. LOL

Mary Connealy said...

Julie, Thank you for the kind words. Maybe I can buy your poor husband lunch at ICRS.

Or not.

The sequel is coming in February so a much shorter wait for more mayhem from Mosqueros.

Mary Connealy said...

Susan, I know many, many people who seem totally able to love their little boys so I know it's possible. :)

Still, c'mon, girls are best right?

The frilly sox alone put them over the top for fun.

Keli Gwyn said...

I loved Petticoat Ranch and am eager to read Calico Canyon. Then I learned the good news that Gingham Mountain is coming, too.

Keep it up, Mary. I love your stories and your characters.

Marcia Gruver said...

I just love the covers Barbour did for your series. They're perfect for the stories and really catch the eye.

And the titles, too. Did they let you pick all three titles?

Mary Connealy said...

Now the titles were definitely brainstormed. I and my agent came up with Petticoat Ranch then the Barbour folks and I tossed names back and forth trying to match Petticoat Ranch, hmmmm women's underwear and something cowboyish???

NOT an easy combination as it turned out. We changed over to fabric and land formations
Calico Canyon

and book three is Gingham Mountain

Janelle said...

Boys have GOT to be easier to raise than girls. Not sure since I don't have any daughters. I spent the duration of both my pregnancies praying for boys...and I got them. God knew. I was such a tomboy growing up, I didn't have a clue what to do with girls. I'm not into ribbons and frills. Never liked them. Boys taking things apart to see how they worked, then putting them back together just to find a way to blow them up, yep, that's what I'm used to. I can tell you how to entertain boys. I don't have a clue how to play dressup or dolls. Dirt and grime. I know how to handle that.

Sheila Covey said...

Mary, haven't had the opportunity to read these Great-sounding books. They sound like such fun. I'm going to go in search of them!

Kelly Ann Riley said...

I have a boy and girl about 3 1/2 years apart. The oldest will be 18 soon and yes, boys and girls mature so differently. You do raise them differently sometimes. :) This book sounds like it was fun to write and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Mary Connealy said...

You'd have been fine with girls, Janelle. You'd have just raised them to be tomboy romance authors just like you. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Sheila. that's the spirit, leave no stone unturned. They're easy to find. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Kelly, You KNOW we raise them different. No matter our intentions we have reflexes built in that just take over at times and treat them 'like girls' or 'like boys'.

I know a girl/boy story that just underlines the difference.

When my girls got ready for their senior pcitures it was HUGE. Shopping trips, how will I do my hair for the different pictures, how many different outfits. Huge, huge undertaking to get ready.

A friend with her oldest child, a son, in the same grade as my oldest daughter said, She bought the kid clothes and ironed them and hauled the kid AND the clothes to the photographer and stuffed him into whatever SHE wanted him to wear. If it'd been up to him, he'd have never even gone, and he'd have NEVER given a thought to outfits.

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