Saturday, August 29, 2009

Welcome: Mary Connealy

The 3 C's of Romance: Christmas, Comedy & Cowboys

No holiday seems to have the same capacity for joy as Christmas.

That’s why I was so excited when Barbour Publishing let me write Cowboy Christmas.

Christmas stories, done right, have a richness that doesn’t come from things. And in the materialist world we live in, to touch that chord of the true meaning of Christmas can be tremendously powerful and fun all at the same time. I think the reason I love stories like this is because I get as caught up in the commercial whirl as anyone and try hard to remember what it’s really all about. A baby in a manger. God becoming man. The birth that leads to the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate act of love on the cross.

All great Christmas stories transcend materialism and reveal the true meaning of Christmas. Even non-Christian stories do this with a focus on family or peace but no where is it done better than in a Christian setting and I hope so much that I managed it in Cowboy Christmas.

I wanted a chance to do that with a Christmas book.
I wanted a character who’s heart grew three sizes that day.
I wanted a tiny voice saying, “God bless us everyone.”
I wanted that moment when we all hope we’d be wise enough to abandon our sheep to the wolves and follow a star to where the Christ child lay.

I know, I know, it’s 100 degrees outside. Doesn’t matter, like everything else about Christmas, things start early and my book is releasing in September. So I’m talking about it now.

Cowboy Christmas
A beautiful songstress hiding from danger.
A wounded hearted cowboy who hates secrets.
An evil man obsessed with the wealth he can garner with that stunning voice.
The Rockies in the brutal cold of winter.
A family who takes in a damsel in distress regardless of their suspicions.
And one perfect chance for a man and woman to follow a star that will lead them to true love.
Cowboy Christmas

Leave a comment telling me your favorite Christmas tradition – yes, in this heat! Just do it! That will get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of Cowboy Christmas.

And God Bless Us Everyone.


Mary Connealy lives on a Nebraska ranch with her husband and is the mother of four grown daughters. She is the author of the Lassoed in Texas series, Petticoat Ranch, the Christy Award nominated Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. A new series begins now. Montana Marriages, Book #1 Montana Rose (current release), Book #2 The Husband Tree (Jan 2010) and Book #3 Wildflower Bride. A stand alone romantic comedy with cowboys, Cowboy Christmas releases in September.
Also an avid blogger, Mary is a GED instructor by day and an author by night.

You can find Mary:

Thank you, Mary for blogging with the Prairie Chicks.


Renee (BlacknGoldGirlsBookSpot) said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is getting together with family on Christmas day to be together and eat waaaay too much while celebrating the Reason for the Season!


Mary Connealy said...

when I was a kid, there were eight of us kids. Our tradition was to get up so, so, so so early in the morning. Sometimes I'm not sure it wasn't still the night before...and open our presents.

My parents must have been exhausted. :)

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ but I think the three C's of Romance are Chocolate, Coffee and Cowboys.

Looking forward to reading this book, Mary, Mary.

My favorite Christmas tradition orange shaped chocolates in the stockings.

Linda Ford said...

Great post. I love Christmas and all its traditions. My favorite has to be our family gathering. We get together on a day near Christmas when most of the family can come. We open gifts though we have really streamlined all the gift giving and except for the little ones we now donate to a charity instead. Then we eat, play games, make a jigsaw puzzle and generally enjoy seeing each other again.
Linda Ford

Amy K said...

Hi Mary
My favorite Christmas tradition is making cut-out cookies with my mom and sister. We only make them at Christmas. My sister and I are in out late 20s and still love this get-together. (we also love eating the raw cookie dough when mom isn't looking) Oops, the reindeer's leg broke off so we have to eat the whole thing! I can't wait to read Cowboy Christmas after the great ending in Montana Rose!
Amy (twitter amyfishgirl)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Welcome, everyone. My, some of you are early. The sun has been up for a couple hours here on the prairie but it's cool. (9C/48F) I wouldn't be surprised if there was frost on the pumpkin any day now.

Although I'm not in the running for the book I thought I'd let you in on a fun tradition we have: hubby always buys everyone a small fun toy. It started our very first Christmas together. His gift to me was... a small dart gun. We'd been married 5 days and he gave me a dart gun? Bewildered, I look up at him to find a dart gun pointed in my direction. 'Merry Christmas!' He got me. Every year since he goes out and buys something. One year we all got kazoos. Another year those paddle and ball toys. Another year these velcro balls that stick to your clothes. It's always something fun and annoying. But then, that's him. LOL

Amee said...

My favorite Christmas tradition is going to my grandmother's for dinner and presents after. I also like my own tradition of starting the Christmas music Nov. 1! :P

Karyn Good said...

Hi Mary and welcome to the Prairies. One of our Christmas traditions is to cut down our own Christmas tree at a lovely little tree farm called Come See, Come Saw.

One of my favorite traditions to is buy everyone a book and something sleep related to open on Christmas Eve, not slumber inducing drugs, although tempting, but pj's or slippers, you get the idea.

Lovely post, Mary. Thanks for being here today.

Karin Kaufman said...

Mary, my favorite Christmas tradition is decorating the tree. This is a process that begins as early as July as I try to decide what colors to go with (this year it will be silver and green with a few earthy tones). Yes, it’s too early, but I love Christmas, and if I can stir up a little Christmas in July, why not? Of course, the real fun is actually decorating the tree, and I manage to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for that.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Mary,
Welcome to the Prairies!

One of my favorite Christmas things, aside from meeting with family and friends, is to make up stockings for my daughters. They're in their twenties now, but I still have fun filling them with little things like socks and underwear and those chocolate oranges. I even make up one for the dog now, minus the socks and underwear and chocolate, of course!


Anonymous said...

My favorite Christmas tradition, is that my mom makes homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. After we are done eating, we open presents. So much fun!
Please enter me in the contest!

chey said...

My favourite part of Christmas is all the holiday visiting! All the great food doesn't hurt either!

chey127 at htomail dot com

Helena said...

I'm happy to add my welcome to you, Mary. Glad to have you here on the Prairie -- even if you're making us think of Christmas in August!!

I always look forward to the Christmas season, and also new stories that reinforce all the important Christmas messages -- of love, hope, family, peace on earth, goodwill to men, and the meaning of the star of Bethlehem. I look forward to the music that will evoke memories of Christmas from my childhood and from the traditions established in our home as my husband and I raised three sons. The traditional Christmas carols, sung in English and German, reflect our mixed heritages.

And the food! Memories of watching my grandmother make her fruitcake, my mother baking shortbread, and the stollen and kloetzenbrot that were essential to my husband's enjoyment of the season.

Midnight mass, and afterwards the children allowed to open one gift. One year it was a table hockey game, a joint gift for the boys, and we played it for hours. Don't know how many times Santa must have circled the house waiting for us all to go to bed!

Thanks for a preview of your book. I would love to win "Cowboy Christmas."


Molli said...

Thanks for blogging with us today, Mary. And I agree--it's not too early to be thinking about Christmas (but then again, I have a closet with bags for everyone that are already at least half full--finding things throughout the year that I think will bring a smile to a beloved face is the better part of the fun of Christmas for me).

We have a number of traditions, as, I expect, do most. A few have been mentioned, but one that hasn't is helping my husband in the weeks leading up to the season to make our family's favourite goodies. (Yes, my husband! He's by far the better baker although I'm still the best at pastry.) Christmas isn't the same without strawberry-coconut tarts, shortbread, and Christmas pudding. And we do have fun in the kitchen.

Myra Johnson said...

Sounds like a great story, Mary!

My favorite Christmas tradition is attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service and then driving around with carols on the radio while we admire neighborhood outdoor lights and decorations. Afterward, we come home and have some eggnog and Christmas goodies!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Mary, I'm curious about the time frames for writing a Christmas novel. When was your deadline for Cowboy Christmas? What season did you write it during? And if during summer, did you do anything particular to think of Christmas?

And btw, it's a gorgeous day here now with the temp hovering at 22C/74F and breezy, not windy, here in the farm yard.

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, let's do five C's Tina. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Anita Mae, we (my husband and kids and I) used to do some shooting toy every single year.
dart guns, one year nerf swords, one year guns that shot ping pong balls. Then we'd have a big shoot-out.

Lovely. I used to call it the Christmas Toys of Death tradition.

Mary Connealy said...

Sorry to be so poky checking in. We had a family wedding today, lots of fun and great food and wonderful to see everyone. I'm just dragging in home now.

Mary Connealy said...

Amee, sometime on Thanksgiving Day one of the girls will say, "Let's put on some MannHeim. Mannheim Steamroller. Their version of Deck the Halls is just pure Christmas too me.

I've bought that album least five times. I'm really getting tired of it frankly. Vinyl, 8 track, cassette, Cd and now we need it on someone's IPOD.

Mary Connealy said...

I made beautiful stockings for my four daughters, all really hard work, crewel work...aptly named. But I love those stockings.
Maybe I'll take pictures and post them on my blog. Honestly I'm not real dependable with a needle and thread, but for some reason I really had a heart for these stockings.
I rarely put anything in them now because they're old and delicate and my children now require bigger boxes to be happy anyway.

Mary Connealy said...

I used to write a Christmas letter that was so nuts that people would actually come up to me on the street and request to be put on my Christmas card list because there'd be talk about the letter.

I'd start out by writing a perfectly lovely letter to my mother-in-law who spends winter in Texas. Then I'd write her oldest son the same letter but tailor it to him and punch it up a bit, well, she's got seven sons and one of them is my husband. The letter to each son would grow progressively wackier, more jokes, more life observations.

Then I'd continue with my own family, as I mentioned there are eight of us. By the time I sent my Christmas letter to my youngest brother it would be four single spaced pages of unrelenting screaming sarcasm.

Not sure if that's what the Good Lord had in mind for the holidays!!!

So those were fun.

My husband would read it and shake his head and ask for his name to be removed.

Request denied!

These days, well, I'm busy. I just write one letter, make it as good as possible with a few passes, then print out fifty copies, a fairly traditional Family Christmas Letter.

The world is probably better for that.

Mary Connealy said...

Barbour said I could write a Christmas story about.....a year ago in the spring.

I had it done by the end of summer. What I wanted in the book was that wonderful moment all great Christmas stories have. That moment when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day.
That moment when Scrooge realizes he didn't miss Christmas and Tiny Tim says, "God bless us every one."

That moment when Linus says to Charlie Brown the real meaning of Christmas is, 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

I wanted that in my book and tried so hard to accomplish it. I hope I did.

Anonymous said...

Awe I love the reference to Linus and the Grinch. I so cannot wait to read this Marykins.

DebH said...

my family has always opened gifts on Christmas Eve (not sure why, something with German tradition via my Granparents). Anyway, my younger brother is dyslexic and to help with his reading, mom started having him read the Christmas Story (Luke 2) before we could even consider opening gifts. After the Christmas story, we'd all go around the room and say what we were most thankful for for that year. Kept the reason for the season front and center.
My brother's daughter (now 10) gets to read the Christmas story now. It's sort of a uber job of honor for Christmas. So far, neither of his kids show any signs of dyslexia, for which he's eternally greatful.

DebH (

thanks for getting us thinking about Christmas early. I love that moment of heart growing three sizes in Christmas books. The Linus moment is my ultimate favorite in the Christmas specials - but then, I'm an animator - so anything animated gets my top vote. I look forward to picking up your book. Cowboys and Christmas - yummy!

Mary Connealy said...

You're an animator, Deb? Like a cartoonist? Sort of?

You should write a blog post. That sounds so interesting.

Remember the moment in The Best Christmas Pageant ever when the long-suffering Christmas Program director and narrator wonders if the Herdman's gifts of Ham and other practical things weren't things the Holy Family might really have been given.

And Gladys Herdman (playing Mary in the pageant) kneels beside the baby Jesus and cries. That's a great, perfect Christmas moment.

Anita Mae Draper said...

I really enjoyed this Christmas in August weekend.

Thank you, Mary, for bringing it to us.

I've just posted the announcement on Mary's book giveaway winner.

Thanks everyone.