Skip to main content

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter

The 12 Authors of Christmas – Mary Connealy

Captain's Log, Supplemental

Continuing the 12 Authors of Christmas, here’s historical romance author Mary Connealy!

View the tour, including Rachel Hauck and Tricia Goyer’s authors, here.

About Mary:

Mary Connealy is an author, a journalist and a teacher. She has written books for three different divisions of Barbour Publishing; Petticoat Ranch, the first of a three book series of historical western, suspenseful, romantic comedies, for Barbour Trade Fiction, and Golden Days with Heartsong Presents. I’ll also be writing a three book series of contemporary, romantic comedy, cozy mysteries for Heartsong Presents Mysteries.

You can find out more about Mary through her website. And the blogs she plays around on are: & &

Mary’s dream is to tell love stories that make people laugh while drawing them closer to God. She lives on a farm in Nebraska with her husband, and has four grown daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. Shelly is married to Aaron and Joslyn is married to Matt so her family finally has some boys!

Writing is great but her family is her true life’s work.

Tell us about your first Christmas memory.

I remember these tiny dolls my mom would give to us. Like three inches tall. We were really poor when we were little. Eight kids in an old country farm house and I remember my mom saying (no idea how old I was) that “We try to spend three dollars on each of you.” And I loved it. I adored those tiny dolls and there was just such delight. We didn’t get much, although both of my grandma’s would send gifts, too. So there were several gifts for each of us.

Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

My family lived a long, long way from my mom’s mother. A three hour drive. That was forever back then and we made the trip about once a year. Of course who could blame my parents for dreading loading us up in a car, plenty of car sickness among the children, too. Me included. What a nightmare. So we almost never had Christmas with Mom’s extended family. And my dad was an only child and his mom lived right near us. So Christmas was my ever increasing number of brothers and sisters (I was third from oldest) and mom and dad and Grandma, and we’d have a big Christmas dinner at my grandma’s house. That was plenty of people

When do you put up your tree? Describe the decorating at your house.

I’m a slow starter about the tree. There really isn’t a good place for it, so furniture has to be shoved aside and nothing really fits, plus when the kids were young I had to tie the tree to a nail or two in the wall or it would always come tipping over. I still haven’t put up my tree this year. I have GOT to get on with it.
I do love scented candles, though and keep them burning a lot. And this year I have a wreath up on my back door. This is the country, everyone comes and goes through the back door. It’s beautiful.

What is your favorite Christmas song or album? (Feel free here to talk about choirs or other musical things you participate in during Christmas.)

This is so easy. It’s Manheim Steamroller’s Fresh Aire Christmas. It starts out with “Deck The Halls” and that’s just Christmas to me, that perfect instrumental music. I’m also a big Trans-Siberian Orchestra fan. All my girls have those albums, too. That’s one thing that’s been a real tradition. On the weekend after Thanksgiving, the girls all start saying, “Let’s have some Manheim.”

Relive your childhood Christmas mornings for us.

Well, it was nuts as you might imagine. We made a game out of seeing how early we could get up and trying to sneak past Mom and Dad so they wouldn’t make us go back to bed. I’m talking really early, like 3 a.m. Who ever woke up first would start nudging each other, then we’d sneak past the parents and just LEAP on the tree. It was so wonderful, that mountain of presents. Of course with eight kids it WAS a mountain even if it didn’t add up to a lot for each of us. Mom and Dad would come out when the riot started. We’d have this little middle of the night chaos, then we’d go back to bed after a couple of hours and my poor father would go milk the cows. They never really fussed though and never demanded we CUT IT OUT!!!!

Tell us about your Christmas setting--do you have a white Christmas?

Yikes, Nebraska. We have so many white Christmases that, trust me, the thrill is gone.

It’s Christmas Eve… Describe your day and evening.

Well, for years and years Christmas Eve was with my husband’s parents. He’s one of seven brothers and there are 25 grand children there. What a mob. Oyster soup and chili, everyone brought munchies and candy and cookies. And everyone had their specialties and we looked forward to them. It was really wonderful. My husband’s mom, one of the nicest ladies on the planet—she’s about my best friend in the world, now spends Christmas in Texas. I really miss that fun.
Now on Christmas Eve we have my daughters and their husbands. Just that small gathering. We have hors d’oeurves (man that’s a hard word to spell-seriously it took about ten tries before I could spell it well enough to find it online) lovely things like rumaki and crab puffs, egg rolls and shrimp cocktail, exotic cheese and fussy crackers. It’s fun to see what all we can come up with. Then we play a board game of some kind (Catch Phrase is the best) or watch a Christmas movie together, I always vote for While You Were Sleeping.

My four daughters draw names and they exchange gifts but the rest of the presents wait until morning.

Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

I am a very cynical shopper. Somewhere in the…oh…fifteenth year…of the girls always returning everything I’d buy for them…I quit trying. So I go into their favorite store and think, “I need to spend X number of dollars.” I’d find a clerk, point to something on the wall and say, “How much is that? Good, I want it in a size whatever. And can you make sure I get a receipt?”

It was, in effect, a box-sized gift certificate to The Buckle or American Eagle.

Once I removed the emotional component to Christmas it became very easy. I’d do all my shopping in one fairly short day.

This year I’ve done a bit of online shopping but I hate the shipping charges. Except this year the shipping is less than driving to the city (an hour drive for me). So I don’t even care much about that.

Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

It’s about the humility of Jesus birth. It’s about how he came here, so lowly, taking every burden any human had to bear on himself. I’ve written many Christmas plays because I wrote them for my church and directed the Sunday School Christmas Program and I tried to focus on the normal people who responded to the call of the angels, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men. Each one of them took a leap of faith to believe the unbelievable, to respond to an undeniable call.

It’s Christmas day… what’s for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

Christmas Day is my family and it’s very traditional food-wise. Turkey or Ham. Corn casserole and fresh buns, pie, salad, cookies and candy. Very delicious and we always eat way too much. I’ve got one sister who always wants to try something different, which is kind of fun if we get the traditional stuff, too. So we’ve had goat and goose and duck for holiday meals. Bald eagle, too…no wait, maybe not. Ignore that.

Tell us about your favorite Christmas memory.

Too hard to explain why it’s my favorite. It’s a record player my husband gave to me about the third year we’d been dating (we were high school sweethearts). It wasn’t the present exactly, it was the way he surprised me with the perfect gift at the perfect time. But I don’t want to go into details.

What are your plans for this season?

My brother is coming home from New York. He’s got six kids and they’re getting grown up. Two out of high school. He’s never been home for Christmas with his kids. He comes in the summer because that’s when they’re free, out of school, plus it’s warm here then. But, because it’s very possible he’ll never get all six kids in that van with him and his wife again, he’s coming home. It will be a very special Christmas.

Any final thoughts on Christmas?

I think I’ve covered all the bases and written long enough. Congratulations to anyone who stuck with this until the end. God Bless You All and have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful Happy New Year.

Camy here: Thanks for sharing, Mary!

Folks, Mary’s one of the funniest people I know. She has a column on the ACFW ezine (she posts every other other month, I think), and her novel Petticoat Ranch is hilarious! If you like a good dose of humor with your historical romances, Mary’s the girl for you.


Ausjenny said…
Thanks Mary, i have to say your going into what you eat at christmas and the Bald eagle no wait maybe not had me laughing (Aussies do eat there Coat of Arms!)
I did love reading your interview and i am now going to look for your book it really does look like a great read.
Thanks again for sharing. this is something i have loved reading all december. And had got me wanting to make gingerbread and i dont even like gingerbread or have a proper recipe yet.
Mary Connealy said…
Hi, ausjenny. I was told today to buy the ingredients to make gingerbread men this weekend. My daughter is hungry for them. Keep in mind; she's 28, married, owns her own home AND can cook circles around me.
But this afternoon at my house she's got free time. And gingerbread men do sound good.
I hope you enjoy Petticoat Ranch. I've sent today working on details for the third book in the series and that's been really fun.
Thanks for posting my walk down memory lane, Camy.
Julie Lessman said…
Mary -- Eight kids??? How come I don't remember this -- surely you told me! That must be why we get along so well -- large-family syndrome (I'm one of 13). And oh my, goat, goose and duck for Christmas? I think I'll stick with ham, thank you very much. And as a travel writer, I have become most proficient at spelling "hors d'oeuvres" -- can do it in my sleep, if I have to! And finally, move over, Connealy because I want to watch "Sleepless in Seattle" with you -- one of my favorite movies EVEN THOUGH they don't even kiss!! Great interview, Camy & Mary.

Ausjenny said…
Hey Mary maybe i can come to your house and learn to make gingerbread.
I htink i now have the recipe!
I will be looking for your books in the new year. not sure my credit card would like another hammering this week but books are 25% off if i buy over $200! only i got over $100 this past week.

Popular Posts

No Cold Bums toilet seat cover

Captain's Log, Stardate 08.22.2008 I actually wrote out my pattern! I was getting a lot of hits on my infamous toilet seat cover , and I wanted to make a new one with “improvements,” so I paid attention and wrote things down as I made the new one. This was originally based off the Potty Mouth toilet cover , but I altered it to fit over the seat instead of the lid. Yarn: any worsted weight yarn, about 120 yards (this is a really tight number, I used exactly 118 yards. My suggestion is to make sure you have about 130 yards.) I suggest using acrylic yarn because you’re going to be washing this often. Needle: I used US 8, but you can use whatever needle size is recommended by the yarn you’re using. Gauge: Not that important. Mine was 4 sts/1 inch in garter stitch. 6 buttons (I used some leftover shell buttons I had in my stash) tapestry needle Crochet hook (optional) Cover: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter st until liner measures

Tabi socks, part deux

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.25.2008 (If you're on Ravelry, friend me! I'm camytang.) I made tabi socks again! (At the bottom of the pattern is the calculation for the toe split if you're not using the same weight yarn that I did for this pattern (fingering). I also give an example from when I used worsted weight yarn with this pattern.) I used Opal yarn, Petticoat colorway. It’s a finer yarn than my last pair of tabi socks, so I altered the pattern a bit. Okay, so here’s my first foray into giving a knitting pattern. Camy’s top-down Tabi Socks I’m assuming you already know the basics of knitting socks. If you’re a beginner, here are some great tutorials: Socks 101 How to Knit Socks The Sock Knitter’s Companion A video of turning the heel Sock Knitting Tips Yarn: I have used both fingering weight and worsted weight yarn with this pattern. You just change the number of cast on stitches according to your gauge and the circumference of your ankle. Th

Interview with Fantasy author Willamette Sutta

Adamant in Dust by Willamette Sutta Stones of power and one princess to save them all. The Far Stone Endurant is broken, and a prophecy foretells doom… She should have been the chosen princess to deliver them. But Pergi can’t love Prince Teyrnon, and that's a deal-breaker. Pergi has prepared all her life to become the ruler that her father wants. Without sons, he knows she could only retain the throne if she marries the neighboring prince, combining their kingdoms. Yet the same prophecy that calls for the reunification also warns that they must join by love. Supplanted by her younger sister in this sentiment, Pergi waits with ill grace for Sadira to marry Teyrnon and steal her birthright. No one expects that Sadira would do a runner on her wedding day. What starts as an impromptu rescue of the wayward bride leads to a desperate struggle against a deadly foe. The dark lord Malchor ensnares Sadira in his opening bid to gain all the Far Stones of power. With them, he wi

Last chance for Camy’s Patreon bonuses

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to my Patreon! I hope you enjoyed the chapters of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster  that I posted the last few weeks. (For those who missed the announcement, I now have a subscription on Patreon where you can read the chapters of my next book ahead of the ebook publication. In order for you to get a taste of my Patreon, I’ve posted the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Lady Wynwood's Spies, volume 7: Spinster  for my newsletter subscribers to read for free.) Roundup of what happened on Patreon: Last week, I posted a bonus extras post about Easter Eggs from Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 4: Betrayer  and volume 7: Spinster . Be sure to chime in if you watched Fullmetal Alchemist or any other anime! I also recorded a video —which was super scary, let me tell you, because I had NO clue what I was doing! Check it out, and at the very least, you'll have a good laugh. This week is your last chance to subscribe and receive “Bidding on Tr

Toilet seat cover

Captain’s Log, Supplemental Update August 2008: I wrote up the pattern for this with "improvements"! Here's the link to my No Cold Bums toilet seat cover ! Okay, remember a few days ago I was complaining about the cold toilet seat in my bathroom? Well, I decided to knit a seat cover. Not a lid cover, but a seat cover. I went online and couldn’t find anything for the seat, just one pattern for the lid by . However, I took her pattern for the inside edge of the lid cover and modified it to make a seat cover. Here it is! It’s really ugly stitch-wise because originally I made it too small and had to extend it a couple inches on each side. I figured I’d be the one staring at it, so who cared if the extension wasn’t perfectly invisible? I used acrylic yarn since, well, that’s what I had, and also because it’s easy to wash. I’ll probably have to wash this cover every week or so, but it’s easy to take off—I made ties which you can see near the back of the seat. And


I know I blogged about this on my Writing Diary Blog , but I don’t think I blogged about this here. I read a few writing and productivity books, and I’ve been trying to form better daily habits. The problem is that my self-discipline is very bad. As in, embarrassingly bad. One of my goals has been to form a better writing habit. Since I’m a full-time writer, I already write every day, but I think there are things I can do to tweak my schedule so that I can be able to focus better when I write. I tend to get distracted by the thought of things I need to do that day which I haven’t done yet. I don’t know why my brain is like this, but I haven’t been able to break this tendency. So for example, while I’m writing, I’ll suddenly think about the fact that today’s the day when I need to change the bathroom towels, or mop the kitchen floor, or change the bedsheets. It’ll distract me for a few moments before I tell myself I’ll do it later and I need to focus on writing now. Then a few

Irrational loves

Captain's Log, Stardate 10.09.2007 Today I went to lunch with my friend Dineen, and afterwards, we headed into Borders just to browse. Borders has this section full of cute little notebooks. Small ones, big ones, colored paper ones, you name it. They also have pens and wallets and zippered bags and iPod cases. I must have spent at least thirty minutes just going ga-ga over the stupid little notebooks! What is it with notebooks and me? I can count the number of them that I’ve actually filled on the fingers of one hand. I have them all over the house, most with only a page or two written on, and an entire BOX of new ones in my closet. And I keep coveting more! This thing with notebooks is completely irrational. I cannot understand it, and I cannot stop it. I also cannot seem to fill them with any speed. And considering how much I like to talk, that’s pathetic. I should at least be able to spout nothings enough to fill a few. But when I open it to write inside, a part of my brain sud

Lacy Red Bolero knit pattern

I’ve been trying to get rid of yarn in my stash this year. I came across these two red yarns that look similar but are slightly different. I didn’t have enough of one yarn for a scarf, and while I had enough of the second yarn for a scarf, I have TONS of scarves. So I decided to use both yarns to make a lacy bolero that I can wear over tank tops to make them into T-shirts (it’s still a little chilly here in California, not quite tank top weather). I wrote down the pattern here. I based it off of the Anthropologie-Inspired Capelet pattern by Julia Allen . This is a good pattern to use if you have between 250-300 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn, or between 150-200 yards of a worsted/Aran weight yarn and about 90-100 yards of another yarn to use for the ribbing and edging. I think this might look really good with a contrasting color for the ribbing. The yarns I used were a wool worsted/Aran weight (I’m not sure since I got it when my mom cleaned out a friend’s house for her, b

Earthquake in San Jose

Captain's Log, Supplemental Some of you might have heard about the 5.2 earthquake in San Jose last night. Just to let you know, we’re okay. The house started shaking, and after 17 years in California, I know by now to run for a doorway. The shaking was over in a few seconds. No big deal. Not even a broken plate or glass. A couple CDs fell off my shelf, nothing else. Even before the shaking completely stopped, I’m standing in the doorway to my office like a good Californian, and I see Captain Caffeine walk into the foyer! “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be under a desk!” “Uh ... I was keeping the cabinets from falling.” (Translation: he was holding the cabinets closed so the glasses wouldn’t rain on the kitchen floor, which in hindsight was thoughtful of him, but I’d rather have glass over the floor instead of a ceiling tile falling on his head!) My friend Dineen lives closer to the epicenter, so I called to see how she was. Everything was fine at her house. “In fact,” she s

Lady Wynwood #7 early release Kickstarter

I worked on my first Kickstarter and it got approved! It’s for the Special Edition Hardcover of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer and the release of Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 7: Spinster. I contacted my graphic designer about the Special Edition Hardcover of vol. 1: Archer—it’s going to be SO beautiful! The Kickstarter focuses on the Special Edition Hardcover, but it’ll also include vol. 7: Spinster so that it’ll sort of be like a launch day for vol. 7, too. A third special thing that’ll be in the Kickstarter is Special Edition Paperbacks of all the books in the series. They won’t be available in stores, just in the Kickstarter (and later, from my website, and also in my Patreon book box tiers if I decide to do them). The Kickstarter is not live yet, but you can follow it to be alerted when it has launched. (You may need to create a free Kickstarter account.) Follow Camy’s Kickstarter