Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Closer Than Brothers - Chapter Two


It's NOT a romance. It's not very funny, there just wasn't much comedy to be mined for me in Andersonville Prison.
It's not even a real story
Part #2 of 13 episodes of how my heroes from Trouble in Texas met and how they became so loyal to each other.
Book #3 Stuck Together --Vince's story--releases in June 3.
Closer Than Brothers

Chapter Two
Click to Buy
Vince—The Invincible

"They didn't even swing a fist, the cowards." Luke sounded disappointed. "Twenty against five and they just turned tail and ran."

            "Save your energy, Kid." Vince said. "You'll need it in this place."

            "I've been doing a man's work since I could sit a horse, which was about the same time I could walk, so I ain't no kid."

            "I think of myself as a father figure to you," Vince smiled. Since it was pitch dark he didn’t figure Luke would care overly. Vince was standing, keeping watch. His father had taught him at a very young age not to let anyone sneak up on him. There was an ugly price to pay.

            "You're five years older than me at best, that'd make the strangest father who ever lived. You were probably still running around in diapers in Chicago when I was roping and branding cattle. They grow up fast in Texas."

            "I grew up mighty young. Trust me." Vince didn't bother telling more, but he didn't call Luke Kid again either. He'd save it for another time. "I'll stand the first watch. You all get some sleep."

            Big John rolled to his side and was snoring within minutes. A man who knew how to rest when he got a chance.

They'd gone as a group and gotten their meager possessions. Most of them had little more than a ragged blanket. They'd found a spot together and would team up to protect each other from now until they got out of this place either by the war ending or death.

            Vince felt his empty belly growl and still didn't have much doubt that he'd be taken out of this place feet first. But he was used to the idea.

            Luke was asleep next. Two Texans. They seemed to have a way of using exactly the amount of energy they needed and saving up all the rest. Wise men. They'd probably survive in here if one of the dozens of deadly diseases didn't get them.

            Dare was up, fidgeting, pacing. The man could not be still. Vince and Dare's eyes met. Jonas was quieter about it, but he didn't look ready to settle down either. They all stepped away from those snoring Texans so their wakefulness wouldn't rob their friends of sleep.

            "Why don't you two sleep?" Vince could stand for them to leave him alone, honestly. Having friends was a new experience. It took some getting used to.

            Dare shook his head. "I don't think I've ever slept much more than four hours at a stretch in my life. You two go ahead. My ma said I was the worst sleeping baby she'd ever heard tell of. I was a torment from the cradle."

            Jonas gave a dry laugh. "I'll rest in a minute. Trouble like tonight always leaves me stirred up. I need to spend some time in prayer."

            "Because you feel guilty for being trapped into a fight?" Dare asked.

            "Because I love it.” Jonas’s eye flashed blue in the moonlight and Vince was surprised by a sudden urge to step back. “I feel guilty for standing here hungry for the missed chance to hurt somebody."

            Vince gave Dare a startled look then turned back to Jonas. "Seems kind of bloodthirsty for a parson."

            "Yep, it sure enough is. And it's way too close to the surface. I am a man of peace. A man of prayer and forgiveness. I preach love. And that doesn’t stop me from wanting to grab a gun and fill every one of those worthless scum full of lead."

            Vince flinched at the venom in Jonas's voice.

            "I'm more than sure the Lord is real disappointed in me right now."

            Vince wasn't real sure how to respond to such a statement. In fact he should probably just shut up, but what he should do was often enough not what he did. "So is that hard to preach around come Sunday morning?"

            Shaking his head, staring at the ground, Jonas said, "You have no idea how hard." He looked up, rubbing the back of his neck, and said, "I rode the outlaw trail for a few years, before I bought into this war."

            Vince felt his brow arch. "You? Parson Jonas an outlaw?"

            "Yep, and I liked it. I had a powerful need to hurt my stepfather when I was too small to do it, so I found a way to hurt other people by teaming up with some wanted men and holding their horses while they robbed banks and the like. I was eager for trouble and I was good at finding it."

            "Your stepfather? Tina's father?" Dare asked.

            "Who's Tina?" Vince asked.

            Jonas looked up sharply. "She's my baby sister and she writes letters to me all the time. Dare's listened to me read a few of them. Tina thinks we share the same father, but my ma was married twice. Her pa—my stepfather—died before she was old enough to know him, thank the Good Lord."

            Looking around, Jonas said, "I need to step away from the bunch of you. Do some praying to settle myself down and remember why God's way is better than mine."

            "Don't go far," Dare said quietly.

            "Not out of hollering distance," Vince added.

            Jonas smiled and walked a dozen steps away, between men, lying side by side on the miserable ground. Not all of them slept, some moaned, too sick or hungry to sleep or be quiet. Their moaning was a mournful song that hung like a dirge over the entire camp.

            The night hours were getting on and, if Vince didn't get some sleep soon, he'd need to get through the whole day tomorrow on precious little strength and with a whole stack of new enemies. Four hours sleep wasn't enough, but for one day he could get by. He'd learned he could live through most anything in this place if he just survived one day at a time.

            Vince watched Jonas find a spot and crouch, then sit with his head bowed low. Probably too tired and hungry for kneeling.

            That left Vince with the shaggy-haired, twitching man who'd bought in right after the Kid. Vince found himself liking Dare Riker for no reason he could explain. Vince liked to be still and watch. Dare never stopped moving. Vince considered himself smooth and polished. In here that was laughable considering he wore rags and hadn't bathed, shaved or had a haircut in six months. But he'd been masquerading as a Southern gentleman when he'd been caught, so he had a decent if battered suit of clothes on and Dare looked like he had on rags when he'd been brought in the place.

            "How long have you been in here?" Vince asked.

            "It feels like it's since the first mosquito hatched. Probably two months now is all. Finding out about your trouble tonight is the first thing that's been good since I was caught."

            "Tonight was good?" Vince shook his head. "You made a lot of bad enemies tonight. From now on you're going need to be on guard every minute or you're going to find yourself with a knife shoved between your ribs."

            Dare waved off Vince's worries. "If trouble's gonna find me it'll find me. I hate sitting around in here and watching those Raiders hurt good men. I've never been at the right place at the right time to stop them, but I've never tried to be at the right place either. I've called myself a coward for it plenty of times. Tonight I got to stand up on my hind legs like a man for the first time in a long time. It felt good and if it brings danger my way, so be it. Get some sleep if you think you can trust me to stand guard. I don't blame you if you don't. A man's gotta earn trust. And it isn't always easy for a man as edgy as you to give it. I won't sleep for a while whether you're up or not, but maybe you can. You look like you're tuckered."

            "I expect I could sleep. I'm about as tired as a starving man can be."

            Silence stretched between them. Two starving men. Strong beneath the strain of hunger and filth or they'd have succumbed to the sickness that ran through the camp.

            No amount of strength could hold out forever in here. But so far, yes, they'd been strong enough to endure it.

            "I think I'll try and sleep, Dare. Thanks. I suspect our trouble's just beginning." Vince headed for his blanket.

            Dare said quietly, "Our trouble started when we got thrown in here. Tonight, maybe we took the first step to fighting against some of it."

            Vince let the dirge of men’s suffering that hung over Andersonville sing him to sleep. For six months he’d been sinking down, more certain everyday he was going to die in this purgatory.

Tonight, for the first time in a long time, he felt a spark of hope.

 ~~~~~
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Closer Than Brothers - Chapter One


It's NOT a romance. It's not very funny, there just wasn't much comedy to be mined for me in Andersonville Prison.
It's not even a real story
Part #1 of 13 episodes of how my heroes from Trouble in Texas met and how they became so loyal to each other.
Book #3 Stuck Together --Vince's story--releases in June 3.
Closer Than Brothers

 

Click to Buy
Chapter One

Vince—The Invincible

Burning hot. No way out. Surrounded by real bad people.

            A description of hell if Vince had ever heard of one.

            And it described Andersonville Prison pretty well.

            Vince Yates heard a soft footstep and he braced himself. He’d known this was coming from the minute he pulled those filthy Raiders off that kid.

            The kid had been greeted just like every newcomer to Andersonville, with violence. Vince knew better, but he couldn’t let that kid get beaten by a fellow Yankee.

            One of those thieves had picked himself up and backed away from Vince’s fury with a parting threat. “A man who don’t mind his own business, don’t survive.”

            “Lots of ways to die in this pit,” Vince had told the low down coyote. “Might as well die with some honor instead of live with a yellow streak down my back—like you.” Vince knew he signed his own death warrant but he couldn’t leave the kid to his fate.

            There’d been three Raiders and, with the kid's help, two against three, they drove them off. But those Raiders had friends, dozens, maybe hundreds.

            They were coming back in a pack like wolves.

            Vince was weak already. Starved down to skin and bones after six months in here.

            The footsteps came closer. Vince prayed the most heartfelt prayer of his life, and it wasn’t for help. He figured none was coming. And the prayer wasn’t to win this fight. With the exception of a few Bible stories—David and some stones—Samson and the jawbone of an ass—most of the time, when one man stood alone, that man lost.

            Nope, he just prayed that he’d meet his Savior. He wasn't even all that sorry to go. It was time to be getting out of this place and that was about the only doorway Vince could see. He put all his hope in the next life.

This one was over.

            “Yates?” A Texas twang, laced with gravel. Vince knew that voice. The Kid.

            Not a lot of Texans penned up in here. Texans fought for the Rebs.

            “I’m here.” Speaking barely above a whisper, Vince stepped out of the shadows.

            “I don’t reckon I’ll let you protect me and not return the favor. You can use someone at your back tonight.” A kid at least five years younger than Vince. He’d done well against those three men but he was losing when Vince stepped in.

            “I stepped into your trouble, and I was a fool to do it. Be smarter than me, Kid. Get out of here.”

            A dry laugh with no humor in it answered, “Won’t be the first time someone accused me of being a fool. I’ll buy in.” The boy was close enough in the starless night that Vince finally saw the black shape of him.

            “No sense both of us getting whipped, Kid.”

            “No sense.” The kid came closer. “I’ve heard my pa say I got none, so I’ll stay. Name’s Luke Stone, from Texas.”

“Texas went with the Confederacy, Kid. Didn’t anyone tell you which side to fight on?”

Luke shrugged, barely visible in the dark. “My best friend as a kid was a Negro and he and his family were fine folks who lived free. I can’t see fighting for the side that’d make 'em slaves.”

Vince needed to get this youngster out of here. Two against two dozen lost the fight. "They're just looking for me, Kid. This isn't your fight, you already took your beating."

 They'd stolen all the kid had before Vince got there so chances were they'd leave him alone. No sense the kid getting hurt again.

“I seen you fight, Yates. They’ll have to send a passel of Raiders to beat the two of us.” Stone stood with a kind of alert tension that made Vince think of a gunslinger. The kid, even if he was young, was a man when it came to facing trouble.

            “Make it three.” Another voice sounded from Vince’s right.

            “Who’s there?” Vince wheeled to face the newcomer. He saw shaggy hair so dirty Vince was just guessing when he decided the man was blond. This man as a complete stranger.

            The prison wall was nineteen feet away on Vince’s left. Right behind him was a small white fence they called the Dead Line.

            That space between the Dead Line and the outer fence was No Man’s Land. The Confederate Guards on the prison walls had instructions to shoot anyone who stepped in that space and they seemed to take a sadistic pleasure in doing it. Just as the camp commander, Wirz, took an evil pleasure in ordering it done.

            Wirtz was the man in charge of hell—to Vince’s mind that made Wirz the devil himself. But maybe this was just purgatory because Vince hoped and prayed he’d get out of here someday and everyone knew that hell had no end.

            Except Vince figured he was going to die tonight, so he needed his soul to be right with the Lord and these men were giving him no time to pray, well, he had to hope he was already in good order with the Lord, but still, he'd like one last moment to set things right.

            “I saw it too.” The shaggy man seemed to vibrate with energy, and Vince thought the stranger might go to pacing if he had room. “I did some checking around, Yates. Twenty varmints are gathering right now to come at you. I’ll stand with you.”

            “Three against twenty.” Vince grunted. “Get out of here both of you.”

            “You sound like a man not afraid to die.” A fourth voice sounded and Vince knew this one. He was a red-headed man who’d formed a church of sorts in the belly of hell.

            Jonas Cahill.

            “I’m not afraid," Vince said, wanting them all gone. "In fact, after six months in this prison, it’s sounding like a good idea.”

            “You’re not going to die tonight.” A fifth voice. Deep and strong. Another stranger. When this man stepped close enough to see, Vince had his first real surge of hope. Big John they called him. Another Texan. Six foot six and two hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle. Big John hadn’t been in here long and he wasn’t so hungry he’d lost every extra pound and most of his strength. Vince had seen the Raiders slink back when Big John had come in. Not even in a group had they attacked him.

            “Five against twenty," Big John said with a deep laugh. No he hadn't been in long. He still knew how to laugh. "They don’t stand a chance. Not when I’m one of the five.”

            Vince laughed in response to Big John’s boast, and the sound of it was so unusual coming from him he almost didn’t recognize what it was.

            “We form a half-circle with our backs to the fence.” The Kid trying to take charge. Vince wanted to give the orders but his throat tightened. Like he might cry. A horrifying thought.

            “Everybody facing out,” the shaggy blond said, another one who thought he oughta give orders. “Name’s Dare Riker. Those traitors took the little I had when I came in here and beat me so bad I was more asleep than awake for two days. Jonas here was kneeling beside me praying when I came around. I’d like a chance to make them pay, but a man alone has no way to do that. I’d be mighty pleased to team up with you.”

“I didn’t help so you could see who you could hurt, Dare.” But for all his kindness, Vince had seen toughness in the parson. And a willingness to face evil with force as well as prayers. Jonas had the voice of a powerful, serene angel.

Vince had done some Bible reading in his day. Angels weren’t to be tangled with if it could be avoided and Jonas was such a man. Jonas turned his back to the Dead Line, facing out, watching for trouble with this fists clenched.

There were a lot of bands of men in here who backed each other in trouble. It looked like Vince had one of his own.

 “John Conroy.” The big man turned and stuck out a fist half the size of Vince’s head.

Vince shook and the strength of John’s grip put heart into Vince.

“I was a lawman in Texas, and I headed north to fight same as the kid here.”

“Luke Stone, and I ain’t no kid so stop callin' me that.”

“Once we get the south calmed down and the Union preserved,” Big John ignored the boy and went on talking. “I’m going back to Texas where I reckon I’ll be thought a traitor by most everyone. I don’t see myself ever living a quiet life, so I might as well get started facing trouble right now. It'll get me ready to go home and face more trouble in Texas when the time comes.”

The circle of men shook hands all around until another footstep broke off the introductions. This time it wasn’t friendly.

 ~~~~~
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fellow Nebraska Author Janet Nitsick

Bride by Arrangement
Janet featured me on her blog so it's my turn!
Janet Syas Nitsick is the author of best of year book, Seasons of the Soul; five-star, inspiring-historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns; and newly-released anthology, Bride by Arrangement, which ranks in the top 100 in the Western Romance division. The anthology includes two novellas - one written by Ruth Ann Nordin, The Purchased Bride, and the other by Janet Syas Nitsick, She Came by Train.

Janet’s short story, “The Silver Lining,” placed 10th in the 79th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in the mainstream/literary short story category in 2010. Read it on the Nook or Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/42833.

Janet is the daughter of late Nebraska State Sen. George Syas who served 26 years in the Unicameral, became dean of the legislature and won such awards as the Omaha Public Schools School Bell Award and has a wildlife area named after him -The George Syas Wildlife Management Area in Genoa, Neb. Janet is a former journalist and language arts teacher. She writes non-fiction and fiction, consisting of literary and general short stories and historical romance.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JanNitsick
Web site:  www.JanetSyasNitsick.com
Blog:  http://janetsyasnitsick.wordpress.com/

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah Meets Rafe Kincaid by way of Mary Connealy

If you haven't read my Kincaid Brides Series you might be interested to know there is a GREAT FLOOD angle.
I'm pretty sure the movie Noah was inspired by my book.
(just work with me here, People!)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

BIG DAY ON SEEKERVILLE-CHECK IT OUT!



Saturday, March 29th is a big day in Seekerville with BIG BLOG NEWS, and an overflow of Industry news. Find out who our special guest is on April 1 and 2. No fooling! www.seekerville.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Four Weddings and a Kiss-Review and Giveaway

 
 
YOU MUST CLICK ON THE ABOVE LINK AND LEAVE A COMMENT THERE
or
EMAIL USING AN ADDRESS THERE
LEAVING A COMMENT HERE ON MY BLOG DOES NOT GET YOU IN THE DRAWING, THOUGH I'D BE HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU.
or
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nice Review for A Match Made in Texas

A Match Made in Texas
My book in this novella collection is Meeting Her Match. 
All About Books reviews all four stories.

A farcical, sweet story about two people aided on the path to true love, Meeting Her Match combines Mary Connealy’s trademark zaniness with two endearing, likable characters...a terrific little romance


OALL ABOUT BOOKS

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Calf-Birth!

Every  year at this time I talk about calving time. It's begun. This is baby #3. I post pictures mainly on Facebook. If you want to follow me there go to http://www.facebook.com/maryconnealy and come along for the ride. :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Valentine's Day Giveaway - Begins February 1st

I'm so excited to announce a very special Valentine's Day giveaway.

I've joined with eleven best-selling author friends to bring our readers this great giveaway. In addition to a brand new Kindle Fire HDX, the winner will receive new or upcoming books as follows:

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander
Butterfly Palace by Colleen Coble
Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter
Hallowed Halls by Hannah Alexander
It Had To Be You by Susan May Warren
A Match Made in Texas by Mary Connealy
Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck
A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher
Shadowed by Grace by Cara C. Putman
Silver Bells by Deborah Raney
Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt
Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate

* The giveaway runs from February 1st through February 13th. A winner's name will be drawn on and announced on Valentine's Day.
* This giveaway is open to entrants with USA mailing addresses.
* Entrants must be 18 years old and over. No purchase is required.
* The winner will receive a Kindle Fire HDX and 12 novels.
* Not all novels included in the prize package will be available at the time the winner is announced. Books will be sent to the winner as they become available. The prize is valued at over $400.
* Entrants must complete ALL 12 MANDATORY entry options (the first 12 listed on the Rafflecopter form) to be eligible to win. Before the prize is awarded, completion of all 12 mandatory entry options will be confirmed.
* Entrants can earn extra entries by completing any or all of the remaining twelve options.
* Every attempt will be made to announce the winner within 48 hours of the end of the giveaway.
* The winner of the Kindle Fire HDX and novels will be given 48 hours to reply to the email they are sent. If they do not respond to the announcement email within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BIG VALENTINES DAY GIVEAWAY-COMING SOON

BOOKS AND A KINDLE FIRE HDX--DETAILS ON HOW TO ENTER COMING SOON

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Mary Nealy (my scary alter ego) is on SALE!

TEN PLAGUES
ON SALE FOR $0.99 right now
Amazon
A demon possessed serial killer acts out the Ten Plagues of Egypt on the city of Chicago focusing his murderous rage on former cop turned inner city mission pastor Paul and lady detective Keren.
They are in a race against time to stop the killer who is saving the last two plagues, the plague of darkness and the plague of the firstborn, just for them.

Some Reviews for my single foray into Romantic Thrillers
5 Stars I'm serious...If you watch Criminal Minds, you'll love this book! It is a fast paced, well written thriller. The first chapter starts you on an psychological adventure of suspense & spiritual warefare
5 Stars Awesome Suspense and Romance Story--It is a fast paced, keep you guessing thriller that really has you on the edge of your seat to the end. This book grabbed my attention right away and kept it until the end.
5 Stars What an incredible book. Mary's westerns are so full of humor that I was really impressed at how different this book is from her others and yet so intriguing and a great story.
5 Stars This book was awesome. Days later and I still can't get it out of my head. This is a perfect Christian suspense for those of us who enjoy the thrillers without the steam or the gore.
5 Stars Riveting, Don't Look Away Suspense
5 Stars I didn't want to lay it down.

Every one of the few reviews I got is a 5 star except one and that 3 star review says this: An intense journey that brings suspense, detective, romance and a bit of scifi together in this creative read. I found myself immersed into the plot and as it reached the climax I was glued to the book wondering what would happen. Fans of detective novels will surely enjoy this read. Character development, dialogue and scenery worked and I was challenged in my faith. I would recommend this novel to others...

Not a single negative word! So, okay, I'll take the 3 Stars.    :)