Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New site launched!

Please visit my new site at http://lindamorrisbooks.com/. This blog will no longer be updated.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing, huh? Well, I hope so, anyway. I've been tagged for this "The Next Big Thing" interview by one of my crit partners, Alyson Reuben. (And if you like historical women's fiction, be sure to check out her Castles We Build. It's great!) You can find Castles here, and see her responses to these questions here

What is your working title of your book?
I'm working on a few things. One is a New Year's novella that I'm very excited about--What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? It will be coming out with Entangled in December. I can't tell you much more about that one. Entangled likes to cultivate an air of mystery about projects until they're officially available for purchase, so I can't really give too much detail into that or post an excerpt, other than to say it's a funny, sexy story about two strangers who are snowbound together on New Year's Eve. Another thing I'm working on is a full-length novel called By Hook or By Crook that will come out on Wild Rose Press next spring sometime. It's a  fun romantic caper. I'm also working on a Mexican-set vacation fling romance called (for now, anyway) Love to Love You, but that's only in the first-draft stage.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
For By Hook or By Crook, well, I love the old screwball comedies--Howard Hawks movies, Hepburn/Tracy, and (slightly) more recently, Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies. I wanted to incorporate that into my work--zany characters around the fringes, witty banter, but two decent people trying to make love work at the center of the story.
What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A young Anthony Lapalgia would be my choice for Joe, kind of a rumpled, sexy, weather-beaten dark-haired guy.

A non-British Imogen Poots would be ideal for Ivy -- she's definitely a reserved patrician beauty like my heroine.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Heiress Ivy Smithson sets out for Vegas with her father's sexy security consultant, Joe Dunham, in tow to prevent her sister from making a disastrous marriage, but between gangsters, MMA fighters, priceless art treasures, and her out-of-control attraction to Joe, she gets way more than she bargained for.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither. It's published by the Wild Rose Press.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hmmm, probably a few months, but I spent a lot of time on revisions. I'm still learning with every book I write and this one was no exception. I went through two rounds of revisions before showing it to anyone, and then made more changes (some extensive) after each of four beta reads by critique partners.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don't really know if I've read a lot of other stories like it, except maybe Susan Andersen's early books, like Baby, I'm Yours, for example.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'm a fan of Elmore Leonard, author of books such as Rum Punch and Get Shorty. I wondered what on earth a Leonard-influenced romance, complete with comedic criminals, might look like. Now I know! I'm pretty happy with it, and I hope readers will be too.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It's just different from a lot of the books I'm seeing published right now. A lot of humor, a fast-paced active story, and a poor-little-rich-girl heroine who may have money, but who doesn't really have a clue about how to live an independent life.
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged. Be sure to line up your people in advance.
I was tagged by my critique partner Alyson Reuben, who was also one of my readers for By Hook or By Crook, by the way. She offered many valuable comments and (just as important) encouragement. While I'm on the topic of critique partners, I'm going to tag another of my CPs, Angela Quarles. Angela has a book called Beer and Groping in Las Vegas coming out from Secret Cravings Press soon. Check out Angela's responses here. Take it away, Angela!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trials of Marriage: The Horror Movie Edition

'Tis the time of year when scary movies come to mind. Before I met my husband, the number of horror movies I'd seen hovered in the single digits. As a movie buff, I'd seen a lot of movies, but I tried to steer clear of the scarier ones. You see, I'm what's known in the parlance of our times as a "weenie." On one of our first dates, DH and I talked about our mutual love of Hitchcock movies:
DH: I love Psycho!
Me: I've never seen that, but I love To Catch a Thief.
DH: Oh. Well, I've never seen that one, but The Birds is an amazing movie.
Me: Huh. Never seen it. I loved Notorious, though. One of my favorite movies of all time.
DH: Nope, never seen that . . . [conversation stalls] Rear Window?
Me: Yes!!!! I love Rear Window!
Relieved chatter ensued, and somehow we found enough common ground to see each other again, and again, and then to get married. (We've been married for fourteen years, as of Oct. 10th.)  DH loves the scary stuff. I loved many of Hitchcock's crime capers and Gothic romances, but I'd steered clear of his true horror films.
Well, marriage to my husband has changed all that. I've now seen Psycho and The Birds, but I have to confess, I still like the crime capers and Gothic romances better. My husband insisted I just had to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre on an early date, but when he realized I really, really wasn't enjoying it, he made dumb jokes all the way through to take my mind off of it, so it wasn't too bad.
Texas Chainsaw aside, he has introduced me to some great scary movies. We rewatched one of them this weekend. The Changeling (1980) is a fantastic good old-fashioned haunted house story starring George C. Scott as a bereaved widower who moves into an old house, only to quickly discover that the house has a presence that is trying to tell him something. He sets out to find out what it is.
I would post a link to the trailer, but it's horribly cheesy and doesn't give you a good sense of the movie at all. Instead, here's a link to a scary scene from the movie itself. The ball in this scene is normally stored in Scott's work desk. It belonged to his late daughter, who was struck and killed by a truck, along with Scott's wife, at the beginning of the movie:


Such a simple scene, but in the context of the movie, so effective. No gore, little violence, just a great story, a brooding atmosphere, real chills, and wonderful characters. That's the kind of horror movie even a weenie like me can love.
Weenies or not, what are some of your favorite horror films? Tell me in the comments, and add a link to a scene if you like!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Character Interview and Excerpt from CASTLES WE BUILD, by Alyson Reuben

Today I'm excited to have Alyson Reuben as a guest on my blog. Alyson is my friend, critique partner, and a fantastic writer to boot. Her first book, a terrific World War II romance called A Beautiful Cage, was published last year by The Wild Rose Press. Her follow-up, a historical women's fiction novel called Castles We Build, is coming out this week. (Romance readers, never fear. Although it's women's fiction, this story has a strong love story at its core.) It's available now in paperback and will be available for the Kindle  shortly as well:


If you haven't read Alyson's work yet, you're in for a treat! Those who love historical fiction with unusual, well-researched period settings will love her books. Without further ado, let's get right to it, a character interview with Julia, the heroine of Castles We Build. And keep reading after the interview to find an excerpt! The story is set in Roaring 20s Florida:

Hi, Linda. It was so nice of you to invite me to your blog. As you know, Castle We Build is being released this week, and I’m both nervous and excited.

* How does it feel to have a story written about you and your life?

Honestly, I never dreamed anyone would write a story about me. After all, I’m pretty bland. I’m a mother, a wife, a sister, and an average woman who has spent the last few years trying to adjust to being wealthy after a childhood spent in poverty.

* Until this story begins, what was the most remarkable thing you’d ever done?
Hmm. All the important people in my life tell me I’m remarkable, although I can’t imagine why. It isn’t a word I’d use in reference to myself. My greatest achievements are helping to raise my younger sister and giving birth to my two children. Oh, and I can turn five cartwheels without stopping. Does that count?

* Do you think you represent the “roaring twenties” the way most people think of that time period?

If you mean do I dance the Charleston while twirling beads around my neck, the answer is no. That label more aptly fits my stepdaughter, Nan, who is very much the typical flapper. While I adore wearing fashionable clothes and keeping my hair styled in a modern A-line cut, I’m not flashy. I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of woman. Well, until this story, that is!

* At what point did you realize your life was about to change so drastically?

Oh, that’s easy. It was when I received a letter from my first husband, Landon Sloane, who was thought dead, saying he'd been released from an overseas prison camp and wanted to see me.

* That came out of the blue, didn’t it?

Very much so! Still newly wed, I was madly in love with Landon when he went off to fight in the Great War. In the ten years following his “death”, I grieved, remarried, and began a new family, never imagining that he would show up alive.

* In the meantime, you married to Milford Hampton. Tell us about him.

A powerful business tycoon, Ford is the son of a sharecropper, raised poor like me. His strict orders are intimidating, and he can give someone the chills just by staring at them. Most of the time he is busy and detached. Yet, there is a very gentle side of him. Especially, where the children are concerned.

* Tell us about your kids.

Landon and I have a wonderfully gifted son, Brent. He was a toddler when his father went off to fight in the Great War. Through the school year, he goes to a private academy for the gifted. My precious four-year old daughter, Grace, is seven years younger than Brent. As a baby she was diagnosed with a disease that will prevent her from walking and developing correctly. We’ve hired a special nanny nurse for her around-the-clock needs. And I also have a stepdaughter, Nanette – a beautiful girl who hosts parties at all hours of the night, wears her dresses several inches too short and her stockings far too low. That girl can really make my skin itch sometimes. In fact, she… well, now I’m getting ahead of myself.

* So Nan plays a major role in this story?

Definitely. Spoiled, willful, yet undeniably fun, she was a challenge from the very first day we me, before I married her father. Yet, until this story began, I had no idea in what ways my maternal role would be tested.

* Speaking of maternal role, earlier you mentioned raising your sister, didn’t you?

Yes, I helped Dad take care of Maggie after Mom left us when we were kids. Five years apart, we grew up close. Maggie barely remembers our mother, which is why when Mom shows back up again (almost at the same time as Landon), she’s ready to welcome her with open arms, in spite of my warning. She tells me I’m bossy. But, hey, what are older sisters for?

* What do you think is the hardest part of this story?

You mean other than losing one of Ford’s factories in a fire, contending with Landon’s bootlegging boss, dealing with Nan’s wild shenanigans, nearly drowning on a sinking ship, and being scared out of my mind when Brent is kidnapped? It would have to be trying to figure out what my heart is telling me.

* What three words would you use to sum up this story?
Only three? That’s not easy. How about passionate, intricate, and gut-wrenching?

Again, thank you, Linda, for inviting me to be here today.

No problem! It's been a delight. Here's an excerpt from Castles We Build:

Suddenly, the front door swings open.

And there he is. A man whose memory I desperately tried to lay to rest at his memorial site in Westbrook Cemetery.

Landon Sloane.

For a few seconds, I wobble, my peripheral vision closing in. I’m about to pass out….

Suddenly, he grins. And the grin does the same thing to me now that it did nine years ago, saving me from losing consciousness. Saving me, period.

He holds out his arms, and I rush into them, moaning as his mouth claims mine in a kiss that’s like a drowning man clutching a lifesaver. Pulling me inside and reaching behind me to slam the door shut, his hands grip at my clothes and my hair, tangling in them as if hoping to extract the essence of everything I am.

Now he’s kissing my cheeks. My forehead. My chin. The places behind my ears. The hollow of my neck. The skin above my lace collar. My breasts through the voile fabric. My legs as he pushes up the hem of my frock.

And I’m falling backward on a bed that seems to have appeared like magic. Calling his name. Over and over. He answers me with a voice tinted by a slight brogue, as familiar as the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. Yes. Yes, he’s really Landon Sloane. Alive. Very alive. And my name is also on his lips, coming out in hoarse whispers, pressed against my skin, branding me with what’s always been there, never disappearing completely, but only lying dormant — my love for him.

Rising above me, his body comes down over mine in the ancient way that has coupled countless lovers. In the same way that summoned us in the past with pleasure and intoxication. I grip him, pulling him closer, needing him to complete what’s lacking. To satiate me with his heat and energy….

A little girl’s cry floats through the room.

Gracie! Just that suddenly, I push Landon back, forcing his flushed face away from mine. No, I’m not thinking clearly. That wasn’t a girl’s voice. Just a bird outside the open window. One that has a trill similar to a child’s outburst.

For several seconds Landon and I stare at each other, saying nothing. He looks the same. Yet, different in several ways. Slimmer…a little too slim. A leathery tan that makes his eyes brighter, as potent as midnight’s navy sky in a flash of lightning.

I’m lying here half naked. With a husband I thought would never return from the war he left to fight nine years ago. And the question hits me like a rock to the stomach. “Why, Landon? Why didn’t you come home? Where have you been?”

He visibly swallows, his face glistening with perspiration and what might very well be tears. “My ship sank off the coast of South Africa. Most of the men didn’t…. Anyway, me and my lieutenant were rescued by natives. They had bartering friends who traded with them. Local radicals who supported the enemy forces. I think a few of them even had direct ties with Germany.”

His voice has deepened, grown huskier with age. I try to concentrate on his words, needing desperately to understand. To make sense of this unexpected phenomenon: the miracle of his rise from the dead.

“So me and the lieutenant were arrested and held in an encampment. Seventeen straw huts surrounded by a high fence. Guards with guns and long pikes. Shared it with criminals and other detainees. We didn’t even know when the war was over. Guess they liked having free laborers too much to set us free. Or maybe they just liked trapping us like mice in a maze.” His voice is hard now. Gritty. Full of hatred and anger. In a tone I don’t recognize.

“They finally released us last month. Because of some new political uprising, I think. I don’t know exactly who or what…. I only care that I’m free. Back where I can see you. Hold you. And…oh, God, if I can just get all this filth out of my head.” He sits up beside me, gripping the sides of his head.

The hair at his temples is peppered with silver.

It used to be completely dark, the color of coffee with no creamer.

Like Brent’s.

I reach for him, pulling him to me. Prison. For almost a decade. What a nightmare that must’ve been. The hurt is palpable, transferring between us. “It’s over, darling,” I whisper near his ear. “And I’m so glad you’re back, safe and sound. Alive.”

He folds his arms around me so that we’re huddled in a ball. And we stay that way. Unmoving. Quiet. For a very long time.

His heavy breathing steadies to a hoarse snore; the sound of a man who hasn’t had good, clean rest for a long time. He shifts, spreading out his arms in unconscious freedom. And I release him, sitting up gently in order not to wake him.

The bedroom is mostly bare. A utilitarian iron bed. A dresser. A shabby club chair. But nothing else. I stare at the open window where the cage hangs, dangling slightly in the breeze. There are no finches in it. Or any other birds. The door is hanging open, facing the outside.

He won’t cage anything again.

I push my tousled hair from my face, combing both hands through the chin-length strands.

None of this is the way it should be.

It’s all messed up somehow.

Ford’s face enters my mind. Just the way he looked last night, smiling at me from the dinner table.

Oh, God.

I’m married to someone else.

And I have a family.

Two men.

Two husbands.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday, 9/2/12

At last, my News of Awesome can be told: I sold a novella to Entangled! It's the New Year's Eve story I've been excerpting here at Six Sentence Sunday. (Although, for the curious, you can't go back and look for the old posts--Entangled prefers no excerpts be posted until release day, so I took them down.) Tentatively titled, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?, it will come out in December. Entangled is super-hot right now and I can't believe I sold to them. Squeee! I'm so excited!
In the meantime, here's another bit from my Playa del Carmen story, Love to Love You. This is in the heroine's POV as she talks with the hero. She's just told him he shouldn't play dumb about how to handle women -- he's a smart guy with a successful business:

"I'm a smart guy in some ways," he allowed with a nod. "But there are different kinds of smart. Also, there are different kinds of stupid," he said with a rueful laugh. "And I definitely have the kind of stupid that makes women unhappy."
He really believed it. He was good-looking, successful, and smart, and he was certain he didn't have what it took to maintain a real relationship.
For more Six Sentence Sunday, go here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And now it can be told . . . I sold a story to Entangled!

My sooper sekrit news is sekrit no more! I sold a New Year's Eve novella to Entangled. Tentatively titled WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE?, it will publish as an ebook in December. I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday, Aug. 26, Love to Love You

Hello, my loves! Yes, I've got some good news to announce soon, but I'm still waiting on the Ts to be crossed and the lowercase Js to be dotted before I can spill the beans. Let's just say that when I got the happy news, I may have spontaneously begun singing the theme to "The Jeffersons." (Dating myself with that one, I know.) And that just goes to show how excited I was, because I. Never. Sing.
Anyway, here's my six from my WIP, Love to Love You. My hero and heroine are, well, shacked up in a room in Playa Del Carmen after getting to know each other while sightseeing at a Mayan ruin:

"I'd like to spend the rest of our time together with you, in this room, as much as possible. Are you okay with that?"
"What about sightseeing?" she asked, a slow smile curving her lips.
"I've got a number of sights to show you, baby," he said with a suggestive lift of his eyebrows.
"Anything that can compete with Mayan ruins?" she teased. She'd already seen the sights he was talking about, and frankly, they put pre-columbian artifacts to shame.
For more Six Sunday snippets, go here.

Blogger Templates by Wishafriend.com