Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My guest this week is romance author, Linda Morris. Linda has an interesting trip to publishing to share.
Welcome to Vintage Vonnie.

From such tiny seeds . . .

It seems like ages ago, but in reality, it was only a few years back, that I got a germ of a story idea. A woman on the run from a troubled past back in Chicago seeks refuge in the Minnesota wilderness. One night during a violent storm, she happens across a man who has suffered a car accident on her remote property. The accident has left him without his memory. He has no idea who he is or why he's there, but something is amiss. His driver's license shows he's from Chicago. Why would a tough guy from Chicago be on the loose in the Minnesota woods in early spring, near the remote property of a woman who also hails from Chicago? Coincidence? Unlikely. But if it's not a coincidence, why is he there? And is he a Good Guy or a Bad Guy? What kind of guy does the heroine think he is? And more importantly, what kind of guy does he think he is, and what does he want to be? If he's a villain, which at times he seems to be, is it too late for him to change?

That was the genesis of the story that eventually became Forget-Me-Not. Answering those questions about my characters gave me the basis for my story. That woman on the run turned out to be Lara Crosby, a woman who fled a high-powered life in Chicago after her career as a top-notch political fundraiser for a perennially popular Senator took an ugly turn. That man with a head injury turned out to be Jake Sumner, another Chicago refugee who quickly discovers he has his own past problems that haunt him. Together, the two set out to discover who Jacob is, but it isn't long before they're running for their lives and fighting their mutual attraction, which has a habit of rearing its head at very inconvenient times!

It took me several months to finish the manuscript, and then I sent it off. While I was waiting to hear back from various publishers (I sold it to the third publisher I submitted it to), I started another piece. Wanting to switch gears to historical mode, I tried a western. I found writing in another time period intimidating, so I only had the gumption to write a novella, not a full length novel! It was a great confidence-builder, though, and left me convinced that I can take on another historical setting in the future.

This period (1882 Montana) was so much fun to research. I really found myself living (in my head, at least) in Augusta Springer's body. She's a prototypical Spunky Heroine from a Montana cattle ranch who has been sent back East for an education, mostly to get her out of her father's way after her mother's death. But she takes to her new life gladly and is upset when her father calls her home after years in Boston.

She's even more distressed when she finds out why she's been called back. Now that her only sibling has died, her father wants her to marry to guarantee the ranch's succession, and he has just the man in mind: Joshua Bradley, a friend of her late brother's whom she once had a schoolgirl crush on. Augusta doesn't think she needs or wants to marry. She has a future all planned out for herself in Boston as a social reformer, and it doesn't involve a man, certainly not an uncouth Montana rancher. But Joshua Bradley turns out to be a little more complicated than she remembers from childhood. As she struggles to resist the plans he and her father have made for her, he offers all the temptation she can handle, and then some!

I sent off Montana Belle too, just about the time I sold Forget-Me-Not. Montana Belle took a very winding road to publication, with many rewrites requested by the editor, but at last it made it! I was about to tear my hair out thinking I would never get it revised to my editor's satisfaction, when my husband (also a writer and editor) read it and offered invaluable feedback. After I made his suggested changes, my editor bought it! (He's now required to read all of my stories before I submit them! He's a good husband, though. He doesn't complain about having to read all my romances.) And in a strange quirk of timing, it was released three months before Forget-Me-Not, which I actually wrote and sold quite a bit earlier.

For those of you who are published, share your ride to publication. For those of you who read all the delightful romances we write, what do you imagine a writer's life to be like?


Rachel Lynne said...

Hi Linda! What an interesting tale :) I wish I had a husband who'd read my work--for any reason! Both of your stories are tugging at me; I have got to get glasses ... my 40 year old eyes are not cooperating with my 20 year old desire to read all day long. I used to read 2 sometimes 3 books a day now one book kicks my behind and I've got a headache the next day :( Boo, Hiss on getting old! I will pick these up though; just takes me a ton of time to finish them :)

Sarah Grimm said...

Linda- What a story! I have my own weird ride to publication, but it's too long to bore you with here. LOL

Your books both sound wonderful. I wish lots and lots of sales for you. :)

Donna L Bolk said...

My road to publication took a detour when I signed with a publisher who shall remain nameless (as I will grant them no PR). My second and current publisher TWRP restored my faith. As a writer, I've discovered for a story to come together it takes team work, writer, editor, cover artist and publisher to name a few.

Vonnie Davis said...

Linda...Thanks for posting here today. I wish you much success. My road to publication was swift and wild. My agent started "shopping" my book out on a Monday. By Friday I had a contract offer from a small press. I was hoping to hear something from TWRP and expressed so to my agent, who then emailed TWRP and all the other publishers she'd emailed query and first 3 chapters to, telling them I had a contract offer already and if they were interested, she'd hold off my signing for 2 weeks. TWRP offered within a week, and I was thrilled. My next book will probably take 8 months to garner a contract. Who knows how publishers think and react?

Leah St. James said...

Hi, Linda - I love both your story ideas! As you described "Forget Me Not," I couldn't help but think of one of the episodes of "The Sopranos" where Tony and one of his henchmen "whacked" one of their enemies and dumped the body in the NJ Pine Barrens. (Being from NJ, I naturally think of people being "whacked" when I think about "the woods.") :-)

Wishing you lots of luck with both!