Behind the Book: Under His Spell

Under His Spell was my first dip into the paranormal genre and what better way to start.

I was in what I called my crazy mode. Book ideas flowing through my imagination were all woo-woo, ghosts, things that go bump in the night, oh my!

I wrote up the three ideas and sent them to my agent at the time. Her response? “You’re killing me!” This was the late 80s and paranormal wasn’t as strong as it is now. Luckily, my editor loved the ideas and said one especially was perfect for Harlequin American Romance’s Calendar of Romance.

First was a psychic dreaming of a murder, but she dreamed of the murder in reverse allowing her not to see the killer until near the end of the book. That was A Man for Maggie, retitled In Her Dreams, which is out now.

Another I felt was a fun book about a woman waking up after celebrating her 30th birthday to find her parents returned from the dead and staying until she found the right man. That was Free Spirits, which is out now.

Then there was a book about Caroline and Ryan, two young siblings in Salem, MA, who want a dad for Holly, their mom, so she’ll be happy again. And Ryan’s fervent wish for a puppy. Their wish is so strong they pay $3 to their mom’s best friend’s con artist son to cast a spell in a meadow at midnight during the Summer Solstice. Little do they expect to see a man in black walk out of the fog! Or for that man to be so intrigued when he hears their request that he follows up to find their mom, a descendant of one of the convicted witches of Olde Salem, just might be the perfect woman for him.

There’s a lot of gossip in Salem. Who is Jack, the man in black who the townsfolk love to gossip about? What does he do for a living and what about the mysterious woman living with him who he says is his sister? A woman whose arrogant cat’s fur is the same color as her hair and always wears a collar the same color as her clothing. Few have seen the two at the same time.

There’s Holly, a divorced mom dealing with a deadbeat ex, two kids she loves with all her heart, a job she loves but an overbearing boss who makes her life miserable, a best friend who wishes she could see Jack’s aura, but for some reason he doesn’t have one.
There’s Jack, who bought the haunted house on the outskirts of town, a popular horror author in Europe who’s looking to break into the US market.

And there’s love and magic. Kids doing what it takes to see their mom happy again.
Even casting a spell in a foggy meadow at midnight.

I wanted to write a book that had all the above and more. I’m so happy I accomplished it.

I hope you enjoy Under His Spell and will look for The Countess and the Cowboy, Jack’s sister’s story, that will be released on April 21st.

Under His Spell by Linda Wisdom

A Writer’s Journey


A Writer’s Journey

All through school my teachers encouraged my fiction writing. My journalism teachers in high school critiqued my work and cheered me on. I wasn’t as lucky in college because my journalism advisor told me I would never have a future in fiction writing and I should go into newspaper writing. Stubborn me wasn’t going to let her words follow me. I continued writing short stories and journals for myself because I couldn’t stop.
There were some detours along the way. I changed college majors because my advisor wasn’t going to give me any feedback on my fiction work. I got married and lived out of state when my husband was stationed on the East Coast. I still wrote for myself and learned that my uncle’s stepdaughter, who shall not be named and deserves the ultimate punishment, found all my notebooks, took them and then claimed she ‘accidentally’ threw them away. A lot of punishments still roll through my head when I think about that. Do I hold grudges? Maybe. Just a little. Okay, a lot.
I was always a reader, namely gothic romances and mysteries. Then one day I was cruising the library. Oh yes, back in the Dark Ages we went to libraries for reading material or bought our books at bookstores. Shelves quickly filled up and any we didn’t want to keep went to used bookstores so we could turn them in and discover new authors and genres. I was in the mood for something new to me and I discovered Harlequin Romances and Harlequin Presents. Romance books back in the late 1970s weren’t as plentiful as they are now. I took a few, read them during my lunch breaks and after work and went back for more. At the time there were only two US authors writing for Harlequin and I didn’t know why there couldn’t be more. Plus, like others, I kept muttering “I could do this”. My husband, only patient for so long said “shut up and do it”.
It’s early spring 1979 and I’m trying to figure out where to begin. Then my BFF and I took a ballet class. I thought, why not use that? A ballerina who falls in love, discovers her alpha husband is a little too alpha for her and she takes off unaware she’s pregnant with his child. Then you fast forward to her living a new life with her young son and naturally, Mr. Alpha comes back into her life and discovers he’s a daddy. What can I say? That was popular back then. I rewrote the first five chapters several times until I was happy with it and once I was finished I was afraid to submit it. It turned out to be easier to just sit down and write a second book. I wrote during my lunch hours, after work and on weekends. No computers then. I typed on a little Corona electric typewriter and pages I typed at work during my breaks were done on an IBM Executive typewriter which was proportional spacing. Not fun when correcting errors!
Except then I had two books finished. Time to put up or shut up. There were advertisements that a brand new romance line from Simon & Schuster called Silhouette Romance was looking for North American authors who were previously unpublished. I qualified and the two books were submitted in early November, 1979.
Any author will tell you once a book is submitted you want to not think about waiting to hear if it’s a yay or nay. Easy to say, not easy to do.
Then it was my wedding anniversary, December 17, 1979. I took a client to lunch that day and funny thing, we discussed my writing. He knew about it and asked how it was going and I told him I got the nerve to submit the two manuscripts. I returned to my office and within a few minutes I got THE CALL. Silhouette loved the books and wanted to buy them. Yes, I squealed and screamed and amazing building security didn’t show up since the offices were next to a bank.
Did I want to use a pseudonym? No way! Did I have more ideas. Oh yes!
A month later I was fired from my job because of the books. My husband and I talked it over. Did I give full time writing a try or would I look for another job and write part time. We decided I’d try full time.
So that was the beginning of a journey that’s still going on 35 years later. Naturally, my writing began in the womb. I was a very precocious baby.
The nice thing is I received the rights back to my early books and was able to put them up as ebooks. It’s nice to know they’re still out there.

Behind The Book — This Old House

“Remember when we drove out to that pond?” Dev brushed back a tendril of hair from her face. “It was so hot I took off my shirt and asked you to take yours off.”
“And I told you big girls don’t do that.” Her lips barely moved; she was lost in an old memory.
“But you eventually took it off,” he whispered, moving in so close a breath of air couldn’t have drifted between them.
“You were the one who took it off.” Megan could feel the heat of his body sear her and she feared her own body’s response. ”Dev,” she said in a faint voice. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
He didn’t stop pursuing her. “Why not?”
“Because we’re divorced –“ ”
“We may be divorced, Meggie –“ he pressed closer until she could feel his arousal, “— but we’re not dead.”
When I first talked to my editor about this idea I was talking about two exes who wouldn’t have had anything to do with each other if it wasn’t for the love of a house. Could they work together without trying to drop a hammer or worse on each other?

I wanted a book about a beautiful house that needed love inside, but it also held a big secret that Megan discovered and became determined to follow through no matter the cost to herself and others.
Writing about battling exes can be a challenge. You don’t want them overdone or going too far, so it can be a fine balance. Plus my sense of humor always pops in to lighten the mood. It’s a romance that blends the past and the present. Former lovers who know about each other, are first combative then rediscover their love is still there. Giving them a shared project throws them together and even if in the beginning they’re not happy about it, they realize the passion is still there.
Plus what can I say? Devlin is HOT! Seriously, would you kick this guy to the curb? Plus he knows how to work around a house! Nothing like a man handy with tools. :}
I hope you’ll read Megan and Dev’s book, so you can discover just what secret the beautiful old house holds.

Behind the Book — In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams was my first paranormal romance and in some ways sent me in that direction. It came about from a variety of things going on.
The Monterey locale was due to a trip to Monterey. We spent a lot of time exploring the area and an area I loved was Cannery Row with the variety of shops and friendly people. My husband and I both love aquariums, so we spent a lot of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
What crept into my imagination was a funky shop featuring plush animals dressed to reflect their personalities. That came about from my own plush animal collection. I had an owl dressed in spectacles, a tweed vest and looking very much like a stuffy professor. I also had a wolf wearing knickers and suspenders that could have made an interesting young thief in old London. So I gave Maggie a shop with custom made plush animals. But what also rounds her out is her psychic ability. One she didn’t like to think about.
The only problem is it’s returned with dreams where she dreams of a murder victim. But instead of seeing the murder happening, her dreams take her backwards from after death to seeing bits and pieces of the murder scene and her fear that the night will come when she ‘sees’ the killer even though she has no idea exactly where the event took place. No wonder she’s frustrated having an ability that doesn’t do what she wants it to do.
Naturally Maggie needs the right man. Don’t we all! Dr. Ethan Baxter is renting Maggie’s guest house, meeting the wacky senior citizens that make up Maggie’s life and he just might have a connection to the murder.
Monterey seemed like the perfect setting for the book. Characters who make a story special and even bits of our trip interwoven into the story. The cypress tree pendant Maggie wears is identical to the one my husband bought me there and I still wear it.
In Her Dreams is also a very nice way to remember that trip. It was originally published by Harlequin American Romance as A Man for Maggie, but I felt the book needed a more appropriate title. This is another one of my favorite books and I hope you’ll see it that way too.
Right now it’s available through Amazon and Smashwords and for the Nook later on. Enjoy!

Behind the Book — A Man With Doubts

“I got one!”

“Great kid, don’t get cocky.”

Who can forget those words from Star Wars when Luke announced he brought down a fighter and Han reminded him it’s not always good to think you’re great.

Words I learned to live by.

I was one of the lucky ones. I sold my first and second books right away. There weren’t mountains of manuscripts gathering dust in a closet and I felt pretty damn good. Then several months later, I sold my third book.

Wow! I was on a roll. The girl felt invincible. She saw her words as pure gold and writing was proving to be a lot easier than she expected. She had sold three books in about six months. Where else to go but further up.

All she had to do was type up a 200 plus page manuscript, send it off, and she got a contract in return.

Piece of cake, right?

On to book four. The idea was fun and what could be considered typical category romance fare at the time. A soap opera actress who played the evil cunning woman now killed off from her show, lost her money, and she’s in need of work. Trouble is, men think she’s an easy mark and women are convinced she’s the character she played on TV.

It was a fun book to write, words flowed, and I sent the manuscript off.

Then the call came from my editor. “I liked the book, but I really feel the last part needs work.” Her idea of work meant rewriting the second half of the book. We discussed what she wanted to see and I sat down at my typewriter – yes, typewriter. An IBM Correcting Selectric that I purchased with part of my first advance.

After I rewrote the 100 odd pages, I sent the revised manuscript off and then worked on another book while waiting. Any writer worth his/her salt will tell you not to wait around waiting for word. You get to work on something else.

Then my editor called me. “You know, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think the book worked better the original way. You need to put the other version back in.”

One good thing I did was keep those pages. Otherwise, I would have slit my wrists. She did ask for some minor revisions. I did them and sent the book off once again.

Now, each time meant a trip to a copy shop to have copies of the manuscript made. And each time I had nightmares of the copy shop burning down with my manuscript still there!

After a few months, I learned my editor had had surgery and was recovering at home, but she was working there. I talked to her, mentioned the book, and she said “I never got it.”

Insert scream here.

I sent her another copy – that copy shop was making good money off me! :} I also said if there were any more problems with the book to not say a word. By then, it would have been easy to kill off the main characters.

A couple months later, I got another call. “Linda, I love the book! In fact, no more revisions if we release it as a traditional romance, but we’d love to bring it out in our new line starting up next year. It’s called Special Edition.”

Naturally, I said yes. And my editor said “Great! All we need is 10,000 more words” and she hung up.

I screamed.

Since we’re still talking a typing job there were page numbers such as 59ZZ and so on. Luckily, no revisions and the book would be released the following June.

Christmas, 1981. My editor called, irritated with the Production Dept. That they were wrong. What were they thinking of. It went like this.

“We’ve got a problem with A Man With Doubts.”

“What problem?”

“We need ten more pages. I can’t believe they didn’t see this before!”

“Leslie, it’s Christmas. Parties, my anniversary.”

“And I need it early next week.”

Remember what I said? Typewriter and Internet hadn’t been invented.

“What am I supposed to do with them unless I send them out of town?” By now, I was wailing.

And that’s what I did. I actually ended up writing a full chapter, about 25 pages, and getting it to NYC in time.

When I saw the cover for A Man With Doubts, I knew I wanted the original and I have that hanging in my office.

It took over a year and a half to sell the book and it turned out to be my best seller in all the Special Editions I wrote and an excellent reminder to not get cocky.

Below is the new cover for A Man with Doubts and above that is the original artwork. It keeps me honest. Well sort of. 20140521_141009-1


Behind the Book — Love Has Many Voices

20140317_103532Witch, princess, monster, or minstrel – Holly Sutton could speak in a million voices. A whirlwind of casual creativity, a magnet for every kid within calling range, she made a handsome living doing TV cartoon voice-overs. Her life in Thousand Oaks was ideal – except for Jonathan Lockwood, her stuffy neighbor. A banker, he might have been the model for Scrooge – if Scrooge had hazel eyes and a body designed to die for. So why had Holly agreed to accompany him to San Francisco’s most elegant hotel? And why was she suddenly trying to make herself over in his image? They were worlds apart and ne’er the twain would meet … unless they could learn to speak in the voice that understood the intimate need that bound them beyond every difference – the very special voice of love.


I’m a big fan of the classic cartoons. Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies are my favorites and I still see the animated films that come out. And who can ever forget Mel Blanc, the man of a million voices who made Bugs Bunny and so many others life?

I knew I wanted the heroine of Love Has Many Voices to be a voiceover actress. This petite woman could go from a chirpy woodland animal to a stiff-voiced computer voice to a sultry female that gave every red-blooded man ideas. That she looked more like a pixie says a lot for her talent. Even if said red-blooded man is a by-the-banker. Did I happen to mention that not only was Holly cute as a bug but she wore braces when Jonathan first met her? Oh no, she isn’t your typical romance book heroine.

But that’s what made her fun to write. That and her more than lovable dog, Ralph who was known to moan and softly howl when a neighbor’s toy poodle was in heat. It didn’t matter to him that he was probably ten times her size. After all, it’s what the heart wants that matters. Ralph was also based on our dog, Mac, who was in love with a neighbor’s toy poodle, Gigi, who rejected him at every turn.

Holly and Jonathan were opposites in every way. That didn’t stop them from falling in love even if Jonathon feared his deep secret could tear them apart.

I hope you enjoy Holly and Jonathon’s story.


Behind The Book — Sudden Impulse

He tightened his hold on her hand and slowly pulled until her face was inches from his. “Your heart rate just sped up and your skin is growing warmer at the thought of our lying on the grass and making love.”

She tried to keep her breathing steady. “For a businessman you have such an incredible imagination,” she finally forced out.

He smiled. “Is it? Think about it, Kelly—the two of us lying down here on incredibly thick grass, my slipping off your clothes, you taking off mine. Our having the chance to discover what we’ve missed. While moonlight is great for making love, sunlight is much better.”

Liquid desire rushed through her veins as she visualized all he was talking about, arousing her until all she could think of was his body merging with hers. “Ben,” she managed to say, “I told you before that it’s not a good idea. I’m very confused about what’s happening between us, and I’m still trying to understand something I’ve never experienced before.”

“When I’m around you I discover it’s not easy to go slow,” he said, lowering them to the grass….

What if you were told you only had a short time to live? What would you do? Would you worry that you not only hit your ex-husband because he deserved itBeautiful girl standing on the rock, but he lost a few teeth in the process, and now he wants to sue you for damages? Any reason it should bother you if you’re going to die soon?

If you’re Kelly Andrews you’d leave Los Angeles behind and take off for a tropical island and buy a waterfront tavern because it’s the exact opposite of anything you’d be expected to do.

But hiding out isn’t all that easy to do when Australian Ben Wyatt is tracking the woman who creates hand painted silks and designs that he wants for his boutiques. The man isn’t easy to resist and seriously, who would want to.

I wanted a book with a heroine who was convinced she only had a short time to live and was determined to make the most of that time. The Elaine in the book is based on my good friend and fantastic author, Elaine Raco Chase. As always, I insert the mention of chocolate with yummy Goo Goo Clusters that are so good they’re sinful.

I wanted a heroine who finally realized hiding away wasn’t a good thing and a sexy hero who was determined she have the kind of life she deserved. Setting the story on a tropical island seemed just right and the perfect background for romance.

Sudden Impulse was one of the three Bantam Loveswepts I wrote and I hope you enjoy Kelly and Ben’s romance. It’s available at Amazon and Smashwords right now and will soon be available at Barnes & Noble for the Nook.

Visit the islands with its sea breezes, exotic flowers and just the right man for those magic nights.


Behind The Book — All A Man Could Want

All A Man Could Want

How could Dr. Kate Bradley succumb to a sexy patient in her own office!

The beautiful dermatologist’s problem was obvious. Mark Harrison bore a near-fatal resemblance to the notorious movie idol, Ty Winters. Computer programmer by day, celebrity look-alike by night, Mark swept the dedicated doctor off her feet. Nothing had interfered with Kate’s dream of establishing her own private practice until now. This devastating man wanted her to know the real Mark Harrison while he seduced her with Ty Winters’ irresistible charm. She couldn’t afford love’s distractions. But how could she say no once she’d said yes to the man who set her afire?

Let me say I loved writing for the Dell Candlelight Ecstasy line. My incredible editor let me loose with story ideas and never batted an eye. I enjoyed writing fun sassy books, and still do. All A Man Could Want was one of those.
Our Romance Writers of America chapter had a celebrity lookalike at our one of our meetings. I sat there and thought ‘there’s a book there’. We talked for some time, I learned what it was like to be a celebrity lookalike and I decided it would only be right to present the hero with something that no one would want to discuss except with their doctor. Nothing major, but could be a tad embarrassing for a guy. And no, not THAT. LOL!
I created a dermatologist who only had one goal, her own practice. Kate needed a life and sexy Mark Harrison, who could be a bit of a geek but looked like a sexy actor, was just what she needed.
I always say there is at least one true incident in each of my books. The names were changed to protect the guilty. This one has a celebrity lookalike and since a friend of mine had some pretty disastrous dates, I used one of those too. My friends are wonderful in providing me fodder for my books!
I wanted to write a fun sassy book with some engaging characters and I hope you’ll see that too.


Behind The Book — Splendor At Dawn

Any author will tell you she/he hears the question ‘where do you get your ideas?’ There are a variety of answers that come with it.

I know for me it comes from many areas, even to asking friends if I can use a fun incident that came from their lives.

Splendor at Dawn came from a time that was scary, hopeful and in the end, the absolute best gift someone can have. The gift of life.

Diane, my absolute best friend, sister of my heart who I’ve known just about all my life is an inspiration in many ways. We joke we remain friends because we have too much dirt on each other and we’ve been there for each other in many stages of our lives.
Diane scared her family and friends when she suffered a brain aneurysm when we were in our thirties. Or as she calls it, her brain leaked. For awhile, we didn’t know if she’d live or die and her recovering with pretty much nothing more than losing a week’s worth of memories (maybe that was a good thing. She might have had a lot of bad hair days — my twisted sense of humor). Months later she became pregnant and had a handsome boy who’s getting married later this year. Congratulations Travis!

I admired her strength, her humor and I love her so much. That was why I wrote Splendor at Dawn. I wrote about a heroine who suffered from a stroke and recovered only to have her husband leave her and she felt she had to start over. Starting over can be a good thing or a bad one. Evelyne (a name of a dear friend) was a bit shaky but she chose to move forward and a trip to Hawaii gave her a man who would do anything to be the man she deserves. The question is, after what she went through, can she trust enough after a former betrayal?

I wanted to write a book that was heartwarming, showing a rich love and two characters who truly deserve to be together. And I wanted a book that allowed me to think of Diane.

Splendor at Dawn was one of my Dell Ecstasy Supremes that I’m pleased to be able to see out again.

It’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and Apple.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming romance I hope you’ll try Evelyne and Rhyder’s story.


Behind The Book — Only Love

She would defy him with all her might.

After a headline divorce, Kali Hughes had abandoned Beverly Hills for the lonely hills of Virginia. Bitterly, she vowed never to love again…until a man who knew her darkest secrets appeared on her doorstep, awakening long-buried hungers, bringing back searing memories of passions–and betrayal.

He would make her his at any cost.

He had come 3,000 miles to find her–and she greeted him with a shotgun at her cabin door. Once before Kali had gotten away. Travis Yates swore it wouldn’t happen again. He was determined to walk over that threshold on her terms…and stay on his own…to watch, to wait, to listen, demanding that Kali face the past, respond to the needs she could no longer deny, admit he was her…

Only Love

Writing the Behind the Book posts is fun in that I’m reliving the time I wrote a particular book, but it also means I have to find those memories. LOL!

Only Love was contracted for Dell Ecstasy Supreme, but the line closed before the book was published, so Dell released it as a single title in September, 1988.

This was about an emotionally scarred high fashion model who’s tracked down by a famous photographer who’s determined to use her in his campaign. Little did he know there was more to the woman than a beautiful face.
The book was for my buddy, author Mary Anne Wilson. I based the hero on actor Sam Elliott for her and ladies, hands off. She’ll fight for him tooth and nail. I also wrote about what in romance books was still a bit of a taboo subject and had to be handled carefully. It was drama, emotion and a love that was so strong the hero and heroine couldn’t fight it.

One cute memory of the book was from Mary Anne. She told him one day that her mother called her and told her she’d read a fantastic book and she felt Mary Anne should read it. You got it, the book was Only Love and her mom didn’t connect the author Linda Randall Wisdom with Mary Anne’s friend, Linda Wisdom.
There are days when we all want a book that holds a love that can’t be pushed aside.
I hope you’ll try Only Love and discover that emotion.

Right now it’s at Amazon and Smashwords and soon to be at BN for Nook and at the Apple store.