Friday, 21 August 2009

Linda Swift: Single Status

Congratulations, Lindsay, on your One Lovely Blog awards. They are justly deserved.

And thank you for choosing a subject that has made me pause and give thought to what deeper motives lurk behind the type of heroes and heroines that I create. I found it easy to define what makes a man a hero. But I find that I am more demanding of the traits that make a woman a heroine.

Her physical appearance must be pleasing. I tend to choose some shade of blond hair, tall, graceful, thin, and of course, young. None of the traits I possess and all of which I covet. She must be beautiful, which doesn't mean pretty. Beautiful women are often plain-featured but have that certain arresting quality that defies description.

I want a heroine to be calm, charming, and courageous with a wry sense of humor. No Nervous Nellies, nitpickers, or doormats need apply. Nor any Poor-little-ole-me types even if they change as the plot develops. And she must be totally lovable in the eyes of the hero. She must be good (not Goodie-Two-Shoes),honest, kind, and loyal. Sounds like a Girl Scout, doesn't she? And I almost forgot to mention intelligent. She may be smarter than the hero but would have the good sense not to show it.

Most important of all, my heroine must have traits that appeal to women. For only if other women would choose her as a friend, can she be the kind of person who is truly self-actualized and worthy to be called a heroine in my book (pun intended)

When I examine my heroines by this standard, they don't always measure up but most of them fit the description fairly well. Take B.J., the heroine in my soon-to-be released book, Single Status. She has all the physical characteristics mentioned above, and all the personality traits listed except for charm. And a former husband who was an insensitive jerk is responsible for her abrasive reactions toward the male species at present. Instead of seeking pity, B.J. takes on a challenge that demands her all. Since this is a romance, I don't need to tell you that she overcomes every obstacle, but I hope you will enjoy reading how she does it.

Title: Single Status

Genre: Contemporary

Winner of Awe-Struck Short Novel Award 2008

Author: Linda Swift

Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing

Available: September 25, 2009 E-book and print

Buy Link:

Through a stateside headquarters mix-up, B.J. and Dana are forced to share a villa on a start-up job in a power plant in St. Croix. B.J. is determined to prove herself as capable as the other engineers and wants to be treated like one of the guys. But Dana finds it difficult to follow her wishes.


Just three more days, B.J. reminded herself with grim determination as she adjusted the straps of her backpack and joined her house-mate for the ride to work. Then their only contact would be at the plant when changing shifts and that would be strictly business.

"My turn mornings," she held out her hand for the keys Dana had already taken from the counter.

"Sorry," he mumbled as he handed them over and picked up his lunch box.

B.J. hadn't carried one since the day she'd found the dead lizard, preferring to manage with whatever food could be kept in her backpack without spoilage rather than giving Dana Thomas a chance to repeat his nasty surprise.

The air in the villa had been frigid the past four evenings in spite of the tropical heat as Dana and B.J., without verbal discussion, had worked out a system of avoidance. He ate dinner while she showered, she moved to the kitchen and he claimed the bath. He watched the evening news while she did her personal laundry, hanging it in her room. She remained there, studying prints spread on her bed, sometimes tempted to ask him to explain something that was unclear but stubbornly resisting the impulse.

One evening he had gone to the pool and images of the night she had lost herself in his arms filled her head. She could still feel his mouth on hers and his body pressed against her. Only fate had prevented them from making a terrible mistake. But to resort to putting a dead lizard in her lunch because she had refused to continue their folly after she'd come to her senses had been pathetic.

She turned the ignition and gunned the car out of the parking space and down the steep hill with a vengeance, then sensibly slowed when she reached the highway. She heard the man beside her give a barely audible sigh of relief and saw his feet, which had been planted firmly on the floorboard, visibly relax.

"Glad you got that, whatever it was, out of your system, Sutherland," he growled.

"The only systems you need concern yourself with at the moment are at ChemCorp, Thomas," she retorted.

"I'll concern myself with the performance of any system that threatens my safety, Sutherland."

"Oh, you're perfectly safe with me, Thomas," she said with exaggerated emphasis.

Her double-entendre was not lost on Dana and he was left with no suitable repartee that would not get him into deeper waters so he remained silent for the remainder of the drive.

From the corner of his eye, Dana watched the obstinate woman behind the wheel. The early morning sun cast a golden glow on her fine-featured face and he felt a sudden urge to reach out and stroke the back of her arched neck--after he wrung it--for doubting his denial of pulling that cruel prank on her. That she thought him capable of doing a thing like that was insulting enough but refusing to accept his word that he had not was the last straw. The past few days had been full of tension and he was looking forward to the time when their evenings playing house together were over. Monday couldn't come too soon.



Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Linda - thanks for sharing about your interesting and loveable heroines. Congratulations on SINGLE STATUS - your excerpt is very intriguing with lovely tension, and your cover is wonderful!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

What gorgeous tension between these two, Linda! I agree with your conclusion that your heroine must be the sort of woman that other women would choose as a friend, and I do like your efinition of beautiful - 'Beautiful women are often plain-featured but have that certain arresting quality that defies description.' This is very true!
Congrats on the book, I wish you lots of well-deserved success with it!

Jane x

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--classic Linda Swift-- a romance between real, believable people, the very kind of story I love and appreciate. And look how stunning your cover is. Aren't you glad you went with that one? (but I bet in your heart, you still love the old one.) Celia

Linda Swift said...

Thank you, Lindsay, Jane, and Celia for your kind comments. I wasn't surprised that you, Lindsay and Jane, were first to comment. I know you are six hours ahead of me here in Kentucky. But Celia, what are you doing up so early? I know Texas is a couple of hours behind me. And yes, I loved my hero "hunk" standing wistfully alone on the first cover done by Delle Jacobs. It seemed a perfect fit for the title of Single Status. But who am I to argue with the new art director. And she did create a very romantic couple for the cover.
Again, my thanks to all of you for stopping by and leaving your lovely comments.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Linda, from another Linda. I agree that women have to like the heroine. I find I'm much more likely to dislike a hero than a heroine. Once, I did find a book where I disliked the heroine. The feeling was very jarring, almost as if I were disliking myself. And of course, I'm always wonderful. **grins**

Linda Swift said...

Very interesting observation, Linda. I've met a few heroines that I just wanted to shake and scold for being such a little ninny. I'm much harder on my female gender characters as I said.
Thanks for your comments.

Savanna Kougar said...

Hmmm... interesting. I'm always as hard on my heroes as my heroines... equal opportunity romance, I guess... lol...

Linda, wonderful tension-sexual excerpt. All the best on your upcoming release. And that is a lovely *happy ending to come* cover.

Linda Swift said...

Thank you, Savanna. More than one of you have mentioned the tension aspect of this excerpt. I'm glad it worked. And I guess I'm of the before equal opportunity romance era, but I like the idea and I'm slowly getting there! Linda

Kaye said...

Enjoyed reading the excerpt and all the nice comments!! I like a strong heroine that is independent and B.J. sounds just perfect!

Linda Swift said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kaye. I hope you'll enjoy the book when it is released. B.J. is your kind of girl.

Danielle Thorne said...

I think strong is the key word here. All of the traits you are drawn to combine and make for one strong woman. We need heroines we admire and we all want to be strong.

Miriam Newman said...

Nice excerpt, Linda. Your characters are very believable; they ring true. I look forward to reading more of your work.

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, interesting that you're so demanding of your heroines but not as much of your heroes. I'll be thinking about that one a while. I'm somewhat undemanding of both. They simply are as they come out.

It's been fun reading about the different approaches to the craft. ;-)

Linda Swift said...

Just checking in again. Thank you Danielle, LK (Lyn, isn't it?), and Miriam for you comments. And yes, Danielle, strength really sums it up nicely. A wise friend once told me there are those women who "lean" and those who are "leaned upon" and I don't admire leaners. LK, I guess it really comes down to expecting more of myself than of the men I know and a little bit of that comes through in my characters. I'd welcome your further thoughts as they develop on this idea. And thank you, Miriam, for your comment on my characters being "believable." I strive for that always. Linda

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Linda, it's Loraine. Sorry, I should have signed it.

About leaning, don't most of us do both depending on the time of our lives and the particular issue of the moment? I think someone who can't ever let herself lean on another, out of pride or whatever reason, is not as strong as someone who can lean as needed and still pull herself back up again. Too much outward strength comes off to me as fear. Most strength is unseen.

Linda Swift said...

Yes, Loraine, I agree with what you are saying. I think what my friend meant, and what I meant, is that people are "basically" one or the other. And we all know people we instinctively go to with problems or for help. While others we feel a need to protect or help because they seem unable to stand alone. Nothing is ever "either or or" is it? Thanks for pointing this out. Linda

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, agreed, and there are a lot of women who are mostly one or the other. I guess I tend to focus on those who are balanced between the two.

Great conversation!

Cheryl said...

Hi Linda,

I love the tension you've created! It just sizzles. Great excerpt, and I enjoyed your post, too, about what makes up a heroine. I found myself agreeing with you wholeheartedly!

Linda Swift said...

Thank you for your gratifying comments, Cheryl. Your words were music to my ears. I'm so happy the tension is obvious to readers here.

Chelle Cordero said...

One of my writing workshop students pointed out to me that I write mostly from the hero's perspective - I hadn't realized I had been doing that until then.

For the most part I have an image of a strong, steady female - sometimes emotional - but always solid inside, when I write. I find it easy to make a man complicated.

Most of my heroines are physically petite, brunettes and attractive (although not necessarily gorgeous)- although I have had (2) who were tall, willowy and blond.

Your excerpt sizzles with tension - love it!