Fiction: Where Are The Gallant Men?

Author Adrienne Morris

William Weldon is not the man Thankful once knew.

Thankful scooped up the map pieces on the floor. “Such a gift you have and you throw it away on depraved women.”

“Jesus hung around with them.”

Thankful looked up at him with a severe stare. “So now you compare yourself to our Lord? You have changed.” She adjusted her hat with one hand while clutching the map in the other.

The faint odor of perspiration under Thankful’s perfume flustered William.

Thankful stood. “I shall have to go back to the army on my own for assistance. I don’t trust anyone here and you won’t keep me the night.”

“Of course I won’t. The hotel is terrible rough though.” William tapped his fingers against his temple. “I guess it won’t be safe to go now. It’ll be almost candle lighting by the time you get there.”

He tried to ignore the…

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Family Saga Newsletter/ Winter 2017

Cozy winter reading days are here, my friends!

Here at Middlemay Farm it’s all about writing (and reading) great family sagas.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Spending time with family and friends gives me lots of story ideas (my mother always notices the references in my novels) and this year is no different.

051Here at the farm we’re adopting our foster daughter and enjoying the lull before goat and sheep babies this spring so I’m furiously writing about the characters I love (and hoping you adore them, too!). I can’t wait to share what happens next to our favorite lovably dysfunctional characters–Thankful, Buck and William! I’m dying to know who you all like best!

My adult daughter will be posing for Sam Hennessy (my cover designer) for Forget Me Not, the next book in The Tenafly Road Series (aren’t these hair inspirations fantastic?) so be looking for that in a month or so, but for now you can catch up with the Weldon and Crenshaw families in the first three books. 

For a limited time The House on Tenafly Road ebook is FREE for most devices. Download it TODAY and let me know if you enjoyed it with a good review 🙂 .

I’m also running a giveaway open only to my subscribers: a free ebook copy of the latest novel The Dew That Goes Early Away to the first person to EMAIL me back:

You don’t want to miss Buck’s visit to a 19th century free love, utopian society! And what happens to the star-crossed lovers William and Thankful? You’ll have to read the books to find out.

Here’s wishing you a cozy winter and many great stories!


Novel Inspiration (1):The Addict

Author Adrienne Morris

CHARACTER: Morphine addict Lieutenant John Weldon

INSPIRATION: Katherine McCullough needed a husband in the military. I was listening to a lot of Americana music and crushing on a young Robbie Robertson from The Band while collecting Civil War era prosthetic limbs and morphine kits. Having just recovered from a life threatening blood clot and feeling  wistful about the painkillers I was given in the hospital, I suddenly understood the draw of self-medicating.

A heroin addict friend told me a story about having to kill a bunch of puppies as a child living on a reservation.


“Doctor Dudley, you in?”

A sudden panic in the pit of Dudley’s stomach caused him to hesitate before opening the door to let Weldon in. They stood together uncomfortably in the center of the room.

Weldon scanned the room, searching for a place to rest his eyes. “Dudley…I have a problem…

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Novel Inspiration (2): The Enabler

Author Adrienne Morris

INSPIRATION: Years of the culture telling me men were monsters who would trample my timorous soul if I let them.

The character Katherine McCullough came from a dusty unfinished diary in a university library. While doing missionary work (which at the time I thought was savaging a culture) her young son died of lockjaw after stepping on a rusty nail on a barge while crossing the Mississippi to visit his mother. Served her right! I callously thought (btw Katherine’s son doesn’t die in the book).

The original intent of the novel was to trash missionaries and keep the myth of the noble savage alive and well. Then I did research. Turns out I had a lot to learn about human frailty on all sides.

My mother said the problem with me was that I didn’t respect my husband. I wondered what it would look like if I did respect a…

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Novel Inspiration (3): The Scapegoat

Author Adrienne Morris

INSPIRATION: Every addict needs a scapegoat.

Captain Simon McCullough’s motto: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die. This gets John Weldon’s goat. How unfair it is that Simon coasts through life suffering nary a scratch while drinking, womanizing and joking all the way?

Weldon fails to note the fatalism in Simon’s motto. He underestimates the friend he tries to hate.

There’s a type of 19th century military memoir tremendously fun to read. The accent is on the antics of  soldiers in downtime that almost trick one into believing war is quite a great time. I’ve always admired the way boys and men conduct friendship and briefly considered running away to be an intelligence officer in the Navy (to escape that first marriage and possibly  meet a naval officer–a weird twist of fate had me meet and marry a Navy man years later).

I often hear about…

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Novel Inspiration: A Deserted Girl

Author Adrienne Morris

What if you’re the favorite child and grow up beautiful in a house of secrets? You’re a smart girl and learn quite young how to skirt your parents’ anger with a smile and outward compliance. Your rebellion comes late and turns in upon itself. Your admirers see a blue dress and a seductive impetuosity. Your brothers think you’re a fool.

It’s hard to protect an impetuous girl. Emotions can’t be bottled in a dress. Needing love trumps sticking to a plan. When the man you love loves something else another man will do. This other man will convince the first that you, Thankful Crenshaw, have worth beyond your curls and flirtatious giggle. You assumed William Weldon already knew that. You assumed he’d leave his new found badness in town and rescue you from your foolishness. You thought you’d eventually tell him  things about Buck and Fred and all you’ve kept…

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Novel Inspiration: Free Love

Author Adrienne Morris

Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Hosea 6:4

My daughter tells me a hook up is expected after three dates. A few years ago my son told me it was after three weeks and before that I’d heard three months.

Free love is more like free mating isn’t it? Like something that happens with my sheep. It’s mindless. It’s instinct (though sometimes I’ve seen my goat bucks treat their does with more tenderness than people do their hook ups).

In movies free love is the punchline of a joke or just something thrown in to titillate a constantly bored audience. Sex scenes are about as interesting to watch as watching rams mount their girls. I laugh when movies are advertised as “steamy.”

In the 19th century, experimental societies existed. Their aim: PERFECTION.

Perfection meant becoming so Christ-like, so filled with love, so…

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Fiction:Taking Chances on Lost Men (2)

Author Adrienne Morris

William Weldon sobers at the prospect of Thankful Crenshaw spending the night after her SURPRISE VISIT

“I’ll just wash my face at least,” Thankful said, moving toward the wash basin in William’s filthy room above the saloon.

“Let me go fetch fresh water.” William grabbed the basin before she could see the contents. He took a while to scrub it clean in the yard near the water barrel. The saloon keeper had pity on him so William brought back a lemonade drink, on credit, for Thankful and found her sifting through the drawings and maps he had hidden.

“Thankful, those are nothing. Please, take this drink.”

She glanced up at William with her big eyes but wasn’t listening. “Willy, when did you get so good at people?”

“Thankful, you’ve come all this way to snoop? Let me have those back. The colors are off. My paints aren’t very good.”


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FICTION: Words Said In Confidence

Author Adrienne Morris

Christmas on Fifth Avenue by Alice Barber Stephens Christmas on Fifth Avenue by Alice Barber Stephens

After learning that Fred has taken his girl, Buck Crenshaw advises his sister Thankful against marriage.

Buck and Thankful could hear their parents bickering below them in the parlor.

“I wish they would just divorce!” Thankful complained.

“Marriage is foolish,” Buck said, feeling even more hopeless. “I won’t consider it again.”

“You say that now, but one day . . .” Thankful began.

“It’s impossible,” Buck insisted, closing the subject. “And what about you, sis? Anyone in town who strikes your fancy?”

Thankful played with her curls and rolled her eyes. “No, no one who’s in town.”

“So someone who’s gone out of town then?” Buck laughed. “Someone I know?”

“Yes, but he hasn’t noticed me and he’s in the West.”

“Not William?”

“I know you don’t like him, but. . .” Thankful began.

“He’s a moron!” Buck moaned…

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FICTION: Holiday Domestic Disputes

Author Adrienne Morris

Fred Crenshaw leaves town to have his twin pick up the pieces of a broken holiday.

Buck slogged through the fairy-lit town of Englewood as carolers sang. Up the hill to Chestnut Street he debated sleeping either in the carriage house or his warm bed. A month of winter break promised to be damned uncomfortable as things stood now with his parents.

Buck wondered how Streeter was doing at home for Christmas and for good. Maybe Streeter’s people considered him a failure and were disappointed in his decision to withdraw from the academy or maybe they had always expected Streeter to be mistreated by white cadets and were relieved to have their son back. Or maybe they had an ounce of hope that things were different after the war, and Buck and Fred had killed that for them.

The massive dried-out Christmas tree Graham had brought home too soon…

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