I do it all the time - my current album is 8.5x11 horizontal. You just have to take a moment to consider the paper.
Sometimes, with a plain background, you can get a way with doing an image resize. But usually that ends up distorting any texture, or even more so, any pattern.
What I usually do is a canvas resize. It'll trim off the extra paper around the edges without distorting the texture or pattern.
And sometimes I'll set my marquee tool to an exact size (8.5 x 11) and choose which part of the paper to use that way, if there's a border or some other design I want to keep.
I should have asked - what software are you using? These options/tools *should* be pretty much universal, but they may have different names.