How to Make Giveaways the Best Fun Ever

Coconut Body LotionQuestion: Can you tell us what it’s like to run a non-book giveaway?

Answer: It’s great. I’m in the middle of my second one now.

The first was a replica of the coffee mug sitting next to me this morning. Brown letters on ivory ceramic spell out, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” The mug was given to me by my grandchildren so it is precious and personal. The words are precious and personal too. I smile each time I read them.

This time, I wanted a gift from my new story A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. There’s emphasis on a jacket, but I can’t afford several of those. How about the lighthouse? If somebody sent me a miniature lighthouse I’d think, “One more trinket to dust,” and take it to the neighborhood thrift store that benefits at-risk children.

Back when I was publishing Harlequin Intrigue novels, I had a perfect solution for the giveaway dilemma. I’d embed an item in the story, and give away a replica of it at book signings after publication. My last Intrigue plot is a good example.

Dear Santa’s hero and heroine Vic and Katherine try to save two very at-risk children, Coyote and Sprite, from serious danger during the holiday season. In a poignant yuletide scene, Sprite hangs a sparkling glass angel ornament on an evergreen tree.

I don’t remember how many crystal angels I ordered, but they were everywhere in our house. Plus spools of red ribbon printed with the title and small, clear bags covered in snowflake images. We sat on the floor. My husband Jonathan bagged the angels. I tied ribbons.

I led lots of writing workshops back then. I trundled those packets with me each time, for the book signings after my presentation. More than once, an airport security person stared askance at the x-ray machine. “Angels,” I would say, and they’d let me through.

More recently, I was wishing I’d included Vanessa’s version of a crystal angel in her story, when a solution occurred to me. Much of the book happens at a spa. I’d give away something associated with that setting. That was when the real fun began. Shopping!

I spent happy hours online playing with possibilities. Everything from way-to-pricey items to way-too-chintzy ones. All the while I was circling, more or less deliberately, toward the ideal destination for me. Things that make you smell good and feel better.

I settled on Oahu Coconut Sunset Shea and Vitamin E Body Lotion from Bath and Body Works, a great match for my spa fantasy.

I placed the order, smiling almost as wide as I do when I read my grandkids’ mug. I love giving presents. Don’t you? Soon I’ll be giving presents to contest winners. I can hardly wait for the July 11th drawing. That will be the best fun of all.

 Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter https://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

Email “I’ll meet you at the spa,” to aliceorrbooks@gmail.com to be entered in the Spa Lotion Giveaway Contest.  A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and most other online book retailers at their websites.

 

Eight Years Cancer Free Today

Cancer Survivor imageThis visual says it all. The truth about being a cancer survivor. Breast cancer in my case and that of too many women. Women I love. Some are still here with us – with me. Some are not. I miss them. I weep for them. I celebrate their struggle.

We fought a giant though I prefer to call him a monster. A giant is sometimes benign. A monster is not. While I was in the maw of that monster a good friend of mine told me to personify him. My friend was a cartoonist so he’d made a strip of his monster. I’m a writer so I blogged about mine.

My friend was Rick Tuel. Rick is no longer with us – with me. I miss him. I weep for him. I celebrate his struggle. I embrace his wife Mary and rejoice she’s still here to embrace. She’s a survivor of another kind. A caretaker survivor. My husband Jonathan Orr is one of those too. They are everything to us – the diagnosed ones. I salute the caretaker survivors.

We were stronger because we had to be. Annie O’Flaherty was strong of heart because she knew how to love. She knew how to love me. She sent me a picture of an angel descending. The angel did descend and took Annie away. Annie is no longer with us – with me. I miss her. I weep for her. I celebrate her struggle. I embrace her caretaker survivor Jan Phillips and salute her too.

We were happier because we’d learned what matters. Susan Sullivan always knew what mattered and pursued those things of value with determination and vigor. I marveled at her stamina and at the lovely pieces she created for my writing workshop and read with courage there. Susan is no longer with us – with me. I miss her. I weep for her. I celebrate her struggle. Her caretaker survivor was her husband Pat Sullivan. I celebrate him too.

My brother Michael stood tall with a slight dip to one shoulder where he’d carried a heavy bag of newspapers to deliver when he was young. He stood tallest of all on many stages playing many roles and singing many songs always doing both so beautifully I could barely breathe watching him. Michael is no longer with us – with me. I miss him. I weep for him. I celebrate his struggle. He has many caretaker survivors. My son Ed Vesneske jr. is one of them. I embrace him in my heart every day.

I mark my eight-year survivor anniversary by celebrating these heroes and many more. I hope to follow their examples of battling bravely and staying strong and minding what matters and standing tall. Too often I don’t manage all of that. Occasionally I don’t manage any of it. But I manage some of it just about enough of the time to be worthy of my survival.

The problem is that they were worthy of survival too. Rick and Annie and Susan and Michael and legions of others. But they are no longer with us. We miss them. We weep for them. We celebrate their struggle. We vow to be caretakers of their memory. To emulate their example of grace and fortitude and to honor their lives by defeating the monster that took those lives too soon.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

Lavish Advance Readers with Love

Spread the Love imageFrom the beginning there have been friends of this writing obsession of mine. Generous souls who gave affection to my possibly foolhardy choice to launch yet another career. I’d edited books and agented authors and led workshops on writing and publishing. Now – after a sixteen year hiatus from writing fiction – I was becoming a novelist again.

“Good for you Alice” those kind friends said.

I also decided to step away from the traditional system that had produced my early novels and given me a successful agenting career. I’d heard about Independent Publishing – or self-publishing in its less hip description. I liked the sound of it either way. Most of all I liked the sound of challenge.

“You go girl” my same friends repeated with some new voices joining them.

The problem was I had no idea how to accomplish any of it. Not a clue how to navigate this entirely new territory. Still the encouraging voices accompanied my stumbling. In fact they not only encouraged – they advised too.

“Do this” or “You might want to consider not doing that.”

I heard and continued struggling until eventually I had a book. The first in a series no less. I called it A Wrong Way Home. The general wisdom was that one or two-word titles performed best algorithm-wise. But I liked the lilt of my longer phrases and stuck with them through book two A Year of Summer Shadows and book three A Vacancy at the Inn. Now number four A Villain for Vanessa waits in the wings.

Amidst the stumbles and struggles I needed readers who would review and post those reviews – first and foremost on almighty Amazon. I turned to my steadfast encouraging friends. Where else did I have to go? A beloved cadre responded. They used their precious time and energy – already in great demand – on my stories which they mostly claimed to enjoy.

“Keep it up Alice” they said. “I’m waiting for the next one.”

Meanwhile I discovered my weaknesses and worked on them. I prayed for my strengths to stay strong. I floundered – barely afloat – in the marketing ocean while my supporters held me above the waves. Those lifesavers are my Advance Readers now. They see the book – usually before its final polish. Their comments guide that process.

“Scrub off this rough spot here. Pay attention to that sloppy writing habit there.”

I hear and listen to their voices. I feel them with me. They are my light. I may appear to give them only an autographed copy in return. But actually they have my heart.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Wrong Way HomeRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

Family Stories and Colliding Memories

Collision imageI’m fascinated by the patchwork we as family members create with our family memories. An incident occurs in our shared past. An important even traumatic incident. The details sear our consciousness. Yet when we compare notes we discover those details differ from one of us to the other. From one family member to the other.

Sometimes the discrepancy is good natured like it could be with my brother and me. We’d debate and tease each other. Maybe even accuse each other of fabrication in the same teasing manner. But that was only with the not-so-touchy bits. Nostalgia rather than gut wrenching. The dreadful stories were just that – worthy of dread – so we mostly didn’t mention them.

We tiptoed around those narratives because they were quicksand. One wrong step and we could be sucked down with no hope of rescue. Rescue from what? Rescue from the collision of my version of reality and his and from the powerful confrontation that might erupt. We had mutually and silently agreed to avoid such battles and generally we did.

Consequently my brother left this earth with all but a few of our most potent shared experiences unspoken. Otherwise the relationship might not have survived as long as it did. Would I have preferred an open field of exchange? Yes of course. Nonetheless I chose silence and dissembling over openness and its fearsome revelatory glare.

Maybe my regret of that sin of omission is the reason colliding stories flow like a brackish river through so much of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. In the first story A Wrong Way Home Hailey and Julia spend their early years as close friends before being separated for a long and painful time. Their stories of that separation and its origin vary dramatically.

Julia’s mother Virginia’s memories diverge even further as do those of Hailey’s mother Annemarie. What these recollections have in common is their mine field potential to blast both families – their past as well as their present – to kingdom come. And they do. A Wrong Way Home begins with a murder after all and wades through a quagmire of secrets afterwards.

Book 4 – A Villain for Vanessa is rife with the raw material for more combustible collisions. Between Vanessa and her mother Amelia. Between Amelia and her sister Angela Kalli. Among just about everyone involved with the Westerlo side of Vanessa’s family. The explosive tonnage is terrifying. Nobody would want to be in the midst of this family when it implodes.

This is fertile ground for storytelling. But it’s toxic territory in real life. Think about it. Who in your family do you tiptoe around for fear of a collision of your differing truths? What conflagrations have you barely survived when one of those toes slipped into the memory mine field? My advice. When you tell those stories – swear to heaven they are fiction.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Wrong Way HomeRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.

 

Character is Everything in Storytelling – My Greatest Heroine

Grandma & Me at Two and a HalfWe create many heroines in many stories. I believe our most powerful heroines re-create pieces of powerful women we have known. The quintessential powerful woman in my life was my maternal grandmother. Whenever I write a strong woman – as I do every time I write a woman as hero – Grandma is part of her in one aspect or another.

In the novel I am about to publish – A Villain for Vanessa – the heroine travels a long way into the unknown to find what she hopes will be a better life. Grandma did that in the late 1890’s. The exact year differs in different research sources. As with many family stories there is disagreement on the details. Debate runs rampant regarding the why or how or what.

What isn’t disputed in the case of Grandma’s migration is that she traveled alone. She was a small town girl of eighteen or nineteen or maybe twenty depending on which source I credit. She sailed from England in what I imagine was the lowest class of passage and entered this very new world for her by way of Canada.

My best guess from the bits and pieces of fact I’ve found is that her expenses were paid by a family with several children. They were bringing her to what would one day be my hometown in the remote northern region of New York State. The same region where my newest novel and the three before it are set in a fictitious town named Riverton.

The family that bought Grandma’s steamship ticket was previously unknown to her. So was the climate where she would live. I imagine her caring for the children of strangers through the shock of her first frigid North Country winter. I remember her incredible garden when I was a girl and wonder if she was recreating the warm springtime English gardens of her own girlhood.

I’ve studied the customs and fashions of the specific time period when she migrated. I picture her in a white shirtwaist and dark skirt and of course a hat being greeted by people she’d never laid eyes on before. No relatives or friends had preceded her to America. She was on her own. That took courage. It was a wonderfully brave act – the behavior of a heroine.

My Uncle John had a picture on his wall of Grandma at that young age. Her hair was pulled up in a kind of Gibson Girl poof with a bow in back. But it was her eyes that captured me. They were young and most likely blue. Her skin was pale and most likely blushing. Grandma was beautiful. I wish I’d inherited that picture. I carry it in my head and heart instead.

Above all I carry in my head and heart the gentle smile in that picture. The same smile I would bask in decades later when she taught me which flowers to harvest from her amazing garden and exactly where to cut each stem. Nowadays I bask in her more aged smile gazing down at me from another picture on my wall in this room where I write.

She did her best to instill in me the courage it took to put her button-shoed foot on that lonely ship from Plymouth. The example of her courage carries me through challenge and heartbreak and triumph too. I in turn instill that courage in the strong women I write. There is something of Grandma in each of them. Not only her bravery but her loving heart too.

That’s why my heroines are so dear to me. I believe character is everything when it comes to storytelling. Everything good in my life began with Grandma – including the strong women who grace my stories. Her name was Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette. The photo here is of Alice Jane and me Alice Elizabeth at two and a half already modeling my model heroine.

 

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter https://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks

RR

A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17 – will be available here. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE eBook at the same site and most other online book retailers.

Managing Indie Author Expectations

Baby typing imageDaredevil folks say “Danger is my middle name.” My motto is more like “Worry is my middle name. My most recent worry obsession has been what I perceive as my lack of Indie Pub progress.

I work hard at writing my novels and publishing them from my Alice Orr Books company. I have an excellent productivity ethic. My self-discipline standards are high. So why am I not speeding along toward the top of the heap the way I did in previous professional endeavors?

In my past incarnation as a literary agent I employed the same principles I follow now. I figured out exactly what needed to be done and did those things as absolutely right as I possibly could. Which worked like gangbusters on that other work life road. Now – as an independent publisher of my own books – not so much.

I whined about this to another indie author recently. She’s on the gangbusters track for sure. It is true she has a strong background in professional marketing. But I have a strong background in business. Shouldn’t that even us out? Apparently not. “How long have you been doing this?” was her first question.

“I published my first indie novel a year and three months ago.” I’d begun to detect her drift as I said that. I didn’t ask the length of her indie history. I knew she’d been at it for years.

“You’re a baby at this game.” I heard the truth of those words at once and all of a sudden my perspective shifted.

I’m well aware there was a golden opportunity window during which many indie authors were able to grab the brass ring and be pulled to mega sales territory. That was several years ago within about the same timeframe when my wise friend launched her indie career.

I’m also well aware of the deniers who speak out against what they label as negative thinking. “It’s still a wonderful time to indie pub.” They declare this repeatedly and they are right. But they leave out the caveat. That it is not and most likely will never again be those olden golden nearly instant mega sales days.

Here’s the rest of that caveat. It is still a great time to publish our books independently. BUT it will take longer to see positive sales results than in the golden years. AND we will have to work like hell to get there. In other words we’ll have to #1. Figure out exactly what needs to be done. #2. Do those things as absolutely right as we possibly can.

May I add #3? We must perform those essential activities not only as correctly as we can but also for as long as is needed to get us where we want to go. This is the aspect of realistic expectations we have to contemplate thoroughly before deciding whether or not the indie path is for us. Do we possess the wherewithal to keep on jogging for a long run?

I’m hoping I do. I intend to try anyway. I will also take a chew toy along for the tough teething times on this steep learning curve ascent. Meanwhile worrying is premature because I’m just a baby in this indie basket. How about you?

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17 – is already available here. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE eBook at the same site and most other online book retailers.

 

Setting a Book Launch Date

Boldt CastleBeginnings are crucial or they at least seem to be. We get only one chance to make a first impression and we mustn’t squander that chance. How many times have you heard that? How many times did it make your throat clench in response? And when we refer to the beginning as a Launch the ante is definitely higher still.

Battleships Launch with the crack of a champagne bottle across the bow. We need to come up with something equally Dramatic for a book launch. I must do that now. A Dramatic Opening just like in my stories which I often jumpstart with a murder scene. But I don’t want to bump somebody off to kick off of my new book. I’d prefer to be more subtle than that.

My chosen date must be dramatic nonetheless. And memorable. And related to the story – a Romantic Suspense novel. So I’m looking for a Launch Date that is romantic somehow and suspenseful somehow. I feel the throat clench coming on and some head spinning too. My anxiety level soars as the ante does the same.

Then inspiration strikes. A date commemorating something dramatic for me. Life changing even. Romantic and suspenseful too. Plus it was literally A Date. My first date with the man who has been my romantic hero and best friend ever since. Sweet Jonathan as I’ve come to call him. Forty-four years backward in time from this coming June which is almost here.

The Ask was suspenseful for sure. I could feel he was on the verge of it but I wasn’t certain he’d actually get there. The anticipation was intense. Would he ever do anything besides gaze at me all moony eyed when he didn’t think I was looking? My girlfriend Marsha urged me to make The Ask myself but I couldn’t. This was too important to me. He had to take the first step.

Then it was Saturday June 17th. Jonathan and I worked at the same facility and we were running an event together that day. A field trip to – of all places – Heart Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The island is shaped like a heart because the legendary owner had it re-engineered that way in honor of his devotion to his wife. He built a castle there for her too.

What a romantic story. Except she died and romance turned to tragedy. A romantic story remained unfinished. The castle remained unfinished also. I was starting to suspect Sweet Jonathan and I were destined to be unfinished as well. Then – when the suspense had my heart pounding at an excruciating pace – the climactic scene finally occurred. HE ASKED.

Dramatic. Life changing. Suspenseful. Romantic. Few days have been more of all of those things for me than that sunny June afternoon on the river I’d loved since I was a child. The river which just happens to appear prominently in my new book. In fact this exact same river comes close to drowning my heroine and my hero along with her.

The life I now live was launched that day on my river. The romantic love chapter of my life began and has since deepened into a complex and compelling story. I didn’t know our future story yet but I did know I was falling in love and found out soon afterward that Jonathan felt the same. Meanwhile I was quite terrified but he wasn’t and that saved the day.

I save the day again now for the launch of A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Bobby and Vanessa’s story but Jonathan and Alice’s story even more so. Because without a special afternoon of spectacular sunshine on Heart Island forty-four years ago I might never have lived my own up close and very personal Romantic Suspense.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17. A Villain for Vanessa will be available here. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE eBook at the same site and most other online book retailers.

 

 

 

Why I Write Stories about Big Mysterious Houses

Mansion image“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Joan Fontiane voice-overs that at the beginning of the Hitchcock film Rebecca. The first time we see Manderley we understand why it won’t leave her. Why it won’t even let her sleep without revisiting there.

I come from a place with many big mysterious houses. Manderley wasn’t just a large house. It was an estate. My personal history houses weren’t that grand but they were grand enough. At least the seemed so to me.

My family lived in an ordinary house. A Craftsman style bungalow with a wide porch and a peaked roof and dormers. I loved that house but I was fascinated by the big mysterious ones.

They lined the streets of certain neighborhoods of the town where I grew up in a remote area of New York State we called the North Country. But those weren’t the only big old houses in town. Sizable domestic structures could be found just about anywhere. Though not on our one-block street which had been built on a more human scale.

Maybe that contrast was part of what drew me to these oversized piles. I’d walk slowly past them after school even though they were out of the way from my shortest route home. I’d gaze between the broad trees across their deep lawns. Then upward floor after floor until my neck bent back at a right angle.

Who could possibly need all of that space? What went on inside that required so many rooms to happen? When I was young most of these places were still owned by single families. They hadn’t yet been split up into apartments as many of them someday would be. I imagined them occupied by eccentric elderly ladies. One of the most famous actually was.

This particular mansion was on the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets. My elementary school was walking distance from there. Every spring we would parade to that corner – one classroom’s worth of kids at a time. The teacher was always in the lead. Her most trusted pupil was assigned to travel up and down the rest of the line herding strays and stragglers back on route. I was never assigned that responsibility.

I was more likely to be a stray or straggler along the blocks between Academy Street School and the mansion. But as soon as we arrived a hush would settle over me despite my reputation for never being hushed by anything. The purpose of our expedition was to look at the gardens but I barely noticed the flowers – profuse as I’m sure they must have been.

My entire attention was captured by the house. As if each of its many windows was a magnet pulling me out of myself to be sucked into one opening after another. I longed to be carried inside but I was a little terrified too. Especially the day I saw a white lace curtain move aside for a moment beyond a bed of tall blue delphiniums – as a pale face appeared at a window pane.

Was this the heiress I’d been told lived here? Was it anyone at all or had I conjured her from my hunger for a glimpse inside? If she was an heiress with wealth and a mansion why would she steal a single peek then drop the lace curtain and retreat as if spooked by a gaggle of eight year olds gawking at her nasturtiums?

Meanwhile I was intoxicated myself by the spooky possibilities. I understood that big old houses have secrets. They are built from secrets and each secret is a story. I would probably never know those stories. They belonged to people rich enough to own such places. People powerful enough to hold onto their hidden tales and keep them hidden.

My only recourse was to recreate those stories myself out of the whole cloth of my imagination and populate them with the stuff and characters of dreams and sometimes of nightmares. I’m still doing that. Each of the books of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series so far has a big mysterious house at its center and a murder in the darkness of its heart.

I delight as much in unlocking the rooms as I do in unlocking the mystery. You’re welcome to accompany me – back to my version of Manderley again.

 Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks

RR

A Wrong Way Home is a FREE eBook at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E and most other online book retailers. All of Alice’s books are available at her Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.  A Villain for Vanessacoming soonwill be Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4.

 

How A Story Becomes THE Story – THE VICTIM

AliceOrr_AWrongWayHome_POD[1][1]I write Romantic Suspense novels which for me means that just about every story includes a murder or sometimes a couple of murders. The murder that happens first usually gets the story going. It is also what forces my heroine and hero into involvement with each other and with finding the murderer for whatever reasons may apply to their particular story.

Which means there’s a Victim. A person whose life has been taken by someone whose identity is as yet unknown with a motive for killing also as yet unknown. The suspense part of the story is about ferreting out this murderer’s identity and motive. The victim may actually appear only briefly in the story but he is crucial to making that story work.

Frequently Asked Question: Do you kill off real-life people in your stories? My Usual Answer: Not usually. Which means I might kill off real-life people in my stories sometimes. Here’s the victim of A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1. What’s your guess? Am I fictionally bumping off a nonfiction person here – or not?

Excerpt from A Wrong Way Home

Anthony Benton wasn’t in the habit of walking across the lawn to his condo complex, especially not on a miserable night like this one. He valued his Bruno Magli’s too much for that. What if somebody saw him slipping and scrambling through wet leaves like a snake in the grass? Good thing nobody important enough to care about would be out here in this damned weather. It was supposed to be spring, but you’d never guess that in this godforsaken place.

Spindly young trees whipped in the wind as far as their short trunks would bend while Anthony counted the weeks backward in his mind – one, two, three, four, a month. This crap had only been going on for a month. Aggravation made it feel a lot longer. He woke up each morning with anger churning inside him. He could barely remember when he didn’t have to think about things like whether taking the straight route across the lawn was safer than the longer way around the curved sidewalk.

How could he have ended up in such a humiliating position? Scurrying from his car to his house like a scared animal. He’d worked too hard making himself into Anthony Benton for this to be happening. Worst of all, there was nowhere in this jerkwater town he could turn for help. What was he supposed to say? “My dim bulb ex-wife is persecuting me?”

He’d be the butt of jokes from every hayseed in the county. Too many people envied him, and most of them were dim bulbs too. He’d have to put up with their sneers or be roasted all the more. That’s how it was in a place like Riverton.

The damp mist had turned into a steady drizzle. Anthony cursed under his breath and walked faster. He’d left his umbrella in the car. A month ago he would never have made that miscal­culation. He’d have had a plan all laid out in his mind with each step thought through and not a single flaw in the thinking. He’d have grabbed the umbrella from under the driver’s seat and had it at the ready in the outside pocket of his briefcase.

He’d parked under those dripping trees tonight because the walkway to the complex was only a few yards across the macadam from there. He’d done that because of her, to cut down on the chance she’d catch up to him between the car and the building, the way she did two nights ago.

She’d shouted and sniveled and grabbed at his clothes. He was sure some of his neighbors must have witnessed the scene from their windows. She’d made threats, too, said she’d get a gun and come after him.

He’d itched to pick her up and throw her as hard as he could onto the pavement right then. He was plenty strong enough to do that. He’d picked her up and thrown her before, but that was in private. If he laid a hand on her in public and somebody saw it, he’d be the one in trouble. That’s how it went these days…. End of Excerpt from A Wrong Way Home.

Anthony’s not a very likable guy is he? Don’t worry. He gets his comeuppance. In fact those just deserts are about to be served to him cold – very cold. Feel the chill eBook free at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E and most other online book retailers.

Alice Orrhttp://www.aliceorrbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks

RR

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallAll of Alice’s books are available at her Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/.  A Villain for Vanessacoming soonwill be Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4.

 

How to Manage Your Writing Time by Managing Your Writer Psyche

Time Management imageQuestion: What is my biggest writing time management problem? Answer: Me.

If you’d asked me this question last month or maybe even last week I’d have said this. “My biggest problem with managing my time to write is all of the demands made on my hours and my energy and my spirit too. So there!”

Reassessment tells me this is not the true answer to the question. Why not? Because it leaves Me totally out of the equation. As if the power in my life to live my life and parcel out my time somehow resides outside of myself in other people and other circumstances.

The true answer has been banging on my head for a while now. Often from the advice wise friends have tried without success to give me. Also from my own observation of other – or the same – friends. Even from my priest who’s been talking a lot about self-care lately.

My biggest problem with managing to find time to write is the same problem I have with managing too much of my life in general. I simply do not know where to put myself in the lineup of my priorities. As one of those wise friends of mine put it – I don’t put myself at the center of my life.

I’ve been long conditioned for this behavior. My mother used to tell me I wanted to be at the center of things. As if that wasn’t at all where I belonged. Even my sainted grandmother raised me to believe that if I wasn’t making the world a better place I shouldn’t be here.

All of which I interpreted as a clear admonition to put everybody else first. To do everything I could for everybody else whenever possible. And most pointedly – at least in my hearing of it and therefore in my head – that doing for myself or taking care of myself was a bad thing.

BTW both of those women followed their own advice. One of them did so with teeth gritted and resentment in her heart. Happenstance didn’t happen well for her. The other did so with love and kindness in her heart and she fared better. But not as well as she deserved to or should have.

Meanwhile I carried on the family tradition by leaping straight into the helping professions in first one form then others. Schoolteacher. Community organizer. Social worker. Book editor. Literary agent. That last requiring perhaps the most outpouring of self of all.

Guess where most of my time was spent through all of that. On other people’s needs. And where it was not spent. “You have a right to have your own needs satisfied.” That was another wise friend talking to me. My response was to stare at her as if she were speaking a language from an alien galaxy.

I’m telling this story first because I need to tell it. But even more so because almost every writer I know – maybe almost every person I know especially if she’s a woman – needs to hear it. Because so few of us put ourselves solidly at the center of our own lives.

In particular we don’t put ourselves at the center of our writing lives. Ask almost any writer what she’d do if she were truly taking care of herself. If she were truly satisfying her own needs. That writer at her most honest would say this. “I would spend more of my time writing. But I don’t.”

We need to change that. Specifically we need to change our minds about that and our hearts too. Otherwise we will never be able to manage our time or our energy. We will never be able to give our hungry spirits what they require to be satisfied. The opportunity to express themselves.

Not to mention we won’t be able to manage our writing careers either. So there!

 Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com                    http://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter                    http://www.twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks 

RR

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallA Villain for Vanessa – coming soon – will be Book 4 of Alice Orr’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series featuring the Kalli family and the Miller family in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way HomeBook 1 – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of Alice’s books are available at her Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/