Monthly Archives: October 2015

A Great Place to Live – Ask Alice Saturday

Question. Why Is the World of a series a great place to live?

 Answer: Novels in a series are the road to success for an author.

A Vacancy at the Inn - Cover 2 200x300 - 20.6 KB Novels in a series are also the road to pleasure for a reader as an adventure through a world. The author builds that world detail by detail. The reader revels in that world scene by scene.

I’m traveling through my first series world as a writer and I love it there. My goal is to draw readers in and make them want to stay through one book then the next and the next. To do this I must create a world that feels real and resonates.

That means I must create a world that is consistent. A world of that has Rules. Following these rules adds to the reality of the series. You can figure out some of the rules of my series from this brief blurb.

The Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series is set in and around Riverton, New York in the remote North Country. Stories of danger and romance feature the Kalli and Miller families, their sons and daughters and the fortunate people who find safety and welcome on Riverton Road.

The setting is a town in remote northern New York State where I happened to grow up though there’s no real town called Riverton. The Kalli family of Riverton Road was at the center of my series world through Books 1 and 2. Now I’ve added the Miller who also live on Riverton Road.

Each gorgeous son and radiant daughter has or her story. I intend to move beyond them to others among the Kalli-Miller circle in future Riverton Road books. To hook readers into this extended world my job is to master the art of immersion.

I must immerse my readers so completely in my story world that they’re eager to remain there until I release them at The End. If I do that job well these readers will miss Riverton Road when they have to leave.

One way to sabotage myself would be to slip an inconsistency into the mix. Any off-key note awakens the reader from what John Gardner calls “the dream of the book”. To prevent this I establish the rules and follow them. Some I figure out in advance. Others as each story grows.

A bonus benefit – one I hadn’t expected – is that I’ve also become deeply immersed myself in the world I’m creating. From that deep place I bring my stories to real life because in that deep place they have real life for me. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had as a fiction writer.

This is how I discovered that making series rules is anything but limiting. The rules liberate my imagination into the flowing ocean of my story world until I don’t want to leave. And because I’m writing a series I don’t have to leave. Believe me. It is definitely a great place to live.

Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

A Vacancy at the Inn is the first Christmas Novella of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series featuring the Kalli family and now the Miller family too in stories of Romance and Danger. A Wrong Way Home is Book 1 of the series – A Year of Summer Shadows is Book 2 A Villain for Vanessa is Book 3. All titles are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E.

 

Nobody’s Lukewarm about Kara – Riverton Road Monday

AliceOrr_AWrongWayHome_POD[1][1]I’m not used to readers reacting ambivalently toward my heroines – much less getting upset with them. But that is precisely what’s happening with Kara – the heroine of my 13th novel A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1.

Ordinarily I don’t think I’d have minded much. Except Kara is – now that I think about it – a lot like me. She’s headstrong and opinionated and sometimes abrupt. She doesn’t put up with crap from anybody.

In fact in her first scene with Matt the hero she hauls off and socks him in the kisser. His left cheek to be exact. She has her car keys balled up in her fist when she does it.

Plus – if he hadn’t backed off from his intimidating behavior – she was ready to apply a swift effective kick of her heavy Frye Boots to his private parts.

Maybe this is the New Yorker in me talking but all I have to say so far is this. “What’s not to like?”

Okay. In the interest of full disclosure I admit Kara is impatient. She’s taken some hard knocks in the past. Especially from Matt Kalli – or at least from his family. She is definitely on the defensive with Matt and she can react too quickly.

Some of her behavior can be attributed to her return to her damned hometown. Everything bad she’s ever had to live through – including those hard knocks I mentioned – happened in Riverton. She swore never to come back and she meant it.

She’s been lured here by the one North Country person she unconditionally loved – her Aunt Dee. Even after death she calls Kara to come home and she does.

One would think all the preceding was enough to endure. But in addition the true nemesis of her former Riverton life – Anthony Benton – has been murdered. Kara might be relieved except that people she loves are caught in the prime suspect crosshairs of some bad local police persons.

Consequently Kara has her full feisty on. Just as I would. Just as you might. Or – if you couldn’t manage that for yourself – you might want feisty Kara duking it on your behalf for sure.

Thus – it shakes out that there are Kara-in-my-corner folks who say things like “I loved the saucy independent street savvy heroine.” Versus a curse-that-Kara reader who says “Belligerent and hotheaded Kara comes within the too stupid to live category.”

Obviously we know where I stand. Kara is my kind of gal. Even – maybe especially – when love grabs her by the heart and she scraps and kicks but cannot shake it off.

Please give Kara a chance. My guess is you won’t be able to help yourself. By the end of her story you’ll love her too – almost as much as you love good old lovable me.

Besides – the eBook of A Wrong Way Home is FREE FREE FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC and other online retailers. As I said – “What’s not to like?”

Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE online. My 13th novel A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find it – along with all of my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I hope you won’t be lukewarm about any of them.

 

 

Write It Down – Ask Alice Saturday

Idea LampQuestion. What is your biggest mistake as a writer?  Answer. Sometimes I don’t write important things down.

 I know this has happened to you too because it happens to everybody. You have a knock-your-socks-off idea. It’s so good you are blown away. You can hardly believe this super great fortune has been given to you.

What has been given is a thing of perfect beauty and elegant symmetry. Best of all – it is just right for you and what you need to accomplish. I call it the Idea from Heaven. Because nothing short of paradise could deliver such a priceless gem.

This concept has struck you so deeply and moved you so profoundly you are certain beyond any possible uncertainty it has imprinted on your psyche forever. All the same you know you should write it down immediately.

But for some reason – often fairly trivial – that notetaking moment isn’t altogether convenient at this particular moment in time. You don’t intend to put it off for long – only until whatever you’re into right now is out of the way.

Besides – this is the Idea from Heaven. The bolt of lightning that has zigzagged across the deepest blue of blue skies. You absolutely will not forget it… Except you do forget it.

You look for it – maybe only minutes later – and it is gone gone gone. You search and search. You employ every memory jogger trick and technique you’ve ever heard of but all you can recall is the feeling.

All that remains is a whiff of the euphoria this once-in-what-feels-like-forever idea carried with it. Everything else has disappeared – evaporated – turned invisible like the words on those plastic-faced pads I had when I was a kid.

Maybe you had one too. You write or draw or doodle on the surface. Then you pull off the plastic covering and every mark goes with it. Finito forever. The true tabula rasa.

This is what happened to the notion that was bound to catapult you to the stars but has now flitted off – like a fickle tease – to another imagination never to return. Brain science may have a theory or twelve about this phenomenon. Or maybe the universe if just screwing with you.

Whatever the explanation the upshot is always the same – at least for me. I’m plunged into mourning. The Kubler-Ross five stages of adjusting to great loss lie ahead. And it is all my fault because all I had to do was write the damned words down. But I did not.

This happens to me less these days. I’ve learned to value these brainstorms as I do the ornaments that festoon the branches of my holiday tree. Those ornaments were made by my grandchildren and I accord them the love and attention and tender care they deserve.

I write my brainstorms down – even if I have to resort to my Idea Lamp. Because the goddess of creativity is a jealous gal and if I don’t do due diligence when gifted by her – she will get me good.

So – WRITE IT DOWN. And always remember that the only thing worse than great loss is those blankity-blank five stages of grief.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

                                                                             RR

 My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE online. My 13th novel   A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find them both – along with my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I wrote their ideas down.

 

 

Off the Road & Onto the Page – Orr What? Wednesday

Country BridgeThirty-three years ago I gave my first writers’ conference presentation at what may have been the first New Jersey Romance Writers Conference. This past weekend I gave what may be my last presentation to the same group.

That long-ago conference took place in either a church basement or a community center. I honestly can’t remember which. Probably because I was a nervous wreck at the time. I do remember the space was divided down the middle by an accordion wall so two speakers could present at once.

At some point in my talk a head peeked around the partition and asked if the people in my audience could please laugh less loudly. It was then I discovered that when I get nervous I get funny. I also discovered that the podium comes as naturally to me as breathing.

In the long laugh-filled time since then I’ve been known to appear at as many as twenty-five writers’ events a year. I traveled the U.S. I did gigs across Canada. I even appeared in Europe to audiences of English-speaking authors.

It is a major understatement to say I had a wonderful time and participants in my workshops seemed to share my joy. Way back in the beginning I mastered the art of being witty without jangled nerves as my motivation. I had found that my true motivator was to teach what I’d learned as a published writer and editor and literary agent.

There are still lessons to be taught as I enter what i think of as my fourth career in this business – as an Indie Author now. That was my subject in Jersey last weekend. We’ve Got the Power! – How Choice Changes Everything About Publishing Today. More lessons remain to be taught indeed – But no longer by me.

My main goal and my enduring dream through all of these years has been to write full-time someday. Now I’ve decided to grant myself the gift of fulfilling that dream. I have loved my years at the podium. I have especially loved the wonderful writers I’ve been blessed and privileged to meet and befriend.

I will be around of course. I still love writers’ gatherings and I won’t stop attending them. I’ll simply be in the audience from now on. And in the hallways and the restaurants and the cocktail lounges too. Wherever my writing sisters and brothers come together – I’ll be there.

But for the most part it is off the road I go and onto the page of the stories I’m so very ready to write. And the blog posts too where I will continue to pass on whatever I may learn to whomever may want to read what I have to say. Maybe that will be you.

In the meantime –  “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” Henry David Thoreau.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

RR

My eBook A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – is FREE  online. My 13th novel   A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available too. Find them both – along with my other titles – at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000APC22E. I look forward to meeting you on the page.

Conference Heat Hits Riverton Streets – Riverton Road Monday

Heat Wave imageI spent the past weekend at the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference and I learned a lot. I learned to steam up the heat index of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series.

I’m not saying my previous books aren’t hot. In A Year of Summer Shadows Mark and Hailey cook in her kitchen so slam-bang hard the pots and pans are rattling off the shelves. And in A Wrong Way Home Matt and Kara warm the spring buds to bursting in more than the garden.

Still – on Friday night when I listened to my dear friend Anne Walradt read excerpts from the Put Your Heart in a Book and Golden Leaf contest winners – I knew it was time to hit the hot-stuff button until my readers beg for mercy.

That must have been noodling in my head all night long because I woke up Saturday morning and wrote a scene that had my own home fires burning. This scene appears in A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romance Series Book 3- Bobby and Vanessa’s Story which will be coming – pun entirely intended – soon.

I’m going to see how much I dare excerpt from that scene here. But – I warn you – if sexy situations are not your cup of tea stop reading now.

The roaring winds and yesterday’s rain had done their worst. Colored leaves lay in a blanket of slick stems and soggy points among the tangle of exposed roots beneath the tall, broad tree nearest to her car. Vanessa needed to think about the tangle she was in personally and how to extricate herself.

Instead, she found herself catapulted into the tangle of herself and Bobby in each other’s arms on the Kalli porch. He’d pulled her close and surrounded her with a power she hadn’t anticipated. He was usually careful not to overstep, but he wasn’t careful last night. He hadn’t so much moved past the boundary of propriety between them as he’d crushed it beneath his feet and lifted her into a place that was only him – his scent, his breath, his mouth, his everything.

He held her so tight she couldn’t have pushed him away if she wanted to, and she didn’t want to. She’d wanted more of him, every inch of his body, with no coats or jeans or sweaters in between. She longed to see him that way, naked against her, and herself just as naked pressing into him. She longed for that now.

Vanessa hadn’t put her gloves back on after leaving Wilson’s store. Her hands should be chilled to the bone, but they were hot. She breathed deep, long breaths as her fingers edged her coat aside and wandered over her thigh. She knew that wouldn’t be enough.

She engaged both hands, grabbing the waistband and snap of her pants, pulling them open and pushing the zipper down. Her fingertips were against her bare skin, flaming skin on flaming skin, moving downward beneath the flimsy fabric of her panties until she found the place she needed desperately to touch.

She reached between the….

Okay. That’s as far as I think I should go here. My guess is you get the direction I’m drifting toward. I will simply close by saying this. As the scene continues – a lot more than the autumn leaves whirl wild and end up wet.

RR

A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It is also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available at those same platforms including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels and I keep delivering the heat in number 14. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.