Monthly Archives: April 2016

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/

 

How A Story Becomes THE Story – THE END

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallYesterday was a big day for me as a writer. It would be a big day for any writer. So big that lots of excitement is involved. Happy excitement. Jubilant excitement. The excitement of relief. Naturally I wanted to share it.

“Jonathan” I call out from the multipurpose couch/daybed/pillow place in my office where I do most of my writing. “Come in here please. And bring your glasses.”

Last month Jonathan and I passed our forty-fourth anniversary of being together so he may have known the reason for my mysterious request. But he didn’t share that knowledge with me. He allowed me to build the suspense. I write Romantic Suspense after all and I love to milk every ounce of dramatic tension from a scene.

I wait at my laptop with my fingers poised over the keys. The cursor is already in place. The Solid Caps key has already been clicked. I’m ready for the climactic moment but I keep myself in check as is my nature. I maintain a cool façade when my insides may be roiling. Except if I can’t manage that kind of control. In which case it would be wise to run to a distant county.

Jonathan enters the room and stands behind my right shoulder. I don’t look up at him and he doesn’t speak but he’s excited too. I feel those vibes jumping off of him. He obviously does know what’s coming and I’d better make it happen soon or he’ll go all premature on me and you know how that can ruin things.

I touch the keys at the same instant a lump rises in my throat and tears gather under my eyelids. I swallow the lump and will the tears not to fall. Not yet for the emotion. Not quite yet. My fingers move. Six letters separated by a space in the middle form at the center of the page.

THE END

Seconds of silence follow. Reverence for what it has taken to get here. This book has been a challenging adventure and we all know what the word challenge means. This book has been a giant pain in the patoot to make happen. I’ll share those challenging tidbits in future posts. Meanwhile yesterday after those two words become a fact on the page a silence is in order.

Then the kisses begin. Starting at the neck where all sexy romantic heroes know just what to do with their lips etc. And Jonathan is definitely my sexy romantic hero. Especially where my writer life is concerned. Many years ago he was the one who asked the question nobody – including myself – had ever asked me.

“If you could do anything you wanted with your life what would it be?” The dramatic tension was high then too. I could barely breathe. I almost couldn’t talk. “I’d be a writer” I whispered. What Jonathan responded was basically “Go for it my darling.”

I’ve been going for it ever since. Right up until I typed THE END to my fifteenth novel yesterday. It’s called A Villain for Vanessa. Over the next weeks – on as many Mondays as I can manage – I’ll tell you how this story became THE story for me.

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

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of Alice Orr’s Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – 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/  A Villain for Vanessa will be Book 4 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series.