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 –


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 I look forward to meeting you on the page.

20 thoughts on “Off the Road & Onto the Page – Orr What? Wednesday

  1. “Keep writing, whatever may occur!” A famous writer once said that.
    Who can that writer be? I’m glad that you’re taking that advice!!

    1. Hi Shelley. A famous writer actually said that to you? Well she must have been impressed that you are such a famous travel writer as well. Thanks for your well wishes. I really am enjoying myself and my work. I hope you’re doing exactly the same. Love and Blessings. Alice

    1. Thank you Teres Minambres. Especially for your continuing support. You have always had an encouraging word for me. I am very grateful for your generosity and send it right back to you. Blessings. Alice

  2. So many great things I’ve learned from you, Alice. Including at your Power workshop at the NJRW conference last weekend. I feel honored to have been there. Keep writing, keep laughing, and keep gathering…onward girl! You are beyond great!

    1. Hi Christine. It was wonderful to see your shining smile in front of me at last Saturday’s workshop. You have such a bright spirit. We are all the ones who are privileged to bask in the light of you. I look forward to lots more smiling times as NJRW sisters. Blessings. Alice

  3. hi Alice,
    of course you should devote yourself to your writing! (applause!)
    but as for “being around” — ever think of going to (or speaking at) the New England Crime Bake? I’ve been going every year for about 5 years — great mystery writers’ conference– at the Hilton Dedham/Boston hotel.
    anyway — hope to see you somehow, somewhere, in the future!
    sandy gardner

    1. Hello Sandy Gardner. How great it is to hear from you. Yes. I do intend to devote myself to my writing. That means no more preparation for and travel to speaking gigs and all the rest of the effort that goes with that. I’m sure the New England Crime Bake is a great venue. Plus I have family in Boston now if that’s where it is. But the only reason I’d do it is because of that family and the chance for a visit with them that I could write off. I hope to see you somehow soon also. I keep on planning to get to Woodstock for a few days but it never seems to happen. Let’s hope I can remedy that. In the meantime – best of luck with your writing and all else. Blessings. Alice

    1. Hi there Elizabeth Meyette. I as so grateful for your encouraging words. It’s hard for me to take this step when requests to present workshops keep coming in but I know it is right for me now. I don’t speak about the future much because none of us is sure how that will go. The Thoreau quote is sitting next to me right now on my coffee mug as I type this. I am trying to stay true to it and let it spur me on as it did for you. I’m a praying person and that’s one of the things I pray – for all of us – that we will “Go confidently in the direction of our dreams. Live the life we’ve imagined.” Blessings. Alice

    1. Thank you Shelley Freydont. I am on this side now and I am so incredibly glad to be here. I always knew this was what I wanted – to write full time – but I didn’t understand how much I also needed it until now. Blessings. Alice

  4. Alice, You were my role model and inspiration for becoming a writer early on. Thank God you were there for so many with your motivational talks and funny jokes! I posted the handout you gave to the New York City chapter of RWA: “Do It Anyway” to remind me of keeping true to my own dream of becoming a writer. Thank you! Good luck in your fourth career.

    1. Well Cathy Greenfeder. You are my role model for being a kind and caring person. We should all take your example and remember to Do That Anyway too. I am so glad to know you and for our wonderful talks and – most of all – that you are healing and coming back to us. Thanks for your many generous words to me through the years – and especially for these good wishes for my next adventure. You know I return the same to you. Blessings. Alice

    1. Hello my darling friend Irene Peterson. I was hoping you’d show up at the NJRW Conference last weekend. I was really wishing for a dose of your amazing spirit and your wit and just plain you. I probably won’t be doing any more podium gigs but you know very well that I’m always up for talking – especially to you. I intend to be at more NJRW chapter meetings. I hope I will meet you – Jersey girl – on Jersey ground again before long. Blessings. Alice P.S. I love Jersey girls!!!

    1. Oh Victoria Kaloss. Your lips to God’s ears and I hope she listens up. Writing and gathering and laughing with folks like you is my favorite way to spend a day and a lifetime. Blessings. Alice

    1. Hi Liz. One of the best things about my conference appearances this past year has been meeting you and getting to know you and giving mutual support to one another. You are a gifted woman in so many ways. I am honored to be your friend. And BTW you’re very witty yourself. That’s how I lost my voice last weekend – from laughing and laughing and laughing. Blessings. Alice

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