Tag Archives: Heroines

All Scarlett All the Time – Orr What? Wednesday

Scarlett O’Hara was a bad influence on the way I experienced real life romance in my younger days. A dark growling brute carries you to bed and pretty much rapes you. So you fall straight off in love with him. My first marriage got me over that screwed up way of thinking because I’d pretty much found that brute. Which wasn’t the least bit romantic after all.

On the upside – Scarlett will never stop being a positive influence on my romScarlett O'Haraance with life. My favorite Gone With the Wind scene isn’t the one where Rhett hefts Scarlett up the wide staircase with her red dressing gown trailing. The truly indelible scene for me is at the end of the first act just before the Intermission. I’ll bet you remember it too. Who could forget?

Scarlett stands on a hillside as daylight fades. She faces the devastated landscape of what was once her beautiful Tara. In the distance she sees the war ravaged wreck of the gracious antebellum mansion where her story began. She was beautiful then too with her waft waist and ivory complexion and perfectly coiffed hair. Now she’s ravaged too. But she is not devastated.

Scarlett balls her fist tight as she clutches what looks like a grimy radish root. She’s taken a bite of this filthy root then spat it out. With the vile taste of defeat in her mouth she finds what she will need to raise herself up from this rock bottom moment and the patch of scruffy earth where she now stands. She lifts her fist toward heaven and cries out.

“As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

The first time I heard that I knew instantly what it was – a warrior cry. Even as a little girl I understood somehow that this was the spirit I would need in life – a warrior spirit. I was exactly right about that because it is the spirit we all need. We must be warriors on behalf of ourselves if we are to rise above our own inevitable scruffy-dirt-patch experiences.

What Scarlett failed to recognize of course is that one of the most effective ways of lifting ourselves is to lift others also. To become warriors on behalf of one another. Especially on behalf those whose fingers are trembling too badly at the moment to make a fist and brandish it at heaven. We take hold of their shaking fingers. We lift them high with ours and cry out.

“As God is my witness, we’ll never be defeated again, because we’ll never be alone again.”

So – we must work our fingers until they are strong and able. We don’t need a squashy ball either. Life offers lots of opportunity to exercise muscles of resistance. We practice making tight fists by shaking them at every obstacle in our path. We grow our own version of Scarlett’s warrior spirit and have it at the ready as we strike out toward each new scary challenge.

And if the pushback pushes back too hard at times and we have to go to ground for a bit. We simply say. “Fiddle dee dee. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” Because tomorrow is another warrior spirit day.

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 My latest story is A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series  –  Book #1 – Matt & Kara’s Story. Available at amazon.com/author/aliceorr. This is my 12th novel and – believe me – it took a warrior spirit to get here.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com

Kara Comes Clean – Riverton Road Monday

Some people think I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. But really I have a wound in my heart. In my head I associate that wound with Riverton, New York a place everybody else seems to love.

My memories of Riverton are mostly painful. From my tortured mentally ill mother to my own torRiverton Downtown stock phototured connection with Anthony Benton. He is a cruel man who preys on the vulnerability of others – especially women. I was one of those women when I made the worst choice of my life and turned to him.

I’d lost the man I loved and I was shattered. Anthony Benton promised comfort and protection. He gave brutality instead. Until I was able to escape from him and Riverton and every unhappy memory here. Unfortunately that meant I had to leave Aunt Dee – the one person in the North Country I truly cherished. Besides Matt Kalli the man who had destroyed my heart.

Now Aunt Dee has died and left me her wonderful old house on Flower Street. But there are strings attached and I’m tangled in those strings. That’s why I’ve come back to Riverton where hard memories assault me the minute I drive into town. I’ve remade myself and my life since I left here. I’m no longer shattered or vulnerable. Quite the opposite in fact.

Still all the old hurt and confusion return in an instant. Maybe that explains the impulse to call Matt Kalli. In Riverton less than a half-hour. Already making foolish choices. And I don’t even know yet that Anthony Benton has been murdered.

Discover more about Kara in A Wrong Way Home – Book #1 of the Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series – Matt & Kara’s Story. Love and danger feature the Kalli family, the four Kalli brothers and those who find safety and a warm welcome at Kalli Corner on Riverton Road. A Year of Summer Shadows is Book #2 in the series and launches on May 15, 2015.

Find my books at amazon.com/author/aliceorr.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com

Sleeping with Cheerios

The angels are in the details. And the more specific those details – the sweeter those angels will sing. Nobody knows that better than Stephen King.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-cheerios-cereal-background-image28465937When a refrigerator opens in a Stephen King story we don’t just find ketchup on the shelf. We find Heinz Ketchup on the shelf. Heinz Ketchup is a cultural icon for most of us. We see the dark red through the glass – the white crest shaped label – the metal cap that’s hard to unscrew.

King understands our mental associations with the objects of American life – especially brand name objects. Evoking these iconic associations makes a scene feel more real no matter how outlandish other elements of that scene may be. And we do know Stephen can get outlandish.

Here’s an example from the Stephen King novel Carrie. “The explosion of Toni’s Citgo on upper Summer Street had resulted in a ferocious fire that was not to be controlled until nearly two o’clock in the morning.”

He could have said “the explosion of the gas station.” But “Toni’s Citgo” is much more real. We are right there on upper Summer Street seeing and believing. However incredible the events of Carrie White’s life may be – the specificity of Toni’s Citgo helps us suspend our disbelief.

In another Stephen King example from his novel The Shining Wendy Torrance is terrified of her husband Jack as usual. She “paws through her purse and comes up with an Anacin” after complaining timidly of “a really bad headache.”

“’No Excedrin?’ Jack snaps back. He saw the small recoil in her face and understood.” We understand too and wish we could offer her a Xanax and a ticket out of there.

My personal example resonates more privately. Except maybe if you’ve had a beloved relative in pain and peril and were beside yourself with overwhelming feelings of grief and powerlessness.

This relative was my precious granddaughter and she’d just gone through radical back surgery. I was at her parents’ house exhausted after hours at the hospital. But I couldn’t sleep because I was miserable and afraid. I needed something sweet at a bitter time.

I prowled the kitchen trying not to wake anyone but all I could find was a box of Cheerios. I spirited that box back to my granddaughter’s single bed where I was sleeping – or supposed to be sleeping – while she was hospitalized.

I stuffed dry circles into my mouth as tears wet my cheeks. I woke the next morning with those circles crushed underneath me. I’d been sleeping with Cheerios. If I ever write that full scene – how much less real and resonant will it be if I say I’d been sleeping with cereal?

Find my books at amazon.com/author/aliceorr.

Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com