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I Think I’ll Go Indie

Indie Spirit 1Sometimes I remember that title as my decision process. Think it. Do it. Done. But of course it wasn’t. The seeds were planted – the deep planting anyway – at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. I was there to present a workshop called The Art of Agent Stalking. Nothing Independent Publishing about it. Traditional Pub all the way.

I was watching the Indie movement for sure but from a poolside seat without as much as a toenail near the water. I was a curious onlooker. Nothing more. However before I even reached the convention hotel my toes and my attitude had begun to shift.

The airport shuttle van was packed with authors and guess what they were talking about. Indie Publishing. Some wanted to know more about making the leap. Some were thinking of making the leap. Some had made the leap and spoke of what had happened to them.

I mostly listened. Especially to the story of an author who’d long written for the same imprint I’d published with in the past. It didn’t take long for someone to ask her about money. She answered that her Indie earnings were approaching her Trad earnings and others said the same.

Those stories got everyone’s attention including mine. But they weren’t what impressed me most about the author themselves. What impressed me most was their enthusiasm. I’d been in writing and publishing for years by then as editor/agent/published author attending many writers’ events.

But I had never heard published authors – who were beyond the first euphoric blush of their careers – positively excited as these authors were about being Indie Pubbed. By the time we reached the conference hotel I understood why.

They had retrieved their writer selfhood from the control and manipulation of others. They owned their work. They owned their decision-making. They owned their careers. And they not only felt empowered – they were overjoyed.

During the next several days in one extraordinary session after another I learned the downside of the Indie life as well as the up. With total control comes total responsibility. The buck stops with the Indie writer and often the other kind of buck – the green one – doesn’t stop with her anywhere often enough.

I heard that. I comprehended it. Most of all I appreciated it. Whatever choice I made would be an informed choice not an emotional one. Or so I thought.

The truth on the other hand was that by the time I took the hotel van back to the airport I’d made a decision that was very much about emotion. I longed to experience the enthusiasm and – I barely dared imagine it – the happiness of those authors in that earlier van.

I wanted to be a full adult fully in charge of my own work life. I’d had that experience as a literary agent. I wanted it again as an author. One Indie memoir and three Indie fiction books later I very occasionally second guess my choice and only when the money issue arises.

I do not make as many of the green bucks as I did in my Trad Pub years. Not yet anyway. But I’m more content with what I do and how I go about doing it than I ever was back then. So – for now and I hope for a long time to come – I think I’ll stay Indie.

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

RR

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

Bad Cop – Bad Cop

A Wrong Way Home - Final Cover - 200x300 px version“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton could have been talking about Riverton, New York. The smallish town setting of my Romantic Suspense Series is a lovely place to live. So lovely – on the surface at least – it may be too good to be true.

Anything that appears too good to be true probably is. I have no idea who first said those words but I believe them. Lift even a slight wrinkle at the corner of a too-good surface and see what creeps out. Among those creeps in Riverton is the local police force.

They’ve been nicknamed the Grays for their precisely tailored gray uniforms. With creases so severely pressed “you could cut your fingers on them,” Matthew Kalli observes in A Wrong Way Home. Matt has personal experience of how cutting the Grays can be. That experience goes way back. Especially with the Gray in this scene.

Matt grew up with scary stories about the Grays. The scariest stories were always about one cop in particular. His name was Joseph Prozin­ski, but everybody called him Joe Pro. Prozinski was a police sergeant back when Matt was a senior in high school.

His younger brother Luke was the third in the Kalli boy line. Luke was just about out of middle school then, but he was already growing into his own nickname. The one he’d picked for himself from the title of an old black and white movie called The Wild One.

He loved to quote a Marlon Brando line from that movie. Luke would challenge anybody he could talk into it to ask what he was rebelling against. He’d plaster a wide grin on his face and answer.

“What ‘ya got?”

There was no way a kid in Riverton with an attitude like that was going to avoid trouble with Joe Pro. The trouble Matt remembered most happened late on a spring afternoon. That was the time of day Luke came home from school to grab a bite to eat before heading out again with his friends.

The gang of them would roar up the Kalli driveway crammed into whatever pickup truck or broken down car was available to whichever kid had a legal driver’s license at the time. Luke was too young to be licensed, but his friends tended to be older than he was.

They’d slam on the brakes inches short of the massive doors to Gus Kalli’s garage with Kalli Contracting painted in tall letters across the front. Luke would jump out from the seat where he always insisted on riding shotgun because it was the cool place to be.

Luke wasn’t riding shotgun on that afternoon, and he wasn’t in a friend’s pickup truck either. A police car brought him home, and when he got out it wasn’t with his usual swagger. He was pulled out of the car by Joseph Prozinski.

Matt was already working after school for Kalli Contracting in those days. He’d been crouched on the roof of the house replacing asphalt shingles when he heard the police cruiser pull into the driveway and roar up to the house.

He dropped his tools and climbed to the roof peak just in time to see Prozinski kick the car door shut and shove Luke hard up against it. Joe Pro slapped Luke then, not once but three times, back and forth across the face. Bam. Bam. Bam.

Luke’s head snapped from side to side like a punching ball on a stand. Joe Pro did that slapping with his back to Matt, but he could still tell that, for this cop, beating up on Luke was no different than punching a ball would be.

“Get your hands off my brother,” Matt bellowed from the top of the roof.

Joe Pro turned away from Luke and directed his nasty sneer straight up at Matt. He’d never forgotten the chill that sneer sent knifing through him or how small and powerless it made him feel. Like a bug crushed into the gravel driveway by Joe Pro’s heel.

Matt forced himself past that feeling and scrambled down the back slope of the roof to the ladder. By the time he reached the ground and ran to front of the house, his mother was there and Prozinski had backed off. Even Joe Pro knew enough not to tangle with Angela Kalli. Otherwise, Matt might have ended up in jail after all, with his brother Luke for a cell mate.

There it is. The corrupting influence of power and what may lie beneath an apparently too-perfect surface. The trouble right here in Riverton makes it a fertile setting for suspense. As in the nasty things folks sometimes do to each other and how all of that turns out.

The trouble in Riverton has a lot to do with power. Who has it and who doesn’t and how that mix can erupt when the two factions collide or when they try to coalesce. Those eruptions can be murder. That’s what makes Riverton more interesting than “too good to be true.”

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

RR

A Wrong Way Home – Book 1 of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series – is a FREE eBook at Amazon and other online retailers. All of my books are available at my Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/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.