Tag Archives: Inspiration

Giving Thankfuls – Gratitude Season Is Still Here

Giving Thankfuls began when our grandchildren were with us every weekend at our yellow house on Vashon Island. We would hold hands before eating and go around the dining table, which was dinged and battered from years of active kid use. The chairs had been rocked back and forth with vigor so many times that Grandpa Jonathan finally implanted bolts to hold them somewhat intact. At that well-used table, each of us in turn would name what we were thankful for that day. The grandkids always started with thanks for being with us. Jonathan and I always started with thanks for being with them, filled with joy and chair-rocking energy as they were. We’d end with a rousing “Amen,” which our grandson once told us was like hitting “Send” on a computer keyboard. In that happy way, Giving Thankfuls became our mealtime tradition.

The children are older now, and we’re all back on the east coast, where the family originated. Granddaughter is in college, blessedly nearby, and takes Giving Thankfuls for granted when breaking bread with us. Grandson is a high schooler in Massachusetts and no longer rocks his chair at dinnertime, but is still into Giving Thankfuls. Jonathan and I are a twosome most of the time, but haven’t stopped holding hands and Giving Thankfuls. Including non-reverent entries, mostly from me, like “I’m thankful for Jonathan not forgetting to do such-and-such.” We’ve been married forty-five years, and he is a husband after all.

Every holiday season, I have lots of reasons for Giving Thankfuls. Up front among them are memories, like those I’ve shared here about family, and about blazing, battling and being in love through those forty-five years I mentioned. We are a stormy couple for sure. None of you who know me well will doubt the probability of that. I do not go gentle into anything, sometimes to my credit, sometimes not. I am, nonetheless, at this stage of my life, Giving Thankfuls for having grown to appreciate myself, however imperfect a character I may be.

Speaking of characters, every morning finds me Giving Thankfuls for the gift of storytelling, which probably comes from Grandma, where most of the good in me was born. She told stories aloud. I write mine down. The abiding spirit is definitely connected. Being a storyteller has put me in the amazing company of other storytellers. I love that company for its generosity, its wonderful wit, its endless ingenuity. I’ve found role models and helpmates there, friends too, both professional and personal. I cannot imagine another community I would rather inhabit.

Except maybe our church community at the hundred-fifty-year-old parish five blocks from where we live. Jonathan and I, and granddaughter too, were there yesterday peeling potatoes, preparing stuffing and setting tables for today’s Thanksgiving feast. We love the diversity of our congregation. Many nationalities, many different first languages, all worshiping as one. Our diversity will be well-represented at today’s meal, along with that of our neighborhood at large, all of whom are invited to join us. There’s bound to be an abundance of Giving Thankfuls too.

We also have dear friends across the country for whom we are continually Giving Thankfuls. Consider yourself among them. So, dear friends, what would you mention when you are Giving Thankfuls? Please share those mentions with us in the Comments to this post. And, most important, have a totally joyful Thanksgiving.

P.S. The guy in the photo is Jonathan, and I have no idea why he’s peeking into the turkey’s you-know-what. Should I worry about that?  Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

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Alice’s new novel, for which she’s Giving Thankfuls, is A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Available HERE. You can find all of Alice’s books HERE.

What readers are saying about A Time of Fear & Loving. “Alice Orr is the queen of ramped-up stakes and page-turning suspense.” “Warning. Don’t read before bed. You won’t want to sleep.” “The tension in this novel was through the roof.” “A budding romance that sizzles in the background until it ignites with passion.” “I never want an Alice Orr book to end.” “The best one yet, Alice!”


Tags: Grandma, Helpmates, Colleagues, Storytelling

Your Precious Power of Enthusiasm #MFRWauthor #IAN

family diversity imageI began making presentations to writers many years ago. From the beginning, I had a mission, to share what I know about the publishing world and help writers navigate that world more effectively. The specifics of my message changed as own knowledge changed and grew.

At first, I talked about writing stories. How to create strong characters and put them in a fast-paced plot. How to make a story publishable and readable. Then I became a book editor for a traditional publisher. I learned how a publishing house really works and passed that on.

When I became a literary agent, maximizing manuscript marketability was my daily focus. I even wrote a book about it. No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells (A revised version is now in progress.) Once again, I was passing on what I knew.

Eventually, I moved on from editing and agenting. I’d published several novels with traditional publishers by then, but indie publishing offered new challenges. I’ve brought out a memoir and four novels thus far so I blog about that experience and advise individual authors when I can.

Now, a new message is needed and, along with it, a new mission, to combat the discouragement I find rampant among too many writers these days. My message is one of encouragement for all of us to use our periods of challenge to grow our potential as authors.

As I’ve said many times before, you can and will make it through such periods because you have the skills and resources you need to do so. You can and will make it through because that is your only choice if your passion is to write and bring the gift of your writing to the world.

Talk yourself past the difficult, sometimes scary places. Say to yourself, “I will not be afraid today.” “I refuse to let anxiety infect my spirit today.” Most important of all, “I will not lose sight of my Power of Enthusiasm today.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Never relinquish your Powerful Enthusiasm.” I say, Enthusiasm is the energy you need to fuel yourself through testing moments. Enthusiasm puts your psyche on your side where you need it to be. Enthusiasm inspires you to think of each day as a jewel on the thread of your life. Never underestimate the worth of that gem or forget to admire its beauty.

Instead of giving in to doubt and fear, give yourself up to Enthusiasm for your work. Honor how wonderful it is to do something you love, to have discovered your passionate pursuit. Rejoice in the gift and blessing of that discovery as an occasion for Enthusiasm a thousand times over.

In addition to your Precious Power of Enthusiasm, loads of hard work and creativity will of course be required. A satisfying route to take, an adventure you can be proud to pursue, one enthusiastic day at a time.

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

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My latest novel A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 is available from Amazon HEREA Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK HERE.





It’s the End of the Year & We’re All Fruit

happy-new-yearIn My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), totally lovable curmudgeon Gus Portokalos says this. “You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word ‘milo,’ which is mean ‘apple,’ so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos, is come from the Greek word ‘portokali,’ which mean ‘orange.’ So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.

I love this movie as much as I do because I wish I was part of the Portokalos family. Those parents and siblings, those aunts and cousins, the batty grandma who faces down long-gone invaders everywhere. I consigned myself to a long-gone bad marriage in part because he had a family somewhat like this one. Though I don’t recall anyone regaling me with anything like Gus’s cranky-wonderful wisdom.

Segue to the current moment and my own attempt to regale us with some Gus Grace. 2016 was a tough year for many people for many reasons. We are sad about it and/or angry. At least this is what we allow to show on the surface. Examining my own self and being honest, I must admit that beneath the sadness and anger I feel wounded. Why? Because people I thought would agree with my version of truth and rightness did not do so.

I didn’t unfriend anybody on Facebook. At the point of a couple of possible in-person face-offs I said, “We simply can’t talk about this.” Which was graciously accepted because both of us wanted to preserve the relationship. Still, a nasty bit of residue remained and, no matter how small that bit of residue might have been, it was not insignificant. Because we had loved one another on some level. Now that love was tainted and we were mutually saddened and hurt.

I know many of you have had similar experiences on a personal level and on a wider life level as well. For the latter, yesterday we celebrated (if that’s the appropriate term) Good Riddance Day. In Times Square “participants wrote down unpleasant, painful or embarrassing memories from the past year and chucked them into an industrial strength shredder.” Feel free to do the same in your own town square. Otherwise, a back yard bonfire will suffice.

I believe in the power of rituals. Let’s each of us burn or shred or holler our frustrations into the night. Then, could we please go back to being friends together or colleagues or just folks who respect one another as individuals who may differ in some ways? Because if we do not do that, what we sacrifice is the love I mentioned. The world will be worse off for that loss. The world is always worse off for the loss of love.

I understand that our hurt places are still tender to the touch. So we don’t want to touch them. But, in my never humble opinion, we must. We can do it overtly by a phone call or a private online message something like, “Hi. I know we had that thing over you-know-what but I miss you.” Or you can borrow my usual less bold approach and behave as if nothing happened. Smile and chat and hope your missed friend smiles and chats in return.

Why bother? Because the end of a year is an opportunity for new beginnings or re-starts of old beginnings. Because, according to mythology, at the New Year we must do everything we can to summon the return of the light out of winter’s darkness. Maybe, if we adopt that timetable, by springtime we will have salved past hurts with the balm of present friendship. Because what truly matters after all is this. In the end we are all fruit. So there you go.  Alice Orr – http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/


A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HEREA Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK there also. All written as a peach, I hope.