Tag Archives: MondayBlogs

Stay on Board or Tumble into a Wallow? #MondayMotivation #MFRW_author #IAN1

smooth-sailing-imageReturned to earth after annual orbit through the Thanksgiving galaxy. Food leftovers provisioned out to freezer or jury-rigged concoctions, some less savory than others. Guest leftovers packed up for mailing, especially the grandson’s electric toothbrush. Extra table leaves packed up also until next feast day.

Re-entry into my newest project also after two weeks’ hiatus and several hiatuses before that one. Lots of reading in between with the comparison bunny hard at work reminding me how far short I fall. My last post here was titled “Your Brain on Doubt.” We write what we need to read.

Prominent among those reading experiences, because of its potential to inspire me off my duff, On Writing by Stephen King. His basic advice vis-à-vis doubt and the comparison bunny et.al. Sit down every morning and do the work. Two-K words minimum. He actually advises more K’s but offers this fallback, perhaps because he is a compassionate man. Or not.

If he were truly compassionate he wouldn’t rob me of my most righteous rationale. The gods of the health glitch, each a miserable so-and-so, have rendered me pretty much housebound. When asked how my work is going I simply say that word, “housebound,” or maybe “shut-in” with the hardliners. Nobody questions me again. They’re too busy offering condolences.

In response to which Mr. King tells the story of his own home incarceration. Leg encased in a medieval-style torture device. Confined to a back hallway. Sweating out a heatwave record breaker with only a small oscillating fan, as opposed to legions of the life-sized variety, for relief. Meanwhile, he’d written the very book I held in my hands.

In my own meanwhile, I was back in Chapter Six. Amanda and Willow race across the countryside propelled by fear of a phantom biker who may or may not be on their trail. I’d lost enthusiasm for their story right up to the moment that same morning when I took the King’s advice and forged ahead, hampered by homebound-ness or not.

“Keep on writing whatever may occur.” I’d signed my own book with those words many times but I hadn’t really paid attention. The phrase was a PR ploy. The thing I should say to be admired or maybe even loved a little, especially by beginners who give love so generously. That morning, at long last, I followed my own admonition.

Afterward I felt good, maybe even fabulous. I contacted my editor to ask if Amanda and Willow can expect her to jump on board, as she has so effectively in the past. But the most crucial questions are these. Will I stay on board myself? OR Will I tumble off into a wallow, as I’ve too often done? Only time, and the status of my word count, will tell.

RR

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. All of Alice’s books are written while on board rather than wallowing.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/

http://facebook.com/aliceorrwriter/

http://twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks/

http://goodreads.com/aliceorr/

http://pinterest.com/aliceorrwriter/

 

Going #Home Again. Can We? Should We? @AliceOrrBooks #RomanticSuspense #MFRWauthor

 

Going Home imageEvery story is a conversation with myself as the author and myself as a person. I usually don’t recognize what that conversation is about until I’m at least halfway through the writing. Sometimes, not until I’ve typed “The End.” After publishing four books in my current series, I discover the conversation for me is often about going home. Or about not going home.

In A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1, I knew early on in the storytelling that Kara’s dilemma has been my own dilemma for decades. Can we go home again? Can we return to the place that birthed us and nurtured us? Or, as is sometimes the case, the place that failed to nurture us. The answer is more difficult when we’ve had a hometown experience like Kara’s, the non-nurturing kind with hurtful memories to go with it.

For Kara the dark memory pits have to do with two things, her family and her past relationships with men. She doesn’t want to fall into either of those pits again. Yet, she can’t seem to stay away from Matt, even though she knows for sure that seeing him again will mean heartache for her. He is like the sore tooth she can’t keep from flicking with her tongue, maybe to make certain the pain is still there. Or, more accurately, to make sure the strong feelings are still there. Isn’t that true of most of us at one time or another?

For example, we can’t seem to stop ourselves from signing up for the high school reunion. We shop long and hard for the perfect outfits to display ourselves at our best advantage. We have our hair styled. We struggle to lose weight. We’ve got unfinished business back there. Battlefields we didn’t conquer the first time around. The mean girls. The bad boys. The warm friendships that went cold. We long to write a more satisfying ending to at least some of those chapters.

In my latest novel, A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4, recognizing the Going Home theme came later rather than sooner, probably because the question isn’t so much, “Can Vanessa go home?” as it is “Why must Vanessa go home?” She left Riverton, the remote North Country town that is the setting for this series, when she was so young she barely recalls the place. She fled across the continent long ago with her mother, who now warns Vanessa about her plan to return.

“Don’t be so sure they’ll want you when you get there,” Mom ominously intones, but Vanessa doesn’t listen.

There are clichés for what she does instead. She makes herself the cat whom curiosity might kill. She tempts a fate unimaginable in her wildest dreams, or nightmares. She wakes a sleeping tiger, and her curious kitty could be outmatched by this jungle cousin. She is told more than once, “There be dragons!” in the hidden territory of the past and monsters in the secret depths of its perilous waters. Still, she risks all, including her heart and her life, because there’s a mysterious man in the mix, plus a murderer.

Wouldn’t you do the same if you had a lost family to find? How many times do we poke at a live electrical socket for the sake of family? Especially the factions of family everything, including our own common sense, warns us to avoid. I confess to a headful of singed follicles and a fistful of scarred fingertips from my own forays. There lies the most powerful lure of home. Family. The family of our blood. The family of our hearts. The family of our wishful yearning. We can’t resist it, not Kara nor Vanessa nor you nor me.

What tangled tales those misadventures weave. Tangled and fascinating. So much so I can’t stop telling them and going home to do it, too. Did I forget to mention I was born and raised in a remote North Country town?

RR

A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and from most other online book retailers at their websites. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK there too. Enjoy!

Alice Orr –

http://www.aliceorrbooks.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/

http://facebook.com/aliceorrwriter/

http://twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks/

http://goodreads.com/aliceorr/

http://pinterest.com/aliceorrwriter/

 

Stars in the Dark – Happy Indie Author Day @aliceorrbooks #MFRW_org #asmsg #IAN1

Celebration image 7I’m late for the July 1st Indie Author Day party because, appropriately enough, I’ve been buried under the details of launching my fourth Indie Author novel. A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4.

These details constitute a righteous high pile. So much so I’m inspired to mash our July 1st Indie Author Day celebration together with today’s national one. When my husband Jonathan and I sit on the roof tonight watching the Annual Macy’s July 4th Fireworks display, I’ll be dedicating a generous number of those glorious bursts to the authors who struggle with me in the Indie trade.

Fireworks remind me of stars in the dark. Bright enough to thrust through the city light-shield into visibility by the human eye. A massive tonnage of incendiary power is required to make that visibility happen. The candlepower of city lights is a formidable foe. Much like the challenge of continuing to toil in the Indie vineyard, however far short of a profitable harvest we may be.

We must burn bright and launch a lofty arc – with our ARCs and all the rest – if we are to have a realistic hope of being noticed amidst the glare of those other Indie authors whose harvest has already arrived and borne fruit.

Speaking for me, I’m a long way short of a vintage year, and occasionally the road to market feels too far to walk. When I allow myself this discouraging thought, my own past pronouncements come back to haunt me from years of workshop presentations. One pronouncement in particular. “Do It Anyway!”

These three words are the mantra fueling me toward every place I go and through everything I do. I passed my mantra forward, from the podium to the people in front of me. “However difficult the the path may prove to be. However heavy your load of doubt. If you possess a Passion for the Pursuit – Do It Anyway!”

I’ve stumbled into yet another do-it-anyway situation as an Indie author. Maybe you have too. How are we to manage the “Do” part of my admonition?

Here’s how. We will urge each other on. And in the urging we’ll find the strength and motivation for our own Doing. We’ll email one another and Facebook one another and Tweet like the birds holding forth outside my city window now. We’ll recollect that we still own telephones and call one another too. Most important, we will share what we learn.

United – we will stand and press forward, one step then the next. Divided – well, we won’t talk about that because we don’t intend to let it happen. Instead, we will celebrate one another and christen this Indie Author Month. Because a single day is not enough.

On our own – we may feel like stars in the darkness. Together – we are a blinding beautiful light.

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

Alice’s Amazon Author Page. http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Orr/e/B000APC22E/. Facebook.   http://facebook.com/aliceorrwriter/. Twitter. http://twitter.com/AliceOrrBooks/. Goodreads. http://goodreads.com/aliceorr/. Pinterest. http://pinterest.com/aliceorrwriter/ 

RR

A Villain for Vanessa and my other books are available from Amazon HERE and from most other online book retailers at their websites.

 

Lavish Advance Readers with Love

Spread the Love imageFrom the beginning there have been friends of this writing obsession of mine. Generous souls who gave affection to my possibly foolhardy choice to launch yet another career. I’d edited books and agented authors and led workshops on writing and publishing. Now – after a sixteen year hiatus from writing fiction – I was becoming a novelist again.

“Good for you Alice” those kind friends said.

I also decided to step away from the traditional system that had produced my early novels and given me a successful agenting career. I’d heard about Independent Publishing – or self-publishing in its less hip description. I liked the sound of it either way. Most of all I liked the sound of challenge.

“You go girl” my same friends repeated with some new voices joining them.

The problem was I had no idea how to accomplish any of it. Not a clue how to navigate this entirely new territory. Still the encouraging voices accompanied my stumbling. In fact they not only encouraged – they advised too.

“Do this” or “You might want to consider not doing that.”

I heard and continued struggling until eventually I had a book. The first in a series no less. I called it A Wrong Way Home. The general wisdom was that one or two-word titles performed best algorithm-wise. But I liked the lilt of my longer phrases and stuck with them through book two A Year of Summer Shadows and book three A Vacancy at the Inn. Now number four A Villain for Vanessa waits in the wings.

Amidst the stumbles and struggles I needed readers who would review and post those reviews – first and foremost on almighty Amazon. I turned to my steadfast encouraging friends. Where else did I have to go? A beloved cadre responded. They used their precious time and energy – already in great demand – on my stories which they mostly claimed to enjoy.

“Keep it up Alice” they said. “I’m waiting for the next one.”

Meanwhile I discovered my weaknesses and worked on them. I prayed for my strengths to stay strong. I floundered – barely afloat – in the marketing ocean while my supporters held me above the waves. Those lifesavers are my Advance Readers now. They see the book – usually before its final polish. Their comments guide that process.

“Scrub off this rough spot here. Pay attention to that sloppy writing habit there.”

I hear and listen to their voices. I feel them with me. They are my light. I may appear to give them only an autographed copy in return. But actually they have my heart.

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

RR

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

 

Family Stories and Colliding Memories

Collision imageI’m fascinated by the patchwork we as family members create with our family memories. An incident occurs in our shared past. An important even traumatic incident. The details sear our consciousness. Yet when we compare notes we discover those details differ from one of us to the other. From one family member to the other.

Sometimes the discrepancy is good natured like it could be with my brother and me. We’d debate and tease each other. Maybe even accuse each other of fabrication in the same teasing manner. But that was only with the not-so-touchy bits. Nostalgia rather than gut wrenching. The dreadful stories were just that – worthy of dread – so we mostly didn’t mention them.

We tiptoed around those narratives because they were quicksand. One wrong step and we could be sucked down with no hope of rescue. Rescue from what? Rescue from the collision of my version of reality and his and from the powerful confrontation that might erupt. We had mutually and silently agreed to avoid such battles and generally we did.

Consequently my brother left this earth with all but a few of our most potent shared experiences unspoken. Otherwise the relationship might not have survived as long as it did. Would I have preferred an open field of exchange? Yes of course. Nonetheless I chose silence and dissembling over openness and its fearsome revelatory glare.

Maybe my regret of that sin of omission is the reason colliding stories flow like a brackish river through so much of my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series. In the first story A Wrong Way Home Hailey and Julia spend their early years as close friends before being separated for a long and painful time. Their stories of that separation and its origin vary dramatically.

Julia’s mother Virginia’s memories diverge even further as do those of Hailey’s mother Annemarie. What these recollections have in common is their mine field potential to blast both families – their past as well as their present – to kingdom come. And they do. A Wrong Way Home begins with a murder after all and wades through a quagmire of secrets afterwards.

Book 4 – A Villain for Vanessa is rife with the raw material for more combustible collisions. Between Vanessa and her mother Amelia. Between Amelia and her sister Angela Kalli. Among just about everyone involved with the Westerlo side of Vanessa’s family. The explosive tonnage is terrifying. Nobody would want to be in the midst of this family when it implodes.

This is fertile ground for storytelling. But it’s toxic territory in real life. Think about it. Who in your family do you tiptoe around for fear of a collision of your differing truths? What conflagrations have you barely survived when one of those toes slipped into the memory mine field? My advice. When you tell those stories – swear to heaven they are fiction.

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

RR

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

 

Setting a Book Launch Date

Boldt CastleBeginnings are crucial or they at least seem to be. We get only one chance to make a first impression and we mustn’t squander that chance. How many times have you heard that? How many times did it make your throat clench in response? And when we refer to the beginning as a Launch the ante is definitely higher still.

Battleships Launch with the crack of a champagne bottle across the bow. We need to come up with something equally Dramatic for a book launch. I must do that now. A Dramatic Opening just like in my stories which I often jumpstart with a murder scene. But I don’t want to bump somebody off to kick off of my new book. I’d prefer to be more subtle than that.

My chosen date must be dramatic nonetheless. And memorable. And related to the story – a Romantic Suspense novel. So I’m looking for a Launch Date that is romantic somehow and suspenseful somehow. I feel the throat clench coming on and some head spinning too. My anxiety level soars as the ante does the same.

Then inspiration strikes. A date commemorating something dramatic for me. Life changing even. Romantic and suspenseful too. Plus it was literally A Date. My first date with the man who has been my romantic hero and best friend ever since. Sweet Jonathan as I’ve come to call him. Forty-four years backward in time from this coming June which is almost here.

The Ask was suspenseful for sure. I could feel he was on the verge of it but I wasn’t certain he’d actually get there. The anticipation was intense. Would he ever do anything besides gaze at me all moony eyed when he didn’t think I was looking? My girlfriend Marsha urged me to make The Ask myself but I couldn’t. This was too important to me. He had to take the first step.

Then it was Saturday June 17th. Jonathan and I worked at the same facility and we were running an event together that day. A field trip to – of all places – Heart Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The island is shaped like a heart because the legendary owner had it re-engineered that way in honor of his devotion to his wife. He built a castle there for her too.

What a romantic story. Except she died and romance turned to tragedy. A romantic story remained unfinished. The castle remained unfinished also. I was starting to suspect Sweet Jonathan and I were destined to be unfinished as well. Then – when the suspense had my heart pounding at an excruciating pace – the climactic scene finally occurred. HE ASKED.

Dramatic. Life changing. Suspenseful. Romantic. Few days have been more of all of those things for me than that sunny June afternoon on the river I’d loved since I was a child. The river which just happens to appear prominently in my new book. In fact this exact same river comes close to drowning my heroine and my hero along with her.

The life I now live was launched that day on my river. The romantic love chapter of my life began and has since deepened into a complex and compelling story. I didn’t know our future story yet but I did know I was falling in love and found out soon afterward that Jonathan felt the same. Meanwhile I was quite terrified but he wasn’t and that saved the day.

I save the day again now for the launch of A Villain for Vanessa – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Bobby and Vanessa’s story but Jonathan and Alice’s story even more so. Because without a special afternoon of spectacular sunshine on Heart Island forty-four years ago I might never have lived my own up close and very personal Romantic Suspense.

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

RR

A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17. A Villain for Vanessa will be available here. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE eBook at the same site and most other online book retailers.

 

 

 

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 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.

 

How I Almost Became Riverton Roadkill

A Villain for Vanessa ECover (1) 100 x 150px - 14.6KB - SmallThis boulder was a doozy. In fact it was the mother in law of boulders. Worse than a mother as mothers in law often are. I know because I am one and I suck at it at least half the time.

Back to the boulder. Did you notice how I was avoiding the subject? Because this subject is that painful. It’s about how an entire book died one day. How I got up one morning and knew my current beloved opus couldn’t be allowed to live.

I’d been writing merrily merrily down the plot stream for months. I have the dates somewhere to specify precisely how many months. I can’t look them up because it would make me want to eat my innards.

You know how it is when something you really care about is going smoothly. You chug on with heaven at your heels feeling as if you might break into song and dance at any moment.

Then that story – the one of this joyous experience – takes an unfortunate turn into a byway not even on your map. You had no idea this danger detour existed. If there was a warning sign you weren’t able to see it through your euphoria-tinted glasses. Here’s how that story went for me.

Once upon a morning the princess with a pen awoke in her cozy bed. The one just like her grandma used to make with downy coverlets and tatted pillowslips and everything so white and bright the world sparkled.

Princess yawns and stretches in luxurious anticipation of a creatively fulfilling day ahead. Then she commits her fateful error. The inciting incident that starts the narrative tumbling downhill pell-mell over euphoria smashed flat as Road Runner on the blacktop.

What was the princess’s error? She opened her eyes. Did she find a handsome prince gazing down at her with love and future promise aglimmer between his lush lashes? Fraid not. She found reality beaming ice blue laser shards into her warm reverie. Freezing it tomb cold.

“I can’t write this story,” she cries as the icy razor tip hits its deep down mark and opens the road to devastation.

I cannot tell you how I let this happen because I do not know. The only possible explanation is that an amazing scenario sunk its tentacles into my imagination. With pathos and tragedy and struggle toward redemption all happening to characters we can’t help but love. I leapt into that stream and let myself be carried blissfully onward by its ever-mounting momentum.

Except that – as the fierce glare of my morning revelation made abruptly clear – this wasn’t a story from my imagination. This was a story from my life populated by characters who weren’t characters at all. They were facsimiles of people I cared for who would cease caring for me if I published this book.

The ritual that ensued was fraught and perfunctory at the same time. Notebooks were discarded. Computer files were excised. Sticky notes were unstuck and tossed in the trash.

No evidence of my dumbass brain-fogged maneuver could remain in case I should succumb to a fall on my fat head. No writer detritus from this particular faux pas would be left behind to do its hurtful worst.

I don’t recall exactly how long I languished in the wallow that followed. The boulder continued to block that previous path and would not be moved. I had two choices. Quit. Or put the boulder at my back and begin again. I did the latter.

The result is A Villain for Vanessa – Book 4 – skimming toward you soon along the unobstructed lane of Riverton Road.

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/.