Tag Archives: Storytelling

Series World Wonders – Holiday HeadsUp for You

Series World Wonders. If there is a single gift of value I can add to your holiday season, this is it. Series World is a fabulous realm for a reader to step into for a while and borrow as a home for her imagination. Series World is also a place of professional and personal potential, where a writer may explore and discover rewarding story material. I’m talking about an immersive experience all around, and that immersion can be the source of Series World Wonders for anyone who cares to give it a try.

Reader fascination with Series World Wonders has a contemporary aspect that didn’t exist until a few years ago, though stories in a series have been with us for a very long time. My first adventure among Series World Wonders was all about Nancy Drew, who was also my first real foray into popular fiction. I fell in love with Nancy. I wanted to be Nancy, or at least slip in among her friend posse and follow along toward excitement I wasn’t likely to encounter on East Avenue in Watertown, New York.

Alice Orr Books Danger in Disguise Nancy DrewAfter I had read one story, I couldn’t wait to leap into another and another and another. Nancy Drew had hooked me on her Series World Wonders, so much so that I published a Nancy story myself, ghostwritten under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. I already had my own author career as Alice Orr by then, but I couldn’t resist the lure of fulfilling a youthful dream, to become Nancy in the only way I could practically manage, by creating a story with her at the center and living with her in my head for a while. I will never forget Danger in Disguise.

Now, let’s get back to the reader, and how her attraction to Series World Wonders has taken on a fresh wrinkle these days. I not only love writing series, I also love reading series. This love affair may have begun with Nancy Drew books, but it didn’t end there. I galloped through the Black Stallion series, wandered and pondered with Anne of Green Gables, and eventually graduated to more adult thrills with the likes of Kinsey Millhone and Michael Haller. Which made me, and millions like me, ripe to become enthusiastic fans of Series World Wonders on the small screen.

Remember the phenomenon of the Downton Abbey series? The breathless excitement that accompanied anticipation of every new season? Some of us were so afflicted with separation trauma at season’s end, we would binge-watch the whole thing again, one episode after another for hours at a time. And when Downton alas deserted us altogether, we searched out full seasons of Upstairs Downstairs just so we could remain in the delicious Brit landscape of “Blimey” and “Egad” a while longer.

We had been captured by Series World Wonders. We had been seduced by their charms and immersed among the twists and turns of their stories. We had lived, via our imaginations and television’s vivid images, in that delightful, though obviously idealized milieu for what felt almost like a period of our own lives. We hungered to immerse ourselves in other Series World Wonders again very soon. Services like Netflix and Amazon  Prime recognized our whetted binge-watching appetites and indulged them, and we’ve been a happy mix ever since.

Which brings me from readers and watchers to writers. And especially to what the binge-television contagion, with its Series World Wonders, means for us. Has watching binge television conditioned our entertainment-eager culture to be ripe for binge book reading too? As in series, series, and more series? It absolutely has. This is great news for both writers and readers. When artfully invented, the Series World Wonders we conjure up can set a reader’s teeth into a story that carries her along lickety-split, absorbed by our absorbing characters, and puts her in a foul mood when she is forced to read “THE END.” She yearns to be carried along and absorbed some more. She yearns for us to expand this book into a series. My holiday heads-up to writers is for you to consider satisfying that yearning, if you have not done so already.

Why Is the world of a series a great place for a writer to live? In purely practical and professional terms, a trip to Series World can be an adventure on the road to success for an author. An adventure we share with our readers, as we build that world detail by detail, and they revel in it scene by scene. I am currently traveling through my first series world as a writer, and I love it there. My goal is to draw readers in and make them want to stay through one book then the next and the next. To captivate them with my Series World Wonders.

Riverton Road Suspense Tree logoThe Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series takes place in and around Riverton, New York in what is known as the North Country. Stories of danger and romance feature the Kalli and Miller families and the Women of West Main Street, to be introduced in Book 6. The setting is a town in remote northern New York State, where I happened to grow up. No real-life town called Riverton exists there, but who cares? If I perform my storytelling job as I should, readers will believe in Riverton Road so deeply that they will miss it when they have to leave and will, you guessed it, yearn to return.

A bonus benefit to me as a writer, one I had not expected before I began this so far five-story excursion, is that I have myself been lured into a love affair with my own Series World Wonders. I have become at least as deeply immersed in my Riverton world as I hope for my readers to be. From that deep place I bring my stories to real life, because in that deep place they have real life for me. Frankly, this is the most fun I’ve ever had as a writer. Which is the true holiday gift I share with you. My experience of diving into the flowing ocean of my story world and discovering how much I do not want to leave. I invite you to dive along with me, and find out what Series World Wonders might lie ahead for you.

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

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A Time of Fear & LovingAlice’s new novel, filled with Series World Wonders, 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: Storytelling, Series Novels, Riverton Road Series, Romantic Suspense

The Strawberry Cookie Jar – A Riverton Road Story

The strawberry cookie jar probably wouldn’t have merited a second look from Amanda if she’d been her normal self that day.

“What will you use it for?” William asked.

They’d always been close and shared just about every confidence, so he understood how troubled she was. Her unusual preoccupation with the ceramic strawberry was added evidence of that.

“A cookie jar maybe,” Amanda answered without much conviction.

William lifted the lid of the foot high, fruit-shaped container, which was bright red and dimpled like its real-life counterpart. A cap of ceramic leaves, resembling a section of vine stem, formed the green curlicue handle.

“The top doesn’t fit tight enough,” he said, pushing Amanda’s strawberry cookie jar precariously close to the edge of the makeshift yard sale table. “The cookies will go stale.”

She didn’t reply. He was starting to annoy her. All she wanted was to clutch this comforting object to her bosom where she’d experienced too little comfort lately. She was fast becoming a listless shell of her customary self, and William had been sensitive to that. He’d mixed delicious apricot sours for her at cocktail hour and taken on some of the more tedious tasks of being the husband and wife chef team at Miller’s Inn on Riverton Road Hill. So why couldn’t he also let her cling to this ceramic strawberry cookie jar in peace?

As far as anyone could tell, William and Amanda had passed the seven-years-married itchy period with hardly a blip on the bliss meter. She’d relaxed then, which may have been a mistake because, almost out of nowhere, a renegade thought had begun to plague her, the thought that maybe they should try living apart. She’d been taken completely by surprise. She’d also assumed they would muddle their way through whatever this might be.

Unfortunately, she hadn’t been able to ward off a growing tendency to snipe and bicker, until she feared her nastiness might reach critical mass and she’d collapse in a cloud of self-disgust, like those high-rise buildings they detonate from within to implode straight down onto their own foundations. There were also moments, like a sunny yard sale morning, when her characteristic common sense was replaced by what appeared to be a random obsession, this time a strawberry cookie jar.

“It’s occurred to me that, if I want to hold onto you, I should go along with whatever you want.”

Amanda was so shocked by William’s words she almost dropped her precious, though actually kind of homely ceramic find. He’d always been a feisty guy, making his own rules and sticking to them. They’d gotten along so well partly because her rules were generally in tune with his. Yet, here he was, standing next to a table cobbled together from splintered two-by-fours covered up by a faded tablecloth, talking about capitulation.

What he had said echoed in the rhythm of the car wheels along the high-crowned North Country road all the way home. “Bumpy, bumpy, bumpy, bump. Go along with what she wants.” When she faced William that evening in the narrow living room of their apartment at the Inn, she was still hearing that rhythm and those words.

“What do you think I want?” she asked.

“The way I see it, you should be asking what I think you need.”

Amanda was stunned by his reaction, or lack of reaction, at least in the flatness of his tone. She was even more stunned by having no answer to offer concerning either her wants or her needs, so she waited for him to provide it, like she expected he would.

“You need to get away from this place,” he said, right on cue.

A heated argument followed, with angry accusations and layering on of guilt, like too many married couple arguments. Amanda might have taken her own cue from what William had said that morning and simply gone along with what he said, but she didn’t. The next day, she awoke regretting this and immediately began formulating an apology. Unfortunately, William had already left, and she would never see him alive again.

Meanwhile, the strawberry cookie jar languished in a storage shed for several years until Amanda rediscovered it among dusty packing boxes, red dimples dingy from long neglect, still probably incapable of keeping cookies fresh. She clutched it to her anyway, as she had all those years ago, while feelings from that time flooded back sharp and poignant as a needle behind the eyes, bringing with them William’s words.

“You should be asking what you need.” Maybe she was now ready to search for that answer at last.

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

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Read Amanda’s present-day story in Alice’s new novel, A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Buy it HERE. Buy all of Alice’s books HERE.


Honor Your Goddesses. Mom Figures, Mates and Mentors

My friend and mentor Paula Scardamalia gave me some good advice recently via a tarot card reading. Paula and the Three of Cups reminded me to honor my goddesses, my designation for the three women pictured on that card which honors the heart, the emotions and our dreams.

I knew at once who those three women were in my life. They fit to overflowing Paula’s criteria for what they should have been for me. They were my supporters when I most needed them and have remained so ever since, even though they have passed on from this plain. They keep me from being overcome and undermined by the obstacles in my path, including myself.

Paula encouraged me to name these women and keep them present in my mind and heart, but most of all to honor them. I encourage you to do the same. Identify your goddesses, name them, honor them. I bestow that honor by writing about my three wonderful women here. I hope you will do the same for the three women who steadfastly urged you toward your light.

Grandma & Me at Two and a HalfFirst always among my goddesses is Grandma. Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette. She was the bright light of my first seven years and of the past twenty-seven also. I lost her, to some extent, during the forty-plus years between those early and later periods of my life. Maybe because I was bewildered by her sudden absence, hurt and even a little angry at her for leaving me in difficult circumstances with difficult people.

My mother was mentally ill. My father was overwhelmed and increasingly angry. Still, the basic principles Grandma taught me abided somehow. She was my template for how to be a good, caring person who makes the world a better place. She continues to be that model for me. I am grateful she was eventually restored to me. That’s the two of us in the garden when I was two or so.

Marilyn (Swartz) Seven was the first real friend I made after moving to New York City in 1980. I was bewildered yet again and shaken by another loss, this time of the comfortable life I had built upstate. New York was too much for me to handle, or so I thought, and I felt anything but comfortable. Then Marilyn appeared and coaxed me out of the Hell’s Kitchen apartment where I’d been cowering. “Chutzpah,” she said. “We’re going to get you some.”

She dragged me to my first MWA (Mystery Writers of America) meeting and dumped me into a conversation with Mary Higgins Clark. That was my beginner giant step into the publishing world, where I have spent my professional life ever since. We lost Marilyn too, to breast cancer. I miss her spirit and hear her enthusiastic voice in my ear to this day. Because of her, chutzpah became my thing. Thank you, Marilyn.

Artie's DeliSeli Groves called me her little sister, and I was honored by that, as I was honored to know her. Seli’s wit was always with her, lightened by gentleness and good cheer, never harsh. Her smile warmed me through and throughwhenever I was in her presence. We would meet at Artie’s Delicatessen near the corner of Broadway and 82nd Street in Manhattan. I remember sitting in the window with coleslaw and huge pickles in front of us.

Seli was forever teaching me, though never pompously, about life, about people, about writing and publishing. She taught me about Judaism too, and brought me to love its traditions. Of my own religion, she’d say, “Jesus was a good Jewish boy. He went to temple on Shabbat and took care of his mother.” I said Kaddish for her in my imperfect shiksa way every day for a year after her death. I wish I could sit with her in the deli window again and laugh and learn.

These three women, so different from one another in the way they appeared to the world, are together as one in my heart. They blessed me mightily, and I shall honor them as long as I live.

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

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A Villain for Vanessa Riverton Romantic Suspense Book 4 and my other books are available from Amazon HERE. A Wrong Way Home – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 1 is a FREE EBOOK there also.