Tag Archives: Writing Tip

Second Chance Love – First Class Storytelling

I adore Second Chance Love. The one that got away, or you let go because you knew they weren’t a good match for you. But that was then and this is now, and the nostalgia filter has performed a reality reconfiguration big time. Through that pink-purple, or whatever color combo suits your starry eyes, memory crush has morphed into whatever your dream combo may be. Mine is George Harrison meets George Carlin and imports Desmond Tutu for the heart chakra. That guy I would diet my literal behind off because of, pay every cent I have on plastic surgery for, and throw in several self-improvement courses too. Why? Because he’d be my Second Chance Love.

Who is your Second Chance Love? Is it a real-life person that actually exists somewhere between the layers of your experience, distantly or maybe not-so-distantly, past? Do you remember the actual name, or would you prefer to provide a new one? Do you remember the details of this heartthrob’s personal backstory, the poignant pathos of a stricken childhood made even more lamentable by painful recollections of puberty? Do you fancy yourself the one and only capable of healing said wounds? Or maybe you simply anticipate running into this individual at a high school reunion, or some such event, and wowing his/her knickers off, perhaps literally, with your scintillating present-day self.

I don’t know your answers to the above queries. What I do know is that you have the makings of a Second Chance Love story. Your reunion or sexy soul salvation or dreamboat heartthrob fantasy has storytelling legs that reach all the way to the ground and then some, because everybody loves a Second Chance Love story. Why? Because everybody has at least one such story of their own. Everybody has googled at least one hot-memory someone from their past, which means everybody is a hot readership opportunity for Second Chance Love storytellers.

In my latest novel,  A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5, Amanda Miller has unfinished business in Riverton, battlefields she didn’t conquer her first time around there. The most dangerous of those battlefields involves Mike Schaeffer, the young love she lost long ago. She wishes she could write an alternate ending to their story. “Look at me,” she’d say. “See the woman I am now. Don’t you wish you had noticed me back then? Sorry. You missed your chance.” Then she’d walk away without a backward glance, but it’s too late for that, too late for anything between Amanda and Mike. Or so she believes, until she sees him again.

I love Second Chance Love situations, not only for their market potential, but for their plot scenario potential too. They allow me to jump straight into the heart of the story without a lot of “meet-cute” at the beginning, when I’m supposed to be hooking the reader and grabbing her attention. I’m not a big fan of the meet-cute. Two attractive people meet in a cut, usually at least somewhat contrived situation and are attracted to each other. Sparks fly. Clever banter abounds. But where is the real story? What plummets the heroine into a dilemma so intense, dramatic and powerful she will have to scramble and struggle to escape. How is the reader hooked? Why is her attention grabbed?

I write romantic suspense so my lovers-to-be can meet over a dead body, which diminishes the cuteness factor considerably. Still, on first encounter, they might tend to circle one another bantering cleverly anyway. Three more of my Riverton Road stories refuse to follow that scenario. In A Wrong Way Home and A Vacancy at the Inn, heroine and hero were past lovers, though very briefly, and in A Year of Summer Shadows they’ve been eyeballing each other for quite some time.

Only A Villain for Vanessa is not a Second Chance Love story. Each of the others saves me a lot of work as a storyteller. The preliminaries are done with before page one. The “I’m so-and-so. Who are you?” part is past. More important, I have backstory to work with and develop. Backstory rife with conflict that gives my present-time front-story huge potential for intensity, drama and power. I’ve given myself a strong story advantage even before my story begins, and I’m in favor of advantages. The challenges of storytelling are enormous. I’ll take any help I can get. Second Chance Love stories are a great source of such help. Storytelling possibilities abound. Get out there and grab yourself some.

Plus, I love Second Chance Love stories because I believe life is all about chances, second or third or fourth or however many chances we need to succeed.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.

– R|R –

A Time of Fear & LovingDon’t miss this chance to read Alice’s new Second Chance Love story. A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5 is 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!”


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.


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/







Character is Everything in Storytelling – My Greatest Heroine

Grandma & Me at Two and a HalfWe create many heroines in many stories. I believe our most powerful heroines re-create pieces of powerful women we have known. The quintessential powerful woman in my life was my maternal grandmother. Whenever I write a strong woman – as I do every time I write a woman as hero – Grandma is part of her in one aspect or another.

In the novel I am about to publish – A Villain for Vanessa – the heroine travels a long way into the unknown to find what she hopes will be a better life. Grandma did that in the late 1890’s. The exact year differs in different research sources. As with many family stories there is disagreement on the details. Debate runs rampant regarding the why or how or what.

What isn’t disputed in the case of Grandma’s migration is that she traveled alone. She was a small town girl of eighteen or nineteen or maybe twenty depending on which source I credit. She sailed from England in what I imagine was the lowest class of passage and entered this very new world for her by way of Canada.

My best guess from the bits and pieces of fact I’ve found is that her expenses were paid by a family with several children. They were bringing her to what would one day be my hometown in the remote northern region of New York State. The same region where my newest novel and the three before it are set in a fictitious town named Riverton.

The family that bought Grandma’s steamship ticket was previously unknown to her. So was the climate where she would live. I imagine her caring for the children of strangers through the shock of her first frigid North Country winter. I remember her incredible garden when I was a girl and wonder if she was recreating the warm springtime English gardens of her own girlhood.

I’ve studied the customs and fashions of the specific time period when she migrated. I picture her in a white shirtwaist and dark skirt and of course a hat being greeted by people she’d never laid eyes on before. No relatives or friends had preceded her to America. She was on her own. That took courage. It was a wonderfully brave act – the behavior of a heroine.

My Uncle John had a picture on his wall of Grandma at that young age. Her hair was pulled up in a kind of Gibson Girl poof with a bow in back. But it was her eyes that captured me. They were young and most likely blue. Her skin was pale and most likely blushing. Grandma was beautiful. I wish I’d inherited that picture. I carry it in my head and heart instead.

Above all I carry in my head and heart the gentle smile in that picture. The same smile I would bask in decades later when she taught me which flowers to harvest from her amazing garden and exactly where to cut each stem. Nowadays I bask in her more aged smile gazing down at me from another picture on my wall in this room where I write.

She did her best to instill in me the courage it took to put her button-shoed foot on that lonely ship from Plymouth. The example of her courage carries me through challenge and heartbreak and triumph too. I in turn instill that courage in the strong women I write. There is something of Grandma in each of them. Not only her bravery but her loving heart too.

That’s why my heroines are so dear to me. I believe character is everything when it comes to storytelling. Everything good in my life began with Grandma – including the strong women who grace my stories. Her name was Alice Jane Rowland Boudiette. The photo here is of Alice Jane and me Alice Elizabeth at two and a half already modeling my model heroine.


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


A Villain for VanessaRiverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 4. Official launch June 17 – 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.