Thursday, October 07, 2010

Guest Author: Ann Voss Peterson

Please help me welcome the fabulous Ann Voss Peterson, author of over twenty Harlequin Intrigues. Not only is Ann a great writer, she's extremely creative, as well. So I expect that she's going to try to explain away this photo as research. Having partied with her before, I tend to believe it's a real arrest photo after we closed the bars down at RWA. But hey, this is her blog post and we'll let her tell the story the way she wants to :)

Whew! I'm so glad to be here at Riding with the Top Down. Thanks for inviting me, Kylie! The wind in my hair. The open road in front of me. No worries.

You see, lately I've been scrambling. My life has gotten away from me. This fall has been chaos. And to top it off, I spent the last few weeks running from the law.


At first I simply had a revoked driver's license. When the sheriff's deputy pulled me over, I panicked and dashed from my car.

But then there was the time I was wanted for strangling someone. That time the deputies chased me. Some of them caught me. Some of them I managed to escape. One of them yelled at me so loud, my bones shook. And then he pulled his gun.

It was exhausting.

Now, before you toss me out of the convertible, call the cyber police and turn me in, I can explain.

It was all pretend.

The past few weeks, I volunteered to role play in training scenarios for my county sheriff's department. I was a speeder who'd had her license revoked...and ran. I was a speeder with an unregistered vehicle and a revoked license...who ran. I was a stranded motorist wanted for a violent felony...who ran...and was chased. I did a lot of running in those days. And I learned a lot about how law enforcement officers are trained to think.

1. Before giving chase, decide if the charges are worth it.

2. When giving chase, remember to notice street signs and other landmarks so you can tell dispatch where you are.

3. Don't rush in. Take cover, observe and wait for back up.

At the same time all this volunteering was going on, I had a few other challenges. My oldest son's school was taken over by mold over the summer, so his return was delayed by two weeks. My youngest son's school started on schedule and was clamoring for my volunteer time and fund-raising attention. I had too many writing projects, speaking engagements, promotional opportunities and family obligations demanding my time. And my
house was a complete disaster.

So I decided to think like a deputy.

Before I chased after every interesting project, school obligation, promo op, I sat down and looked at each, deciding whether it was worth the time for me. I had to get my kids set up for school, help them with adjusting and homework, but I didn't have to sell wrapping paper for the damn PTO fundraiser. And the house? Clutter isn't deadly, usually. It's okay to say's okay to say no....

Instead of rushing in, I called for back up. I don't have to do everything myself. I don't. I really don't. I can ask others for help (as you can see, I'm still working on this...well, on all of it.)

So my life is a bit more under control. At least I hope it is. I have writing to do! But I have to remember to have fun, too. To refill the well with research opportunities to cool to miss, like being part of the sheriff department's training scenarios. And with fun, like riding with the top down.

Now, you didn't see flashing lights in back of us, did you???

What are your tricks for organizing your life? Share. Please, please, please. I need all the help the help I can get! And I'll be giving away two books from my backlist, names drawn from commenters.

And if you want to see other cool adventures I've had in the name of research, check out the Ann's Research Adventures page on my website: . Or pick up my October Harlequin Intrigue,


EllenToo said...

I am tired just reading about you running from the cops!!! I do not have an organized life so I can't help you there.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new release!

Aside from relying on a cell phone (calendar, timer, alarm, etc.), I don't know what I can tell you. Definitely, decide what is really important and what isn't. Also, if your kids are old enough, delegate.


Betina Krahn said...

Welcome to the convertible, Ann! And wow, you are one authentic writer! Hey do your police friends have any need for a stubborn, non-running, mouthy, semi-dangerous old "suspect?" That sounds like a great gig!

You know, I've long thought that if the CIA were REALLY smart, they would use older folks for some of their skullduggery. Who looks at a 60 year old granny who's knitting a sweater for her granddaughter? You could probably get away with murder. . . ok, maybe not literally. Playing against type has to be a winner.

Laurie said...

I use lists to keep organized and to prioritize. I agree, you do have to say NO. It's hard but you and your family have to come first.

I remember the days of volunteering for school activities. Now my last 3 are all in college. You'll be amazed at how quickly the years go by.

I loved your serial killer series with Damien Kane and his family set in and around Madison, Wisconsin.

KylieBrant said...

I'm the world's worst at saying no. I'm just finishing up 18 years on the Booster Club and I haven't had kids in school for the last six of them! I'm most organized when I'm busiest.

krisgils33 said...

congrats on the release. Organization is key in my house. All appointments on the blackberry and calendar on the fridge, daily schedules posted on the fridge too! I work from home a couple days a week, so I can get the mundane chores like laundry done while I'm working and then have more time on the weekends for other stuff.

Cindy Gerard said...

I'm with Kylie - I want a better explanation of that photo :o) Pretend? me thinks not ...

Lists and more lists. they keep me sane.

good luck with the book - it looks great! And thanks for riding today :o)

Minna said...

I don't what I could add. Deciding what is most important, what you can do later and what to ignore completely is certainly important.

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Ann!!! So glad you're visiting today. What a fun post!

I'm sooo jealous of this research. What an awesome opportunity. Can I hang with you? lol

My only tip for organizing my life is get used to it not being organized. In fact, while you're at it, embrace the chaos!

Congrats on the new release, and I love the title!

CrystalGB said...

I make lists and use calendars at home and work to keep myself organized. It helps me a lot.

lois greiman said...

I've got no suggestions about the organizational thing except to say make friends with the chaos.

Thanks for blogging with us Ann. I envy your cop experiences. Kind of.

Karyn Gerrard said...

I am constantly struggling to organize, so I can relate. But hey, I just arranged all the DVD's on my shelves alphabetically, so it is a start! Plus I bagged up some old VHS movies to give away to charity. So at least the den is getting some attention!

All the best for your release~

LSUReader said...

Hey, I’m here for pointers, too. I think your “Clutter isn’t deadly, usually” is going to be my new mantra! Enjoyed your column. And congrats on escaping the police.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

My internet is working! Finally! Yay!

Wouldn't you know this morning of all mornings, I couldn't get online. Jeesh.

Thanks for all the great comments! For the record, I have no idea what Kylie and Cindy are talking about. Closing down the bar at RWA? Me? It's all a nasty rumor. ;D

I probably need to break down and get some sort of BlackBerry or something, don't I? I try to make lists, but I usually lose them in the mess. And if I had a gadget that also could read e-books...hmm...

In the end, I probably just have to embrace the chaos, as Helen and Lois suggested. Maybe chaos could become my drinking buddy. Nah, I already have Kylie and Cindy. ;) And I seem to remember Helen closing down one bar with us at RWA, too.

catslady said...

Love that you do physical research lol. First and hardest to learn is knowing when and how to say "no." That was a hard one for me but it seemed to come with age and exhaustion lol. And I keep calendars. One upstairs, one downstairs and one in my purse. I learned that if I don't write it down immediately, things will get forgotten (even if you are sure you won't forget lol).

Ann Voss Peterson said...

BTW, I'm thrilled you like the Wedding Mission series, Laurie. I first wrote Dryden Kane in an Intrigue released about four years before that trilogy (Accessory To Marriage, Jan, 2002), and he kept festering in my mind until I wrote him a series. So that series was actually based on the villain.

I still miss him.

Christie Ridgway said...

Ann: What a great oppty for research! Like you, between writing & family, I feel pulled in a bunch of directions. And then there's my linen closet. And my bathroom cupboards.

I've decided to tackle them one shelf at a time, otherwise I feel too overwhelmed!

Thanks for riding with us.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

I'll pass your name along, Betina! And FYI, the cops around here tend to be pretty good-looking. So you get a little inspiration along with the research. :)

Heather said...

Ann: Sorry to hear your son was one of the students affected by the delayed start this year. At least this incident didn't seem to be as bad as the one at Chavez a few years back.

As for keeping organized...I tend to be the clean-as-you-go type who writes things down. Lists and clendars can be your friend! *g*

chey said...

I write lists and cross stuff out as I do things. I ask for help as required.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

Linen closet? Bathroom cupboards? Hahahaha! I don't even want to peek my head inside those dark and scary places, Christie!

I do have to get better at saying no and writing things down, Catslady. And better at delegating, Cories5. But it always seems to take me more time and effort to get others to do things than just doing it myself. I really have to work on that.

And I have to laugh at Karyn's VHS tapes. I think I still have some of those laying around here, too.

Ann Voss Peterson said...

Hi, Heather!
The mold at Chavez was the toxic kind, wasn't it? We did luck out compared to that situation.

I do like lists. Crossing things off can be very satisfying, Chey. That's my favorite part...when I can find my lists. :/

Helen Brenna said...

Don't remind me, Ann! I think I lost one morning in Orlando ...