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I write novels for teens and adults. Visit me here & on my website http://www.jenniferarcher.net

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Movie Binge

I've been on a bit of a movie binge in the last few days. I'm behind and trying to catch up! I rented WALK THE LINE. LOVED it! I don't understand this -- I've never been a fan of Johnny Cash's or June Carter's music, but I really loved hearing it in the movie. Wish I had seen this one on the big screen. It did strike me that there are a quite a few parallels between Johnny Cash's life and Ray Charles' life. Both were raised poor. Both lost brothers during childhood. Both felt responsible for their brother's death. Both became music legends. Both developed a drug problem and had numerous extra-marital affairs. And both loved a strong woman who helped them turn their life around. I have a son who is a musician. I hope the above process isn't required to achieve success in the music industry!

The next movie I rented is LOGGERHEADS. This one is not filled with "big name" movie stars. It stars Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Kelly, Michael Learned (John Boy's mom on The Walton's!), Kip Pardue and Chris Sarandon. It won awards at Sundance and is somewhat of an "artsy" film. As with many films of this sort, it's full of angst and explores a touchy social topic. I thought it was well-acted, thought-provoking and heartwrenching. Some of the themes remind me of my novel, THE ME I USED TO BE.

Last, I rented MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS. This one received some Oscar nods, though I can't recall in which categories. Whichever, they were well deserved! It's funny and touching and the chemistry between Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins is fantastic. It captured the feel of the old 1940's big musical production movies I loved to watch as a kid. I really enjoyed it.

If you're looking for a good movie to rent and haven't seen these, I recommend them all!

Off to write. I sent a new proposal to my editor yesterday for another women's fiction novel. Now I have a young adult novel to finish up. I hope soon. It's called PICTURE THIS and I really want a publisher to buy it. It's about a sixteen year old girl who is an amateur photographer. It's funny and spooky and sad in parts. It's a nice change of pace for my writing and I'm having fun with it.

Have a good day!


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Falling Out Of Bed

Whenever I go to the grocery store, I always swing by the book section. Yesterday I was surprised and thrilled to find my friend Mary Schramski's new release Falling Out Of Bed already on the shelf! Isn't the cover gorgeous? It has a May 1 release date so it's out a bit early. Mary and I emailed back and forth while she was writing this book so I know a little bit about the plot, and I can't wait to read it. It's a very emotional and uplifting storyline. And, if you've never read one of Mary's books, you should. She's a talented writer. (And I'd think so even if she weren't my friend!)Mary's taught me many things, such as how to tie a scarf, how to pack light, and how to feel better after consuming one too many teeny-weenie martinis. (Me, not her!) You can check out more about Mary and her novels at http://www.maryschramski.com. Take a look at her blog, too, while you're there.

I've finished reading Lani Diane Rich's novel Ex And The Single Girl , one of the other Rita nominees in the same category with my novel The Me I Used To Be. So, now I've read three of the other nominee's-- Candace Havens' Charmed And Dangerous, Susan Wiggs' Table For Five and Ms. Rich's. All great books! I've started a fourth, Sweetgrass by Mary Alice Monroe. Only one chapter into it, but her descriptions are lush! It promises to be another good one. After it, I'm going to read Mary's book before resuming my Rita reads.

Happy Sunday,


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wise Words

Recently, I read an article in the Romance Writers Report written by author Barbara Samuel (www.barbarasamuel.com) called Serving The Work. The article is aimed at writers, but I think the wisdom in it rings true for most any type of work anyone chooses to do. Her words are thought-provoking and simple, and I can't say them any better. So here are a few quotes from the article that have stayed on my mind. I hope they will speak to you, as well.

Ms. Samuel writes:

"What I do care about is honest writing, about giving whatever work you're doing the whole of your attention and passion."

"The point is to do it honestly, with your whole heart. Be passionate. Love the work."

"Serving the work, writing the right stories, taking the time to craft them -- whatever they are -- is what makes it worthwhile in the long run. There are no guarantees, of course. Pursuing art does not offer any, any more than life itself does."

And this quote from author Jean Rhys who published several novels in the 1920s and 1930s: "All of writing is a huge lake. There are great rivers that feed the lake, like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. And there are mere trickles, like Jean Rhys. All that matters is feeding the lake. I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."

Have a great day! I'm off to feed the lake.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Book News!

Here's the hardcover large print version of SANDWICHED. The quality isn't that great, but you can get the idea. It's available from Thorndike Press and I notice it's already up for sale on Amazon www.amazon.com and at www.barnesandnoble.com! Very exciting! I can't wait to actually hold a copy! I've always dreamed of having my name on the cover of a hardback novel!

More book news. Rumor is a photo of SANDWICHED is in the May issue of Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine in a section on books celebrating mothers and daughters. It is in the “mainstream” category and only six books are included, including The Joy Luck Club and Little Women! Hey, I'm in excellent company. Those are two of my favorite books! Little Women is one of the reasons I wanted to be a writer in the first place. When I grew up, I wanted to be Jo. Another surprise...my agent tells me that THE ME I USED TO BE cover is featured in an article in Time Magazine in it's British version! I'm hoping to have a copy soon. Very cool!

I'm reading Lani Diane Rich's EX AND THE SINGLE GIRL, another of the novels nominated for a RITA in my category. This is a book that puts a smile on your face. Ms. Rich definitely has a sense of humor! The tone is sort of Southern chick lit. Think the YA YAs without the angsty subplot.

On the puppy front, Margie is learning fast to do her business outside, and she and my old lady dog Tia are getting along better, though Tia still doesn't think she's as adorable as I do. Margie has learned to fetch and loves doing it! Next I want to leash train her so we can go on walks, but so far she becomes terrified when I put the leash on her.

Happy Thursday!


Monday, April 10, 2006

Meet Marge!

I'd like you to meet Marge, a.k.a Margie, my new puppy! We adopted her this weekend from the Animal Rescue Shelter. She's a 4 month old dachshund mix. Not quite sure what makes up the rest of the mix, though! She is a sweetheart and loads of fun. My 13 year old neurotic Brittany Spaniel is not as smitten. When Margie tries to roughhouse with Tia, Tia looks at me as if to say, "I'm too old for this. What were you thinking?" They are getting along better the more time they spend with each other, though. Margie is my reward for finishing my proposal and getting it off to my agent. Let's hope she brings me good luck in that area!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What If The Hokey Pokey IS Really What It's All About?

Weather-wise, today is horrible where I live, and I find myself dreaming of Hawaii and this particular gorgeous beach. We've been having 45 to 50 mph wind gusts all afternoon. Step outside and you just might find yourself swept up, carried away, then dropped somewhere in the next county. But I have the perfect thing to wash the grit from my teeth. Champagne! I found a very nice bottle of it in a box on my doorstep, sent to me by my publisher to congratulate me on my Rita nomination! Definitely makes the wind a bit easier to take.! This is what it's all about about -- one of those feel-good moments in life that should be cherished despite winds blustery enough to blow you over the rainbow, writer's block, a messy office or any other such malady.

Speaking of what it's all about, I had a phone conversation with my youngest son recently that reminded me of when I was twenty and confused about what to do with my life. Not too long ago, I had the same conversation with his older brother. I guess most of us go through that stage of being afraid of making the wrong choices and becoming a little paralyzed because of it. As mothers will sometimes, I caught myself lecturing about finding balance and direction and all that good advice that's easy to give but not so easy to follow. Later that day, stopped in traffic at a red light, I read a bumper sticker on a car in front of me that said: What If The Hokey Pokey IS Really What It's All About? Wouldn't that be a kicker? All this time we spend trying to pinpoint the perfect college major, perfect job, perfect book idea, perfect get-rich-quick scheme that's going to bring us perfect happiness, when a little Hokey Pokey jig once a day is really all we need to do in order to be happy!

I've done the Hokey Pokey a few times over the course of my life -- usually in a roller rink wearing skates before I was thirteen. I can't remember ever being unhappy while doing it, either. In my experience, doing the Hokey Pokey is good exercise, good for a few laughs, good for the soul. I'm thinking about calling both my sons and telling them to forget my lectures. Instead, I want them to stand up, take a deep breath and do the Hokey Pokey, then see what comes of it. Sounds like a good way to clear the mind of a lot of worry so it can focus, instead, on the little things that make a life truly successful, fulfilling and enjoyable. Perfect happiness. Could it really be that easy? Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, put your right foot in and shake it all about, do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around, that's what it's all about...

After I catch my breath, I think a little champagne's in order. Hokey pokey and celebratory champagne. Feel good moments. That's what it's all about.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Eerie Things

Good Morning! I am procrastinating getting to work on my new book proposal. Thanks goodness for blogs! I can say I'm writing even though I'm not writing what I should be writing! Does that make sense?

While in Hawaii, we came across this lookout bunker from World War 2 while hiking down a beach one morning. Later, on other beaches, we saw more of these. Interesting and a bit eerie. Not much room inside. We didn't go to Pearl Harbor since we'd already visited it on a prior trip ten years ago. If you're ever able to go there, do. An eerie hushed silence surrounds the memorial site. It's difficult to describe, but I noticed the same silence when I visited the memorial where the Oklahoma City bombings took place and the 911 site in New York City.

Speaking of eerie, on the only day in Oahu that the rain kept us inside, I finished reading Blood Memory by Greg Ihles. Wow. It took me a few chapters to get into the story, but once I did it gripped me. I would classify this book as a literary psychological thriller. It's written in first person and the writing is beautiful and descriptive. Considering it's about a serial killer, it's sometimes disturbingly descriptive! And it's eerie as the protagonist begins to unravel psychologically while unraveling the mystery. The subject matter -- child molestation -- might be too upsetting for some readers, but I thought Ihles handled it well.

I've decided to read all the books that are nominated for a Rita Award in my category. Not sure if I'm trying to torture myself -- I don't have a chance! This book is too good! I'm not worthy of being in the same room with this author! Or if I'm trying to encourage myself. This book is great, but mine is just as good! Maybe...just maybe I have a chance! I've already finished
Table For Five by Susan Wiggs. I've always enjoyed her writing and her books, and this one was no exception. At this point, I'm still wavering back and forth day-to-day/hour-to-hour between I'm not worthy and Maybe just maybe...

Better get to work before the day slips away and I look out my window to see that the sun is setting. I only wish the view looked like this!

www.jenniferarcher.net has been updated on the "News and Events" page. Hope you'll drop by!



Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Kindness Of Strangers

I just returned from a walk and it's a beautiful Sunday morning. Spring is definitely in the air! I love to walk and hike. Jeff and I hiked a lot while in Hawaii -- or I should say we beachcombed. One morning, we wandered along a beach for almost four hours and only crossed paths with five or six people. Two of them, a couple from Canada, pointed out whales far in the distance then loaned us their binoculars so we could get a close up view. I saw one jump completely out of the ocean then dive back into the water in a graceful arch. We talked to that couple for a long time and found we had a lot in common.

On another evening, while having dinner on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the ocean and an orange sunset, we met two couples having dinner at the table next to us. Michele and Bob are both in the Navy and live on Oahu. Thier friends, Linda and Bob, were visiting them from Baltimore. We had a nice conversation and some good laughs. When they heard I was having a booksigning the next afternoon in Honolulu, they said they'd come. I didn't really believe them. Oh, I figured they had good intentions to show up, but as soon as we parted ways, they'd forget about it. The next day at the booksigning, Alison, Community Relations Manager for the Honolulu Barnes and Noble at Ala Moana Center, greeted me with a gorgeous flower lei. She had a big sign displaying the cover of MY PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE by the entrance and a table set up with stacks of my books. She worked hard to have everything just right. Here's a photo of me with Alison.

Soon, members of the Aloha chapter of Romance Writers of America started dropping by to meet me and buy my books. They were all so gracious and friendly, and I felt at ease with all of them. It reconfirmed my belief that writers have an instant connection with one another; I sensed that these people and I were already friends due to our common passion for books and writing. Lynn Raye Harris, the Aloha Chapter's president, also brought me a flower lei to welcome me to Oahu. About mid-way through the signing, I looked up and the two couples I'd met at dinner the night before, Michele, Linda and the two Bobs, were walking through the front door! They bought 3 books each and extended a dinner invitation to Jeff and I for later that night. After they left, people asked me if they were old friends of mine! No one could believe we'd only met the night before! Here they are, along with Jeff & me (center)

Lynn Harris and Michael Little, the Aloha Chapter's newsletter editor, stayed through the entire signing and had coffee with Jeff and me afterward. Lynn's husband Mike also joined us and had everyone laughing--he's a very funny guy! Though we'd never met until that day, I had contacted Lynn through their Chapter website when I planned the trip and she put me in touch with Alison at Barnes and Noble. Without Lynn's help, setting up the booksigning would've been a lot more difficult. Here's Lynn, me and Michael.

My trip to Hawaii was made all the more special due to the kindness of strangers-- people who went out of their way to share with me, help me or support me--though we'd never met before. It's strange to think that chances are good I may never cross paths with any of these people again, yet they touched my life and will always be a happy memory.