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

Friday, March 31, 2006



I'm back and recovered (almost) from a fantastic vacation to the Hawaiian island of Oahu with my husband, Jeff. You may have seen in the news that the islands had A LOT of rain while we were there. In fact, according to the news reports, it's still raining. It's causing them some problems but luckily we were spared the worst of it. We stayed on the north shore of Oahu, and though we had rain every day, we didn't have rain ALL day like other parts of the island did. For the next few days, I'll be posting about the trip, some of our experiences while there, my Honolulu booksigning, and some of the very nice people I met while there. I'll post photos, too. This one is of our feet in the sand on a gorgeous beach with a wave rolling in. You were probably hoping for something more interesting than our feet, right? Sorry. It's a weird tradition of ours. We always take photos of our feet in the sand when we go to the beach so we'll have a realistic memory of what we were looking at. That awesome wave...Ahh. I'll show you something besides feet tomorrow--more of the island. I promise.

Rain or shine, Hawaii is gorgeous and magical. Truly. You feel the magic the minute you step outside the airport. I've never been to a more relaxing place! The water, the countryside, the air, the people -- they all combine to make the place seem like heaven on earth!

I felt the magic most of all on the morning of March 24th when I checked my home phone messages and got the news that my novel The Me I Used To Be finaled in the Rita! I'm a nominee in the "Novel with Strong Romantic Elements" category. And what an amazing group of talented writers I'm up against! I'm stunned to see my name on the same list with these women! Susan Wiggs, Barbara Samuel, Nora Roberts, Mary Alice Monroe, Beverly Brandt, Lani Diane Rich and last but definitely not least my dear, fabulous friend Candace Havens! I called her immediately and we giggled and gushed over the phone. What a great feeling! Her book, Charmed and Dangerous is incredible. Back before it was ever published and she read the prologue to my critique group, I told her it was not only going to sell, it was going to be a big hit! Am I right, or what? And Candy critiqued The Me I Used To Be for me while I was writing it! The Romance Writers of America national conference in July, when the Awards Ceremony will be held, should really be a fun one for me this year!

I'm still playing catchup on work since coming back home from the trip, so I'll sign off. Back tomorrow with more stories and photos.


Monday, March 20, 2006


Happy Monday,

We had snow in the Texas Panhandle today! The first since October. And it drizzled rain all day yesterday. Much needed moisture after a long drought and terrible fires that have burned land the size of the state of Kentucky, killed numerous cattle and eleven people.

I won't be blogging again until March 30th, but make sure to check back then! I hope to have some great pictures to post here of my booksigning in Honolulu!

Aloha! Have a great week!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Idea Jar

The men in my husband's family have a joke that their wives all have "job jars" for them. In these jars, we supposedly keep scraps of paper with household jobs written on them, and on their days off, they're required to pull out a scrap and complete the task. (Now there's an idea, huh?)

One of the questions I'm asked most when people learn I'm a writer is "where do you get your ideas?" When people ask me that, I'm a little baffled that they don't see ideas everywhere, like I do. Life is like that job jar only, in addition to tasks, it's filled with ideas, too. Usually, I'll see something or read something or hear something that sprouts the question-- what if....? An idea blooms then grows, often in a story direction I never expected.

The idea for my first published novel Body and Soul sprouted while I was sitting in line at a bank drive-up window. My children were small then and they were in the back seat irritating one another. I'd had a long day and their argument was wearing my nerves thin. I looked at the car beside me in the next lane -- a red Volkswagon with a young, pretty 20-something girl inside. Her window was down, music blared from her radio, and she be-bopped to the beat. She looked carefree, relaxed, everything I wasn't at the moment. I thought, "Right now, I wish I had your life." Then, "what if two women like us switched places, right here, right now?" Voila! The idea for Body and Soul bloomed.

The idea for Sandwiched grew out of a lunch date with two girlfriends. Over salads and tea, we talked about the fact that our parents were getting older and might soon need more of our time, while our teenagers were getting older and wanting less of our time. We were, in a sense, sandwiched between the needs of these important people in our lives.

I wrote The Me I Used To Be after reading a magazine article about a woman who got pregnant at the age of sixteen while at Woodstock. She gave her baby son up for adoption and he found her more than 30 years later. "What if that child had been a daughter?" I wondered. "And what if the daughter died before they ever had the chance to reconnect? What if a grandchild found the birth mother instead?"

My Perfectly Imperfect Life began at a writing workshop. The teacher had us take out pens and paper. "A character finds something unexpected in his or her significant other's closet," she said. "Write about it. You have one minute." I put the pen to paper, started writing, and here's what emerged...It was black, lacy, a size 42 DD. She wore a B cup...barely. As the woman stared at the big black bra hidden in the corner of her husband's closet, she couldn't help wondering -- did it belong to another woman...or to him? The paragraph was rough, but when I read it aloud to the group, everyone laughed. I thought I might be on to something.

If you're a writer searching for a story, pay attention to the life you're living, the world around you, the common things you might take for granted. Let your imagination wander. Though it's true that sometimes I really don't know where a story came from, more often than not the idea arises from an every day occurence, a minor incident that seems so mundane it's easy to let it slip by unnoticed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Suddenly, If It's Good... I'm Allergic

I'm beginning to think I'm developing an allergy to things I like a lot. Like gin, for instance. My favorite alcoholic beverage is a gin and tonic. G&T's, as I so fondly call them, have been a favorite of mine for years. Now, suddenly, each time I drink one -- even a sip -- my neck breaks out in a rash and my face turns flaming red and becomes hot. Tonic water and lime alone don't cause this reaction, so I know it's the gin, damn it! Now I have to search for a new favorite drink. Tough work, but somehow I'll muddle through.

Three summers ago, I learned the hard way that I have a sun allergy. I've always been sensitive and have had to be careful due to my white skin, but on a trip to Mexico that year, my feet and ankles swelled up like blistered balloons after a twenty minute stroll down the beach. Not fair! I'm a warm weather girl. A beach bum. An ocean lover. I adore nothing more than feeling the heat of sunshine seep into my pores, sand between my toes, salt water lapping at my feet. I refuse to give all that up, even if it means applying sunblock every ten minutes. And, if that decides to stop working, I'll resort to wearing an old lady swimsuit and a big floppy hat.

Now my newest allergy, apparently, is strawberrys. I love them in ice cream, on shortcake, with cereal. I've never had a problem with them before, but this morning I ate some with my Cheerios and my tongue started itching. Please, no! Not strawberries! What's next? My husband? Will I look at him and break out in hives?

One thing I'm allergic to that I don't like so much is waiting. Waiting for the next visit with my sons, who are away at college. Waiting to get that check in the mail. Waiting to see the cover of my next book, and then for the book to show up in stores. Waiting for those extra pounds to magically fall off, for that new wrinkle cream to start working, for my laundry to wash itself, for the dog to learn to feed herself. You get the idea. Right now I'm waiting to hear what my agent thinks of the two new book proposals I sent her yesterday, checking my email every half hour to see if she's sent me a message. What's the matter with her? Why didn't she drop everything when my proposals showed up in her "In" box? What else could the woman possibly have to do other than read my work? Sigh.

Wish I could stick around and talk about something profound but, alas, I have to go check my email again. And maybe try a martini while I'm at it. A'la' James Bond--shaken not stirred. With Vodka, not gin.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Failure To Launch

I've been away from my computer for a few days. My husband and I spent a couple of nights at our cabin in Colorado. The peak outside our window was covered in snow and it was beautiful! I managed to get some work accomplished while away from email and telephones! It's a great, peaceful place to write! I read more of Blood Memory, too. It's slow going with that one for me, but I'm enjoying it. Before we went, though, I had a booksigning at the Barnes and Noble in Amarillo, Texas. Thanks to those of you who came out to buy a copy of my newest book release MY PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE! (Read about it on my website www.jenniferarcher.net). I caught up with some old friends, and met new ones. I even acted as customer service rep! Well, not officially, but a cute little elderly lady asked me where she might find doctor somebody's latest non-fiction title!

I also have to tell you about Failure To Launch. I saw it over the weekend and it's fantastic! Don't expect any Oscars for this one, but it was a nice break from all the issue-oriented movies so abundant these days. I like those, too, but sometimes I just want to be entertained and this movie does that fabulously well! Many laugh-out-loud moments. I especially liked the secondary couple. There's this hilarious scene with a bird where they...well, you'll have to go see for yourself. And then there's Terry Bradshaw. He actually does a great job! In one scene he's...well, I don't want to give it away! It's just too funny!

I'm still fiddling with my blog--trying to learn how to add photos, etc. Soon, I promise. I'm technologically challenged.

Have a great evening!


Friday, March 10, 2006

Blogs and Booksignings and Hardbacks, Oh My!

I'm basically computer illiterate so bear with me while I try to spruce up my blog. There may be some weird experiments on here for a while!

If you're in the Amarillo, Texas area tomorrow, Saturday March 11, drop by Barnes and Noble from 2 to 4 where I'll be autographing my new book, MY PERFECTLY IMPERFECT LIFE. I'll have cookies!

More news on the hardback version of SANDWICHED. It will be available in a large print version from Thorndike Press in May! Here's the link http://www.gale.com/thorndike/coming.htm?user=601647&month=may06.csv

Scroll down to "Americana" and that's where you'll find it!

Have a great Friday night!


Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Dangerously Delicious Recipe

Happy Thursday,

Last weekend, I was treated to a dessert that is truly dangerous. It's the kind I'd like to make in a huge vat then dive head-first into it and not come up for air until its gone. I haven't made it myself yet, but I was told its easy. Here's the recipe. Try it. You won't be sorry. Unless, of course, you're dieting. In that case, you're going to hate me!

Sopaipilla Cheesecake

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 8-oz pkgs Cream Cheese
1 stick Butter
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla

Spray a 9 X 12 pan with cooking spray. Lay 1 can of crescent rolls in bottom of the pan. Beat 2 pkgs of cream cheese, vanilla, 1 cup of sugar and spread over crescent rolls. Cover mixture with other can of crescent rolls. Melt 1 stick of butter, mix 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and pour over crescent roll-cream cheese muxture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Eat. Groan with pleasure.

I'm going to coerce my husband to take me to a movie tonight. It's been a while and I need my movie fix. I'm considering Failure To Launch, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada or Walk The Line. Can't believe I haven't seen Walk The Line yet. Maybe it's the winner. Also, I think I think my blog needs to be dressed up a little. I've been looking at some other blogs and mine, well, looks a little homely. Stay tuned. I'll see what I can do. Meanwhile, back to the book!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

With Too Much To Do And All This Worrying Did I Miss Winter?

Tuesday. Election day. I need to go vote. Even if my friend Clay Houdashell wasn't running for JP, and I wasn't excited about casting my ballot for him, (which I am! Go Clay!), I'd have to vote or spend a good amount of time being guilt-ridden over not exercising a right so many women of the past suffered to win for me. I also need to exercise. And decide what to fix for dinner. And get the mail. And check my bank statement. And make the bed. And take a shower. The list goes on, and it's already 3:30 pm! I thought when my kids left home for college I'd have so much time on my hands to try and fill. Yeah, right. At least I've been writing all day, not goofing off. Writing and worrying. The proposal I'm working up for a new book is heavy. Too heavy, I wonder? Too angsty? Just quit worrying, write the damn proposal, send it off and see, I tell myself. Yeah, right. Quit worrying. Like that's ever gonna happen. I was born worrying; I'm sure of it.

In my backyard, the trees are budding with tiny pink and white blossoms. Tulip leaves poke like green spikes through the cracked dry dirt of my flowerbeds. What happened to winter? Did I miss it? We haven't even had a snow yet here in Texas, have we? Was I too busy, writing and worrying and doing everything else I do, to notice? It's as if I blinked and missed an entire season. I had the same thought once while watching an old home video of my youngest son's third birthday. I think we had a party later in the week, but on the night of his actual birthday, we had a cake after dinner. At least, the video proves that...I don't remember. I watched that video of my husband, my three year old son, my older son, and myself all gathered around the table, heard my oldest son saying, "You're three, Jas. You're three!" as if he's amazed, at the ripe old age of not-quite-five, to believe his baby brother could be so old -- and I don't remember that evening. Well, sort of, but it's a blur. I was a young, frazzled mother with two kids almost two years apart to the month. Two rowdy, energetic, fun-loving little boys. I look frazzled. (You should see my hair. It's wash and go. Brillo pad style.) I have plenty of great memories from that time, but I have to admit that much of it is also hazy, as if I was so busy, I missed lots of bits and pieces of an entire season of my life. The lesson? Pay attention to the moments, I suppose. Pay attention. They'll slip away fast! I promise!

On to the shameless self-promo... I found out today that my book Sandwiched will be available in hardcover in May from a large-print publisher! More to follow as I receive more news! Now, go vote people. Go vote!


Monday, March 06, 2006

Sometimes It's Tough To Remember I'm A Diva

Hi cyberfolk,

I have a coffee mug that proclaims I am "Queen Of Everything" and my writing critique group members and I call ourselves "The Divas." You may think I'm delusional but, really, these are just ways to remind myself that "I am worthy." Like Garth and Wayne in Wayne's World, sometimes it's easy to think otherwise. Whenever Rodney Dangerfield would say, "I don't get no respect," I sympathized. Why? Because when you're a writer it's easy to let yourself feel beaten down by editor and/or agent rejections, negative book reviews, ho-hum sales figures and a jillion and one other spirit-bruising things that are an every day part of this business. I spent the past weekend with a group of wonderful writers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. My hosts, Britta Coleman (www.brittacoleman) and Candace Havens (www.candacehavens.com) know how to treat writer spirits with tender-loving care. On Saturday we had a fantastic multi-author booksigning at the Lewisville Barnes and Noble thanks to Debbe, the CRM at the store, as well as all the readers, writers, friends and family (waving madly at Angie, Bob, Larry, Lara, Chase and Peyton!) who showed up to support us. Thanks to all of you. It was fun seeing stacks of my new book My Perfectly Imperfect Life on the table. Before the signing, though, we ate and shopped and ate and shopped some more. (Britta and Candy are dangerous! Within an hour and a half of stepping off the plane on Friday, I'd purchased two necklaces. Shoes soon followed.) After the signing, Britta's gracious husband, Kern, cooked a delicious meal for us while we sat with our feet up and celebrated our diva-hood. We wore pj's, tiaras and rhinestone crown necklaces while we sipped sangria. Yes, we really wore tiaras! Candy and Britta presented them to each of us, along with the necklaces. Six grown women sat up until one a.m. talking about writing, books, friendship, husbands, kids and assorted other topics, and the tiaras stayed on until the end! I loved it! By the time I flew home yesterday, I really did feel like a diva! (My very nice mother-in-law continued the illusion by picking me up curbside and chauffering me home!)

This morning, I'm thinking about how smart Britta and Candy are. They know how important it is to take care of their spirits and the spirits of others. In the midst of all the busy-ness, sometimes you have to stop and take a breath, get together with people you care about, laugh and act silly. Focus on the good. Remind yourself of what it is you love about your work -- be it writing or anything else.

In other news, my novel Sandwiched is now available in audio at www.audible.com! It can be downloaded onto CD, or onto your computer, Ipod or MP3 player. The three women who read the parts of Belle, CiCi and Erin did such a fantastic job I got tears in my eyes when I first heard them. It's so surreal listening to their voices. Those characters who talked in my head while writing the book, actually speak aloud! Very cool.

Have a great week!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Women Are Born To Suffer...Or Do We Torture Ourselves?

Happy Thursday,

Yesterday, I paid good money to have hot wax poured on my skin and hair yanked from my body by the roots. When the sting subsided, I thought of something my father-in-law used to say in a mock-pathetic voice whenever someone would apologize for not helping him with some task, like the dishes or canning fruit or anything else. "That's okay...we men are born to suffer." After yesterday, I beg to differ! But do we inflict a lot of the suffering on ourselves? Once upon a time, someone with influence ( a man, no doubt!) decided that women should have shiny flowing hair on their heads, and lots of it. But the remainder of our bodies should be hairless. And so we spend hours and big bucks breathing chemical fumes and braving the heat of blow dryers, having our locks curled or straightened, foiled, twisted, dyed or bleached. Then spend more hours, despite possible nicks, bumps and redness, plucking, tweezing, depilatorizing, shaving or waxing the rest of the stuff away.

But that's not all...said person in the know also decided that women should have a certain size breasts. I have friends who've gone under the knife for reductions, and friends who've gone under for implants. Oh, and women shouldn't grow old. They shouldn't have saggy eyelids or laugh lines or creased foreheads. Voila! Botox! Which brings me to a confession. I did it once. I was at an appointment with a cosmetic dermatologist for something else and she asked if I'd like to try it on the lines in my forehead and the groove between my brows. What the hell, I thought. Why not? I've always been curious. It'll be my little secret. Everyone will think I've been getting more rest, that's all. They'll tell me how good I'm looking and ask me if I've been on vacation. "We can inject your brows, too," the doc said. "Give them a little lift." Sure. Shoot me up. She did. Guess what? No one noticed except one of my sisters. My husband didn't even give my face a curious glance. And my sister's comment? "Have you done something to your face?" A frown, then, "What's wrong with your eyebrows?" It seems, according to her, they almost disappeared into my hairline whenever I spoke. See, I didn't take into consideration the fact that, when I talk, I habitually lift my brows, anyway (which explains why I needed the Botox in the first place--I talk a lot and all that brow-lifting wrinkles my forehead). So now they lifted even higher whenever I made the expression. I confessed my secret and asked my sister to keep it. She did, but whenever we were around other people and I'd start talking, she'd stand back, lift her brows high and smirk at me, and I'd have to try not to laugh. Or to hit her. :-)

Why do we torture ourselves? If that mysterious person in the know suddenly decided that women shouldn't have toenails, would we all make appointments at some fancy salon to have them pulled out with gold-plated plyers? Probably. I say we band together, find the guy, hold him down and give him a bikini wax.

Enough of that. Last weekend my husband and I visited our friends Michelle and Mark and their daughter McKenzie who live in Durango, Colorado. What a gorgeous place! And what great friends. While the men skiied, Michelle had some of her friends and fellow book-club members over for a coffee to meet me. We talked about books and writing and ate some of Michelle's great cooking. I met some really interesting and fun women! Afterward, Michelle and I went to a great independent bookstore downtown called Maria's where I bought "A Great And Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray. Michelle and I always trade books with one another, too, and here's what she sent home with me: "The Photograph" by Penelope Lively, "The Book Of Dead Birds" by Gayle Brandeis, "Empire of Light" by David Czuchlewski, "Homestead" by Rosina Lippi, and "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert. Also on my nightstand, waiting to be read are: "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory" and "Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt. In the meantime, I'm in the middle of "Blood Memory" by Greg Iles -- a thriller written in first person, and so far very intriguing. As you can see, I have plenty of reading to do. So many great books, so little time!

This weekend I'm off to Lewisville Texas to autograph books at Barnes and Noble on Saturday from 2 to 4 with authors Candace Havens, Britta Coleman, Jodi Thomas and Lori Moore. Stop by if you're in the area. Better sign off now. The mail just arrived and there's a magazine with an article about a new, supposedly less painful liposuction I'm dying to read.... :-)