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

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Haunted Houses, Break-Out Books & Writing Fast

I know I promised photos of Candace Havens and Britta Coleman giving their workshop and/or at their booksigning last weekend, but I haven't loaded them yet. And, to be honest, I was so caught up in their talk, I took very few. But I promise to post what I have soon. Stay tuned... So why the haunted house, you ask? When I was writing my Young Adult novel "Picture This," I ran across this picture and I couldn't believe it! This was the haunted house in my story. Right up to the tip top of that awesome, creepy turret. I finally turned in to my agent the latest new and improved version of the manuscript, she read it, and she's sending out into the world of editors either tomorrow or next week! So in honor of Tansy, Papa Dan and Millicent Moon (the characters in "Picture This"), here's a look at their house. Wish them luck finding a publishing house, as well. (Fingers crossed tightly.)

Back to Britta and Candy's workshop. Britta spoke about writing a "break-out" book, and Candy spoke about writing fast, getting that first draft down on paper before becoming hung-up in trying to make it perfect. They both talked about "writer karma." Reaping what you sow, so to speak. I needed reminders about all of those things, and I wasn't disappointed. Some things that stuck with me: To treat my writing like the career it is, rather than a hobby. To honor the work, devote the time and attention to the story it deserves. To study the craft. To find the essential element in my writer "voice" that makes it unique, and to push that button as hard as I can. To think positive and give myself permission to write a crappy first draft. (A crappy first draft can be fixed, a blank page is blank.) To send the internal editor on vacation while writing the first draft. As for "karma" -- To give back to the community that supports me and to be an inspiration to other writers by reaching out to them, (even when I don't feel like it) by sharing what I've learned.
In short, it was a great weekend, and we even managed to squeeze in some girl talk and a glass or two of wine.

On the reading front -- I recently finished a YA novel by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor called "Sang Spell." It was fantastic -- one of those stories that really makes you think and see things in a different way. If you don't read young adult novels, I urge you to give them a try. These days, a lot of them tend to cross over into adult territory and I've discovered many wonderful stories and beautiful writing in YA stories. This weekend, I plan to start reading a book recommended to me by a friend called "The Book of Dead Birds," by Gayle Brandeis. It's a couple of years old and is about a "Young woman's struggle to come to terms with her mother's terrible past while she searches for her own place in the world." I'll let you know how I like it.

Happy Reading,


Friday, September 15, 2006

Time Keeps On Slip-slip-slipping Away

I was told today by a good friend that she misses my blog entries, and that others have asked about them, as well. Since it's nice to be missed...here I am. I let myself fall behind on my writing while my sons were home (this photo is of my oldest, Ryan, and me), and I've been hard at it ever since, trying to catch up. (This is my excuse for not blogging for awhile!) So here's an update:

The boys came home. They flew one-way, spent three days and nights here visiting family, etc., then we drove with them to our place in Colorado and spent a couple of days and nights there. After that, on to Denver where we spent one night with my sister-in-law and went to my niece's very fun engagement party at a gorgeous home in the country. The next day we were on the road ten more hours headed for Montana to take the guys back. My husband and I spent four nights there where we all worked hard doing maintenance on our condo (which the sons live in). We also squeezed in some fun. Fishing on the gorgeous Gallatin River, etc. And it was great being with my kids again. They always make me laugh. Though a good time was had by all, I'm certain they were ready for us to hit the road again, and truth be told, we were ready to hit it! Four days and nights living in the basement of two college guys' condo was enough for me! (Here I am with my youngest, Jason.)

On the way home, we headed for Jackson Hole, Wyoming where we spent the night and had a great dinner in town. That's a very cool place, if you haven't been. Beautiful and lots of fun places on the square to check out. Puppy Marge went along on the trip, and she did great. (Here's a photo of Marge in the mountains with her friend McKenzie.
Tia stayed home with my parents who deserve a big fat present for keeping the grouchy old lady dog. See the lovely yet cranky Tia here!

As for the writing -- I took a copy of my YA on the road trip and worked on tightening it and making the narrative (I hope) stronger. Finished up the first week home and sent it off to my agent for another look. If she thinks it's ready, we'll start shopping that baby around to editors soon. Fingers crossed. Since sending it to her, I've been hard at work on my next novel for NEXT, "What She Never Expected." I've been averaging ten rough pages a day -- a LOT for this writer who likes to take it slow. My goal is to have the rough draft finished by October 1. I should be receiving information about the woman and charity I'm going to do a story about for the MORE THAN WORDS anthology around that time, and I want the month free to meet her and gather my thoughts for the story. Then I'll have the month of November and the first two weeks of December to polish up "What She Never Expected" before my deadline of Dec. 10. Whew! As you can see, I'm busy. But loving it, too. I've been a frequent fixture on the coffee deck of one of my favorite locally-owned coffee shops lately, notebook and pen in hand, scribbling away.

Last night was the first SURVIVOR show of the new season. Chances are this one will garner some controversy as they've split the teams up according to ethnic race. Being the SURVIVOR junkie I am, I had my butt firmly planted on the couch in front of the TV at 7:00 sharp. My close friend since 7th grade and fellow SURVIVOR junkie, Donna, came over and we watched together while sipping wine and making our own commentary. I also got to see photos of her adorable new granddaughter, Pere! I'm still trying to figure out how Donna is a grandmother, since we are not even CLOSE to being old enough for that...

This weekend, two of my favorite writer friends, Britta Coleman www.brittacoleman.com and Candace Havens www.candacehavens.com, fellow Divas, will be in my town for various writing events. Tonight, there will be pot luck at Jodi Thomas' house www.jodithomas.com. Tomorrow, Britta and Candy are presenting a workshop at the Panhandle Professional Writers meeting. Afterward, I'm doing a booksigning with them at Barnes and Noble. I'll post photos sometime in the next week or so. Check back. Britta's novel, POTTER SPRINGS, is out now in trade paperback. Candy's newest release, CHARMED AND DEADLY is in bookstores this month.

So...much more soon. Hope you'll come back! I promise to try to be more frequent in my blogging efforts!

Until next time...