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

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Books, Books, and More Books

I've found some great reads over the past months. Lots of different tones and genres depending on my mood. Here are a few:

OVERKILL by Linda Castillo. A scary, well-written romantic suspense guaranteed to keep you turning pages through the night. The protagonist isn't the typical romance heroine. I loved her rough edges and angst!

CONFESSIONS OF A WEREWOLF SUPERMODEL by Ronda Thompson. This is my friend Ronda's first mainstream novel and her last book. Sadly, she passed away in July. (See my post below)A fun and unique premise. Ronda's wonderful voice rings true throughout!

LIKE FAMILY: GROWING UP IN OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES: A MEMOIR by Paula McLain. I picked up this book at the library in order to research the lives of foster children. I ended up reading it for more than research. The writing is unsentimental, poetic and frank. I was by turns, touched, mortified and heartbroken by the story.

HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG by Andre Dubus. I read this while on vacation at the beach. Not a light, breezy beach read for sure! Depressing but thought-provoking. Horrifying but skillfully and beautifully written. This is a story I can't stop thinking about, even months later.

INTENSITY by Dean Koontz. Oh my gosh. This is one of the scariest novels I've ever read. If you shy away from Dean Koontz because you don't like supernatural stories, try this one. What happens in this story, could happen in real life, which makes it all the more frightening. The roller coaster ride of terror starts in Chapter One and doesn't stop until the end. The thing I love about Koontz is that his books are more than horror and/or suspense; they are great character studies, too.

THE PACT by Jodi Picoult. This was my first Jodi Picoult novel and after finishing it I promptly headed for the bookstore to buy another of her titles. I literally could not put it down. I admit that I did question one key character's motivation for behaving the way he did, but that didn't keep me from staying glued to the pages until the end. A great read.

MY SISTER'S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult. Very intriguing premise. Beautiful writing. This author is difficult to categorize. This novel is literary in style, commercial in concept, a romance, a courtroom drama, suspense. I loved this book.

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. A cross-over novel -- meaning it appeals to and has been marketed to both a young adult audience and an adult audience. I was intrigued to see WWII through the eyes of a young German girl. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful story. READ IT. That's all I can say!

ON BLUE FALLS POND by Susan Crandall. This book was a 2007 RITA Award finalist in the Novel With Strong Romantic Elements category. Features a heroine tortured by a tragedy in her past, and a hero dealing with very real family difficulties in his present. I loved the small town setting and the true-to life characters and situations. A lovely story.

CHARMED AND DEADLY by Candace Havens. Candy Havens books are always fun and fast-paced and this one is no exception! The latest adventures of Bronwyn the kick-butt witch will keep you laughing as you continue to turn the pages late into the night!

Those are a few that come to mind at the moment. I'll post more as I remember them!

Happy Reading,

Jenny

www.jenniferarcher.net

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Door Closes


Hello, my name is Jennifer and I'm a blog-slacker. I have decided to own-up to this weakness instead of making excuses. And no more false promises of more frequent blogs, either. Here's the truth: I will post here when the mood strikes and/or I have something to say.

No, I didn't get a really bad haircut since we last spoke. The photo is of a llama my oldest son met up-close-and-personal in Bolivia. (He's studying Spanish in South America at the moment -- my son, not the llama.)

Now, on to business... Here is what I have to say today, and I have mixed feelings about the subject. On Tuesday night of last week, I spoke to one of the creative classes at my local community college. They were a great and attentive group, even though I didn't have a formal speech prepared, and so stood up front and told them my story, complete with off-hand thoughts and opinions, in a disjointed manner. The next day the teacher Mike Bellah, a talented writer himself, emailed and said what he had liked best about my talk was my honesty. Now, I've listened to plenty of authors speak when I was the student, and I know some of them try to paint a rosy picture of the writing business, and some give a very "together" professional talk complete with slideshow and power-point presentation that leaves me feeling like not only a blog-slacker but a slacker in general. But the speakers I like best are the ones who tell it like it is, without pretty-ing up the facts or, conversely, whining about how tough it is to be a writer just so they'll appear stalwart and oh-so important. I'm sure every published writer has a different story to tell, but I admire them all the more if they tell it honestly, even if it exposes a few warts and insecurities, so that's what I try to do. I mean, some of those students are considering getting into this crazy and unpredictable business professionally. Why should I pretend with them? I've been where they are. They are me, and vice-versa. Now...why am I telling you this, and what about those mixed feelings I mentioned?

Here's the truth about what's happening in my writing life at the moment, and it's not rosy. Harlequin released an announcement last week that as of February, the NeXt line will close. (You may or may not have noticed that my novels published over the past two and a half years were a part of the NeXt line.) I don't know much more than that smidgen of information at the moment. A lot is up in the air. For one thing, the fate of what was to be my March release THE GOOD STUFF a.k.a. WHAT SHE NEVER EXPECTED. I am also under contract for one more book that I was supposed to finish in April, entitled DEAR DIVAS. I've been informed that I should have more news this week...stay tuned.

Actually, I have been worried about the fate of NeXt for a long time. I have feared they weren't reaching their intended market -- readers who enjoy a good, mainstream story about women's lives. NeXt sales grew steadily, but too slowly for Harlequin to continue the line. So...it looks as though my December, 2007 book ANNIE ON THE LAM: A CHRISTMAS CAPER is to be my last NeXt release. I hope you'll look for it! Stop by my website www.jenniferarcher.net and check it out, complete with the first chapter. I'm sad the line fell through the cracks, but not surprised. I adore my editors at Harlequin. I loved the original NeXt concept and the fabulous mainstream covers the art department created, especially during the first year. But I'm telling myself that the old saying "when one door closes, another opens" will be true for me, as well as for the other fine NeXt authors. Most of the time, my gut tells me that's the case. But I've been doing this long enough to know that finding another publishing "home" might not be easy. It's tough and competitive out there in the world of writing! It's a good thing I'm tough, too. After all the rejection letters, snarky reviews, and painful critiques I've survived over the years, I have a thick and scaly alligator skin! Hmm. Alligator skin and shaggy llama hair. Writing fiction is hard on a girl in more ways than one!

Happy Reading,

Jenny

www.jenniferarcher.net

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Goodbye To A Friend


(Photo: Candace Havens, Me, Ronda, Linda Castillo)

I lost a long-time friend this month. Bestselling Romance author Ronda Thompson passed away on July 11. I will never forget Ronda's unique sense of humor and what a dynamic presence she was. The first time I met her at a writing class in 1993, she walked in late--a tall, (REALLY tall from my perspective!) leggy blonde-- and stirred things up. Class instantly became a lot more interesting with Ronda's wry perspective added to the mix! Soon I considered her one of my best "writer friends." We spent countless hours on the phone, in cyberspace and at coffee shops and restaurants plotting stories and navigating the confusing maze of the publishing industry together. We shared successes and heartaches and so many laughs. Before long, I realized we had more in common than writing alone, and she became of of my best friends, period. Ronda was first and foremost a mother and wife. She loved her children and family with her whole heart and soul. Over the years, we shared the joys and worries of motherhood, too. And the joys and worries of life in general. Ronda wasn't prone to judge. She listened, comforted, related and accepted. Even when we hit roadblocks in our relationship, we always found our way around them and returned to our friendship. Whenever I recall the good times we've had together, I know I'll smile. Our trips to Walmart when each or our first published novels hit the shelves, how we stood in the book section admiring our names on the spines, unable to contain our excitement. Our up-close-and-personal Brad Pitt sighting in L.A. Trips to conferences together. Sitting side-by-side at numerous booksignings hoping someone, anyone, would show up to buy a book. The times we met, either alone or with other writers, and ended up laughing so hard we drew stares. Ronda was a hoot, a person like no other. I'll miss you my friend.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Catching Up

I had good intentions for keeping up with my blog. Really I did. Then life got in the way. Life has a way of doing that. I won't bore you with the details, but book release dates and deadlines,etc. got moved around and I found myself with one month --the month of May-- to basically rewrite a book. And I already had a trip planned to Montana with the family to help my oldest son who lives there get his condo ready to sell before he moves. (We bought it when he started college for him to live in and he'll be leaving soon for six months in Argentina to study Spanish. Then, shortly after that, he'll graduate.) I couldn't bring myself to stay home. Even if I only got to eat lunch and dinner with him, I wanted the time with my son and the rest of the family. It was a solid week of work--I worked on my book while hubby and two sons worked on the condo. I even took a day and a half to help them put on the finishing touches. But it was a good time. I love Montana and it is beautiful there in May. Also, we have come to know many of our son's friends up there and they are all going differnt directions now so it was good to see them for what may be a final time. Sob.

All that to say, that's where I've been and what I've been doing. I'm happy to say I met my June 1 deadline. Now I'm taking some time off to go on a trip with hubby and friends to celebrate mutual birthdays that end in a big fat zero! Can't wait. Let's just say I'll be sipping cool drinks on a beach. More on that later.

Here's the new scoop on the books. The new book is tentatively titled ANNIE ON THE LAM: A CHRISTMAS CAPER. This story is quite different than any I've written for Next before. Actually, it's quite different than any book I've written period. A romantic suspense that is a mix of sexy/funny/light and sexy/serious/dark. This is the book I've been working on like crazy this month. It's been a wild ride writing it, and I hope reading it is a wild ride , too.

Then, my novel WHAT SHE NEVER EXPECTED comes out in either March or April of 2008. It was originally supposed to come out in Nov. 07, but things changed. I love this story. I hope you'll keep it on your "To Buy" list.

The novella I wrote for the More Than Words Anthology comes out in April 08, too. Writing this story was a wonderful experience and I am thrilled and so impressed with the charity I was assigned to write about. (Bears Without Borders). My story, HANNAH'S HUGS, is emotional and touching, if I do say so. I hope you'll wait for it, too. Plus the proceeds from the sale go to help out Bears Without Borders and the other chosen charities. To find out more about the charities chosen and the authors writing the stories, go to www.eharlequin.com and scroll to the very bottom of the page. Click on the More than Words link.

Now I have a great new website and and fantastic talented new author for you to check out. My friend Leanna Ellis just launched her website at www.leannaellis.com and it is not to be missed! You'll want to read all about her and her upcoming release ELVIS TAKES A BACKSEAT. I had the honor of reading a lot of this story in its early stages and I promise you you'll want to buy this book! Go to www.leannaellis.com and check it out!

More news--my talented friend Candace Havens has a new book on the shelves this month! CHARMED AND DEADLY, the third book in her fantastic Bronwyn series is for sale. If you've read the first two Bronwyn books, you know how fun and entertaining Candy's books are. If you've never read Candace Havens, get yourself to a bookstore asap!

So...that's it! I hope you'll check out my website at www.jenniferarcher.net from time to time to see if the new covers for my upcoming books are there, plus I'll be updating information whenever I can. I hope to put up new photos, too.

Happy Reading,

Jenny

Jennifer Archer
www.jenniferarcher.net

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Hardcover In My Future!


Great news came to me today in a letter from my publisher. The More Than Words, Volume 4 anthology scheduled for release a year from now, (April 2008) will be in gift hardcover rather than trade paperback format. Very exciting! And great for Mother's Day gifts. I really love the story. It's called Hannah's Hugs and I enjoyed writing it so much. I'll keep you posted as the date draws closer, and you can read more about the More Than Words program, which is Harlequin's wonderful, generous philanthropic yearly project, on my website www.jenniferarcher.net under "News and Events" (scroll down a ways). The picture here is of the last More Than Words release, Volume 3.

I am happy to report that I kicked into gear today and made great headway on my book--in progress. I wrote at a coffee shop. Sometimes I think a change of surroundings (and getting out of the house) works wonders.

Check back here soon for photos of my backyard remodel. My husband is really creating an oasis for us in this dry, landlocked part of the country in which we live. We both love water -- the ocean, rivers, streams -- and decided the sound of water is something that's really missing in our lives. My little backyard sanctuary now has a beautiful pergola (arbor), and a gorgeous waterfall! I spent one sunny day planting bushes, etc. Things are really taking shape, though we still have a lot of planting to do. Good thing things are shaping up, because my sister is getting married back there the end of July! I think it's going to be a gorgeous celebration in more ways than one.

Happy Reading,

Jenny
www.jenniferarcher.net

Friday, April 20, 2007

Need a Shot of Motivation

Maybe it's the beautiful weather, but I'm having a hard time kicking myself into gear to write. You'd think a deadline would get me going, but no. Today, I stood on a ladder and cleared the gutters around my house of leaves, I piddled with a little research, I emptied the vacuum cleaner and went out for lunch, I helped a writer friend over the phone by brainstorming her work in progress -- all while the characters in my own work in progress waited for me to show up at the page. I disappointed them, and myself. Getting into a routine has always been a problem for me and I'm not sure I'm seeing any improvement. I'm beginning to wonder if I wouldn't do better if I had an office outside of the house where I report every day, just like a (gulp) "real" job. I'm thinking I need a shot of motivation in the form of a visit with a friend of mine who reads this blog. (You know who you are.) She doesn't pull punches and has been known to say to me, "You keep saying you're going to do it, so do it already." She always makes me realize how silly I am to procrastinate. It only makes me crazy. I'm much happier when I tend to business. This friend motivates me just by watching her move through her own life. I'm amazed by how much she does in a day and by how she typically not only reaches her goals, but surpasses them.

Here's what I've noticed about myself in regards to writing. I do best if every day:
1. I get up early, feed the dogs, put on the coffee, then shut myself in my office where I read over my goals then journal for a few minutes, finishing by making a list of creative, business and personal things I want to accomplish that day.
2. I eat then take my coffee into my office, close myself in again, put on some music and write. Typically I'll finish my page count for the day by or before noon, leaving the afternoon and evening for...
3. business, errands, appointments, exercise, family & friends, more writing if I so desire.

So...as my super-motivated friend would probably say to me... "If you know this works for you, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT CONSISTENTLY?? You keep saying you're going to do it, so do it already." Okay, okay. Tomorrow is a new day.

On another subject, I'm still so saddened by the Virginia Tech tragedy. With two sons in college and living in university communities, I can't help thinking about them a little more often every day now and being so thankful they're okay. And I can't help hurting for the parents of the young men and women who lost their lives this week.

Stay safe and hug your loved ones or call them and tell them you love them if they're not close by.

Happy Reading,

Jenny

Monday, April 16, 2007

Goodbyes and Hellos


Since I've been away from the blog, some big changes have taken place in my life. A few months ago we had to tell our sweet neurotic Brittany Spaniel Tia "goodbye." She was 13 years old. Poor Marge, the year-old pup we "rescued" last year, was as bummed out as the rest of the family. She was very lonely. So we said "Hello" to Harry, a mini dachshund now 3 months old. He and Marge are having a wonderful time playing tug of war, chasing each other and wrestling. We're having fun watching them.


Another happy "hello" was said Thursday night to a couple of old friends -- Bruce Edwards and his mother Harriet Edwards. They hosted the third "Author Dessert Event" at the Borger Country Club in Borger, Texas and I had the honor of being one of the 5 speakers present. Over the years, Bruce and I have been in critique groups together, attended the same conferences and become good friends. I've really missed him since he moved to the Austin area a few years ago. Harriet, his mom, is so supportive of writers and she knows how to organize a fabulous event. Dinner was great, the desserts -- and there were too many to count -- made my mouth water just looking at them, and the turn-out of readers to hear the presentations was wonderful thanks to the publicity Harriet was able to generate. I had a great time! All the people I met in Borger were so gracious. Best of all, they laughed at my jokes!

Last night I finished reading the novel EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck. Haven't read one of the classics in a long, long time. My son the Englist Lit major finished it over spring break and told me, "If you haven't read this, you should. It's amazing." He was right. It's a modern-day retelling of the Cane and Abel Bible story. Authors in Steinbeck's day tended to be more "wordy" than authors of today, and I had a bit of a struggle getting past that at first, but once I did, I lost myself in his wonderful storytelling and complex characters. If you missed this one in school, pick it up. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about its themes for a long time to come. It's amazing how they still hold true all these decades later.

Happy Reading,

Jenny

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How Do You Say "Sandwiched" in Italian?


Hurray for the weekend!

It may be April in Texas, but we have snow on the ground! Just last week I was enjoying the sight of the beautiful budding trees on my daily walk, and now it looks like winter again.

Speaking of winter, I had a nice surprise just after Christmas. I found out that the Italian edition of my novel SANDWICHED has been released! The Italian title is TERAPIA AL CIOCCOLATO -- English translation: THERAPY BY CHOCOLATE. I love it! The new cover is fun and very fitting. Stop by my website www.jenniferarcher.net and go to the "News and Events" page if you want to take a look. The cover for A MOTHER'S DAY--two novels in one published by Mills and Boon in the UK just in time for Mother's Day -- is also there. The two novels are my book SANDWICHED and author Susan Mallery's book THERE'S ALWAYS PLAN B. I hope you'll pop over to www.jenniferarcher.net to see both covers!

Happy Reading,

Jennifer

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Fresh Start With A Great New Contest!

Anybody out there? No excuses about why I haven't been here in awhile. I just had a blog-lapse. I have a lot of news to catch up on so I hope you'll drop by often in the days and weeks ahead. First of all, I want to tell you about a new contest that, if you love to read great Women's Fiction, you won't want to miss. I have joined 20 other authors who also write novels for NeXt and we've donated 40...count 'em...FORTY of our books--all autographed. One lucky winner will receive all 40 of the novels in a really pretty embroidered tote bag. We'll have several runner-up prizes, too. I'm a bit slow in posting this, but there's still plenty of time to enter. You have until the end of this month -- April. Go to my website at www.jenniferarcher.net and click on the "Contest" link for more information on how to enter. Good Luck!

While you're at www.jenniferarcher.net I hope you'll take a look around. All the pages have been updated with current news about my books, new photos and new movie and book recommendations.

Come back soon! I'll be posting more often, I promise!

Happy Reading,

Jennifer

www.jenniferarcher.net