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!