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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September 11, 2001

On this 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, I find this beautiful poem "The Names" by American poet Billy Collins to be very poignant. Read the poem on his website here and remember.

From 2001 to 2003, Billy Collins was the appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. 

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Football First Downs? I Call "Foul!"

Fall is in the air and once again football season is upon us. In Texas, where I live, the game is a very big deal. I spent all of middle school and my first year of high school in a small Texas town similar in many ways to the fictional town of Cedar Canyon in my novel, THROUGH HER EYES. Friday nights in autumn were all about football. After dinner, my family and most of the other families in town, headed toward the hallowed light and pulsing drumbeat of the high school football stadium. Weekends at home often revolved around football, as well. If a game was on television, my dad was on the couch watching it – especially if the Dallas Cowboys were playing.

Since football was as much a part of my childhood as books, pop music, and mystery meat in the school cafeteria, I guess I should be ashamed of myself when I make the following confession:

I don’t ‘get’ it.

It’s true! I don’t understand the game of football! And I’m not ashamed, because it’s not my fault. It’s taken me a lot of years to forgive myself for having such a mental block about my State’s most revered pastime. The revelation that I’m not the one who’s confused took place while my brother was trying – YET AGAIN – to explain to me the rules of the game. It’s the terminology that’s off. Football lingo makes no sense. I’m a writer – a lover of words. I take their meaning literally. So, I ask you: How can there be multiple “FIRST downs?”

Here’s a definition of the word ‘first’ that I found here: “preceding all others in time or space or degree . . .

The kiss following your very first one is your second kiss, and the one after that is your third, and so on. We can only have one first love, first job, first house, first glance at our first child. These firsts “precede all others” that follow. Thus is the basis for my argument that in the game of football, the “down” following the first one must be the “second down” and the next one, the “third down,” and so it goes.

My brother, my dad, my husband, and my sons have stopped trying to explain to me why multiple firsts in football make sense. Their smug silence and raised brows tell me they think I’m the one with the problem, but I disagree. They can’t make sense of it, because it makes no sense. A “first” occurs, then it’s over. Been there, done that, as the old saying goes. Obviously, the person who invented football had no grasp of language.

(P.S. If you can accomplish what no other person has been able to do -- make sense of first downs in my mind -- I'll not only admit the error of my thinking, I'll put your name in a drawing for a free autographed early copy of THROUGH HER EYES. (And the men in my family will thank you and be in awe of you and sing your praises). Post your words of wisdom in the Comments section. Deadline: October 1.)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Don't Faint

Scared you, I bet. Didn’t mean to sneak up on you. Yes, I understand this post is unexpected as I’ve been away, well . . . FOREVER. (Actually since November, 2009.) As I reread my last post, I see that my publisher and I had just confirmed THROUGH HER EYES as the new title of my debut YA novel. Since then, some amazing things have happened in my writing life:

(1) I have a release date! April 5, 2011. That seems like such a long time away, but I have a feeling it will be here before I know what hit me.
(2) I have a cover. A GORGEOUS cover. I think I spent an entire morning staring at it the first time I saw it. What do you think?
(3) I received a big box of ARCS!! (Advanced reading copies.) And soon after they arrived, I started getting requests from many teen bloggers asking if I would send them an ARC of THROUGH HER EYES so that they could review the book. Wow. There are some fantastic teen book blogs out there. How could I refuse? The truth is, I’m thrilled they asked. Now my big box is almost empty!

(4) My website has undergone a makeover. Nothing drastic, just spruced up a bit. It even contains a link to a mini book trailer of THROUGH HER EYES that was made by my friend Emily Greaser, a mega-talented young graphic and motion design artist. Go take a look and let me know what you think. I really love it.
(5) I finished the rough draft of my next book for teens. The title is THE SHADOW GIRL, but of course that’s subject to change. I’m currently rewriting like crazy to get the draft in shape to send to my editor so she can read it and work her magic. But I must admit I’m pretty excited about this story, even though it’s caused me no small amount of frustration at times. There's a good chance I might be bald from tearing my hair out by the time it’s finished, but I *think* (hope!) it’s going to live up to my expectations. Or at the very least, it won't completely suck. ;-)

So, that’s what’s been going on with moi for the past 9 or so months. I’m going to make a real effort to post regularly from this day forward. Yeah, I know; you’ve heard that from me before…