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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where, Oh Where Have the Ghoulies Gone?

Here I sit on Halloween night with my porch light on and a huge bowl of goodies by the door and nary a knock have I heard. This makes me sad for the following reasons:

1. I fear parents have concluded that trick-or-treating has become too risky. It's a sad day when it's dangerous to trick or treat around the neighborhood.
2. I remember how much fun I had and that my kids had trick-or-treating, and I hate for this new generation of kids to miss out on that experience.
3. I miss seeing all the children in costumes and hearing them call out "Trick or Treat!"
4. As I said, I have a giant bowl of candy, and if I don't give it away, I will be forced to eat it myself.

If you're in the mood for a dark tale on this Halloween night, hop on over to the Once Upon A Review blog and read the YA Spooktacular:Tales From the Grave stories DARKNESS and MY SOUL TO BARE. Two fabulously creative bloggers named Danielle and Khelsea came up with the idea for the YA Spooktacular event -- two serial/chain stories written in installments by different authors on different blogs. (I wrote the 5th installment of DARKNESS). It's fun to follow the stories and watch how each author took what was written before and put their own unique twist on it. I was honored to be asked to participate!

Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Perfect Movies for Halloween

I love spooky movies. Not the slash and dash kind; I’m not a big Friday the 13th or Saw fan, for instance. I like my chills with a ripple of psychological suspense. The Mothman Prophecies, Identity and The Sixth Sense are three of my all-time favorites. They don’t just terrify the audience, they make us think and question and try to figure out what’s going on. The music in these movies really add to the eerie atmosphere, as well. I listened to the sound tracks of  The Mothman Prophecies and Identity while writing Through Her Eyes. Music can really set a mood.

Over the weekend, I saw two new movies at the theater – Catfish and Hereafter. They weren’t really scary, but definitely had a creepy feel. Catfish involves social networking and it was interesting, but I kept waiting for the big, shocking revelation at the end that the commercials and reviews promised and it never really materialized. Hereafter, which was directed by the brilliant Clint Eastwood, was a lovely movie in many ways, but very slow and without a lot of plot. Thought-provoking, but not about anything most of us haven’t pondered many times before. Matt Damon is always great, though, and his performance didn’t disappoint this time, either.    

If you like creepy movies and you haven't seen The Mothman Prophecies, Identity or The Sixth Sense, I recommend them. I also recommend Hereafter and Catfish, as long as you don't go into them expecting fast-paced thrills and surprising revelations.

What are your favorite eerie movies? I need some new ones to add to my list!

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Angel Reading

It’s October – my favorite month. I love the crisp, cool air. I love the gypsy-skirt colors of the leaves on the trees. I love pumpkin patches and Halloween. As a matter-of-fact, Halloween is my favorite holiday. Candy and Jack-o-lanterns and kids in costumes; what could be better?

In honor of October and Halloween I’m going to blog this month about all things Autumn, including ghosts and ghouls and other mystical beings. I’ve written a few stories with paranormal elements in the course of my writing career; I love me some creepy books and movies and such; but I must admit that I’m an open-minded skeptic when it comes to such things in “real life.” Which brings me to angels. I’m an open-minded skeptic about saintly beings, too. I don’t have much of a religious background, and I question everything. Every. Thing. Which explains why, not so long ago, I was a close-minded skeptic.

However, that was before I had an angel-reading. Yes, that’s right; an angel-reading. A couple of years ago, I was working on a story that I’ve had to set aside to write other contracted books, and I needed to research clairvoyants. So I called a local psychic I’d heard about. (I’ll call her Drusilla because, well, it sounds worthy of a mystic, right?)

Drusilla told me she does “angel readings.” She believes everyone has at least one guardian angel and she attempts to make contact with them. To her credit, she told me ahead of time that if my angel wasn’t forthcoming, she would not be able to tell me anything. Also to her credit, Drusilla charged nothing. I could pay her whatever amount I chose to pay, or nothing at all.

Drusilla came to my house one afternoon. She is a pretty, middle-aged woman. We sat at my kitchen table and chatted for about 20 minutes about the weather, our children, and other generic things. Then she asked if I was ready for my reading, and I said ‘yes.’ I wasn’t nervous – this was strictly for research purposed, mind you. I didn’t believe in this “nonsense,” although I respected her right to believe. Drusilla trained her gaze over my shoulder and told me I had one angel and two muses. Then she proceeded to tell me a series of things that turned me from a close-minded skeptic into an open-minded one. Here are just a few things she said that had me slapping a hand across my mouth and muttering, “Oh. My. God.”

1. “You’ve been having trouble with your left foot, but if you’ll see a doctor, it can be taken care of.” (True and true. I have a neuroma in my left foot. I don’t limp, so there is no way she could’ve known this. I have since seen a doctor and I’m going to have surgery to “fix” it.)

2. “I’m being told that you’ll be going on a trip soon, somewhere north where it’s cold. Possibly Boston, but I’m not getting a clear message as to the exact place. The trip will lead to an offer. You will have to decide if you want to go through with it or go a different direction.” (True and true. My publisher at the time was sending me to Toronto for a presentation. While there, I found out about a new line of Young Adult fiction they were starting. That led to me pulling out a young adult manuscript I had worked on in the past and set aside. I reworked it, my agent submitted it to them, and they made an offer on it. However, my agent sent it to other publishers, too. I had a second offer, and I had to decide which one to take.)

3. “I see you surrounded by houses. Old houses. Several. I don’t know what this means, but they seem to be an integral part of your life.” (True. My husband and I own several rental properties. All of the houses we own are old.)

4. “I am getting that you are working on a book that involves history. Someone who has passed on in your life knows that you are interested in using some of his family stories, and he wants you to know that he would be tickled if you would use them.” (WOW. I was working on a novel that I hope to return to some day. It involved the dust bowl. I had been looking for a book I had misplaced that a member of my husband’s family had put together. It includes many family stories, including my father-in-law’s family stories about their experiences during the dust bowl. I had not been able to locate my copy of the book. My father-in-law had “passed on.” He often used the word “tickled” when he was alive. I have since found his family’s book. )

There were many more statements made by the clairvoyant that were so on target, I couldn’t explain them away. So, I ask you, have you ever experienced anything like this that you couldn’t explain?