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

Monday, November 07, 2011

Creative Workshops I'm Planning

To my Amarillo, Texas and Texas Panhandle area peeps: If you have a second, (and an interest in creativity or creative writing), I would appreciate it if you’d read on and answer the 3 brief questions at the bottom. Cut/paste/ and email your answers to me at books@jenniferarcher.com or message me on Facebook. Also, please forward this to anyone you know with an interest in these topics.

Since publishing my first novel thirteen years ago, I’ve presented workshops, talks, and classes in creativity and creative writing for clubs, organizations, and in the classroom. I enjoy sharing with others what I’ve learned as a writer, so I’m planning three six-week workshops I’d like to offer in 2012. Your feedback will be extremely helpful to me.

The workshops I’m planning are:
  1. Jumpstarting Your Creativity – This workshop is not only for writers, it’s for anyone wanting to live more creatively, take your current creative pursuits to the next level, or rediscover your creative passions, whatever they may be, if you’ve lost them as an adult.
  2. Organic Writing: Unearthing the Story in Your Idea – This will be an intense 6 to 8 week workshop that will meet once a week. Students must already have an idea for a story in order to participate, and the workshop will help you to develop it into a complete story.
  3. Writing a Kick-Ass Book Proposal – This workshop is for writers with a completed (or almost completed) novel who are ready to start putting together a proposal to submit to agents and/or editors. We’ll cover, step-by-step, writing the Query Letter, Synopsis, and sample chapters of YOUR BOOK, and will discuss studying the market to know where to submit. Fiction only.  
Please put “Proposed Workshops” in the subject line when emailing your answers to the following questions. Feel free to add your thoughts/comments/suggestions and to ask questions of your own. Thanks!

  1. CHECK ANY CLASSES THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST TO YOU, AND/OR CHECK ‘OTHER’ AND LIST A CLASS TOPIC(S) YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADDED. (a) Jumpstarting Your Creativity____ (b)  Organic Writing: Unearthing the Story in Your Idea_____ (c) Writing a Kick-Ass Book Proposal___
(d) Other_______________________________________________________________________

2. DO WEEKDAY MORNINGS____ WEEKDAY AFTERNOONS____EVENINGS DURING THE WEEK____ SATURDAYS___ OR AN ONLINE CLASS____ WORK BEST FOR YOU? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)

3. HOW LONG WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE IN "CLASS" ONCE PER WEEK? 1 hr____ 1.5 hrs____ 2 hrs_____

COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS/THOUGHTS____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TeenShiver


Hey strangers! Long time, no blog, right? Wanted to tell you that I have some new projects in the works. One is a wonderful new group of Texas YA authors I've joined called TeenShiver. Rather than telling you all about the group here, I'd like to invite you to hop on over to our very cool website and blog at teenshiver.com There you'll see all the authors involved, as well as their books. I think you'll find some authors with whom you're familiar within our ranks, as well as some new authors whose books you'll want to explore. My first blog post is up today, so I hope you'll stop by!

As for my other new projects . . . I'll save those for another day.

I hope you're enjoying the Fall weather and getting your pumpkins carved for Halloween!

Happy Reading,

Jennifer

Friday, June 03, 2011

Winner of Friday Giveaway: FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

We have a winner! How did I choose? Randomly. I asked my husband to choose a letter of the alphabet and the first poster with a name beginning with that letter won. He chose 'F' so the winner is....

FloeticFlo!! 

Next week I will choose in a different random way, so don't despair if you're one of the last posters. 

Floetic Flo, FIRELIGHT will be sent to you soon.

Happy reading!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thursday's Choice: FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan

My choice today for tomorrow's Friday Freebie is an autographed copy of author Sophie Jordan's Firelight. If you want to enter the giveaway and have a chance at winning this fantastic book, leave a comment! Here's what Firelight is about:

From Booklist 
Descended from dragons, the draki's ability to appear human protects them from hunters. Jacinda lives with her pride in the Cascades, but she chafes under her special status as the only fire-breather in hundreds of years. Recklessly breaking the “no-fly” rule, she attracts hunters; mercifully, one hunter, a beautiful boy who looks upon her with wonder, lets her escape. After this, the pride intends to hobble her rebelliousness, and Jacinda is forced to flee. But while twin sister Tamra, who never manifested and was shunned, is happy with the move, Jacinda feels only anguish within Nevada's desert climate. Then she meets Will and, despite recognizing him as the same draki hunter, feels herself come alive. Jordan's compelling addition to the supernatural star-crossed lovers theme is equal parts taut suspense and sensuous romance, with visceral writing and believable relationships among characters, particularly among Jacinda's family. A foreshadowed twist and a thrilling confrontation in the end pages leave Jacinda heartbroken and in trouble, and readers will howl for more. Grades 8-12. --Krista Hutley
 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Writing Class Wednesday: Using Sensory Detail -- Scent

By bringing sensory detail into your writing, you can stir emotion in your characters and in your reader, as well. Sensory detail puts the reader more into the mind and body of the character.

First, let's discuss scent. The nose knows.

My grandmother always wore Jergen's lotion. She passed away almost two decades ago, but one whiff of Jergen's lotion and immediately I experience a sense of security, and the love and happiness I felt whenever I spent time with my grandmother. The scent also brings back memories of how it felt to be a carefree child with a long summer stretching ahead of me, because I most often visited my grandparents during the summer. If I was writing a scene in which I wanted to create those emotions and memories in my character and the reader, I might use Jergen's lotion to do so.

Here's a rather simplistic example of how you might use scent in your writing to trigger emotion, and thereby help your readers connect with and relate to your character.

Let's make our character a woman -- a mother. We'll name her Sue. Sue is having problems with her rebellious, angry teenaged daughter, Heather. Heather blames her anger on her belief that her mother doesn't understand her, or even try to. One day, Heather storms out of the house after an argument, and Sue finds her daughter's car in the parking lot of a nearby mall. Late for a meeting and fed up with Heather's constant antics to get attention, Sue goes inside the mall to look for her daughter, and as she passes a perfume counter in a department store, her senses are filled with the scent of White Shoulders cologne. Sue's mother always wore White Shoulders, and the aroma instantly triggers a memory of being in her mom's bedroom when she was a teenager. She'd been trying to convince her mother to let her go away for the weekend with a couple of friends, but her mom was dressing for a party and was too preoccupied to listen to Sue's reasoning. The memory of the frustration she had felt over her mother's distracted refusal to take the time to talk to her, triggers an emotion of sadness in Sue, and suddenly her anger at Heather transforms into understanding and regret. 

Most any reader who is or ever was a teenager will relate to these feelings of being ignored or misunderstood. Whether or not the source of the feelings was real or imagined, every teen has experienced frustration with a parent. And so your reader will relate. And every person associates certain scents with situations or people from their past. So they'll relate to Sue's experience when she smells White Shoulders, as well.

Try this exercise: Choose one of the following every day scents that most people have on hand-- vanilla extract, suntan lotion, or furniture polish. Smell the scent you choose then, using paper and pen, describe it without using scent descriptors. For instance: "The pie smelled of sunshine . . . of warmth and innocence and simpler times." (But you can do better than that. ;-) )

Monday, May 30, 2011

Let the Battle Begin...!

Cool news! THROUGH HER EYES has been nominated in the 'Fantasy' category in the 2011 Book Genre Battle over at the Most Important Letter Blog! This is a brand spanking new book battle and looks like lots of fun. Go take a look and VOTE if you're so inclined.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Giveaway Winner!

Ivy is the winner of an autographed copy of IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS by Jordan Dane! Congratulations, Ivy. I know you're going to love this wonderful book.

Happy reading!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday's Choice: IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS by Jordan Dane

I have some awesome autographed YA novels that I picked up on the Chills and Thrills Tour, and I want YOU to read them. To celebrate the end of the week, I'll be giving away one title every Friday for the next six weeks, and I'm starting the first contest giveaway today! Every Thursday check my blog for the new title, enter the contest, and the next day (Friday) I'll announce the winner. All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog saying you want to enter.
Tomorrow I'll be giving away IN THE ARMS OF STONE ANGELS by Jordan Dane. If you want to win this book, leave a comment! Then check back here tomorrow for the winner. Here's what the book is about:

Two years ago, Brenna did the unthinkable. She witnessed the aftermath of a murder and accused her only true friend--the first boy she ever loved--of being a killer.

Now sixteen, Brenna returns to Oklahoma only to discover that Isaac "White Bird" Henry isn't in juvie. The half-breed outcast is in a mental hospital, frozen in time, locked in his mind at the worst moment of his life. And when Brenna touches him, she's pulled into his hellish vision quest, seeing terrifying demons and illusions she doesn't understand.

Feeling isolated and alone, she's up against the whole town, targeted by bullying former classmates, a bigoted small town sheriff, and a tribe who refuses to help one of their own. But when Brenna realizes she's as trapped by the past as White Bird is, this time she won't turn her back on him. She's the only one who can free them both.

Even if she has to expose her secret--a "gift" she's kept hidden her whole life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Class Wednesday: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Keep Going

In the last Writing Class Wedsnesday post, I talked about finding something to say -- something to write about. But once you've got your story or topic, often it can seem as if life's conspiring to trip you up. There's never enough time to write, or you sit down and stare at the blinking cursor on your computer screen and writer's block kicks in. Or the task of writing an entire story feels so overwhelming you feel a panic attack coming on. When this happens, how can you keep going?

  • If possible, sit down to write at the same time and in the same location every day. Your subconscious mind will begin to recognize that time as writing time and that place as its creative space, and soon the creative juices will begin to flow whenever you settle in.
  • Freewrite. Just start writing. Something. Anything. It doesn't have to be your story. Set a timer for 20 minutes. Or ten. During that time, write fast without pausing. If you're stuck, write one thought or word repeatedly until your mind kickstarts and moves toward your story again.
  • Look at one part of the picture, rather than the entire panorama. Author Anne Lamott says to approach each day's writing in this way: "Write down as much as you can see through a one-inch frame." Concentrate on one scene at a time, or one part of a scene. That one memory of falling into the river on your childhood vacation, for instance, rather than the entire vacation. 
  • Allow yourself to write a shitty first draft. I'm not sure who said it, but a wise writer once made the observation that terrible writing can be fixed, but a blank page can't. You have to fill it before you can revise. 
  • Find the writing routine that works for you and stick with it, even if it isn't the way your favorite author writes, or the way I write, or the way most writers write. 
Until next time,

Happy writing!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Chills & Thrills!

Tween blogger Melina from Reading Vacation
& I met up at A Real Bookstore
in Fairview, TX
Well, my part of the Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour has ended, but many of the other authors will be continuing on and signing this coming weekend in Houston at Murder by the Book on Saturday at 4:30 and at Katy Budget Books on Sunday at 2:00. My books will be at the Katy store for sure, with autographed bookplates. Not sure about Murder by the Book. So if you're in Houston this weekend, stop by and see the authors and buy books!

Ten days away from home, my husband and my dogs was too long, and I'm glad to be back, but I had a blast! It was great to meet and spend time with Sophie Jordan, Jordan Dane, Lara Chapman, Mari Mancusi, Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs. Not only do these ladies write great books, they're wonderful people, too! It was also very special to meet so many readers, bloggers, teachers, librarians and booksellers, and to catch up again with many old friends. 


Kari (from The Teen Book Scene) & I talk books at
A Real Bookstore in Fairview, TX


One of the highlights of my trip was having coffee with Kari from the Teen Book Scene who sponsored my blog tour for THROUGH HER EYES a while back and did such a wonderful job. Kari also writes the blog, A Good Addiction.
Signing with authors Tera Lynn Childs
& Tracy Deebs at Barnes & Noble
in Hurst, TX
I also met tween blogger Melina, from the fabulous Reading Vacation, and Katie from Mundie Moms was there. Also, Arena from The Nerd's Wife, and Lindsay from Lindsay Writes. Oh, and I had coffee with Rosemary Clement Moore and lunch with Candace Havens, both of whom are columinists for Fresh Fiction and fab authors in their own right. (And it just so happens, I knew them when -- as in, back before they were published novelists! They've been friends of mine for a long time now!) 




There are many more people I enjoyed seeing -- too many to mention in one post! Thanks to all of you for coming out and making the tour so fun for me. 

Me, Arena (from A Nerd's Wife blog),
& authors Tracy Deebs &
Tera Lynn Childs


To see more photos from the tour, visit the Chills and Thrills website. 

Until next time, 


Happy reading!  
Talking to a reader at Barnes & Noble in Hurst, TX

Monday, May 16, 2011

Talkin' Books in the Texas Hill Country

Hi y'all! The Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour is underway and I'm having a blast! I've posted a couple of photos below. So far, we've had events in San Antonio at Barnes and Noble in the Shops at La Cantera, and at Book People in Austin The bookstore people have been wonderful to us and they really got the word out! We've had a great turn out at both places, and I've had such fun talking with teens and tweens, parents, librarians and the other authors about books and writing and the publishing biz. The conversations have been lively and interesting; we've been asked questions about everything from what inspires our stories, to our feelings, as authors, about the ebook phenomenon. And I am amazed at how many awesome young people out there are already writing their own novels! I'm impressed!

I am kicking myself because I forgot to bring my camera to the San Antonio event, but I did get some shots from the Austin stop at Book People.

In this one:
authors from left to right in back -- me, Tracy Deebs, Jordan Dane, Lara Chapman 
In front row -- two awesome readers


And here are the authors, minus Lara Chapman (who was off talking to one of her fans, I'm sure!)
Me, Tracy Deebs, Sophie Jordan, Mari Mancusi, Jordan Dane, Tera Lynn Childs (Sorry it's so small but for some odd reason it blurs when I try to make it larger)


Today, I'm working (and doing a lot of chilling out!) in Dallas. Tomorrow I'm talking to 7th graders in Irving. A close friend from my college days is their teacher, so I'm really excited to spend time with her and her fantastic students! I hope to post photos tomorrow night! 

Until then, happy reading! 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chills & Thrills in San Antonio & Austin

Calling all YA fiction lovers!! If you're in the San Antonio or Austin area this coming weekend, I hope you'll stop by and see me and some other fantastic YA authors on the "Chills and Thrills Teen Book Tour. " After this weekend, the tour will continue on to Waco, the Dallas area and Houston. I'll be signing at all stops EXCEPT Houston, although my books will be available at the Houston stops, along with autographed bookplates. 

Authors signing at some or all of the different stops are:

Tracy Deebs
Tera Lynn Childs
Sophie Jordan
Mari Mancusi
Lara Chapman
Jennifer Archer
Jordan Dane

and we'll be signing this weekend at:

Saturday, May 14th
La Cantera Barnes and Noble, San Antonio
12-2 p.m.
(Rick Riordan is signing right after us!)

Sunday, May 15th
BookPeople, Austin 
2-4 p.m.

For more info, check out our website at: chillsandthrillsteenbooktour.wordpress.com where you'll find info on our books and who we are, along with addresses, etc. for all our stops. Hope to see you at one of the stores!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Writing Class Wednesday: Having Something to Say

I hear it all the time: "I'd like to write, but I don't have anything to say."

Sorry. I'm not buying it. Every life is made up of stories.
   
      Write about your childhood memories
  • Your happiest or saddest memory 
  • Something that once hurt you physically or mentally         
  • A vacation with your family
  • Your teachers and/or classmates
  • Your experiences in the school cafeteria 
  • Your first kiss/first love/first broken heart

      Write about things that scare you. For instance, some of the things that scare me are:          
  •          Opening a curtain to find a face staring in at me from the other side of the window
  •          Mice
  •          Televangelists
  •          A severed head
   


Write about the topic discussed in a conversation you had with someone

But, what if you don't want to write about anything personal? The world is full of stories, too. You live in the world. Look around. Listen. Pay attention.

     Write about a conversation you overheard while eavesdropping on someone else
  •        Come on. Who are you fooling? I know you eavesdrop from time-to-time!
     Write about an unsolved mystery       
  •         Who was Jack the Ripper?
     Ask yourself, "what if?" and write down wherever the answers take you      
  •        What if I lived in that old house at the edge of this little town I drive through every summer?
  •        What if I switched lives with that rich girl in my History class?
  •        What if I woke up tomorrow and couldn't remember who I am or anything about my life?
Okay, what are you waiting for? Pick up a pen, grab a piece of paper, set a timer for 10 minutes, choose one of the above and start writing! Don't stop, even for a second, until the timer dings.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Moms!

Thanks to my mother for my life and her love, and to my sons for making me a mom! (Scroll down and enjoy!)



Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.



 
Before I was a Mom,

I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.



 
Before I was a Mom,

I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.



 
Before I was a Mom,

I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.




 
Before I was a Mom,

I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.



 

Before I was a Mom,

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom






Friday, May 06, 2011

My Very Own Award Show

Here ye, here ye! It's finally here -- the day we've all been anxiously awaiting: My announcement of the blogs I've chosen to receive The Stylish Blogger Award, which was bestowed upon me by Anita Howard at A Still and Quiet Madness.

I won't keep you waiting another moment. Let's get to it! The winning bloggers are:

1. Travis Erwin for his blog: Lettuce is the Devil (The culinary dogma of a devout meat man).Although I'm a fan of veggies and disagree with Travis's belief that they're evil, this blog is just plain funny! 
2. Valia Lind for her blog: Words are Things (My journey as a writer).  I love to talk about writing, I love book recommendations, I love book trailers and vlogs. This blog has it all!
3. Kayeleen Hamblin for her blog: Kayeleen's Creation Corner. Kayeleen's thoughtful posts inspire me.
4. Jen Daiker for her blog: Unedited. This is a fun, informative blog!
5. Leanna Ellis's blog. She posts about kids, pets and writing -- three of my all-time favorite things!

Congratulations to my winners! Your award, should you choose to accept it, comes with a few rules. They are that you must:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself on your blog.
3. Pass the award along to five buddies whose blogs epitomize said theme.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.











Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Seven Random Facts

When I accepted the Stylish Blogger Award, bestowed upon me by the ever-so-creative Anita Howard at A Still and Quiet Madness, I agreed to post seven random facts about myself. So without further ado...
 Seven Random Facts
  1. I know how to dance the "Funky Chicken." I acquired this knowledge while attending college. Yes, my tuition was well spent.  


2. My first real kiss was a guy named Johnny. He was a lifeguard at the pool where

my friends and I swam in the summers. He looked like a lifeguard, too: sun-bleached hair, very tan, gorgeous. I was fifteen and mega shy. That was a spectacular summer. Alas, it ended before the leaves began to change color and school started. Sigh.
 
3. When taking driver's ed at the age of sixteen, I turned into oncoming traffic on a busy street one day, backed over a parking lot median on another day, and never mastered parallel parking. Two years later, I ran into my driver's ed instructor in a McDonald's restaurant in the town where I was attending college. When I told him he had been my instructor and started to remind him of my name, he interrupted, saying, "Jenny Browder -- I remember. How could I ever forget?" 
4. One of the first stories I ever wrote was a limerick called, "A Frog Named Fred and a Fly Named Flo," about a frog and a fly that fall in love. I was in elementary school. My grandmother thought it was wonderful and funny. She sent it to Readers' Digest and was quite disgusted with them when they didn't publish it.

5. When I was a kid, I loved to eat mustard sandwiches. Mustard and bread. That's it. 

6. I often forget where I parked and have been known to wander through Walmart parking lots, hopelessly lost, while pushing a cart filled with groceries. 

7. A moth once flew into my ear and got stuck. Every time its wings fluttered I completely freaked out. My husband had to pull it out with a pair of tweezers. 

    Monday, May 02, 2011

    "I'd Like to Thank..."

    I've won an award! I never win ANYTHING! At least, I didn't. Until now.

    Er...uh...maybe not. My BLOG won the award. This blog.

    The lovely, talented, amazing Anita Grace Howard of the fabulous blog A Still and Quiet Madness presented me with a Stylish Blogger Award. So maybe I did win. I am said "blogger," afterall. Anyway, whatever the case, I humbly accept. Thank-you. Thank-you very much. (Bows) I am honored.

    Honor comes with responsibility, and the Stylish Blogger Award is no exception. In the days ahead, I will gratefully and eagerly meet those responsibilities here, so please check back to find out what I've been asked to do. Until then, I hope you'll hop on over to A Still and Quiet Madness to soak in all of its awesomeness. You'll love it there and you'll love Anita; I promise.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Earth Day Giveaway!

    In honor of Earth Day, I'm having a giveaway! Hop on over to my website and watch the book trailer for Through Her Eyes. Then visit my Facebook author page and leave a comment about the video and/or the story it tells. (And while you're there, please 'Like' my page!) That's all you have to do. Easy peasy.

    In the morning (4/23) I'll choose one winner to receive an autographed copy of THROUGH HER EYES! 

    Time is ticking away . . . go watch the video now!

    Happy Reading!

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Thanks, Amarillo Readers!

    Yesterday was an exciting day for Tansy, Bethyl Ann, Papa Dan, Henry and the rest of the THROUGH HER EYES cast. And for me! The first booksigning for THROUGH HER EYES was held at Barnes and Noble in my home town of Amarillo, Texas and it was fun.
     Lots of readers came out -- I saw old friends and made new ones. Thanks for your support, Amarillo -- and for making it a sell-out event!

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Thoughts from a Teen Writer: Inspiration Part Two

    More words of wisdom, and a bit of encouragement from Allison. Hey, girl! Eighteen and already so smart!
    ___________________

    For this internship class, I had to figure out a final product that reflects what I’ve learned about my chosen career. The goal is to bring something into the writing world that others can benefit from. As you can tell from my last post, I get inspiration from different things but I left out a major source: books! I love reading almost everything and I love how some stories will suck me in so deeply that the fictional world seems like reality. These stories resonate inside me for a long time after I’ve finished the story, which is a great indicator that the story was inspirational.

    My product is a novella. I hope to give readers inspiration and I wish that my story will be a memorable one. I am about halfway done and this experience has been… challenging, to say the least! No matter what obstacles I’m faced with, however, I seem to get back on track as I write more. So what I guess I’m saying is to never give up. If you really believe in it and yourself, you can end up with something great, no matter what it is.

    Allison

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Launch Week for THROUGH HER EYES

    Release day for THROUGH HER EYES was on April 5. Already, my book has been out in the world for almost a week! Unbelievable. I had big plans to post photos of it on bookstore shelves, photos of me giving copies to Marcy, Linda, Anita and April, the members of my critique group, photos of my big, beautiful box of author copies. But I've been too crazy busy to even pick up my camera, and besides, my house is dirty and I'm afraid all the dust bunnies would show up in the pictures!

    It's a good kind of busy to be, so I'm not complaining. I've been a guest on several blogs. (Check out all my past and future blog tour stops at the Teen Book Scene) . I've been  making arrangements to go to Austin on Thursday for the Texas Library Association convention. I've been planning a May Texas "Chills & Thrills Teen Book Tour" with several other YA authors. (Take a look at the line up of authors and tour stops on the Chills & Thrills site. Check back often, as we'll be adding more information as the time for the tour approaches.) And I've been preparing for a booksigning in Amarillo on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, I need a haircut, a manicure, a HOUSEKEEPER AND A COOK!! Any volunteers?

    If you're in or near Amarillo, Texas on Saturday, I'd love to see you at Barnes & Noble!

    Wednesday, April 06, 2011

    Winners of the THROUGH HER EYES GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY!!

    I had hoped to have pictures up of the drawing and my book to go along with this post, but time got away from me. Sorry! Tonight at my critique group meeting my lovely critique partner Anita Howard drew the winners of the THROUGH HER EYES GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY!

    Drum roll please:

    Winners of the two Kindles are (1) Vivien Propst and (2) Celeste Erwin

    Winners of the two iPod shuffles are (1) Toni Kirkpatrick and (2) Debbie Davis

    Winners of the two leather journal are (1) Melissa Wheelock and (2) Lynnette Leber

    Winners of the two autographed copies of THROUGH HER EYES are (1) Avery Greaves and (2) Margarita Lopez

    Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to all who entered!

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Thoughts from a Teen Writer: Inspiration

    A great post from my teen writing intern, Allison!
    ________________________
    Hello!
    So, sometimes I have a little trouble figuring out how to continue a scene or come up with something new. I get stuck and irritated: why can’t I write anything that I like? Listening to music is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. I listen to music as much as I can and love discovering new bands or bands I just never thought to listen to. When I’m completely stuck, I’ll listen to music. Almost every song can strike a certain emotion inside me, thus making me feel like I can keep going with the story and that, no, I don’t need to give up. The soundtrack to “The Phantom of the Opera” is probably one of the most inspiring cds I have. The flowing, sometimes sad instrumental and vocal music creates so many different emotions: sadness, sympathy, urgency, deep love and it goes on. In the music, I can feel the passion, the tragedy of the story. Music can sometimes explain what a person’s feeling better than words can. Bubbly pop songs make me think of the carefree days of summer and I feel energetic and this will make me write more energetic, light scenes. All in all, music is my main inspiration.
    I also get inspiration from actual people. (Who doesn’t? J) Strangers are perfect because you don’t know who they actually are, you don’t know their story. This enables you to create any story at all to go with this person. Working at a library has helped me see these possibilities. There are some people who I see frequently while others are fleeting. Those that do come in a lot create different questions in my mind: why do they always come here? Do they just like the quietness of the library or do they want to get away from something? What is there story? Many ideas will jump out at me and when one presents itself a little more clearly in my head, I grab onto that story and start writing. It may morph into something totally unexpected but that’s what, in my opinion, is what writing is about. The inspiration is infinite.
    Allison

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Writing Class Wednesday: You've Gotta Have Friends

    (Maybe I should rename this post: Writing Class Wednesday One Day Late!) Today my lesson is short and sweet. Every writer needs a friend(s) who understands what she/he is trying to accomplish. Someone to whom you can read your work. Someone whose shoulder you can cry on when the going gets tough. Of course, I have my fabulous critique group, but I also have Marge and Harry. I can read the worst writing of my life and they still look at me with adoring eyes. Well, okay, sometimes they yawn and whine a little, but they never utter an insult. And they're cool with it if whine, too!

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Thoughts from a Teen Writer: Phantom of the Opera

    A post from my writing intern, Allison:
    I'm currently reading The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I'm at chapter twelve right now and I love the story but Raoul seems like a cry-baby. When he sees Christine listening to the Opera Ghost with rapture, he starts to cry because of the way Christine feels about the voice. I really like the whole story about the ghost and how he teaches Christine to sing and the tragedy of how he loves her and wants her to love him despite his appearance. The one thing that I didn't like is how the Opera Ghost tries to make Christine love him when it probaby would've been better for him if he didn't force her. I like that in some ways it's similar to the movie made in 2004 because it helps create visuals when reading the book. Usually, I either like the movie better than the book but both are amazing.
    Jennifer had told me about a book Phantom by Susan Kay and now I want to read it because it's about the Phantom's childhood. I read a review that said that it's one of the best adaption from The Phantom of the Opera. So the movie made me interested in the book which made me interested in Phantom.
    Allison

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011

    Writing Class Wednesday: Making Writing a Routine

    Yesterday when I met with my writing intern Allison, I mentioned that when people find out I'm a writer, probably at least 75% of them respond by saying they have a book idea or that they've "always wanted to write," BUT "I don't have time." I just bite my lip, nod, and smile. The thing is, I don't know many writers that didn't have a full load of other things going on in their lives when they started writing. In my case, when I started taking creative writing classes at night and began my first novel, I was raising two rowdy little boys, had a part-time job, ran a sideline residential rental property business with my husband, volunteered at my kids' school . . . and the list goes on. If you're serious about writing, you'll find a way to make it a routine part of your life. Here are some ways to do that. Some of these might have you rolling your eyes and snarling, "Duh." But you'd be surprised at the excuses people come up with, such as "I don't have a computer." My answer to that is, Neither did Hemingway.

    What Can Serve to Help You Make Writing A Routine Part Of Your Life

    1. Pen/pencil
    2. Paper
    3. Computer recommended but not required
    4. A place. Everyone has a different idea of the perfect work environment: Home, a coffee shop, outside, inside, in a quiet place, in a noisy place. If something prevents you from having your ideal, make do with what you have. I once read about an author who, before he sold a book, wrote at work. He kept a spiral notebook in his desk drawer, opened the drawer slightly when no one was watching, and scribbled away! I don't recommend this -- especially in today's job market. If you have a job, don't do anything that might cause you to lose it! Make what you have work for you. If you don't have an office, use the kitchen table or convert a closet into your writing space.
    5. Try to set aside specific time for your writing if you can. If you can squeeze in time every day, do so! If not, even if you can only write once a week, decide when it's going to be -- for instance, Saturdays from two o'clock until four o'clock -- and don't let anything short of a catastrophe keep you from using it!   
    6. Try to find someone else who wants to write and get together with them periodically to talk about each other's progress, or even read your work aloud and critique each other.
    7. Read books on writing. A couple of really good ones that come to mind are Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and Stephen King's On Writing.
    8. Desire. You need to really want to write deep in your core in order to make it a routine part of your life. 
      • Is being a writer/ completing a book or story something you really want? Or do you just like the idea of being a writer?
      • Examine your motives. Are you are willing to give up or pare down on certain things in order to make time to write? Will you give up T.V. time, socializing, an hour of sleep? Is so, chances are the desire is there. 
      • Watch out what you choose to give up! Prioritize. Living a balanced life is important to your happiness and well-being. Time devoted to important relationships such as your spouse and children, your parents, close friends, and your health is too important to sacrifice to a large extent. 
    9. Determination
      • You will need to learn not to let setbacks or rejection (if trying to publish) devastate you so badly that you give up. It's part of the business.   
    10. Patience
      • Books don’t write themselves. It takes time and effort and patience to sit down every day in front of the page and work on getting the words down.
      • If you try to publish, the process of finding an agent and/or and editor takes time and can be frustrating and humbling. You'll need a willingness to listen to suggestions and do revisions. It takes time to turn an idea into a published story or book.
    11. Belief in yourself
      • In order to write, you need to believe you have something worthwhile to say
      • If you’re getting rejections from agents and/or editors, you must believe that you’re still "good enough" and continue to submit
      • If you do publish and you get a negative review, you have to remember that you are one of the few people who submitted a manuscript that sold, so that is a testament to your talent, despite the bad review.
    12. A willingness to learn
      • If you can’t take constructive criticism and use it to make your work better, you’ll have a tough time being a writer
      • If you aren’t willing to read and learn from the work of others, you may have a tough time being a writer
      • If you aren’t willing to take the time to study the craft and business of writing, you may have a tough time being a writer.
    13. A support group. (This ties in with # 6)
      • Writing is a lonely business. It helps to have a network of other writers with whom you can talk. Because only another writer can really understand what you are trying to do and the emotions and problems that go hand in hand with that pursuit
      • A critique group or writer group can help encourage you, point out problems in your work you aren’t seeing, point out strengths in your work you might want to emphasize. Warning: be careful about the members you choose to form your group. Trust is important. Chemistry is important. Finding folks who are honest but kind and encouraging and positive is important. Warning II: Critique groups are not for everyone. Some “don’t want another person's footprints on their work until it’s finished.” Some writers don’t find it helpful to only bring a few pages a week to a critique meeting. Design a group that fits the members’ unique needs and desires.
    Writing Exercise

                Freewrite for ten minutes about why you want to write, or about what has been your experience with writing. What pushes you to write or what holds you back -- or both? 

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Follow The THROUGH HER EYES blog tour!

    The Through Her Eyes blog tour started on Sunday! You can catch up on the first two posts here and here, and see the other stops I'll be making at The Teen Book Scene. I hope you'll come along for the ride! You'll learn a lot about the book and more than you probably want to know about me. (Some of it's a little embarrassing -- especially one tidbit involving a cactus. You'll have to follow along to find that one! :-) ) Best of all, you'll get to check out some amazing YA blogs.

    Also, if you've already pre-ordered Through Her Eyes or you're planning to order it (the hardback version or the ebook version for your Kindle or Nook) you'll want to check out the MEGA contest I'm having! You could win a Kindle, an iPod, a beautiful leather journal, or an autographed copy of Through Her Eyes. Check out the details here or on my website and enter your name into the drawing before April 4th!

    Oh, and if you haven't seen the book trailer, take a look! (Through Her Eyes book trailer) It's amazing, if I do say so myself...

    Happy Reading!

    Monday, March 14, 2011

    Thoughts from a Teen Writer

    I may have mentioned before that one afternoon a week, I mentor a seventeen-year-old girl who wants to be a writer. We do this through a program at her school called PRO. I'm fairly sure that I learn as much or more from Allison as she does from me! So I thought it might be fun and informative for her to post from time to time about writing from a teen's perspective -- what she's learning from our time together, through her own practice of the craft, and any other thing she wants to talk about. She might want to discuss a book she's reading and her thoughts about it -- writers are readers, afterall, or should be. I learn so much from reading the work of other authors!

    Allison will post on Mondays from time-to-time, and as this is Monday, she's starting today! Her first post will be more of an introduction to get things started. So without further ado, I give you my writing mentee/intern Allison!

    Hello, everyone! Interning with Jennifer has been extremely beneficial to me. I’ve learned a whole lot about writing that I didn’t even think about before. It also helps that our meetings are so laid back because to me, writing should be something enjoyable and not reluctant like a school assignment.
    Recently, I learned from Jennifer how to format my dialogue in my story and I also learned about free-writing, which is how I got my idea in the first place. (For more about "freewriting" see this post).
    I know that writing isn’t as glamorous as people make it out to be, but to me, it isn’t bad at all. Yeah, I don’t know about the struggles with selling a book and whatnot, but the actual art of writing is as glamorous as what I thought it would be. :-)
    Allison

    Sunday, March 06, 2011

    An Awesome Book Trailer for THROUGH HER EYES

    Don't forget to enter the THROUGH HER EYES Gargantuan Giveaway! You could win a Kindle, iPod, leather journal or an autographed copy of THROUGH HER EYES! Check out the details here. But first take a look at this awesome official book trailer created by the mega-talented Emily Greaser, a graphic and motion design artist. You can check out more of Emily's work on her website.

    Here's the trailer!

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Enter the Through Her Eyes GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY to Win a Kindle & Other Great Prizes!!!!!

    Hear ye! Hear ye! Pre-order THROUGH HER EYES by Jennifer Archer (that's me) between March 1, 2011 (today) and April 4, 2011 and as my THANKS to you, I’ll enter your name into my GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY!!


    On April 6, 2011 the members of my marvelous writing critique group, The Divas, will draw eight lucky names:

    • 1st & 2nd names drawn will win a Kindle
    • 3rd and 4th names drawn win an iPod Shuffle
    • 5th & 6th names drawn win a bound leather journal, like the one Tansy finds in the cellar in THROUGH HER EYES.
    • 7th & 8th names drawn win an autographed copy of THROUGH HER EYES. (Give the one you pre-ordered to a friend!)

     HOW TO ENTER (Only 4 easy steps!)

    1. Pre-order THROUGH HER EYES by Jennifer Archer (that's me) on one of these online sites between
        March 1 and April 4, 2011:





     2. Email a copy of your pre-order confirmation from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indie Bound to me at  thegargantuangiveaway@yahoo.com


     3. Along with your confirmation email, send me your address so I’ll know where to mail your prize if you win!

      
    4. Tweet, Facebook, blog or simply call a friend about the THROUGH HER EYES Gargantuan Giveaway! In your confirmation email to me, explain how you spread the news about the Giveaway, and because I’m a trusting person, I’ll take your word for it!

    That’s it!

      
    All steps must be made and information sent to thegargantuangiveaway@yahoo.com by midnight (Central Standard Time) on 4/4/2011 to qualify! Winners will be announced on my website www.jenniferarcher.net and on my blog www.jenniferarcher.blogspot.com after April 6, 2011. Good luck!!


    *Contest entrants will be added to my mailing list & receive occasional updates about my future book releases and new contests.


    *If you can't fulfill any of the steps & would still like to enter, explain in an email to me and I'll add your name into the drawing!