Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Joy's June Promotion Commotion presents: DEBBIE ARCHER!

{alert}    ABANDONED    {alert}    

-  by Debbie Archer
As writers we all have a collection of books that we rely on to either inspire us or to help direct us along he writing journey. An outstanding group member of ACFW Arkansas Chapter, Rosie, recently shared a few titles from her collection during a stellar program which she conducted. Her collection was, to say the least, impressive. It made me realize a couple of things as I listened to her outline each book.

  • She knew her books well and depended on them regularly
  • I have a bunch of books, and I couldn't remember the last time I'd actually looked at them. Well, except for Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, Roget's Thesaurus and the 2011 Edition of Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide.
Those two revelations tugged at my mind. I'd invested a small fortune, as we all do, in reference books of one sort or another, yet I was guilty of book abandonment ! It caught me off guard and to be quite candid, the more I thought about it the stronger the urge 
became to race home and pull out every title and 
"Are you ever going to read me,
hug it - which I did - immediately after dinner and dessert. I got home around nine that night and went to the office.
I stood there surrounded by all those lovely books. Old, new, borrowed, blue . . . oh, wait that's something else. Anyway, I sat down on the floor and began pulling "my babies" out and looking at them, flipping through their pages (many of which are yellowed) and soaked in the lovely messages they had to tell me. I was there for quite some time and when I finally called it a night I got up slowly (quite slowly because every muscle was at that point locked into place). I promised to return the next day and visit with the rest of my collection. But just as a child drags her favorite teddy bear to bed, I had two books cradled in my arms that just needed to be held a bit longer. So, I took them with me.

My husband is used to me dragging books to bed with me. I’m a librarian. Didn’t even phase him. I crawled into bed, lugging my volumes with me and once I had myself tucked in, I pulled the first one to me. It was one a writer friend told me about five years ago. FIVE YEARS AGO, people! Yes, I’d ordered it. Yep, I’d flipped through it. But I’d never really listened to what it had to tell me. Is anybody else out there guilty of this? Here are the two books I’m talking about.
Kirsch’s Guide to the Book Contract by Jonathan Kirsch is probably THE most concise, wonderful book in the world for authors, publishers, editors and agents. It breaks things down into my kind of language. so much so, that when you pull up a copy of an author’s contract, you can go to this book and locate the meaning of every vague term ever dreamed up by any attorney anywhere. It’s priceless. It’s also now out of print, so you need to begin looking online to find your elusive copy. Amazon.com is a good place to start, and of course eBay. But also try alibris.com . I always go there when I’m looking for hard-to-find books.
The other title I hauled in with me was The New Book Of Lists: The Original Compendium of Curious Information by David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace. Positively brilliant. Here are a few of the lists you’ll find waiting for you inside:

q       33 Stupid Thieves and 3 Dishonorable Mentions
q       Benjamin Franklin’s 8 Reasons to Marry an Older Woman
q       14 Librarians Who Became Famous in Other Fields – (I realllllly liked that list)
q       4 Places With More Pigs Than Humans
q       10 Afflictions and Their Patron Saints
q       10 Celebrated People Who Read Their Own Obituaries
q       16 Famous Events That Happened In a Bathtub
q       . . . and that’s a mere smattering, my friends.

I’m telling you, the book is full of the kind of quirky information that will ignite every writer’s imagination. Yes, I am a recovered book abandoner. I know. Abandoner is not a real word, but that’s what I was. No more. I’ve learned my lesson. due in large part to Rosie and her program. Rosie who also bakes a mean coconut cake. The woman has endless talents. She is not, however a book abandoner.

What about you? Hmmmm? Ever been guilty of this travesty yourself? If so, take a gander at your collection and share with us which jewels have been allowed to gather dust. Which titillating titles have gone too long without having their pages peeked at and preened over? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Please meet the author of the above piece that has challenged me as I'm sure it must have several, if not all, of you.

Debbie, please, would you tell us about yourself?
Sure, I began writing several years ago for Sparks, a regional magazine specializing in children's book reviews.

I’ve been blessed with some success regarding publications in my professional field of Library Science. During the summer, I travel presenting professional development to educators in the fields of Library, Literacy, Language Arts and Social Studies. In addition, I act as a liaison between the schools and our state department of education. I’m active in many state and national organizations including ACFW, ACFW-Arkansas, International Reading Association, Arkansas Reading Association, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and American Library Association.

I’ve served two consecutive terms as state judge for a national writing competition for students – Letters For Literature.

Most recently I accepted an appointment as consultant and presenter for Barnes and Noble in the launching of the first Literacy Fair in the state of Arkansas.

My Focused Genres:
q       Contemporary YA
q       Contemporary Romantic Comedy

I became a Christian at about the age of twelve and began writing at fifteen.

I was privileged to have founded The Writer’s Council in 1989 – Local writer’s group for emergent and established authors.

I joined ACFW 3 years ago (I think)

Also became a member of the newly chartered ACFW-Arkansas Organization – (Woohoooo)

Blog for ACFW-Arkansas – www.acfwarkansas.com

I dipped my toe into the Genesis Contest this year – no final but loved the excitement.

Heartland Writer’s Guild – Second Place Finalist in the Great Beginnings Writing Competition

The Story Teller – First Place for Short Story – Fiction

I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

Master’s Degree in Library Science

Currently teach full time – Grades K-8

Awarded Teacher of the Year
And a Three-time recipient of Who’s Who Among American Teachers
But, Debbie, that's not all - aren't you forgetting something you should be sharing with our readers?

Oh, you mean - The Frasier?

Yes, and . . . and . . .

Oh, that!  I have received word that I am a . . .

For my entry - "ETCHED"  Free verse - Prose.

Pumping out the Prose

Would you mind terribly - sharing about your personal life?

Not at all - you know everyone loves romance, right?
Well, I met my husband Mack on a blind date set up by my neighbor (his aunt). It was love at first sight and from the rear.
All I could see were his broad shoulders as he strolled into his aunt's apartment the evening of the date. My hair was in curlers as I peeked out the window and I realized I had no snacks to offer him after the date. I quickly yanked out the curlers, drove to the store, got my nibblies and went to my car, which would not start. I phoned a friend, got a ride and raced home. By the time I finally got there, I had frizzy hair, no makeup and ten minutes to get ready. BUT, I had chips, dip and Cokes! In nine minutes, I showered, slapped on my dating face and met him with a smile when he came knocking on the door. I grabbed my coat, locked the door and walked out as he held the door for me (such a gentleman) feeling like I'd conquered the world.
The door closed. The lock clicked.
My key was inside. Every bit of pride vaporized as I had to climb in the skinny kitchen window and retrieve my key. 
And - still - he proposed - but not that night.
Moral: Snack food is bad for you.
Aunts, however, are blessings. We married two years later at 27 and are still on our honeymoon.
We couldn't have children, but I have my school babies. Sometimes I think that's' why God put me in the teaching field.
Mack and I live in Northeast Arkansas.  With rescued, loved and somewhat spoiled animals - (shown below)
Still honey-mooning - Debbie and Mack
George (Front) - Cares for the ill
Anna Belle (Back) - found in a culvert
Bear (can you guess which)
Maybelline (Just in time)

I am currently working on a romantic comedy set in the south.
Active Ingredients: Quirky characters, southern traditions, lots of money and one hot bait-shop owner!

Debbie, is there anything you'd like to leave with our readers before you go?

As a matter of fact there is one more thing I'd like to add to what I stated in the article,
It's important that we remember that God gave us, as writers, the gift of words.
He allows us to weave them daily into a pleasing array of emotions. He's given us the sense to know when we need help. That is, after all, when we run out and purchase these gems.
Don't abandon those wonderful books that you've gathered. Keep them close. Treat them as the friends they are and treasure the blessings you glean from them. 
Writing in them, highlight special passages, share the titles and the actual books with others, but please . . . don't abandon them.
Writers have big hearts. We rescue things, animals, people . . . and books.

"So, is anybody going to bother to read us?"

Thank you, Debbie, for sharing the great article, those personal touches that give each of us a sense of the heart of the writer within.
May God bless  you in each endeavor as He directs your path. Please come visit again. You are always welcome!


Rita Garcia said...

WOW! Joy, a fantastic, informative, fun and encouraging post! Thank You for sharing it with us!

Kiersti said...

This was a really good reminder for me, Joy--especially as I have purchased quite a few writing and other books in the last few months. I need to remember not to "abandon" them! Thanks so much for sharing--I enjoyed your post. :)

journeystojoy.net said...

Thanks for stopping by - this has been an amazing post for me. Debbie is a multi-talented but very humble gal and I'm so very glad I was able to promote her and the fact she's a FRASIER FINALIST!

journeystojoy.net said...

I was feeling so guilty after reading her article when I received it that I went straight to my library's reference shelves and chose three books to work my way through. Turns out - I found some information I was able to use in my current work in progress. I'd not have thought about looking in that particular book but God knew when to nudge me in that direction - thanks to Debbie allowing herself to be used by Him. ;0

Debbie said...

Hi, Ladies! I feel so blessed that Joy invited me over AND that the article helped you. When I began digging around in my own book shelves and realized just how "neglectful" I'd been, I was embarrassed and mortified. Good grief! I had to eat chocolate just to calm myself down!

Sheila said...

Great post Debbie! I've got the "book abandoned blues" not sure I can read all I've collected before I leave this world--and that's if I live to be 100. ;) And I didn't realize you had so many talents! You are very blessed . . . and such a good-lookin' husband.

journeystojoy.net said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog - come visit again real soon!
Yes, Debbie is one extremely talented, sweet gal and I'm so privileged to know her.

Debbie said...

Hi Sheila! Thanks for the sweet comments and I completely agree with you about Mack. He is good-lookin'! Why is it that men get better looking with age and us ladies just ... don't? Someone should write a book about that!

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! I am a book collector myself, and I fear - at times - and abandoner:) So enjoyed reading this.

Debbie Archer said...

Hi Susan. Girl, welcome to the ranks. Maybe we should start a support group called Book Abandoners Anonymous. No, the acronym would be BAA. Too sheepish. We'll just make a pact to do better. Sound good? :-)

Amy Matayo said...

Great post! Debbie, loved the image of you crawling back through the window on your first date--I thought those kinds of things only happened to me!

Debbie said...

Amy! You sweetie, you! How are you, girl? Nope. Those kinds of things are a staple in my world. If God didn't have my back ALL THE TIME, I'd really worry about some of the things I get myself into. Thanks so much for stopping by. Throwing cyber hugs your way! :-)

Pammer said...

I am guilty of that. I have several books on the shelf behind me that got a touch too technical and my ADHD brain fritzes out on that. :) Of course with writing I need to muscle through it.
But I'm not a total slacker, I am currently reading through two craft books. Both written by James Scott Bell, though The Art of War for Writers got transferred to my son's car and left there (the ADD thing is hereditary, lol) until one of us remembers it while the car is here. Thankfully I didn't loose the other one because it is on the Kindle app on my phone. :D
Great post!