<![CDATA[High Desert Literature <br />The Writing and Opinions of David Rheem Jarrett - Blogs]]>Fri, 22 Dec 2017 13:13:03 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Some thoughts on The URSUS PERSPECTIVE]]>Fri, 22 Dec 2017 20:51:22 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/some-thoughts-on-the-ursus-perspective The URSUS PERSPECTIVE has had mixed reviews thus far, as I knew it probably would. My debut novel, LAST STRAW, opens with a burst of action and does not let the reader off the action hook until the end. It garnered very positive reviews from the readers of the Psychological Thrillers group on Goodreads, and on Amazon.com, where it is for sale.

URSUS, however, is a harder book to pigeonhole into the same genre, or any genre, for that matter, and those who read it expecting something along the lines of my first offering were probably disappointed in the lack of action in the first half of it. I believe it is a better-written book, but I felt it was very important to develop the characters fully, as the novel treats many different subjects besides those of murder and mayhem. There is plenty of both in the book, but the reader must first get into the minds of the characters involved before these events begin taking place.

No matter how many times I edited and tried to introduce more action earlier in the book, I failed to be able to without making the story line sound jumpy, contrived, and out of chronological sequence, so I went with my gut and wrote it as I knew it should be written, even though I knew some readers would condemn it as "too slow" in the beginning.

If any of you do decide to read this novel, please be aware of what I have written here. I think you will enjoy it, but patience is a virtue...

<![CDATA[Very Disappointing Review]]>Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:35:13 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/very-disappointing-reviewAs I stressed in my last post, reviews are what not only drive sales and rankings, but should also help the author of a book improve his or her writing going forward.

Today, I was most disappointed after reading a review I received for The URSUS PERSPECTIVE.  I had solicited the review and supplied a free copy of the book to a book blogger, hoping for glowing comments on my work.  Unfortunately, this did not happen -- the book clearly did not resonate with the reviewer -- 3-stars out of 5.  This, in itself, was not easy to digest, but it is what it is, and who am I to decide what someone should or should not enjoy?  The disappointing part is that the reviewer offered nothing in the way of constructive criticism   -- basically reiterated a short synopsis of the story and left it at that.  I guess this is OK in some peoples' minds, but it would have been helpful to both me and future readers to understand why the story was not to the reviewer's liking -- some comments about plot, characterization, pacing, style, and so forth.

The reviewer was very kind, and I appreciate that.  3-stars is not a bad review -- it's just not a good one.  It says, "The book was OK but I didn't love it."  As the author, I just wish I knew why.
<![CDATA[Reviews From Readers]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 17:55:25 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/reviews-from-readersIn today's world of independent publishing, reviews from readers and book bloggers have become far more important than in the past.  In the past, an author' would send his or her manuscript out to multiple literary agents, in the hope that one would like the book and try to convince one of the major publishing houses to publish it.  While this concept still exists, it has been weakened, as self-publishing has come into its own.  While it is true that literary agents are still an important part of publishing, they are no longer the supreme and dominant force they once were.  Independent authors, tired of fighting the "system", the politics, the "good old boy network" (in agents' case, however, most turn out to be "good old girls") have turned to self-publishing and have decided that their readers should be the ones who judge and comment on their talent, or lack of talent, as the case may be.

There are so many authors writing books, and so many new books coming to market  that it is extremely difficult for any author without either an already-large following or a celebrity name to have anyone even notice his or her book.  This is why reviews are so important to those of us who write.  Many of us are equally or even more talented than other well-known authors, but without anyone's opening our books, who would ever know?  Sometimes we can get a boost from book bloggers, the new alternative to agents for self-published authors, but unfortunately, these individuals are so overwhelmed with requests for reviews that they simply do not have time to review more than a couple hundred books per year.

The long and short of this little post is:  If you as a reader read one of our books that you purchased from Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, or the Apple Store, PLEASE leave a review!  Positive or negative -- all are helpful.  The review doesn't have to be long and detailed, it doesn't have to be written with style or sound particularly profound -- it just has to tell others whether or not you enjoyed the book.  A book that never gets reviews is a book that will never be read.

<![CDATA[THE URSUS PERSPECTIVE]]>Thu, 28 Sep 2017 16:45:00 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/the-ursus-perspective9830957Mike and Jennifer Logan know the wild, beautiful, but unforgiving Pit River country in northeastern California.  They have been camping here for years, backpacking and fishing, and have now purchased land to call their own. Ben Jackson, native American Vietnam veteran, knows it too -- living off the land here like his ancestors while seeking his roots, often crossing paths with a great bear that roams the hills, hunting the trapper that almost cost him his life.
Along with others, they will become involved in a story of love and hate, guilt and redemption, greed, murder and retribution, set against the backdrop of a small ranching town and a pristine wilderness that some treasure and others covet and wish to exploit. Blood will spill and stain the ground until nature sends a storm to wash it clean…

<![CDATA[THE URSUS PERSPECTIVE, continued]]>Sun, 23 Jul 2017 19:44:00 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/the-ursus-perspective-continuedAs I mentioned in my previous post, this is my second attempt to tell this story.  It was, at least to me, an ambitious project, as it contains multiple themes: genuine love and friendship, greed and lust, guilt, redemption, wilderness life, and some sex and violence.  These divergent aspects of the book make it difficult to "pigeonhole" into a single genre, and not easy to write.  You will just have to (I hope) read it for yourselves in order to decide where it fits.  It also features several different characters, all of whom I tried to develop as fully as I could while still keeping the novel at a reasonable, readable length, as I never want any reader to become bored. 

One of the characters, as one might surmise from the title, is a bear.  This character makes the story somewhat unique, and was much loved by both my beta readers and my editor.  I have been tempted to post snippets of the book here from time to time, but as yet have resisted doing so, as the snippets I would post would be "the good stuff", and I'd rather have you read it in context.  If all goes well, I'll publish it on Amazon and Smashwords before the end of the year.  So long for now...
<![CDATA[THE URSUS PERSPECTIVE]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:00:21 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/the-ursus-perspective
My new novel is almost ready for publication.  It has been written, rewritten, self-edited, professionally edited, revised, self-edited again, and finally polished and finished.  It's first iteration was written soon after my retirement from dentistry in 2004.  It was a typical "first novel" and, though I liked and wanted to tell the story, it was not very good.  Fortunately for me, I never published it, but saved what I wrote against the time when I became a better writer.  Then, after my retirement, I jumped out of my "comfort zone" and wrote LAST STRAW.  While I cannot say this book was a financial success, it has garnered mostly positive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and was "vetted" by my peers on Bookvetter.com as a book worth reading.  The experience of writing, editing, and publishing LAST STRAW, and the feedback I received from readers was invaluable.  Many readers requested that I write a sequel, and I may do this in time, but my passion for my  original story was such that I couldn't let it go.  Consequently, I pulled out the original manuscript and began revising.  Two years later, THE URSUS PERSPECTIVE is almost ready for its launch.  It now only needs a cover and a blurb. 

Before ending this, I need to give a big shout-out to my friend David Lawlor for his invaluable help in editing -- the story is much better because of his efforts.  More later...
<![CDATA[Interview with the editors of SolaFide Publishing]]>Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:59:31 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/interview-with-the-editors-of-solafide-publishingI had a very interesting time doing this interview with Michael Pang of SolaFide Publishing.  It was a pleasure working with him, and, considering the services they offer independent authors, we may well be working together in the future.  See the interview below:

<![CDATA[Why I Hate First Person]]>Sat, 20 Dec 2014 17:14:22 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/i-hate-first-personI have a real hatred of reading novels written in the first person, and ESPECIALLY when written in first person, present tense.

Why? I don't really know. I just know I don't enjoy it, and don't read books written this way because of it. It's boring to read "I did this, I did that" for three hundred some odd pages. It sounds as if the author/protagonist is blowing his/her own horn all the time with the ad nauseum chorus of "I, I, I."

First person is probably the easiest way to write a book, as little thought has to be given to the inner workings of the minds of the characters other than that of the narrator. Why? Because the narrator cannot GET into the minds of the other characters -- he or she has no way of doing this -- so the story must be told from only ONE point of view. This makes the writing easy, and avoids what some critics view as the sin of writing from multiple POVs in one story, but to me, it also makes the story boring and one-dimensional. I want to know what the other characters in the story are REALLY THINKING -- the author's conception of what their real internal feelings are -- not what the protagonist THINKS they are thinking. There's a big difference there. It's much harder to do, but so much more interesting and informative when it's done.

Call me a snob, a blockhead, whatever. Some members of a group I am in here must think of me this way because I do not participate in all the group reads, but this is the reason. Too many authors these days, especially indie authors, are writing in the first person, and it is just not worth it to me to spend time reading something I don't enjoy when I could be reading something I do. In any art form, and that includes the art of writing fiction, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like what I like, and first person is NOT IT.
<![CDATA["He has 5-star reviews -- they must be fake!"]]>Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:03:01 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/he-has-5-star-reviews-they-must-be-fakeI had my first experience with trolls last night.  I had a technical question about the page length of LAST STRAW listed on its product page, http://amzn.to/1qX6L1N, so I went to the Amazon KDP community help forums for an answer.  Did I get an earful!  Two ladies (and I use the term loosely!) decided they would get together and show the Amazon world I was unworthy.  They completely hijacked the thread I started and began talking between themselves, as if I were not there, about how lousy my cover image was and how my ten 5-star ratings must be fake.  One of them even went so far as to research the reviewers to see who they were and how many reviews they had left in the past.  Of course, neither would part with the four bucks it would cost to download the book and read it so she could tell whether the writing was acceptable or not, and I am just as glad, as either would have probably given it 1- star just out of spite.  They reminded me of two old biddies gossiping about someone they really don't know, but don't like anyway.  They both have several thousand posts, so it is obvious they have a lot of pride in their "work".  Their comments brought to mind the old remonstration taught me by my parents, "If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all!"

Well, the fact of the matter is that yes, nine out of the ten 5-star reviews were from people who beta read my novel before it was published.  That being said, however, as I wrote in a previous post here on this site, I had a broad cross section of beta readers, all of whom I requested that they give me honest feedback on this story.  They gave it to me then, and they were anxious to give their opinions on Amazon once I finally published it.

So what makes their reviews any more "fake" than any others?  Is it somehow a crime to have friends who like a book post good reviews about it?  I would love to have impartial reviewers read and rate this book, and am not afraid of negative reviews, but as an unknown author, I am finding it hard to obtain reviews from anyone but friends.  So what's the answer?  I don't know.  I only know that I will never stoop to the level of these two trolls and trash someone else' work without at least reading it first.

<![CDATA[LAST STRAW -- PUBLISHED!]]>Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:03:24 GMThttp://highdesertlit.com/blogs/last-straw-publishedWell, the long journey from idea to published novel has run its course.  LAST STRAW is now published in e-book form and is available from Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.  It is not "the great American novel" by any means -- just a fast-moving story that I hope will keep the reader turning the pages from beginning to end.  Thanks to all of you who encouraged and supported me in my effort to fulfill a promise I made to myself many years ago.

Now that the writing, editing, and publishing is done, the readers of the world can decide if the stuff I write is worth reading.  Am I going to go to extraordinary lengths to publicize and push this book?  No -- that's not a game I want to play.  I have been watching others mount campaigns on social media, pushing out tweet after tweet on Twitter, running contests, giveaways, offering freebies, and indulging in such shameless self-promotion that it is almost laughable if it weren't such a pain in the ass to see.  Maybe that works -- at least for a while -- but I believe that hype will only go so far.  If you write something worth reading, the world will eventually find it, and if you do not, all the hype in the world will not save you.

Now that LAST STRAW is "in the can", so to speak, it's time for me to return to my first novel, THE BEAR AND THE DARKNESS, and rewrite it.  The first several drafts, including the final one, had too much of "me" in it.  The concept of "you write what you know" was too much with me when I wrote that book.  I cringe when I read some of what I wrote back then, but the basis for a great story is still there, and the lessons learned while writing LAST STRAW should serve me well as I rewrite it. 

I spent last weekend in what my wife and I refer to as "God's country", the mountain and high desert range land of Modoc County, California.  We have spent much time there over the years.  This area was the setting for THE BEAR, and spending the weekend there renewed my love for that country once again, restored my spirits and my soul, and made it impossible not to start working on this book again.  So here we go...