Category Archives: entertainment

Cats without hats and other characters…

One of the most popular characters in Sean Yeager book 2, ‘Hunters Hunted’, is ‘the cat’. Here’s a little insight into how I came up with the character. A sardonic robo-cat who saves the day with ruthless efficiency, complete with deadpan one liners and no prisoners taken. Truly a Clint Eastwood among cats.

Years ago I was given a pet. Or rather my parents came home in the early hours from a party one Sunday morning with a tiny kitten and I was instructed to look after it. It was a tiny ball of black fur with bright blue eyes and liked to suckle my jumper. Being young, I thought it was cute and cuddly. I guess it was. Little did I realise.

Over the months and years ‘Bozo’ grew up to become a green-eyed cat with predominantly black fur flecked with brown. He still liked to cuddle up to some body warmth and developed a mean streak a mile wide. If you moved Bozo when he was comfortable he would dig in his claws. All of them. He would still seek out a warm lap though. My best friend was terrified of our cat. I was secretly proud. Especially when Bozo climbed up onto my friend’s lap one day… He screamed like a girl and begged to be ‘saved’.

Famous incidents included the time Bozo climbed onto our bungalow roof via a garage and a leap between two buildings. He had figured out that birds liked to nest near the guttering. I noticed this when he leaped fully into the air to try to catch one. A blue tit I think it was. Like a cartoon Bozo soon realised he could not actually fly and landed heavily on his padded feet. Fortunately, the birds escaped unscathed, but not for long.

Bozo kindly gifted us a number of animals during that time. Usually on the back door mat.  A mouse who had mislaid its head. An adult pigeon which promptly tried to escape from the dining room and nearly made it. Feathers flew everywhere and there was a lot of screaming. And bizarrely a full-sized rabbit. We never did figure out how Bozo managed to catch and drag the rabbit home.

One day, a dog came to visit our house, a little yappie thing with a friendly disposition. It was all sniffs and licks and wagging tail. Pleasant enough. Probably a small spaniel or similar. It trotted around confidently and checked out the house. In the living room, it came across Bozo perched on a settee. Bozo sat there nonchalantly with barely a flicker of recognition. I think the dog was just being inquisitive. It sniffed around the room and trotted over to see if Bozo would play. There was hardly a sound from either animal. The dog seemed harmless enough and Bozo just sat there barely twitching his nose. The dog approached and sniffed right under Bozo’s chin which I thought was brave. In a split second, Bozo raised both paws, extended his claws and dug them into the dog’s skull just above its eyes. The dog howled and howled, while Bozo remained static with a demonic look in his eyes. We had to prise them apart.

Bozo’s finest hour was undoubtedly when he decided to perch on a warm car. Not the bonnet (or hood) you understand. He sat up in the wheel arch near the engine mount out of sight. He remained that way for possibly half an hour. Until, mother dear started the engine and drove away. I have never seen an injured cat move so fast. He sprinted down the garden path at pace with an obvious limp. When we eventually caught up and ferried him to the vet, the news was surprising. He only had a stress fracture to one bone near his left hip. We were told to keep him house-bound and well fed. Bozo tried his very best to escape at every opportunity and made a complete recovery.

So there you have it, a little insight into an unusual animal and the inspiration for one of Sean Yeager Adventures’ most popular characters. I have had requests to continue his involvement in the series. For book 3 I have a cunning plan or two lined up and a couple of surprises.

We came to believe (rightly or wrongly) that Bozo was half a domesticated cat and half a feral or wild cat. Whatever the truth, he was a brave and adventurous animal. I would say pet, but I rather think we were Bozo’s pets at his command. By comparison, other families’ animals were bland. There’s no question and no doubt, Bozo was the toughest cat on the block!

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures website

Buy Sean Yeager Adventures

Amazon reviews:www.seanyeager.com

Fast-moving, action-packed and humorous

Make this into a movie now!

Buckle your seat belts!

This story reads like an action ride and I enjoyed the ride

Ingredients for a hit novel

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Recently I’ve been considering ‘what makes a hit novel’? And here are my thoughts:

1) Characters we care about

A hit novel contains a handful of great characters that you grow to love and want to follow. And there are many examples we can all call to mind: Darcy, Harry Potter, James Bond, Hannibal etc. If we care about the characters, we’ll want to know what happens next to them.  And if we don’t, we may well put the book back down.

2) Plenty of incident & twists

To keep us awake and stop us from skipping ahead or worse switching off. A hit novel contains plenty of action, regardless of the genre. Things happen, challenges are faced and our hero has to overcome stuff. Otherwise it can become ‘interesting’, but basically dull and uneventful. Spicing things up with events we can’t predict also helps a lot.

3) A quirk or three

People become bored with formula pretty quickly. Most hit novels contain at least a few grains of ‘uniqueness’. Whether it be: dark threats and scandal in Scandinavia; allegorical animals in a boat; an orphaned wunderkind wizard; dystopian gladiators on TV; or rich man, innocent girl and a heap of sexual experiments (or smut).

4) Ease of reading

You notice I did not highlight ‘elegant writing’. That may win prizes and be a worthy aim in itself, but readers want to be able to read easily. They want to be able to enjoy the story without reaching for a dictionary.

5) A place you want to visit in your head

In my view novels are escapism. Along the way we learn things about the world of our characters and ultimately ourselves. A hit book asks questions of the reader in a subtle way, such as ‘what would you do in this situation?’ It also takes the reader to a place they want to learn about and experience from the safety of their reading location.

6) Visibility

Of course none of the above would matter unless readers were talking about a book and recommending it to their friends. As with the Fifty Shades series, that recommendation may be more a viral ‘you need to read it to believe it’ kind of thing or a ‘but is it actually any good?’  In my view that particular series is written in an okay manner and is highly effective as titillation and for provoking interest. And clearly it is a massive hit.

That’s all for now

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

Hunters Hunted Text 2l

So how on earth do you reach new readers with social media?

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Welcome,

Today’s big question is an ongoing experiment in social media and content promotion. Yep, you guessed right first time, I’ve no clue how you reach anyone including my own family on social media. By ‘reach’ I mean to make a meaningful connection with as opposed to randomly spam or annoy. ‘Reach’ as in – interest them enough to go to your website, read a sample of your book and perhaps consider a purchase. Because they want to, not because of a guilt trip, pity purchase or a clever bit of key word marketing and coding.

So here’s my run down so far in relation to my experiences promoting Sean Yeager Adventures Admittedly on a zero budget and now with two entertaining books published. And let me tell you – the writing was the easy part, the reviewing was horrible but way more productive than attempting ‘social media connections’. As I joked recently, ‘I could sell more books standing next to a motorway than via social media’.  And it’s not about some mental block thing or lack of trying – there is a giant, electronic, elephant in the room.

Amazon – virtually useless, search engines optimised for top sellers only. It’s a shop for the top, period. You’ll be dead before someone finds your book or Kindle board note. And then it’ll be a mistaken browser looking for someone else. Catch-22 is – they don’t know you, so they won’t look for you. Your book may as well be buried 300 feet beneath the ocean,

KDS Free days – virtually useless. So you give away free books, then what? Sales spike and all is well? Dream on. It might work for big name authors with tens of books in their canon, for the rest of us I doubt it is of any use at all. It also devalues the writing and the book. Also a great way for pirates to obtain content without doing anything remotely clever.

Twitter – virtually useless, an echo chamber of people selling stuff to other complete strangers who are selling stuff to complete strangers. Might work for ‘real’ celebrities, if we can glean who they are online these days. Could be their cat for all we know. More likely an impostor or an intern with a crush.

Facebook – virtually useless, a cage of rules for not bothering people and then a non-stop stream of content from people who like to transmit. Always best when you have no idea what  on earth the original event or question was – all you see is a response and some pictures. Right, for light relief of the comedy kind it’s okay, that’s all I seem to see. Jokes, viral images and comments. The spam you learn to look through and ignore. And why wouldn’t you?

Facebook has some great info groups online. Promotion – forget it.

Yes Facebook do advertising, unfortunately they do a really bad job of explaining to me why I should pay a bean for it. Free trials, stats, breakdowns – it’s not happening for me and yes of course I’ve a zero budget anyhow. Social networking and connecting? Not any more, you could throw some money into the void and pray. Now that’s a sound business investment decision right? Not on my planet.

Linked-In – fine for articles and groups, rubbish for promoting fiction. Another echo chamber.

Goodreads – good for presenting stuff, great for giving away stuff. I’ve yet to be convinced that anyone actually buys and reads unknown fiction as a result. Maybe some people do.

Scribd – good for presenting stuff, great for giving away content. I’ve yet to be convinced that anyone actually buys and reads unknown fiction as a result.

Librarything – ditto, seems to be for ‘serious fiction’ really. Held breath and died before anyone read a simple posting. Now a ghost haunting the site out of morbid interest.

Book Blogs – difficult to judge, no one is interested in reviewing Sean Yeager as it’s an adventure /  sci-fi book. (Yep, real niche stuff alongside underground stuff like Star Wars, Star Trek etc) So de facto useless, but it may work if you write books that are reviewed and hence promoted on book blogs. Which seems to be anything written for a female audience and blogged about by a lady with a love of books (who also happens to write romantic supernatural stories about vampires and men with six packs and no clothes on (I blame the TV) )

That’s all for now, I’m off to the pub for some research, And a primal scream.

AHHHHHHHHHHH!

That’s better.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

New year, new story…..

Hunters Hunted Text 2 small

So welcome to 2013, not my favourite number, but I’m glad we have all that Mayan nonsense out of the way. Lo and behold nothing happened. Or to be more precise more of the same continued to happen. More meanness, cruelty, deception, opinionated horse droppings etc etc. I dare say if we could turn the clock back to 2013 BC it would be much the same. Power, corruption and lies only a different flavour and some different empires in full flow….

Over the holiday season I’ve been busy avoiding the echo chamber of writers selling stuff to each other. It’s been refreshing. It’s also given me a chance to focus on book 2 – Sean Yeager, Hunters Hunted. The cover is nearly completed and I’m progressing well on the many passes of revision and updating. Not my choice of fun activity, but essential none the less. And even if I say it myself (and I am, ’cause there’s no one else here….) it’s a step up from the last book with loads of stuff going on. It is essentially an action, mystery adventure with lots of action and weird stuff. It’s funny to think this could be a future classic and so far no one but me has read it yet. More on that in future posts….. 

So above there’s a quick sneak preview of the cover while I continue the never ending rounds of revision. I’m also mind mapping out some ideas for book 3, which given the strengths of Hunters Hunted is going to be a challenge, a good challenge. It’s also the part I enjoy the most, so it’s all good. Yep, plotting is where it’s at people! Be afraid characters, be very afraid. Some nasty stuff will happen to some random people among you…. Ha ha ha!

Happy 2013 and happy reading.

D.M. Jarrett

It’s not a matter of life or death, it’s more serious than that……… the riddle of unloved sci-fi

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

Following a late night debate over a beer or two, I recently researched the best selling films of all time

I like all kinds of fiction and non-fiction in films, TV and books. I like comedy, horror, adventures dramas and such like. I only draw the line at ‘crud’ and the majority of chick flicks. So that also rules out anything Twilight related. (Yes I can’t stand them – for me the Underworld series is a far better story)

I began writing Sean Yeager Adventures because it felt right and because it arose from my interests as a youngster. We used to have no end of sci-fi on TV: UFO, Dr Who, Star Trek, Blake’s 7. And at the lighter end we had Danger Mouse, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and many more. I guess some of it rubbed off and then Star Wars happened…

So back to the film stats. It turns out that nearly 1/3 of the top selling films of all time are sci-fi and they account for just under 1/3 of the gross income for the top 50 (that’s about 28% or $13.2 Bn).

The big winners are of course well known:

  • Avatar
  • Star Wars
  • Transformers
  • Inception
  • ET
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Matrix

To which we can add other big films like the Terminator, Alien and Star Trek series who fall outside the top 50.

And my point is?

Simply this – how come there are so few top selling books that are sci-fi?

I don’t believe for a second that sci-fi lovers don’t buy or read books.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

To boldly go where no man has gone before……….. Sean Yeager in print now

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

After months of crafting, designing, huffing and puffing… Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief is available in deluxe print!  Hurray!

Deluxe because it is a 6×9 inch book size which shows off the cover and makes it very easy to read.

For those who don’t already know – the book series is a mixture of adventure, comedy, action, science fiction and mystery. A bit like a cross between Young James Bond, Men in Black, Star Wars, Artemis Fowl and elements of Monty Python / Red Dwarf / Hitchhikers Guide. We’re not in Star Trek territory yet. Watch that space though, Star Trek is converging all the time…

The DNA Thief sets the scene at breathtaking speed and Hunters Hunted is set to build on the mysteries and action  in a big way.

It’s a big milestone for us and very soon we’ll be speaking to libraries and bookstores about stocking the physical books. It’s funny there is something about holding print in your hand that makes a real difference….

Meantime, on with the series. Hunters Hunted is nearing completion and will see the light of day first as an e-book initially with print to follow.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.seanyeager.com

It’s life Jim but not as we know it …….. villains never give in

Just like my evil nemesis Egbert Von Krankhausen I never give up in waving a virtual flag at those readers who are seriously missing out on a good thing. I mean come on everyone over here! Aren’t you bored of vampires yet? Sean Yeager awaits! The true spiritual successor to Parry Hotter and Dartemis Owl.

In a move that is bound to spread tremors and tsunamis across the world I am transporting Sean Yeager to a whole new dimension for the holiday period. A dimension of lending. That’s right the Kindle lending scheme. Now you have no excuses – read and enjoy!  Or I’ll send Krankhausen after you…..

Is it life Jim or is it opting for the inevitable? I’ll beam up again soon with news from the front. One thing is clear there will be no cosy little romance picnic to spoil the action. Yes that is a direct dig at Star Wars who made me cringe for what seemed like eternity with that dire excuse for a love story between ‘To be Darth’ and ‘Oh look I’m pregnant with twins and the best sci-fi gizmos and forces ever can’t save me’.

With Hunters Hunted steaming up the mirrors and generally leaping off the page to climb new mountains, The DNA Thief will soon be joined by another. Yes folks its going to be Empire Strikes Back time. Aliens with a plural instead of the singular dark, shifty stomach ache and pregnancy metaphor. (Ouch!) It’s building up nicely into a spaghetti car crash of gargantuan proportions. Try saying that quickly!  (“That, that, that…..”)

So in the run up to Happy Holidays of all colours and creeds consider this: Sean Yeager is out there somewhere hiding from his enemies and hoping that Santa isn’t laser blasted to a crisp by his trigger happy protectors. (Could be worse, have you met Krankhausen? Now he has some serious personal issues man!)

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett