Category Archives: harry potter

Where next after Fantastic Beasts?

As an author, I am also a fan of J. K. Rowling’s work. I love the films, the theme parks and most of the books (less so the fatter ones if I’m honest). I was inspired by the parallel shift of Fantastic Beasts and the repositioning of the magical world in the USA. It rang true, complete with the bureaucracy that modern-day America exhibits on entry. Right down to the typefaces and official blurb of the supporting material (briefcase shaped). Based on recent experience, I half expected Newt Scamander to be asked if he was a) harbouring magical creatures; b) a terrorist; or c) carrying foreign fruits or vegetables in his luggage. Just as (unbelievably) you are asked to confess all when entering the USA. Err, real criminals tend to lie…

In addition, what a great achievement to co-write a stage play and progress to screenplay writing. And why not? The formats may vary, the content may require different disciplines, but surely the creativity is the common thread? I was impressed. By both the challenge and the outcome. Entertained too. For once, a film surpassed my expectations and (bar the overlong attack sequence) the originality, warmth and plotting of the movie was touching.  A movie with soul amongst the magical goings on.

And there it is, for me at least. The magic ingredients – warmth and humanity. I see the Harry Potter series, including Fantastic Beasts, as less about the outsider coming good, and more about the friendships and bonds between people. This aspect is the one which has inspired me the most in my creative thought processes. People standing together against evil and bureaucracy. People striving for better.

This inspiration I have carried over into my own writing. And a long road it is. I started writing Sean Yeager Adventures with a wisp of an idea. The wisp grew into characters, motives and a secret world set amongst our own. A world where things go wrong and people make mistakes, but also strive to help each other. A world with evil, goodness, and also ambiguity. A world with a rich background and complexity stretching through time and space. And yet nothing like Harry Potter. For that is the real challenge – to create something original and unseen, unread. It’s not easy. I take my hat off to J.K. (not that she needs it, and not that I wear one) the confidence to press on and create can be lonely place. It can also be amazing, as Fantastic Beasts shows.

When I write I am happy. When I read back and review I am often annoyed with myself for not writing better. After several rounds of revisions and improvement, I become a whole lot happier. For one simple reason – when the work stands up and speaks to you, you know it has something. You know your characters have life and something to say and strive for. And that others will ‘get it’, eventually. It’s a weird thing creating – all that effort and you are second guessing what ‘good’ looks like. Inevitably, you write what works for you. And inspiration from other genres helps a lot.

Sean Yeager and Emily Campbell will reappear book 3, eventually.  When they have rebuilt Kimbleton Hall and re-programmed the cat probably. The editing is taking a while, because I don’t write in the conventional way and I don’t write conventional stories. Where’s the fun in that?  The flip-side of course is that if you are reading this and look-up Sean Yeager Adventures, you are in a select few.  And I thank you for it.

You see, I write films in book form. I write science magic adventures with strong relationships and humour. All my characters have a reason for being and things they strive for. I also write about gizmos, parallel worlds, mind control, sentient computers, alien lifeforms. But not in a way I’ve seen before. I aim for the soul. In Sean’s England the factions are hidden, secretive, small in number and yet deadly. Sean and Emily have to discover the truth for themselves, there are no prophesies or fast-tracks to the stars. They have to rely on their own wits and clues. It’s a tough write. And I love it.

I still remember a time before Harry Potter. When the idea of a book about a wizard was viewed as nothing much, nothing new. It really had been done before (Books of Magic, A Wizard of Earthsea). And now look at the audience and the achievements. And the undoubted hard work that’s gone into it all. It is the classic – it’s not what it is, but how well it has been done.  And I have little doubt the next big thing will be fresh and different, just as J.K. was when people saw the merit in the work before them.

That’s creativity I guess, the balance between who ‘gets it’ and the energy of the creator to keep going until enough people do. So bring on the warm cuddly creatures, the strong friendships and rivalries and the impressive plotlines. I love it when things get good.

As J.K. once said ‘rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life’.  Everyone needs a foundation and belief in what you are striving for is a good starting point. The unread author really is at rock bottom in the literary world, and yet the work itself could be incredible/

Thanks for reading my ramble. All interest in Sean Yeager Adventures is appreciated. Remember, you were here first. As Cassius Olandis (Sean Yeager character) would say: ‘open your mind and everything will become clear to you.’

Sean Yeager Adventures

www.seanyeager.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What next after Harry Potter? 5 Great middle grade to tween book series

Well it had to happen, our son has read all the Harry Potter books and we’ve been searching for other great book series. In no particular order here are 5 great book series for middle grade to tween readers. (I have omitted Young Adult titles deliberately).

1. Harry Potter Click here

Obvious really. If the first three books don’t grab your child’s attention I guess they don’t like Harry Potter. Stand by also for the comparisons and proclamations of the things not in the films which are better presented in the books. Strangely the shorter books were voted the best by our son, perhaps they were better edited?

2. Percy Jackson Click here

Now you do need to allow your child to settle with the idea that Greek and Roman myths have been ‘borrowed’ and transplanted to the US. (Not my idea of plausible I have to say). Apparently the books are an easy and exciting read with lots of action. I would add that they seem to be easily read in next to no time. Good news for the author and publisher, not such great news for the parents asked to buy the next book in a matter of hours.

3. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Click here

Perhaps a push for middle grade and pretty heavy in volume. We started with The Hobbit and it was very well received. A budding fan is born. I await the film and book comparisons. LOL. Given the length of both that could be some years away.

4. Sean Yeager Adventures Click here

Fast paced, exciting and full of ideas. Our son and several of his friends have been up all hours reading and re-reading books one and two. Be prepared for an explosion of ideas, designs and follow on stories.

5. Bear Grylls Mission: Survival  Click here

Apparently these books are non-stop boys own adventures with all the details added in. Useful if you are ever stuck in a jungle and need survival skills. If only there was an episode for commuters and office workers.

6. Artemis Fowl Click here

Technically this is the sixth book series, though I did say ‘after Harry Potter’. We have had a mixed reception with this series. Son loves the action and humour, he’s not so keen on the faeries. Nonetheless a worthy addition to our humble book series list. Lots happens and there are plenty of books in the series.

So there you have it parents, grand parents, aunts, bloggers. We hope you find this list of book series useful when seeking purchases for the children in your life.

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

Sean Yeager takes over the world….. the story so far

For those of you who are new to reading this blog (and that’s several billion of you) a quick recap.

Sean Yeager began when I was trying to find some quality reading for my son. I struggled frankly. I was looking for an entertaining read that didn’t insult his intelligence and I failed.

So I listened to what he was interested in and I went out again to look for something with him. In the end I let him choose. We bought some books and they were okay but not great. They were mostly read and quickly forgotten. One was dumped completely as ‘boring’. Eventually we settled on Harry Potter as being the best all rounder. (And to this day my main role model in a book alongside Bartimaeus).

We talked some more and I wrote some short stories for my son about a boy called Sean Knight and how we helped to save the world. Surprisingly these were so well received I had a demand for a ring binder to store them in and some regular discussions about the characters and their gear.

I shared the short stories with some friends to gauge how well they worked. Was it just youthful enthusiasm? The feedback came in and it was mostly positive. The stories seemed to have something. People understood the concepts and liked the angle.

Next I did some research –  I figured out the market, costings and what I could achieve realistically. I also set about finding an illustrator and began sketching some ideas myself. My first attempt with a cover designer was okay and I sort of received what I commissioned. I was chuffed to begin with.

So I sent out loads of unsolicited submissions to agents and publishers. Not a single one was even vaguely interested in what I had written. Actually I fib, one sent me a vaguely positive rejection letter  that implied they might consider my work sometime later in the year. Needless to say I did not receive any follow-up inquiries or feedback. Perhaps strangely I was not surprised in the least. I thought ‘this is why most of the books in the shops don’t sell very well’. Not that I thought my short stories were exceptional, more that no one would even recognise the gap in the market I was aiming for.

Following a particularly ‘can’t be bothered’ piece of feedback from an agent I made a decision. I decided to take on the full responsibility for producing a professional product myself and to act like a professional. I set values and goals. I costed out the proposition and I researched. I planned to write two books inside a year and publish them in e-book and print. I also aimed for top quality plotting and writing together with top quality design and illustration. I realised it would be tough and I  also realised it would take a lot of work. As it turned out I was right on both counts you need a lot of determination and a thick skin to be a writer.

And that is where Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief began. I decided to change the character’s name because of a character called Sean Knight in a Mage comic. I wrote to the creator and in a trend that I have become very used to I received no reply. So I thought, ‘you know what change the name anyway and keep it straightforward’. In a way it was probably a good thing but at the time it was a complete pain to find and be happy with a new name.

I wrote and revised for several months until I felt the first novel was complete. Several revisions and corrections later I lent it out to some beta readers and held my breath. The feedback was consistently positive with some helpful suggestions which I applied to the next revision. Being a whole lot more involved than a short-story I realised that the plots and characters were equivalent to a film script. I figured ‘why not?’ So I set out to write so the stories are easily adaptable to film and yet quirky at the same time.

Which brings us almost up to date. I found a very talented illustrator and commissioned a new cover and some interior images. The interiors became material for website and posters when I realised how expensive colour printing can be. Needless to say the second cover was massively better than the first and you can see it above.

Sean Yeager Adventures has an e-book on each of the major sites a website, a blog, twitter, facebook, even a spoof advert on youtube and various postings all over the internet. Do any of them attract readers? Good question. If people want to find out about Sean Yeager I believe they can and will. So probably. Will social media sites sell people the books? I think people decide for themselves in the real world. I encourage people to read the free preview and see the website. And guess what? Many of them do. Soon they will be able to hold a printed copy in their hands (hurray!).

Yes Sean Yeager will soon be arriving in print. Then libraries and then (hopefully) some high street shops and book clubs. Meanwhile the second book is nearing first draft completion and promises to be every bit as good as the first and more expansive. Perhaps by the fifth draft it will reach the light of the internet and print outlets. When the quality is good enough that is.

So Sean Yeager takes over the world….. yes he does. It’s what the series is all about. I’ve set my aims high to entertain, stretch minds and be as good as the best. All that’s left is the blood, sweat and tears to push on and achieve those goals.

And why have I done this?

Because I believe readers deserve a really compelling book series and it all goes back to what my young readers told me they wanted to read about. I also have a ball writing the stories which makes up for the rejections and emails I’ve sent that have gone unanswered. I laughed recently about The Beatles’ first rejections, it clearly happens to everyone.

Yesterday I took some promotional postcards to a school and a boy asked for another one because he lost the first. He’d yet to read a word of the story and yet he loved the idea of the book simply based on the cover. Priceless.

Yes, Sean Yeager is taking over the world, you heard it here first.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett