<![CDATA[Dev Jarrett--Words...with teeth! - The Blog]]>Sun, 03 Jan 2016 19:16:08 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[That's enough time off...BACK TO WORK!]]>Mon, 04 Jan 2016 01:02:04 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/thats-enough-time-offback-to-workHappy New Year. I've taken a couple of weeks to spend holiday time with my family, but now it's time to get back in the saddle. I've got lots of news, and I'm excited to share it.

First, I'm going to be interviewed by the amazing, multitalented Dr. Briar Lee Mitchell tomorrow evening at 7PM EST. It'll run live while we're talking, but it'll be available afterwards, as well. Here's the url to get to it: http://artistfirst.com/briarlee.htm

I think the majority of the interview will discuss my upcoming book, Casualties. It's going to be published by Permuted Press on February 16th, and will not only be available via ebook through Amazon--it'll also be available in beautiful glorious paperback (TA-DA!). If your local bookstore, indie or otherwise, doesn't have it on the shelf, ask for it, and they'll get it. Here's a peek at the cover.

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Pretty cool. When I showed it off, I was asked, "Is it the cover of a novel, a book about witchcraft, or an 80s hard rock album cover?"

Not an album cover.

Not witchcraft.

That star is actually representative of a star at the top of a hill on Fort Huachuca, Arizona. When asked by the publisher about the cover art, I sent them a link to a Youtube video clip that showed the star on the hilltop. They took some artistic liberties, of course, but I love it. When I find the person who designed it--I owe them a drink or two.

In a nutshell, this is Casualties:

When Sergeant First Class Chris Williams was in Afghanistan, he fought every day against the insurgent forces lurking behind every rock. Today, he’s back home, and he and his family are moving to a new Army post.
 
“Desert people sure love their ghosts.”
 
Then the nightmares begin. At first, Chris wonders why nightmares would continue to plague him, but soon, he realizes the reason. He and his family are not alone in their house. An evil older than Fort Huachuca, older than time itself, lives here.
 
But what can they do? They are already casualties of life, crippled by both a crumbling marriage and growing paranoia. Can Chris and Molly save their family—and possibly the world—from the evil already living under their own roof?


So come on by Briar's page and listen to the interview, then grab the book when it comes out.

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<![CDATA[“Advice” Does Not Equal “Rules”]]>Sun, 13 Dec 2015 00:52:54 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/-advice-does-not-equal-rules     (A few months back, I was asked to guest post on a blog for the relaunch of the "Darkness Dwells" podcast. They're good folks. Drop by and check them out here. Cool thing is, they attached a picture they thought fitting to my post--Neil Gaiman giving writing advice. Very flattering. Leaving out the introductory "I'm Dev Jarrett..." paragraph, here's the post. Enjoy.)

                                                          “Advice” Does Not Equal “Rules”
 
                                                                           by Dev Jarrett

     Novice writers, like all artists, are often given stupid advice. “You want to sell books, then...” “...write what you know.” “...you need a strong hook at the beginning.” “...give your readers a character with whom they can identify.” There are at least a hundred others, and most of them come from respected sources. You can find lists of them everywhere, and all those lists claim to be definitive.
 
     “Write what you know.” We hear this most often, right? And yes, to a degree, we all do it. How many Stephen King stories are about writers? Too damned many, but that’s what he knows. My first two novels? Set in small towns in Georgia. That’s where I’m from. Casualties has a main character who is a soldier. In my day job, I’m a soldier. So superficially, yes, we all write what we know.
 
     But do we? Really? And I’m not talking about the standard “I don’t know ghosts and monsters, so I’m not writing what I know.”
 
     It’s deeper than that. The very nature of fiction is that it’s made up. We don’t know any of it until it happens in the story, and that’s true for even the most assiduous outliner—it’s Schrodinger’s cat, but with story growth. It’s not just the two possibilities of alive and dead, but an infinitely larger set of potentialities. Simultaneously, this happens, and this happens, and this happens, and this happens, etc., etc., infinity. It’s not until the writer actually writes what happens next in the story that all those other possible outcomes collapse. So in a narrative sense, writers are creating new realities from nothing except our own varied experience. We’re building the airplane while it’s in the air. We’re making up new things for others to “know.”
 
     “You need a strong hook at the beginning.” I know we’re in the 21st century, and attention spans are getting shorter and shorter all the time because there is simply so much to see, and everyone with an internet connection can find just about anything they can think of. But do you really need an opening chapter that resembles nothing so much as an opening scene from some Jerry Bruckheimer police procedural TV show? It’s interesting seeing how many writers have grown (or shrunk?) in that direction, just based on what the public wants.
 
     If you compare the first chapter of Terry Brooks’s The Sword of Shannara with any the opening chapters of his work in the last five years, they’re completely different in style and pace. Some might even go so far as to say that Sword wouldn’t sell today. I disagree, simply based on the beauty of the writing. Similarly, the opening chapters of Justin Cronin’s The Passage were a poignant and heart-wrenching introduction to the main character. No explosions. No dead bodies. No play-on-words douchebaggery by emotionally wooden cops wearing shades. Just good writing. There are others, where the story and the writing is simply fantastic from the start. Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is one. The real terror doesn’t really take hold of the reader until the reader is already deeply emotionally invested in the Creed family, and then the bottom falls out.
 
     “Give your readers a character with whom they can identify.” Again, the safe, fall-back criticism of that one is similar to the first reaction to Write what you know. “How can anyone identify with a bounty hunter of cyborgs, or a sentient zombie who’s a forensics specialist?” That’s a question that can best be addressed with how well an author can suspend disbelief. The two authors referenced above, Philip K. Dick and Nikki Hopeman, do it very well. They establish those points of commonality between us and their characters, and build out from there.
 
     We can take that truism deeper, too. Some main characters are just unlikeable assholes. I’m sure there are many examples of this, but the first one to come to my mind is Atlanta Burns, from the Chuck Wendig novel of the same name. I recently read the book because I like Miriam Black, one of Wendig’s other characters. I was a little disappointed because Atlanta Burns—even though she’s a defender of those who are bullied—is not likeable at all. Maybe that’s simply a function of my perspective, but in my opinion, she’s as bad as the villains in the book, only different.
 
     So, yeah. Whether it’s writing, filmmaking, or sculpting with instant mashed potatoes: create bravely, and create honestly, and if you don’t follow all the advice you get, it’s really okay. Artists break the rules every day. And any advice you ever get about writing, including this rambling blog of mine, take with a grain of salt.
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<![CDATA[PTSD is pretty fucked up.]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 04:07:04 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/ptsd-is-pretty-fucked-up
      For those of you who may not know, I'm a career soldier. I went over my twenty year-mark in service almost two years ago. In all that time I've been to a lot of different places, and some of them have not been pretty.
      On my last trip to Afghanistan, back in 2011, stuff happened. Bad stuff. Roadside bomb stuff. I ended up coming home sooner than I expected, on a stretcher, with both bones in my lower left leg reduced to gravel.
     Doctors were able to make sure I kept my leg, and I'm thankful for that. Sure it still hurts, every damned day, but I function. Like the stupid insurance commercial says: it's what you do.
     Ask any career soldier and he or she will tell you the same thing. Tough shit that you're hurt. You want to keep going, doing the job, then just fucking do it.
     Bones heal, mostly. The scars on my leg are not terribly obtrusive. I don't even have to use a cane (maybe later, but not yet). You get past it.

     BUT...
     In your head, sometimes it's hard to get past it. The nightmares, the blinding headaches, the unexplained hyperawareness, it gets goddamned old after a while.

     I wanted to explore that in a story, so I wrote Casualties.

     Something evil is about to be born on Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The only people who can stop it are Sergeant First Class Chris Williams, who is plagued every night by terrible memories of his time in Afghanistan, and his wife Molly, a woman who has to confront the idea every day that the man she married is not the same man who came back from the war in Afghanistan.

     How can a family already strained and fractured by war hope to thwart the birth of a demon on Earth?

     Casualties
is my third novel, and it's the first one that will not only be available for purchase in virtual bookstores online, but will also be available through actual brick-and-mortar bookstores. It's due out on February 16, 2016. It's not available for any sort of preorder yet--maybe by January--but when it is, I'll make sure to let folks know.

      I love writing, and all the stories are important, but this one...well, this one's important for a different reason.

     Get ready. Casualties is coming, PTSD and all.

     I think you're gonna like it.
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<![CDATA["I'll see you on the Dark Side of the Moon"]]>Sat, 27 Jun 2015 13:26:47 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/ill-see-you-on-the-dark-side-of-the-moonPicture
     When Loveless came out in 2013, I decided to publish a companion playlist. There were songs on that list that brought together the whole experience of "being out on the lake" in the summer, at least for me. It was easy.

     The book that's coming in February, Casualties, was also easy. I've already done the playlist for that.

     I had a difficult time coming up with a playlist for Dark Crescent. On the one hand, Bud listens primarily to classic rock. Nothing wrong with that, but most classic rock doesn’t lend itself thematically to the story.

     On the other hand, Nita listens to country music—not anything new...more along the lines of Patsy Cline. I know it because I know her character, but it never comes up in the book. Would it have added something?

Who knows?

     On the other other hand, I don’t listen to much that lends itself to Quentin’s state of mind. I look at song titles by deathmetal bands like Cannibal Corpse and some of that may fit there, but ugh. I couldn’t listen past the first few bars of “Meat Hook Sodomy,” and for that, I'm kinda glad.

     As always, your mileage may vary, and this is really just a starting point. The songs I picked do have a certain lyric or voice that speaks to me.

 

Doctor My Eyes (Jackson Browne)

Let it Bleed (Rolling Stones)

Mother (The Police)

Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)

Closer (Nine Inch Nails)

Close My Eyes Forever (Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford)

Nasty Habits (Oingo Boingo)

The Future is Now (The Offspring)

(Don't Fear) The Reaper (Blue Öyster Cult)

Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Learn to Live (Darius Rucker)

Brain Damage (Pink Floyd)

In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)

The Things We Do For Love (10cc)

Read the book and see for yourself. Whatever music resonates with your mind-movie of the story should probably be added to this list. I'd love to see what you hear when you read it.


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<![CDATA[Come and get it!]]>Tue, 09 Jun 2015 20:51:46 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/welcome-to-the-jungleagainPicture
Today's the day. Release day. I've been counting down the months, weeks, days, and even hours until I could say "Dark Crescent is now available for purchase!"

Awesome, right? EVERYONE AT THE NOVEL RELEASE PARTY WILL RECEIVE MONEY, BOOZE, POWER, AND ALL THE STRANGE CHEESES THEY CARE TO EAT!

Wait, what? The invitations didn't go out?

Me? Dammit, I thought you had 'em.

Instead, here's a look at real life. This week, my eldest daughter Virginia is getting married to her fiance, Cody. They're fantastic kids, and they've been working on what they've got for much longer than it took to write Dark Crescent. This is their week.

Today is still mine, though.

I reminded my wife this morning that today was the release date, and she said, "Excellent! I'm so proud! But for now, take out the trash, then go buy some jalapenos. I'll make a pot of chili the way you like it tonight." You might think it's no big deal, but none of you have ever had Jennie's chili. It'd make a rich man beg. NO, you can't have the recipe. Don't even ask.

Other than chili and beer tonight, my celebrations are consisting of creating and proofreading a series of blog posts, chipping away at my current Work In Progress, and helping the kids get ready for their wedding. I've got a guest blog post showing up on the 12th over at the Darkness Dwells website.  Come by and check it out.

The booze and strange cheeses? That is actually occurring, but tomorrow. It's just happening with the bride and groom taking center stage, not the father of the bride and his weird imagination. I'll stand in the background and be the proud poppa, and if my mind wanders, you can be sure that it's only traveling as far as the next story.

Get Dark Crescent. Click the cover art, then purchase. I'm extremely stoked about my new novel, and I know when you read it, you'll love it, too.

Talk to you soon,
Dev

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<![CDATA[The future is in the eye of the beholder...]]>Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:47:56 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/the-future-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholderPicture
It's finally here. The horror novel you've been waiting for.

Dark Crescent.
    

      "Dark Crescent kept me turning pages until the early morning hours. A creepy and interesting premise and a killer read." --Nate Kenyon, author of Sparrow Rock and Day One

     When Bud wakes from a head injury with the ability to see people's deaths hours before they occur, he is assaulted with terrible visions of tragic individual futures.

     One vision tells him of a savage murder that will take place, and when he steps in to change that future, he manages to thwart the killing.

     In a frustrated rage, the murderer now focuses on a new target: Bud.

     Bud must do all he can to save himself and the woman he loves from a knife-wielding maniac bent on brutal payback.

     Click on the cover and go preorder it. Dark Crescent will be published June 9th.

      Come and get it.

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<![CDATA[Back in the Saddle Again.  The camel saddle, that is...]]>Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:08:52 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/back-in-the-saddle-again-the-camel-saddle-that-isPicture
Sorry about the grainy picture.

It wasn't just the picture, though.  The very air was grainy.  It was my first Kuwait sandstorm.  I've been through a few in Afghanistan, but this was the first of this trip.  Whee, sandstorm selfie.

Yes, for now, I'm a resident of Camp Buehring, Kuwait.  Not much fun, especially when the ground won't stay on the fucking ground.  Hopefully we'll do some good here, and we can get the job done quickly.  Then we can all get back home.

When we were at Scares that Care, I got the word that we'd be moving to Fort Riley.  I was needed out there.  Fine.  Except, Chief, you've got to go NOW.

So, I got notice that we were moving in July.

Got orders in August.

We got on the road in September.  Got a call the first day of the road trip, and I knew what was coming.  "Chief, you're deployable, right?"

We arrived, and signed in, and before Jennie and I got all our boxes unpacked, I came downrange.

So let's get this done.  And yeah, when I can, I'm writing.  Of course.  I've got a short story called "Idle Puppet" that'll be published soon in an anthology from Sirens Call Publications, and my next two novels will be published by Permuted Press--one, Dark Crescent, next summer, and the other Casualties, in winter of 2016.

Keep reading, and I'll keep writing.

--Dev 

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<![CDATA[Q: But why do you write horror?  You were always such a nice boy...]]>Sat, 22 Nov 2014 18:32:15 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/q-but-why-do-you-write-horror-you-were-always-such-a-nice-boy
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Brian, Marc, Joe, and me.
The Scares that Care Weekend was fun, and my first time attending any sort of Con.  It brought to mind the question I've been asked repeatedly by the people who knew me when I was a kid.  "Oh, Dev, You've got so much talent.  Why do you want to waste it writing that stuff?"  As a kid, all I could do was shrug.  These days though, I say what I think. So, umm, fuck you.  Wasted talent is talent that's not used.  Yes, I write stories that have blood, monsters, foul language, and even...S-E-X in them.

I love it.  People who read it enjoy it, and they tell me so.  So yeah, I'm going to keep doing it.  Until I can't.  And all the folks that we met at Scares that Care are like that, too.  Wonderful, friendly people, getting together and sharing our outlook for a great cause.  We met some fascinating people, and made memories that will always stand out in my mind.

Keep reading, and I'll keep writing.

--Dev


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<![CDATA[The Family that Scares together...]]>Wed, 25 Jun 2014 19:57:37 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/the-family-that-scares-together
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In less than 48 hours, I'll be in Williamsburg, at the Scares that Care Weekend!
All right, folks.  Here are the Ws.  Who: Your favorite horror authors, actors, and artists of every stripe. What: Scares That Care Weekend, a horror convention whose proceeds will go to help those in need.  Where: Williamsburg, VA.  When: This weekend.
Why: Dude, did you need to ask that?

At the Scares That Care weekend, you'll have a chance to meet folks like Brian Keene, Cassandra Peterson, Kane Hodder, Mary Sangiovanni, and many others.  Cast members from the movie Christine will be there, as well as cast members from the original Fright Night.  Other actors and authors will be there as well (including yours truly, of course), doing readings, giving opinions on panels, and answering those freaky questions you've always wanted to know. This is a fantastic chance to get to meet some of those horror icons while at the same time you'll be helping others in need.

Click the picture above to go to the website, and when you come out this weekend, be sure to stop by the Blood Bound Books table and grab a few books.  I've also got some Loveless-themed merch to give away--come get some.

See you there!

--Dev

 
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<![CDATA[I'll see your schizophrenia, and raise you a god complex...]]>Mon, 02 Jun 2014 00:07:47 GMThttp://devjarrett.weebly.com/the-blog/ill-see-your-schizophrenia-and-raise-you-a-god-complexPicture
Yesterday, I saw the Facebook meme-thingy shown on the left (thanks very much, Tina Clark!) and it made me think about those voices.  I know, I flipped right past the piano-playing cat, and my life may be poorer for it.  BUT ANYWAY...

As writers, the voices are there all the time, talking and yelling and screeching and vying for attention.  Clamoring, threatening to never let us sleep again unless we LISTEN.  Unquiet spirits of our imaginations, wanting nothing more than to be heard and seen, to be real.

Maybe the voices are there for everyone.  I don't know.

I DO know that sometimes, the voices talk when you're trying to do other stuff, which can be annoying as fuck.  I was watching a movie the other day and something one of the characters said suggested a whole subplot to something I'm currently working on.  I listened to the idea, considered it, and ultimately rejected most of it, but saved some crumbs, then by the time I'd put it aside, I'd missed something like twenty minutes of movie.  Will it improve what I'm working on?  I think so, but there's a cost.

That's one of those things that is a constant thorn in my wife's side.  She understands that I write, and she further understands that there's no on/off
switch to flip, but after twenty-one years, it still gets under her skin.  Sorry, babe. 

Those voices out of our imaginations want to be real.  They want their stories told.  So we make them real.  We breathe life into them, and in return they fulfill us.  With any luck, they can teach our readers about themselves, and about us, too.

Keep reading, and I'll keep writing.

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