LIVE FROM THE ROAD – NOW LIVE ON EZVID WIKI

Live from the Road, my Route 66 road trip novel, is featured on the video site, Ezvid Wiki! Not only is it featured in the video “Exhilarating Books That Chronicle Life On The Open Road,” it’s the first listing. Click here to watch the video and to see what other books made the list.

I conceived of the novel while on my own journey with a good friend, her daughter, and my own daughter. We started in Chicago and tried to stay true to the old Route 66 as possible. Not much of the original road still exists or it has been paved over and made a part of the Interstate system. When I returned from the trip, I looked at my journal and wanted to relive the trip, which I was able to do at the keyboard. But on this “virtual” trip, I let my imagination run rampant over the page while trying the capture some of the magical feelings and happenings that infused the journey and fueled my creativity.

From reviewers:

“What a quirky, nonsensical, gorgeous, joyful, sad bit of inspiration! And if you can’t understand that, then you’re in the best position to readthis fun novel!”  – Glenda A. Bixler, Amazon VINE Voice

“Ms. Zick perfectly balanced the turmoil of personal battle with light-hearted antics, and the story flowed quickly and beautifully.” -Literary R&R

Synopsis

Best friends Meg and Sally seek a change in the mundane routine of their lives. “Is this all there is?” Sally asks Meg after visiting a dying friend in the hospital. That’s when Meg suggests they take a journey to discover the answer. Joined by their daughters, they set off on a journey of salvation enhanced by the glories of the Mother Road.

Along the way, they are joined by a Chicago bluesman, a Pakistani liquor store owner from Illinois, a Marine from Missouri, a gun-toting momma from Oklahoma, and a motel clerk from New Mexico. Meg, mourning for her dead son, learns to share her pain with her daughter CC. When Sally’s husband of almost thirty years leaves a voicemail telling her he’s leaving, both Sally and her daughter Ramona discover some truths about love and independence.

Death, divorce and deception help to reveal the inner journey taking place under the blazing desert sun as a Route 66 motel owner reads the Bhagavad-Gita and an eagle provides the sign they’ve all been seeking. Enlightenment comes tiptoeing in at dawn in a Tucumcari laundromat, while singing karaoke at a bar in New Mexico, and during dinner at the Roadkill Café in Seligman, Arizona. The four women’s lives will never be the same after the road leads them to their hearts—the true destination for these road warriors.

Purchase Live from the Road by clicking below.

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Click here to watch the video and grab your copies of road trip books for your summer reading!

 

IT WAS MEANT TO BE

We recently traveled to southern California to attend the wedding of my husband’s nephew. While at my mother-in-law’s funeral, we learned of the wedding in San Diego and decided we would make the trip.

The decision to go turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made in recent years. There are times when the stars align, the heavens open, and serendipity ensues. Our visit proved to be one such time.

Since we were traveling so far it only made sense to see as many people as we could. Sixty years ago this month, when I was only four, my oldest brother married his college sweetheart, Joyce. My brother died ten years ago, but I have kept in touch with Joyce, who moved to Palm Springs several years after his death. I had been yearning to see her, so our trip would mean a chance to visit Joyce and see her new digs. Then there was the friend from our hometown who had been good friends with both my husband and another brother. His business is in Los Angeles. My husband’s cousin in Ventura was another chance to reconnect with a favorite relative. And finally, there was my very dear Sarah AKA S.R. Mallery who lives in North Hollywood. Was it possible for the two of us to meet in person after working together for years? I’ve edited and formatted most of Sarah’s books, most recently, Ellie & And the War on Powder Creek.

Wedding Day – Pacific Ocean roars behind us

The first part of the journey–the wedding–may have been the original impetus, but it may not have been the reason we went. Another family member who came to the wedding spent a day with us, mostly walking on the beach near San Diego. It turned out this person needed accepting ears to listen to his problems and concerns regarding a transitional period now facing him. We walked, listened, and hugged. We even found impossible-to-find parking spaces right on the beach (and for free) right when we needed it. Serendipity.

My very dear Joyce in Idyllwild

The visit to Joyce’s began in Idyllwild, CA, where she’d recently purchased a cabin in the mountains for the summer months. Cool temperatures, outstanding mountain vistas, and a rejuvenating visit with someone who has been a huge influence in my life. Joyce, who is eighty-one and laughs with ease, who practices yoga and lives in peace. We built fires in the huge stone fireplace in the living room. We made friends with Elvis, her Scottish terrier/poodle mix. And as we sat watching the flames in front of us one night, we felt the rumbles in our feet and heard the bomb blast outside–our first earthquake, a 3.3 minor occurrence, quickly over. We left from her home in Palm Springs after driving by Cary Grant’s former home and drinking beer while water misted over us at an outdoor bar on a 100 degree day. But, hey, it’s dry heat, right? No. It’s still hot, but the mists helped when the wind cooperated.

The other visits went well. We happened to plan our trip at a time when the friends in LA and the cousin in Ventura were present. The cousin and her husband had just returned from Australia and were headed out to Denmark in a few weeks. We caught them between their extensive travel schedule and even managed to meet two of their kids. The friend in LA only comes down from his ranch one week a month. That’s right, we picked the right week. Both visits cemented friendships and strengthened family ties.

S.R. Mallery and P.C. Zick do Hollywood.

And Sarah. What can I say about the phenomena of meeting someone who I feel is a good friend even without ever had hugged or looked at each other in the eye? It was wonderful. We just held each other at arm’s length for a few minutes before hugging for real. Then we went to the dining room where we were told to pick our table. Sarah and I chose a booth in the corner. A plaque on the table informed us we were sitting at a table where Walt Disney had often sat with members of his Imagineers team. They even carved some designs in the wood surface. Perfect because Sarah’s husband had been an Imagineer as a special effects designer. Both of our husbands have the scientific head for specifics and details, while Sarah and I are definitely the other end of the spectrum. Luckily for us, the two men bonded immediately and left us to our chatter about writing, marketing, and life. We couldn’t even stop to read the menu, but we had a lovely waitress who loved our story about meeting for the first time. She said it was like online long-term dating. All I know is the lunch ended much too soon, and we had to get on the road to avoid rush hour traffic in LA.

Our flights, both ways, were easy and efficient. Even our luggage arrived everywhere it should have arrived. And as much as I love Florida, I have to say, California wins the friendly tourist destination prize. Everywhere we went, we met helpful, kind, and friendly folks from our bartenders, waiters, drivers, flight attendants, and clerks. One day at Mission Beach in San Diego, we visited a beach bar with lots of craft beers. We had a couple and chatted with the bartender, Juan. When he gave us a bill, he’d only charged for one round. We pointed it out, and he said, “I just want you to enjoy your visit here in San Diego, so it’s my treat.” Can’t say I’ve had that happen at a beach bar in Florida.

And now we’re home, happy to be here, but extremely grateful we made the trip west. Sometimes, it’s just supposed to be that way.

 

 

AUTHOR WEDNESDAY – DAVID RHEEM JARRETT

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Wecome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome David Rheem Jarret who stops by today to talk about his novel Last Straw, a thriller filled with crime and suspense. David admits the main characters is actually “an anti-hero who some readers will actually see as the protagonist, even though some of the crimes he commits are heinous.”  Add two young police officers–an intelligent, sensitive male and a strong, attractive female–who must not only deal with catching him, but also with their own steadily increasing attraction to one another to throw some romance into the mix.  It all sounds exciting, but I’ll let David talk about himself and the book. Welcome, David!

The Writing Life and the Last Straw by David Rheem Jarrett A1RubOdlbwL._SL1500_

I discovered my voice as a writer while in high school but was not able to call myself an author until June of 2014 when I published Last Straw.  I have no writing rituals, although my favorite time to write is two hours in the morning during what I call my quiet time.  This time is after I’ve brought my wife coffee in bed, had a couple cups myself, and read all the current news and mail on the computer.  Once this quiet time is over and the events of the day begin, there’s no point in trying to write.

I have no illusions about being a great writer, although I believe I use the English language well, and my vocabulary is fairly extensive.   I try to avoid clichés and use language that is perhaps more sophisticated than others in my genre.  I try to create plots that are believable – things that could actually happen in today’s world – and characters that are believable also – no superheroes jumping buildings in a single bound or dispatching entire groups of bad guys singlehandedly.  My stories are usually “morality plays” in which good triumphs over evil.  Even in Last Straw, even though I identify and sympathize with my anti-hero, he has to lose in the end.

The two authors who have most influenced my writing are John Sandford and Michael Connelly.  They both write gritty crime/police procedural thrillers, and they write their stories with great realism and accuracy.  One of my pet peeves as a reader is reading a crime/thriller/suspense novel involving firearms in which the author obviously has no real knowledge of them.

My current work in progress involves a rather complicated scenario.  It is also a thriller of sorts, but not what I would all a classic one.  A man and his wife, fed up with life in the city, retire early and move to a remote rural area of California where they own property.  A Native American Vietnam veteran, feeling he has not lived up to his heritage, moves to the same area and tries to live in the woods alone in order to experience the lifestyle of his ancestors and perhaps vindicate himself, at least in his own eyes.  The actions of these characters are often seen through the eyes of a great bear, a character in its own right, that the Indian saves from a poacher’s trap early in his odyssey.  There is political intrigue as the local power company uses a nefarious scheme to coerce the county commissioners to vote to dam the river on which the ranchers depend in order to create a recreational area and power plant.  In addition, there is constant tension between the city man and the perverted poacher, who hates him and covets his wife.  As of now, the book is too long and needs to be cut somewhat, and I am in the process of editing.  It is a very ambitious project and may need to be longer than planned in order to be able to tell the whole story.  As yet, I have no title for this WIP.

I chose to write Last Straw because of the shenanigans being pulled by members of the financial community during the lead-up to the Great Recession in the United States.  An enormous number of people, myself included, got hurt because of their actions, and I felt compelled to write about one fictional person’s response.

My favorite character is Thomas Pickering.  He is a product of the school of hard knocks.  He is not a young pretty-boy and has character flaws.  However, he is smart; he is tough; and he believes as I do in “an eye for an eye.”

I use third person omniscient past tense in all my writing.  I detest the use of first person or third person limited, as neither has the ability to show the reader the thoughts and feelings of each character.  I use italics to describe these inner thoughts, and though some do not like this technique, I do, and as long as the italicized passages are not too long, I believe them not to be objectionable to the reader.  I never use present tense narration as I think it sounds stupid.

As far as bad reviews are concerned, not everyone is going to like every book.  You are going to get a bad review now and then.  They are usually emotionally driven and not constructive, but learn from the ones that are thoughtfully written and that actually might help you in your future writing.  Always remember, though, that writing is an art, as is music, painting, or sculpture.  It is not a science, and therefore whether you are happy with it determines whether it is worthy or not.  Of course, if you are writing solely to make money, this changes the paradigm and you must write what the public wants to read — hence the plethora of romance novels and series novels so prevalent today.

Last Straw tells the story of a bitter man, robbed of his future by unscrupulous financiers, who finds and punishes them in very creative and ugly ways, and the attempt by two young police officers, themselves embroiled in an escalating affair, to discover enough evidence to arrest and convict him.

My wife actually chose this title, and since she has been so supportive of my writing and a good beta-reader, I deferred to her judgment.

This book took approximately three years from inception to publication.  It was self-published as an e-Book primarily because I could not obtain representation from literary agents (Do not get me started on that subject, as the diatribe will go on forever).  I decided if the e-Book were well-received, I might order print copies also, but I am finding it hard to find enough readers, even though almost all reviews have been positive, to justify the trouble and expense of doing this yet.

Simply put, the message conveyed in the book is “if you mess with the bull, you are going to get the horns!”

The best thing someone could say about this book is that it kept him or her turning the pages from beginning to end without ever becoming bored or tempted to skim.

Conceiving this book took little imagination. I was financially damaged by the same type financiers as my character, Thomas Pickering. The book was my vicarious way of getting even.

Thomas Pickering is the antagonist (although some may feel he is the PROtagonist depending on their point of view), and I don’t think I have ever enjoyed creating a character more.

Any prospective reader must know that there is both graphic sex and graphic violence in the book, but the story does not dwell on either.  These are necessary to provide the elements of a thriller, but the actual book is more about feelings, relationships, and right versus wrong.

As I have said before, John Sandford is the quintessential crime thriller writer, with Michael Connelly a close second.  They both would be welcome to share dinner and a few cocktails with me.

I have no rituals, no music while I write.  I usually write in my bathrobe and slippers in my study/computer room prior to the day’s other activities. My immediate family is highly supportive of my writing. I do use places with which I am familiar as the settings for my books.  I do not like travel unless I can do it in our motor coach; therefore I will probably never write novels set anywhere but in the USA.

If one were to make a movie of me, Bruce Willis would be my pick for my character.

Dave - Publicity photoAbout David: David Rheem Jarrett was born and raised in Berkeley, California. After graduating from Dental School, he and his wife and two daughters moved to Reno, Nevada, where he and two others started the first group practice in the state, and practiced general dentistry for thirty-five years before retiring in 2005.  Since then he has been doing what he promised himself he would do years ago – writing novels. He is active in physical fitness, golf, fly fishing, firearms, and gunsmithing, RVing, computers, and reading.  He and his wife have been married for fifty-two years, and enjoy spending time together and with their three children and seven grandchildren.

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