Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wisconsin Book Festival

I’ll be part of the Wisconsin Book Festival in two events on Saturday, October 10. First, I’ll participate in a mystery writer panel at the Mount Horeb Public Library, 105 Perimeter Road (in Mount Horeb, of course), at 1 p.m. Later, I’ll be at Booked for Murder, 2701 University Avenue in Madison at 3:30 p.m., as part of an afternoon-long series of presentations by regional mystery authors. I’ll have copies of BLEEDER for signing at each event. Hope to see some of you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Amazon Reviews

The first reviews are coming in to Here's the latest one:

5 stars. Smart, Suspenseful and Soulful, September 16, 2009
By Lisa M. Hendey "Lisa, Webmaster" (Fresno, CA United States) - I just finished reading John Desjarlais' fascinating work of fiction, Bleeder. From the initial pages of the book through its great conclusion, this novel was action packed and quite thought provoking. The main character, Reed Stubblefield, finds himself in a small town looking to heal from his physical and emotional wounds. He strikes up a begrudging friendship with Father Ray, a priest who is widely believed to be a stigmatic and a miracle healer. When Father Ray dies suddenly during the Good Friday service, Reed finds himself accused of the murder of this beloved priest. This book is incredibly well written, and enhanced by the inclusion of quotations and teachings of Aristotle - these fit into the story since Reed is a professor, on sabbatical, looking to write about Aristotle. The novel's Catholic setting is never heavy handed or preachy, but rather contributes to the richness of the story told and the mystery that unfolds. Reed, a skeptic who finds himself surrounded by believers, must question some of his long held beliefs and philosophies. I loved Bleeder and raced to the end to learn "whodunnit". At this point, I will likely go back and reread the book again to enjoy Mr. Desjarlais' stunning writing and the intricacy with which he creates and shares the lives of his characters. Strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great mystery!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How's the book doing?

Friends and colleagues are politely asking me "How's the book doing?" - BLEEDER, that is - in terms of sales. The polite answer is 'there's really no way to tell, especially this early.' The title was released 4 weeks ago and today its ranking was 122,000 (at about 7:30 pm Central). I guess that's pretty good since Amazon lists 3.5 million titles. The rankings are updated every hour at Amazon, and hardly anyone has figured out how to translate the erratic rankings into real sales numbers. There is a terribly expensive computer program that publishers use to track the numbers, but they are guarded with the figures and authors rarely learn the sales figures until quarterly or semi-annual royalty statements arrive in the mail. So I just do the next thing and don't think about it, except to note that Amazon last week said the title was out of stock and more were being ordered. But I wonder how many they order? 5? 50? It's a mystery.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aristotle on Single and Double Action Plots

To continue with Aristotle on storytelling, a discussion begun earlier...

Plots can have a single or double action, Aristotle says in "Poetics." In a 'single', one character is changed, whereas in 'double,' two are changed, generally in opoposite directions. He uses the Odyssey as an example of a double action plot. Odysseus comes to a good end, while the suitors come to a bad one. A good biblical example is in First Samuel, where Saul descends into self-pity and despair, while David ascends to power and the throne.

As much as Aristotle admires the Odyssey, he prefers the single action plot where a good and noble man comes to ruin through an error or personal flaw he doesn't recognize, as in Oedipus Rex, his favorite play. When an audience experiences such a downfall, there is a strong emotional reaction that Aristotle calls 'Catharsis,' the subject of the next posting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BLEEDER signing tonight

I'll speak about mysteries and sign copies of BLEEDER tonight at the Byron Public Library, 6:30 pm. C'mon by!

Monday, September 7, 2009

BLEEDER on blogtalkradio

I'll discuss BLEEDER on the Ken Hudnall Show at this Tuesday, September 8, at 8 pm Central. It's an hour program.