“Jim Stewart has a way with words, a unique way of describing feelings. A unique way of showing the reader the dynamics between two living beings.”
~Cover to Cover Reviews.
“Gripping action. A dash of the unexpected. Well-drawn characters. Ochoco Reach is THE debut novel to command the top of any reading list!”
~Andra Watkins, NYT best-selling author of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.
“In Ochoco Reach , Jim Stewart takes readers on a white-knuckle journey through some pretty rough country. But the real drama plays out against the infinite landscape of the human heart.”
~Craig Ryan – author of The Pre-Astronauts, Magnificent Failure, Come Up and Get Me (with Joe Kittinger), and Sonic Wind.
“These stories are full of birds, fish, dogs, and rivers. The wind howls and the rain hammers anything that dares stick its head out. The lonely men and women are mostly in the process of disappearing, disconnecting. The lucky ones know what J. R. Stewart calls “the magic of just being alive.” A mix of close-detailed realism and fantasy, the stories patiently work the same problems from a dozen different angles. Unless you’re one of those fortunate souls who has the world figured out, you may find yourself and the things you care about here.”
~Craig Ryan – author of The Pre-Astronauts, Magnificent Failure, Come up and Get Me (with Joe Kittinger), and Sonic Wind.
Early To Rise
Jack Robbins is a single father with an infant daughter, Lisha. He is still empty and aching after Sarah, Lisha’s mother, left town with an itinerant trumpet player. Early to Rise follows Jack on his quest to reconnect with himself and heal the hole in him that threatens to engulf everything he loves.
He follows the trail, now three months old, to Bakersfield, where he meets Willy, a charming redhead with her own healing to do. They offer each other strength, which Jack will need every ounce of when he gets to Las Vegas for the final showdown and good-bye.
The streetlights lit the rays of water that inexorably dove into the ground as gravity wrote the script. Bucket and I moved through it like fish through a current. We were closer to dolphins than we were to other mammals. It was a river we ran through, an incessant downpour that only Northwestern people living on the west side of the Cascades can understand. We see it all too often from November to June. It is who we are. I’d grown up on the east side of the mountains, but had embraced the weather like, well, the proverbial duck. If you want to visit, come in the summer. Don’t bother with the winter. We hate whiners.
I looked into his inscrutable face, feeling the span of our lives. I sensed the slow beating of his heart and the beating of all hearts in a sphere bound only by my imagination. I felt the measured breathing of everything in the world. I felt myself touching Willy’s living skin.
First published in The Alembic, 1997
First published in The Orange Willow Review, Vol. 2, 2000
First published in Licking River Review, Winter 1998/Spring 1999