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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST

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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Empty *JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST

Post by Paul Mon 26 Sep 2022, 10:57 pm


*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST 1

Jason Halstead

This Jason Halstead captured my interest a couple years ago . He is some writer . He has a variety of genre's . Very long and many highly developed characters .

There are so many long series . I am not even close to catching up yet .

Try it you might like it .

Story Catalog

Someone reached out to me to ask for a guide to all my books on here. There's a lot of them on here, I'm even confused when I stop to look at them all! So here it is, a catalog by series of all my books (and the order in which they should be read).

One final thing to note: The Voidhawk and World of Kroth books have some overlap with each other and so do the Dark Earth / The Lost Girls books.
The First Wand
Coming of Age (Part 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/patreon-coming-55004704 
Storm Born (Part 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/patreon-storm-55755893 
Medium (Part 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/patreon-medium-56375864 
Ashes and Ghosts (Part 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/patreon-first-4-56850755 
The Arbiter (Part 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/58620651 
Fire and Ice (Part 6) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/62246428 
Stormcaller (Part 7) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/64522252 
Infusion (Part Cool - https://www.patreon.com/posts/first-wand-part-70431153 

Bloom Chronicles
The Exception Clause (Book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47666626 
Tara (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/48770898 
Domina (novella on Patreon)  - https://www.patreon.com/posts/48771159 
Midnight Bloom - New Recruit (short story on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/51978072 
Domination (book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/58103473 
Midnight Bloom - Captain's Bounty (short story on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/59789288 
Midnight Bloom - Refuge (short story on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/58103737 
Roughneck (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/49589666 
Domination - https://www.patreon.com/posts/58103473 
No Exceptions - https://www.patreon.com/posts/66879588 
Midnight BLoom - Girl Interrupted (short story on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/66918836 

Terminus
Terminus (Terminus, an Introduction) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43001363 
(book 2 was written by someone else and I don't have writes to post it here)
Frozen Dreams (Terminus – book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43001493 
Dauntless (Terminus – book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43001611 
Broken Mold (Terminus - Book 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/64208265 

World of Kroth
Child of Fate (Blades of Leander, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999361 
Victim of Fate (Blades of Leander, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999504 
Silver Dragon (Blades of Leander, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999636 
Isle of the Ape (Order of the Dragon, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999728 
Chasing the Dragon (Order of the Dragon, book 2) -  https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999930 
Sands of Betrayal (Order of the Dragon, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000029 
Dragonlady (Order of the Dragon, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000099 
Servant of the Serpent (Serpent’s War, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000274 
Rise of the Serpent (Serpent’s War, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000551 
The Goblin Queen (Serpent's War, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000630 
Sacrifice - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43000799 
Enchanted (Thirst for Power, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/44370144 
Warlock(Thirst for Power, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/44370369 
Wizard (Thirst for Power, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46133127 
The Egg of Immorality (Thirst of Power, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/61808179 
The Sword (short story) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/68649366 

Voidhawk
Voidhawk (Voidhawk, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998059 
Voidhawk – The Elder Race (Voidhawk, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998165 
Voidhawk – Redemption (Voidhawk, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998275 
Voidhawk – The White Lady (Voidhawk, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998344 
Voidhawk – Lost Soul (Voidhawk, book 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998455 
Voidhawk - The Edge of Forever (Voidhawk, book 6) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998539 
Voidhawk – Broken Shards (Voidhawk, book 7) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998628 
Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess (Voidhawk, book Cool - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42998827 
Voidhawk - Queen of Spiders (Voidhawk, book 9) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42999039 
Voidhawk - Church of the Void (Voidhawk, book 10) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/52512847 

Wanted
Wanted (Wanted, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42996766 
Ice Princess (Wanted, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42997008 
Bounty (Wanted, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42997160 
Marshal (Wanted, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42997334 
Medic (Wanted, book 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/42997444 

Dark Earth
Dark Earth (Dark Earth, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43002604 
Devil’s Icebox (Dark Earth, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43002824 
Soul Mates (Dark Earth, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43003118 
Voices (a Dark Earth Book) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43003327 
Bound (a Dark Earth Book) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43003790 

Dark Earth / The Lost Girls
The Lost Girls (The Lost Girls, book 1, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43003970 
Traitor (The Lost Girls, book 2, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43004050 
Wolfgirl (The Lost Girls, book 3, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43004506 
Black Widow (The Lost Girls, book 4, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43004650 
Guardian (The Lost Girls, book 5, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43004850 
Bling (The Lost Girls, book 6, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43005145 
Bling 2.0 (The Lost Girls, book 7, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43005297 
Bling 3.0 (The Lost Girls, book 8, a Dark Earth novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43005513 
Darwin (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/45397186 
Jane (novella on Patreon)  - https://www.patreon.com/posts/46667814 
Sofia (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/47761071 
Jane 2.0 (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/50887780 
Eat the Rich - https://www.patreon.com/posts/53165587 
Shark Tank - https://www.patreon.com/posts/54196738 
Lost Girls Investigations (anthology of the above novellas, considered book 9 in The Lost Girls series on other platforms)
Broken Dolls (The Lost Girls, book 10, a Dark Earth Novel) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/60932794 
Flux (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/65288269 
Self Help (novella on Patreon) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/68188660 

Dark Universe
Into the Dark (Dark Universe, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43007822 
Out of the Dark (Dark Universe, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43007972 
Chasing the Dark (Dark Universe, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008202 
Dark Star (Dark Universe, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008299 
Shades of Dark (Dark Universe, book 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008399 
Lucky Star (Dark Universe, book 6) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008504 
Confliction (Dark Universe, book 7) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008664 
Under the Dark (Dark Universe, book Cool - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43008892 
Dark Metal (Dark Universe, book 9) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43589694 

Vitalis
Vitalis Omnibus (Vitalis, episodes 1 – 7) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43010847 
Vitalis: Resurrection (Vitalis, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011231 
Vitalis: Provenance (Vitalis, book 3) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011311 
Vitalis: Genesis (Vitalis, book 4) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011377 
Vitalis: Invasion (Vitalis, book 5) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011421 
Vitalis: Chrysalis (Vitalis, book 6) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011476 
Vitalis: Communion (Vitalis, book 7) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011504 
Vitalis: Commandos (Vitalis, book Cool - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011537 
Vitalis: Valkyries (Vitalis, book 9) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011568 
Vitalis: Miss Fortune (Vitalis, book 10) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011602 
Vitalis: Reloaded (Vitalis, book 11) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011651 
Vitalis: Nest (Vitalis, book 12) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43011674 

Homeland
Sex Sells - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43001835 
Forbidden Love (Homeland, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43002039 
Broken Slipper (Homeland, book 2) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43002264 

Transcendent
Transcendent (Transcendent, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43005783 

Cookie Cutters
When the Cookie Crumbles (Cookie Cutters, book 1) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43006041 

Stand Alone Novels
Arrested in Peace (The Complex) - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43007089 
Human Nature - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43006870 
Symbols - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43006603 
The Vault - https://www.patreon.com/posts/43006355



Last edited by Paul on Mon 02 Jan 2023, 10:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Empty BOOKS BY JASON

Post by Paul Mon 02 Jan 2023, 9:57 am

Here is a better link to Jason's links for books and deals . I strongly recommend at least checking him out .

http://magnus.dyndns-home.com/BooksByJason
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Post by Paul Sat 16 Dec 2023, 9:00 pm

FREE STORIES 

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST ChildOfFateSmall

[size=30]Child of Fate[/size]


Early winters and distant cities make the northern reaches fit only for adventurous homesteaders. Alto is on the verge of becoming such a man when his father is ambushed by monstrous raiders from the mountains. Determined to find help for his father Alto leaves his home behind and sets out with a group of adventurers tasked with learning the true nature of the raids. Help for his family grows more and more distant as the boy is swept up into a budding war with a neighboring nation and the threats of evil forces from the mountains.

A fiery-tempered princess from the eastern kingdom falls into Alto's hands by twist of fate. The fate of two nations rests in their hands, provided they can keep them off of each other's throats.

Available now:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST DarkEarthSmall

[size=30]Dark Earth[/size]


Eric's dreams were shattered when his wife was taken from him by a reckless driver on a snowy Alaskan road. All that remained was his newborn daughter, Jessica. Uprooting to provide a safer life for his child, Eric moved back home to northern Michigan.

Thirteen years later with Jessica raising the bar in everything she does, darkness returns to the Baxter's life in the form of a crazed gunman. Surviving the assassin and seeking answers, Eric has to dig into the secrets of an unbelievable past hidden between the pages of history.

Available now:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Smashwords
Createspace



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST IsleOfTheApeSmall

[size=30]Isle of the Ape[/size]


The war is over before it fully began and peace has settled across the northlands. The balance has shifted from destruction to growth. From hate to love. With a wedding in Alto's future, the time to relax and rejoice has come at last. Relaxation, however, breeds boredom for men trained to fight.

A short trip to slake the thirst for adventure takes Alto, Patrina, and Namitus to the deserted tropical isle of Britanly. Ignoring the warnings of sailors, they hope to find out what happened to the once thriving population.

Abandoned on the island, they soon learn that the fate of the people of Britanly is beyond their wildest imaginings. The companions must struggle to survive the hostile island and hope that help will arrive before they stuffer the same fate as those who came before them.

Available now:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Smashwords



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawk%20Final%20Small

[size=30]Voidhawk[/size]


Too young and naïve to care about the tensions between nations, Dexter Silverhawk considered himself the luckiest man alive when he found a derelict voidship hidden amongst some asteroids. Making it void-worthy and finding a crew to sail it seem like minor problems when he ends up in a Federation prison.

Rotting in a communal cell, Dexter's luck shows a fickle side when a mysterious elven woman is thrust into into his life. Helping her fend off an assault Dexter quickly learns that her mind and her tongue are weapons against which he has little defense. Unable to resist, he hires her at the first opportunity.

Surviving both politics, sorcery, and even ancient curses will force the growing crew of the Voidhawk to put aside their differences and work together. What remains for the young captain is the lessons of when to heed his mind, and when to heed his heart.

Available now:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Smashwords
Createspace



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Wanted

[size=30]Wanted[/size]


Sergeant First Class Carl Waters left the army behind before the bomb went off in L.A. He lived off the grid, avoiding the fallout from the bombs and the Burnout Fever that ravaged the world. With the occasional trespasser to keep his skills sharp, life was smooth and settled and exactly how he wanted it.

All that changed when three stragglers showed up that he didn't have the heart to turn away. Two children led by a shepherd who had lost her own way, Carl felt the sins of his past had finally come calling. Especially when it turned out the children had their own demons in pursuit.

On the run once again, they must survive the North American badlands, an enemy with unlimited resources, and each other. Ultimately it will come down to Carl to decide just how much he is willing to sacrifice for the safety of his charges.

Available now:
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes
Smashwords
Createspace



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Post by Paul Sat 16 Dec 2023, 9:01 pm

Drone War


October 7, 2023Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Hey kids, young and old, I’ve got a new release on the virtual bookshelves. It’s in the Vitalis series (sci-fi, aliens, exploration / colonization, pseudo-magical crystals, and all that comes with it). Vitalis: Drone War picks up a little while after Vitalis: Reloaded ends, on the planet Cupid several light years away from Earth.
There’s a full-fledged colony there now and they are doing well for themselves. They’ve established communications with the rest of the Terran Coalition of Systems and the future looks bright. So bright, in fact, that the lights in the sky are getting brighter and brighter. Right up until they crash into the colony and unleash remote controlled alien horrors.
And that’s all I’m going to say about it. If you want more, you know where to go!
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalis-drone-war-small


[size]

But wait, there’s more! You might be thinking I’ve disappeared until now. No new releases in quite a while. That’s not true though. I have been busy – possibly busier than ever. My Patreon site has the bulk of my writing attention these days, and it will continue to be that way. For the past year I’ve written over 50 stories for my Patreon subscribers across my usual range of genres. I’ve expanded my existing universes and settings as well as created new ones. I don’t know a word count, but my pace has been 2 stories a month that range from short story (rarely) length to novelette length and 1 exclusive story that is typically at least novella length. Plus I sprinkle in novels from time to time. Case in point, Drone War was released on my Patreon site nearly half a year ago.
Yes, I will continue publishing to Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Amazon, and others, but not nearly as much and it will be delayed by at least months. I’m not trying to coerce you into coming to my Patreon, but I am humbly suggesting it. What’s more, it’s cheaper there than it is to buy one of my books off the regular sites.
With all that said, I don’t know what my next release will be outside of Patreon. For my subscribers I’ve got a lineup that includes several expansions in my Bloom Chronicles sci-fi setting, more World of Kroth fantasy stories, and what I hope is an epic story in the Lost Girls sci-fi setting that ties together a lot of different characters, plots, and storylines. Some of those will probably make it conventional publishing, some day, but I can’t promise when or even if.
So come on over, try it out, I promise to do everything I can to make it worth your while.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.


Categories:Writing[/size]

Why did I walk in here?


April 30, 2023Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

We’ve all had that moment where you walk into a room to find… something. Damn, I sure wish I knew what it was? Car keys? No. Cell phone? Nope. Sunglasses… yes! Now where.. oh, hanging from my shirt. Found ’em!
Yesterday was like that for me, except it wasn’t any of the above, it was a book I wrote back in 2022 and published on my Patreon. That’s a concern I have now – I’m still writing a crazy amount but it’s going to my Patreon first (or exclusively, in some cases). Then, a few months later I’ll publish it. Or in this case, close to a year later. Seriously, you should go there and join the crew to get all my new stuff a lot cheaper than you can get them on any other retailer.
The good news, I suppose, is there’s a new book coming out! Broken Mold, another book in my science fiction series, The Continuum. If you don’t remember that one then you should go and check out Terminus, book 1 in the setting. Or not – you can easily pick it up with Broken Mold since this new book has new characters and, other than the universe it’s set in, it does not connect to the first four in the series at all.
I refreshed my memory by rereading it before publishing it and I was very pleased with it. It’s a fun book with some great characters, twists, and… well.. don’t trust me on it, go and read it yourself! I will say that parts of the storyline and plot were inspired by the Mass Effect computer game series (the first 3, at least). Sadly, I did not include any cheesy Commander Shepherd references.
Here’s the blurb:
Petty Officer Scott Taylor woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So wrong he wasn’t even in his bed. He was in a three person emergency pod that was crash landing on a planet. A planet he knew next to nothing about, other than they did classified Continuum military research here. That and he’d chased down rumors that his sister was stationed here.
Fortunately for Scott, this wasn’t his first crash landing on an alien world. Unfortunately, he’d had his younger, but smarter and more mature sister to keep him from doing something stupid the first time. This time around surviving the crash, the hostile environment, and the local wildlife are the boxes he has to try and check on day 1. Day 2 has another list, but it includes not dying on it. Survival has never been so difficult, even for a veteran castaway.
At some point he’d really like to figure out why the Marine frigate he was on was destroyed in the first place. Even if the universe might not be ready for the answer to that question.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Terminus-5_small


[size]

And in other news, perhaps as soon as next month (June, not May), I’ll have another book ready to release. This one a fantasy novel that picks up after the end of John’s five book series by seeing how Jennaca picks up the pieces and moves on.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:Writing[/size]

Nobody Rung the Bell Yet


July 9, 2022Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s been ages since I’ve written a blog post, I know. Shame on me, I know. I should write them more often… yeah, I know that too. I certainly have enough random thoughts to warrant more blog posts… but some of those thoughts might get me in trouble so I try to keep those to myself.
I could rant about the human rights violation that is the SCOTUS, but in my conspiracy-minded opinion, that’s just what they want us to think. I believe a large factor in why they’re doing it is to try and get America’s birth rate back up so it sustains population growth, not stagnation or decline.
Why does that matter? Economy. Our economy is in shambles and propped up by smoke, mirrors, and crime at the institutional level. It’s designed to flourish best when there’s population growth – more people spending, paying taxes, etc every year than the year before. They aren’t willing to figure out how to restructure it so that it’s healthy and stable because that would mean a lot of very wealthy people would get less than they’re accustomed to. But I won’t rant about that since I’d probably come across as a raving lunatic.
I write fiction because it makes more sense than the society we live in. Reality, sadly, has no proper sense of justice or fairness. Sure, in my stories bad things happen to good people, but in the end (usually) the bad things and bad people are served a karmic dish. I don’t like feeling hopeless and depressed and I generally don’t want to encourage those feelings in my readers either. Not if I have any control over it.
We’re in a recession and it’s only going to get worse. Possibly a lot worse. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that didn’t scare me. My day job seems to be somewhat recession proof, but for all of my resting bitch face I still see the impact on everyone around me and it sucks. I want everyone to be successful. Well, okay, I have a short list of people I’d like to see crash and burn – but if you’re reading this the odds are exceptional you’re not on that list.
Anyhow, a lot of people are affected by it or will be. If you’re one of those people and you love to read – don’t buy my books. Not on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever else they’re sold. Instead come over to my site on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/booksbyjason). EVERYTHING is on there, and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying individual books. As a life hack, you can even sign up for only one month, download everything you can get your hands on, and then cancel your membership.
I realize that’s an unusual sales pitch but it’s totally legit. Hell, reach out to me privately if you’re looking for a specific book and I’ll make sure you get it one way or another. I’ve done it already with hundreds of people over the past few years and I don’t plan on stopping. If I can offer some escapism for a few hours and lighten the load I’m happy to do so.
Patreon is my primary release mechanism now for new material. Everything goes there first and, in some cases, only there. Generally I wait 2 – 3 months after releasing a novel on Patreon to put it elsewhere. I’ve got 2 novels right now that my Patreon subscribers have been enjoying for a while now that I’m slowly working on getting cover art so I can publish them traditionally. There are also storylines dedicated exclusively to Patreon that will never be published elsewhere. And, like I said earlier, it’s sooo much cheaper.
With all that said, here’s what I’ve released recently on Patreon:
-Flux: The first story in my next mini-series in The Lost Girls saga about a new heroine that is slowly emerging from her troubled past and embracing the possibilities that the Net and Virtual Reality allow.
-Self Help: The second story in my next Lost Girls mini-series. The same main character is back and this time she needs some help from Bling and Lady J bridging the gap between the VR world and reality.
-The First Wand: This is a story arc I’m several parts into that is a modern fantasy epic. Think of an advanced society that uses magic instead of technology for industrialization. And so far the main characters consist of a vampire, her totally mundane human protector, a confused elf with a chip on her shoulder and a dislike of her misogynistic race, a surly dwarf that is the elf’s mentor / father-figure, and… well…. that’s enough for now. If you want to know more, head on over and read about it!
-No Exceptions: The next novel in my Bloom Chronicles series. This one is a few months from traditional release since it’s only recently finished.
-The Egg of Immorality: Book 4 in the Thirst for Power fantasy series in my World of Kroth setting.
-Numerous shorter stories and novellas that take place behind the scenes in existing settings. They flesh things out, add some color, or just exist purely for entertainment value.
What’s coming next? Well, I’ve got some inspiration for another Dark Universe book after some a short story I’ll be posting to Patreon in the very near future. I also have a similar plan for my next Thirst for Power book that was triggered after a short story I just shared on Patreon. I’ll definitely be continuing my Lost Girls / Dark Earth books and shorter stories as well, but one thing at a time.
So, as you can see, I may not have been blogging much but I have still been very busy. Don’t miss out, come check out my Patreon!
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:Writing

Shame on Me


January 23, 2022Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m overdue on a newsletter. Long overdue. Two books overdue, in fact… although I could argue it’s more than that.
I’ve been focused on my Patreon subscribers, you see, and both of these books have been available to them for quite a few months now. Matter of fact, there’s another book they have access to I haven’t published to retail channels yet – not to mention several Patreon only stories that are cheaper than waiting for the retail versions. If that interests you, please check it out at https://www.patreon.com/booksbyjason. If not, then read on to see my newest retail releases.
First off is Domination, which is the 2nd book in The Bling Chronicles. This one is a very futuristic science fiction series about an interstellar salvage tech struggling with her own ship and a list of things to fix a few light years long. In Domination she’s taken on a living, breathing 2nd mate (instead of the android she had in the first book) and together they run across a derelict ship broadcasting a distress signal. Of course they find something inside… but you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is and why it threatens everything Nyx has worked so hard to accomplish.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Domination_small


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The second book, which I only released last week, is called Lost Girls Investigations. It’s more just a book though, it’s a collection of interlinked stories that I’ve written over the past year in the Lost Girls / Dark Earth setting. Skylar and Katalina’s adopted daughters have finally established their private investigation / law firm and they specialize on helping people struggling against the greedy and corrupt system. Amelia Foster,  Bling, is a key part of their business taking on contracts to do what needs to be done in the grey areas of the law. Along the way, Amy is figuring out who she is and what she wants out of life now that she can finally start living it for herself.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Lgi_small
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I teased some other books I haven’t released yet. One is Broken Dolls, which is a full novel sequel to Lost Girls Investigations and book 10 in my Lost Girls series. Another month or two and that will hit the digital shelves. The final one I just finished the rough draft on, it’s called The Egg of Immorality and it’s book 4 in my Thirst for Power fantasy series. That’s the one with John the half Infernal Warlock as the main character. You remember, the one you don’t want to leave out for your kids to read. The Egg of Immorality should be out in a few months on Amazon, B&N, and all the rest… or you could subscribe to Patreon and read both of these now, as well as everything else I’ve written.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:Writing[/size]

I’m Not Dead


August 20, 2021Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted on my blog. Shame on me, I know. I’ve been busy though. Promotion at work and still writing and a laundry list of other excuses that sound perfectly good to me. Whatever, I know.
So why now? Well, I feel like I’m losing out a little on interacting with my readers. Granted, there’s not much in the way of interacting here, but it’s an attempt and that makes me feel better, at least. The thing that’s driving my desire to interact is the latest work I’ve been doing. You see, I’m really enjoying it because I was starting to feel a little like I kept finding myself doing variations of the same old thing. I suppose my newest one is another twist on that, but it’s fresh and new enough for me it feels like something totally different.
I’m taking a departure in normal writing style too. Historical I would write novels or, rarely, novellas. This time I’m writing the story in segments or parts. For example, the first part introduces a main character and is about chapters long. The second part is 5 or 6 chapters long and introduces a second character. The third part, that should be where the meet one another. Each segment has a plot and a purpose, making them self-contained stories within the whole. Or, if thought of as a video game, they’re milestones or checkpoints and could include side quests. Or maybe each as a Netflix season of a show.
But the setting, why is it different and why do I think it’s so fascinating? Well, take a typical fantasy setting. You’ve got humans, elves, dwarves, dragons, giants, magic, zombies, and all the typical fantasy elements. Now take that setting and imagine what happens year over year. Organizations rise and fall. The scholars, artists, scientists, and inventors in the world find new ways to do things. The wealthy find ways to become more wealthy and the poor end up struggling to keep what little they have. Dark ages follow barbaric times, then renaissance era(s) occur. Industrialization too, as enough time passes. The common theme through it all – magic, not technology. Or rather technology based on magic.
This new setting, Kallanar, has television networks playing on magic-mirror like devices called Scryers. Mobile communications happen in real time courtesy of several companies that have set up their devices, portable Scrolls, for sending written text messages and even pictures. Shortwands and longwands replace convention firearms, and bigger offensive weapons are known as deckwands on the airships that take people from one place to another when it’s great a distance for a rollabout to take them. Yes, a rollabout, they are produced mostly in two- and four-wheeled variants.
Banks and markets, franchise restaurants, even shopping malls and magical gaming systems exist. Along with the pseudo-technology they have the very real problems plaguing a modern society. Racism, sexism, the device between the wealthy and the poor, homelessness, political parties, religious fanaticism, hunger, slavery and sex trafficking, growing magical pollution, and the ever present fear that an aberration might steal your child away in the middle of the night to eat them or, worse, turn them into a monster themselves.
If that doesn’t at least pique your interest, well, I don’t know what will? Prostitution and gang / crime syndicates? Got those too. Tales of revenge and betrayal? Step right up! My imagination is my only limit, and I’m a very creative person. To be fair though, I’ve added new things in already based on feedback and suggestions from others, so input is already welcome and appreciated!
If you’re interested in the story, it can be found on my Patreon site (https://www.patreon.com/booksbyjason) already. At least the first (and soon second) segments. Down the road I’ll make them available in other areas as well, but that’s going to take a few months, at a minimum. Join Patreon and for a simple $1 a month you can see the latest developments in this new setting and my other stories I write exclusively for there as well.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:WritingTags:abberationairshipdwarfelementalelfhumanmagicmodern fantasynew fictionPatreonUndeadvampirewizard

The End is Here


July 8, 2021Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Here’s the important part up first: Voidhawk – Church of the Void, is live and available for sale! Well, it’s been available on Patreon for about a month, but now it’s available everywhere. More importantly, it’s the last one.
Not my last book! But it is the end of the Voidhawk series. Twelve years ago Voidhawk was my first book accepted for publication, even though it was terribly written. Grueling hours spent with an editor made it not only acceptable, but it taught me more about the craft of writing than anything else ever had. That also gave rise to characters that would not sail quietly into the void. They had stories to tell, and lots of them. Ten books worth, it turns out! Both sadly and contentedly, their stories have now been told and you, my dear readers, can enjoy them at your leisure.
As a matter of fact, I encourage you to wait a day or two before picking up Church of the Void so that you can be sure you get my latest update to it. I slipped in a little something in the epilogue of the story because… well… rats, I can’t share it without giving it away. You’ll have to trust me on it.
With all that said, Church of the Void is about the ongoing problem with the dead not staying dead in the Void and all the worlds that float in it. That includes Kroth, for the readers of those books. In fact, Kroth and the heroes and villains of that world play a role in Church of the Void. In an epic crossover Church of the Void not only marks the end of the Voidhawk series, but it also finishes the Serpent’s War saga within the world of Kroth. Yeah… a lot happens, you don’t want to miss this one!
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Churchofthevoid_smallVoidhawk – Church of the Void



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Now that Voidhawk is over, I’m working on a few new projects. A second book (Domination) in my Bloom Chronicles series and I’m continuing work on my Lost Girls Investigations series of stories. LGI follows Bling, Carmine, and new friends they make along the way in their struggle to survive and protect people from the injustices and horrors of the world. It has been exclusively a Patreon only series and will remain that way for some time – although I do hope one day to package up the novellas and short stories I write into anthologies and release them traditionally as well. I’m just not sure when that day will come. Or you could simply join Patreon and get the latest and greatest stories as soon as they’re available and for pennies on the dollar!

To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:dungeons and dragonsWritingTags:arthuriandragonepicfantasyKindmagicorcspace fantasyUndeadVoidhawkwarriorwizard[/size]

For Every Rule…


April 4, 2021Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

…there’s an exception. What goes up must come down unless it leaves orbit. I before E except after C. The only constants in life are death and taxes – okay, no exceptions there. But here’s a new one, artificial intelligence development is banned universally by all sentient species… unless you’re Nyx Bloom because she’s smart enough to get it right where everyone else has failed.
The Exception Clause is a new book I just released to Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and the other etail sites. Like all of my books, I’m quite excited about it. The difference is that this time around the excitement is really sticking with me even while I’m trying to work on other projects. It’s very futuristic science fiction and it is the beginning of a new series called The Bloom Chronicles.
Not only is humanity not alone in the universe, but they’re not very important either. A deep space probe in the year 2365 discovered a gravitational anomaly in the Oort cloud surrounding the sol system. Almost a hundred years later humanity figured out how to use artificial gravity to send a ship into the anomaly. Thus humanity discovered it’s first warp tunnel that connects the solar systems of the milky way and joined a much larger community. The Bloom Chronicles takes place in the early 32nd century and follows one young woman as she struggles to find a place for herself in the universe.
Nyx Bloom is bright, adventures, and blessed with the social skills of a skunk that ate a large dose of hallucinogens. Androids though… those are her thing. She can make them do anything, maybe even prove to the rest of the galaxy that the rules banning artificial intelligence don’t apply to her… even if she might need a little help getting there.
The Exception Clause tells begins Nyx’s story as a struggling independent salvage specialist on her near-derelict ship, the Rebexa. It’s just her, the Bex, and her devoted sexbot-upgraded-to-first-mate Zelda. Yes, I said sexbot. Zelda was top of the line when Nyx spent a year’s worth of savings on her, but not because she could keep her entertained on long, boring voyages. Zelda’s line of androids were remarkably upgradable, and that’s what Nyx has been doing to her. Improving her in every way to make her the partner she’d always yearned for, but was too afraid to find.
Nyx, like many gifted people, has a problem with obsession. Her obsession with making Zelda into a “real girl”, for example, means that she does a poor job of keeping up with her bills. With a bank account competing with empty space for the lowest number in the universe, she’s in desperate need of a big score to keep the repo man from taking the Rebexa from her.
What sort of a story would it be if Nyx didn’t manage to find something though? Something so advanced and ancient that finding it might be even more of a problem for her? Nyx isn’t the type of woman to turn her back to a challenge though, no matter what it takes to see her through. No matter what the risk to herself, her ship, her almost-lifelike friend, or the fate of every sentient species in the milky way. After all, she’s Nyx Bloom. She’s the exception to the rule.
Excited yet? Just writing that got me pumped up all over again about this new setting. I released this 2 months ago on my Patreon account and it’s been gobbled up. It’s a sci-fi / thriller feast. And I’ve been busy ever since too, with 3 more novelettes expanding the series and setting (on my Patreon site, if you’re interested). I’ll start up the next novel soon, but first I have to finish off my current book I’m working on…
The current book? Voidhawk: Church of the Void. Yes, Voidhawk! This will be the 10th and final book in the series. Or at least the final book focused on the Voidhawk and her crew. I won’t go into detail about it because this release is about The Exception Clause, but take comfort in knowing another Voidhawk book is coming.
I also want to mention that I haven’t sent out any newsletters in a few months, but I have been busy all along. There were three releases, in fact, I made. Enchanted, Warlock, and Wizard were books in my Thirst for Power series which takes place in the World of Kroth (same place as Blades of Leander, albeit many years later). Those books follow an enchanter who was reborn into the life of John, a virile young warlock, seduced by and serving the most powerful succubus Kroth has ever known. John’s Mistress is greedy and makes many demands of John to help her gain power and influence. John’s eager to serve, but every step of the way he struggles to balance his new demonic side with his human nature and the lessons his second-chance at life is teaching him. All in all, it’s a lot of fun and definitely a more “mature” series than I typically write (which is fun too).
That’s enough for now, I think! Enjoy The Exception Clause and keep an eye out for more. I’ll update as I produce them… but for quicker updates on my progress and the chance to more readily influence what I’m doing as well as having faster access to new releases, join my Patreon site.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST The-exception-clause-small



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Categories:Writing[/size]

Dark Metal


November 6, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I mentioned this a couple weeks back – now it’s out in the world and waiting to be read! Dark Metal, book 9 in the Dark Universe setting by yours truly. Dark Metal picks up a little while after Under the Dark ends. Mirabel and Challee are both part of Aden’s crew on board Aden and Sierra’s ship, the Sentinel, but that makes for a very full ship.
At the same time Captain Amber Hanes is struggling with her ship, the Uma. She’s a bit beyond struggling, to be honest, but Aden has a plan. Dark Metal is all about turning that plan into reality. The thing about plans is once the first punch is thrown (or shot fired), it all goes down the drain. There’s a lot of flushing in Dark Metal!
My goal in Dark Metal was to focus on more edge-of-your seat flow. I was going for a lot of suspense and thriller type activity. Even to the point where the chapters were arranged in mini-story arcs kind of like what might be seen in a television series. The overall plot and threat are always there though, hovering and waiting for the opportune time.
And that’s really about all I can say without giving away spoilers! So, rather than me do that, go and read it yourself! It’s a ton of fun, I promise! It should be available everywhere even on my new platform, Patreon. Check out the links below to find Dark Metal.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Dark-metal-smallAmazon
Amazon UK
Everywhere Else

Now Patreon… I vomited words all over the screen about it recently so I’ll spare you that. I will say I really like it. I’ll also say it’s been almost a complete flop so far. I’m baffled – but I’m also patient and understanding. And I’m trying to build up a better reason. Case in point, in the last 10 days I wrote another book (which I discussed in my prior post). Early mornings and late night – 80,000 words and I released it chapter by chapter (one a day, pretty much), on Patreon for my readers. I’m on book 2 now – and already 3 chapters in to that one. I’ll share more about it as I go on, but I have to say I had a lot of fun with this character and book and so far I’m getting some great ratings and reviews on it!
But hey, this is about Dark Metal. Try it out, if you don’t love it I promise I’ll write another one and keep on writing until you do!
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:WritingTags:Alien Civilizationbounty hunterDark Universeexplorationmutinyscience fictionscifistarship

Why Patreon?


October 27, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

So I’ve had a lot of people ask me, why Patreon? Why switch over to that platform? Okay, I’m lying. Nobody’s asked me. But maybe they’ve wondered. Maybe they’ve wanted to but their sink sprang a leak right as they were about to reach out. Or aliens… you know, abductions… hey, it could happen! Whatever the case, here’s what I’d say if that question reached me.
I love to write. I need to write. I’ve got all these ideas and characters and stories in my head and if I don’t get them out, honestly, I get sad. More than sad… depressed. I need to experience them and see what they can and will do. I need to know what’s going to happen to them and how they’re going to survive (if they’re going to survive). Maybe it sounds crazy or corny, but it’s true.
So how does Patreon enter into that? How does it change the landscape from me using more traditional publishing like I’ve been using. Well… I’m really not sure! I probably shouldn’t admit that, but I’m a sucker for honesty and integrity. I see other writers using it to great effect and they’re able to focus more on writing and using a single platform. They can deliver more to their readers and tailor what they write to those readers. I’ve always pushed for interaction with my readers and Patreon offers great opportunities to do that.
Speaking of honesty, it’s about money too. Patreon is a subscription based service, but I’ve proven time and again that I can, will, and am producing content at a rate that blows away virtually every writer out there. It’s cheap too — damn cheap at the lowest tiers— and that’s a price cheaper than any book… yet it gives access to tons of my material – and at certain levels the access it to all of my material! I’ve even got a tier that gives access to my wife’s stories too. That’s well over a hundred books! Okay, so skip Dawn Michelle, it’s still somewhere around a 100 books.
And I’m writing more, obviously. While Dark Metal is in the editing phase (cover art’s already done), I’m focusing on new fantasy story that kind of came out of nowhere. The main character was one of those voices that I kept trying to do something with but kept running into dead ends. I figured I’d stop waiting for the right opportunity and make my own! So now I have the story, Enchanted, which is flowing like an open faucet these days. I’m seven chapters and 36,000 words since Friday! Oh, and all 7 chapters are available on Patreon too. Maybe, someday, I’ll publish it elsewhere too, but for now it’s only there.
What is Enchanted? It’s a story about a man who used to be a powerful wizard. A renowned enchanter with servants and estates all his own… Or at least that’s what he thinks he was. The story begins with him waking up in a strange place struggling to remember who and what he was. It gets better – or worse – when he finds a strange woman that claims to be his assistant. It turns out they both serve the same Mistress… and that Mistress is responsible for John’s change in venue, lost memories, and strange new powers. It’s not without a cost – John’s mistress has demands that must be met before he can begin to put the pieces together of his who he was or who he’s going to be now that he has a second chance at life.
Enchanted is also a change in style for me – it’s a spicy story. From John’s assistant, a willful and capricious woman with a her own dark side to the people along the way that John meets and interacts with in order to satisfy his Mistresses cravings.
So here it is, a chance to have access to tons of material and, as time progresses, original and exclusive material at a bargain. Plus work with me to help provide the kind of stories you want to see. So far Patreon hasn’t done much for me outside of inspiring me to do a lot of writing. My early morning and late evening hours (like now) have been consumed with writing… and don’t get me started on the weekend and the 18,000 to 20,000 words there alone! Here’s your chance to help me make it work across the board.

To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, or sign up for his newsletter.

Categories:WritingTags:fantasyfictionPatreonwriting

Fresh air


October 22, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m doing something different with this post. It’s not a new release notice (give me a week or two – I’ve got Dark Metal, my next book, in editing now). I’m obviously not talking about politics (even my masochism has limits). I’m talking about business.
Don’t worry, this isn’t where I try to pull anyone into a multi-level-marketing scheme or try to sell oceanfront property in Indiana… although I did learn recently the London Bridge really is in Arizona. No, this is me changing my business model for my books. Or at least trying something new. I signed up as a creator on Patreon and spent the last several nights uploading my work there.
What is Patreon? It’s a website that allows creators of all sorts a medium to create and share their work. In my case, as a writer, I have you guys. Readers that, I hope, will embrace this new medium and sign up for it. In addition to access to all of my stories (at least all the ones I’m contractually able to share), I’ll be posting future works as I write them chapter by chapter. I’m also going to focus on some Patreon-only exclusive stories. Probably shorter stories, but most of you know I struggle with anything less than a novella! Oh, I almost forgot… my lovely Mrs. Has agreed to let me include her stories on there too.
Okay, now that I’ve got you interested (I hope), go check it out: https://www.patreon.com/booksbyjason
And like I said earlier, Dark Metal will be on the virtual shelves (and in Patreon) soon! Dark Metal is the 9th book in my Dark Universe setting, and it was a real joy to write even thought I kept getting interrupted by long hours and extra-curricular activities (not the, ahem, romantic sort either).
Stay tuned, there’s more to come… or if you like more regular updates, join my Patreon where I will be making frequent posts.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, join his Patreon page, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:Dark UniversefictionNew BooksPatreonstorieswriting

All That Glitters Is Not Gold


August 2, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

And by glitters I mean bling. Or, to be more specific, Amelia Foster, aka Bling. This is the announcement of Bling 3.0, book 8 in my Lost Girls series!
As is often the case, I went into Bling 3.0 with a goal in mind. Almost an outline, in fact. Along the way Amy did what the women in this world often do to me – they let me know the story they want me to tell is not the story I thought it was. It got longer and longer and the plot twisted and things happened I wasn’t expecting. By the end it was nearly twice the length I’d planned, but that’s okay, it made for a great story!
But what’s it about? How could Amy go back for more after what happened to her in Bling 2.0? Well, modern medicine (circa 2073) is a miraculous thing. That and the new and improved upgrades that she gets by way of thanks for saving the wife and children of a very wealthy man. With survival and improvements comes a burden though: guilt. Not everyone made it back home and that’s not something she can live with. She has to go back to Dark Earth to find and save her brother.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Bling3.0_small
 


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So what’s next after this? Well, I’m working on a new Dark Universe book to pick up where the last one ended. The crews of the Uma and Sentinel are hunting for a new ship and they have to find it before the bounty hunters find them. Then they’ll need to hope they can get the new ship running before the Ampytheans find out about them robbing a graveyard and try to stop them.
In the meantime, check out Dawn Michelle if you like some magic and paranormal urban adventures. Spoiler alert: she’s my wife and I often help her with her stories. Her new one coming out soon will be a lot of fun: It involves demons and call girls and police officers… oh my!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.[/size]
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A Cure for Quarantine Blues


May 1, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I live in Michigan, and Michigan is presently under quarantine orders. We have been for at least six weeks now. Some people are finally coming around to accepting it (resigned to their fate) while others remain stir-crazy. Then there’s people like me that haven’t really had to make any lifestyle changes. Oh sure, I’ve fantasized about turning my neighborhood into a compound and enlisting my neighbors to help patrol, defend, and set up large gardens and organize hunting parties into the nearby woods and swamps, but that’s just how I entertain myself.
Six weeks of that, with leaving the house once or twice a week to gather groceries. Many of you know what this is like now, and for those who don’t yet, try to imagine it. Better yet, try to imagine being trapped for months at a time without even the reprieve of stepping outside to feel the sun or wind on your face? Of being stuck in a small place with the same people day after day – people that maybe you’re not related to or even care for. And the food? Vacuum sealed bland packs of rations designed to keep you alive, not to provide enjoyment. Or protein powders reconstituted with recycled water.
That’s an example of life in a spaceship. A spaceship like the Uma or the Sentinel, two ships that readers of my Dark Universe books will know very well. Under the Dark is a new release in that series and it brings back the original characters— most of them, at least. The ones that are gone are, well, gone. Although there are some fond memories shared about many of them.
It’s not just a trip down memory space-lane though. Amber, the latest captain of the Uma, has more problems than her predecessors ever did keeping the Uma flying. It’s not just the operating expenses or crew either, it’s the owners of the repurposed space yacht and their contractual demands she’s struggling to meet.
Then there’s Aden and Sierra, human siblings trying to put their troubled past behind them and live their own lives with their spouses on the Sentinel. The past has a way of catching up to them though, and the only way to secure their future could plunge them back into the middle of all the troubles they tried to leave behind.
Under the Dark is part of the ongoing Dark Universe series, but it also sets up a story arc that I’m expecting to span two – three books. Oh, and given the turbulent times we’re living in as far as a lot of workers being furloughed or worse, it’s only priced at $2.99.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Underthedark_small


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You’d think I would have another Dark Universe book on the tail end of Under the Dark… but instead I’m halfway through writing up Bling 3.0. I’ve been inspired by Covid-19 for Bling 3.0 and there’s a highly infectious disease with no cure as a subplot in it. The sickness actually was mentioned in Bling 2.0, but now it’s going mainstream and spreading rapidly. But it’s hardly the main point of the book – just another hurdle Amy has to deal with as she struggles to rescue her brother and sort her life out and figure out what, and who, she really wants in it.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienbanditsempirefictiongalaxymarinenew releasepiratessci-fiscience fictionspace piratesspaceship[/size]

Dauntless


February 18, 2020Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

A couple of years back a fellow writer (John M. Davis) and I had an idea. Out of that idea came a universe that we shared and developed. We were excited by it and pulled out all the stops. I wrote a couple of books in this universe and he wrote a book in it. We had grand plans. Our ambitions had us slated to keep on filling this universe with stories and characters until we couldn’t do it any longer – and hopefully others would follow in our steps. Heck, I even put together a website that encouraged feedback and ideas in the form of new technologies, new characters, new… everything! And the submitter would then get credit and become a part of this universe as well.
Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I still think it does… but if this is the first you’re hearing of it, then it must be obvious that it flopped. The books sales weren’t there. No for me, and not for John. We retreated to our more established series and universes / worlds / characters, knowing that we had an audience there and the ability to continue paying the bills that way.
But this universe never left me. The simple truth is that writing is a labor of love and passion for me. The income is a must-have as well, but I supplement it with a day job. After a couple of years of letting the characters languish, I knew I had to go back to them. I had to know what happened next. I had to share their victories and their pain. Even if that meant a couple of months spent working on something that didn’t sell in a system where I very much needed to make sales, I had to try. I was determined and, while I was sharing the experiences and lives of those characters, I was fearless.
It was only natural that the book be titled the very word that embodied those words : Dauntless. Dauntless is science fiction and adventure, but like any true sci-fi story, it’s about the people within its pages and how they live and think and feel. There are space battles and gunfights, amazing new technology and bitter feuds. Family rivalry, betrayals, and even a solar system-wide civil war. Dauntless was a pretty big undertaking, but it was sheer joy to write and, I have to say, even more fun to read. If you haven’t given the Terminus series a try yet — and I’ve seen the sales numbers so I know most of you haven’t— you really should give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Dauntless_small
The crew of the Raptor must save an unruly princess from a solar system-wide civil war. A simple escort and run job — what could go wrong?
The Nelanian culture is based on aggression, war, and battling with themselves. Everybody’s got a stake in the war — profits and power to be had. Betrayal and sacrifice are justified under the pretense of the Greater Good. Earning a slightly dishonest paycheck has never been seemed so admirable.
Even the Princess Tor has been contracted to save has her own agenda… an agenda that doesn’t take Tor, his crew, or his ship into consideration. When escape is no longer an option there’s only one way left to get the job done. There’s no right or wrong side to this war, just a winning side. That’s the side Tor intends to be on.


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Will there be more Terminus books – I plan on it! Not quite yet though. First I’m back into my Dark Universe setting, with Aden, Twyf… and so many characters I don’t dare to name them all or this will end up being far too long. The new book is titled Under the Dark and I have to say that I haven’t had this much fun writing a DU book in a long time… since the first trilogy, to be entirely honest. Honestly I’m hoping this book sets up a new three story arc. That’s my current plan, at least.
But that’s a month or more away, so to pass the time don’t forget to pick up Dauntless and get sucked into another amazing setting!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:artificial intelligencecorporationsempirepsychicsrobotssmugglers[/size]

The Motor City of the Future


November 18, 2019Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

TLDR: Just in time for the holidays, Vitalis: Nest is available for purchase!
I haven’t released a Vitalis back since January of 2018. That’s almost two years! Shameful, I know. Especially since back in 2014 I cranked out 3 of them and prior to that there were many more. Fortunately today marks the end of that dry spell with the 12 novel in the series now being available.
Nest takes place at the same time as Reloaded does, but light years apart. In fact, Vitalis: Nest happens here on Earth, in the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan. The story here started ten years ago, after Earth was already infected with Vitalian crystals. Enough had fallen and gathered along the shores of Lake St. Clair to begin creating more of them. Many, many more. Enough to begin to establish another control node, but one that no one knew about.
Ten years later, and with the influence of an unlikely and very unbalanced individual, Detroit’s suddenly under siege. People are being butchered and kidnapped and the local Army base is hard pressed to do anything about it. There’s something about the attackers that’s familiar too. Something that suggests a secret that terrifies the Terran Coalition government all the way to the highest levels. Humanity thought they had ten years left before they were faced with an interstellar war they aren’t prepared for. With the help of the Nest under Detroit, the timetable has been moved up.
Before I give too much away, here’s the cover and links. More random but useful babbling below.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalis-e28093-nest_small


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What else could I have to talk about? Lots, but I’ll limit this to Terminus. My next book, in fact, is the 4th in the Terminus series. I don’t have a name for it yet, but I have a whole lot of plans (and I’m almost a quarter of the way through writing the rough draft already). Terminus hasn’t gotten much action or love though, and that upsets me. It deserves it, and I’m not sure why the books don’t have more of a following. I think of the series as a cross between Firefly, Star Wars, and Star Trek. There are bad guys and there are almost-good guys. Yes, almost-good. The intro (Terminus – by me) and first two books (Ghost Planet, by John M. Davis, and [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BPH9T30 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01BPH9T30 &linkcode=as2&tag=httpwwwboo024-20]Frozen Dreams[/url], also by me) dealt with criminals escaping a prison labor camp on a deadly planet. When your main characters are escaped criminals, how good can they be?
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:Writing[/size]

Tough Girls Rock


August 26, 2019Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Somebody is bound to take me to task for publicly stating my opinion, but that’s their right to do so, and I’ll defend their right to call me a prick to the death. The opinion in question, as my subject above so clearly states, is that strong female characters are amazing. I’ve written about several and been praised about their portrayals. I plan to keep on writing about them, including two who have just entered publication… but more on that in a moment.
I can’t really explain why I feel the way I do. Maybe it’s genetic or maybe I’m just a fanboy riding the same wave many others are. Whatever the case, I really enjoy exploring characters with almost dual natures. Warm, caring, compassionate at times and tough as nails and downright bitchy at others. It’s realism in fiction, really. I could tell stories I see day to day of those same examples I see in real life, but dealing with impatient drivers or looming business deadlines isn’t nearly as entertaining as fighting for one’s life or trying to rescue a loved one from a life of slavery and servitude.
As twisted as this is, I admit that I am out of touch with the modern man. Having a son growing up in our culture has helped a lot, but I still default to thinking of men as one-dimensional. Yes, that includes me. My role models were Buck Rogers, Steve Austin, Tom Magnum, and Clint Eastwood. I think that’s why I tend to focus more on female characters than males – I instinctively feel I have more range to work with and more growth potential.
With touch chicks as the focus here, I’m lucky one of them hasn’t kicked my butt. Amelia Foster, aka Bling, shared another adventure a couple of months ago and I forgot to post about it! Distractions from a very busy life this year and all that, but it’s still no excuse. My beta readers are crazy about her and can’t wait for the next book in the Lost Girls series to pick up after Bling 2.0 left off. Spoiler alert, the next one is probably going to be called Bling 3.0.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Bling2.0_small-2



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In Bling 2.0 Amy has become a version of a made woman. She’s gotten in tight with the man who used to be out to kill her. That was just business though, nothing personal. Now that she’s in charge of the security and well being of his family, business and personal are bound to get mixed up. Very, very mixed up. Toss in a summer break spent vacationing on Dark Earth, the world that Amy was born on, and “mixed up” doesn’t do justice to the summer she’s about to have.
I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s romance and hookups— illicit and otherwise— as well as a glimpse into Amy’s past and discovery of a depth and complexity to Dark Earth previously unknown. The Lost Girls series continues to give me gifts as past books tie into current ones, proving that Katalina and her wonderful crew still have enough gas in the tank to come back for more.
And that’s only Bling 2.0! Just this weekend I released a new book that is pure sword and sorcery. It’s called Sacrifice and it takes place in my World of Kroth setting, not too long after The Goblin Queen. Officially I’m not calling it part of my Serpent’s War series, but I expect the characters in it to play a part in future books.
So why should you read that one? Well, it’s about another young girl with dreams of a future so very different from what she seems destined to endure. What she thinks is fate guiding her life turns out to be far from it, but that’s part of the journey she must take. You can take it too, if you read the book. I’ll include the blurb below.
 
Despairing of the hardship and toils of life along the northern tundra three clans of northerners set off for parts unknown to establish a new life. In the northern highlands set apart from the rest of Kroth they found the paradise they seek. Protected by mountains and a little known pass, they flourished and began to forget their ways.
Generations later their history told only in hushed stories around the hearth meant to scare children. They have new traditions now. New rituals, the most garish of which is sacrificing their daughters to the saints to keep their lands blessed and fruitful.
Into this dystopian paradise is born a farmer’s daughter, Tarja. She alone questions the rituals her people endure. She seeks answers to questions that no one dares to ask. She wants a different life for herself. The more she wants, the more she learns how steep the price behind it is. It is a cost she alone cannot bear.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Sacrifice_small
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So what’s next? Well, I’m working with Dawn Michelle again to wrap up something fun she’s writing and tossing a few projects around. I’ve got a great idea for a new sci-fi setting I want to explore, but I’m also dying to get back to the Terminus setting John Davis and I worked on. Vitalis, Dark Universe, Voidhawk, and Kroth are all waiting for new books too… so many ideas and things to write— good thing I plan on writing at least a couple hundred more books (if not more).
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing[/size]

Cosmic Spin the Bottle


April 5, 2019Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

No, I haven’t kissed any aliens. I don’t know anyone who has either. I was simply looking for a phrase that implied randomness, because this post might seem like I pulled the contents out of a bingo bowl.
First up is Terminus, a series I wrote a couple of stories in back in 2016 with John M. Davis. I wrote a novella to launch the setting and then the second book in the series. He wrote the first one. For those not in the know, Terminus is science fiction taking place in the year 2277. Humans have reached the stars and met our neighbors. Some are nice, some are not so nice, but everyone is civilized… or as civilized as humanity has been throughout history.
There are pirates and bandits, evil governments, vicious mobsters, rebels and outcasts, and even a special caste of people called the Gifted that are feared throughout the universe for their merciless psychic powers. John took a group of people and wrote about their exploits as they sought to establish themselves and buck the system. I did the same, although with different people.
If you’re just hearing about this series, don’t be surprised. We were both very excited about it. I whipped up a website and everything for it – even tried to encourage as much reader interaction as possible with it – but our excitement was one sided. A few people read the books and I got some great feedback from those that did. They loved it and wanted more, but those few people seem to be the only ones that heard about it. Talk about a disappointment! I shelved the project for a rainy day and had to move on to other books that sell more.
The artist and creator in me felt betrayed by my actions. It was like I’d stabbed myself in the back, and that would be a feat since I have to find a convenient wall corner when I need to scratch my back.
Well, I spent a week in Florida on a family vacation and, during downtime, I dusted off [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BPH9T30 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01BPH9T30 &linkcode=as2&tag=httpwwwboo024-20]Frozen Dreams[/url] and read through it again. Oh. My. Stars! I fell in love with it all over again. Great characters and setting. My only problem was the minor errors I found in the book. Less than ten, to be sure, and some of those were some style tweaks I made to improve the flow, but I was still embarrassed. All the same, I’ve just resubmitted the updated story to Amazon and it should be available in a day or so. If you’re one of the few that have already bought and read it, the story is the same and you’re not missing anything. If you haven’t…well… you should. It’s a damn good read, if I do say so myself! Although I do recommend starting with Terminus, the story that began it all.
Am I going to continue the Terminus series now? I’d like to very much. In fact, I’m sure I will, but not just yet. I still have to finish off Bling 2.0 before I can do that. That book is already at the 50,000 word mark and I expect I’ve got a solid 15% – 25% to go (if not more). After that I might return to Terminus, but I’ve got another project that’s coming up fast on my schedule too, so I can’t promise anything.
Remember that randomness I promised? Well, even more random than bringing up a series written back in 2016 is another book I read while on vacation. I’m working on Bling 2.0 right now, as I said, and that is a Lost Girls book that takes place in the western United States. Arizona, mostly, except for this one they are spending a lot of time on Dark Earth instead of the Earth we know and love. Dark Earth is the same as ours, except instead of technology to chase away the monsters they have magic. And sometimes the monsters use magic too.
Anyhow, in Bling 2.0 there’s a lot of time spent with the native people, which happen to be the Dark Earth equivalent to the Diné (Navajo people). They speak the same language as the Navajo and have the same beliefs, lore, and spirits, although they are a part of the Mayan empire there. I’ve done a lot of research on the Navajo people because of my Lost Girls series and I’ve been very fascinated by it all. Imagine my surprise when I found a book by Rebecca Roanhorse called Trail of Lightning that is a science fiction book that fully incorporates Navajo lore into a great story! My one and only regret is that book 2, Storm of Locusts, won’t be released until April 23rd. I can’t recommend Trail of Lightning enough – I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Maggie’s (the main character) struggle against the monsters of flesh and legend that she had to try and overcome. Spoiler alert: she’s just like the rest of us in that sometimes she makes bad choices and sometimes she doesn’t win.
Okay, that’s enough for one night. I’ve got to get back to Bling 2.0 if I’m going to finish telling her story and then be able to work on the stories of the other characters fighting to be heard!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:#amwritingfantasynew fictionrandom updatesrebecca roanhorsescience fictionspace opera

Another Girl Lost


February 9, 2019Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’ve lost track how long it’s been since I last heard from Katalina Wimple. For those who don’t know her, you should. She’s pretty darn amazing. She came to me one day out of nowhere because she had a story that needed to be told. For some reason she decided I was the one to tell her story and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.
 
Imagine, if you will, a petite woman that barely tops 5 feet tall with the training of a police officer giving you that look. The look that makes you suspect it’s a good thing you don’t know what she’s going to do you if you don’t do what she wants. I’m a reasonably big guy and Katalina is not, but there was never any question about what I was going to do.
 
In fact, she made me do something I’d never done before – I wrote back to back books about her without writing something else in between. She was demanding, to say the least, and is to this day my all time favorite character I’ve ever written. Oh sure, I’ve had some great ones, but Katalina was special. So special I started to hate it when she made me write a new story about her. I didn’t want to experience what happened to her, because it always hurt. After the fifth Lost Girls book, Guardian, I believed that we were finally done. She could retire and enjoy some long deserved peace and the embrace of those who loved her.
 
For a few years it worked. In fact, it sort of still is working. But she let me know there’s somebody else I need to write about. It’s not her, but it’s somebody she met through her adopted daughter. Another special girl by the name of Amelia Foster. Or, as her customers call her, Bling.
 
Devoted readers of my stories might remember a character named Bling from a novel I wrote and submitted to the Shadowrun role playing game people. They liked it, but it didn’t mesh enough to be included in their official canon. They encouraged me to publish it as fan fiction though, so I did. A version of Bling was in it, but that wasn’t enough for her. So she told me to put her in something else that would let her keep her unique flair. She was always a Lost Girl, and now she’s found her way home.
 
Bling is my newest release and is the 6th book in the Lost Girl series. Amelia is a child of two worlds with a tendency to make bad choices. Her intentions are golden, but she doesn’t always have the patience or wisdom for the long term. She was orphaned by the government as a child and tossed into the foster system with her younger brother. For people like them the foster system is an ugly place. Dark Earthers are considered second hand citizens, at best, and Amelia’s strangely pointed ears made her more of a target than most. As soon as possible, Amelia took her brother and they ran away. They’ve bounced from homeless shelter to abandoned homes to dark alleys ever since.
 
This book picks up after Amelia and her brother have found a somewhat stable life in downtown Phoenix. He’s in 5th grade and she goes to school when she’s not too tired because she works late nights as an Amateur Entertainment Contractor. Hey, it’s good money and legal work, aside from her having to get fake certifications because of the status of her birth. Most of the customers are pigs, but it’s easy work.
 
Easy until her bad choices team up and decide to teach her a lesson. The odds are against her and she’s got a lot of hard lessons to learn if she’s going to keep her brother safe and keep herself alive.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Bling_small


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Remember when I said Katy made me write back to back books about her? Well, I’m doing it again with Amelia. Bling 2.0 is halfway done, in fact. Yes, 2.0 is a weird name for a sequel, but in it Bling is definitely upgraded and reborn. A new version, if you will. Same girl with the same quirks and shortcomings, but she thinks she’s better outfitted to deal with them. Nothing could prepare her for what she’s going to face though.
 
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:brothercyberpunkdark earthexotic dancerganglesbiannew fictionsisterstripperurban fantasywitch[/size]

I’m a Bad Parent


January 25, 2019Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Not literally, but in an artistic license sort of way. My kids are fine, I haven’t let them wander into any abandoned mines or forgotten to pick them up from a creepy corn maze run by a guy in a clown mask. What I have done is let a new release go unannounced for over a week! That’s right, Confliction, Dark Universe book #7, is available everywhere!
Confliction picks up a little over a year after Lucky Star left off and continues the saga of the Dark Universe struggle against the Kesari, a race of alien beings intent on dominating the galaxy. There are new heroes and heroines in this book, although I really was searching for something a little grittier when I wrote this one. I even had one person accuse me of channeling some inner Shakespeare! Whether that’s true or not, the main characters might be better described as anti-heroes. As with all of my books, the story unfolds and the characters grow, evolve, and endure the struggles necessary to become better people. Or they fail and are never heard from again.
I’ll be honest, Lucky Star was a fun book for me, but I felt it missed a certain spark that made it really shine. This time I recaptured it, and I’m certain it had to do with including a lot of scenes with some of the stars from books past. It just didn’t feel like it was a complete story without some appearances and interaction with Aden, Twyf, Seph, Sierra, Niko, Neesha, and more.
So here is Confliction, anxiously awaiting eager eyes to dance across the curves and angles and expose it for the dark beauty that it is!
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Confliction-small
Into the Dark (book 1)Out of the Dark (book 2)Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Dark Star (book 4)Shades of Dark (book 5)Lucky Star (book 6)
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 Confliction (book 7) 
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In other news, I’m very close to releasing a new Lost Girls novel: Bling. This character inspired me in a way that I haven’t been inspired since Katalina Wimple willed herself into creation in the back of my head and demanded I share her story with the world. Then she did it again, and writing back-to-back books in the same series was unheard of for me. Bling did that too – I’m working on book 2 about her as I type this, before the cover art for book 1 is even finished!
2019 feels like a better year for writing for me so far. Here’s to hoping I can keep that going all year long!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.[/size]
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Self-Taught


November 16, 2018Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I struggled with a title for this blog. This is more about an old dog still being able to learn new tricks. Except these aren’t new tricks, these are old tricks I already learned and, I guess, let slip. I’m not that old, so there’s no good excuse to give. What the heck am I talking about? Well, read on, it was kind of a neat discovery for me and one I’m still feeling positive about.
I’m working on Confliction, book 7 in the Dark Universe series. I started it with a neat concept and crafted some characters to fit the roles I wanted. Then I threw some twists and turns along the way, as well as relationships and complications. All in all, it’s been a good ride but, I confess, a little rough to write.
I reached a point in the book where I’m tying in some of the earlier characters that made Dark Universe such a great series, but it’s been a while since I’ve written about them so I needed to go back and get a feel for them again. I reread some parts of Chasing the Dark and then Dark Star to get what I needed… and I was glad I was sitting down.
I was shocked by what I read and what I felt. In a good way! I was devouring the words and getting swept up in the characters and what they were going through and, more importantly, feeling. On top of all that I realized that I had written this.
That was kind of a wake up call that made me think. I liked my characters I’d created, but they weren’t the same. I tried to follow the formula to make them real, but that’s the problem, it was a formula. It wasn’t art. So that means I’m going back through the first 2/3 of the book I’ve written and flesh them out more. More experiences, more interaction, more relationships. More dialogue and quirks. More real.
But why did this happen in the first place? There’s no data to point to a specific reason or point in time, but this year has been particularly complex for yours truly. Not bad, just burdensome in some aspects. My writing has suffered a lot because of it. Excessive demand from my day job and ongoing stress caused by that has impacted a lot of things this year. I won’t say it’s improved either, but I’ve adapted and shifted a few things around. Does that mean I’ll be writing more and getting back into the groove again? I suspect it will be a bit of a compromise. I’d sure love to, but we’ll see how things go. All I can do is try… and keep trying until they wheel me away.
So hopefully I’ll have Confliction out yet this year or early next – that’s the goal I’m setting for myself. I’ve got plenty of time off during the holidays to help me make it happen.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:Self HelpWritingTags:characterizationDark Universescience fictionwriting

Bitten by a Different Kind of Bug

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October 9, 2018Jason Halstead1 comment

My kids are like anybody’s kids – if they don’t have something to do they get bored. Bored kids don’t like being bored and it seems like a flip of coin between doing something constructive versus something undesirable. My kids like the pets too much to shave them and they’ve been brought up with a respect of sharp objects, explosive, and things that burn. Mostly because they’ve seen what happened to me when I stabbed, burned, or tried to blow myself up. Experience, it turns out, is a great teacher.
So that leaves being obnoxious and fighting with one another. Well, in my desire to put a stop to that I pulled them aside one day and gave them some paper and their dice bags. It’s been a while since we broke out Dungeons and Dragons but my son had told me he felt he was older now and could handle it better. In an effort to make them feel a little more invested I made them into their characters. The familiar trope of you fall asleep in your bed and wake up in a pile of straw kind of thing. You and I know it’s overdone but they’re young, they didn’t know any better.
I don’t have the time to plot of elaborate adventures and campaigns these days, unfortunately, so I went with stuff right out of the box. The adventure is called The Lost Mine of Phandelver, or LMOP by anyone who knows it. We tried it once before, briefly, but they’d pretty much forgotten all about it. This time things are different.
For example, we’ve got my daughter, the 12 year old human girl swinging around a great axe (hey, it’s fantasy). Instead of reacting to her brother she can now channel her barbarian rage into slaughtering evil monsters. Then there’s the almost 10 year old boy wearing a chain shirt, shield, and a magical long sword he recovered after they struck a deal with the scary one-eyed monster beneath the manor house. (what deal? Well, they agreed to feed him all the bodies they found in the rest of the cellars beneath the manor)
My daughter’s at the wonderful pre-teen age where she’s not allowed to show excitement about anything, yet she asks about when we can play next every time. Likewise my son, after we finished this weekend, was eagerly looking forward to playing next Saturday. I had to remind him we had plans that night, so he was quick to offer up Friday night instead. That might not work either, but I promised him we’d get something in.
One of my initial concerns when we started this process with only two players was that they’d get steamrolled unless I really pulled my punches. Well… they found a way around that. I did introduce two powerful NPCs that showed them the ropes and helped them survive a goblin ambush. They turned that around quickly though – one captured goblin soon became their unwilling guide. By the time they cleared out the goblin hideout the goblin became their new scout / servant. They’re even paying him as a henchman! I’m not sure if it helps that he’s only a little shorter than they are, or if they just like the voice I use for him.
With Bokbok’s help (he’s the goblin) they’ve gone on to defeat the Redbrands (thugs and bandits that controlled the town of Phandalin) and accomplish a few other minor tasks. Nobody can believe these kids are accomplishing this, but they’re rising to local heroes quickly. Just as unlikely are the goblin servants (they’ve got 2 now, the second being a rather cowardly goblin named Droop who sounds a little like Dobbie from Harry Potter and has devoted himself to being their cook, cleaner, and helping them in any non-combat role he can).
Last night they even struck out for the run down castle that the goblins came from. Bokbok helped again by mentioning he’d heard of a secret way into the castle. Some searching uncovered the way in and they managed to dispatch the goblin king’s guards before taking a wrong turn into a tower that had been turned into a pen for a hungry and enraged owlbear. What’s an owlbear? Glad you asked! Imagine a full size grizzly bear and give him the face of an owl. Yes, it’s a magically inspired creation and very vicious, especially when hungry and abused.
Well, with the door thrown open the owlbear rose up and screeched at them before charging. My son leapt out of the way. My daughter…well, she’s an animal lover. She spread her arms wide, blocking the door fully, and invited it in for cuddles. The scars from its beak and claws won’t be fading any time soon as she was dropped to the floor in a puddle of her own blood.
My son rallied and tried to smack the owlbear on the back of the head with the flat of his sword. His reasoning was that they could knock it out and take it prisoner to tame it. When I pointed out how ferocious and savage it was he countered with, “Is it a girl? She’ll look cute with a pink ribbon in her hair.”
Bokbok knew better and the goblin dragged my daughter out of the way. Free at last, the owlbear charged out of the castle into parts unknown and they then had to stablize and nurse my daughter back to health.
A few rooms later they discovered the goblin king (a Bugbear – kind of sasquatch like for the non-fantasy crowd). He had a pet wolf and evil elf working with him. They boy charged the king and Bokbok had to fight the elf. That left the wolf against my daughter. Her heart melted when she heard he had a name (Snarls). The wolf attacked and she tried to calm him while she herself was covered in her own blood from her prior injuries. On the second round the wolf lunged for her throat but she slipped to the side and wrapped her arms around him. She held tight and found the magical spot behind his ear, scratching it just so. In seconds his rear leg was kicking and he mellowed into her. Yes, she rolled a 20 on her animal handling. The wolf was now her pet.
When Klarg, the goblin king, later smacked the wolf with his mighty morning star on the side and made him yip she went into her fiercest barbarian rage yet! The kids, goblin, and wolf survived the day with no fudging of rolls from me. They’d taken their weakness of only having 2 members for their adventuring group and recruited others to help – a goblin and a feral wolf. I’m a little scared to see what they do next!
My son wants a pet now too. He’s trying to talk me into a giant war turtle. When I laughed at the thought he reminded me, “Hey, this is fantasy!”
I’d ask what have I done, but I have to admit, I’m impressed.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Bugbear
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Owlbear
 
Oh, and by the way, yes I’m still writing. Just so damn busy with work and life it’s hard to keep up my pace. Put out a couple more chapters last week / weekend for my next Dark Universe novel though! I’m thinking of titling it Confliction. It’s over 25,000 words in already, but there’s no quick and easy end in sight. Good for a quality book, bad for me wanting to get it into your hands sooner!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:dungeons and dragons[/size]

How Long Has It Been?


June 19, 2018Jason Halstead1 comment

How long has it been since I’ve posted here? Months, and not just a couple of them. My last release was a Vitalis book. A mighty fine Vitalis book, I think, but it’s been almost six months! Unfortunately, I don’t have a new release to break the tide either, but I do have a new project.
My day job has bled over into my night job. And my weekend job. And my sleep job a few times, now that I think about it. My trips to the gym are almost nonexistent and I have had nothing left in the tank. Things are slowly righting themselves… or I’m finally adapting. Either way, I found the time to help my wife get her latest 3 part serial off the ground (Changeling – go check it out!), and now I’m a couple chapters in my next book.
I’m going back to Dark Universe! New characters, for the most part, but there will be some crossover from both Lucky Star and the original books with Aden, Twyf, Seph, and Sierra (among many others). The new book’s working title is Star Struck, and it follows a small team of mercenaries employed by the UISTF (Unified Inter Species Task Force) in their attempts to drive the Kesari and Criknid from power.
So a team of violent people fighting aliens… been there, done that, right? Probably. Hopefully I can tap into my inner Michael Bay to produce some spectacular explosions along the way. There’s more to it though – remember that Dark Universe has the Ampythians and their mystical energy that other races (including Terrans) are able to harness and create magic-like effects with. As cool as that is, it’s not the center stage. Instead I’m turning to sci-fi. Specifically, artificial intelligence.
I’ve been inspired by, among other things, Blade Runner 2049, Ex Machina, a Michael Crichton book about nanotechnology, and others that have me wanting to put my own spin on AI and how it can impact the lives of real people, both for the better and the worse. AI seems pretty straight forward but that’s kind of the point of the book, to point out that it’s not.
After all, Artificial Intelligence is more than just passing a Turing test. My take on AI is creativity and free will. What if an artificial construct doesn’t want to do what it was created to do? Why not? What options does it have? What lengths will it go to in order to fulfill its own needs, wants, and self-perceived destiny? And who better to help than a gun toting professional with nothing left to lose?
When will I have it done? Beats me! Hopefully in a month or so. In reality, probably longer – but I can hope. I’m really excited about the book and the things I hope to see, do, and feel in it. So with that said, I’d better go find some time to work towards doing it!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:Blade Runnerex machinamichael baymichael crichton

Reloaded

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January 23, 2018Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I stumbled across a neat idea a while back while swapping email with a friend. Somehow the concept of saved computer games came up. That segued to training programs on a computer and being able to retake them. Combining the two together, add in a hint of virtual reality, and all of a sudden I had a wonderful twist to add to a new Vitalis book I was thinking about. A way of training people who are in a deep hibernation sleep to preserve their bodies while they travel through space.
The first thing is, my newest Vitalis book actually starts before the original Vitalis book did. A group of wealthy and influential people are fed up with how the Terran Coalition of Systems is handling the extent of human civilization. So fed up that they’re willing to start over and try again. Armed with massive wealth and resources, they group together to build multiple colonization ships and hire the best talent they can get to serve as crew and colonists. In the year 2175 they depart, each ship heading for remote reaches of space where they can establish a foothold and try to live life free of the TCS rule.
For the Aphrodite things get very interesting. A new system is discovered after more than thirty years of traveling through deep space. A system that was hidden to the longest reaching telescopes by a massive black hole. Now that they’ve found it, it shows more promise than any of the systems being explored. Enough to warrant a thirty six year dip into the black hole’s gravity well so that they can approach it with only a few weeks taken out of their lives. Seventy one years after the Aphrodite launched, it has arrived at a possible new colony.
All that remains is to launch an expeditionary force to investigate the plant life surrounding a lake on the planet. Take a few samples, verify the planet is stable and hospitable, and then return. Nothing to it.
What they could never expect was what humanity isn’t the first visitor to this planet. The life on the planet was not set to naturally evolve for several million more years, but the interference of a fallen asteroid sped things up. An asteroid not so different from the ones that have landed on other planets through the universe and prompted terrestrial and genetic upheaval. The same kind of asteroid that turned Vitalis into the planet it is today.
 
But for all the expeditionary force must overcome, adapt, and endure, the planet needs to do the same. Compromise is possible if two parties can reach an agreement and an understanding. Just as annihilation is possible when one side convinces the other they’re willing to compromise.
With all that said, Vitalis: Reloaded is finished! Not just finished, but finished, submitted and available. Check the links below to find your favorite vendor and snatch it up. I’m trying to get a print version available to, but Amazon is being difficult regarding the cover creation for it.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalis-reloaded_small
 
Amazon
Amazon UK
Non-Amazon Sites
 
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing
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Out of Control and Totally Awesome

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December 15, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

This is just a quick update since I’ve got the day off and I just spent the morning working on Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m having trouble with the book. I had a plan when I started it, but that plan didn’t work out the way I wanted. Sure, that always happens, but this time it went off the rails completely. The story took twists I wasn’t expecting, and twists that I didn’t dare cut short of eliminate. They made it amazing. I’m not even sure what the heck is happening and which character is doing what anymore! I mean that in a good way…
My protagonists are turning on each other, some openly and some secretly. Secondary characters are stepping up and doing amazing and important things. Unseen threats and challenges are arriving in scores. Good guys are becoming bad guys and bad guys…well, they might just end up good. Best part of it all is that there are so many “villains” vying for their own victory in this I have no idea who’s going to win – or if the good guys stand a chance of surviving.
I’m still fighting hard to finish it in December, but my day job has been running long hours and cutting into my writing time. Hopefully that will clear up a little soon, especially since I have some time off scheduled near the end of the year. Working hard to find out what happens – I can’t wait to figure out who’s going to survive this mess, only to be forced to face the darkness that’s coming.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscolonizationscience fictionscifiVitaliswork in progress
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Fixed!

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December 6, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I used to play a tabletop role playing game called Shadowrun many, many years ago. We’re talking 1st and 2nd edition years ago, which is a lot. I think I may have even enjoyed it more than Dungeons and Dragons, but only one of my friends showed similar interests and we parted ways after our glory days of high school.
With that admission put out there, Shadowrun provided a lot of inspiration for me over the years in my creative endeavors. It’s flavored many of my books, including my various Dark Earth books, as well as my Wanted series, my Vitalis series, and even my Dark Universe series. But I felt like I wasn’t really doing Shadowrun justice even thought I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of those books I wrote.
So I looked back into Shadowrun a few months ago and holy cow, things had changed! There were computer games written for it (I sampled them and they didn’t do much for me), and 3 more versions had come and gone. Naturally, I had to do some digging and I picked up what I could of the most recent edition of Shadowrun – 5th edition. It was nearly overwhelming trying to wrap my head around it all!
But my love of the setting conquered the rule books and, by the time it was all said and done, I knew I had to do something with it. I don’t have the resources (time, firstly, but also interested players and / or a game master) for role playing these days, but I do have a rabid imagination. So I created characters that were begging to be made real. And once I had them, I had to tell their stories. Turns out their back stories were intertwined, and the details unveiled themselves as I wrote the novel you’re about to read.
With all that out of the way, here is my first Shadowrun novel: Fixed. I submitted the first chapter to the current creators of Shadowrun and received a favorable response, even though they passed on it for now. I was invited to send any future works their way for consideration, but I may have satisfied my urge to write about Shadowrun with this novel.
So what you have here is a work of fan-fiction. Because I cannot and will not charge for it, it does not have a beautiful cover like my other books do. It also has no professional editing like my other books. If you do find mistakes, I encourage you to let me know so I can fix them.
I hope you like reading it as much as I did writing it. When you’re done if you haven’t already tried them, I encourage you to check out my other books. Some of those are free as well, so start there and see what you like! They can be found virtually anywhere ebooks are sold, and several are available on Amazon in print.
Enjoy, chummers, and stay whiz!
Click here to download the pdf for Fixed
-Jason Halstead

Categories:dungeons and dragonsshadowrunWritingTags:cyberpunkcyborgsdeckerdetroit metroplexfan fictionfree ebookmagemercenarynew releaseorcriggershadowrunshamanstreet samuraistrippertroll
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Good News / Bad News

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December 1, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

So the bad news is, my Shadowrun novel was gently rejected. I was encouraged to try again because they liked it, but didn’t quite like it enough. He gave me some good feedback on what they like to see too, which I appreciated.
Would be writers take note: accept a critique from just about anyone, even if they are obviously off their rocker. We write, erego we have opinions we want to share on how things should be done or considered or handled. If we, as writers, want to be successful, we need to find a way to merge what we want to share with what people want to hear / read. Being outspoken (or out-typed, in our case), does not mean our opinion is right or popular (often the opposite), so the trick is to learn how to present it. PSA over now.
So the bad news becomes good news – I’m going to publish it for free! No cover art though, just a raw story that is self-edited. I’ll put it on as many locations as I can think of. Probably Wattpad, some fanfic sites, my blog and / or website, and a few others. And if you find errors in it (you will, I’m sure), I encourage and request that you let me know so I can fix them. Self-editing is hit and miss, at best. For a free title I’m afraid I can’t afford to get it professionally edited these days.
So stay tuned, I’ll have news of it being available soon! Hopefully a free book can tide you over until I finish up Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m getting close to the end, but I’ve been insanely busy lately between the day job requirements, holidays, and kids being tied up in a lot of afterschool activities. to be fair, my son has been recruited to take part on a football team charity league and my daughter is rocking in a lead role in a school play, so it’s worth the distraction to me. As for the day job, well, sometimes it’s nice to be “The Guy,” and other times, well, it’s not so nice.
how, Vitalis: Reloaded has a bit to go yet, probably at least another half dozen chapters if not more. It’s going to be a pretty large book, and it’s been a lot of fun to explore the opportunities a fresh and more or less original exposure to Vitalis have given me. I’d say more but, well, I’d be sharing too much! Hang in there and find out all about it yourself!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:cyberpunkfan fictionnew releasepublishingsci-fiscience fictionshadowrunwriting tips
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Ideas are a Dangerous Thing

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November 9, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

The concept of ideas being dangerous isn’t new. This post, however, has nothing to do with the concepts of educating people to stop doing stupid things in the name of extreme religions, political beliefs, or because the voices told them to. It’s not even a spin off from movies like Inception. I’m rambling on about the fact that I have too many ideas at any one given time and while creativity is awesome, the consequences can really suck.
For example, I’m around 60,000 words into Vitalis: Reloaded and I have no idea how far it will go until I finish it. I have the end in mind, plotting the course from now to then has a lot of curves and bumps in the road. That means I don’t know how long until I can finish it up and get it out there and it also means I don’t know how long until I can work on some other ideas I’ve had that are killing me.
Because I enjoy the ideas so much, I write them down. The most recent one I not only wrote down, but I had to crank out the first chapter in too, just to make sure I didn’t forget any key parts. I know, I know, I shouldn’t entertain these stray thoughts when I’m working on a project. It’s kind of like multi-tasking, but not. Truthfully, it feels more like being unfaithful and cheating on my current work in progress.
Oh sure, they’re just stories, but the problem is less about hurting their imaginary feelings than it is losing traction and forgetting important parts. Continuity suffers and the people anxiously waiting for me to finish book A get upset when book it takes too long to be released. Or worse yet, book B comes out first.
And this blog post? Possibly another tiny distraction where I should be spending time writing on the story in question instead of putting words here. I justify it by explaining delays to the faithful readers out there, as well hopefully generating some excitement on the new ideas yet to come.
My latest ideas? One’s a somewhat stereotypical scifi trope where humans are scattered across the galaxy after intergalactic wars and forced to live as savages. Except for one… I’d share more, but there’s always that off chance that someone might snag the idea and run with it.
Another idea involves timescaping. In fact, that’s my intended title at this point: Timescaping. That’s my newest / freshest idea and I’m still working it out in the back of my head. We’ll see what happens there.
There are some other ones too, but they’re on hold as well. And all the time Dawn Michelle gets frustrated because I work on my stuff and not with her on hers. So at some point, I’ve got to do that too. But first, back to Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m going to finish this book this year!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:colonizationnew fictionscience fictionspacetime travelwipwork in progress
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It’s Not That Easy

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October 18, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

To get rid of me. I’m still here and still writing. Haven’t published anything in a while because I’ve got a book in consideration for publication with an old fashioned publisher and I’m working on a new one. Most of you knew all this though, so enough with the recap – on to the update!
Vitalis: Reloaded is over 45,000 words in and, honestly, it’s turning into a much bigger story than I first expected! Colonists sent out from the Terran Coalition before the discovery of Vitalis have stumbled across a new world dozens of light years from human occupied space. It’s a world nobody expected, in a solar system hidden behind some space anomalies that befuddled and confused sensors. It’s a world with a spot of life on it, life that nobody expected or can explain.
But what would a harrowing space exploration story be without challenge and excitement? Inexplicable events have to happen. Surprises in the alien vegetation have to leave the colonists guessing. Murphy and his damn law have to strike at the most inopportune times. And the people? They have to suffer and prove they’re stronger than what the planet throws at them. That’s what being on the frontier is all about. Life as a colonist is a life of hardship and endurance. Sprinkle in a strange massive alien geode filled with glowing crystals that nobody has ever seen before, and the hardships increase exponentially.
The other priority for a colonization ship? Well, colonization – you know, establishing a home in a new savage place and making sure there are future generations to inherit it. So they’re headed out there with the reward in mind of some good old fashioned population growth. If they can survive long enough to make it to that point.
Now back at it! At the rate I’m going and the plans I have for this book, it could easily double in size. Bear with me, it’s underway and coming as soon as I can make it!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:#amwritingalienscolonizationscience fictionscifiterraformingwork in progress
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Gas Powered Writing

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September 13, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Yes, my wife did make a pot of chili the other day, but this has nothing to do with that. Or gasoline, for that matter, except in the most allegorical* of ways.
I find myself somewhat driven right now due to a few factors. The first is the delay of my Shadowrun novel for release. I hate letting so much time pass between releases, you see. The second is part of my email dilemma I recovered from – I have an opportunity to work with a roleplaying game company to write a story or stories for them. We’re in licensing talks to decide if the books would become canon or not. Exciting stuff, and the more questions I ask and the more involved I get with it, the more cool the world is becoming.
In fact, I have 3 character concepts already worked out in my head. I have to flesh them out as characters using the game system yet so I can create something that meshes with their mechanics, but I don’t foresee any problems at all with this.
A bit of a teaser on this new stuff. It’s a new world in a fantasy settings. New races unlike anything traditional fantasy has to offer. There are humans and fae, but the humans are a definite minority. Other races abound, both good, bad, and indifferent. Each fleshed out with their own unique histories and lore. All in all, it’s growing on me and offering some really fun new opportunities to torture perfectly helpless characters!
But there’s a problem… that problem is Vitalis. I’m still very much in love with the book I’m writing for it. So I’m attacking it feverishly to try and finish it the way it deserves to be finished without cutting the story short. That means it’s back to late, late night writing! In fact, I broke the 10,000 word mark last night and I’m not yet finished with the first act of the story. Good times to be had, I assure you!
Oh, and I haven’t shamelessly reminded you to pick up The Goblin Queen lately, here it is.
 
* – I expect bonus points (maybe even a triple word score) for using the word allegorical.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:collaborationfaefantasygaminghumanlicensingnew worldroleplaying gamerpgscience fictiontabletop
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If You Never Try, You Never Fail…

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September 7, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

…and you never succeed. Today’s blog happened earlier this week. As my readers might now, I finished a novel recently written in the Shadowrun setting. “Oh no, not this again,” you’re thinking. To which I respond, “Oh yes, this!”
You see, I was planning on releasing it as fanfiction simply because I really love the game / setting / story. I’ll admit, it’s taken some twists and turns over the years that didn’t necessarily sit well with me, but I can overlook some quirks based on the joy it’s brought me. Writing this book only compounded that joy.
So anyhow, here I am looking for where and how to publish it as fanfiction. In my travails I happened across the actual official forum for the Shadowrun setting / role playing game. And lo and behold, there’s a thread on fanfiction! Who knew?!
I began to read and much of it was facts I already knew regarding IP and copyright handling. So far I was feeling fine and dandy, and then I happened across a post that recommended for anyone trying to publish something official for Shadowrun, to contact a gentleman by the name of Jason Hardy and request a packet and details.
I stared at that message for a few moments, wondering… was this legit? Who was this guy? A quick Google search confirmed that Mr. Hardy was indeed a legitimate person. Moreso, he’d published a few novels himself for Shadowrun and Mechwarrior, as well as some other material. He even provided his email address for public consumption! Well now, I couldn’t let that pass, now could I?
So off I went to whip up a charming email sure to enthrall him and leave him on the edge of his seat. I had little to work off of, aside from having the same first name and last initial in common. I learned long ago in an unpleasant place to use whatever you’ve got at hand, no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be. I requested some details on how I could go about submitting my book for consideration and hit send. Then I waited.
And, to be honest, I forgot about it. The Labor Day weekend was sufficiently distracting with uncovering 2 years of missing emails and working on my new book on top of that. Imagine my surprise when early this week he responded quite good naturedly and invited me to send him a sample of the book! No packet, no instructions on what hoops to jump through or who to bother, but rather me sending him some of what I’d written. Pretty cool. Or whiz, to use the Shadowrun parlance.
So the very next morning I sat down and went over my story with an exceptionally critical eye. I tweaked some phrasing and corrected some errors, then I went over it again. By the time I was down I felt pretty good about the first paragraph. It grabbed my attention, at least, and made me want to know what happens next. So that was it – I sent it his way.
And he responded again! Almost immediately. No verdict, of course, but rather a promise to check it out and for me to reach out to him again and give him a poke if I haven’t heard back in a respectable amount of time. Pretty cool, I have to say. There’s no telling whether the story will fly or not, but I’m still grinning at having the opportunity.
Sure, I’ve been published by several different publishers over the years. Why does this thrill me so much? I don’t know, honestly, other than to say it might have something to do with the subject content. Shadowrun, to me and a considerable amount of role players, is a very cool thing. It’s been around 30 years, if not more, and is arguably the most well known sci-fi and fantasy role playing game around (sci-fi & fantasy, not just pure fantasy where Dungeons and Dragons holds the crown, scepter, throne, and the usurped king’s daughter’s discarded chastity belt). So, to a veteran geek like me, this is pretty cool.
Or am I nerd? I get the two confused. I think I’m both, what with my interest (and career) in computer programming and design as well as love of fantasy and role playing. Did I mention I wore a suit of plate mail to the Michigan Renaissance festival in Holly, MI a few weeks ago? Yeah, I’m one of those guys, and proud of it!
Ahem, so anyhow, for those of you anxious to read my Shadowrun book, you’re going to have to wait I’m sorry to say. It may end up as nothing more than another piece of fanfiction, but it might end up as an official Shadowrun novel too – at this point it’s anybody’s guess.
Until then, I’m back to working on Vitalis: Reloaded. One chapter in and I’m using the character’s I’ve got and making more up as I need them. I’m still encouraging people to send me ideas – or at least names of fictional characters that in no way resemble the cheating jerk that was your ex or the miserable boss who deserves a terrible fate only an author could deliver. Of course I’ve never included any characters based in any part to individuals that I’ve had problems with…
Ahem, right, so where was I? Oh yeah, I’m still in single digit sales of The Goblin Queen and I just don’t think that’s fair to you, my readers. You’re missing out on a hell of a great story, if I do say so myself (and I do). For what it’s worth, I’ve gotten nothing but great feedback from some of the readers too – and no, these people were not friends or family, nor did they owe me money. Give it a shot, you’ll love it!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:6th worlddeckerfantasyfixergun bunnymagemercenarypublishingriggerscience fictionshadowrunshamanstreet samuraiToppswriting[/size]
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Post by Paul Sat 16 Dec 2023, 9:08 pm

I’ve Been a Jerk


September 4, 2017Jason Halstead1 comment

It’s true. I’ve been a jerk. For almost two years now I’ve been asking questions and writing blogs and newsletters to people in a purely one-sided manner. I once promised I would respond to every single reader that reached out to me, and it was a promise I meant to keep. Yet for the last two years I haven’t done that.
Turns out sometime in 2016 something went wrong with my email accounts. My jason@booksbyjason.com account has been set up since I created it to forward to my main account. Early 2016 it stopped doing that and I didn’t figure it out until yesterday. No idea why either. I checked the settings and even logged into the account. It looked like I wasn’t receiving any email there. So on my main account I set it up to not only receive forwards from, er, me, but to also actively reach out and receive mail sent to that account. I was satisfied that, moving forward, I’d be all set.
I glanced at my email a few minutes later and holy crap! I had over a thousand emails all of a sudden. I would love to say that they were all from readers trying to discuss my books with me, but they weren’t. Probably 50% – 60% were junk trying to get me to advertise with them, pay the money to boost my book or guarantee I’d get reviews, or some other scheme to provide a service for a fee that probably wouldn’t do crap for me except lower my bank account. Those got deleted.
What remained was several hours of reading and responding to readers. Real people with real questions, thoughts, and kind things to say. Those are the people I do this for – when I’m not doing this for me. I have to admit, for the past two years of receiving next to no kind of reader feedback on top of the greatly diminishing sales, I’d begun to feel kind of burned out. Sort of a, “what’s the point?” feeling. Now that I’ve caught up I feel a lot better, to say the least! Recharged even.
The Lost Girls continues to be a series that pulls in admiration and emphatic responses from readers. Those books are near and dear to my heart, and it seems to be they pull at the heart strings of many readers as well. Most of the feedback I get praises me for “getting it” and being able to write a lesbian character so well. I have to break the news to each and every reader that I really didn’t “get” anything. I wrote about a main character that had a lot of demons in her past and present (and future, depending on which book they’d read). She was as real as person as a character can be to me, and what she endured was terrible and heart wrenching – and something I’m saddened to say can and does happen in the real world too.
Wanted continues to be a fan favorite as well, and that makes me happy because Carl’s just such a fun character. He’s prick, but the kind of prick you can’t help but admire and respect – not to mention want on your side!
Voidhawk draws in a lot of readers as well. It’s out there and crazy, but readers get sucked in to the crazy and love it in spite of the heavy suspension of disbelief needed. After all, it’s a story that takes place on wooden ships using magic to sail through space! Physics majors need not apply.
Not surprisingly, my Kroth books (Blades of Leander trilogy, Order of the Dragon saga, and Serpent’s War series) came in hand in hand with Voidhawk support. The two series do intertwine from time to time these days, so I’m very happy to see readers are crossing over as well.
Vitalis and Dark Universe had a lot of love too, which tickles me because I feel the same love for them. So many opportunities and so much potential with those books, they’re like gifts to me that keep on giving!
Even Terminus had some fan mail. Terminus was a short lived series that was a cooperative effort between myself and John Davis. We both wrote books in the setting and had plans for many more… but alas, the sales didn’t materialize to justify it. Damn shame too, there was so many great things that could come of it. We sort of pulled on Star Wars for inspiration with those books.
The shocker for me came in the support mail for my Homeland series. Those books are a harder read, and by harder I mean they lean more towards adult natured stories. Almost, but not quite, erotica. Or at least I don’t think they are (some may disagree). There was a cliffhanger ending with the third book in the series and the readers want a fourth. I do too, but once again sales sucked, so I never got around to it. Knowing that people really do want more, even if it’s only a handful of people, inspires me to continue that series again, even if I take a loss on it financially.
That, my friends, is the lesson here. If you enjoy something spread the word. Share it with the person who created it! The appreciation is going to mean a lot to them. Beyond that, it might even bring them to do more with it. Or, in my case, I reached out to some of these readers with some thoughts and ideas on things I’d like to do with stories and I asked for their feedback. And I meant it – those who are getting back to me are inspiring me to include some of their ideas and concepts into future stories. That, I think, is cool. I know if I could talk to some of my favorite authors and get them to include some ideas I have into their stuff, I’d be over the moon. Unfortunately, R.A. Heinlein and R.E. Howard aren’t taking requests anymore.
Some random trivia that has shocked a few readers: I have never watched any of the Game of Thrones episodes, nor have I read the books they are based on. I’d like to, but I’m afraid of being influenced or “corrupted” by them. By abstaining I maintain that my fantasy books are original. Pretty stupid and ridiculous, really, since I’ve read tons of other fantasy books over the years.
One last thing – I put out a call to people to send me their character ideas for the next Vitalis book. It was because of that and one man in particular, Kelly David Screen, that I discovered my email woes. I’m still eagerly taking any character ideas you’ve got and, I’m happy to say, I know I’m getting them now!
And finally, my most sincere apologies to anyone over the last couple of years that I missed or accidentally deleted in my junk mail purge. I hope I can honestly say it won’t happen again.
P.S. The Goblin Queen is still anxious to make her way into your heart. It’s available as an ebook an in print, if you prefer.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:#amwritingapologiesemailfeedbackreviewssorrytechnical difficulties

Help!


September 1, 2017Jason Halstead1 comment

I’m on Vitalis book number… I’m not even sure. 11, maybe? Just getting started I’ve outlined what I want to happen (and that always changes), and come up with some key / core characters that I’m really excited about. There will be many more that play an important role too – maybe bigger than I expect, in fact. The problem is, I’m not sure who they are… and that’s where (I hope) you come in.
So here’s what I’m after / offering. I need some character names and maybe even concepts. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’m looking for several people that will be part of multiple shifts of a flight crew for a space ship and multiple colonists. Some of the colonists will need real skills since they’re supposed to establish a new colony and an unexplored world. Other colonists might not have any aptitude other than the credits they used to get them a spot on the colony ship.
So, if you’ve got an idea for a name send it my way. Email me at jason@booksbyjason.com or reply in a comment here. Bonus points if you add in any demographics such as height / weight / hair / eyes / vague background or skill ideas. None of which are necessary, of course, but I’d like to include any details my readers can contribute (as well as a special thank you note in the book).
And it’s Vitalis, so remember that bad things often can and do happen. The little bit I will let slip is that this ship launched before the planet Vitalis was discovered by the crew of The Rented Mule, so they will have no idea what is happening to the Terran Coalition of Systems even though it takes place near the same time as Vitalis: Miss Fortune. They’ll end up deeper in space than any human has traveled before.
Oh, and don’t forget to snag your copy of The Goblin Queen!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:#amwritingcolonizationDNAevolutionFirst Contactscience fictionscifiVitalis

The Wait is Over

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August 29, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I once took pride in releasing a dozen or more books a year. I’d like to take pride in that again. Unfortunately, life has gotten busy and shows no signs of letting up. Nonetheless, I’m working as hard as I can to keep pumping out new books and, today, I’ve got another one ready to enjoy: The Goblin Queen is available everywhere now (see below for links).
So what is it? Well, it’s officially a continuation of my Serpent’s War series. However, nobody seemed to care that much about those books. I’ve heard disappointment in the covers mostly, which I don’t understand because I love them. The story itself readers enjoyed, but there hasn’t been nearly enough readers to confirm or deny it. With the Goblin Queen I tried a different take on the cover and the story is a bit different too. It continues the series, but the main characters in books 1 and 2 don’t play as much of a role. In fact, the original Blades of Leander factor heavily in this one, although they are a force divided and each have stories to tell.
Oh, and lest I forget there’s a new character in the series that is a force unto herself. Grishna, a woman from the void with a serious grudge and the will to see her vengeance carried out – if she can survive long enough.
Other than Grishna there are some other great sub-plots unfolding too. Caitlin continues her struggle for and against the Order of the Dragon. Alto continues to rush into dangerous situations that tempt not only fate, but his ability to survive almost anything through force of will and sheer luck. Garrick is meeting new people and challenging his narrow view of the world. Patrina is… well, Patrina has a pretty major ordeal to bear and it’s seriously getting in the way of what she wants to do. Last but most certainly not least is Sir Celos Lyonsbane and his newly made wife, Dame Aleena Lyonsbane. They’ve been acting like a couple for a few books now, it’s about time they did something about it!
Namitus, Gildor, and Amra are here too, playing important parts in the story and trying to do their best to thwart the long and serpentine tendrils of the Order of the Dragon. Yet no matter how hard they try, the Order seems one step ahead of them thanks in no small part to their newest general, the half-dragon Lariki.
Phew, with all that going on is there much left to tell in the book? Heck yes there is! I barely scratched the surface of it here. The Goblin Queen is a deep book filled with twisting plots and subplots. Story arcs that sometimes work out and sometimes do not. Poison, magic, intrigue, treachery, and the darkest magic the world of Kroth has yet faced fill the pages… so grab your copy now and enjoy! Then go back and give Servant of the Serpent and Rise of the Serpent a fair shake since you’ll want to know how things got to the point they’re at now.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Thegoblinqueen_small
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What’s next, you ask? Well, that’s a little complicated. I’m finishing up a story that is fan-fiction for the Shadowrun setting. Shadowrun was originally (and remains) an outstanding tabletop role playing game (TRPG). I’ve babbled about it in the past so I’ll refrain from doing so again. When I finish it, I’ll make it available for free and put it on some free story sights for people to enjoy. I can’t charge a thing for it, what with the IP being owned by others. I had to write it though, and with any luck maybe it will draw more people into my other works (or entice the copyright owners of Shadowrun to invite me to write something for them officially).
After that it’s a return to Vitalis I think. Like Miss Fortune, this next one will be a stand-alone novel that is tied in to the others through backstory and universe links. It is also taking sci-fi to a new place that has me really excited. It starts out, in fact, in hibernation units while a colonization ship launched before Vitalis was even found heads toward a distant star in hopes of finding a planet for humanity to settle and thrive on. So what could be exciting or interesting about a bunch of people sleeping in suspended animation? Cue maniacal laughter – the science and intelligence divisions of the Terran Coalition of Systems are running some experiments…
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:dragonfantasyfictionnew releaseorcpaladinspace opera
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Good News for Everyone But Me (Sort Of)

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August 7, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I settled on a new story and I’m 20k words into it already. I’m writing as fast and furious as the actors in the aptly named franchise  pretend to drive. However, there’s a problem with it (my writing— there are many problems with the Fast and Furious franchise even though they are entertaining and fun to watch). Copyright concerns.
But, I’ve done plenty of research and it seems, as long as I don’t attempt to change any existing cannon or charge money for what I’m writing, I’m in the clear. So that means I get to write the book I’ve been aching to write and you, my not-so-gentle readers, get to enjoy it at no cost! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to publish through my regular channels, however (Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, etc.). I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Now then, what exactly am I writing? I don’t have a title yet, but it takes place in that game setting I mentioned before: Shadowrun. The year is 2077 and the world (and many people) are full of enhanced technology. And there’s magic. Loads of it, from shamans, magicians, and spirits to critters such as hellhounds, barghests, yetis, and dragons. Orks, trolls, dwarves, and elves live alongside humans and have given the human species a brand new opportunity to be racist. Except most people aren’t dumb enough to insult a troll to their face because, well, compared to a troll everyone else is kind of squishy.
What’s the story about? Glad you asked! It follows a small group of people that are drawn together to do a job (aka a run or shadowrun). They need to acquire some fancy new equipment from one corporation and deliver it to another. The prototypes aren’t anything world changing or able to pave a path for humanity to follow, they’re just some advanced gadgets another corporation wants to learn the secrets of. And, in typical Shadowrun fashion, there will be some twists, turns, and betrayals along the way.
You see that’s the beauty of Shadowrun – runners might care about ethics and each other, but the people that hire them, the Mr. Johnson’s of the world, consider them expendable assets at best. At worst, they’re parasites and necessary evils. Oh, and by the way, runners (or  shadowrunners) aka the mercenaries that risk life and limb for the all-mighty nuyen (new – yen, or the global currency that has replaced the dollar). So if one Mr. Johnson hires a team to do something illicit and doesn’t want to risk any implication falling back on them, they might do their best to see to it the team doesn’t survive the run (after they accomplish the goal, that is). It’s an accepted occupation hazard.
In my case, I’ve got a team of 3 (soon to be 4) in play. Pepper is a middle aged man that works for a mega-corp during the days, but he’s sick and tired of not being good enough to advance up the ranks. His requests for transfer to field assignments and promotions are regularly ignored so he decided to do something about it – much to the irritation (and worry) of his wife. Pepper’s living through his mid-life crisis by the skin of his teeth.
Tank is what they call a rigger. Riggers are the ultimate wrench monkeys. They love vehicles, driving them and upgrading them and using them to blow stuff up. Tank is no exception to that, and he makes up for his skill behind the wheel with extreme social awkwardness and a tendency to forget to prioritize personal hygiene.
Bling is a stripper. Or was. And an elf, so even though she’s in her mid 20s she looks like she more not be legal. Except there’s her curves in all the right places. Elves are tall and lean, perhaps even lanky, although individuals may vary. Bling did not, naturally, but she was abandoned at birth and grew up on the streets. She learned how to survive and how to thrive, and that involved using her body and talents to get by. She even landed a headlining gig at one of the Greater Detroit Metroplex’s premiere night club for a few years – and that gave her the money she needed to augment herself in all the right ways, both aesthetically and for personal protection. Her handicap is a whole lot of passion and excitement, but not much in the way of practical experience or education. In fact, her education came from the street. Everything she knows is second hand knowledge — she’s probably spent less than a full week in her entire life inside a school.
Healz. Like Bling, Healz is a metahuman. An ork. He’s real tall (6’8″ or a little bit over 2 meters) and big. Tusks, greenish – brown skin, and an often surly manner. He had a life, a good one, as a high threat response doctor working for a mega-corp that replaced privatized ambulance services. Nice clothes, great car, even his choice of ladies until he screwed up and lost an important patient. The screw-up was his fault too — he was addicted to a narcotic called Cram that left him with some bigtime flawed decision making. His company found out and terminated him, but he threatened a law suit to expose them for making the narcotic (and others) available to their employees to enhance their performance while working. He walked away with a large payout and had to spend a portion of it creating alternate identities for himself so he could hide from any reprisal they might launch at him.
What’s up with all the goofy names? They’re called street names (or in Bling’s case, a stage name). It’s one more way shadowrunners protect their true identities. After all, the goal of most runners is to score big so they can take up their given names again and retire to a life of comfort. Very few ever make it, but the appeal remains. So, with that in mind, here’s the reason behind the names:
Pepper – middle aged man in great shape, but every year brings more grey to his hair, hence the salt and pepper look.
Tank – Ever call a big guy Tiny? Well, Tank is pretty scrawny. A little above average height, but he’s skin on bones since he often forgets to eat while he’s tinkering with his toys. That and he’d love to own a tank some day (either traditional or the infamous hover tanks, aka panzers).
Healz – Easy one here, this guy was a doctor. Still is, although he lost his license when he lost his corporate sponsorship. He goes by the name Healz now and acts as a street doc capable of installing cyberware for those that can pay. He’s got a soft spot for charity cases too, although he’d never go pro-bono on a cyberware install he will help someone who’s sick or injured that can’t afford it.
Bling – Another easy one, especially if you saw her. Bling loves to sparkle. Her fingernails have been replaced with carbon fiber extendable hand razors (they don’t extend very far), and the carbon fiber has a bedazzled look to it. She’s got piercings in all the right places (none on her face though, so you do the math) and those sparkle too. And jewelry – whatever she can find that accessorize, as long as it gleams.
So, with all those glimpsed backstories and the world at large, there’s a ton of possibilities to write about. Adventures a-plenty to be had! Life to be lived, from action packed gunfights and car chases to steamy seduction and broken hearts. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe next time I’ll get into some of the lingo used in the Shadowrun setting!
But for now, I’ve got more of this story to work on!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:6th worldcyberpunkDetroitelfestablished universefan fictionhumanmagicnew fictionorkriggershadowrunstreet samuraistripperwageslave
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Too Long

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August 2, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. Shame on me. You know what else has taken too long? A new book release! Fortunately, I’ve got one coming in the very near future (The Goblin Queen). Unfortunately, I haven’t jumped into something new after that quite yet.
But I’ve been thinking. If I go by the numbers I should write another Dark Universe or Vitalis book – those seem to be selling the best these days (or the least worst). I’ve had requests for Vitalis as well, and I just might do that. I’ve got ideas for Dark Universe too though, so it’s troubling. Even more troubling is a recent rediscovery and passion trend that I’m caught up in.
Wait – passion trend? What the heck is that? I just made it up. It means something that has me captivated and very interested, but might turn into a flavor of the moment like a fad diet does for so many people. In this case I’m referring to something called Shadowrun. Shadowrun is one of the classic role playing games, though not as widely received (or well known) as Dungeons and Dragons. Shadowrun is a near future blend of science fiction and magic, and it reintroduces metahumans into the world in the form of orks, dwarves, trolls, elves, and all sorts of magically active and awaked critters.  Including dragons – which are big, bad, and very scary.
People (of all races and types) often become cyborgs, installing cyberware of various sorts to help them with everything from day to day tasks to firefights to logging into the matrix. The matrix is the Internet in a VR environment, essentially, and is full of very real dangers that can knock a decker out cold, fry their cyberdeck, or outright kill them.
On the flip side of technology there’s magic. Mages and shamans, to be precise, although awakened magical critters exist too (spirits, elementals, and even beings like ghouls and vampires among many more). It’s a remarkably diverse game filled with possibilities, to say the least. The governments of the world and borders have been shaken up and broken down and corporations (especially mega-corporations) have as much power or more than governments do. In other words, if the real world had magic, we’d be on our way to making Shadowrun a reality, not a fantasy.
So with all of that said about Shadowrun does that mean I’m devoting my free time to playing the game? No such luck. I’ve had a very busy year what with a day job promotion and everything else going on (some good, some bad). No, with Shadowrun I’m aching to write a story that takes place in that setting. As it is I’ve written several stories that were inspired by bits and pieces of Shadowrun (The Lost Girls series and even bits and pieces of Vitalis and Dark Universe), but I’ve never jumped in all the way. The reason behind that is copyright. I can’t sell a book that uses Shadowrun in it.
I am considering writing something up and releasing it as fan fiction, but I’m not sure how much trouble that could land me in either. The good news is any Shadowrun stuff I write would be free! Maybe better news would be attracting the attention of the copyright holders and being invited to write something for them (super unlikely, damn it). The most likely outcome will be me continuing to be inspired by my Shadowrun ideas and fill them into other books. Or I could create a new series altogether – but I’ve got enough as it is. I can’t imagine adding one more and trying to keep up with it. I struggle with the ones I have now, as I’m sure my readers are painfully aware.
Well, my cards on the table. Now I just need to see what I’m going to do with them. Keep checking to see what my decision will be. Whatever it is, it will come soon and I’ll be sharing it to get you ready for the next adventure!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.[/size]
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…And Then it Got Worse


June 26, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

The Goblin Queen has taken me longer to write than any book in the past five years. Truthfully, I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on it, but I would wager it’s been 2 months now. Two months for a novel is a far cry from a slow haul for most people, but I’m not most people. I write fast, it’s one of my trademarks. Well, this time around it seems I’m writing normal (or maybe less fast).
Is there a problem with the book? Heck, no! It’s just as amazing and fun to write as it ever has been. The problem has nothing to do with the characters, plot, or writing itself. The problem is a host of issues that have popped up recently. It’s been a rough couple of months for a variety of unrelated factors that all came to a head one after another. That adage that bad things come in three might have been an underestimation. And then, just when things seemed to be evening out and returning to normal my mother-in-law came down with a sudden and surprising illness that finally bested her.
Let me take a moment to let that sink in. Read it again, perhaps, to realize that my wife lost her mother and best friend. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks either at her bedside or, more recently, attending to funeral arrangements and getting her affairs in order. It was unpleasant, to say the least, but not the kind of unpleasant like cleaning up a plugged toilet without a plunger.
This grim reminder that nobody has yet found a way to get out of life alive has provided a bit of a creative setback as well. I like to write in science fiction and fantasy genres – two realms were the concept of immortality and life beyond death is a sparkling possibility. Yet the cruel reality of life has had a humbling effect.
And yet life goes on. I know I channeled a lot of my emotion into working out and just yesterday I sat down and forced myself to write again. I’m nearing the end of The Goblin Queen but still have a few chapters to go. The words come faster and easier now. I have my path to the end charted out, I need only finish the journey. Cover art is progressing as well and hopefully this book will be released in July sometime.
After The Goblin Queen I have no idea what I’ll work on. I should return to Dark Universe, but I’m not sure what might come next for that series (not to imply I don’t have a future in it, only that I’d need to review where I left off to pick it up anew). Vitalis is possible as well, or even something else. Perhaps I’ll try to work with my wife (Dawn Michelle) to continue her Continuum series in hopes of it helping her find her new sense of normal.
So, to my loyal readers, I apologize for the delay. It should be over soon though, and I promise this book is going to be a great read.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:#amwritingdragonfantasyfuneralqueenwarrior

The Family That Stays Together Slays Together


June 12, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

This is an update on The Goblin Queen. From the story perspective, it’s getting there. I’m over 60,000 words into it and (I think) only have a few chapters left. Getting to those chapters is proving troublesome though.
I’ve been ridiculously busy as summer is upon me. Work is increasingly hectic of late and there’s talk of saddling me with more responsibilities (which may or may not be welcome, depending on how it plays out). I also spent the last couple of months cutting (dieting / exercising to focus on losing fat but keeping muscle) and did a good job of it, now I’m trying to build more strength and put muscle back on which means eating more and working out 5x a week, with at least 3 days having both an am and a pm workout in them. It takes a lot of time, effort, and discipline to do it right and not lose everything I gained when I cut the weight in the first place.
Oh, and we’ve got a new camper we bought this spring so we’re trying to get that out at least once a month and last weekend was one of those weekends. My son has baseball games and practices after school, and there’s been lots of house / yard work that has to be done.
All in all, everyday problems everyone has to deal with. For the most part, it’s simple enough to knock those things out. We haven’t had a chance to crack open any more D&D sessions since my last write up, but I’m happy to say that my wife is going to join us. After all, the family that slays together, stays together! Hopefully soon we can get her a character put together and continue the adventures. They’ve got much to do to finish off their introductory session, and then after that I have some really fun ideas to keep them invested and furthering their careers as fantasy heroes.
This is supposed to be about The Goblin Queen, but I can’t stop myself from sharing the idea I stole from some random reddit posts – I’m going to set up alternate versions of the Disney Princesses as a coven of witches spread throughout Kroth for the players to try to take out. They’ll meet a witch hunter when they finish their current story arc and he’ll enlist their aid (hopefully). If not, I’ll find another way to encourage them to do that. Then again, it is D&D and the possibilities are endless – maybe they’ll end up heading off in another direction entirely if they choose. Not a problem if they do, I’ll have the evil Princesses on standby.
Now back to The Goblin Queen. The good guys just triumphed over evil in the book! Yay! Except the victory didn’t turn out to be a battle like they expected, nor were they prepared for what happened when they struck down the enemy that had consigned their souls to the dark magic of the Order. Even worse was learning what comes after – they’d fallen into a trap that they might have survived, but at a cost that could be the lives of thousands of innocent people that they know and care for. The Goblin Queen has played her part, but the final victory they need rests in the outnumbered hands of a desperate paladin willing to risk everything for their faith.
Oh, the cover is coming along nicely too. We’re still trying to figure out the art work portion of it, but I’m in love with the design we’ve got so far. I’m trying for more of a cover reminiscent of Child of Fate instead of the recent covers in The Serpent’s War series that some people found harsh or disturbing (I loved those too, but generally what I like and what most people like are not the same).
Now then, back to work! This book isn’t going to finish itself.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:dungeons and dragonsWritingTags:#amwritingcuttingdietingdragonepicfaithgainsgoblingood vs evillbmlizardmenmusclepaladinqueenweightlifting

We’re at it Again!


June 1, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

A few nights ago we managed to squeak in a little over an hour to play again. The players picked up after resting over night with no disturbances and pushed off in the morning. Not that they could tell much difference between the night and the morning – it was still pretty dark in the jungle!
After a couple of hours of walking Cody began to smell the smoke from a campfire. He told Jo, then took off at a run towards it. Jo stood still, shocked by his actions, and finally managed a face-palm. She hurried forward (at a walk) to assist.
He rounded a large tree and came to a stop when he saw the campfire and three men. Two were on their feet and facing him, while a third was sitting on the other side and looking up with a startled expression. Cody launched right in with, “Hi there, what are you doing out here?”
Queue another face-palm from Josephina.
An awkward conversation ensued, given that they were in middle of a dangerous jungle far from civilization. The three men admitted to having seen Dahlia recently, and even offered to show them where they went. The man on the far side of the fire said, “Erik, go ahead and show them.”
Queue the intelligence checks. Josephina failed but Cody did not. He remembered Erik was the same name as the guy that Dahlia ran off with. This prompted some more discussion then ended up with both characters being escorted (and surrounded) by the other three to where Dahlia went. And, as they neared the entrance to a cave, the bad guys attacked.
It was a heck of a battle. Cody drew two of them to himself and switched between them, alternating his attacks and getting pounded on in return as he was flanked. Josephina made fairly quick work of her opponent, and then moved to try and help Cody. That freed Cody up to focus on the leader of the kidnappers and he finally struck him down with a sword in the belly.
Erik surrendered and begged for mercy. He spilled his guts, more or less, and shared that they’d been paid to kidnap the baroness and deliver her here, where she’d be taken by someone else. He didn’t know who, only his boss knew that and he was in no condition to carry on a conversation anymore. All this happened after Josephina made an intimidation check that resulted in a 1. So instead of getting answers right away when she demanded he tell her everything, he proceeded to recite the alphabet and counted up to 20 before they stopped laughing and managed to stop him.
Erik led them into the cave, not warning them at just how truly vile it felt in there. Even with a burning log retrieved from the campfire the cave was dark and oppressive. Cody, a paladin, was beside himself with how wrong the place felt. They persevered and in the first alcove to the right, found Dahlia bound and gagged.
After they cut her free she proceeded to punch Erik square in the nose for his betrayal. They got a little more information out of him with her helping to slap him around a bit, such as learning that the people coming to claim her were to come from the back of the cave, not the front. A quick search led them to the rest of the shallow cave, where they saw an alter set up on a dais, complete with a statue of a dragon and carvings in the wall in the draconic language. They’d discovered a shrine dedicated to dragons.
They turned to leave just as they heard the sound of stone grinding against stone. Erik started cackling and said they were doomed now, they’d waited too long. If they let him live, he’d argue on their behalf to spare their lives. Josephina tried to get more information out of him but Cody, angered at being blackmailed by the thief, ran him through.
They searched his corpse for anything that would tell them more but found nothing, nor did they have time to waste. They searched the others and the campsite, finding Erik’s long sword he’d dropped when he’d surrendered as well as a modest sum of coins. The long sword was unlike any they’d seen, and when Cody picked it up to admire the midnight blue steel of the blade he noticed the sparkle of what almost looked like stars in the metal. The sparkle grew, captivating Josephina as the sword began to glow.
Cody turned, grinning at his find, and noticed figures emerging from the mouth of the cave. Figures wearing harnesses over their brown and green scaled hide and holding clubs and spears. Splisskin, and more kept pouring out.
It was time to run.
And so ended the first part of their adventure – finally! Both kids made it to second level, although they don’t know what that means yet since it was bedtime for them and we couldn’t go over it. Sometime soon, perhaps this weekend, we’ll dive back in and try to explain more to them. The biggest problem we’re having is getting my son separated from his electronics long enough to play, let along keeping him interested for more than an hour or so. He enjoys it and wants to do it, he’s just hard to keep focused on something for more than an hour. Or at least this.
In writing news, the end is in sight for The Goblin Queen. Not a matter of a few days time, but I’ve got a roadmap to the finish line, it’s going to take some work though. More of a marathon than a sprint, for sure!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:dungeons and dragonsWritingTags:adventuredndquestroleplayingrpg

Apologies and Adventure!


May 21, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

For steadfast readers who might have looked into my website, my Terminus books website, or my Conan Exiles server I host (server name is Phineas for anyone interested in checking it out – I’m always anxious to get more players on it) over the last couple of days I have to apologize. First off there was a power outage that killed my server. Then (today) I installed a new server and moved my databases over to it. There was downtime associated as I had to do some extra work to get the routings set up right. Everything should be up and running properly now though.
Now then, while power was out it was a great opportunity to get a little further into the adventure. The kids (Cody the paladin and Josephine the monk) were well rested and set out to talk with farmer Sherman. After interrupting him miking his cows they had a conversation that was only mildly confusing. They learned of two strange people – a man and a woman – that wandered off the road to the south and into the hills. They also learned that farmer Sherman knew of a Dahlia that was Baron von Griffinmount’s daughter, but had not heard of the Dahlia that they served for (she’s a merchant’s daughter).
Some fumbling around at the road’s edge (a 1 rolled on a perception check, for example) ensued and eventually they marched off into the south with no idea what to look for her or where to look for it. Instead they crested a hill and found a group of rocks complete with enough bush-cover to leave them clueless… save for the muttering in a language they weren’t familiar with (Dwarvish).
They crept closer but weren’t very stealthy about it. The voice spoke again (in Dwarvish) demanding to know who was out there and what they wanted. When they didn’t respond the dwarf barked thieves, a command word for his dog, and charged out of the weeds. They had to fight a large mastiff and the unusual dwarven prospector and, thanks to some convenient 20s, the fight ended with little more than a strike from the dwarf’s pickaxe hitting Cody. Both kids were upset at having to fight and kill a dog though, and now they both want to get a pet of their own (argh).
Amidsts some more fumbled rolling for tracking (1s are a DMs best friend) they eventually found the tracks of their suspected targets and continued their journey. An hour or two saw them to the edge of a shimmering forest. Upon closer examination they realized the shimmering was the sun reflecting off of the very fine spiderwebs that stretched from tree to tree and branch to branch. Numerous tiny spiders could be seen weaving their webs, which prompted the mighty paladin to cower in terror (he’s not big on spiders), even after it was explained to him that the spider silks are gathered by silk farmers (people) who have a way to weave them into some of the strongest and most beautiful silks in the world. The spiders themselves are harmless.
Since the tracks led into the forest, they had to follow them. After another hour or so of hiking Jo (Josephine) got distracted and walked into a tree (even monks have bad days). That noise prompted a wild boars to burst out of a nearby thicket and charge. Cody was ready this time and met it halfway. After their first exchange of blows the boar’s mate came crashing out of the same bushes and bore down on Cody (get it? the boar bore down on him).
Cody was gored a couple of times by the boars but managed to triumph. Josephine saw the boars as marvelous animals and refused to join the fight. Cody, to get her back for abandoning him, butchered one so he could have bacon when next they camped. I also explained to Jo (after the fact) that she could have attacked the boars (or the dwarf’s dog) with the intent to knock them unconscious and not kill them. It was my fault for not letting her know that earlier as it slipped my mind (and I was enjoying the turmoil in the party).
With that dispute resolved, they returned to trying to track Dahlia. The battle caused Cody to lose his bearings though. Fortunately Jo hadn’t moved so she picked up the trail and led them through the forest as they day grew long and the air thicker. The trees became darker and their leaves longer and broader. Even the ground began to grow moist as the forest turned to jungle.
It was there, on the edge of the jungle that they decided to camp. The sun had long since dropped below the mountains in the west and there was precious little light to see by. The gaming session ended for the night, short but fun for all. Stay tuned for part 3, whenever we can get to it. Hopefully that will be the end of their first official adventure, although their second one begins immediately – they just don’t know it yet!
 
Now some GM notes on fifth edition as I’m learning it. I have to admit, I like it so far. Players seem overpowered compared to monsters, but I think that’s my fault as much as anything. After all, I’m accustomed to old editions where these monsters would be more of a challenge to 1st level adventurers so I’m not throwing as much or as many against them. I did toughen them up a bit after the first session though, and I think I’ve found a better balance.
One other thing I really like is the dismissal of a lot of bonuses and penalties that really bogged the game down. Situational modifiers and circumstantial adjustments adding or subtracting from the die roll complicated things for DMs and players alike – or at least slowed the game down. In 5e they have a simple way of handling things – a roll is normal, advantage, or disadvantaged. A normal roll is a single 20 sided die like normal for attacks, saving throws, skill checks, or whatever. In the case of an advantaged roll two 20 sided dice (2d20) are rolled. The better roll is taken and then normal modifiers used. In a disadvantaged roll, 2d20 are rolled and the lower roll is taken. Roll 20s on both or 1s on both and it goes from critical (success / failure) to epic – I’m not sure if that’s in the rule books or not but it’s one I’m implementing.
So what can make a roll advantaged? Lots of things. One player declaring that he wants to use his combat action to help another, for example (e.g. distracting an opponent giving the other player an advantaged attack), fighting against an impaired target, having some magical boon or luck, etc.. A disadvantage can be had if you’re on the receiving end of such tactics. It’s early and my brain isn’t kicking in yet, but there are a lot of different reasons for advantage or disadvantage, including many pack hunting monsters that are next to the same target automatically gaining advantage because of their combat styles.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ve got some work to outside in between rain storms. That and probably more adjustments and enhancements to my new server to make. Somewhere along the way I have to fit in more writing too. The Goblin Queen has reached volume length already and there is a lot of story left to tell before it’s over!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:dungeons and dragonsWritingTags:downtimedungeonmasterfantasyfifth editionispmonknew playerspaladinrole playingservers

Wayward Women


May 16, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

The first dungeons and dragons session with my kids went well. Surprisingly well, in fact. We didn’t get nearly as far as I hoped we would, but it only lasted a couple of hours. My daughter wanted more, but my son needed a break. It was a good stopping point and I was glad to use it to my advantage – I needed to modify the adventure I’d built now that I had some experience with the new system. They needed more of a challenge!
The characters are a paladin and a monk and they’re off on a mission to rescue a merchant’s missing daughter. She’s run off with a young man of questionable character and intent, heading not only outside of the city but to the west, where there’s only a few farms and a lot of danger. After three days, her father fears the worst and, since it’s outside the city walls, the city guards are unwilling or unable to help.
So off they went and, with the city walls only a few minutes out of sight on the dirt road, they come across two travelers walking toward them. Cody, the paladin, hailed them while Josephine, the monk, noticed how the two seemed to be looking everywhere but at the players. The travelers continued to approach while bantering with Cody and even mentioned being concerned about bandits. The players assured them that they were not bandits – in fact, they were upstanding citizens in search of a lost woman. The two men they’d met grinned and said, “Oh good, that must mean we’re the bandits!”
Battle was launched! Cody stood there, stunned by the sudden turn of events, while Josephine (Jo) seemed to know what was coming. She even managed to attack first, slicing high with her short sword and forcing her opponent to duck – and then delivering a kick to his chin that staggered him. He recovered and tried to counter attack, but she twirled away from the thrust.
Cody managed to knock the sword thrust at him aside with his shield, but was unable to counter. On the second round of combat Jo finished her dodging spin and thrust her sword into the bandit’s belly and up into his heart. He dropped, predictably, and that left Cody  squared off against his for. He gashed the bandit on the arm before the bandit could realize they’d picked on tougher opponents than they though. He turned to flee, giving Jo a chance to stab him in hip with a glancing blow. Off balance, he had no defense against Cody’s sword swept his head clean off.
Hearts pounding and breath coming in gasps, the characters and their players took a moment to recoup and then continued on. Next up was a farmstead they investigated. Speaking with the farmer was an awkward and nearly fatal experience given their direct questions and forgetfulness that they’d just taken part in a battle and looked the part. They managed to avoid getting shot by a crossbow or upsetting the man overly much though, and continued along their way with no new guidance to help them.
Needless to say, they skipped the next farm they encountered!
An hour or so later they found a third farm and decided to investigate. This time they were spied by the farmer’s son on their way up the lane. He warned his father of the dangerous looking visitors and they were greeted with caution. Cody and Jo handled themselves a little better this time and soon were able to move on feeling like they hadn’t just courted death, though they learned little they could use to help them find the missing girl.
Soon thereafter they were set upon by a pack of hyenas that lunged out of the grasses. Cody was daydreaming of righting heinous wrongs and missed the skulking forms in the waist high grasses. Jo tried to warn him, but she was busy defending herself from the toothsome beasts. Even five hyenas were no match for the would-be heroes, although Cody did suffered a bit of damage when one of the hyenas bit his arm and tried to pull him into the grasses.
They passed the 4th farm and hurried on to Silk City, which was little more than an encampment made by the silk farmers that gather the resilient webbing left behind by the spiders in the forest and turn it into particularly strong silks. Indeed, the silk crafted from these webs is unlike any made anywhere else in the world of Kroth, and is used for many purposes from clothing to durable and light weight rope and more.
They met a few of the people at Silk City, including Gwendolyn a semi-permanent resident that ran a small general store and hostel, and Reginald, a portly silk farmer that recommended they talk to Farmer Sherman, just up the road towards Griffinmount (the fourth farm that they skipped, of course). Turns out Reginald had spoken with the man while trading and he remembered him saying something about seeing some new faces wandering about.
And that was the day and their first adventure ended. Cody charmed Gwendolyn into letting him stay in her hostel while Jo slept on the floor. During the next session they will follow the clues and, hopefully, explore more of what I have planned for them. Perhaps even finish the original adventure – but not to worry, I’ve already expanded it and planned for what comes next. It will be some nonstop fun! If they thought the first session was tense, wait until they get to the new stuff I have planned!
Oh, and incidentally they haven’t quite made 2nd level yet, but I did learn that my encounters weren’t tough enough. I had to buff up the encounters on the fly to keep them from being over in the first and second round, for crying out loud! That’s something about D&D 5e I’m noticing – characters are a LOT more powerful than they used to be. Then again, I’m coming from a 1st and 2nd edition memories and, especially in 1st, everything was designed to kill you in the fastest way possible.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
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Blog Posts Come in Threes too!


May 11, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Today was rough. Server issues at work first thing this morning and then some meetings and a trip to the Red Cross to donate blood (up to 2.75 gallons so far). After all that, more work and then I remembered I was shooting for another blog post to follow up on Tuesdays. So here it is!
I spoke fondly of the [url=http://www.booksbyjason.com/Home/PickSeries/2?series=Blades of Leander]World of Kroth[/url] and all the books and characters in it. Yet when I finish The Goblin Queen, I’ll need to move on to work on another book (to be honest, I’m not sure what – I haven’t given at much though at this point). That will leave me sad and disconnected with Kroth and its heroes and villains. The remedy to that comes in a small package – my children.
Both of them dabbled once or twice some time ago in trying out Dungeons and Dragons, the table top role playing game. It was a learning experience for me and it was a little rough, as fifth edition was just beginning to come out. 5E has been solidified much more now and the kids have been bugging me to try it again, so I’ve taken the plunge and immersed myself in the rules again, trying to relearn a game I remember so fondly from my youth.
It’s been close to 20 years since I’ve played it, and that was second edition and some third. Perhaps 5E will be as great as many claim it is, but for me 2nd edition was about as epic and wonderful as it can be. Time will tell. No matter what, it’s a lot to take in given the changes in the game. Some are slight and some are considerable, but all in all it does still feel like the same game at heart. I’m pleased to see they’ve tried to simplify it a lot since the horror days of 3.5 and 4.0, with a dice roll and a rule applying to everything. I’m a game master, damn it, let me do my own thing without feeling guilty that I’m not playing the game as it was meant to be played!
So the kids made characters already. I’m not surprised at their choices, but I was a little annoyed. They both choice to be half dragons (in 5E they’re called Dragonborn, but I don’t have anything like that in Kroth, plus I find the Dragonborn to be perhaps a bit overpowered). So half-dragons are my compromise, and they are reminiscent of Lariki, from Rise of the Serpent. Human enough in all ways save that they have a fine covering of scales that is easily mistaken for skin unless someone looks close in the right light. Also a resistance to damage based upon their parentage (my books don’t deal with subtypes of dragons but since we’re playing D&D, I figured I’d adapt).
As for the character classes, they went with a paladin (my son) and a monk (my daughter). It should be interesting to see how it unfolds. The first adventure will be them being sent out to rescue a merchant’s runaway daughter. She ran off with a minstrel who wooed her and left the safety of Griffinmount behind. The mountainous island Griffinmount is on has some grasslands and hills on the interior where a few farms are located, but it’s a dangerous place overall. Mountains ring the island and provide shelter for griffins, wyverns, and other dangerous aerial creatures. The hills and plains are home to wild boar, hyenas, snakes, and the occasional bandit hoping to waylay silk farmers.
Silk farmers? That’s where the forest and jungle come in. A small camp outside of forest provides a home for those skilled at collecting the strong webbings of the spiders that inhabit the forest and turn them into silk of unmatched beauty and strength. The spiders are harmless to people, even if they are numerous. Venture too far into the jungle and all bets are off – the silk spiders have larger cousins that are far less tolerant of intruders and far more dangerous. Not to mention the large snakes, some poisonous and some strong enough to crush a horse, as well as other threats.
And somewhere in all this Dahlia, the merchant’s daughter, has managed to get lost with her companion.
Griffinmount is located off the tip of the southeastern portion of Kroth, so there is no direct involvement of any of the books. Yet. The reality of this setup is that, hopefully, this game will provide future inspiration for stories and books. Although, to be fair, I expect enough silliness to occur (the kids are 8 and 10 years old) that I might whip up some shorts to release for pure entertainment purposes out of them.
Oh, and since I doubt I’ll get another blog post in before the weekend, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:2nd edition5E5th editiondamingdragonborndungeons and dragonshalf dragonmother's dayrpgtabletop

Waking the Siren


May 10, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

What?! Two blog posts in two days! What gives?
Believe it or not, I planned to follow up on yesterdays with another anyhow. However, I realized I’d forgotten to do something (namely this), so that comes in first. Who knows, maybe I’ll hit 3 posts in three days. Ahem, now then, on to the heart of the matter…
First off, this is not my book. It is, however, a good book. A really good book, in fact, and the second one in a series of great reads from J.E. Taylor, a personal friend of mine. I’m sharing it with you because I want more people to read her work and get hooked on her. And why not, my next release, The Goblin Queen, is probably a good month away still given more writing, editing, and cover art. You need something to do until then – why not try Jane out?
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Waking-the-siren-fb-party
Kylee is at it again in the second installment of The Paradox Files. This time her nemesis is a bicorn who feeds on virtue and devotion, however Kylee isn’t sure which is more dangerous, the Nevada desert or the beast.
Pre-Order Waking the Siren now and this kick-ass urban fantasy novel will be delivered to your device on May 15th!
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oUrtED
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1125813636
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1207607207
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/waking-the-siren
J.E. Taylor is also hosting a Facebook release party on May 15th from 5pm EST to 10pm EST and she is having some cool giveaways.
The giveaway is already up on the event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/282885308789043/permalink/283037568773817/
So swing in, enter the giveaway for $25 Amazon gift card and other cool things and say hello. You never know who might swing in to say hi.
If you’re looking for the first book in The Paradox Files series, currently it can only be found in the Legends of the Damned collection which you can read for free if you’re in Kindle Unlimited. If not, $2.99 is a steal for a collection of 20 books!
You can buy or borrow it here: http://amzn.to/2pkyTDR
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST 17799381_10154513628473657_5028608169431138255_n*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST 17966865_10212000157817696_7772313517415698553_o
And last, but not least, J.E. Taylor has her shifter romance novel, Blood Moon, in an upcoming summer collection with 22 other authors. This limited edition collection of 23 paranormal romance and urban fantasy novels – Venom & Vampires – is on sale for $0.99 through the preorder period. Grab it now on any of these sites:
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZXWB1G/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/venom-vampires-casey-lane/1126256052?ean=9781537899671
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1228321239
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/venom-vampires
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Casey_Lane_Venom_Vampires?id=7cuyDgAAQBAJ

Categories:WritingTags:anthologyJ.E. Taylornew fictionparanormal romancethriller

Did I Forget Something?

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May 9, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

My last blog post was about my current work in progress, The Goblin Queen. It was a good update and the book has advanced considerably since then. In fact, it’s nearing the novel length and I’m perhaps halfway through it. But that’s not what I forgot.
It occurred to me the very next day after posting it that I mentioned a bunch of characters by name. Most of them are reasonably well known by my readers (I hope), based on sales of the original Blades of Leander series. I sold tens of thousands of those books (if not more), allowing readers to partake in the adventures of Alto, Patrina, Garrick, and so many others. But what about readers that are new to my book or blog? Or readers that stuck with my science fiction and haven’t tried my fantasy books. No doubt the character names were confusing. Well, here’s my attempt to fix that!
Kroth – First off we have Kroth. Kroth is not a character, it is a world. The world of Kroth, wherein Alto and his friends live. By and large it contains all of the Kroth adventures, but that’s not the extent of it. Kroth is also a world in my Voidhawk setting, which readers of Voidhawk: Broken Shards and a few others will no doubt remember. The most exciting part about this Voidhawk tie-in is that if one world in the void can host so many stories and adventures, then how many others could I one day write given the void touches countless inhabited worlds?
Alto – Alto was born the son of a mercenary turned farmer. He never knew of his father’s violent past until after tragedy struck. Alto’s own foray into the life of warrior and adventurer began after a surprise attack by a tribe of goblins injured his father. He tracked them down and fought them alongside a group of mercenary’s known as the Blades of Leander. In short order he joined them and began his training as a warrior. From there Alto went on to rise to become their leader and make a name for himself until, one day, he seized the opportunity to establish a kingdom of his own bordering on the western reaches of the Northern Divide mountain range.
Patrina – Patrina was a runaway princess of the seafaring kingdom of Kelgryn. She was rescued by Alto in his earliest days of adventuring in a cave filled with goblins. Shortly after, she turned around and rescued him right back. They fought both together and against one another until their love for another became too great to fight.
Karthor – Karthor began as a young priest serving in the Blades of Leander. He is also one of Alto’s earliest and closest friends. His steadfast friendship and calming influence has helped countless people over the years. His chief source of strife are his father, a well-known and powerful wizard named Kar. His mother is a witch named Arcturia that lives in Mira, the desert empire that borders the Sea of Broken Shards. As of The Goblin Queen, Karthor has been named high priest of a temple to Leander he commissioned in the Kingdom of Altonia.
Kar – A wizard that fits many stereotypes. He loves his pipe, his food, and to talk about magic and theory. He also loves to experiment and borders on hazardous displays of magic while counseling others to do no such thing. He’s lived a long and colorful life and shows no sign of slowing down. His son is his greatest enigma- for all the magical phenomena he can understand and explore, he cannot fathom how a boy born of two great magic wielders could turn from wizardry to the priesthood.
Garrick – Garrick was born on the frozen tundra north of the Northern Divide. From his earliest days he hunted rabbit, caribou, and reindeer while being hunted in turn by hungry packs of wolves. When Alto and Patrina were forced into this harsh wintry land they met Garrick and his clan. It was a difficult time, given the barbarians interest in Patrina and the rivalry that grew between Garrick and Alto. With time and understanding, Alto and Garrick overcame their differences and became fast friends. Garrick still fancies Patrina, but his love for her is that of an adopted sister while he still searches for a woman that could be his equal rather than a mere night’s pleasure.
Namitus – Namitus is a half-elven minstrel and rogue. He always has a tale to tell or a tune on his pipes to play, and that is how he found himself a “guest” of the Kelgryn and an indentured friend and tutor for Patrina. With her rescue from the goblins came his, and Namitus quickly formed a bond with Alto just as strong as what he shared with Patrina. Now he works with and for them, traveling the lands and searching out trouble before it can rear its head.
Gildor – Gildor is a relative newcomer to the books of Kroth. He is a guide and archer whose skill is often sought out in the southern lands. One day he rescued a babe from a village that had been raided and destroyed, only to keep her and raise her as his own daughter. He has since suffered greatly at the hands of the Order of the Dragon, but since being rescued by Namitus, he’s thrown his lot in with Alto to do what they can to foil the Order and defeat them.
Grishna – Grishna is the latest introduction to the world of Kroth, though she was not born on Kroth. The Goblin Queen introduces Grishna as the last remaining survivor of a voidship that crashed many years ago on Kroth in the Sarana river far from its steamy headwaters. Grishna’s mother was a human slave that was owned by Zorrik the Merciful, an orc chieftain that sailed the void as a merchant. Unlike her mother, Grishna is a free woman, even before her father and all of her clan perished in the crash thanks to the claws of a massive dragon.
Celos – Sir Celos Lyonsbane is holy knight of Leander. A paladin whose mission in life is to defend his church and strike down darkness and evil. He is an esteemed member and considered by many to be the sword-arm of the church, or at least the leader of it. His life is spent in quest, seeking to banish one evil after another. His wife, Dame Aleena Lyonsbane, often tempers his zealous faith with wisdom, compassion, and mercy. Together the two are a sight to behold.
Aleena – Dame Aleena Lyonsbane is another holy knight of Leander, although she was once smitten with Alto and fancied a means of trapping him to be her husband while she was a serving maid at her father’s inn. When Alto chose Patrina instead she ran away to the church of Saint Leander and, in doing so, discovered her true calling. She trained under Celos and served as his squire until she was deemed worthy of being knighted and proclaimed a paladin. Along the way her purity and goodness earned her the friendship and service of Moonshine, a unicorn.
 
I think that’s the majority of the characters. Quite the crew! Just writing this snippet about each of them makes me remember the great many trials they’ve been through and the many sacrifices they’ve made. With each hardship overcome they’ve grown into someone stronger and better, for the most part. They’re more than just the voices in my head, they’re the kind of characters that feel like friends. The type that you love to read about, and hate to finish a book for fear you won’t hear from them for a while.
 
So I’m almost 50,000 words into this book and writing hard, but in no rush to finish and lose touch with them again! Rest assured though, I will finish it and worry not, I have other plans to keep them close by… but that’s another blog post.
 
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:characterizationfantasyfictionfriendssword and sorceryvoices in my head
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Overdue Update on My Fantasies

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April 25, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Either this blog title is clickbait or it’s sending people screaming and hiding. I’m okay with both.
The intent behind it is to share the latest book status. Fantasy is especially fitting since I’m writing a book titled, “The Goblin Queen.” It’s the next book in The Serpent’s War series, but I have to say this one is nothing like the two that came before. As I’ve said before, I enjoyed writing those books, but it was more work and less fun. This one has been nothing but fun, both when I write and when I’m not writing but thinking about it. It takes me back to the first series, Blades of Leander, and I can’t wait for people to read it! In fact, thinking about this book has gotten me through a lot of treadmill time while warming up or cooling down on my workout days (I run a mile before and after lifting).
Recently the story has expanded quite a bit. I originally intended only to follow Grishna (new main character), Garrick, Carson, Namitus, Aleena, Celos, and Gildor in their quest to investigate and attempt to foil the plans of the Order of the Dragon as they build their army. Inspiration and far reaching plans have launched a few more subplots though, enough to draw Alto, Patrina, Jethallin, Mordrim, Karthor, and Kar into the mix.
And wow have the characters grown and changed. Here’s just a sample of what’s come to pass:
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  • Jethallin went from her role as a homeless young mother in Shazamir to the High Warden of the forests of the Kingdom of Altonia. Jennaca, her daughter, is doing well and getting into all sorts of trouble, by the way.
  • Kar has apprentices that are contributing to his mad scheme of mastering the air by piloting the experimental airships he’s creating. So far the injuries have been minor…
  • Karthor has been granted the title of High Priest of the Altonia branch of the church of Leander. His liberal beliefs have caused disturbances amongst those entrenched in the church’s ranks, but the number of faithful in Altonia is growing faster than any temple or missionary in the history of Saint Leander’s worship.
  • Aleena and Celos have been wed! Ahem, excuse me, that’s Dame Aleena Lyonsbane and Sir Celos Lyonsbane. Even though Celos can’t let a chance slip by to try and one up Moonshine, Aleena’s unicorn companion.
  • Patrina and Alto are soon to welcome an heir to the throne, and Patrina can’t wait to be able to fit into her armor again.
  • Mordrim has been named dwarven ambassador to Altonia, though his duties often keep him traveling and unable to enjoy the rewards of the work he has done.

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The bad guys have changed too. The Order of the Dragon has learned from their setbacks and explore new ways to exert their will on the peoples of the world of Kroth. The first key to their success was in obtaining the help of a half-breed, which they’ve done in enlisting Lariki the half-dragon to be the general of their armies. Next they must eliminate their biggest threat if they hope to succeed – the Kingdom of Altonia and its champions must be destroyed.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:barbariandragondwarfelffantasygoblinkingorcqueensword and sorcerywitchwizardwriting
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Happy Birthday For All!

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April 1, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

What better way to celebrate my upcoming birthday than to release a new book? Vitalis: Miss Fortune, is out now!
That’s what I’ve been hard at work on for the past several weeks. A brand new sci fi novel that focuses on the life and story of a few people amidst the chaotic Vitalis universe. Unlike some of my previous Vitalis entries, this book doesn’t involve the movers and shakers, nor does it explore the possibilities of the planet Vitalis and the varied – and dangerous – creatures on it.
What Miss Fortune does do is show how the unfolding events are affecting the little people. The everyday people like you and I. The people that enjoy having a drink or two after work. The ones that have responsibilities to families and friends. The ones with loved ones who are sick or missing. The people who are so focused on their careers they forget to live a little, until they realize that maybe they missed the mark and living is more important.
I put all of those things into this book and I see them clearly, but I’m biased. It’s entirely possible that the average person might read this and just enjoy the action / adventure / thriller aspect of it. After all, there are cyborgs, genetically enhanced people, guns, martial arts, and even a couple of revealing dance scenes in a night club on the lower level of a space station.
There’s intrigue too, and enough background to move the entire Vitalis storyline along. After all, there’s a countdown to how much time humanity has left before the biggest threat they’ve ever faced arrives — and they aren’t coming to play nice. You can find it at the link below, including in print!
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalis-miss-fortune_small
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What’s next? Well, I’m hard at work on a fantasy novel called Goblin Queen. It takes placed in the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon), and is going to officially be the third book in my Serpent’s War series. I hate to admit it, but I’m having more fun writing this book than I did the first two in this new series – it’s got a really fun new character AND I’m bringing back in more of the original characters from the earlier series (Garrick, Carson, Celos, and Aleena, to name just a few). Goblin Queen is also going to lead into another crossover between Voidhawk and the world of Kroth – but that will come later.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
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I Love my Books!


March 13, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I hope that’s not arrogant to say. Or maybe it should be obvious. After all, if I don’t like them, why would I expect anyone else to?
The explanation behind this unusual statement is that I was doing some research while working on my latest book (Vitalis: Catalyst). I didn’t have notes written on what I was after (something from Vitalis: Genesis), so I had to read through some of the book to find what I wanted. Well, reading a little soon turned into reading a lot. I was sucked in and couldn’t stop myself.
This isn’t the first time that’s happened. It happens a lot, actually. Whenever I need to do something like that, I get pulled in. I’d do it more often but I have this irrational fear that when I read a book I wrote a while ago, I’m going to find parts of it that I don’t like. Things I want to rewrite or change. Or parts that just plain suck. None of that has happened yet, for the record, although on rare occasions I do find typos that got missed through multiple rounds of editing. No such problems this time, but that irrational fear lingers.
That also serves as a refresher for me. Sales are in the water closet (that’s a fancy term for shitter for us working folks) lately, so my natural assumption is that I’m writing garbage. Sure, I know they’ve taken a dive for virtually everybody out there and a lot of it has to do with Amazon’s fluctuating algorithms and attempts to monetize their own product lines and brands as much as possible, but the demons hiding in the shadows still linger and wait for me to turn away so they can pounce.
I was wondering though, why do I enjoy what I write so much? I’ve written a lot – over 100 books between myself and my shared projects – and I’ve forgotten bits and pieces of everything. Being reminded of them is a blast. It’s more than that though, it’s also my writing style. I write what I like to read. Fast paced, fun, thoughtful, and challenging. Or at least that’s what I like to think I’m writing!
I had a business trip recently and I wanted something to do on the plane (my laptop is too damn big to write on during a flight since I can’t afford first class). I picked up a Terry Goodkind book (The Omen Machine), and revisited some old friends in the process (the main characters of his Sword of Truth series). I also reread the Sword of Truth series last year and found myself enjoying it less the second time around because of all the passive mumbo jumbo they contain. The Omen Machine had a little less passive stuff in it, but near the end it contained a ton of repeated stuff that was really tiresome. Practically entire chapters, in a few cases. I was disappointed and it left me in no rush to buy his next book.
I’ve still got Raymond Feist and Terry Brooks – both of whom I’ve fallen behind on. There’s Dean Koontz too, although reading anything he writes leaves me feeling like a grade school kid who’s barely learned how to spell. And of course, that doesn’t include numerous other writers worth reading like John M. Davis, M.R. Matthias, and Jane Taylor to pluck just a few of my favorite names.
And speaking of Vitalis, I’m over 40,000 words into book #10 in the series (Catalyst). I know it’s going to be another favorite because I find myself thinking about it all the time when I’m not writing. I figure I’m somewhere between halfway and 2/3 of the way through it, but the ends of my books have a way of stretching out longer than I expect them too.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:appreciationartdean koontzraymond feistscience fictionterry brooksterry goodkindwriting

Medic – A Long Overdue Bestseller


January 22, 2017Jason Halstead1 comment

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Medic_small
 
I’ve been talking about Medic for a couple of months now. Way too long – not to be talking about it, but not to have it released and into your hands. That wait is over and it is now available everywhere as both ebook and print.
I made a claim of calling it a bestseller the very day it’s released. That’s bold, given my lack of marketing savvy and the fact that I believe in fair business practices. I have faith in this book though, both because of the strong brand the Wanted series has held over the years and the fact that I really think this book has something anyone can identify with.
Tom, the main character, is the kind of guy that surrounds all of us. He is us, in fact. He’s not sure who to vote for because he doesn’t really like any of the options. He goes to work and does his best, then comes home and wants to find the comfort and peace we seldom get to enjoy because there are things to do. He drives an old truck because he can’t afford a new one and because it gets him where he needs to go. He has a girlfriend that thinks the world of him and wants to help him become a better person… to the point he can hardly stand all the help she thinks he needs.
But Tom’s different too. Different from most of us, but not all of us. You see, Tom spent a couple of tours in the Middle East. He played an important part in a search and rescue crew that saved the lives of countless soldiers – or at least they tried to save lives. He’d lived through some of the worst that war had to offer and survived. Tom looked for a reason every day why he’d been spared when his brothers and sisters – and even his own teammates, had not.
Between his girlfriend and his nightmares, something has to happen. He knows he needs help, but he served with heroes, damn it. He’s strong enough to handle it. Besides, he’s got Doc Carter, the medic that ran his S&R team. They still talk and Doc wants him to visit. He wants to help now that he’s gone from patching up bullet holes to mending shattered hopes and dreams as a therapist.
I want to go on… but I won’t. I’m not sure if I’ve hooked you or not, but things get a lot worse for Tom before a run in with a certain familiar grizzled veteran and his feisty daughter give Tom a chance to turn things around for himself. Carl and Tom have a few things in common, it turns out, and the US Marshal and his deputized daughter need his help in figuring out what happened to Tom’s brother in arms. Nuts, I went on a little anyhow.
Well, here’s the links and you’ve already seen the amazing cover of the book Willsin Rowe made for me. Now get out there and grab your copy!
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:combat mediccorporationsmercenarymilitaryptsdromancescience fictionsoldierveteran[/size]

Hobo Stew


January 20, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’ve got a lot of smaller thoughts that I thought I’d combine into a blog post, hence the title. Hopefully it’s tasty!
First of all, progress on my Vitalis book is coming along sorta great. I say sorta because I’ve been very busy and unable to squirrel away as much writing time as I want to. On the flip side, when I do get to write, the ideas and words are coming almost faster than I can write them down. In fact, I came up with some great new concepts for the current book that really blew me away. The problem is that might make it a longer book than I intended, but is that really a bad thing?
In a way, it could be. I roped myself into a second Complex book with a short deadline, so no matter what happens with Vitalis, I have to get my second Complex book done in short order. I have no idea what the title is yet, but I do know two major characters will be an Amazon and an Ogre.
Next topic is story telling. Back in December I saw a Facebook post from someone (I apologize for forgetting who posted it) sharing that Origin had a game available for free. Mass Effect 2. I’d always heard good things about the Mass Effect series but never had the time or interest to check it out. Since it was free (and  I guess it still is), I ended up downloading it and, a few days later, tried it out. I was sucked in almost instantly. The Mass Effect games are RPG and 3rd person shooter merged together – and the merge is really good. I don’t care for 3rd person games, but it was easy to overlook my bias and in no time it felt natural. The problem was, I ended up finishing the game. So that meant I had to grab Mass Effect 3, and yes, I ended up finishing that one too. Let me just say that ME2 was really good, but ME3 blew me away. The complexity of the characters in the entire series, but especially in the 3rd one, were outstanding. They told a story, complete with subplots that the player could easily identify with and hold to heart. It was, in my opinion, an interactive book with the reader playing the main character. When it ended I felt the same way a reader feels when they’ve finished a good book. What the hell am I supposed to do now?!
There is a new Mass Effect game coming out very soon, Mass Effect: Andromeda. I’m hopeful on this, but leery. It’s a new story unrelated to the original trilogy – or at least unrelated to the trilogies characters (and they’re in a new galaxy and some 600 years have passed). Everything about it sounds good, but I’m still hung up on the characters from the trilogy and really wanting more of them.
Medic, the fifth Wanted book, is so close to being ready to go out. As in days away, at this point. I’ll be sure to share as soon as it’s available!
That’s it for now. It’s election day and I’m hesitantly hopeful for things to come. Hopeful that President Trump is able to fulfill some of his campaign promises and hopeful that there are others he cannot bring to fruition. So far the economy has been rebounding nicely and things are going well for the country. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next. One way or another, we should be supportive and stand together. After all, nobody should want him to fail – that would be like wanting the captain of a plane to fail, with all of us being the passengers.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing

Friendly Reminder


January 11, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.
http://www.thecomplex.info
Remember a month back in December when I unleashed this gem onto the world? Well, it did okay, sales-wise, and so did all of the other books in The Complex setting. Well enough that we want to go for round 2 in 2017. But to make it happen, we’re trying to get a little more push on the existing releases. So if you haven’t picked up Arrested in Peace or any of the other great books in The Complex series, what are you waiting for?

But you guys know me by now. You know I don’t spam your inboxes with repeat advertisements. So there’s got to be more to this newsletter, right? Well, there is! It’s only news at this point, but it’s good news. I’ve finished Medic, the fifth book in the Wanted series, and it’s making the rounds getting ready for publishing.
That brings me to my next project (Vitalis)… which I blogged about already. It’s coming along very nicely and I’m in love with the new characters and new story idea. Meanwhile Medic is being worked on behind the scenes for a release as soon as possible – hopefully yet this month.
Until then, enjoy The Complex!
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Cover-aip

ARRESTED IN PEACE by Jason Halstead

A vengeful woman must decide between the death of love or a love of death.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon

BLADE OF FOREVER by Scarlett Dawn

The stars align when two all-powerful Giants, with supernatural ‘swords’, flip a Human woman’s galaxy upside down.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon51

HALCYON by Demelza Carlton

Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon3

CURSED by Dylan Quinn

Cupid has a death wish but when her curse sets its target on the most powerful man in the universe, even the goddess of love may not be strong enough to resist.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Hungry-touch

HUNGRY TOUCH by Shona Husk

He wants to usher in a new era for the Incubi, but the traditionalist will do anything to stop him.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Front3

THE CURSE CATCHER by Laura Thalassa

Can a woman break her captor’s ancient curse before it’s too late, or will the beast prevail and destroy them both?



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon22

NIGHT WHISPERS by Calinda B

Someone’s stalking her, in her dreams. If he doesn’t destroy her, will he be her seductive salvation?



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon5

PROCRIS by M. Stratton

When magic decides an outcast Strogi should be forever linked with a Human they discover they are allowed something neither one thought they’d ever have, love.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Front41

THE LAST DRYAD by Sarah M. Cradit

A future torn by war. A love that could change everything.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Front32

DEATH’S ECHO by Rachel M. Raithby

She’s spent her life avoiding death’s echoes, now they may be the only thing that can save her.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Amazon23

BALANCE POINT by Katherine Rhodes

Three people. Two mates. One chance to save their destiny.



*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Front33

SHADOW OF RUIN by Cherie Marks

To obtain the impossible, she must overcome the shadows of her past.



*The Complex books can be read in any order.


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Categories:WritingTags:angelscomplexdemonsdevilsmagicmetahumansscience fantasyscience fictionscifiwitches[/size]
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One Person Can Make a Difference


January 5, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

The power of voting. No, this has nothing to do with the U.S. Government or Trump vs Clinton. This is about one person putting for the effort to voice their opinion. One person that cared enough to say what mattered and what they wanted. The reward for that one person is shift in direction. A change in effort and motivation. The creation of new systems, new lives, new technologies, and new ideas. In short, a new book.
Still waiting for a name to come to me, but until then let it be known that I am writing the next Vitalis book. Thank you, Kelly Davis Screen, for taking the time to respond when I put out the open question. It’s great to know there’s one person out there still reading.
So what’s the story and where does it fit in? Well, it falls in shortly after the end of Valkyries. I won’t share any spoilers, but I’m a solid three chapters in and loving the new characters and story line. The goal of this book is to help humanity unite itself against the approaching armada that is twenty years away. Humans have a history of banding together when tough times arise, and the approach of the Ultriarch is humanity’s greatest opportunity to put aside their differences and work together. The question they’re suffering isn’t a matter of culture, race, or gender, it’s whether they draw the line against those that have become affected and enhanced by the alien biology from Vitalis.
Will there be old characters? Sure, a few, but mostly this is about new characters and their stories. So far I’ve got Zack and Tessa, unlikely partners and criminals with their own needs and wants in life. Definitely not the sort of people anyone would expect to be asked to help a greater cause. Desperate times make strange bedfellows indeed.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:feedback mattersinteractionmaking a differencescience fictionvoting

Need Some Help

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January 2, 2017Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I finished the rough draft of Medic – it took way too long to write, but I had a ridiculous end of the year. Over two weeks off but every single “vacation” day I took I spent working several hours for the day job. On top of that, I had a ton of basement work planned to finish off my basement. Most of that happened, except early on I ended up with a vicious infection in my chest from inhaling too much drywall dust. I’m still not sure what happened for several days while I worked through some epic amounts of hacking and wheezing. But, the end result is a semi-finished basement (waiting on having carpet installed a few weeks out and then I’ve got to find some bargain basement furniture). Oh, and like I said, I wrote the last word on Medic’s rough draft today.
So now I need some help! What do I write next? I’ve got an awesome fantasy character idea that I could turn into a Voidhawk book that also helps finish up my Serptent’s War trilogy, or I could write something in my Dark Universe or Vitalis series. I’m torn, to be honest. I could do any of them – but times are lean so I’d love to hear what my readers are most interested in.
So let me know what piques your interest! More tales of the Uma and her new captain and crew (Dark Universe), the Voidhawk trying to return a natural order to the void, or humanity struggling to adapt, survive, and prepare for the invasion coming from the Ultriarch flying through space to consume them?
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:fantasyscience fictionwriting[/size]

The Path of Least Resistance


December 19, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I was studying my sales over the past year this weekend and trying to do it as analytically as possible (to fight off depression). That coincided with some formerly very successful writers that have experienced similar spirals. In fact, the more authors I speak with, the more it seems this is happening to everyone. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or a good thing.
Anyhow, I also happened to notice my whiteboard with my 2016 goals on it. I’m on par for nearly everything I wrote down except for 4 Terminus books. I wrote 2 when I launched with John, but then the apathetic reaction the marketplace gave us told us both it was time to move on. Damn shame too, I absolutely loved the setting and wanted to do so much with it.
Kind of like my next ideas after I finish Medic. I have an awesome character concept and some story ideas that fit so perfectly into a fantasy book – but nobody who’s reading my books seems interested in another book set in Alto’s world. That ties me into my sales trends I’ve studied. People want to read science fiction, not fantasy – with the notable pseudo-exception of Voidhawk. Voidhawk is space fantasy, so it’s got the appeal of science fiction even though there’s not much in the way of science behind the magic that allows renaissance era vessels to sale between worlds.
Fortunately for me, my next Voidhawk book will return to the world of Kroth. My new character idea might very well have it’s time in the sun after all. I’ve got to narrow it done some more first, but I’m pleased with what I’ve come up with so far. That’s going to have to slip into the back of my mind for now though, I have to finish off Medic first, and I’m getting pretty close to doing that.
How close? Well, a few more chapters and I’ll be done. And as of Thursday of this week I’m on vacation until January 3rd. Plenty of time to write! When I’m not working on remodeling my basement, that is. Or doing Christmasy things.
The real question is, will Voidhawk be my next project, or will I return to Dark Universe or Vitalis instead? In case I haven’t made it obvious, Dark Universe, Vitalis, and Voidhawk have been my bestselling series this year, and in order to keep the cash flowing I have to write what people want to read. Since feedback and reviews are rare, I have to rely on how readers vote with their dollars, and that’s what the votes are telling me.
As a side note, Arrested in Peace, my recent release in the shared sci-fi universe of The Complex, has been doing fairly well also though. I highly encourage you to check it out and the other works in the same setting.
The only other thing I want to mention is that I’ve finally gotten around to converting Victim of Fate and Silver Dragon (books 2 and 3 in the Child of Fate series) to print books available on Amazon. Those are ready to go, although I am in the middle of updating Victim of Fate to deal with a formatting issue – that should be done in a matter of hours. Just in case you’re in the mood for a good old fashioned paperback.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:anthologyartistic licensebest sellingcollectionfantasysalesscience fiction

Arrested!

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December 10, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Arrested in Peace, that is. The title of my latest release! It’s available now, on Amazon and all the other big ebook retailers. Grab your copy now, it’s something new, different, and totally fun. Sure, my concept of fun might be a little twisted, but if you’re reading this, I bet yours is too.
So what is Arrested in Peace? It’s a blending of science fiction and fantasy on a new scale I’d never aspired to before. Valerie Washburn was a naïve young woman at school. She had her boyfriend and friends, as well as her meager talents at detecting and understanding magic. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was the real deal when it came to magical potential. Top of his class and he had the future ahead of him. They had plans, he and Val. Big plans.
A summoning accident involving metahumans changed all of that. Valerie’s world fell apart around her. Nothing mattered anymore… nothing until she was approached and given an opportunity to get her revenge on the the dirty metahumans that were responsible for ruining her life.
Death and taxes are constants on one end of the spectrum. Politics is on the other end. With peace brewing between the humans and metahumans throughout the Seldova solar system, hunting metas is no longer sanctioned. Valerie has nothing left to do, until she found a call to Lorn, the experimental planet where co-habitation between human and metahuman is underway. It’s a job she can appreciate – she gets to hunt down lawbreakers that the security forces can’t handle on their own. And that means metas.
The story starts with Valerie refueled with her hate and anxious to continue her vengeance. It’s not about making things better, it’s about making them hurt. Nothing else matters, not even her own well-being.
Okay, so vengeful character with a serious chip on her shoulder. What’s so much fun about that? First is a mistake she makes that saves a metahuman’s life. The unexpected consequences of that threaten to follow her the rest of her life. Adding even more complexity is her next case – an old friend has come back from the shadows and she’s anxious to make contact again…and so much more beyond that.
Nano-technology, magical spells, demons & angels, necromancy, zombies, and a seriously pissed off woman that doesn’t know how to slow down. It turns everything upside down and does it in a way that makes it easy for anyone to get into, regardless of whether you like scifi or not.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Aip_small
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Next up is Medic, the fifth book in my Wanted series. Carl, Jessie, Ally, and even Tanya are back and playing an important role in putting an end to whatever is taking out veterans. When it gets personal for him there’s no strings he won’t pull to put an end to it, whether the laws on his side or not.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:angeldemonfaeriefantasyincubusmagicmetahumannecromancyscarlett dawnscience fictionSlayerthe complexwitchzombie[/size]
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Confession Time


December 8, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

We all have our private guilty pleasures. I’m no different in that regard, except mine might not be what you expect – at least not the ones I’m willing to admit to. For example, I’m an avid fan of a couple of television shows (that I watch in the early hours thanks to streaming services). Chief among them is Marvel’s Agents of Shield (and the mid-winter break Agent Carter). Followed almost as closely by Supergirl, which moved to the CW.
Now, between you and me, I never had any interest in the CW as a network. I’m definitely not in their target market and I saw little value in the fluff I thought they produced. Yet when Supergirl went there, I had no choice. But still, Supergirl was it, the hell with those other shows.
Then they did something dastardly. Earlier this year they did a crossover with Barry Allen, aka The Flash. From the show, The Flash (convenient, eh?). Now he showed back up and requested Supergirl’s help…. But her help was to be continued on his show. Damn it! I had to watch The Flash now. Grr… and that meant getting caught up. Double grr.
So I did it. I watched it. All of season 2, in fact. And once I got past the cheesiness so inherent in the DC universe, I found myself enjoying it. Not quite as hooked as Supergirl, but it’s made my mornings more difficult because once a week I have to squeeze in time to catch up on that show too. Unfortunately for me, the CW went another deeper level into hell and at the end of the combined show with Flash and Supergirl, they continued it on next night’s Arrow show. WTF?!
This time I drew the line. No way, no how, was I going to catch up on Arrow. There’s nothing about Arrow that interests me. I’m a bow hunter and I love shooting bows and arrows (and guns), so I can only suspend my disbelief so far. That and the characters don’t really interest me very much. Nonetheless, I had to continue the combined storyline, so I did by watching the single show that has multiple characters mingled together – and discovered that the story arc would continue into DC’s Legends of Tomorrow the following night. #$%$%^@!!
Legends of Tomorrow, I quickly discovered, is very addicting. The eclectic cast is superb. Sure, there’s cheesiness in the extreme – they travel through time to stop aberrations that would screw up the timeline, after all – but the cast of characters is so well rounded and each character so full, it’s impossible not to get sucked in. Characters I thought deserved a red shirt exposed vulnerabilities and interesting traits that changed my mind completely. And, most interesting of all, is Mick. He’s the jerk / muscle of the group. A former criminal with questionable moral character. And I love him! He is the Jayne Cobb of the show. And if you don’t know Jayne Cobb is, go watch Firefly right now. That’s an order.
Legends of Tomorrow has some of that same Firefly flavor to it, which is maybe why I’m so drawn to it. Not as good, but nothing else on television ever has been. But the point here isn’t to wax on the injustice of Fox cancelling Firefly, but to talk about the CW story arc among superhero shoes. And to that end, Legends of Tomorrow ended the story arc and everybody went back to their own shows – except now I have four shows to watch each week instead of only two (Agents of Shield, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow).
I ask myself what makes these shows so interesting? Complex characters with a lot of quirks has a lot to do with it. Cool concepts and premises as well, as far as the show is concerned. Admittedly, The Flash is the weakest on these things, but it makes up for it by exploring a lot more what-if type scenarios.
Speaking of characters, I’m a sucker for a strong female character. They do such a better job of showing how well balanced they are between strength and weakness than male characters do. I’m exposing a double standard there, I admit, because when I see a male lead get soft and emotional I scowl and mutter bad things about them. I’m certain I’m not alone in that, but it doesn’t make it right.
Well, I can work on sensitivity training for myself, but those who know my best don’t hold out much hope there. On the flip side, I can continue to enjoy kick-ass female leads without reservation. And I can promote a few and share their stories as they appear to me. For example, in a couple of days I have a new book coming out that’s part of a shared universe (not unlike what the CW did with their DC superhero shows). Character’s interact between books written by myself and multiple other authors – and they are all being released on December 10th, this Saturday.
Mine is called Arrested in Peace and you can pre-order it now. It follows the main character, Valerie (Val) Washburn) as she attempts to put the horrors of her past behind her on an alien planet while trying to decide which of the metahumans she’s dealing with are friends, and which are foes. For now that’s all I’ll share – look for more in a couple of days!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:Writing

Check Please


November 11, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m done. At least for a while. I’ve been avoiding Facebook for weeks, if not months, due to all the crap I’ve been seeing. Fear, hate, and outright bullying in the form of political bullshit. Sadly, it was mirrored on the television. Fortunately for me, I don’t watch much television and what I do watch is either a hockey game or something I can block the commercials out with.
And now it’s over. Sweet, blessed relief. Normalcy can return. Except it hasn’t. If anything, the fear and hate mongering on Facebook has escalated. Most Trump supporters are getting sick and tired of it, even though the vast majority seem to have stayed quiet about it up until now. Hillary supporters are angry and bitter because she gave them a holy crusade to believe in and convinced them to take up the pitchfork and torch for her cause – only to find out her plan didn’t work out the way they thought it would.
Personally, I’m glad. I hate to admit it, but I’m glad on as spiritual a level as I’ll ever get that the American people did not condone her past and present actions by electing her into office. The evidence is irrefutable and, had it been anyone else who would have broken the agreements and laws that she did, a harsh sentence would be quick in coming. For her it did not, much as her husband was acquitted during his tenure as president when he was investigated. This, if nothing else, has served as an example of how corrupted and broken our system has become. To perpetuate that would be a crime. The government has too much influence and power.
Look at almost every science fiction story or movie out there. Utopian societies exist because of some hidden evil beneath. Some great corruption that allows the socialist regime to flourish and remain in power. Civilizations are disarmed and kept powerless. They are subjugated, perhaps even drugged, to perpetuate the illusion of a perfect world. Until some rebel with a bow and arrow or a bizarre way of thinking rises up and makes people realize that roses aren’t supposed to stink like decay.
More government is not the answer. More government means more rules and more restriction. Less freedom. Less ability to choose. Less human rights. In my stories I strive to keep government at reasonable levels and let the characters flourish and achieve what they are meant to achieve. Out here in the real world I struggle to do the same thing, because I believe it’s people that can, and do, make a difference. Not institutions or organizations. People.
America made me proud on November 8th when they said we want a real change. We don’t like what’s happening to us – what we’ve allowed to happen to us. We want something different. Is President Trump going to bring it? I’ll be damned if I know. I am convinced that he is extremely intelligent and very persuasive. His skills at business are exceptional. He’s not going to be the despot so many people believe in, but only time will tell that. Whether he can chart a new, and better, course for America will be a subject for historians. All we can do is work together and try to help each other through the bumps along the way.
Will there one day be a woman president? Absolutely. Will she be as enslaved by her ambitions and willing to broker any deal or tell any lie necessary to achieve that title? I sure as hell hope not. In my mind I argue that electing Hillary wouldn’t have been a proper way to shatter the glass ceiling – it would have been a lesson to our youth that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to win, regardless of the consequences. That, to me, is just bad parenting on a national scale.
And I’ve gone on far longer than I intended to. My intent was just to say that I can’t stomach Facebook right now, so I’m taking a break from. Any abusive or defamatory comments on this will be removed. I’m not inciting a discussion, I’m stating my mind and moving on after months of doing my best to remain neutral only become involved when something amused me.
I’m not taking a break from writing though. Medic has broken the 20k word barrier and is coming fast and furious. Not as fast as I’d like, but I’m still slapping the keys as much as I can. It will definitely be done this year, and as long as editing and cover art are available in time, it will be published this year as well.
After that? Maybe a political thriller? That’s a joke. I hate politics and what they do to people. Next up could be a lot of things, but to be honest I have no idea which one it will be. I’ve had character ideas and story ideas – we’ll just have to wait and see which one makes the most sense.
Oh! There will be a release in early December. It’s called Arrested in Peace, and it’s my secret project I’ve been working on all year. This book is part of a multi-book project releasing at the same time. It’s science fiction and fantasy mixed in a cool new concept. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I do plan on getting up for pre-order soon so it can launch the same time the others do. Stay tuned for more info on that.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Self HelpWritingTags:clintoncommon sensedystopiaelectionfantasyhillaryscience fictiontrumputopiaWanted

Wanted: The Blog


October 27, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s way too soon for another blog update, given my infrequent posts, but I just couldn’t help it. I’m up to chapter 5 on Medic already and I just wanted to share that it’s coming along so smooth and easy. I’m really loving this story and re-connecting with these characters. Carl is awesome and uncompromising as ever. Jessie is bubbly, unstoppable, outrageous, and she just won’t shut up. Ally is a little bit of both – thoughtful and determined, but with a fun and sexy attitude. And the new guy? He’s so over his head he doesn’t even know how much trouble he’s in trying to hang out with these guys!
I’m going to have an absolute blast with this one, I know it!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:armyfuneralmilitaryptsdscience fictionscorched earthseries

Arachnophobia in Space


October 27, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Thinking about that title sends shivers down my spine, and I’m not really afraid of spiders. Creepy things, sure, but I’ve only had one close call with a Black Widow and I came out on top… of the shovel I used to smash it into paste after I stopped with less than two inches between the spider and my belly. My brother, on the other hand, would have probably burnt the house to the ground and called in an airstrike just to make sure.
But this post isn’t about spiders, it’s about my new release! Voidhawk – Queen of Spiders. Yes, there are spiders in it, lots of them. And they’re huge – bodies the size of a cheetah and legs that stretch for miles (or maybe a few feet, it’s still creepy). And they serve their queen and only their queen – whoever that happens to be.
On top of spiders the different people of void are still dealing with the problem of the dead not wanting to stay dead. So spiders and zombies… it’s only natural a few zombie spiders join the story as well, right?
And that’s just only the tip of everything that’s happening in this book. Rosh and Volera reconnecting. Bekka finding more about her own talents and abilities. Jianna and Dexter supporting each other as best they can after the loss of Jenna. And there’s so much more I don’t want to give away. It’s a full book, to say the least!
And it’s available now – everywhere ebooks are sold (or as close to everywhere as I can get – see the links below). Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawkqueenofspiders_small


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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:Writing[/size]

Took Me Long Enough!


October 21, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Just a quick update because it’s late already (and the Redwings are playing an intense game against Nashville). Tonight, rather late, I finally got my next Wanted book scoped out and planned. Or as planned as I do with any of these. I squirreled away the time to put a name and face to my new characters. That’s what started this idea, the concept of a character that I want to put through the grinder and, maybe, help out (before it’s too late).
Of course, it’s a Wanted book, so you can bet your ass that Carl, Jessie, and Ally will be back. I’m sure Tanya will play a part too. Who knows, maybe Sarah or some other favorites from past books might show up too – I sure don’t have a clue at this point!
The point is, the 5th Wanted book is officially underway. Working title so far: Medic.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:detroit redwingsend of the world as we know itfederal marshalnew science fictionptsdscorched earth

The Ship has Sailed


October 19, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Voidhawk – Queen of Shadows, has sailed! To the editor, at least. I have cover art already so I just need that to be finished when it can dock a port near you for reading.
What took so long? An incredibly busy and crazy life lately, for one. The book itself was a joy to write and never stalled for lack of ideas of interest. In fact, it took on a life of its own and went in a direction I didn’t intend. Along the way a few characters really dug deep and really showed some amazing things to me. All in all, it was a good time and one I wish I could have gotten done sooner, only so that I can share it with the Voidhawk fans out there.
What’s next, you ask? Well, I have a couple of awesome character ideas, but unfortunately they won’t fit in the next Serpent’s War book, so they have to wait a bit for me to finish that. Another character I’ve been dying to write is a soldier who is living with PTSD, and a lot of ideas I have around it would fit in wonderfully with my Wanted setting. Think anybody’s up for an unexpected 5th book in the Wanted series?
Then there’s The Continuum, my joint venture with Dawn Michelle. That one needs more books written as well. Argh! So many options and so little time – and don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten about Dark Universe or Vitalis.
So that doesn’t really tell you anything about what comes next, other than to say sooner or later, they’ll all be new books waiting to be read! Until then, hold tight for Voidhawk and stay tuned for more updates on what I settle on.
Oh, and my updates were pretty sparse lately. For that I apologize. I kept saying I need to write one down and share it… or I could spend the time writing the book and get it that much closer. I knew I was near the end, I just didn’t realize it would extend out another 6 or 7 chapters until I reached it. Next time, update first. These are short and quick, so why not make the time to do it?
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:arachnophobiachampiondemonsdridersfantasyknightmagicnaval battlessailingshipsspace fantasyspace operaspiderssuccubussword and sorcerywarrior

Please Hold…


September 28, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

For fans of the Voidhawk series, I imagine you’re getting plenty frustrated. First I started #9 and then I took a break to work on something else (Symbols). Now I’m back on it, but it’s taking forever to write. Entirely my fault, but not due to lack of interest or desire. Just increasing demands and, arguably, less than optimal time management. But damn it, I am working on it! Just last night I finished off another 4000 words in fact. The end is near, my friends, but still a week or so out.
And that brings me to my next discussion point. I’m 99% sure I know what my next project is. This wasn’t what I had planned, but for these characters and this series, it’s usually how it works. I’m returning to my Wanted series for another installment. No idea about the title, but I’ve got some wicked-cool ideas on plot and an even more amazing idea for a new character to introduce.
This character has been rattling around in the back of my head for a while, but they never real took on a lot of substance. Some reading I’ve been doing has reestablished the need for this character though, and that in turn helped me flesh them out. Originally I was thinking it would be a woman because that’s a little less common / mainstream, but then I realized poor Carl is surrounded by women and he could really use another guy on his side. Once that decision was made, the character more or less popped into life.
I’d spend time writing more about it, but I need to get back to working on Voidhawk (amongst other things). So consider this a teaser!
Oh, and not to worry, Vitalis and Dark Universe are not abandoned, and neither is my wife’s latest series, Continuum.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
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Queen of Spiders


September 23, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Voidhawk #9, Queen of Spiders, is still in progress. Steady progress, although not as fast as I’d like. It’s nearly the length of a full novel though and I’ve got a bit to get yet, so that’s great news I think. Sure, I wish I had it finished already, but only because I want to see how it’s going to end.
I started this book out with some ideas and a plan on how I needed to help Volera discover more about herself, as well as help everyone find a way to deal with the restless spirits that are plaguing the void. Yet, as usually happens, things took a twist on me as I was writing. Something that seemed insignificant took on a greater priority and, before I knew it, my story had changed. A minor sojourn at a port has turned into an entire adventure by itself!
When they’re done with this they won’t be nearly as far as I’d hoped, but that’s okay because it sets everything up for the next book. Assuming, of course, that no more surprises come my way.
And because I like to think ahead, what’s going to come next after I finish this book? I don’t know for certain, but I have a lot of ideas. Dark Universe has been silent for a while now, but Vitalis is nagging away in the back of my head. Believe it or not, I’ve had some really exciting ideas to continue my Wanted series into a 5th book as well. The ideas and concepts don’t stop there though, I have other things I’d love to do, but I’m not sure if I can justify the time spent on them. These days I have to focus on what’s going to deliver the most and please the most people, versus writing for the sake and love of writing. Kind of a sad day, but fortunately as long as I’m writing something I’m still having a good time.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:space fantasyspace operaVoidhawkwork in progress

Racing Snails


September 6, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Nothing like a summer cold to bless the end of summer. And bring progress to a standstill on my projects. The three day weekend was nice – until it ended, of course. Sadly, that’s when I broke my cold over Friday and Saturday. Getting back to normal now, but I spent labor day laboring (had to frame out more walls in my basement).
The good news is, the worst is past and now I can get back to working on Voidhawk! I’ve got a sweet new idea to incorporate into a book that’s already got a lot of possibilities I really want to work into it. Voidhawk – Queen of Spiders is a little under halfway written, what with my current half baked plans. Love to say I can crank out the rest of it over the next couple of weeks, but we’ll see how that works out.
In other news – there really isn’t much for other news. I’ve been delighted to notice that my non-Amazon sales are higher than ever and even outpacing Amazon this month. Too many issues with Amazon lately has me happy to see another venue outpacing them. The downside of that is my Amazon sales have also been terrible so far this month. Labor day weekend has always tanked for me though, so hopefully they’ll pick up and run neck and neck (Amazon vs. non-Amazon).
If you’re a reader looking for one of my books, if at all possible pick it up from iTunes / iBooks, Kobo, Barnes and Noble (Nook Press), or someplace else. Not that I’ll snub a sale on Amazon, I just like to see healthy competition.

Categories:WritingTags:fantasyhome renovationqueensinus coldspidersVoidhawk

Symbols – Another New Release!

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August 19, 2016Jason Halstead2 comments

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Symbols_small
I mentioned it before, but it happened faster than I expected. Beautiful cover art, thanks to Willsin Rowe, and it’s ready to roll out. Due to my ongoing frustrations with Amazon, Symbols is available everywhere in e-book format.
So what is Symbols? It’s not like my other books, for starters. Symbols is the inspiration I received while camping with my family in Silver Lake, Michigan. The area is beautiful and a lot of fun, and it quickly brought to mind a new story idea thanks to the shifting sands of the sands dunes there. Symbols is a supernatural thriller / horror story with a few scenes intended for mature audiences only (so if you’re under 18 don’t read this book. Or don’t tell me or your parents you read it, if you just can’t stop yourself because it’s just too awesome to pass up).
At first glance it seems like a pretty typical story line – unsuspecting hero finds a cursed treasure. The thing is, I never considered that trope at all while writing it. Not only that, but I twist things around so much in this story that there’s a whole lot more depth to it than it has any right to contain. As a matter of fact, while I was rereading it and doing my final content edit I noticed two things – first: I was caught up in it again and not paying attention to what I should be focusing on (changes that needed to be made) and second: how deep and well done it was. Yes, that’s right, I patted myself on the back. Hey, I’m biased, what can I say?
I’ll include the blurb for a bit more of a teaser, and you’ve already seen the cover. Finally the links where it’s available at (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and the list goes on.).
 
Alan is a man in need. Forty years old with a wife and two kids, he’d resigned himself to a life of middle class mediocrity. His only escape was the adventures he’d take hoping to learn and experience something – anything – new.
The Silver Lake sand dunes gave him that opportunity. A twist of fate led him to a treasure buried for hundreds of years beneath the shifting sands. A treasure that he can’t turn away from. A treasure that is guarded by powers beyond his understanding.
Alan’s life isn’t the only one at risk. His family has already been changed and soon the rest of the world will suffer. Setting things right means more than embracing the darkness hunting him and fighting back, it means defeating a being as old as human civilization itself.
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What’s next? Well, I’m back working on my 9th Voidhawk book. I’m either going to call it Voidhawk – Queen of Spiders, or Voidhawk – Spider Queen. I encourage feedback on either title – so don’t hesitate to reach out and tell me which one you like more!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:cursegodhieroglyphshorrorkinglake michiganMasterMichiganmind controlmythologypowersand dunessilver lakesumeriasunken treasuresymbolsthriller
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Another Grab Bag – and Why Facebook Disappoints

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August 18, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

First off, the clickbait explained – Facebook. For any content provider (or at least for us writers), Facebook has become less and less useful. Oh sure, some might argue Facebook ads bring in lots of sales for them. Good for you – I haven’t seen it. I’ve tried, believe me. I’ve spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars on Facebook ads, but the return wasn’t as much as I invested. That’s bad business (for me, not for Facebook).
But the ads are only one reason Facebook leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It’s all the content I’m missing from people I elected to be my friends. That’s what irks me. That, and the pages I’ve liked that I don’t see updates from because I didn’t drill down into the menus on their page and notify Facebook that yes, I really do want to see their content. Didn’t I already do that when I clicked “like?” Stupid Facebook.
So, that segues into the reason for this blog post. Not to bitch about Facebook, but as means of me (hopefully) blogging more. Instead of posting updates only on my Facebook page, I’ll post them here on my blog. The blog posts go to Facebook (for now – I’m sure they’ll try to limit or monetize that in the future too), my website, my Twitter feed, and my blog (who knew?). Hopefully this way I can reach the extra people who are missing out on Facebook, even if it ends up being only a handful.
This wouldn’t be much of an update if that’s all I shared though, now would it? How about I share the three books that were just released under Dawn Michelle’s name (I’m on the books as an author now too). Claimed by the Dragon King (rewritten from the original release in a winter anthology), Flight of the Dragon King, and Defending the Dragon King. My wife and I teamed up on those books (part of an ongoing series called The Continuum) creatively, so I earned partial credit. They were released last week and are available all over the place (see below for links).
I also JUST clicked the submit button on my latest project, a book called Symbols inspired by my recent vacation in Silver Lake. It’s a bit different from what I usually do – this is a supernatural thriller / horror story. I admit, I was worried I’d lost my way at one point, but then everything came in together for a beautiful ending that I’m still thrilled about. Then again, it’s not uncommon (for me, at least) to start to wonder if I can really pull together everything I’ve been working on in a book and bring it to a proper close. No links for that one yet, but hopefully tomorrow I can share them.
So, until I get around to that, go check out The Continuum books!
 
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Claimed by the Dragon KingFlight of the Dragon KingDefending the Dragon King
Amazon
Amazon UK
Everyone Else
Amazon
Amazon UK
Everyone Else
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Everyone Else
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:adsadvertisingdragonsFacebookparanormal romancesocial networkingsupernatural
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Sailing the Stars in Exclusivity

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August 5, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawk-final-small
Today’s blog title is a bit of a play on words. While sailing the stars is a bit of an allusion that could be used for any starship or space travel, I mean it literally. As in using a solar sail, of sorts, to ply the solar winds and travel from star to star and world to world. Using modern science (or even future science, perhaps), it’s a viable means of transportation, but slow. Using fantasy, it opens up all sorts of possibilities!
So, since I abhor reality and enjoy escaping into my imagination, I’m talking about Voidhawk. Voidhawk is the name of the series and of the wooden ship that sails through the void (space) under the command of Dexter Silvercloud. He’s part scoundrel and part knight, among many other things. The Voidhawk is a ship that has been through a lot since he found it and rebuilt it. They’ve faced off against Elven Armadas, chased demons, travelled outside the void to a place without time, and hunted dragons that could not be killed. And they’ve paid the price for their boldness many times over. But they keep doing it.
The exclusivity? Well, that’s because I just put my entire Voidhawk series into KDP Select, which means it’s available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s exclusive because that means, for the ebooks, at least, I cannot sell them anywhere other than Amazon for the next 3 months. Since they weren’t selling anywhere but Amazon for the past several months, I figure this isn’t much of a sacrifice.
Better yet though is the news that Voidhawk, the first book in the series, is free on Amazon today (8/3) and tomorrow (8/4)! Then it goes back to its regular price of $0.99. Or, if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read all 8 books in the series without paying a dime.
As for 8 books in the series, I’m working on book number 9 right now, although I have to finish up another one first, I hope to have that out of the way very quickly.
Oh, and lest I forget, Voidhawk becomes intertwined with another fantasy setting I have, the World of Kroth. The Blades of Leander trilogy (Child of FateVictim of Fate, and Silver Dragon) is already part of Kindle Unlimited. The next series, Order of the Dragon (4 books in that one), is not in KU yet. Nor is The Serpent’s War trilogy a part of it (and for the record, I haven’t written the 3rd book in that trilogy yet either). Voidhawk and Kroth cross paths in Voidhawk #7 (Broken Shards), Voidhawk #8 (Fallen Goddess), and soon to be in Voidhawk #9 (untitled). As for the World of Kroth books, the action happens between the end of Order of the Dragon and the beginning of The Serpent’s War, although there should be some interaction in the upcoming 3rd book in the Serpent’s War trilogy.
Phew, if that was confusing to you as a reader, imagine how tricky it is for me, the author, to keep it all together! Don’t worry though, I’ll take on the burden of keeping it straight. All you have to do is enjoy the books – and don’t forget to snag Voidhawk while it’s free.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:championdemonfantasykdpkindle unlimitedknightkumagicsailingsolar windspacespace fantasyspace operavoidwarriorwitchwizard
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Back to Books

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July 25, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Back to writing about books! Any fellow writers out there know that book sales have crapped the bed across the board. Anybody who says they aren’t is lying – or they’d better have evidence to back it up they’re willing to present. In spite of that, a fellow fantasy author and a hell of a guy named Michael Mathias just recently sold his one millionth book. That, I think is one hell of a milestone. A milestone I hope one day to reach, although at the rate things are going that might take a lot longer than I expected.
Amidst congratulating him on his success he admitted that book sales were down for him too, but KU was keeping him going. KU (Kindle Unlimited), which I’ve blogged about in the past, is a system where people pay $9.95 a month and get access to pretty much any book in the KU catalog at no additional cost. I think there’s a tie in to Amazon Prime Members too, but I forget exactly what it is.
My past blogs have discussed how I’ve been shying away from KU after trying it out here and there. The price per word paid to authors keeps going down and I felt I made more by going abroad with my books. You see, to be in KU a book has to be exclusive to Amazon (in digital format). I ran my tests and did my research and it seemed to me I could make 30% – 50% of my net royalties off of non-Amazon retailers if I could get my books out to said retailers, whereas leaving them exclusive to Amazon did not earn me enough extra money to offset the loss on other sales channels.
After talking to Mike, it occurred to me that I might need to look at things again.
About the same time I got an email from Smashwords. Smashwords distributes books enrolled to them to other sales outlets (iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc.). I used to put all my books through them as well as Amazon direct. Then Draft2Digital came along and I tried them out – much easier, faster, and a far better system. I highly recommend and praise D2D. Smashwords… not so much. Especially after I received an email from them letting me know that several of my books that had been in their premium catalog and doing just fine for years were suddenly no longer eligible because the covers weren’t sized properly.
What. The. ****.
Those two unrelated events came together and made me decide to try another experiment. My fantasy trilogy, Blades of Leander, had once been incredible popular. They were stories in a knights, wizards, and dragons kind of setting. Typical fantasy fare with my spin on things that put the characters first. Anyhow, they did awesome a couple of years ago but then they dropped off the charts. Dropped off as in now they are practically non-existent on said charts. When it comes to non-Amazon outlets, they were completely non-existent.
Well, Child of FateVictim of Fate, and Silver Dragon are now exclusive to Amazon and available to KU members at no cost! Not only that, but Child of Fate is free as of this morning and tomorrow to anyone on Amazon that wants to grab it.
I’m switching more things over too in the near future, so keep checking to see what comes up on special next!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:barbariansbestsellingBlades of Leanderborrowschild of fatecoming of agedragonsepic fantasyfree booksgoblinskindle unlimitedknightsmichael mathiasSilver DragonVictim of Fatewardstone trilogywarriorswitcheswizards
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The Not-So-Good Kind of Hurt

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July 13, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

First a warning, this post is about something I like and most people don’t – exercise. Lifting weights, in particular. If fitness isn’t your thing, no harm done. You may move along with no guilt on your conscience. For the two people still reading, let’s talk about squats.
I’ve been seriously lifting weights for thirteen or fourteen years now. Sure, I worked out before that, but not with any clear understanding of how best to do it. I dabbled and saw some results, but then would get pulled away by life and lose them. These days it’s a part of my life and not something I’m capable of abandoning.
In all that time I’ve worked up to some impressive weights and accomplishments, including a peak in my home gym of 475lbs while squatting. That was years ago, probably between 2009 and 2012. I’ve squatted up to and over 400 since then, but squats and I never really got along. I suspect it has to do with my body mechanics. Leg to torso ratio and whatnot. I’m a lot better at other lower body exercises than any sort of squats – deadlifts in particular. And don’t get my started on front squats!
Last night I stretched and warmed up, then went for a light squat workout with 225lbs. Like always, I felt the pain instantly in my quads. It’s a jabbing and stabbing kind of pain, or maybe there’s a pinch or two in there too. Whatever the case, every rep at the bottom of my range of motion (I go as far below parallel as possible without falling over or sitting on the ground) my quadriceps yelp and squeal like baby pigs about to be turned into bacon. It’s not just unpleasant, it hurts.
So last night I went for a wider stance after my first set. A wider stance calls in more hamstring activation. I’ve got great hammies, strength-wise, so it should be a no brainer. Except my intent is to work my quads. In any event, the experiment was a minor success – my thighs didn’t hurt as much. They still hurt, but not as badly. It’s a problem and one I haven’t been able to solve in more than a decade – I just sucked it up and dealt with it. Power through, that’s always been my mantra. Even the times when I ended up injuring myself – but I’m getting wise enough to learn that maybe pain is a warning and powering through isn’t the best option every time. Maybe.
I’ll keep squatting for a few more weeks. Typically I go through a circuit of squats until they hurt so damn much I can’t do them anymore, than I switch to deadlifts or something else for my lower body. That will probably be the case this time too, but I’m not sure how invested I’ll be down the road to doing this kind of exercise again. Focusing on a wider stance the entire circuit might make a difference too, only time and hard work will tell.
After the squats I did a few sets of clean and presses. Only 135lbs, but I really enjoy doing power cleans and clean and presses. I can’t lift as much, but the explosive movement is fun. Not to mention the whole body exercise does great things for, you guessed it, my whole body. The only downside is the day after a lower body day has me wiped out and ready to take a nap at a moment’s notice.
Is there a message to be shared and learned here? Nothing obvious, only me willing to share some data for other exercise junkies out there. I like to think that somebody, somewhere, can learn from my trials and mistakes without feeling to consequences of poor decisions. I like to learn my lessons the hard way, it seems, but somebody out there has to be smarter than me!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Weight LiftingTags:clean and pressdeadliftexercisefitnesslearninglower bodypower cleansquatsworking out
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They Sent Their Worst and Expected the Best

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July 6, 2016Jason Halstead2 comments

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalisvalkyries_small
“They” is the Terran Coalition military command. Not men in black suits and sunglasses, but close to it. The Terran Coalition of Systems is the government in the Vitalis universe, my series of books that now officially numbers 9 full novels (with the first being a collection of 7 novellas). Yes, that’s right, my latest books, Vitalis: Valkyries, is now available.
Valkyries picks up where Commandos left off, although there have been a few weeks of time spent for the Commandos both on Vitalis and on their transport ship flying through space on their new mission. What new mission? Why, return to Earth. People are in trouble there, after all. The Biological contagion that is Vitalis has spread throughout the planet. The entire world has been quarantined and nobody is allowed off of it.
The survivors band together in small groups, some of them clinging to civilization and doing their best to help each other out. Others form groups as well, but their purpose is not to protect each other so much as to protect themselves. Strength can be found in numbers, after all, and they use that strength to prey on the weak.
Amidst the chaos the Commandos have been sent to restore a semblance of peace and order. Doing so means they need to enlist the aid of locals and find out where the true enemies lie. Corporal Carmen Mendez and her fire team are more than up for the task. They call themselves the Valkyries. Like the warrior women of legend, they are fierce and merciless. Once on the verge of being discharged or imprisoned for their behavior, they’ve found a second chance at life. Vitalis threw its best against them and came up short.
Earth, on the other hand, is a different planet. A different world, with new challenges they have to adapt to understand if they hope to complete their mission.
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Now, in other news, I’ve been helping Dawn Michelle with some of her books this summer. Her Continuum series is 3 books in now, although none have yet been released. Well, book 1 was part of a USA Today bestselling anthology at the end of 2015, but she’s gone through and made several revisions to it already in preparation for re-releasing it late this summer / fall with the rest of that series.
That’s not all I’ve been up to though – Just yesterday I started the 9th book in my Voidhawk series. Although by starting it I mean I got the rough draft ready to begin and though about it, as well as re-reading Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess. Every damn time I get to the end of that book something gets in my eye. Dust or dirt or something. Whatever the case, I decided the end wasn’t as polished as it should be, so I revised it. What happened still happened, I just improved the writing. I will update the book at its various retail locations in the very near future for anything wishing to re-download it (it doesn’t cost anything if you’ve already bought it). I’m also strongly considering posting the last chapter on my blog as well. The last chapter?! Yeah, I know… it’s weird. Weird is good though, it’s how I roll.
Keep an eye out on my Facebook page and my blog (more likely my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/booksbyjason) for updates on Voidhawk and everything else!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.
 

Categories:WritingTags:aliensamazonDNAFirst ContactInkteraituneskoboMarinesmilitarynew releasepolicescience fictionscorched earthScribdSpace Marines[/size]
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Science Fiction and Space Fantasy Lovers Rejoice!


July 5, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

First the really good news: Cover art for Vitalis: Valkyries is almost done. Any day now and it’s going to be ready to go – maybe even today. My fingers are crossed and so far I’m loving the concept art and mock ups going into it.
Outside of Vitalis, I’ve been working on helping Dawn Michelle with her Continuum series. The last two novelettes we wrote featured a character I came up with so we flew through them. Her next novelette in the series is switching back to her character, Selena, so it’s a little bit more of her work and less of mine. That means it goes slower (she’s a super-busy lady), and I can turn some of my attention back to my books. Specifically, my next project which I’ll be starting today.
Let’s see, Vitalis is science fiction, so that leaves space fantasy… what books do I write that fall under that classification? Well, it all started with my first published book seven years ago, and now my next entry into the series will mark my 9th novel. Of course I’m talking about Voidhawk, my fantasy series that puts humans, elves, dwarves, and every other fantasy race harnessing solar winds to sail through space (the void) on magical ships.
It has taken me a really long time to get back to Voidhawk after my last entry into that series (Fallen Goddess). If the reason why isn’t evident, it’s because of what happened in that book. The loss of a major character and the impact that had on the crew. And, to be honest, the impact it had on me. I don’t want to give out any spoilers for those who haven’t read it though.
Suffice to say, I’ve had a really hard time figuring out where to go next. Oh, I knew a general plot line and story idea, the problem was that it was too soon. I wasn’t sure how to deal with the characters and what they’ll be feeling and facing. There’s a hole on the deck of the Voidhawk and a hole in the hearts of the crew, it’s a spot that nobody wants to fill, and I’m not sure how to handle it either. Life must go on, and I’m finally prepared to find a way to make that happen.
I know, they’re fictional characters – they aren’t real – so wtf is wrong with me, right? Well, I’m talking to readers and book lovers, so you probably know where I’m coming from. There are characters that get inside of you. People you identify with because they feel real, even if you now they aren’t. Outside of a couple of books I’ve written (Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess in particular), I can think of one book that really hit me hard in the feels. Odd Thomas, by Dean Koontz. Phew, that book was… intense. Regular readers of my blog will note I’ve talked about Dean Koontz in the past though. I consider him to be the best I’ve ever read when it comes to telling a story. His plots and ideas aren’t always absolute top shelf, but I’d read anything he wrote regardless of whether it was original or not.
Anyhow, the point is, the characters might be made up, but their just names and faces for concepts and emotions that are real. Maybe part of them is part of me, or maybe it’s someone else I can associate with in real life. That’s the beauty and the magic of writing. Experiencing something new, or not new, in a way that makes me feel it.
I have no title yet for the new Voidhawk book, but it will definitely revolve around the recovery from what happened, as well as the need to fix what went wrong in the universe in Fallen Goddess. That means a lot of time exploring the new incarnation of Volera and understanding what, and who, exactly she is.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:character buildingcharacter deathdean koontzdemonsfantasygoddessgodsodd thomasscience fiction

An Update on… stuff

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June 30, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I really don’t have any single points of interest to focus on or talk about. Instead, this is a mini-grab bag of items to share. I’m trying to blog a little more frequently to fill in the blank space and make sure everyone knows I’m still hard at work. So, without further delay, on to the stuff!
First up, Vitalis: Valkyries. It’s ready and waiting on cover art. I thought I’d have something by the end of the month, but we’re not quite there yet. Soon! The story is edited and ready to roll out and I’ve got the blurb written up for when the cover art is ready.
Now current events: I’ve been helping the lovely and talented Dawn Michelle with her Continuum series, which is a deviation from her paranormal romance roots, but a continuation of the world she’s crafted. Here there be dragons, my friends, and all sorts of other wonderful people and monsters. This particular series explores some ancient civilizations that have survived to present day as secret societies working behind the scenes… and as often as not against each other as for each other. The main characters are caught up in all of this and come to discover their own surprising legacies left to them down the generations. That includes a hero who can’t seem to keep his pants on and a heroine who is torn between who she wants and who she needs. Since I’m helping her write this series, I expect everyone to enjoy it just as much as you would any of my books. Not only that, but I’m quite taken with it and enjoying it immensely as we near the end of the third novelette in the series.
Let’s see, what else can I share? I’m a little stiff and sore today, but in a good way. Great workout last night picking up heavy weights for lots of reps. Measured myself at 11.5% bodyfat this morning thanks to the weights too, just in time for a 4th of July weekend spent getting sunburned and hanging out with friends at a pool.
Hmm, in other news, I just got a promotion at my day job too. Sort of. 95% of it is what I already do, but I get a fancy new title – System Architect – that sounds nice. Not to worry, I don’t expect the new responsibilities to cut into my writing time much, if any.
Speaking of promotions and my lovely wife, Dawn Michelle, she deserves some props in writing as well. After only working at her new job teaching pre-school kids she got a promotion to a lead teacher there. I’m not sure anyone there has ever been bumped up as fast as she was, which is a testament to her dedication, commitment, and professionalism. Her job, however, is cutting into her writing time – but given the downturn in the book sales market it also pays better.
Not sure what else to touch on. Brexit seems popular these days – personally I have no opinion on it other than the hit to the exchange rate is another kick in the pants on top of decreasing book sales. I do like a little chaos and pandemonium, I admit. I think it shakes things up and forces people to innovate and improve. So I guess I’m for it, but only in the most uneducated way possible.
To hit closer to home I could discuss the impending US election… but I’d almost rather become an ex-patriot than be forced to choose between the individuals presented to us this time around. Personally, I think that America should change our voting system to include a no-vote cast, and if that wins, we ditch the chosen candidates and start over. The presiding president would remain a lame duck until another election round occurs with new candidates. Perhaps better the devil we know than the one we don’t.
And how about Michael Phelps? He qualified for his fifth Olympics. That’s pretty freaking amazing. Sure, he’s made some mistakes along the way but haven’t we all? I don’t know what kind of person he is, but athletically speaking, this guy is something special. I wish him the best of luck and hope he can snag a couple more medals this year to round out what has already been an amazing career.
Well, how’s that for a sampling of topics? I promised a grab bag and there it is. Enough randomness, now back to your day for you and my day for me. There’s work to be done and words to be written!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:bestsellerbrexitclintonelectionny timesparanormalromancescience fictiontrump
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Why Cardio Disappoints

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June 20, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

This post isn’t about books! It’s about another passion of mine – and one shared by few people: fitness. So you have been warned, read on at your own peril.
Longtime friends and readers (one and the same, as far as I’m concerned) know that I’m a weightlifting junky. A former competitive powerlifter, in fact. Not one of the super heavyweights that crammed anything and everything into their mouths either. I was a fairly lean powerlifter when I competed – and I was in the 242lb weight class (my highest competition weight was 232, usually I was 229 or lower).
Sadly, my competing days are over, courtesy of an injury caused by overtraining for a meet and not being as safe as I knew I should have been. Some major surgery to reattach torn tendons and muscle to a bone and I’m back in business, but never like I once was. These days I still lift heavy 3 – 4 times a week, but I don’t push myself as hard as I used to. That means I have to make up for the lack of work to keep myself looking decent with other activities. And that means including some cardio elements in my routine.
I read a few studies and educated opinion pieces long ago stating how weightlifting was better in every way for a body than cardio. Since I agreed with it out of principal, I took it as gospel and moved on. Many years later, I still believe that way and happily share such information when asked (no, I’m not the kind of guy who offers it unasked and pesters people). As I get older and my routine is changing to more health and maintenance based instead of trying to amass raw strength, I’m finding more and proof that supports what I’ve believed to be true.
I measure my progress in many ways. How much I can lift, how many times I can lift it, what the dude in the mirror looks like, what the calipers figure my bodyfat is, and what the scale reads. I hit the scale almost every morning and every night because what gets measured gets done. It’s those measurements that leads me to posting this blog and supporting my belief of why cardio is disappointing.
First a mild info dump, here’s a typical week for me:
Monday: Heavy Bench Press, Heavy Cable Rows, supportive exercises (curls, tricep extension, etc.)
Tuesday: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training – Clean and Presses supersetted with running on a treadmill)
Wednesday: Deadlifts / Squats / Rack Pulls (only one exercise, it varies by month), Declined situps, more arm and shoulder work
Thursday: rest
Friday: Volume bench press, volume lat pulldowns, supportive exercises (arm stuff)
Saturday: HIIT (same as Tuesday)
Sunday: rest
 
Every day, if possible, I try to get in some rollerblading or low impact cardio around my subdivision, typically 10 – 20 minute’s worth. I’ve ramped that up recently, leading to this post.
 
 
So Sunday, father’s day, my wife decided she wanted to start doing my 2 mile cardio with me. For me that means rollerblading around our subdivision several times (rather fast, I push myself and keep my heart rate in the 140 – 150 range). I’d also mowed my lawn today in the 91 degree sunshine, which takes about an hour with my push mower thanks to a couple of short but steep hills. So no weights on Sunday, just cardio…
 
On virtually any weightlifting night I will lose 1.5 – 2 pounds overnight while I’m sleeping. Doesn’t matter the exercise, as long as I work myself hard. Without fail I wake up lighter in the AM, although if I strain my lower body too much it can cause some inflammation in the muscles that takes a couple of days to wear off – the weight comes off over those couple of days though. On any day where I do cardio only I will lose .4 – .8 pounds overnight. Less than half what I lose when I lift weights.
 
Weightlifting works the muscle, breaking it down and building it back up. The building part takes time though, and also requires calories. That means burning calories, both to do the repair work and to strengthen the muscles. A workout will continue to burn calories for 1 – 2 days afterwards. Cardio, on the other hand, only burns calories while you’re doing it and, unless you bust your hump for more than 20 minutes, you’re only burning the calories in your bloodstream and not any stored fat. With weights, it’s a constant slow burn happening behind the scenes, which takes care of the calories in the bloodstream and then moves on to stored fat. My two mile rollerblading only takes around 10 minutes, so the only gain I get out of it is an improvement to my energy systems (heart, lungs, cardiovascular, and flushing water out via sweat).
 
So why not do long term cardio – 30+ minutes? Even if there weren’t studies showing the damage it can do to joints and muscle fibers, it’s f***ing boring! I’ve got way too many things to do to spend that kind of time. I’ll never run a marathon, and I’m okay with that. I ran a 5k once, by myself, and that was enough. I much prefer more intense focused training to keep my energy systems where I need them or close enough that I can ramp up sport specific training as needed (e.g. if I ever joined another hockey league). For those that do it and, somehow, enjoy it, I salute you. You do what works for you and godspeed, just as I’ll do what works for me.
 
If you’re wondering what HIIT is, it’s weight training done aerobically, for lack of a better term. In my case I do a set of 6 – 135lb clean and presses (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_OGoQ94mPQ, except I make sure I go all the way to the floor on each rep). After that set I hit the treadmill and run for 2 minutes. Ideally there should be next to no rest between exercises. For me I rest 30 seconds or lest just to catch my breath. My heart after the clean and press is in the 150s, typically, and then in the 140s after the run. Five sets of that and I’m done. Any compound exercise can be used – I’ve done squats, front squats, and bench pressing as alternatives from time to time, but I really like what clean and presses do for the body – it’s a full body workout and helps support every other exercise as well as general strength and conditioning.
 
So there it is, my rare workout post. Social media is a funny place – people get upset about others posting about working out, which baffles me. I encourage it, but I don’t want to upset anybody either (unless they deserve it, and even then I’d typically rather just save my time and walk away). Still, I got some great feedback on my workout posts a couple years ago, so maybe somebody can learn something from this and use it for their own good.
 
These days I’m floating in the 225 – 230 range, depending on whether it was a bad weekend or not. Last night I was 226.4 and this morning I was 226 (remember the cardio only yesterday). My bodyfat is in the 11% – 12% range and I can still bench 315+ and deadlift 500+. I figure I’m doing okay for a dude in his 40’s.
 
 
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Self HelpWeight LiftingTags:aerobic exerciseanaerobic exercisebody buildingcardiofitnessolmypic liftingpower liftingroller bloodingweight lifting[/size]

The Universe is Going to be a Scary Place


June 8, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I don’t blog enough. I’d like to, but I don’t. I think about bloggable topics all the time, but thinking and finding the time to write those thoughts down are few are far between. When I do blog, I try to keep it as on topic as possible for the majority of people interested in my blog. Books. My books, in particular. So, with that said, here’s the latest on what’s happening.
Vitalis: Valkyries is what’s happening. It’s book #9 in the Vitalis series and I’m happy to announce it went out to my editor last night. I anticipate releasing it late this month or possible very early next month. I apologize for the delay, I didn’t remember to schedule time with my cover artist and editor in a timely manner.
So what’s Valkyries about? Well, it picks up a few weeks after Commandos finishes. It includes those characters as well, focusing on Lieutenant Simms and Corporal Mendez primarily. There are plenty of new and old characters too though. Astra and Leona are back, for example, and there are four new people joining the story (Pandora, Shannon, Evan, and Faramor). The story takes place back on Earth and not only explores what’s happening there, but it opens up a whole lot of other opportunities down the road.
That’s a quick hint of what’s coming in a couple of weeks. Now for my next project. I was inspired by something I read recently, a story by an amateur writer that explored a man trapped in an Amazon culture. I liked it so much, it made me want to write something similar. Not about Amazons though. My problem was, should I start another story that would possibly become a series, or could I fit it into one of my existing settings? Dark Earth seemed a natural, but there were a lot of reasons I didn’t want to do that.
Enter Dawn Michelle (my wife).  I was talking to her about it and discussing my protagonist. She fell in love with him right away (in a sort of platonic way…I think. He’s fictional, so at least I’ve got that going for me). She demanded that I stop ignoring her and help her finish up her Continuum series that was first exposed in Claimed by the Dragon King (part of the recent Christmas anthology she took place in that landed her another spot on the USA Today bestsellers list). This character, you see, would fit perfectly into that series. Book 2, in fact, would focus on him.
So what was my idea became ours (come on guys, you know that’s how marriage works, and no, ladies, I’m not complaining). I’m okay with it though, because we’ve been working on the concept and it sounds extremely cool. It’ll be a joint effort between us, but with her name on the cover since it’s her series. Fast paced and action packed fun, with the main character being somewhat of a cross between a playboy and a hero straight out of Greek and Roman mythology. And let’s not forget the gargoyles, wyverns, dragons, and other mythical creatures that are coming out to play. After all, this guy is the first full blooded heir to the Kingdom of Atlantis in thousands of years.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing

Mother Nature’s a Witch

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May 14, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Believe it or not, I’m not writing to complain about the crappy weather in Michigan. We’ve had summer here, at least one or two days of it in between the cold and the rain. No, I’m referring to the awesome power of nature and just what it can do. Especially when we extend natural phenomena beyond our own planet and into the solar system and universe that surrounds us.
A great example of one such possibility can be found in my latest release, The Vault. The book takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, but yet it’s not the typical war torn world with enemies lurking in every shattered building. The Vault is our present day Earth after a perfectly natural catastrophe has occurred. The kind that wipes out nearly all life on a planet: an asteroid. Not even Bruce Willis can save us this time, and the governments of the earth know it. They know it, and they keep it a secret to themselves.
For millions of people, life is over after a brief but beautiful show of fire and light in the sky. For the billions that remains it takes days, weeks, and for some months for the horrible winter that settles over the planet to kill them. By the time a year has passed only a privileged few remain tucked away inside vaults hidden deep in the ground. The Vault is the story of a group of survivors that return to the surface to discover what remains of the world above.
Rather than give any spoilers away, I’m going to end the description there. I will say that before doing research for this story and writing it, I had no idea just how scary rocks can be. Especially when they fall from the sky at 20 – 30 kilometers per second and rival the size of a city. There’s really not anywhere to hide if that were to happen. And the scariest part is that it’s happened before to the Earth and it will happen again. Hopefully by the time it does we’ll be ready to find a way to save as many people as we can.
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Now it’s time to chase away the grim chill running down my spine and talk about something else. My next book! I’m working on the next Vitalis book and it has been a pure joy to write so far. I’m nearly a quarter done with it already, and I’ve only been working on it a few days so far. Like most Vitalis books, this mixes in some new characters with some old ones. It is a return to Earth (asteroid free, thankfully). Although in place of asteroids there are plenty of other threats that exist, pitting people against not only each other, but they must also struggle to survive against a wild and savage nature influenced by Vitalis. And, hopefully along the way, a couple of them might even find each other. After all, extreme situations can lead to some very intense romantic relationships.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:asteroidcolonizationmilitarynew releasepost apocalypticromancescience fictionscorched earthspecial ops[/size]
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Post by Paul Sat 16 Dec 2023, 9:18 pm

Authoring Like a Boss


May 9, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I just finished The Vault, a book I wrote that takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America (New York, to be precise). I intended it to be a novella but it got away from me and turned into something bigger, longer, and better. It was a book full of lessons for me too, as it detoured away from areas I am more comfortable with (science fiction / fantasy), and yet I could not use a lot of modern conveniences in it (no running water, electricity, etc.).
In fact, The Vault is set a year after a very impressive asteroid falls out of the sky and lands in the Atlantic Ocean, just west of the Bahamas. People around the world are wiped out, either right away or over the next several months as the sun is blotted out by debris, acid rain scours the planet, and the food chain is wiped out. All in all, it’s a pretty grim time, but there are survivors – otherwise how boring would it be to write about a barren rock we used to call home?
But that’s another story that’s already been told. It’s in my editor’s hands and when she’s finished with it, I’ll make it available. A week or two is my guess. I was inspired to write it by the success of my second book I ever released, Wanted. That book (and the series it spawned) has arguably been my most successful book. My hope is that I can recapture some of the magic in Wanted in the post-apocalyptic setting, although this one is very different both in setting and in the amount of people remaining. If it does well, who knows where it might lead later on?
That’s for later, this is now. And now it is time for me to once again take up the glowing crystal spear and knife and revisit the universe of Vitalis. When I last left Vitalis there was a group of bad-asses on Vitalis that were training and developing themselves. They have their orders now, and they are ready to return to Earth. Their mission: become the enemy so they can defeat the enemy. Pity the name “Suicide Squad” has already been taken, it might have made a great title.
At this point, after I finish up Vitalis #9 I’ll finally move back to Voidhawk and finish the rather epic storyline that was unearthed in Fallen Goddess. Not to mention addressing the hole that I left in the hearts of both the Voidhawk’s crew and myself when Jenna was lost. Finishing that story is going to require the third and final book in the Serpent’s War trilogy to be written as well.
Somewhere in there I need another Dark Universe book and another Terminus book. Good thing it’s only May – I have a lot planned for this year still!
As a special note, I’ve been doing a lot of research on character development and interaction recently and I really hope it begins to show in Vitalis and beyond (not that the characters haven’t developed and grown already, it’s just some new things I want to introduce).
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscharacter developmentfantasypost apocalypsescience fictionspace fantasyspace opera

Writing the Right Fiction


April 18, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m working on a story I’m calling “The Vault.” It’s a post-apocalyptic story exploring what happens to a group of people that are the first to emerge from a government vault designed to help a tiny portion of humanity survive an asteroid striking the earth. Trust me, when big, fast rock hits the earth lots of bad things happen. It’s happened before and it will happen again, but hopefully not for hundreds of thousands of years (or millions).
Researching what would happen for an asteroid strike is some pretty freaky stuff. Impressive, to say the least. Or maybe terrifying, if you’re the type that lets you worry about things you have zero control over (um, sorry, if that’s the case). In my scenario I’ve got a rock roughly 8kilometers (5ish miles) in size, fairly dense, traveling around 30 meters a second striking just off the Bahamas. Secondary problems involve fault lines shifting and causing earthquakes around the world, including an early release of a lot of stored up magma and pressure in the Yellowstone Caldera. It is, for all intents and purposes, an extinction level event.
Yet, people are resilient. Worse (or better) than cockroaches even. Survivors are trying to find a way to bring life back to the planet and rebuild. And that’s the gist of the story without giving anything away. I’ve got a core group of characters I’m focusing on and making them deal with one natural disaster after another. Fun, in its own way, but I’m afraid I went and made a terrible mistake.
I accidentally saw a snippet of a series on Netflix called Orange is the New Black. That tiny snippet was enough to hook me. That lead to the necessity of binge watching the first three seasons whenever I could. And now I’m waiting for the fourth season to come out this summer. Wait – what the heck does that have to do with my writing?
Good question. The characters in Orange is the New Black are outstanding. Even the ones I don’t really care much for have such rich backstories and lives I’m left shocked and impressed. My only complaint is that the series has expanded so much on so many of the other characters that I feel like the original heroines of the story, Piper Chapmin and Alex Vause, aren’t getting as much focus as they should. Their story, after all, is the one that hooked me and made me want to know more. I’m not happy with how the 3rd season ended, regarding those two, but I have my own hidden theories about what might happen to / for them.
Now then, back to writing. As I said all of these characters are so rich and thought out that it’s really opened up an itch in my to write something new and different. I’m struggling to stay focused on The Vault, and I’m happy that I only planned this story to be a novella instead of a full length novel. I’m halfway done by my guess, and I’m anxious to get it done as soon as I can so I can explore my new ideas.
What does that mean, as far as what comes next? Well, there are many options. I was thinking my next book would be a Vitalis story, and I could see myself trying to incorporate some of these ideas into Vitalis. After all, Vitalis has a history of having many characters with their own backgrounds and stories, so it might be a natural fit. Conversely, I could very easily find a way to slide these new ideas into a new Lost Girls book, although Katalina and Skylar would not be the main characters anymore. Instead it would follow their daughters and their desire to grow up and make their mark on the world.
Or maybe something else completely new? Naw, probably not. I’m probably going to end up focusing on Vitalis, but the appeal of a Lost Girls spin off is growing. I still need to write more Dark UniverseVoidhawk, and The Serpent’s War too (and countless many others). Come to think of it, maybe some of these new ideas could end up working out in an extension of my Wanted series too…
The positive take-away from this is that inspiration can come from anywhere. On the flip side, it can be damn irritating too, because it’s messing with my current focus. That makes me mad though, and anger I can use to drive me forward. Scorched earth be damned, I will have these stories out as soon as I can!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:character developmentfantasyorange is the new blackpost apocalypsescience fictionscorched earth

Lucky Star


April 14, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Luckystar_small
Brindal and Ellena are Terrans lured to an alien world with the promise of a new way of life and equality among the races. Potential for all, regardless of race, gender, or belief. The reality was far from the truth, especially when Ellena showed her first signs of mutation.
Mutated beings- those whose latent powers are awakened with the resurgence of alien energy brought about by the return of the Ampythean race- are hunted and taken away. Their fate is unknown, but nobody has heard from them since.
As Ellena’s powers grow and she fails to control them, they are left with no choices but to throw away their lives and run. They have to find a way with no weapons and no friends to get off the planet before the Vagnosian army catches them. If they can manage that, then they can hope for a better future among the stars.
 
You just read the blurb for Lucky Star, book 6 in my Dark Universe setting. I’m sharing it because it’s out there now, waiting for eager readers to devour. Longtime fans of the series might not recognize the names in the blurb, which might be confusing. Well, there’s a reason for that. These are new characters.
Brindal and Ellena are the kind of heroes that are made, not born. Except there’s nothing heroic about them. Brin is an eighteen year old young man trying to figure out what to do with his life and his growing skills in robotics. Ellena is fifteen and has nothing going for her except her talent as a track star and the fact that she’s a female on a Vagnosian world. Oh, and then there’s Ellena’s strange new powers that has her afraid of her own shadow.
But rest assured, there’s no way I’d completely abandon the old crew! I love those guys and gals. The problem is, they live a hard and dangerous life. Some of them aren’t what they used to be— or even at all. Brindal and Ellena need to get off of Marloon, the world they live on, but they can’t do it alone. They need help. And that’s where some old friends come in.
Into the Dark (book 1)Out of the Dark (book 2)Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Dark Star (book 4)Shades of Dark (book 5)Lucky Star (book 6)
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Next up is something completely different. No, not a Monty Python skit (hopefully that jokes not lost on most of you), but a new book I’m trying out. It’s unrelated to anything / everything else I’ve done so far. The Vault, a story in a post-apocalyptic America that takes place after a disaster destroys almost everything on the planet. I’m talking about an extinction level event, except humanity has the technology, resources, and blind luck to insure a tiny percentage survives. Or, as Michael Crichton put it in Jurassic Park: Life finds a way.
As always (and forever), thank you for keeping up to date on my ramblings and for enjoying my books. Spread the word, the world could use more readers!
 
-Jason Halstead
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscoming of ageDark Universeexplorationmagicmercenarymilitaryscience fictionsoldier of fortune[/size]

Now What?


April 5, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Last night I finished Lucky Star, the 6th book in my Dark Universe setting. That book had a lot of surprises in it, especially for me. The end, for example, was something I was stressing over. And then suddenly it happened and I realized I’d missed it. I had to backtrack a little bit and rephrase a few things. Once that was done it was a magical moment that wrapped things up and set the stage for the next adventure of Brindal and Ellena, siblings that are trying to find their way in the awakened universe with the help of the crew of the Uma. It will be a few weeks until it’s available, what with editing and cover art.
After that I moved on to a book I wrote for a secret project due out later this year. Shh, I can’t speak of it. But I am, just not anything useful. I’d already written the book but I hadn’t gone back over it since I sent it out to my team. Last night I did that, and I was happy to see far fewer screw-ups than I’d realized. I had to make some other continuity changes to make it work with the rest of the project, but once again, that was easily handled. I may touch a few more things up with it yet, but I’ve got plenty of time.
So now I’m back to needing something to keep my fingers busy. I know I need to continue several of my series (Vitalis, Serpent’s War, Voidhawk, Terminus, and Homeland), but I really want to branch out and try something new. A post-apocalyptic story, except I haven’t figured out what the deal is with it. I also don’t intend to turn that one into a series, although I might enjoy doing several one off post-apoc stories that are unrelated (different disaster situations, for example).
What’s driving this? My need to explore. And my need to sell books. My second series I ever released, Wanted,  was post-apocalyptic and is arguably my strongest one to date, and it only has 4 books in it. Yet over 6 or 7 years it has sold more copies, per book, than anything else I’ve written. But I don’t have any more for those characters that would do them justice. So why not try to recreate the magic with someone else?
So the questions I have to answer is what caused the breakdown of society? Disease? War? Aliens? Economic collapse? Terrorism? Climate change? Massive power Outages? Rise of Artificial Intelligence? A global shortage of coffee?
Next is the characters. Who are they and why are they? Are they young, middle aged, old, or something else? I’m planning on a romance element, but how is that going to play out? Then there’s the heat level, which is writer-speak for how hot and heavy do things get in the story (aka if the book were a show, would it be rated G, PG, PG13, R, NC17, or higher)?
And after I figure all that out, then I have to come up with a plot. What drives the characters and what do they need to try and accomplish? This is often called the trope, and to be honest I mostly let this question resolve itself as I write the story, but I usually have an idea what’s supposed to happen too. So far I’m fumbling with a blank slate. I’ve got a concept that I explained, but no idea how to fill in the blanks yet. Hopefully organizing my thoughts in this post will pour enough gas on the fire to help me figure it out and get started.
Feel free to toss some ideas at the wall too. I’m happy to take any feedback I can get and see if I can work with it. As I said, I might like to do several of these stories so the more raw material I’ve got to fit in, the better!
Oh, and if you just want more Dark UniverseVitalisVoidhawk, etc. hang in there, it’s still coming – I promise!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:brainstormingfantasyheat levelnew fictionplotpost apocalypticratingssicence fictiontropewriting

When Writing Sucks


March 12, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

That’s a strong title. Perhaps too strong. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed something as I near my 100th published story. A pattern or a trend, if you will. Almost every book suffers from parts where it becomes almost a chore (or in some cases it is a chore) to continue on. And that, my friends, sucks.
When I start a new story, no matter the premise, setting, or characters, I’m excited. It’s a blank book full of possibilities and potential. Anything can happen. And, invariably, it soon does. Beginnings are a mystery waiting to be explored. Action and adventure and excitement and even romance. Yes, I can appreciate romance even considering I may not be plumbed for it.
The end of the book is another fast paced and very exciting time. The characters and sub plots are coming together. Questions are being answered and good things (usually) are happening. It’s fun and vindicating. All that time spent crafting the story and exploring the ups and downs of the characters is about to be rewarded.
The part that can suck? That’s in the middle. That’s when I’ve got different characters doing different things and I start to doubt what’s going on. The end seems so far away and I often wonder if the people I’m writing about will ever make it there. It’s not writer’s block – I don’t believe that exists – it’s a matter of complexities and low points in the story that are necessary. Truth be told, they aren’t even that low, they just aren’t the emotional build up and pending release that other points in the story hold.
Several months ago I read something that I believe R.A. Salvatore posted on Facebook where felt a very similar thing. I shared my empathy with him, but my comment was no doubt lost among the masses. After all, Mr. Salvatore is a NY Times Bestseller and has achieved exceptional success with his writing and sales. I may have the NY Times bestseller title under my belt, but sales these days are in the gutter, so I remain a little fish in an ever expanding pond.
The point is, for budding writers out there or those that feel they get stuck mid way through their book: take heart, it happens to most (if not all) of us. The fear that we’ve overstepped our bounds and that the end we envisioned can’t possibly happen because of what we just did. Well, the good news is, you’re in charge (or the characters are). Either way, the book can and will go on. If the ending changes, then change it. Just keep writing and finding the words to reach that point. It’s like putting one foot in front of the other until you reach your destination. It may seem like a long walk, but no matter how long it is, you can only get there one step at a time.
My current project, Lucky Star, is the 6th book in my Dark Universe series and I’m suffering a minor spell of this sort. I love the new and old characters and I love the story, I’m just troubled about how I’m going to connect where I’m at with where I want it to go. The characters will show me the way, they always do, but that doesn’t stop the frustration of wondering just how, exactly, that’s going to happen.
The answer, as always, is to write on.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www
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New Book, New Setting, New Universe


February 13, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I just fired off my newsletter and I still have post pics to my Facebook page and update my personal website. I’ll get to that in a minute though, first I want to write this and get it out there because I can hardly contain my excitement. I teased a new series and concept in a recent blog post. This is the culmination of all that work: Terminus.
The first book in the series has been available for more than a week already but it wasn’t free yet. Now it is. And not only that, but my second book in that setting is also available now. Between that, John M. Davis’s book (Ghost Planet), and the website being published and available – it’s time for the reveal!
Terminus is the name of the setting. It seemed fitting, given how a terminus is an end or a final destination. So it is for the characters in the first few stories in this new setting, but as with any ending, it is also a beginning. A beginning of new lives, new adventures, and new stories we get to tell.
The backdrop is four hundred years into the future, give or take. Humanity has spread to the stars. Even more than that, we’ve been met by aliens and they aren’t so different from us in many ways. Then again, some are – there are a lot of different races out there. So many that we’re not even sure who they all are yet.
We’ve got faster than light travel, we’ve got blaster rifles and pistols (pulsed laser weapons), conventional weapons, massive navies in space, an overreaching central government (called the Continuum) trying to control everything, and hundreds of smaller governments ranging from controlling systems to individual planets that are at odds with one another. Oh, and did I mention the Gifted? They’re a new order of psychics with some wicked and truly unpleasant powers.
Now here’s where John comes in (other than helping to brainstorm and create what we’ve come up with). I whipped up a novella for an introduction to the setting. It’s called Terminus (shocker), and it’s free! It’s actually been out for a little over a week now, but I didn’t want to advertise it until it was available for free. Now it is! But wait, that’s not all! (did you read that in a Billy Mays voice?)
John’s book, Ghost Planet, is also available. And so is my full length novel, Frozen Dreams (book 3 in the series). The way it works is Terminus sets the stage and gets you interested, then Ghost Planet introduces John’s cast of characters that are intertwined with mine. Frozen Dreams happens at the same time as the other two books and ties everything together with my cast of characters. Ghost Planet and Frozen Dreams are not free, sorry, but on the plus side John’s already working on his next book in the series, Fear the Gifted.
There’s a little bit more to Terminus that I haven’t mentioned yet. We love this setting so much, and we know readers will too, so we’re opening it up for contributions. No, we’re not asking you to do our work for us, we’re offering a spot on the Terminus website (http://www.booksofterminus.com) for people to contribute things they’d like to see in it. New planets, new alien races, new technologies or weapons, new characters (good or bad), or just about anything! We can’t promise everything will make it in, but we’ll do our best to work things in and be sure to let you know privately and publicly about the effort.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Terminus

Terminus
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Ghostplanet

Ghost Planet
[url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BPH9T30 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01BPH9T30 &linkcode=as2&tag=httpwwwboo024-20]*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Frozendreams_small[/url]

Frozen Dreams
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[url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BPH9T30 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01BPH9T30 &linkcode=as2&tag=httpwwwboo024-20]Amazon[/url]
[url=http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01BPH9T30 /ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01BPH9T30 &linkcode=as2&tag=boobyjas-21]Amazon UK[/url]
Barnes and Noble (coming soon)
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That’s it for now, but there’s lots more to come! As I said, John’s hard at work on the next book and both of us have promised 4+ Terminus stories this year. Knowing me, that will probably grow as long as the readers are there. The first two I already wrote were so much fun I tore through them in no time, so I can’t wait to immerse myself in this new setting again and explore it some more.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensblasterscrowdsourcingempiregovernmentlasersnewpiratespsychicsrebelsscience fictionspaceships
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The Future Just Got a Whole Lot Closer

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January 16, 2016Jason Halstead2 comments

2016 started out rough, but now it’s ramping up and launching straight into the year 2402! I teased in my last blog about the new project, Terminus. Well that’s when Terminus is set, in the year 2402. There has been contact with aliens – lots of contact, in fact. Humanity is spread amongst the stars and is colonizing worlds, on top of learning to live with other alien races under the galactic rule of the Continuum.
As exciting as Terminus is… it has to wait. Oh sure, I’ve been feverishly working on a web site and an introductory story for it, but it’s not yet time for those. What it is time for is another very active and compelling science fiction tale to keep you busy: Shades of Dark.
First, in spite of the name, I want to promise there is no poor acting or whips and chains in the book. Mind you, there might be some used behind closed doors – Seph and Twyf are both pretty uninhibited when it comes to showing their affection for their partners. The point is, this novel continues the story of Aden and his friends and family as they seek to topple the Kesari domination of the known universe. There are some scenes of torture and bondage, now that I think about it, but there are no safe words
Here’s the blurb, to whet your appetite a little more:
For Aden and Twyf, a human and his Tassarian lover, the time has come for them to have a few moments to themselves. The moment is spoiled by a surprise attack launched by the Kesari. Their goal? Destroy anyone and everyone seeking to upset the control they’ve established over the universe.
The thing about heroes is that, no matter how unlikely or unwilling, they don’t go down without a fight. Bloodied by the assault and the loss of their friends, Aden and his remaining friends must set out to do the impossible: Topple an alien regime.
Hopelessly outnumbered and facing superior technology, Aden, Twyf, Sierra, and Seph have run out of tricks and luck. Will running on sheer willpower alone in an alien universe amidst uncertain allies be enough?
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Shadesofdark_small
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Into the Dark (book 1)
Out of the Dark (book 2)Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Dark Star (book 4)Shades of Dark (book 5)
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Now stay tuned for Terminus. I plan to launch the website at either the end of this month or early next month, along with the first story – for free! Shortly after that two new releases will be available, one by myself and the other by my talented accomplice in the Terminus setting: John M. Davis. Personally I’ve set a goal to write 4 Terminus stories this year, if not more. I can’t speak for John, but I know he shares my passion for writing a quality story as well as knowing what it takes to get the work done. Heck, the man has over 20 published works already! That’s the mark of an individual who’s fought through the trenches and is willing to go the distance.
Until then, I hope to drop more teasers and pleasers here about Terminus. Stay tuned, I’ll be releasing bits and pieces about technology and alien races (For example, I just conceived a new one today, Mongrellians).
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensfuturisticmilitarynew releasescience fictionscifiserieswar
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Terminus: An Introduction

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January 6, 2016Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I apologize for the less than infrequent blogs. 2015 was a rough year, what with moving and some pretty significant shifts for the worse in the book market. I tried to write my tail off, but around the holidays even that suffered. The good news is, 2015 is behind me, I have moved, and I just sent of Shades of Dark, the 5th Vitalis book, to my editor.
But that’s hardly worthy of blogging about. What is exciting and worth reading up on is what’s coming early in 2016. It’s a project we’ve labeled Terminus, and by “we” I mean myself and John M. Davis, the author of the Gunship series and a highly ranked freebie called Colony, among other things. Check them out, they’re both free on Amazon!
So what is Terminus? Well, it’s something entirely new. We decided to pool our collective thoughts and come up with a shared universe. The thing is, we want to share it with more than just the two of us. And by sharing, we don’t just mean we write and you read. We want to make it as interactive as possible at this point. I’m working on putting together a website for it that will explain more, but for now let me toss out the ideas we’ve got.
By now you’re surely heard of crowd-funding, right? Well don’t worry, we’re not doing that. We do, however, want to do some crowd-sourcing. The idea is (once the website is up) for us to make it available for readers to submit things they’d like to see. New aliens, new weapons, new characters (good or bad), plot ideas, technologies, names, etc.. There’s no limit!
Now that doesn’t mean we’ll accept everything submitted. There’s bound to be some crazy stuff in there, after all. People screwing around or just having fun. I encourage that, in fact – it’ll be entertaining at worst and at best, it might spawn some other ideas. We can get inspiration from just about anywhere, after all.
On the flip side, things that are included will merit special mentions on the website and in the books. As a reader I think that would be pretty damn cool to have something of mine included, with credit given. There’s no compensation to be had here, unfortunately (we’re not THAT successful), but we will have some legalise releasing all IP and rights to submitted material. And who knows, maybe somebody’s going to have ideas so kickass that we want them to take up the battle with us and become a third other in the setting.
Speaking of that, here’s how these books are going to work. John and I are not co-authoring the books. What we are doing is writing our own stories and sharing them back and forth with each other to keep everything cohesive. Our characters will run across each other, from time to time, and there may be dialogue between them or snide comments tossed behind their backs. It’ll be great fun!
As much as I’d love to talk more about it, we’re very much in the beginning stages. I’m whipping up an introductory story to introduce the setting and John’s hard at work on his first book. Hopefully we’ll something to share soon! Either way, I’ll be posting more blogs soon that give away some details. Characters, background details, planets, technologies and ships, and who knows what else. I can’t give too much away – we want you to discover them in the books as they unfold, after all.
Stay tuned for a great new adventure into the stars – it’s going to be one hell of a ride!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliencollaborationevil empirenew settingpiratespsychicsci-fiscience fictionscifishared universesoldier[/size]

The Rules of War Are Changing. It’s Time for a New Kind of Soldier.


December 8, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I haven’t written a book in my Vitalis setting in a while – at least not compared to the other books I’ve been pumping out. If you’re wondering what the Vitalis setting is, it’s science fiction done right. Futuristic stuff that pits a struggling humanity at odds with the limited resources they’re finding as they expand across the solar system. Limited until they find the planet Vitalis. Unfortunately, Vitalis isn’t willing to give up those resources… at least not without a price.
If you are familiar with Vitalis, then let me offer this new release, Vitalis: Commandos, as an apology for taking so long. But it’s far more than an apology, it’s a story filled with excitement, action, and a new kind of soldier. Whether these commandos have to go commando or not… well, you’ll have to read the book! Now here’s the skinny on Vitalis: Commandos:
Humanity fears change. Earth has been lost to the spreading alien infection from Vitalis – an infection that mutates and enhances everything it touches all the way down to the genetic level. The infection is contained, but at the cost of quarantining the entire planet of Earth and millions of faultless people that are desperate for a cure.
But it’s a cure the best scientists are nowhere near to finding. That leaves one option. Containment and control, and that’s why Lance Corporal Carmin Mendez is being given her last chance to avoid throwing her life away. The Terran Coalition of Systems is putting together a top secret unit of unique special operators intended to learn about the contagion and find a way to deal with it.
For a group of people with no future, the only way is forward. If they can survive the training and learn to get along with each other. And when they think they’re finally ready, the real test will begin. Vitalis is waiting.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitaliscommandos_small
VitalisVitalis: ResurrectionVitalis: Provenance
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Amazon UK
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Vitalis: GenesisVitalis: InvasionVitalis: Chrysalis
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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Amazon UK
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Vitalis: CommunionVitalis: Commandos
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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Page Foundry / Inktera
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What’s next? Well, that’s where I have to hang my head. I just moved and it ate up two weeks of my life. No writing in that time, but while we’re still unpacking and I’m fixing up the house to allow for all of our stuff, I managed to both find a title and write another chapter on my next book. Shades of Dark, which is the fifth book in the Dark Universe setting. I’m hoping Shades of Dark helps wrap up the Dark Universe story for a bit so I can focus on some other things. Voidhawk needs another story, for example. And I can’t leave Vitalis out of the mix – Commandos opens up a whole new story line to pursue!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscommandodinosaursfaster than lightFirst Contactgeneticsinterstellar travelinvasionmilitaryscience fictionscifispace operaspec opsspecial forcesspecial ops[/size]
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There’s Only So Many Rocks To Hide Behind When the Entire Galaxy Is Hunting You.


November 15, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I haven’t blogged in a while. Not for lack of things to say, mostly for lack of time to do it. I’ve been focusing on writing and, in spite of a hiccup with some scheduling, I’ve gotten a lot done! That meant a missed month of publication, but on the plus side, I should have a couple of books coming out pretty quick here. Case in point, I’m here to announce a new book.
Dark Star has been released! This is book 4 in the Dark Universe series. If you remember the end of Chasing the Dark than you were anxiously wondering what happened to the scattered and injured characters. Dark Star answers that question and many more. Aden learns things about his past that leave him troubled, to say the least. Seph spends a lot of time arguing with herself and discovers there’s a lot more to life than what she allows herself – and then has to come to terms with the fact that maybe she waited too late for her personal revelation.
Niko and Neesha are there, as well as some other old friends. The fate of the Ampytheans is discovered and the far-reaching tyranny of the Kesari explored. Errant asteroids, Bounty hunters, determined Criknid soldiers, some new alien critters, and the ever-persistent mechanical problems in deep space abound in this action packed thrill ride. Through it all Twyf does her best to keep Aden distracted and restore his flagging spirits. I tried to pack as much excitement into a book as I could – but the end had to come sometime. And that’s why I’m working on book 5 in the series now.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Darkstar_small

Into the Dark (book 1)Out of the Dark (book 2)Chasing the Dark (book 3)
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Dark Star (book 4)
Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Still waiting on Page Foundry / Inktera to publish Dark Star, but it should be soon. It’s available everywhere else – and it was out there yesterday but I was recovering from an all-nighter restoring the production server at my day job. Sorry for the late notice!
Coming very soon, early next month, will be Vitalis: Commandos. That marks my 8th Vitalis book! Don’t worry, the book is finished I’m just waiting on editing and cover art. Dark Universe #5 is my current project and I’m hoping I can have that out mid – late December, just in time to treat yourself to a Christmas present when you want to get away from all the crazy that goes on at the end of the year.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:colonizationcontactempireexplorationinvasionmagicnew releasescience fictionstarship[/size]

A Very Alpha Christmas


November 1, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Reblogging my wife’s new project! There’s lots to love here, if you’re into the thought of werewolves, demons, witches, dragons, and more.
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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST E983b1b0ab1ea9fad113c441f3aee7642038fba219ee734dd4ed04f1312722be?s=32&d=identicon&r=GDawn Michelle Books
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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Christmastwitter

Just because I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to work or post much doesn’t mean I went away. I’ve still been dreaming and writing when I can, and to that end, I’ve got a new secret project that has just been released. Just like last year, this is an anthology of amazing authors coming together to deliver some holiday fun in the best way possible!
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A Very Alpha Christmas, loaded full of 25 stories that will sizzle, delight, and maybe even raise the fur –  I mean hair – on your arms. Or maybe it’s the fur on the Alpha’s arms? Whichever, you get the idea.
As for my part in it, It’s a full story that starts up a new series for me called Romancing the Dragon. The story itself is Claimed by the Dragon King. For long time readers, you might remember me asking about dragons…
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Categories:Writing[/size]

15 Novels a Year


October 5, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

A couple of months ago a man by the name of Filip Wiltgreen reached out to me and asked if he could interview me for his blog. It’s been a while since I’ve had that opportunity – I thought my 15 minutes were over. So of course I said yes, but I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. Filip hit me with a string of questions that kept me busy and stumbling for quite a while. By the time it was over I was relieved and exhausted, but I was also impressed. He had done a very thorough job of gathering data.
And now, today, the interview is live on his blog. I just finished reading the finished copy and I’m quite pleased with it. A little bit of advice for writers, a little bit of background on me, and some shout outs to the people that have helped me along the way. Good job, Filip!
http://www.wiltgren.com/2015/10/05/how-to-write-15-novels-in-a-year-an-interview-with-jason-halstead/
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:editinginterviewironprolificweight liftingwriting

When a God Falls


August 27, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I was looking at my whiteboard the other day where I planned out the books I wanted to write this year. I was happily surprised to realize I’ve completed a large chunk already and even, in one case, going over my expectations. Where that’s relevant to this blog is that I had planned on writing at least one Voidhawk book. Well… I did.
Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess, is available now. It’s not only available, but it’s a book that really dug deep into me and touched me deeper than a book has in quite a while. It’s ridiculous to think that the writer could be surprised or shocked by his characters, but yet that happens to a lot of us. Or, at least, it happened to me with this one.
I’ll give a mini spoiler and announce right off the bat, Volera is back. But she’s not what you remember. Not only is she different, but she has no idea what she’s doing or why she’s doing it. Gone is the evil intent to harvest souls and power (well, mostly), and in its place is her driving need to understand just what it is that she needs. Confusing? Good, imagine how she feels!
The problem is this isn’t just another avatar of Volera created for a purpose, this is much bigger than that. I hinted in the end of the last book at her true power and origin, but this book covers it in more detail. And, most amazing, is her willingness to risk it all in her search for understanding.
What she failed to consider was the potential impact her actions could cause. Consequences that the crew of the Voidhawk discover at the worst time. They’re busy trying to deal with being betrayed on a job and handling internal problems. Jenna’s getting worse, not better, and Rosh spends time in a suicidal rage that only grows because he can’t find anything powerful enough to kill him and end his pain.
This book is amazing, and I’m not afraid to say it. The characters came to life stronger than ever. I can’t go on to explain more reasons why I think this is the best Voidhawk book yet without giving away important spoilers, but know that I really do feel that way. It also begs a follow up novel, which will be on my must-write list in the very near future.
But first, here’s the cover and where you can get it. I encourage you to hurry, and I also welcome the possible flood of emails that will follow as the books is read.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawkfallengoddess_small





Scribd (coming soon)


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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

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A Dark Star is Born


August 17, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess went to my editor on Friday. That, by itself, is a great thing. What happened in that book is even greater. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I’m still feeling it after taking an entire weekend off from writing and I want to jump straight into the next Voidhawk book because of it. But… I can’t.
In a couple of weeks I have a special project coming up with someone, so I have to plan accordingly. I’ve decided to work on Dark Star in the interim, the next book in the Dark Universe setting. A quick turn-around for that series, I know, but I’ve got a couple of driving factors: 1) Dark Universe is selling great and nothing else is for me – the family’s gotta eat. 2) I’m just as amped up about that series and the characters as I am about Voidhawk, so it’s an easy thing to do and it gives me the space I need to come into the next Voidhawk book objectively.
Two weeks isn’t enough to finish it though, not while I’m doing the day job too. So I finished putting my thoughts together today and now I can start working on the story properly. It’s not an outline, per se, but a general flow of what’s going to happen. The ‘how’ part of it remains to unfold as I write it. I’m expecting another kick ass story in that series though!
As for Voidhawk and the next book, that will come soon. It’s going to tie into my World of Kroth books again (Blades of LeanderOrder of the DragonThe Serpent’s War). In fact, the third book in the Serpent’s War trilogy will have a lot to do with it – but I promise they’ll also be entirely separate from each other. Some crossover, maybe, but you won’t need to read one to read the other. You will, however, get exposure to some kick-ass fantasy that fills in a lot of extra details and backstory for anyone that wants to try them both out.
And the side project? Well, I’ll talk more about that when and if it works out. It’s got a lot of potential, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself in case anything comes up to cause problems.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess in the next week or two! And after that another Dark Universe book is on the horizon.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:character developmentcreative writingfantasyscience fictionspace fantasyspace operastrong female characters

Chasing the Dark


August 6, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I teased about it yesterday. Today I have bigger and better new – it’s ready to go a day ahead of my revised schedule! Chasing the Dark is available for your reading pleasure! Below is a chart with links – and more will become available as time passes (you can check my website to find them, also linked below). In the meantime, let me explain why so many people have asked me when this is going to be out.
For those not in the know, Chasing the Dark is the third novel in my bestselling Science Fiction series, Dark Universe series. It was intended to be a single book originally, but the characters immediately informed me they had a lot more story to be told. All right, so a trilogy then…except this is book three and they are nowhere near close to being finished. In fact, a couple of new characters have entered the fray and they have their own stories to tell. Will 4 books be the end? I doubt it very much, although there are plenty of ideas rattling around already for what’s going to be book 4. I think I even have a title for it: Dark Star.
Be warned, this series is a mix of space opera, space fantasy, hard science fiction, and even a little bit of spicy romance with an occasional steamy scene you don’t want your mother knowing you read (or wrote…oops, Hi, mom!). Ahem, enough about that. First off here’s the blurb and then the links. Eat it up and enjoy, there will be more to come, I promise!
 
Aden and Twyf, human and Tassarian lovers, are running for their lives. An entire alien race, the Kesari, are chasing them across the universe with the intent of retrieving the artifacts they stole and insuring the secrets they’ve learned are never shared.
 While they stay one step ahead of the Tassarians, the universe continues to change around them. They’ve unleashed a long forgotten energy that is disrupting everything, from genetics to the laws of physics. The secrets to the mysterious energy lie in the artifacts they have, and the key to unlocking them may very well be in the Terran Naval station Aden grew up in.
 The Kesari won’t be denied so easily, however. Aden and his friends have to race against a race with technology so superior it might as well be magic. Magic the Kesari intend to use to one inevitable end: destroy Aden, Twyf, and everyone else that has come in contact with them.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Chasingthedark_small
Into the Dark (book 1)Out of the Dark (book 2)Chasing the Dark (book 3)
Amazon

Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Amazon

Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Amazon

Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Scribd
Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster (coming soon)
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or chec[/size]
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A Quick Shot in the Dark


August 5, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Ooh, I might have to use this blog title as a book title in the future… for my Dark Universe series. If mentioning that gets you excited, hold on, it’s going to get a little better!
Yes, I have the edits finished for Chasing the Dark, book 3 in the Dark Universe series. I’ve approved cover art too, just waiting for the files to be delivered (tomorrow, probably). All that is great, but when is it going to be available?
Thanks for asking! Barring a catastrophic problem, I expect to launch the book Friday, if not sooner. That’s 1.5 days away. Rejoice, you’ve got something to do this weekend now!
In the meantime, I need to get back to writing Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess. I’m tearing through this one too, but it’s going to be a biggun, I think. It won’t get written if I don’t get back to writing it though!
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing

Physics Is For People Who Don’t Believe

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July 13, 2015Jason Halstead2 comments

This is not a post about my books. Not directly, anyhow. This is me being damn proud of myself. You see, four and a half years ago I tried to tear my arm off. I failed, but managed to rip the pectoral muscle off my arm and leave it flapping like a broken chicken wing. I was training for a powerlifting meet a month out. Bye bye competition.
I ended up having surgery to reattach the muscle, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I would never lift that much again. I moved a week or two after the surgery across country and lost my health insurance for a while. It was a kick in the nuts, to say the least, because I identified with being a big and strong mofo. Fortunately, I’d been studying my body and weightlifting for many years now and was able to self-rehab myself back to being within 85% of my prior maximum effort. Over time I accepted that. My books started taking off and I dreamed of a life where the pen was mightier than the bicep.
But I kept lifting. I wasn’t going to be a little guy or a skinny fat guy ever again. I would never compete again, but as long as I stayed in shape I could cope. So I did. Through a few more states and a few more moves I stayed strong and kept at it. And I got older. I peaked at 36, whether I wanted to or not. Now I’m 40 and I’m here to say recovery and a lot of other things aren’t what they used to be.
But I also managed to rekindle my love of picking up heavy things this year. It never left, but it definitely had a few lulls along the way. I’ve designed a new routine that works a lot better for me these days and allows sufficient recovery and, believe it or not, growth. I began to see gains that I didn’t think were possible anymore…but the iron never lies.
Last night I bench pressed a bar with only 15 pounds fewer than my competition best. AND I had enough left in the tank I wish I would have done 5 more pounds. I’ve given myself 6 weeks to meet and / or beat that prior maximum effort and I am positive it will happen. If you’re curious about what that means, I benched 390lbs tonight and I plan to meet or beat my 405lb lift that was a state record back in 2009.
That’s not the point though, what matters is that I’ve done a lot of crazy shit in my life. Some of it good, some of it not so good. Some of it… well, never mind (hi, Mom!). None of that stuff taught me the lessons that powerlifting has taught me. Lessons like how a determined human being has no limits. Physics and gravity be damned, if you put your mind to it you can do anything. Weight lifting, writing 12+ books a year, or doing anything you really want to. Hard work is the key. Hard work and determination. Heck, with enough hard work we might even be able to fix our government (remember, I write a lot of fiction).
 
Tonight’s lesson is this: F*** the rules, make your own.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Self HelpWeight LiftingTags:body buildingchallengefictionhealthpowerliftingrecordsrecoveryrehabstrongmansurgeryweight lifting
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Forever Isn’t What It Used To Be

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July 8, 2015Jason Halstead2 comments

Great news – Chasing the Dark is off for editing and cover art! That’s book 3 in the Dark Universe series. Originally I planned a trilogy and after that some spin offs. Well, it turns out the characters I planned to do spin-offs with have meshed too well and the story isn’t done yet. So there will be at least 4 books, if not many more before I even consider branching off.
But that’s not what this is about. I was excited about Chasing the Dark. I mean really, really excited. It was a fun story and the characters were a blast. Aden, Twyf, and Seph were the main characters throughout and the things they said and did…well, I won’t give any spoilers, but it was great. Then a new character entered the storyline and really made a difference. Of course, tragedy struck and things got complicated. Life was on the line and there was a lot of hurt being dished out. All in all, good times!
So I came off that high and went straight into Voidhawk #8 this morning. I had ideas that had been bouncing around in the back of my head for months now. Well, they spilled out tonight and filled page after page. The first chapter is written and I’m shocked at how energized I feel, especially after how busy I’ve been lately and how Chasing the Dark played out.
It’s far too early to give any details about how Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess will go, but here’s a tiny snippet to enjoy. It will provide a little extra enjoyment to those familiar with the Blades of Leander series and / or Voidhawk – Broken Shards.
 
The demoness took an awkward step forward and swept her hand to the side. Caitlyn fell silent as though she’d had the air snatched from her breast. “Come to me, child,” the demoness purred. “I grow cold and I hunger.”
Caitlyn moaned. She wasn’t supposed to touch her. The instructions had stressed that. She was to acquire the demon’s name and give it instructions and a prize it could claim. Then it would go. Her brother would be lost, ensnared by the demon. Strife would follow and Queen Patrina would find herself sickening from poison. Then Caitlyn would rule, forging an alliance between Shazamir and Altonia. The Order would have their biggest threat removed, clearing the way for the armies in the south to launch their war.
“Isn’t that better?” the demoness whispered in Caitlyn’s ear.
Caitlyn gasped. When had she crossed the circle? She was inside…with her! She tried to shake her head but only a tiny whimper escaped her lips. The demoness’s fingers caressed her cheek and neck, setting her skin aflame with sensation. The flames ran through her body, making her tingle all over before settling low in her belly and leaving her gasping.
“Feed me,” she murmured into Caitlyn’s ear.
Caitlyn turned, trying to see through the red fog that overwhelmed her. She was on fire with need. She’d never felt this desire. This lust. She needed to be touched. To be filled. To be completed. “Yesssss,” she whispered until her sibilant compliance was swallowed by the demoness.
 
Stay tuned for more. Or, at the rate this book is burning through me, stay tuned for me to announce it’s ready to read!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:demonfantasyspace fantasyspace operasuccubusVoidhawkwitch[/size]

Crisis in the Middle Life


June 13, 2015Jason Halstead1 comment

The years come and go. I remember aching to grow up and be able to do my own thing – I really didn’t like being a kid. Then when I hit 18 it was just another day, imagine my disappointment. The world didn’t open up to me and bestow the opportunities and riches I felt I deserved. WTF, right?
Fast forward a couple of decades and then some and I’ve learned what just about everyone else learns. Hard work and trying to make smart decisions to recover from the stupid decisions made earlier in life are the way to go. And yet the journey through life is perilous and filled less with opportunity and more with fear. We lost friends and family along the way and we have to wonder, when is it my turn? Ideally it will be a long time off yet, but freak accidents and tragedy strike somebody, somewhere, every day. Will I do the things I always wanted to do?
As a kid we (boys, mostly, I can’t speak for girls) daydream about growing up to be somebody cool. The popular ones I remember were a soldier, a police officer, a fireman, or an astronaut, although I’m sure there were others. I never once thought of living a life in suburbia with a wife, 2 kids, a dog and a cat. That’s boring stuff! Yet that’s what I’m doing. That’s what almost all of us end up doing. And the combination of fear of failure and realization of a normal life brings about the dreaded mid-life crisis.
We were meant for something more, damn it! Sports cars and private jets and walks on the moon. And stuff. Lots of shiny stuff. Instead here we are, having garage sales and worrying about making enough to pay the bills, send the kids to school, and save up for when the roof needs to be replaced. A vacation? Ugh…who’s going to pay for that?
Yet the world keeps spinning, regardless of our worries. The day will come when it spins without me on it, and it won’t make a bit of difference to the world at large. Perhaps our greatest trait and biggest downfall is our arrogance in thinking that we matter. We want to make a difference – to leave a legacy to be remembered by, yet the memory of the universe doesn’t give a damn about us, either as individuals or as a species. It will continue long after we do not.
As for me personally, I still fantasize about reaching the point where I can buy a Corvette (C7 body style, preferably a Z06 but I may settle for a Stingray instead), but there’s a lot of bills between me and that first. I have a good job and I get to live out my fantasies on a daily basis in the books I read and write. I never planned on having kids, but I’ve got two of them and as far as kids go, they’re the best ones I’ve found. I won the lottery when it comes to my wife, so complaining would be about the dumbest thing I could do. All in all, I’ve done pretty good for myself thus far, in spite of the day to day challenges that I, and everyone else, face.
Why am I writing this and why should you care? Well, for those that made it this far, here’s why… all of these thoughts rattled around and twisted together in my head until they morphed into something else. Something about another middle aged character of mine. An old friend that, when I first wrote about him, I liked to think that I might be a little like him when I was his age. You might remember him, his name is Carl Waters.
For many of my readers hearing that name probably caused a gasp of wonder and excitement. Why would I mention Carl…unless…could it be… another Wanted book? To answer that question I have to dig deeper first.
Carl’s still middle aged, but he’s on the far side of it by now. To be honest, I don’t remember how old he was at the end of Marshal, but a few more years have passed since then. The Wanted series has arguably been my most successful series of books to date, but that’s not a good reason to write another one. I needed a reason. A story to tell, rather than just some drivel that’s popular in the market. I needed Carl to be inspired.
So all these thoughts I had combined with some feedback from readers. Tanya’s a control freak and a mess, Jessie’s wrapped up in living her uninhibited life the way she wants to live it, and Carl is his typical hard-ass uncompromising self. But what if Carl had a new opportunity? Something that piqued his interest and required his skills, yet challenged him in new ways? And what if he needed Tanya’s help along the way? The thing is, like usual, Tanya has secrets that complicate things. Complications that, when dealing with people like this, can have life and death consequences.
I could go on, but I haven’t started it yet. To be honest, I probably won’t start it for a couple of months yet, as I’m mid way through my third book in my Dark Universe setting and then I have another book that I can’t wait to write in my Voidhawk series. I need more of me so I can get to the things I want to get to! Since there’s only one of me (my kids and wife are thankful of that), I beg your patience while I slap the keys and do what I can do to get these books out. Living forever may be impossible, but by reading and writing it’s possible to live many lives. I guess if that’s the best I can manage then that’s all right by me.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:eotwawkifantasymidlife crisisscience fictionscorched earth

Chicks that Rock

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June 1, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m in a few Facebook groups (among other places) where the question about inspiration comes up. It’s always a vibration on the same question I get in email, on Twitter, in person, and a bunch of other places: What inspires me to do what I do?
I’m always thinking and dreaming, for one. 30 – 60 minutes stuck in traffic twice a day gives me plenty of time for that. Stringing random images from signs, passing traffic, vanity license plates, and other things helps. Images I see in movies or people I meet can provide the same sort of burst of creativity. Songs are a big one too, even if I only feel moved by one and like the concept behind it, I can use that energy to do something else with it (it puts me in the mood, so to speak).
Case in point, it’s music that prompted this post and this line of thought. I realized something this weekend when I fired up Pandora and had a song by Halestorm come on. I happen to enjoy their music quite a bit, it’s a refreshing take on rock and roll and, in my opinion, they are too damn few female vocalists in rock / hard rock / metal these days. Anyhow, I wanted to know more about them and experience more of their music in a different venue, so I fired up Youtube to check out their videos. Enjoyable stuff, to be sure, but then I stumbled across a collaboration between Lzzy Hale (yes, I spelled that right) and Lindsey Stirling, an artist discovered on America’s Got Talent several years ago (I’d never heard of her until now, but I’m not much for television).
Let me take a moment to go out of my way and insist that you check Lindsey out. Whether you like her style or not, you will be amazed at the talent in this tiny little thing. She can do things with a violin that might indicate she’s not entirely human…and she does it while dancing and spinning around the stage like a professional ballerina. She blew my mind, to put it mildly.
I also happened across a duet between Lzzy Hale and Amy Lee (vocalist for Evanescence). That wasn’t nearly as impressive, for me, but I blame it on the performance being live and the capture quality lacking on the videos.
To tie this back into being inspired, I realized that women inspire me. Strong, capable women that make things happen — heck, I married one! Now I’m not saying they inspire me to wear something soft and silky or to paint my nails, mind you. I find it motivational to see anyone beating the odds and succeeding – I’m American, I love an underdog story. But more than that, I recently saw some science fiction artwork where the artist drew a woman with prosthetic limbs. I don’t remember if she was fighting or just in some sort of action pose, but the point was she was overcoming a weakness and proving to the universe that she wasn’t going to accept defeat.
That’s what inspires me. Human spirit. Rising up and shouting to the stars that we won’t accept indifference and oblivion. We won’t accept injustice and ambiguity. In the end we’re all just sparks that die out and fade away to nothing, but while we’re here what matters is how bright those sparks burn.
My characters embody these traits. Their people that have endured the same horrors and miseries that we face in real life, yet they rise above them. They use their fear and their pain to transform them into something more. They find the steel core deep inside of them that I believe we all have and use that strength to fight back. Granted, for some of them that’s not enough (clenched teeth and a can-do attitude won’t stop a 105mm tank shell coming at you, for example).
There’s been a character inspired by that aforementioned artwork. She’ll be showing up soon, in fact. As for Lzzy HaleLindsey SterlingAmy Lee, and the many other talented women struggling to be discovered – you’ve got my support and I can’t wait to see / hear / learn more about you.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:amy leeevanescencehalestorminspiratinglindsey sterlinglzzy halerock and rollsci-fiscience fictionsyfywriting[/size]
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Time for Change


May 1, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been too busy, really, and using what writing time I have to focus on…well, writing. It’s been a struggle this year. Lackluster book sales and a busy schedule have combined to reduce my output and put a bit of a heavy weight on my shoulders. Add in a sinus infection and crappy Michigan weather and I’ve got lots of excuses, but no real justification.
Meanwhile, I’ve stumbled across a new idea. Not for a story, but for a character. The last time this happened I struggled and finally ended up finding a home for the new character. She ended up starting up a series in my Dark Earth setting and, over the span of the last five years, has been responsible for bringing in a little of sales and happy readers. Here’s the funny part – those books would have done a lot better if they had a woman’s name on them instead of mine.
Waving my finger at the way in which we pick books to read aside, I’m still pretty darn happy with how Katalina Wimple and The Lost Girls turned out. I still love the character and what she’s been through and accomplished. It’s because of her that my new idea is gaining more and more traction in my head.
So who is this character? I don’t know yet. I do know it’s a she. I also know she’s in a sci-fi setting because she’s been in some pretty rough stuff and only survived because of very advanced medicine. Probably injuries comparable to something Darth Vader-esque. Except she’s not nearly as whiny and obnoxious as the shmuck that was Annakin Skywalker.
So where does she go? Vitalis? Dark Universe? Something new? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, but I’m leaning towards Dark Universe. Not what I had intended for book three in that series, but I might introduce her there. Set the stage, so to speak, so that she can start things up after book three is over and I’ve told the major story arc I had planned for Aden and the crew of the Uma.
Or maybe another idea will come along and I’ll do something else with her. It’s hard to know, honestly, but I do know I really like her and she’s here to stay. My wife’s books aren’t doing as well as they did last year and she’d disappointed by that enough that she’s slowing down. That means, hopefully, I can focus more on my stuff. For lovers of Dawn Michelle don’t worry, she’s not giving up and going away, just slowing down and thinking things through.
On that note, book three of The Lost Pack is due out soon, perhaps by Monday. Book 4 is close behind, maybe another week or two. Books five and beyond are coming too, she hasn’t gotten to them yet though. I’m pushing to help her get them out, the sooner we do the sooner I can turn back to Dark Universe and Voidhawk, in particular. I really want to start my next Voidhawk book, but I’m also dying to continue the Dark Universe setting. Decisions, decisions…
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscharacterizationcharactersfantasymedicinenew ideasparanormalscience fictionstar wars

Some Secrets are too Hot to Keep


April 12, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Just got this from my partner and friend, J.E. Taylor. After checking it out I was only too happy to pass it along. Sounds like a great deal to me and there’s some top notch authors involved (to be fair, probably all of them, but I can’t honestly say I’ve read every author in this collection so I won’t pretend I have). Anyhow, enough babbling – on to the news!
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Secretworlds_1

21 stories for only 99¢

Angels, Demons, Vampires, Shapeshifters & More

With twenty-one stories and over one million enchanting words of fiction, this limited edition PNR boxed set will keep you spellbound. Dive into Secret Worlds you never knew existed and into the arms of heroes who will steal your heart and leave you hot.

Every title in this set has been edited to quality standards and professionally formatted.

 Sale ends August 31st, 2015


*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Secretworlds_2

Secret Worlds – A Steamy Paranormal Romance Boxed Set

Ready to Turn Up the Heat?

Whether you love paranormal romance that warms you up or sets you on fire, this boxed set will have something to entice your preternatural sensibilities.

Supernaturally thrilling and engaging, this boxed set has it all: ghosts, vampires, mind-readers, shapeshifters, demons, faeries, werewolves, and more.

For a limited, you can enjoy books from today’s USA Today and Amazon Bestselling, including titles that are slated for the big screen!

When purchased separately, these books cost over $50! But they are yours today for less than $1.

Every selection in this rare, limited edition paranormal romance boxed set are full-length novels and novellas!

Save over $50! This set is only available at this price for a limited time, so order your copy before it’s gone!

KINDLE | NOOK | KOBO | iBOOKS


Giveaway announcement!

We have 70+ prizes up for grabs at our Secret Worlds Facebook party, including multiple gift cards ranging from $5 to $100, plus a Kindle Fire! And the prizes just keep coming. Be sure to join the party for your chance to win these prizes and more coming down the pipeline!

The party is on June 29 but the giveaways have already begun.


Pre-order this Limited Edition Box set for only 99 cents!

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Categories:WritingTags:angelBundledemonparanormalshapeshifterwerewolfwitch[/size]

Vacation Gone South


April 9, 2015Jason Halstead3 comments

This is an ironic title to me. The intent was a review of the novella written by a friend of mine with the title, Vacation Gone South. The sentiment is happening to my family as I write this – my wife and children are on a mini-vacation helping to bring my in-laws back from Florida and allergies, strep throat, a smashed finger, pinkeye (in both eyes) and exhausted children have made it a trying time for them.
But that’s not why we’re here. This is about Will Brink‘s book, Vacation Gone South. The book is about a former elite Special Operator trying to enjoy a vacation with a work buddy in Panama when things go suddenly and wildly wrong. Bullets fly, people are getting hurt, and mixed throughout is the perfect dose of humor and educational introspection.
I’m going to be the first one to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Oh sure, I know Will has a history of training and working with all sorts of military and paramilitary organizations in his role as an exercise and nutritional guru (in fact, that’s how I met him), but I wasn’t sure how writing fiction was going to work out for him. To my delight, he delivered a solid hook with the first sentence and the story just kept on swinging until the bell was wrung.
To me the go-to writers for espionage and action and intrigue are people like Robert Ludlum. Mix in some Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler for good measure and there are some quality stories to be read. Vacation Gone South keeps the entertainment value on par with those guys and adds in some tradecraft and basic “howto” style tips along the way in an internal running dialogue. It made for a light, fast paced, and very fun read that I had a hard time putting down.
My recommendation? Try it out! You won’t be disappointed. Sure, I may count the man a friend and that might make me biased, but you wouldn’t believe the number of stories I am asked to read that I just can’t make it past the first few paragraphs on. Vacation Gone South delivered the entire way through. In fact, I think I only found one typographical error throughout, which proves that he really took this seriously and got a quality copyeditor.
I’m looking forward to more in this series – there are unanswered questions just begging a sequel… or many!
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing

Out of the Wormhole, Into the Arms of a Fire Breathing Alien!


April 2, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Yes, you read that right. Wormholes and fire breathing alien. In this case, a Pyrosian. But wait, what the heck is a Pyrosian? It’s an alien species from the system of Pyros. Reptilian in nature, although not truly a reptile Terrans classify such creatures. They’ve got a hide that many boots and purses would be envious of, stand a bit taller and thicker than humans, and have faces that are a cross between an alligator and a Terran. And here’s the kicker, for all that fearsome image they have, they’re normally quite peaceful. Normally.
Ever since the exploits of Aden and the crew of the crew of the Uma, things are changing. Not little things either. Inexplicable mutations are occurring throughout the universe. A Pyrosian that can breathe fire, a Tassarian with telekinetic abilities, and many, many other feats that were impossible days ago. People of all races aren’t the only things affected. Creatures, technology, and even worlds and entire solar systems are being evolved.
Restoring the Aspartillian energy may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Aden and his friends are discovering it came with a price. In their case, a price numbering in the billions of galactic credits. That’s how much the Kesari are willing to pay to have them captured. It’s a price that is hard to argue and harder still to fight. The Uma’s crew has gone from what seemed like a payday that would set them up for the rest of their lives to life on the run, where they can’t trust anybody. And maybe not even each other.
Out of the Dark is book two in my Dark Universe setting. It’s such an exciting series for me I can’t begin to explain or describe it. My interest and excitement for my other books hasn’t waned in the least, but with these books I’m seeing so many things I can – and will – do. Into the Dark continues to be received exceptionally well, so that tells me that this is what people are waiting for. And it’s only the beginning, there’s so much more yet to come!
[url=http://www.booksbyjason.com/Home/PickSeries/3?series=Dark Universe]*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Outofthedarksmall[/url]Available now!

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Enjoy it and stay tuned, book 3 is in the near future. I believe next I’ll be returning to Voidhawk for the eighth novel in that series, but a lot could happen between now and then!
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Writing[/size]

Fallen Heroes


February 26, 2015Jason Halstead3 comments

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST He-man_barbie
I saw a picture of Barbie and He-Man on Facebook this morning and it got me thinking. I grew up with influences like He-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Conan in my life and I loved them. I wasn’t quite as much into He-Man, but the other two were definitely in the top two. Heavy influencers for me…so heavy that over 30 years later I can still pick up around 600lbs, yet my day job is that of a lead software developer and I’ve written over 70 books in fantasy, science fiction, and other genres, and I hold a masters, a bachelors, and an associates degree in varying fields.
Have I accomplished Is it because of those influences? I remember watching lessons about learning responsibility and taking control of my actions and behavior. I learned the value of hard work and self-discipline too. Not entirely from the television and books, of course, but it was a reinforcement of what I learned elsewhere. It certainly helped that I’ve got good genetics that makes me athletic and I had good parents that raised me (hi mom). Or at least I think they did a decent job, even if there are a few incidents involving wallpaper and earrings that just won’t be forgotten…
Inside jokes aside, I see what my kids watch today on TV and I have to wonder where they get their inspiration and role models from. A talking sponge? Goofie cartoons I can’t make any sense of with characteristic graphics? To be totally fair, I love where some cartoons like Sofia the First and the Barbie movies have gone for girls. Strong, intelligent, and capable young ladies. My daughter’s into Monster High too, and as bizarre as that can be, it has more of the same message.
So what about the strong male role models? Well, there’s Transformers…but wait, those are robots. The sponge and his idiot starfish friend Patrick? Phineas and Ferb is entertaining, but it teaches my son more about getting away with things than taking responsibility. Star Wars Rebels, a recent show, seems to have some legs to it, but I’m biased towards sci-fi. And in Star Wars the big and physically powerful men are aliens.
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Conan-the-barbarian-posters-1930-2011
Why are we so afraid to show a large and muscular man? Why are they villainized and considered threatening? Today’s concept of a strong man is a metrosexual man that has leaned out to 7% bodyfat and weighs in around 135lbs. There’s no real strength there, just a desire to fit into fashionable skinny jeans and maybe get his chiseled 5 o clock shadow face on a magazine cover for 50 sexiest men in 2015.
What’s that teach? Abuse yourself for the masses. Seek happiness by trying to convince others to look up to you. Women these days can be strong and self-sufficient, as well as beautiful and well rounded. Men? Men take a back seat and have to atone for years of gender-bias. Hell, these days the media would have us believe that men need to be more feminized and softened.
If it hasn’t come across yet, I’m a huge proponent of equality and empowering women. My wife regularly busts my chops in every way she can (and she has found plenty, let me tell you!). However, making our wives, sisters, and daughters stronger does not have to come at the sacrifice of denigrating the male gender. The world is a diverse place, why can’t we embrace that and have all kinds portrayed so our children have more choices of what they want to become? Yes, our kids learn from us as parents, but we’re a constant in their life that they tend to ignore as much as possible. Cartoons and movies…now those are special. Those have impact, even if fleeting. I’m here to say that I still carry some of those fleeting moments with me, almost 4 decades later.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:UncategorizedTags:cartoonschildrengender equalitymediametrosexualpolitically correctrantsrole modelsstrong women
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I Choose Fantasy


February 25, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Rise-of-the-serpent_200This blog post isn’t so much a new release blurb so much as a call for me to ask WTF is wrong with America. See that picture above? I’m told it’s too scary and sexy. I’ve gotten feedback telling me people expect it to be fantasy porn to “rapey”. The nicest feedback in that camp is “sexy wrestlemania.”
To be fair, there’s been a few people that don’t see it that way at all. They like the cover. Heck, I like the cover, I think it’s really awesome. It shows a strong warrior who has the crazy eyes going on. Why? Well it’s not because he wants to take the athletic woman covered in snakeskin tattoos to a dark alley and do violent / pornographic things to her! The big guy has a story and a lot of depth to him, none of which includes any particular or unnecessary violence towards women. Yet the feedback I’m getting about that cover is that the guy is what’s freaking people out, not the girl.
So this question is not about the cover, it’s about what the hell is wrong with society. Why is it such a frightening or dreadful thing for a man to be large and muscular? I get the crazy eyes bit, but that harness he’s wearing has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey, it’s appropriate attire for his time and place. Has Planet Fitness won with their bullshit propaganda about big hard working athletic men and women are to be ridiculed and feared?
I’ve busted my ass in the gym for most of my adult life and built myself into a large and physically powerful man. Does that mean women and children should run screaming from me because I’m obviously going to chase them into a dark alley and do bad things to them?
I know I can’t change the horrible mess that our culture and society is becoming. Books have been accused of being subversive, or at least as catalysts of societal change. 70+ books later, society keeps getting more and more out of whack with what makes sense. With age comes the wisdom to see such things and to modify what I say and do and deliver to fit the times, but it also comes with bitterness. To that end, I am looking at redoing some of my covers in hopes of drawing in a bigger crowd of people.
Because of all of this, I choose to dream and spend as much time as possible in fantasy. I want to revel in stories and worlds where dedication and commitment is admired. Where people aren’t made fun of for trying to be better at what they believe in. I want to read about heroes that act on principle, rather than being afraid to stand out and be different. That’s what I want, and that’s what I write. People who make a difference for the better. Sadly, my heroes these days are fictional. The world is lacking in champions that I can find admirable.
If you’re like me and you like to escape the politically correct nonsense we live in, maybe you should ignore the threatening cover and try out the book above. It’s the second one in my Serpent’s War series.






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Next up on my plate is Out of the Dark, the sequel to Into the Dark. Or, if you prefer, book 2 in the Dark Universe setting. After that? Probably the eighth Voidhawk book, the eighth Vitalis book, or maybe even book 3 in the Dark Universe series.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:controversyempowermentfantasyfictionmuscularnew releasepolitically correctstrong female characters
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Look Ma, New Ads!

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February 12, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Continuing the website rebuild project I’ve added a section on the bottom left. I forget what I called it, but it’s under my newsletter signup form. The content of this section is a single ad chosen randomly among the ads I have on file. So far I’ve got four, one for my wife, a couple of other authors, and another to a new website put up to showcase free reads on the Kindle.
My plan? Millions of dollars in advertising revenue, of course! Okay, maybe not. In fact, I’m not charging a damn thing for this. Stupid? Maybe, but I don’t figure I can justify charging until I know if it does any good. So far the results are disappointing, but I am tracking the number of displays and number of clicks. Then, if things do eventually start working out, I may dig deeper into monetizing it.
But how? Am I going to be one of THOSE guys that charges for ad space? Maybe…but probably not. I’d rather go with an affiliate account and spare my fellow starving writers. That and I have this annoying habit of trying to help people. Sure, my ulterior motive is that if they succeed I can ride their coat tails into greatness, but so far I remain firmly entrenched in the helping others mode.
This experiment did get me thinking though. What other web pages can I build up to help myself and others? The http://www.readfantasy.org ad I added last night really got me thinking. Except that’s already been done now, so what else can I do? Happily taking ideas if anybody has them.
And yes, I need to build up a website for Dawn Michelle too, but that’s going to take a little more time and effort. Meanwhile I’ve still got to write. Rise of the Serpent is coming very soon and I’m on chapter four of Out of the Dark, book two in the Dark Universe series. At this rate I should have Out of the Dark ready to go by mid to late March, as long as I can do my part and my editor and cover artist are available.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:adsadvertisingfantasynew fictionpromotionpublicityscience fictionwebsite
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A Nod to Dawn Michelle

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February 8, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

There’s an amazing woman in the world that deserves some recognition. Not only is she a kick-ass mother and wife, but she puts out some slightly twisted and sometimes downright juicy books too! Case in point, after a hectic week we lost track of release day of the second book in her Tooth and Nayelle series. I’m here to cross-promote it and hopefully drive a little more attention her way. She does shine in the spotlight, after all…
Tooth and Nayelle is a paranormal romance / thriller serial. In total it will be five parts, each of them novelette length and priced at $.99. Or, for readers that are in Kindle Unlimited, it’s free! Yes, when she’s done she will release the entire series as a bundle (which will not be in KU), but the stories aren’t done yet.
That’s nice – but what’s it about and why should you care? Well, the story is about a young woman that has been hunted since childhood. She watched her family torn apart by a pack of very special wolves. She saw things that were impossible, and when she tried to tell people, they condemned her for it. That sort of support system can leave a person not only haunted and damaged, but doubting her own sanity.
The bad news is, they’ve come back, proving that she isn’t crazy. Just in time to tear away the only thing she has left in her life, her friends and the young man that she dared to dream might be the one guy that helps her feel like a person again. Someone that matters.
If you’re interested in a fun and thrilling ride, go and check it out! Both parts 1 and 2 are available, and while they are short reads, they are a lot of fun.
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Tooth and Nayelle – Part One:




Tooth and Nayelle – Part Two:


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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alphacoming of ageDawn MichelleHunterparanormalromanceshapeshifterSlayerteenthrillerwerewolfwerewolves[/size]

It’s Alive!


February 7, 2015Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

After years of neglect, it’s time to try again
 
I’m talking about my website. It’s been old, dusty, and unmaintained for far too long. Well after the last week of work, I’m happy to say that’s not the case anymore! Not only did I give it a complete overhaul, but I changed technologies to make it faster and more secure, and switched it from my old twitchy ISP to be hosted on my own server sitting a few feet behind me.
Try it out and see what you think. ALL of my books are on there now (listed by series), as well as handy links for free books and audio books. My past newsletters are archived there, and there’s a direct feed from my blog. It’s almost like I knew what I was doing!
But I can’t take all the credit. My wife, the lovely Dawn Michelle, provided a lot of assistance in picking colors and laying things out (and by a lot I mean damn near all of them – I can’t pick one decent color, let alone the half dozen or more used in a website). My beta testing team consisted of a wonderful group of writers and readers too lengthy to list – but I express my heartfelt appreciation to them all.
Check it out, It’s www.booksbyjason.com.
But wait, I mentioned multiple releases…what else have I got up my sleeve? Rise of the Serpent, book 2 in The Serpent’s War fantasy series. No, it’s not available just yet, but it will be very soon. I’ve got a soft date of Feb 15 from my editor and I’ve been actively working on cover art with one of my amazing cover artists.
And now that I’ve hit a happy point with the website, it’s time to get back to writing! Dark Universe, here I come… I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of ideas to put into the sequel for Into the Dark. Now I get my chance to make it happen! But don’t worry, fans of Vitalis and Voidhawk, those are coming soon too.
Thanks for the patience while the construction dust settles. Now it’s time for me to get back to work to get the books flowing again.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:entityfantasymvcnew releasescience fictionweb designwebsite

The Cost of Writing…and other BS

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January 29, 2015Jason Halstead4 comments

Anybody in the world of writing has probably seen all the hoopla about an article in Salon by some lady who’s name I don’t remember. She went on ad nauseum to discuss how success was only possible because her husband made a substantial income that allowed her to stay at home and write. Everybody else wouldn’t talk about the money or where it came from, it was taboo.
Uh… no. I’ve been talking about it for years. And I’ve been working my tail off too. And not just at writing, I’ve got a day job too. I’ve always had a day job. And I’ve written. And I went to school for three degrees. And I have two young children and a wife I adore.
Since 2009 I’ve been doing all of that and writing professionally. The schooling ended a couple of years ago after I finished my MBA, but nothing else did. This year I have over 30 releases planned, from several full length novels and a few novellas to multiple serials. In 2014 I put out 22, so it’s very realistic.
What about the numbers for 2014? Well, they weren’t nearly as good as 2013, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean they were dismal or upsetting. I damn near hit $60k with books, after all! What worked best? Science Fiction and some (not all) fantasy. Summer, fall, and winter saw definite plunges in ebook sales. I offset it with a combined exploratory effort into paranormal romance with my wife and that, in turn, led me to a NY Time and USA Today bestseller spot.
Yet I’m still at the day job and struggling to get sales back up to levels I can accept. I’m dabbling in advertising, something I’ve had no success with in the past. It’s helping a little, and between that and a new book that’s doing quite well (Into the Dark, a new science fiction book that will begin my Dark Universe series), things are coming back around. Fantasy, sadly, seems to be dying off for me.
But you want the details nobody else gives you. I’m here to deliver:
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TitleGenre# Books2014 Royalties
Blades of LeanderFantasy3$5,155
Order of the DragonFantasy4$3,998
Serpent’s WarFantasy1 (2 more in 2015)$43
HomelandIntrigue, Erotica2$156
Dark EarthUrban Fantasy, Paranormal5$1,120
The Lost GirlsSci-fi, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy5$5,386
VitalisSci-fi7$11,741
VoidhawkFantasy, Space Opera7$10,454
WantedSci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic4$9,568
Fallen AngelsUrban Fantasy, Occult3$438
TranscendentSci-Fi1$105
Claimed by the BeastParanormal Romance (shifters)6$6,133
Blood KissedParanormal Romance (vamps)2 (1 more in 2015)$97
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You might notice all the links above. That’s my subtle way of inviting you to check them out and see why they are as successful as they’ve been – or not as successful as they should be. And this paragraph? Well, this one is the same thing, except maybe not as subtle!
I’ve been very disappointed with the response to Serpent’s War, for example. After two great fantasy series in the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander and Order of the Dragon), as well as a Voidhawk book (Broken Shards) that visited the world, Serpent’s War is pretty much tanking. I will finish book two (Rise of the Serpent) this week and get it to my editor for a release hopefully in mid to late February), but I’m not expecting much. I wrote it because it needed to be written, as does the third book in the series.
Meanwhile, I’m finishing up touches on a new paranormal romance series about werewolves and a young woman that’s been terrorized by them most of her life. Tooth and Nayelle has five parts that are releasing on a regular cadence through late March / early April. My next project is probably going to be chasing the success of Into the Dark, then I’ll work with my wife, Dawn Michelle, to capture more of the magic she and I make together in the PNR world.
Other projects for 2015? I don’t have them handy, but I’m planning two Voidhawk books, 2 Vitalis books, finishing off the Serpent’s War trilogy, and probably turning my Dark Universe series into at least three books. It’s going to be a busy year, but I’m also going to be working a day job full time because I’ve got bills to pay and a need for medical insurance I can afford.
To those who feel they can only write if they live an otherwise pampered life? Suck it up and get your hands dirty. You might learn something, even if it’s only about yourself.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:author earningsbestsellerbestsellingfantasyfull time jobny timessalonscience fictionUSA Todaywriter's incomewriting income[/size]
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The Future is a Dark Place… and I Can’t Wait!


January 10, 2015Jason Halstead4 comments

I’ve written science fiction for years now. Post-apocalypticnear futuremid future, and futuristic. I’ve had aliens devastate the earth and I’ve had humans expand and conquer our solar system and others. It’s been a blast and I love it.
I’ve done the same thing with fantasy settings, minus the aliens. Creatures and monsters aplenty to make up for the missing aliens though. New worlds and magic and sweeping storylines that take characters from the brink of childhood to epic destinies. I love that too.
I’ve bridged the two, blending science fiction and fantasy into urban fantasy and paranormal storylines that take place now and in the near future. Putting two of my favorite genres together can only have one outcome – more love!
So with that out of the way, I’m announcing the next big thing. Dark Universe, my new futuristic science fiction and fantasy series. Into the Dark opens the series in a spectacular way and sets the stage for the unlimited and amazing things that have yet to come.
But why should you care enough to spend a couple of bucks on it? Well, it’s a story for everyone, from diehard sci-fi lovers to people who just enjoy great characters and a great story, no matter what the environment. The book doesn’t go overboard on technology, but it also keeps things realistic. There’s romance, action, adventure, and aliens. All kinds of aliens. Furry ones, chitinous ones. Blue skinned ones. Green skinned ones. Orange skinned ones. Aliens with tentacles. Aliens that walk on four legs instead of two. And good old fashioned Terrans. The humans are the newcomers to the space race, actually, and are trying real hard to play catch up.
The book really has something for everyone, from space fights and fancy things to go boom in the night to complicated relationships and the dynamic stress that brings. There’s humor, there’s emotion, and there’s even a little bit of bow-chikka-wow-wow.
Why did I write it? Why wasn’t Vitalis or Voidhawk good enough? Well they are, but this is different. This is a combination of Vitalis, Voidhawk, and a little bit of extra fun that was inspired, I admit, by watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Inspired by, but by no means a copy of.
Into the Dark takes science fiction to a new place and exposes it to Arthur C. Clark’s law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That, my friends, is where the fantasy ties in. Give it a shot, I dare you to be disappointed!
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Intothedark_small

Available now!

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble (coming soon!)
iTunes (coming soon!)
Kobo (coming soon!)
Scribd (coming soon!)
Page Foundry / Inktera (coming soon!)
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensfantasyfaster than lightfleetforgottenfuturisticgenetic engineeringlight speedlost civilizationmagicnew releaseruinsscience fictionsecurityspace battlespace travelstarshipsuperluminal[/size]

Dark Universe


December 10, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Dark Energy? Dark Matter? No and no. It’s the name I’ve settled on for my new scifi blockbuster / bestseller / series. But what’s so dark about it? Are there evil alien necromancers trying to destroy the cosmos? No. That would be weird – even for me!
It’s called Dark because that’s what happens when ships use the mysterious devices sold by Kesari merchants to travel faster than light. These devices have universal hookups allowing a ship to power them and communicate with them, but they have limited ability outside of plugging in coordinates and filling them with the energy needed for the black box to create the FTL bubble around the ship.
Woah— what? Yeah, it’s like that.
Kesari, that’s a race I covered a few posts back. They’re called squids by the other races because it’s a name Terrans used for them and it stuck. It’s not complimentary, the Kesari are merchants and the most alien in their thoughts and emotions, aside from the insectoid Criknids.
Black box? FTL travel? So what does going faster than light mean? It means light can’t catch you. And that means you can’t see it, because it won’t reach you. So when a ship travels at superluminal velocities it’s considered to be traveling “in the dark” or “in the black.” Hence “black box”, even if the FTL engine isn’t technically black.
And thus the series title of “Dark Universe” is born. Without being able to travel in the dark, spaceships and races would be trapped in their own solar systems. Or perhaps between two or three, if they found a relativistic way to travel close to the speed of light. Unlikely, at best. But with the black boxes ships travel hundreds and thousands of light years in reasonable time frames. Right now, roughly halfway through the first book, the protagonist’s ship is looking at close to a week to travel almost a thousand light years. Pretty darn fast! As a point of reference, the Milky Way galaxy is around 100,000 light years across.
Why are they doing this? They’re chasing someone. Why? Well, to even up the score on someone that double-crossed them. Or at least that’s why they think they’re doing it. There are more powers at play than the unlikely heroes realize.
Curious? Excited? Anxious to read more? I sure hope so, because I’m loving the book as it comes out of me. If you’re not on the fence, let me share this little bit I just wrote:
Adan nodded and headed off the bridge. He hurried down the lift and down the hall to his interior cabin. His luck held out and no one else spotted him and wanted to talk to him. After the fight and the repairs, then having to match wits against Tosc and Janna, he’d run out of steam. He opened his door and turned on the light in his cabin, only to see a bumpy form under his blankets.
The voice that drifted out from under the blankets surprised him. It wasn’t Amber, it was Twyf! “Hope you don’t mind, my cabin hasn’t been repaired yet.”
Adan turned the light back off and smiled. Maybe he wasn’t so tired after all.
Yeah, there’s more action than just lasers an space battles and even trysts with buxom alien women. There’s probably going to be some love triangles and girl fights too!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:alienscolonizationfaster than lightFirst Contactftlfuturisticmagicnew fictionnew releasescience fictionsuperluminalwriting

Five Years Later


December 3, 2014Jason Halstead1 comment

I’ve been writing professionally for 5 years now, more or less. A little more, truth be told, but I’ll round down. The point is, that feels like a long time. Not including the current book I’m writing, it’s 4,184,000 published words worth of time. That’s a lot of keys being slapped around.
What have I learned? A lot. Unfortunately, a lot of the lessons require unlearning something I learned the month before. For example, just this morning my wife got an email from an ARC reader stating she loved her book, but she was worried at first because of the details and backstory. She wanted to skip past the potato salad and get to the meat right away.
When I saw that I stiffened in my chair and stared at the screen in a serious WTF moment. I’d been criticized by readers in the past for not providing enough potato salad! My only consolation is the disparity in genres. I was chastised for short sci-fi novellas at the time. My wife’s market of choice is paranormal romance. A different breed of reader to be found there. Not better or worse, in my opinion, just readers expecting different things.
So I’ll step back from the tactical and strategic help and focus instead on helping with the writing. As for my work, I’m doing my best to keep it light and fun. Entertainment that turns the pages and makes my readers want to see what crazy stuff I can come up with next. Or at least that’s my current book.
What is my current book? It’s the sci-fi book I’ve been talking about on and off. I still don’t have a name, but I have a lot of ideas and plans. I’ll tease more alien races soon too. Maybe some technology and other random bits of interest about the universe too. It’s the beginning of a setting that, like Vitalis or Voidhawk, could span into an amazing number of stories that just keep building and building.
But I digress. Five years and over 4 million words is a lot of entertainment. I have 11 series of stories out there (most of them ongoing), and over 65 books. I write in multiple genres and have been included in group projects by writers far more financially successful than I am. I’ve even hit the USA Today and NY Times bestseller list this year with an inclusion under a pen name in a group project. By myself? Not a chance! But with others that can afford the promotion necessary to get us there – easy as cake.
The two things writing has boiled down to, for me, are financial success and the ability to be a writer. I am a writer. A prolific and well regarded one, to hear people talk about my work. Financially, however, it’s a rough road to follow. I have a day job and it looks like I won’t be leaving my day job for a very long time. Amazon’s ever changing marketplace keeps knocking me around and, especially lately, dropping me into pretty shaky sales territory. All those titles and it’s still a struggle for me day to day. Not to write, but to see the lackluster copies sold. It’s demoralizing, to say the least.
But that’s what makes a writer a writer. The stubborn mulishness necessary to push ahead and write another chapter. To put ourselves out there when the whims of the market and perhaps even common sense would dictate otherwise. It’s a gamble, you see, but a gamble with nothing but positive side effects. So my book doesn’t sell – I still wrote it. I still lived the adventure. I still explored characters, concepts, and topics I hadn’t thought of before. I may be out the cost of editing and cover art and perhaps a few other things (including time spent), but I learned something, damn it. I made myself a more educated and well-rounded person. I’ve learned more from writing all those books than I learned obtaining three degrees.
That’s the sum total of five years. I’d hoped to have a sports car, a nice house, and time to spend with my writing and my family by now. Well, there’s no car and no house, but I still get my family and the voices in my head to keep me company. It doesn’t matter if the sports car rolls in or not, I’m happy to work on hitting the 5 million word mark and enjoying what I’ve got. There’s a lot of things in my life I can’t control, such as whether or not people buy my books. I can control my happiness though, and I choose to find a way to be happy even when the royalties dip and bills begin to loom. Why would anyone want to live any other way?
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Self HelpWritingTags:adviceauthorcareerfantasyparanormal romanceprofessional writingscience fiction

Some Races Just Can’t Get Along


November 28, 2014Jason Halstead2 comments

It’s a bold statement that flies in the face of the equality, legislation, and simple human decency we’ve been trying to establish. Unfortunately, in some situations, it just can’t be denied. No matter what happens, Tassarians are going to shoot first when they see a Criknid. And who’s to say they’re wrong, the insectoid Criknids have a history of raiding and capturing the soft skinned Tassarians. They are considered a delicacy on the worlds colonized by the Criknid hives.
Oh, wait— you want to know what the hell I’m talking about? Sorry. I forgot to mention, this is a quick intro into some of the alien races to be found in my new, and as yet unnamed, project. It’s futuristic science fiction with a whole lot of adventure, excitement, and fun! So without wasting any more time, here’s some of the known races in the universe and a note or two about them.
Humans / Terrans: Relative newcomers to the space race, thanks to first contact from aliens that didn’t try to overrun our world and instead shared some of their technology with us.
Kesari: Little is known about those strange looking aliens. They are secretive and somewhat disturbing to look at. They resemble an octopus, only with more tentacles. No suckers though, and they body / head is bulbous and green or grey. They are merchants that will sell anything, but are best known for being the only race able to produce the black box-like devices that allow faster than light travel between systems.
Tassarians: A race that favors humid and moist climates. They resemble amphibians from Earth in their genetic makeup, but they are humanoid given to varying levels of vanity. They can be asexual as well, of gender neutral in that they can change genders once or twice in their lives as needed. Their skin ranges in nearly all colors, including shades of blue, red, green, yellow, and brown. They are hairless and have webbed fingers and toes, making them excellent swimmers that are capable of holding their breath many times longer than a human could. Their perceived softness, natural beauty, and preference for negotiations over warfare makes some other races see them as weak. And, in the case of the Criknids, tasty.
Criknids: The Tassarian’s greatest threat. These six limbed chitin covered people have a hive structure of society, but they are highly evolved and are not the termites found on Earth. Far from it, even the lowest ranks of Criknid has a mind of their own and the free will to do as they wish. Their upbringing and instincts, however, lead them to be very martial and matter of fact in nature. Their sense of humor is underdeveloped, by human standards. Having two legs and four arms, as well as a natural exoskeleton and the ability to seal off a severed limb, make them very formidable opponents.
This is just a taste, I have many more sketched out that I’ll be sharing. The Tassarians, for example, have more to fear than just the Criknids. Even if the majority of the known universe is living in a relative sort of piece at the moment, tensions are high from one system to the next and almost everyone has something to gain from another race’s loss.
And that’s only the beginning of the setting. The story I’m working on will blend bits of it all together and span both races, worlds, and the universe as we know it. To over-simplify things, it’s gonna be cool!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensamphibiansfantasyfuturisticinsectsnew fictionsci-fiscience fictionspacespaceshipstarshipteaser

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways


November 26, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I’m willing to admit that I’m a little scared right now. Ever since Kindle Unlimited came out, my sales have been slipping more and more into the land where good books go to be forgotten. I’m terrible at promotion, I admit it, but my mantra has always been “write more books.” I’m good at that, and I’m closing in on having 70 titles out there now because of it. But with sales falling lower than they were in early 2012, it’s seems like that’s not enough.
The bundle my wife’s story was included in hit the NY Times and USA Bestseller lists (A Cold Winter’s Bite, found in A Kiss of Christmas Magic), but that happened thank to the hard work of a lot of people, as well as a sizeable marketing fun. I don’t have the same resources, so I have to fall back on writing once again.
That’s where the good news comes in. I was planning on writing book 2 in my Serpent’s War series next, but I’ve been smitten with another idea. That and Servant of the Serpent sold approximately 10 copies in the couple of months its been out now, so not many people are clamoring for book 2 yet. If you happen to be one of them, don’t worry – I will write it. Just not yet.
First I want to share my new idea and share my excitement with it. It’s science fiction, to start with, and it takes place roughly a hundred and fifty years in the future. We’ve made contact, you see, and that brought down a whole bunch of visitors.
 
War? Famine? Slavery? Bloodshed? Not exactly. Maybe not at all – I haven’t even considered the first contact story yet. I’m focused ahead of that a bit, after humanity has joined the space race utilizing alien technology. Humans are the minority, but we’re doing our best to catch up fast.
 
This particular story will pit a mixed crew on a mission to explore an undiscovered system in search of a mysterious coordinate. They aren’t exactly sure what they’ll find there, and the creature they are escorting isn’t willing to share.
 
What happens next? Well, that would be giving it away! Arthur C. Clark once set forth the thought that technology so advanced as to defy our understanding would be viewed as magic. To that end, I will say that with the inclusion of alien races and cultures, there is also going to be a fantasy element to the story. Or perhaps it’s merely a new dimension science has yet to uncover? Reality as we know it is going to take a serious twist.
 
Here there be monsters. In Space.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.
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Post by Paul Sat 16 Dec 2023, 9:25 pm

NY Times Bestseller At Last!


November 20, 2014Jason Halstead1 comment

Yesterday the bundle, A Kiss of Christmas Magic, was listed on the NY Times bestseller list at spot #11. It pegged #31 on the USA Today bestseller list. For those that follow this blog, my newsletter, or website / Facebook page, you might remember the second longest story in that bundle is by Dawn Michelle. Dawn Michelle happens to be the name my wife and I write under (and it’s also her name, if you want to get technical). So, in a roundabout way, that means after five years of being a professional writer, I’m finally a NY Times bestselling author. Queue up the confetti, sirens, parade, and line of celebratory cocktails.
Then I checked my daily sales this morning. On the same day I sold 19 books and Dawn Michelle sold 4. How’s that for taking the wind out of my sails? Or sales…whichever spelling you prefer (see what I did there?)
I have to say that, hands down, the group of writers I worked with where fun, amazing, and professional. Well, a few times we might not have been professional, but it was in a fun and energizing sort of way. The point is, every one of them deserves it, and every one of them is a damn fine writer on their own merits.
What the process also told me is that being a great writer isn’t nearly enough. I always believed that if you write a good book, and write enough of them, the volume and quality of work will speak for itself. The readers and sales will come. Life will be good. After nearly writing 70 books and receiving a lot of outstanding reviews and praise, I’m here to say that enough isn’t enough.
To hit the list we needed the combined might of a whole lot of fan bases, first and foremost. Some of the authors have dedicated fans in numbers that left me staggering. I learned a LOT in the process, including the sheer masses of paranormal romance readers that are out there. I mean…wow! There’s a lot.
But that wasn’t enough, we needed more. That more came in the form of literally thousands of dollars spent in advertising. I can’t begin to grasp where all of it went, but there was a lot of ads out there getting the word out. That was a huge contributer. It bumped us up to our peak of #15 on the Amazon bestselling chart (all paid books).
So this is me being happy and also warning fledgling writers out there. Sure, there will always be exceptions to the rule that skyrocket to the top for no reason other than right time, right place, right luck. The over 99.9999% of us have to bust our asses. It’s a business and there’s no such thing as fair play. Write your asses off and understand it doesn’t end there. There’s a lot more to it than that. And if you’re like me without a budget for such extras, that means figuring it out and finding the time to do it yourself.
Good luck my friends – now that I’ve hit the NY Times list my plans are… write another book.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:advertisingamazonbestsellerBundlemarketingNY Times bestsellerparanormalpromotionromanceUSA Today

Snuggling Up With a Naughty Nook to Read

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November 11, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I was stricken by some inspiration last night to do some data mining. It happens every now and then, I’m a numbers and stats junkie. Hey, admitting I have a problem is the first step to overcoming it, right?
So anyhow, I focused on my 3rd quarter Smashwords results. I’ve been experimenting with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon and trying to figure out the best way to reach the most people. Sales have taken an epic leap into a giant brown and smelly sinkhole, so every person reached is bigger than ever.
What I found was very interesting, to say the least. Over the July – September period, I made roughly $800 on iTunes. Whether that’s good or bad is irrelevant for this discussion. Why? Because Dawn Michelle, my wife, made $80 on iTunes in the same period. My theory behind that is iTunes customers prefer science fiction and fantasy over paranormal romance.
The next significant sales figures came from Barnes and Noble. For Jason Halstead (that’s me, in case you’re just joining), I had $0 sales at B&N via Smashwords. Not surprising, almost all of my B&N titles go directly through B&N. They work out to approximately $10 – $30 a month in royalties. Nothing to get excited about. Dawn Michelle, on the other hand, rocked well over $400 on B&N sales for that 3 month period!
There’s really only one conclusion I can draw from this data – Nook readers like smut! Okay, maybe that’s too rough. They like romance. Paranormal romance. With some spice. In other words…furry porn. (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
So what does this mean for me? Well, I’ve moved some of my titles over to strictly being on Amazon and taking part in KDP Select / KU to allow borrowing. It’s saved my bacon so far this month too. I haven’t seen sales this low in 3 years and I don’t know what the hell is going on, but KU borrows are making up for the lackluster sales by averaging 5 – 10 borrows a day. My wife’s books, on the other hand, have done better by being available on multiple venues (especially those naughty nook owners – god bless you folks!), so we’re going to make sure her new series stays as available as possible.
Her new series? It’s paranormal romance again – and the beta readers are saying it’s even better than the Claimed by the Beast series. It picks up after her story in A Kiss of Christmas Magic ($.99 bundle of over 1200 pages written by 20 different authors – it’s available as of today). And it continues the original Claimed by the Beast series by telling Beth’s story after the fur settles. Oh, and this time, instead of shifters, the focus is vampires.
I know, I know, a vampire romance…sigh. But she’s made good on her promise that there will be no sparkling.
Crap, the new series is called Blood Kissed, and the first book (First Kiss) is available for pre-order. Book 2 is called Forever Kiss and is in the editing stages now.
As for me? Book 2 in my Serpent’s War series, I’m shooting to have it out sometime in the Christmas – early January time frame. Even though sales have been abysmal for book 1, it’s a great story and I have to write it. And, hopefully, more people will get into it as time passes.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:amazonbarnes and noblefantasyfurry pornindependentindieitunesparanormalromancesalessci-fiscience fictionself publishingsmashwordsstats
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Reviewing Reviews

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November 5, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

For those in the reviewing, blogging, or writing business the name Kathleen Hale has achieved a special kind of infamy lately. This is not where I weigh in on her, her actions, or her antagonist. Yes, I read about the antics and I can say that, as a writer, there’s nothing more infuriating than a bad review without substance or justification. Some people are dicks, plain and simple, and get off on making other people miserable. Yet if nobody ever posted their thoughts when something failed to blow their skirt up, how would I find opinions on products I’m interested in buying?
Set the buying aside, how about producing? I write books, and without feedback I have only my editor and my personal opinion on how my finished product turns out. Every book is a learning experience in how to get better at what I do, from grammar to content to writing style. My editors, beta readers, and fans are invaluable to me. I love hearing what worked and what didn’t. And if that means reading about it in a review, then that’s what I’ll do. Even a bad review. As Rocky Balboa said, “It ain’t about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can be hit and keep going.”
That’s life, my friends. And a minor jab I took yesterday was from a great blogger / reviewer by the name of Angus Day. He read Voidhawk, my first published novel. I cringe whenever somebody tells me they read it – that was written five or six years ago and I’ve improved so much since then! But people continue to love it. In fact, I had another email a few days ago from a man who read Voidhawk and stated that based on that book alone he would buy and read anything with my name on it. How cool is that?
But back to Angus. His review was positive. 3 out of 5 stars, and I believe he stated the middle of the road rating came from typos and grammatical problems in the book. Since he reached out to me directly in a message I was happy to talk to him about it and learn more about his concerns. That’s the kind of feedback that I strive for. Something to make me better. I address many of the issues raised and re-submitted Voidhawk to Amazon last night with the corrections. That’s the awesome thing about the age of the ebook – I can turn things around that fast.
So thank you, Angus, both for your kind words and for your critique. It was well deserved. As for my readers or potential readers, go try out Voidhawk, it’s free on Amazon and in spite of my cringing I will say that every time I revisit that first novel I’m caught up in just how entertaining it is. And it’s got six sequels, with a seventh burning away in the back of my head and waiting in line to be turned into a living thing.
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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawk-final-small
Voidhawk, by Jason Halstead
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:Balboacritiquecrticismfantasyfireflygrammarkathleen halereviewsRockysci-fiscience fictiontypos[/size]

The Serpent and The Girl


October 23, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I was wracking my brain for a catchy blog title and decided to go with something that sounded rather biblical. And taboo / risqué / naughty. I admit, that’s how I roll. I’m one of those guys that often says the things that other people think but are afraid to talk about. I figure if I scare a few people off the voices in my head will still talk to me.
Enough rambling! What the heck am I talking about? Well it’s a new book. Servant of the Serpent, a new fantasy novel set in my world of Kroth. It happens to be book one of a new series I’m working on (Serpent’s War). I would have called it the Serpentwar series, but another far more renowned author than I (Raymond Feist) already has a series by that name. He wrote some darn fine books too, I have to admit.
But this isn’t about him, this is about something new and never-before-read! Servant of the Serpent takes place in the southern lands. More southern than even Shazamir, for long time readers. New lands are explored and new enemies are encountered. Of course the book ties in to old enemies (and friends) as well. There’s a connection and an overall sweeping plot behind the scenes here, after all.
Servant of the Serpent marks the eight book in the world of Kroth (nine, if you count the visit from the Voidhawk’s crew in Voidhawk: Broken Shards). There’s plenty more to come with new adventure, excitement, and the occasional maiden being eaten by a dragon.
Here’s the blurb, cover, and a link to get it on Amazon. It may be available elsewhere soon too, I’m evaluating my distribution channels and trying to pick what works the best.
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Servant-cover_200
Allie was meant for something more.
The world of Kroth is full of amazing people. Men and women that did miraculous deeds. Kings and queens and knights and wizards. Allie wanted to meet some of them. She wanted to learn what it was like to make a difference and to escape the hot and dusty life on the edge of the desert.

Yet dark forces are moving in the shadows and trying to reclaim what was lost. A secret prophecy guides them on their quest for blood and fire. The path of the scaled splisskin people cross with Allie’s, proving that the cost of her dreams might be more than she can bear.

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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:arthuriancoming of agedeitiesdragonelffantasyfictionlizardlizardmannew releaseseriesshamansnakemanwizard[/size]
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When Books Write Themselves…


October 17, 2014Jason Halstead1 comment

This is a guest blog written by a friend of mine, J.E. Taylor. Hell of a writer and a decent person. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that. She’s not even the kind of friend I’ve made over Twitter either, she’s a real world friend. Really, I promise!

All that aside, she’s here to talk about a new book she’s got coming out. I’m here to introduce her and recommend checking her stuff out, it’s creepy, sometimes gory, often sexy, and always a good time. Virtually every book of Jane’s that I’ve read has left me saying, at least once, “Holy crap!”
 
When books write themselves…

by J.E. Taylor
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*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Ryanchronicles
Today, The Ryan Chronicles Trilogy is being released and even as I write this, the story is continuing in my head. The last effortless experience I had writing was when I wrote the books in The Games Trilogy, which was back in 2007 when I first sat down to write.
I’m pretty sure the timing is about the same as well. Three books in six months.
I love it when it flows like that, as a writer, it’s the most satisfying experience and typing The End can be bittersweet, especially since the characters become like your own children. I hope the passion that consumed me while scribing this story has done the pages justice.
Enjoy!


The Ryan Chronicles – Book One: Saving Grace
When CJ Ryan’s girlfriend decides life is less complicated without him, CJ travels a destructive path into despair, walking the line between what’s right and what feels good. But what feels good is a dangerous slope to travel, especially when Lucifer wages war for his soul.
One wrong step and CJ could fall into the devil’s trap, becoming no better than the demons he battles.
 
The Ryan Chronicles – Book Two: Raven Heart
CJ Ryan still can’t remember a thing about his past, but he is determined to have a future with Valerie. Despite his lack of memory, he finds himself ensnared in the cutthroat world of entertainment whether he wants it or not. The push into the spotlight shines a harsh glare on his family and brings with it a plague of horrors that drag him to the edge.
With the darkness of the past threatening, CJ turns to his brother looking for answers, but when an enemy with a psychotic history re-enters their lives, it will take more than just his memory to save them.
 
The Ryan Chronicles – Book Three: Trinity’s Wrath
CJ Ryan’s life seems to have fallen into place, and while the backdrop of his Hawaiian honeymoon provides the perfect healing elixir, the guilt of sentencing his father to an eternity of torture at Lucifer’s hands starts to intrude on his happily-ever-after.
When he and Valerie return from Hawaii, a note from the king of hell greets him, outlining in sickening detail his plans for CJ and those he holds dearest.
With everyone he loves on Lucifer’s hit list, CJ must start living up to the bargain he made in Heaven, but every one of Hell’s gates he closes is one less portal available for his father’s escape.
 
Available at Amazon
 
 
 
Excerpt from Saving Grace (book 1):
She smiled and I felt a need stir inside me, and it had nothing to do with my heart, or soul, for that matter.
“You really let a demon tie you up?” Dimples appeared in her cheeks and mine bloomed with heat.
I shifted, focusing back on the darkness beyond the glass, suddenly uncomfortable and unable to look at her. I swear my face must be the shade of a bright red kickball. “I wasn’t exactly myself,” I said without looking at her.
She chuckled.
The kind of chuckle that was meant as a turn on and I slid my gaze to her. “You like your men tied up?” I raised an eyebrow. It was her turn to blush and she grinned, shrugging and looking back outside. Before I could explore more of this conversation, she took a step back, dragging me with her.
There must have been a dozen pale creatures slinking across the back yard. I gave her hand that gripped my upper arm a gentle pat and she turned her frightened gaze to me.
“They won’t get through.” My voice held confidence, but deep inside, I was trembling just as much as she was. Damian, Steve, and I had wiped out more than this at the cove, but that was three of us and of course Paradise Cove probably had a lot to do with it.
We both focused on the approaching horde and without much thought, I slung my arm around Valerie’s shoulder and pulled her close. It was time to concentrate on the deadly quality of the wall I put up. I wasn’t sure of how much sizzle to put into it.
“I want to see them burn,” Valerie said, answering my silent contemplation and a chill ran up my spine.
She had every right to hate these creatures as much as demons and I concentrated, glaring at the approaching danger. Saliva ran from their lips and their teeth gleamed in the moonlight. My heart pounded in my chest, sending throbbing vibrations through my skin. The harder my heart beat, the hungrier the approaching vampires looked.
“Just a few more feet,” I muttered, focusing on the entire perimeter of the house because I wasn’t as much of an idiot as they thought. This wasn’t the only line of assault. Still, when they advanced, I took a cautious step backwards, pulling Valerie with me. The power inside me grew and I couldn’t tell whether it was the adrenaline or the power raking across my skin like a hundred finely manicured nails. The sensation grew, moving from the land of pleasure into the world of discomfort and I gritted my teeth.
“Come on, you motherfuckers,” I growled, loud enough for their acute hearing to pick up. I moved Valerie behind me and positioned myself in a fighting stance, waving them in with my leading hand. The results were memorable.
They all launched towards the glass slider and the moment they hit my invisible barrier each vampire burst into a ball of flame. The roar of fire drowned out their screams, but I heard them and the dark part of my soul reveled in it.
Valerie let out a high pitched laugh and I glanced back at her, smiling.
She met my gaze with a measure of awe. “The only one I ever saw do something that impressive was Michael.”
Being compared to an archangel was humbling and I glanced outside at the black dust spinning on the wind. “I’m not an angel.”
“Oh, I gathered that,” she said and stepped away.
I turned towards her. “What do you mean by that?”
“You’re more recent activities?”
I shoved my hands into my pockets and stared at the floor, shamed by the fact she was privy to my more decadent actions. Instead of apologizing, I lifted my gaze to hers, studying the memories of her past, especially the times after the more traumatic events. Naomi was right about one thing. The girl never freaked out. Ever.
And therein lay the challenge.
I let a grin slowly surface and narrowed my eyes, stepping closer. “So, you want to try out some of those ‘activities’ with me?”
She laughed. The kind of laugh that bruised a man’s ego and when she went into the gale realm, I crossed my arms, my good humor turning sourer by the second.
 
 
You can visit J.E. Taylor at http://www.jetaylor75.com and sign up for her newsletter for early previews of her upcoming books, release announcements, and special opportunities for free swag!
 
Sign up for Ms. Taylor’s newsletter directly at: http://eepurl.com/P6UPX
 
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http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor
http://www.amazon.com/J.E.-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6/

Categories:WritingTags:guestJ.E. Taylornew fictionnew releaseurban fantasy[/size]

When the Devil is Due


October 14, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Today marks the completion of a special deal I made. The kind of pact written in blood and guaranteed to— oh wait, no, that’s a different deal. Today is all about the release of the 3rd book of the Fallen Angels series, Devil’s Dance.
Originally Mr. Bybee and I had planned to write a trilogy. Well, this is the completion of that trilogy. It is not, however, the end of the story. Without giving out any spoilers, I will say that the original storyline is wrapped up but there was so many wonderful threads and ideas that we generated, it’s definitely going to continue on down the road.
But that’s me getting ahead of myself. First go check out Devil’s Dance. Or if you’d prefer, start the series fresh with Devil’s Island. Here’s the blurb, cover, and links:
 
 *JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Devils-dance_200
A year has passed since the last attempts to close the portal to Hell failed. In spite of no longer being at the top of the food chain humanity continues to struggle to survive.
Andy has come into his legacy, protecting those he loves with the very power that could destroy them all. His friends are struggling to find allies in the fight against the demon horde, but can they trust the remnants of the United States government? Alex struggles to accept her new life after being rescued from the demon queen’s grasp, but she knows it’s only a matter of time until her Mistress finds her again.
Tam’rah’s son, the prince of darkness, is coming into his own and threatening to destroy everything the world has left to offer. Humanities efforts have failed. Neither an attack led by an angel or a nuclear strike were capable of dislodging the demonic forces. With nothing left to fight back with, humanity has only one option remaining: they have to fight fire with fire.



Everywhere else (iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, etc.) will be available in a couple of weeks.
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:angelsdemonshorrormilitaryurban fantasywar[/size]

A Howling Good Time


October 10, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. For those that like to read this, I apologize. I’ve been busy writing and working and writing some more. Getting my fitness regime back on track and trying hard to find a good routine to settle into. My wife and I are land and house hunting too, another poor excuse for why I’ve been lacking.
The good news is: that means we’ve been busy! Dawn Michelle’s six part Claimed paranormal romance was a big hit. The prequel, Taken by the Beast, didn’t fare nearly as well unfortunately, but it’s still moving along. She’s got another story soon to be released in a special super-secret bundle that I can’t talk about, and more stories planned right around the corner.
But before any of that, she’s got something fresh that just hit the shelves this week. Claimed by the Beast, Part One, is available on audible as an audiobook! What could be cooler than that? Well, it’s being read by Jennifer Defilippo, an actress with numerous parts in television, plays, and even commercials (including an AT&T commercial where she stars as an angel that’s fallen to earth).
And I’m here to share some free codes. The only thing we ask is that if you use one, please leave a review afterwards. Here’s a link to the product and here’s a list of free codes. Go wild and enjoy – if you try a code and it doesn’t work, try the next one.

Free promo codes:

[list="margin-right: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 10px; padding-left: 0px; box-sizing: border-box;"][*]KHCRCFC8JQ535
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[/list]
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To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:at&taudibleaudiobookfantasyjennifer defilippoparanormalromancewerewolf[/size]

The aliens have landed…


September 16, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

…They are among us. They are us.
Vitalis: Communion is my 7th book in the Vitalis series. It takes up the story left hanging in Vitalis: Invasion, after the transport ship Independence crashed on earth loaded full of aliens and alien technology. And led by a human couple, one power hungry and the other clinically insane. And they’ve got guns.
The good news is the good guys from Invasion are back to fight for the confused people of Earth. Astra, the superstar pop singer with a self-admitted addictive personality, and Leona, a reserve duty police officer with a complicated past. And they’ve got guns too.
The alien biology and radiation is wreaking havoc on the earth though. People are changing and evolving. The geography is shifting and even the climate is reverting back to what Kimber has desired all along, an Earth that disappeared hundreds of thousands of years ago. Kimber’s willing to sacrifice whatever she has to in order to get what she wants, even the lives of the humans she once wanted to help restore to their former glory.
That’s only the beginning. New characters and old characters reunite. Worlds are connected and new possibilities introduced. The Vitalis universe continues to grow and expand, promising limitless potential for what might come next. The only thing I’m worried about is whether humanity is going to survive to see the possibilities…
One last thing, then I’ll turn you loose. Vitalis: Communion (all my Vitalis books, in fact) are only available on Amazon for the next three months. An experiment with the KDP Select / Kindle Unlimited program has me locked in. I sincerely apologize to non-Kindle owners – if you want it and can’t get it shoot me an email, I’ll find a way to make it happen.
If you are a Kindle owner and you’re part of the Kindle Unlimited program, grab a copy and start reading! It’s free to you. Or at least advance 10% of the way in so Amazon marks it off as a borrow for me. *JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST 1f609
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Vitalis-communion_200
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What’s next? Back to helping Dawn Michelle finishing off a really cool new story she’s been invited to add to a holiday bundle. Then I’ll return and probably start a new fantasy series in the world of Kroth. Dawn’s getting more and more demanding about me helping her with her stories – she’s been brainstorming and I have to admit, with my help they turn out some pretty cool stories. But I’ll never let my story lines go! Keep checking, there’s going to be more as soon as I can get back to them.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensapocalypsecolonizationend of the worldfuturisticinvasionMarinesmilitarymutantsradiationscience fictionspecial forces[/size]

Picking Up Heavy Things…Again


September 5, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It’s been a while since I’ve gone personal on here – hopefully that doesn’t drive anyone away! This has very little to do with books or writing and more about health and fitness. You see, almost entirely by chance this morning I stumbled across the reddit Arnold Schwarzenneggar did on a fitness channel. There wasn’t a heck of a lot there from him, but what there was hit home.
A couple of points – he indicated he doesn’t lift like he used to. Seems like a no brainer to me, I’m suffering the same sort of things and he’s got over two decades on me. Case in point, he can’t do as many barbell curls as he used to due to shoulder injuries and surgeries, so he’s worked in the preacher curl machine to help out. Well, for anyone that’s seen a recent movie of his, it’s working!
I’ve been a big opponent of machine for a long time, but I’ve been discovering recently that my go big or go home mentality towards lifting isn’t working like it used to. I wipe myself out and suffer minor injuries that end up being more of a setback than they are a gain. Coupled with being so darn busy between work and writing and family, I haven’t even been able to find as much time as I should to lift. Factor in an injury and you can see where things are headed.
To counter that line of thinking, I grinned like a fool when I read his method of gaining strength. He’d warm up for several sets (10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps – I might be missing a few in there) and then do sets of 2 at the heavy weights before backing down to 4 and 6 rep sets. That’s virtually the same thing I used to do when I was getting stronger for powerlifting! Some tweaks here and there, but there’s a lot of similarities. It would probably still work too, especially given multiple warm ups to really make sure the battered and abused body I’ve given myself is ready for it.
And speaking of injuries and taking time off – Arnold had another great point about making time to work out. Every minute spent on improving your health is not a minute lost from a day, it’s minutes gained on your life. So what if 30 minute are gone some evening, if that helps me live a week longer, that’s 10,080 minutes extra. And without health there’s no way to pursue other goals (work, family, money, building a replica of the empire state building out of toothpicks, etc.).
A final note on cardio. That’s how he said he’d cut weight / fat when he needed to, he’d add in extra cardio and cut out bread, pasta, and desserts. I’m notorious for hating cardio, but I have to admit it is damn effective. There’s nothing like jogging to burn calories. I also discovered something a year or two back when I got in a minor cardio frenzy that didn’t last long – I got stronger too. I was lifting as well as running and somehow my gains were improved when I did both over the span of a week. There was a study that Will Brink posted / commented on that supports it. I can’t say anyone else will have similar results, but what’s trying going to hurt?
On the subject of goals after fitness there’s writing. I’m on the verge of finishing my latest Vitalis book, but I’ve been on that same verge for over a week now. I keep adding more and more to it, improving the story and details. I’ve been on the last two chapters for at least ten chapters now, believe it or not, but I think I’m finally almost there. Looks like I get my cardio through my fingertips when it comes to writing!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out so
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When Good People Go Bad


September 4, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

We’ve all had a grumpy neighbor or a teacher that seems to have it in for us. A boss that is determined to stop our advancement or get us fired. Or maybe even a crazy ex that likes to take tire irons to car windows and screwdrivers to leather seats. Those people are out there, and in a few cases maybe they require medication. Or maybe there’s another reason. Maybe something happened to them that started a dark and sinister spiral. Is it depression, anger, or an inexplicable need to lash out to control their own hurt?
That’s where my wife’s latest book comes in. She finished Claimed by the Beast and had so many ideas she wasn’t sure what to do with them. She was paralyzed with options. I wasn’t too worried because I was hammering away at my next book (Voidhawk: Broken Shards), while she figured it out. Except she didn’t.
Then we went on vacation to a place rich with history. Not just American history, but French, British, and Native American history too. We took a few tours and read up on a lot of local history. The end result: inspiration! One of Dawn Michelle’s ideas involved exploring a couple of the characters (Adrian and Guntar) from the Claimed by the Beast series and trying to explain how they became the men that they were. With our vacation behind us, she knew what story she needed to tell.
The end result of that was Taken by the Beast, a standalone historical paranormal romance that takes place during the American Revolution. It’s Adrian and Guntar’s story after they left Europe and came to America. To be fair, it centers more around Adrian and his first (and perhaps only) true love that he’s ever had – a Chippewa woman named Metina.
The thing is, they left Europe for a reason. To escape the fear, prejudice, and butchery that hunted their kind. America was the land of freedom and new opportunities. At least it was until the thing they sought to escape followed them.
But that’s enough of me giving away the story. It was a lot of fun to read and help her write and polish, although a bit darker than her earlier works. Then again, maybe that’s why I liked it so much? Whatever the case, I strongly urge you to check it out. It’s available on Amazon only for the next few months while we experiment with Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Lending programs. I sincerely apologize to non-Amazon / Kindle users, but we wanted to try this out. If you’re dying to read it anyhow, feel free to get in touch with Dawn (dawnmichelle@novelconceptpublishing.com) or myself (jason@booksbyjason.com) and we’ll see what we can do to help out. In the meantime, Dawn will be working on her next project – most likely an exploration of Stephanie, Beth, and Crystal as they come to terms with their new lives.
And now here’s the cover and links on Amazon!
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Takenbythebeast_small

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As for Jason Halstead (that’s me, although spoken about in the third person, which is really weird), he’s putting the finishing touches to the end of a Vitalis: Communion and hopes to release it before the end of the month.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:americabeastchippewahistoricalindianmarriagenative americanojibwaparanormalrevengerevolutionshapeshiftertrue lovewarweddingwerewolf
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A Different Sort of Communion

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August 14, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

I finished working on the rough draft of Taken by the Beast with my wife the other day. It was hard work for me, I have to admit. Historical romance is hard to write if you intend to be historically accurate. My hat’s off to those that manage it. The story turned out great, but I had a lot of doubts along the way. Dawn’s determination and optimism helped me get through it, thankfully. If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, it’s the single volume prequel to the Claimed by the Beast series.
So I finished that on a Friday night (no comments on how I spend my Friday nights, thankyouverymuch), and started my next project on Saturday. Vitalis: Communion. Or at least I’m calling it Communion for now. The important thing is that it’s another Vitalis book, which should excite all my loyal readers. Everybody loves Vitals, and deservedly so. Light sci-fi set a long time in the future, it’s got amazing characters, many of them in compromising clothing, and some freakish and often terrifying monsters trying to eat them. Guns, babes, herculean heroes (and heroines), and sharp-toothed slobbering aliens. Plenty of humor to be found too, all in all it’s a win.
I can say that because I forgot a lot of what was going on. Communion picks up about 6 weeks after Invasion left off. Invasion was a book that centered on the unthinkable happening – the onset of an alien invasion of planet Earth. So I had to reread a lot of the book for continuity’s sake. I knocked my own socks off, and I’m pretty hard to impress.
Page after page flew by. Both the reading and then the writing of the new book. I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly the new work flowed, especially after the occasional struggles I had with Taken by the Beast. It’s definitely my comfort zone and, I’m very happy to say, some really great stuff has already happened and I’m only four chapters into it.
But I learned something. No, not something, a lot of somethings. Not from the return to my comfort zone but from my departure into historical and paranormal romance while helping Dawn Michelle. I’ve definitely broadened my style and understanding. I think my characters are more robust and the stories deeper and richer. There are more subplots and more going on behind the scenes. I honestly don’t know where this book is going to end up, but I know it’s going to be awesome finding out!
My plan is to have it ready to release by mid-September, I’ve recovered from a computer crash (lost a hard drive – don’t worry, I back everything up religiously) over the weekend and should be able to get back to making steady progress. 2,000 – 3,000 words a day just doesn’t feel like I’m doing any real work when it comes to Vitalis, it’s too much fun!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:aliensarmycolonizationdinosaursfuturisticinsterstellarMarinessci-fiscience fictionspace travelVitalisxenomorph
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The Dark Side of Creativity

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August 13, 2014Jason Halstead2 comments

Nothing shiny and fun here. No name dropping of new books or anything of the sort. The point about this post is it’s my way of trying to process a lot of recent events. You know the events, you were probably as shocked as I was when you heard about Robin Williams.
After the initial, “It’s got to be a hoax!” I got to thinking that maybe it wasn’t. Sure, for some celebs I might have that animalistic glee that I want to see them fall from grace. This wasn’t a reality star though, this was somebody who has touched generations of people in a positive way. The kind of guy that makes you feel you’re a better person just because you knew who he was, even if you never had the chance to meet him.
I could see the possibility. The act of using humor to mask pain. We all do it in some fashion. It gets us through and is more than just a coping mechanism, it helps us find something positive to redirect our attention on. I had no idea that Robin suffered from depression or was battling addictions – I’m blissfully ignorant of most celebrity gossip and news stories. That made sense too when I heard about it, and for the same reasons.
Now, in the aftermath, I’m seeing more and more postings on social media about depression and studies citing links to creativity. I’m a creative guy, should I be worried? Is the shadow of doubt and depression going to come knocking some day? My wife tells me I can be moody at times, is it a precursor?
Knowing I have family and friends that read this – don’t worry. I’m not. Sure, I have my moments but don’t we all? I’m not bipolar or even given to fits of dark despair. Lagging book sales can ruin my day, as do surprise bills while I’m trying to save up to buy a house. I’m as susceptible to bad news as anyone is. I tend to think long term a lot and that may have me act like I’m brooding, but that’s about the worst of it.
The point is I can understand all of that. I’m creative, but there are people a lot more creative than me out there. As a creative person I understand the thirst for adventure and thrill. We like excitement and maybe even danger. Risk and reward. For me every book is a gamble. Every crazy stunt I’ve tried to pull over the years as business ventures is a risk (so far none have paid off either). Without that thrill of trying something new I’d have to find something else to keep me from getting bored.
Is that what happened to Robin Williams? Did he become successful enough that he ran out of thrills? I can imagine him being disgusted with himself for falling back on addictions, and if that happens it can lead to depression. Of course what I can imagine and what he went through probably have nothing in common. We’ve all got our personal demons. Calling him cowardly for his chosen exit strategy would only show a gross lack of understanding. It’s easy to argue that he fell on an emotional grenade just as destructive as one filled with ball bearings thrown by terrorists into a crowd.
I’m thankful that we have so many movies and shows to remember him by. Media that I can show my children as they grow up and enrich their lives with, much as he enriched mine. I’m about as far from a religious person as can be found but I had an odd thought earlier today— Some very impressive rain storms covered most of the United States the other day. For example, Detroit (where I live) suffered record flooding. That was the same day that Robin Williams died. Was it, perhaps, tears from the heavens at his passing?
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:Self HelpTags:adrenalineadventurecreativitydepressiongamblingrewardriskrobin williamssuccesssuicidethrill
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Dragons… In Space?

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August 4, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Crazy concept but let’s face it, you’re already reading about it so you must be curious. Dragons are already magical creatures, but this is space we’re talking about. No air to breathe or beat their wings against. No scantily clad maidens to feast on. No knights riding around on horses trying to turn them into a giant dragon-ka-bob.
I bring it up because it factors heavily into my recent release, Voidhawk – Broken Shards. But fans of the Voidhawk series will gobble it up readily enough. It’s fans of my Blades of Leander and Order of the Dragon series books that I want to be aware of it. So what better way than to talk about dragons, since the characters in those books spend a lot of time hunting and dealing with dragons that are trying to make their lives difficult (or just eat them).
To be fair, Alto, Garrick, Patrina, Kar, and all the rest have only a little bit more than a cameo role in the book. Important, but they only show up in the final quarter of the book. It’s a very eventful part of the story – then again, the entire book is filled with action and fun. But for people who really love what’s happening in the world of Kroth, it drops some serious hints about things to come. The big one worth mentioning is The Order of the Dragon is still around. They’ve had to change and reinvent themselves, and acquire some surprising new allies and assets. So surprising long time readers won’t believe it until they see it (and then they still might not!).
Spacegoing dragons brings another thought to mind too. A race of people that travel from world to world on the backs of dragons. Definitely a part of the Voidhawk setting and maybe even part of the next book. We’ll have to wait and see.
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:dragonsfantasykingknightpriestshapeshifterssorceryswordwitcheswizard[/size]

Forever is a Long Time to Regret


July 31, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Voidhawk – Broken Shards marks a return to the Voidhawk space fantasy series. More than that, this book also reveals my other fantasy setting, the world of Kroth (Blades of LeanderOrder of the Dragon) is set in the same multiverse. And yes, that means Dexter and Jenna get to meet Alto and Patrina. Garrick and Rosh, Haley and Jethallin, Logan and Karthor, and worst of all, Xander and Kar. Imagine two long winded wizards having the chance to share their experiences with each other… On the plus side, Alto learns from Dexter how the threat of a knuckle sandwich can stop a wizard in mid-sentence!
I’ll share the blurb and links in a moment, but first I want to share that I’m sorry I waited so long to write this! I was helping my wife with her paranormal series and that was a great story to write, but wow, this was great. When I finished the book it wrapped up in such a fashion that it even surprised me and left me with that tingly feeling you get when you know you’ve written or read something special. I can’t recommend it enough if you enjoy fantasy. And I can’t wait for my chance to write the next Voidhawk book – there are so many possibilities after this one!
Okay, now the blurb, in case I haven’t tempted you enough yet:
Smuggling weapons and stealing religious artifacts feels like business as usual to Dexter and his crew. Just another day in the void sailing between worlds. Until they meet a peculiar troll with a message of doom. There’s a new threat on the horizon, and not just to them and the void, but to their entire realm of existence. And, in an accidental sort of way, it looks like it’s their fault.

Stopping the unstoppable will require a trap that has long been forgotten and the help of friends that they’ve yet to meet. Beyond that, stopping this beast that lives beyond the limits of known time and space will require a special magic that to equal that of the monster’s. Such power does not come without price.

Known for cheating death, Dexter and his friends face an enemy and a fate that they cannot escape.
And here it is:
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Voidhawk-broken-shards_200
Amazon
Amazon UK
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes will be released in a few weeks.
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What’s next? Back to Dawn Michelle for a month working on a prequel with her for her Claimed series (Taken by the Beast is the name – keep an eye out!). For me I think I’ll write another Vitalis novel next (October-ish release time frame), and after that who knows. There will be more Voidhawk, that much I can promise, but I’ll keep the other lines going too.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:demonsdragonsdwarveselvesfantasygunsmultiversenecromancernew releaserealityrealmssorceryspace fantasyspace operaswordwarriorwitchwizard
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The Beast has Finally Been Claimed

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July 30, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

It took us a lot longer than we first expected. Oh sure, we realized it was possible, but there couldn’t really be that much of a story to tell about Crystal and her troubled life when she stumbled onto the affairs of a pack of werewolves. Turns out there was a lot of story – and even more that has yet to be told. But we (Dawn Michelle and I, acting as her ever faithful advisor and scribe) wrapped it up in six parts of a paranormal serial romance. And the sixth part of the Claimed by the Beast is finally out!
The story doesn’t really end there though. Or maybe it does… the problem is, I started asking her about some of the other characters and, combined with our vacation Mackinaw City in Michigan, a new story began to take form. It was something different for both us, a historical paranormal romance. It was rough at first, trying to slip fantasy into the history of the world as it really happened, but we think we’ve found a way.
So after a late night brain storming session I’ve mapped out how to break out the ideas and breathe life into them. What remains will be a single prequel book called Taken by the Beast. The elders of the pack Crystal encountered have their own tragic stories that deserve to be told, and readers deserve to know them.
So, Dawn Michelle fans, don’t worry that this is the end of Claimed by the Beast, there will be more to come, hopefully as soon as September.
Until then, here’s the cover and links to part 6 of Claimed by the Beast. Or if you want to start at the beginning, you can find it here: (AmazonAmazon UKiTunesBarnes and NobleKoboSmaswhords – all of them free!).
 
*JASON HALSTEAD* BOOK LIST Claimedbythebeastpart6_small
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(part 6 is not available anywhere else yet)
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And as for Jason Halstead… in a day or two I’ll be posting about my latest release, Voidhawk – Broken Shards. It’s fantasy like you can’t begin to imagine and brings back all your favorite characters and then some!
 
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:coming of agefantasymagicmotorcyclesparanormalromanceserialseriesshapeshiftersteenwerewolveswitchesyoung adult[/size]
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Writing for Survival


July 21, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

This year started out pretty good for me. December of 2013 and January and February of 2014 were very solid. Comfortable sales numbers that made me feel great about how 2014 was going to go. Then March started to slack off and it didn’t get any better in April or May. I became almost desperate and tried some new books that broke away from my usual routine to try some new stuff. New stuff that I really enjoyed writing, even though it didn’t take off.
Then my wife stepped up and said why don’t you do something different? That’s what people are reading, and that’s the kind of books I like to read. Why not…
And so I did. With her ideas, support, and feedback along the way, we put together a paranormal serial romance called Claimed by the Beast. It’s done great so far and, honestly, saved us from some rather embarrassing financial shortcomings. It could do a lot better still, but neither of us is complaining in the least about what success we’ve had.
But I missed my books. I missed pure fantasy and science fiction. I missed my characters. So after we finished the last bit of Claimed by the Beast, I went straight into my next project, my seventh Voidhawk book (Voidhawk – Broken Shards). I’d been talking about what I wanted to do for a while and finally I had the chance. But I had to be quick. I was out of circulation for a couple of months now and my wonderful readers were probably beginning to wonder. I went from publishing at least one novel a month to nothing for over 2 months? Had I died?
So Broken Shards had to be written fast. I started it on June 19th and finished the rough draft on July 19th. Not my best, but it’s also 95,000 words (give or take a handful). It’s in my editors hands and cover art has been moving along nicely. But that’s just numbers and stats, it doesn’t share why it’s such a great idea.
Broken Shards returned the crew of the Voidhawk (a fantasy vessel that sails through the void between worlds using the solar wind to power it). I’d forgotten how much fun they are. Diverse, exciting, flawed, and mighty. The thing is, there’s always something bigger and badder, and they have a talent at finding it. This time around their only hope to stop what’s happening takes them to a very special place. A world called Kroth.
Kroth not only has the means of helping them put an end to their troubles, but it has some special people that can help along the way. People my long time fantasy readers will know and love. Alto, Patrina, Garrick, Karthor, Mordrim, Kar, and Namitus. It’s a little rocky, putting two very strong and opinionated groups together, but when the fate of their very realm is at stake they either have to get along or find a new reality to live in.
As much fun as all of that was, I shocked myself with the ending. I know, the thought of me leaving myself shaking with excitement is kind of weird, but the end wrote itself and just turned out to be absolutely amazing. Granted, I may biased and kind of close to the topic, but even so the way it worked out felt like poetry. The good kind, where the words makes sense and you’re not wondering if you’re supposed to like it because people who think they are sophisticated tell you to.
And what’s next? Well my month off writing Broken Shards saw Dawn Michelle dreaming up all sorts of thing for us to collaborate on next. So we’re working on a prequel to Claimed by the Beast. Taken by the Beast is the name and it’s going to be a historical paranormal romance. It will also flesh out a couple of the characters in Claimed by the Beast that deserve to have their backstory told and understood. And yes, it will contain a lot of what made Claimed by the Beast so fun, meaning some flaring passions and a lot of action and excitement.
Fans of Dawn Michelle, be on the lookout for Claimed by the Beast – Part Six coming out around August 1st. Fans of Jason Halstead and the Voidhawk series (and Blades of Leander) watch for Voidhawk – Broken Shards a week or so after. Then Taken by the Beast will be next and when that’s done, we’ll have to see what’s next. So far we like the concept of me writing a novel and giving my wife chance to come up with what’s next and then working on it together, so alternating books might be the way things go for a while. Whatever the case, I know I’ve got another Vitalis book burning in the back of my head and with the way Broken Shards ended, I’m dying to write the next book in that series too! I guess the one thing I can guarantee is that there won’t be a shortage of great books to read.
To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Categories:WritingTags:dragonsfantasyfictionnecromancersparanormalromanceserialseriesspacewerewolfwitcheswizardswork in progresszombies

Tools for the Neurotic Writer


July 15, 2014Jason HalsteadLeave a comment

Not so long ago Amazon came out with a new tool for writers. A reporting dashboard that shows close to real time sales of their books on KDP. It’s cool, I have to admit, and really helps see how things are unfolding in a meaningful way. Things like promotions, new releases, price changes, etc.. And it helps the neurotic writer that can’t help but check their sales constantly have the data at hand almost immediately.
Me, I got over the addiction to staring at numbers a long time ago. Now I still check regularly, but not for a narcotic buzz. I do it to track progress and have reliable data on what works and what doesn’t. It’s a constant ever-learning process too, so it’s important to know what’s going on. And, I’ll admit, there are times when a big surge will still make me giddy as a school girl. Although I can’t ever remember seeing a giddy school girl, you get the idea.
Last night we (myself and Dawn Michelle, my ravishing wife) released the fifth part of her Claimed by the Beast paranormal serial romance. This morning when I checked a few minutes ago to see if it had gained much traction I saw an amazing thing. Not only is it doing quite well so far, but for the first time in, like, ever we’ve sold more books today than we’ve given away as freebies. The difference is pretty minimal (9 books more sold), but I’ve never seen anything like that before. I don’t expect to see it again, honestly, but it’s pretty cool.
Why not? Well, I have multiple books that are free and the first one in Dawn’s Claimed by the Beast series is free also. Want to know more about them? Here’s the links: