…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. ;-)
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.
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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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 Leander, Order 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:
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.