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
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.
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.
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.
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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:
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.
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:
…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!