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Den of Sin

A subject like that implies decadence at the least, with possibly some hedonism and bloodshed mixed in. I suppose that’s not too far from the truth since this post is my attempt to advertise and advertisement. Once your head stops spinning, read on!

Today I’ve got a promotion going out over at Kindle Books and Tips for a book. It’s none other than the book J. Knight Bybee and I wrote together called Devil’s Island. Devil’s Island happens to be the first in the Fallen Angels series, and this promo is our attempt to both advertise the sale price of $.99 in conjunction with the new release of Devil’s Rising, book 2 in the series.

Given the book titles and the title of this blog post, you’ve probably got an idea about the books genre. Yes, there’s a load of occult and religious stuff going on. No excessive preaching or anything of the sort though. Our mission is to entertain, not to make you feel guilty.

And oh yeah, there’s all sorts of entertainment. I really had a lot of fun working on these books (and continuing the project on the next book in the series). So much character growth and development with characters that anyone can identify with.

But enough of me, already! Go check out the promo over at Kindle Book and Tips. Give this page, that page, or any other affiliated page a like to help us spread the word.

Book 1 of the Fallen Angles series by Jason Halstead and J. Knight Bybee

 

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.

 

Raw Animal Passion – Fleas Not Included

There are a couple of reasons I’ve never gotten into paranormal romance. Mostly it involves the tried and true mainstays of paranormal being either werewolves or vampires. Except the vampires are sensitive, effeminate, sparkly, or some other preposterous mutation on a classic monster.

Werewolves? Okay, those are usually less sparkly and more animalistic. I can appreciate them more, even if they do tend to smell like wet dog. My problem here is tying the paranormal into the romance. Typically werewolves are portrayed as turning to their wild side when they suffer intense moments. Well, the culmination of a good romantic moment involves a lot of, uh, intensity. So if the hero happens to suddenly need a trip to the pet groomer while he’s getting his groove on, that could be very awkward. And bestial. Not something that makes me want to have my belly rubbed, to say the least.

In spite of all that, I’m going to attempt to venture into a new foray in the near future. I think I’m going to do a serial novel, which means a novel cut into a few parts that area each stories in and of themselves. I did this in the past with my Vitalis series and it met with great success at first. Then it got chopped apart by some bogus reviews and lost its momentum as it dropped off the ratings charts. I’m hoping the PNR category is not as critical or filled with vindictive writers.

Why me and why this? A couple of reasons and none of them involve me being jealous of dogs because they can lick themselves. I enjoy trying different things, and PNR is new enough for me to give it a shot. I’ll put my own flair on it though and make sure I keep things fun, exciting, racy, and dangerous. No sparkles here – although I am considering a little something special along those lines.

Why else? It’s huge and popular right now and I’ll admit, most of my success with writing has been me getting lucky as I randomly wrote things that seemed fun to me. This time I’m trying to take something that is lined up in the right areas and to make it fun. A different approach, but hopefully the same end result.

I’m finishing up my latest attempt at a blockbuster, a futuristic amalgamation of The Hunger Games and Mechwarrior / Battletech. I loved writing it and I can’t wait to write more of it, but I’ll be taking a break long enough to try at least one, possibly two other books first. The first will probably be this PNR and the second will hopefully be a continuation of both my Voidhawk series and my Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon series. What, that’s three books…unless I bring Voidhawk and the adventures of Alto and friends together for a single crossover bit of fun! Then back to my world of biomechs and, optionally, more Vitalis.

So many awesome ideas and not enough time! But not to worry, as long as the ideas keep coming I’ll keep writing. So stay tuned while I transition from giant robots to heavily muscled bikers rescuing teenage girls and trying not to give them fleas…

 

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.

Homeopathic Cure for Writer’s Block

Those who know me would be confused by that title. Or at least that title coming from my lips (or fingers). Why? Because I don’t believe in such things. I call it nonsense, in fact. Which part? Both.

Writer’s block, to me, is the same thing as a placebo effect. The mind is a powerful tool, but it’s a tool like a sword. It has edges on both sides and it can cut both ways. If you believe something will happen, the odds of it happen increase. This can be used positively in the case of such things as daily affirmations or just working hard towards goals you establish. Or it can work against you in the case of being too pessimistic and fearful of failure. Writer’s block would be one of those negative things.

Studies have shown how people can emulate symptoms in relation to conditions they think they have or as expected results from medications they are taking. The symptoms are real, to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean they are suffering from the adverse condition. They just think they are. This also explains how the health and sports supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry – they tell people their products work and, to a limited degree, people believe them and experience partial results from them.

I write every day. Sometimes a chapter, sometimes several. Some days I don’t feel like writing, but I have the time and opportunity so I do it anyhow. Sometimes my characters aren’t talking to me, but that’s no reason not to write. I write because I’m a writer. That’s my goal. My ambition. My desire. It won’t happen if I don’t do it. So writer’s block, to me, doesn’t exist.

Don’t get me wrong, it used to, but then I realized one day I didn’t have to let it bother me. I could find ways around it. If I got stuck, it meant I needed to backtrack or start over or try rewriting the scene. Or maybe I should write the next chapter / scene instead and then come back. Or maybe I should write a blog post instead to get my creative juices primed. There are countless tools to get the job done.

So to all my writing friends now and in the future (meaning everyone struggling to get into writing), let me tell you to just keep working at it. Before you know it the struggles will be behind you. Or ahead of you, waiting on the next book. They can be trying, but I promise, there’s no greater feeling than knowing you triumphed over them.

Case in point, I’m hard at work on my current dystopian sci-fi masterpiece and I was really worried it was going to evolve into something massive and impossible. I kept working at it though, trying to blend in orphaned kids maturing into adults with giant robots and intrastellar space travel. Each step of the way paving the path I soon stumbled across inspiration to explain where that path was going. Now I’m nearing the end. Maybe another four or five chapters remain on this first book. Then I’ll look for my next challenge, which is probably going to take me back to the realms of fantasy. That’ll pose a lot of opportunities to trip myself up – I’m going to try to do a one book merge of my Voidhawk setting with my Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon setting.

There’s epic levels of fun to be had! Especially once you realize, as a writer, that the only person stopping you from telling your story is yourself. Getting people to read it, on the other hand, is another battle worthy of the Norse Gods. But that’s another blog post that I’ll be happy to share once I figure it out.

 

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.

Apple Loves Me!

I’ve got an iPhone, an iPad, and an iPad2 (with Retina, which makes it an iPad3, I think?). I have an old iPod in my truck so I can avoid radio chatter and I’m getting my kids iPods so I can go somewhere with them without having to hand over my phone so they can play Baby Princess Stroller Racing or whatever one of the four screens worth of games they’ve begged me to download on it.

In spite of all that, I’ve never been an Apple fan. Steve Jobs, I think, was a touch between evil genius and mad scientist. I admired the heck out of him even if I didn’t care for the simplicity and limited functionality of his company’s products (not taking Pixar into account here). It is a testimony to him that I have so much Apple crap when I’m not an Apple supporter.

But then something happens out of the blue that threatens to shake me to the core. I got an email this morning letting me know that Apple has listed my book (Child of Fate) as one of 23 other sci-fi and fantasy titles that Apple is showcasing in a new promotion called their FIRST IN A SERIES promotion. All told, amongst all the books showcased (fantasy and beyond) there are 80 books listed. I’m mixed in with some impressive names, in my opinion.

So if you like using iBooks and iTunes to get your books, check it out! They awesome part is that Child of Fate (and the other books on this promo) are free! And, at least in my case, they launch an awesome series of great books just begging to be read. I can’t speak for the other books, but I’d be willing to bet that there are some pretty darn good ones there too.

As for me and Apple, well, I guess I’ll give them another chance. Besides, I think the iPhone 6 will be coming out around the time my contract is up and I can upgrade to the next model…

Child of Fate, by 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.

The Price of Beauty

Our culture puts a premium on aesthetics. Sculpted figures, plucked eyebrows, laser depilliation, and cosmetic surgery. It’s a multi-billion dollar business and it makes a person wonder if it’s all worth it. The great news is, this post has NOTHING to do with any of that!

I’m a writer anxious to find any ethical means possible to sell my books. Part of that means having some outstanding cover art for them. By and large, I’ve surpassed that goal with everything I have. But sometimes there are exceptions to that rule. Exceptions that knock even my personal standards away… but more on that in a moment.

For my 50th title available for sale, I put together my fantasy series, Order of the Dragon. It consists of four books that continue the adventures of the characters in the Blades of Leander trilogy. This comes right after I put out a 4th book in my Wanted series, which meant my trilogy omnibus needed to be updated to a series. More cover art changes!

Willsin Rowe to the rescue! Not only did he make the minor changes to the text for Wanted, but he put into reality some work he’d been dabbling with for 3D style cover art. So now Wanted and the new Order of the Dragon boxed sets show some outstanding cover art! The only problem was the original Blades of Leander omnibus – how could we leave it plain and 2D? Willsin put his creative genius to work and a couple of days later he gave me my answer. A new 3D cover for all 3 of them!

But is a new cover art, no matter how amazing, reason enough to buy the book? Well, if you ask me and if it’s about my books – absolutely! But if not, then consider the great deal getting all of these top rated books at once is. How can you go wrong?

Wanted series boxed set, by Jason Halstead Blades of Leander trilogy, by Jason Halstead Order of the Dragon fantasy omnibus, by 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.

 

Drugs, Guns, and Topless Sunbathing

Queue the deep announcer voice: In a world brought to the edge of civilization by terrorism and economic collapse, one man… ah, screw it. That’s too cheesy even for me.

I am very happy to announce the release of Marshal, the fourth book in my Wanted series! Is there terrorism and economic ruin and all that stuff? Sure. But it’s in the past mostly by this point (in other words, read the first three books and start with Wanted – it’s free!). Marshal pits Federal Marshal Carl Waters against some new adversaries that are doing their best to lay the groundwork for an extensive drug, weapons, and human trafficking network throughout the American southwest before the United States government is able to fully reclaim the area.

The excitement doesn’t stop there though. Carl’s daughter, Allison, has followed in his footsteps and used her tech-savvy skills to become a deputy marshal on his team. Jessie (Carl’s Wife) is back and has used her entertainment industry skills to turn herself into a producer as well as an actress.

Tanya Kurkova, billionaire ice princess, and her devoted bounty-hunter turned personal assistant Sarah Gibson are back as well. And wow, are they back. In fact, one of the main plots of the book involves Tanya inheriting the corporate empire from her father. Of course that brings another character out of the past to stir up some trouble. Tanya’s brother, Dustin. The same Dustin that once hoped to have his sister killed so he could become the sole heir.

So Marshal’s got drug dealers, corporate intrigue, romance (including some twisted up love triangles), family struggles, undercover police work, a private pool with clothing optional sunbathing, and some international travel. There’s a lot going on and it’s a lot of fun watching Carl try to maintain his tough guy image while spending time with his daughter and reaching deep to try and offer a more sensitive side to support both friends and family.

 

Book 4 in the Wanted series, Marshal, by Jason Halstead

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble (not available yet)

Smashwords

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.

 

I Finally Killed the Zombies!

March 28, 2014 1 comment

For years now I’ve agonized over a cover for a book of mine that I just didn’t like. The characters looked like zombies. Dirty, blood stained, mindless, flesh eating, you know the type. But that was what my original publisher thought was a great cover and my objections were promptly ignored.

Well it’s my book now (has been for a while, I’ve just been focused on new stuff). So now I’m unveiling a new and polished look by a great cover artist I found in Italy. I didn’t have to go to Italy, unfortunately (hmm, tax write off?). Her name is Cora and she can be found at http://www.coragraphics.it/.

But enough about that, first marvel at the polished beauty of the new and improved cover for my alternative romance / scorched earth / alien survival thriller, Human Nature!

Human Nature, by Jason Halstead

And I’ve got something in the works for a possible sequel for it too. Second Nature…I know, cheesy, but it”ll be worth it, 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.

Organic

Devils Rising is in beta and cover art stages, Marshal is in my copyeditor’s hands, and I’m faced with an exciting opportunity – what should I start now? The answer is something new! Right now I’m calling it Organic, but I don’t expect that to last. I’ve also toyed around with a title like Biomech.

Or maybe instead of babbling about all that you want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Well, it’s my latest attempt to capture mass market appeal. Developing a dystopian society in a futuristic setting, complete with future soldiers, tanks, aircraft, and biomechs.

I’ve said that word ‘Biomech’ twice now. What the heck am I talking about? First let’s take the traditional concept of a mech. For sci-fi aficionados, that’s a simple task. Think Robotech, Battletech, Mechwarrior, Transformers, Pacific Rim, or just about anything involving giant fighting robots. As Pacific Rim showed us, no matter how cheesy the plot and acting, there’s almost nothing cooler than giant robots beating the crap out just about anything.

To introduce a little more science to the fiction, imagine how complicated creating a robot on that scale and making it able to move and balance, let alone fight. Yikes! Super advanced articulation in the joints and the means of moving said limbs and joints are required. Far beyond our ability to manufacture and design. So that’s where the bio comes in.

This is the future, so let’s merge man and machine in ways not often considered. The musculature needed to move these robots? Grown from organic tissue and grafted to the metal structure. That eliminates the need for a massive engine to move the robot, but puts in a complicated plumbing system for flushing the organic tissue with a replacement blood. Cooling, heating, oxygenation, nutrients – it does it all!

And what’s needed to drive one of these metal monsters? A person, jacked in directly to their central nervous system. A computer will handle the balancing and autonomous commands such as how to do what the driver wants, but the driver provides the true skill behind it all.

But yeah, as cool as that sounds, that’s not going to be what the stories center on. This is about human interest. I’m looking at it as a cross between a lot of successful projects, from (insert giant robot franchise here) to (insert dystopian society being rebelled against) to (insert underdog complicated love story). And I’m writing it Vitalis style, meaning fast paced and fun!

Before I go, let me toss out a tiny snippet of what I’ve been working on so far…

“Krys curled up in a ball in his tiny hollow and let the tears fall. He had no idea why, but something terrible was happening. His friends were dead and for all he knew, his mom and dad were next. And he was trapped beneath a fallen tree in the woods. As much as his dad loved to  tell him that crying wouldn’t do him any good, it was the only thing he could manage.”

 

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.

I’m Hungry

Near the end of January I decided to get back in shape. I never stopped lifting, but it had been a long time since I’d lifted with the kind of dedication to be serious about it. So I got back in and hit the weights religiously. That and some dietary changes (no more soda or junk food, limiting carbs) has me, after about 8 weeks, down from 241.5 to 225 pounds. Cool, right? Well there’s more to it – I’m stronger now than I was then too, including a recent 615lb rack pull and repping 300lbs 4 times while bench pressing.

But I’m not hungry for food. I’m hungry for success. I’m seriously considering competing in power lifting again (dead lift only, my bench is shot after tearing my pec off my arm in 2009 and requiring surgery to reattach it). I’m hungry for success in other venues too though. More on that in a bit.

And that brings me to a different kind of hunger. The Hunger Games (spoiler alert coming). I re-watched HG 1 this weekend and I admit, I enjoyed it more than the lukewarm reception I gave it the first time I saw it in the theater. Then I watched Catching Fire (or as I prefer to call it, the story about a girl with a magical quiver that regenerates arrows in every scene). It’s at this point I have to ask some questions from anyone who read the books: Is Catching Fire really the same story as book 1 like the movie portrays? And does it end without ending?

So I’m disgruntled about The Hunger Games, but it got me thinking about stories and success. I’ve flirted with success with a few of my books (Wanted and Vitalis, in particular), but they never fully took off. I’ve written a lot of books, but I keep finding fun things to write about that end up being niche markets versus mainstream. Granted, I had some great runs in the fantasy genre with some fairly mainstream fantasy books, but I can’t seem to find my way into the really big pond.

But I’m trying. I’ve got a new idea that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s coming together while I finish up Marshall, my 4th Wanted book. I’ve been analyzing what makes traditional stories successful and so far my new idea seems to be hitting all those points. It’s exciting and, I hope, will finally take me to a happy place. So far my books are teasing me with being on the edge of success.

Speaking of books, Devils Rising, book 2 of the Fallen Angels series co-written with J. Knight Bybee, will be out very soon! The other good news is that Marshall will be hot on the heels of it (I’ve got 2 – 3 chapters left to write, then editing and cover art). Then I’ll launch into my new dystopian story that I’m hoping will be a game changer. Wish me luck…or better yet, buy the books and rave about how awesome it is to everyone you know!

 

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.

Hot and Steamy

I’m talking about Florida! Come on, what did you expect me to say after a title like that? Of course that’s really just a segue into mentioning a new book that I’m looking for some beta readers / reviewers for.

Why bother? Well, this book is called Devil’s Rising and it’s a collaboration between myself and J. Knight Bybee (the same guy who worked with me to create Devil’s Island). Not only that, but Devil’s Rising is the sequel to Devil’s Island – hard to believe, I know!

The premise of the story is the people leftover from book 1 are hell bent on stopping what happened in book 1. So they travel cross country to get help and the help they find is not what they expected. Then they have to go back into that hot and steamy place (Florida – get your minds outta the gutter) and try to right the things that went wrong the last time around.

It’s got action, romance, young love, epic character development, and a pace that has you sitting on the edge of your seat. By the time the book ended even I was shocked at what we’d created. I found a new favorite character in the series and can’t stop thinking about them!

So here’s the deal – if you’re itching to get your hands on it, let me know. Give me a comment, an email (Jason@booksbyjason.com), a facebook mention, a tweet, knock on my door, whatever it takes. The book is yours for the asking. What I ask for is your thoughts on the book and any glaring errors that may have jumped out at you (missing words, misspelled words, etc.). There shouldn’t be many but Mr. Bybee and I really got swept up near the end of the book and the writing was fast and furious between us. The only other thing I ask is that if you liked it even half as much as we did, you leave a review on Amazon when we launch it.

Oh, and I’m not looking for beta readers anymore for Devil’s Rising (book 1 in the Fallen Angels series), but if you’d like to get a free copy of the book in exchange for a review, let me know about that too. I’ll 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.

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