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:
And here’s the cover and blurb from Dawn’s latest serial:
The life of a teenage girl is never a simple thing. From drama to decisions made without considering the repercussions, Crystal has to live with the consequences. Her mistakes have cost her more than just a normal life, they’re threatening her friends and family as a savage monster stalks the people she loves.
Even her whirlwind romance is starting to fall apart around her, making her second guess herself. Is living the life she dreamed about worth the people that get hurt along the way? It’s a price that her enemies are only too happy to help her pay.
As for me, I’m nearly finished with Voidhawk – Broken Shards. After that I’ll help my wife with her next project, something that is related to the Claimed by the Beast series but is a historical paranormal serial romance (we’re trying to see how many genres we can hit at one time). Then I’ll be back writing more about Vitalis. Or at least that’s my plan so far…
One of my wife’s friends posted a meme on Facebook and tagged us in it the other day. The meme stated that happiness was finding a new book and learning that it was the first in a series. Given my wife’s new paranormal serial romance (that this friend fell in love with), it seemed fitting.
I’m bringing it up now because the long awaited part four in her Claimed by the Beast series is now available. And it’s every bit as exciting and fun as the others were. The main character is learning a lot about herself and really coming into her own. She’s also learning there’s more to her new life than she once realized. More dangers, for one…
Rather than hand out spoilers, I’ll hand out links to check it out yourself! Pretty shady, I know…
(iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble yet to show up)
Now then, since we’re down talking about my wife’s series and how successful it’s been, let’s move back onto another series that’s even more overdue for some fresh material. Voidhawk! And yes, I’ve been slapping keys fast and furious. So much that I’m probably a third of the way through the next book! My plans had been to write a single book that covered the next story arc but I’m beginning to wonder if there is just too much story to tell? Do I need to break it out into two or three books?
I’m not sure at this point, but I’m almost 30,000 words into it and the crew of the Voidhawk hasn’t even gotten close to where they need to go yet. And getting there is only going to be half the battle. They’ll have to meet up with veteran dragonslayers, Alto, Garrick, Patrina, and the others from the Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon series before they can figure out a plan to move ahead. That’s when things really start getting fun.
The next book will be titled Broken Shards. And hopefully it’ll be a single book! I guess time will tell though, or maybe I’ve roped myself into another mini-series within a series. Whatever the case, I promise a fun read.
For the past several weeks I’ve been working on a new project. A new book, but it’s more than a book. My wife loves that fact that I write stories and do a passable job at selling them. The problem is, most of them aren’t in areas that she has a lot of interest in. She’s more into romance, crime, and things that go bump in the night (with said bumping being accompanied by some bow-chikka-wow-wow music). So, we decided the next stuff was going to be a collaboration – a paranormal romance that I helped her on. And that’s why instead of a new book by Jason Halstead, we have part 1 in a serial novel by Dawn Michelle.
Today marks the official release of Claimed by the Beast – Part One. It centers around a young lady struggling with issues. Before you scoff and compare it to Twilight, consider how many young women there are in the world that aren’t already struggling with issues. Body images, grades, peer pressure, overly zealous boyfriends, the list goes on. Even I was surprised to hear some of the problems and concerns.
So here we’ve got a good girl that is a social pariah thanks to her sense of morals and attention to teachers and good grades. The problem? She wants to fit in. Wants to do it so badly that she’s willing to let her morals slide to make it happen. Until that backfires and she’s made a laughing stock at a party.
What could be worse than that? That’s where the biker gang comes in. And the thing lurking in the darkness that has decided to mark her as its next victim.
Interested? It’s a paranormal romance that we’ve managed to complete three parts on so far. We’re looking at the entire series being five to six parts long, each over 20,000 words (novelette length). The pacing is set for every 3 to 4 weeks a new serial being released.
Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes will be released in a few weeks.
And, alongside that, I plan to get back to being focused on my stories. I haven’t quite decided yet, but it’s either more Vitalis or more Voidhawk / Blades of Leander next (yes, my next fantasy book will briefly blend those settings together).
Imagine fields filled with wheat and corn. Orchards full of trees laden with bananas, almonds, oranges, apples, and more. Ranches with tens of thousands of cattle. All of it raised and harvested in the oldest of human professions— farming for the sake of providing for the human race.
For a small group of kids on the terraformed planet of Venus, that’s exactly what life is like. They were born there and they grew up there, knowing what it was to put in a hard day’s work and feeling the satisfaction that comes from reaping the fruit of their labors at the end of the day. And for most of them, unfortunately, will die there.
A wind of change is blowing and it brought with it an army of soldiers and war machines. A revolution, long brewed in secrecy, is laying waste to humanity to set things right. Or as right as their leader, the newly elected President Ondalla, believes things should be.
For the kids investigating the strange noises in the forests of Venus, only death or capture awaits. Two of those kids, anxious to explore a life of their own in a budding relationship, are stripped apart and forced to live different lives. For them the only option is the futile act of resistance or accepting fate and turning their backs on what happened to their family and friends.
Following in the wake of some amazing dystopian science fiction like The Hunger Games and Divergent comes my latest series: Transcendent. Transcendent is set to fill in the holes and take the reader to a new future with new possibilities. Tragic romance, intrigue, action and adventure, and even some giant robots make for a coming of age story that cannot be denied.
It’s available on Amazon and Smashwords right now, with more to come in the very near future. Get your copy before your friends start talking about it and leave you wondering what you’re missing.
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…
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.
Barnes and Noble (not available yet)
After I wrote Black Widow, the fourth book in The Lost Girls series, I did everything short of promise that I wouldn’t write another. That bothered a lot of people – they wanted more. The main character had been a part of my life (fictitiously speaking) for several years now and I couldn’t subject her to the kind of hurt that a main character goes through.
Then I came up with another idea. I’d closed a few chapters in Katalina’s life and didn’t want to make it any worse for her. But damn it, this new idea…it needed her to make it work. So Katalina came out of retirement for Guardian, book 5 in The Lost Girls series.
Having confessed all of that, I’m not the one with the good intentions gone bad. It’s actually the premise behind the book. There’s somebody who means the best and wants to help out, but they don’t realize the consequences of their actions until it’s too late. Forty years too late.
Here’s the blurb, cover, and all that jazz but before I get to it the obvious question is: what’s next? Will there be a Lost Girls 6? I can’t say. About the same time I thought of the idea for this story I was trying to come up with an idea for some detective agency based fiction. I thought of a bunch of young people trying to both atone for their own screw-ups as well as learning how to get by and do a little good in the process. Katalina would make an excellent mentor, if not a main character. Guardian sets the stage for that with Katalina and Skyler’s second chance home for troubled foster kids.
Kobo / Sony (coming soon)
iTunes (coming soon)
Now that I’ve got your attention, consider the realities of a situation like that. Cold, wet, and potentially slimy rocks and mud. Several kinds of bacteria, mold, and fungus. All in all, probably a very unpleasant experience!
Unless you happen to live on the planet Vitalis. That changes things. Tropical weather, no diseases or sickness, abundant food in the form of wildlife and fresh organic fruits and vegetables, and an amazing environment that seems to restore youth and vitality.
On Vitalis the caves aren’t so cold. The slime isn’t so slimy. The mud? Well it’s still mud, but the colonists that live there and do the hunting and scouting for their village use it as camouflage. The real threat comes from hunting animals big enough and dangerous enough to be hunting them right back!
Oh, and then there’s the problem of never being able to leave the planet because you’ll die once you’ve been changed by Vitalis’s natural ecosystem. But is it a price worth paying?
Ask Jasmine Sinclair, a 14 year old little girl with a genetic disease that rarely allows anyone to live past the age of 11. Her time is up and no amount of money or medicine can keep her alive. All that remains is the wild hope of an impossible cure on a world known throughout the Terran Coalition only through rumor and superstition. A world where Jasmine’s father wants her to come and join him.
With the colonists fighting for her survival will Jasmine find a cure, or become the latest casualty of the growing war against humanity?
Sony, Kobo, iTunes, and others will be available somewhere in the next few days to few weeks.
With movies like Outbreak, World War Z, Resident Evil, and shows like Walking Dead it’s easy to imagine a worldwide epidemic. Granted, most of those movies involve zombies and far-fetched possibilities, but Outbreak glamorized a real world example of just how dangerous these things can be. And how self-limiting. Infecting and killing a host within a matter of hours limits the ability to spread.
Now imagine that when you get infected you feel better. Your body gets stronger, your hair grows thicker and longer, your nails strengthen, maybe you even grow a little and put on some healthy weight while shedding fat. You feel younger, like you’re in your early twenties and the world is yours to take. That means you’re not dying in a few hours, instead you’re staying healthy and spreading the infection.
Sounds awesome, right? Infect me, please! Okay, now what if that meant you were trapped. You can live young and healthy and be at the top of your game, but you have to be confined to an island with only other infected people. Is it still worth it?
This is where I shift things to my new release, Vitalis: Invasion. It is the 5th novel in my Vitalis series and it’s all about spreading infection. In Vitalis: Provenance a ship carrying samples and people from Vitalis crash landed on Earth. A very dystopian Earth of the future. The privileged fraction of human society that still live there risk exposure and infection, and they’ve got to figure out what’s going on and how to get away from it if they want to remain members of the human society. The alternative? Quarantine. Being an outcast on the homeworld of humanity. Or, depending upon just what survived the crash, perhaps much, much worse.
Was it just bacteria that made it or was there something else? What if something was in hiding? Something with its own simple agenda. Something that lives only to feed and reproduce, in a place where the only living things remaining on ninety percent of the planet are humans.
That, my friends, is a hint of what Vitalis: Invasion is all about. For the sake of sating your curiosity I’ll post the blurb and cover. It’s available now, and hot on its heels will be the next Vitalis book, which I’m roughly 2/3 of the way through. Book 6 takes us back to the world of Vitalis and explores not only the troubles of a very sick young girls struggling to survive but also exposes more of the inner workings of what’s behind Vitalis. Why is this planet there and just how, and why, do these amazing things happen to people who live there?
Leona Montessori left a life of violence for one promising happiness, stability, and a family. A life to be envied, working security for the executives of a major corporation with headquarters in the Pacific Northwest still on the surface of Earth.
All that changed when the unknown ship crashed and the Army garrison was activated. Using her forgotten training she teams up with an unlikely partner in Astra Redmond, an inter-stellar superstar. Astra’s got her own hidden agenda though, a reunion with her lost twin-sister that was a passenger on the spaceship.
Meanwhile Klous, the human leader of the Vitalians that escaped the wreckage and butchered the Army platoon, gets ready to wage a war for the fate of Earth.
Barnes and Noble (coming soon)
Coming soon – Kobo, iTunes, Sony, and others
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.
Up until now I’ve been happy to say that there are only two types of cookie I like: warm or cold. With the holiday season upon us that kind of puts me in my element. Unfortunately, it means extra time in the gym because those cookies come at a price!
As of today my answer to that question got a little more complicated. Today it turns out I really like blond Cookies. What? Yes, blond, smiling, fit, trim, and all those things that make people hate women who can pull off the bimbo look. Her parents named her Cookie, after all, what did they really expect?
Why we hate bimbos is subject for another therapy session involving a couch and expensive hourly rate. In this case my job was to present Cookie and make her more than that. She’s smart, if naive, and she’s open, caring, and honest. She’s not mean and she’s not out to steal anybody’s man. She just wants to find somebody who cares about her. Someone who cares as much as she does for the people in her life.
Take her sister, for example. Her sister, Devin, loves her and admires her, but she’s jealous as hell too. Why did Cookie get all the luck and the good looks in the family? And why does Cookie keep calling and checking up on her and always getting in her business wanting to know what’s going on? Then, when she can’t be bothered by Cookie anymore, when her choices and rebellious ways have landed her in serious trouble, why isn’t Cookie there to help her?
Cookie’s more than a lifeline for a troubled young lady. She’s gone out of her way to try and help her sister but no one will help her. No one wants anything to do with the kind of trouble she’s landed in. No one except someone so down on himself that he figures he’s got nothing to lose. Besides that, spending time around Cookie would be reason enough for Mark Cohen as long as he can make sure his ex-wife finds out.
Since Cookie’s willing to do anything she can to help her sister out the unlikely alliance of an uptown girl with a PI that gets most of his cases from the gutters just might work out. If they can figure out how to get Devin away from the dark side of Detroit’s underworld.
And who knows, maybe Cookie can help Mark learn a few things to make his life worth living again too.
That’s a mile high view of When the Cookie Crumbles, my newest book. It’s pure detective / mystery fiction. No fantasy, no sci-fi. Just modern everyday drama and intrigue. I’ve been told there’s just the right mix of mystery, sexy, and action to make it a really fun read. I know I had an absolute blast writing it (I did the rough draft in 10 days if that tells you anything). I had so much fun, in fact, that I’m planning a series based on what happens in book 1. The name of the series? Cookie Cutters.
Yes, I know, that’s cheesy, but it’s fun too. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!
iTunes (coming soon)
Sony (coming soon)
Kobo (coming soon)
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.