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Posts Tagged ‘paranormal’

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.

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

 

Guardian, by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Kobo / Sony (coming soon)

Smashwords

iTunes (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.

Sometimes “It” Happens

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. “It” means something bad. Something smelly. Something you stepped in and tracked across the floor. Yeah, you know what “it” is. And sometimes it’s even my fault.

This, then, is my humble apology to the people who were early purchasers of Devil’s Island. When I put the final version together and went through the multiple quality checks of it that I did, I somehow missed one important part. Chapter 23. Yes, the entire chapter. I forgot to include it.

So I fixed it, I re-uploaded it everywhere, and even notified Amazon to let purchaser know (Amazon is reviewing it to do whatever is they do). That’s not good enough for me, so I’m posting as publicly as I can so that if you bought it, you know to go and re-download the amended copy.

I updated it last week, so if you bought it from this past weekend on you should have the correct version. Anything prior to that, I suggest looking for chapter 23 to see if it’s there or not and acting accordingly. Once again, my extreme apologies for this oversight! Or, if you’re interested in checking it out for the first time you can be assured that it’s in good shape now and ready for consumption.

In happier news, I’ve nearly finished the invasion of Earth in Vitalis: Invasion. Is Earth winning or losing? Well, that would be a spoiler and I can’t offer that! I will say I’ve got some great characters (on all sides of the conflict) that are keeping things lively.

And I’m editing the audiobook for Child of Fate as time permits. Nearly halfway through but it’s no simple process to do. So far, it sounds incredible and the narrator, Sean Wybrant, has proven that waiting for this finished product was worth every delay along the way.

So some embarrassing news and some good news. I’ll leave you with that and my sincerest wish for everyone to experience happy holidays with friends and family. Or, for those not inclined to appreciate the holidays – have a bitchin last week and a half of December!

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.

End of an Era

November 9, 2012 1 comment

I’ve got ANOTHER guest blog post this week. I know, what the heck? I almost never host guest blog posts. Well I’ll confess, these people are hosting blogs for me too. But there’s more than that, especially in this case. This post is written by J.E. Taylor, my friend and publishing partner. Taylor has also served as my editor in the past, but don’t worry, those wounds have healed.

Her post is about her Steve Williams novels, which I confess are worth checking out. I’ve read and enjoyed them. As I read through her guest post I found myself wanting to respond to it myself, but I had to refrain. Suffice to say it was easy for me to feel what she was saying and identify with it. I’ve felt it myself and struggled with many of the same problems. Read on, fellow writers and readers, and have a glimpse into one of the many peculiar problems that plagues writers.

I just released the last book in my Steve Williams series and now I find myself at a loss as to where to go next.   It’s not that I don’t have other story ideas, I do,  but these characters are still clamoring in my head, but I’m not sure if that’s because I love them dearly, or if there is a bona fide story line in there that I can craft.   I also am getting the “when is the next book coming” from a lot of faithful fans.

The serial killer ideas are endless, just look at the sustained power of Dexter and Criminal Minds.

However, I think my favorite G-man has run his course.

So where to now?

Does the clamor in my head along with the fandom requests dictate the continuation of the series?

This is the million dollar question.

When is it enough?

I would hate to continue it without the same level of passion for the characters that I have right now just to satisfy the fan base because the output would be crap.   Case and point – look at the show Revenge – the first season was stellar but now the second season is awful. The writers don’t have a vision anymore and its floundering.

I don’t want the Steve Williams series to flounder and that’s why I chose to end it on a strong note with Saving Face.

Continuing that particular story line wouldn’t do justice to any of the characters and like all good things; this too must come to an end.

With that said, the end of one era always brings forth a new generation.  A new series spun from the old.  So, while Steve Williams will be retired, I believe there still is the appetite to find out what becomes of CJ and Tom Ryan.

I don’t have a date for the next release, but you can bet The Ryan Chronicles will be just as kick ass as the Steve Williams series.

In the meantime, check out Saving Face:

The Windwalker Serial Killer stalks the inlets of southern Maine for the next beauty to advance his collection and Special Agent Steve Williams is frustrated with always being a breath behind the slippery psychopath.  Escalating the pressure, Steve’s adopted sons, CJ and Tom Ryan, take teenage rebellion to an entirely new level, leaving Steve in an explosive situation.

When the Windwalker slaughters Tom’s ex-girlfriend, taking her face as a macabre trinket, Tom is found on the scene covered in her blood, with her scalped body draped across his lap.  Damning evidence against him is unearthed, his father’s secret identity is about to be exposed, and he’s charged with Tanya’s traumatic murder.

To prove his innocence, their only hope is the worst-case scenario; for the Windwalker to harvest a new face.

Saving Face, a Steve Williams novel by J.E. Taylor

Buy Links:

Saving Face on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009XW5ZK6/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

Saving Face on Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-face-je-taylor/1113658928?ean=2940015890563

Saving Face on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/249103

Saving Face on Kobo books: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Saving-Face/book-1RKkLjf9fkKE329IrmMBZQ/page1.html?s=Co_5SVgJSkGNap1QzFTFtw&r=5

EXCEPT:

Chapter 1

The trees swayed in the breeze, dry leaves rustled, and the stars disappeared behind a bank of clouds, drawing out the already dark shadows. Shadows he hid within, watching, waiting, frozen in place by his obsession, his bloodlust.

Testing the air with a sniff, he tried detecting a trace of her perfume but came away with only the distinct scent of fall. Crisp. Clean. Carnal.

His edgy hands begged for action and he clenched them, dropping his arms to his sides. Tilting his head, he caught a rhythmic pulse, like that of his heart, but accented with crunching leaves. She was coming and his hand shot to the worn handle of his hunting knife.

Patience.

His fingers stroked the soft wood like a lover and he stared at the jogger-beaten path. The bounce of her headlamp filtered through the thick brush and he blew a slow stream of air through his lips, calming his pounding heart.

Patience, he told himself again. He didn’t want to give her enough time to react, to bolt in the opposite direction. Instead, he counted her steps, watching as the light approached, bouncing with each of her long-legged strides.

It wasn’t her lithe frame he was after. It was her face, her scalp. She had passed by him at the store, catching his fancy and fueling his desire. A fine specimen. An excellent addition to his collection; with fragile features stretched into a scream—forever captured in his art.

He crept closer to the path, crouching and ready to pounce the moment she crossed. The light drew closer and now he could smell the mixture of Poison and sweat, a sweet concoction that aroused his hunger and almost uncoiled his predatory posture. He inhaled deeply, relishing the scent. Her footfalls brought her close enough to make out her dark form behind the bright light.

He waited, and when the twig he placed in the middle of the path snapped, he sprang. In one leap, he caught her, wrapping his arms around her as he tackled. The yelp of surprise brought a smile to his face and he unsheathed the knife, plunging it into her chest before she could regain enough oxygen to produce a blood curdling scream.

Her eyes widened, blinking at him in the light of her fallen headlamp.

The thrill of the hunt, of the capture, fueled his blood; pumping it frantically through his veins, throbbing in his temple, producing little spots of red in the edges of his eyesight. Ripping flesh accompanied each of his thrusts, along with muffled cries of pain that gave way to an airy wheeze.

He grabbed her hair, pulling her head forward and slicing the base of her hairline with surgical precision. Sliding his fingers under the gaping wound, he peeled the scalp from the back to the front, separating her skin from the bone.

She did scream then, a high gurgling wail that died moments later, when his knife separated the mass of skin and hair and lips that he peeled from her bones, severing her carotid artery in the process. With the prize pelt in his hands, he stood, sheathing the knife and taking off toward the river.

Chapter 2

 

Eight hours earlier…

“You are ruining my life!” C. J. Ryan bellowed.

Steve Williams crossed his arms and stood his ground. “I don’t care. You snuck out of the house after I said you couldn’t go to that party. You knew damn well I’d find out, and now both you and your brother are grounded until graduation.” His gaze traveled to CJ’s mute brother, Tom. “And you, what were you thinking, stealing that car?”

Tom thrust his hands in his pockets and stared at the ground.

Steve clenched his teeth together and glanced out the observation window at the Brooksfield police department pit.

“You can’t ground me. You’re not my father.”

His gaze snapped back to CJ and he tilted his head, narrowing his eyes. “I may not be your biological father, but don’t ever doubt my authority here.”

“It’s your fault my parents are dead.”

The mental shove made Steve stumble back a step and he caught himself. In two strides, he stood toe to toe with CJ, his gaze blazing into the azure blue of the seventeen-year-old’s equally furious eyes.

“You really want to play that game with me?” he asked, his voice low, almost a growl, but the kid struck a chord. His father had been caught in the cross fire of one of his FBI investigations and his mother, his mother was a completely different story. He had led her right into the belly of the beast.

CJ dropped his gaze, his eyes traveling to Tom’s before he gave a slight shake of his head.

“Why’d you let him steal a car?”

CJ sighed and shrugged, all the hellfire burned out of him for the moment.

“Why?” Steve asked and stepped back, addressing Tom.

I wanted to see my dad. Tom thought, meeting his questioning stare.

“Bullshit.” Steve shook his head. You see him all the time. You probably can see him pacing the room behind me. Can’t you?

Tom’s gaze moved from Steve’s to the angry angel pacing the room behind him. Wings fluttered and a wealth of curses dropped from his lips, his iridescent blue eyes glaring at the two boys. Tom nodded. I wanted to talk with him.

“You could have asked me to bring you here.” Steve softened. It had been a couple months since they visited Paradise Cove. The magical portal where their father could speak to them, to see them, and where Tom had a ghost tongue along with the miraculous recovery of speech. It was the only place on earth that he could articulate his thoughts since the psycho in Georgia had cut his tongue out.

But neither boy had the same mental bond Steve had with their father. Their father was now his guardian angel, a constant presence intruding on his every thought. Steve could hear Ty Ryan any time of day or night, even times when he’d rather not have the voice of reason on his shoulder. Sometimes he wished for the blessed silence he knew before he met the Ryan family. The absolute cluelessness to the thoughts around him, to the ghost haunting his every waking minute, and to the powers he inherited when Ty died. Reading minds came in handy as an FBI agent, but the constant din in his head was maddening.

“You’ve been too wrapped up in that case to take us,” CJ answered.

That case. He almost laughed at the venom in CJ’s voice. That case shrouded his life, leaving time for nothing else and he missed more football games and nights of homework and family time his wife set aside, because of that stinking case.

Another killer was loose. The Windwalker eluded the police, eluded the FBI, and eluded him like he was made of smoke. They had gotten to the last victim minutes after she died. With her body still warm, they scoured the woods for clues, but the tracks disappeared at the bank of the river, just like every other dead, skinned body they found. Stealth, like fog rolling from the snow during strawberry spring, in and out quickly before the victim really knew what happened, and it burned him. Becoming a mission. An obsession.

CJ knew how frustrated he was and to bring it up here was just his attempt to get a rise out of him, to skirt the real issue.

He ignored the dig. “So you sneak out of the house, crash that party, have a few beers and decide it would be a great idea to steal a car?” Exasperated, he traded glances with the boys. “You crossed state lines. Do you have any idea how serious this is?”

CJ started to speak then closed his mouth. He sank into the chair, fidgeting with his parent’s wedding bands, which he wore on the chain around his neck. Tom followed suit taking the seat next to his brother.

I’m sorry. It was my idea, not CJ’s.

“Grand theft auto is serious and you two are close enough to eighteen for the courts to look at this as an opportunity to teach a hard lesson.” He slid into the chair on the other side of the table and leaned forward. “I had to pull a lot of strings to make this disappear, but this is the last time I will bail you out. You hear me?” He pounded his index finger on the table, punctuating his words. “The last time!”

Fricking Awesome

I’ll admit I’m not usually given to such eloquent words of praise. In this case though I think it’s very applicable. That’s how I feel about what a reader just said in a review on Amazon about my Lost Girls series, in particular the final book, Black Widow. Don’t believe me? Here’s the 5 star review in full:

Fricking Awesome October 2, 2012
I bought the whole series and if the author sees this, let me just say thank you and please write more. Usually I’d be more descriptive but I’m feeling a little sleepy. I definitely recommend reading this book. You will be entertained. I honestly think all of the books would be perfect as a movie if given to the right individual. :) Love the characters and storylines especially in this particular one.
How could I feel anything but a giant warm fuzzy feeling after reading that? Truth be told, it kind of echoes what I thought of the book as I wrote it, but to be fair the characters in that book touched me in ways different and perhaps deeper than any other characters I’ve ever written about. There was a lot of pain in those characters, some of it I induced, but also a lot of joy. Okay, I suppose I created all of the pain, not just some of it, but with a good character I don’t feel like I created them. It’s more like they just showed up one day and offered to let me write about them. That’s how it was with Katalina Wimple.
Sadly, I don’t have any more planned for Katy. Not only am I afraid of what she might do to me if I tried to run her through a meat grinder again, but her friends and family have become very formidable as well. I don’t want to be the first writer tortured and killed by his own fictional characters!
On the matter of movies – I’d love to have my books turned into movies. I write them with the thought in my head of seeing them on a big (or at least medium) screen. So far nobody has stumbled across them and offered to take me up on the offer, but I remain hopeful!
So instead I write about other people. Take Carl Waters, one of my first characters in the book, Wanted. He and Jessie are back and more fun (and irascible) than ever in Bounty, the third and final book in their trilogy that I’m working on now.  So far I’ve worked in another measly 800 words today on the story. My plan calls for a couple thousand more (at least). It’s a great book so far and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Wanted has a bunch of great reviews too, by the way (and it’s free on Amazon).
Now I’d better get back to writing! There are a lot of people who are anxious for this book to come out. I hope, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them!
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

The Lost Girls Meet a Black Widow

Thanks to a timely turn-around by my content editor (Lisa Shalek), I’m happy to say that Black Widow is out a couple of days before I expected. Black Widow being the fourth book in my Lost Girls series. It brings together everything from the first three books as well as a tying up some loose ends presented in Voices and Bound. All in all, it’s got quite a story arc and I’m very pleased with how things turned out. I suggest checking it out if you enjoy strong female leads, a touch of urban fantasy, and crime & mystery thrillers.

For Katalina Wimple the memories of a lifetime of struggle can disappear in a moment of bliss. They can also come crashing back in when she’s confined in a cold, dark tomb at the mercy of the knife of a new kind of killer.

Katy’s new case puts in unfamiliar territory. This time it’s a man who’s been hurt. A man from her past that she once admired. To solve this case Katy has to find peace with her past and find a killer with more reason to hate than even she has.

Black Widow, book four in the Lost Girls series, by Jason Halstead

Black Widow on Amazon

Black Widow on Amazon UK

Black Widow on Kobo

Black Widow on Barnes and Noble (coming soon)

Black Widow on Smashwords

Print version of Black Widow

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

Sick in the Head, one Writer’s Fan Mail

June 1, 2012 3 comments

I have to admit, I’m a little bit envious of my friend J.E. Taylor. She writes some gripping and visceral stories. Mostly these days she’s been doing crime stories with a touch (or more) of paranormal mixed in. They can be downright creepy at times and on more than one occasion I’ve pulled my head out of one of her books and said, “Woah!” That’s as much of a spoiler as I give you, if you want to know more, you’ll have to check them out herself. My wife loves her books too, so it’s not just me.

So why am I jealous? It’s because she shared some fan mail with me that she received that upset her a little. At first glance, I could see why, but then I dug deeper and realized it was a compliment to her skill at writing and drawing the reader in. The fan, who will remain nameless, bad mouthed her and told her she was disgusted and appalled at the story she’d just finished. The reader was so upset she intended to never read anything by her again and to share with all of her reading friends her dismay so she could convince them to not read anything by her as well. It’s easy to see how upsetting that could be.

Now let’s take it apart and look at it again. This woman could have stopped reading the book at any time. No, she stuck with it to the end in spite of how much it disturbed her. My friends, readers and writers alike, is there a greater compliment out there than to know that you’ve bound somebody with the story you’re telling so completely that they must finish it, no matter the cost?

On a cheap and defensive level, the fan mail was written completely bereft of punctuation. It also had little regard to grammar, and more than a few typos. I find it hard to take a criticism seriously from someone who expects me to be attacked by their words, yet does not have the ability to use the language as a weapon. I suspect her threat of notifying “her reading friends” might have been paraphrased from, “my friends that know how to read’. But I’ll be fair and admit I’m being snarky in saying that.

I’m writing this because it upset me and amused me, at the same time. Yes, some of her stories have a well defined sense of the macabre at times. She’s been known to drop the F-bomb in them and even talk about such things as boobies and other not-mentioned-enough body parts. They are books for adults, but that does not make them adult books. Yeah, you know what I mean. If you find you don’t like something, then stop reading it. If you can’t bring yourself to stop, then acknowledge that it may have gone somewhere horribly wrong but you were swept up by it anyhow. Kind of like how I was when I sneaked a TV into a spare room when I was wayyyyy to young (4, 5, or 6 – I think) and watched the Amityville Horror one night through the gaps in my fingers. I’d never let my kids do it knowingly (and neither did my parents), but I have to admit that it was one hell of a story!

So go check J.E. Taylor out. Is it really that bad – or good? Or bad and good? You can even start with Vengeance, her free novel on Amazon. What have you got to lose, other than some sleep and maybe a little bit of your innocence.

 

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

The Devil’s out of the Icebox

April 20, 2012 1 comment

Regular readers may remember a post I made some time ago regarding the devil being in my icebox. Well, just like before, this post does not mean my refrigerator is possessed or misbehaving. It’s a book! The Devil’s Icebox, sequel to Dark Earth, is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and loads of other places like Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and others in the very near future. It was a lot of fun to write and it sets the stage for two more books in this series. I don’t have timing on those books, but knowing me I’ll probably have at least the first available before 2012 is over.

The Devil’s Icebox was slated for release on May 1st. Everything came together great on this, from writing the story to having two consummate professionals helping with the editing and cover art. So why not get it out a little bit earlier – I’ve had a lot of feedback wanting an immediate sequel for Dark Earth.

Devil’s Icebox blurb:

Lord Baxter’s portal between Earth and Dark Earth beckons. Eager to seek the promises of the otherworld’s powers, Cassiopeia has been sent by her Lord to ensure his realm rivals the mightiest of nations.

 She shares a history with the protector assigned to her, a history filled with familiarity and contempt. Setting the past aside and sharing the present offers forbidden opportunities, as well as a new world filled with opportunity and unimaginable surprises. Her quest remains the only constant, and the one thing she yearns most to be rid of.

Devil's Icebox, by Jason Halstead

Devil’s Icebox on Amazon

Devil’s Icebox on Amazon UK

Devil’s Icebox on Barnes and Noble

Devil’s Icebox on Smashwords

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

The Tip of the Writing Iceberg

March 27, 2012 1 comment

I’ve had this revelation a few times now, but this year it’s never been more true. I’m in a particularly productive place these last few months, having published four books so far this year and having two more in the process. Writing definitely takes up the majority of my time for each project, but keep in mind that majority only means it’s a greater percentage than any of the other slices in the pie.

The things I never thought or knew about getting into writing was all of the other work involved. Writing isn’t just a fire-and-forget process. Sure, I’ve got some talented people that help out between editing and cover art, but each book is my baby. I’m responsible for what the world sees, and if I want to be successful, I have to make certain that each one is as good as I can make it. I haven’t had this talk with any other writers, but I’d be astonished if they didn’t feel similarly – or at least the successful ones.

I figure writing takes about 60% of the time a book’s being worked on. 30% for editing and cover art (typically simultaneous), then the remaining 10% for final editing and releasing. And that doesn’t cover the other aspects of being a successful writer…

So let’s take an example: I finished Voidhawk – The White Lady earlier this year. I believe it took me about 4 weeks to write it. Yes, it’s a full length novel. I’ve been throwing down anywhere from 2k to 8k words a day when I write. It spent another couple of weeks with an editor and a couple of weeks with the cover artist. After I received the edited version back I had to go through it again, make the corrections, and do my own final review. No matter how good an editor is, they miss something. Maybe they miss an auto-correction MS Word did or maybe they attributed some awkward wording to the writer’s style. In either case, I’ve never once found a fully edited manuscript that didn’t need another touch up. Heck, I still find mistakes when I go back to do some continuity checking on books (and yes, I fix and upload those errors immediately).

So with The White Lady I spent 4 weeks writing, then another couple of weeks waiting, then another week editing. That was a very streamlined process. I’ve got some great people working with me who can really turn things around. Major kudos to them. But here’s one of the reasons why: I pay them. I pay them and I pay them on time, every time. The faster they work, the more work they get and the more money they make. People who work for free can do a good job, but the odds are they aren’t dedicating the kind of attention to it that I want. This is a professional product, shouldn’t the people working on it be professional too?

After The White Lady I worked on Devil’s Icebox, the long awaited sequel to my paranormal novel, Dark Earth. That one rolled off my fingers too, but it’s looking at about 4 weeks for editing and cover art. Then another week or so for me to go through it again. My hope is to release it in mid to late April. But while it’s being edited I’ve been busy…

Squatter’s Rights, part 5 in Vitalis, my futuristic sci-fi series, was my fastest book yet. Granted, my Vitalis books are novellas rather than full length novels, but it still only took me 5 or 6 days to write it. Nevertheless, it’s in an editors hands waiting for the red pen of love. Valerie McCarty, the editor for my Vitalis books, confirmed that she might even get it done this week. I’m not sure the cover art can happen that quickly! I’d love to launch Squatter’s Rights in early April, but we’ll see how things go.

What’s next? It was supposed to be the third book in my Wanted series. I’ve got a lot of ideas for it, but I haven’t found the right one to really pull me in and make it worth reading. Oh sure, I could write something and it would be entertaining with those characters, but that’s not good enough. Wanted and Ice Princess were really good books and I won’t settle for anything less than top shelf material for the third book.

Instead I started up something new last night. It’s a new series called Lost Treasures that takes place in my Dark Earth setting. Lost Treasures is approximately 10 years after Dark Earth, but the relationship to the other books (Dark Earth series or The Lost Girls series) will be minimal. I’m living out my childhood fascination with Indiana Jones in this one and so far, I’m expecting the book to be a lot of fun! All told, I expect this one to take 4 – 6 weeks to write, then the editing process. My Dark Earth setting editor might not be able to get to until July, but she’s the best and worth the wait.

Those other aspects of being a successful writer I mentioned? That’s the time spent making modifications to previously published books (edits, links, etc.), setting up marketing / advertising / promotions, blogging, and working with peers to make good things happen. It usually doesn’t cost all that much in dollars, but the cost in time can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re crazy enough to release multiple books in a short time frame like I did this year! Special thanks to my wife for putting up with the chaos I’ve put us all through getting these things out there. She’s an amazing women and no, she doesn’t have any sisters.

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

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