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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

The aliens have landed…

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

…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. ;-)

Vitalis Communion_200

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.

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.

Picking Up Heavy Things…Again

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

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!

 

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.

A Different Sort of Communion

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!

 

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.

Decisions, Decisions

“Holy crap, you’ve written a lot of books! Where should I start?”

I get asked something like this a lot, but I never have a good answer. I mentioned a week or two back I’d put a post out like this to help people – but I’m not sure how much help it will provide! Hopefully you’ll want to grab them all. :-)

Anyhow, to answer the question: It depends on a lot of things. For example, do you like sci-fi or fantasy more? Do your tastes range towards action and adventure or crime and mystery? Fast paced or slower, more thoughtful?

Let me throw out a few first and let you decide…

Voidhawk - my first published novel way back in 2009. It also just became an audiobook, but I digress. Voidhawk is fantasy, but it’s fantasy with a twist. It’s kind of like dungeons and dragons in space. Complete with wooden ships sailing through the void (space). So it’s part high fantasy, part space opera, and part wtf. I consider it a niche market and I never expected it to take off. Yet quite a few times over the past few years my Voidhawk series (6 books in it so far) has done quite well. I regularly get people asking for more, which is going to happen someday soon.

Wanted - This is my second published novel. It’s near future science fiction that I dreamt up during the threat of a world-wide recession back in 2007 – 2009. The book takes place in a mildly scorched earth environment. Global terrorism has torn America up and left the southwestern US to fend for itself. Enter the main characters – a former Spec Ops guy who wants to be left alone, a porn star turned actress whose career was peeking after all the real Hollywood stars died when dirty bombs took out LA, and a couple of rich kids who had the misfortune of being on a plane that crashed in the Sonoran desert. There’s 4 books here and this has arguably has been the most successful series I’ve written.

Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon – More high fantasy here. A new world with new troubles and a peasant farmer boy who’s thrust into being the man of the farm. Then somehow things get twisted up with young love and the chance to make a difference and be a hero. It escalates from Child of Fate (book 1) into a trilogy (Blades of Leander) and then a follow-up saga (Order of the Dragon, 4 more books).

Vitalis - Futuristic science fiction centered around humanity’s discovery of life on another planet. Real, advanced life – in the form of dinosaur-like critters and a downright nasty ecosystem that is very xenophobic. It’s risqué at times, earning at least an R rating and not just for harsh language. Book 2, Resurrection, even starts out with a couple of characters that make some readers uncomfortable – although I never get very descriptive and tragedy interrupts the moment before it can get started. Vitalis is six books at present and one I’m anxious to continue very soon. The first book is called the Vitalis Omnibus because it contains 7 novellettes I put together and tried to sell individually.

Dark Earth – Urban fantasy here. It involves the discovery of a parallel world to Earth that followed a different evolution. We have technology, they have magic. Sort of. They also have a lot of very mean and nasty people in charge. It’s a harsh world where bigots and chauvinists seem to be rewarded. Until the portals start opening and they begin to find out just how dangerous a pissed off woman can be! Dark Earth sets the stage for a 3 book series, which then has two additional books set in the same setting. Another series also uses the Dark Earth setting, but it’s 40 years in the future…

The Lost Girls – This is the series I just mentioned. These books came about when a character popped into my head and demanded attention. She called me dirty names and abused me every possible way until I wrote her story. Then she demanded I write another one, which is rare (usually I break away between books in a series but for her I did back to back). Eventually she demanded a third and later a fourth book. At that point I’d had enough. She’d mellowed out a little over the years and I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore to her. Until another idea hit me. This time it was an idea about a bad guy. We had a long talk (yes, me and the fictional heroine of the series), and she agreed she’d do one more for me. So that series hit five books. There may be more down the road, but she won’t be the starring character anymore. These books are urban fantasy / paranormal / science fiction (yes, I really did wrap all that together) AND they are detective / crime novels to boot. I will not be shoe-horned into a genre, damn it!

If you’re a proper red-blooded American, and by red-blooded I mean you understand the Internet may have been built for the exchange of technology and data but it wouldn’t exist without the need for hot and steamy content, then maybe my Homeland series is up your alley. Only two books in it so far (Forbidden Love and Broken Slipper), but they involve undercover homeland security agents and the lengths, depths, girths, and other extremes they will go to for their country.

I’ve got a few stand-alone books too, or books that are related to a series but aren’t officially a part of it. Those don’t get much traction even though everyone that reads them that tells me about it says they enjoy them.

Oh! Silly me, I almost forgot my latest. I released one a few months ago called Transcendent. Future sci-fi with humanity controlling all of our solar system (but not doing anything beyond it). It’s my attempt at capturing the dystopian young adult interest so popular with Divergent and The Hunger Games. Except I went a little more high tech by introducing biomechs (basically humanoid tanks of the future with a human pilot plugged in the cockpit and organic muscle systems stretched over their metal frames).

And, on the not-so-sly, I’ve been working with my wife to capture a spot in the paranormal romance genre by releasing a serial novel called Claimed by the Beast. We’re using her name, Dawn Michelle, for that series. I refer to it as furry porn, but only tongue in cheek. There’s no actual, um, porn going on. (although there are a few very steamy scenes in upcoming releases).

Phew – I think that about covers it. Don’t ask me which one is m favorite – I love them all. I’ve been very disappointed by the lack of response a few have gotten (Homeland and Transcendent, for example). I’ve been surprised by others because I didn’t think people would be as twisted as I am. I’ll vouch for any and all of them, but they’re my children so I kind of have to. :-)

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.

Celebrity Moment

May 18, 2014 1 comment

I was taking a break from reality the other day and playing an online computer game (Mechwarrior Online, if you must know). In the process I was talking to a couple of people that I’d never met before. The topic quickly came up asking me if I was a writer (my handle in the game is ‘BooksbyJason’). That led to: what do you write. The next question was what name I wrote under. So I shared my name. And that’s when it happened.

This complete stranger from parts unknown (he was somewhere in the continental US, I think) said, “Hey, I’ve heard of you. One of my friends recommended your books to me.”

I sat there on the couch with my laptop in my lap and stared at the screen. I looked up at my wife but she was engrossed in a television show and missed it. I went back to the conversation and continued to briefly talk books before the lasers and autocannons started flying and our robots were getting shot out from under us. All in all, it was a good game. And yes, I regularly get my butt kicked in that game. Or any online game these days – I don’t have time to practice and get good. That and I don’t have the reflexes of a thirteen year old anymore. Or an eighteen year old. Or twenty five. Or thirty. Or… well, you get the point.

I even had a decent sales day that day, selling over sixty books. The next day that same guy emailed me asking what book I’d recommend as a starter. That’s a tough question and it required a very long email in response. I saved it though, because I get asked that fairly often. In fact, I’m going to post it as a blog sometime soon. Ironically enough, another person on a message board from the same game ran into me in the game the next day and said he’d read my profile and checked me out. He was impressed with all the books and good reviews / comments on them. Back to back confirmation, how cool is that?

But a clap on the back doesn’t pay the bills, and that became apparent when yesterday turned out to be my worst sales day since early 2012. Not sure what the deal is with that, but I really hope it doesn’t happen again! My response is to keep writing like crazy and get as much going as I can. My books are languishing a bit at the moment while I’m helping my wife with her new paranormal romance serial novel (Claimed by the Beast). We’re on part four of many (5, 6, or 7) right now, but I may take a break from helping and work on a new Voidhawk or Vitalis book next.

But back to the original point – my minor celebrity moment tickled my all night and into the next day. Very cool stuff, I have to say, but like I mentioned above, praise and recognition doesn’t pay the bills. Remember that, my writing friends. Hard work and dedication is what it takes to succeed and make a change.

 

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.

Nothing is more ‘Out there’ than Reality!

By reality I don’t mean reality TV. That’s in a dimension all by itself. I’m talking about the wild and crazy world we live in. We’ve all heard a variant on the line, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Well, I read something yesterday that left me excited, grossed out, and disappointed.

One of my mainstays is science fiction. Reading it, writing it, watching it, and hopefully living it. I’m always thinking and daydreaming about the possibilities the future holds (hopefully with me owning a nice winter home in the Caribbean). One of those daydreams turned into my sci-fi series, Vitalis. It takes place in the future and so far has managed to span multiple solar systems and worlds. I’ve explored new possibilities, new creatures, new ecosystems, and what happens when those are mixed together. And the age old maxim that in primitive cultures and the animal kingdom, violence really does solve things.

Let’s take an example of an alien creature I created that sort of resembles a massively overgrown cockroach. It can spit out a neurotoxin that leaves its victim in a paralyzed state. In some cases (e.g. low doses) the victim is still somewhat aware of what’s going on, although delusion and hallucinogenic. The creature then takes the victim back to the hive where the queen injects multiple eggs into the victims belly, turning them in a host. As the initial neurotoxin wears off the victims find themselves returned to wherever they were before. The eggs release their own similar neurotoxin, but the host quickly acclimates and builds up a tolerance. Instead of being paralyzed and wiped out it just makes them unaware of what’s going on inside them and kind of loopy.

The hatchlings then begin to feed, and they do so voraciously. The innards of a person are devoured and the chemicals these little buggers release keep the host alive as long as possible, although in a messed up state. Then they eat their way out, usually about the time the host finally dies.

Creepy stuff, right? Only possible in fiction? Well this is where I mention something I read yesterday about a bug here on earth. The cockroach family, ironically enough, has some particularly vicious members.

There’s this little emerald green wasp cockroach that is around the size of a carpenter ant. Big, but not massive. These wasps prey on their bigger cousins, the regular cockroach. The size difference is truly David and Goliath, but the wasps roaches have a secret weapon. A neurotoxin that they deliver to the belly of the bigger roaches. That paralyzes the roach’s legs and lets them plant their eggs on the big roach’s legs. The wasp roach then delivers a second poisonous blow to the brain of the big roach. This doesn’t kill the roach, but it turns it into a zombie by making it not care about much of anything.

Wasp roach then grabs the zombie roach’s antenna and leads it back to its nest. Time passes, the eggs hatch, and the big roach just chills while the babies eat it from the inside out. Creepy stuff, and something that happens right under our noses. Or wherever these buggers live.

The point is I was disappointed to learn that my idea for something outlandish, gross, and terrifying is already happening. And it happens here, on Earth, in present time. The only thing left is for me to figure out something even more bizarre and horrifying… and I love a challenge!

But hey, if you’d like to read more on Vitalis and the various futuristic terrors that humanity encounters, be my guest to check out:

 

Bestselling sci-fi anthology, Vitalis, by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

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.

Transcend – To Go Beyond Range or Limits

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.

Transcendent, dystopian coming of age story by Jason Halstead

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

 

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.

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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