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Posts Tagged ‘space fantasy’

The Pen is Mighty Because of the Sword

I’m asked all the time where I come up with all my ideas for stories. Partly because I’ve got a ton of them – after all, that’s why I haven’t been blogging as much lately, I’ve been writing hard on new books (Voidhawk – Broken Shards, the 7th book in the series and a tie in to the Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon series) and helping my wife out with her Claimed by the Beast books. I tell people I’ve always been writing and always been coming up with ideas. People, places, things – all the essentials for writing.

Then this weekend happened. My wife had a bachelor party to throw this weekend and I stayed home with the kids. Ages almost 8 and 5.5. They both love telling stories and making things up (more than just the ones where they try to get out of trouble), so I figured – what the heck, let’s try something different. I did some research since I lost all my original books years and years ago and found out that a brand spanking new fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons was being released. Better yet, the 110 page core intro book was available as a free download!

Well, I downloaded and read through it to see what the changes were since the editions I enjoyed playing (first and second, 3, 3.5, and 4 were all too complicated and took away from the spirit of the game, in my opinion). 5th Edition seems geared to go back a little and make it more fun and less complicated. I hope. Then I reached the end of the book and realized there was no monsters, no DM guidelines, and nothing else of much help.

So another Internet search led me to packing the kids up and heading to a hobby / comics store a few miles away to pick up the starter kit and sets of dice for each kid. That included an adventure, some pre-rolled characters, and some generic monsters. It’s a long cry from something a real campaign can be developed out of, but it’s a start.

That day we began the adventure. We didn’t get far beyond an initial encounter. It got my daughter (the almost 8 year old) excited and my son uncertain and possibly freaked out. It also helped him focus on his basic math skills. The next day after my wife got home she joined the adventure and we finished the first milestone. Woohoo!

And somewhere along the way I realized something. This wasn’t what started my love of creating and writing, but it helped a lot. More than a lot, it was essential to helping me figure out a lot of how to come up with ideas and make them complete and well rounded. After all, since my first time playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 11 years old I quickly became the dungeon master. No, there’s no whips and leather outfits involved, it means the guy (or girl) that runs the game. In my case, I usually created my own worlds and adventures to put my victims— er, friends— through.

So, genre and characters aside, I learned how to tell a story because I used to fantasize about using swords and sorcery to battle dragons and rescue maidens. My kids are enjoying the game so far (the girl loves it and the boy is coming around, especially when he was responsible for putting some serious hurt down on the leader of the bad guys). I suspect the colorful descriptions I’m giving, especially when battling feral wolves, goblins, and bloodthirsty bugbears, helps make it more fun for them too. Oh, and the family that slays together, stays together. ;-)

 

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.

Happiness Is…

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…

 Claimed by the Beast, Part 4, by Dawn Michelle

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

(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.

 

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 Mind is a Messed Up Place

I’m slapping keys working hard to bring another Voidhawk book into the world. It’s long overdue, I know, and my readers are already miffed enough I took a couple months off to help my wife (Dawn Michelle) get her stories out there (Claimed by the Beast). So I’m working hard and about 10k into Voidhawk : Broken Shards (book 7 in the series).

In fact, Dexter, Captain of the Voidhawk, just found out he needs to visit a new world. A world by the name of Kroth. Kroth, as some of my diehard fantasy readers may remember, is the place where Alto and his companions have toiled and triumphed over the years in the Blades of Leander trilogy and Order of the Dragon saga. Will they meet? Probably. I won’t deny it’s almost guaranteed to happen. I don’t know the details yet though, nor am I even sure if they’re going to get along.

At what point do things become messed up? Just a few minutes ago, actually, as I was thinking about one of the scene stealers from the Blades / Order books. Thork,, an unusual troll shaman. He plays a key role in every book and yes, he’s going to be in this one too. What just occurred to me and, honestly, astonished me, is that Kroth (the name of the world) and Thork (the troll) are anagrams. Not only that, but they’re practically spelled backwards of each other (except the darn ‘h’ screws things up).

Totally unexpected and unplanned. But I don’t think for one minute that my brain didn’t do it on purpose. It just didn’t tell me what it was doing. My brain let me figure it out on my own, trusting that I’d be a good student and realize it sooner or later. It only took me over a year and a half to do it…

Amazing the little tricks we play on ourselves. How many other hidden gems like this are out there in my books? Some I’ve done on purpose, I admit, but maybe there are others I don’t know about. If you find something and aren’t sure, drop me a line and ask— maybe we’ll both learn something!

 

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.

Who Wants a Guardian Angel?

February 11, 2014 Leave a comment

No, I’m not handing any out. I’m afraid I don’t have any to spare. Or any at all, for that matter. Which is ironic, considering the book I just finished the rough draft of. I’m calling it Guardian and the title is applicable for so many different reasons. For example, the main character is a foster parent aka legal guardian of some troubled teens.

There’s also a spirit out of southwestern Native American folklore that serves as a bit of a guardian angel. With a twist. Then there’s a few other spirits that get involved and a few people doing their best to protect others. It’s a mess and before Katalina (the main character) figures out what’s going a lot of people have been hurt and she’s too late to stop what she set out to do.

Guardian is book 5 in The Lost Girls series and it’s in the hands of my editor now. The cover artist is feverishly at work (or he should be when he wakes up). All that means a potential release before the end of the month. And the inevitable…what’s next?

Building on a blog post I released last week, courtesy of feedback from a reader, I have a couple of options. So I tossed the question out on my Facebook fan page to help me decide which direction to go. I won’t say the response was overwhelming but it was probably the biggest feedback I’ve had on a post so far. The result? Carl Waters, reluctant hero of the Wanted series, is strapping his boots back on and taking a stroll in the near future mildly scorched earth setting.

Carl is a US Marshall these days thanks to some contacts he acquired both in the private sector and their affiliations with the government. His wife, Jessie, has revitalized her acting career. Allison, their adopted daughter, may or may not play a role in the story. She’s turned to technology ever since Carl rescued her from the streets of Houston and demanded she learn to read.

What about the rest of the cast? Tanya, Sarah, and any past players? All to be determined. I’ve got a lot of scattered thoughts that I need to pull together on this one. It’s going to touch on Carl’s new career as well as bring in enough from the prior storylines to continue the series.

What was the other option? A new Voidhawk book that brings some or all of the crew to the world of Kroth. Kroth, for those unfamiliar with the name, is the world that my Blades of Leander and Order of the Dragon series take place on. If I remember correctly the Voidhawk’s crew slipped away from the City at the Edge of Forever with a certain something that belonged to someone very powerful. The very same being that played a part in the formation of Kroth. The really cool part – my subconscious planned all that out without even letting me know! I’m devious and I don’t even know it.

 

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.

When the Passion Fades

February 22, 2013 2 comments

Life has a funny way of filling every moment with an endless stream of tasks and priorities. Before you know it you’ve got mortgage(s), kids, student loans, vacations, cars, credit cards, and a host of other liabilities that we have to bust our butts to fulfill. And somehow in there we’re supposed to find time to be passionate.

Contrary to what you might expect at this point, I’m not rambling about relationship woes. I’m talking about writing! Okay, regular readers probably figured that out already. So much for being unpredictable. Maybe I should talk about relationships instead? Naw, why give away the secrets when they’re so much more fun to find out on your own!

So back to writing. Passion in writing. Yes, dear reader, writers should be passionate about their projects. There are times though when the passion fades from a roaring bonfire to just a spark of flint against steel. That, I’m ashamed to admit, is where I’m at with my current project.

I don’t blame the story or the characters, I blame myself. I’ve started in on my 6th Voidhawk book (Voidhawk – The Edge of Forever) and it’s a bit of a juggling act. I’ve got two voidships to keep track of and two crews. To be honest, I’m not even sure how many characters there are total without looking at my notes and counting them up! Sad, I know. I have some rough ideas for where I want the story to go and I’ve got some plans for a major subplot that I’m still trying to piece together. The problem is I’m not sure how get from point A to point B. And remember we’re talking about sailing through the void so sometimes the quickest route between two points is not a straight line!

For those wondering what the heck I’m talking about with all this void-nonsense, allow me to explain. The “Void” is what you and I would call space. The great big black stuff in the nighttime sky that’s dotted with tiny white lights. To the fantasy genre crew of the Voidhawk, it’s not as frightening and empty as it is to us. For them the void is a three dimensional ocean. They sail from one system or world to another by means of voidships that are complicated vessels imbued with powerful magic and special sails that allow them to catch the solar winds.

In the Voidhawk universe men and women run around with swords, knives, clubs, and archaic guns (flintlocks, mostly pistols although some musket style weapons have shown up from time to time). The firearms aren’t as common though. There’s magic a-plenty as well, from magical places and items to weapons and more. And of course wizard and sorcerers (and witches and sorceresses) capable of using it straight from the source. Oh yeah, there’s been a demon or two (or many, many more) unleashed as well. Most of them have been cleaned up by the time book 6 rolled around though.

So it’s fantasy in space. Crazy, right? Remember this is magic, so check your suspension of disbelief and walk on in. If England can host a secret society of wizards playing Quidditch and blowing up half the country than the universe (aka void) can certainly handle wooden ships sailing through space with the help of magic.

So now you have a clue about Voidhawk but I’m still stuck in a place where I’m writing a chapter or so a day and not entirely sure where I’m going with it. I have plans but they’re not coming together like they usually do. My last book I was cranking out 3 – 4 chapters a day and wrote it in 8 days. This one is going to take longer, probably at least 30. I’m over 17,000 words into it by now but I’ve got a ways to go and I think this one is going to stretch into something large. Normally that would excite me. The only reason it doesn’t this time is because I’m not sure how the heck I’m going to get it there!

But not to fret, I’ve been here before. Sometimes the only way to make progress is one word at a time. Since I’m cranking out a few thousand a day or so that’s a lot of baby steps. Someday soon, before I even realize it, the story’s going to come together and I’ll be amazed at how it worked out. Oh sure, I may need to make a few tweaks for continuities sake, but it’ll be great because these characters are incredible and there’s just so much opportunity to mess with them!

So stay tuned, there’s more Voidhawk coming! With any luck this book will hit the shelves in April, but there’s a lot of void that needs to be covered between now and then.

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.

Ever Feel Like a Lost Soul? Great, Get Yours Here!

There I go again playing with words. This time it’s a very productive month for me – Bound was released last week and now Voidhawk – Lost Soul is available for your e-reading pleasure! I plan on making a print version available in a week or so, but I recommend the ebook, it’s much cheaper! Voidhawk – Lost Soul is book 5 in the Voidhawk saga. Rather than read about me talking about it, here’s the blurb and the awesome cover art, along with links to get it yourself!

The new Empress of the elves thought the only thing standing in the way of prosperity for the reunited Elven Empire were the scattered elven rebels that clung to their racist ways. Progress seemed slow but certain until an old enemy emerges from the past. Beset by potential foes from every angle and unsure of who they can trust, the crew of the Voidhawk is near the end of their luck. Outnumbered by beings beyond their power, even the greatest sacrifice may not be enough to keep the void safe and return what was lost.

Book 5 in the Voidhawk series, Lost Soul, by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble (coming soon)

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.

Measuring Spacetime Displacement

April 16, 2012 1 comment

You’re probably thinking one of two things: ‘What the heck is he talking about?’ or ‘Wow, this sci-fi thing is turning into more than just a hobby.’ In either case you may be tempted to call the guys with the white jackets and needles full of chemicals designed to make me drool on myself. There are, of course, better ways to make me drool. Fortunately on my wife has figured those out and isn’t sharing. :)

Before I get completely derailed from the purpose of this post, I’m writing this to answer a question I’m asked all the time. Where do I find the time to do all of this stuff?! I hate to give away my secret, but not for the reason you think. It’s not a machine that allows for time compression / distortion giving me an extra couple of hours each day. It’s not a support staff of people doing work behind the scenes. It’s so simple you may not believe me: It’s just me being dedicated, motivated, and organized.

Years ago my wife knew I liked to write. She considered it harmless enough, as long as it didn’t interfere with anything else. After a while I got more and more into it and still she supported me. It was the kind of support that meant she was humoring me, again because it was important to me. Maybe that’s not the best kind of support but it was the right kind, and it’s the sort of relationship that I’ll go to my grave insisting is the best to have. As time passed and the writing thing started to take off her support went from humoring me to being excited. I was more than a little excited myself, but I keep mine tempered with the knowledge that it can disappear in a heartbeat if I take my eyes off the task.

So how have I managed it all and continue to do so? I work a full time job that often runs 50 – 60 hours a week, including time working from home. I have two young kids and a great wife that I enjoy spending time with. I’m mildly obsessed with power lifting and staying in shape by picking up the kind of heavy weights that makes Planet Fitness employees run screaming in terror. And up until late last year I was completing my MBA in Strategic Management. As of this writing I have 18 books published and I expect to hit 20 on or about June 1st. Most of them published between late 2011 and now.

The secret is doing the work. Just like anything in life, a job doesn’t get done if you don’t do the work. Procrastinating doesn’t help, nor does convincing myself that I just can’t write for whatever reason I’ve got. Success comes from overcoming the obstacles and doing the work anyhow. Sure, there are plenty of nights after the kids go to bed where I’ll think that loading up Black Ops and trying to improve my kill : death ratio to something above 1:5 would be fun. Most of the time I file that wistful thought away and load up the latest writing project, then start typing. On the rare occasions I do talk myself into playing a game I remember inside of a few games that no amount of practice is going to make me good enough to be a threat, so I bow out gracefully and get back to writing. Damn kids might beat me on a virtual battlefield but I’ve got the old adage to fall back on that the pen is mightier than the sword!

I set a minimum of 500 words a day. Some days circumstances prevent me from writing at all. Other days I’m limited to a couple dozen or hundred words. Those are rare days, because it’s my mission to write. My future and my family’s future depends on it. That’s why my average daily word count is closer to the 2000 – 4000 word range. Right now that means two to three hours of writing. That cuts into family time a little bit, but remember the support I spoke of earlier.

My goal is to make writing the day job. That’s a ways away still, but when that happens it’ll allow those two to three hours to turn into four to eight hours and I can do them out of a home office, then have my evenings left for dedicating to my family. That’s the goal, and that’s what’s most important. Setting goals and working towards them is the only way the vast majority of us will ever achieve success. Sure, one out of a million people may win the lottery or achieve some other windfall of cash, but that’s not me or anyone I know. If it’s you and you’re feeling generous, let me know! Until that happens I’m a proponent of putting my nose to the grindstone.

As a shining example of that I’m roughly three chapters away from completing my next Vitalis book (Evolution). The last one, Squatter’s Rights, took me five or six days to write. This one will be a little more than a week, but I haven’t been able to dedicate quite as much time as I’d like to. I’m expecting it to come in at 20k words or perhaps a little more. Novella length, and a great bit of horror / thriller / adventure for my unruly group of survivors stuck on the undiscovered world of Vitalis.

Up next is the 5th novel in my Voidhawk series. Tons of great plans for that one as well. I’ll be exploring Dexter, Jenna, and the remainder of the Voidhawk’s crew in greater detail.

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.

Fifteen Stars!

Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t recommend writers read the reviews written on their books, or if they do, to do so sparingly. Well, taking my own advice it’s been a while since I dared check for new reviews on my books. What I found surprised me…in a good way!

Wanted, my near future sci-fi book that’s free for the Kindle, wracked up 15 stars in only 3 reviews last week!  It got praise such as, “I enjoyed the whole book because the author really made these characters come to life for me.”, “This book was exciting and couldn’t lay it down for long before I picked it up again.”, and “I read this in 2 days, as I could not wait to see what happened next.” Talk about feeling all warm and fuzzy!

Wanted is the first book in a series, Ice Princess continues the story. I plan to start writing the third book in the series in the near future, hopefully by early May.

Wanted, book 1, by Jason Halstead

Wanted, post-apocalyptic science fiction by Jason Halstead

There was something else from last week in there too: The first review for Voidhawk – The Elder Race (also 5 stars). This one really excited me because the book’s been out there forever, sold hundreds of copies, and only know gotten it’s first review. Here’s a snippet of the review: “It combines 18th and 19th century technology and attitudes with, hell, I don’t know, 23rd century space travel? Nevertheless, the characters suck you in and you start to get into the relationships and all of a sudden you are buying into the whole deal.” Pretty cool, if I say so myself!

Here’s the Voidhawk books, in order, to date: Voidhawk, Voidhawk – The Elder Race, Voidhawk – Redemption, and Voidhawk – The White Lady (new release in March!)

Voidhawk, book 2, by Jason Halstead

Voidhawk - The Elder Race, on Amazon

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.

Making Goth Look Good

My Voidhawk series started with the first book I’d ever had accepted for publication. It was actually a collection of novelettes that I strung together into a super-novel. After I finished I had a lot of story left to tell, so I wrote a sequel called Voidhawk – The Elder Race. That one was just as long as the first but it blended the original style of telling mini-stories into an overall plot that revealed itself to me as I wrote it. When I finished it I knew that the characters had more stories in them to tell. Heck, some of the abuse a few of them went through demanded more attention.

And so, after the first two mega-novels I split away and worked on Voidhawk – Redemption. That tells the story of one of the Voidhawk’s crew as he struggles to come to terms with a lot of the anguish of a life poorly spent and a second chance he never wanted. It was a lot of fun for me to write and in the process I feared that the main character had evolved from being my favorite person to torture to my favorite character in the series.

The story of the Voidhawk and crew didn’t end with Redemption, but it did take a hiatus. Well that break is over. Voidhawk – The White Lady, is ready for consumption at long last! The White Lady follows more of the Voidhawk’s crew. They reach a new world with a race rumored to have the knowledge and power necessary to help them solve their personal dilemmas. Along the way their troubles multiply time and again. They meet new foes and new friends – although at times its difficult to tell the difference between the two.

And hey, check out this amazing cover by Willsin Rowe!

The official blurb:

The people of Kelios have an unlikely group of saviors in a cursed priest, a confused sorceress, and a woman with a damaged soul trapped in the body of a teenage girl.

The three members of the Voidhawk’s crew came to Kelios seeking council with an powerful race of beings called the Fayer. Along the way they run afoul of the unholy army of The White Lady and vow to stop her. The only problem is that the answers to Bekka’s problems may come from the very being they’re determined to destroy.

Voidhawk - The White Lady, book 4 in the Voidhawk fantasy series by Jason Halstead

Voidhawk - The White Lady, by Jason Halstead

Voidhawk – The White Lady on Amazon

Voidhawk – The White Lady on Amazon UK

Voidhawk – The White Lady on Barnes and Noble

Voidhawk – The White Lady 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.

A New Look

December 14, 2011 1 comment

Voidhawk – The Elder Race, has a fresh face on it. The new cover art (by Willsin Rowe) continues the new look of Voidhawk and really spices things up. The original art, I’m not afraid to say, always bothered me. Quickly thrown together and mismatching, I was miffed but forced to accept it. The new stuff, on the other hand, is sharp, has some great contrast, and really pops off the stage.

Check it out yourself – and if you like it start with book 1, Voidhawk, which is only $.99 on Amazon!

Voidhawk, book 2, by Jason Halstead

Voidhawk - The Elder Race, on Amazon

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

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.

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