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Posts Tagged ‘Wanted’

Bounty Posted!

December 10, 2012 Leave a comment

There are so many cheesy ways I can have fun with the titles of my sci-fi trilogy, Wanted. So of course, I’ve been doing my best to maximize the corniness for my own amusement! Take the title of this blog article, I’m specifically talking about how I just released it this morning in a print version available on Amazon or Createspace. That makes the entire trilogy available. Hmm, makes me wonder if I should make an omnibus out of it? That’d be a doozy of a book though.

In the meantime, I’m working hard on Victim of Fate, book two in my Blades of Leander fantasy series. Simultaneously I’m hunting for a new day job. That’s tying up a lot of time, I have to admit. I’ve had a few interviews and I’ve got more coming. I wonder how many I have to go through until I get a free set of steak knives?

Worth mentioning for my fellow computer programming geeks out there – I spent some time this weekend and this morning teaching myself hyperthreading. It’s pretty cool and I really wish I’d learned it earlier. So many windows and web applications I’ve written in the past could have benefited from it! C’est la vie, at least I’ve got the basics down now and I can boost it for the future – and talk about it intelligently during an interview!

Now enough about me, time for you to get yours! Here’s the links to Bounty:

Bounty, book 3 in the Wanted series by Jason Halstead

Bounty on Amazon

Bounty on Amazon UK

Bounty on Barnes and Noble

Bounty on Kobo

Bounty on Smashwords

Bounty on iTunes (coming soon)

Bounty on Sony (coming soon)

Bounty in print

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 Most Rewarding Bounty

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Long term readers of my blog will know by now that I take great delight in twisting my words into multiple meanings. In this case, I’m taking about the book I’m writing, Bounty. It’s book three in the Wanted trilogy. I’m nearing the end but in spite of the layout of chapters and tasks I’ve assigned to myself, I keep finding extra chapters slipping in. This shouldn’t be upsetting to anyone – the extra content isn’t merely added quantity, it’s added quality as well.

I’m talking about it now because I’m having such a fun time writing it! Sure, I love all my books but this one really had me scared. I’ve gotten a ton of reviews (overwhelmingly good) on Wanted, and almost as many on book 2, Ice Princess. That present a problem to me – it meant if I wrote a third book like I’d originally planned, it needed to be of equal or better quality. How’s that for being scary?

I don’t question my ability as a writer anymore. Some people don’t like me, some people do. Fortunately it seems to be more are pro-Jason Halstead than against. But there’s a different between knowing how to tell a story and living up to an expectation. I’ve seen this plenty of times in the powerlifting venue and even experienced it myself a couple of times. I expect so much even though I know how hard it’s going to be and subconsciously come up with ways to defeat myself. I justify the failure and before you know it instead of picking up 565lbs I only got it halfway before I twisted it around and damn near broke my shin in half.

And knowing the root of the problem does not mean it’s any easier to beat it. Our brain is designed to protect us, whether it’s from ripping muscles off of bones or public failure and embarrassment. Our subconscious is call ‘sub’ because it’s also subversive. It whispers in our ear and tells us it’s okay to give up, it won’t think less of us. We can say we had a busy day and needed the quick calories a cupcake provides. One little drink won’t hurt. I can lift heavy weights next week after my back stops hurting. All excuses that sound great at the time. Justifications for allowing ourselves to not try as hard as we could. As hard as we should.

So out of the blue an idea for Bounty came to me. It felt good but I wanted to be sure, so I let it rattle around in my head a few days while I finished writing Child of Fate. It was harder and harder, I’ll admit, but once I finished Child of Fate I knew what I had to do. Fear of failure be damned, this book needed to be written! And so I’ve been writing – not as breakneck as usual because life’s been a lot busier lately, but I’m still averaging at least 2000 words a day on it.

Bounty takes place six years after Ice Princess ends. Everybody’s living their own happy lives (more or less), and getting by. Allison’s gone off to college after being legally adopted by Carl and Jessie and without Allison around to keep her busy, Jessie’s itching to get back into the movie industry.

The United States government had moved back in to officially reclaim the western states. The special hardware Carl has is still state of the art, but it’s not the razor’s edge of biotech development anymore. It should be safe to reenter the public eye. It’s been six years, everything that happened before is ancient history, right?

For most people in most situations, yes. It’s time to live and let live. Two things can change that. Two very powerful things, such as beauty and hate. Either independently or together they can turn a rationale human being into something entirely different. Something obsessive and vicious. Something that will stop at nothing to get what they want.

And that, my friends, is what Bounty is all about.

A few more days and the rough draft will be complete. After a few weeks of editing I’m hoping for a early to mid December release date. I promise it will be a fun ride and it lives up to its predecessors in every way, shape, and form.

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.

I Need a 12 Step Program

Not because I drink, gamble, or do drugs. No, I need help recovering from my trip to Vegas! My first night back I got almost 3 hours of sleep. Last night I more than doubled that amount but I think I’m more tired now than I was yesterday. Not sure if that’s due to the time zone difference or if it’s returning to the stresses of home life. I’m not complaining about being stressed out, I’m just pointing out that we all have stressors during our day to day lives that we don’t even think about – worrying about getting enough sleep, a deadline at work, a boss or employee that isn’t performing in a way that makes us happy, flagging book sales, a puppy that won’t stop peeing on the carpet, pending monthly hormonal concerns, financial worries, the list goes on and on. And no, those are random thoughts I brought up, not necessarily anything that applies to me. Especially the hormonal item.

On the flip side there are things that happen at home that make me happy. Spending time with my family is a great example. So is making progress on a project at work or finishing off another chapter on my latest writing project. I wrapped up chapter 7 of Bounty last night and it’s turning into another great book following in the tradition of Wanted and Ice Princess. It feels more like Wanted than Ice Princess, to me, although Carl has definitely changed thanks to Jessie and Allison forcing themselves into his life. Now his problem is that he has to keep them alive long enough to figure out who wants to kill them this time. In typical Carl Waters fashion the question of why he and his family seem to have a price on their heads isn’t nearly as important as who’s behind it. Just like Carl doesn’t care what kind of venom a snake has as long as he can kill the snake before it has a chance to bite him.

I figure I’m 25% – 30% of the way through the book so far. My hope is for an early December release date. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted!

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 Hardest Part of Writing

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

To a non-writer the act of sitting down and writing thousands of words seems more than a little daunting. I can remember the groaning of fellow students even in my MBA classes at the thought of having to write 500+ word essays. Heck, I’ve got a co-worker who once offered to pay me to write his quarterly company newsletter articles and those are only a couple of paragraphs! And no, I didn’t take him up on the offer, but not because I’m afraid of writing.

As any writer knows, writing the book is actually the easy part. What comes after, the publishing and marketing, is a far more grueling and difficult task. It’s not a matter of “if you write it, they will read.” Sure, we’d love for that to be the case, but if nobody knows it’s out there how could anyone possibly read it? That’s the tricky part. Tricky and, depending on how you go about it, expensive.

But all of those things still may not be the hardest part of writing. I’m sitting on a very complicated dilemma at this very moment while I’m finishing up a self-edit of my most recent fantasy novel, Child of Fate. I hope to finish the self-edit today then send it off to Lisa Shalek for content editing, then my proof reader, Faith Williams. And of course my favorite cover artist, Willsin Rowe. As excited as I am to get that book going I’m having a bit of a rough time. You see, in the back of my head I have two books fighting each other for the right to be heard, or at least read. Do I jump into the sequel for Child of Fate right away while it’s still fresh or do I step away and undertake another long overdue project?

What long overdue project? Well I’m glad you asked! It started out with some plans my wife and I have to go to Vegas without the kids in a couple of weeks. We’re meeting some friends out there and the plan is, for a night or two, to go clubbing. Now when I think of the word clubbing I flash back to either romance in the caveman era or being mugged in a dark alley. My wife corrected me and pointed out that I needed to be on my best behavior because if I let my irritation show on my face while waiting in line or in the club, I could very easily be asked to leave. I was thinking about this Friday night while my wife and I were out with a different couple (yes, we’ve got at least four friends). My wife and her friend were out dancing while the other guy and I were sitting there watching them. It was entertaining. Her words flashed into my head though, and that started an unexpected moment of inspiration.

I have a character in the books I’ve written that shares some traits with me. In him they are amplified to levels that are admirable. Sort of like the movie Braveheart where William Wallace is considered an uncompromising man and it’s a good thing. Well Carl, of Wanted / Ice Princess fame, would be just as annoyed or more so than I would be in such a situation, and he wouldn’t be upset to show it. Add in somebody putting their hands on him to escort him out and, well, it would get messy.

So with that scene in mind I chuckled, then I realized I might be on to something. Was this, at last, the segue into the third and final book in the Wanted series? I dug deeper and soon it just started pouting into my brain. I had a plot and a premise. I had scenes. I had ideas. Now all I need to do is write it out!

But I’m indecisive. When I wrote Wanted I got hung up for a long time on it. I ended up cutting back and dropping around 15,000 words at the end and rewriting the ending. My original plans lay shattered for the trilogy and I considered leaving it at just one book. Eventually I found inspiration to do Ice Princess, but I had a rough time with that one too throughout it. So now I’m nervous that the third one would be equally troubling. I’ve come a long ways as a writer since those books, but that doesn’t stop the fear of failure from creeping in.

Nonetheless, I think I’m going to proceed with the third Wanted book. Like I said, I’ll be in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks so what better time to write it then when I can do live research on the place where I plan for most of the book to happen in? Granted, it’s a very different Las Vegas. The third book will take place several years after Ice Princess has ended. The United States government has moved back in and reclaimed the western states from the neo-anarchy that plagued the world for several years, but their presence is limited and quite often quite martial. With all the sparks from that kind of environment going on what could be more fun than adding in a little gasoline?

Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to post progress as I get started on it. I’m not sure if I want to title the book “Sin City”, “Vegas”, or something else altogether. Not to worry, I’ll figure it out!

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.

My Path to Writing Success: Giving

November 26, 2011 2 comments

I’ve promised updates on the marketing experiments I’ve been conducting on myself (cue mad scientist laughter), and I’m now able to give an update. After several weeks of trying to figure out how to make it happen, one of my attempts at getting Wanted to go free on the Kindle succeeded. Not only did it go free, but inside of 24 hours it climbed to the #1 spot on Amazon’s best selling list for science fiction / adventure free books. I didn’t think it was possible, but after a stumble at the #2 spot it managed to beat out The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells and it’s still there, 4 days later.

So that’s great, but how does that help the bottom line if all those books being “sold” bring in $0 revenue? The exposure has caused my other books to sell better, especially Voidhawk. Even better though was the sales of the sequel to Wanted, Ice Princess. I blogged a while ago about the power of the sequel. Well in this case that power is really blowing the roof off! Sure, I’m losing out on revenue from Wanted, but considering the increase in Ice Princes sales, I’m more than making up for it. Ice Princess sales have increased over 20x.

So what’s next? Trying to figure out if I can recreate this miracle for my other books that are in a series. Vitalis, Dark Earth, and Voidhawk. I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way – and in the meantime go ahead and check out Wanted, it’s free on the Kindle in the US!

Wanted, book 1, by Jason Halstead
Wanted, on Amazon

Wanted on Amazon UK (not free)

Wanted on Barnes and Noble (not free)

Wanted on Smashwords (free)

 

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.

Warning: Abuse of Words

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I was going to title this blog post “What I want for the holidays”, but I didn’t. It seemed too self-serving. So instead I decided to out myself. You see what I want is for people to want to check out Wanted, my near future scifi action / adventure novel. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the abusive word in question “want”. It’s simple things that keep me going some days. :)

Of course there are other things I’d love to see as well. Elimination of cancer, for example. For those running for office to pull their heads out of their asses and cure their rectal myopia. For the people occupying this, that, and the other thing to get a grip on reality and go spend time with their families and loved ones instead of trying to pick fights with people who have no control over the situation.

So now back to me and back to you. In the spirit of the holidays I want to give away Wanted. It’s my most successful book, by far, and I want to give it away. There’s no requirements on your part – you don’t need to go to my website and you don’t need to sign up for a newsletter (although you’re welcome to do both). All you need to do is download it for your Kindle or the Kindle App on your PC / Tablet / phone. It’s free right now, but I suggest you hurry because there’s no telling how long Amazon will leave it at that price. I’m trying line up a couple more freebies too, but those are probably a couple of weeks away at best.

In the spirit of giving I can appreciate you probably want to return the favor. I’m not asking for anything but if you check out Wanted and like it, feel free to look into any of my other books. Ice Princess, in particular, it’s the sequel to Wanted and answers all those questions you’re sure to be left with. If not, then I sincerely hope you enjoy Wanted and use it for a little escapism during these buys and hectic holiday times!

Wanted, book 1, by Jason Halstead
Wanted, on Amazon

Wanted on Amazon UK (not free)

Wanted on Barnes and Noble (not free)

Wanted on Smashwords (free)

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.

How to Advertise

September 29, 2011 3 comments

Happy news, I set a new record for sales this month. Two records, actually – I sold more copies of Wanted this month than ever before and on top of that, I doubled last months sales a day before the end of the month. Ah hell, how about the hat trick – Wanted also broke the 20,000 mark in “all sold books” on Amazon. A couple more sales and it’ll break 10,000 – hint, hint. :)

But this is about advertising. How’d I get to where I’m at? Wanted has two review on Amazon. Sure, they’re both good reviews, but only two. It’s got a striking cover. Not the best, but it’s good. I’m tried my best to make the Amazon page appealing…but again, it’s one of many. So why is it doing reasonably well?

Pricing maybe? I’ve got it at $.99 at the moment. Yes, that helps. But it doesn’t pull people in to look at it in the first place. That’s a combination of me doing my best to make it available as many places as possible, including Twitter.

Ah yes, Twitter. The marketing mecca of the 21st century. I’ve amassed roughly 5000 followers and I regularly send out tweets that promote my books. Not directly, typically. Usually I’m either throwing out a snippet from a review and suggesting people check it out because, damn it, I’m proud of what somebody said in that review. At other times if I think there’s a particularly catchy phrase in a book I’ll tweet that as well. One of the best catch phrases in Wanted, for example, is: “We’re all whores, darling,” he said. “I ain’t judging you, I just don’t care.” If that’s not cool I don’t know what is.

And, of course, if you’re going to give people a reason to check out something, give ‘em a link to do so! The easier you make it for someone, the greater the chance of generating that click. I’m a reader too and if I’ve got to do the extra work to find something like looking it up, odds are good you just lost me as a buyer. It’s not that I’m a prick, it’s that I’ve got a lot of things going on. I’m a busy man, and while my time is not any more valuable than yours is, it is valuable nonetheless. Treat your would-be readers with the same respect you want to be treated with and you’ll get a lot further.

I mentioned pride above. As in I’m proud of the reviews I’ve received. I don’t have a massive amount, but so far I don’t have a single bad review. Sure, I expect sooner or later I’m going to ruffle somebody’s feathers, but it hasn’t happened yet. That doesn’t mean I’m the next NY Times #1 Bestseller, nor that I’m a marketing genius. It just means I’m doing okay and connecting with the right people who like what I write. This is called targeting my market. I’m no wizard at it – in fact I’d say I’m more lucky than anything, but that luck is aided by trying to find people on Twitter to follow and tweet with who share my interests. Who wants the apple at the top of the tree when there’s one at the bottom that’s just as good and you don’t need a ladder? Pluck the low hanging fruit first!

More on pride. I’ll be honest (for those who don’t know me) and admit that I can be rather full of myself when it comes to a few areas. Weight lifting, in particular power lifting, is something I’ve excelled at (and suffered catastrophic injuries while doing). I figure that earns me the right to talk a little smack. My day job and many prior jobs and college degrees / certifications state that I’m an expert in the IT field, so I can roll my eyes with the best of them there too.

But writing? Writing is personal. Writing is pouring time and effort and life into something that comes entirely from inside. Every character has a part of me in it, and short of reality TV stars, who’s comfortable baring parts of their souls to complete strangers? So a positive review, a positive rating, or even a sale is nothing short of humbling. Every time somebody reaches out to me on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, my website, or via email and says they enjoyed what I wrote I’m filled with a warm fluffy feeling.

Maybe I haven’t become jaded yet, but I have a hard time seeing that ever get old. Reading a book is an investment not only in the money spent buying it but also in time. The time is generally for more valuable. Even at minimum wage a single hour would buy any of my ebooks. Reading them, on the other hand, will take considerably longer. If someone’s willing to spend that much time with a little piece of my soul and then come back and say, “Hey, good job, I really liked what I read!” Well, is there a better compliment to be found?

So to tie that back into the advertising aspect, do little things like this. Share with the world just how damned appreciative and amazed I am that they like what I’m doing. As Lady Gaga figured out, nothing is possible in this type of market with the fans. So for anybody who’s read one of my books or one day plans on it, my door’s open and, so long as you’re not a stalker who wants to wear a bodysuit made out of my skin, I’m always happy to talk.

And now another chance to check out Wanted because, well, it’s a fun book with a main character who reminds us all of how we’d like to act if only we could get away with it. Well, for the most part, Carl can! And when you’ve finished Wanted and have questions, head on back to find the sequel, Ice Princess!

Wanted, book 1 by Jason Halstead
Wanted, on Amazon
Ice Princess, 2nd book in Wanted series, by Jason Halstead
Ice Princess, on Amazon
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