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Posts Tagged ‘writing process’

Pounding a Silver Dragon into a Square Hole

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

I’ve been neglecting blog posts lately because I’ve been burning the candle at both ends on my latest book. I’m anxious to get it done for many reasons, and not the least of those reasons is because this book is just a lot of fun! The characters continue to come alive and surprise me in new ways. New relationships are unfolding and old ones are changing. Events are taking place (or not taking place) and all in all, I’m more impressed than ever with how the book is being written with me providing little more than fingers to type it out with.

Let me give an example. I had a rough outline of sorts put together for how the book would unfold. Then I started writing and things began to go out the window. I’d planned on the story taking place over about a 6 month time span, but now it’s been shortened to about half that. I’d planned on the characters barely touching a city from the first book in the series, but now it turns out that city is becoming pivotal. Good guys became bad and there’s been a lot of dark parts to this story.

And through it all I kept posting highlights and teasers on my Facebook fan page. The problem was, I kept using the wrong name for the book! I was calling it by the name of book 2, not book 3. Well I think I figured out why that is just yesterday. The name kind of bugged me for a while but I wasn’t sure why. I kept trying to find ways to make the story fit the title, rather than making the title fit the story. A smack to the forehead later I realized I needed a better title. That, it turned out, was just as much of a no-brainer.

And so I’m announcing that book 3 in my Blades of Leander fantasy series will be called Silver Dragon. For the record that means the Blades of Leander series (as it stands presently) consists of:

Child of Fate
Victim of Fate
Silver Dragon
Books 4 through…the rest, are still to be determined.

The great news is I’m probably about 4 chapters away from finishing the rough draft. I’d hoped to finish it by the end of January but I doubt that’s going to happen. I’m just too damn busy these days to do more than a chapter a day most days (even though I did manage three last Saturday). It will be finished soon though. I’ve got a large battle to lay out and write as well as the actions of the main characters in tandem with said conflict. And did I mention the troll shaman? He’s back for more horribly articulated 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.

The Writing Machine

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged much as I should have recently. I’ll make no promises that I’ll step it up to a few posts a week in the immediate future either. My dayjob has been kicking me between the legs so much lately it’s becoming repetitive. I hope I get used to it and build up a tolerance. Although I hate to imagine having callouses “down there!”

Anyhow, in spite of the day to day burdens of life at a tier 1 auto supplier, the write must go on. I try to squeeze some writing in on lunch since I never leave the day job except to go home at the end of the day, but even that’s been denied to me this week. The answer? headphones.

One of my wife’s favorite shows (perhaps her current favorite altogether) just started back up, “The Voice.” I admit, it’s kind of catchy at times and I do enjoy the train wreck that is Christina Aguilara’s outfits. The problem is it comes on when the kids go to bed and that’s prime writing time. Enter the headphones. I fire up a selection of music I’ve loaded for inspiring creative genius and go to town. Sure, there are still some distractions with the Voice in the background and my wife occasionally laughing or talking to me (I keep the volume low enough to hear what’s going on around me).

In spite of the distractions the music helps keep me more focused, even if it only serves as white noise. Monday night, for example, I cranked out 2000 words on my current work in progress (Child of Fate, a fantasy novel beginning a new series). Last night I shocked myself by managing over 3000 words in an even shorter time frame.  With Child of Fate I’m shooting for an average of 3000 words per chapter and I’m some in the early to mid 20’s for chapter count. Two more to go and I expect the book will be finished.

So what’s next after Child of Fate? I’m tempted to launch into book two right away, but I’m considering my options. I may branch out and try something completely different from my usual fair, but I remain undecided. Whatever it is I’ll keep plugging away like the writing machine that I am. That much is certain.

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.

Is that a Soapbox?

July 27, 2012 2 comments

As often as I’ve used and heard the expression regarding standing on a soapbox to rant, I have no idea where it came from or why. It turns out people with an urge to rant wanted to be elevated above their audience, so they grabbed a box to stand on. Allegedly the first of these wooden boxes had the word, “Soap” painted on it. I bet you didn’t expect to be educated while reading this, did you? :)

I mention the soapbox because I’ve got a bit of a rant coming on. Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep it light and humorous. A reviewer who’s been helping me catalog my books in Shelfari emailed me today to let me know that another author got pissy with her and complained to the admins. This author claims she screwed up some ISBNs on his or her books when putting them on Shelfari. She’s unaware of the discrepancy and requested details so she could fix it herself, but her status has been removed because of it.

Okay, so let’s put this in another context. Say a doctor accidentally removed a kidney instead of an inflamed appendix, then said appendix went septic and killed somebody. Wow, yeah, that doctor should probably have their license yanked. I mean, that’s the kind of threat we’re talking about here, right?

Or maybe the reviewer in question isn’t getting paid to do this. Maybe she’s just trying to help people out because she likes to help. Maybe she wasn’t drinking heavily while operating on the books in question and she was doing exactly what her records indicated she should be doing. And did I mention no body parts, internal or otherwise, were missing because of this incident?

In an unrelated bit of nonsense, I looked up fellow writer with whom I’ve secretly been competing against for some time now. This author doesn’t know it, and due to the genre differences and extra writing availability on their part I may never catch up, but that’s not going to stop me! Anyhow, I checked out some of this person’s books and found very positive reviews on the erotica stories she’d written AND higher prices. Case in point, multiple books are priced at $2.99 but are only approximately 50 pages long. Now flash back to my Vitalis books, some of which are only 50 pages long and they’re priced at $.99 – yet the reviews state they are great stories but so short they only merited a crappy rating. WTF?! I repeat, WTF?

Between the two incidents I’m reminded of a George Carlin quote, “Think about how stupid the average person is. Now realize that half of the people out there are even dumber!” I firmly believe that all of my readers are in the upper 50%, so I’m catering to a tougher crowd. I’m okay with that too because I love a challenge, it’s inspiring and it drives me to perform better. Case in point, I’m planning on my current Vitalis book to be well beyond that length.

And now the soapbox is empty – who wants it?

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 Different Kind of Resurrection

The worst part about the title of this blog post is that I’m not going to go into details. Those would be spoilers, you see, and I just can’t have that! I will share that Resurrection is the title of part 8 in my Vitalis series. I will also say that Vitalis – Resurrection is slated at being longer than the previous seven parts. I might even opt to go for a full novel length story, rather than a novella.

Another reason I won’t go into details is because I’m not quite sure how it’s all going to play out. I’m two chapters into it and they’re practically writing themselves, but that doesn’t mean I know what’s going to happen in chapter 3 yet. So far I’ve got a full loaded troop transport hurtling towards Vitalis at speeds greater than anything seen previously in the Terran Coalition of Systems. Unfortunately for the Marines thawing out from their hibernation sleep, there’s a really big rogue asteroid floating in their flight path…

And in chapter two Elsa, the second in command of Treetown, runs across a new kind of hybrid. A hybrid, for those unfamiliar with the Vitalian take on the term, is the result of the queen of a species of Vitalian creatures dubbed spitters that inserts her eggs into the abdomen of a human host. The chemicals released leave the hosts lethargic and extraordinarily stoned while the eggs acquire DNA from the hosts to allow them to fertilize and mature. Then they hatch and begin to eat the hosts from the inside out. It ain’t pretty. And what’s different about the new type of hybrid that they haven’t seen before? Well all of the former hybrids had male hosts, thus the hybrids were male. The new one Elsa encounters just so happens to have breasts – and we’re not talking man-boobs.

So what’s the big deal? As anyone who’s read the series knows, the hybrids are close enough to humans that they’re able to breed with them. If it sounds gross that’s because it is. Scary too. The offspring are more intelligent and in a poorly lit alley very hard to tell from a pure blooded human, whereas the hybrids can only pass as human from a distance. From the perspective of physical menace the hybrids are more dangerous – no one’s sure just how dangerous their offspring are (yet). Now imagine a female hybrid that’s able to mate with her own sub-species. A rapid gestation period and high probability of multiple births makes for a race of dangerous and amoral creatures. Hmm, maybe it’s a good thing there’s a company of Marines about to crash into the planet?

Of course Resurrection can’t be just about that – there are too many characters and too many subplots to wrap it up that neatly! What about the Terran Coalition Systems ships orbiting Vitalis that are building the jump station to allow FTL travel between systems? Or Fiona, the newly crowned Matriarch of a tribe of hybrids that has to find ways to thwart every attempt Klous makes to steal the hybrids allegiance? Tarn, Captain Sharp, Jeremy, and the rest of the residents of Treetown have their own stories and lives to unfold. Not to mention poor Eric. What will he do now that Kira’s been gone for over six months and everyone has written the former huntress off?

In the meantime how about some reviews – I love writing and want to keep doing it but without reviews my books don’t make their way up on the Amazon lists for people to see and buy. For my books Amazon requires 20 words, a title / subject, and a 5 star rating. Okay, 4 star will do too. :)

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 Hope You Like This

It’s been a busy time for me lately. I’m two weekends overdue on posting a chapter in Betrayal’s Hands and I’m still not sure when I’ll get to it. For that I apologize. Also for not posting much on here recently I apologize – my focus has been pulled in another area. Well, a couple of areas really…

The first is an attempt on my part to generate some love for my Facebook page. I’ve been reading up on some articles written by people who are far better at marketing than I am and they seem to think that having a well liked Facebook page can make a difference. Well, mine’s only moderately liked, if that. If anybody reading this wants to take a few seconds and a couple of clicks to help a brother out, I’d be mighty appreciative! Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-by-Jason/161622180537541. And now you see how the title of the post ties in to the body (“I hope you like this”…as in I really hope people will click on that link and then “like” my Facebook page. Come on, you can’t find stuff that cheesy just anywhere – I have to work for it!).

The other thing tying me up is the feverish desire I have to crank out Black Widow. I’ve been churning out 2500+ words a day on it for a while now, though most days I hit 3000 or more words. It’s a bold statement, but I’m really hoping I can finish the rough draft this week. That’s bold because I’ve got around 20,000 words still to go on it. Fortunately for me, I love a challenge!

As for Black Widow, I’m really enjoying where this story is taking Katalina Wimple (the main character). Kat, or Katie, is being forced by circumstances to overcome some handicaps she’s acquired over the years and her personal evolution is amazing. She’s even stopped threatening me as much as she used to – and trust me, that’s a milestone in itself! Also, readers of my recent release, Bound, will be happy to see the main characters from that book reappearing in Black Widow, although their roles are secondary to Kat and Skylar.

What sort of trouble has Kat gotten herself into this time? Well this time it found her, rather than the other way around. I won’t be too specific but I will share that she’s facing a mix of problems, both mundane and spiritual. It’s a continuation of the same type of spirit-based shamanism found in prior Lost Girls books with a hint of Poltergeist thrown in for a little violence and terror.

I’ll be happy to share more as I get it written. My targeted release date is mid – late August. Here’s to hoping fate conspires with me to get it down in short order!

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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