Archive for November, 2012

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

November 28, 2012 1 comment

Thanksgiving’s over and after five days spent on the road with family celebrating the holiday and my son’s birthday I can say that I’m stuffed. Tired too, it was a lot of miles and a lot of activity. And a lot of food. Loads and loads of food. Good food, but it’s still calories.

And that brings me to the next part of this post. All those calories don’t just go away. Sure, I’m an active guy that hits the weights pretty hard. Truth be told, if I work out regularly I have to focus hard to eat enough to avoid losing weight. Now now, don’t get mad at me – my regular workouts involve moving barbells with 300+ pounds on them multiple times. Doesn’t sound quite as easy / fun now, does it? It is, but you have to have something wrong with your brain (like I do) in order to enjoy that kind of work.

But there’s more holidays looming around the corner! And that means more holiday food. People will be bringing in the goodies to work too – and it’s not like I can just have that sweet tooth removed. And after that my wife and I have a trip to the Arnold Classic planned in early March. No, we’re not competing in anything but we’re both in great shape so shouldn’t we look like it if we’re going there? So what’s the answer? More exercise!

It’s more than just trimming the fat though. I had the realization that, almost a decade ago, I felt great about myself when I would go for a jog to start the morning off. I did it for a year or so, maybe more, and I was in great cardiovascular shape and on my way to building up some muscle mass. So why not try to get that runner’s high again and soar through my work days by starting it off with a morning jog? Turns out I only had one thing that I’d overlooked… Cardio sucks.

The after effects not so much, I suppose, but actually doing it is horrible. If you reach the point where you’re vision isn’t blurry and you don’t feel like you might spontaneously expel a lung then you just got horrible bored at the mindless task of running. I’d forgotten most of these things, but this morning I reminded myself. I have a plan though, and it’s a simple one. I’m going to minimize my cardio. 10 minutes or less in the morning, that’s it. Too much cardio burns muscle mass and I want my muscles to stay where they are (or get bigger).

Even so, half a mile at 6mph nearly killed me this morning. Laugh if you need to, I’ll take it like a man. I’ve always been built for speed, not endurance. Think cheetah, but please refrain from any visions of me chasing down an antelope wearing leopard print underwear. Nobody wants to see that.

But in the meantime while visiting family and stuffing my face full of tasty treats I also managed to crank out over 11,000 words on Victim of Fate! I’m still a long ways from finishing but I’d wager I’m somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of the way through the rough draft. Bounty, book 3 in my Wanted trilogy, is in the hands of my copy editor now. It’s getting close and this one is going to be great!

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

Why My Dog is Better than Yours

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

I had a question posed to me recently that set me back on my heels and made me really think. No, it wasn’t something life changing, nor was it a moral dilemma. I didn’t have to sort out whether the chicken or the egg came first, and I’m of the opinion that tastes great beats less filling almost every time. The question was about my book, Vitalis. Specifically, what’s so great about it?

At first glance that question is on the level of, “Why my dog is better than yours.” After thinking about it for a few seconds it becomes far more practical. After all, if my book really is as good as I think it is, why shouldn’t I be able to share that with the world? Nobody else is going to tell them about it unless I start the ball rolling.

Years ago I realized that I didn’t read books because they had neat toys in them, I read them because of the characters. Sure, crash landing on an alien planet is cool, but that same character concept could be applied to a host of other genres. With that in mind my writing underwent a serious change. I started writing about people, not about things.

Vitalis embodies that with the many characters the story revolves around. These are people that feel very real, they have flaws and quirks just as much as they have strengths and talents. They have emotions and relationships, and sometimes those get twisted up and stepped on. Just like us these characters make mistakes and suffer setbacks, but they try to learn from their failures and evolve into better people because of it. These people are as real as I can make them – my goal is to take the voices in my head and put them in the readers.

While the characters are central to the story there does need to a balance between them and the environment. That’s where the genre comes in. Vitalis is science fiction at its most fun. There’s futuristic space travel, interstellar piracy, and an undiscovered world teeming with vibrant, beautiful, and deadly life. It offers the opportunity to expose the fragile characters to new experiences, opportunities, and challenges that will either make them better or it will destroy them emotionally or physically (or both).

Vitalis is filled with intrigue. Whenever you get a group of people together politics are going to form and the residents of Vitalis are no except to that. Hidden agendas and ulterior motives are prime motivators for some characters and it falls to others to understand the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

These are but a few of the reasons why Vitalis is a fun book filled with a little bit of everything from horror to action to drama. I know if I hadn’t wrote it, I’d be swept away by it – but I might by biased.

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

Things to do in the Dark

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The world works in mysterious ways. Coincidences abound and are just frequent enough to make naturally suspicious people like me wonder about the nature of free will and conspiracy theories about supreme overloads controlling out actions. Or maybe that’s just the science fiction writer in me.

Whatever the case, I disassembled my large saltwater aquarium last weekend after running it for a year and a half. The reasons behind this move were many, but no fish, coral, or invertebrates were harmed by this action. One of my chief complaints of my setup was the nature of the sump tank plumbing I built. During power outages, in particular, bad things can happen very quickly that would cause the system to overflow and flood my living room.

Sunday I took the tank down. Monday night we had a power outage that lasted roughly an hour. Now is that simply good luck and timing, or evidence of some nefarious mastermind pushing buttons on a computer simulation that we’re all unwittingly part of?

To continue to power outage story, I saved my work on my laptop and shut it down. It’s a laptop with a battery, what’s the big deal, right? Well I went all American and supersized this laptop – as a result I get around 45 minutes out of a full battery charge. And yes, the battery is operating just fine. Then I rushed to shut down my desktop before the UPS it ran off of died, and finally I had to shut my server down in the basement for the same reason.

So there I am, sitting in the living room with my kids freaking out because they’re bored without TV, computers, or other electronic excitement to keep them busy. My wife remains glued to her Kindle reading my book, Vitalis, and using the light attached to her Kindle case. I had to check on her, I wasn’t sure she realized we’d even lost power!

Seeing my wife on her Kindle provoked an idea. The kids were terrorizing the dog and, given the gloomy lighting caused by a serious rainstorm, risking life and limb with their antics. I pointed out that the iPad and the Kindle Fire were fully charged. Zoom! Off they went, craving their electronic fix. For the record they’re six and three, but the devices are loaded with games to keep them happy whenever we need a digital babysitter (long car rides, appointments at doctor’s offices, etc.).

But these portable godsends aren’t just for kids! As evidence I point to my wife reading her ebook. Heck, if I’d have had another device I might have done the same. Instead it gave me yet one more reason why ebooks are great and on any e-reader with a backlight (or a battery operated front light) they are every bit as useful as a vintage print book.

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

Slaying Dragons

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Regular readers of my blog might have picked up on something, I’m promoting the snot out of my latest series, Blades of Leander (in particular the lead book in the series, Child of Fate, which I just released). This blog continues in the vein, although with a very personal twist. It also debuted on my friend J.E. Taylor’s blog last week. I guess you could say I’m guest posting myself. Um, or something like that. Anyhow, without further delay, here it is:

I was a kid once, farther back than I want to admit. It was back in the days where television was analog and distorted by poor antenna reception. The invention of the VHS tape seemed like a miracle on par with curing leprosy. Unto this fragile and sheltered childhood entered the movie, Conan the Barbarian. In that 129 minutes my life was changed.

I began to seek out fantasy wherever I could. I started, of course, with the Conan books by Robert E. Howard (and later L. Sprague de Camp and others). I went from there wherever I could, to J.R.R. Tolkien and Terry Brooks and beyond. No matter the story, I was hungry for more. But beyond wanting a rich fantasy life I wanted to be like the heroes in the stories. As a kid I’d play and pretend to slay dragons and rescue maidens. Eventually I became too old to do that (especially if I ever wanted to have a girlfriend), but I never forgot.

Wanting to be a hero is a part of almost every boy’s upbringing. I won’t dare to guess how many girls these days want to be heroines rather than princesses (my own daughter wants to be a mix of the two). I grew up learning everything I could to make me able to be that guy that can take care of himself and help others when the situation called for it. Everything from first aid to joining the military to becoming a competitive powerlifter. I want to be the guy who a mugger will look at and decide not to challenge. I want to be the guy who can rip the door off the crashed car that’s on fire to get the people out. I want to be able to slay the dragon threatening the maiden.

With that in mind my newest book is a high fantasy book called Child of Fate. It’s the first book in the Blades of Leander series. The characters are as real as fictional characters can be, with quirks and weaknesses aplenty. They’ve got their talents and strengths just like a regular person, but what’s most important about them is that they’re identifiable. These are the kinds of characters that we like because we understand them. We can remember feeling the same way at times. By living vicariously through the characters in Child of Fate we can answer the “what if” questions.

And isn’t it safer to read a book than it is to buy a sword and drive to the nearest national border and start attacking the border guards? I don’t want you getting tased or enduring a body cavity search, so please consider Child of Fate a safer and more entertaining alternative.

Child of Fate, by Jason Halstead

Pick up your copy of Child of Fate at any of these sites:


Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble



 In Print

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

An Unexpected Interview on Writing

November 13, 2012 1 comment

I was contacted out of the blue recently by a young lady we’ll call Becky (mostly because that’s her name). She was in university (she’s English) working on a report and wondered if she could ask me a few questions since I was a writer. Maybe I’ve been swayed by my recent fantasy series I’ve been writing but I felt the urge to help a damsel in distress. Okay, flowery language aside I always respond to readers, fans, and random strangers that aren’t trying to sell me something. It’s not nearly as exciting to hear that I’m usually a nice guy though.

Becky had some questions for me. Questions that Twitter just couldn’t handle. I invited her to email me and sure enough, the next morning an email was waiting in my inbox. As questions go, they were really pretty easy. Thoughtful though, and possibly helpful to other writers. Heck, for that matter, they might be of use to just about anyone. So in proving the answer to one of her questions about seeking inspiration, I used her conversation with me as inspiration to write this blog post! Read on for the Q&A session.

Becky: How long does it take me to write a book?
Jason: These days I usually take about 3 to 4 weeks to write a book. I can manage anywhere from 2000 to 5000 words a day on most days and that allows for a novel in the time span of a month. That’s just the rough draft though, from there I have to self edit it (another couple of days), then send it off to e content editor (approximately 3 – 4 weeks time), and then to a copyeditor / proofreader (another 2 – 3 weeks). While that’s going on I arrange to have cover art created for it so that when it comes back from the editors and I go over it a final time, it’s ready for publication. All told it takes approximately 2 months from word 1 to publication.

Becky: How do I get my inspirations?
Jason: Ooh, that’s a surprisingly tough question. The simple answer is everywhere. The not so simple answer is that it varies. Sometimes an idea just pops in my head while I’m driving in to my day job in the morning. At other times it happens while I’m writing a different book. Maybe I’ll be watching a movie and see something that I think deserves to be spun in a different way. I’ve been inspired by songs (Megadeth and Evanescence in particular, believe it or not), and I’ve been inspired by pictures. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve been inspired by my kids and my wife a few times as well. Inspiration is all around us, the tricky part is recognizing it!

Becky: What genre do you prefer to write in?
Jason: For perhaps the first time in my writing career I just released a book (Child of Fate) that is strictly high fantasy. We’re talking sword and sorcery, dragons and maidens kind of fantasy. Last night I started book 2 in that series (Victims of Fate). These are wonderful books, but a slight deviation from the norm for me because I’m a cross-genre kind of guy. By that I mean I write stories about characters. The backdrop and the setting flexes and changes to meet the needs of the story. From a higher level view my stories usually fall into science fiction or fantasy genres, but that’s not important to me. I don’t write about specific places or events, I write about people and how the feel, grow, and overcome the challenges presented to them by their environments.

Having said that, I’ve also written a couple of books that fit inside the romance genre more than anything else. I do not consider myself a romance writer, but when the characters speak to me and tell me they’ve got a story for me to tell, I listen.


And that, my friends, is it. Nothing too long or drawn out, just three simple questions that provide some great answers or data for other writers getting into the craft. She didn’t ask anything about what happens after a book is written and published, but to her credit I never thought about that until I had to either. That’s when the promoting and market awareness takes place, and it can be a daunting and exhausting task that is every bit as much work as writing and editing the books is. Definitely fodder for another post at another time though!


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

Victims of Fate

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

No funny word play today, Victims of Fate is the title of book two in my Blades of Leander fantasy series. It starts up where Child of Fate left off…well, sort of. Several months have passed and the characters have grown a bit. Alto has been training hard, Namitus has been getting into trouble, Karthor has been working hard within the church, and Kar has been making snide comments about his son’s religious practices while researching everything he can about the menace that looms in the mountains to the north. That’s a lot of ‘has beens,’ but it’s for a good cause. And that cause is your entertainment!

Circumstance will call these men to service again, although I’ll admit I’m not quite certain how it’s all going to work out yet. I’ve got plans though. Great plans that will take them back to the mountains in the north (and beneath them). They’ll discover amazing things and suffer amazing losses. It’s going to be tough book for them, but one worth the ride. The only thing I still have to figure out is where, and how, the unpredictable troll shaman, Thork, is going to fit into the book.

Last night I began writing it. I stopped at a measly 500 words, content that I’d gotten my foot in the door. After bath time and bed time for the kids I sat down and realized that I had no done an acceptable job of starting the story. So I rewrote it. What was 500 words turned into 2300. I’d have kept going but it was getting late. That’s how the truly great stories work, they pull things out of me that I didn’t know existed. It’s almost like I’m discovering the book at the same time the readers are. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

In case you can’t tell, I’m excited about it. I was in a bit of low state after finishing Bounty and sending it off for editing. How could I find that much fun and excitement again? I felt burned out and feared I needed some time off to recharge. It turns out I was wrong. Once I started Child of Fate it filled me up with the energy I needed. Once again I live vicariously through the characters! It is a wonderful blessing to be able to live multiple lives. To see things through the eyes of others, even if those others are fictional beings. Writers and readers alike are gifted in that sense, and I can’t wait to share these characters and what they see and feel with the world.

And since Victims of Fate will be two to three months out until it’s available, why not pick up Child of Fate so you can see how it all started?

Child of Fate, by Jason Halstead


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

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:

Saving Face on Barnes & Noble:

Saving Face on Smashwords:

Saving Face on Kobo books:


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.


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!”

The Majesty of the Printed Word

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve raved about Child of Fate being released a couple of times (and I’ll probably do it a couple more), but why stop there? Not only is it available at your favorite websites for your ereading pleasure, now it’s available for those of you that prefer the feel of a printed book. That’s right, Child of Fate has gone physical! Click on the pic below (or the link below it) to have a chance to snatch it up.

Child of Fate, by Jason Halstead

Child of Fate on Createspace (Amazon)

But why stop with just one? In true made-for-TV marketing, I have not one but two books that just crossed the threshold into the real world. Not only is Child of Fate available to read and then use as a paperweight, but so is Vitalis: Resurrection. Check it out!

Vitalis: Resurrection, a book by Jason Halstead

Vitalis: Resurrection on Createspace / Amazon

Unfortunately that’s all I’ve got to offer today. Aside from news that I have finished my self-edit of Bounty and I was very pleased with how it turned out. Now it’s off to Lisa Shalek, my content editor. I hope she’s as happy with it as I am!

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

Why Not Zombies?

November 7, 2012 3 comments

What follows is a guest post from Leah Rhyne, a fellow writer. Not just any writer, but a writer of science fiction and horror. And, more appropriately, zombies! Leah and I hooked up via Twitter and I took a look at her blog and was instantly hooked. She has a style of writing that pulls you in and conveys emotions wonderfully. Read her post below to sample what I’m talking about, then check out her blog to get an even better example. It’s not about zombies, per se, but a glimpse into an ordinary life made fascinating by the way she portrays it.

Oh, and another funny story about Leah: while discussing blog swapping I made mention of the weekend I had that involved a freak stabbing injury, a lot of blood, and a trip the urgent care to get stitches sans anesthetic. For being a horror and zombie writer, she confessed that the mere thoughts of stitches turns her squeamish and send her rushing to hide under her bed. It’s these little quirks that make people so darn fascinating! And now for Leah’s guest post:

It’s happened more than once. In fact, I’d say it’s happened a dozen times.

A person learns I’m a writer, that I have a book out. Their face lights up, and they say, “Oh? What’s it about?”

I grin. “It’s a mix of sci-fi and horror. And, you know, zombies.”

The face darkens, and they give me a quick once over.

Dirty blond hair, blue eyes, goofy smile. Most of the time accompanied by my spunky little four-year-old daughter.

“But you don’t look like a horror writer. Why do you write about…zombies?”

They say it like it’s a curse-word, like it’s something dirty, in a hushed voice so that no one else will overhear our illicit conversation.

I have a hundred answers to pull from, but here’s my favorite:

Why not zombies? Why not write about the end of society as we know it? It feels pretty close these days, right? Nuclear weapons in the Middle East.Mega-hurricanes and tsunamis wiping out entire cities. Bird-flu, SARS and Ebola.

Why not zombies? At least we know they’re not real…or are they?

Zombies allow me to look at what really interests me: people. I’m a student of history first, a fan of horror second. And history dictates: people have treated each other terribly throughout time. Slavery. Genocide. Mass suicides.

How much would it take for the average Joe to turn on his neighbor and put a bullet through is face? How much would it take for a deranged man to gain a huge, devoted following, and use his power to exterminate those who oppose him.

So, why not zombies? These are the questions that interest me, and zombies give me a way to explore, to play, in a way I hope real life won’t.

And also…finding new ways to dismantle the undead is pretty fun, too.

If you’d like to learn more, please check out:

Zombie Days Undead Nights, by Leah Rhyne

Zombie Days, Campfire Nights: Book One in the Undead America Series

The book trailer

Leah Rhyne, with a zombieMy web site

Are We Being Screwed Over?

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m in the midst of my first editorial pass on Bounty, the third book in the Wanted trilogy. After I finish this run it goes off to my content editor, Lisa Shalek, and from there to my proofreader, Faith Williams. But this post isn’t about editing, it’s about quality and publication.

I’m about 20% through the book and I came across one of the humorous references to modern culture sprinkled throughout the book. It got me thinking about Hollywood movies in general and in particular movies that have sucked. The first attempt at Batman movies, for example. Arguably terrible movies but what did Hollywood do? They redid them. The first Hulk movie was treated as though it never happened and then they made the much better one with Ed Norton. They’re remaking classics too, like Conan (the original is an epic classic and remaking it should have NEVER been attempted) and now Red Dawn (which I’m very suspicious of). Even Star Trek was redone, but as in most things in that universe it was well thought out and plausible – it allows for the original movies to still exist in their own storyline and to continue a new series.

Now all of these movies, originals and remakes, have made people money. Actors, directors, producers, studios, and even the grips, cameramen, gaffers, catering agencies, and other affiliated people made money on them. Good for them I say. But what about the money we spent and the trust we put into Hollywood to tell a story the right way? It’s almost like they could care about nothing more than money. The story and how it should be told are irrelevant. If it ends up sucking then as long as they made a few bucks it’s something they can redo in a couple of years and make a few more bucks.

Or maybe it’s our fault. We’re desperate for content so we pay the money and take what they give us. Not so different from politics – we’re desperate for people that can govern without sucking so we try to choose the lesser of evils amongst our choices, rather than figuring out how to get genuine candidates into positions that can make positive changes for all of us. It’s easy to point a finger as long as it’s not pointing back at ourselves.

The point is still quality. Put out a quality product the first time and move on to the next one instead of having to clean up the mess and reinvent the wheel. If I put out lousy books and then rewrote them why would anybody bother to read them the second time around? I’m a little guy without an advertising budget. For me quality matters not just because I want people to like my books but because I feel I owe it to my readers that I give them a decent product. I don’t get that feeling from a lot of movie studios anymore.

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