Archive

Archive for August, 2013

I Probably Shouldn’t Mention This…

…but my most successful book this month in terms of units sold is Vitalis. This omnibus contains the first 7 novellas of the futuristic science fiction series. I’m afraid to mention it out loud because it did phenomenal through the spring and early summer of 2012 and then met with ruin in the form of other writers trying to knock me off the bestselling lists.

Not to worry though, Vitalis isn’t doing nearly that well. In fact my summer sales have taken a major slump. Vitalis, however, has been slowly picking up steam. It’s my sincere hope that this continues because, well, those books are really cool! It’s science fiction that doesn’t feel like science fiction. The books are about a bunch of characters put in situations and environments that change them. They grow. They evolve. They learn. Oh, and they get hurt, heartbroken, and sometimes chewed up and eaten.

There are three novel length books in the Vitalis series right now, Vitalis Omnibus, Vitalis: Resurrection, and Vitalis: Provenance. There are probably twenty or thirty more Vitalis books yet to be written, if not more. The setting is massive and the stories span planets and solar systems. And yet in spite of this, I’ve been told by a few people now that they were awesome books for introducing them to science fiction because they don’t like sci-fi, yet they loved the books.

I’m also working with a professional audiobook producer / narrator right now to turn Vitalis into an audiobook. He’s been very excited about the project for a number of reasons. One of them is due to how much he’s enjoying the story. Another is the fact that Audible.com felt the story was so good they put it in one of their special programs that encourages the producer to get it completed as quickly as possible. This encouragement comes in the form of a significant financial endorsement. I’m pretty certain that they’ll do their best to recoup this financial boon by boosting the audiobook’s placement so people can see it and buy it. After all, this is a business to them.

So with all that going on I’m wrapping up my current project, Sands of Betrayal (book three in my Order of the Dragon fantasy series) and presumably starting my 4th Vitalis book in the very near future. Why not seize the momentum? There are so many stories to tell I’m having a hard time narrowing it down and picking one! I’m sure by next week I’ll have something in mind though, since that will be the time I need to get started on it.

And since it’s also such a massive environment / universe / setting, there’s tons of room for characters and ideas. That’s my way of reaching out to my readers and fans and encouraging you to reach out to me. Talk to me and let me know what sorts of things interest you. What would you like to see? Or better yet, what fictional character that bears absolutely no resemblance to your ex or your boss would you like to see horribly disfigured or maimed in an interstellar accident? Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me…

Vitalis, parts 1 - 7, by Jason Halstead

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

 

 

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Celebrity Endorsement

Cover - Lost Girls Audio

We’ve all got our favorite actors, musicians, and celebrities. Hopefully yours aren’t Real Housewives or something similar, but hey, if that’s what you need to numb your brain after a hard day, so be it. Me, I prefer alcohol, it’s kills fewer brain cells.

But one of my favorite actresses isn’t nearly as famous as she deserves to be. She’s had co-starring roles in numerous TV episodes, including a few flavors of Law & Order on top of other popular shows. The name of this up and coming star? Kate Udall.

So where’s the endorsement? Well, it’s funny how this works. Bear with me and share in my amusement. You see Kate happens to enjoy my Lost Girls series. She’s enjoying them so much that she’s narrating them as audiobooks. The first one is already out and available on Amazon / Audible (see those blue underlines? That means click on them to check em out and pick up your own copy. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you). She’s hard at work on the second book and then there are a couple more after that.

But wait, there’s more. I happen to like Kate so much that I’m hoping she’ll sign on for a couple of other books I’ve got out there too. But don’t tell her, she doesn’t know any of that yet and I don’t want it going to her head. Or worse, her thinking I’m some creepy stalker guy trying to win her favor. For the record she knows I can be creepy, she’s read my books, just not that kind of creepy!

Now here’s the really cool part (yeah, I know, like the stuff I already mentioned wasn’t cool enough!). She sent me a concise and to the point email just today with text, “Dude. Check it out. Can we use this to sell more books?!”

What followed was a review of her reading another writer’s book. The review follows:

THE CURIOSITY 
Stephen Kiernan
Read by Kate Udall, George Guidall, Jason Culp, Erik Bergmann

This mesmerizing book is well written and superbly narrated–a possible best audiobook of the year. Scientists are shocked to find a man frozen in a massive iceberg. The story is told from the perspective of the four major characters, with the flawless narrators alternating chapters. Massachusetts Judge Jeremiah Rice perished in a 1906 Arctic expedition and is eventually reanimated. Experiencing Boston through his eyes is deeply moving. Highlights include hearing Jeremiah’s 1900s vocabulary and perspective, and Dr. Kate Philo’s bittersweet romance with him. Portraying the doctor, narrator Kate Udall is astonishing as Kate acts as Jeremiah’s protector. Her delivery is deeply moving yet believable. When Udall portrays Jeremiah, his voice is deliberate and dignified, an approach that makes his quaint words sound perfectly in context. This splendid account is perfect for audio. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2013]

Now first let’s examine just how cool it is to be referred to in such a casual way. I almost felt like the Big Lebowski. After that read that review again. She’s got the talents to practically part water with only her voice. Imagine if she had a beard and a couple of stone tablets! Um, on second, though, nix the beard idea.

Anyhow, my response to her, on top of congratulating her, was to say, “I don’t know but you can bet your buns I’m going to try!” Celebrity buns, might I add. And who doesn’t like celebrity buns? Some celebrity’s got their buns in a couple of magazines every week at the grocery store.

So make Kate happy. Make me happy. Make yourself happy! Go check out these audiobooks that she’s done, but pay special attention to the ones listing me as the author. And maybe enjoy some buns while you’re at it.

I’ll even help the first two people that contact me and give you a promo code for a free copy of the audiobook. I was only given a very limited number though, so first come, first serve!

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.

I’m Not This Creative

I can come up with some pretty far out concepts. One good example is an undiscovered planet that seems to possess a life and intelligence of its own — not to mention a desire to destroy anything remotely human (Vitalis). Or a way to combine our world with a darker version of Earth in a parallel dimension (Dark Earth, The Lost Girls).

In one book (two now, if I include Sex Sells and Broken Slipper) I’ve got an unlikely couple that found each other and turned a sleazy hobby into an Internet empire. I have aliens all but destroying humanity and leaving a barren and desolate planet behind (Human Nature). Other books feature wooden spaceships using magic to sail the solar waves through space (Voidhawk). Warriors and wizards fighting the forces of evil and waging a war against an insidious cult of dragon worshippers (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon). And probably a few other books I haven’t even thought of. Not to mention some great ideas I’ve got for future stories!

How about a man who’s happily married and working hard his entire life. They’ve got a kid and he’s happy and proud, though always busy and working towards keeping his family in a good place. Let’s say nearly two decades passes like this and life is good – until the man’s wife confides in him one day that in spite of all the money he’s given her the house payment has slipped for a few months.

He’s surprised and maybe a little irritated, but this is the mother of his child. The woman he knows better than himself. So he writes her a check with a little to spare. Not quite $20,000, but close enough it’s hard to tell the difference. Then a few months later he gets a call from somebody else telling him his house is entering foreclosure.

He’s sure it’s a mistake – his wife took care of it, right? Things start to happen fast. Email is uncovered and phones get turned off. Bank accounts are drained and closed out and he’s watching the life he carefully constructed spin around him out of control. The icing on the cake is finding out she’s been seeing another man. A man roughly thirty years older than he is.

Unbelievable, right? Who does that sort of thing? It’d make for a lifetime movie, except on that channel they’d probably change it so that woman is the one who’s wronged instead of the man. Nonetheless, this is a true story. It’s the story my family got sucked into by chance. The poor bastard in question is my landlord. The vindictive money hungry thunderc*nt would be his (now) ex-wife.

To be fair, there’s two sides (or more) to every story. Given that she emailed us asking us to change the account we direct deposit rent into without his knowledge and that she gave us her daughter’s cell phone number and encouraged us to call if we had any questions, her side is taking on water fast. She’s disappeared at present and my landlord has no idea where she is. His daughter can’t talk to him for more than a few minutes before her grandfather takes the phone from her and tells him he can’t speak to her (daughter or mother) and hangs up.

So my friends, no matter how bad you think you’ve got it, or how crazy you may think your significant other can be, rest assured that somebody out there drew a shorter straw. It’s amazing, to say the least, and I can’t help but feel bad for the guy. In fact, if I’ve whined or complained about having a deadbeat landlord as we dealt with renting a house going into foreclosure, let me publicly retract and apologize any and all such statements. The person in need of being dumped into a full septic tank and left to marinate for a while is his ex-wife, not him.

I asked myself if I could use any of this experience in a future book and who knows, perhaps I will. Nothing comes to mind right now though because this is an example where real life is stranger — and more cruel — than fiction.

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 Brakes Don’t Work!

I’m nearly 30,000 words into The Sands of Betrayal, the third book in my Order of the Dragon fantasy series. I hope to have it finished by the end of August, which gives me just shy of two weeks to write a lot of words. Yikes. Okay, moving on…

That’s neat in and of itself, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing going on. When I’m not writing and I have a chance to do so, I’m thinking about writing. I can’t stop doing it either, it just happens whether I expect it or not. On the ride home last night from Michigan’s Renaissance Festival I dreamed up some really disturbing / upsetting ideas for the book I’m writing right now. Stuff I hadn’t considered before, but it was so powerful I’ve already started writing it in. It’s my way of telling my characters to stop thinking they write the stories.

But there’s other ideas out there too. For example I have one idea I’ve blogged about a little bit before. It involves a young women with a terminal disease that’s lost at sea. A few years later she’s found on the shore of a tropical island by some spring breakers. The bad part: she has no memory of who she is or where she’s been aside from her name, Tam’rah. The good part: she’s completely healed. And as the story unfolds she learns she’s more than just healed, she’s special. Special in a bad-things-are-coming-for-you kind of way. But she’s got some amazing tricks of her own that she’s discovering too. And of course, there will be bumps and twists along the way.

I’ve got a concept for a fifth Lost Girls book, which will pit the semi-retired Captain Katalina Wimple  against a man who’s not only evil, but he’s caught her taste through one of his victims and he won’t stop until he finds her and kills her. And everyone she’s ever cared about.

And now onto another idea that just rolled into my head. I’ve been challenged many times to write young adult or new adult fiction but I just don’t have it in me. My writing is too visceral. Too real. Too grisly. And, occasionally, too naughty. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do a hybrid. I’ve got the perfect character and setting for it, in fact: Jessica Baxter, daughter of Eric Baxter, the star of Dark Earth. Jessica is just about college age and even though they’ve moved from Michigan to Dark Earth to try and civilize the cruel people of that world, there’s no reason she shouldn’t be allowed to come back for college. Fortunately Northern Michigan University doesn’t have any rules or stipulations about allowing witches on their roster.

I’ve got other books for my existing series planned too – a fourth book (Dragonlady) to end the Order of the Dragon series, for example. And then there’s my next Vitalis book which will explore the infection spreading on Earth as well as the effect the Vitalian crystals that were dropped in Europa’s atmosphere have on the basic life and the researchers living on that planet. And there’s more Voidhawk to come down the road too, although I’m not sure what, exactly, will happen there yet.

So many words, so few hours. But I’m trying to crank them out as fast as I can. One of these days I hope to be able to focus on writing full time, instead of just part time. That requires a lot more word of mouth and book sales though, but I’m not the pandering type so I’ll just keep writing and doing my best to give my readers (past, present, and future) the types of books they tell me they want to 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.

Cinderella Never Looked This Good

On this blog I’ve been absent for a while. Months, and lots of them. So what better way to open it back up than with a notice about a brand new book? This one’s called Broken Slipper and it picks up a year after Forbidden Love ended. If those titles sound a little, uh, unusual, it’s because they are. These books are in my Homeland series, which blends espionage, secret agents, and smut. Yes, they are erotic books and definitely for mature reading audiences. But hey, there’s plenty of romance, suspense, and action tossed in as well to round them out.

Broken Slipper is more than just a simple novel, it’s a mega-freaking-novel. Come to think of it, there’s some mega-freaking in it too, but that’s not what I meant. I meant it’s over 140,000 words long, which puts this puppy in the neighborhood of 600 pages. Even at the page turning pace this book demands it’ll keep you busy for a while! As a special incentive to hook people on this series I’ve also lowered the price of book 1 in the series, Forbidden Love, to only $0.99!

But enough about me trying to suggest you check it out, I’ll let the blurb, cover, and the book itself do that!

Special Agent Sarah Ford hated her desk and she hated her life. She’d been stuck behind it for a year thanks to the dark cloud that followed her every move. She knew it was there and so did her superiors– at least the ones that survived her last case.

When her request to be returned to the field was granted she jumped at the chance at redemption. The catch? She had to rely on her skills earned while putting herself through college as a hair stylist. Immersing herself back into the realm of cosmetology would soon be the least of her concerns.

Sarah, with the new name and wild hair of washed up wannabe actress Misty West, was needed to investigate rumors of a threat to national security in Phoenix, Arizona. Her agency secured a position for her in the most unlikely of places to learn more– working for Digital Treasures, an adult multimedia company that specialized in voyeurism and exhibitionism.

With a new partner fresh in the field from training, Misty finds herself in deeper than ever before. Juggling her duty and her ragged emotions is a full time job, let alone the things she begins to discover that threaten to not only shatter who she is, but the lives of countless others.

Broken Slipper, book 2 in the Homeland series by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes (coming soon)

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony (coming soon)

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.

Echoes of a Shadow

August 9, 2013 7 comments

I just don’t get it. I’ve posted a few times that I’m not here anymore, but I left the blog up because disabling it seemed to complicate my life. I’ve moved my blog elsewhere (http://www.booksbyjason.com/wordpress) and included all the pre-existing stuff this one had via an export and import. Yet in spite of that, I still get visits and I still see new followers signing up. This blog should be a dusty ghost town. To say I’m baffled would be stating the obvious.

As a matter of fact, I darn near have the same traffic here I have on my new blog. Okay, the new one is slightly more successful than this one is presently, but after building it up for months and months I’m not having anywhere near the success. What gives? Do I need to come back and use this one again? I don’t have the same control over it that I do on my personal one – but then again, this one has cooler toys on it too, from an administrative perspective. Argh!

I guess I’ll let my readers decide. Let’s see how this post does and I’ll take it from there. I don’t expect anything in the way of comments, just simple visits and stats. I seldom get comments so I won’t bother going that route. (and no, I’m not fishing for them or whining – this time).

As a quick update to bring readers of this blog that don’t read my current one – I’m working on the third book in my Order of the Dragon trilogy presently. It’s called Dragonlady, but I’m finding I don’t have any idea how this one is going to play out. Oh sure, I’ve got plans, but they seem to be changing before my eyes.

My editor thinks she’ll have Broken Slipper done sometime next week. Broken Slipper is book 2 in my erotic espionage series called Homeland (look for book 1, Forbidden Love, if you want be caught up to speed). Before that I believe I released Chasing the Dragon, book 2 in the Order of the Dragon series (Isle of the Ape is book 1, while I’m at it).

What’s next after Dragonlady? Good question! Probably either a new Vitalis book or a new book that explores a terminally ill cancer patient lost at sea that washes up on a tropical island several years later. Other than being deathly ill she has no memory of who she is other than a name, Tamara. She’s in perfect health now and, even more upsetting, when her fingerprints are scanned the name they return isn’t one she recognizes. Is she crazy or is this only the beginning of explaining why she sees shadows moving out of the corner of her eye but never when she looks straight at them?

It’s good to have options! Now let’s see what option is chosen for this blog.

In the meantime, go ahead and have a look at my website for more about my books, latest events, or just a groovy place to visit.