For years now I’ve agonized over a cover for a book of mine that I just didn’t like. The characters looked like zombies. Dirty, blood stained, mindless, flesh eating, you know the type. But that was what my original publisher thought was a great cover and my objections were promptly ignored.
Well it’s my book now (has been for a while, I’ve just been focused on new stuff). So now I’m unveiling a new and polished look by a great cover artist I found in Italy. I didn’t have to go to Italy, unfortunately (hmm, tax write off?). Her name is Cora and she can be found at http://www.coragraphics.it/.
But enough about that, first marvel at the polished beauty of the new and improved cover for my alternative romance / scorched earth / alien survival thriller, Human Nature!
And I’ve got something in the works for a possible sequel for it too. Second Nature…I know, cheesy, but it”ll be worth it, I promise!
Devils Rising is in beta and cover art stages, Marshal is in my copyeditor’s hands, and I’m faced with an exciting opportunity – what should I start now? The answer is something new! Right now I’m calling it Organic, but I don’t expect that to last. I’ve also toyed around with a title like Biomech.
Or maybe instead of babbling about all that you want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Well, it’s my latest attempt to capture mass market appeal. Developing a dystopian society in a futuristic setting, complete with future soldiers, tanks, aircraft, and biomechs.
I’ve said that word ‘Biomech’ twice now. What the heck am I talking about? First let’s take the traditional concept of a mech. For sci-fi aficionados, that’s a simple task. Think Robotech, Battletech, Mechwarrior, Transformers, Pacific Rim, or just about anything involving giant fighting robots. As Pacific Rim showed us, no matter how cheesy the plot and acting, there’s almost nothing cooler than giant robots beating the crap out just about anything.
To introduce a little more science to the fiction, imagine how complicated creating a robot on that scale and making it able to move and balance, let alone fight. Yikes! Super advanced articulation in the joints and the means of moving said limbs and joints are required. Far beyond our ability to manufacture and design. So that’s where the bio comes in.
This is the future, so let’s merge man and machine in ways not often considered. The musculature needed to move these robots? Grown from organic tissue and grafted to the metal structure. That eliminates the need for a massive engine to move the robot, but puts in a complicated plumbing system for flushing the organic tissue with a replacement blood. Cooling, heating, oxygenation, nutrients – it does it all!
And what’s needed to drive one of these metal monsters? A person, jacked in directly to their central nervous system. A computer will handle the balancing and autonomous commands such as how to do what the driver wants, but the driver provides the true skill behind it all.
But yeah, as cool as that sounds, that’s not going to be what the stories center on. This is about human interest. I’m looking at it as a cross between a lot of successful projects, from (insert giant robot franchise here) to (insert dystopian society being rebelled against) to (insert underdog complicated love story). And I’m writing it Vitalis style, meaning fast paced and fun!
Before I go, let me toss out a tiny snippet of what I’ve been working on so far…
“Krys curled up in a ball in his tiny hollow and let the tears fall. He had no idea why, but something terrible was happening. His friends were dead and for all he knew, his mom and dad were next. And he was trapped beneath a fallen tree in the woods. As much as his dad loved to tell him that crying wouldn’t do him any good, it was the only thing he could manage.”
Near the end of January I decided to get back in shape. I never stopped lifting, but it had been a long time since I’d lifted with the kind of dedication to be serious about it. So I got back in and hit the weights religiously. That and some dietary changes (no more soda or junk food, limiting carbs) has me, after about 8 weeks, down from 241.5 to 225 pounds. Cool, right? Well there’s more to it – I’m stronger now than I was then too, including a recent 615lb rack pull and repping 300lbs 4 times while bench pressing.
But I’m not hungry for food. I’m hungry for success. I’m seriously considering competing in power lifting again (dead lift only, my bench is shot after tearing my pec off my arm in 2009 and requiring surgery to reattach it). I’m hungry for success in other venues too though. More on that in a bit.
And that brings me to a different kind of hunger. The Hunger Games (spoiler alert coming). I re-watched HG 1 this weekend and I admit, I enjoyed it more than the lukewarm reception I gave it the first time I saw it in the theater. Then I watched Catching Fire (or as I prefer to call it, the story about a girl with a magical quiver that regenerates arrows in every scene). It’s at this point I have to ask some questions from anyone who read the books: Is Catching Fire really the same story as book 1 like the movie portrays? And does it end without ending?
So I’m disgruntled about The Hunger Games, but it got me thinking about stories and success. I’ve flirted with success with a few of my books (Wanted and Vitalis, in particular), but they never fully took off. I’ve written a lot of books, but I keep finding fun things to write about that end up being niche markets versus mainstream. Granted, I had some great runs in the fantasy genre with some fairly mainstream fantasy books, but I can’t seem to find my way into the really big pond.
But I’m trying. I’ve got a new idea that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s coming together while I finish up Marshall, my 4th Wanted book. I’ve been analyzing what makes traditional stories successful and so far my new idea seems to be hitting all those points. It’s exciting and, I hope, will finally take me to a happy place. So far my books are teasing me with being on the edge of success.
Speaking of books, Devils Rising, book 2 of the Fallen Angels series co-written with J. Knight Bybee, will be out very soon! The other good news is that Marshall will be hot on the heels of it (I’ve got 2 – 3 chapters left to write, then editing and cover art). Then I’ll launch into my new dystopian story that I’m hoping will be a game changer. Wish me luck…or better yet, buy the books and rave about how awesome it is to everyone you know!
I’m talking about Florida! Come on, what did you expect me to say after a title like that? Of course that’s really just a segue into mentioning a new book that I’m looking for some beta readers / reviewers for.
Why bother? Well, this book is called Devil’s Rising and it’s a collaboration between myself and J. Knight Bybee (the same guy who worked with me to create Devil’s Island). Not only that, but Devil’s Rising is the sequel to Devil’s Island – hard to believe, I know!
The premise of the story is the people leftover from book 1 are hell bent on stopping what happened in book 1. So they travel cross country to get help and the help they find is not what they expected. Then they have to go back into that hot and steamy place (Florida – get your minds outta the gutter) and try to right the things that went wrong the last time around.
It’s got action, romance, young love, epic character development, and a pace that has you sitting on the edge of your seat. By the time the book ended even I was shocked at what we’d created. I found a new favorite character in the series and can’t stop thinking about them!
So here’s the deal – if you’re itching to get your hands on it, let me know. Give me a comment, an email (Jason@booksbyjason.com), a facebook mention, a tweet, knock on my door, whatever it takes. The book is yours for the asking. What I ask for is your thoughts on the book and any glaring errors that may have jumped out at you (missing words, misspelled words, etc.). There shouldn’t be many but Mr. Bybee and I really got swept up near the end of the book and the writing was fast and furious between us. The only other thing I ask is that if you liked it even half as much as we did, you leave a review on Amazon when we launch it.
Oh, and I’m not looking for beta readers anymore for Devil’s Rising (book 1 in the Fallen Angels series), but if you’d like to get a free copy of the book in exchange for a review, let me know about that too. I’ll make it happen.
Mathew McConaughey won an Oscar the other night for his work in the movie, Dallas Buyers Club. This isn’t news at this point, so let’s move on to speech he gave. It was a speech that I found to be rather peculiar.
Mr. McConaughey rattled off three things that he needed every day. And then he ended the speech with a quote from Dazed and Confused, which I personally considered one of his finer roles. All in all though, the speech left me a little confused and wondering if he and Gary Busey have been spending a lot of time together.
I’m not here to discuss or judge the merits of that speech other than to draw attention to one of his three needs. He mentioned he needs someone to aspire to be. The target of that need is himself, 10 years in the future. It sounded a little cheesy to me in the speech, but the important part is the recognition of what potential the future holds and the fact that with hard work and hope can make for a great tomorrow.
For example, two days ago I would never have guess that my futuristic sci-fi book, Vitalis, would shoot from being in Amazon’s 18,000 – 19,000 ranking to being 2,412 this morning when I woke up. A book about the future with a bright future. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now my book and Mathew McConaughey have nothing in common beyond that tenuous line of logic, but if he wanted to pick a character to portray in a movie of the book, well, I would be open to talk about it. We could even call it the Vitalis Buyers Club…
Jokes aside, I’m very excited to see Vitalis doing so well. So I’m writing this, to try and convince other people to go and check it out and share my excitement with me. Readers write me about the Vitalis books and I love discussing the story with them. In fact, there’s been a few times where I’ve had new ideas, twists, and even characters arise from those discussions. And for only $.99 for a novel that’s well beyond 100,000 words, how can you go wrong?
So please, give it a look and some honest consideration. Vitalis has metric tons of fast paced excitement involving pirates, aliens, a new world, insufficient resources (including clothing, in some cases), politics, intrigue, and even a few crazy people. And unlike a lot of sci-fi the science isn’t there to be the story, it’s there to sit in the background, be cool, and allow the story to take place. As a few readers have said, Vitalis is a great intro into a genre (sci-fi) that they never had any interest in before.