I’ve been quiet on the blogging front lately, but it’s been for a darn good reason. I’ve been busy! Busy collaborating and helping to get new books out. New books that are doing far better than I thought possible. The books are titled, “Claimed by the Beast, and officially they’re under the name Dawn Michelle, which happens to be shared by my love wife. The author’s picture matches too, so what gives?
Well, the official version of the story is that I’m taking her influence and ideas and helping to rework them into this paranormal romance serial novel. Claimed by the Beast – Part One (UK link) has spent almost a week now in the top 200 ranking of all free books in the UK (including multiple genre lists with it ranked at a solid #1 position). Book Two (UK link), which is $.99, is on three top 10 lists in the UK and overall ranked somewhere under 1500. In the US it’s higher, but still on some top 100 lists and doing well.
What’s so special about it? Well there’s teen angst / high school senior drama without the sparkles and ridiculous Twilight-esque nonsense. There’s werewolves, witches, and a few other paranormal tie-ins. No vampires, sparkly or otherwise. She’s getting lots of feedback and a growing mailing list that, quite frankly, leaves me jealous. People are loving it and even I have to admit I’m having a lot of fine putting thoughts to paper and working out the details.
I mentioned parts 1 and 2, well part 3 will hopefully be released this weekend. Part 4 is still being edited and part 5 we’re hard at work writing. Her plan, at this point, is to wrap it up in 6 parts. We’ll see if that happens. Already the thought of a spin off serial is up in the air though, which is good and bad news.
What, good and bad? Great for her readers, but collaborating on another series will slow my own production down. Not to fear though, as soon as we finish up Claimed by the Beast I’m returning to put out another novel myself, probably my long awaited Voidhawk / Blades of Leander tie in. Then we’ll see what comes next. I’d love to do more Vitalis too, but there are only so many hours in the day.
Until then, if you’d like something a little different but still a load of fun, check out Claimed by the Beast. It’s fresh, young, and fun, but it balances that with some scary and dark themes too. It has a few sexy moments too, especially the further into the story you get. And just wait for part 4 – phew!
I was taking a break from reality the other day and playing an online computer game (Mechwarrior Online, if you must know). In the process I was talking to a couple of people that I’d never met before. The topic quickly came up asking me if I was a writer (my handle in the game is ‘BooksbyJason’). That led to: what do you write. The next question was what name I wrote under. So I shared my name. And that’s when it happened.
This complete stranger from parts unknown (he was somewhere in the continental US, I think) said, “Hey, I’ve heard of you. One of my friends recommended your books to me.”
I sat there on the couch with my laptop in my lap and stared at the screen. I looked up at my wife but she was engrossed in a television show and missed it. I went back to the conversation and continued to briefly talk books before the lasers and autocannons started flying and our robots were getting shot out from under us. All in all, it was a good game. And yes, I regularly get my butt kicked in that game. Or any online game these days – I don’t have time to practice and get good. That and I don’t have the reflexes of a thirteen year old anymore. Or an eighteen year old. Or twenty five. Or thirty. Or… well, you get the point.
I even had a decent sales day that day, selling over sixty books. The next day that same guy emailed me asking what book I’d recommend as a starter. That’s a tough question and it required a very long email in response. I saved it though, because I get asked that fairly often. In fact, I’m going to post it as a blog sometime soon. Ironically enough, another person on a message board from the same game ran into me in the game the next day and said he’d read my profile and checked me out. He was impressed with all the books and good reviews / comments on them. Back to back confirmation, how cool is that?
But a clap on the back doesn’t pay the bills, and that became apparent when yesterday turned out to be my worst sales day since early 2012. Not sure what the deal is with that, but I really hope it doesn’t happen again! My response is to keep writing like crazy and get as much going as I can. My books are languishing a bit at the moment while I’m helping my wife with her new paranormal romance serial novel (Claimed by the Beast). We’re on part four of many (5, 6, or 7) right now, but I may take a break from helping and work on a new Voidhawk or Vitalis book next.
But back to the original point – my minor celebrity moment tickled my all night and into the next day. Very cool stuff, I have to say, but like I mentioned above, praise and recognition doesn’t pay the bills. Remember that, my writing friends. Hard work and dedication is what it takes to succeed and make a change.
For the past several weeks I’ve been working on a new project. A new book, but it’s more than a book. My wife loves that fact that I write stories and do a passable job at selling them. The problem is, most of them aren’t in areas that she has a lot of interest in. She’s more into romance, crime, and things that go bump in the night (with said bumping being accompanied by some bow-chikka-wow-wow music). So, we decided the next stuff was going to be a collaboration – a paranormal romance that I helped her on. And that’s why instead of a new book by Jason Halstead, we have part 1 in a serial novel by Dawn Michelle.
Today marks the official release of Claimed by the Beast – Part One. It centers around a young lady struggling with issues. Before you scoff and compare it to Twilight, consider how many young women there are in the world that aren’t already struggling with issues. Body images, grades, peer pressure, overly zealous boyfriends, the list goes on. Even I was surprised to hear some of the problems and concerns.
So here we’ve got a good girl that is a social pariah thanks to her sense of morals and attention to teachers and good grades. The problem? She wants to fit in. Wants to do it so badly that she’s willing to let her morals slide to make it happen. Until that backfires and she’s made a laughing stock at a party.
What could be worse than that? That’s where the biker gang comes in. And the thing lurking in the darkness that has decided to mark her as its next victim.
Interested? It’s a paranormal romance that we’ve managed to complete three parts on so far. We’re looking at the entire series being five to six parts long, each over 20,000 words (novelette length). The pacing is set for every 3 to 4 weeks a new serial being released.
Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes will be released in a few weeks.
And, alongside that, I plan to get back to being focused on my stories. I haven’t quite decided yet, but it’s either more Vitalis or more Voidhawk / Blades of Leander next (yes, my next fantasy book will briefly blend those settings together).
By reality I don’t mean reality TV. That’s in a dimension all by itself. I’m talking about the wild and crazy world we live in. We’ve all heard a variant on the line, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Well, I read something yesterday that left me excited, grossed out, and disappointed.
One of my mainstays is science fiction. Reading it, writing it, watching it, and hopefully living it. I’m always thinking and daydreaming about the possibilities the future holds (hopefully with me owning a nice winter home in the Caribbean). One of those daydreams turned into my sci-fi series, Vitalis. It takes place in the future and so far has managed to span multiple solar systems and worlds. I’ve explored new possibilities, new creatures, new ecosystems, and what happens when those are mixed together. And the age old maxim that in primitive cultures and the animal kingdom, violence really does solve things.
Let’s take an example of an alien creature I created that sort of resembles a massively overgrown cockroach. It can spit out a neurotoxin that leaves its victim in a paralyzed state. In some cases (e.g. low doses) the victim is still somewhat aware of what’s going on, although delusion and hallucinogenic. The creature then takes the victim back to the hive where the queen injects multiple eggs into the victims belly, turning them in a host. As the initial neurotoxin wears off the victims find themselves returned to wherever they were before. The eggs release their own similar neurotoxin, but the host quickly acclimates and builds up a tolerance. Instead of being paralyzed and wiped out it just makes them unaware of what’s going on inside them and kind of loopy.
The hatchlings then begin to feed, and they do so voraciously. The innards of a person are devoured and the chemicals these little buggers release keep the host alive as long as possible, although in a messed up state. Then they eat their way out, usually about the time the host finally dies.
Creepy stuff, right? Only possible in fiction? Well this is where I mention something I read yesterday about a bug here on earth. The cockroach family, ironically enough, has some particularly vicious members.
There’s this little emerald green wasp cockroach that is around the size of a carpenter ant. Big, but not massive. These wasps prey on their bigger cousins, the regular cockroach. The size difference is truly David and Goliath, but the wasps roaches have a secret weapon. A neurotoxin that they deliver to the belly of the bigger roaches. That paralyzes the roach’s legs and lets them plant their eggs on the big roach’s legs. The wasp roach then delivers a second poisonous blow to the brain of the big roach. This doesn’t kill the roach, but it turns it into a zombie by making it not care about much of anything.
Wasp roach then grabs the zombie roach’s antenna and leads it back to its nest. Time passes, the eggs hatch, and the big roach just chills while the babies eat it from the inside out. Creepy stuff, and something that happens right under our noses. Or wherever these buggers live.
The point is I was disappointed to learn that my idea for something outlandish, gross, and terrifying is already happening. And it happens here, on Earth, in present time. The only thing left is for me to figure out something even more bizarre and horrifying… and I love a challenge!
But hey, if you’d like to read more on Vitalis and the various futuristic terrors that humanity encounters, be my guest to check out: