The Path of Least Resistance

December 19, 2016 Leave a comment

I was studying my sales over the past year this weekend and trying to do it as analytically as possible (to fight off depression). That coincided with some formerly very successful writers that have experienced similar spirals. In fact, the more authors I speak with, the more it seems this is happening to everyone. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable or a good thing.

Anyhow, I also happened to notice my whiteboard with my 2016 goals on it. I’m on par for nearly everything I wrote down except for 4 Terminus books. I wrote 2 when I launched with John, but then the apathetic reaction the marketplace gave us told us both it was time to move on. Damn shame too, I absolutely loved the setting and wanted to do so much with it.

Kind of like my next ideas after I finish Medic. I have an awesome character concept and some story ideas that fit so perfectly into a fantasy book – but nobody who’s reading my books seems interested in another book set in Alto’s world. That ties me into my sales trends I’ve studied. People want to read science fiction, not fantasy – with the notable pseudo-exception of Voidhawk. Voidhawk is space fantasy, so it’s got the appeal of science fiction even though there’s not much in the way of science behind the magic that allows renaissance era vessels to sale between worlds.

Fortunately for me, my next Voidhawk book will return to the world of Kroth. My new character idea might very well have it’s time in the sun after all. I’ve got to narrow it done some more first, but I’m pleased with what I’ve come up with so far. That’s going to have to slip into the back of my mind for now though, I have to finish off Medic first, and I’m getting pretty close to doing that.

How close? Well, a few more chapters and I’ll be done. And as of Thursday of this week I’m on vacation until January 3rd. Plenty of time to write! When I’m not working on remodeling my basement, that is. Or doing Christmasy things.

The real question is, will Voidhawk be my next project, or will I return to Dark Universe or Vitalis instead? In case I haven’t made it obvious, Dark Universe, Vitalis, and Voidhawk have been my bestselling series this year, and in order to keep the cash flowing I have to write what people want to read. Since feedback and reviews are rare, I have to rely on how readers vote with their dollars, and that’s what the votes are telling me.

As a side note, Arrested in Peace, my recent release in the shared sci-fi universe of The Complex, has been doing fairly well also though. I highly encourage you to check it out and the other works in the same setting.

The only other thing I want to mention is that I’ve finally gotten around to converting Victim of Fate and Silver Dragon (books 2 and 3 in the Child of Fate series) to print books available on Amazon. Those are ready to go, although I am in the middle of updating Victim of Fate to deal with a formatting issue – that should be done in a matter of hours. Just in case you’re in the mood for a good old fashioned paperback.

 

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.

Arrested!

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Arrested in Peace, that is. The title of my latest release! It’s available now, on Amazon and all the other big ebook retailers. Grab your copy now, it’s something new, different, and totally fun. Sure, my concept of fun might be a little twisted, but if you’re reading this, I bet yours is too.

So what is Arrested in Peace? It’s a blending of science fiction and fantasy on a new scale I’d never aspired to before. Valerie Washburn was a naïve young woman at school. She had her boyfriend and friends, as well as her meager talents at detecting and understanding magic. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was the real deal when it came to magical potential. Top of his class and he had the future ahead of him. They had plans, he and Val. Big plans.

A summoning accident involving metahumans changed all of that. Valerie’s world fell apart around her. Nothing mattered anymore… nothing until she was approached and given an opportunity to get her revenge on the the dirty metahumans that were responsible for ruining her life.

Death and taxes are constants on one end of the spectrum. Politics is on the other end. With peace brewing between the humans and metahumans throughout the Seldova solar system, hunting metas is no longer sanctioned. Valerie has nothing left to do, until she found a call to Lorn, the experimental planet where co-habitation between human and metahuman is underway. It’s a job she can appreciate – she gets to hunt down lawbreakers that the security forces can’t handle on their own. And that means metas.

The story starts with Valerie refueled with her hate and anxious to continue her vengeance. It’s not about making things better, it’s about making them hurt. Nothing else matters, not even her own well-being.

Okay, so vengeful character with a serious chip on her shoulder. What’s so much fun about that? First is a mistake she makes that saves a metahuman’s life. The unexpected consequences of that threaten to follow her the rest of her life. Adding even more complexity is her next case – an old friend has come back from the shadows and she’s anxious to make contact again…and so much more beyond that.

Nano-technology, magical spells, demons & angels, necromancy, zombies, and a seriously pissed off woman that doesn’t know how to slow down. It turns everything upside down and does it in a way that makes it easy for anyone to get into, regardless of whether you like scifi or not.

aip_small

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and the rest!

 

Next up is Medic, the fifth book in my Wanted series. Carl, Jessie, Ally, and even Tanya are back and playing an important role in putting an end to whatever is taking out veterans. When it gets personal for him there’s no strings he won’t pull to put an end to it, whether the laws on his side or not.

 

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.

 

Confession Time

December 8, 2016 Leave a comment

We all have our private guilty pleasures. I’m no different in that regard, except mine might not be what you expect – at least not the ones I’m willing to admit to. For example, I’m an avid fan of a couple of television shows (that I watch in the early hours thanks to streaming services). Chief among them is Marvel’s Agents of Shield (and the mid-winter break Agent Carter). Followed almost as closely by Supergirl, which moved to the CW.

Now, between you and me, I never had any interest in the CW as a network. I’m definitely not in their target market and I saw little value in the fluff I thought they produced. Yet when Supergirl went there, I had no choice. But still, Supergirl was it, the hell with those other shows.

Then they did something dastardly. Earlier this year they did a crossover with Barry Allen, aka The Flash. From the show, The Flash (convenient, eh?). Now he showed back up and requested Supergirl’s help…. But her help was to be continued on his show. Damn it! I had to watch The Flash now. Grr… and that meant getting caught up. Double grr.

So I did it. I watched it. All of season 2, in fact. And once I got past the cheesiness so inherent in the DC universe, I found myself enjoying it. Not quite as hooked as Supergirl, but it’s made my mornings more difficult because once a week I have to squeeze in time to catch up on that show too. Unfortunately for me, the CW went another deeper level into hell and at the end of the combined show with Flash and Supergirl, they continued it on next night’s Arrow show. WTF?!

This time I drew the line. No way, no how, was I going to catch up on Arrow. There’s nothing about Arrow that interests me. I’m a bow hunter and I love shooting bows and arrows (and guns), so I can only suspend my disbelief so far. That and the characters don’t really interest me very much. Nonetheless, I had to continue the combined storyline, so I did by watching the single show that has multiple characters mingled together – and discovered that the story arc would continue into DC’s Legends of Tomorrow the following night. #$%$%^@!!

Legends of Tomorrow, I quickly discovered, is very addicting. The eclectic cast is superb. Sure, there’s cheesiness in the extreme – they travel through time to stop aberrations that would screw up the timeline, after all – but the cast of characters is so well rounded and each character so full, it’s impossible not to get sucked in. Characters I thought deserved a red shirt exposed vulnerabilities and interesting traits that changed my mind completely. And, most interesting of all, is Mick. He’s the jerk / muscle of the group. A former criminal with questionable moral character. And I love him! He is the Jayne Cobb of the show. And if you don’t know Jayne Cobb is, go watch Firefly right now. That’s an order.

Legends of Tomorrow has some of that same Firefly flavor to it, which is maybe why I’m so drawn to it. Not as good, but nothing else on television ever has been. But the point here isn’t to wax on the injustice of Fox cancelling Firefly, but to talk about the CW story arc among superhero shoes. And to that end, Legends of Tomorrow ended the story arc and everybody went back to their own shows – except now I have four shows to watch each week instead of only two (Agents of Shield, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow).

I ask myself what makes these shows so interesting? Complex characters with a lot of quirks has a lot to do with it. Cool concepts and premises as well, as far as the show is concerned. Admittedly, The Flash is the weakest on these things, but it makes up for it by exploring a lot more what-if type scenarios.

Speaking of characters, I’m a sucker for a strong female character. They do such a better job of showing how well balanced they are between strength and weakness than male characters do. I’m exposing a double standard there, I admit, because when I see a male lead get soft and emotional I scowl and mutter bad things about them. I’m certain I’m not alone in that, but it doesn’t make it right.

Well, I can work on sensitivity training for myself, but those who know my best don’t hold out much hope there. On the flip side, I can continue to enjoy kick-ass female leads without reservation. And I can promote a few and share their stories as they appear to me. For example, in a couple of days I have a new book coming out that’s part of a shared universe (not unlike what the CW did with their DC superhero shows). Character’s interact between books written by myself and multiple other authors – and they are all being released on December 10th, this Saturday.

Mine is called Arrested in Peace and you can pre-order it now. It follows the main character, Valerie (Val) Washburn) as she attempts to put the horrors of her past behind her on an alien planet while trying to decide which of the metahumans she’s dealing with are friends, and which are foes. For now that’s all I’ll share – look for more in a couple of days!

 

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.

 

Categories: Writing

Check Please

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

I’m done. At least for a while. I’ve been avoiding Facebook for weeks, if not months, due to all the crap I’ve been seeing. Fear, hate, and outright bullying in the form of political bullshit. Sadly, it was mirrored on the television. Fortunately for me, I don’t watch much television and what I do watch is either a hockey game or something I can block the commercials out with.

And now it’s over. Sweet, blessed relief. Normalcy can return. Except it hasn’t. If anything, the fear and hate mongering on Facebook has escalated. Most Trump supporters are getting sick and tired of it, even though the vast majority seem to have stayed quiet about it up until now. Hillary supporters are angry and bitter because she gave them a holy crusade to believe in and convinced them to take up the pitchfork and torch for her cause – only to find out her plan didn’t work out the way they thought it would.

Personally, I’m glad. I hate to admit it, but I’m glad on as spiritual a level as I’ll ever get that the American people did not condone her past and present actions by electing her into office. The evidence is irrefutable and, had it been anyone else who would have broken the agreements and laws that she did, a harsh sentence would be quick in coming. For her it did not, much as her husband was acquitted during his tenure as president when he was investigated. This, if nothing else, has served as an example of how corrupted and broken our system has become. To perpetuate that would be a crime. The government has too much influence and power.

Look at almost every science fiction story or movie out there. Utopian societies exist because of some hidden evil beneath. Some great corruption that allows the socialist regime to flourish and remain in power. Civilizations are disarmed and kept powerless. They are subjugated, perhaps even drugged, to perpetuate the illusion of a perfect world. Until some rebel with a bow and arrow or a bizarre way of thinking rises up and makes people realize that roses aren’t supposed to stink like decay.

More government is not the answer. More government means more rules and more restriction. Less freedom. Less ability to choose. Less human rights. In my stories I strive to keep government at reasonable levels and let the characters flourish and achieve what they are meant to achieve. Out here in the real world I struggle to do the same thing, because I believe it’s people that can, and do, make a difference. Not institutions or organizations. People.

America made me proud on November 8th when they said we want a real change. We don’t like what’s happening to us – what we’ve allowed to happen to us. We want something different. Is President Trump going to bring it? I’ll be damned if I know. I am convinced that he is extremely intelligent and very persuasive. His skills at business are exceptional. He’s not going to be the despot so many people believe in, but only time will tell that. Whether he can chart a new, and better, course for America will be a subject for historians. All we can do is work together and try to help each other through the bumps along the way.

Will there one day be a woman president? Absolutely. Will she be as enslaved by her ambitions and willing to broker any deal or tell any lie necessary to achieve that title? I sure as hell hope not. In my mind I argue that electing Hillary wouldn’t have been a proper way to shatter the glass ceiling – it would have been a lesson to our youth that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to win, regardless of the consequences. That, to me, is just bad parenting on a national scale.

And I’ve gone on far longer than I intended to. My intent was just to say that I can’t stomach Facebook right now, so I’m taking a break from. Any abusive or defamatory comments on this will be removed. I’m not inciting a discussion, I’m stating my mind and moving on after months of doing my best to remain neutral only become involved when something amused me.

I’m not taking a break from writing though. Medic has broken the 20k word barrier and is coming fast and furious. Not as fast as I’d like, but I’m still slapping the keys as much as I can. It will definitely be done this year, and as long as editing and cover art are available in time, it will be published this year as well.

After that? Maybe a political thriller? That’s a joke. I hate politics and what they do to people. Next up could be a lot of things, but to be honest I have no idea which one it will be. I’ve had character ideas and story ideas – we’ll just have to wait and see which one makes the most sense.

Oh! There will be a release in early December. It’s called Arrested in Peace, and it’s my secret project I’ve been working on all year. This book is part of a multi-book project releasing at the same time. It’s science fiction and fantasy mixed in a cool new concept. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I do plan on getting up for pre-order soon so it can launch the same time the others do. Stay tuned for more info on that.

 

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.

Wanted: The Blog

October 27, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s way too soon for another blog update, given my infrequent posts, but I just couldn’t help it. I’m up to chapter 5 on Medic already and I just wanted to share that it’s coming along so smooth and easy. I’m really loving this story and re-connecting with these characters. Carl is awesome and uncompromising as ever. Jessie is bubbly, unstoppable, outrageous, and she just won’t shut up. Ally is a little bit of both – thoughtful and determined, but with a fun and sexy attitude. And the new guy? He’s so over his head he doesn’t even know how much trouble he’s in trying to hang out with these guys!

I’m going to have an absolute blast with this one, I know it!

 

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.

Arachnophobia in Space

October 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Thinking about that title sends shivers down my spine, and I’m not really afraid of spiders. Creepy things, sure, but I’ve only had one close call with a Black Widow and I came out on top… of the shovel I used to smash it into paste after I stopped with less than two inches between the spider and my belly. My brother, on the other hand, would have probably burnt the house to the ground and called in an airstrike just to make sure.

But this post isn’t about spiders, it’s about my new release! Voidhawk – Queen of Spiders. Yes, there are spiders in it, lots of them. And they’re huge – bodies the size of a cheetah and legs that stretch for miles (or maybe a few feet, it’s still creepy). And they serve their queen and only their queen – whoever that happens to be.

On top of spiders the different people of void are still dealing with the problem of the dead not wanting to stay dead. So spiders and zombies… it’s only natural a few zombie spiders join the story as well, right?

And that’s just only the tip of everything that’s happening in this book. Rosh and Volera reconnecting. Bekka finding more about her own talents and abilities. Jianna and Dexter supporting each other as best they can after the loss of Jenna. And there’s so much more I don’t want to give away. It’s a full book, to say the least!

And it’s available now – everywhere ebooks are sold (or as close to everywhere as I can get – see the links below). Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

 

voidhawkqueenofspiders_small

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble / Nook, Kobo, iTunes / iBooks, Scribd, Pagefoundry

 

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.

 

Categories: Writing

Took Me Long Enough!

October 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Just a quick update because it’s late already (and the Redwings are playing an intense game against Nashville). Tonight, rather late, I finally got my next Wanted book scoped out and planned. Or as planned as I do with any of these. I squirreled away the time to put a name and face to my new characters. That’s what started this idea, the concept of a character that I want to put through the grinder and, maybe, help out (before it’s too late).

Of course, it’s a Wanted book, so you can bet your ass that Carl, Jessie, and Ally will be back. I’m sure Tanya will play a part too. Who knows, maybe Sarah or some other favorites from past books might show up too – I sure don’t have a clue at this point!

The point is, the 5th Wanted book is officially underway. Working title so far: Medic.

 

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.