Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

A Dark Star is Born

Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess went to my editor on Friday. That, by itself, is a great thing. What happened in that book is even greater. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I’m still feeling it after taking an entire weekend off from writing and I want to jump straight into the next Voidhawk book because of it. But… I can’t.

In a couple of weeks I have a special project coming up with someone, so I have to plan accordingly. I’ve decided to work on Dark Star in the interim, the next book in the Dark Universe setting. A quick turn-around for that series, I know, but I’ve got a couple of driving factors: 1) Dark Universe is selling great and nothing else is for me – the family’s gotta eat. 2) I’m just as amped up about that series and the characters as I am about Voidhawk, so it’s an easy thing to do and it gives me the space I need to come into the next Voidhawk book objectively.

Two weeks isn’t enough to finish it though, not while I’m doing the day job too. So I finished putting my thoughts together today and now I can start working on the story properly. It’s not an outline, per se, but a general flow of what’s going to happen. The ‘how’ part of it remains to unfold as I write it. I’m expecting another kick ass story in that series though!

As for Voidhawk and the next book, that will come soon. It’s going to tie into my World of Kroth books again (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon, The Serpent’s War). In fact, the third book in the Serpent’s War trilogy will have a lot to do with it – but I promise they’ll also be entirely separate from each other. Some crossover, maybe, but you won’t need to read one to read the other. You will, however, get exposure to some kick-ass fantasy that fills in a lot of extra details and backstory for anyone that wants to try them both out.

And the side project? Well, I’ll talk more about that when and if it works out. It’s got a lot of potential, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself in case anything comes up to cause problems.

In the meantime, stay tuned for Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess in the next week or two! And after that another Dark Universe book is on the horizon.

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

A Winning Spirit

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Farther back than I’m comfortable admitting I went to high school. Not the single classroom affairs that ended in 8th grade and had to be reached by horse and buggy either. It was a decent high school in a decent town. We had a few things to be proud of, and one of them included our basketball teams. We had some decent talent on the teams and I regret I never tried to join them. I think I could have made it, but now I’ll never know. Instead I played tennis. Yeah, I know, you don’t have to tell me. I still enjoy tennis, for what it’s worth, but I wasn’t nearly as active as a kid as I should have been.

Anyhow, the basketball team, both boys and girls, did remarkably well for our size and talent. It did so because of the man in charge, Coach Jerry Ernst. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how well he did outside of Charlotte High School, but I seem to recall he’d done some pretty great things before he came there too.

I was never on the team, like I said, but Coach Ernst taught a few classes too. One of them was creative writing. Now I’ve always liked writing and fantasized at a young age of being a writer. I never even took myself seriously though, mostly because I had no idea how to go about it. My junior year in high school things changed. It started with me thinking that maybe the creative writing class would help me out.

It also turned out that my junior year had some other plans for me. I was in a horrible car accident, for example. I was out of commission for a couple of weeks and not really back in fighting shape mentally for a couple more after that. When I did return I was hobbling along on crutches and sporting some impressive new scars in various places. Things changed for me because of that. Physically and mentally. I adopted a new attitude and was determined to drag my grades up to something respectable. It turned out I had a lot of catching up to do.

Coach Ernst gave me the opportunity to do that. He offered me extra credit for turning in stories that I wrote. Most people dreaded the idea but I relished it! I don’t know how many I wrote, to be honest, but I remember one of them he returned with a bright flaming red grade on the top of it: A+.

Rereading the stories these days they are horrible. Mechanically challenged, at best, even the best makes me cringe to read. The higher level concept behind them, however, was (and still is) solid. I have to think that’s what he saw in them. That or he was encouraging me – either way I’ll take it and I’m eternally grateful to him for it.

Prior to Mr. Ernst I had a laughable 3rd place title in some county-wide writing contest and an honorable mention in another one. I had my parents enduring support, but they’re my parents – they were obligated to encourage me. Getting this kind of a grade from someone who I’d never really put much thought into, essentially a stranger, opened up a new world to me. It meant something in a way that even trying to remember back on it brings emotion to the surface.

It took a long time for me to do anything with writing though. I tried over the years and smashed my head against the brick walls of traditional publishing. I finally broke through in 2009 and really learned how to start writing. Every book is better with things learned, whether the teaching is internal or at the barbed whip in my editors hands.

I have to wonder if any of it would have been possible with Coach Ernst showing me a spot of kindness that I will never know if I earned. I was just a punk kid that he took a moment to offer a smile and encouragement to. I’d be amazed if he even remembered me. And now, to my great sadness, I’ve learned that he’s not doing well. His daughter, a friend of mine, has shared on Facebook the things that are going on and calling for thoughts and prayers. Natural order of things or not, it sucks. There’s much stronger language I’d rather use to describe my feelings about it, but I’m struggling to keep this post from being censored.

I’m not encouraging anyone to reach out to someone you’ve never heard of, I’m just sharing a story. Unlike most of the ones I write this one is non-fiction. It’s painfully and sadly true. I’ve shared with him what he meant to me, whether he remembers me or not, and now I’ve shared it with others. There’s no way I can repay the favor to him, but maybe by sharing it I can encourage all of us to show a spot of kindness or encouragement to someone who might deserve it, even if nobody else thinks so.

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

Inside the Mind of a Writer

January 22, 2012 2 comments

I’m working on Devil’s Icebox, the sequel to my paranormal fantasy, Dark Earth. I know what I want to happen in the book, more or less, and already inside of the first 1400 words my main character surprised me and showed me she wasn’t who she thought she was. I was expecting a cruel and heartless witch (literally – she’s a witch), but come to find out she’s got a soft spot inside of her. The cruel and heartless part is still coming though…

So I’ve got my characters and I’ve got the story goal in mind, but it’s the little things in between I still need to figure out. I was wondering what various plot devices and complication I’d toss along the way. Rather than let those things develop at their own pace in the back of my head, I decided I wanted to speed things up a bit. I’ve got a serious schedule laid out for myself this year when it comes to writing. I’m over a month ahead at present with the early completion of the rough draft of Voidhawk – The White Lady (for those following me, yes, I finally settled on a name). I won’t be letting any moss grow on me though!

So, this post, where I brainstorm up some various ideas to complicate the story and my characters lives! I may use some or all of them, or perhaps I’ll use none of them. The general gist of the story is that a witch from Dark Earth has to come to our Earth through the portal in Lord Baxter’s realm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After that said witch needs to establish a new portal back to her homeland. Then help Lord Nelson (her ruler), launch an assault on our Earth. And don’t worry, I haven’t given the story away with that high level summary – I’ve got plenty of surprises cooked up and that’s without the possibilities below!


Lord Gareth Nelson – ruler of a large realm between Lake Erie and most of eastern Ohio / some of Western Pennsylvania

Cassiopia – A witch and the main character from whom the story is told.

Gabriel – Lord Nelson’s right hand man, confidant, enforcer, and protector. He travels with Cassiopia as a bodyguard and to insure she doesn’t do anything inappropriate.

Gwendolyn – A very important person to Cassiopia and someone Lord Nelson has under lock and key to further insure his witch’s good behavior.

Possible scenes:

-An interlude with bandits along the road.

-Running into a camp of third party soldiers / mercs from another realm that seek to cause the new Lord Baxter problems.

-Possible interaction with Lord Baxter, his daughter (who is also coming into her power as a witch), and Lord Baxter’s romantic interest

-Culture shock on our Earth (what, you mean women don’t have to be abused and treated like second class citizens?!)

-Romantic interest / complication on Earth

-Criminal / violent incident on Earth (mugging, attempted murder or worse, bar fight, gang violence, etc.)

-Encounter with someone on Earth who has a touch of the gift (magic).

-Innocent campers / kids / hikers / whatever in the wrong place at the wrong time when attempting to establish the portal.

-Police interference on our Earth.

And the list goes on and on… but those are the ones I had time to think up and jot down. For those interested in the book this does not include the major scenes I’ve got already included in my head. I’m saving those for a surprise – these little snippets are just ideas that could very well influence the course of events through the book. My characters have a way of developing outside of my control. Especially this one, since Cassie already pulled a surprise move on me! I also encourage fans of the series (or people who’ve never heard of it) to respond to this post with any thoughts of their own. It wouldn’t be the first (nor the last) time I’ve included something in a book from a reader who contacted me.

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