Archive

Posts Tagged ‘cyberpunk’

Good News for Everyone But Me (Sort Of)

I settled on a new story and I’m 20k words into it already. I’m writing as fast and furious as the actors in the aptly named franchise  pretend to drive. However, there’s a problem with it (my writing— there are many problems with the Fast and Furious franchise even though they are entertaining and fun to watch). Copyright concerns.

But, I’ve done plenty of research and it seems, as long as I don’t attempt to change any existing cannon or charge money for what I’m writing, I’m in the clear. So that means I get to write the book I’ve been aching to write and you, my not-so-gentle readers, get to enjoy it at no cost! I’m not sure if I’ll be able to publish through my regular channels, however (Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo, etc.). I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Now then, what exactly am I writing? I don’t have a title yet, but it takes place in that game setting I mentioned before: Shadowrun. The year is 2077 and the world (and many people) are full of enhanced technology. And there’s magic. Loads of it, from shamans, magicians, and spirits to critters such as hellhounds, barghests, yetis, and dragons. Orks, trolls, dwarves, and elves live alongside humans and have given the human species a brand new opportunity to be racist. Except most people aren’t dumb enough to insult a troll to their face because, well, compared to a troll everyone else is kind of squishy.

What’s the story about? Glad you asked! It follows a small group of people that are drawn together to do a job (aka a run or shadowrun). They need to acquire some fancy new equipment from one corporation and deliver it to another. The prototypes aren’t anything world changing or able to pave a path for humanity to follow, they’re just some advanced gadgets another corporation wants to learn the secrets of. And, in typical Shadowrun fashion, there will be some twists, turns, and betrayals along the way.

You see that’s the beauty of Shadowrun – runners might care about ethics and each other, but the people that hire them, the Mr. Johnson’s of the world, consider them expendable assets at best. At worst, they’re parasites and necessary evils. Oh, and by the way, runners (or  shadowrunners) aka the mercenaries that risk life and limb for the all-mighty nuyen (new – yen, or the global currency that has replaced the dollar). So if one Mr. Johnson hires a team to do something illicit and doesn’t want to risk any implication falling back on them, they might do their best to see to it the team doesn’t survive the run (after they accomplish the goal, that is). It’s an accepted occupation hazard.

In my case, I’ve got a team of 3 (soon to be 4) in play. Pepper is a middle aged man that works for a mega-corp during the days, but he’s sick and tired of not being good enough to advance up the ranks. His requests for transfer to field assignments and promotions are regularly ignored so he decided to do something about it – much to the irritation (and worry) of his wife. Pepper’s living through his mid-life crisis by the skin of his teeth.

Tank is what they call a rigger. Riggers are the ultimate wrench monkeys. They love vehicles, driving them and upgrading them and using them to blow stuff up. Tank is no exception to that, and he makes up for his skill behind the wheel with extreme social awkwardness and a tendency to forget to prioritize personal hygiene.

Bling is a stripper. Or was. And an elf, so even though she’s in her mid 20s she looks like she more not be legal. Except there’s her curves in all the right places. Elves are tall and lean, perhaps even lanky, although individuals may vary. Bling did not, naturally, but she was abandoned at birth and grew up on the streets. She learned how to survive and how to thrive, and that involved using her body and talents to get by. She even landed a headlining gig at one of the Greater Detroit Metroplex’s premiere night club for a few years – and that gave her the money she needed to augment herself in all the right ways, both aesthetically and for personal protection. Her handicap is a whole lot of passion and excitement, but not much in the way of practical experience or education. In fact, her education came from the street. Everything she knows is second hand knowledge — she’s probably spent less than a full week in her entire life inside a school.

Healz. Like Bling, Healz is a metahuman. An ork. He’s real tall (6’8″ or a little bit over 2 meters) and big. Tusks, greenish – brown skin, and an often surly manner. He had a life, a good one, as a high threat response doctor working for a mega-corp that replaced privatized ambulance services. Nice clothes, great car, even his choice of ladies until he screwed up and lost an important patient. The screw-up was his fault too — he was addicted to a narcotic called Cram that left him with some bigtime flawed decision making. His company found out and terminated him, but he threatened a law suit to expose them for making the narcotic (and others) available to their employees to enhance their performance while working. He walked away with a large payout and had to spend a portion of it creating alternate identities for himself so he could hide from any reprisal they might launch at him.

What’s up with all the goofy names? They’re called street names (or in Bling’s case, a stage name). It’s one more way shadowrunners protect their true identities. After all, the goal of most runners is to score big so they can take up their given names again and retire to a life of comfort. Very few ever make it, but the appeal remains. So, with that in mind, here’s the reason behind the names:

Pepper – middle aged man in great shape, but every year brings more grey to his hair, hence the salt and pepper look.

Tank – Ever call a big guy Tiny? Well, Tank is pretty scrawny. A little above average height, but he’s skin on bones since he often forgets to eat while he’s tinkering with his toys. That and he’d love to own a tank some day (either traditional or the infamous hover tanks, aka panzers).

Healz – Easy one here, this guy was a doctor. Still is, although he lost his license when he lost his corporate sponsorship. He goes by the name Healz now and acts as a street doc capable of installing cyberware for those that can pay. He’s got a soft spot for charity cases too, although he’d never go pro-bono on a cyberware install he will help someone who’s sick or injured that can’t afford it.

Bling – Another easy one, especially if you saw her. Bling loves to sparkle. Her fingernails have been replaced with carbon fiber extendable hand razors (they don’t extend very far), and the carbon fiber has a bedazzled look to it. She’s got piercings in all the right places (none on her face though, so you do the math) and those sparkle too. And jewelry – whatever she can find that accessorize, as long as it gleams.

So, with all those glimpsed backstories and the world at large, there’s a ton of possibilities to write about. Adventures a-plenty to be had! Life to be lived, from action packed gunfights and car chases to steamy seduction and broken hearts. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe next time I’ll get into some of the lingo used in the Shadowrun setting!

But for now, I’ve got more of this story to work on!

 

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.

Advertisements

Too Long

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. Shame on me. You know what else has taken too long? A new book release! Fortunately, I’ve got one coming in the very near future (The Goblin Queen). Unfortunately, I haven’t jumped into something new after that quite yet.

But I’ve been thinking. If I go by the numbers I should write another Dark Universe or Vitalis book – those seem to be selling the best these days (or the least worst). I’ve had requests for Vitalis as well, and I just might do that. I’ve got ideas for Dark Universe too though, so it’s troubling. Even more troubling is a recent rediscovery and passion trend that I’m caught up in.

Wait – passion trend? What the heck is that? I just made it up. It means something that has me captivated and very interested, but might turn into a flavor of the moment like a fad diet does for so many people. In this case I’m referring to something called Shadowrun. Shadowrun is one of the classic role playing games, though not as widely received (or well known) as Dungeons and Dragons. Shadowrun is a near future blend of science fiction and magic, and it reintroduces metahumans into the world in the form of orks, dwarves, trolls, elves, and all sorts of magically active and awaked critters.  Including dragons – which are big, bad, and very scary.

People (of all races and types) often become cyborgs, installing cyberware of various sorts to help them with everything from day to day tasks to firefights to logging into the matrix. The matrix is the Internet in a VR environment, essentially, and is full of very real dangers that can knock a decker out cold, fry their cyberdeck, or outright kill them.

On the flip side of technology there’s magic. Mages and shamans, to be precise, although awakened magical critters exist too (spirits, elementals, and even beings like ghouls and vampires among many more). It’s a remarkably diverse game filled with possibilities, to say the least. The governments of the world and borders have been shaken up and broken down and corporations (especially mega-corporations) have as much power or more than governments do. In other words, if the real world had magic, we’d be on our way to making Shadowrun a reality, not a fantasy.

So with all of that said about Shadowrun does that mean I’m devoting my free time to playing the game? No such luck. I’ve had a very busy year what with a day job promotion and everything else going on (some good, some bad). No, with Shadowrun I’m aching to write a story that takes place in that setting. As it is I’ve written several stories that were inspired by bits and pieces of Shadowrun (The Lost Girls series and even bits and pieces of Vitalis and Dark Universe), but I’ve never jumped in all the way. The reason behind that is copyright. I can’t sell a book that uses Shadowrun in it.

I am considering writing something up and releasing it as fan fiction, but I’m not sure how much trouble that could land me in either. The good news is any Shadowrun stuff I write would be free! Maybe better news would be attracting the attention of the copyright holders and being invited to write something for them (super unlikely, damn it). The most likely outcome will be me continuing to be inspired by my Shadowrun ideas and fill them into other books. Or I could create a new series altogether – but I’ve got enough as it is. I can’t imagine adding one more and trying to keep up with it. I struggle with the ones I have now, as I’m sure my readers are painfully aware.

Well, my cards on the table. Now I just need to see what I’m going to do with them. Keep checking to see what my decision will be. Whatever it is, it will come soon and I’ll be sharing it to get you ready for the next adventure!

 

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.

Happy Birthday For All!

What better way to celebrate my upcoming birthday than to release a new book? Vitalis: Miss Fortune, is out now!

That’s what I’ve been hard at work on for the past several weeks. A brand new sci fi novel that focuses on the life and story of a few people amidst the chaotic Vitalis universe. Unlike some of my previous Vitalis entries, this book doesn’t involve the movers and shakers, nor does it explore the possibilities of the planet Vitalis and the varied – and dangerous – creatures on it.

What Miss Fortune does do is show how the unfolding events are affecting the little people. The everyday people like you and I. The people that enjoy having a drink or two after work. The ones that have responsibilities to families and friends. The ones with loved ones who are sick or missing. The people who are so focused on their careers they forget to live a little, until they realize that maybe they missed the mark and living is more important.

I put all of those things into this book and I see them clearly, but I’m biased. It’s entirely possible that the average person might read this and just enjoy the action / adventure / thriller aspect of it. After all, there are cyborgs, genetically enhanced people, guns, martial arts, and even a couple of revealing dance scenes in a night club on the lower level of a space station.

There’s intrigue too, and enough background to move the entire Vitalis storyline along. After all, there’s a countdown to how much time humanity has left before the biggest threat they’ve ever faced arrives — and they aren’t coming to play nice. You can find it at the link below, including in print!

 

Vitalis - Miss Fortune_Small

Amazon

Amazon UK

Print Version

Everyone Else

 

What’s next? Well, I’m hard at work on a fantasy novel called Goblin Queen. It takes placed in the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon), and is going to officially be the third book in my Serpent’s War series. I hate to admit it, but I’m having more fun writing this book than I did the first two in this new series – it’s got a really fun new character AND I’m bringing back in more of the original characters from the earlier series (Garrick, Carson, Celos, and Aleena, to name just a few). Goblin Queen is also going to lead into another crossover between Voidhawk and the world of Kroth – but that will come later.

 

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.

 

Cyberpunk or Boy Meets Dragon for the Win

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Back in the early 90s I was a huge fan of the roleplaying game, Shadowrun. I dabbled once or twice in a similar game, Cyberpunk, as well. For those that don’t know (and don’t feel bad, I don’t expect many do), both games are near future science fiction that offers a dystopian society with the heroes being people that have learned to merge man and machine. Not quite Terminator-esque, more Robocop.

So what the heck does that have to do with anything? Well, I’ve been hankering lately to dig into something like that. I’ve dabbled in my Lost Girls series and in my Wanted series (which I’m currently writing book 4 on). But I think my next one is going to be something brand new. As in, a brand new series in a setting that has some similarities to it.

I haven’t worked out any details yet, but I’ve been debating if I want to go into a new fantasy series or something new and science fiction. I’m thinking I really want to go for the sci-fi cybernetically enhanced stuff. One or two books there and then perhaps onto the fantasy stuff. I still owe my readers a new Voidhawk book too. Hmm… the ideas are a popping now!

What’s brought this about? Well, as I’ve been talking, I’ve been studying books and sales and all the data I’ve gathered so far (over 10k records now). I’m seeing some impressive numbers in the sci-fi and fantasy lists. Numbers that, dang it, I’d like to hit. I don’t have the marketing or promo savvy to get my name out there worth a darn, nor the money to pay for getting it done. The alternative then is to just write my butt off and get more books out there. Of course a little word of mouth wouldn’t hurt either (wink, wink).

And reviews. How the heck do people have so many !@%^ing reviews on their books? I’ve got a few acquaintances / friends in the fantasy genre that have dozens or reviews or more on their books and they’re doing far better than I am. I know they aren’t buying reviews either, so I have to ask what the heck? Granted, they sell 10 – 20 copies / day than I do of most of their books.

Ah well, I’m grateful for what I get and I’ll keep pushing for more. Couple more days, hopefully by the end of this week, and Guardian (book 5 in the Lost Girls series) will be out. Then before the end of next month I hope to book 4 in the Wanted series out (no title yet).

And I still have a lot of data that’s crunching. Over 10,000 books on file so far. One of these days soon I should be able to make some sort of sense out of it. Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing it (or something else terribly interesting) 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.