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…And Then it Got Worse

The Goblin Queen has taken me longer to write than any book in the past five years. Truthfully, I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on it, but I would wager it’s been 2 months now. Two months for a novel is a far cry from a slow haul for most people, but I’m not most people. I write fast, it’s one of my trademarks. Well, this time around it seems I’m writing normal (or maybe less fast).

Is there a problem with the book? Heck, no! It’s just as amazing and fun to write as it ever has been. The problem has nothing to do with the characters, plot, or writing itself. The problem is a host of issues that have popped up recently. It’s been a rough couple of months for a variety of unrelated factors that all came to a head one after another. That adage that bad things come in three might have been an underestimation. And then, just when things seemed to be evening out and returning to normal my mother-in-law came down with a sudden and surprising illness that finally bested her.

Let me take a moment to let that sink in. Read it again, perhaps, to realize that my wife lost her mother and best friend. We’ve spent the last couple of weeks either at her bedside or, more recently, attending to funeral arrangements and getting her affairs in order. It was unpleasant, to say the least, but not the kind of unpleasant like cleaning up a plugged toilet without a plunger.

This grim reminder that nobody has yet found a way to get out of life alive has provided a bit of a creative setback as well. I like to write in science fiction and fantasy genres – two realms were the concept of immortality and life beyond death is a sparkling possibility. Yet the cruel reality of life has had a humbling effect.

And yet life goes on. I know I channeled a lot of my emotion into working out and just yesterday I sat down and forced myself to write again. I’m nearing the end of The Goblin Queen but still have a few chapters to go. The words come faster and easier now. I have my path to the end charted out, I need only finish the journey. Cover art is progressing as well and hopefully this book will be released in July sometime.

After The Goblin Queen I have no idea what I’ll work on. I should return to Dark Universe, but I’m not sure what might come next for that series (not to imply I don’t have a future in it, only that I’d need to review where I left off to pick it up anew). Vitalis is possible as well, or even something else. Perhaps I’ll try to work with my wife (Dawn Michelle) to continue her Continuum series in hopes of it helping her find her new sense of normal.

So, to my loyal readers, I apologize for the delay. It should be over soon though, and I promise this book is going to be a great read.

 

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.

The Family That Stays Together Slays Together

This is an update on The Goblin Queen. From the story perspective, it’s getting there. I’m over 60,000 words into it and (I think) only have a few chapters left. Getting to those chapters is proving troublesome though.

I’ve been ridiculously busy as summer is upon me. Work is increasingly hectic of late and there’s talk of saddling me with more responsibilities (which may or may not be welcome, depending on how it plays out). I also spent the last couple of months cutting (dieting / exercising to focus on losing fat but keeping muscle) and did a good job of it, now I’m trying to build more strength and put muscle back on which means eating more and working out 5x a week, with at least 3 days having both an am and a pm workout in them. It takes a lot of time, effort, and discipline to do it right and not lose everything I gained when I cut the weight in the first place.

Oh, and we’ve got a new camper we bought this spring so we’re trying to get that out at least once a month and last weekend was one of those weekends. My son has baseball games and practices after school, and there’s been lots of house / yard work that has to be done.

All in all, everyday problems everyone has to deal with. For the most part, it’s simple enough to knock those things out. We haven’t had a chance to crack open any more D&D sessions since my last write up, but I’m happy to say that my wife is going to join us. After all, the family that slays together, stays together! Hopefully soon we can get her a character put together and continue the adventures. They’ve got much to do to finish off their introductory session, and then after that I have some really fun ideas to keep them invested and furthering their careers as fantasy heroes.

This is supposed to be about The Goblin Queen, but I can’t stop myself from sharing the idea I stole from some random reddit posts – I’m going to set up alternate versions of the Disney Princesses as a coven of witches spread throughout Kroth for the players to try to take out. They’ll meet a witch hunter when they finish their current story arc and he’ll enlist their aid (hopefully). If not, I’ll find another way to encourage them to do that. Then again, it is D&D and the possibilities are endless – maybe they’ll end up heading off in another direction entirely if they choose. Not a problem if they do, I’ll have the evil Princesses on standby.

Now back to The Goblin Queen. The good guys just triumphed over evil in the book! Yay! Except the victory didn’t turn out to be a battle like they expected, nor were they prepared for what happened when they struck down the enemy that had consigned their souls to the dark magic of the Order. Even worse was learning what comes after – they’d fallen into a trap that they might have survived, but at a cost that could be the lives of thousands of innocent people that they know and care for. The Goblin Queen has played her part, but the final victory they need rests in the outnumbered hands of a desperate paladin willing to risk everything for their faith.

Oh, the cover is coming along nicely too. We’re still trying to figure out the art work portion of it, but I’m in love with the design we’ve got so far. I’m trying for more of a cover reminiscent of Child of Fate instead of the recent covers in The Serpent’s War series that some people found harsh or disturbing (I loved those too, but generally what I like and what most people like are not the same).

Now then, back to work! This book isn’t going to finish itself.

 

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.

Overdue Update on My Fantasies

Either this blog title is clickbait or it’s sending people screaming and hiding. I’m okay with both.

The intent behind it is to share the latest book status. Fantasy is especially fitting since I’m writing a book titled, “The Goblin Queen.” It’s the next book in The Serpent’s War series, but I have to say this one is nothing like the two that came before. As I’ve said before, I enjoyed writing those books, but it was more work and less fun. This one has been nothing but fun, both when I write and when I’m not writing but thinking about it. It takes me back to the first series, Blades of Leander, and I can’t wait for people to read it! In fact, thinking about this book has gotten me through a lot of treadmill time while warming up or cooling down on my workout days (I run a mile before and after lifting).

Recently the story has expanded quite a bit. I originally intended only to follow Grishna (new main character), Garrick, Carson, Namitus, Aleena, Celos, and Gildor in their quest to investigate and attempt to foil the plans of the Order of the Dragon as they build their army. Inspiration and far reaching plans have launched a few more subplots though, enough to draw Alto, Patrina, Jethallin, Mordrim, Karthor, and Kar into the mix.

And wow have the characters grown and changed. Here’s just a sample of what’s come to pass:

  • Jethallin went from her role as a homeless young mother in Shazamir to the High Warden of the forests of the Kingdom of Altonia. Jennaca, her daughter, is doing well and getting into all sorts of trouble, by the way.
  • Kar has apprentices that are contributing to his mad scheme of mastering the air by piloting the experimental airships he’s creating. So far the injuries have been minor…
  • Karthor has been granted the title of High Priest of the Altonia branch of the church of Leander. His liberal beliefs have caused disturbances amongst those entrenched in the church’s ranks, but the number of faithful in Altonia is growing faster than any temple or missionary in the history of Saint Leander’s worship.
  • Aleena and Celos have been wed! Ahem, excuse me, that’s Dame Aleena Lyonsbane and Sir Celos Lyonsbane. Even though Celos can’t let a chance slip by to try and one up Moonshine, Aleena’s unicorn companion.
  • Patrina and Alto are soon to welcome an heir to the throne, and Patrina can’t wait to be able to fit into her armor again.
  • Mordrim has been named dwarven ambassador to Altonia, though his duties often keep him traveling and unable to enjoy the rewards of the work he has done.

 

The bad guys have changed too. The Order of the Dragon has learned from their setbacks and explore new ways to exert their will on the peoples of the world of Kroth. The first key to their success was in obtaining the help of a half-breed, which they’ve done in enlisting Lariki the half-dragon to be the general of their armies. Next they must eliminate their biggest threat if they hope to succeed – the Kingdom of Altonia and its champions must be destroyed.

 

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.

The Serpent and The Girl

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

I was wracking my brain for a catchy blog title and decided to go with something that sounded rather biblical. And taboo / risqué / naughty. I admit, that’s how I roll. I’m one of those guys that often says the things that other people think but are afraid to talk about. I figure if I scare a few people off the voices in my head will still talk to me.

Enough rambling! What the heck am I talking about? Well it’s a new book. Servant of the Serpent, a new fantasy novel set in my world of Kroth. It happens to be book one of a new series I’m working on (Serpent’s War). I would have called it the Serpentwar series, but another far more renowned author than I (Raymond Feist) already has a series by that name. He wrote some darn fine books too, I have to admit.

But this isn’t about him, this is about something new and never-before-read! Servant of the Serpent takes place in the southern lands. More southern than even Shazamir, for long time readers. New lands are explored and new enemies are encountered. Of course the book ties in to old enemies (and friends) as well. There’s a connection and an overall sweeping plot behind the scenes here, after all.

Servant of the Serpent marks the eight book in the world of Kroth (nine, if you count the visit from the Voidhawk’s crew in Voidhawk: Broken Shards). There’s plenty more to come with new adventure, excitement, and the occasional maiden being eaten by a dragon.

Here’s the blurb, cover, and a link to get it on Amazon. It may be available elsewhere soon too, I’m evaluating my distribution channels and trying to pick what works the best.

 

Servant fo the Serpent, book 1 of the Serpent's War fantasy series, by Jason Halstead
Allie was meant for something more.

The world of Kroth is full of amazing people. Men and women that did miraculous deeds. Kings and queens and knights and wizards. Allie wanted to meet some of them. She wanted to learn what it was like to make a difference and to escape the hot and dusty life on the edge of the desert.

Yet dark forces are moving in the shadows and trying to reclaim what was lost. A secret prophecy guides them on their quest for blood and fire. The path of the scaled splisskin people cross with Allie’s, proving that the cost of her dreams might be more than she can bear.

Amazon

Amazon UK

 

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.

The Pen is Mighty Because of the Sword

I’m asked all the time where I come up with all my ideas for stories. Partly because I’ve got a ton of them – after all, that’s why I haven’t been blogging as much lately, I’ve been writing hard on new books (Voidhawk – Broken Shards, the 7th book in the series and a tie in to the Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon series) and helping my wife out with her Claimed by the Beast books. I tell people I’ve always been writing and always been coming up with ideas. People, places, things – all the essentials for writing.

Then this weekend happened. My wife had a bachelor party to throw this weekend and I stayed home with the kids. Ages almost 8 and 5.5. They both love telling stories and making things up (more than just the ones where they try to get out of trouble), so I figured – what the heck, let’s try something different. I did some research since I lost all my original books years and years ago and found out that a brand spanking new fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons was being released. Better yet, the 110 page core intro book was available as a free download!

Well, I downloaded and read through it to see what the changes were since the editions I enjoyed playing (first and second, 3, 3.5, and 4 were all too complicated and took away from the spirit of the game, in my opinion). 5th Edition seems geared to go back a little and make it more fun and less complicated. I hope. Then I reached the end of the book and realized there was no monsters, no DM guidelines, and nothing else of much help.

So another Internet search led me to packing the kids up and heading to a hobby / comics store a few miles away to pick up the starter kit and sets of dice for each kid. That included an adventure, some pre-rolled characters, and some generic monsters. It’s a long cry from something a real campaign can be developed out of, but it’s a start.

That day we began the adventure. We didn’t get far beyond an initial encounter. It got my daughter (the almost 8 year old) excited and my son uncertain and possibly freaked out. It also helped him focus on his basic math skills. The next day after my wife got home she joined the adventure and we finished the first milestone. Woohoo!

And somewhere along the way I realized something. This wasn’t what started my love of creating and writing, but it helped a lot. More than a lot, it was essential to helping me figure out a lot of how to come up with ideas and make them complete and well rounded. After all, since my first time playing Dungeons and Dragons when I was 11 years old I quickly became the dungeon master. No, there’s no whips and leather outfits involved, it means the guy (or girl) that runs the game. In my case, I usually created my own worlds and adventures to put my victims— er, friends— through.

So, genre and characters aside, I learned how to tell a story because I used to fantasize about using swords and sorcery to battle dragons and rescue maidens. My kids are enjoying the game so far (the girl loves it and the boy is coming around, especially when he was responsible for putting some serious hurt down on the leader of the bad guys). I suspect the colorful descriptions I’m giving, especially when battling feral wolves, goblins, and bloodthirsty bugbears, helps make it more fun for them too. Oh, and the family that slays together, stays together. 😉

 

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.

The Mighty 42

I had a busy weekend that started on Friday morning with a trip to the court house to get a restraining order against my landlord. That was followed by working the day job in the afternoon and then house hunting followed after work. Then I finished Vitalis: Genesis and sent it to my copy editor. That was Friday.

Saturday started with a masochistic morning workout while my daughter was in dance class and my son in gymnastics (next year he’s switching to karate – yikes). Then a trip across the state to go deer hunting, complete with a lot of correspondence with our realtor while sitting in a tree stand. We stayed the night at my parent’s house and came back home on Sunday to attend to the usual weekend chores and continue to deal with the housing situation.

The good news is it looks like we’ve got a new place lined up – or at least lining up. The bad news? The rent is higher even though we talked them down a couple hundred bucks a month. More bad news – didn’t see a single deer.

I could go on about the distressing events coming up in life, but you don’t want to hear that and I only focus on making progress and solutions, not problems. So that brings me to what’s next on my plate – figuring out what the heck I’m going to write for Dragonlady, the much anticipated end of the Order of the Dragon series! When the dust settles this will be my 42nd book.

So what is the story going to be about? Well, Alto’s returning north to take care of some business. He’s not sure what business, exactly, but from what he’s heard from Garrick and the others there are disturbing things happening in The Northern Divide (mountain range).

Meanwhile Aleena and Celos plan to confront Rosalyn about her armies and her apparent lack of control of them. This opens up more opportunities, both for Aleena and for Graak, the current ogre warleader. Meanwhile the feisty wood elves in the forest are being slaughtered by the marauding ogres. I’ll confess, I’m not a big fan of elves. They’re too high and mighty in too many fantasy settings. And the elf-on-a-shelf my kids have? How creepy! This guy’s a stalker watching my children just waiting for them to step out of line. Yeah, sorry wood elven people, harsh times are-a-coming!

What else is there? Why there’s Jethallin – thanks for reminding me! She’s stuck captive of a madman in the desert right now on her way to fight an impossible fight to save the man who holds her captive in her dreams. And through it all she’s taking Jennaca, her infant, along with her because her hope is to provide a better life for her daughter. Talk about picking the short straw! If she survives all that she hopes to find Alto again – she’s still convinced he’s the secret to her success. And not in a creepy I’m-going-to-kill-your-fiance-and-trick-you-into-loving-me-instead kind of way. Heh, like Patrina wouldn’t kick her butt if she tried.

Ideas galore, plus a couple I haven’t mentioned, such as a stopover at one of the free cities (Peltarch) where Alto might have a chance to run afoul of the King of Peltarch who happens to be one of Shazamir’s special offspring. Minor spoiler there, but don’t worry, I still plan to make it plenty of fun. There’s more to come too, lots of ideas.

I’d really planned to have this be the final story for Alto but a new idea has been tickling the back of my head to. Another trilogy, perhaps? After all, the path to the throne is seldom an easy one to walk.

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.

It’s Time for Some Payback!

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

No tricks and no fancy play on words today. This post is about the release of my latest novel, Silver Dragon. I’ve blogged about it a few times but now it’s finally here. Silver Dragon is the third book in my Blades of Leander Series (Child of Fate and Victim of Fate preceded it). It picks up the story immediately after Alto has buried his fallen loved ones and follows him on his path of revenge.

Rather than waste time trying to drop teasers without spoiling the story, here’s the blurb, cover, and links. If you enjoy an epic fantasy that has a little bit of everything in it, head on over and pick it up.

Alto’s hands are stained with the blood of the fallen. The only justice he can find must be had by the blade, but the path of vengeance shows him that he is but a pawn in a far more dangerous game. Sarya’s plans reach far beyond anything the young warrior could imagine and require a sacrifice from him greater than he can give.

Alto must make fear his ally if he is to lead his companions into the dragon’s lair with any hope of saving the woman he loves and the two nations he calls home.

Silver Dragon, book 3 in the Blades of Leander fantasy series by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble (coming soon)

iTunes (coming soon)

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony (coming soon)

Print (coming 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.