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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Forever Isn’t What It Used To Be

July 8, 2015 2 comments

Great news – Chasing the Dark is off for editing and cover art! That’s book 3 in the Dark Universe series. Originally I planned a trilogy and after that some spin offs. Well, it turns out the characters I planned to do spin-offs with have meshed too well and the story isn’t done yet. So there will be at least 4 books, if not many more before I even consider branching off.

But that’s not what this is about. I was excited about Chasing the Dark. I mean really, really excited. It was a fun story and the characters were a blast. Aden, Twyf, and Seph were the main characters throughout and the things they said and did…well, I won’t give any spoilers, but it was great. Then a new character entered the storyline and really made a difference. Of course, tragedy struck and things got complicated. Life was on the line and there was a lot of hurt being dished out. All in all, good times!

So I came off that high and went straight into Voidhawk #8 this morning. I had ideas that had been bouncing around in the back of my head for months now. Well, they spilled out tonight and filled page after page. The first chapter is written and I’m shocked at how energized I feel, especially after how busy I’ve been lately and how Chasing the Dark played out.

It’s far too early to give any details about how Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess will go, but here’s a tiny snippet to enjoy. It will provide a little extra enjoyment to those familiar with the Blades of Leander series and / or Voidhawk – Broken Shards.

 

The demoness took an awkward step forward and swept her hand to the side. Caitlyn fell silent as though she’d had the air snatched from her breast. “Come to me, child,” the demoness purred. “I grow cold and I hunger.”

Caitlyn moaned. She wasn’t supposed to touch her. The instructions had stressed that. She was to acquire the demon’s name and give it instructions and a prize it could claim. Then it would go. Her brother would be lost, ensnared by the demon. Strife would follow and Queen Patrina would find herself sickening from poison. Then Caitlyn would rule, forging an alliance between Shazamir and Altonia. The Order would have their biggest threat removed, clearing the way for the armies in the south to launch their war.

“Isn’t that better?” the demoness whispered in Caitlyn’s ear.

Caitlyn gasped. When had she crossed the circle? She was inside…with her! She tried to shake her head but only a tiny whimper escaped her lips. The demoness’s fingers caressed her cheek and neck, setting her skin aflame with sensation. The flames ran through her body, making her tingle all over before settling low in her belly and leaving her gasping.

“Feed me,” she murmured into Caitlyn’s ear.

Caitlyn turned, trying to see through the red fog that overwhelmed her. She was on fire with need. She’d never felt this desire. This lust. She needed to be touched. To be filled. To be completed. “Yesssss,” she whispered until her sibilant compliance was swallowed by the demoness.

 

Stay tuned for more. Or, at the rate this book is burning through me, stay tuned for me to announce it’s ready to 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.

Crisis in the Middle Life

The years come and go. I remember aching to grow up and be able to do my own thing – I really didn’t like being a kid. Then when I hit 18 it was just another day, imagine my disappointment. The world didn’t open up to me and bestow the opportunities and riches I felt I deserved. WTF, right?

Fast forward a couple of decades and then some and I’ve learned what just about everyone else learns. Hard work and trying to make smart decisions to recover from the stupid decisions made earlier in life are the way to go. And yet the journey through life is perilous and filled less with opportunity and more with fear. We lost friends and family along the way and we have to wonder, when is it my turn? Ideally it will be a long time off yet, but freak accidents and tragedy strike somebody, somewhere, every day. Will I do the things I always wanted to do?

As a kid we (boys, mostly, I can’t speak for girls) daydream about growing up to be somebody cool. The popular ones I remember were a soldier, a police officer, a fireman, or an astronaut, although I’m sure there were others. I never once thought of living a life in suburbia with a wife, 2 kids, a dog and a cat. That’s boring stuff! Yet that’s what I’m doing. That’s what almost all of us end up doing. And the combination of fear of failure and realization of a normal life brings about the dreaded mid-life crisis.

We were meant for something more, damn it! Sports cars and private jets and walks on the moon. And stuff. Lots of shiny stuff. Instead here we are, having garage sales and worrying about making enough to pay the bills, send the kids to school, and save up for when the roof needs to be replaced. A vacation? Ugh…who’s going to pay for that?

Yet the world keeps spinning, regardless of our worries. The day will come when it spins without me on it, and it won’t make a bit of difference to the world at large. Perhaps our greatest trait and biggest downfall is our arrogance in thinking that we matter. We want to make a difference – to leave a legacy to be remembered by, yet the memory of the universe doesn’t give a damn about us, either as individuals or as a species. It will continue long after we do not.

As for me personally, I still fantasize about reaching the point where I can buy a Corvette (C7 body style, preferably a Z06 but I may settle for a Stingray instead), but there’s a lot of bills between me and that first. I have a good job and I get to live out my fantasies on a daily basis in the books I read and write. I never planned on having kids, but I’ve got two of them and as far as kids go, they’re the best ones I’ve found. I won the lottery when it comes to my wife, so complaining would be about the dumbest thing I could do. All in all, I’ve done pretty good for myself thus far, in spite of the day to day challenges that I, and everyone else, face.

Why am I writing this and why should you care? Well, for those that made it this far, here’s why… all of these thoughts rattled around and twisted together in my head until they morphed into something else. Something about another middle aged character of mine. An old friend that, when I first wrote about him, I liked to think that I might be a little like him when I was his age. You might remember him, his name is Carl Waters.

For many of my readers hearing that name probably caused a gasp of wonder and excitement. Why would I mention Carl…unless…could it be… another Wanted book? To answer that question I have to dig deeper first.

Carl’s still middle aged, but he’s on the far side of it by now. To be honest, I don’t remember how old he was at the end of Marshal, but a few more years have passed since then. The Wanted series has arguably been my most successful series of books to date, but that’s not a good reason to write another one. I needed a reason. A story to tell, rather than just some drivel that’s popular in the market. I needed Carl to be inspired.

So all these thoughts I had combined with some feedback from readers. Tanya’s a control freak and a mess, Jessie’s wrapped up in living her uninhibited life the way she wants to live it, and Carl is his typical hard-ass uncompromising self. But what if Carl had a new opportunity? Something that piqued his interest and required his skills, yet challenged him in new ways? And what if he needed Tanya’s help along the way? The thing is, like usual, Tanya has secrets that complicate things. Complications that, when dealing with people like this, can have life and death consequences.

I could go on, but I haven’t started it yet. To be honest, I probably won’t start it for a couple of months yet, as I’m mid way through my third book in my Dark Universe setting and then I have another book that I can’t wait to write in my Voidhawk series. I need more of me so I can get to the things I want to get to! Since there’s only one of me (my kids and wife are thankful of that), I beg your patience while I slap the keys and do what I can do to get these books out. Living forever may be impossible, but by reading and writing it’s possible to live many lives. I guess if that’s the best I can manage then that’s all right by me.

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.

Time for Change

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been too busy, really, and using what writing time I have to focus on…well, writing. It’s been a struggle this year. Lackluster book sales and a busy schedule have combined to reduce my output and put a bit of a heavy weight on my shoulders. Add in a sinus infection and crappy Michigan weather and I’ve got lots of excuses, but no real justification.

Meanwhile, I’ve stumbled across a new idea. Not for a story, but for a character. The last time this happened I struggled and finally ended up finding a home for the new character. She ended up starting up a series in my Dark Earth setting and, over the span of the last five years, has been responsible for bringing in a little of sales and happy readers. Here’s the funny part – those books would have done a lot better if they had a woman’s name on them instead of mine.

Waving my finger at the way in which we pick books to read aside, I’m still pretty darn happy with how Katalina Wimple and The Lost Girls turned out. I still love the character and what she’s been through and accomplished. It’s because of her that my new idea is gaining more and more traction in my head.

So who is this character? I don’t know yet. I do know it’s a she. I also know she’s in a sci-fi setting because she’s been in some pretty rough stuff and only survived because of very advanced medicine. Probably injuries comparable to something Darth Vader-esque. Except she’s not nearly as whiny and obnoxious as the shmuck that was Annakin Skywalker.

So where does she go? Vitalis? Dark Universe? Something new? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest, but I’m leaning towards Dark Universe. Not what I had intended for book three in that series, but I might introduce her there. Set the stage, so to speak, so that she can start things up after book three is over and I’ve told the major story arc I had planned for Aden and the crew of the Uma.

Or maybe another idea will come along and I’ll do something else with her. It’s hard to know, honestly, but I do know I really like her and she’s here to stay. My wife’s books aren’t doing as well as they did last year and she’d disappointed by that enough that she’s slowing down. That means, hopefully, I can focus more on my stuff. For lovers of Dawn Michelle don’t worry, she’s not giving up and going away, just slowing down and thinking things through.

On that note, book three of The Lost Pack is due out soon, perhaps by Monday. Book 4 is close behind, maybe another week or two. Books five and beyond are coming too, she hasn’t gotten to them yet though. I’m pushing to help her get them out, the sooner we do the sooner I can turn back to Dark Universe and Voidhawk, in particular. I really want to start my next Voidhawk book, but I’m also dying to continue the Dark Universe setting. Decisions, decisions…

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.

I Choose Fantasy

February 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Rise of the Serpent, Book 2 in the Serpent's War series, by Jason HalsteadThis blog post isn’t so much a new release blurb so much as a call for me to ask WTF is wrong with America. See that picture above? I’m told it’s too scary and sexy. I’ve gotten feedback telling me people expect it to be fantasy porn to “rapey”. The nicest feedback in that camp is “sexy wrestlemania.”

To be fair, there’s been a few people that don’t see it that way at all. They like the cover. Heck, I like the cover, I think it’s really awesome. It shows a strong warrior who has the crazy eyes going on. Why? Well it’s not because he wants to take the athletic woman covered in snakeskin tattoos to a dark alley and do violent / pornographic things to her! The big guy has a story and a lot of depth to him, none of which includes any particular or unnecessary violence towards women. Yet the feedback I’m getting about that cover is that the guy is what’s freaking people out, not the girl.

So this question is not about the cover, it’s about what the hell is wrong with society. Why is it such a frightening or dreadful thing for a man to be large and muscular? I get the crazy eyes bit, but that harness he’s wearing has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey, it’s appropriate attire for his time and place. Has Planet Fitness won with their bullshit propaganda about big hard working athletic men and women are to be ridiculed and feared?

I’ve busted my ass in the gym for most of my adult life and built myself into a large and physically powerful man. Does that mean women and children should run screaming from me because I’m obviously going to chase them into a dark alley and do bad things to them?

I know I can’t change the horrible mess that our culture and society is becoming. Books have been accused of being subversive, or at least as catalysts of societal change. 70+ books later, society keeps getting more and more out of whack with what makes sense. With age comes the wisdom to see such things and to modify what I say and do and deliver to fit the times, but it also comes with bitterness. To that end, I am looking at redoing some of my covers in hopes of drawing in a bigger crowd of people.

Because of all of this, I choose to dream and spend as much time as possible in fantasy. I want to revel in stories and worlds where dedication and commitment is admired. Where people aren’t made fun of for trying to be better at what they believe in. I want to read about heroes that act on principle, rather than being afraid to stand out and be different. That’s what I want, and that’s what I write. People who make a difference for the better. Sadly, my heroes these days are fictional. The world is lacking in champions that I can find admirable.

If you’re like me and you like to escape the politically correct nonsense we live in, maybe you should ignore the threatening cover and try out the book above. It’s the second one in my Serpent’s War series.

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

iTunes

Kobo

Scribd

Page Foundry / Inktera

Next up on my plate is Out of the Dark, the sequel to Into the Dark. Or, if you prefer, book 2 in the Dark Universe setting. After that? Probably the eighth Voidhawk book, the eighth Vitalis book, or maybe even book 3 in the Dark Universe series.

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.

Look Ma, New Ads!

February 12, 2015 Leave a comment

Continuing the website rebuild project I’ve added a section on the bottom left. I forget what I called it, but it’s under my newsletter signup form. The content of this section is a single ad chosen randomly among the ads I have on file. So far I’ve got four, one for my wife, a couple of other authors, and another to a new website put up to showcase free reads on the Kindle.

My plan? Millions of dollars in advertising revenue, of course! Okay, maybe not. In fact, I’m not charging a damn thing for this. Stupid? Maybe, but I don’t figure I can justify charging until I know if it does any good. So far the results are disappointing, but I am tracking the number of displays and number of clicks. Then, if things do eventually start working out, I may dig deeper into monetizing it.

But how? Am I going to be one of THOSE guys that charges for ad space? Maybe…but probably not. I’d rather go with an affiliate account and spare my fellow starving writers. That and I have this annoying habit of trying to help people. Sure, my ulterior motive is that if they succeed I can ride their coat tails into greatness, but so far I remain firmly entrenched in the helping others mode.

This experiment did get me thinking though. What other web pages can I build up to help myself and others? The http://www.readfantasy.org ad I added last night really got me thinking. Except that’s already been done now, so what else can I do? Happily taking ideas if anybody has them.

And yes, I need to build up a website for Dawn Michelle too, but that’s going to take a little more time and effort. Meanwhile I’ve still got to write. Rise of the Serpent is coming very soon and I’m on chapter four of Out of the Dark, book two in the Dark Universe series. At this rate I should have Out of the Dark ready to go by mid to late March, as long as I can do my part and my editor and cover artist are available.

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 Alive!

February 7, 2015 Leave a comment

After years of neglect, it’s time to try again

 

I’m talking about my website. It’s been old, dusty, and unmaintained for far too long. Well after the last week of work, I’m happy to say that’s not the case anymore! Not only did I give it a complete overhaul, but I changed technologies to make it faster and more secure, and switched it from my old twitchy ISP to be hosted on my own server sitting a few feet behind me.

Try it out and see what you think. ALL of my books are on there now (listed by series), as well as handy links for free books and audio books. My past newsletters are archived there, and there’s a direct feed from my blog. It’s almost like I knew what I was doing!

But I can’t take all the credit. My wife, the lovely Dawn Michelle, provided a lot of assistance in picking colors and laying things out (and by a lot I mean damn near all of them – I can’t pick one decent color, let alone the half dozen or more used in a website). My beta testing team consisted of a wonderful group of writers and readers too lengthy to list – but I express my heartfelt appreciation to them all.

Check it out, It’s www.booksbyjason.com.

But wait, I mentioned multiple releases…what else have I got up my sleeve? Rise of the Serpent, book 2 in The Serpent’s War fantasy series. No, it’s not available just yet, but it will be very soon. I’ve got a soft date of Feb 15 from my editor and I’ve been actively working on cover art with one of my amazing cover artists.

And now that I’ve hit a happy point with the website, it’s time to get back to writing! Dark Universe, here I come… I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of ideas to put into the sequel for Into the Dark. Now I get my chance to make it happen! But don’t worry, fans of Vitalis and Voidhawk, those are coming soon too.

Thanks for the patience while the construction dust settles. Now it’s time for me to get back to work to get the books flowing again.

 

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 Cost of Writing…and other BS

January 29, 2015 4 comments

Anybody in the world of writing has probably seen all the hoopla about an article in Salon by some lady who’s name I don’t remember. She went on ad nauseum to discuss how success was only possible because her husband made a substantial income that allowed her to stay at home and write. Everybody else wouldn’t talk about the money or where it came from, it was taboo.

Uh… no. I’ve been talking about it for years. And I’ve been working my tail off too. And not just at writing, I’ve got a day job too. I’ve always had a day job. And I’ve written. And I went to school for three degrees. And I have two young children and a wife I adore.

Since 2009 I’ve been doing all of that and writing professionally. The schooling ended a couple of years ago after I finished my MBA, but nothing else did. This year I have over 30 releases planned, from several full length novels and a few novellas to multiple serials. In 2014 I put out 22, so it’s very realistic.

What about the numbers for 2014? Well, they weren’t nearly as good as 2013, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean they were dismal or upsetting. I damn near hit $60k with books, after all! What worked best? Science Fiction and some (not all) fantasy. Summer, fall, and winter saw definite plunges in ebook sales. I offset it with a combined exploratory effort into paranormal romance with my wife and that, in turn, led me to a NY Time and USA Today bestseller spot.

Yet I’m still at the day job and struggling to get sales back up to levels I can accept. I’m dabbling in advertising, something I’ve had no success with in the past. It’s helping a little, and between that and a new book that’s doing quite well (Into the Dark, a new science fiction book that will begin my Dark Universe series), things are coming back around. Fantasy, sadly, seems to be dying off for me.

But you want the details nobody else gives you. I’m here to deliver:

Title Genre # Books 2014 Royalties
Blades of Leander Fantasy 3 $5,155
Order of the Dragon Fantasy 4 $3,998
Serpent’s War Fantasy 1 (2 more in 2015) $43
Homeland Intrigue, Erotica 2 $156
Dark Earth Urban Fantasy, Paranormal 5 $1,120
The Lost Girls Sci-fi, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy 5 $5,386
Vitalis Sci-fi 7 $11,741
Voidhawk Fantasy, Space Opera 7 $10,454
Wanted Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic 4 $9,568
Fallen Angels Urban Fantasy, Occult 3 $438
Transcendent Sci-Fi 1 $105
Claimed by the Beast Paranormal Romance (shifters) 6 $6,133
Blood Kissed Paranormal Romance (vamps) 2 (1 more in 2015) $97

 

You might notice all the links above. That’s my subtle way of inviting you to check them out and see why they are as successful as they’ve been – or not as successful as they should be. And this paragraph? Well, this one is the same thing, except maybe not as subtle!

I’ve been very disappointed with the response to Serpent’s War, for example. After two great fantasy series in the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander and Order of the Dragon), as well as a Voidhawk book (Broken Shards) that visited the world, Serpent’s War is pretty much tanking. I will finish book two (Rise of the Serpent) this week and get it to my editor for a release hopefully in mid to late February), but I’m not expecting much. I wrote it because it needed to be written, as does the third book in the series.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up touches on a new paranormal romance series about werewolves and a young woman that’s been terrorized by them most of her life. Tooth and Nayelle has five parts that are releasing on a regular cadence through late March / early April. My next project is probably going to be chasing the success of Into the Dark, then I’ll work with my wife, Dawn Michelle, to capture more of the magic she and I make together in the PNR world.

Other projects for 2015? I don’t have them handy, but I’m planning two Voidhawk books, 2 Vitalis books, finishing off the Serpent’s War trilogy, and probably turning my Dark Universe series into at least three books. It’s going to be a busy year, but I’m also going to be working a day job full time because I’ve got bills to pay and a need for medical insurance I can afford.

To those who feel they can only write if they live an otherwise pampered life? Suck it up and get your hands dirty. You might learn something, even if it’s only about yourself.

 

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.

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