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Posts Tagged ‘lesbian’

Another Girl Lost

February 9, 2019 Leave a comment

I’ve lost track how long it’s been since I last heard from Katalina Wimple. For those who don’t know her, you should. She’s pretty darn amazing. She came to me one day out of nowhere because she had a story that needed to be told. For some reason she decided I was the one to tell her story and she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

 

Imagine, if you will, a petite woman that barely tops 5 feet tall with the training of a police officer giving you that look. The look that makes you suspect it’s a good thing you don’t know what she’s going to do you if you don’t do what she wants. I’m a reasonably big guy and Katalina is not, but there was never any question about what I was going to do.

 

In fact, she made me do something I’d never done before – I wrote back to back books about her without writing something else in between. She was demanding, to say the least, and is to this day my all time favorite character I’ve ever written. Oh sure, I’ve had some great ones, but Katalina was special. So special I started to hate it when she made me write a new story about her. I didn’t want to experience what happened to her, because it always hurt. After the fifth Lost Girls book, Guardian, I believed that we were finally done. She could retire and enjoy some long deserved peace and the embrace of those who loved her.

 

For a few years it worked. In fact, it sort of still is working. But she let me know there’s somebody else I need to write about. It’s not her, but it’s somebody she met through her adopted daughter. Another special girl by the name of Amelia Foster. Or, as her customers call her, Bling.

 

Devoted readers of my stories might remember a character named Bling from a novel I wrote and submitted to the Shadowrun role playing game people. They liked it, but it didn’t mesh enough to be included in their official canon. They encouraged me to publish it as fan fiction though, so I did. A version of Bling was in it, but that wasn’t enough for her. So she told me to put her in something else that would let her keep her unique flair. She was always a Lost Girl, and now she’s found her way home.

 

Bling is my newest release and is the 6th book in the Lost Girl series. Amelia is a child of two worlds with a tendency to make bad choices. Her intentions are golden, but she doesn’t always have the patience or wisdom for the long term. She was orphaned by the government as a child and tossed into the foster system with her younger brother. For people like them the foster system is an ugly place. Dark Earthers are considered second hand citizens, at best, and Amelia’s strangely pointed ears made her more of a target than most. As soon as possible, Amelia took her brother and they ran away. They’ve bounced from homeless shelter to abandoned homes to dark alleys ever since.

 

This book picks up after Amelia and her brother have found a somewhat stable life in downtown Phoenix. He’s in 5th grade and she goes to school when she’s not too tired because she works late nights as an Amateur Entertainment Contractor. Hey, it’s good money and legal work, aside from her having to get fake certifications because of the status of her birth. Most of the customers are pigs, but it’s easy work.

 

Easy until her bad choices team up and decide to teach her a lesson. The odds are against her and she’s got a lot of hard lessons to learn if she’s going to keep her brother safe and keep herself alive.

Amazon

Amazon UK

Everybody Else

Remember when I said Katy made me write back to back books about her? Well, I’m doing it again with Amelia. Bling 2.0 is halfway done, in fact. Yes, 2.0 is a weird name for a sequel, but in it Bling is definitely upgraded and reborn. A new version, if you will. Same girl with the same quirks and shortcomings, but she thinks she’s better outfitted to deal with them. Nothing could prepare her for what she’s going to face though.

 

 

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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I Finally Killed the Zombies!

March 28, 2014 1 comment

For years now I’ve agonized over a cover for a book of mine that I just didn’t like. The characters looked like zombies. Dirty, blood stained, mindless, flesh eating, you know the type. But that was what my original publisher thought was a great cover and my objections were promptly ignored.

Well it’s my book now (has been for a while, I’ve just been focused on new stuff). So now I’m unveiling a new and polished look by a great cover artist I found in Italy. I didn’t have to go to Italy, unfortunately (hmm, tax write off?). Her name is Cora and she can be found at http://www.coragraphics.it/.

But enough about that, first marvel at the polished beauty of the new and improved cover for my alternative romance / scorched earth / alien survival thriller, Human Nature!

Human Nature, by Jason Halstead

And I’ve got something in the works for a possible sequel for it too. Second Nature…I know, cheesy, but it”ll be worth it, I promise!

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.

Good Intentions Gone Wrong

February 27, 2014 Leave a comment

After I wrote Black Widow, the fourth book in The Lost Girls series, I did everything short of promise that I wouldn’t write another. That bothered a lot of people – they wanted more. The main character had been a part of my life (fictitiously speaking) for several years now and I couldn’t subject her to the kind of hurt that a main character goes through.

Then I came up with another idea. I’d closed a few chapters in Katalina’s life and didn’t want to make it any worse for her. But damn it, this new idea…it needed her to make it work. So Katalina came out of retirement for Guardian, book 5 in The Lost Girls series.

Having confessed all of that, I’m not the one with the good intentions gone bad. It’s actually the premise behind the book. There’s somebody who means the best and wants to help out, but they don’t realize the consequences of their actions until it’s too late. Forty years too late.

Here’s the blurb, cover, and all that jazz but before I get to it the obvious question is: what’s next? Will there be a Lost Girls 6? I can’t say. About the same time I thought of the idea for this story I was trying to come up with an idea for some detective agency based fiction. I thought of a bunch of young people trying to both atone for their own screw-ups as well as learning how to get by and do a little good in the process. Katalina would make an excellent mentor, if not a main character. Guardian sets the stage for that with Katalina and Skyler’s second chance home for troubled foster kids.

 

Guardian, by Jason Halstead

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Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Kobo / Sony (coming soon)

Smashwords

iTunes (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.

Gay Rights or Wrongs?

February 26, 2014 2 comments

I was doing something earlier today that involved writing down information on some of my books and checking for reviews and ratings. I was curious on how many I had on a few books because I’m considering some advertising that requires minimum numbers of reviews and ratings on the books being listed. To that end, I’m also hoping to ramp up some reviews rather quickly on my next new release, Guardian.

And since I mentioned it, if you’re a fan of the Lost Girls series and want a pre-release copy of Guardian in exchange for a review being posted on Amazon’s US site when it launches, let me know. I’ll happily hook you up. This, however, is not the reason for my blog post.

So back to this morning when I was checking reviews on my Wanted series. Accidentally I happened to glance at a couple. Really, it was an accident – I didn’t mean to and I didn’t read the entire thing. But what I fixated on was someone bashing the book for the open minded attitude the characters had about sexuality at the end. Really. A novel that has practically nothing to do with sexual orientation gets picked on because a couple of characters in it happen to be confused about their own orientation and / or sexuality. Seriously, WTF?

It made me think though. Not about gay rights, straight rights, or any of that stuff. As far as I’m concerned people can do whatever the hell they want as long as they stay off my lawn when they’re doing it. Want to marry someone of the same sex? Good luck! Seems like half or more marriages don’t fare well these days, regardless of the plumbing (mine is doing awesome, by the way).

What it made me think about was whether a lot of the characters in my books are too open minded. Am I driving away readers because I have a subconscious agenda I’m not aware of? I think the world would be a lot better off if we stopped worrying about who was screwing who and what sort of positions and / or assistance they needed to do it. Just the same that I think we should stop worrying about which flavor of religion our neighbors follow (and they give us the same respect).

But have I pushed people away by hinting or mentioning these things in my books? Maybe. I have one series (The Lost Girls) where the main character starts out as the kind of lesbian you have nightmares about (except she’s short and cute, but she’ll still rip your nuts off if you look at her funny). Her sexuality is integral to the story, but it’s not something that I preached or flaunted in the books. Come to think about it, I’ve probably had less flack about that series than some of my others.

In my Vitalis books, particularly the second one (Resurrection), I’ve got two gay characters that almost get hot and steamy before disaster strikes. I put them in there to prove a point, I admit. I wanted to show that yes, homosexuality is one flavor of humanity and it happens in the future just like it happens now. In short, it’s not a big deal. But I had some very upset readers because of that scene. I say shame on them, not me, but I’m biased.

What’s my point? That this is a damn shame. What’s worse is that I’ll probably try to tone down any such relationships or details like that in future books to avoid pushing readers away. I’m not happy about it on one hand, but on the other hand it helps to teach me a lesson about focusing on the story and making sure I show the characters more than I show any subtle and unknown quirks I may have about convincing people to stop being judgmental dicks. Otherwise they might wield their power of judgment against me!

Some days the art of balancing freedom of speech and creativity with the need to sell books and make a buck is harder than others. I suppose if I can get the Westboro Baptist Church to picket my funeral when I die, at least I’ll have that going for 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.

 

Pleasing the Many…or Else!

October 22, 2012 3 comments

I’ve been monitoring the reviews coming in on my books pretty heavily lately. Well, by heavily I mean I check sometime in the morning every day – if I remember. So maybe not so heavily, but the fact that I’ve been keeping an eye on reviews is a chance for me. The question is why? After all, there’s virtually nothing I can do about them except in rare exceptions.

Amazon has a good system in that it prevents authors from having any impact on the general public’s opinion of a product. As a consumer, I approve of that. But as a provider of content / products, it can be frustrating. I have a few reviews that are irrelevant. A friend of mine has one review that is intentionally spiteful and borderline libelous against her and her family. Yet we can’t do anything about them. On the other hand, I had one reader who copied and pasted the same review and applied it to multiple books, even indicating he hadn’t read all of the books in the review. I did get Amazon to remove those reviews.

So the answer is to write books that everybody likes. Or buy reviews. I’m not in the habit of buying, so that leaves me with needing to write books that are likely to be well received. Since I’ve been monitoring incoming reviews lately, I seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.

But having said that, I was still momentarily stunned the other day when I saw a 1 star review come in for The Lost Girls. I read the brief review and felt a flash of irritation. It said something to the fact that, “I downloaded the book and found it had strong homosexual subplots. I deleted it immediately.”

I have to ask, why was this person so stunned by it? The book is included in a category with the word, “Lesbian” in it. It’s not erotica, but the main character is a hardcore man-hating lesbian. She mellows over time but she’s got a lot of issues she has to work through. And yes, she likes girls. There’s nothing misleading about it, so why did this person feel the need to light a torch and post a 1 star review?

After the brief moment of annoyance passed (it was surprisingly brief, I think that means I’m growing up finally), I let it go. Everybody has a right to their opinion. Unfortunate for me that my book was hit with it, but the review clearly indicated the readers problem and explains that they didn’t read the book. Aside from dragging the ranking down ever so slightly, it does nothing to discourage people who are interested in that type of book from reading it. Clearly it was a case of not being able to please everybody.

Likewise, I’ve received a couple of reviews on this book that I believe were written by men asserting that I had no idea how to write a female character. Conversely, I’ve had more reviews from women that applauded my depiction of the female characters and said I touched them very much because it brought back memories and emotions they’ve dealt with themselves. To the women out there that felt that way – contacted me, I thank you very much! To the men who claim I’d make a terrible female lead – Pthbththtbtbbbt!

Um, hang on. I’m not saying I want to be a female lead. I – aw, crap, you get the idea.

I reasoned a long time ago that I wouldn’t want everybody to like my books. If they did, there’d be no controversy and no reason for people to buy them. Looking back, I don’t fault that line of thinking but I think I’d rather have universally liked books. Then everybody would still by them because they like them. Maybe they wouldn’t generate as much passionate conversation, but I’d be okay with that. Conversation doesn’t put food on the table or electricity in the power lines, after all.

The other unfortunate part is that I can’t write generic crap that everybody is guaranteed to like. My characters are quirky and troubled. They’re often super-heroes in disguise – but I feel that way about every one of us, real or imagined. We’re all the main characters of our own story and we all do amazing things at time, even if we’re the only one around to see it. And we all have faults that we’d like to overcome – or that others wished we would overcome.

I’m disappointed that this person did not read The Lost Girls. I have a suspicion that if they had they might have found that the main character’s sexual orientation didn’t really matter. It’s a story about stopping cruelty and her own path to find acceptance and forgiveness. Those are topics that should be near and dear to all of us. As with just about everything I write the genre and the action is just a backdrop to a more important story, the story of a character (or characters) growing and healing.

So yes, I think my books could please the many, but they won’t. We have too many ideals and morals that prevent us from looking beyond the surface. There are great stories out there, whether they belong to me or somebody, but they require a person to suspend their disbelief and allow themselves to honestly ask the question, “What if?” That’s why I love science fiction and fantasy, they challenge me to be open minded and to wonder at just what possibilities are out there.

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 http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Fricking Awesome

I’ll admit I’m not usually given to such eloquent words of praise. In this case though I think it’s very applicable. That’s how I feel about what a reader just said in a review on Amazon about my Lost Girls series, in particular the final book, Black Widow. Don’t believe me? Here’s the 5 star review in full:

Fricking Awesome October 2, 2012
I bought the whole series and if the author sees this, let me just say thank you and please write more. Usually I’d be more descriptive but I’m feeling a little sleepy. I definitely recommend reading this book. You will be entertained. I honestly think all of the books would be perfect as a movie if given to the right individual. 🙂 Love the characters and storylines especially in this particular one.
How could I feel anything but a giant warm fuzzy feeling after reading that? Truth be told, it kind of echoes what I thought of the book as I wrote it, but to be fair the characters in that book touched me in ways different and perhaps deeper than any other characters I’ve ever written about. There was a lot of pain in those characters, some of it I induced, but also a lot of joy. Okay, I suppose I created all of the pain, not just some of it, but with a good character I don’t feel like I created them. It’s more like they just showed up one day and offered to let me write about them. That’s how it was with Katalina Wimple.
Sadly, I don’t have any more planned for Katy. Not only am I afraid of what she might do to me if I tried to run her through a meat grinder again, but her friends and family have become very formidable as well. I don’t want to be the first writer tortured and killed by his own fictional characters!
On the matter of movies – I’d love to have my books turned into movies. I write them with the thought in my head of seeing them on a big (or at least medium) screen. So far nobody has stumbled across them and offered to take me up on the offer, but I remain hopeful!
So instead I write about other people. Take Carl Waters, one of my first characters in the book, Wanted. He and Jessie are back and more fun (and irascible) than ever in Bounty, the third and final book in their trilogy that I’m working on now.  So far I’ve worked in another measly 800 words today on the story. My plan calls for a couple thousand more (at least). It’s a great book so far and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Wanted has a bunch of great reviews too, by the way (and it’s free on Amazon).
Now I’d better get back to writing! There are a lot of people who are anxious for this book to come out. I hope, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them!
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 http://www.booksbyjason.com.

The Lost Girls Meet a Black Widow

Thanks to a timely turn-around by my content editor (Lisa Shalek), I’m happy to say that Black Widow is out a couple of days before I expected. Black Widow being the fourth book in my Lost Girls series. It brings together everything from the first three books as well as a tying up some loose ends presented in Voices and Bound. All in all, it’s got quite a story arc and I’m very pleased with how things turned out. I suggest checking it out if you enjoy strong female leads, a touch of urban fantasy, and crime & mystery thrillers.

For Katalina Wimple the memories of a lifetime of struggle can disappear in a moment of bliss. They can also come crashing back in when she’s confined in a cold, dark tomb at the mercy of the knife of a new kind of killer.

Katy’s new case puts in unfamiliar territory. This time it’s a man who’s been hurt. A man from her past that she once admired. To solve this case Katy has to find peace with her past and find a killer with more reason to hate than even she has.

Black Widow, book four in the Lost Girls series, by Jason Halstead

Black Widow on Amazon

Black Widow on Amazon UK

Black Widow on Kobo

Black Widow on Barnes and Noble (coming soon)

Black Widow on Smashwords

Print version of Black Widow

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 http://www.booksbyjason.com.