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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.

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Friendly Reminder

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment
The Complex Book Series.
A Lone Planet. One Complex.
Unlimited Chaos.
http://www.thecomplex.info
Remember a month back in December when I unleashed this gem onto the world? Well, it did okay, sales-wise, and so did all of the other books in The Complex setting. Well enough that we want to go for round 2 in 2017. But to make it happen, we’re trying to get a little more push on the existing releases. So if you haven’t picked up Arrested in Peace or any of the other great books in The Complex series, what are you waiting for?

But you guys know me by now. You know I don’t spam your inboxes with repeat advertisements. So there’s got to be more to this newsletter, right? Well, there is! It’s only news at this point, but it’s good news. I’ve finished Medic, the fifth book in the Wanted series, and it’s making the rounds getting ready for publishing.

That brings me to my next project (Vitalis)… which I blogged about already. It’s coming along very nicely and I’m in love with the new characters and new story idea. Meanwhile Medic is being worked on behind the scenes for a release as soon as possible – hopefully yet this month.

Until then, enjoy The Complex!

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ARRESTED IN PEACE by Jason Halstead

A vengeful woman must decide between the death of love or a love of death.

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BLADE OF FOREVER by Scarlett Dawn

The stars align when two all-powerful Giants, with supernatural ‘swords’, flip a Human woman’s galaxy upside down.

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HALCYON by Demelza Carlton

Catch a siren. Stop the storm. Whatever the cost.

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CURSED by Dylan Quinn

Cupid has a death wish but when her curse sets its target on the most powerful man in the universe, even the goddess of love may not be strong enough to resist.

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HUNGRY TOUCH by Shona Husk

He wants to usher in a new era for the Incubi, but the traditionalist will do anything to stop him.

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THE CURSE CATCHER by Laura Thalassa

Can a woman break her captor’s ancient curse before it’s too late, or will the beast prevail and destroy them both?

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NIGHT WHISPERS by Calinda B

Someone’s stalking her, in her dreams. If he doesn’t destroy her, will he be her seductive salvation?

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PROCRIS by M. Stratton

When magic decides an outcast Strogi should be forever linked with a Human they discover they are allowed something neither one thought they’d ever have, love.

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THE LAST DRYAD by Sarah M. Cradit

A future torn by war. A love that could change everything.

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DEATH’S ECHO by Rachel M. Raithby

She’s spent her life avoiding death’s echoes, now they may be the only thing that can save her.

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BALANCE POINT by Katherine Rhodes

Three people. Two mates. One chance to save their destiny.

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SHADOW OF RUIN by Cherie Marks

To obtain the impossible, she must overcome the shadows of her past.

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*The Complex books can be read in any order.


Arrested!

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Arrested in Peace, that is. The title of my latest release! It’s available now, on Amazon and all the other big ebook retailers. Grab your copy now, it’s something new, different, and totally fun. Sure, my concept of fun might be a little twisted, but if you’re reading this, I bet yours is too.

So what is Arrested in Peace? It’s a blending of science fiction and fantasy on a new scale I’d never aspired to before. Valerie Washburn was a naïve young woman at school. She had her boyfriend and friends, as well as her meager talents at detecting and understanding magic. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, was the real deal when it came to magical potential. Top of his class and he had the future ahead of him. They had plans, he and Val. Big plans.

A summoning accident involving metahumans changed all of that. Valerie’s world fell apart around her. Nothing mattered anymore… nothing until she was approached and given an opportunity to get her revenge on the the dirty metahumans that were responsible for ruining her life.

Death and taxes are constants on one end of the spectrum. Politics is on the other end. With peace brewing between the humans and metahumans throughout the Seldova solar system, hunting metas is no longer sanctioned. Valerie has nothing left to do, until she found a call to Lorn, the experimental planet where co-habitation between human and metahuman is underway. It’s a job she can appreciate – she gets to hunt down lawbreakers that the security forces can’t handle on their own. And that means metas.

The story starts with Valerie refueled with her hate and anxious to continue her vengeance. It’s not about making things better, it’s about making them hurt. Nothing else matters, not even her own well-being.

Okay, so vengeful character with a serious chip on her shoulder. What’s so much fun about that? First is a mistake she makes that saves a metahuman’s life. The unexpected consequences of that threaten to follow her the rest of her life. Adding even more complexity is her next case – an old friend has come back from the shadows and she’s anxious to make contact again…and so much more beyond that.

Nano-technology, magical spells, demons & angels, necromancy, zombies, and a seriously pissed off woman that doesn’t know how to slow down. It turns everything upside down and does it in a way that makes it easy for anyone to get into, regardless of whether you like scifi or not.

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Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and the rest!

 

Next up is Medic, the fifth book in my Wanted series. Carl, Jessie, Ally, and even Tanya are back and playing an important role in putting an end to whatever is taking out veterans. When it gets personal for him there’s no strings he won’t pull to put an end to it, whether the laws on his side or not.

 

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 Ship has Sailed

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Voidhawk – Queen of Shadows, has sailed! To the editor, at least. I have cover art already so I just need that to be finished when it can dock a port near you for reading.

What took so long? An incredibly busy and crazy life lately, for one. The book itself was a joy to write and never stalled for lack of ideas of interest. In fact, it took on a life of its own and went in a direction I didn’t intend. Along the way a few characters really dug deep and really showed some amazing things to me. All in all, it was a good time and one I wish I could have gotten done sooner, only so that I can share it with the Voidhawk fans out there.

What’s next, you ask? Well, I have a couple of awesome character ideas, but unfortunately they won’t fit in the next Serpent’s War book, so they have to wait a bit for me to finish that. Another character I’ve been dying to write is a soldier who is living with PTSD, and a lot of ideas I have around it would fit in wonderfully with my Wanted setting. Think anybody’s up for an unexpected 5th book in the Wanted series?

Then there’s The Continuum, my joint venture with Dawn Michelle. That one needs more books written as well. Argh! So many options and so little time – and don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten about Dark Universe or Vitalis.

So that doesn’t really tell you anything about what comes next, other than to say sooner or later, they’ll all be new books waiting to be read! Until then, hold tight for Voidhawk and stay tuned for more updates on what I settle on.

Oh, and my updates were pretty sparse lately. For that I apologize. I kept saying I need to write one down and share it… or I could spend the time writing the book and get it that much closer. I knew I was near the end, I just didn’t realize it would extend out another 6 or 7 chapters until I reached it. Next time, update first. These are short and quick, so why not make the time to do it?

 

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.

Sailing the Stars in Exclusivity

Voidhawk, by Jason Halstead

Today’s blog title is a bit of a play on words. While sailing the stars is a bit of an allusion that could be used for any starship or space travel, I mean it literally. As in using a solar sail, of sorts, to ply the solar winds and travel from star to star and world to world. Using modern science (or even future science, perhaps), it’s a viable means of transportation, but slow. Using fantasy, it opens up all sorts of possibilities!

So, since I abhor reality and enjoy escaping into my imagination, I’m talking about Voidhawk. Voidhawk is the name of the series and of the wooden ship that sails through the void (space) under the command of Dexter Silvercloud. He’s part scoundrel and part knight, among many other things. The Voidhawk is a ship that has been through a lot since he found it and rebuilt it. They’ve faced off against Elven Armadas, chased demons, travelled outside the void to a place without time, and hunted dragons that could not be killed. And they’ve paid the price for their boldness many times over. But they keep doing it.

The exclusivity? Well, that’s because I just put my entire Voidhawk series into KDP Select, which means it’s available on Kindle Unlimited. It’s exclusive because that means, for the ebooks, at least, I cannot sell them anywhere other than Amazon for the next 3 months. Since they weren’t selling anywhere but Amazon for the past several months, I figure this isn’t much of a sacrifice.

Better yet though is the news that Voidhawk, the first book in the series, is free on Amazon today (8/3) and tomorrow (8/4)! Then it goes back to its regular price of $0.99. Or, if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read all 8 books in the series without paying a dime.

As for 8 books in the series, I’m working on book number 9 right now, although I have to finish up another one first, I hope to have that out of the way very quickly.

Oh, and lest I forget, Voidhawk becomes intertwined with another fantasy setting I have, the World of Kroth. The Blades of Leander trilogy (Child of Fate, Victim of Fate, and Silver Dragon) is already part of Kindle Unlimited. The next series, Order of the Dragon (4 books in that one), is not in KU yet. Nor is The Serpent’s War trilogy a part of it (and for the record, I haven’t written the 3rd book in that trilogy yet either). Voidhawk and Kroth cross paths in Voidhawk #7 (Broken Shards), Voidhawk #8 (Fallen Goddess), and soon to be in Voidhawk #9 (untitled). As for the World of Kroth books, the action happens between the end of Order of the Dragon and the beginning of The Serpent’s War, although there should be some interaction in the upcoming 3rd book in the Serpent’s War trilogy.

Phew, if that was confusing to you as a reader, imagine how tricky it is for me, the author, to keep it all together! Don’t worry though, I’ll take on the burden of keeping it straight. All you have to do is enjoy the books – and don’t forget to snag Voidhawk while it’s free.

 

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.

 

Lucky Star

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Brindal and Ellena are Terrans lured to an alien world with the promise of a new way of life and equality among the races. Potential for all, regardless of race, gender, or belief. The reality was far from the truth, especially when Ellena showed her first signs of mutation.

Mutated beings- those whose latent powers are awakened with the resurgence of alien energy brought about by the return of the Ampythean race- are hunted and taken away. Their fate is unknown, but nobody has heard from them since.

As Ellena’s powers grow and she fails to control them, they are left with no choices but to throw away their lives and run. They have to find a way with no weapons and no friends to get off the planet before the Vagnosian army catches them. If they can manage that, then they can hope for a better future among the stars.

 

You just read the blurb for Lucky Star, book 6 in my Dark Universe setting. I’m sharing it because it’s out there now, waiting for eager readers to devour. Longtime fans of the series might not recognize the names in the blurb, which might be confusing. Well, there’s a reason for that. These are new characters.

Brindal and Ellena are the kind of heroes that are made, not born. Except there’s nothing heroic about them. Brin is an eighteen year old young man trying to figure out what to do with his life and his growing skills in robotics. Ellena is fifteen and has nothing going for her except her talent as a track star and the fact that she’s a female on a Vagnosian world. Oh, and then there’s Ellena’s strange new powers that has her afraid of her own shadow.

But rest assured, there’s no way I’d completely abandon the old crew! I love those guys and gals. The problem is, they live a hard and dangerous life. Some of them aren’t what they used to be— or even at all. Brindal and Ellena need to get off of Marloon, the world they live on, but they can’t do it alone. They need help. And that’s where some old friends come in.

Into the Dark (book 1) Out of the Dark (book 2) Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Dark Star (book 4) Shades of Dark (book 5) Lucky Star (book 6)
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Next up is something completely different. No, not a Monty Python skit (hopefully that jokes not lost on most of you), but a new book I’m trying out. It’s unrelated to anything / everything else I’ve done so far. The Vault, a story in a post-apocalyptic America that takes place after a disaster destroys almost everything on the planet. I’m talking about an extinction level event, except humanity has the technology, resources, and blind luck to insure a tiny percentage survives. Or, as Michael Crichton put it in Jurassic Park: Life finds a way.

As always (and forever), thank you for keeping up to date on my ramblings and for enjoying my books. Spread the word, the world could use more readers!

 

-Jason Halstead

 

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.

There’s Only So Many Rocks To Hide Behind When the Entire Galaxy Is Hunting You.

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged in a while. Not for lack of things to say, mostly for lack of time to do it. I’ve been focusing on writing and, in spite of a hiccup with some scheduling, I’ve gotten a lot done! That meant a missed month of publication, but on the plus side, I should have a couple of books coming out pretty quick here. Case in point, I’m here to announce a new book.

Dark Star has been released! This is book 4 in the Dark Universe series. If you remember the end of Chasing the Dark than you were anxiously wondering what happened to the scattered and injured characters. Dark Star answers that question and many more. Aden learns things about his past that leave him troubled, to say the least. Seph spends a lot of time arguing with herself and discovers there’s a lot more to life than what she allows herself – and then has to come to terms with the fact that maybe she waited too late for her personal revelation.

Niko and Neesha are there, as well as some other old friends. The fate of the Ampytheans is discovered and the far-reaching tyranny of the Kesari explored. Errant asteroids, Bounty hunters, determined Criknid soldiers, some new alien critters, and the ever-persistent mechanical problems in deep space abound in this action packed thrill ride. Through it all Twyf does her best to keep Aden distracted and restore his flagging spirits. I tried to pack as much excitement into a book as I could – but the end had to come sometime. And that’s why I’m working on book 5 in the series now.

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Into the Dark (book 1) Out of the Dark (book 2) Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Dark Star (book 4)
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Still waiting on Page Foundry / Inktera to publish Dark Star, but it should be soon. It’s available everywhere else – and it was out there yesterday but I was recovering from an all-nighter restoring the production server at my day job. Sorry for the late notice!

Coming very soon, early next month, will be Vitalis: Commandos. That marks my 8th Vitalis book! Don’t worry, the book is finished I’m just waiting on editing and cover art. Dark Universe #5 is my current project and I’m hoping I can have that out mid – late December, just in time to treat yourself to a Christmas present when you want to get away from all the crazy that goes on at the end of the year.

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.