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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.

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 Future is a Dark Place… and I Can’t Wait!

January 10, 2015 4 comments

I’ve written science fiction for years now. Post-apocalyptic, near future, mid future, and futuristic. I’ve had aliens devastate the earth and I’ve had humans expand and conquer our solar system and others. It’s been a blast and I love it.

I’ve done the same thing with fantasy settings, minus the aliens. Creatures and monsters aplenty to make up for the missing aliens though. New worlds and magic and sweeping storylines that take characters from the brink of childhood to epic destinies. I love that too.

I’ve bridged the two, blending science fiction and fantasy into urban fantasy and paranormal storylines that take place now and in the near future. Putting two of my favorite genres together can only have one outcome – more love!

So with that out of the way, I’m announcing the next big thing. Dark Universe, my new futuristic science fiction and fantasy series. Into the Dark opens the series in a spectacular way and sets the stage for the unlimited and amazing things that have yet to come.

But why should you care enough to spend a couple of bucks on it? Well, it’s a story for everyone, from diehard sci-fi lovers to people who just enjoy great characters and a great story, no matter what the environment. The book doesn’t go overboard on technology, but it also keeps things realistic. There’s romance, action, adventure, and aliens. All kinds of aliens. Furry ones, chitinous ones. Blue skinned ones. Green skinned ones. Orange skinned ones. Aliens with tentacles. Aliens that walk on four legs instead of two. And good old fashioned Terrans. The humans are the newcomers to the space race, actually, and are trying real hard to play catch up.

The book really has something for everyone, from space fights and fancy things to go boom in the night to complicated relationships and the dynamic stress that brings. There’s humor, there’s emotion, and there’s even a little bit of bow-chikka-wow-wow.

Why did I write it? Why wasn’t Vitalis or Voidhawk good enough? Well they are, but this is different. This is a combination of Vitalis, Voidhawk, and a little bit of extra fun that was inspired, I admit, by watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Inspired by, but by no means a copy of.

Into the Dark takes science fiction to a new place and exposes it to Arthur C. Clark’s law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That, my friends, is where the fantasy ties in. Give it a shot, I dare you to be disappointed!

 

Book 1 in the Dark Universe science fiction and fantasy series by Jason Halstead

Available now!

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble (coming soon!)
iTunes (coming soon!)
Kobo (coming soon!)
Scribd (coming soon!)
Page Foundry / Inktera (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.

Dark Universe

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

Dark Energy? Dark Matter? No and no. It’s the name I’ve settled on for my new scifi blockbuster / bestseller / series. But what’s so dark about it? Are there evil alien necromancers trying to destroy the cosmos? No. That would be weird – even for me!

It’s called Dark because that’s what happens when ships use the mysterious devices sold by Kesari merchants to travel faster than light. These devices have universal hookups allowing a ship to power them and communicate with them, but they have limited ability outside of plugging in coordinates and filling them with the energy needed for the black box to create the FTL bubble around the ship.

Woah— what? Yeah, it’s like that.

Kesari, that’s a race I covered a few posts back. They’re called squids by the other races because it’s a name Terrans used for them and it stuck. It’s not complimentary, the Kesari are merchants and the most alien in their thoughts and emotions, aside from the insectoid Criknids.

Black box? FTL travel? So what does going faster than light mean? It means light can’t catch you. And that means you can’t see it, because it won’t reach you. So when a ship travels at superluminal velocities it’s considered to be traveling “in the dark” or “in the black.” Hence “black box”, even if the FTL engine isn’t technically black.

And thus the series title of “Dark Universe” is born. Without being able to travel in the dark, spaceships and races would be trapped in their own solar systems. Or perhaps between two or three, if they found a relativistic way to travel close to the speed of light. Unlikely, at best. But with the black boxes ships travel hundreds and thousands of light years in reasonable time frames. Right now, roughly halfway through the first book, the protagonist’s ship is looking at close to a week to travel almost a thousand light years. Pretty darn fast! As a point of reference, the Milky Way galaxy is around 100,000 light years across.

Why are they doing this? They’re chasing someone. Why? Well, to even up the score on someone that double-crossed them. Or at least that’s why they think they’re doing it. There are more powers at play than the unlikely heroes realize.

Curious? Excited? Anxious to read more? I sure hope so, because I’m loving the book as it comes out of me. If you’re not on the fence, let me share this little bit I just wrote:

Adan nodded and headed off the bridge. He hurried down the lift and down the hall to his interior cabin. His luck held out and no one else spotted him and wanted to talk to him. After the fight and the repairs, then having to match wits against Tosc and Janna, he’d run out of steam. He opened his door and turned on the light in his cabin, only to see a bumpy form under his blankets.

The voice that drifted out from under the blankets surprised him. It wasn’t Amber, it was Twyf! “Hope you don’t mind, my cabin hasn’t been repaired yet.”

Adan turned the light back off and smiled. Maybe he wasn’t so tired after all.

Yeah, there’s more action than just lasers an space battles and even trysts with buxom alien women. There’s probably going to be some love triangles and girl fights too!

 

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.

When Books Write Themselves…

October 17, 2014 1 comment

This is a guest blog written by a friend of mine, J.E. Taylor. Hell of a writer and a decent person. And no, she didn’t pay me to say that. She’s not even the kind of friend I’ve made over Twitter either, she’s a real world friend. Really, I promise!

All that aside, she’s here to talk about a new book she’s got coming out. I’m here to introduce her and recommend checking her stuff out, it’s creepy, sometimes gory, often sexy, and always a good time. Virtually every book of Jane’s that I’ve read has left me saying, at least once, “Holy crap!”

 

When books write themselves…

by J.E. Taylor

ryanchronicles

Today, The Ryan Chronicles Trilogy is being released and even as I write this, the story is continuing in my head. The last effortless experience I had writing was when I wrote the books in The Games Trilogy, which was back in 2007 when I first sat down to write.

I’m pretty sure the timing is about the same as well. Three books in six months.

I love it when it flows like that, as a writer, it’s the most satisfying experience and typing The End can be bittersweet, especially since the characters become like your own children. I hope the passion that consumed me while scribing this story has done the pages justice.

Enjoy!


The Ryan Chronicles – Book One: Saving Grace

When CJ Ryan’s girlfriend decides life is less complicated without him, CJ travels a destructive path into despair, walking the line between what’s right and what feels good. But what feels good is a dangerous slope to travel, especially when Lucifer wages war for his soul.

One wrong step and CJ could fall into the devil’s trap, becoming no better than the demons he battles.

 

The Ryan Chronicles – Book Two: Raven Heart

CJ Ryan still can’t remember a thing about his past, but he is determined to have a future with Valerie. Despite his lack of memory, he finds himself ensnared in the cutthroat world of entertainment whether he wants it or not. The push into the spotlight shines a harsh glare on his family and brings with it a plague of horrors that drag him to the edge.

With the darkness of the past threatening, CJ turns to his brother looking for answers, but when an enemy with a psychotic history re-enters their lives, it will take more than just his memory to save them.

 

The Ryan Chronicles – Book Three: Trinity’s Wrath

CJ Ryan’s life seems to have fallen into place, and while the backdrop of his Hawaiian honeymoon provides the perfect healing elixir, the guilt of sentencing his father to an eternity of torture at Lucifer’s hands starts to intrude on his happily-ever-after.

When he and Valerie return from Hawaii, a note from the king of hell greets him, outlining in sickening detail his plans for CJ and those he holds dearest.

With everyone he loves on Lucifer’s hit list, CJ must start living up to the bargain he made in Heaven, but every one of Hell’s gates he closes is one less portal available for his father’s escape.

 

Available at Amazon

 

 

 

Excerpt from Saving Grace (book 1):

She smiled and I felt a need stir inside me, and it had nothing to do with my heart, or soul, for that matter.

“You really let a demon tie you up?” Dimples appeared in her cheeks and mine bloomed with heat.

I shifted, focusing back on the darkness beyond the glass, suddenly uncomfortable and unable to look at her. I swear my face must be the shade of a bright red kickball. “I wasn’t exactly myself,” I said without looking at her.

She chuckled.

The kind of chuckle that was meant as a turn on and I slid my gaze to her. “You like your men tied up?” I raised an eyebrow. It was her turn to blush and she grinned, shrugging and looking back outside. Before I could explore more of this conversation, she took a step back, dragging me with her.

There must have been a dozen pale creatures slinking across the back yard. I gave her hand that gripped my upper arm a gentle pat and she turned her frightened gaze to me.

“They won’t get through.” My voice held confidence, but deep inside, I was trembling just as much as she was. Damian, Steve, and I had wiped out more than this at the cove, but that was three of us and of course Paradise Cove probably had a lot to do with it.

We both focused on the approaching horde and without much thought, I slung my arm around Valerie’s shoulder and pulled her close. It was time to concentrate on the deadly quality of the wall I put up. I wasn’t sure of how much sizzle to put into it.

“I want to see them burn,” Valerie said, answering my silent contemplation and a chill ran up my spine.

She had every right to hate these creatures as much as demons and I concentrated, glaring at the approaching danger. Saliva ran from their lips and their teeth gleamed in the moonlight. My heart pounded in my chest, sending throbbing vibrations through my skin. The harder my heart beat, the hungrier the approaching vampires looked.

“Just a few more feet,” I muttered, focusing on the entire perimeter of the house because I wasn’t as much of an idiot as they thought. This wasn’t the only line of assault. Still, when they advanced, I took a cautious step backwards, pulling Valerie with me. The power inside me grew and I couldn’t tell whether it was the adrenaline or the power raking across my skin like a hundred finely manicured nails. The sensation grew, moving from the land of pleasure into the world of discomfort and I gritted my teeth.

“Come on, you motherfuckers,” I growled, loud enough for their acute hearing to pick up. I moved Valerie behind me and positioned myself in a fighting stance, waving them in with my leading hand. The results were memorable.

They all launched towards the glass slider and the moment they hit my invisible barrier each vampire burst into a ball of flame. The roar of fire drowned out their screams, but I heard them and the dark part of my soul reveled in it.

Valerie let out a high pitched laugh and I glanced back at her, smiling.

She met my gaze with a measure of awe. “The only one I ever saw do something that impressive was Michael.”

Being compared to an archangel was humbling and I glanced outside at the black dust spinning on the wind. “I’m not an angel.”

“Oh, I gathered that,” she said and stepped away.

I turned towards her. “What do you mean by that?”

“You’re more recent activities?”

I shoved my hands into my pockets and stared at the floor, shamed by the fact she was privy to my more decadent actions. Instead of apologizing, I lifted my gaze to hers, studying the memories of her past, especially the times after the more traumatic events. Naomi was right about one thing. The girl never freaked out. Ever.

And therein lay the challenge.

I let a grin slowly surface and narrowed my eyes, stepping closer. “So, you want to try out some of those ‘activities’ with me?”

She laughed. The kind of laugh that bruised a man’s ego and when she went into the gale realm, I crossed my arms, my good humor turning sourer by the second.

 

 

You can visit J.E. Taylor at http://www.jetaylor75.com and sign up for her newsletter for early previews of her upcoming books, release announcements, and special opportunities for free swag!

 

Sign up for Ms. Taylor’s newsletter directly at: http://eepurl.com/P6UPX

 

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor

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Forever is a Long Time to Regret

Voidhawk – Broken Shards marks a return to the Voidhawk space fantasy series. More than that, this book also reveals my other fantasy setting, the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon) is set in the same multiverse. And yes, that means Dexter and Jenna get to meet Alto and Patrina. Garrick and Rosh, Haley and Jethallin, Logan and Karthor, and worst of all, Xander and Kar. Imagine two long winded wizards having the chance to share their experiences with each other… On the plus side, Alto learns from Dexter how the threat of a knuckle sandwich can stop a wizard in mid-sentence!

I’ll share the blurb and links in a moment, but first I want to share that I’m sorry I waited so long to write this! I was helping my wife with her paranormal series and that was a great story to write, but wow, this was great. When I finished the book it wrapped up in such a fashion that it even surprised me and left me with that tingly feeling you get when you know you’ve written or read something special. I can’t recommend it enough if you enjoy fantasy. And I can’t wait for my chance to write the next Voidhawk book – there are so many possibilities after this one!

Okay, now the blurb, in case I haven’t tempted you enough yet:

Smuggling weapons and stealing religious artifacts feels like business as usual to Dexter and his crew. Just another day in the void sailing between worlds. Until they meet a peculiar troll with a message of doom. There’s a new threat on the horizon, and not just to them and the void, but to their entire realm of existence. And, in an accidental sort of way, it looks like it’s their fault.

Stopping the unstoppable will require a trap that has long been forgotten and the help of friends that they’ve yet to meet. Beyond that, stopping this beast that lives beyond the limits of known time and space will require a special magic that to equal that of the monster’s. Such power does not come without price.

Known for cheating death, Dexter and his friends face an enemy and a fate that they cannot escape.

And here it is:

Voidhawk - Broken Shards, book 7 in the Voidhawk series by Jason Halstead

Amazon
Amazon UK
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes will be released in a few weeks.

What’s next? Back to Dawn Michelle for a month working on a prequel with her for her Claimed series (Taken by the Beast is the name – keep an eye out!). For me I think I’ll write another Vitalis novel next (October-ish release time frame), and after that who knows. There will be more Voidhawk, that much I can promise, but I’ll keep the other lines going too.

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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