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Posts Tagged ‘Occult’

Staking her Claim

For the past several weeks I’ve been working on a new project. A new book, but it’s more than a book. My wife loves that fact that I write stories and do a passable job at selling them. The problem is, most of them aren’t in areas that she has a lot of interest in. She’s more into romance, crime, and things that go bump in the night (with said bumping being accompanied by some bow-chikka-wow-wow music). So, we decided the next stuff was going to be a collaboration – a paranormal romance that I helped her on. And that’s why instead of a new book by Jason Halstead, we have part 1 in a serial novel by Dawn Michelle.

Today marks the official release of Claimed by the Beast – Part One. It centers around a young lady struggling with issues. Before you scoff and compare it to Twilight, consider how many young women there are in the world that aren’t already struggling with issues. Body images, grades, peer pressure, overly zealous boyfriends, the list goes on. Even I was surprised to hear some of the problems and concerns.

So here we’ve got a good girl that is a social pariah thanks to her sense of morals and attention to teachers and good grades. The problem? She wants to fit in. Wants to do it so badly that she’s willing to let her morals slide to make it happen. Until that backfires and she’s made a laughing stock at a party.

What could be worse than that? That’s where the biker gang comes in. And the thing lurking in the darkness that has decided to mark her as its next victim.

Interested? It’s a paranormal romance that we’ve managed to complete three parts on so far. We’re looking at the entire series being five to six parts long, each over 20,000 words (novelette length). The pacing is set for every 3 to 4 weeks a new serial being released.

Paranormal Romance: Claimed by the Beast - Part One

 

Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

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

 

And, alongside that, I plan to get back to being focused on my stories. I haven’t quite decided yet, but it’s either more Vitalis or more Voidhawk / Blades of Leander next (yes, my next fantasy book will briefly blend those settings together).

 

To learn more about Jason Halstead visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

Den of Sin

A subject like that implies decadence at the least, with possibly some hedonism and bloodshed mixed in. I suppose that’s not too far from the truth since this post is my attempt to advertise and advertisement. Once your head stops spinning, read on!

Today I’ve got a promotion going out over at Kindle Books and Tips for a book. It’s none other than the book J. Knight Bybee and I wrote together called Devil’s Island. Devil’s Island happens to be the first in the Fallen Angels series, and this promo is our attempt to both advertise the sale price of $.99 in conjunction with the new release of Devil’s Rising, book 2 in the series.

Given the book titles and the title of this blog post, you’ve probably got an idea about the books genre. Yes, there’s a load of occult and religious stuff going on. No excessive preaching or anything of the sort though. Our mission is to entertain, not to make you feel guilty.

And oh yeah, there’s all sorts of entertainment. I really had a lot of fun working on these books (and continuing the project on the next book in the series). So much character growth and development with characters that anyone can identify with.

But enough of me, already! Go check out the promo over at Kindle Book and Tips. Give this page, that page, or any other affiliated page a like to help us spread the word.

Book 1 of the Fallen Angles series by Jason Halstead and J. Knight Bybee

 

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.

 

Hot and Steamy

I’m talking about Florida! Come on, what did you expect me to say after a title like that? Of course that’s really just a segue into mentioning a new book that I’m looking for some beta readers / reviewers for.

Why bother? Well, this book is called Devil’s Rising and it’s a collaboration between myself and J. Knight Bybee (the same guy who worked with me to create Devil’s Island). Not only that, but Devil’s Rising is the sequel to Devil’s Island – hard to believe, I know!

The premise of the story is the people leftover from book 1 are hell bent on stopping what happened in book 1. So they travel cross country to get help and the help they find is not what they expected. Then they have to go back into that hot and steamy place (Florida – get your minds outta the gutter) and try to right the things that went wrong the last time around.

It’s got action, romance, young love, epic character development, and a pace that has you sitting on the edge of your seat. By the time the book ended even I was shocked at what we’d created. I found a new favorite character in the series and can’t stop thinking about them!

So here’s the deal – if you’re itching to get your hands on it, let me know. Give me a comment, an email (Jason@booksbyjason.com), a facebook mention, a tweet, knock on my door, whatever it takes. The book is yours for the asking. What I ask for is your thoughts on the book and any glaring errors that may have jumped out at you (missing words, misspelled words, etc.). There shouldn’t be many but Mr. Bybee and I really got swept up near the end of the book and the writing was fast and furious between us. The only other thing I ask is that if you liked it even half as much as we did, you leave a review on Amazon when we launch it.

Oh, and I’m not looking for beta readers anymore for Devil’s Rising (book 1 in the Fallen Angels series), but if you’d like to get a free copy of the book in exchange for a review, let me know about that too. I’ll make it happen.

 

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.

Living the Dream

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment

The topic of today’s post is backwards. However, “living the dream” sounded a lot better than “dreaming the life.” People would read that and maybe wonder what the heck was wrong with me. Maybe. More likely they’d not even bother.

The question of what the heck is wrong with me still applies though. I’ve been writing hard and fast, like always, but my last two books were both Vitalis books. That means futuristic science fiction, complete with animals, plants, and people from another world. And trust me, alien plants can be some pretty scary things.

I’m near to finishing up Vitalis: Chryslis, it’s the 6th book in the popular series and it brings the reader back to the plight of the colonists stuck on the planet of Vitalis. In this book more is learned about how Vitalis works beneath the surface while most of the characters are trying to find a way to help a very sick young woman that comes to planet with no other options left to save her.

Vitalis, futuristic science fiction by Jason Halstead

Now I explain the dreaming part. I had a dream last night that some people might consider terrifying or at least disturbing. I’m not most people. In fact after my alarm went off and I finished stretching and bemoaning the fact that I didn’t want to get up yet, I remembered the dream and began to pick out bits and pieces and tie them in to things that made sense. I was left with a sense of satisfaction and warm fuzziness.

In my dream it was obvious that a few people trying to fight or escape something monstrous. That’s easy – I’ve got a small security team amongst the survivors busy fighting the biggest and nastiest threat they’ve faced yet. Then they’re running from this monster down a dark tunnel – easy again, the people my characters are trying to protect are holed up in a cave.

Next comes a light that seems like a possible escape, only find out it’s some sort of fire or explosion racing down the tunnel. The people in the dream duck into a side passage and find a place to take cover while the flames race past them. They do not escape unscathed. The dream people lose track of the dream monster, but it tries to escape too. It doesn’t find a place to hide and it’s too big to try and duck behind a rock.

So what does the light and fire mean? Well I can come up with a couple of theories but they would release spoilers in the book. The fire, I believe, represents something more intangible, and yet more threatening long term.

A few days before that I had a dream about a haunted house where everybody’s insisting I not go in because the ghostly / evil presence up on the second floor would do bad things to me. Mortal danger / scary kind of bad things. So of course, I thought I’d do it and show them what a bunch of wussies they were. I went up and sure enough, evil powerful badness awaits. I thought it was cool and somehow came out it changed. Not like puppy-kicking innocents-slaughtering evil change, just some occult weirdness with Hollywood style superpowers. That one, near as I can figure, isn’t related to any books (yet!).

So ultimately I’m still left with one question that you might share – what the heck is wrong with 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.

Unmentioned Heroes

December 26, 2013 Leave a comment

The world is full of people who do their job with little or no thanks. At one time or another, we probably all fall into this category. From the guy driving the snowplow on Christmas morning to the gal stuck behind the convenience store counter on New Year’s Eve. Soldiers, deployed or at home, parents, teachers, nurses, and thousands of other professions and people.

I realized that very early this morning as I was making some changes to Devil’s Island due to some formatting issues that prevented it from being accepted by their system. I was muttering unkind things under my breath and considering cursing out Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords.

Then I realized how helpful Mr. Coker has been to me over the years. Unwittingly, as I’m sure he’s never heard of me. Still, his absolutely free style guide he put out years ago has been my bible for formatting my books. How platform, Smashwords.com, has provided me with multiple avenues to distribute my books. Sure, I receive less than 5% of my annual book royalty income through Smashwords, but it’s extra reach and extra people. And, at times like this, his system and people help me find annoying little quirks in my books that escaped me and the team that helps me put these things together.

This isn’t a thinly veiled plea for publicity by invoking his name (most people, especially readers, probably have no idea who he is). It’s my hopes that in some way, shape, or form, he gets wind of somebody out there saying thank you for all the work he’s done over the years. He may have some thoughts and opinions on the industry that I disagree with or think are downright crazy, but that’s okay. He’s entitled to them and I’ll support his right to disagree with me with my last breath. More importantly, he’s helped me and other writers out along the way and he’s been a catalyst for change in this volatile writing industry.

And so, Mr. Coker, thank you for doing all you’ve done. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated in thought if not in word or deed!

 

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.

Sometimes “It” Happens

December 24, 2013 Leave a comment

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. “It” means something bad. Something smelly. Something you stepped in and tracked across the floor. Yeah, you know what “it” is. And sometimes it’s even my fault.

This, then, is my humble apology to the people who were early purchasers of Devil’s Island. When I put the final version together and went through the multiple quality checks of it that I did, I somehow missed one important part. Chapter 23. Yes, the entire chapter. I forgot to include it.

So I fixed it, I re-uploaded it everywhere, and even notified Amazon to let purchaser know (Amazon is reviewing it to do whatever is they do). That’s not good enough for me, so I’m posting as publicly as I can so that if you bought it, you know to go and re-download the amended copy.

I updated it last week, so if you bought it from this past weekend on you should have the correct version. Anything prior to that, I suggest looking for chapter 23 to see if it’s there or not and acting accordingly. Once again, my extreme apologies for this oversight! Or, if you’re interested in checking it out for the first time you can be assured that it’s in good shape now and ready for consumption.

In happier news, I’ve nearly finished the invasion of Earth in Vitalis: Invasion. Is Earth winning or losing? Well, that would be a spoiler and I can’t offer that! I will say I’ve got some great characters (on all sides of the conflict) that are keeping things lively.

And I’m editing the audiobook for Child of Fate as time permits. Nearly halfway through but it’s no simple process to do. So far, it sounds incredible and the narrator, Sean Wybrant, has proven that waiting for this finished product was worth every delay along the way.

So some embarrassing news and some good news. I’ll leave you with that and my sincerest wish for everyone to experience happy holidays with friends and family. Or, for those not inclined to appreciate the holidays – have a bitchin last week and a half of December!

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.

Hidden Evil, by Bob Stewart

October 12, 2011 1 comment

No, it’s not a review it’s a press-release of sorts. Novel Concept Publishing has just released a new book – and this time it’s by Bob Stewart.

Novel Concept Publishing, LLC announces the release of HIDDEN EVIL by Bob Stewart.

HIDDEN EVIL is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords.

In an upcoming interview, Bob shared what prompted him to write HIDDEN EVIL

“Reared in Texas I had heard rumblings of occult power, but generally it was the superstition generated by well-meaning people who want to insure good health, happiness or wealth; a rather benign practice that involves candles, herbs or ritual. It wasn’t until People Magazine assigned me to report on the sacrifice/murder of a college student on Spring Break on the South Texas border that I came into contact with the evil side of the occult. I had never heard the words Santeria or Palo Mayombe, until then. As I stood amid a number of fly-covered graves, when I visited the death shack on a desolate rancho in Mexico, I discovered an evil as ancient as any practice during Biblical times. Hidden Evil is my way of drawing attention to this culture flourishing in the halls of the rich and the powerful as well as humble adobe shacks. While it is fiction, many of the incidents and rituals used in the book are based on fact.”

The rest of J.E. Taylor’s interview with Bob Stewart will be available on Halloween. In the meantime, here’s a first look at HIDDEN EVIL:

Hidden Evil, by Bob Stewart

Hidden Evil, by Bob Stewart

HIDDEN EVIL by Bob Stewart

After a drug-addled teenager turns the annual Battle of Flowers Parade into a bloodbath, Majorette Cindi Neff – photographed blood covered and screaming beside the body of a dead classmate – becomes the media symbol of the tragedy, and the object of cult leader Juan Otero’s obsession.

Soon after his burial, the gravesite of Cindi’s dead classmate is violated and Deputy Sheriff Nancy Neff, an expert in Afro-Caribbean religions, is called to the scene. Minister Luke Oeding, a representative for the bereaved family, joins Nancy in the investigation into this unimaginable crime.

In a deadly chess match of good versus evil, they plunge into the world of the South Texas drug cult and come face to face with Palo Mayombe, the darkest of the hidden religions. When Cindi Neff is kidnapped, Nancy and Luke race to save her from the clutches of the malevolent cult before she is sacrificed in an Easter Sunday Palo Mayombe ritual.

“Bob Stewart’s new novel, HIDDEN EVIL, is ripped directly from today’s headlines about drug smuggling on the Texas border. This puts a face to the horrors that we seem to see daily on the evening news. Deeply-disturbed characters, facing what they see as a black future, turn to drugs and the occult and what follows…human sacrifice. It’s a tale that begins with a Columbine-style massacre and ends on Easter Sunday in a classic battle between good and evil. I don’t read vampire or werewolf novels simply because I don’t believe they exist and it’s a bit difficult to conjure up any kind of delicious fear by pretend monsters, but these folks are real and quite possibly living on my block… so, yeah… it pushed my fear button. After I read it, I slept with the nightlight on for a week. Get this book. It’s truly scary and it’s damned fine writing and story-telling.” Les Edgerton Author of Hooked, Just Like That, The Bitch, The Rapist and others.

Excerpt from HIDDEN EVIL:

Book One-Chapter One

A mixed blessing. That’s how Nancy Neff viewed chaperone duty. Within a few minutes she would join a dozen other band parents, all loaded with water and supplies. But, only one of them would be carrying a gun, tucked away in a fanny bag, under a backpack filled with white shoe polish, Band-Aids, water, and Gatorade.

Her only regret when she volunteered for this duty was that she could not watch Cindi strut her stuff as lead majorette. She felt foolish at the thought. Andy had never seen his daughter twirl a baton or heard the appreciative applause in a packed football stadium, never looked into her emerald green eyes, the same color as his, or taught her how to dance or gave her first date grief.

“She’s not going to be allowed to date until she’s 45, and then when the ol’ boy shows up it’d better be with three tickets,” he said one night while feeling the child kick in her bloated belly.

She gave her standard reply. “I’m sure she’ll want you to go with them.”

This bit of nonsense had become a ritual on the rare nights he was home.

“Better yet. When he shows up I’ll be cleaning my service revolver. No. Better yet. I’ll get my shotgun and be putting shells in it when she escorts him into the living room to meet me. Maybe I’ll be wearing my uniform and badge and pistol.”

They laughed at the vivid image of a nervous teen before an armed stern officer of the law before Nancy said, “No. You won’t do that.”

“Yes I will. Just you wait and see.”

On the day Cindi was born, he was denied the joys of parenthood, except for one brief moment, and then he saw only the blue eyes that all babies are born with. Sometimes the guilt overwhelmed her. Why had she been allowed the privilege of the child and Andy had been denied?

The regret was compounded by sixteen years of guilt and longing for what might have been, never for what could be. How could she exist in any other reality? Her love remained in the past. Cindi was all that made life bearable. Cindi was her happiness and her future. She rarely dated, and these men quickly discovered that there was no room for anyone else; just the ghost of the past and the reality of the present.

“You would think after sixteen years I could start over,” she muttered aloud, taking the Broadway exit off Interstate 35 near downtown San Antonio. “Maybe even resurrect my life, or what’s left of it.”

* * * *

Luke Oeding looked around. The Harringtons were late. No surprise there. He came early to hold a place for them so they’d have a good view of their tuba-totting son after they helped the band with last-minute details. Luke claimed a good spot along the curb at an intersection in front of The San Antonio Light, and across the street from the WRW-TV platform.

He breathed in the ambiance of the parade. Cotton candy, hot dogs, sausage on a stick, and fajitas mingled with the sharp odor of spilled beer and body odor. Music, laughter, crying children, and vendors hawking everything from food to fiesta folderol wrapped him in a festive buzz.

Sun sparked golden diamonds off bass horns and baritones and French horns as students paraded down the street in a calliope of colors, red and blue, black and yellow, green and brown, all accented by thousands of freshly polished white shoes.

Again, he looked around for the Harringtons, and checked his watch.

The cool fall morning was already giving way to a sweltering heat that would soon wilt the students in woolen uniforms.

“Mommy, I can’t see. That man’s in the way.”

From the mouth of a child.

“Hush.” It was a serious whisper.

Luke turned to look down at a woman holding a tiny child, delicate and blonde. Bittersweet memories washed his soul as he stepped back and gestured toward the space in front of him. “Why don’t you step in front of me, then the child can see.”

Luke hushed her protest with a raised palm.

“That’s one of the privileges in being tall. You can see over everyone.”

She hesitated, looking up at him.

“Please. We don’t want the child to miss the parade.”

“Thank you.”

She stepped forward and stood on the lip of the curb in front of the crowd.

“That better?” Luke asked.

“Much. Thank you, again,” she said.

The child looked up showing dimples with a grin. “Thank you.”

Luke felt his gut clinch and the old familiar demon churn when he locked into her innocent eyes. The shy smile reflected a past he fought daily to forget.

With a sigh he closed his eyes, shoving the past back into its God-forsaken realm. He forced a grin, patted her on the head, then looked up to see the Harringtons across the street. Good, they made it in time to see Ron.

Thankful to refocus, he waved.

Pop… pop … pop…

It sounded like a string of firecrackers: sharp reports out of sync with the rhythmic cadence of marching bands parading through downtown San Antonio.

Luke shook his head. Fireworks were outlawed, but kids loved to break rules.

Pop… pop … pop. The woman grabbed her daughter’s hand and began to push backward. He stepped out of her way, offering a smile.

“Don’t worry. It’s just some…”

Pop! Pop! Pop… pop…pop pop-pop-pop

Luke swiveled to see one of the pops rip open the chest of a hefty police officer directing traffic. He pitched backward to lie sprawled, unmoving.

“Pancho!” Another officer bolted into the intersection only to tumble the last few feet, blood gushing from both legs.

Riding the rising crest of chaos a piercing scream spun Luke back to the fear-stricken woman.

* * * *

Nancy heard the frantic words every lawman fears.

“Officer down! Officer down!” The dispatcher guided everyone within radio range to Broadway and Nogolitas, the staging area for high school bands.

Nancy was only a few blocks away, dressed in her band chaperone’s outfit of blue jeans and a new blood-red bowling shirt with the white Rough Rider mascot on the back.

Now she wished she had on her deputy sheriff’s uniform as she slammed the accelerator to the floor and toggled the siren.

* * * *

In blind terror, Cindi tripped over a bass drum. She no sooner hit the hot pavement than a fleeing fellow student kicked her in the stomach. Gasping for breath and fighting nausea, she rolled over to push up only to have her hand crunched by another student. She collapsed head down, her cheek sliding along the searing pavement.

Her good hand flew to the raw flesh. What’s Bill going to think when he sees my face?

Paralyzed by heaving gasps, her hand throbbing, her face now hamburger meat, Cindi felt strong hands behind her, scooping her upward.

“I’ve got you Cindi, nothing’s going to happen to you,” a calm voice whispered in her ears. “God’s watching.”

She recognized Ron Harrington’s distinctive tenor. The husky tuba player used his bulk to block for her as she struggled to stand. Cindi was almost on her feet when she heard the wet smack of lead ripping into flesh. Ron crumpled atop her, shoving her to the pavement; his wounded body now her prison, and her shield.

She could barely breathe from the weight of the big teen as his life-blood oozed out and trickled down her cheek. She spit out the warm, salty taste that dribbled into the corner of her mouth and retched, finding relief in the bitter bile that washed away the coopery taste of human life.

Terror crashed into sensory overload as Cindi struggled to be free of Ron’s bulk and to spot the shooter. Splayed face down on the pavement, and trapped beneath more than two hundred pounds of slack weight, she could only move her head to one side, her vision knee-high. Movement caught her eye. Her lungs nearly exploded with fear. In the distance the killer strolled down the street toward her.

Tommy Alexander!

Through the haze of blood-blurred eyes, Cindi watched Tommy spray the retreating red-and-white clad band members with a machinegun. Then, he turned it onto the stunned crowd.

* * * *

The nervous woman’s scream morphed into a throaty gurgle. Luke caught her before she fell, swung her up snug against his chest, and started to run. A thin shriek stopped him.

“Mommy! Mommy. You hurt my Mommy.” Her voice trilled terror in upper register. He turned to see her standing paralyzed at the sight of him holding her mother like a rag doll.

Luke closed his eyes in disbelief. He forgot the little girl!

“No! No. I didn’t hurt her. Come here, honey,” he coaxed the child toward him, his rumbling bass barely concealing his fear.

He would not mess up this time. This time no one would die. Gunfire continued in the background, a few bullets slapping too close.

The little girl took a halting step forward before retreating at the horrible sight of her mother hanging limp in his arms.

“Pumpkin.” Luke said, then hesitated, the word bittersweet in his mouth. He was stunned that he used the term of endearment. He had not uttered it in years; but, it rolled out easily, subconsciously.

“Pumpkin. You have to come with me,” Luke said softly, gingerly stepping toward the child. He saw blood in her platinum hair.

“Does your head hurt?”

She shook it side to side.

“Come.” Half command, half plea. “You have to come with me. Your Mommy needs help. We need to take her to the doctor. Right now!”

When the child hesitated, he commanded, “Look at me.” When the tearstained gaze met his, he continued. “I have to get your Mommy to the doctor and I can’t leave you here. It isn’t safe.” He relaxed his grip and extended a long finger for the child to grasp. “Hold my hand and I’ll get you and your mother to where it’s safe.”

The child’s wide eyes clutched at Luke’s heart like a molten vice grip.

“Promise?” she asked.

Luke swallowed deeply. For a moment, he toyed with an assortment of answers. “Yes,” he whispered, offering confidence he did not feel. “Yes. I promise.”

Despite the pandemonium surrounding them, Luke concentrated on her eyes-silently willing her to take his hand. The crowd surged backward, trampling upon itself, leaving Luke and the child exposed.

Chunks of lead slammed into the street sign only a few inches from Luke. He didn’t notice. His deep, bass voice coaxed the child forward as he inched toward her. She took a few tentative steps until she gingerly took his extended finger. Adobe exploded, concrete chunks filled the air, and the child shrieked.

“Don’t let go! Look at me.”

Rocky shrapnel peppered his face with tiny fragments. Ignoring the blood dripping down his face, Luke began to walk backwards, all the while talking to her. He existed in a false island of quiet amid the chaos of death, living in the narrow confines of the moment.

* * * *

It took only a few seconds for Tommy to empty the automatic weapon. He tossed the machinegun aside, and pulled a pistol. Cindi watched him scurry toward her, leaving more death in his wake. He paused over a moaning musician to deliver a coup de grace. The victim’s head dissolved in a spray of pink mist. Two steps and he stood over Ron Harrington, who weakly raised a hand to ward off the pending assassination.

The repercussion from the blast snapped Cindi’s head into the pavement. Blood, bone, and tissue puffed into a frothy crimson ball, its residue settling like a filmy blanket over her head and shoulders.

“Why are you doing this?” she moaned. The two had been innocent sweethearts in the fifth grade. Tommy had always been a good friend. Startled at the sound of her voice, she mentally commanded her quivering body to remain still as she held her breath, and went limp. Tommy rolled Ron’s body from over her, the dead weight of his meaty arm caught hers, pulling her onto her back before his lifeless body was pushed clear. In a vacuum of terror, she lay prone with her eyes closed – playing dead.