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Posts Tagged ‘post apocalypse’

Authoring Like a Boss

I just finished The Vault, a book I wrote that takes place in a post-apocalyptic North America (New York, to be precise). I intended it to be a novella but it got away from me and turned into something bigger, longer, and better. It was a book full of lessons for me too, as it detoured away from areas I am more comfortable with (science fiction / fantasy), and yet I could not use a lot of modern conveniences in it (no running water, electricity, etc.).

In fact, The Vault is set a year after a very impressive asteroid falls out of the sky and lands in the Atlantic Ocean, just west of the Bahamas. People around the world are wiped out, either right away or over the next several months as the sun is blotted out by debris, acid rain scours the planet, and the food chain is wiped out. All in all, it’s a pretty grim time, but there are survivors – otherwise how boring would it be to write about a barren rock we used to call home?

But that’s another story that’s already been told. It’s in my editor’s hands and when she’s finished with it, I’ll make it available. A week or two is my guess. I was inspired to write it by the success of my second book I ever released, Wanted. That book (and the series it spawned) has arguably been my most successful book. My hope is that I can recapture some of the magic in Wanted in the post-apocalyptic setting, although this one is very different both in setting and in the amount of people remaining. If it does well, who knows where it might lead later on?

That’s for later, this is now. And now it is time for me to once again take up the glowing crystal spear and knife and revisit the universe of Vitalis. When I last left Vitalis there was a group of bad-asses on Vitalis that were training and developing themselves. They have their orders now, and they are ready to return to Earth. Their mission: become the enemy so they can defeat the enemy. Pity the name “Suicide Squad” has already been taken, it might have made a great title.

At this point, after I finish up Vitalis #9 I’ll finally move back to Voidhawk and finish the rather epic storyline that was unearthed in Fallen Goddess. Not to mention addressing the hole that I left in the hearts of both the Voidhawk’s crew and myself when Jenna was lost. Finishing that story is going to require the third and final book in the Serpent’s War trilogy to be written as well.

Somewhere in there I need another Dark Universe book and another Terminus book. Good thing it’s only May – I have a lot planned for this year still!

As a special note, I’ve been doing a lot of research on character development and interaction recently and I really hope it begins to show in Vitalis and beyond (not that the characters haven’t developed and grown already, it’s just some new things I want to introduce).

 

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.

Writing the Right Fiction

I’m working on a story I’m calling “The Vault.” It’s a post-apocalyptic story exploring what happens to a group of people that are the first to emerge from a government vault designed to help a tiny portion of humanity survive an asteroid striking the earth. Trust me, when big, fast rock hits the earth lots of bad things happen. It’s happened before and it will happen again, but hopefully not for hundreds of thousands of years (or millions).

Researching what would happen for an asteroid strike is some pretty freaky stuff. Impressive, to say the least. Or maybe terrifying, if you’re the type that lets you worry about things you have zero control over (um, sorry, if that’s the case). In my scenario I’ve got a rock roughly 8kilometers (5ish miles) in size, fairly dense, traveling around 30 meters a second striking just off the Bahamas. Secondary problems involve fault lines shifting and causing earthquakes around the world, including an early release of a lot of stored up magma and pressure in the Yellowstone Caldera. It is, for all intents and purposes, an extinction level event.

Yet, people are resilient. Worse (or better) than cockroaches even. Survivors are trying to find a way to bring life back to the planet and rebuild. And that’s the gist of the story without giving anything away. I’ve got a core group of characters I’m focusing on and making them deal with one natural disaster after another. Fun, in its own way, but I’m afraid I went and made a terrible mistake.

I accidentally saw a snippet of a series on Netflix called Orange is the New Black. That tiny snippet was enough to hook me. That lead to the necessity of binge watching the first three seasons whenever I could. And now I’m waiting for the fourth season to come out this summer. Wait – what the heck does that have to do with my writing?

Good question. The characters in Orange is the New Black are outstanding. Even the ones I don’t really care much for have such rich backstories and lives I’m left shocked and impressed. My only complaint is that the series has expanded so much on so many of the other characters that I feel like the original heroines of the story, Piper Chapmin and Alex Vause, aren’t getting as much focus as they should. Their story, after all, is the one that hooked me and made me want to know more. I’m not happy with how the 3rd season ended, regarding those two, but I have my own hidden theories about what might happen to / for them.

Now then, back to writing. As I said all of these characters are so rich and thought out that it’s really opened up an itch in my to write something new and different. I’m struggling to stay focused on The Vault, and I’m happy that I only planned this story to be a novella instead of a full length novel. I’m halfway done by my guess, and I’m anxious to get it done as soon as I can so I can explore my new ideas.

What does that mean, as far as what comes next? Well, there are many options. I was thinking my next book would be a Vitalis story, and I could see myself trying to incorporate some of these ideas into Vitalis. After all, Vitalis has a history of having many characters with their own backgrounds and stories, so it might be a natural fit. Conversely, I could very easily find a way to slide these new ideas into a new Lost Girls book, although Katalina and Skylar would not be the main characters anymore. Instead it would follow their daughters and their desire to grow up and make their mark on the world.

Or maybe something else completely new? Naw, probably not. I’m probably going to end up focusing on Vitalis, but the appeal of a Lost Girls spin off is growing. I still need to write more Dark Universe, Voidhawk, and The Serpent’s War too (and countless many others). Come to think of it, maybe some of these new ideas could end up working out in an extension of my Wanted series too…

The positive take-away from this is that inspiration can come from anywhere. On the flip side, it can be damn irritating too, because it’s messing with my current focus. That makes me mad though, and anger I can use to drive me forward. Scorched earth be damned, I will have these stories out as soon as I can!

 

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

I 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.

A Soldier, a Porn Star, and a Coed Walk into a Bar…

December 5, 2012 1 comment

The subject might be a great lead in for a dirty joke or the next book in the 50 Shades series, but I just used it to pique your interest. Although to be fair, the book I finally released has all three of those characters in it. More importantly, it’s a book that people have been wanting me to write for over a year now. Bounty, book three in my Wanted series, has been released!

It was a close call, I admit. Writing the book, once the idea came to me, was the easiest part. It kept stretching out longer and longer as more great details and ideas emerged, but it never creeped so far out of scope that it became too long. Then I had problems with my content editor hitting my schedule, but those eventually sorted themselves out. Finally I ended up losing my job a couple of days before my copy editor finished with the book, preventing a timely payment – she was great and offered to give me a little leeway, due in part to her and her husband both enjoying my writing so much. Finally there was the issue with Amazon – they published it but the link wouldn’t open! I emailed them my concerns on December 2nd and they promised they’d look into it and have an answer by December 7th. 5 days?! Thankfully when I checked this morning it was finally cleared up and released. YAY!

So, without delaying any further, here’s the blurb, cover, and links so you can get your Bounty!

The U.S. government has reclaimed the abandoned western states but the law remains the province of whoever has the biggest gun. Life was good, if boring, for retired special forces operator Carl Waters and his wife Jessie until she received an offer to reprise her acting career and star in a new role. When a hired gun tries to kill Jessie on the set of her new movie they discover that their new found fame is not the blessing they’d hoped for.

Carl has to defend his family from the loose ends of their old lives. That, or avenge them.

Bounty, book 3 in the Wanted series by Jason Halstead

Bounty on Amazon

Bounty on Amazon UK

Bounty on Barnes and Noble

Bounty on Kobo

Bounty on Smashwords

Bounty on iTunes (coming soon)

Bounty on Sony (coming soon)

Bounty in print (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.

A Most Rewarding Bounty

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Long term readers of my blog will know by now that I take great delight in twisting my words into multiple meanings. In this case, I’m taking about the book I’m writing, Bounty. It’s book three in the Wanted trilogy. I’m nearing the end but in spite of the layout of chapters and tasks I’ve assigned to myself, I keep finding extra chapters slipping in. This shouldn’t be upsetting to anyone – the extra content isn’t merely added quantity, it’s added quality as well.

I’m talking about it now because I’m having such a fun time writing it! Sure, I love all my books but this one really had me scared. I’ve gotten a ton of reviews (overwhelmingly good) on Wanted, and almost as many on book 2, Ice Princess. That present a problem to me – it meant if I wrote a third book like I’d originally planned, it needed to be of equal or better quality. How’s that for being scary?

I don’t question my ability as a writer anymore. Some people don’t like me, some people do. Fortunately it seems to be more are pro-Jason Halstead than against. But there’s a different between knowing how to tell a story and living up to an expectation. I’ve seen this plenty of times in the powerlifting venue and even experienced it myself a couple of times. I expect so much even though I know how hard it’s going to be and subconsciously come up with ways to defeat myself. I justify the failure and before you know it instead of picking up 565lbs I only got it halfway before I twisted it around and damn near broke my shin in half.

And knowing the root of the problem does not mean it’s any easier to beat it. Our brain is designed to protect us, whether it’s from ripping muscles off of bones or public failure and embarrassment. Our subconscious is call ‘sub’ because it’s also subversive. It whispers in our ear and tells us it’s okay to give up, it won’t think less of us. We can say we had a busy day and needed the quick calories a cupcake provides. One little drink won’t hurt. I can lift heavy weights next week after my back stops hurting. All excuses that sound great at the time. Justifications for allowing ourselves to not try as hard as we could. As hard as we should.

So out of the blue an idea for Bounty came to me. It felt good but I wanted to be sure, so I let it rattle around in my head a few days while I finished writing Child of Fate. It was harder and harder, I’ll admit, but once I finished Child of Fate I knew what I had to do. Fear of failure be damned, this book needed to be written! And so I’ve been writing – not as breakneck as usual because life’s been a lot busier lately, but I’m still averaging at least 2000 words a day on it.

Bounty takes place six years after Ice Princess ends. Everybody’s living their own happy lives (more or less), and getting by. Allison’s gone off to college after being legally adopted by Carl and Jessie and without Allison around to keep her busy, Jessie’s itching to get back into the movie industry.

The United States government had moved back in to officially reclaim the western states. The special hardware Carl has is still state of the art, but it’s not the razor’s edge of biotech development anymore. It should be safe to reenter the public eye. It’s been six years, everything that happened before is ancient history, right?

For most people in most situations, yes. It’s time to live and let live. Two things can change that. Two very powerful things, such as beauty and hate. Either independently or together they can turn a rationale human being into something entirely different. Something obsessive and vicious. Something that will stop at nothing to get what they want.

And that, my friends, is what Bounty is all about.

A few more days and the rough draft will be complete. After a few weeks of editing I’m hoping for a early to mid December release date. I promise it will be a fun ride and it lives up to its predecessors in every way, shape, and form.

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 Ultimate Betrayal

Long time readers of this blog will remember the story I posted one chapter at a time called Betrayal’s Hands. I stopped posting a few weeks back because I got busy and because I was done to the very end and, to be honest, the end sucked more than the rest of it did. I had my suspicions, after trying to rework it as I read through it, but it wasn’t until I sought some outside assistance to be sure of it. The feedback agrees with my hunches: Betrayal’s Hands is going into the slush pile that shall never again see the light of day.

I apologize for anyone who was enjoying it in spite of the many flaws it contained. There is a decent story to be had in it, I believe, but rewriting it would be more work than writing something from scratch. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to it but I doubt it very much. I’ve got too many other projects that rank higher in my mind’s eye.

Speaking of those other projects, the current one is a new fantasy novel destined to become a series. It’s called Child of Fate (the first book), although something about the title doesn’t feel quite right to me. We’ll call that the working title for now until it’s too late for me to come up with something different. Anyhow, it’s a story about a farm boy turned mercenary, although right now he’s still far more farm boy than warrior. I’m on chapter 9 and around 120 pages into it. I’ve got a lot of plans for the first book so I might be a third of the way through – it promises to be a long one!

But wait, there’s more. I had an idea just this morning that came out of the blue. It involved Wanted and Ice Princess. A concept for a third book smacked me in the back of the head. I’m going to let it sit there and rattle around for a while to make sure it sticks, then who knows, perhaps Carl and Jessie have enough left in them for one more run through the meat grinder!

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.

Sometimes a Quickie is all You Can Manage

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Life’s been a little busy, a little hectic, and even a little challenging lately. Doesn’t mean the world stops to wait, it means I’ve got to run faster. Unfortunately, that’s also meant my blog postings have suffered. But here I am trying to fight back and get a little something out there. It’s nothing major, just a head’s up for anybody interested that today and today only Vitalis, New Beginnings, is free on Amazon. Yeah, and the day’s half over, what kind of a prick am I to not mention it until now? Sorry…

Vitalis Book 1 - New Beginnings by Jason Halstead

Vitalis - New Beginnings, on Amazon

 Vitalis – New Beginnings on Amazon

 Vitalis – New Beginnings on Amazon UK

The good news is that there’s more! Starting today and stretching on for a while Wanted is available for free again (on Amazon). You’ll notice a trend with my books and Amazon. Say what you will about them trying to take over the publishing world, they provide tools and work with little people like me. Oh sure, in person I’m rather large and sometimes even imposing, but in the grand scheme of the ocean of publishing I’m barely making a ripple. Regardless, if you haven’t snagged a copy of Wanted or New Beginnings yet, I strongly encourage you to do so! It’s free and there are no strings attached. Not to mention you won’t be able to stop reading there, you’ll want to pick up the sequels too!

Wanted, book 1, by Jason Halstead

Wanted, post-apocalyptic science fiction by Jason Halstead

Wanted on Amazon

Wanted on Amazon UK

Wanted on Barnes and Noble

Wanted on Smashwords

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.