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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Cosmic Spin the Bottle

No, I haven’t kissed any aliens. I don’t know anyone who has either. I was simply looking for a phrase that implied randomness, because this post might seem like I pulled the contents out of a bingo bowl.

First up is Terminus, a series I wrote a couple of stories in back in 2016 with John M. Davis. I wrote a novella to launch the setting and then the second book in the series. He wrote the first one. For those not in the know, Terminus is science fiction taking place in the year 2277. Humans have reached the stars and met our neighbors. Some are nice, some are not so nice, but everyone is civilized… or as civilized as humanity has been throughout history.

There are pirates and bandits, evil governments, vicious mobsters, rebels and outcasts, and even a special caste of people called the Gifted that are feared throughout the universe for their merciless psychic powers. John took a group of people and wrote about their exploits as they sought to establish themselves and buck the system. I did the same, although with different people.

If you’re just hearing about this series, don’t be surprised. We were both very excited about it. I whipped up a website and everything for it – even tried to encourage as much reader interaction as possible with it – but our excitement was one sided. A few people read the books and I got some great feedback from those that did. They loved it and wanted more, but those few people seem to be the only ones that heard about it. Talk about a disappointment! I shelved the project for a rainy day and had to move on to other books that sell more.

The artist and creator in me felt betrayed by my actions. It was like I’d stabbed myself in the back, and that would be a feat since I have to find a convenient wall corner when I need to scratch my back.

Well, I spent a week in Florida on a family vacation and, during downtime, I dusted off Frozen Dreams and read through it again. Oh. My. Stars! I fell in love with it all over again. Great characters and setting. My only problem was the minor errors I found in the book. Less than ten, to be sure, and some of those were some style tweaks I made to improve the flow, but I was still embarrassed. All the same, I’ve just resubmitted the updated story to Amazon and it should be available in a day or so. If you’re one of the few that have already bought and read it, the story is the same and you’re not missing anything. If you haven’t…well… you should. It’s a damn good read, if I do say so myself! Although I do recommend starting with Terminus, the story that began it all.

Am I going to continue the Terminus series now? I’d like to very much. In fact, I’m sure I will, but not just yet. I still have to finish off Bling 2.0 before I can do that. That book is already at the 50,000 word mark and I expect I’ve got a solid 15% – 25% to go (if not more). After that I might return to Terminus, but I’ve got another project that’s coming up fast on my schedule too, so I can’t promise anything.

Remember that randomness I promised? Well, even more random than bringing up a series written back in 2016 is another book I read while on vacation. I’m working on Bling 2.0 right now, as I said, and that is a Lost Girls book that takes place in the western United States. Arizona, mostly, except for this one they are spending a lot of time on Dark Earth instead of the Earth we know and love. Dark Earth is the same as ours, except instead of technology to chase away the monsters they have magic. And sometimes the monsters use magic too.

Anyhow, in Bling 2.0 there’s a lot of time spent with the native people, which happen to be the Dark Earth equivalent to the Diné (Navajo people). They speak the same language as the Navajo and have the same beliefs, lore, and spirits, although they are a part of the Mayan empire there. I’ve done a lot of research on the Navajo people because of my Lost Girls series and I’ve been very fascinated by it all. Imagine my surprise when I found a book by Rebecca Roanhorse called Trail of Lightning that is a science fiction book that fully incorporates Navajo lore into a great story! My one and only regret is that book 2, Storm of Locusts, won’t be released until April 23rd. I can’t recommend Trail of Lightning enough – I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Maggie’s (the main character) struggle against the monsters of flesh and legend that she had to try and overcome. Spoiler alert: she’s just like the rest of us in that sometimes she makes bad choices and sometimes she doesn’t win.

Okay, that’s enough for one night. I’ve got to get back to Bling 2.0 if I’m going to finish telling her story and then be able to work on the stories of the other characters fighting to be heard!

 

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’m a Bad Parent

January 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Not literally, but in an artistic license sort of way. My kids are fine, I haven’t let them wander into any abandoned mines or forgotten to pick them up from a creepy corn maze run by a guy in a clown mask. What I have done is let a new release go unannounced for over a week! That’s right, Confliction, Dark Universe book #7, is available everywhere!

Confliction picks up a little over a year after Lucky Star left off and continues the saga of the Dark Universe struggle against the Kesari, a race of alien beings intent on dominating the galaxy. There are new heroes and heroines in this book, although I really was searching for something a little grittier when I wrote this one. I even had one person accuse me of channeling some inner Shakespeare! Whether that’s true or not, the main characters might be better described as anti-heroes. As with all of my books, the story unfolds and the characters grow, evolve, and endure the struggles necessary to become better people. Or they fail and are never heard from again.

I’ll be honest, Lucky Star was a fun book for me, but I felt it missed a certain spark that made it really shine. This time I recaptured it, and I’m certain it had to do with including a lot of scenes with some of the stars from books past. It just didn’t feel like it was a complete story without some appearances and interaction with Aden, Twyf, Seph, Sierra, Niko, Neesha, and more.

So here is Confliction, anxiously awaiting eager eyes to dance across the curves and angles and expose it for the dark beauty that it is!

 

confliction - small

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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  Confliction (book 7)  
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In other news, I’m very close to releasing a new Lost Girls novel: Bling. This character inspired me in a way that I haven’t been inspired since Katalina Wimple willed herself into creation in the back of my head and demanded I share her story with the world. Then she did it again, and writing back-to-back books in the same series was unheard of for me. Bling did that too – I’m working on book 2 about her as I type this, before the cover art for book 1 is even finished!

2019 feels like a better year for writing for me so far. Here’s to hoping I can keep that going all year long!

 

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.

Self-Taught

November 16, 2018 Leave a comment

I struggled with a title for this blog. This is more about an old dog still being able to learn new tricks. Except these aren’t new tricks, these are old tricks I already learned and, I guess, let slip. I’m not that old, so there’s no good excuse to give. What the heck am I talking about? Well, read on, it was kind of a neat discovery for me and one I’m still feeling positive about.

I’m working on Confliction, book 7 in the Dark Universe series. I started it with a neat concept and crafted some characters to fit the roles I wanted. Then I threw some twists and turns along the way, as well as relationships and complications. All in all, it’s been a good ride but, I confess, a little rough to write.

I reached a point in the book where I’m tying in some of the earlier characters that made Dark Universe such a great series, but it’s been a while since I’ve written about them so I needed to go back and get a feel for them again. I reread some parts of Chasing the Dark and then Dark Star to get what I needed… and I was glad I was sitting down.

I was shocked by what I read and what I felt. In a good way! I was devouring the words and getting swept up in the characters and what they were going through and, more importantly, feeling. On top of all that I realized that I had written this.

That was kind of a wake up call that made me think. I liked my characters I’d created, but they weren’t the same. I tried to follow the formula to make them real, but that’s the problem, it was a formula. It wasn’t art. So that means I’m going back through the first 2/3 of the book I’ve written and flesh them out more. More experiences, more interaction, more relationships. More dialogue and quirks. More real.

But why did this happen in the first place? There’s no data to point to a specific reason or point in time, but this year has been particularly complex for yours truly. Not bad, just burdensome in some aspects. My writing has suffered a lot because of it. Excessive demand from my day job and ongoing stress caused by that has impacted a lot of things this year. I won’t say it’s improved either, but I’ve adapted and shifted a few things around. Does that mean I’ll be writing more and getting back into the groove again? I suspect it will be a bit of a compromise. I’d sure love to, but we’ll see how things go. All I can do is try… and keep trying until they wheel me away.

So hopefully I’ll have Confliction out yet this year or early next – that’s the goal I’m setting for myself. I’ve got plenty of time off during the holidays to help me 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.

 

Out of Control and Totally Awesome

December 15, 2017 Leave a comment

This is just a quick update since I’ve got the day off and I just spent the morning working on Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m having trouble with the book. I had a plan when I started it, but that plan didn’t work out the way I wanted. Sure, that always happens, but this time it went off the rails completely. The story took twists I wasn’t expecting, and twists that I didn’t dare cut short of eliminate. They made it amazing. I’m not even sure what the heck is happening and which character is doing what anymore! I mean that in a good way…

My protagonists are turning on each other, some openly and some secretly. Secondary characters are stepping up and doing amazing and important things. Unseen threats and challenges are arriving in scores. Good guys are becoming bad guys and bad guys…well, they might just end up good. Best part of it all is that there are so many “villains” vying for their own victory in this I have no idea who’s going to win – or if the good guys stand a chance of surviving.

I’m still fighting hard to finish it in December, but my day job has been running long hours and cutting into my writing time. Hopefully that will clear up a little soon, especially since I have some time off scheduled near the end of the year. Working hard to find out what happens – I can’t wait to figure out who’s going to survive this mess, only to be forced to face the darkness that’s coming.

 

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

Good News / Bad News

December 1, 2017 Leave a comment

So the bad news is, my Shadowrun novel was gently rejected. I was encouraged to try again because they liked it, but didn’t quite like it enough. He gave me some good feedback on what they like to see too, which I appreciated.

Would be writers take note: accept a critique from just about anyone, even if they are obviously off their rocker. We write, erego we have opinions we want to share on how things should be done or considered or handled. If we, as writers, want to be successful, we need to find a way to merge what we want to share with what people want to hear / read. Being outspoken (or out-typed, in our case), does not mean our opinion is right or popular (often the opposite), so the trick is to learn how to present it. PSA over now.

So the bad news becomes good news – I’m going to publish it for free! No cover art though, just a raw story that is self-edited. I’ll put it on as many locations as I can think of. Probably Wattpad, some fanfic sites, my blog and / or website, and a few others. And if you find errors in it (you will, I’m sure), I encourage and request that you let me know so I can fix them. Self-editing is hit and miss, at best. For a free title I’m afraid I can’t afford to get it professionally edited these days.

So stay tuned, I’ll have news of it being available soon! Hopefully a free book can tide you over until I finish up Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m getting close to the end, but I’ve been insanely busy lately between the day job requirements, holidays, and kids being tied up in a lot of afterschool activities. to be fair, my son has been recruited to take part on a football team charity league and my daughter is rocking in a lead role in a school play, so it’s worth the distraction to me. As for the day job, well, sometimes it’s nice to be “The Guy,” and other times, well, it’s not so nice.

how, Vitalis: Reloaded has a bit to go yet, probably at least another half dozen chapters if not more. It’s going to be a pretty large book, and it’s been a lot of fun to explore the opportunities a fresh and more or less original exposure to Vitalis have given me. I’d say more but, well, I’d be sharing too much! Hang in there and find out all about it yourself!

 

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.

Ideas are a Dangerous Thing

November 9, 2017 Leave a comment

The concept of ideas being dangerous isn’t new. This post, however, has nothing to do with the concepts of educating people to stop doing stupid things in the name of extreme religions, political beliefs, or because the voices told them to. It’s not even a spin off from movies like Inception. I’m rambling on about the fact that I have too many ideas at any one given time and while creativity is awesome, the consequences can really suck.

For example, I’m around 60,000 words into Vitalis: Reloaded and I have no idea how far it will go until I finish it. I have the end in mind, plotting the course from now to then has a lot of curves and bumps in the road. That means I don’t know how long until I can finish it up and get it out there and it also means I don’t know how long until I can work on some other ideas I’ve had that are killing me.

Because I enjoy the ideas so much, I write them down. The most recent one I not only wrote down, but I had to crank out the first chapter in too, just to make sure I didn’t forget any key parts. I know, I know, I shouldn’t entertain these stray thoughts when I’m working on a project. It’s kind of like multi-tasking, but not. Truthfully, it feels more like being unfaithful and cheating on my current work in progress.

Oh sure, they’re just stories, but the problem is less about hurting their imaginary feelings than it is losing traction and forgetting important parts. Continuity suffers and the people anxiously waiting for me to finish book A get upset when book it takes too long to be released. Or worse yet, book B comes out first.

And this blog post? Possibly another tiny distraction where I should be spending time writing on the story in question instead of putting words here. I justify it by explaining delays to the faithful readers out there, as well hopefully generating some excitement on the new ideas yet to come.

My latest ideas? One’s a somewhat stereotypical scifi trope where humans are scattered across the galaxy after intergalactic wars and forced to live as savages. Except for one… I’d share more, but there’s always that off chance that someone might snag the idea and run with it.

Another idea involves timescaping. In fact, that’s my intended title at this point: Timescaping. That’s my newest / freshest idea and I’m still working it out in the back of my head. We’ll see what happens there.

There are some other ones too, but they’re on hold as well. And all the time Dawn Michelle gets frustrated because I work on my stuff and not with her on hers. So at some point, I’ve got to do that too. But first, back to Vitalis: Reloaded. I’m going to finish this book this 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.

It’s Not That Easy

October 18, 2017 Leave a comment

To get rid of me. I’m still here and still writing. Haven’t published anything in a while because I’ve got a book in consideration for publication with an old fashioned publisher and I’m working on a new one. Most of you knew all this though, so enough with the recap – on to the update!

Vitalis: Reloaded is over 45,000 words in and, honestly, it’s turning into a much bigger story than I first expected! Colonists sent out from the Terran Coalition before the discovery of Vitalis have stumbled across a new world dozens of light years from human occupied space. It’s a world nobody expected, in a solar system hidden behind some space anomalies that befuddled and confused sensors. It’s a world with a spot of life on it, life that nobody expected or can explain.

But what would a harrowing space exploration story be without challenge and excitement? Inexplicable events have to happen. Surprises in the alien vegetation have to leave the colonists guessing. Murphy and his damn law have to strike at the most inopportune times. And the people? They have to suffer and prove they’re stronger than what the planet throws at them. That’s what being on the frontier is all about. Life as a colonist is a life of hardship and endurance. Sprinkle in a strange massive alien geode filled with glowing crystals that nobody has ever seen before, and the hardships increase exponentially.

The other priority for a colonization ship? Well, colonization – you know, establishing a home in a new savage place and making sure there are future generations to inherit it. So they’re headed out there with the reward in mind of some good old fashioned population growth. If they can survive long enough to make it to that point.

Now back at it! At the rate I’m going and the plans I have for this book, it could easily double in size. Bear with me, it’s underway and coming as soon as I can make 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.