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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

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.

 

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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.

Gas Powered Writing

September 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Yes, my wife did make a pot of chili the other day, but this has nothing to do with that. Or gasoline, for that matter, except in the most allegorical* of ways.

I find myself somewhat driven right now due to a few factors. The first is the delay of my Shadowrun novel for release. I hate letting so much time pass between releases, you see. The second is part of my email dilemma I recovered from – I have an opportunity to work with a roleplaying game company to write a story or stories for them. We’re in licensing talks to decide if the books would become canon or not. Exciting stuff, and the more questions I ask and the more involved I get with it, the more cool the world is becoming.

In fact, I have 3 character concepts already worked out in my head. I have to flesh them out as characters using the game system yet so I can create something that meshes with their mechanics, but I don’t foresee any problems at all with this.

A bit of a teaser on this new stuff. It’s a new world in a fantasy settings. New races unlike anything traditional fantasy has to offer. There are humans and fae, but the humans are a definite minority. Other races abound, both good, bad, and indifferent. Each fleshed out with their own unique histories and lore. All in all, it’s growing on me and offering some really fun new opportunities to torture perfectly helpless characters!

But there’s a problem… that problem is Vitalis. I’m still very much in love with the book I’m writing for it. So I’m attacking it feverishly to try and finish it the way it deserves to be finished without cutting the story short. That means it’s back to late, late night writing! In fact, I broke the 10,000 word mark last night and I’m not yet finished with the first act of the story. Good times to be had, I assure you!

Oh, and I haven’t shamelessly reminded you to pick up The Goblin Queen lately, here it is.

 

* – I expect bonus points (maybe even a triple word score) for using the word allegorical.

 

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.

If You Never Try, You Never Fail…

September 7, 2017 Leave a comment

…and you never succeed. Today’s blog happened earlier this week. As my readers might now, I finished a novel recently written in the Shadowrun setting. “Oh no, not this again,” you’re thinking. To which I respond, “Oh yes, this!”

You see, I was planning on releasing it as fanfiction simply because I really love the game / setting / story. I’ll admit, it’s taken some twists and turns over the years that didn’t necessarily sit well with me, but I can overlook some quirks based on the joy it’s brought me. Writing this book only compounded that joy.

So anyhow, here I am looking for where and how to publish it as fanfiction. In my travails I happened across the actual official forum for the Shadowrun setting / role playing game. And lo and behold, there’s a thread on fanfiction! Who knew?!

I began to read and much of it was facts I already knew regarding IP and copyright handling. So far I was feeling fine and dandy, and then I happened across a post that recommended for anyone trying to publish something official for Shadowrun, to contact a gentleman by the name of Jason Hardy and request a packet and details.

I stared at that message for a few moments, wondering… was this legit? Who was this guy? A quick Google search confirmed that Mr. Hardy was indeed a legitimate person. Moreso, he’d published a few novels himself for Shadowrun and Mechwarrior, as well as some other material. He even provided his email address for public consumption! Well now, I couldn’t let that pass, now could I?

So off I went to whip up a charming email sure to enthrall him and leave him on the edge of his seat. I had little to work off of, aside from having the same first name and last initial in common. I learned long ago in an unpleasant place to use whatever you’ve got at hand, no matter how seemingly insignificant it might be. I requested some details on how I could go about submitting my book for consideration and hit send. Then I waited.

And, to be honest, I forgot about it. The Labor Day weekend was sufficiently distracting with uncovering 2 years of missing emails and working on my new book on top of that. Imagine my surprise when early this week he responded quite good naturedly and invited me to send him a sample of the book! No packet, no instructions on what hoops to jump through or who to bother, but rather me sending him some of what I’d written. Pretty cool. Or whiz, to use the Shadowrun parlance.

So the very next morning I sat down and went over my story with an exceptionally critical eye. I tweaked some phrasing and corrected some errors, then I went over it again. By the time I was down I felt pretty good about the first paragraph. It grabbed my attention, at least, and made me want to know what happens next. So that was it – I sent it his way.

And he responded again! Almost immediately. No verdict, of course, but rather a promise to check it out and for me to reach out to him again and give him a poke if I haven’t heard back in a respectable amount of time. Pretty cool, I have to say. There’s no telling whether the story will fly or not, but I’m still grinning at having the opportunity.

Sure, I’ve been published by several different publishers over the years. Why does this thrill me so much? I don’t know, honestly, other than to say it might have something to do with the subject content. Shadowrun, to me and a considerable amount of role players, is a very cool thing. It’s been around 30 years, if not more, and is arguably the most well known sci-fi and fantasy role playing game around (sci-fi & fantasy, not just pure fantasy where Dungeons and Dragons holds the crown, scepter, throne, and the usurped king’s daughter’s discarded chastity belt). So, to a veteran geek like me, this is pretty cool.

Or am I nerd? I get the two confused. I think I’m both, what with my interest (and career) in computer programming and design as well as love of fantasy and role playing. Did I mention I wore a suit of plate mail to the Michigan Renaissance festival in Holly, MI a few weeks ago? Yeah, I’m one of those guys, and proud of it!

Ahem, so anyhow, for those of you anxious to read my Shadowrun book, you’re going to have to wait I’m sorry to say. It may end up as nothing more than another piece of fanfiction, but it might end up as an official Shadowrun novel too – at this point it’s anybody’s guess.

Until then, I’m back to working on Vitalis: Reloaded. One chapter in and I’m using the character’s I’ve got and making more up as I need them. I’m still encouraging people to send me ideas – or at least names of fictional characters that in no way resemble the cheating jerk that was your ex or the miserable boss who deserves a terrible fate only an author could deliver. Of course I’ve never included any characters based in any part to individuals that I’ve had problems with…

Ahem, right, so where was I? Oh yeah, I’m still in single digit sales of The Goblin Queen and I just don’t think that’s fair to you, my readers. You’re missing out on a hell of a great story, if I do say so myself (and I do). For what it’s worth, I’ve gotten nothing but great feedback from some of the readers too – and no, these people were not friends or family, nor did they owe me money. Give it a shot, you’ll love 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.