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The Future Just Got a Whole Lot Closer

January 16, 2016 Leave a comment

2016 started out rough, but now it’s ramping up and launching straight into the year 2402! I teased in my last blog about the new project, Terminus. Well that’s when Terminus is set, in the year 2402. There has been contact with aliens – lots of contact, in fact. Humanity is spread amongst the stars and is colonizing worlds, on top of learning to live with other alien races under the galactic rule of the Continuum.

As exciting as Terminus is… it has to wait. Oh sure, I’ve been feverishly working on a web site and an introductory story for it, but it’s not yet time for those. What it is time for is another very active and compelling science fiction tale to keep you busy: Shades of Dark.

First, in spite of the name, I want to promise there is no poor acting or whips and chains in the book. Mind you, there might be some used behind closed doors – Seph and Twyf are both pretty uninhibited when it comes to showing their affection for their partners. The point is, this novel continues the story of Aden and his friends and family as they seek to topple the Kesari domination of the known universe. There are some scenes of torture and bondage, now that I think about it, but there are no safe words

Here’s the blurb, to whet your appetite a little more:

For Aden and Twyf, a human and his Tassarian lover, the time has come for them to have a few moments to themselves. The moment is spoiled by a surprise attack launched by the Kesari. Their goal? Destroy anyone and everyone seeking to upset the control they’ve established over the universe.

The thing about heroes is that, no matter how unlikely or unwilling, they don’t go down without a fight. Bloodied by the assault and the loss of their friends, Aden and his remaining friends must set out to do the impossible: Topple an alien regime.

Hopelessly outnumbered and facing superior technology, Aden, Twyf, Sierra, and Seph have run out of tricks and luck. Will running on sheer willpower alone in an alien universe amidst uncertain allies be enough?

 

Shades of Dark, book 5 in the Dark Universe

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)
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Now stay tuned for Terminus. I plan to launch the website at either the end of this month or early next month, along with the first story – for free! Shortly after that two new releases will be available, one by myself and the other by my talented accomplice in the Terminus setting: John M. Davis. Personally I’ve set a goal to write 4 Terminus stories this year, if not more. I can’t speak for John, but I know he shares my passion for writing a quality story as well as knowing what it takes to get the work done. Heck, the man has over 20 published works already! That’s the mark of an individual who’s fought through the trenches and is willing to go the distance.

Until then, I hope to drop more teasers and pleasers here about Terminus. Stay tuned, I’ll be releasing bits and pieces about technology and alien races (For example, I just conceived a new one today, Mongrellians).

 

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.

Terminus: An Introduction

I apologize for the less than infrequent blogs. 2015 was a rough year, what with moving and some pretty significant shifts for the worse in the book market. I tried to write my tail off, but around the holidays even that suffered. The good news is, 2015 is behind me, I have moved, and I just sent of Shades of Dark, the 5th Vitalis book, to my editor.

But that’s hardly worthy of blogging about. What is exciting and worth reading up on is what’s coming early in 2016. It’s a project we’ve labeled Terminus, and by “we” I mean myself and John M. Davis, the author of the Gunship series and a highly ranked freebie called Colony, among other things. Check them out, they’re both free on Amazon!

So what is Terminus? Well, it’s something entirely new. We decided to pool our collective thoughts and come up with a shared universe. The thing is, we want to share it with more than just the two of us. And by sharing, we don’t just mean we write and you read. We want to make it as interactive as possible at this point. I’m working on putting together a website for it that will explain more, but for now let me toss out the ideas we’ve got.

By now you’re surely heard of crowd-funding, right? Well don’t worry, we’re not doing that. We do, however, want to do some crowd-sourcing. The idea is (once the website is up) for us to make it available for readers to submit things they’d like to see. New aliens, new weapons, new characters (good or bad), plot ideas, technologies, names, etc.. There’s no limit!

Now that doesn’t mean we’ll accept everything submitted. There’s bound to be some crazy stuff in there, after all. People screwing around or just having fun. I encourage that, in fact – it’ll be entertaining at worst and at best, it might spawn some other ideas. We can get inspiration from just about anywhere, after all.

On the flip side, things that are included will merit special mentions on the website and in the books. As a reader I think that would be pretty damn cool to have something of mine included, with credit given. There’s no compensation to be had here, unfortunately (we’re not THAT successful), but we will have some legalise releasing all IP and rights to submitted material. And who knows, maybe somebody’s going to have ideas so kickass that we want them to take up the battle with us and become a third other in the setting.

Speaking of that, here’s how these books are going to work. John and I are not co-authoring the books. What we are doing is writing our own stories and sharing them back and forth with each other to keep everything cohesive. Our characters will run across each other, from time to time, and there may be dialogue between them or snide comments tossed behind their backs. It’ll be great fun!

As much as I’d love to talk more about it, we’re very much in the beginning stages. I’m whipping up an introductory story to introduce the setting and John’s hard at work on his first book. Hopefully we’ll something to share soon! Either way, I’ll be posting more blogs soon that give away some details. Characters, background details, planets, technologies and ships, and who knows what else. I can’t give too much away – we want you to discover them in the books as they unfold, after all.

Stay tuned for a great new adventure into the stars – it’s going to be one hell of a ride!

 

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 Rules of War Are Changing. It’s Time for a New Kind of Soldier.

December 8, 2015 Leave a comment

I haven’t written a book in my Vitalis setting in a while – at least not compared to the other books I’ve been pumping out. If you’re wondering what the Vitalis setting is, it’s science fiction done right. Futuristic stuff that pits a struggling humanity at odds with the limited resources they’re finding as they expand across the solar system. Limited until they find the planet Vitalis. Unfortunately, Vitalis isn’t willing to give up those resources… at least not without a price.

If you are familiar with Vitalis, then let me offer this new release, Vitalis: Commandos, as an apology for taking so long. But it’s far more than an apology, it’s a story filled with excitement, action, and a new kind of soldier. Whether these commandos have to go commando or not… well, you’ll have to read the book! Now here’s the skinny on Vitalis: Commandos:

Humanity fears change. Earth has been lost to the spreading alien infection from Vitalis – an infection that mutates and enhances everything it touches all the way down to the genetic level. The infection is contained, but at the cost of quarantining the entire planet of Earth and millions of faultless people that are desperate for a cure.

But it’s a cure the best scientists are nowhere near to finding. That leaves one option. Containment and control, and that’s why Lance Corporal Carmin Mendez is being given her last chance to avoid throwing her life away. The Terran Coalition of Systems is putting together a top secret unit of unique special operators intended to learn about the contagion and find a way to deal with it.

For a group of people with no future, the only way is forward. If they can survive the training and learn to get along with each other. And when they think they’re finally ready, the real test will begin. Vitalis is waiting.

 

VitalisCommandos_Small

Vitalis Vitalis: Resurrection Vitalis: Provenance
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Vitalis: Genesis Vitalis: Invasion Vitalis: Chrysalis
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Vitalis: Communion Vitalis: Commandos
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What’s next? Well, that’s where I have to hang my head. I just moved and it ate up two weeks of my life. No writing in that time, but while we’re still unpacking and I’m fixing up the house to allow for all of our stuff, I managed to both find a title and write another chapter on my next book. Shades of Dark, which is the fifth book in the Dark Universe setting. I’m hoping Shades of Dark helps wrap up the Dark Universe story for a bit so I can focus on some other things. Voidhawk needs another story, for example. And I can’t leave Vitalis out of the mix – Commandos opens up a whole new story line to pursue!

 

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.

There’s Only So Many Rocks To Hide Behind When the Entire Galaxy Is Hunting You.

November 15, 2015 Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged in a while. Not for lack of things to say, mostly for lack of time to do it. I’ve been focusing on writing and, in spite of a hiccup with some scheduling, I’ve gotten a lot done! That meant a missed month of publication, but on the plus side, I should have a couple of books coming out pretty quick here. Case in point, I’m here to announce a new book.

Dark Star has been released! This is book 4 in the Dark Universe series. If you remember the end of Chasing the Dark than you were anxiously wondering what happened to the scattered and injured characters. Dark Star answers that question and many more. Aden learns things about his past that leave him troubled, to say the least. Seph spends a lot of time arguing with herself and discovers there’s a lot more to life than what she allows herself – and then has to come to terms with the fact that maybe she waited too late for her personal revelation.

Niko and Neesha are there, as well as some other old friends. The fate of the Ampytheans is discovered and the far-reaching tyranny of the Kesari explored. Errant asteroids, Bounty hunters, determined Criknid soldiers, some new alien critters, and the ever-persistent mechanical problems in deep space abound in this action packed thrill ride. Through it all Twyf does her best to keep Aden distracted and restore his flagging spirits. I tried to pack as much excitement into a book as I could – but the end had to come sometime. And that’s why I’m working on book 5 in the series now.

DarkStar_Small

Into the Dark (book 1) Out of the Dark (book 2) Chasing the Dark (book 3)
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster
Dark Star (book 4)
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Page Foundry / Inktera
Oyster

Still waiting on Page Foundry / Inktera to publish Dark Star, but it should be soon. It’s available everywhere else – and it was out there yesterday but I was recovering from an all-nighter restoring the production server at my day job. Sorry for the late notice!

Coming very soon, early next month, will be Vitalis: Commandos. That marks my 8th Vitalis book! Don’t worry, the book is finished I’m just waiting on editing and cover art. Dark Universe #5 is my current project and I’m hoping I can have that out mid – late December, just in time to treat yourself to a Christmas present when you want to get away from all the crazy that goes on at the end of the 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.

A Dark Star is Born

Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess went to my editor on Friday. That, by itself, is a great thing. What happened in that book is even greater. I won’t go into details, but I will say that I’m still feeling it after taking an entire weekend off from writing and I want to jump straight into the next Voidhawk book because of it. But… I can’t.

In a couple of weeks I have a special project coming up with someone, so I have to plan accordingly. I’ve decided to work on Dark Star in the interim, the next book in the Dark Universe setting. A quick turn-around for that series, I know, but I’ve got a couple of driving factors: 1) Dark Universe is selling great and nothing else is for me – the family’s gotta eat. 2) I’m just as amped up about that series and the characters as I am about Voidhawk, so it’s an easy thing to do and it gives me the space I need to come into the next Voidhawk book objectively.

Two weeks isn’t enough to finish it though, not while I’m doing the day job too. So I finished putting my thoughts together today and now I can start working on the story properly. It’s not an outline, per se, but a general flow of what’s going to happen. The ‘how’ part of it remains to unfold as I write it. I’m expecting another kick ass story in that series though!

As for Voidhawk and the next book, that will come soon. It’s going to tie into my World of Kroth books again (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon, The Serpent’s War). In fact, the third book in the Serpent’s War trilogy will have a lot to do with it – but I promise they’ll also be entirely separate from each other. Some crossover, maybe, but you won’t need to read one to read the other. You will, however, get exposure to some kick-ass fantasy that fills in a lot of extra details and backstory for anyone that wants to try them both out.

And the side project? Well, I’ll talk more about that when and if it works out. It’s got a lot of potential, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself in case anything comes up to cause problems.

In the meantime, stay tuned for Voidhawk – Fallen Goddess in the next week or two! And after that another Dark Universe book is on the horizon.

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.

Crisis in the Middle Life

The years come and go. I remember aching to grow up and be able to do my own thing – I really didn’t like being a kid. Then when I hit 18 it was just another day, imagine my disappointment. The world didn’t open up to me and bestow the opportunities and riches I felt I deserved. WTF, right?

Fast forward a couple of decades and then some and I’ve learned what just about everyone else learns. Hard work and trying to make smart decisions to recover from the stupid decisions made earlier in life are the way to go. And yet the journey through life is perilous and filled less with opportunity and more with fear. We lost friends and family along the way and we have to wonder, when is it my turn? Ideally it will be a long time off yet, but freak accidents and tragedy strike somebody, somewhere, every day. Will I do the things I always wanted to do?

As a kid we (boys, mostly, I can’t speak for girls) daydream about growing up to be somebody cool. The popular ones I remember were a soldier, a police officer, a fireman, or an astronaut, although I’m sure there were others. I never once thought of living a life in suburbia with a wife, 2 kids, a dog and a cat. That’s boring stuff! Yet that’s what I’m doing. That’s what almost all of us end up doing. And the combination of fear of failure and realization of a normal life brings about the dreaded mid-life crisis.

We were meant for something more, damn it! Sports cars and private jets and walks on the moon. And stuff. Lots of shiny stuff. Instead here we are, having garage sales and worrying about making enough to pay the bills, send the kids to school, and save up for when the roof needs to be replaced. A vacation? Ugh…who’s going to pay for that?

Yet the world keeps spinning, regardless of our worries. The day will come when it spins without me on it, and it won’t make a bit of difference to the world at large. Perhaps our greatest trait and biggest downfall is our arrogance in thinking that we matter. We want to make a difference – to leave a legacy to be remembered by, yet the memory of the universe doesn’t give a damn about us, either as individuals or as a species. It will continue long after we do not.

As for me personally, I still fantasize about reaching the point where I can buy a Corvette (C7 body style, preferably a Z06 but I may settle for a Stingray instead), but there’s a lot of bills between me and that first. I have a good job and I get to live out my fantasies on a daily basis in the books I read and write. I never planned on having kids, but I’ve got two of them and as far as kids go, they’re the best ones I’ve found. I won the lottery when it comes to my wife, so complaining would be about the dumbest thing I could do. All in all, I’ve done pretty good for myself thus far, in spite of the day to day challenges that I, and everyone else, face.

Why am I writing this and why should you care? Well, for those that made it this far, here’s why… all of these thoughts rattled around and twisted together in my head until they morphed into something else. Something about another middle aged character of mine. An old friend that, when I first wrote about him, I liked to think that I might be a little like him when I was his age. You might remember him, his name is Carl Waters.

For many of my readers hearing that name probably caused a gasp of wonder and excitement. Why would I mention Carl…unless…could it be… another Wanted book? To answer that question I have to dig deeper first.

Carl’s still middle aged, but he’s on the far side of it by now. To be honest, I don’t remember how old he was at the end of Marshal, but a few more years have passed since then. The Wanted series has arguably been my most successful series of books to date, but that’s not a good reason to write another one. I needed a reason. A story to tell, rather than just some drivel that’s popular in the market. I needed Carl to be inspired.

So all these thoughts I had combined with some feedback from readers. Tanya’s a control freak and a mess, Jessie’s wrapped up in living her uninhibited life the way she wants to live it, and Carl is his typical hard-ass uncompromising self. But what if Carl had a new opportunity? Something that piqued his interest and required his skills, yet challenged him in new ways? And what if he needed Tanya’s help along the way? The thing is, like usual, Tanya has secrets that complicate things. Complications that, when dealing with people like this, can have life and death consequences.

I could go on, but I haven’t started it yet. To be honest, I probably won’t start it for a couple of months yet, as I’m mid way through my third book in my Dark Universe setting and then I have another book that I can’t wait to write in my Voidhawk series. I need more of me so I can get to the things I want to get to! Since there’s only one of me (my kids and wife are thankful of that), I beg your patience while I slap the keys and do what I can do to get these books out. Living forever may be impossible, but by reading and writing it’s possible to live many lives. I guess if that’s the best I can manage then that’s all right by 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.

Chicks that Rock

I’m in a few Facebook groups (among other places) where the question about inspiration comes up. It’s always a vibration on the same question I get in email, on Twitter, in person, and a bunch of other places: What inspires me to do what I do?

I’m always thinking and dreaming, for one. 30 – 60 minutes stuck in traffic twice a day gives me plenty of time for that. Stringing random images from signs, passing traffic, vanity license plates, and other things helps. Images I see in movies or people I meet can provide the same sort of burst of creativity. Songs are a big one too, even if I only feel moved by one and like the concept behind it, I can use that energy to do something else with it (it puts me in the mood, so to speak).

Case in point, it’s music that prompted this post and this line of thought. I realized something this weekend when I fired up Pandora and had a song by Halestorm come on. I happen to enjoy their music quite a bit, it’s a refreshing take on rock and roll and, in my opinion, they are too damn few female vocalists in rock / hard rock / metal these days. Anyhow, I wanted to know more about them and experience more of their music in a different venue, so I fired up Youtube to check out their videos. Enjoyable stuff, to be sure, but then I stumbled across a collaboration between Lzzy Hale (yes, I spelled that right) and Lindsey Stirling, an artist discovered on America’s Got Talent several years ago (I’d never heard of her until now, but I’m not much for television).

Let me take a moment to go out of my way and insist that you check Lindsey out. Whether you like her style or not, you will be amazed at the talent in this tiny little thing. She can do things with a violin that might indicate she’s not entirely human…and she does it while dancing and spinning around the stage like a professional ballerina. She blew my mind, to put it mildly.

I also happened across a duet between Lzzy Hale and Amy Lee (vocalist for Evanescence). That wasn’t nearly as impressive, for me, but I blame it on the performance being live and the capture quality lacking on the videos.

To tie this back into being inspired, I realized that women inspire me. Strong, capable women that make things happen — heck, I married one! Now I’m not saying they inspire me to wear something soft and silky or to paint my nails, mind you. I find it motivational to see anyone beating the odds and succeeding – I’m American, I love an underdog story. But more than that, I recently saw some science fiction artwork where the artist drew a woman with prosthetic limbs. I don’t remember if she was fighting or just in some sort of action pose, but the point was she was overcoming a weakness and proving to the universe that she wasn’t going to accept defeat.

That’s what inspires me. Human spirit. Rising up and shouting to the stars that we won’t accept indifference and oblivion. We won’t accept injustice and ambiguity. In the end we’re all just sparks that die out and fade away to nothing, but while we’re here what matters is how bright those sparks burn.

My characters embody these traits. Their people that have endured the same horrors and miseries that we face in real life, yet they rise above them. They use their fear and their pain to transform them into something more. They find the steel core deep inside of them that I believe we all have and use that strength to fight back. Granted, for some of them that’s not enough (clenched teeth and a can-do attitude won’t stop a 105mm tank shell coming at you, for example).

There’s been a character inspired by that aforementioned artwork. She’ll be showing up soon, in fact. As for Lzzy Hale, Lindsey Sterling, Amy Lee, and the many other talented women struggling to be discovered – you’ve got my support and I can’t wait to see / hear / learn more about you.

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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