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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

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.

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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.

Help!

September 1, 2017 1 comment

I’m on Vitalis book number… I’m not even sure. 11, maybe? Just getting started I’ve outlined what I want to happen (and that always changes), and come up with some key / core characters that I’m really excited about. There will be many more that play an important role too – maybe bigger than I expect, in fact. The problem is, I’m not sure who they are… and that’s where (I hope) you come in.

So here’s what I’m after / offering. I need some character names and maybe even concepts. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’m looking for several people that will be part of multiple shifts of a flight crew for a space ship and multiple colonists. Some of the colonists will need real skills since they’re supposed to establish a new colony and an unexplored world. Other colonists might not have any aptitude other than the credits they used to get them a spot on the colony ship.

So, if you’ve got an idea for a name send it my way. Email me at jason@booksbyjason.com or reply in a comment here. Bonus points if you add in any demographics such as height / weight / hair / eyes / vague background or skill ideas. None of which are necessary, of course, but I’d like to include any details my readers can contribute (as well as a special thank you note in the book).

And it’s Vitalis, so remember that bad things often can and do happen. The little bit I will let slip is that this ship launched before the planet Vitalis was discovered by the crew of The Rented Mule, so they will have no idea what is happening to the Terran Coalition of Systems even though it takes place near the same time as Vitalis: Miss Fortune. They’ll end up deeper in space than any human has traveled before.

Oh, and don’t forget to snag your copy of The Goblin Queen!

 

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.

Too Long

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. Shame on me. You know what else has taken too long? A new book release! Fortunately, I’ve got one coming in the very near future (The Goblin Queen). Unfortunately, I haven’t jumped into something new after that quite yet.

But I’ve been thinking. If I go by the numbers I should write another Dark Universe or Vitalis book – those seem to be selling the best these days (or the least worst). I’ve had requests for Vitalis as well, and I just might do that. I’ve got ideas for Dark Universe too though, so it’s troubling. Even more troubling is a recent rediscovery and passion trend that I’m caught up in.

Wait – passion trend? What the heck is that? I just made it up. It means something that has me captivated and very interested, but might turn into a flavor of the moment like a fad diet does for so many people. In this case I’m referring to something called Shadowrun. Shadowrun is one of the classic role playing games, though not as widely received (or well known) as Dungeons and Dragons. Shadowrun is a near future blend of science fiction and magic, and it reintroduces metahumans into the world in the form of orks, dwarves, trolls, elves, and all sorts of magically active and awaked critters.  Including dragons – which are big, bad, and very scary.

People (of all races and types) often become cyborgs, installing cyberware of various sorts to help them with everything from day to day tasks to firefights to logging into the matrix. The matrix is the Internet in a VR environment, essentially, and is full of very real dangers that can knock a decker out cold, fry their cyberdeck, or outright kill them.

On the flip side of technology there’s magic. Mages and shamans, to be precise, although awakened magical critters exist too (spirits, elementals, and even beings like ghouls and vampires among many more). It’s a remarkably diverse game filled with possibilities, to say the least. The governments of the world and borders have been shaken up and broken down and corporations (especially mega-corporations) have as much power or more than governments do. In other words, if the real world had magic, we’d be on our way to making Shadowrun a reality, not a fantasy.

So with all of that said about Shadowrun does that mean I’m devoting my free time to playing the game? No such luck. I’ve had a very busy year what with a day job promotion and everything else going on (some good, some bad). No, with Shadowrun I’m aching to write a story that takes place in that setting. As it is I’ve written several stories that were inspired by bits and pieces of Shadowrun (The Lost Girls series and even bits and pieces of Vitalis and Dark Universe), but I’ve never jumped in all the way. The reason behind that is copyright. I can’t sell a book that uses Shadowrun in it.

I am considering writing something up and releasing it as fan fiction, but I’m not sure how much trouble that could land me in either. The good news is any Shadowrun stuff I write would be free! Maybe better news would be attracting the attention of the copyright holders and being invited to write something for them (super unlikely, damn it). The most likely outcome will be me continuing to be inspired by my Shadowrun ideas and fill them into other books. Or I could create a new series altogether – but I’ve got enough as it is. I can’t imagine adding one more and trying to keep up with it. I struggle with the ones I have now, as I’m sure my readers are painfully aware.

Well, my cards on the table. Now I just need to see what I’m going to do with them. Keep checking to see what my decision will be. Whatever it is, it will come soon and I’ll be sharing it to get you ready for the next adventure!

 

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.

Happy Birthday For All!

What better way to celebrate my upcoming birthday than to release a new book? Vitalis: Miss Fortune, is out now!

That’s what I’ve been hard at work on for the past several weeks. A brand new sci fi novel that focuses on the life and story of a few people amidst the chaotic Vitalis universe. Unlike some of my previous Vitalis entries, this book doesn’t involve the movers and shakers, nor does it explore the possibilities of the planet Vitalis and the varied – and dangerous – creatures on it.

What Miss Fortune does do is show how the unfolding events are affecting the little people. The everyday people like you and I. The people that enjoy having a drink or two after work. The ones that have responsibilities to families and friends. The ones with loved ones who are sick or missing. The people who are so focused on their careers they forget to live a little, until they realize that maybe they missed the mark and living is more important.

I put all of those things into this book and I see them clearly, but I’m biased. It’s entirely possible that the average person might read this and just enjoy the action / adventure / thriller aspect of it. After all, there are cyborgs, genetically enhanced people, guns, martial arts, and even a couple of revealing dance scenes in a night club on the lower level of a space station.

There’s intrigue too, and enough background to move the entire Vitalis storyline along. After all, there’s a countdown to how much time humanity has left before the biggest threat they’ve ever faced arrives — and they aren’t coming to play nice. You can find it at the link below, including in print!

 

Vitalis - Miss Fortune_Small

Amazon

Amazon UK

Print Version

Everyone Else

 

What’s next? Well, I’m hard at work on a fantasy novel called Goblin Queen. It takes placed in the world of Kroth (Blades of Leander, Order of the Dragon), and is going to officially be the third book in my Serpent’s War series. I hate to admit it, but I’m having more fun writing this book than I did the first two in this new series – it’s got a really fun new character AND I’m bringing back in more of the original characters from the earlier series (Garrick, Carson, Celos, and Aleena, to name just a few). Goblin Queen is also going to lead into another crossover between Voidhawk and the world of Kroth – but that will come later.

 

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 Love my Books!

I hope that’s not arrogant to say. Or maybe it should be obvious. After all, if I don’t like them, why would I expect anyone else to?

The explanation behind this unusual statement is that I was doing some research while working on my latest book (Vitalis: Catalyst). I didn’t have notes written on what I was after (something from Vitalis: Genesis), so I had to read through some of the book to find what I wanted. Well, reading a little soon turned into reading a lot. I was sucked in and couldn’t stop myself.

This isn’t the first time that’s happened. It happens a lot, actually. Whenever I need to do something like that, I get pulled in. I’d do it more often but I have this irrational fear that when I read a book I wrote a while ago, I’m going to find parts of it that I don’t like. Things I want to rewrite or change. Or parts that just plain suck. None of that has happened yet, for the record, although on rare occasions I do find typos that got missed through multiple rounds of editing. No such problems this time, but that irrational fear lingers.

That also serves as a refresher for me. Sales are in the water closet (that’s a fancy term for shitter for us working folks) lately, so my natural assumption is that I’m writing garbage. Sure, I know they’ve taken a dive for virtually everybody out there and a lot of it has to do with Amazon’s fluctuating algorithms and attempts to monetize their own product lines and brands as much as possible, but the demons hiding in the shadows still linger and wait for me to turn away so they can pounce.

I was wondering though, why do I enjoy what I write so much? I’ve written a lot – over 100 books between myself and my shared projects – and I’ve forgotten bits and pieces of everything. Being reminded of them is a blast. It’s more than that though, it’s also my writing style. I write what I like to read. Fast paced, fun, thoughtful, and challenging. Or at least that’s what I like to think I’m writing!

I had a business trip recently and I wanted something to do on the plane (my laptop is too damn big to write on during a flight since I can’t afford first class). I picked up a Terry Goodkind book (The Omen Machine), and revisited some old friends in the process (the main characters of his Sword of Truth series). I also reread the Sword of Truth series last year and found myself enjoying it less the second time around because of all the passive mumbo jumbo they contain. The Omen Machine had a little less passive stuff in it, but near the end it contained a ton of repeated stuff that was really tiresome. Practically entire chapters, in a few cases. I was disappointed and it left me in no rush to buy his next book.

I’ve still got Raymond Feist and Terry Brooks – both of whom I’ve fallen behind on. There’s Dean Koontz too, although reading anything he writes leaves me feeling like a grade school kid who’s barely learned how to spell. And of course, that doesn’t include numerous other writers worth reading like John M. Davis, M.R. Matthias, and Jane Taylor to pluck just a few of my favorite names.

And speaking of Vitalis, I’m over 40,000 words into book #10 in the series (Catalyst). I know it’s going to be another favorite because I find myself thinking about it all the time when I’m not writing. I figure I’m somewhere between halfway and 2/3 of the way through it, but the ends of my books have a way of stretching out longer than I expect them too.

 

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.

Medic – A Long Overdue Bestseller

January 22, 2017 1 comment

medic_small

 

I’ve been talking about Medic for a couple of months now. Way too long – not to be talking about it, but not to have it released and into your hands. That wait is over and it is now available everywhere as both ebook and print.

I made a claim of calling it a bestseller the very day it’s released. That’s bold, given my lack of marketing savvy and the fact that I believe in fair business practices. I have faith in this book though, both because of the strong brand the Wanted series has held over the years and the fact that I really think this book has something anyone can identify with.

Tom, the main character, is the kind of guy that surrounds all of us. He is us, in fact. He’s not sure who to vote for because he doesn’t really like any of the options. He goes to work and does his best, then comes home and wants to find the comfort and peace we seldom get to enjoy because there are things to do. He drives an old truck because he can’t afford a new one and because it gets him where he needs to go. He has a girlfriend that thinks the world of him and wants to help him become a better person… to the point he can hardly stand all the help she thinks he needs.

But Tom’s different too. Different from most of us, but not all of us. You see, Tom spent a couple of tours in the Middle East. He played an important part in a search and rescue crew that saved the lives of countless soldiers – or at least they tried to save lives. He’d lived through some of the worst that war had to offer and survived. Tom looked for a reason every day why he’d been spared when his brothers and sisters – and even his own teammates, had not.

Between his girlfriend and his nightmares, something has to happen. He knows he needs help, but he served with heroes, damn it. He’s strong enough to handle it. Besides, he’s got Doc Carter, the medic that ran his S&R team. They still talk and Doc wants him to visit. He wants to help now that he’s gone from patching up bullet holes to mending shattered hopes and dreams as a therapist.

I want to go on… but I won’t. I’m not sure if I’ve hooked you or not, but things get a lot worse for Tom before a run in with a certain familiar grizzled veteran and his feisty daughter give Tom a chance to turn things around for himself. Carl and Tom have a few things in common, it turns out, and the US Marshal and his deputized daughter need his help in figuring out what happened to Tom’s brother in arms. Nuts, I went on a little anyhow.

Well, here’s the links and you’ve already seen the amazing cover of the book Willsin Rowe made for me. Now get out there and grab your copy!

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble, Nook, iTunes, Skribd, Inktera (some 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.