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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

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.

Lucky Star

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Brindal and Ellena are Terrans lured to an alien world with the promise of a new way of life and equality among the races. Potential for all, regardless of race, gender, or belief. The reality was far from the truth, especially when Ellena showed her first signs of mutation.

Mutated beings- those whose latent powers are awakened with the resurgence of alien energy brought about by the return of the Ampythean race- are hunted and taken away. Their fate is unknown, but nobody has heard from them since.

As Ellena’s powers grow and she fails to control them, they are left with no choices but to throw away their lives and run. They have to find a way with no weapons and no friends to get off the planet before the Vagnosian army catches them. If they can manage that, then they can hope for a better future among the stars.

 

You just read the blurb for Lucky Star, book 6 in my Dark Universe setting. I’m sharing it because it’s out there now, waiting for eager readers to devour. Longtime fans of the series might not recognize the names in the blurb, which might be confusing. Well, there’s a reason for that. These are new characters.

Brindal and Ellena are the kind of heroes that are made, not born. Except there’s nothing heroic about them. Brin is an eighteen year old young man trying to figure out what to do with his life and his growing skills in robotics. Ellena is fifteen and has nothing going for her except her talent as a track star and the fact that she’s a female on a Vagnosian world. Oh, and then there’s Ellena’s strange new powers that has her afraid of her own shadow.

But rest assured, there’s no way I’d completely abandon the old crew! I love those guys and gals. The problem is, they live a hard and dangerous life. Some of them aren’t what they used to be— or even at all. Brindal and Ellena need to get off of Marloon, the world they live on, but they can’t do it alone. They need help. And that’s where some old friends come in.

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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Next up is something completely different. No, not a Monty Python skit (hopefully that jokes not lost on most of you), but a new book I’m trying out. It’s unrelated to anything / everything else I’ve done so far. The Vault, a story in a post-apocalyptic America that takes place after a disaster destroys almost everything on the planet. I’m talking about an extinction level event, except humanity has the technology, resources, and blind luck to insure a tiny percentage survives. Or, as Michael Crichton put it in Jurassic Park: Life finds a way.

As always (and forever), thank you for keeping up to date on my ramblings and for enjoying my books. Spread the word, the world could use more readers!

 

-Jason Halstead

 

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.

New Book, New Setting, New Universe

February 13, 2016 Leave a comment

I just fired off my newsletter and I still have post pics to my Facebook page and update my personal website. I’ll get to that in a minute though, first I want to write this and get it out there because I can hardly contain my excitement. I teased a new series and concept in a recent blog post. This is the culmination of all that work: Terminus.

The first book in the series has been available for more than a week already but it wasn’t free yet. Now it is. And not only that, but my second book in that setting is also available now. Between that, John M. Davis’s book (Ghost Planet), and the website being published and available – it’s time for the reveal!

Terminus is the name of the setting. It seemed fitting, given how a terminus is an end or a final destination. So it is for the characters in the first few stories in this new setting, but as with any ending, it is also a beginning. A beginning of new lives, new adventures, and new stories we get to tell.

The backdrop is four hundred years into the future, give or take. Humanity has spread to the stars. Even more than that, we’ve been met by aliens and they aren’t so different from us in many ways. Then again, some are – there are a lot of different races out there. So many that we’re not even sure who they all are yet.

We’ve got faster than light travel, we’ve got blaster rifles and pistols (pulsed laser weapons), conventional weapons, massive navies in space, an overreaching central government (called the Continuum) trying to control everything, and hundreds of smaller governments ranging from controlling systems to individual planets that are at odds with one another. Oh, and did I mention the Gifted? They’re a new order of psychics with some wicked and truly unpleasant powers.

Now here’s where John comes in (other than helping to brainstorm and create what we’ve come up with). I whipped up a novella for an introduction to the setting. It’s called Terminus (shocker), and it’s free! It’s actually been out for a little over a week now, but I didn’t want to advertise it until it was available for free. Now it is! But wait, that’s not all! (did you read that in a Billy Mays voice?)

John’s book, Ghost Planet, is also available. And so is my full length novel, Frozen Dreams (book 3 in the series). The way it works is Terminus sets the stage and gets you interested, then Ghost Planet introduces John’s cast of characters that are intertwined with mine. Frozen Dreams happens at the same time as the other two books and ties everything together with my cast of characters. Ghost Planet and Frozen Dreams are not free, sorry, but on the plus side John’s already working on his next book in the series, Fear the Gifted.

There’s a little bit more to Terminus that I haven’t mentioned yet. We love this setting so much, and we know readers will too, so we’re opening it up for contributions. No, we’re not asking you to do our work for us, we’re offering a spot on the Terminus website (http://www.booksofterminus.com) for people to contribute things they’d like to see in it. New planets, new alien races, new technologies or weapons, new characters (good or bad), or just about anything! We can’t promise everything will make it in, but we’ll do our best to work things in and be sure to let you know privately and publicly about the effort.

 

Terminus

Terminus

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Ghost Planet

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Frozen Dreams

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That’s it for now, but there’s lots more to come! As I said, John’s hard at work on the next book and both of us have promised 4+ Terminus stories this year. Knowing me, that will probably grow as long as the readers are there. The first two I already wrote were so much fun I tore through them in no time, so I can’t wait to immerse myself in this new setting again and explore it some more.

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 Future Just Got a Whole Lot Closer

January 16, 2016 2 comments

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.

 

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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.

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

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