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Posts Tagged ‘space travel’

The Future is a Dark Place… and I Can’t Wait!

January 10, 2015 4 comments

I’ve written science fiction for years now. Post-apocalyptic, near future, mid future, and futuristic. I’ve had aliens devastate the earth and I’ve had humans expand and conquer our solar system and others. It’s been a blast and I love it.

I’ve done the same thing with fantasy settings, minus the aliens. Creatures and monsters aplenty to make up for the missing aliens though. New worlds and magic and sweeping storylines that take characters from the brink of childhood to epic destinies. I love that too.

I’ve bridged the two, blending science fiction and fantasy into urban fantasy and paranormal storylines that take place now and in the near future. Putting two of my favorite genres together can only have one outcome – more love!

So with that out of the way, I’m announcing the next big thing. Dark Universe, my new futuristic science fiction and fantasy series. Into the Dark opens the series in a spectacular way and sets the stage for the unlimited and amazing things that have yet to come.

But why should you care enough to spend a couple of bucks on it? Well, it’s a story for everyone, from diehard sci-fi lovers to people who just enjoy great characters and a great story, no matter what the environment. The book doesn’t go overboard on technology, but it also keeps things realistic. There’s romance, action, adventure, and aliens. All kinds of aliens. Furry ones, chitinous ones. Blue skinned ones. Green skinned ones. Orange skinned ones. Aliens with tentacles. Aliens that walk on four legs instead of two. And good old fashioned Terrans. The humans are the newcomers to the space race, actually, and are trying real hard to play catch up.

The book really has something for everyone, from space fights and fancy things to go boom in the night to complicated relationships and the dynamic stress that brings. There’s humor, there’s emotion, and there’s even a little bit of bow-chikka-wow-wow.

Why did I write it? Why wasn’t Vitalis or Voidhawk good enough? Well they are, but this is different. This is a combination of Vitalis, Voidhawk, and a little bit of extra fun that was inspired, I admit, by watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Inspired by, but by no means a copy of.

Into the Dark takes science fiction to a new place and exposes it to Arthur C. Clark’s law that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. That, my friends, is where the fantasy ties in. Give it a shot, I dare you to be disappointed!

 

Book 1 in the Dark Universe science fiction and fantasy series by Jason Halstead

Available now!

Amazon
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble (coming soon!)
iTunes (coming soon!)
Kobo (coming soon!)
Scribd (coming soon!)
Page Foundry / Inktera (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.

A Different Sort of Communion

I finished working on the rough draft of Taken by the Beast with my wife the other day. It was hard work for me, I have to admit. Historical romance is hard to write if you intend to be historically accurate. My hat’s off to those that manage it. The story turned out great, but I had a lot of doubts along the way. Dawn’s determination and optimism helped me get through it, thankfully. If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, it’s the single volume prequel to the Claimed by the Beast series.

So I finished that on a Friday night (no comments on how I spend my Friday nights, thankyouverymuch), and started my next project on Saturday. Vitalis: Communion. Or at least I’m calling it Communion for now. The important thing is that it’s another Vitalis book, which should excite all my loyal readers. Everybody loves Vitals, and deservedly so. Light sci-fi set a long time in the future, it’s got amazing characters, many of them in compromising clothing, and some freakish and often terrifying monsters trying to eat them. Guns, babes, herculean heroes (and heroines), and sharp-toothed slobbering aliens. Plenty of humor to be found too, all in all it’s a win.

I can say that because I forgot a lot of what was going on. Communion picks up about 6 weeks after Invasion left off. Invasion was a book that centered on the unthinkable happening – the onset of an alien invasion of planet Earth. So I had to reread a lot of the book for continuity’s sake. I knocked my own socks off, and I’m pretty hard to impress.

Page after page flew by. Both the reading and then the writing of the new book. I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly the new work flowed, especially after the occasional struggles I had with Taken by the Beast. It’s definitely my comfort zone and, I’m very happy to say, some really great stuff has already happened and I’m only four chapters into it.

But I learned something. No, not something, a lot of somethings. Not from the return to my comfort zone but from my departure into historical and paranormal romance while helping Dawn Michelle. I’ve definitely broadened my style and understanding. I think my characters are more robust and the stories deeper and richer. There are more subplots and more going on behind the scenes. I honestly don’t know where this book is going to end up, but I know it’s going to be awesome finding out!

My plan is to have it ready to release by mid-September, I’ve recovered from a computer crash (lost a hard drive – don’t worry, I back everything up religiously) over the weekend and should be able to get back to making steady progress. 2,000 – 3,000 words a day just doesn’t feel like I’m doing any real work when it comes to Vitalis, it’s too much fun!

 

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.

Filling the Void

I’ve always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy. I loved to read and watch stories that took place in those genres, but I had a hard time creating my own. Fantasy wasn’t nearly as difficult once I figured out I needed to discard the limitations imposed by other people and find my own, but that didn’t mean what I wrote was worth reading.

Science fiction, on the other hand, was an animal of a different breed. With science fiction I kept running into the wall of probability. Meaning I would write something but I’d find it too improbable to ever happen. I’d crumple it up and toss it away. I stumbled across hard sci-fi issues such as faster than light travel and space age weaponry. Even high tech and miniaturization didn’t seem like it could solve many of the problems I encountered. For me there was always that element of believability that was missing. Then I found Serenity.

More specifically I stumbled across Firefly one day on television. It happened to be a marathon of the Firefly shows – I stumbled across it after Fox had cancelled the show. I thought it was cheesy and ridiculous at first, but by the second show I realized I was sucked in. As soon as I was able, I bought the boxed set and watched all of the available episodes. After that I picked up Serenity, the movie Joss Whedon made to finalize the prematurely cancelled series.

Somewhere along the way I realized that I’d just found the answers to my problems. I loved science fiction and I loved fantasy. Why not combine the two? Joss Whedon had done something somewhat similar with Firefly and it had become a wild success with rabid fans (including myself). I could handle a few rabid fans, but I had to figure out how to make it happen.

Thus began Voidhawk, the tale of a man who finds a medieval wooden ship that can magically capture the waves of light floating through the void (space) and sail between the stars. One man alone couldn’t do the work, nor would it make for very witty dialogue carrying on conversations with himself. The Voidhawk needed a crew, and acquiring that crew proved to be the first several stories.

Each character comes with their own complications and back story, as well as motives and goals. The characters are rich and full, though it takes some longer than others to fully explore themselves. There’s more than just camaraderie that brings them together, there’s also betrayal and far deeper and more complicated emotions.

I borrowed from Firefly as far as writing each chapter as an episode. The chapters were linked together and sequential, but the larger story arc wasn’t apparent to me yet. I was having too much fun writing novellas that would make for approximately 30 – 60 minute long television episodes (with commercials). By the time I had ten of those episodes finished I officially renamed them chapters and tied them more closely together. A novel-length plot had also arisen from the chapters, making it an official book in more ways than one.

Still, what hopes did I have for amassing a following with such a book? It had to be a niche market, at best. I loved the characters and the premise so much that I submitted it to various publishers and received various rejections. Until one day somebody said they liked it and they saw beyond the horrible writing.

I was introduced to an editor by the name of J.E. Taylor and she was quite brutal with me. I needed it. A few years and a couple of books later Taylor and I remain very good friends. She was instrumental in helping me become a better writer, although being dedicated to improving and having thick skin definitely helped me out!

Voidhawk, in all its niche market glory, met with very limited success. No promotion or marketing was done for it and being a fledgling to the trade I had no idea how to do any of it myself. Instead I focused on writing more. Over the course of the next few years I wrote four more books in the series and, all told, I’ve managed to sell over 8,500 copies of those books and give away 20,000 copies of the original Voidhawk book. Voidhawk remains indefinitely available to download as a free book from Amazon, Kobo, Sony, iTunes, and Smashwords. It’s available on Barnes and Noble as well, but not for free. There’s a print version on Amazon / Createspace, but that’s not free either.

So it turned out that people were drawn in to the Voidhawk series beyond the niche appeal. It blends fantasy with elements of science fiction and has stories with simple messages that anyone can identify with, no matter whether you’re a dirthugging human or an elf determined to rule the void. For that matter I’ve even got a couple of chapters focused on a zombie-apocalypse. How much easier to understand can it get?

To bring the post to a close, Voidhawk showed me how to write. It freed me from convention and allowed me to color outside the lines. Suddenly I could write anything I wanted to. It wasn’t about the hard science or the believability, it was about creating what did make sense to tell the important parts of the story – the characters – and let the supporting material fall in place. Faster than light travel? In a universe such as ours where the future holds infinite possibilities why not? Just because I may not be able to conjure up a mathematical formula that provides a means of reaching superluminal velocities doesn’t mean the characters in my sci-fi books can’t do it either.

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

The Grass Really Is Greener Over Here

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

The only problem – most of the grass in Las Vegas is artificial. Today’s the first full day of my vacation here in Vegas and I’m doing a great job of enjoying myself. I have every intention of keeping that up and forgetting all about my day job while I’m here, but the writing sticks with me.

To that point, I’ve got a promo campaign going right now centered around my Vitalis series. It just started on the 22nd of September and it’s ramping up slowly. One cool thing the marketing gurus I’m working with came up with was a very snazzy press release for the book. In the interest of ‘there’s no such thing as too much exposure’, I’m pasting it into this blog to share just how cool it is. And please note that I had several inappropriate jokes about being exposed in Sin City that I removed before finally posting this. 🙂

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Penny Sansevieri, CEO

penny@amarketingexpert.com

(858) 560-0121

 

     Popular Sci-Fi Series Now Available In One Collection

Christmas has come early for Sci-Fi fans with seven books packaged into a single edition.

 

(WARREN, OH) Due to popular demand, author Jason Halstead has released the Vitalis Omnibus edition to include the first seven Vitalis stories in one edition.

 

In Vitalis Omnibus, Part I of the Vitalis series, Mysterious blackouts left Kira with precious few memories of events in her life, never mind those worth sharing. Somewhere in those blank spots she acquired skills – skills she was hard pressed to explain. But those skills got her a job as the new navigator for the Rented Mule, a transport ship that plied the Rim Systems at the very edge of human civilization.

When their ship is set upon by pirates Kira’s skills allow her and the crew to escape, only to find themselves stranded in deep space with only one chance for survival, an undiscovered planet teeming with life that is light years beyond the borders of the Terran Coalition of Systems.

Forced to crash land, the crew of the Rented Mule learns immediately that the key to surviving on Vitalis is a closely guarded secret. Vitalis has a way of getting inside the mind, body, and soul of a person and once it’s got them, it doesn’t let them go.

 

“This book (series) keeps you riveted from the beginning to the end. What people really appreciate is a hero who takes what is given them and excels in spite of everything. Because of our present sedate society we need heroes today more than ever. This series takes you from your dull every day life and lets you experience something which keeps you blood flowing, at least for a little while. When finished I felt saddened that I needed to wait to experience more. This series takes you into a life that most of us would give anything to live.” – Amazon reviewer

 

And Halstead continues to deliver – when readers are done with Part I they can purchase newly released Part II, Vitalis: Resurrection via Amazon.

 

Learn more at www.booksbyjason.com.

 

Title: Vitalis Omnibus

Author: Jason Halstead

Published: 2012

ASIN: B0089MZ09M

Publisher: Novel Concept Publishing LLC

 

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

Can’t Keep a Good Book Down

September 14, 2012 Leave a comment

As a fellow reader I’m sure we’re all aware of the books that we have a hard time putting down. I can think of quite a few over the years, ranging from authors like Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Terry Goodkind, and Raymond Feist to many others. As a writer I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to have received feedback from readers who claimed they had the same “problem” with my books.

As much as I’m happy to boast about my books, there’s more to it than just being a reader who can’t put a book down. For me when I’m writing I get so sucked in to the book that I can’t put it down either, and that’s from a writing perspective! How else could I crank out 3000 to 8000 words a day? Certain doctors might insist it’s an escape mechanism designed to help me cope with reality, but I don’t buy that – wouldn’t alcohol be a lot easier?

When there’s something about a book that just has to come out of me it’s burning in my brain and it needs to be released. I’ve had characters over the years that demanded emancipation and they turned into great books. In other cases, like my Vitalis series, I had something terrible happen to more than a few characters, but they wouldn’t accept their fates. They couldn’t accept them. And so the next book in the series was born. Vitalis: Resurrection, is a full novel length book released today that continues the story of Vitalis six months after then end of the Vitalis Omnibus. New characters join the fold and old characters are redefined and reintroduced. Relationships are expanded and explained and there’s a lot of time spent in a complex of dark caves fighting Vitalian monsters that draws people closer together.

Vitalis: Resurrection is a story about surviving impossible odds and proving that nothing can quench the human spirit – even when the very essence of the world is pitted against them.

Here’s the blurb:

Vitalis is more than just a new world outside the fringes of Terran space, Vitalis is greater than anything humanity has ever encountered. And it’s getting fed up.

The time has come for humans living on the world to be judged. What better way to understand the colonists than to become one of them and see how they live, fight, and love?

Vitalis: Resurrection, a book by Jason Halstead

Vitalis: Resurrection on Amazon

Vitalis: Resurrection on Amazon UK

Vitalis: Resurrection on Kobo (coming soon)

Vitalis: Resurrection on Barnes and Noble

Vitalis: Resurrection on Smashwords

Print version Vitalis: Resurrection (coming soon)

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

The Value of Mistakes

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

In my last blog post I mentioned that I made a potential mistake – I read a recent review on one of my books. It turned out to be extremely encouraging and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling that lasted for quite a while. The only problem was that experience could hardly be classified as a mistake, thus I had little to learn from it. Quite the opposite, rather than learning I believe it conditioned me much like ringing a bell would make Pavlov’s dogs start to drool.

Yes, I went back and found another new review to read. This time it was for New Beginnings, the first book in my futuristic science fiction series titled Vitalis. Imagine my dismay when I read this review:

Jason Halstead wowed me again. I took a chance on him and read Wanted and still remember the vivid characterization even a couple months later, despite reading many books in between.

New Beginnings drew me in immediately. I turned the pages quickly, anxious to see what happened but didn’t expect the outcome at all. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in this series, as I believe the conclusion of this initial book sets the stage for things to come. Keep writing, Jason; you’re even managing to hook readers like me who would never have considered myself remotely close to being part of your target audience.

Woe is me! How am I ever supposed to learn my lesson when my dopamine receptors keep buzzing with good vibes from these kinds of reviews? I looked a little deeper into the New Beginnings reviews and found four reviews in total, rated 5 stars, 4 stars, 5 stars, and 5 stars in order of review date. All in all, I’d say that’s enough of a buzz to get me through the coming week!

Sadly, there’s no lesson to be learned about focusing on the writing rather than the review reading. In response to past reviews I did make a move to break my Dark Earth series up. Originally I’d called The Lost Girls, Traitor, and the immediately pending Wolfgirl part of my Dark Earth series. Well that is no longer the case! A few people were disgruntled at the span of time, distance, and lack of relation between Dark Earth and The Lost Girls so I’ve now reserved my Dark Earth series for Dark Earth and the sequel, Devil’s Icebox (which is due out in the second quarter of 2012). The beginnings of a ideas for a third Dark Earth book is forming in the back of my head as well.

As for The Lost Girls, Traitor, Wolfgirl, and Black Widow (due later this year) – they now comprise The Lost Girls series, which takes place in the Dark Earth setting. Hopefully that will clear up any future confusion and not mislead anyone.

But for now, if you haven’t checked out New Beginnings here’s your chance! As Norma Budden and a couple of other people have told me – it’s a story that pull you in even if you’re not a sci-fi aficionado.

Vitalis Book 1 - New Beginnings by Jason Halstead
Vitalis – New Beginnings, on Amazon

 Vitalis – New Beginnings, on Amazon

Vitalis – New Beginnings, on Amazon UK

(for now that’s it – my Vitalis books are exclusive to Amazon so as to be part of the Kindle Owners Lending Library)

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

The Future Awaits

November 13, 2011 2 comments

I released Vitalis – New Beginnings a couple of months ago to begin a new futuristic space-based science fiction series. And if that’s not enough buzzwords for you, it ends up including dinosaurs, pirates, and an undiscovered planet. The story is centered around a woman who has trouble recalling much of her past. She has skills and bits and pieces of her memories, but no good explanation for why she’s so good at what she does. In fact, she doesn’t think very much of herself in spite of her continuing successes. One thing happens after another and she ends up saving the lives of most of her crew on the transport ship she’s piloting. Unfortunately, she ship itself doesn’t fare so well. The good news – they’ve made it to the aforementioned undiscovered planet. That’s where the alien dinosaurs come in.

Now I’m happy to say book 2 in the series, Vitalis – The Colony, is getting ready to launch. I’m working with Willsin Rowe on cover art for it. And by “working with” I mean he’s doing virtually all of it with me giving a thumbs up or down. My experience with Australians is limited but if they’re all as laid back and decent as Willsin is, then I’ve got an entire continent worth of people I’d really like to get to know.

The Colony takes up a few months after New Beginnings left off. Those that survived are making a living as best they can on the hostile new world, but the problem is they’re stranded light years outside of human settled space lanes and they’ve got no means of communication. They did launch emergency distress signals towards the core worlds before they crashed – the question is, were those signals received and if so, how long must they wait until a rescue mission is mounted?

Not to worry – you can find out the answers to some of those questions as soon as The C0lony is released! Stay tuned to my blog, website, Facebook page, and tweets to find out more. The first book earned some great praise, including a review that called it Fantastic and a great introduction to science fiction.

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