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Posts Tagged ‘sword and sorcery’

Did I Forget Something?

My last blog post was about my current work in progress, The Goblin Queen. It was a good update and the book has advanced considerably since then. In fact, it’s nearing the novel length and I’m perhaps halfway through it. But that’s not what I forgot.

It occurred to me the very next day after posting it that I mentioned a bunch of characters by name. Most of them are reasonably well known by my readers (I hope), based on sales of the original Blades of Leander series. I sold tens of thousands of those books (if not more), allowing readers to partake in the adventures of Alto, Patrina, Garrick, and so many others. But what about readers that are new to my book or blog? Or readers that stuck with my science fiction and haven’t tried my fantasy books. No doubt the character names were confusing. Well, here’s my attempt to fix that!

Kroth – First off we have Kroth. Kroth is not a character, it is a world. The world of Kroth, wherein Alto and his friends live. By and large it contains all of the Kroth adventures, but that’s not the extent of it. Kroth is also a world in my Voidhawk setting, which readers of Voidhawk: Broken Shards and a few others will no doubt remember. The most exciting part about this Voidhawk tie-in is that if one world in the void can host so many stories and adventures, then how many others could I one day write given the void touches countless inhabited worlds?

Alto – Alto was born the son of a mercenary turned farmer. He never knew of his father’s violent past until after tragedy struck. Alto’s own foray into the life of warrior and adventurer began after a surprise attack by a tribe of goblins injured his father. He tracked them down and fought them alongside a group of mercenary’s known as the Blades of Leander. In short order he joined them and began his training as a warrior. From there Alto went on to rise to become their leader and make a name for himself until, one day, he seized the opportunity to establish a kingdom of his own bordering on the western reaches of the Northern Divide mountain range.

Patrina – Patrina was a runaway princess of the seafaring kingdom of Kelgryn. She was rescued by Alto in his earliest days of adventuring in a cave filled with goblins. Shortly after, she turned around and rescued him right back. They fought both together and against one another until their love for another became too great to fight.

Karthor – Karthor began as a young priest serving in the Blades of Leander. He is also one of Alto’s earliest and closest friends. His steadfast friendship and calming influence has helped countless people over the years. His chief source of strife are his father, a well-known and powerful wizard named Kar. His mother is a witch named Arcturia that lives in Mira, the desert empire that borders the Sea of Broken Shards. As of The Goblin Queen, Karthor has been named high priest of a temple to Leander he commissioned in the Kingdom of Altonia.

Kar – A wizard that fits many stereotypes. He loves his pipe, his food, and to talk about magic and theory. He also loves to experiment and borders on hazardous displays of magic while counseling others to do no such thing. He’s lived a long and colorful life and shows no sign of slowing down. His son is his greatest enigma- for all the magical phenomena he can understand and explore, he cannot fathom how a boy born of two great magic wielders could turn from wizardry to the priesthood.

Garrick – Garrick was born on the frozen tundra north of the Northern Divide. From his earliest days he hunted rabbit, caribou, and reindeer while being hunted in turn by hungry packs of wolves. When Alto and Patrina were forced into this harsh wintry land they met Garrick and his clan. It was a difficult time, given the barbarians interest in Patrina and the rivalry that grew between Garrick and Alto. With time and understanding, Alto and Garrick overcame their differences and became fast friends. Garrick still fancies Patrina, but his love for her is that of an adopted sister while he still searches for a woman that could be his equal rather than a mere night’s pleasure.

Namitus – Namitus is a half-elven minstrel and rogue. He always has a tale to tell or a tune on his pipes to play, and that is how he found himself a “guest” of the Kelgryn and an indentured friend and tutor for Patrina. With her rescue from the goblins came his, and Namitus quickly formed a bond with Alto just as strong as what he shared with Patrina. Now he works with and for them, traveling the lands and searching out trouble before it can rear its head.

Gildor – Gildor is a relative newcomer to the books of Kroth. He is a guide and archer whose skill is often sought out in the southern lands. One day he rescued a babe from a village that had been raided and destroyed, only to keep her and raise her as his own daughter. He has since suffered greatly at the hands of the Order of the Dragon, but since being rescued by Namitus, he’s thrown his lot in with Alto to do what they can to foil the Order and defeat them.

Grishna – Grishna is the latest introduction to the world of Kroth, though she was not born on Kroth. The Goblin Queen introduces Grishna as the last remaining survivor of a voidship that crashed many years ago on Kroth in the Sarana river far from its steamy headwaters. Grishna’s mother was a human slave that was owned by Zorrik the Merciful, an orc chieftain that sailed the void as a merchant. Unlike her mother, Grishna is a free woman, even before her father and all of her clan perished in the crash thanks to the claws of a massive dragon.

Celos – Sir Celos Lyonsbane is holy knight of Leander. A paladin whose mission in life is to defend his church and strike down darkness and evil. He is an esteemed member and considered by many to be the sword-arm of the church, or at least the leader of it. His life is spent in quest, seeking to banish one evil after another. His wife, Dame Aleena Lyonsbane, often tempers his zealous faith with wisdom, compassion, and mercy. Together the two are a sight to behold.

Aleena – Dame Aleena Lyonsbane is another holy knight of Leander, although she was once smitten with Alto and fancied a means of trapping him to be her husband while she was a serving maid at her father’s inn. When Alto chose Patrina instead she ran away to the church of Saint Leander and, in doing so, discovered her true calling. She trained under Celos and served as his squire until she was deemed worthy of being knighted and proclaimed a paladin. Along the way her purity and goodness earned her the friendship and service of Moonshine, a unicorn.

 

I think that’s the majority of the characters. Quite the crew! Just writing this snippet about each of them makes me remember the great many trials they’ve been through and the many sacrifices they’ve made. With each hardship overcome they’ve grown into someone stronger and better, for the most part. They’re more than just the voices in my head, they’re the kind of characters that feel like friends. The type that you love to read about, and hate to finish a book for fear you won’t hear from them for a while.

 

So I’m almost 50,000 words into this book and writing hard, but in no rush to finish and lose touch with them again! Rest assured though, I will finish it and worry not, I have other plans to keep them close by… but that’s another blog post.

 

 

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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Overdue Update on My Fantasies

Either this blog title is clickbait or it’s sending people screaming and hiding. I’m okay with both.

The intent behind it is to share the latest book status. Fantasy is especially fitting since I’m writing a book titled, “The Goblin Queen.” It’s the next book in The Serpent’s War series, but I have to say this one is nothing like the two that came before. As I’ve said before, I enjoyed writing those books, but it was more work and less fun. This one has been nothing but fun, both when I write and when I’m not writing but thinking about it. It takes me back to the first series, Blades of Leander, and I can’t wait for people to read it! In fact, thinking about this book has gotten me through a lot of treadmill time while warming up or cooling down on my workout days (I run a mile before and after lifting).

Recently the story has expanded quite a bit. I originally intended only to follow Grishna (new main character), Garrick, Carson, Namitus, Aleena, Celos, and Gildor in their quest to investigate and attempt to foil the plans of the Order of the Dragon as they build their army. Inspiration and far reaching plans have launched a few more subplots though, enough to draw Alto, Patrina, Jethallin, Mordrim, Karthor, and Kar into the mix.

And wow have the characters grown and changed. Here’s just a sample of what’s come to pass:

  • Jethallin went from her role as a homeless young mother in Shazamir to the High Warden of the forests of the Kingdom of Altonia. Jennaca, her daughter, is doing well and getting into all sorts of trouble, by the way.
  • Kar has apprentices that are contributing to his mad scheme of mastering the air by piloting the experimental airships he’s creating. So far the injuries have been minor…
  • Karthor has been granted the title of High Priest of the Altonia branch of the church of Leander. His liberal beliefs have caused disturbances amongst those entrenched in the church’s ranks, but the number of faithful in Altonia is growing faster than any temple or missionary in the history of Saint Leander’s worship.
  • Aleena and Celos have been wed! Ahem, excuse me, that’s Dame Aleena Lyonsbane and Sir Celos Lyonsbane. Even though Celos can’t let a chance slip by to try and one up Moonshine, Aleena’s unicorn companion.
  • Patrina and Alto are soon to welcome an heir to the throne, and Patrina can’t wait to be able to fit into her armor again.
  • Mordrim has been named dwarven ambassador to Altonia, though his duties often keep him traveling and unable to enjoy the rewards of the work he has done.

 

The bad guys have changed too. The Order of the Dragon has learned from their setbacks and explore new ways to exert their will on the peoples of the world of Kroth. The first key to their success was in obtaining the help of a half-breed, which they’ve done in enlisting Lariki the half-dragon to be the general of their armies. Next they must eliminate their biggest threat if they hope to succeed – the Kingdom of Altonia and its champions must be destroyed.

 

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 Ship has Sailed

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Voidhawk – Queen of Shadows, has sailed! To the editor, at least. I have cover art already so I just need that to be finished when it can dock a port near you for reading.

What took so long? An incredibly busy and crazy life lately, for one. The book itself was a joy to write and never stalled for lack of ideas of interest. In fact, it took on a life of its own and went in a direction I didn’t intend. Along the way a few characters really dug deep and really showed some amazing things to me. All in all, it was a good time and one I wish I could have gotten done sooner, only so that I can share it with the Voidhawk fans out there.

What’s next, you ask? Well, I have a couple of awesome character ideas, but unfortunately they won’t fit in the next Serpent’s War book, so they have to wait a bit for me to finish that. Another character I’ve been dying to write is a soldier who is living with PTSD, and a lot of ideas I have around it would fit in wonderfully with my Wanted setting. Think anybody’s up for an unexpected 5th book in the Wanted series?

Then there’s The Continuum, my joint venture with Dawn Michelle. That one needs more books written as well. Argh! So many options and so little time – and don’t think for a moment I’ve forgotten about Dark Universe or Vitalis.

So that doesn’t really tell you anything about what comes next, other than to say sooner or later, they’ll all be new books waiting to be read! Until then, hold tight for Voidhawk and stay tuned for more updates on what I settle on.

Oh, and my updates were pretty sparse lately. For that I apologize. I kept saying I need to write one down and share it… or I could spend the time writing the book and get it that much closer. I knew I was near the end, I just didn’t realize it would extend out another 6 or 7 chapters until I reached it. Next time, update first. These are short and quick, so why not make the time to do 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.

Happiness Is…

One of my wife’s friends posted a meme on Facebook and tagged us in it the other day. The meme stated that happiness was finding a new book and learning that it was the first in a series. Given my wife’s new paranormal serial romance (that this friend fell in love with), it seemed fitting.

I’m bringing it up now because the long awaited part four in her Claimed by the Beast series is now available. And it’s every bit as exciting and fun as the others were. The main character is learning a lot about herself and really coming into her own. She’s also learning there’s more to her new life than she once realized. More dangers, for one…

Rather than hand out spoilers, I’ll hand out links to check it out yourself! Pretty shady, I know…

 Claimed by the Beast, Part 4, by Dawn Michelle

 Amazon

Amazon UK

Smashwords

(iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble yet to show up)

Now then, since we’re down talking about my wife’s series and how successful it’s been, let’s move back onto another series that’s even more overdue for some fresh material. Voidhawk! And yes, I’ve been slapping keys fast and furious. So much that I’m probably a third of the way through the next book! My plans had been to write a single book that covered the next story arc but I’m beginning to wonder if there is just too much story to tell? Do I need to break it out into two or three books?

I’m not sure at this point, but I’m almost 30,000 words into it and the crew of the Voidhawk hasn’t even gotten close to where they need to go yet. And getting there is only going to be half the battle. They’ll have to meet up with veteran dragonslayers, Alto, Garrick, Patrina, and the others from the Blades of Leander / Order of the Dragon series before they can figure out a plan to move ahead. That’s when things really start getting fun.

The next book will be titled Broken Shards. And hopefully it’ll be a single book! I guess time will tell though, or maybe I’ve roped myself into another mini-series within a series. Whatever the case, I promise a fun read.

 

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.

Cyberpunk or Boy Meets Dragon for the Win

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Back in the early 90s I was a huge fan of the roleplaying game, Shadowrun. I dabbled once or twice in a similar game, Cyberpunk, as well. For those that don’t know (and don’t feel bad, I don’t expect many do), both games are near future science fiction that offers a dystopian society with the heroes being people that have learned to merge man and machine. Not quite Terminator-esque, more Robocop.

So what the heck does that have to do with anything? Well, I’ve been hankering lately to dig into something like that. I’ve dabbled in my Lost Girls series and in my Wanted series (which I’m currently writing book 4 on). But I think my next one is going to be something brand new. As in, a brand new series in a setting that has some similarities to it.

I haven’t worked out any details yet, but I’ve been debating if I want to go into a new fantasy series or something new and science fiction. I’m thinking I really want to go for the sci-fi cybernetically enhanced stuff. One or two books there and then perhaps onto the fantasy stuff. I still owe my readers a new Voidhawk book too. Hmm… the ideas are a popping now!

What’s brought this about? Well, as I’ve been talking, I’ve been studying books and sales and all the data I’ve gathered so far (over 10k records now). I’m seeing some impressive numbers in the sci-fi and fantasy lists. Numbers that, dang it, I’d like to hit. I don’t have the marketing or promo savvy to get my name out there worth a darn, nor the money to pay for getting it done. The alternative then is to just write my butt off and get more books out there. Of course a little word of mouth wouldn’t hurt either (wink, wink).

And reviews. How the heck do people have so many !@%^ing reviews on their books? I’ve got a few acquaintances / friends in the fantasy genre that have dozens or reviews or more on their books and they’re doing far better than I am. I know they aren’t buying reviews either, so I have to ask what the heck? Granted, they sell 10 – 20 copies / day than I do of most of their books.

Ah well, I’m grateful for what I get and I’ll keep pushing for more. Couple more days, hopefully by the end of this week, and Guardian (book 5 in the Lost Girls series) will be out. Then before the end of next month I hope to book 4 in the Wanted series out (no title yet).

And I still have a lot of data that’s crunching. Over 10,000 books on file so far. One of these days soon I should be able to make some sort of sense out of it. Stay tuned, I’ll be sharing it (or something else terribly interesting) 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.

 

Up Late for an Early Delivery

November 3, 2012 Leave a comment

I agonized over a catchy title for this post but nothing was happening for me. Maybe it’s too early in the morning or maybe I was out too late celebrating the release of my latest book. The coffee’s strong and slowly entering my veins though, so I figured I’d better share.

Yes, you read that right, I released a new book. A week ahead of schedule, Child of Fate is available for your downloading and reading pleasure! It’s the first book in a new fantasy series but, I confess, I haven’t nailed down a good series name yet. Pretty embarrassing, I admit, but it doesn’t stop the book from being great. In fact, here’s the blurb for it:

Early winters and distant cities make the northern reaches fit only for adventurous homesteaders. Alto is on the verge of becoming such a man when his father is ambushed by monstrous raiders from the mountains.

Determined to find help for his father Alto leaves his home behind and sets out with a group of adventurers tasked with learning the true nature of the raids. Help for his family grows more and more distant as the boy is swept up into a budding war with a neighboring nation and the threats of evil forces from the mountains.

A fiery-tempered princess from the eastern kingdom falls into Alto’s hands by twist of fate.  The fate of two nations rests in their hands, provided they can keep them off of each others throats.

Child of Fate, by Jason Halstead

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony (coming soon)

iTunes (coming soon)

Print (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.

Grabbing Fate by the Balls

I’m a huge proponent of free will. I believe that people have choices in life and they can make whatever they wish with those choices. However, those choices are limited by their environment. Meaning I believe I can do anything I want to do, provided I know what those ‘anythings’ exist. If I’m unaware of a profession or task then I can’t aspire to do it. This one of the cornerstones of the argument for or against free will.

Just as I feel that I choose my own destiny, I believe that my characters in my books are able to do so as well (even if they don’t think that way).
I’m writing about a guy right now who defines free will. Carl Waters, hero of Wanted, Ice Princess, and soon to be Bounty. He’s an aggressive son of gun who insists on living life his way and won’t put up with anyone telling him otherwise. In his cantankerous insistence on his personal liberties he somehow manages to go from being a rebel to an endearing role model.

But I’m not above using fate as a plot device either. Take my upcoming new release, Child of Fate as an example. The title itself implies some sort of prophetic storyline. Since I prefer avoiding such things I barely touch on anything like that, but I like to leave the reader wondering just who is the child of fate in this story?

Child of Fate is a coming of age story in a fantasy setting. You’ve read dozens or hundreds of them already, right? What makes this one different? Well the main character(s) start out reasonably young and while we all know there’s not too much innocence left for 16 and 17 year olds in the industrialized world, the story is told from their perspective. In spite of that, there’s moral dilemmas, death, and a whole lot of traditional sword and sorcery style of excitement. That, to me, is what has been missing from a lot of books lately. We all want to see an underdog triumph against overwhelming odds, but everyone is so focused on spinning some outlandish new paradigm that we’ve lost sight of how much fun an honest-to-goodness melee against a horde of goblins and trolls can be!

Of course there’s more to it than mindless hack and slash. Much more. There’s the intrigue being developed by an powerful evil overlord, there’s the troubling questions posed by young romance, there’s the question of how will the child of fate play a role in the future of the embroiled nations, and what about the influence of powerful magic on people unprepared to deal with using it? Gah, it almost sounds like Harry Potter! Well rest assured, there is no dark lord who must not be named, nor are there any stuff old professors who look like they should reek of moth balls and cigarette smoke. What Child of Fate does have is the beginning of a fantastic new series that will follow the characters as they evolve and mature. They have adventures to undertake and obstacles to overcome, many of them personal as well as plot-based.

Oh, Child of Fate also has a swamp troll that is very near and dear to my heart. I plan on giving him recurring cameo appearances throughout the series that will insure hilarity. In fact, Thork (da troll), may very well generate a spin off collection of short stories at some point. Trust me, you can’t help but love the scary, smelly, and green guy!

Child of Fate should be out in November. Bounty, the end of the Wanted trilogy, should be out in December.

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.