I’m done. At least for a while. I’ve been avoiding Facebook for weeks, if not months, due to all the crap I’ve been seeing. Fear, hate, and outright bullying in the form of political bullshit. Sadly, it was mirrored on the television. Fortunately for me, I don’t watch much television and what I do watch is either a hockey game or something I can block the commercials out with.
And now it’s over. Sweet, blessed relief. Normalcy can return. Except it hasn’t. If anything, the fear and hate mongering on Facebook has escalated. Most Trump supporters are getting sick and tired of it, even though the vast majority seem to have stayed quiet about it up until now. Hillary supporters are angry and bitter because she gave them a holy crusade to believe in and convinced them to take up the pitchfork and torch for her cause – only to find out her plan didn’t work out the way they thought it would.
Personally, I’m glad. I hate to admit it, but I’m glad on as spiritual a level as I’ll ever get that the American people did not condone her past and present actions by electing her into office. The evidence is irrefutable and, had it been anyone else who would have broken the agreements and laws that she did, a harsh sentence would be quick in coming. For her it did not, much as her husband was acquitted during his tenure as president when he was investigated. This, if nothing else, has served as an example of how corrupted and broken our system has become. To perpetuate that would be a crime. The government has too much influence and power.
Look at almost every science fiction story or movie out there. Utopian societies exist because of some hidden evil beneath. Some great corruption that allows the socialist regime to flourish and remain in power. Civilizations are disarmed and kept powerless. They are subjugated, perhaps even drugged, to perpetuate the illusion of a perfect world. Until some rebel with a bow and arrow or a bizarre way of thinking rises up and makes people realize that roses aren’t supposed to stink like decay.
More government is not the answer. More government means more rules and more restriction. Less freedom. Less ability to choose. Less human rights. In my stories I strive to keep government at reasonable levels and let the characters flourish and achieve what they are meant to achieve. Out here in the real world I struggle to do the same thing, because I believe it’s people that can, and do, make a difference. Not institutions or organizations. People.
America made me proud on November 8th when they said we want a real change. We don’t like what’s happening to us – what we’ve allowed to happen to us. We want something different. Is President Trump going to bring it? I’ll be damned if I know. I am convinced that he is extremely intelligent and very persuasive. His skills at business are exceptional. He’s not going to be the despot so many people believe in, but only time will tell that. Whether he can chart a new, and better, course for America will be a subject for historians. All we can do is work together and try to help each other through the bumps along the way.
Will there one day be a woman president? Absolutely. Will she be as enslaved by her ambitions and willing to broker any deal or tell any lie necessary to achieve that title? I sure as hell hope not. In my mind I argue that electing Hillary wouldn’t have been a proper way to shatter the glass ceiling – it would have been a lesson to our youth that it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to win, regardless of the consequences. That, to me, is just bad parenting on a national scale.
And I’ve gone on far longer than I intended to. My intent was just to say that I can’t stomach Facebook right now, so I’m taking a break from. Any abusive or defamatory comments on this will be removed. I’m not inciting a discussion, I’m stating my mind and moving on after months of doing my best to remain neutral only become involved when something amused me.
I’m not taking a break from writing though. Medic has broken the 20k word barrier and is coming fast and furious. Not as fast as I’d like, but I’m still slapping the keys as much as I can. It will definitely be done this year, and as long as editing and cover art are available in time, it will be published this year as well.
After that? Maybe a political thriller? That’s a joke. I hate politics and what they do to people. Next up could be a lot of things, but to be honest I have no idea which one it will be. I’ve had character ideas and story ideas – we’ll just have to wait and see which one makes the most sense.
Oh! There will be a release in early December. It’s called Arrested in Peace, and it’s my secret project I’ve been working on all year. This book is part of a multi-book project releasing at the same time. It’s science fiction and fantasy mixed in a cool new concept. I can’t say much more about it yet, but I do plan on getting up for pre-order soon so it can launch the same time the others do. Stay tuned for more info on that.
There are so many cheesy ways I can have fun with the titles of my sci-fi trilogy, Wanted. So of course, I’ve been doing my best to maximize the corniness for my own amusement! Take the title of this blog article, I’m specifically talking about how I just released it this morning in a print version available on Amazon or Createspace. That makes the entire trilogy available. Hmm, makes me wonder if I should make an omnibus out of it? That’d be a doozy of a book though.
In the meantime, I’m working hard on Victim of Fate, book two in my Blades of Leander fantasy series. Simultaneously I’m hunting for a new day job. That’s tying up a lot of time, I have to admit. I’ve had a few interviews and I’ve got more coming. I wonder how many I have to go through until I get a free set of steak knives?
Worth mentioning for my fellow computer programming geeks out there – I spent some time this weekend and this morning teaching myself hyperthreading. It’s pretty cool and I really wish I’d learned it earlier. So many windows and web applications I’ve written in the past could have benefited from it! C’est la vie, at least I’ve got the basics down now and I can boost it for the future – and talk about it intelligently during an interview!
Now enough about me, time for you to get yours! Here’s the links to Bounty:
Bounty on iTunes (coming soon)
Bounty on Sony (coming soon)
Bounty in print
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.
Long term readers of my blog will know by now that I take great delight in twisting my words into multiple meanings. In this case, I’m taking about the book I’m writing, Bounty. It’s book three in the Wanted trilogy. I’m nearing the end but in spite of the layout of chapters and tasks I’ve assigned to myself, I keep finding extra chapters slipping in. This shouldn’t be upsetting to anyone – the extra content isn’t merely added quantity, it’s added quality as well.
I’m talking about it now because I’m having such a fun time writing it! Sure, I love all my books but this one really had me scared. I’ve gotten a ton of reviews (overwhelmingly good) on Wanted, and almost as many on book 2, Ice Princess. That present a problem to me – it meant if I wrote a third book like I’d originally planned, it needed to be of equal or better quality. How’s that for being scary?
I don’t question my ability as a writer anymore. Some people don’t like me, some people do. Fortunately it seems to be more are pro-Jason Halstead than against. But there’s a different between knowing how to tell a story and living up to an expectation. I’ve seen this plenty of times in the powerlifting venue and even experienced it myself a couple of times. I expect so much even though I know how hard it’s going to be and subconsciously come up with ways to defeat myself. I justify the failure and before you know it instead of picking up 565lbs I only got it halfway before I twisted it around and damn near broke my shin in half.
And knowing the root of the problem does not mean it’s any easier to beat it. Our brain is designed to protect us, whether it’s from ripping muscles off of bones or public failure and embarrassment. Our subconscious is call ‘sub’ because it’s also subversive. It whispers in our ear and tells us it’s okay to give up, it won’t think less of us. We can say we had a busy day and needed the quick calories a cupcake provides. One little drink won’t hurt. I can lift heavy weights next week after my back stops hurting. All excuses that sound great at the time. Justifications for allowing ourselves to not try as hard as we could. As hard as we should.
So out of the blue an idea for Bounty came to me. It felt good but I wanted to be sure, so I let it rattle around in my head a few days while I finished writing Child of Fate. It was harder and harder, I’ll admit, but once I finished Child of Fate I knew what I had to do. Fear of failure be damned, this book needed to be written! And so I’ve been writing – not as breakneck as usual because life’s been a lot busier lately, but I’m still averaging at least 2000 words a day on it.
Bounty takes place six years after Ice Princess ends. Everybody’s living their own happy lives (more or less), and getting by. Allison’s gone off to college after being legally adopted by Carl and Jessie and without Allison around to keep her busy, Jessie’s itching to get back into the movie industry.
The United States government had moved back in to officially reclaim the western states. The special hardware Carl has is still state of the art, but it’s not the razor’s edge of biotech development anymore. It should be safe to reenter the public eye. It’s been six years, everything that happened before is ancient history, right?
For most people in most situations, yes. It’s time to live and let live. Two things can change that. Two very powerful things, such as beauty and hate. Either independently or together they can turn a rationale human being into something entirely different. Something obsessive and vicious. Something that will stop at nothing to get what they want.
And that, my friends, is what Bounty is all about.
A few more days and the rough draft will be complete. After a few weeks of editing I’m hoping for a early to mid December release date. I promise it will be a fun ride and it lives up to its predecessors in every way, shape, and form.
Not because I drink, gamble, or do drugs. No, I need help recovering from my trip to Vegas! My first night back I got almost 3 hours of sleep. Last night I more than doubled that amount but I think I’m more tired now than I was yesterday. Not sure if that’s due to the time zone difference or if it’s returning to the stresses of home life. I’m not complaining about being stressed out, I’m just pointing out that we all have stressors during our day to day lives that we don’t even think about – worrying about getting enough sleep, a deadline at work, a boss or employee that isn’t performing in a way that makes us happy, flagging book sales, a puppy that won’t stop peeing on the carpet, pending monthly hormonal concerns, financial worries, the list goes on and on. And no, those are random thoughts I brought up, not necessarily anything that applies to me. Especially the hormonal item.
On the flip side there are things that happen at home that make me happy. Spending time with my family is a great example. So is making progress on a project at work or finishing off another chapter on my latest writing project. I wrapped up chapter 7 of Bounty last night and it’s turning into another great book following in the tradition of Wanted and Ice Princess. It feels more like Wanted than Ice Princess, to me, although Carl has definitely changed thanks to Jessie and Allison forcing themselves into his life. Now his problem is that he has to keep them alive long enough to figure out who wants to kill them this time. In typical Carl Waters fashion the question of why he and his family seem to have a price on their heads isn’t nearly as important as who’s behind it. Just like Carl doesn’t care what kind of venom a snake has as long as he can kill the snake before it has a chance to bite him.
I figure I’m 25% – 30% of the way through the book so far. My hope is for an early December release date. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted!
To a non-writer the act of sitting down and writing thousands of words seems more than a little daunting. I can remember the groaning of fellow students even in my MBA classes at the thought of having to write 500+ word essays. Heck, I’ve got a co-worker who once offered to pay me to write his quarterly company newsletter articles and those are only a couple of paragraphs! And no, I didn’t take him up on the offer, but not because I’m afraid of writing.
As any writer knows, writing the book is actually the easy part. What comes after, the publishing and marketing, is a far more grueling and difficult task. It’s not a matter of “if you write it, they will read.” Sure, we’d love for that to be the case, but if nobody knows it’s out there how could anyone possibly read it? That’s the tricky part. Tricky and, depending on how you go about it, expensive.
But all of those things still may not be the hardest part of writing. I’m sitting on a very complicated dilemma at this very moment while I’m finishing up a self-edit of my most recent fantasy novel, Child of Fate. I hope to finish the self-edit today then send it off to Lisa Shalek for content editing, then my proof reader, Faith Williams. And of course my favorite cover artist, Willsin Rowe. As excited as I am to get that book going I’m having a bit of a rough time. You see, in the back of my head I have two books fighting each other for the right to be heard, or at least read. Do I jump into the sequel for Child of Fate right away while it’s still fresh or do I step away and undertake another long overdue project?
What long overdue project? Well I’m glad you asked! It started out with some plans my wife and I have to go to Vegas without the kids in a couple of weeks. We’re meeting some friends out there and the plan is, for a night or two, to go clubbing. Now when I think of the word clubbing I flash back to either romance in the caveman era or being mugged in a dark alley. My wife corrected me and pointed out that I needed to be on my best behavior because if I let my irritation show on my face while waiting in line or in the club, I could very easily be asked to leave. I was thinking about this Friday night while my wife and I were out with a different couple (yes, we’ve got at least four friends). My wife and her friend were out dancing while the other guy and I were sitting there watching them. It was entertaining. Her words flashed into my head though, and that started an unexpected moment of inspiration.
I have a character in the books I’ve written that shares some traits with me. In him they are amplified to levels that are admirable. Sort of like the movie Braveheart where William Wallace is considered an uncompromising man and it’s a good thing. Well Carl, of Wanted / Ice Princess fame, would be just as annoyed or more so than I would be in such a situation, and he wouldn’t be upset to show it. Add in somebody putting their hands on him to escort him out and, well, it would get messy.
So with that scene in mind I chuckled, then I realized I might be on to something. Was this, at last, the segue into the third and final book in the Wanted series? I dug deeper and soon it just started pouting into my brain. I had a plot and a premise. I had scenes. I had ideas. Now all I need to do is write it out!
But I’m indecisive. When I wrote Wanted I got hung up for a long time on it. I ended up cutting back and dropping around 15,000 words at the end and rewriting the ending. My original plans lay shattered for the trilogy and I considered leaving it at just one book. Eventually I found inspiration to do Ice Princess, but I had a rough time with that one too throughout it. So now I’m nervous that the third one would be equally troubling. I’ve come a long ways as a writer since those books, but that doesn’t stop the fear of failure from creeping in.
Nonetheless, I think I’m going to proceed with the third Wanted book. Like I said, I’ll be in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks so what better time to write it then when I can do live research on the place where I plan for most of the book to happen in? Granted, it’s a very different Las Vegas. The third book will take place several years after Ice Princess has ended. The United States government has moved back in and reclaimed the western states from the neo-anarchy that plagued the world for several years, but their presence is limited and quite often quite martial. With all the sparks from that kind of environment going on what could be more fun than adding in a little gasoline?
Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to post progress as I get started on it. I’m not sure if I want to title the book “Sin City”, “Vegas”, or something else altogether. Not to worry, I’ll figure it out!
I’ve promised updates on the marketing experiments I’ve been conducting on myself (cue mad scientist laughter), and I’m now able to give an update. After several weeks of trying to figure out how to make it happen, one of my attempts at getting Wanted to go free on the Kindle succeeded. Not only did it go free, but inside of 24 hours it climbed to the #1 spot on Amazon’s best selling list for science fiction / adventure free books. I didn’t think it was possible, but after a stumble at the #2 spot it managed to beat out The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells and it’s still there, 4 days later.
So that’s great, but how does that help the bottom line if all those books being “sold” bring in $0 revenue? The exposure has caused my other books to sell better, especially Voidhawk. Even better though was the sales of the sequel to Wanted, Ice Princess. I blogged a while ago about the power of the sequel. Well in this case that power is really blowing the roof off! Sure, I’m losing out on revenue from Wanted, but considering the increase in Ice Princes sales, I’m more than making up for it. Ice Princess sales have increased over 20x.
So what’s next? Trying to figure out if I can recreate this miracle for my other books that are in a series. Vitalis, Dark Earth, and Voidhawk. I’ll be sure to share what I learn along the way – and in the meantime go ahead and check out Wanted, it’s free on the Kindle in the US!
I was going to title this blog post “What I want for the holidays”, but I didn’t. It seemed too self-serving. So instead I decided to out myself. You see what I want is for people to want to check out Wanted, my near future scifi action / adventure novel. In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the abusive word in question “want”. It’s simple things that keep me going some days.🙂
Of course there are other things I’d love to see as well. Elimination of cancer, for example. For those running for office to pull their heads out of their asses and cure their rectal myopia. For the people occupying this, that, and the other thing to get a grip on reality and go spend time with their families and loved ones instead of trying to pick fights with people who have no control over the situation.
So now back to me and back to you. In the spirit of the holidays I want to give away Wanted. It’s my most successful book, by far, and I want to give it away. There’s no requirements on your part – you don’t need to go to my website and you don’t need to sign up for a newsletter (although you’re welcome to do both). All you need to do is download it for your Kindle or the Kindle App on your PC / Tablet / phone. It’s free right now, but I suggest you hurry because there’s no telling how long Amazon will leave it at that price. I’m trying line up a couple more freebies too, but those are probably a couple of weeks away at best.
In the spirit of giving I can appreciate you probably want to return the favor. I’m not asking for anything but if you check out Wanted and like it, feel free to look into any of my other books. Ice Princess, in particular, it’s the sequel to Wanted and answers all those questions you’re sure to be left with. If not, then I sincerely hope you enjoy Wanted and use it for a little escapism during these buys and hectic holiday times!