Planet of Ice Available Now

It’s here! It’s here! No, not the new phone books – Planet of Ice! Collaborating with the great mind of Tony Healey on this novel was definitely a highlight of my young literary career, and I hope that you’ll enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Planet of Ice

If you’re new to the Broken Stars series, be sure to check out book one: Age of Destiny. See how Max’s exhilarating adventure across the galaxy began, and how it sets up what’s to come in Planet of Ice.

New Book 1 Cover

I always love to hear what readers think, so if you’d be so kind as to leave a review, I’d appreciate it very much! Thank you for your continued support. There’s more to come in 2016!

Get Age of Destiny Free All Weekend Long

With Planet of Ice’s release on the horizon, series creator Tony Healey is offering Age of Destiny for free on Kindle January 8 – 10. This is the perfect opportunity to pick up volume one in The Broken Stars series and get up to speed before the next installment releases later this month.

New Book 1 Cover

The Terran Union is at war. As the conflict with the Sjan reaches a breaking point, the fate of the stars themselves rests in the hands of Max and his ragtag band of friends; a group of misfits who might just prove to be the galaxy’s last, best hope . . .

Download it at no cost for a limited time

Once you’ve completed Age of Destiny, continue Max’s adventure across the broken stars in Planet of Ice, coming soon to Kindle.

Planet of Ice

When a mysterious message prompts Delta to leave the crew unexpectedly, Max, Kort and K1RB pursue her to a mining colony on Quaris—a distant planet with a seedy reputation. To find Delta, the team must traverse a harsh, unforgiving environment; face certain death at the hands of murderous mercenaries; and uncover the powerful secrets hidden beneath the planet’s frozen crust . . .

My Favorite Book of 2015

While I spent the bulk of my free time last year writing and wasn’t able to consume as many new books as I would’ve liked, selecting my favorite read of 2015 proved to be a no-brainer: Past Dark by Tony Healey.

Past Dark by Tony Healey

I’ve enjoyed Tony’s fine work for the last several years, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to watch him develop and mature as a storyteller. He continues to raise the bar every year, and in 2015 he produced some incredible work, including my pick for best read, Past Dark.

Compared to much of Tony Healey’s other work, Past Dark is a slow burn. It begins as a sentimental, yet bittersweet voyage back to the summer of 1995, a time Chris Peterson spent with his best friends, Ant & Kay. Chris recalls the innocence of youth: Building go-karts, going to carnivals, dealing with bullies, a first kiss… and then something far darker. Yes, once you’ve settled in, Healey flips the script, and you’ll love it!

20 years later, tragedy draws Chris back to the town he grew up in, and old wounds are ripped open. Although Chris had escaped from a turbulent period in his childhood, returning to the scene of where it all began brings back the pain and terrifying memories.

Past Dark is masterfully told, and calls to mind the work of Stephen King. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys traditional horror.

Get your copy on Amazon here.

Tell me your favorite books of 2015 in the comments!

Announcing Planet of Ice

Happy Holidays, everyone! If it seems as though I’ve been quiet as of late, you’re right, and for good reason. I’ve been hard at work on several upcoming writing projects. In fact, this is the busiest I’ve been at any point within the last five years, and I love it!

While I’m not yet ready to divulge everything in progress, I’m very excited today to reveal first details about my next book: Planet of Ice.

Planet of Ice

Some things in life simply go together: peanut butter and chocolate; crackers and cheese; J.J. Abrams and Star Wars (sorry, haters, but flaws aside, The Force Awakens was awesome); and now David K. Hulegaard and Tony Healey.

Written in collaboration with the English best-selling author (and good friend), Planet of Ice is book two in the Broken Stars Sci-Fi series. Working with Tony in this capacity was an absolute pleasure, and as the series creator, his wealth of knowledge and guidance were invaluable. I can’t say enough positive things about the experience.

My goal with Planet of Ice was to handle Tony’s universe with great care, and put my spin on the story and characters while still coloring inside the lines. Tony granted me such creative freedom that my imagination was never restrained or compromised. I never felt afraid to try something bold and make it ‘mine.’ If I ever veered too far off course with an idea, he steered me back on track gently.

The Broken Stars series is about an extraordinary boy named Max, whose destiny is part of a master plan to restore order to the galaxy. In Planet of Ice, we follow him on the next leg of his adventure, and learn more about his team… and those who stand in his way.

When a mysterious message prompts Delta to leave the crew unexpectedly, Max and company pursue her to a mining colony on Quaris—a distant planet with a seedy reputation. To find Delta, the team must traverse a harsh, unforgiving environment; face a network of deadly mercenaries; and uncover powerful secrets beneath the planet’s frozen crust.

Planet of Ice releases in late January 2016. If you’re interested in an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for a review, please contact me for more information.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out book one in the Broken Stars series: Age of Destiny. Tony is a master storyteller, and he has set the stage for an amazing voyage across the galaxy.

I’d like to thank Tony Healey for putting his trust in me, and for allowing me to play in his sandbox. I had a great time doing so, and I hope everyone will enjoy it. And who knows? If all goes well, I may even have my hand in the next installment as well. 🙂

The Jumper Redux Comes to Wattpad

As I mentioned in an earlier post this week, I’ve returned to Wattpad with a whole host of new content. I also said that I wasn’t done, and today I’m happy to report that the next phase of my Wattpad plans commence!

The Jumper

R.C. Dawson Returns

Those of you who’ve followed my work over the last few years may recall that I published a paranormal novella in 2011 titled The Jumper. The book was a lot of fun to write, and thanks to my obsession with Pushing Daisies at the time, a bit of Bryan Fuller influence guided the narrative. Something about combining humor with genuinely tense and spooky moments fit the story so much better than I’d planned on the drawing board.

The Jumper has since gone out of print, but remains a sentimental favorite. So, I figured what better time to reintroduce it to the masses with a 2015 redux? My writing skills have evolved a bit since the original print, so a redux edition provides me with an opportunity to polish and deliver a tighter manuscript.

At full disclosure, I’ll more than likely re-publish it later on down the road, but you don’t have to wait. You can read it in its entirely for FREE! Over the next couple of months, I’ll release a new chapter on Wattpad each Friday. Please feel free to leave comments as the story unfolds and tell me what you think!

The first chapter is live now, and ready for you. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

It’s here…

Today is an exciting day around here! Not only is it my Dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!), but after several weeks of edits, revisions, and numerous tweaks, my latest short story Dollhouse is ready to be unleashed upon the world.

I worked with a new designer on the cover, and she absolutely knocked it out of the park. The creepy factor is strong with this one, and captures the tone of the story perfectly. Did you look at the bell? Look closer…

dollhousenew

They bought their dream house. It just didn’t belong to them.
Andy and Kimberly leapt at the chance to purchase a once in a lifetime property that belonged to a famous artist. What they didn’t know is he left behind a masterpiece that’ll change their dream house to a house of horrors. If you hear the bells, it’s already too late.

Dollhouse is available on Kindles everywhere now!

 

 

My Passion Project: Noble Redux

Noble Concept Art by Eve F.
Noble Concept Art by Eve F.

I broke a vow to myself. After spending many hours (and dollars) re-editing the original Noble manuscript in 2011, I promised that I was done tinkering. I promised that I’d put it back on the shelf and never touch it again. I promised that I’d be “happy” with it.

And I was… for a while.

As the years rolled on, I wrote two more books in the series and completed the Noble trilogy. With more experience under my belt, these books contained crisper writing all around, and showcased my storytelling strengths in a much better light.

Knowing that some readers prefer not to enter a series still in progress, I’ll soon introduce new readers to the trilogy through a collection containing all three books. The idea was to give the original novel a spit-shine so it would feel closer in quality to the other two.

My brilliant editor, Jessica Guzman, tackled the project with enthusiasm. However, when I received the edited manuscript back, I realized that the novel needed more than a fresh coat of paint. Although Jessica had worked wonders to clean up my mess, at the end of the day, it was still the product of a first-time novelist—something no amount of editing was ever going to erase.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so very proud of the book, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I found the time to write it. That said, the pages scream “inexperience,” and because I love the Noble universe so much, and am so invested in its future, it weighed heavy on my mind. Was this really the first impression of my work I wanted to give readers?

While discussing this topic with my wife, she said something that resonated with me (as usual): “Don’t beat yourself up about it. It was your first book. Noble would be a completely different book if you’d written it today.”

The light bulb went off over my head. What would the book look like if I’d written it today? That’s all the convincing I needed. I put all other projects aside and scheduled Noble for a long overdue, full-scale rewrite.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and dove in, rediscovering my first book and looking back on it through the eyes of a proud father. Overhauling the original manuscript provided more than just a chance to fix grammatical errors and passive voice, however. It also presented an opportunity to make adjustments to the story that have always bothered me, as well as address feedback I’d received from readers.

Here’s just a few examples:

  • A new prologue begins the story, starting things off with a bit more intensity and action.
  • Jane Emmett’s voice recording now unfolds over the course of the book instead of all at once at the beginning.
  • Miller’s character now has a bit more teeth. He’s still a softie with best intentions at heart, but he’s no longer playing the role of bumbling detective… although he still loves his apple pie (sorry, angry reviewer).
  • The Carroll’s Cross chapter has been reimagined from the ground up. No more confusing, nonsensical shadow play.
  • The ties to the other books in the series are now more prominent. Where did Gibbard come from? What did the lost civilization’s cathedral look like? Where did Puckett’s special task force originate?

All of that is merely scratching the surface. However, I didn’t fix everything. In effort to preserve some of the original first-time novelist charm, I knowingly left in some of the mistakes, too. There’s still a bit of information dumping, flashbacks within a flashback, clichéd phrases, and deus ex machina.

Why did I leave it? I guess in a strange way, it connects me to that inexperienced version of myself from 2010 without fully erasing his efforts, or the memories he created writing the manuscript. No book is ever perfect, and I wanted it retain some of its character.

So, here I am in 2015, making the same vow I made in 2011: This is it. The End. This Noble redux represents my ultimate vision of the original concept, and with its release, I now put it back on the shelf, happy. Content. Proud.

Noble Redux and Noble Trilogy Collection release this Summer for Kindle.

Noble Blog Series #4: A New Challenger Has Entered the Ring!

SPOILER WARNING: This blog contains references to previous events from the Noble series.

NBS4

Within the opening lines of Noble, we’re introduced to Jane Emmett: A troubled teenager from Ashley Falls. However, her story, like many others in the series, is connected to Alyssa Noble. The main story arc has centered on Alyssa because her existence in the world has driven the motivations of many other forces, both natural and supernatural. Miller, Puckett, the Rayburn family, Icarus, the Seda, the Civil Parrish—Alyssa played a hand in all of their fates.

As far as antagonists go, Alyssa Noble is a bit of an enigma to me, even though I created her. Sure, she’s diabolical, and has left a trail of carnage throughout the series, but at the end of the day, she’s fighting for the survival of her kind by any means necessary. Although she is incapable of expressing it through words, I imagine she is quite lonely. I don’t loathe her. In fact, I have empathy for her.

As crucial as Alyssa is to the plot, we find out in Bloodlines that there are other sinister players lurking in the shadows—watching… waiting. During the raid on a chemist’s lab in Savannah, the team uncovers first traces of a man named Gibbard through a series of old letters. This new lead, while intriguing, is separate from the case they’re investigating, so, Puckett decides to do some digging on his own. By the closing moments of Bloodlines, we have a connection: Rayburn and Gibbard.

As dangerous as Alyssa has been, her perilous ways take a backseat in New World Order, allowing an even deadlier foe to emerge: Father Gibbard. Operating under the radar of the FBI, Gibbard quietly served as architect to a master plan, devoting ninety years of his life to orchestrating the end of the world. The grand finale is set for September 30, 2014… all he needs now is the last piece of the puzzle.

What’s the deal with the name Gibbard?

Some readers may have noticed that this is not the first time Gibbard’s name has shown up in my books. It’s not laziness, I swear. 🙂 In truth, I’ve added a character named Gibbard to each of my books as an homage to Death Cab For Cutie’s front man, Ben Gibbard, who is something of an inspiration for me.

The first appearance of Gibbard’s name popped up in the original Noble. He was the harmless Smith family chauffeur that drove Miller to his meeting with Phillip’s father. And that was my plan, really: Find some innocuous character in the story and sneak the name in as an Easter egg, the same way as Final Fantasy had done with “Cid.” However, that plan backfired when I got to Bloodlines.

If I’m being honest, I had no idea where the story would go next after Bloodlines. It wasn’t until I neared the end that I came up with the idea for New World Order. I realized that with Alyssa dealt with, I needed a new enemy to replace her. Of course, Scythe fit that role handsomely, but I didn’t think that was enough for an entire book. That’s when I reviewed previous events in the story and started brainstorming.

The chemist in Savannah’s story made the most sense. He didn’t make a very compelling antagonist on his own, so I fleshed out a backstory for him. What was his motivation? Was he just following orders? If so, who was giving those orders, and what was their end game? Before I knew it, my imagination had been sparked, and I had enough to expand upon.

The only problem was that the chemist took his orders from Gibbard. I couldn’t go back, though. I was already too in love with the idea. By complete accident, I’d just given a starring role to my innocuous character used to sneak in my signature Easter egg. Whoops.

So, there you have it: The story behind the repeated presence of Gibbard, and his unplanned rise to power in New World Order. A valuable lesson has been learned, and we have likely seen the last of the Gibbard name in my books going forward. I’m sure Ben would prefer it that way as well. 🙂

Noble Blog Series #3: The Return to Ashley Falls

NobleSeries3

 

SPOILER WARNING: The following blog post contains minor spoilers from the first two books in the Noble series.

 

Noble introduced readers to the life and experiences of a private investigator named Miller Brinkman. Through Miller’s POV, I hoped to paint a clear picture of small town life in Ashley Falls. Miller was born and raised there. He knew every name. Every face. Every nook and cranny. And of course, every dirty little secret. While Miller knew everything about his home town, it did present me with one interesting challenge: Ashley Falls isn’t a real place. 🙂

I didn’t create Ashley Falls from scratch, necessarily. I viewed countless photos of mid-century small towns, read several pieces of literature and talked to local historians at length. I began building the town of Ashley Falls with a solid foundation. I wanted something that felt to readers like a cross between Mayberry and Little House on the Prairie. From there it was really just a matter of giving it life and sprinkling in some lore to make it feel real.

We learn a lot about Ashley Falls in Noble, but we never actually discover where it is geographically. There are many clues woven into the story to help give the reader an idea along the way. In the scene where Miller leaves Ashley Falls for the first time and arrives at the train station, he mentions how long the ride to his destination of Washington, D.C. will be. If someone had been determined enough to find out and did some digging through Amtrak’s train schedule, the answer was out there.

At the end of Noble, Miller packs up his things and leaves Ashley Falls behind for a new life in Boston, which is the setting for Noble: Bloodlines.  Even though Miller has left Ashley Falls, we discover through a twist at the end of Bloodlines that the reader stayed behind for a glimpse into Ashley Falls’ future, circa 1989.

But who were those new characters, and how had Ashley Falls become home to an apparent religious cult? These are among the questions that will be answered in Noble: New World Order, as well as confirmation on the exact location of Ashley Falls!

Although the world of Noble has changed over the five decades that have passed, Ashley Falls still plays a role in the shape of things to come. The area has become an abandoned ghost town, hidden deep within overgrown vegetation and dilapidated old structures. The only remaining ties to the Ashley Falls from Miller’s time are a few walls left standing, and the preserved property of the historic Carroll house.

As desolate a place as Ashley Falls has become, it is not without a few final secrets left to be uncovered. While most of the town’s shady history has been contained within restricted files, Demond’s journey eventually leads him to Ashley Falls and brings him closer to the truth. Desmond doesn’t yet realize that his role in the invisible war has already been determined, and his path set in motion…

Thanks for reading!

~ David

Noble Blog Series #2: A Change in Perspective

Noble Blog Series



When I began writing Noble in the spring of 2010, I had no intention of turning it into a trilogy. In fact, I didn’t see much potential for a continuing franchise at all. It wasn’t until after I started reading the book reviews that I realized there was an opportunity to create more stories in that universe.

One reader in particular felt quite bullish about the book and would send me emails from time-to-time with plot elements that he wanted to see continued. Although I didn’t share his vision about what might come next in the story, it got me thinking about it nevertheless. Before I knew it, a rush of new ideas flooded my brain and I began outlining Noble: Bloodlines.

About half-way through Bloodlines, I started to wonder if there was enough story left to write a third book. It seemed silly to me to be two-thirds of the way to a trilogy and not do it, but based on the direction Bloodlines was headed, I didn’t immediately see a meaningful way to keep the story going. I also didn’t see the point in making Noble a trilogy if the third act would not be compelling.

I waited about six months after the release of Bloodlines before I sat down and started to brainstorm ideas for a third book. I felt as though I had taken Miller Brinkman’s arc as far as it could go, and no amount of contemplation could change that. I also felt that a lot had happened in the story in a short amount of time, and that even the most ambitious villain takes some time off after a colossal defeat to lick their wounds and regroup.

I considered several options when it came time to select a character for Miller to pass the torch to. I wondered if Puckett would be the right choice. I loved his character, and he felt like the most natural fit to take the reins. Then I wondered if Mosley might be a better choice. She’s young and gifted, and I am a huge proponent of wanting to see more strong female characters in the literary world. She received a pretty big promotion from Puckett, after all, so I saw an opportunity to thrust her into the spotlight and turn her loose.

In the end, however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was time to bring the Noble universe into modern day. All of these events had been happening in secret since the turn of the twentieth century, and I wanted to explore what impact that would have on today’s day and age. What if those secrets began to bubble to the surface? What if the evil that happened in the shadows had finally stepped into the light?

In order to bring Noble into the twenty-first century, I had to create a brand new protagonist. I wanted a character that felt organic to the world I’d created, but that would not come across like Miller Brinkman, part two. It was important to me that this new character have charisma—after all, the reader will be spending over 300 pages with them—and be likeable in the same way that Miller is, but in no way should they outright resemble each other.

This thought process led to the creation of the new protagonist for Noble: New World Order: Desmond Kalish. I’ll be getting more into Desmond’s character in a later blog post, but he is a twenty-five year old police officer for the Charleston, West Virginia police department. How that relates to the Noble universe will unfold as we continue this blog series. 🙂

As you noticed, I did ultimately choose a male lead protagonist instead of a female. While I whole-heartedly believe what I said earlier about the need for stronger female characters, having this protagonist be male presented more options for plot ideas that I wanted to explore in greater detail. That said, Noble: New World Order does indeed have a strong female character. Several, in fact, but more on that later.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with the next installment in the Noble blog series.

~ David