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. 🙂

Bringing Lissette to Life

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing artist by the name of Eve F. She’s the one responsible for the nightmare-inducing cover to my short story Dollhouse (for which she’s still not sorry). I mentioned during an interview with her for my website that we were collaborating on additional projects as well. While it’s still a bit early to talk about all that, I wanted to give you a small taste of what we’ve been working on.

Lissette

This is an incredible piece of character art Eve drew of Lissette from the Noble trilogy. If you’re familiar with the books, then you already know that Lissette becomes a major player in the story after a brief introduction in Bloodlines. She’s special to me, as all my characters are, but in a way that’s much harder to describe.

As a male writer, I used to fear whether or not I’d be able to create believable female characters. Would she sound like a woman written by a man? Would she come across as a collection of male-perceived stereotypes or tropes? Would she feel forced and unnecessary? And ultimately, could she be more than just a ‘strong female character?’

These questions swirled around in my head for months until I got a piece of advice from a friend of mine: “You don’t have to know how to write a female character. You just have to know how to write people.” He was right. I’d been over-thinking it.

Yes, there are differences to consider between male and female characters, but at the end of the day, we’re all human (or Yaeren, as the case may be), warts and all. Such a simple realization, but one that allowed me to overcome my doubt and opened up a whole new side of my creative process to explore. And through this budding confidence, Lissette was born.

I needed a leader—a bona fide badass—and she fit the bill. Lissette wasn’t looking for her white knight. She’d kick his ass and take his steed if the situation called for it. Although she’s being hunted and is in continuous fear for her life, she’s more than capable of taking care of herself.

However, beneath her battle-worn exterior is great sadness. This isn’t the life she chose, it was the one forced upon her through circumstances beyond her control. On the battlefield, she’s tough as steel, but away from the fight, she’s tormented by thoughts of a life that could never be, and the man who stole it from her.

Lissette is one of my greatest accomplishments as a writer, and I hope readers will love her as much as I do. I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to Eve F. for capturing her in such amazing detail. I took one look at this art and said, “That’s her!” I even got a little misty-eyed because it was like seeing one of my kids born. Thanks to Eve, Lissette is real, and I couldn’t be any more of a proud papa than I am at this moment.

Interview on Hyrule Hyrulia

My sincerest thanks to Ashley Barry at Hyrule Hyrulia for the opportunity to chat! Ashley is a wonderful writer, and it was an honor to speak with her about our writing projects, my day job at BioWare, and of course, the video games we’ve come to know and love! Final Fantasy fans in particular are sure to enjoy listening to us gush about the franchise for a considerable chunk of the interview. 🙂

Check it out here:

Designing a Book Cover: Meet Eve F.

I’m just going to say it: I suck at art direction. While I’m able to visualize my created worlds in great detail, I’m utter crap when it comes to visualizing book covers. Many writers love having that level of creative control, but me, I know my limits, and feel quite relieved handing over the reins to someone more qualified.

Although I try to add input during the cover creation process, a professional designer possesses an eye for art that I lack. I’ve worked with many designers over the years, and haven’t been disappointed yet. However, after five years, the time has come to freshen up the look of my books going forward, and I’ve found just the right person.

Allow me to introduce you to Eve F., an extremely talented graphic designer from Germany. Working with Eve has been a collaboration in the truest sense, as we’ve spent hours upon hours together discussing ideas and reviewing concepts (thank all that’s holy for her unbelievable patience). She is the ultra-gifted mastermind behind the cover for my latest release Dollhouse, but it won’t be the last project we’ll work on together. More on that at another time. 🙂

So, without further ado, let’s get to know Eve:

[DAVIDHULEGAARD.COM]: To start things off, tell everybody where you’re from.

[EVE F.]: I’m originally from near Stuttgart, Germany, but now I’m based closer to Frankfurt.

[DH.COM]: When did you first discover that you had artistic ability?

[EVE F.]: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I haven’t always been good at it, but my interest in drawing and painting kept me practicing and continuing over the years. When I finally got my first drawing tablet in my early teenage years, there wasn’t much doubt about my passion for art anymore.

12 - PSGsevn

[DH.COM]: Can you remember the first thing you ever drew?

[EVE F.]: I don’t remember my very first drawings anymore, but there’s one noteworthy example from my past I still remember. When I was in kindergarten, the kids in my group were painting a picture of a green field with the sky above. Everyone else painted the sky as a blue line on the very top of the paper, but I made the effort of filling in the entire paper except for the green floor. That is how it was in real life, so I painted it like that, and I remember being a little bit sad that not everyone would do it like that.

[DH.COM]: What are some of your favorite objects or scenes to illustrate?

[EVE F.]: Characters, people, creatures; mostly from the fantasy genre. These categories have been my focus for years now. When it comes to objects, I prefer metallic, reflective materials (like armor) or leather (like armor as well). In general, I enjoy painting pictures that challenge me, and make me learn and improve in the process. Considering that, there’s probably nothing I don’t enjoy drawing.

03 - qQhYoev

[DH.COM]: How did you come up with the cover concept for Dollhouse?

[EVE F.]: Sometimes I come up with good ideas right before falling asleep—that odd state in-between conscious and unconscious. I always keep a pen and paper right next to my bed in case I come up with something during the night. That is exactly what happened the night I read the story, and went to bed some hours after.

Mental images of Dollhouse kept occupying my mind until I hit the point where I came up with the idea, which I then scribbled down, half-asleep. The next morning, I didn’t even remember having done that until I stepped on a bell on a string–which I use to play with my cat–and apparently she had carried it into my bedroom. When I heard the ring of that tiny bell, I had one of those “Oh, yeah, I remember!” moments. I instantly started working on the cover.

DollhouseScribble

[DH.COM]: Some people have mentioned being pretty freaked out by the cover. Did creating it give you any bad dreams?

[EVE F.]: I didn’t have any bad dreams. In fact, quite the opposite happened. It made falling asleep very hard for me. The male mannequin in particular popped into my head occasionally when I closed my eyes, which then had me wide awake every time.

[DH.COM]: Was Dollhouse your first book cover?

[EVE F.]: Yes. I’ve made a couple of music-CD covers before, and some story illustrations, but this is my first real book cover.

dollhousenew
[DH.COM]: Did you enjoy the collaboration process with a writer?

[EVE F.]: Yes, a lot! Working with Dave has been very pleasant and uncomplicated. In general, it felt like we’ve been on the same page for the entirety of the process, from start to finish.

[DH.COM]: Where can people see more of your work?

[EVE F.]: The best ways to find more of my work are my tumblr page, my deviantart page, and my website. I haven’t been as active lately as I’d like, due to starting a new job, but that will change once I’ve settled into my new environment.

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!

 

 

New Stories Now on Wattpad

wattpad

Wattpad and I are like two old friends that bump into each other occasionally around town. We smile, we hug, we share pictures of our fur babies (sometimes wearing outfits), but when we say “let’s get together for a cup of coffee,” we go our separate ways and it never happens. Oh, we don’t mean for it to never come to fruition, but we’re both busy people with busy lives to live. You know how it goes.

Well, no more! After a four-year long absence, I’m excited to announce that I’m returning to Wattpad, and I’m bringing a slew of free stories with me! Check ‘em out here.

This is not a one-time thing either. I’ll continue to add new stories over time. Who knows, you might even see early versions of stories that germinate into bigger ideas later down the road. So, keep that feedback coming, and I’ll keep doing my best to entertain you!

Flash Fiction: Keep Portland Weird

portland-skyline

 

Keep Portland Weird

By: David K. Hulegaard

 

The alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. every Monday through Friday. The routine had become so mundane that Lisa rarely ever slept till the designated wake-up call. If she was lucky, she’d open her eyes at 5:30 a.m. and stare at the bright green LED display until golden oldies blasted from her favorite AM radio station. If she was unlucky, her mornings began around 4:00 a.m.

Today was an unlucky day.

Lisa hated her job. Writing obituaries for The Oregonian failed to excite her anymore. Originally proposed to her as a “foot in the door” opportunity, she wrote the best damn obituaries in the Pacific Northwest, hoping that it would eventually lead to something better. Unfortunately, her stellar work made her irreplaceable, and her obituaries were the most requested among local residents. Lisa removed all the stress from passing on, as the departing souls could rest in peace knowing she’d write the perfect synopsis of their life.

When Lisa arrived at the office at 6:54 a.m., she was the first person from her department to show up. She booted up her Mac, wondering what banal assignments had landed at her desk overnight.

Before he’d turned the corner to enter her work area, Lisa smelled her boss’s potent Starbucks coffee. “Morning, Craig,” she said without averting her eyes from the still updating email inbox.

“Hey, Lisa,” Craig said, running fingers through his salt-and-pepper hair. “You always know it’s me. How do you do that?”

“It’s a gift.”

“So…” Craig leaned against Lisa’s desk, sloshing his paper cup of coffee. “Got a weird one for ya this morning. Did you get my email yet?”

“Not yet, I just got here.” Lisa moused over the email icon, noting twenty-one unread messages. “Why, what’s going on?”

“Well, you’re aware of the television show Portlandia’s incredible popularity, right?”

Lisa rolled her eyes. “You mean the show that tries to make Portland look cooler than it really is, when in fact it could be filmed in any other city and achieve the same results?”

“Yeah.” Craig rubbed the back of his neck. “I know you’ve got some pretty strong opinions about it, which is only going to make this much harder.”

Lisa swiveled her chair to face Craig. “Going to make what much harder?”

“Well…” Craig looked down into his caramel-colored coffee. “You were sort of featured on last night’s episode.”

“I’m sorry, I what?” Lisa twirled curls of her blonde hair around a pen. “Because it sounded like you just said I was featured on the show.”

“Not you, you, but a character based on you.”

“I’m lost,” Lisa said.

Craig wandered over to the wall and flipped through the months of a 2015 Walking Dead calendar. Actors clad in soiled clothing, and drenched in copious amounts of stage blood graced the pages. Upon reaching the end, Craig moved his attention to strips of Walking Dead dad joke memes Lisa had printed, cut out, and pinned to the wall.

“I don’t get it,” Craig said. “Why did he name his iPod ‘Titanic’?”

Lisa removed her glasses and rubbed her stinging eyes.

“Oh!” Craig laughed aloud. “It’s ‘syncing.’ That’s a homonym joke. How clever!”

“Craig, can we get back to the whole Portlandia conversation?”

“Right, right. Sorry.” Craig pulled up a co-worker’s chair and sat down. “As you know, the show’s writers spend a lot of time here doing research for their skits. They heard about you and your following, and thought it was very Portlandia.”

“My following?”

“Well, yeah.” Craig sipped his coffee. “No one in the greater metropolitan area wants to die unless Lisa Norbeck is going to write their obituary.”

Lisa tossed her glasses down on the mousepad. “Okay, so what does this have to do with the email you sent me this morning?”

“Yeah, about that,” Craig said. “Soooo… apparently the sketch was a huge hit, and Portlandia’s ratings were the highest ever. It went virile, as the kids say these days.”

Lisa opened a new Safari window and brought up YouTube. She keyed PORTLANDIA OBITUARY SKETCH into the search field and pressed ENTER. The official clip popped up at the top of the search results, boasting over eighteen million views within the last twenty-four hours.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Lisa said.

“That’s not even the weird part I was mentioning.”

“It’s not?”

“No.” Craig set his cup down on Lisa’s desk. “Due to the overwhelming success of the segment, we’ve received thousands of messages from people all over the United States looking to visit Portland and die, just to have you write their obituaries.”

“Craig, are you playing a prank on me or something?” Lisa slumped in her black, faux-leather chair. “It’s way too early for this.”

“I’m serious,” Craig said. “Folks are offering good money, too—more than we charge our advertisers. We’re sitting on a gold mine over here.”

Lisa stared at Craig, mouth agape, and waiting for a punchline that never came.

“Don’t worry, though,” Craig said. “There’s a pay increase involved here as well.”

“Not the part I was worried about, Craig.”

“Look, I get it, it’s a bit out there.” Craig picked lint off his tie. “Think of it as a service we’re providing for tourists. You know, giving them the true Portlandia experience.”

“What in the actual f—“

“Our first customer’s payment has already cleared our account, so I need you to get started right away in order to make tomorrow’s edition,” Craig said. “I sent you the details: Guy flew in from Billings, Montana late last night, then dropped dead first thing this morning on the Eastbank Esplanade. Write him something snappy.”

Lisa closed her eyes, hoping when she opened them again, she’d be back in bed staring at the bright green LED display of her alarm clock.

“You’re a rock star, Lisa.” Craig stood up and collected his cup of coffee. “Let’s make the families of these rich dead people proud to have had their relatives die in the Beaver State!”

When Lisa opened her eyes, Craig was gone, but she was still at work. She turned to her computer and scanned her emails, mortified to discover the conversation with her boss had actually taken place. It hadn’t been an aneurysm after all, despite her wishes to the contrary.

With a heavy sigh and a cracking of her knuckles, Lisa went to work on her assignment:

Meadows, Edward 42; February 12, 1973 – June 8, 2015

Edward Meadows, beloved partner of no one, and purveyor of nothing in particular, quietly passed at the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade surrounded by commuter cyclists, morning joggers, and customers waiting in line for Voodoo Donuts.

Although Edward enjoyed the sights and sounds of Portland through the magic of television, his visit to our lovely city was short-lived—literally. Fear not, fine citizens, Edward’s death was 100% organic.

Most Portlandians never knew Edward, but statistically speaking, at least twenty thousand of you had the opportunity to tell him you’re gluten free, and another five hundred of you would’ve asked him for spare change.

Edward did not arrive in Portland on the back of a unicorn, nor did he consume a single tablespoon of kombucha in our fair city, but in time, this Billings, Montana native surely would’ve opened a food cart, or at the very least, raised chickens.

Funeral services will be held this weekend at Pioneer Courthouse Square, presided by Petey, the Portland International Airport carpet. In lieu of flowers, the family of Edward Meadows humbly requests that you stick googly eyes on his casket. Portland Timbers memorabilia is also welcome.