A kind review of Hero Wanted at Book Weyr blog

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I’ve been hard at work trying to wrap up NOBLE CAUSE so I can get it before your eager eyeballs by summer. In the meantime, I stumbled upon this very kind review of HERO WANTED (though I think more in its earlier incarnation as JASON COSMO)  at the blog Book Weyr, which concludes:

In structural terms, the book is marvellous, meaning the world is governed by magical laws, but is also uncanny, meaning events have their order in nature. McGirt fulfills all the deepest requirements of fantastical narrative with such transparent superficiality in order to induce humour that you know its been painstakingly thought-out. Anyone teaching an introduction to fantastical writing should use this book.

That’s probably giving me way too much credit! But much appreciated. So go read the whole thing!

They also reviewed ROYAL CHAOS (although with spoilers, so if you haven’t read that one yet,  be warned!). I’m always fascinated when readers find things in my books that I didn’t know were there! Anyway, the gang at Book Weyr clearly put much thoughtful effort into their book reviews across multiple genres, so if you’re looking for ideas about books to read, or opinions on books you may have already read, do check them out!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

 

 

 

Happy New Year, Loyal Readers!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I hope that you rang in the New Year in style and have great things ahead in 2011! I simply want to take a moment to thank all the Loyal Readers who bought my books and stories in 2010, who posted kind reviews at Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Goodreads, etc; and who took time to tweet, email, or otherwise let me know that you enjoyed my work. I love to tell stories. I love to entertain and amuse people. So it always makes my day when I hear from a Loyal Reader that you liked something I wrote.

Of course, I know what many of you would like is for me to write faster! (And, perhaps, better). Noble Cause is very obviously way behind schedule. My plan to release that book in 2010 were derailed various non-writing time commitments, as well as self-inflicted delays, such as the month or so I spent writing Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter and the month or so I spent on the Caladon Falls role-playing game project. For those who have been patiently waiting for the new book, I apologize for getting sidetracked. I’m back on the case, and will have Noble Cause done and published by spring.

Aside from the aforementioned SPVH and Caladon Falls, 2010 also saw my world audiodrama debut at The Dramapod, which was at least non-awful enough that they invited me back for a dramatic reading of my horror-comedy short story Beginner’s Luck as part of The Dramapod Halloween special. The Dramapod gang produces some really fun material and if you enjoy audiostories, you should definitely check out their catalog.

Also in 2010, I quietly released the original Jason Cosmo Non-Trilogy as free Smashwords ebooks. This is a limited time Smashwords exclusive, so if you haven’t jumped over to grab Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, or Dirty Work do it soon! I’ve secured rights to re-use the original Richard Hescox cover art for the ebooks. As soon as the new covers are done, the Non-Trilogy ebook titles will go on sale at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple and other ebook retailers, priced at $2.99.  So get ’em while they’re free! (And if you’d care to post a review of the Non-Trilogy at Smashwords, I would greatly appreciate it.)

Speaking of ebooks, through the end of 201o my 9 ebook titles have 16,584 downloads (free + sales) at Smashwords alone, with just shy of 40,000 total downloads/sales when other retailers are included. Those numbers include far more free downloads than sales, since I gave away the Hero Wanted ebook for one full year. Whether you bought or read if for free–thanks for reading!

And if you bought, thanks again!

What’s ahead for 2011? I can only tell you my plans. Chances are, some of these won’t happen and I’ll think of new projects as I go. But here is my working list:

  • Release Noble Cause: this is definite. This will happen.
  • Re-release Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, Dirty Work ebooks with new covers. Also coming soon.
  • Another Jason Cosmo mini-novel (cf. Rainy Daze)
  • Revised version Royal Chaos: Book 3 in the relaunched series, after Noble Cause.
  • Boltblaster: At long last!
  • Sarah Palin Vampire Hunter II: because you demanded it!
  • Maybe a few other non-Jason Cosmo stories, for variety’s sake.

Less definite, but I’d like to do:

  • Hero Wanted podcast/bookcast: I love what authors like Seth Harwood and Scott Sigler are doing, serial podcasting entire books. But as I learned recording Beginner’s Luck, it is hard work and time-consuming. I want to do it, but this won’t be a top priority.

That’s what I have on the drawing board for you in the year ahead, Loyal Readers! Thank you again for all your support and encouragement. I hope your own plans for 2011 are even bigger and better than mine!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter at Amazon Kindle Store NOW!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter is now for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store.  As I write this, you can still be the very first person to buy it. Remember, this ebook includes:

  • Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter (Twinkle): a novella-length sendup of Palin, pop culture, and sparkly vampires.
  • Beginner’s Luck: a short story serial killer comedy
  • The first six chapters of Hero Wanted: (for those who haven’t read the book yet)
  • Rainy Daze: a Jason Cosmo mini-novel set between chapters of Hero Wanted.

All for $2.99. Enjoy!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter meets Jason Cosmo!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

By now you’ve seen the new cover art for Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter, as imagined by Brian Denham. The new cover is already gracing the SPVH ebook at Smashwords.  I will also soon launch a Kindle version in the Amazon Kindle Store. But that’s not all! Jason Cosmo is coming along for the ride. (And so is the Hatchet Man)

Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter

Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter

As fun a story as SPVH is, I thought I should give Loyal Readers more bang for the buck. So I added three bonus stories to the Kindle ebook: the comedic horror short story Beginner’s Luck, the first six chapters of Hero Wanted, and the Jason Cosmo mini-novel Rainy Daze. All together, for the first time ever, in one ebook! It would cost about $8.00 to buy these ebooks separately, but I’m rolling them all into one for only $2.99.

This edition will be available (for now, at least) only at Amazon. It isn’t on sale yet because Amazon is still processing the file, but I wanted to give you a heads up and I will be sure to let you know when it goes live.

Stay tuned!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo Non-Trilogy Ebooks

[UPDATE  10/24/10:  All three Non-Trilogy titles are now available at Smashwords:  Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, Dirty Work]

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Several Loyal Readers have expressed interest in reading the original Jason Cosmo novels — aka the Non-Trilogy — as e-books.  Your wish is my command!  I recently had the paperback editions of Jason Cosmo (1989), Royal Chaos (1990) and Dirty Work (1993) scanned by the good folks at Blue Leaf Book Scanning since I lacked electronic versions of the final as-published texts. I’ve begun the process of cleaning up the files and hope to have all three titles available as ebooks in the near future.

This undertaking is separate from my relaunch of the series, which began with Hero Wanted and will continue with Noble Cause. I realize reissuing the original versions while also publishing new versions may confuse some people, but I don’t think that is any reason to not make the original versions available for those Loyal Readers who are interested.

I am only editing Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, and Dirty Work for typos, spelling, and formatting errors that showed up in the published versions. I am not otherwise changing the text. So, for instance, the Jason Cosmo ebook will not include the revisions and extra scenes and chapters included in the Hero Wanted.  If you’ve read Hero Wanted, there would be no particular reason to read Jason Cosmo — unless you’re interested in seeing what the first version was like.

Anyway, that is the plan. I’m happy to take questions.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: Hero Wanted Kindle Edition

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Hero Wanted is now available in the Amazon Kindle Store, both US and UK.

The book is the same — the Hero Wanted ebook has been available at Smashwords since July 2009 — but it does have a crisp new look thanks to some custom formatting by ebookarchitects.  (Look for the wanted poster!) I hope Loyal Readers who are also Kindle owners will enjoy the newly formatted version.

In 2009 I released the Hero Wanted ebook free at Smashwords and kept it at free for one full year. As of today, more than 8600 people have downloaded Hero Wanted.1

More than 12,900 Loyal Readers downloaded the (no longer) free ebook at Barnes & Noble. Others grabbed it at Kobo.  or got one of the the *ahem!* many bootleg copies that seem to be available on file-sharing sites.

Hero Wanted is also available at the Apple iBookstore and via the Stanza ereader app for your iPhone. And probably a few other sources I can’t recall.

Whatever your preferred ebook flavor I should have you covered!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

  1. Or perhaps one person has downloaded it 8600 times. That is always possible. []

Hero Wanted ebook, soon no longer a free book

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

On July 18, 2009, I uploaded the Jason Cosmo: HERO WANTED to Smashwords as a free ebook. My initial intention was to offer the ebook as a free download only until the HERO WANTED print edition was released in August 2009. The goal was twofold:

  • A thank you to long-suffering, infinitely patient Loyal Readers who had been waiting for another Jason Cosmo adventure since 1993
  • Make it easy and painless for potential new readers to try Jason Cosmo.

For many and various reasons, I delayed charging for the HERO WANTED ebook. But the time is soon approaching when the free ride will end, as all good things must. Specifically, I’ll be adding a price tag on July 18, 2010, the one-year anniversary of the ebook release.

What does this mean for you, Loyal Reader? It means if you haven’t downloaded the free HERO WANTED ebook, what are you waiting for? You’ve had a whole year and now you’ve got one week left to get it for free!

(As for why I’m suddenly going to start charging for the ebook, the less said the better, but it involves a slight misunderstanding with the Russian mob and an unpleasant chap named Bruno. I really don’t want to talk about it.)

This does not mean I won’t be offering other fiction for free in the future–I definitely will be. In fact, I’ve got several free stories available right now:

And you can sample the first two chapters of the forthcoming Jason Cosmo sequel, NOBLE CAUSE here on JasonCosmo.com.

But if you haven’t yet grabbed the HERO WANTED ebook, do it now!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause Progress Report

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

A quick progress report on the next Jason Cosmo title, Noble Cause.  I am still banging away at the manuscript. Ace artist Richard Hescox is sketching ideas for the cover that I hope to see soon. I expect he’ll finish painting the cover by end of June.  Shortly thereafter, I’ll debut the cover here at the Jason Cosmo Update. In the meantime, the text will go through editing.  I haven’t set a release date yet.  August would be the very soonest, but it may be later, depending how the pieces come together.

I also have on my to-do list recording a “bookcast” audio version of Hero Wanted. I hope to get in the studio soon for that!

Yes, as usual, I’m making it all up as I go along!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause – Chapter 2 (pt 3)

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Continuing our preview of Noble Cause with the third section of Chapter 2.  If you missed Chapter 1, start hereThe first part of Chapter 2 is here. All caught up? Great! We rejoin our story, already in progress:

I skidded to a stop just short of the ursine colossus. Glancing back over my shoulder, I saw a bespectacled potato sack of a man with fussy beard and a bad comb-over scurry my way. He wore a dull green robe. Pinned to his scrawny chest was a leaf-shaped badge.

“Don’t hurt the bear!” he repeated.

“Why not?” I demanded. “Is this a friendly magical bear that is not truly violent, just misunderstood?”

“No,” said the new arrival. “It’s a vicious man-eater, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Carathans, numerous foreigners, several head of cattle, a prize camel, and a shipload of rare birds from the Cycloon jungles. Not to mention thousands in property damage and unpaid bar tabs.”

“The bear drinks and doesn’t pay?”

“Yes. It prefers spiced rum, brandy, or mead. The occasional daiquiri. And of course it doesn’t pay! Nor do the fleeing patrons of any bar it enters.”

“Gotcha. But is it really an unfortunate prince transformed into a dangerous bear by an evil sorcerer?”

“Ludicrous!”

“An escapee from the circus, where it was cruelly mistreated, who now lashes out in blind fury against an uncaring world?”

“Unlikely.”

“Family pet of a rich eccentric?”

“Are you mad?”

“Then why, pray tell, should I stay my hand?”

“Because, you fool, that’s a Long-Snouted Specklebacked Indigo Mountain Bear, one of the last of its kind!”

“And?”

“And that means it’s an endangered species!”

“So?”

“So you can’t kill an endangered species!”

“I can’t?”

“No!”

“Even to save this poor, crippled, crying beggar girl from being torn apart and eaten?”

“Yeah!” said the poor, crippled, crying beggar girl. Cute as a bucket of buttons, she had stringy red hair, big blue eyes and a constellation of freckles across her dirty face. She was also missing her left leg below the knee. “I think it wants to eat me!”

“It matters not! By the Laws of Caratha, the Long-Snouted Specklebacked Indigo Mountain Bear cannot be harmed!”

“What kind of man would sacrifice an innocent, though admittedly disheveled, child to this murderous beast?” I cried.

“I am Chief Inspector Cierrus of the Ministry of Environmental Services and Sanctions. It is forbidden, on pain of death, to engage that bear with a deadly weapon of any kind!”

The bear grinned at me, drooling blood. It cracked its bear knuckles with a loud series of pops. The beast obviously recognized Cierrus. This was not the first time the M.E.S.S. inspector had intervened to save the animal from well-deserved extinction.

“Then how do we stop its rampage?”

Cierrus shrugged. “Once he’s had his fill, Chompy will wander off somewhere to take a nap.”

“Chompy?”

“That’s what we call him.”

“You allow this beast run loose in the city, eating whomever it pleases and give it an affectionate nickname to boot?”

“People should stay out of Chompy’s way if they don’t want to be eaten!” said Cierrus.

“What about those who can’t get away?”

“Yeah, like me!” said the poor, crippled beggar girl. “I’ve got one leg! Rats ate the other when I was but a babe.”

“I’m not concerned with filthy beggar girls,” sniffed Cierrus. “My sole concern is the bear.”

“My sole concern is defending the defenseless,” I said. “I will not let this bear eat poor little——what’s your name, dear?”

“Saka, kind sir,” supplied the beggar girl.

“I’m not going to let Chompy eat little Saka here.”

“You have no choice,” said Cierrus coldly. “Meet the M.E.S.S. Squad!” He snapped his fingers. A squad of green-uniformed crossbowmen rounded a corner and assumed firing positions. Their weapons were aimed not at the bear, but at me.

This could get ugly fast. I decided to try a compromise.

“Listen, Inspector.”

“Chief Inspector.”

“Whatever. Suppose I fight the bear without my sword?”

“You would face Chompy unarmed?” said Cierrus doubtfully.

“On your promise that your men won’t shoot me, I’ll put away my sword and wrestle the bear instead. For the girl.”

Cierrus laughed. “You want to wrestle a Long-Snouted Specklebacked Indigo Mountain Bear?”

“Of course not! I want to kill it with my sword. Do we have a deal?”

Cierrus shrugged. “No law prohibits suicide by bear! Go right ahead!”

I sheathed my blade.

Chompy growled and shrugged his barrel-sized shoulders, as if to say let’s get on with it.

Young Saka tugged at my sleeve. “You’re crazy, sir, but thanks.”

“Thank me later. If I live.”

The bear stepped forward. So did I.

Warily, we circled each another, with Saka between us. Chompy had the advantage in weight, height, speed, and reach.

But maybe not strength. For I had the Blessing of Rae.

Every hero needs a patron deity. Mine, for better or worse, was divine Rae, Goddess of the Sun. As a sign of her luminous favor, the Bright One had granted unto me the strength of eleven men, possibly twelve, whensoever the rays of the sun touched my skin. It being a sunny day, I had at least a slender hope against Chompy.

“Okay, Chompy, let’s dance!” I raised my fists.

Without warning, the bear lunged and hit me with a combination of two left jabs, a strong right and an uppercut. I landed flat on my back, staring up at the morning sky.

Great. Just great.

Someone had taught Chompy how to box!

Here ends Chapter 2! Questions and comments are welcome!

Best regards,
Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause – Chapter 2 (pt 2)

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Continuing our preview of Noble Cause with Chapter 2.  If you missed Chapter 1, start hereThe first part of Chapter 2 is here. All caught up? Then, let’s join the action, already in progress:

It was only a bear. But that was like saying the sun is only a bright light. Or the Great Eastern Ocean only some water. Lumbering along on all fours, it stood six feet tall at the shoulder. Its fur was deep purplish-black with a pattern of white spots on the back. Its ears were the size of garden spades. Its snout was unusually long, more wolfish than ursine, and slick with fresh, red blood. A torn sleeve of rich fabric containing a fleshy arm hung from its mouth.

I knew I could not reach the girl before the bear did. Waving my sword, I shouted to divert the monster’s attention from her.

“Hey! Giant bear! Over here!”

The beast swung its massive head around and regarded me with baleful orange eyes. It growled a stone-rattling warning and rose to its hind legs, stretching its enormous body up, up, up, until it reached a full height of more than fourteen feet. No bear had a right to be so big. The girl cowered beneath it.

This would not be easy. But perhaps I could cut the fight short with a single accurate thrust to the bear’s heart. I would have to jump to make the shot, and risk a swipe of those platter-sized paws. But it was worth taking the chance if I could take down the bear with one blow.

Then again, a bear this big might have a spare heart near its spleen. You never knew. Dragons have three hearts, making them especially hard to kill. Why not overgrown bears? That was just the kind of natural history trivia that could trip you up.

Well, if I had to stab twice, I’d stab twice. Sword ready, I trotted toward the bear, gathering speed for my leap and thrust. Ignoring the girl, the beast dropped into a half crouch. Dagger-like claws extended from its massive paws.

I rushed on, zigzagging to confuse the animal. Closer came the moment of truth. I steeled myself to spring and strike.

Then a strident voice behind me commanded, “Don’t you dare hurt that bear!”

(Read the conclusion of Chapter 2 now!)

Best regards,
Dan McGirt