Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause and NaNoWriMo

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month. I’ve always been either too busy on some other project to take it on. But this year, I decided to finally do NaNoWriMo…in my own way.

I’m not writing a brand new novel this month, and not racing to turn blank pages into 50,000 words. Instead, I’m piggybacking on NaNoWriMo to make my final drive to complete Noble Cause.

My plan is to revise the manuscript during November and use the revised text for my NaNoWriMo word count as I go.  Loyal Readers can read along! I am releasing the revised chapters as a free preview as part of the Smashwords National Novel Writing Month promotion.

Chapter 1 and 2 of Noble Cause are posted now! These chapters are not entirely new material–I posted an earlier version as a preview last spring–but we’ll be getting into all-new, never-before-released text pretty soon. I invite you to download the free preview, check back for frequent updates, and let me know what you think either in the comments here at JasonCosmo.com or on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy Noble Cause!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause — The end is near!

Greetings,  Loyal Reader!

Loyal Reader Tina asks in the comments a question I am sure other Loyal Readers are asking too–Where the heck is Noble Cause?

A fair question. This book has been long in the writing. How long? It depends when you start the clock. By one measure, at least twenty years. I turned in the manuscript for Dirty Work in early 1991 (thought it did not see print until 1993) and, arguably, have not written an entirely new novel since1 For Loyal Readers who joined us with Hero Wanted, the wait for Noble Cause has been just over two years now. In my own estimation, I’ve been writing this book for about a decade, counting various false starts and abandoned incarnations. I recall deciding to write an “in-betweenquel” set between Jason Cosmo and Royal Chaos sometime around 1999 or 2000.

Noble Cause (2010) by Dan McGirt

Noble Cause (2010)

By any measure, this book is taking me a long time to write. Too long, really.

Part of the problem is I consistently underestimate how long various other projects will take. The basic plot of Noble Cause was set, and large chunks of the book written, by early 2009, when I suspended work on Noble Cause to prepare Hero Wanted for publication. That took longer than I thought it would, but I still expected to push on and finish Noble Cause by year end. I then wrote Rainy Daze, which I thought would be a two week project, but was more like a month.  Same for Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter and the character profiles and mini-scenes I wrote for Caladon Falls. All of those side projects sidetracked me from finishing Noble Cause, along with the usual suspects of work, travel, and the occasional illness. When I get away from the book for a while and then come back to it, it takes me a while to get back into the groove, to get my head back into the story. That slows things down too. So side projects ate 2010.

This year I made a conscious and knowing decision to again put Noble Cause on the back burner to help my mother Andrea Parnell, republish several of her previous novels: the Gothic romance tales Dark Splendor and Whispers at Midnight, and the Western romance Delilah’s Flame. Okay, yes, I put my Mom ahead of my Loyal Readers. For that, no apologies!

I also decided, belatedly, to release the original versions of Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, and Dirty Work as ebooks, both separately and in an omnibus edition of the entire original Jason Cosmo Non-Trilogy in one ebook. That might seem like a no-brainer, but my original plan was to ignore the original versions and only publish the revised and rebooted books starting with Hero Wanted. But Loyal Readers asked for the originals as ebooks, so I took on that project too. I’m glad I did it but, again, it was time-consuming and took me away from Noble Cause.

So, now, we’re staring at the end of 2011 and my Loyal Readers are still waiting for Noble Cause. Well, assuming you haven’t forgotten about the whole thing and moved on. But, if you’re still with me, I have good news.

The first bit is this — even when I wasn’t working on Noble Cause, I was working on Noble Cause. That is to say, even when one of those other projects was at the forefront, I continued to open up the Noble Cause file and tinker with the story…add a bit of dialogue that occurred to me, make notes for a scene to write later, figure out some of the knotty plot points I got stuck on, etc. The book may have been on life support at times, but it never flatlined. And, I believe, it keeps getting better. Tighter, leaner, faster, funnier.

The advantage of  stepping away from the book for a while and then coming back is that it allows me to see with fresh eyes what’s working and what isn’t. I’ve come back from a hiatus and junked entire scenes and chapters because I could now see a better way to move the story at that point.

Which is to say, I believe your patience will be rewarded. Noble Cause is a much better book now than it would have been if I finished it six months or a year ago. Or two years ago. Or five years ago.

Super awesome, McGirt. When can we read it?

Well, my friends, the time is nigh. I’ve blazed through ten chapters so far this month, bridging most of the gap that loomed in the middle of the story. (For those who came in late: I had the first third and last third written some time ago, but the middle was a complete muddle.) That gap is almost closed–three or four chapters to go. When that is done, I will have, for the first time, a complete manuscript beginning to end. With that milestone reached, the next step will be revisions.

Which, fortunately, is my favorite part. So I’ll work my way through the book a few times to punch up dialogue, cut wordy bits, resolve inconsistencies, tie up or snip off loose ends, etc.  Then a thorough proofreading. Then formatting for Smashwords — where the first release will be, followed by Amazon (because formatting for Kindle takes a little longer), and then preparation of the print edition.

How long will this take? I’m always reluctant to throw out a definite schedule because in my mind that pretty much guarantees something will go wrong. But my projection is to finish those last few chapters by the end of October — i.e. “this weekend” — and then get all the revising and editing and formatting done in November. It will be my National Novel Writing Month project — except for me it will be Novel Finishing Month. More on that to come…very soon! Stay tuned.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

 

 

 

  1. since Hero Wanted (2009) is a revision of Jason Cosmo (1989), it doesn’t count as entirely new. []

Royal Chaos now in the Amazon Kindle Store!

Greetings, Loyal Readers!

Another quick note to let you know that the Kindle ebook version of Royal Chaos is now available! This ebook incorporates the original text of the 1990 paperback edition of Royal Chaos, with only minor corrective edits. I will, eventually, do a revised (and probably retitled) version of Royal Chaos as part of the rebooted Jason Cosmo series that kicked off with Hero Wanted and will continue with Noble Cause. But, for now, and for fans of the original Non-Trilogy, I give you Royal Chaos for the Kindle.

For new Loyal Readers, a word of explanation. The original Jason Cosmo series consisted of Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, and Dirty Work. Then, to put it politely, my publisher dropped the series like a hot potato full of squirmy maggots. I call the original three books the Non-Trilogy. (Because there be three books, but they be not a trilogy.)

If the first Jason Cosmo book you read was Hero Wanted, you might wonder how it fits with these other books? Do they go together? Are they part of the same series? The answer is yes and no. Hero Wanted — as I’ve said before and will no doubt say again — is a revised edition of Jason Cosmo. If you read Hero Wanted, no need to read Jason Cosmo unless you just want to.

Royal Chaos was a sequel to Jason Cosmo. It works as a sequel to Hero Wanted if you want to read it that way. There might be a few inconsistencies because of the revision, but the books still work together.

Now the “official” sequel to Hero Wanted will be Noble Cause (coming soon!) — but no harm in reading Royal Chaos next if you want to. Noble Cause, in fact, is set in between the action of Hero Wanted and Royal Chaos. But nothing in Royal Chaos will ruin or give anything beyond very minor spoilers for Noble Cause. So have at it!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause Cover Story

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

The cover for Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause is here at last. The gorgeously absurd and absurdly gorgeous illustration, once again, is by award-winning artist Richard Hescox, with cover design by Kris Tobiassen. They did a great job! I’ll let the picture speak for itself. You’ll have to read the book to get the full story, but what you see depicted here is our hero Jason Cosmo and the lovely twins Sapphrina and Rubis. And a very large bear.

Noble Cause (2010) by Dan McGirt

Noble Cause (2010)

Alas, we had to trim the picture a little to fit the dimensions of a book cover.

Since I don’t want Richard Hescox’s great work to go to waste, here is a peek at the full image before it was edited for the book cover:

Cover art for Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause by Richard Hescox

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause Copyright 2010 Richard Hescox

I hope you enjoy this cover as much as I do.  Stay tuned for Noble Cause!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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