Jason Cosmo Rainy Daze ebook now available

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I have at last completed and published the Jason Cosmo mini-novel Rainy Daze, now available at Smashwords.  Going by SFWA Nebula rules yardstick, the 12,000+ word story clocks in as a “novelette.”  But that is a silly word, so I’m calling it a mini-novel from here on.

Rainy Daze is set between chapters 6 and 7 of Hero Wanted. You do not need to read Hero Wanted to enjoy Rainy Daze. If you do, you will get a few references that other readers don’t, but that’s about it. The story stands on its own (to the extent it stands at all!) in what we might call a ‘narrative gap” in the action of the novel.

It took me longer to write Rainy Daze than I expected. This was mainly due to interruptions, travel and other responsibilities. But it was also me struggling to keep the story under control. As I may have mentioned before, for me it is much easier to write a book than a short story–for the simple reason that once I get going on a story, it is hard to turn off my imagination. I keep throwing in new ideas, wanting to go off on tangents, adding new episodes, etc. The opposite of writer’s block.  (What would that be? Writer’s unblock? Writerrhea? Lovely.)

Writing a good short story takes, among all the other writing skills, discipline. In a compressed space of a few thousand words, economy matters. I am usually–at least when writing in the Jason Cosmo mode–more of a turn on the taps and let my imagination run wild writer. Hence my 12,000 word “short” story, which is really more a string of related incidents.  I could expand Rainy Daze into a full novel by expanding some of the scenes, adding a few more incidents, elaborating on more of the back story, etc. Instead, I was trying to wrestle it down to a manageable tale.  The effort only increases my respect for the masters of short form fiction.

But I’m not trying to win any prizes. My aim is simply to provide Loyal Readers with a good yarn and a few laughs. Rainy Daze depicts one day on the road between Darnk and Brythalia. If you’ve read the earlier excerpts I posted here, you know that much. What you don’t know is what kind of trouble Jason, Mercury, Sapphrina and Rubis get themselves into when they enter a mysterious cave. To find out … go read Rainy Daze!

Then let me know what you think.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo Novelette Rainy Daze is Done

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Within the past hour I typed the last line of the first ever Jason Cosmo novelette, Rainy Daze. You’ve read the excerpts — soon you will read the rest! I must do a quick edit and then format the file for upload on Smashwords. I will be publishing this story as an ebook. The first all-new Jason Cosmo tale in more than a decade! You can stop holding your breath now.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo in Rainy Daze, Part 3

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I had thought to complete and publish my first-ever Jason Cosmo novelette Rainy Daze several weeks ago, but other obligations have prevented me. Now I’m back at it. While I bring the tale to its mini-epic conclusion, I present another morsel to whet your appetite.

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of the excerpt, read those first.  Here is more of Rainy Daze.


We rode blind now, or nearly so. Ghostly lightning gave occasional glimpses of the trail ahead. Mercury continued to lead the way. His flameless lantern, an enchanted crystal sphere attached to a leather loop hung from the horn of his saddle, shone faintly. The dim glow was enough for the rest of us to follow without, we hoped, serving as a beacon for pursuers.

Mercury found the path with the aid of his sunshades. These wondrous enchanted spectacles absorbed sunlight during the day. The energy so gathered could could be released in various ways. One such use was seeing in the dark.

Though wet, chilled, miserable, and exhausted from a hard day’s travel, we dared not stop moving. Whatever was behind us, it was getting closer. The wailing sound above the wind was now discernible as a chorus of baying howls from multiple throats. Though he said nothing, I knew Merc was thinking what I was thinking: the Red Huntsman.

Every bounty hunter in the Eleven Kingdoms wanted to collect the fantastic ten million carat price on my head. The Red Huntsman was one of the most dangerous. Even in Darnk, where crime was rare and bounties were paid in pine cones, we had heard of his exploits. He was a powerful fighter, ruthless and unstoppable, who kept a pack of giant wolves as hounds. According to Merc, the Huntsman was last seen in Brythalia. If he had since come north and found our trail­­ this could be a long night indeed.

Or, for me, a very short night. Depending how things went.

“How long until we reach shelter?” I said.

“How should I know?” said Merc.

“I thought you might have come this way before.”

“Why would I? There is nothing of interest to anyone out—get down!”

Mercury grabbed my arm and all but yanked me from the saddle. The twins screamed. A large, dark blur swooshed over me and thwacked to the ground nearby, throwing up a geyser of mud and water that splattered us all. Not that we much minded, being already thoroughly drenched in mud and water.

“What was that?” I asked, righting myself.

Merc flashed a quick beam from the flameless lantern, revealing a gnarled and splintered tree stump newly embedded in the ground beside the trail. It had the circumference of a wagon wheel. Five men could not have lifted it, much less flung it through the air with such velocity.

Giants? Ogres? A renegade catapult crew?

“Stumpthrower,” said Mercury. “Off to the right. Probably aiming at the light. Not the brightest of creatures.” He extinguished the lantern. “Follow as best you can in the dark.”

“Wait! Stumpthrowers are real?” I said.

“Why wouldn’t they be?” said Mercury.

“I had almost convinced myself they are imaginary. Like the Jib-Jab Man.”

“The Jib-Jab Man.”

“The terrible, terrible Jib-Jab Man? He’s made up, right?”

“Some local flavor of boogyman, I presume?”

“Of the worst kind.”

“Then fifty-fifty he’s real or not. You don’t really know with those sorts until you look. And it’s best not to.”

“Fair enough. But what does a stumpthrower look like?”

“Imagine a badger the size of a rhino and twice as mean.”


“That’s a stumpthrower.”

“Oh,” I pondered this. “What’s a rhino?”

Merc sighed. “Nothing you need worry about.”

The howls of pursuit once more broke through the wind.

“Worry about what is behind us,” said the wizard.


We pushed on through the deepening night. Our spent horses staggered across the rocky wasteland beneath the awful majesty of the towering dark clouds. The steady percussion of the thunder, and the implacable rain beat at us. No stars could we see, nor even the horns of the waning moon. A bewildering medley of distant roars and bellows and cries sounded at intervals from every point of the compass, keeping us mindful that many fell things indeed stalked these dread hills, heedless of even a storm so terrible as this.

At one point a fantastic red streak slashed across the sky. Whether it marked the passage of a comet, a dragon, or some winged fiend of the Assorted Hells, I could not say. But its ominous afterglow lingered for many a minute before fading like a dying ember. This did not help my spirits at all.

On a downward bend of the trail, Rubis’s horse, unnerved by one crack of thunder too many, nipped at my steed’s flank and darted past me, taking the second position. Sapphrina’s horse bolted after its companion. My steed, irked to be passed once, was not standing for twice. The beast shouldered her mount against the rocky bank, blocking the way. The jostling of the horses almost pitched Sapphrina from the rain-slick saddle. I caught her arm and steadied her as we remastered our mounts.

“Thank you, Jason,” said Sapphrina.

“My pleasure.”

“I’m sure.”

“The horses are cranky.”

“The horses are tired,” she countered. “Your wizard had best find a suitable rock to hide under soon or we’ll be walking the rest of the way to Brythalia.”

“I’m sure Merc knows what he’d doing.”

“Are you? Well, you’ve known him a whole several hours longer than I, but I can’t say I share your faith.”

“What do you mean?”

“He has no idea where he’s going.”

“Neither do I.”

“Yes, but you aren’t bossing us to hurry this way, hurry that way, on we ride!

I laughed at her impression of Mercury’s curt speech.

“You’re a fair mimic.”

“I have my talents,” she said. “As you may learn.”

We urged our horses up the next rise, joining Mercury and Rubis on a rocky overlook that gave a broad view of the surrounding country. We looked back the way we had come. A dramatically sustained barrage of lightning illuminated the hills. We saw, at last, what was chasing us.

“Dear Gods above,” said Mercury. “We’re doomed.”

That’s where I will leave it for now. Look for the full tale as an ebook at Smashwords.com soon!

Best regards,
Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo Podcast Audiobook to Come

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Just a quick update. Despite my best intentions, the conclusion of Rainy Daze remains unwritten. I have been sidetracked by other obligations and continue to be. I hope to see daylight and finish the story soon. I don’t think I’ll have time to squeeze in a Halloween story before Halloween either.

Once I do wrap up Rainy Daze it will be time for the final push on the manuscript of the next Jason Cosmo novel, Noble Cause. I pretty much suspended work on Noble Cause at the beginning of 2009 to focus on getting Hero Wanted finished, edited, produced and on sale now wherever fine fantasy novels are sold.  That doesn’t mean the story hasn’t been percolating in my head. I will probably do some significant revising once I get back to it. I’ll have to see how the existing text has aged these last few months.  My back of envelope calculation is to be ready for editing and proofreading by early next year (January/February) and looking at a summer release. I’ll keep you updated as those plans gel. This is, after all, the Jason Cosmo Update.

In the meantime, I’ve decided it is long past time I got on the podcast audiobook train. After studying the examples of podiobook pioneers like Scott Sigler and Seth Harwood, I’m convinced this is something I need to do. My plan will be to record the full text of Hero Wanted, as read by me, and release it in a series of free weekly podcasts. I am persuaded that this will help me connect with many more potential new Loyal Readers (or, Loyal Listeners, I guess they’ll be), perk up my print book sales, and have fun doing it.

Obviously that is two major projects on the horizon: write and publish Noble Cause, record and produce Hero Wanted. I do not know yet what the time frame for the podiobook will be. I just bought a pro-quality microphone and a copy of Podcasting For Dummies and I’ve got a good bit of learning to do before I launch that project in earnest.  For now, writing Noble Cause will be the first priority, but stay tuned!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo Novelette-in-progress: Rainy Daze

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Today I have an excerpt from a new Jason Cosmo story to share with you.

Relative silence here at the Update lately, as I have been working on several stories, including polishing up the two Jack Scarlet stories I posted to Smashwords. But this is the Jason Cosmo Update, so I assume you’re here for an update on what’s new with Jason Cosmo, fascinating as my other writings may be. I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at what I’ve been working in recent weeks, a Jason Cosmo novelette called Rainy Daze. It’s a story within the story, set between chapters of Hero Wanted. Like a deleted scene, except it was never actually part of the book.  I intend to finish it soon and will publish the full tale at Smashwords when I do. For now, here is the opening of Rainy Daze:

Rainy Daze

A Jason Cosmo Adventure

True to Mercury’s prediction, it rained the next day. And the next. And the day after that. The downpour did not relent for five rainy days. The Longwash overspilled its banks, sweeping aside boulders and trees as it rampaged southward. The rising water forced us to abandon the track beside the river for higher ground. Alert for flash floods and mudslides, we picked our way along the hilltops.Hero Wanted (Chapter 7)

“This is not good,” said Mercury Boltblaster.

“Do you mean the rain?” I asked. “Because I agree.”

It was unfriendly rain, heavy, cold, and stinging. A rain that soaked us to the skin while slowing our pace out of dismal Darnk from headlong flight to fretful trot to tedious trudge.

“I mean everything,” said the dusky-skinned wizard.

“Like you being hunted by the Dark Magic Society?”


“And me being the most wanted man in the Eleven Kingdoms?”

“That too.”

“Our violent encounters with the mercenary Black Bolts, that terrorist Zaran Zimzabar, and Natalia Slash?”

“All of it,” said Merc. “Plus having those two along.”

He jerked his thumb to indicate the other members of our party, riding a few yards behind as we followed the narrow river road up a muddy hill. I turned in the saddle for a better view through the wind-lashed raindrops. Sapphrina and Rubis were sisters, identical twins from Zastria, golden of tress, blue of eye, brown of limb, shapely of figure, and sopping wet. Sapphrina wore blue, Rubis red. Their scanty tunics, already so tight they might have been painted on, had shrunk and become partially translucent in the rain.

“I don’t see the problem,” I said.

“I’m sure you don’t,” said Mercury. “By the way, you’re about to ride off the road.”

I tore my gaze from the twins and nudged my horse back from the ledge. It was a steep drop down the hillside. Below seethed the raging, racing, rain-racked River Longwash.

“They’ve been no trouble at all,” I said. “And we did pledge to escort them to safety.”

“You pledged. I begrudgingly acquiesced.”

“Merc, they were kidnapped, sold into slavery, and chained up in a tower until we rescued them! Helping them get home is the only decent thing to do!”

“I didn’t say we should abandon them here in the wilderness,” said Merc, in a tone that suggested exactly that. “I said I don’t like having them along.”

I again glanced over my shoulder. Sapphrina brushed a long strand of wet hair back from her face. Our eyes met. She smiled. I smiled back.

“I do.”

“You won’t like it so much when the Black Bolts catch us,” said Merc.

I snapped my head around. “How do you know they’re still chasing us?”

“For one thing, this is the only road out of Darnk.”

“All roads lead from Darnk,” I said, nodding.


“It’s a saying we have.”

Merc scowled. “What does that even mean? There is only one road to and from Darnk. We’re on it, and so are the Black Bolts.”

“But we left them in Whiteswab days ago. For all they know, we headed east.”

“Deeper into Darnk?” Merc scoffed. “I doubt even I could withstand the stench of central Darnk—and I’ve ventured to some foul locales indeed.”

“The slime bogs are a bit rank this time of year,” I admitted.

“That aside, the Black Bolts know we were in Offal because Dylan left two of his men posted there while he led the rest to Whiteswab.”

“I didn’t see them.”

“Zaran’s men gassed them to sleep with the rest of the city.”

“Then how would they know we were there? The city still slept when we left.”

“Because I stole their horses for your girlfriends back there.”

“What?” I looked back yet again, confirming what I already knew. The sisters were indeed mounted on black horses matching those Merc and I took from the Black Bolts in Whiteswab. I hadn’t pondered the how and why of that coincidence until just now.

Catching my eye, Rubis blew me a kiss. I blushed and gave a shy wave back.

“Or do you disagree?” said Merc.

“Say what?”

“I said those girls are a constant distraction and will likely get you killed.”


“You didn’t hear me, did you?”


We reined in our horses at the top of the rise.

“Arkayne’s hood!” said Mercury. He shook his head. “This gets worse and worse!”

Sapphrina and Rubis caught up.

“Why are we stopping?” asked Sapphrina.

“We’ve run out of road,” I said.

On a normal day, the road dropped from this rise down to a long level stretch beside the river. But not today. Swollen up and egged on by the relentless rain, the Longwash had overleapt its banks and elbowed its way ashore, claiming all the low ground for itself. For at least the next mile or two, there simply was no road, only a frothy roil of waves and eddies and whirlpools and bobbing debris.

“We can’t ride through that,” I said.

“No,” said Mercury. “We can’t. Nor can we go back the way we came. Nor can we wait here for our pursuers.”

“Then what can we do, wizard?” said Sapphrina.

“We’ll make through the hills,” said Merc. “That stream coming down there has the look of a trail.”

“Through the hills?” I asked, the words squeezing past the sudden lump in my throat.

“Yes,” said Merc. “You know, high ground, away from the river? We’ll needs beware flash floods and mudslides. And our progress will be slow. But it will at least be progress.”

“But those hills are haunted!” I blurted. “And cursed! And full of monsters!”

“Really?” said Merc. “Well, that’s just delightful.  Follow me.”


That’s all for now, Loyal Reader! Let me know what you think … if this is unrelentingly awful, there is still time to change it!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt