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

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 in Rainy Daze, Part 2

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Below is the next section of my Jason Cosmo novelette-in-progress, Rainy Daze.  Before you read this, you’ll want to back up to the previous post, and read Part 1.  And before you do that, you should buy Hero Wanted, the first volume of the Jason Cosmo series. (Or get the Hero Wanted ebook at Smashwords.) This story is set between chapters of Hero Wanted, specifically after Chapter 6 and somewhere between the lines of the first paragraph of Chapter 7. It isn’t strictly necessary to read the first 6 chapters of the book before you read Rainy Daze, but it may help.

***

Who blazed this trail and where it went, I did not know. Mercury didn’t know either, but the wizard led the way with resolute confidence. The path was steep and narrow and made more treacherous by the unending flow of water around the fetlocks of our steeds. Every ridge, gully and channel tracing down from the heights was awash with swift-flowing runoff. The river passed from sight as we picked our way between the hilltops, but its great roar contended with that of the storm.

Wind howled around us, flapping our cloaks, bending the trees and slapping at our faces with flying leaves and stinging raindrops. Terrible peals of thunder shook the ground and spooked the unhappy horses. Fearsome clouds blotted out the last remnants of sunshine, leaving our way to be lit by blasts of lightning that shot across the sky like tongues of white flame.

Never had I beheld such a tempest as this. The rains of Darnk were dull and monotonous. But this was like something out of the old stories, the myths of long ago. Had the golden chariot of Great Whoosh, God of Wind and Sky, overturned, spilling its cargo of thunderbolts across the clouds? Had Thunderhoof and Skysplitter, the ornery goats tasked with pulling the chariot, broken out of their pen and partaken of the fermented pomegranate whiskey that Freshlord, God of Fruits and Vegetables, kept in a clay jug behind his sacred tool shed?  Perhaps a massive cold front advancing through moist, warm air had triggered atmospheric instability leading to high intensity precipitation and an accumulation of charged particles released as a massive electric discharge that in turn superheated the air, resulting in the aerial shockwaves we perceived as thunder? I didn’t know. Yet whatever its causes, this was a downpour of legendary proportions. It could only portend ill.

I grew more uneasy with every step away from the river road. Darnkites were not by nature travelers. My homeland was so isolated from the rest of the Eleven Kingdoms that it didn’t even share a border with its nearest neighbor, Brythalia. Between the two realms lay this unclaimed wilderness of rocky hills and scrubby forest that now we crossed. All manner of beasts roamed the area—bear, goat, deer, boar, hobcat, and various fowl, including the noisome stinkbird.

But that wasn’t all.

Darnkites delighted to tell one another tall tales about the dangers beyond our borders. When we gathered in our drafty taverns or around the smoking dung fires at night, we spoke of the many fearsome creatures said to dwell in these strange hills beyond our stony pastures and familiar turnip fields. Gruffasaurs and grumpsnorts. The pearly-eyed horngrim and the irritable stumpthrower. Rock toads the size of small boulders. Bully beetles that would bore a hole in your skull while you slept and lay eggs in your brain. Bands of vicious goblins, brutal hobgoblins, and pretentious snobgoblins. The hairless boggins, who stole buttons in the night, and their magical cousins the frownies, who would gruntingly relieve themselves in any pair of boots carelessly left by the doorstep when the moon was full.

Nor were the supernatural terrors of the region limited to such third-class fairy folk. There were slithy troves here. Ghosts who drank blood. Scare hags. Phantom creepers. Free-range enchanted kettles that would cook anyone unwary enough to climb inside them. And the terrible, terrible Jib-Jab Man. Having heard these stories all my life, I had every reason to fear venturing cross country. Yes, it was possible that the monsters rumored to stalk these hills did not exist outside the alcohol-addled imagination of my countrymen. But maybe they did.

Maybe they did.

***

“What is that sound?” said Rubis.

“All is hear is wind and rain,” I said.

Night was near. Though we could not see the setting sun, the wet gloom grew gloomier.

“No, there is something more,” said Sapphrina. “There! Do you hear it?”

I did. Cutting through the storm came a distinct wailing cry. It rose and fell, then was gone. The sound was distant, but not distant enough.

“A raccoon,” I said.

“Raccoon?” said Rubis.

“That was no raccoon!” said Sapphrina.

“Could have been,” I insisted. “A scared raccoon stuck in a tree.”

“Are you serious?” said Sapphrina. “It sounded more like a lost soul.”

“Like the wail of the shanbee,” said Rubis, nodding.

“That’s it!” said Sapphrina. “The dreadful spirit whose mournful keening is heard when someone is about to die. How does the verse go?”

Beware the shanbee, ye who shan’t be,” quoted Rubis.

“Do you think so?” I said. I had not considered the possibility of encountering a shanbee.

“Much more likely than a raccoon,” said Sapphrina.

“Might be a lamia,” said Rubis. “Half-woman, half-beast. Devourer of men.”

“Only men?” I said.

Seeing the stricken look on my face, the twins laughed.

“Oh, Jason, we shan’t let the lamia have you!” said Sapphrina.

“We’re hardly done with your ourselves,” said Rubis. She licked her lips.

“But a shanbee could give us trouble,” said Sapphrina. She turned serious. “You don’t think it is one really, do you?”

“It is neither shanbee nor lamia,” said Mercury.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Because I’ve heard both and that is neither. Now, hush, all of you!”

The cry came again through the wind. It was distinctly louder.

Merc frowned. “We need to find a defensible position, and fast.”

“Why?”

“Whatever is out there—it’s hunting us.”

TO BE CONTINUED … AT SMASHWORDS.COM

I think I’ll leave you with that cliffhanger for now. I haven’t quite finished writing this tale, but plan to do so in the coming days. When I finish, I will release it as a multi-format ebook at Smashwords. In the meantime, you can pop over there and read my two Jack Scarlet tales and my 2008 Halloween story, Beginner’s Luck, as well as the full text of Hero Wanted.  By the way, if you enjoy any of those stories, please 1) recommend them to a friend and 2) post a review at Smashwords.  (And if you hate the stories, please warn your friends … but give them the link, so they’ll know exactly what to avoid!)

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo and the Hobgoblins of Consistency

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I’m sure this quote never quite meant to me what Emerson intended, because I always picture cantankerous D&D hobgoblins saying foolish things and clubbing people who disagree with them.

What has this to do with Jason Cosmo? As any reader of an ongoing fantasy, science fiction, detective, or other series knows, eventually even the most careful author will contradict him- or herself regarding the established facts of the fictional world.  In Book 1, Throndor the Barbarian was an only child, but in Book 7 he recalls hunting spider bears with his brothers back in the day.  And don’t get me started on Star Trek.

Sometimes these contradictions are on minor points, sometimes they go to the fundamental logic of the fictional world. When I was a much, much younger reader such errors or illogic tended to bother me. I can nitpick with the best of them. However, many years of reading superhero comics pretty much beat that out of me.1 I learned to stop worrying and love the retcon.  Actually, I think the old Marvel Comics No-Prize was the coolest response to apparent errors:  “We made a mistake? No, no.  It may look like a mistake, but there is actually a good explanation. That one of our readers will provide.”

Having now authored a fantasy series myself, I am much more forgiving of the apparent errors made by other authors. When you’re making up the entire history, culture, commerce, etc. of a world on the fly, it is hard to keep everything straight. I maintain a timeline of Arden’s history and the events of each book, and I have uploaded notes to the Cosmopedia — but even that may not be internally consistent.

My real-world explanation of any errors is that I’m only human. With the addtional caveat that, Jason Cosmo being a humorous adventure, I will sometimes deliberately sacrifice logic or consistency for the sake of a joke.

But the in-continuity explanation for the inevitable errors that will arise as we go forward? That’s part of the fun! I hope that as I continue to chronicle Jason Cosmo’s adventure, that the characters and world will be engaging and interesting enough that Loyal Readers will actually find details worth nitpicking or debating. Just assume that any apparent mistakes are on purpose — even if that purpose is yet to be revealed!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

  1. Jason Todd Robin came back to life because Superboy Prime punched reality.  Uh … okay. []

Welcome to the Jason Cosmo Update

Greetings, Loyal Reader! You’ve found your way to the new and improved Jason Cosmo Update!

This is the place to come for all the latest news about the Jason Cosmo fantasy adventure series.

If you are a longtime Loyal Reader you have already met reluctant hero Jason Cosmo, the sullen wizard Mercury Boltblaster, sultry twins Sapphrina and Rubis, radiant Queen Raella and many other denizens of the Eleven Kingdoms.

If you have not entered the Cosmoverse before–despair not! You’ve arrived just in time. Continue reading