Jason Cosmo: Royal Crush Update

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

As I mentioned last week, the next book I will release in the Jason Cosmo series is Royal Crush (a revised edition of Royal Chaos).

In the next few weeks, I expect to be done with the still-not-yet-named media tie-in Secret Project I’ve been writing the last few months. (Again, I’d love to tell you more, but the timing of a public announcement is not up to me on this one.)

So, right after the 4th of July weekend, if not sooner, I’ll be diving into Royal Crush full-time.

The rest of this post is process talk, for those who might be interested. Because Royal Crush is a revision of an existing book, I won’t have to spend much time on dreaming up plot or characters — the basic story will follow the outline of Royal Chaos.

So what will change? What makes this a revised version? Most of the changes in this digital remastering will come under one of four headings:

  1. Correct errors: horror of horrors,  a few slipped through into the published version of Royal Chaos. I’ll fix those. (While no doubt adding new errors. So it goes.)
  2. Better writing: I’m a better writer than I was in 1988-89 when I wrote Royal Chaos. I’ll go through line by line and revise any sentence, paragraph or scene that needs it to my 2013 eye. Tighten the prose, stamp out passive voice, banish excessive adverbs, improve awkward constructions, etc.
  3. Harmonize: I will add or alter details in Royal Crush as needed to be consistent with lore and events previously established in Hero Wanted and Noble Cause — and to fit with what is coming in future volumes!
  4. New Scenes: I will very likely add a few new scenes, possibly even a new chapter, to the story. That way, even if you’ve read Royal Chaos, you’ll get some all-new never-before-seen action with Royal Crush.

There you have it, my plan of action for Royal Crush. But there is one more preliminary step I have to take before I can really dig in — I’ve got a little version control problem to solve.

Until recently, my only electronic version of Royal Chaos was the “final” version of the file I printed out and mailed – in a box! – to my publisher back in 1989. In the intervening years, every so often, I’d open a copy of the file and make little spot edits and revisions, more for my own amusement than anything else, as this was way before the Ebook Era.

But note — what I was editing was the version I mailed off to the publisher, not the post-editing as-published text (which I only had in print).

More recently, I scanned a print copy of Royal Chaos, cleaned up the file, and published an ebook version. So now I had an electronic version of the published text of Royal Chaos — and from time to time over the last two or three years, I’ve made edits to a copy of that file — more or less forgetting about the first file.

Two different sets of changes to two slightly different base texts. Oops!

So step one, before I get to my 4-point plan, is to “compare documents” and merge these two versions of Royal Chaos into one starting text that I will, over the next few months, transform into Royal Crush.

More than you wanted to know? If so, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Stay tuned!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

 

 

 

 

What’s Next for Jason Cosmo

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

If you haven’t read my Really Big Announcement at DanMcGirt.com go check that out first, because I don’t want to repeat myself here.

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Jason Cosmo: From Royal Chaos to Royal Crush

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Happy 2013! I trust you enjoyed the holiday season. Before I go on, thank you for your support in 2012. It was the best year for sales of the Jason Cosmo books so far, and I also appreciate the positive reviews, comments, and other messages I received from many of you last year.

Later this year, I will — at last — publish the next book in the Jason Cosmo series, Royal Crush.

DM_RoyalChaos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dash: Into Space! at DanMcGirt.com

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

A quick program note. While I work on Royal Crush–to be book 3 of the Jason Cosmo series–I am also writing a new and different book: Dash: Into Space! An alien abduction comedy. I have posted previews of the first couple of chapters at DanMcGirt.com, and will have additional previews in the coming weeks. So please check it out.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo: What comes next?

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

With Noble Cause written, what comes next in the world of Jason Cosmo? I’ve been giving this some thought and I want to share with you my plans.

Jason Cosmo

  • Housekeeping Measures: I have a little Jason Cosmo spring cleaning to do. This includes getting Noble Cause and the Jason Cosmo Non-Trilogy Omnibus into the Amazon Kindle Store, some tweaks to this website,  and a few other odds and ends.
  • Solving the Dirty Work Cover Mystery: See my last post. I really want to know who painted the cover for the U.S. edition of Dirty Work. I sent an email to my former publisher, Penguin, to see if they can tell me. If that doesn’t work… Continue reading

Jason Cosmo: Noble Cause is finally here!

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I am excited to announce that I have finally finished work on Noble Cause, book 2 of the Jason Cosmo series. Noble Cause is now on sale at Smashwords, in formats for your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other favorite ebook reader. It will reach Barnes & Noble, Apple iBookstore, Amazon, and other stores in the coming weeks. Since this is also Read an Ebook Week, Noble Cause is 50% off through March 10 — get your copy for only $1.50!

Noble Cause (2010) by Dan McGirt

Noble Cause (2010)

Noble Cause picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of book 1, Hero Wanted, and concerns the adventures of our hero, Jason Cosmo, and his lovely companions Sapphrina and Rubis, in Caratha, greatest city of the Eleven Kingdoms.  You may have read a draft version of the first twenty chapters during National Novel Writing Month, but this is the full, completed novel, 48 chapters in all. And you’ll probably want to start at the beginning even if you read the preview, because I’ve done extensive revision from beginning to end since November.

I’ll say no more about the story for now–just read it! If you have questions or comments (or typos to report–they happen!), get in touch with me by a comment here, or via Twitter or Facebook. I’m on pins and needles to know what Loyal Readers will think of Noble Cause. It has been more than two years since Hero Wanted was published. But the even bigger milestone in my mind — Noble Cause is my first entirely new novel since I completed Dirty Work in 1991. It is also the longest piece of fiction I’ve ever written. But it is now out of my hands and into yours, so I hope you will enjoy it. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a few days to catch my breath, take care of some deferred housekeeping matters (website updating and such), and then dive into my next project! More on that soon.

By the way, all of my ebooks at Smashwords are discounted for Read an Ebook Week. Hero Wanted is FREE this week.  So is Sarah Palin: Vampire Hunter.  See the full list here: Dan McGirt ebooks at Smashwords.

As always, thank you for reading.

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. []

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

Caladon Falls: Milltown Irregulars Character Profiles by Dan McGirt

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I want to point interested Loyal Readers to the character profiles I provided for Savage Mojo’s Caladon Falls fantasy RPG campaign setting. I described the basic setup of Caladon Falls in an earlier post. My small contributions to this product were in two categories–the mini-scenes I mentioned last post, and a set of pre-gen character profiles–which you can download free right now at Savage Mojo.

The premise of the Caladon Falls campaign is that the player characters are the Milltown Irregulars, a ragtag band of hastily assembled militia auxiliaries sent on various critical–and increasingly dangerous–missions as the invasion of Caladon by evil forces progresses. While you can roll your own characters (are RPG characters still “rolled” or is it all “build with points” now?) Savage Mojo also provides a group of pre-made characters you can choose from.

My assignment was to create names, personalities and back stories for each of these characters, including some explanation of how and why they all happened to be in the little nowhere settlement of Milltown at just the right–or wrong–time. This is what distracted me from Noble Cause for a month or two this past summer. It was fun, but time-consuming!

The Milltown Irregulars (click to enlarge)

For inspiration I was given the group portrait (click image to enlarge) that illustrates this post, and plentiful background on the setting and major plot points of the campaign. Within a few hundred words apiece, I tried to give each character an interesting personal story and a compelling reason to be in Milltown and to get involved once the action starts.  Because it is a dark campaign, most of the Irregulars have some degree of a painful past. I also tried to think of the dynamics of the group as a whole and to plant seeds that could set up conflicts, friendships, and perhaps even romance among the characters as the campaign progresses–depending on how the players play it.

Going left to right, here is the Milltown Irregulars starting line-up:

  • Larin (aka Gregard), House Spy: That doesn’t mean he’s a real estate agent. He’s an agent in the employ of one of the noble houses that rule the kingdom of Caladon
  • Gris, Hunter: A loner and explorer more at home in the wilderness than in towns. And a peerless tracker of evil-doers.
  • Isolde, Archer: Local girl made good. Matchless with a bow. Also, hates matches.
  • Tyrnan, Mercenary: Loves to fight. Has issues with authority. Should be a fine addition to the army!
  • Aloic, Crusader: He’s a man on a mission. Don’t get in his way.
  • Nym, Knight: A young knight with his head in the clouds.
  • Raelyn, Enchanter:  She’s the best worker of magic in a thousand generations. Just ask her.
  • Kayth, Protector: Someone has to heal all these people. But harm his brother Nym and he’ll take you apart.
  • Eiohna, Druid: A free spirit. Truly out of this world. (And my personal favorite.)

I enjoyed the exercise and the chance to let my imagination run wild in someone else’s sandbox. Again, you can see for yourself how it turned out by downloading the free Caladon Falls Milltown Irregulars pdf at Savage Mojo. Even if you don’t plan to buy Caladon Falls, check out the cool characters. You might just change your mind and decide to buy the campaign book too (which is the only way you’ll be able to read my aforementioned mini-scenes!)

Best regards,

Dan McGirt