Greetings, Loyal Reader!

My short story “The Red Hook Incident” will appear in the STRANGE ARCANA: The Stars Are Right anthology from Sigil Entertainment. There is a Strange Arcana Kickstarter campaign ongoing to fund the project – and I want to share the video trailer with you. One, because it’s cool and two, because I got to write the script for it!

STRANGE ARCANA: The Stars Are Right is a mind-bending collection of eldritch horror stories set in a weird, dangerous universe, where superheroes must face immensely powerful ancient beings, crazed doomsday cultists, and a dark secret they all share.

The finished book will be an 6.75 x 10.25 inch, 128-page, color volume with a collection of eight original illustrated short stories and an epic 24-page comic finale. There will also be ebook editions and related art prints available. Even a deck of cards!

All that said, I hope you enjoy the video. And if you want to get your hands on my story “The Red Hook Incident” (and, gosh, I hope you do) consider supporting the Kickstarter project, which ends July 22. You’ll get my story, plus seven more. The ebook will be out in August. The hardback edition is set for February – it will take a little longer, since it also includes a comic book story not yet written.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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Greetings, Loyal Readers!

My official sale of a short story! My story “The Red Hook Incident” will appear in the upcoming anthology Strange Arcana: The Stars Are Right, from Sigil Entertainment. More on that soon.

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I know what you’re thinking – Dan, you’ve published multiple novels. You’re telling me you’ve never had a professional sale of a short story before now?

Yes, that’s what I’m telling you. When I first set out to be “a writer” in my teens I wrote and submitted a couple of fantasy short stories because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do: start with shorts and work your way up to writing novels. None of my short stories sold, Jason Cosmo did, and I decided I’d stick with novels, which are much easier to write!

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Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I was recently profiled in Vital Speeches of the Day, as part of their “The Speechwriter’s Life” series. Here is the link:

The Speechwriter’s Life—Dan McGirt

From mid-2002 to mid-2013 my day job was working as a speechwriter for various executives. It was a different kind of writing than composing novels, with its own set of challenges and rewards. I enjoyed being a speechwriter (usually…). I enjoyed helping leaders I admired communicate their goals and ideas effectively. I liked the hunt for the right facts, the best examples, the right quote or anecdote to bring a speech together. I enjoyed picking the brains of really smart people, experts in various topics, and trying to translate their ideas for different audiences.

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Neil Hrab, an editor for VSOTD, who asked if he could interview me for a profile. We had a good, wide-ranging phone conversation about my speechwriting days and various aspects of the job. He asked good questions which made me think about my speechwriting experiences for lessons learned.

I haven’t written a speech in the last couple of years and I’m not itching to do one now, but I appreciated the opportunity to chat with Neil and I hope you’ll take a look at his article.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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Greetings, Loyal Readers!

We’re well into 2016 and I’ve yet to post here, so it’s well past time to give you a peek at my writing plans for 2016. Back in January I made two writing-related new year’s resolutions, which I’ll share below.

My 2016 Writer Resolutions:

1: Double my career output (which would require I publish a minimum of 7 novels, 3 novellas, and 1 short story this year)

2: Be meaner to my protagonists. I admit it – I’m a big softie when it comes to my characters. I hate to do anything too terrible to them … I hate to see them suffer, I always give them an out from impossible situations, the good guys always win in the end with only cosmetic consequences. But this year, no more Mr. Niceguy…

I actually think the second resolution will be harder to keep! I freely admit I prefer stories with happy endings, the good guys winning, evil-doers being punished, and all that hokey stuff. That probably won’t change, barring some radical shift in my world view.

But I can do a better job of putting my characters through the wringer along the way. I have a hard time doing truly awful things to them … but deep down I know that making things tougher for Jason Cosmo and my other protags makes for a wilder, more thrilling, more compelling, more gripping story for you, my Loyal Readers. So I’ll do my best to go full Job on them this year.

Regarding the first resolution, I have to date published seven novels (three in the original Jason Cosmo series, three in the new rebooted series and one media tie-in novel), three novellas (Rainy Daze, Sarah Palin:Vampire Hunter, and One Night in Zanfar) and one short story (Beginner’s Luck).1

As a 2016 writing challenge I want to double my lifetime published output before December 31. That means putting out at least seven novels, three novellas, and one short story. This will require unprecedented focus and dedication to getting the words done (as I am sometimes easily distracted by shiny objects) but I’m up for it!

What will those titles be? I am currently writing Deepfire, the first book-length Jack Scarlet 21st century technopulp adventure tale. Next will be Boltblaster, the long-awaited tale of Jason Cosmo’s wizard friend Mercury Boltblaster. Also on the list is Dirty Deeds, book 4 of the Jason Cosmo fantasy adventure series. That accounts for three of seven novels. I’ve not yet decided what the other four will be.

On the novella side, I’ll write another Jason Cosmo Tale, similar to Rainy Daze. The other two novellas are TBD.

I already have the short story covered – I submitted a story to a forthcoming anthology. If it is accepted, it will be published as part of the collection later this year. If not, I’ll release it myself. Either way, I can check off the short story category!

That’s the plan. Stay tuned for updates!

What are your reading or writing or other creative resolutions for 2016 – and how is it coming along so far?

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

 

  1. I’m not counting the Jason Cosmo Omnibus or a couple of Jack Scarlet mini-tales that are really no more than single scene vignettes. []

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Jack Scarlet: Deepfire preview, Chapter 3

by RDM on January 11, 2016

JS- DeepfireGreetings, Loyal Readers!

For my first post of 2016, I continue the preview of Jack Scarlet: Deepfire with Chapter 3. The below will make more sense if you  read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 first … Chapter 3 starts to connect the dots between the mysterious disappearing ship in Chapter 1 and our hero, Jack Scarlet, whom we met in Chapter 2. Let’s tune in…


Jack Scarlet: Deepfire

3: Unofficial Channels

“Jack, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you coming on such short notice,” said Jeff Settles.

“Of course,” said Jack, as he shook hands with the older man. “I wish I’d been here sooner.”

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Jack Scarlet: Deepfire preview, Chapter 2

by RDM on September 10, 2015

JS- DeepfireGreetings, Loyal Reader!

If you didn’t read Chapter 1 of Jack Scarlet: Deepfire last week, go do that first. Then join me below for Chapter 2, as we meet our hero Jack Scarlet and his adventuring buddy Galahad on the verge of doing something crazy, yet awesome…


Jack Scarlet: Deepfire

2: Above the Chief

 

“The wind is right,” said Jack Scarlet. “Let’s do it.”

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Jack Scarlet: Deepfire preview, Chapter 1

by RDM on September 3, 2015

JS- DeepfireGreetings, Loyal Reader!

I want to share an excerpt from a new book with you —  Jack Scarlet: Deepfire.

Adventuring ace Jack Scarlet takes a personal interest when an ecological survey vessel goes missing in the Gulf of Mexico under mysterious circumstances. The trail leads to an offshore drilling platform that may be seeking something far more valuable — and dangerous — than oil.

A little background, first, then the story. [click to continue…]

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Dragon Con 2015

by RDM on September 1, 2015

Dragon Con logoGreetings, Loyal Reader!

I will be attending Dragon Con this week September 4-7, 2015, in Atlanta, Georgia.

This year I am not going as an official con guest, but as a fan like you! So I have no panels, readings, or formal appearances scheduled. I’ll be sitting in the audience, gawking at the costumes, and standing in line along with everyone else.

If you see me at Dragon Con, please say hi!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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Knights of Pen & Paper 2 logoGreetings, Loyal Reader!

It has been a while since I have posted and I have been up to many things. Today I want to mention my most recent project that you can get your hands on: the Paradox Interactive game Knights of Pen & Paper 2. Per the publisher, “Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is a turn-based, retro style, pixel-art adventure full of danger, intrigue, death, and saving throws!”

Knights of Pen & Paper 2 — or KoPP2 to friends — is part tongue-in-cheek parody of tabletop fantasy role-playing games and part interactive simulation game simulating tabletop RPGs. You, the player, control a group of in-game RPG players and the player characters they are playing as they go on an epic quest to save the world of Paperos from disaster.

It’s all very meta, but all you really need to know is that it is a funny and fun game you can play on your smartphone or tablet, or via Steam. And that there are flying monkeys.

I had the opportunity to be a story editor and additional writer on this project. To be clear, my role in the overall making of the game was fairly limited. I worked with the smart, talented and very creative team at Kyy Games to help them kick around story ideas and I also got to suggest a few jokes and script a few of the smaller episodes (or “quests” in the lingo of the game) myself. I won’t say which ones, because that would not at all be in the spirit of a collaborative project. The final game is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, most of whom were not me.

This was my first experience working in the realm of “interactive games” (or what I still tend to call “video games” because I am older than Pong). I learned a lot about the game-making process…and learned there is a lot I don’t know. It is always fun to get a glimpse “behind the scenes”.

I especially enjoyed the collaborative aspect, kicking ideas back and forth with the writers and producers and Kyy and Paradox, and riffing off of each other to tell the story and combining our imaginations to create an entertaining experience for the players. Being part of a creative team is a very different experience than writing a novel, where it is all on me. It was also different trying to think in terms of an interactive story, where player choices affect what happens next, and within the confines of a game environment where visuals are a big part of the player experience and text/dialogue is in many ways secondary. I had to stretch a little and it was fun!

That said, I’m not giving up on novels. I have one completed book floating around in editorial limbo right now, I am currently getting the next Jason Cosmo novel, Royal Crush, ready to release this summer and I’m gearing up to write the long-awaited Boltblaster after that. More on all that soon. For now … take a look at Knight of Pen & Paper 2 and let me know what you think! Available in your favorite app store now.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Magicka: The Ninth Element by Dan McGirtI can finally reveal the “Secret Project” I’ve been working on all year.  Magicka: The Ninth Element is a short novel set in the world of the Paradox Interactive game MagickaMagicka is “an action-adventure game set in the fantasy world of Midgård, where elemental magic rules the land, goblins and trolls are perfectly harmless – well, perhaps not entirely, and all the villagers are wise-cracking smart alecks.

Magicka is a third-person shooter style game in which one to four player control Wizard character and launch a huge variety of destructive spells at enemy necromancers, orcs, and other terrible foes.

Here is more about the game:

The story begins amidst a great crisis, and an urgent quest falls to you, Wizards of the Order of Magick. It would seem that the capital city of Hávindr is under siege! So alas, you must leave your comfortable castle filled with delicious hot dogs and fancy cheeses, and hurry to the aid of the King.

In your travels you will fight your way through 13 levels, each more fiendish than the last. You shall draw upon the aid of magickal spells, freely combined from the eight elements. As you progress, you will learn the delicate art of annihilating your enemies with the awesome powers of ancient Magicks. As if that’s not enough, you can also test your skills in the various challenge modes, and duel your friends (or enemies) in player vs player battle mode.

The game is a blast and there are several extra levels, sequels and prequels that expand and extend the original storyline and offer more opportunities for magickal mayhem.

This where I come in.

Last year, Paradox approached me about authoring a tie-in novel. Magicka‘s tongue-in-cheek tone is similar, though not quite the same, as my comical Jason Cosmo fantasy adventure series. It sounded fun, so I signed up — and soon learned writing a story set in someone else’s fictional world presents certain … challenges.  It was an enjoyable experience, yet very different than being able to write and run with whatever crazy idea pops into my head.

Trying to capture the feel of a game that is more based on action and blowing stuff up than on deep character moments (not that I would know much about that … ) was also a challenge. I experimented with things like using comic book sound effects, lean descriptions (do I really need to describe a fireball spell in detail?) and other tricks to keep things moving.

I also got to add to Magicka lore. Often the answer to my questions about some bit of in-world history or “fact” was “Make something up.” So I did! (Often getting a response of  … “Odin’s onions, no! You can’t do that!”) So I was thrilled and excited to contribute in a small way to the development of Midgård.

The result is Magicka: The Ninth Element, in which four young Wizards are sent on a quest to pursue the mysterious Purple Wizard who has stolen a powerful artifact from the Order of Magick.

Which powerful artifact? No one is quite sure (for reasons explained in the story).

What does it do? Again, unclear. But it can’t be good.

Thus our heroes Davlo, Grimnir, Fafnir and Tuonetar set out on their quest — and promptly go off the map. (I’m not even kidding. The Midgård map in the front of the book will of little use to you. But it’s pretty!)

Will they survive the dangers of the Unmapped Lands? Will they catch the Purple Wizard in time? Will they save the world? Read the book to find out!

I’ll have more to share about Magicka: The Ninth Element soon. Today I’m just pleased that Loyal Readers can finally get your hands on it!

Available at

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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