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…]


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


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


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


What I’m Up To

by RDM on October 14, 2013

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I’ve had a busy summer and fall and I thought I’d bring you up to speed on what I’ve been doing, what I’m working on, and what’s ahead.


  • The makers of a fun, crazy, tongue-in-cheek fantasy-themed computer game approached me a while back about writing a short tie-in novel set in the world of their game. It sounded fun, so I said sure! I can’t tell you the name of the game quite yet, because they haven’t officially announced the book.
  • I can tell you I turned in the manuscript last week and the target release date is in early November.
  • I have also seen draft cover art, which looks amazing — and which I will share as soon as I get the all clear to do so.
  • As I understand it, the book will be available in the Amazon Kindle Store only. I know! I know! That is not how I would do it, but I’m only the hired gun on this one, not the publisher.
  • More details to come!

New books from Andrea Parnell

  • The star author of my publishing company Trove Books is not me, but my mother Andrea Parnell.
  • Over the last few years Trove has released Mom’s gothic romance novels Dark Splendor and Whispers at Midnight, the novella Dark Prelude, and the Western romance Delilah’s Flame.
  • This fall she has three new titles coming out, including two more Western romance novels — Devil Moon and My Only Desire and a Western novella. All are in the final stages of editing and production — which means I am doing a good bit of editing and producing lately!

Jason Cosmo in Audio

Royal Crush

  • Last, but not least, with the soon-to-be-formally-announced Secret Project written, I am back to writing the next Jason Cosmo book, Royal Crush. Which, at this point, looks like an early 2014 release.

Whew! I’m tired. Are you tired? But I think we’re all caught up! I will try to post more often, and with greater brevity!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt


Dragon Con and Writers’ Police Academy

by RDM on October 8, 2013

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

I had a busy September and as we head into fall and I thought I’d bring you up to speed:

Dan McGirt at Dragon Con 2013Dragon Con

I was a guest at Dragon Con in Atlanta. A special thanks to the Loyal Readers who attended my reading, my book signing, and my panel on Writers and the Law!

At the reading, I read the first two chapters of Noble Cause and handed out copies of Hero Wanted. I was assigned a tiny room in the sub-sub-sub basement of the Hyatt, so you had to be very determined or very lost to find me. Either way, it was a fun, fantastic audience!

The line at my book signing was not very long — which meant I got to chat with several Loyal Readers, some of whom had traveled a great distance to have me sign their copy of Jason Cosmo or Hero Wanted.  Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you enjoyed my books! That is always good to hear and very motivating as I work on the next book!

I ran the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) table for a couple of hours, hopefully not doing any permanent damage to SFWA’s reputation! I spoke with several young writers who had questions about what to do next. My advice to them can be summarized as write, write, write, and write some more. Also, read. (One would-be writer said he doesn’t read much, which puzzled me.)

I got to talk shop with writers Larry Niven, Kevin J Anderson, and Timothy Zahn, among others. I also chatted up several fantasy artists whose work you may find on the covers of my future books!

Writers Police Academy

Almost immediately after Dragon Con, I was off to Greensboro, North Carolina for Writers’ Police Academy. This amazing conference is organized by the tireless Lee Lofland and sponsored by Sisters in Crime, Inc. Two hundred writers of mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense, YA and related genres took over a honest-to-gosh police academy for the weekend!

We attended demonstrations and lectures on forensics, police procedure, emergency rescue, and many other aspects of law enforcement and criminal investigations. I learned a lot! (I still need to process my notes).

We also got hands on training in fingerprinting, building searches, a realistic Virtual Reality firearm simulator (apologies to the imaginary family of the imaginary hostage I shot) and so much more no one could do it all.

Authors Lisa Gardner and Kathy Reichs and DNA expert Dr. Dan Krane gave excellent talks.

Again, I gained lots of great ideas for future books and stories (as well as, again, talking shop with lots of smart, talented, savvy writers.)

Two excellent events — but I’ve been writing too! Next post, I’ll update you on what I’m working on and what I’m doing next.

Best regards,

Dan McGirt


Dan McGirt at Dragon*Con 2013

by RDM on August 27, 2013

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction & fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music and film in the universe. It will be Aug 30-Sept 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. Naturally, I’ll be there!

dragoncon logoIf you’ll be there too, here is my schedule. Please come and say hello!


Reading and Q&A
Time: 4:00-5:00 pm (1 hr)
Location: University – Hyatt

At this session I will read a selection from Noble Cause and answer questions about my work.


SFWA Table
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (1 hr)
Location: Not sure.

In an astonishing lapse of judgment, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is leaving me in charge of their table during this period. Location unknown, but I’ll find it!

Autograph Session
Time: Sat 4:00-5:00 pm (1 hr)
Location: International Hall South – Marriott

I share this session with several other writers: Jane Espenson, Brad Bell (TV writers, I think), S.M. Stirling (Dies the Fire, Island in the Sea of Time, etc) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (the Saint-Germain Cycle and much more).

Laws and the Writer
Time: Sat 7:00-8:00 pm (1 hr)
Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt

The official description is: “How the law affects you as a writer, what protections it offers, and how to seek the help
of a professional.” I think that means the help of a legal professional. I will discuss copyright, defamation, plagiarism, contracts and other legal issues relating to writers. Lots of time for audience questions. I am a lawyer, but (as I will repeat several times) anything I say in this session is not legal advice, but is for informational purposes only. Every situation is unique and if you need legal advice you should retain an attorney of your own.


On these days, and when I am not at the above sessions on Friday and Saturday, I will be wandering around Dragon*Con. I look forward to seeing you there!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt


My Really Big Announcement

by RDM on May 24, 2013

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

Dan McGirt holds a copy of his book Hero WantedI’ll get right to it: by the end of June I will leave my current job and will be, henceforth, a full-time author and publisher.

This is a momentous move I have long wanted to make, long planned for, and which is long overdue.

For me, the implications are many (including a possible increase in my consumption of ramen noodles1) but I want to discuss what it means for you, Loyal Reader!

The short version is this: barring some tragic reversal of Greek myth proportions, I will soon be writing more stories, writing them faster, and getting them out to Loyal Readers sooner.

For fans of Jason Cosmo, this means no more multi-year waits between books. It means I also can write the various short stories and mini-novels I have sketched out that will expand the Cosmoverse and explore the characters who inhabit it.

It means, at long last … BOLTBLASTER!

Beyond Jason Cosmo, there are other books that have been bubbling in my head for many a year, such as my Jack Scarlet series of modern technopulp adventures, a comical series focused on supernatural investigations, an over-the-top space opera (with ray guns!), and more. Much more.

I aim to write them all!

Not all at once, mind you! But I’ve got so many projects on the back burner it’s a fire hazard. I need to write these stories just to free up some space in my brain, if nothing else. (It beats trepanation.2)

You know how frustrating it is waiting for a story to continue … be it waiting for the next issue of a comic, the next book in a series, or next week’s episode of your favorite show. It is just as frustrating having an imagination full of tales to tell, and no time to tell them. So I very much look forward to publishing more stories more often for more readers to enjoy.

There you have it — my Really Big Announcement! (Sure, it may be bigger for me than for you …) I’m excited to take this leap. You don’t have to jump off the cliff with me — but I hope you will pull up a chair and enjoy the show. Whether I fly high or crash and burn, it’s sure to be entertaining!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

PS: I discuss in more detail what this means for the Jason Cosmo series at JasonCosmo.com.

  1. Or maybe not! []
  2. I need that like I need another hole in my head. []

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Dan McGirt at Dragon*Con 2013

by RDM on February 6, 2013

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

dragoncon logoI am thrilled to announce I will be a guest at Dragon*Con 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, August 30-September 2.  I’ll post details of my convention schedule when I know them. I hope to do a reading and/or signing and I’m sure to be on a couple of panels. Otherwise I’ll be wandering around, meeting up with friends and Loyal Readers, checking out all the great costumes, browsing the vendor offerings, meeting artists I might want to hire for future projects, and generally enjoying the convention! Do you know I’ve never actually seen the Dragon*Con costume parade down Peachtree Street? I’m looking forward to it!

Also, thanks to all those who have been reading Dash! Into Space! I’m sorry the story has been on hold for a while. But don’t worry! I’m not abandoning Dash and I’ll get back to the book later this year. I’ll be pretty busy through at least April, with work assignments and a short media tie-in novel I was hired to do — more details on that later. In the meantime, thank you for reading — and I hope to have more fun stuff for you soon!

Best regards,

Dan McGirt


Dash: Into Space! preview (part 10)

by RDM on October 8, 2012

The Dash: Into Space! preview blasts into Chapter 10!

(For those who came in late, catch up with Part 1 and follow the links at the end of each episode.)

Last episode, Dash found dead aliens and a large supply of Spam and made a new friend.

This week we answer the age-old question: Are we there yet?

Chapter 10: Hard Landing


Dash was awakened by a shock so sudden and severe that if he had not been lying fast asleep, with his body relaxed, he might have been hurt.

As it was, he was flung into the air, along with almost everything in the big room: socks and shirts and snacks and batteries and beer flew every which way. Fortunately, nothing fatally large came Dash’s way, but he did take several painful lumps from flying cans of Spam before everything settled down.

Otto meantime rolled crazily this way and that, like a giant glowing pinball slapped around by invisible flippers, rebounding off walls and pillars and benches. At last the glowball careened around the bend to part of the room where the dead aliens and the headless cow were.

Dash lay on the floor, listening to the pounding of his own heart. He was sore, and he would have a few bruises later, but he wasn’t bleeding and nothing felt broken. He was pretty much intact.

Except for his dignity. With disgust, Dash realized he had wet himself. Again. Not just now, but in his sleep. He blushed, though there was no one to see. Seriously—what was wrong with him? He was peeing all over himself lately.

Now ickily conscious of the stale wetness against his skin, Dash sat up, too fast, and learned he also had a tremendous pulsing headache. And not from getting smacked by a can of Spam. He felt hung-over. He felt as dried out as a stray strand of spaghetti left overnight in the pot. He also felt like he was about to be sick.

Dash turned over and threw up, which left a gross taste in his mouth, but he felt better afterward. Slim Jims, Spam, and Circus Peanuts for dinner had seemed like a really good idea at the time…and it might again, if he didn’t find anything else to eat around here.

Dash ditched his soggy loincloth, dried off, and fashioned a new skirt—he preferred to think of it as a kilt—from fresh shirts. “Hey, Otto!” he called, as he knotted the shirts around his waist. “Hey, little buddy where are you?”

Without warning, the floor tilted crazily, sending everything sliding against the far wall. Dash lost his balance and went sliding along with all the loose objects. He slammed into a pile of cigarette cartons which broke his fall. Grinning wryly at a crumpled image of Nick Tyger he muttered, “I guess cigarettes can be good for you sometimes, huh?”

The floor shifted again, though less drastically. What was going on? An earthquake and aftershocks? If so, he should find a way out of here fast. “Otto! You okay?”

“Otto!” echoed the unseen glowball. “Otto!”

Dash crab-walked to the bend in the room and peered around. At the far end, he saw the decapitated cow, the three dead aliens, and a pile of boxes and cans and other junk. Barely visible, wedged under the cow, was the glowball, blinking red.

“Otto! Otto!” said the ball.

“You stuck?” said Dash. “Hang in there, buddy! I’ll get you out.”

Dash half-scampered, half-slid to the bottom of the room. Otto was stuck fast under the body of the oddly shapeless cow. Draped over it was one of the little gray dudes. Dash gently lifted the body and laid it to one side.

“Otto! Otto! Otto!” said the glowball.

Otto was pinned under the cow’s shoulder. Dash approached the headless front end of the animal.

“Ew!” he said, scrunching up his face.

There was no way to get a handhold without sticking his hand inside the neck and grabbing the remaining end of the bovine spine. Dash fought back the urge to vomit again and stuck his hand into the meaty mess. The carcass, though drained of its vital fluids, was still very heavy.

“Otto, I can’t lift this cow by myself. I might be able to move it a little. Hope that’s good enough.”

Dash planted both feet against the tilted floor and heaved. His socks slipped and he lurched forward, face-planting into the neck hole. Repulsed, he pushed himself upright, spitting and gagging.

“That is so gross!” said Dash.


“Hang tight. I’ll get it this time.”

Dash removed his socks, got a better grip, and heaved with all his might. At first the carcass did not move. But gradually it shifted. The hoof at the end of a stiff leg scraped slowly across the floor. He got one inch of clearance, then two, then a third…then Otto the glowball shot free of its entrapment and rolled several feet up the incline before pausing.

Dash dropped the headless cow. He leaned back to catch his breath.

“You okay, Otto?”

“Good boy. Good boy,” said Otto. Otto’s swirl of colors was now orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green.

“You’re welcome,” said Dash. “Now you’ll have to tell me how you roll uphill.”

Otto continued upward. Dash had to lean far forward and use his hands for support to make it back up the incline. When he reached the upper part of the room, he found the aperture through which he entered this chamber had reappeared. Otto waited beside it.

“Why are you chasing me?” said Otto. It was still freaky hearing his own voice coming from the glowball. But far from the freakiest thing going on here.

“You want me to follow you again,” said Dash. “I get it. But let me grab a few things for the road.”

Dash scavenged what useful items he could reach—a handful of Slim Jims, a couple cans of Spam, a carton of Tygers, a pair of sunglasses, a pen, a lighter, a “Gone Fishin’” trucker cap, a bottle of iodine, fresh socks and—because you never knew when you might need them—a can of WD-40 and a roll of duct tape. He wrapped all these items in a t-shirt and tied it into a bundle. He turned a second shirt into a sling for a bottle of cola, then knotted the two shirts together and hung them around his neck. He wished he had his backpack, but this would have to do.

Dash scrambled up the angled floor on all fours and followed Otto into the corridor. It curved steeply down and away. Otto rolled out of sight around the curve at a controlled pace, seemingly unaffected by the sharp incline.

“Hey! Wait up!”

Dash tried to follow. But he slipped and fell, landing hard on his butt. He started to slide, slowly at first, then faster and faster. The shirts around his waist saved him from a nasty friction burn, but there was nothing to grab to halt his slide. He caromed off the outer wall, rebounded to hit the inner wall, then spun around so he was sliding backward.

“Whoaaaaaaaaaaa!” he cried.

At last Dash slammed into another wall and came to a stop. He was sprawled across the outer wall of the curved corridor, except it was now the floor due to the crazy tilt. Dash peered up the corridor. “No way I’m ever getting back up there,” he said.

The corridor also curved upward at a sharp angle on the other side of the glowball. Dash looked at Otto accusingly. “So when you were chasing me before, was I just running around in a big circle?”

“Big circle,” said Otto.

“I just hope there’s an emergency exit.”

Otto emitted a series of clicks and tones. An aperture irised open in the outer wall (now the floor). Strange greenish light leached into the corridor.

Otto rolled dropped through the hole like a pool ball finding the corner pocket. Dash looked down and saw the glowball sitting on a shimmering pavement several feet below. Otto rolled aside.

Dash carefully lowered himself through the hole until his feet touched solid ground. He looked all around him, his eyes growing bigger and bigger at what he saw.

“Otto, I don’t know where we are—but this ain’t Kansas!”


And that’s Chapter 10! Hmm, I wonder where Dash has landed?

Be here next episode, when Dash says: “Great. It’s the planet of the blue apes.”

Thanks for reading!

Dan McGirt