News & Behind the Scenes Peeks

This is the place for the latest Jupiter Pirates news, discussions and peeks behind the scenes as Jason works on further adventures of the Hashoone kids. For more, like The Jupiter Pirates on Facebook and follow the series on Twitter!

An Amazing Photo of an Old Friend

Now THIS is cool!

That’s Daphnis, one of the many moons of Saturn, going about its celestial business in the Keeler Gap. This Phil Plait article recounts how the Cassini space probe got this amazing shot and others, and how Daphnis tugs the ring material around it in and out and up and down, like liquid.

This is even more fascinating to me because Curse of the Iris features a showdown in the Keeler Gap, with Daphnis playing a pivotal role.

I’m proud of Curse of the Iris and I loved writing that scene. But the universe turns out to have written a story that’s even more amazing and beautiful than any author could imagine.

And who’d want it any other way?

Reader Questions!

I answered reader questions for the Crew a couple of weeks back and thought I’d post them here as well. If you want to read these early and get a head start on other Jupiter Pirates news and sneak peeks, join the Crew!

Will the Jupiter Pirates series continue after The Rise of Earth?

Absolutely! I’ve started figuring out the next book and while I don’t have a title yet, I do know how it will end. (Warning: it will be a really cruel cliffhanger, so I’m telling you now — don’t skip ahead to the last page.) Look for the new book in 2018. I know that’s a long time, so I’m hoping to write a short story or two before then.

Will we ever get to see Earth?

Absolutely. We’ll go there in the next book, in fact. And maybe visit Mars too.

I noticed you’ve described the ruler of Earth differently in different books. Is he the planet’s king or its emperor?

Good catch! But actually that’s not a mistake – some rulers have multiple royal titles at once. More will be explained in the next book.

Is Tycho’s first name really Herschel? That’s kind of a funny name.

It is, isn’t it? Tycho’s full name is Herschel Tycho Hashoone, and he’s named for a pair of astronomers – William Herschel and Tycho Brahe. William Herschel (1738-1822) discovered Uranus and infrared radiation, to name just two of his accomplishments, while Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) recorded the most accurate measurements of the heavens anyone had ever seen despite working before the use of telescopes. Google them – they were pretty amazing people.

Tycho’s name is also a bit of a joke between me and my editor – in early drafts of Hunt for the Hydra Tycho was named Herschel, and the nickname he really hated wasn’t Tyke but Hershie. I decided to change his name to Tycho before Hydra was published, but kept Herschel around as a reminder of what might have been.

Speaking of names, how did you come up with the family names in Jupiter Pirates?

So many ways! You know about Tycho. Diocletia came from Diocletian, a Roman emperor. Yana was based on my bad memory – I was thinking of a character on a TV show I’d liked, except that character’s name was actually Yola. (Oops.) Huff is from my family tree – my great-great-great-grandfather was Matthias Gershom Huff. Vesuvia is based on the volcano Mount Vesuvius, and is my parents’ nickname for the voice of the navigation system in their car.

Names are funny things – you find inspiration all sorts of places, and play around with the sounds until you get something that feels right. It’s one of the really fun parts of being an author.

If you’re curious about the other Hashoones’ full names, Vesuvia knows them and has recorded them in a dossier that you can read … if you’re a Crew member.

So who’s going to be captain?

C’mon, would I really reveal that here? Sorry, you’ll have to keep reading. And if you’ve read The Rise of Earth, you know that the competition just got a lot more complicated….

I want to know more about the history of Earth and the solar system. Can you help?

Yes! Tycho wrote a paper for Vesuvia that covers a lot of this history. You can read it (and other fun stuff) on the Crew’s page for exclusive goodies.

I was telling my friend about Jupiter Pirates and he said there’s no way kids that young could serve on a pirate ship and there’s definitely no way they’d give people orders. Was he right?

Well, first of all this is fiction – part of the fun of making an imaginary world is you get to decide how it works. But something very similar happened in real-world history. In the British navy, boys as young as eight (and back then it was only boys) were sent to sea as midshipmen and had authority over adult crewmen. These “young gentlemen” typically came from wealthy families, but some grew up to become excellent officers. They experienced battles and sometimes died serving their country.

I want to know more about Grigsby and the people who aren’t Tycho’s family. Will you write about them someday?

I already have! Read the short story “The Trouble With Crimps” – it has a lot of detail about the lives of the Hashoones’ crewers and retainers. You can find the story here. By the way, one of the main characters in that story, Batincey Corso, makes a brief appearance in The Rise of Earth.

You write Star Wars books too – will we ever get a story where the Jupiter Pirates kids meet the heroes of Star Wars?

No – those worlds will have to stay separate. (Though if you’ve got an idea for fan fiction along those lines, have fun.) Still, Jupiter Pirates takes place in the future of our own world, so I like to think Tycho, Yana and Carlo have seen Star Wars or some holographic update of it and are big fans. Who knows, maybe they’ve even read one of my Star Wars books….

Got a question I didn’t answer here? Write to me at and we’ll see what we can do!

The Rise of Earth Is Now Out


It’s finally out! The Rise of Earth hits bookstores today!

The third book in the Jupiter Pirates series follows the Hashoones as they face dangerous new developments in the solar system: Earth has commissioned privateers of its own, preying on Jovian shipping. In response, the Jovian Union has given new letters of marque to a number of dangerous former Jupiter pirates, some of whom don’t respect the laws of space the way the Hashoones do.

The power struggle between Earth and the Jovian Union centers on the Cybele asteroids, where a mysterious shipbuilding project threatens to tip the solar system’s balance of power. As Tycho Hashoone investigates what’s happening in the Cybeles, he will have to decide where his loyalties lie. That won’t be an easy decision: in the Cybeles he’ll discover secrets about the Jovian Union and his own family’s past. And Tycho, Yana and Carlo will all have to decide what they’re willing to do to become captain of the Shadow Comet — and whether they’re willing to pay the price for that honor.

I’m proud of The Rise of Earth — besides plenty of family intrigue, it’s got lots of action and even a bit of romance. It contains the most emotionally wrenching scene I’ve had to write for Jupiter Pirates, as well as the one that was the most fun. I won’t spoil the emotionally wrenching one, but the fun one was all about … table manners. Yes, you read that correctly.

Anyway! It’s here and I really hope you like it.

More Jupiter Pirates:

  • Hunt for the Hydra is still $1.99 on Kindle from Amazon. This is a great way to give Jupiter Pirates a try, so tell your friends!
  • You can read the short story “The Trouble With Crimps” for free, and join The Crew to get exclusive early access to future stories and other goodies.

Into the Asteroids!


(You’ll want to click on that map to see it full-sized.)

Every Jupiter Pirates book so far has contained a cool map by Jeff Nentrup: Hunt for the Hydra showed us the moons of Jupiter, while Curse of the Iris detailed Saturn’s satellites and the structure of its outer rings. For The Rise of Earth, we get a closer look at the asteroid families between Mars and Jupiter.

Much of The Rise of Earth takes place on 65 Cybele, an inhabited asteroid that’s neutral in the struggle between Earth and the Jovian Union. Cybele’s neutral, but that’s not the same thing as saying it isn’t involved — the asteroid is ruled by wealthy shipbuilders and investors looking to profit by playing the two powers of the solar system against each other. In The Rise of Earth Cybele serves as a base for privateers from Earth and the Jovian Union, and diplomats and officials from both cross paths frequently. The Ice Wolves — the Saturnian pirates and revolutionaries who played a critical role in Curse of the Iris — are on Cybele too, on a mysterious mission about which they’re staying strangely quiet. During the Hashoones’ time on Cybele, Tycho will meet a girl from Earth who challenges what he thinks about many things and find his loyalties tugged in different directions as the confrontation between Earth and the Jovian Union becomes increasingly dangerous.

The asteroids are a natural battlefield for Earth and the Jovian Union. The minor planet Ceres was an important setting in both Hunt for the Hydra and Curse of the Iris, the Hashoones fought with Thoadbone Mox in the Hildas, Huff has often mentioned misadventures at the Hygiea Roadstead, and “The Trouble With Crimps” takes place largely on Pallas. In The Rise of Earth Cybele holds new mysteries for the family, and new dangers. And the Hashoones will be back for further adventures in this troubled region.

After choosing the asteroids as the map for The Rise of Earth, I realized I had a fun opportunity: we could map the entire solar system by the time the Jupiter Pirates saga was complete. So before the adventures of the Hashoones are finished, we’ll get a look at the inner planets and the outer gas giants too.

As for The Rise of Earth, we’re getting close — it’ll be out in just eight days! In the meantime, why not tell your friends that Hunt for the Hydra is just $1.99 on Kindle? And remember you can read “The Trouble With Crimps” for free!

Building the World (Oops — the Solar System) of Jupiter Pirates

JP_etalOver the last week I’ve had a blast talking worldbuilding and storytelling with my pals at Eleven-ThirtyEight. They’re Jupiter Pirates fans, so we talk about everything from where the characters’ names came from to how the series has evolved to how you figure out a future history of Earth and the solar system.

Here’s part 1 and here’s part 2. There’s a lot here I hope will be helpful for aspiring writers – learn from my mistakes! (And the occasional success.) And I hope Jupiter Pirates fans will enjoy the peeks behind the scenes at how the series has unfolded so far, and a couple of hints — nothing too spoilery — about what’s coming in the future.


Great Price on Hunt for the Hydra

Arrr! This here deal be a right steal!

Amazon is offering the Kindle version of Hunt for the Hydra for just $1.99 through mid-June. This is a great way to dive into the Jupiter Pirates books, so please tell your friends!

And as an added bonus, folks can now download the short story “The Trouble With Crimps” right here for free. And the paperback version of Curse of the Iris includes the first chapter of The Rise of Earth, out June 14.


Curse of the Iris Is Out in Paperback

Curse of the Iris, the second book in the Jupiter Pirates series, is now out in paperback.

As a bonus, the paperback edition includes the first chapter of The Rise of Earth, which will be released next month. It’ll be here soon!

If you missed it, we’ve also added the complete Spacer’s Lexicon here on the official site — brush up on your outer-space terminology, from “abaft” to “yaw.”

And if you’re a member of the Crew, you can read the short story “The Trouble With Crimps” and other fun stuff. The Crew is the Jupiter Pirates mailing list — if you’re not a member, join here. Within an hour, you’ll get a link to access the short story and more Crew offerings.


Read ‘The Trouble With Crimps’ Right Now

We’re kicking off a busy spring with a new short story — “The Trouble With Crimps” is set between Hunt for the Hydra and Curse of the Iris, and crimps play a role in The Rise of Earth as well. Read the story and you’ll see why Yana detests crimps as thoroughly as she does. Plus you’ll get a closer look at some of the spacers who live and work belowdecks on the Shadow Comet.

“The Trouble With Crimps” is a free PDF that you can read online or download. It’s free for members of the Crew, the Jupiter Pirates mailing list. If you’re not a member, you can join up here. Within the hour, you’ll get a link to access the story and other Crew exclusives.

There’s more to come this spring:

I hope everyone enjoys “The Trouble With Crimps,” and I can’t wait to share The Rise of Earth with everybody in a couple of months.

The Rise of Earth Cover is Up!

You can see it here as part of this interview with Jason at Eleven-ThirtyEight. Tom Lintern is back with another terrific cover. Don’t miss the interview, as it offers some hints about what’s to come in The Rise of Earth next June, a discussion of the Jupiter Pirates series in general, and some talk about some space-fantasy series called … Star Wars?

The Rise of Earth hits bookstores June 14, 2016, but look for a special Jupiter Pirates short story in December.

More to come soon!

On Tycho, Families and ‘Convenient Orphans’

Here’s a new review of Hunt for the Hydra that made me happy, from Fantasy Book Critic. An excerpt:

What is truly amazing about Hunt for the Hydra is the relationships between all the characters. First, there are adults who are actively involved with their children’s lives. The parents know what is going on, are sought for help with problems, and truly care about the well-being of their children. There is even a ‘kooky’ grandpa who is part robot, who seems a little out there, but can be counted on at times to tell it like it is and listen to the main character when he needs to talk about issues.

Parental figures tend to be downplayed in middle grade fiction in an effort to appeal to the target audience. It was nice to see active, involved parents who aren’t hovering over the main characters, but are there to support, guide, and nurture them.

I like that because I wanted The Jupiter Pirates to be a series about families, but one without “convenient orphans.” Convenient orphans are a trope of all heroic fiction, but one that’s particularly common in kids’ books – and that I felt we could use a break from.

The Hashoones have their problems as a family – Tycho discovers that in Curse of the Iris, and things get really bad in The Rise of Earth (that’s Book 3 of the series, coming soon) – but Tycho isn’t an orphan. He’s a member of a family with strong-willed personalities, deep-rooted traditions and very definite expectations. I wanted the pressures and complications Tycho and his siblings face to reflect that, and it’s gratifying to see a reviewer respond to it.

News (well sort of): I’m working on a Jupiter Pirates short story that I hope will appear this summer. Members of The Crew will get the first crack at reading it, so if you’re not a member, sign up today! I also hope to have news about a publication date for The Rise of Earth soon, so keep watching this space!