Tall Ship Sail Handling

On a Russian tall-ship the crisp command, “Paruznj avral! Paruznj avral!” means one thing only. “All hands on deck!” It doesn’t matter whether crew are off watch and sleeping, or having a meal, in the heads, or peeling spuds. “Paruznj avral!” usually means the wind direction or velocity has changed and all hands are required, immediately, to alter the set of the sails.

Read the full article at OceanNavigator.com.

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Space Catapult!

Hey, check it out! Someone is building an actual space catapult to launch cargo into orbit!

By Josh Constine

What if instead of blasting cargo into space on a rocket, we could fling it into space using a catapult? That’s the big, possibly crazy, possibly genius idea behind SpinLaunch. It was secretly founded in 2014 by Jonathan Yaney, who built solar-powered drone startup Titan Aerospace and sold it to Google. Now TechCrunch has learned from three sources that SpinLaunch is raising a massive $30 million Series A to develop its catapult technology. And we’ve scored an interview with the founder after four years in stealth.

Read the full article at TechCrunch.com.

From @MykeCole’s Blog: On Killing

By Myke Cole

An excellent examination of the cost of killing on killer, victim, and everyone around them.

There’ve been some recent forays into writing combat scenes on some blogs lately. A few fans reached out to me and asked why I didn’t join the conversation. That got me thinking, and not in the way you’d expect.

I’ve said in many interviews that nobody owns the military experience. My being in the military doesn’t make give me any more authority over a military story than anyone else. The same is true for writing combat. One doesn’t have to be a veteran brawler to write a great fight scene.

But I do feel like the end result of fighting, namely, killing, isn’t often treated in a way that resonates with me. I can count on one hand the number of writers who get it right. Joe Abercrombie springs to mind as one of them, a tiny band of authors, and I do not count myself among them, who evoke the consequences of killing in a way that feels authentic.

Read the full article on Myke Cole’s website.

From @MykeCole’s Blog: What PTSD Is

If you’ve been playing along at home, you know that much of my protagonist Shaundar’s character arc is centered around his war experience and PTSD. If you’ve been reading between the lines, you know that I’m examining my own PTSD (though I’m not a war veteran, I’m the daughter of a bipolar mother who was untreated during most of my childhood) through the writing of this story.

Myke Cole is a military fantasy writer and an Iraq War veteran. He’s written a couple of particularly good pieces on the subject that I’ll be sharing over the next couple of days. The thing that struck me the most about this one was his observations about Condition Yellow.

Living under Condition Yellow for extensive periods of time is the big factor that drives PTSD. I spent my whole childhood under Condition Yellow, and school just made it worse because I was bullied extensively. So Condition Yellow was my LIFE. I didn’t know there was any other way to live, and only now am I beginning to unpack that this is not normal, and has affected every relationship I’ve ever had.

Anyway, check it out.

I’ve talked before about genre writers who have been very open about personal trials, particularly the kind of depression/anxiety conditions that I feel are a natural part of the uneven terrain all authors have to walk. I’ve always appreciated their willingness to go public with these issues, as the first (and false) thing that most people suffering from these sorts of things think is a.) that they’re alone and b.) the problem is unique to them. When your literary heroes step into the spotlight and say, “hey, this is more normal than you think and you can figure out how to live with it,” well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than a few folks still pushing air past their teeth because of a blog post they read.

The thought of talking about what goes on in my head in anything but the most general terms in the public square takes me way out of my comfort zone. But I reread the first paragraph of this post, especially that last line. Sometimes, you need to go outside your comfort zone, talk about a thing not because you need to get it off your chest, but because it might help others to hear it.

I was diagnosed with PTSD in August of ’09, just after my third tour in Iraq. Of course my first concern (like everyone in my line of work) was losing my security clearance, and that kept me from going for help for a long time. But DoD did right by me, and I kept working for another 2 years before the book deal got me out of the business.

Read the full article at Myke Cole’s website.

Editing Update and Holocaust Remembrance

So I’ve finished my major first edits of “Mr. Midshipman Sunfall” and “A Few Good Elves,” and they’re off to my editor.  I’m now making my way through what I’ve done so far on “Brothers in Arms.”  I haven’t said much in a while, but those who are following will know that I’m not finished my first draft on that one yet, so what I’m doing at the moment is catching it up to speed with the changes that have been made in the first two books.

I have to admit I’m having a lot of fun with it!  I missed these characters and their stories.  I’m enjoying reacquainting myself with them.

———

In related news, today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It’s the anniversary of the day that Auschwitz was liberated. I mention this here because in A Few Good Elves, the characters are incarcerated in a concentration camp.

I did extensive research, and everything that happens to the characters comes from the real stories of real survivors (minus the magic stuff, of course.)  It was hard to write.  It was harder to edit.

Sometimes it’s easier to confront difficult issues in fiction, and that’s part of the reason I’ve written these novels.  But we must never forget that this is was NOT fiction, no matter how hard it is to comprehend and accept.  The path of “othering” people eventually, inevitably leads there.

I’m here to remind everyone of that.  I’m here to try to help make sure that as less and less survivors are left, their stories, and the sheer horror of their experience, is not forgotten.

Never forget, okay?

Virtual Fantasy Con 2017: Fantasy Mashups Panel

Diane Morrison

The last of the three panels I had the honour of hosting for the Virtual Fantasy Con this year! In this one we discuss fantasy mashups. What happens when you blend fantasy with another genre? What are the benefits and the drawbacks? And at what point does a blend become a genre of its own? We have a panel full of fantasy mashup authors, and this was a lot of fun!

You can watch the entire playlist of the Virtual Fantasy Con panels HERE.

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Major Site Update & Virtual Fantasy Con

I’ve just done a major update to the site to bring most of my names and material in line with my departure from Spelljammer. Click on the link to come and check it out! There’s still a few things that need to be changed (ie. the Elven Glossary, some system information) but most characters and locations are renamed now.

I have picked a new title for what is intended to be my fourth book.  To get rid of the Forgotten Realms influence, it will now be called, “May the Airts Blow Fair & Free.”

In other news, I’ve been promoting the Toy Soldier Saga at the Virtual Fantasy Con, which is an online conference for writers & readers of fantasy. I had the pleasure of hosting three panels, and one of which, Realism in Fantasy Warfare, I think would be of real interest to Toy Soldier fans.  That will posted tomorrow!

In November, I’m going to live vlog my NaNoWriMo experience.  I invite you to join me at my Facebook page, Twitter, author blog, or YouTube channel.

That’s it for now.  I’ll keep you posted!

 

Progress Report

So the work on editing A Few Good Elves continues! The major significant change that I’ve made is to chop it into two parts!  Kill my darlings!

In order to meet Edge Publishing’s manuscript requirements, I need to cut A Few Good Elves down to less than 100k words.  Ouch!  The manuscript is currently 170k words plus!

But I realized that the main story started at Part Two, The Queen’s Dirk, so I slashed out the rest of it!  I might publish that in the future as a novella that I’m calling “Mr. Midshipman Sunfall” in my working title (those of you who read nautical fiction will recognize the reference).  Now comes the task of adding in all the important parts that I had already said in the slashed portion that readers will need to know.  And taking out other parts to make the cut.

Those of you who have read the fanfiction version: do you think I should lose the bulk of the chapter in which the characters are imprisoned in the prison camp?  Does my story lose poignancy without it?  This would easily allow my manuscript to make the 100k limit.

Or, should I lose the backstory of the characters not present, like Narissa?  Is it really part of the story or is that all about character?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Professional Disobedience: Loyalty and the Military

“The King gave you a commission because he thought you knew when to disobey an order.”[1]

“On rare occasions in our history, the leader on the ground, at the crux of a fleeting moment on the battlefield, has decided to disobey his instructions for what he judges as the greater good of the unit and the larger task at hand.”[2]

THE VIRTUE OF OBEDIENCE
Read the full article at Real Clear Defense.
Link

Here’s my profile on FanFiction.net.  The prologue and the first chapter of A Few Good Elves have been edited and posted and more will follow at a rate of one chapter about every two days or so.  Enjoy!

If you want to see the Toy Soldier Saga completed in its original Spelljammer format, consider supporting my Patreon!  Thank you!