Livestreamed Readings of Homefront at My Patreon!

Hey there! Did you know I’m doing livestreamed readings of my Toy Soldier Saga novella Homefront for my Patreon crew?  Here’s the first episode to give you an idea of what to expect:

I’m doing this every night (except Thursday, and when there’s unexpected interruptions) for all Patrons at the Ordinary Seaman or higher level (just $2+!) I’m also archiving the videos to be available for watching later, and recording an audio track of the readings, which are available to you on the unique audio RSS feed provided on the right hand side of the page!

Have you seen my new Patreon video yet?

I’m about halfway through, but it won’t take you long to catch up if you sign aboard now! Homefront is also available as a pdf for all my Patreon crew.  Support the Toy Soldier Saga!

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Scott and Scurvy

I took a class yesterday with Django Wexler on writing flintlock fantasy (thank you, Cat Rambo, for providing these excellent classes!), and I realized that about 70 percent of what I write is flintlock fantasy. So I’ll do a post on that sometime. In the meantime, this article was recommended as a fascinating study in how the British Navy discovered the cure for scurvy, and due to technological developments, lost it again — and why.

Recently I have been re-reading one of my favorite books, The Worst Journey in the World, an account of Robert Falcon Scott’s 1911 expedition to the South Pole. I can’t do the book justice in a summary, other than recommend that you drop everything and read it, but there is one detail that particularly baffled me the first time through, and that I resolved to understand better once I could stand to put the book down long enough.

Writing about the first winter the men spent on the ice, Cherry-Garrard casually mentions an astonishing lecture on scurvy by one of the expedition’s doctors:

Atkinson inclined to Almroth Wright’s theory that scurvy is due to an acid intoxication of the blood caused by bacteria…
There was little scurvy in Nelson’s days; but the reason is not clear, since, according to modern research, lime-juice only helps to prevent it. We had, at Cape Evans, a salt of sodium to be used to alkalize the blood as an experiment, if necessity arose. Darkness, cold, and hard work are in Atkinson’s opinion important causes of scurvy.

Now, I had been taught in school that scurvy had been conquered in 1747, when the Scottish physician James Lind proved in one of the first controlled medical experiments that citrus fruits were an effective cure for the disease. From that point on, we were told, the Royal Navy had required a daily dose of lime juice to be mixed in with sailors’ grog, and scurvy ceased to be a problem on long ocean voyages.

But here was a Royal Navy surgeon in 1911 apparently ignorant of what caused the disease, or how to cure it. Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times. Scott left a base abundantly stocked with fresh meat, fruits, apples, and lime juice, and headed out on the ice for five months with no protection against scurvy, all the while confident he was not at risk. What happened?

Posting to Patreon: The Eye of the Storm

This is my heads up that tomorrow I will be posting the completed and edited story, “The Eye of the Storm,” as a charged post for my Patrons at Patreon.  This is my Shaundar and Y’Anid elf-orc love story, for my Toy Soldier fans!  This is your one and only chance to get it if you want it without buying the Chasing Fireflies anthology!  Note that there may be some small changes in the story between now and the time it appears in the anthology.  Chasing Fireflies will be released July 1, 2017.  (Rated R for graphic sex.)

Update – Finished “The Eye of the Storm”!

Hey all!  Just an update that I’ve finished my Toy Soldier story for the Chasing Fireflies romance anthology yesterday and now it’s going to first edit.  Then it goes to beta read by two other authors in the anthology, then the official anthology edit.  When there’s $2 Patrons to send it to, I can send it, and that will probably be the post that I’ll charge Patrons for.  When it’s finished the final edit, I will make it available for $1 Patrons to read as well.

You can find my Patreon page here to keep up-to-date to get first access!

Updates: Support Me at Patreon!

At the suggestion of some friends, I have created a Patreon account!  Patreon is essentially like Kickstarter in that it is crowdfunding, but in this case it also hearkens back to the old patronage system.  I’m asking my supporters for a monthly contribution to help me create my creative works, in return for perks and bonuses.

Of particular interest to Toy Soldier Saga fans:

  1. Even a $1 pledge gives you exclusive access to my Patron feed.  You get first notice for everything I produce: writing, music, YouTube videos, columns, books; you name it.  You also get exclusive behind-the-scenes information and patron-only video content.
  2. $5 gives you one of two options: a) In addition to exclusive access to my Patron feed, I will send you a free song of your choice.  I will need to know how to contact you. b) In addition to exclusive access to my Patron feed, I will send you a free e-copy of my fan-fiction book “A Few Good Elves.”  You will also be eligible to receive my print fan-fiction books when that milestone is reached.  I will need to know how to contact you.
  3. At $25: In addition to exclusive access to my Patron feed, and eligibility to receive my print fan-fiction books when that milestone is reached, I will send you mp3s of all of my current Pagan or filk music (please specify). I will need to know how to contact you.  Anyone who pledges at this level for at least three months will also receive mp3s of either the Gallows Hill goth rock EP (for the “Pagans”) or the Avalon Burning gothic metal EP (for the “filkers”).

 

Milestones:
  1. $100 per month: I will do a small, private print run of my fan-fiction books as I complete them.  This will help to cover printing costs and the cost of hiring an editor.  These will only be available to current Patrons as a special gift.
  2. $500 per month: I will make a radio play of my fan-fiction series the Toy Soldier Saga, including hiring voice actors and technicians. (Yes Cliff, that means you!)

Yes, this is my way of getting those print books out to you without challenging Wizards’ copyright.  Technically the borrowing of fan material like this is still not allowed, but note I’m not making any money on the books, nor do I intend to: this will be my way of personally thanking my Patrons, and they are gifts or milestone goals for Patrons only.  I was inspired to this idea by the plethora of amazing, professionally-produced Star Trek movies available through Kickstarter programs.  They are all not-for-profit endeavours, supported by fans and even the original Star Trek actors.  I figured this wasn’t any different!

In other updates, “A Few Good Elves” is currently undergoing a professional edit, and will be made available in chapters on FanFiction.net, where many other fanfic writers have tracked the interest of the professionals.  If I do, and if Wizards does decide they want to publish the Toy Soldier Saga, I will take it down everywhere it has appeared, so this may be your only opportunity to pick up the original.  Note that because of FanFiction.net’s policies, my infamous Chapter 15 will *not* be available on that site, and there may be other “edited for content” cuts.  I will let you know as soon as it’s posted!

In further updates, I have indeed decided to go ahead with Book Five, “The Mandate of Arvandor,” and am actively working on a promo Machinima video for it (which also helps me to clarify my thoughts and visualizations.)

Now, how’s the writing going?  Slow.  Slow because I find myself faced with the David Weber dilemma.  I am in position where it’s important to explain the nuts and bolts of the goings on of the War, but I want to avoid the tedious infodumps that Weber is infamous for.  Finding that balance is delicate, but I am plugging away at it.

That’s all the news that’s news for now. 🙂

Toy Soldier Saga Blog: 2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Breaking News: Toy Soldier Saga Mapping Project

Thanks to a talented artist at the Cartographer’s Guild, the worlds of the Toy Soldier Saga are finally getting mapped out!  vtsimz02 has kindly agreed to take on the massive project of mapping relevant crystal spheres, flowcharts, and sub-sections (for instance, he is working on a map of Selune’s Tears.)  He is already almost completed the first flowchart and information will be revealed as it is finalized, and included in links from the Chart Room page (as well as the novels where appropriate).  I can’t wait to share this with you so that you can get a clearer visual of the worlds featured in the novels!

The Unhuman Wars as Allegories of History, Part 2

Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine

Elven Navy Officers.  Image from the Spelljammer comic. Elven Navy Officers. Image from the Spelljammer comic.

Since I have already likened the elves to the British in my first article in this series, which focused on the similarities between the Unhuman Wars and the World Wars, it would be consistent if I could say that the Elven Imperial Navy was an allegory for the British Royal Navy; and I believe I can.  The Unhuman Wars represent the major historical conflicts of the British Royal Navy; namely, the Anglo-Spanish War and the Napoleonic Wars.

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Comet Song

Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/comet-67p-song-captured-by-rosetta-spacecraft-1.2834947

If you’re a space science (and fantasy) nut like me, you’re sitting on the edge of your seat right now, reading everything coming out of the Philae and Rosetta spacecraft project.  This is what a comet sounds like; or at least, what this comet sounds like.  Do you think the starhands hear noises like this sailing in the cosmos?  I sure do!

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