Mr. Midshipman Sunfall in On the Horizon Boxed Set!

I have exciting news!  “Mr. Midshipman Sunfall,” which was the first part of “A Few Good Elves,” will be published in the On the Horizon: Simple Worlds of Speculative Adventure Boxed Set on May 1, 2018!

From the description:

A collection of 22 Fantasy and Science Fiction full novels from an international cast of bestselling authors. This action-packed boxset features strong-willed individuals in unusual and exciting settings. Encounter queens, witches, wizards, werewolves, shifters, angels, dragons, or shadowy nemeses. Stories are character driven and set in worlds with low or no technology. You will follow their journeys to discover magical worlds, encounter dystopian lands, space stations, and galaxies they never dreamed of before their adventures. Join us On the Horizon for these deadly and dangerous quests filled with thrilling action and adventure!

Contributors:
Aiki Flinthart
Avril Sabine
Brendan Smith
Carina Merritt
Charis Joy Jackson
Connor Sassmannshausen
Diane Morrison
Donna Maree Hanson
Erin Yoshikawa
Greg Alldredge
Jason J. Nugent
Jay Michael Wright II
Jeanette O’Hagan
J. I. Rogers
Judith Rook
Katie Salidas
Katie Taylor
Mirren Hogan
Rebekah Dodson
S. A. Gibson
Stephanie Barr
Steven Turnbull

“Mr. Midshipman Sunfall” will then join the ranks of the other two Toy Soldier Saga stories officially published so far, “Survivor” (SciFan Magazine Issue 8) and “Eye of the Storm” (Chasing Fireflies: A Summer Romance Anthology).

You can pre-order this awesome collection of full-length novels now from Amazon or a variety of other e-book retailers, including Apple Books, Kobo, and Angus & Robertson.

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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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Virtual Fantasy Con 2017: Realism in Fantasy Warfare Panel

Diane Morrison

This is the second of three panels I had the privilege of hosting for the Virtual Fantasy Con 2017, and this one just might be my favourite. I was honoured to have a truly expert panel at my disposal, whose background and expertise included both studied and practical, hands-on experience. From logistics experts to medieval recreationists to real-life military personnel, all of whom are also fantasy authors, I think we’ve provided an excellent starting resource for fantasy writers who want to write about war.

You can watch a full playlist of all the VFC2017 panels HERE.

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What is Science Fantasy?

I’m delighted to announce that the entirety of my Toy Soldier story, Survivor, will be featured in the August issue of SciFan Magazine!  An except from my Wyrd West Chronicles story Showdown will be published in the July issue as well.  And yes guys, you can get this in PRINT!

SciFan Magazine is a publication devoted to “science fantasy” as a genre.  So what is science fantasy?  They explain on their website in the following article.  And don’t forget to check out the footnotes, because they provide some extremely useful information!

I would say that quite a lot of what I write is probably “science fantasy,” including the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga, and even my work for Tales of the Stellar Deep.  Other science fantasy authors include but are not limited to: Jack Vance, L. Sprague de Camp, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andre Norton, Terry Brooks, S.M. Sterling, and Anne McCaffrey.

“Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. It also sometimes incorporates elements of horror fiction.” [1]

Science Fantasy (SciFan) is a genre that is often ignored. Not too many people are familiar with the genre, but it was originally coined in the late 1930’s by John W. Campbell, Jr. in his magazine that was (ironically) entitled Unknown.

 The Science Fiction genre is often defined as the improbable made possible, whereas the Fantasy genre is commonly defined as the impossible made probable. So then, what is Science Fantasy (SciFan)?

Read the full article at SciFan Magazine.

Rebranding the Toy Soldier Saga

You may have noticed that I’m making some changes around here.

In light of long years of trying to get the attention of Wizards of the Coast, to no avail, I have decided to revamp and rebrand the Toy Soldier Saga to scrape out all the Wizards related copyrighted material.  I may seek a publisher, or I may publish it on my own.

Fans of the existing Toy Soldier Saga will need to know that the second and third novels will remain unfinished in the Spelljammer version.  They will be finished, but only in my new universe, and only after the reformatting is completed.  You can still get the first novel in its fan-fiction format here and I’ll be posting it on FanFiction.net as I promised as well.

Here’s a few of the changes that you’re going to see:

  • I took all the Spelljammer naming stuff out of the title of my site and my Facebook group (obvious, I should think).
  • Over time I will be replacing the art, currently only included as inspiration, with stuff that I have either commissioned or done myself.
  • I am renaming most of the elven characters, since their names are largely drawn from elven aristocratic houses in the Forgotten Realms setting.  Their names will be things that relate to nature (Vesper, Goldenbough, etc.)
  • I am renaming most of the places mentioned, and changing some significant details, for the same reason.
  • I am changing the names of the deities mentioned back to the real-world deities they were drawn from.  For instance: Corellon Larethian becomes Lugh, Angharradh become Brighid, Hanali Celanil becomes Freya, etc.  These deities will be used in ways that differ slightly from their real-world mythology and will be explained as human-elven cultural differences.
  • I am renaming or changing major monsters (beholders, illithid).  These changes will be the same sorts of minor changes that other RPG settings have used to get around this issue, and likely they will remain somewhat recognizable to the dedicated RPG fan.
  • I am changing the way the arcanology of travel through the stars works.  This is probably the most significant change and it will have some effect on plot elements.  I’ll reveal the details of my changes in a forthcoming blog post.  I’m excited because this change allows me to connect this world to the world of The Forever Throne as well!  Stay tuned for more details.
  • I am changing the racial divides among elves.  They will remain known for forces of nature (sun elves, moon elves, wood elves, etc.) and will remain similar in appearance (sun elves will be mostly warm and golden-shaded, moon elves will be pale and cool-coloured, etc.)  However, they will be known as the Alfar and the Sidhe (real-world mythological elves from the Norse and Celtic cultures respectively).  Drow will be known as Svartalfar or night elves and I’m sure you’ll see some cultural differences there too, but I’ll worry about that when they become more relevant to the story.  I’m not sure yet whether sun, moon and star elves (the “aristocracy”) or the moon, wood and earth elves (the “commoners”) will be Alfar or Sidhe.  I’m still deciding that.
  • I am changing and removing much of my use of the Elven language, since it is Forgotten Realms Espruar.  I’ll likely make more up as I go, but I’m sure my use of it will be less liberally sprinkled throughout the book.
  • “Scro” will be called “high orcs,” and the cultural elements I borrowed from Spelljammer (such as the name Dukagsh for the homeworld and their racial hero) will be changed.
  • I am changing the names and essential natures of Forgotten Realms characters or Spelljammer characters that appeared in the books.  They might still be recognizable to some but there will be significant differences.  I’m also eliminating or combining contradictory characters (such as — who is really the Grand Admiral of the Elven Navy?)
  • I’m making some minor changes to the way magic works, because D&D magic sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense, and so since I’m changing stuff anyway, why not?
  • I am changing the name of the Elven Imperial Navy to the Imperial Avalonian Navy or the Imperial Fae Navy.  Bite me.
  • The titles of the fourth and fifth books will change.  The fourth book uses a catchphrase from the elven culture of the Forgotten Realms, and the the fifth book uses the word “Arvandor.”

Things that will stay the same:

  • Since I made up every word of the orc language used in the story, I’m keeping all of it.
  • Since I invented the system of steering and navigation used in Spelljammer vessels, aside from the helm itself, I’m keeping that too.  There WILL still be a symbiotic telepathic/empathic link with the helm, because that is by no means unique to Spelljammer (it’s a staple of sci-fi and has been since at least the 1950s) so they can’t copyright that.
  • NONE OF THE ESSENTIAL STORY WILL CHANGE.  I just adapted a major battle scene to a novella which I’ve submitted to a magazine; it worked just fine, so don’t worry, the essential story will not change at all.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Changing the Toy Soldier Saga is one of my featured projects at my Patreon this month!  If you want to see this thing come to life, you should support my Patreon. 😉

 

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. 🙂

Of Physical Laws and Fictional Characters

Stories & Soliloquies

This is the final installment of a series on the tie between language and metaphysics, mathematics, and magic.

Most people are pretty clear that the laws of physics are real, and that fictional characters are not. But I’m not so sure the distinction is as easy as that.

When people, even people who are students of philosophy, hear the word “metaphysics”, they typically think of ghosts, gods, and souls. This list isn’t wrong, exactly, but it is terribly limited. Using this list as their guide, people reject metaphysics as anti-empirical, and affirm without a trace of irony that “reason” tells them to reject anything not empirically validated. But there’s a lot more to metaphysics than the supernatural – reason itself is a metaphysical construct, a grammar for thinking that has no physical form. Ideas and concepts are metaphysical. Descriptive categories are metaphysical. Mathematical abstraction is metaphysical.

In order to…

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