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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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.

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.

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!

Alternative Physics for the Toy Soldier Saga

Adapting the alternative physics of Spelljammer to something new was the sticking point for me in turning the Toy Soldier Saga into something publishable.  I have worked on this concept for a long time, and I think I’ve finally come up with something that works but is its own thing.  Right now it’s a very loose idea and I will be working out the bugs as I write, but here it is, in a nutshell.

Crystal Spheres

Spelljammer’s “bubbles in space with crystal shells” idea is unique.  However, it’s based in Ptolemic physics.  How that worked was that the Earth was the center of the universe (and then the sun later on,) and everything we see in the sky is on the inside of a “crystal sphere,” interlocking within one another like Russian dolls.  Later theories of universe construction discussed the idea of the “crystal” actually being something a bit more ephemeral, something that holds the stars and planets in place but can be passed through like a veil.

That’s sort of the idea I’m running with.  Each system exists within its own interlocking series of crystal spheres.  The beauty of this is that one could still see the stars of other systems through these permeable membranes, so it’s a bit more like the universe we know, and less lame excuses have to be created to explain why we can see stars.

Gravity Wells

Gravitational forces move in currents.  Now that in real-world physics we have confirmed the existence of gravitons, I’m sure that’s not as difficult to imagine as it might have been.  Instead of odd, semi-two-dimensional “gravity planes,” each body, when sufficiently separated from other bodies, has its own whirlpool of gravity that surrounds it.  Lining up these competing maelstrom currents so that they interact instead of compete dangerously with one another would require the same sideways approach as gravity planes would and would have very similar consequences of failure.  These currents draw smaller, less dense bodies in, but also might swing them right around in a circle and out again.  A ship might seem too small a body to create a gravity well of its own — but wait, I have an explanation, and I’ll get there.

Airts

Because gravity moves in currents between bodies, it creates slipstreams that travelers refer to as “Airts.”  Their existence would a) explain why ships can move at light speed or faster, and b) what sails on a ship are for!  The crew is needed to navigate the Airts.  In which case, the function of the Pilot (Spelljammer) becomes twofold.  The first is that a Pilot can actually sense the Airts, which most people cannot.  The second . . .

Starfaring Ships

Starfaring ships are constructed around special materials.  Those materials are the seed-pods of giant cosmic trees, something like a cross between the starfly plants you remember from Spelljammer, and Trees of Life out of myth.  These Trees of Life use Airts as a natural part of their life-cycle; their seeds are evolved to be carried along the Airts to find new systems to settle in.  They can influence and create their own Airts to a limited extent as well.  They bond in a symbiotic semi-telepathic link with Pilots because Pilots can help them to consciously navigate the Airts, and thus, they can travel through a much broader and larger area of the Universe than they would otherwise be able to, eventually picking a spot to plant and grow in.  Elves know the secret of this and have been using the Trees of Life for millennia, but the other races don’t, and so they have been building devices around seed-pods or their fragments, unwittingly creating plant cyborgs.  Also, it’s important to note that the elves have forgotten many of the things they used to know.

Trees of Life

Trees of Life have a special significance in my universe aside from this, but I’m not going to explain that, because that would be a major spoiler, as this is one of the mysteries that my characters must discover!

Phlogiston

Phlogiston doesn’t exist, per se, in my universe.  The areas between systems in my universe will be taken up with competing Airts, and will look no different from how things actually look in space in our world.  How do you know you’re entering a system?  The Oort Cloud will give you a clue, being the outer edges of a system’s gravity well.  Some theorize that Airts might be powered by Quintessence, which can be explained either as the fifth element Aether, or a kind of dark energy in modern cosmological physics.  I will still have it be a dangerous process to enter and leave a system, but that’s because of the Oort Cloud and the currents of Airts surrounding the outer edges of a system’s gravity well.

So, loosely, this is a rough look at my adapted physics.  I welcome your thoughts!

Chasing Fireflies Available for Pre-Order!

Featuring “The Eye of the Storm,” a story about Shaundar and Y’Anid!

Chasing Fireflies is a collection of 9 summer romance stories from all genres including contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction.

From Janae Keyes: It was supposed to be an escape, falling in love was never part of the plan.

From Rebekah Dodson: A respectable woman left behind in war finds fulfillment in a forbidden man.

From Sarah Buhrman: Magic, mystery, and deceit surround a medieval woman’s search for her lost love.

From Diane Morrison: A deep cover Elven soldier discovers that when you learn to think like your enemy, you might also learn to love them.

From Deliaria Davis: In real life, love is complicated and messy, but sometimes you just know it’s meant to be, and this Alaskan teenager intends to prove it, despite the odds.

From A.C Jade: Two strangers discover that a one-night summer affair isn’t all they have in common.

From Jay Michael Wright II: Can a cursed doctor find love with a gorgeous Demon before those hunting her find them out?

From Kayla Kirby: Home before he deploys, David runs into an old friend from high school. David quickly learns that Riley is harboring a dark secret and, in order to attempt to help her, he presents to her a challenge.

From C.L. Cannon: It’s the eleventh hour, and he has to decide. Remain her friend, or take the chance at something more?

Get it here!  Releasing July 1, with print release to follow soon!

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. 😉

 

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.)