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.
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.
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!
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.
“The King gave you a commission because he thought you knew when to disobey an order.”
“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.”
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.” 
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)?
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. 😉
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.)
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.