Toy Soldier Saga

A series of novels and stories in a fantasy space opera universe.

Blog

This blog will keep my readers updated as to the current changes and schedule of publication (such as it is) for Toy Soldier, a series of novels that I am writing, set in the Dungeons & Dragons® Spelljammer® campaign setting.  I may also use it to wax rhetoric about the mechanics of, and inspiration behind, the writing, much in the same way that a Director's Commentary works on a DVD release of a movie, or to postulate my theories on the shared universes (Spelljammer®, Forgotten Realms®) in which these stories are set.

This blog and website will soon be moving to WordPress at

http://toysoldiersaga.wordpress.com.

view:  full / summary

Major Revision of Brothers in Arms Completed!

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)



So I have finally completed my major revision of "Brothers in Arms."  Those of you reading chapter by chapter will want to start over from the beginning; yes, I'm serious.  I have a whole new approach that I think makes the story work much better and not only keeps it moving more effectively, but makes it flow better and emphasizes the points I want to focus on.


In the process, the astute will notice that my pages are less though my word count is about equal.  I cut almost 7000 words of text from the original; a sequence where Shaundar and Yathar were in the Realms.  I liked it, but it really had nothing to do with the story I was trying to tell, and with the new approach, I was able to cut it entirely.  "Never do anything which is of no use," and as they say in writing, never use three words when you can use two.  So - gone.  I find that sort of thing challenging so I'm pretty proud of myself, but I did save it, and it will likely be expanded into a short story later.


Here's the Scribd link, and here's the pdf link.  Enjoy!

Is it Tacky to Cosplay Your Own Character?

Posted on December 8, 2013 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Me as Molly, gnome priestess of Sune, from the Toy Soldier Saga novels.  (Pic too big to fit in the window; click on the link if you want to see.)

I Did It! NaNoWriMo Done for Another Year!

Posted on December 1, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)



I did it!  50 000 words completed on Sable's Privateers for National Novel Writing Month!  I have uploaded up to Chapter Six, which is the entirety of Part One and the first Chapter of Part Two.  You can read it at the link above or on Scribd.



I think this is some of the best writing I have ever done.  Now I'm going to go back and clean up Brothers in Arms.  The best part is, I was struggling with Book Two and having difficulty getting where I was going.  With the completion of NaNo, I now know where I was going, how I'm going to get there, and why I was struggling.  So those of you who have been reading it, you can expect that there will be changes. :)


For those of you trying to get a hold of me, I will now be much more available and I will try to get caught up on my email.

Sable's Privateers - Chapters Two and Three are Up!

Posted on November 17, 2013 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, I've finished chapters two and three and they are available to read at the website or on Scribd.

I am a little bit below par on NaNo this year.  I am struggling to keep up, due to a combination of real-world stuff and struggle with aspects of the writing.  Much of the trouble I'm running into surrounds needing to take extra time to research stuff that I will eventually resolve in Book Two; but because I'm not finished Book Two it takes longer than usual.  A challenge I was not entirely anticipating.

Here's a word count widget if you want to keep track of my progress:

I am really proud of the last chapter but don't read it yet unless you want spoilers!

Prologue & Chapter One of Sable's Privateers Published!

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)


I have posted the Prologue and Chapter One of my current NaNoWriMo project, "Sable's Privateers."  Please note that if you are reading the story from the beginning, "Brothers in Arms" is not yet finished and therefore, if you start this one there will be SPOILERS!  And BIG ones!  So here's the link on Scribd and here's the link on the website.  I will be saving all Development Notes until the completion of "Brothers in Arms."  I am on page 36, 7438 words in at this point.  I'm a little shy of quota today but I expect to finish.  Good reading!

Ready, Set, WRITE!

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, it's November again and I'm writing the third novel in the Toy Soldier Saga, "Sable's Privateers," for National Novel Writing Month.  You can keep track of my progress on the https://www.facebook.com/toysoldiersaga" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Facebook page or on my NaNoWriMo profile.  I'm pleased to report that I managed to nag and cajole David Shepheard, a.k.a. "Big Mac" to the Spelljammer fan community, into joining me!  You can find him at the NaNo profile for "Giant Space Hamster."  I'll keep you posted as to updates when they're up, just as I did for the others!  Wish me luck!

 

Calling the Chefs Among Toy Soldier Saga Fans!

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (2)

I am looking for some help from the fans of the Toy Soldier Saga who are also skilled in the kitchen. :)


I name a variety of dishes in the course of the books, and I would love to be able to add depth by posting recipes for the various dishes so mentioned on my website.  This also helps me because then I get a clearer idea of what they are eating and what they would need.to supply a ship with to make those things. In return for your submissions, I will of course credit you as you see fit, as well as send you free e-copies of the complete Toy Soldier Saga, including the short story "Survivor" if I choose to use any of your recipes.  My favourite submission will win a free copy of the audiobook when completed as well.



Rules:

1) You can submit as many recipes as you like, but you only get one copy of each book.  Only one person wins the audiobook and that's chosen purely by me and my discretion as I see fit.

2) The recipes must be your original work (no copying!)

3) You must have actually cooked and eaten said dish (and thought it was tasty or at least edible).

4) You give me permission to publish all such entries royalty-free as I see fit (for example, I might want to put together a book of Toy Soldier recipes to sell as a charity fundraiser later on.)  In return, I will credit you appropriately no matter where the recipe(s) appear(s) and include whatever contact information you designate.

5) Your recipes must be consistent with the descriptions given in the novels.

6) New recipes will be accepted if they are consistent with the elements that form the cuisine of the races in question.

7) Contest closes November 30, 2013, and winners will be announced in this blog on December 10, 2013.


How to Submit Entries:

1) You can post them to the Toy Soldier Saga Facebook page.

2) You can post a link in the Chat session of a live Toy Soldier Spreecast.

3) You can post them to the Comments section of the Toy Soldier Saga Book Trailer videos on YouTube.

4) You can post them in the Comments section of this blog or "Confessions of a Geek Queen" under this entry.

5) You can post them in the Comments anywhere this link appears (so likely my Facebook page and so forth.)


Elven Cuisine


Elves like things sweet.  They prefer light foods with natural ingredients and little animal protein.  Most of their dishes are vegetarian (but not necessarily vegan).  Their flavouring is subtle and their portions are reasonably small.  They often don't mind spending several hours creating something that is artistic and beautiful because they have the time to do it in (although that might not hold true on a spelljamming ship.)  Many elven cultures make food that is also easily portable to support a nomadic lifestyle.


Foods Mentioned:


Apple ScrambleFor that reason, Narissa and Shaundar avoided it and headed to their favourite spot, the Leafy Bough . . .Their meals were fire-roasted skewers, honey nut berry pockets, apple scrambles, taperroot pies, and light native fowl in a variety of honey-and-citrus glazes. They also served taperroot crisps and dried berries and mixed nuts as snack foods.


Cornbread First there came the dried provisions; waybread, dried fruits, peas and beans, pemmican and cornbread (innovations of the green elves borrowed by the Imperial Elven Navy,) and these in scores of enormous wooden crates.


Dawnfry He returned the greeting, and then steaming nuts and fruit were being spooned on to their plates. OR Dawnfry was a plate of fresh fruit, which required no silverware and had lovely taste and texture.


Diskcakes - likely fruit and cream covered pancakes


Fire-Roasted Skewers


Honey-nut Berry Pockets


Native Fowl in Honey and Citrus GlazeHungry, Shaundar and Narissa shared a lime-glazed fowl and several skewers.


Pemmican


Preserves Next were the preserves; fruit preserves, pickles of all sorts, magically-sealed and preserved citrus fruits to prevent Sailor’s Disease, these in scores of slightly smaller crates that were easier to carry.


Quinpah The Golden Bough, a pub that catered to elven nobility and officers, offered an excellent variety of elven dishes, including quinpah, a flaky honey glazed dessert pastry that was one of a very limited number of creations that Shaundar’s mother baked regularly.  Originally came from Elaine Cunningham's book "The Radiant Dragon," in which it is described as a flaky, buttery pastry on the inside with a delightfully crusty shell.


Taperroot Crisps - potato (or any root vegetable) chips


Taperroot Pies - any root vegetable pie


Trail Mix - dried berries, nuts, etc.


Waybread - a Tolkienish sort of thing is what I pictured here, so if you want to adapt a Tolkien recipe, go ahead, just let me know you've done so.



Scro and Orcish Cuisine


The orcs like meat, and lots of it.  They think vegetables are best used as garnish but they do need the nutrition of veggies so they do eat them.  Their meals are high protein whenever possible and might or might not be cooked, depending on whim.


Scro eat very spicy foods that would blister the tongues of most other species. Their world's climate is either like Southeast Asia or Peru, so everything is spicy and full of various peppers, some of which are exceedingly hot.  Being so wet or so sparce, wheat, rye and other such plants don't grow there well.  Think spicy and mostly gluten free.  Their staple grains are rice and quinoa, and occasionally corn.  Noodles are likely rice noodles.  They cook with plantain as well.


Foods Mentioned:


Bacon (possibly with eggs)


Blood GruelHunger eluded Shaundar most of the day, so at dinner he was able to consider the gruel they were being fed. He was reasonably certain that there was some kind of blood in it and bits of meat or meat-like substances of some variety, though Shaundar did not examine them too closely, figuring it best that he not know what kind. OR Shaundar poked dubiously at the blood gruel and finally managed to convince himself to put some in his mouth. He found that with the spicy taste of peppers added to it, it wasn’t bad at all. He still wasn’t fond of the texture but it didn’t taste like snot.


Chili


Cracked Peppercorn Steak and TubersDinner was a slab of meat on a plate, marinated in some spicy sauce and covered on its outer edge with cracked peppercorns, next to some kind of tasteless tuber best inhaled between bites of steak. There were no vegetables except the tubers.


Coconut Curry and RiceThey were serving rice, a fierce green coconut curry, and some sort of bitter and spicy liquid concoction that Shaundar was unfamiliar with.


Curry-Spiced Omelet


Hargol -

Dinner looked promising but smelled as though there had been an explosion in the hold of a ship carrying peppercorns. It was some kind of noodle dish with strips of meat in it, and it was covered in a gritty dusting of cracked black pepper on some kind of oil-and-herb dressing. Durok was chuckling.

“What’s so funny?” Yathar wanted to know.

“It’s the hargol,” Durok snickered. “It’s a scro ‘subtle’ dish. Lana put too much pepper in it. That girl has got to be the world’s worst cook.” He speared a few noodles and meat strips on his tines, sniffed them dubiously and put them into his mouth. He chewed it almost reluctantly and with his nose wrinkled.

Yathar shrugged. He had already eaten about half of it. “It’s not bad,” he argued with a full mouth.

Shaundar picked up a meat strip and brushed some of the pepper bits off of it before he put it into his mouth. It actually wasn’t bad at all, in his opinion; though certainly, the sheer amount of pepper was more than a little overwhelming. He also thought he noticed green and red peppercorns and some cubebs as well.


Pork Skewers with Hot-and-Sour Soup (Pho) - He just about fell asleep over his dinner, which consisted of skewers of some promisingly spicy pork that was ruined by being salty enough to pucker his lips. He was almost too tired to eat, in fact, and contented himself to some of the hot-and-sour tripe soup that was served as a side dish. (Don't forget, this is a description of how *not* to do it.)


Pepper SaladA much more appealing salad, full of green leaves and topped with a variety of peppers, was added to their plates . . . Shaundar tried the salad next. He bit into a pepper and chewed it enthusiastically. Immediately his mouth caught fire.


Potato Salad


Ryll With perfect timing, Shaundar saw Lana hauling out a large egg and meat pie and adding it to the buffet. She was smiling. “You should try the ryll,” he recommended smoothly. “I understand it packs a punch.” (Contains mushrooms also.)


Sausage Rolls and Bitter GreensThe main course appeared to be some kind of sausage roll, accompanied by a pile of bitter greens covered in an unbelievably hot sweet pepper dressing. Shaundar bit into the sausage rolls to discover that they were equally hot, both in terms of temperature and spiciness. They didn’t cause blisters, though, so he did not let this stop him.


Shipwreck - whatever is available to cook in the leftovers of ship supplies and what you can catch or hunt.  Likely ground meat or fish, rice, dried peas, root veggies and a variety of dried peppery spices, cooked in broth for flavour.


Stew


Good luck, and thanks for your help!

Sorry About the Technical Difficulties in Chapter 6!

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Some of the problems I was having with a mic I don't typically use yesterday in my podcast carried on into today's Spreecast of "A Few Good Elves" and I had to completely reboot before my regular mic would work.


So if you want to see the Spreecast and you don't want all the crap at the beginning, you can find it at this link: http://www.spreecast.com/events/a-few-good-elves-reading-chapter-6/clips/a-few-good-elves-reading-chapter-6-minus-tech-trouble


If you are using the old URL, it gets fixed about 19 and a half minutes in.


Thanks for your patience!

"Toy Soldier" Radio Drama in the Works!

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I am delighted to announce that plans are in the works for an adaptation of the Toy Soldier Saga to a radio drama!


Film student Cliff Wolters out of Utah has decided to take on the work of adapting the story to a radio play.  Blocking for the script is already underway and I will be an active participant of the project every step of the journey.


I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this!  Cliff is an interesting and thoughtful individual.  We share many of the same interests and I am confident that his vision will be true to my intent.


I will keep you informed as more information becomes available.  You can find it here on this blog or on our Facebook group.  In the meantime, I thank you for your continued support.

 

 


Next Spreecast of "A Few Good Elves" - Chapter 6

Posted on October 12, 2013 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The Second Unhuman War begins tomorrow in the next Spreecast of A Few Good Elves!  Sign up at this link: http://www.spreecast.com/events/a-few-good-elves-reading-chapter-6.


The story so  far:


Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5


See you tomorrow!


Rss_feed