Author Unplugged

Last week, Mrs Thomson and I took a few days off from our respective travails and indulged in an impromptu visit to one of our favorite places so we could leave the surface behind and blow bubbles over pristine coral reefs.  It was our first time there during the off-season (we usually go in the spring), and we experienced the eerie quiet of a place less than one quarter full.  But the lack of visitors meant the staff could pamper us all the more, and we were glad once more to see faces that have become very familiar over the years.  The water was almost bathtub warm and I dove without a wetsuit all week.  And, of course, we over-ate, over-slept and generally indulged in the gentle art of farniente.

In a departure from my usual underwater pastime, I shot video exclusively and took not a single picture.  It was just as well that I did, since we encountered so many nurse sharks that I lost count.  This fine specimen bade us a fond farewell on our last dive, almost precisely beneath the boat.

Nurse Shark

The image is an extract from the video I shot of the encounter.  You can watch said video on You Tube at the following link Nurse Shark.  And yes, in case you’re wondering after seeing the video, it passed within a few inches of me, close enough to touch.

Now that I’m sliding back into my routine, I’m glad to report my editor has completed her first pass through of The Warrior’s Knife (Quis Custodiet No 1).  She has pronounced it a worthy Eric Thomson story and the fine start to a brand new series.  It will still need the usual polishing, which will take us into October, but it will be available before All Hallow’s Eve, I’m sure.  I even managed to write a whole chapter of Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) on the airplane while flying to our destination, but couldn’t muster the energy to do more.  I’ll be getting back to it shortly, between bouts of editorial work on The Warrior’s Knife.

And now to enjoy the weirdly late summer’s warmth we’re experiencing in my portion of the Great White North.

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A Passing

I just found out that one of science-fiction’s greatest authors, Dr Jerry Pournelle passed away today at the age of 84.    He was without a doubt a giant in his field, an intellect that outstripped almost every other writer of his time, and a storyteller without peer.  Dr Pournelle was also the one who introduced me (and no doubt every other mil scifi author writing today) to the military science fiction genre with his John Christian Falkenberg stories.  The very first mil scifi story I read as a teen was his novel West of Honor.  From that day on, I was hooked.  Pournelle’s CoDominium universe became a major influence on my scifi reading tastes, and decades later, on my own writing.  Without Dr Pournelle’s influence, Zack Decker and Siobhan Dunmoore wouldn’t exist, and neither would Eric Thomson.

Rest in peace, sir.

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A New Direction

I’ve just finished the first draft of my tenth novel, the opening installment of a new series I’ve decided to call Quis Custodiet, taken from the Latin Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes, which means “Who will guard the guards themselves?”  It’s a question attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal in his work Satires, and is nowadays used generally to consider the embodiment of the philosophical question as to how power can be held to account.

This new series is a spin off from Decker’s War and features Commonwealth Constabulary Chief Superintendent Caelin Morrow, the head of the Rim Sector’s Professional Compliance Bureau (PCB). The PCB is the Constabulary’s internal affairs branch, handles Armed Services cases requiring outside investigators, and takes care of political corruption matters that can’t be entrusted to regular law enforcement agencies. No one likes the PCB, which is also known, for obvious reasons, as the “Firing Squad,” but everyone knows they’re the last of the incorruptibles. When the PCB charges people, you can be sure they’re guilty and when they clear you, no one will doubt your innocence.

This is not military science-fiction, but a police procedural/murder mystery series set in the 26th century.  However, Morrow and her investigators will often find themselves embroiled in matters involving the politics surrounding the Commonwealth Armed Services, including Decker and Talyn’s own branch, Naval Intelligence. The first installment, which I’ve now titled The Warrior’s Knife, occurs in parallel to the Decker’s War story Howling Stars and features a guest appearance by Commander Hera Talyn, operating without her usual partner Zack Decker, as the prime suspect in the murder of a trade envoy from the alien Shrehari Empire. Before long Chief Superintendent Morrow will find herself pulled into the murky universe of covert operations where Talyn’s ruthlessness and dedication to the Fleet reign supreme.  Needless to say, the conflict between PCB incorruptibility and Naval Intelligence’s views that the ends often justify the means will be most interesting.

The Warrior's Knife

In a departure from my nine previous novels, this one is written in the first person, meaning the entire story is told by Caelin Morrow herself.

As usual, the first draft is about to undergo a stringent revision before landing on my editor’s desk, so don’t expect to see it before some time in October, likely later in the month rather than earlier.

I’ve not neglected Siobhan Dunmoore.  Outlining of Without Mercy is almost done, and I will be working on the first draft shortly, though I don’t see it hitting the virtual bookshelves before 2018.

 

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The Final Sounds of Summer

The third Siobhan Dunmoore adventure Like Stars in Heaven has been published in audiobook format.  You can get it here:

Amazon

Audible

iTunes

Will further adventures come out in audiobook?  I don’t know.  When I signed the audiobook publication contract with Tantor Media, only the first three Dunmoore novels had been published in ebook & paperback formats.  I’d like to see the latest installment, Victory’s Bright Dawn and the next books in that series eventually turn into audiobooks, as well as the entire Decker’s War compendium, but we shall have to wait and see.

I’m slowly progressing on A Splash of Blood (Quis Custodiet #1), the police/spy/murder mystery set in the Decker’s War universe and hope to finish the first draft by mid-September.  If I can swing it, it will mean an early November publication date.  The next Siobhan Dunmoore as well as Decker’s War #6 will be for 2018.

In the meantime, our rainy summer that wasn’t quite a summer is delivering another deluge from the skies this morning, turning our construction zone street into a muddy quagmire.  There’s no longer any drainage and there won’t be until they put in the new storm drains and repave.  I’m glad I managed to walk the dog before the heavens opened up — again!  Here’s the view from my office window.

Street 22AUG17

If you haven’t yet picked up your copy of Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5), here’s a bit from a kind reviewer:

Absolutely excellent!! […] An adventure that will keep you up all night to find out what happens.

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Once More in Good Company

This August is proving to be a wonderful month indeed.  Recently, No Honor in Death found itself in good company on the Kobo retail site.  Now, it’s the turn of Black Sword, my most recent novel.  What more could I ask for?  If you’re a Zack Decker fan and you haven’t read his latest adventure yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!

DW5 Kobo

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Black Sword

It’s finally here.  The latest Zack Decker adventure has been published, and it’s the best to date, if I do say so myself.

Decker 5 ebook

Get it from Amazon

Or at iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and more

Or in paperback

Note that Black Sword may take longer to become available at certain retailers.  If it has not yet shown up at the retailer where you purchase your ebooks, rest assured that it will soon.

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The Company You Keep

It’s said, not without some truth, that you can judge someone by the company they keep.  If that applies to authors as well, I invite you to contemplate what the screen capture from the Kobo ebook retailer website, taken today, says about yours truly and the company his novel No Honor in Death keeps!

Kobo CA 6 Aug 17

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5-6 August 2017 Science Fiction and Fantasy Promotion

I’m pleased to participate once again in this fantastic promotion organized by Australian author Patty Jansen for fans of science fiction and fantasy.  My own “Death Comes But Once” is one of the featured books, but do check out the other 99 great novels on offer, each for 99c.  Click on the image below to find good reading at a great price!

August Promo

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Lazy July Sunday

It’s been an extraordinarily wet, rainy and chilly July in our part of the Great White North, but the last few days have brought us weather closer to normal, and today is shaping up as one of those summer Sundays I look forward to all winter.  Of course, the drier weather has a downside when your street is being ripped up for water main replacement — dust.  Every car that passes raises a big cloud, and those who drive like moronic maniacs raise clouds visible for kilometers, redepositing the dust all over our houses, cars, properties, etc.  It reminds me of nothing so much as the dusty dirt roads that crisscross the military reservations I’ve come to know during my younger years.  For those who, like me, remember spending their summers eating dust in the Gagetown training area every time a deuce, APC or tank rolled by, you’ll know what I mean.  That’s what our quiet residential street feels like these days.

There are moments where I wish I could put a spike belt across the street and teach the ignoramuses a lesson in giving their neighbours some consideration by driving more slowly rather than racing to the next intersection.  But their turn will come next year.  Right now, the city is doing the first 300 meters of the street, the part on which we live, however I already see the subtle signs that the city is preparing to do another section next year — the same signs I saw last year on our segment.

I wish the work would be over soon, but we’re looking at another 4-6 weeks, if not longer, before the street is repaved and things back to normal.  And tomorrow morning, like every weekday, we’ll be woken at precisely 07:00hrs by the beeping of heavy machinery backing up.  I can’t fault the guys who are working this project.  They routinely put in 10-12 hours a day and it’s not uncommon to hear heavy machinery still hard at it after supper.

What won’t take another 4-6 weeks is the work to publish Black Sword, the latest Zack Decker adventure.  It’s in the midst of the second round of editing right now, and should come out of that within a day or two, leaving only proofing and final cover design.  I’d say, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we’re looking at publication before mid-August for sure.

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Tomorrow’s the Day

My second audiobook, The Path of Duty (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 2) will be released tomorrow, joining the audiobook of Dunmoore’s inaugural adventure on the shelves of Amazon, Audible, iTunes and more.  And that means the audiobook of Like Stars in Heaven (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 3) will soon be available for pre-order, as I expect an August 20th release for it.

In the meantime, my editor has indicated I might get her comments on Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5) by early next week.  Figure on a mid-August release for it.  Finally, I’ve managed to return to my sci-fi cop story, A Splash of Blood (Quis Custodiet #1) and it may see the light by September.  All in all, 2017 is turning out to be a good year for this author.  And yes, I’m also working on the plot for the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, tentatively titled Without Mercy, though it might not be published before 2018.

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