A Return to Reality

As we do every now and then, Mrs Thomson and I took a week off from our real lives to go scuba diving at an undisclosed location.  This time, we spent a week on a liveaboard dive boat in the sunny south and while not exactly far from land, we were far from any distraction.  For the first time in years – since the last time we were aboard the same boat in 2014 actually –  we were disconnected from email, the internet, social media, tv and every other distraction, annoyance and what have you of modern life for seven days.  Very refreshing!  So if you were wondering why I’ve been quiet lately, that’s the reason.

We saw plenty of my favorite fish, the reef shark, and my second favorite, the nurse shark.  When I get around to working on the video I took, I’ll post a really neat shark swim-by on the Sanddiver Books youtube channel.   There’s nothing like a curious 7 foot long reef shark coming within touching distance.  On a less joyful note, the place we visited was struck by two hurricanes last year, one of which went straight over a few beloved reefs near an uninhabited cay.  Those reefs were almost completely destroyed by Mother Nature.  The difference between 2014 and this year was stunning.  It’s as if a giant scraper turned lush life into an underwater moonscape.  They will recover thanks to being in a protected area far from human habitation, but it might take more years than I have left on this Earth before they’re back to the way I remember.  Thankfully, the reefs around that cay were the only ones so hard done by.  Those on the islands’ leeward sides survived almost intact.

However, the hospitality, cheerfulness and hard work of the boat’s crew was unchanged even if all of them save the captain and the cook (a legend in his own right in the diving business) were new to us.  Although we did  five dives a day, enough to burn off calories, I’m sure I gained weight from all the food.  And of course, below is the obligatory scuba diving author pic, taken last Thursday.  If you look closely, you can see how bare the reef is, courtesy of two hurricanes in a row.  I was the only object of interest for Mrs Thomson’s camera on that dive!

Author9Aug18

I did put Without Mercy aside for the week, although by the time we left, I was a tad over 75% done.  That should turn into 100% for the first draft in the next two weeks.

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Moving Right Along

I’m pleased to say Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) has reached the 2/3 completion mark.  That means all things going well, it’ll come out in mid to late September, unless I put on a sudden burst of productivity in the next 2-3 weeks.  It being mid-summer, with life slowing down for a little while, I rather think steady as she goes will remain the order of the day.  After all, even a full-time writer is allowed a few weeks off every year.  At least work on the old homestead is pretty much done for the year, what with me putting the final touches on regrading the ground along a section of foundation so that torrential rain flows away from the house instead of into my basement workshop.  With a nice layer of decorative stones and a few garden-style “objets d’art” that section of the backyard looks pretty spiffy.  But since it involved moving almost half a ton of drainage gravel and the aforementioned stones from the garden center to my back yard over the weekend, I’m ready to take a break from anything physical this week.  But not from writing.  Dunmoore is about to fight her old foe Brakal, though neither knows yet the other commands the opposing force.  That should change once I pick up the story later today.

 

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Author Feature ‘Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset’ by Eric Thomson

Check out my latest Author Feature!

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An extract from Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset the first book in a thrilling new sci-fi series from Eric Thomson.

Imperial Sunset is the first instalment in the Ashes of Empire saga.  It tells the story of a desperate attempt to stave off the darkness threatening to smother humanity’s interstellar empire and send civilisation back to the Stone Age.

“The flagship, sir — it’s gone.”  Disbelief, mingled with outrage and not a little fear.
Captain Jonas Morane, commanding officer of the Imperial Starship Vanquish, turned tired, blood-shot eyes on the cruiser’s combat systems officer.  His angular face bore the weary, almost resigned expression of someone who knew his life was changing forever.  If they survived the next few hours or days. 
“What?”
“Valens’ subspace beacon vanished.  She’s either been taken or destroyed.”
“I guess we’ll find out which it is when the visuals…

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I Did It Again

I suppose it was inevitable.  After having so much fun building a scale model of Siobhan Dunmoore’s current command, the Q-ship Iolanthe, I had to go back and build a scale model of her previous ship, the frigate Stingray.  Here she is in all her glory.  I’ve tried to build her to the same scale as Iolanthe, and eventually, I’ll post a picture of both together, but not today (by the way, that clear plastic thing underneath is a stand and not part of the model).

Stingray copy

And with that, I have no more excuses to play around while Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) remains unfinished.  Unless I start trying my hand at green screen photography and Photoshop both models against a starry background, something Mrs Thomson is encouraging me to try.  In any case, I’ve passed the halfway mark on Dunmoore #5, so I’m still on target.  In the meantime, if you haven’t read Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset, do yourself a favor and get it.  So far, the reviews have been uniformly positive.

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Productive Procrastination

Like most authors, I’m prone to bouts of procrastination, especially after publishing a novel.  Never fear, Siobhan Dunmoore’s fifth adventure is still proceeding, if at a slower pace right now – I’m almost half-way done.  However, I decided to give myself a few days off from writing, since Imperial Sunset seems to be doing so well, but this time, I used my spare hours more productively than surfing the internet or binging on Netflix.  In fact, I build myself a little piece of inspiration, which is now sitting in my office.

Iolanthe SM

It started life as a kit for another star ship altogether, but with a bit of bashing, a bit of rummaging in my spare parts bins and a lot of imagination, I turned it into the Q-Ship Iolanthe pretty much as I’d imagined her from the start.  As you can see, her gun turrets are deployed and she’s in full “Furious Faerie” mode, ready to take on any Shrehari, pirate, reiver or marauder.

Looking at the model, I can now see everything as I write: the bridge and combat information center, along with crew quarters, messes, etc, in the forward section; the shuttle hangar and cargo holds in the middle section (you can see the space doors); the missile launcher bay, which is on the middle section’s underside (the black stripe); the Marine barracks and brig which are immediately aft of the middle section; and of course, engineering with the reactors, environmental scrubbers, antimatter fuel containment units, etc, etc, etc, in the aftmost section.  As you can see, the model is resting on her hyperdrive nacelles while up top there are two sublight drives, one on each side, and two decoy sublight drives which hold the massive aft plasma guns.

I need to take a better picture, with a suitable background and all, but I wanted to share my newest project – finished earlier today – with all the Siobhan Dunmoore fans who are awaiting her latest adventure.

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A New Series is Born

Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset, the first in a new series has hit the bookshelves.  Set in the same universe as my other series, but a thousand years after Decker’s War, it tells the story of a desperate attempt to stave off the darkness threatening to smother humanity’s interstellar empire and send civilization back to the Stone Age.

Imperial Sunset Ad

You can get the ebook via this link: Imperial Sunset

Or from my own storefront: Imperial Sunset

And in paperback via this link: Imperial Sunset

If your favorite retailer isn’t yet listed on the Books2Read page, it will be soon so check back later.  The hardcover version will also be available within a day or two.

 

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Ebb and Flow

Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset has been with my editor since Friday, and so far, so good.  It means I’m now back to working full time on Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5), although I’ve not made as much progress in the last two weeks as I would have wished.  This is mostly because revising Imperial Sunset turned out to be more effort than I had anticipated (I decided to essentially re-write the last 25%!) but the end result is a much stronger storyline that gives me greater scope to explore the Ashes of Empire universe in future installments.  In fact, you could say Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset opens up a whole universe of storyline possibilities.  But before I delve into the next installment of that saga, I must finish Dunmoore #5, work on the second Chief Superintendent Caelin Morrow mystery and write another Zack Decker adventure.  For 2018, I’ll likely only be able to complete the first two.

And now, since it’s summer, I have work to do on the property, so that we don’t see a repeat of last winter’s problems.  And that means trading the keyboard for a shovel for the rest of today.  Dunmoore will have my full attention once more tomorrow morning.

By the way, if you want to see what the Imperial Sunset paperback cover looks like, pop over to my Facebook page for a gander.

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A Rising Tide

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that Siobhan Dunmoore was whispering in my ear again after a long silence. Well, I was wrong. It wasn’t so much a whisper as a scream. In the last seven days, I’ve written a full quarter of Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5). That’s around 100 pages! And I’ve done so while also revising Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset. I’m not sure what caused this sudden surge of productivity, but I’m going with it. If I can sustain the pace, Without Mercy will be ready for my editor in late June or early July, and that could well mean an August publication date, or for those who keep score, two books this summer, what with Imperial Sunset due to hit the shelves in late June or early July. If I can sustain the pace.  Sometime in the next week or so, I’ll add a synopsis to the Without Mercy page, but you can already see a mock up of the book cover.

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And I’m Once Again Done

I finished the first draft of Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset today.  The first draft clocks in at just over 400 pages, but that number will vary thanks to the many rounds of revision I and my editor will make over the next couple of weeks. As I previously indicated, this new series will not consist of standalone adventures like my others, but will form a multi-volume saga covering a large cast of characters and a long period of time.

And while I’m not working on Imperial Sunset, I will be turning my attention back on Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5).  Hopefully, the storyline rethink will work this time.  I know there are a lot of fans who want to read more of her adventures.  In the meantime, you can check out the Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset page here: Imperial Sunset.

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Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop

It’s been a busy week in Thomsonland.  The first draft of Imperial Sunset (Ashes of Empire #1) is almost 90% complete, which is no mean feat, as my carpal tunnel flareup can testify.  And — drum roll please — Siobhan Dunmoore has started whispering in my ear, so once Imperial Sunset is with my editor, I’ll return to Without Mercy, but with a different storyline than the one I’d originally envisaged.  All things going well, we might see it hit the shelves this autumn.  No promises, of course.  A writer’s muse is one of the most fickle things ever and mine seems to take pleasure in messing with my inspiration..  She sends me more ideas than I can deal with, then vanishes as I’m part way through a draft.  But not right now.  I’m even ignoring spring’s glory outside in a concerted effort to finish Imperial Sunset, except for my dog’s daily walk.  He refuses to let me off the hook and for that, I’m thankful.  Now if I could only stop the flow of words come bedtime.  Mrs Thomson finds my clacking the computer keyboard after ten in the evening a bit much.

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