Yesterday, I wrote the final sentences of Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7). When I’m putting down a first draft, I rarely know where my characters will take me and the story, and this time was no exception. Hard Strike‘s ending surprised me quite a bit. Until a few days ago, I had no idea it would turn out as it did, but perhaps I should have seen it coming. This is Zack Decker we’re talking about. His adventures always have a twist. I won’t say anything more. You’ll just have to read it when it comes out in the new year. I still have a few weeks of revising before my editor takes over sometime around mid-January. And then there are the holidays. I have an agreement with Mrs Thomson: the two week period around Christmas and New Year’s Day are non-working, even for a sometimes hyperactive author.
What comes after Hard Strike? For starters, my next project is Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight which I hope to see published around the late April, early May time frame. Then, the sixth Siobhan Dunmoore of course. And I’m mulling over a fresh idea that doesn’t involve the Commonwealth/Empire universe featured in each of my books, but that’s still in the embryonic stage.
If you’ve joined my mailing list, watch your inbox sometime late January 2019 for the announcement that Hard Strike has hit the virtual and physical bookshelves.
We Canadians like nothing better than to complain about the weather, but this weekend, we had snow, freezing rain, rain, and fog after a gray week, so I think I’m just a bit entitled to grumble. This morning again, just like last Sunday morning, the damp fog closing in on our part of town transported me thirty years into the past and to a different continent. At this rate, I’ll probably be happier once real winter settles in with minus twenty degree centigrade temperatures – no rain, no fog and more chances of sunshine. Of course, after a few weeks of minus twenty, I’ll be complaining again.
In just over three weeks, it will be Christmas. Another year gone. Where it went, I couldn’t say. My brain tries to ignore the passing of time but my body feels it, even though I’m at the gym six days a week, exercising harder and more regularly than I did in my forties, or even my thirties. Being my own boss these days helps me get out there and pump iron instead of sitting in endless, futile meetings where, when all is said and done, much will have been said and precious little done. I don’t miss those days at all.
Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) is in the home stretch. I’m at the 85% completion mark and intend to see it done by the end of the coming week.
Our weather in the last few days has been passing strange. It’s almost as if Mother Nature is giving us a preview of the coming winter — a weather version of a movie trailer. We got a dumping of snow sufficient to bring out our snow removal contractor, freezing rain, bitter cold and today, a thaw. And even though everything is still white, our part of the Great White North is smothered in a thick layer of fog right now. A gray, damp, foggy Sunday, just the right mix to evoke old memories.
As we do regularly, Mrs Thomson and I were driving to our gym for ninety minutes of much needed exercise this morning. Once on the brief stretch of highway, I remarked how this dense, chilly fog reminded me of one particular winter when we lived in what was then the Federal Republic of Germany thirty years ago, during my tour with Canadian Forces Europe (CFE). The Rhine Valley, in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg where CFE had its bases, was and probably still is famous for its damp, foggy weather, especially in winter. That particular February, we spent the entire month fogged in. The only times I saw the sun was when I visited the Langenhard training area which sat at higher altitude and therefore above the fog layer. Looking out over the valley from up there was a thing of beauty! This morning, our drive through a brief stretch of farmland bordering the highway, reminded me vividly of driving on the A-5, the autobahn running the length of Baden-Württemberg right to the Swiss border during that February thirty years ago.
In other news, I’m moving right along with Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7). It’s now more than three-quarters done.
It seems like Mother Nature decided to give up on autumn in our part of the Great White North a few weeks early this year — it’s only mid-November and we’re already in winter’s frigid grip. Fifteen centimeters of snow fell last Thursday evening into Friday and this morning, it’s minus thirteen degrees Celsius although there’s a lovely ice fog blurring the sunshine.
At least productivity has been good lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote about needing to reassess where I was going with Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7). I’m happy to say taking a step back improved the story line considerably and I’m now almost caught up again — yesterday I passed the two-thirds completion mark. Since I’m taking a break from writing for a while over Christmas and New Year’s, I expect to send the manuscript to my editor in early January, when she’s back after her own holidays. Then, I intend to start work on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight, the first of a planned 3-4 novels in 2019, which will include a sixth Siobhan Dunmoore and a second Quis Custodiet.
At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, one hundred years ago, the guns fell silent, ending what had been by then the most murderous war in human history, World War I. Today, we remember the sacrifice of those who served and especially those who gave their lives then and in all the wars since.
Here we are again — All Hallows’ Eve, when the souls of the dead roam among us. Blink and it’ll be Christmas. Halloween is not something Mrs Thomson and I observe, but to me it always seems to have symbolized the delimitation between autumn and pre-winter. After all, it is just about halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. By the last day of October, most trees have shed their leaves, the first snow flurries have made their appearance, our snow clearing service has installed driveway markers, and our property is prepared for burial under a snowy shroud. For some reason tomorrow, the first day of November, or All Hallows according to the liturgical calendar, always feels very different from today even if the weather is the same. Go figure.
Progress on Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) in the last two weeks has not been what I might have wished. In part it’s because life intervened. It happens. But mostly, after much cogitation and discussion, I decided on a better way to tell the story, and that means stepping back to reassess progress to date. So it won’t be coming out before Christmas. Late January is now a more realistic date. Oh well…
The fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure has been out for almost two weeks now, so if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for? In the meantime, I haven’t been idle. As of today, the first draft of Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) is 25% complete. I’m hoping to finish it before Christmas, a very real possibility at this point, since the year is winding down and outdoor activities are drying up, which leaves me with more time to sit in front of the computer and write. Of course, before we know it, our little part of the world will once more fall into a long winter’s nap under a blanket of snow. Where does the time go?
The latest Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, Without Mercy, has been published. The link below will take you to the ebook’s landing page where you can select your preferred retailer. Some retailers take longer than others to process a new title, so if you don’t see your favorite, give it a day or perhaps even two.
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – ebook
The paperback and hardcover versions are also available on Amazon and should appear elsewhere in the next few weeks.
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – Paperback
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – Hardcover
Autumn is truly and well here in our part of the Great White North. It’s a gray, wet and mildly depressing Tuesday outside. The dog keeps hoping for his walk, but I’m afraid it won’t happen today.
My editor is currently working on Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) and after the first pass, she says it’s looking good. No major surgery required. While she does her thing, I’m working on the nuts and bolts of publication – nailing down the cover, the description, getting the various sales channels set up, preparing the print issues, etc. An early October date for its release is becoming more and more realistic, if my editor can finish by the end of the month, as she hopes to do. If you haven’t seen the paperback version’s cover yet, you can see it on my Facebook page.
I’m also back to writing Hard Strike, the seventh Decker’s War adventure, which I hope to complete before Christmas. If you haven’t yet read the interview with Zack Decker, don’t miss out. He’s in fine form and as funny as ever.
Some days, I wonder who’s in charge. Is it the writer or the main character in my books? It looks like my friend Zachary T. Decker, of Decker’s War fame gave an unauthorized interview during which he spoke (or since this is direct from the 26th century – will speak) of himself, his life and his loves. You can read the transcript on this fine 21st century website:
Major Zack Decker in conversation