Staying on the Move

My editor is almost done with When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6).  I should get her comments sometime next week, then it’s one more pass and done.  Barring any unforeseen events it’ll come out before 31 October.  Perhaps even as early as 21 October.  If you get your books from Amazon and haven’t done so yet, go ahead and pre-order When the Guns Roar.  The moment it goes live on Amazon, you’ll find it on your device (provided said device is connected to the internet!).  For those buying from Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, or other retailers, watch this space for the announcement that the book is live.  The paperback and hardcover will be out, if not the same day, then within a day or two.

While my editor is hard at it, I haven’t been idle.  Many have asked me for a series describing how the empire which we see collapsing in Ashes of Empire came to be.  And I got started on that.  I’m still not sure of the series title.  Right now, I’m using Ghost Squadron as the working title, with the first installment called We Dare.  The end of the Commonwealth and the rise of the human empire will be seen through the eyes of a group of dedicated Marines from the 1st Special Forces Regiment’s A Squadron, nicknamed “Ghost Squadron” because of their ability to strike targets and vanish without being seen.  They will be instrumental in precipitating the events that lead to the Commonwealth’s violent demise.  I finished the complete outline just now, meaning I’ll start writing tomorrow.  It’s slated for a January 2020 release, if all goes well.  Though it will be an entirely new and self-contained series, meaning no need to read any of my other stuff beforehand,  Ghost Squadron will feature a few characters from previous books.

To my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving.  May your turkey be moist, your stuffing fluffy and the dinner table conversation devoid of politics.  For those not following Canadian news, we have a federal election coming up on 21 October.  Wherever you turn, there are endless radio and tv ads, posters everywhere, panel discussions and the usual mudslinging between party leaders.  The only way to escape is head into the woods.  Mrs Thomson and I will cast our votes tomorrow at an advanced polling station, though we already know who’ll win in our riding.  We live in one of those places which always returns the same party to parliament.  But, as Winston Churchill famously said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”  And that means doing our part, however small.

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And….

I fired off When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6) to my editor just now, after two weeks of work revising and polishing the story to the standard she expects.  How long it will take her, I couldn’t say but the book will certainly come out in October.  At this point, I’m pondering whether to try putting it on pre-order.  I’ve never done pre-orders so it could be an interesting experiment.  If I do it, I’ll probably set the release date for the end of October, just in case.  But if everything is ready before then, I would certainly move the date up.  However, before I can set up a pre-order, I need to write the book’s description and finalize the cover, which I will do in the next few days.  As they say in advertising, keep your eyes on this space.

What comes after this?  I need to work on the Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night storyline, certainly.  However, I also want to get started on a series covering the other end of my scifi universe’s continuum, something which will take us through the fall of Decker and Dunmoore’s Commonwealth and the rise of the empire whose dissolution I describe in Imperial Sunset and Imperial Twilight.  So far, I haven’t found the ‘hook’ that will get me launched, but these things come unexpectedly.  For example, I unexpectedly figured out When the Guns Roar during a workout session at the gym back in June.

You can pre-order it on Amazon via this link: https://books2read.com/whenthegunsroar.  I didn’t set it up for pre-order with other retailers for technical reasons, but it will be published everywhere ebooks are sold.

Mission Accomplished

I just finished writing When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6).  Now for the revisions and the polishing before my editor sees the manuscript in early October.  Barring any issues, it will be published late next month.

What’s the story, you ask?  It picks up where the fifth book left off, focuses entirely on the Shrehari war and ends rather dramatically.  But I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the denouement.  I’ve yet to write the brief synopsis you’ll see on the book’s product page, my blog and the official Eric Thomson website.

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On the First Monday

And on the first Monday in September, we celebrate work by being idle.  The concept of Labour Day has always amused me, but nowadays, these statutory holidays make little difference in my life.  If I’m driven to write, I’ll write.  Mrs Thomson, who still works in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy on the other hand, quite enjoys them.

Labour Day is the unofficial end of summer in our part of the world, and in the last week or so, it certainly seemed that way.  The nights are getting chillier, the sun sets earlier and rises later, and the sky is taking on that autumnal luminosity which we recognize but cannot quite describe.  Mrs Thomson’s vegetable garden is just about done for the year – a few green tomatoes remain, but nothing else.  Where has the summer gone?  It started so late, after an awful and awfully long winter, followed by a cold and soggy spring.  Will we get an early winter as well?  Speaking of winter, another sign of the season’s passing landed in my email inbox the other day.  Our snow removal company’s contract for the 2019-2020 season.  Let’s hope we won’t need their services until well into December, but the way things have been going in the last few years…

I’ve written three quarters of When The Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6) and should be typing those two words every writer loves, The End, in the next two weeks.  After that?  Well, the next installment in the Ashes of Empire saga, Imperial Night is on the menu.  And perhaps the start of a new series covering events in Zack Decker’s later career when the Commonwealth slowly becomes that empire we’ve learned to hate in Ashes of Empire.  I was playing with a book cover idea for the first installment yesterday, to flex my graphic design muscles and take a break from writing.  The result is below.  And that, as they used to say, is all the news that’s fit to print in my little universe.

We Dare - small

Some Rest for the Wicked

Mrs Thomson and I just returned from our summer scuba diving trip to an undisclosed location.  It was our first time at this particular place, though not our first time in that area, and since it is owned by the same people who run our favorite, we had a great holiday.  The diving was good and the water warm enough we didn’t need our wetsuits.  The food was plentiful, tasty, and filling, and the folks – both the dive and resort staff as well as our fellow vacationers – were wonderful.  I raise my martini glass to all you wild and crazy people.  By the way, this was the view from our balcony…

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The break, though only one week long, was much needed by both of us.  There’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in another realm to restore the soul.  But reality beckons and I need to put the final push on When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6) starting tomorrow.  I was past the halfway mark when we left and though I was communing with reef fish and critters, the back of my mind kept working away at Dunmoore’s latest adventure, so it won’t be difficult to pick up where I left off.

Those Lazy, Hazy Days

I just love those lazy, hazy days of summer.  And the fact our home has air conditioning!  This year, Mrs Thomson went all out with a vegetable garden.  And though it’s small we’re enjoying bumper crops of yellow and green beans, beets, tomatoes and of course my favorite: strawberries growing on plants in hanging baskets.  It all tastes so much better than store-bought fruit and vegetables.

Funnily enough, the local wildlife hasn’t been going at our garden, even though we seem to have more wild rabbits than usual in the neighbourhood.  Not a doggie walk goes by without seeing a few, and most days, I can spot at least one hopping across our front yard.  I’m sure the local foxes are enjoying our rabbit population explosion.  The one my dog and I saw the other morning certainly seemed well fed.  And not a bit shy.  The fox and I stared at each other for a few moments, separated by the width of a residential street, before going on our separate ways.  One of the few upsides of my dog’s advancing years is his failing eyesight and hearing, otherwise he might see all the critters who live among us humans and try to chase them.  For example, the other day, we passed within a few feet of a fairly large rabbit who, as his sort will, froze in place before my dog noticed and nervously eyed us going by.

If you’re wondering whether the lazy days of summer are having an effect on my progress with the sixth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, the answer is perhaps.  I’m not writing as fast as I’d like, but the first draft is 40% done, and that means an October publication date is still quite likely.

Now back to fun in the sun

Wings of Summer

I’ve taken a break from writing in the last few days to recharge my batteries and enjoy the summer.  But it’s a rather sedentary mini-holiday.  Twenty-two years ago, shortly after buying our current residence, we planted a red maple in the back yard.  Today, it’s a towering shade tree with enough room beneath its leafy branches for a rustic patio, complete with table and recliners.  That is where I’ve spent the last few afternoons, reading, watching birds, small animals and insects enjoy our urban glade.  You see, years ago, we decided a standard, sterile, neatly bordered lawn wasn’t for us.  Especially not with three small terriers in the family (sadly we’re down to one now).

As a result, we turned the yard into the sort of woodland mini-meadow you might stumble upon deep inside one of our nearby nature parks.  Shrubs, bushes and small trees, punctuated with all manner of flowers, vines, and other plants thrive in semi-anarchy along our ancient, gray cedar fence.  And since our neighbourhood is over forty years old, adjoining back yards also boast mature trees of every description.  Sitting under our red maple I can easily picture myself elsewhere.

What I really like is that it’s the sort of space which attracts small wildlife, bees, butterflies and the like.  Birds in particular enjoy the bath and feeders set up at the patio’s edge.  In the last few days, I’ve taken countless pictures at close range, though the birds are less shy than the resident chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits, content to pose while taking a drink or pecking at seeds.  I’ll upload a few of them to my Facebook page, so if you’d like to take a peek, the link is in the menu to the right.

At this point, When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore #6) is 20% written, but it’ll be a few days yet before I go back to work.  We waited so long for summer, I owe myself and Mother Nature some quiet time away from the keyboard.  Besides, a writer who doesn’t feel fully motivated to spill words onto the page doesn’t bring forth his best work, and our backyard refuge is so enchanting at this time of year…

Happy Birthday Canada!

O, land of blue unending skies,

Mountains strong and sparkling snow,

A scent of freedom in the wind,

O’er the emerald fields below.

 

To thee we brought our hopes, our dreams,

For thee we stand together,

Our land of peace, where proudly flies,

The Maple Leaf forever.

 

(Chorus)

Long may it wave, and grace our own,

Blue skies and stormy weather,

Within my heart, above my home,

The Maple Leaf forever!

 

O, Maple Leaf around the world,

You speak as you rise high above,

Of courage, peace and quiet strength,

Of the Canada that I love.

 

Remind us all, our union bound

By ties we cannot sever,

Bright flag revered on every ground,

The Maple Leaf forever!

 

As sung by Anne Murray

Instrumental version

The Whims of a Writer’s Mind

I mentioned, a few blog posts back, I was working on a new project.  Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Last Thursday, while I was at the gym, sweating it up and trying to work through the project’s next few chapters, my brain instead presented me with the outline of the sixth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure.  Not just a story idea, but the entire high-level plot, enough to fill several pages once I returned home and put it on paper.  Talk about a novel experience. 

I usually get a notion of what I’d like the theme to be or dream up a McGuffin and develop the storyline from there.  I never come up with the whole plot at once and don’t know how this happened.  But I took it as a sign and dropped my project in favor of our old friend Siobhan. 

I’ve written the first three chapters so far — the adventure’s opening scenes.  How long will it take to complete?  No idea.  I’m aiming for a late September publication date, but that will change as I manage to either sprint or end up dragging my feet for whatever reasons. 

I’ve tentatively titled it When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6).  It picks up a few months after the conclusion of Book 5, with Iolanthe part of Task Force Luckner and Siobhan chafing under Rear Admiral Petras’ command.  And yes, her old enemy Brakal will play a significant role.  I leave you with a little teaser — the book’s cover, or at least the tentative cover. I find having one to look at early on helps me focus.

If you’ve not picked up a copy of Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight yet, what are you waiting for?

The Saga Continues

You can purchase the ebook from your favorite retailer via this link:

https://books2read.com/Imperial-Twilight

At the time this blog post went live, some of the retailers aren’t showing it on their electronic shelves yet. Just check back a little later. It will eventually appear. The paperback version is already available on Amazon, and will be available from other bookstores in a few days, as will the hardcover version.

UPDATE: As of 16:20EST on 12 June 2019, it is finally LIVE on KOBO!