One More Time!

I just emailed A Colonial Murder, the second Chief Superintendent Caelin Morrow investigation to my editor. Provided she finds no major issues, I think a release date at the end of August is in the cards. In the meantime, I’ll be working on Deadly Intent (Ghost Squadron #2) whose first three chapters are already written.

The dust jacket for the hardcover is already done, as you can see below:

Stay safe and stay healthy, fellow humans.


I finished writing A Colonial Murder (Constabulary Casefiles #2) earlier today, and like the previous Caelin Morrow adventure, nothing is as it seems. But she has friends in strange places these days, so things don’t turn out the way the bad guys planned. Intrigue, corruption, murder, and an old threat await her on distant Mission Colony where shadowy commercial interests are spinning a web of lies and deceit. Will Morrow solve the riddle of who is honest and who is on the side of darkness before she’s off the case? Stand by. It’ll take me at least until the end of July before it’s ready for my editor. This one is an interstellar anti-corruption case for the ages, with hints of military action. If you liked The Warrior’s Knife, you’ll love A Colonial Murder.

Small Mercies

There’s nothing quite like a sunny summer Sunday to lift one’s spirits. Cold, gray winter is about as far away in the past and future as it will ever be during the course of a year. Since both our spring and summer trips to dive coral reefs have been cancelled, this is about as close as we’ll get to our favorite climate. The odd BBQ meal prepared with spices from the islands also helps. But the money we’re not spending traveling will be spent carrying out a lot of maintenance on our almost fifty year old house, so there’s practical good coming out of the suspension of international travel. Still…

In other good news, I’m two-thirds done writing the second Chief Superintendent Morrow investigation, A Colonial Murder. As things progress in my twenty-sixth century interstellar Commonwealth racing headlong to ruin and the birth of empire, Morrow’s current story line is intersecting with that of Ghost Squadron, something which will likely happen more often than not. It’s one of the reasons why I rebranded the Morrow series as Constabulary Casefiles, since I’m writing about more than just internal affairs investigations at this point. The rebranding also allows me to explore the broader Constabulary role in the collapse of the Commonwealth. I’ve told my editor she can expect A Colonial Murder sometime in early August, which could mean an early September publication date. Then, it’s on with Deadly Intent (Ghost Squadron #2) which takes place, chronologically speaking, immediately after A Colonial Murder. I’m hoping to get that one out by December.

Stay healthy and safe, fellow humans. Peace.

Happiness is a Warm Summer

And it’s finally here for us in the northern hemisphere. Happy summer solstice, everyone. And a happy winter solstice for those in the southern hemisphere.

I’ve just passed the halfway mark on the second Chief Superintendent Morrow case A Colonial Murder. It takes place shortly after events in We Dare (Ghost Squadron No. 1) on Mission Colony, which still suffers from the aftereffects of Decker and Talyn’s visit in Hard Strike. Of course, since this is Caelin Morrow, it’s not an ordinary internal affairs investigation, let alone a simple homicide. And since it takes place during the increasingly tumultuous years leading to the end of the Commonwealth and the rise of humanity’s first interstellar empire, you can be sure of darker motives and more violent players.

I’m also well advanced with the outline of the next Ashes of Empire story and am finalizing the story line for Deadly Intent (Ghost Squadron No.2). It’ll be a busy summer here in the Casa de Thomson. At this point, I plan on writing Deadly Intent the moment A Colonial Murder is with my editor, simply because in the overall Commonwealth-Empire timeline, the events in the second Ghost Squadron adventure occur immediately after A Colonial Murder.

Stay healthy and stay safe, fellow humans. Peace.

Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night

It’s official, the third installment in the Ashes of Empire saga is coming out on Monday, June 15th, 2020, four days earlier than planned. If you pre-ordered the ebook, it should appear on your device Monday morning. If you didn’t pre-order it, visit your favorite online retailer Monday and enjoy. The hardcover and paperback versions will also be available.

Here’s the link:

Imperial Night completes the first cycle in the saga, recounting the establishment of Lyonesse as a final bastion of civilization. The next three book cycle will tell the tale of what remains beyond Lyonesse, starting with Ashes of Empire: Imperial Echoes, which will come out next year.

In the meantime, I’m making decent progress with the second Chief Superintendent Morrow case, A Colonial Murder.

Stay healthy and stay safe, fellow humans.

And Just Like That, it’s June

Although with the current weather, you’d never know it. We had a few days of summer-like heat last week, but since Saturday, it feels more like March, with nighttime temperatures in the single digits (Celsius, not Fahrenheit) and daytime not much better. So far, 2020 just keeps on being 2020.

This morning, I invented a new activity: tidycize. I’ve been working out in my basement rec room ever since they closed the gym and with the amount of stuff down there, I’m not bored while resting between sets and exercises. But the place was a bit of a mess, so instead of working on my current hobby project during my rest periods, I tidied the place. Ten reps of arm curls, 20 seconds of tidying, another ten reps, etc, etc, etc. Got a lot done in 40 minutes!

As of today, I’ve written over twenty-five percent of A Colonial Murder, the next Chief Superintendent Caelin Morrow casefile, and my editor is almost done with Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night which means things are moving along at Sanddiver Books Inc. even though summer is just about here. And summer means the propane grill is in action, as is my charcoal smoker. Food has never been better. Those of you who follow me on Facebook will have seen my culinary postings. Even before the current pandemic, I knew there was a lot of good in buying local. We get our vegetables and meat home-delivered from small, family owned and operated local farms, and boy can you taste the difference. Of course, living in the Great White North means I can’t get much of our fruit supply from local sources other than during a short period of year, but such is life. I blame Samuel de Champlain for setting up his New France colony north of the 45 parallel instead of smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean.

Stay healthy and stay safe. Peace, fellow humans.

Marvelous May

Or not quite so marvelous, considering temperatures around here have been well below normal. This May feels like a third March in a row, considering April was equally cold. The year 2020 just keeps on giving! But good news – Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night is now with my editor. That means it’s up for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo and Google Play (the other retailers make it too complicated). But as before, it’ll come out everywhere books are sold in ebook, hardcover and paperback when it’s published in mid-June.

Get your pre-order now:

I’m also a good ways (17% written) into a new Chief Superintendent Morrow mystery, which will come out this summer. It’s tentatively titled A Colonial Murder and takes place on Mission Colony about six months after Zack Decker and Hera Talyn passed through that star system and took down wannabe revolutionaries in Hard Strike.

And wouldn’t you know it, the high level concept for the next Ashes of Empire story came to me the other evening, unbidden. I’ve come to the conclusion the saga will be told in several three book cycles, with Imperial Night concluding the Jonas Morane and Sister Gwenneth cycle. That means the next installment, tentatively titled Ashes of Empire: Imperial Echoes starts a new cycle. I won’t reveal the story line just yet, but the focus will move away from Lyonesse.

I’ve got a busy year ahead of me, it seems. But since we can’t travel to our usual scuba diving haunts, I also have more time to dream of far away star systems.

Stay healthy, fellow humans. Peace.

Better Late Than Never

I just wrote the final word to Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night. I’d planned on being done at the beginning of April, not the end, but whatever. The world isn’t normal right now and I doubt I’m the only author whose timelines slipped as we watched reality become stranger than fiction. I’m giving myself tomorrow off, then on Monday, I’ll start the long and laborious revision process to polish the story before my editor sees it. That usually takes me about three weeks, so you can expect to see the pre-order go up on Amazon, Kobo, and Google Play sometime around mid-May with an early June publication date. It’ll be available through all retailers at that time, but those three are the only ones where pre-orders aren’t a massive pain in the rear end.

Imperial Night marks the end of the saga’s first cycle. The tale isn’t over by a long shot and there will be more stories in the coming years, set decades if not centuries later. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, Imperial Night isn’t the beginning of the saga’s end but it is the end of the saga’s beginning. You’ll see what I mean when you read it in a few weeks.

In the meantime, winter’s back is definitely broken in our part of the world. Our ageing little dog has resumed his walks, brief as they are, Mrs Thomson has resumed gardening, one of her favorite activities, and I’m preparing my outdoor kitchen.

Stay safe and healthy wherever you are, fellow humans. Peace.

Interesting Times

I just realized it’s been over three weeks since my last blog post. Like a lot of people, no doubt, I’ve been watching world events unfold with a sort of bizarre fascination. It’s a bit like living in a Michael Crichton or Stephen King novel. Here in the Great White North, we’re practicing physical distancing like there’s no tomorrow. Mrs Thomson is now in week three of working from home, while I venture out once a week to restock on consumables. But in many respects, my life hasn’t changed all that much, since I’ve been working in my home office day in and day out for over four years. Mrs Thomson and I are among the lucky ones these days, since neither of us was laid off (although I tried to get paid vacation from my boss – the bearded dude I see in the mirror every morning. Damned slave driver said no.) But as we’re in the latter part of our fifties, and I’m an ex-smoker, we’re also in a slightly more vulnerable demographic so we take our precautions. So far, so good. I recall having one or two brief bouts with flu symptoms back in January so who knows? Since we can’t go to the gym every morning nowadays, we try to take brisk 45-60 minute walks around our neighborhood, along with plenty of others doing their best to keep a two meter distance. But we seem to be exchanging greetings with strangers far more often than before. Go figure. It all feels a bit surreal, though fortunately, we don’t lack for humor, such as this example, which should amuse any of you who, like me, were trained in bayonet fighting at some point in your military career:

One of the side effects of watching all this unfold hour by hour is that productivity on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night has suffered, just when my editor finds herself with plenty of spare time. Granted, I noticed only the other day that I had a structural defect in the story that needed correcting before it would work. It’s now fixed and I’m slowly inching up to 90% completion, but I can no longer promise a May publication date. June would probably be more realistic.

Stay safe and healthy wherever you are, fellow humans, and stay away from each other. Peace.

Modeling the Future

The Pan-Am Space Clipper, which briefly appeared in the early scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, has always been my favorite spacecraft.  There is something about its elegant lines that speaks to me. 

Long ago, when I was a teenager, I built a scale model of the Clipper which likely met its end in a garbage can when I packed up my life at seventeen and joined the Armed Forces.  Over the years, I’ve often wondered whether I would ever come across another example.  Then, a few weeks ago, as I was wandering through my local hobby store, there it was — a reissue of the Space Clipper by kit maker Moebius in 1:160 scale, bigger and better made than the original.  I grabbed a box without looking at the price tag.

Last week, I finally began building it but found the decal sheet didn’t include the famous Pan-Am logo, likely for trademark reasons.  And that gave me an idea.  In my latest novel, Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night, a shuttle built on Lyonesse makes a few appearances, and the Pan-Am Clipper was a perfect match for what I had in my imagination.  Since I’m equipped to produce decals, I re-purposed the model as the Republic of Lyonesse Phoenix Clipper “City of Lannion” (tail number DFS-003) built by Hecht Aerospace and operated by the Lyonesse Defense Force.

I’m not entirely happy with the outcome, because I had a few self-inflicted spray-painting issues and then problematic decals, mostly those that came with the kit.  But the resulting model still looks decent enough to fire the imagination.  You be the judge.  I might buy another one and take more precautions.  We’ll see.  It’s not a particularly expensive or hard to build kit.

As for Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night, I’m 80% done, but with so many distractions right now, progress is far from brilliant, though I still expect a May publication date.

Stay healthy, fellow humans.