Category Archives: Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series

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 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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Filed under Ashes of Empire Science Fiction Series, Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series

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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Branding the 26th Century

If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve likely read a book or two that I’ve written.  You may recall my occasionally mentioning some variation of the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia of Siobhan Dunmoore and Zack Decker’s Commonwealth Armed Services.  I finally got around to designing it as a further branding of my military science fiction series.  The Navy insignia worn by Dunmoore, Hera Talyn (when she’s in uniform) and other naval personnel is the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia, minus the swords.  Army and Marine Corps personnel wear regimental insignia, of course, until they become general officers and wear the “starburst, swords and anchor” insignia, minus the anchor.  As a first design effort, I’m rather pleased by it.  Once I’m sure I like the insignia, you might find it included in future book cover designs.

Commonwealth Armed Services Badge

Incidentally, the starburst with anchor and no swords or motto scroll forms the basis of Navy chief petty officer rank insignia, while the starburst with swords and no anchor or motto scroll forms the basis of Marine Corps and Army sergeant major rank insignia. By the way, if you’re not fluent in Latin, the Fleet’s motto is “Through boldness to the stars”

And since I’m on a roll, I also came up with the Commonwealth Constabulary insignia.  Its motto is “Let justice be done.”

Commonwealth Constabulary Badge

And in other news, all of my novels are now available in hardcover format.

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The Things We Learn

This summer, I’ve learned more interesting stuff looking out my home office window than I would have if I were still working in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy. Today was a case in point. With the new water mains installed and connected, the contractors hired by the city have now begun the arduous process of returning our street and hopefully our front yards to their previous state. As of yesterday, all of us on the affected section of the street have had to park around the corner as the workers installed guidelines and dug trenches on both sides to lay new cement curbs, in preparation for repaving our lovely little avenue.

For some reason, I expected the arduous installation of plywood forms into which cement would be poured. Not so fast, old guy. Technology has marched on. They now have a machine that swallows cement straight from the truck and spits out a continuous concrete curb. In the space of one afternoon, they were able to do the opposite side of the street, meaning tomorrow they’ll do ours, and hopefully by the end of Friday, we’ll be able to park in our driveways again. And next week? Paving! After more than three months of dust, mud, gravel and gunk… real black pavement. It makes me hope our front yard will once more be reasonably ready for winter. I took a picture of this concrete curb laying machine. Fascinating.

Watching roadway rehabilitation hasn’t kept me from working.  I’m more than 15,000 words into the fifth Dunmoore adventure, Without Mercy.

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Filed under Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series, Thoughts

The Sun of Autumn

After blessing us with the coldest, wettest summer in living memory, Mother Nature finally realized she had some catching up to do and is giving us an overly warm, and dry start to the fall season. We’re finally enjoying actual July-style weather, which is passing strange when the leaves are already turning. I can but hope that this late warmth also heralds a later start to winter. The water main replacement on our street is finally done, and we’ve been reconnected to the underground drinking water supply, but there is still a lot of rehabilitation work to come – new curbs, repaving the street, and fixing our front yards and driveways to return them to their original state, etc. I hope the city’s contractors will complete the task before the first snows. I’ll be glad when it’s over. The constant dust, which reminds me so much of life in an Army training area (the Lawfield Road corridor in Gagetown, for example!), won’t be missed, least of all by my sinuses. That’s the one disadvantage of working from home. I get to experience everything in real time.

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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.

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.

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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Filed under Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series, Underwater Marvels

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.

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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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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