Category Archives: Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series

Time’s Torrent

It seems like time is passing faster as I get older.  Summer is just about over, considering the official start of autumn is in one week – even if today is warm, almost sweltering.  Leaves are beginning to change color and the squirrels are hard at work squirreling away their winter’s supply of acorns.  Where did it go?  I already signed this coming winter’s snow-blowing contract with our usual service provider and my thoughts are turning to our next scuba diving escape.  I’m almost afraid to blink, lest I suddenly find facing an imminent Christmas and a season of Canadian cold.  Did I accomplish everything I wanted this summer?  Probably not, but at least the essentials are done.

If I’ve been less active blogging recently, it’s for a good reason.  I’m deep into revising Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5), since I promised my editor she’d get the manuscript before the end of September – hopefully within a week.  But that confirms my earlier estimate it won’t hit the shelves until sometime in early October.  Such is life.

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Idle Day Blues

Today is the day where Canada and other countries celebrate work through idleness.  Labour Day also marks the unofficial end of summer in our Land of Ice and Snow, even though its official end is almost three weeks away, and warm, wonderful weather has been known to linger well past Thanksgiving in some parts.  And by that, I mean the Canadian Thanksgiving, which falls on the second Monday in October – not the American version which is less than four weeks shy of Christmas!

However, I won’t be idle today, not after taking a break since finishing the first draft of Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5).  I started revising it a few days ago, and have the first 10 chapters done so far, but my editor won’t be ready to receive the manuscript until much later in September.  That means publication might slip into the first or second week of October.  But published it will be.

And while I was taking a break from Dunmoore #5, I wrote the first three chapters of Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) just to set the tone, since I’ll be jumping into it the moment Dunmoore #5 is with my editor.  Not to forget my forays into starship modelling.  If you’re following my Facebook page (and why wouldn’t you?)  you’ll know I recently completed a model of the Eagle 1 Transporter from the 1970s scifi series Space 1999.  Right now, I’m in the process of completing another starship model from the same series, a Hawk Mk IX, which appeared in only one episode of the first season. But it’s a lovely little space fighter.  I’ll post a picture on Facebook once it’s completed later this week.

But back to celebrating work by not doing anything!

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Filed under Decker's War Military Science Fiction Series, Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series, Thoughts

Celebration Time!

A few minutes ago, I wrote ‘The End’ at the bottom of the final page of Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5).  It’s the first draft, of course, so there’s plenty of work still left, but finally getting it done, eight months behind schedule, is a nice feeling.  As with the others in the series, it comes in at about 400 pages in the print edition.  I’ve promised myself a weekend of relaxation, far from the computer and the art of writing, before plunging back into things.  And just so I keep that promise, I’ve given myself another spaceship model kit to build over the weekend, though not one from the Siobhan Dunmoore or Decker’s War universe, but from a vintage TV science-fiction series I still remember with nostalgia.  It, more than anything else, got me into imagining my own stories.  I’ll put up a picture of the model once it’s built.

What comes after Without Mercy?  If you’ve been paying attention to my blog and website, you’ll have noticed the book cover for the next Decker’s War adventure, titled Hard Strike has been posted.  That’s what I intend to work on next, before plunging into Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight, the sequel to my most recently published novel.

But for at least the next few days, I’m stepping away from writing to enjoy life a little.

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

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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Filed under Announcements, Decker's War Military Science Fiction Series, Siobhan Dunmoore Naval Science Fiction Series