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I Did It Again

I suppose it was inevitable.  After having so much fun building a scale model of Siobhan Dunmoore’s current command, the Q-ship Iolanthe, I had to go back and build a scale model of her previous ship, the frigate Stingray.  Here she is in all her glory.  I’ve tried to build her to the same scale as Iolanthe, and eventually, I’ll post a picture of both together, but not today (by the way, that clear plastic thing underneath is a stand and not part of the model).

Stingray copy

And with that, I have no more excuses to play around while Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) remains unfinished.  Unless I start trying my hand at green screen photography and Photoshop both models against a starry background, something Mrs Thomson is encouraging me to try.  In any case, I’ve passed the halfway mark on Dunmoore #5, so I’m still on target.  In the meantime, if you haven’t read Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset, do yourself a favor and get it.  So far, the reviews have been uniformly positive.

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Ebb and Flow

Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset has been with my editor since Friday, and so far, so good.  It means I’m now back to working full time on Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5), although I’ve not made as much progress in the last two weeks as I would have wished.  This is mostly because revising Imperial Sunset turned out to be more effort than I had anticipated (I decided to essentially re-write the last 25%!) but the end result is a much stronger storyline that gives me greater scope to explore the Ashes of Empire universe in future installments.  In fact, you could say Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset opens up a whole universe of storyline possibilities.  But before I delve into the next installment of that saga, I must finish Dunmoore #5, work on the second Chief Superintendent Caelin Morrow mystery and write another Zack Decker adventure.  For 2018, I’ll likely only be able to complete the first two.

And now, since it’s summer, I have work to do on the property, so that we don’t see a repeat of last winter’s problems.  And that means trading the keyboard for a shovel for the rest of today.  Dunmoore will have my full attention once more tomorrow morning.

By the way, if you want to see what the Imperial Sunset paperback cover looks like, pop over to my Facebook page for a gander.

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The Fickleness of a Writer’s Mind

The downstairs bathroom renovations are in full swing this week, which means very early mornings, plenty of noise and many disruptions. Hardly the most conducive atmosphere for a writer but since it will cost a pretty penny, the stories must flow. And thus, I have new developments to report.

As much as it pains me to say this, I find myself forced to shelve the next Siobhan Dunmoore story. I’ve been struggling with it since last September and simply can’t get into the groove. Something about it isn’t working, and after 15,000 words or about five chapters, I still can’t figure out what. Dunmoore stopped speaking to me, and nothing I’ve tried has helped. Instead, I’ve decided to launch into a fresh project, something that’s been sitting in the back of my mind for a long, long time. It’s a new series (yes, another one—but since the first Quis Custodiet book hasn’t found a big audience yet, I’ll be letting that series grow at a slower rate).

I’ve tentatively called this new project Ashes of Empire. For those of you who’ve read No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) already, this might sound familiar. The plotline goes as follows. A thousand years after the Commonwealth is extinguished and replaced by an empire, to avoid another ruinous civil war, the unthinkable finally happens, and human civilization falls into a death spiral from which there is no escape. A battalion of elite Imperial Pathfinders, sent to protect a corrupt imperial governor general on far-off Coraline is facing a horrible death at the hands of blood-maddened rebels. Until, that is, the remains of an Imperial Navy squadron, led by the fast attack cruiser Vanquish, passes through the system as it flees a losing battle and hears their distress signal. So starts a desperate attempt to stave off the long night of barbarism that would see humanity fall back to pre-spaceflight if not pre-industrial levels and confined to its myriad worlds for millennia. That is if entire populations aren’t wiped out first, be it through the civil war raging across the galaxy or at the hands of marauding aliens. I’ve tentatively called the first in this series Imperial Sunset, with Imperial Night and further volumes to follow. Contrary to the Dunmoore, Decker and Morrow series, these will not be standalone adventures, nor will they follow a single set of characters through each installment since the planned story arc will cover lengthy time periods.

 

AoE1 ebook 2May18 copy

I’m excited by this new storyline. Even though it’s set in the same universe as my other series, putting it in the far future, long after history has forgotten Siobhan Dunmoore, Zack Decker, Hera Talyn and Caelin Morrow, will allow me to explore different themes. I’ve already written the first two chapters in the space of two days, in spite of the noise of hammering, sawing and drilling from downstairs, and my fingers can barely keep up with the geyser of ideas.

So, my apologies to Dunmoore fans, but I can’t force something that doesn’t want to come along. Trying to do otherwise makes for poor storytelling. I’m hoping that by delving into the thirty-sixth century, I might regain a connection to our Siobhan’s twenty-fifth. Decker fans need not fear. He’s still speaking to me, so there will be a seventh installment, and I’ve already outlined the second Caelin Morrow murder case.  And if you haven’t read No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) yet, you’re in for a treat.

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Author in Winter

This morning, Mrs. Thomson and I finally made it out onto the woodland trails for a bit of cross-country skiing. We’re blessed with many places within an easy drive where we can enjoy nature. And even though I’m probably as little a fan of winter as it gets for a Canadian, I have to admit that the forest, after a fresh dusting of overnight snow, was delightful. As were the other skiers and snowshoers we passed — smiles and friendly hellos at every encounter. We also rediscovered that cross-country skiing uses a set of muscles different from the one we exercise at the gym, but it’s a good ache, especially at our age. And speaking of age, it was interesting that pretty much everyone we saw out there was of our generation or near enough. It made me wonder what the younger folks do for exercise and fresh air on a beautiful February Saturday.

But now I’m back at the keyboard while a new dusting of snow is erasing tracks and footprints. I’ve just passed the three-quarters mark for the first draft of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6), and as it always happens when I come to the final act, my writing speeds up so I can stay ahead of characters barreling towards the story’s climax. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story involves people from Decker’s distant past, as well as his more recent adventures, especially the previous two. I figure I’ll be done by the end of the month, and I’ve already warned my editor to clear her calendar for March. Once this one is in her hands, it’s back to Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5).

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5-6 August 2017 Science Fiction and Fantasy Promotion

I’m pleased to participate once again in this fantastic promotion organized by Australian author Patty Jansen for fans of science fiction and fantasy.  My own “Death Comes But Once” is one of the featured books, but do check out the other 99 great novels on offer, each for 99c.  Click on the image below to find good reading at a great price!

August Promo

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There’s No Escape

Since leaving the dank underbelly of the demented bureaucracy, my home office has been an oasis of calm.  Not since last week.  The city is replacing the water main on our street and today, the work is happening right outside my home.  It makes writing a challenge, but fortunately, I’m done with Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5).  The manuscript now sits in my editor’s inbox, so you Decker fans can expect an August release.  Here’s what it looks like from my office window today.  I bet it’s a lot calmer outside my old, downtown office, but such is life.

Road work

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More Sounds of Summer

The audiobook version of The Path of Duty (Siobhan Dunmoore #2) is now available for pre-order and will be released on July 20th.  You can find it at the links below:

Audible

Amazon

It will eventually show up on iTunes, OverDrive, Hoopla and Recorded Books

SD2 Audio

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Happy 150th Birthday, Canada

Canada-Flag

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July 1, 2017 · 9:23 am

Back to the Future

More procrastination with graphic art has resulted in a 1930s pulp fiction style cover for the first Decker’s War adventure.  Here it is, side by side with the actual book cover.

And the upcoming fifth adventure

Decker Pulp 3 Decker 5 ebook

You can check out the website I used to produce the retro cover here: http://thrilling-tales.webomator.com/derange-o-lab/pulp-o-mizer/pulp-o-mizer.html

By the way – the first draft of Black Sword is done… It’s headed for my editor later in July.

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I See Creatures

I thought I’d share with you the pictures of a few of the many wonderful creatures we encountered under the sea last week.  This seahorse was barely ten centimetres tall.

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This banded jawfish had a head no wider than a five cent coin.

Banded Jawfish

While these tritoniid nudibranchs living on a gorgonian sea fan were the size of rice grains.  The white strands are their eggs.

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