Return to Reality

Blogging has been non-existent for the last two weeks because Mrs Thomson and I, joined by a few good friends, have been on our annual springtime scuba diving expedition to warmer climes.  I took the picture below a few days ago during the rise of a spectacular full moon over the Caribbean Sea.  If I ever write a murder mystery set in the tropics, I have my book cover!

It was, as usual, a splendid outing, with some of the best reef diving in the western hemisphere, great company, plentiful food and a lot of fun.  The only fly in the ointment is the local airline in the Caribbean failing to load one of our bags on the flight from our undisclosed paradise to the local hub from which we flew home yesterday.  Unfortunately it contained the most vital (and costly) components of my underwater photography rig.  I’ve been promised that it would be put on a flight back to Canada today, and so I wait with bated breath for a call from our airport to tell me I have a bag to pick up.  Failing that, I’ll no doubt be facing a protracted discussion with two airlines and a few insurance companies, followed by the process of reassembling a rig when some of the parts are no longer in production, something I hope to avoid.

I’ve received comments and corrections from my proofreader for the first third of Victory’s Bright Dawn so far, and it only being mid-April, I’m still confident it will be published by the end of the month.  Watch this space, or if you’ve subscribed to my email list, watch your inbox.

UPDATE April 16, 10:00 AM.  Just returned from the airport with the missing  bag that made a long trip by itself yesterday.  All is good.  The underwater photography will continue.

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No Fooling this April 1st

Tantor Media now have me listed as one of their authors, which makes our contractual relationship even more official, I suppose.  You can find my author page here:

https://tantor.com/author/eric-thomson.html

My books aren’t listed under the “Coming Soon” heading yet, but it’s only a matter of time…

I’ll be getting my editor’s comments on Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4) by tomorrow, but she finds it my best and best written to date.  She’s certainly happy with the quality of the manuscript.  Once I’ve absorbed her comments and made the appropriate changes, it goes to my beta reader/proofreader (you know who you are) in a week or two, after which, once I’ve finalized everything and through the magic of ebook publication it will be available to all Siobhan Dunmoore fans – paperback version to follow.  I’ll apologize in advance to those hoping to read it via Kindle Unlimited, but I shall not be enrolling the novel in that program.  I’m still not confident that Amazon is treating authors enrolled in Kindle Unlimited fairly.  That means it will be available via iTunes, Kobo, Nook, etc, as well as Amazon (purchase only) on the day of publication, which should cheer those who don’t buy their reading material from the almighty Zon.  If you’ve signed up to my mailing list, you’ll get an email telling you it’s live the moment that happens.

Now if only spring could liven up a bit!  Yesterday’s dump of snow, hopefully the last one of the winter, did nothing to buoy my spirits.

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Spring Sunday Blues

The calendar says that today, March 26th, is part of Spring, yet outside, it’s white, wet, damp and miserable.  Mrs Thomson and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood today instead of heading for the gym (a speed skating competition this weekend is making finding a parking spot at the recreational complex a tactical problem worthy of a special forces team), and it felt like one of the worst days of December in this fair town, where the humidity, Winter and Summer, amplifies the extremes.

You may have noticed that blogging has been light of late, but I have the best of excuses – finishing the revision of Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4).  The manuscript is now with my editor and so far, she likes it.  I’ll be jumping  back into the fifth Decker’s War adventure in the coming weeks.  Its Act I is well along, and as I was chatting with Mrs Thomson over supper today, I realized that one of the plot twists I’m planning was inspired by the Peter Sellers Inspector Clouseau movies, which I’ve seen so many times, I can quote lines verbatim.  Funny how such things happen.  No, it doesn’t mean I’m turning Decker into a farce, but one of the leitmotifs of the movies seems to have infiltrated Decker’s universe.  I’ll let the readers figure it out once the novel is published later this year, but I can say that the foundations for said leitmotif were laid in the last two Decker’s War novels.

I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere are having a better Spring than we are, and to those in the southern hemisphere, may your Autumn not suck.

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Siobhan Dunmoore in Audio

I’m thrilled to announce that Tantor Media, a leading producer of audio books, has bought the audio rights to the first three Siobhan Dunmoore novels. I’ve just signed my contract with them.  This means  No Honor in Death, The Path of Duty and Like Stars in Heaven should be available for purchase as audio books this summer via Amazon/Audible, iTunes, Hoopla, OverDrive, and Recorded Books’ OneClick Digital. You can be sure that I’ll announce the publication here on my blog and on my website the moment it happens.  And yes, I’m doing a happy dance right now.

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Good News

I just realized that I haven’t put up a blog post in two weeks, but there’s a very good reason – I was focusing entirely on Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4) and yesterday, I completed it. Now come the inevitable rounds of revision and editing. I intend to start the first run through next week, and provided my editor can free up space on her calendar later this month, it may hit the bookshelves by the end of April. Those of you who have signed up for my mailing list will receive an email from me the moment Victory’s Bright Dawn is available for purchase.

In the twenty-four hours or so since I wrote the last word of Victory’s Bright Dawn, I started seriously storyboarding Decker’s War Book 5, tentatively titled Black Sword. It will see Zack Decker and his partner Hera Talyn pulled into a vortex of treachery and betrayal on humanity’s planet of origin, good old Earth itself, and this time the threat will come from within the Fleet itself.  Barring any unforeseen complications, a late Summer publication date is quite possible.

Finally, I’ll be announcing an exciting new development concerning the first three Siobhan Dunmoore novels, hopefully within the next week or so.

 

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Embracing Change Part 2 – The Mailing List

I’ve finally been convinced that it’s time to join the year 2017 and offer my readers the option to join a mailing list which will allow me to inform them directly of new book releases, special offers and other things of interest.  That doesn’t mean I’ll stop blogging here and it doesn’t mean I’ll be deluging email in-boxes with frequent newsletters either.  It just means that anyone who wants to receive news about my books once in a while without visiting this blog or my official author website now has another option.  If you’re interested, this link will take you to a sign-up page.

Sign up for Eric Thomson’s Sci-Fi Worlds mailing list

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Schroedinger’s Starship

I am more of what we scribblers call a “pantser” than a “plotter” meaning I fly by the seat of my pants when I write, relying on high-level plot points, storylines and desired outcomes to guide me rather than planning a novel down to individual chapter and scene details. My mind simply won’t let me do otherwise. Sometimes, it takes me down dead ends, but mostly, it allows me to set my characters free to do their thing and I’m often pleased when they take me down unexpected rabbit holes. It does mean, however, that I’m frequently confronted with decisions that force me to choose between two separate paths, each driving the story or part of the story in a different direction.

I faced one such decision point the other day while working on the fourth Siobhan Dunmoore novel and it suddenly occurred to me that I had stumbled on the science fiction writer’s version of the old Schroedinger’s cat dilemma. Part of the plot involves finding a starship carrying purloined naval stores and Dunmoore lands in a particular place with her shuttle but can’t determine whether said starship is there or not until she gets out of the shuttle and is able to examine her surroundings. Because chores were calling, I had to stop writing at the point where she’s about to disembark, still not knowing myself whether she would find her elusive quarry. At that moment, I realized that not only would Dunmoore and I have to wait until she opens the hatch and disembarks to find out but that until then, the starship may be simultaneously there and not there. Schroedinger’s starship – all in a day’s work for someone who writes by the seat of his pants.

And no, I’m not telling you how it turned out.  Read the book once it’s published.

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Not Quite Spring Fever

Last Friday promised to be the best, and with daytime temperatures forecast to be above zero for the next two weeks, possibly one of the last good cross-country skiing days of the winter. We received almost forty centimeters of fresh snow during the week, and the sun would finally poke out from behind the clouds. But wouldn’t you know it, I came down with a bout of the flu. I could feel something creeping up on me for a few days, but by Friday morning, it had become clear that not only was skiing out of the question, going to the gym as per my usual routine was out as well. As I write this on Sunday morning (day three without going to the gym), it’s already three degrees above zero on a February 19th in the Great White North, and for all intents and purposes, the Spring melt has already begun. Both Mother Nature and I are experiencing a bit of a fever, it seems. Mind you, I’m not complaining about the weather. I’ll never be a winter lover. And the sooner the snow is gone, the faster my little canine companion can go out on walks again. He needs the exercise to rebuild the muscles in his rear leg after last months’ operation. Running around the house just isn’t enough anymore.

Thanks to my bout of flu, productivity has taken a bit of a hit over the last few days, but I’m nonetheless pleased to have reached the two-thirds completion mark for the first draft of Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4). I think mid-March is beginning to look like a good time for my editor to clear her calendar.  It also coincides with another significant milestone ­­– we’ll be making our final mortgage payment and the place we’ve called home for the last twenty years will be entirely ours. I think we’ll crack a bottle of the finest French bubbly on that day which, at this rate might see us freed of another winter’s snow.

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Embracing Change

The other day, the last of the three Siobhan Dunmoore novels published so far, Like Stars in Heaven, left the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program, which required exclusivity with Amazon under some fairly onerous terms. As a result, starting tomorrow, Monday, February 13, 2017, it will join the first two in being available across a wide range of retailers. I was able to remove it from KU two weeks early after a fruitless discussion with Amazon concerning their interpretation of what was to my eyes a pretty nonsensical restriction.

I mentioned in a blog post last month that I was one of many authors who had become less than enchanted with Amazon’s management the KU program and it has been getting increasingly more arbitrary and often chaotic for authors. That’s over and above the issues surrounding the payment of royalties, the prevalence of scammers abusing the program to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, etc. Since the first two novels of the Siobhan Dunmoore series have done surprisingly well outside of the Amazon ecosystem up to now, I’ve resolved to reduce my dependence on Amazon’s capriciousness by removing the entire Decker’s War series from KU at the end of this month. It will remain available for purchase on Amazon, but as of early March, it will also be available to readers who get their ebooks from iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other ebook retailers around the planet. Hopefully, those who enjoyed Siobhan Dunmoore might want to give Decker’s War a try. Though set in the same universe, but at a later time, Decker’s War features a different kind of protagonist and storyline.  It’s also more lighthearted, if not everyone’s cup of tea.

I think it’s worth noting that Mrs. Thomson and I subscribed to KU as readers until last autumn, when we decided we were wasting both money and time by wading through the increasingly dense pile of unreadable sludge on offer, only to find that what we actually wanted to read wasn’t available in KU. And that’s not even mentioning that we were paying to support a program which wasn’t doing authors justice yet rewarding scammers. I think that if I can’t justify using KU as a reader, it behooves me to stop supporting it as a writer and give my work wider exposure beyond Amazon.

Will I put further Siobhan Dunmoore and Decker’s War novels in KU for a 90 period after their publication, 90 days being the minimum enrollment period? At this point, I don’t know. I intend to keep an eye on how the KU issue develops or degenerates as the case may be, and that includes Amazon’s efforts in defeating the many scams without punishing honest authors. But I suspect that once I’m completely free of the unreasonable restrictions Amazon imposes on writers for the privilege of seeing their books in Kindle Unlimited, I’ll think twice about putting any new work at Amazon’s mercy.

Speaking of new work, the first draft of Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4) passed the half way mark a few days ago, and I’m really pleased with how it’s shaping up. At this rate, we might be looking for a mid-Spring publication date.

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Author Interview

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by One Stop Fiction.  You can read it here https://onestopfiction.com/interviews/eric-thomson-author-interview

Many thanks to Kathryn Bax and the One Stop Fiction team for their efforts.

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