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.
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.
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.
The warm weather finally seems to be settling in around here, and not a moment too soon. Mrs Thomson has finally been able to engage in one of her favorite activities, gardening, while I have been able to indulge in one of my own, not gardening. But I have fired up the grill for the first bout of backyard cooking in 2018. And more work on the property awaits me over the next few months.
I’m glad to say Imperial Sunset (Ashes of Empire #1) is now two-thirds done, and as with all my books, has taken on a slightly different arc from what I’d originally planned. Characters that appeared unexpectedly in the first half are now becoming more and more important, and will likely be a major force in the subsequent installments of the larger, multi-volume saga. I won’t reveal anything here, but these characters will be familiar to readers of Decker’s War.
In other news, as you may have read, all of my novels are now available in hardcover, and to my surprise, the hardcover editions of Decker’s War are selling already. That’s sufficient motivation to ensure I publish hardcover editions alongside the ebook and paperback editions in future. And finally, I haven’t given up on the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure. I sense that she might talk to me again in the near future, and that means Without Mercy might get back on track.
And now, off to the gym, so that I don’t turn into a chair potato.
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.
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.”
And in other news, all of my novels are now available in hardcover format.
Mrs Thomson and I returned from our annual springtime scuba diving pilgrimage to an undisclosed tropical location a few days ago. Once again, it was a fantastic week spent with good friends diving on some of the best coral reefs in the western hemisphere. The food and drink weren’t bad either – except for the waistline, that is!
But since coming home, I’ve been diligently working on the project to publish all of my novels in hardcover. I’m pleased to announced that as of today, the entire Decker’s War series is now available in that format on Amazon, with further retailers to follow. The first Siobhan Dunmoore adventure is also available in hardcover as of today, with the rest to come later this week. Once that’s done, I will return to writing Imperial Sunset. I’ve also come up with the working title for the next Chief Superintendent Morrow mystery, which is planned for later this year – it will be called Mayhem on Mission.
And now, back to work.
In the publishing industry, you’ll normally see books come out in hardcover first, then months later in paperback. As you may have noticed, I’ve not been following that industry practice. But I’m catching up – slowly. I’ve now begun the process to get all of my novels published in hardcover format, starting with The Warrior’s Knife, which is, as of today, available for purchase on Amazon, and will become available through other retailers in due course. You can see it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1775135543
The next to come out in hardcover will be Death Comes But Once, which is going through the pre-production checks right now, with the rest to follow over the coming weeks.
Another Spring, another deep freeze. The calendar might say April, but the thermometer says January. What the 90 kilometer per hour wind gusts say is something else altogether, but our neighbourhood survived the last thirty-six hours with no visible damage, unlike others. I’m sure the migrating Canada geese we’ve seen overhead for the last week or so are mighty confused. My dog certainly seems to be.
At least the bathroom renos are just about done. The final fixture came in today, so all that remains is two small finishing touches. A big shout-out to the folks at Distinctive Bathrooms and Kitchens for a great job. I can’t recommend them enough. And since I like hanging around the tradesmen when they’re working so I can watch and I’m not shy about asking questions, I learned a lot of little tricks and techniques I’ll find helpful when I’m doing my own work. I owe a big thanks to all of them for patiently explaining their work and indulging my enthusiasm.
And when it comes to my own trade, that of storyteller, I’m happy to report Imperial Sunset (Ashes of Empire #1) hit the one-third, or 33.3% completion mark today. That’s almost 140 pages or 11 chapters in two and a half weeks. Not too bad, if I say so myself.
On this eve of Good Friday, the bathroom renovation is just about completed. A few items on back-order still need to be installed next week, but it’s usable again. And so nice. Modern looking too, compared to its earlier 1974 vintage incarnation. Over the weekend, Mrs. Thomson and I will have the agreeable chore of dusting and scrubbing the rest of the house. I’ve already done my office, which put me a little behind on my daily writing, but progress on my newest project has been excellent.
In the 9 days since I started writing Imperial Sunset (Ashes of Empire #1), I’ve put over 20,000 words to paper, one-fifth of the novel! And this at a time when tradesmen were working downstairs from early in the morning to late afternoon. It goes to show you that when I’m on the right track, my productivity is most satisfying. It also vindicates my decision to shelve Siobhan Dunmoore’s fifth adventure for now and move on to the next idea, since I was getting nowhere. The storyline for Imperial Sunset is already almost entirely formed in my head, and now it’s just a matter of fleshing it out and pounding the keyboard. As this is my twelfth novel, the fleshing out is becoming easier and therefore quicker. I foresee a mid to late June publication date.
And if you haven’t picked up your copy of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!
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.
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.