At the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month, one hundred years ago, the guns fell silent, ending what had been by then the most murderous war in human history, World War I. Today, we remember the sacrifice of those who served and especially those who gave their lives then and in all the wars since.
Here we are again — All Hallows’ Eve, when the souls of the dead roam among us. Blink and it’ll be Christmas. Halloween is not something Mrs Thomson and I observe, but to me it always seems to have symbolized the delimitation between autumn and pre-winter. After all, it is just about halfway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. By the last day of October, most trees have shed their leaves, the first snow flurries have made their appearance, our snow clearing service has installed driveway markers, and our property is prepared for burial under a snowy shroud. For some reason tomorrow, the first day of November, or All Hallows according to the liturgical calendar, always feels very different from today even if the weather is the same. Go figure.
Progress on Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) in the last two weeks has not been what I might have wished. In part it’s because life intervened. It happens. But mostly, after much cogitation and discussion, I decided on a better way to tell the story, and that means stepping back to reassess progress to date. So it won’t be coming out before Christmas. Late January is now a more realistic date. Oh well…
The fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure has been out for almost two weeks now, so if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, what are you waiting for? In the meantime, I haven’t been idle. As of today, the first draft of Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) is 25% complete. I’m hoping to finish it before Christmas, a very real possibility at this point, since the year is winding down and outdoor activities are drying up, which leaves me with more time to sit in front of the computer and write. Of course, before we know it, our little part of the world will once more fall into a long winter’s nap under a blanket of snow. Where does the time go?
The latest Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, Without Mercy, has been published. The link below will take you to the ebook’s landing page where you can select your preferred retailer. Some retailers take longer than others to process a new title, so if you don’t see your favorite, give it a day or perhaps even two.
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – ebook
The paperback and hardcover versions are also available on Amazon and should appear elsewhere in the next few weeks.
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – Paperback
Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) – Hardcover
Autumn is truly and well here in our part of the Great White North. It’s a gray, wet and mildly depressing Tuesday outside. The dog keeps hoping for his walk, but I’m afraid it won’t happen today.
My editor is currently working on Without Mercy (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 5) and after the first pass, she says it’s looking good. No major surgery required. While she does her thing, I’m working on the nuts and bolts of publication – nailing down the cover, the description, getting the various sales channels set up, preparing the print issues, etc. An early October date for its release is becoming more and more realistic, if my editor can finish by the end of the month, as she hopes to do. If you haven’t seen the paperback version’s cover yet, you can see it on my Facebook page.
I’m also back to writing Hard Strike, the seventh Decker’s War adventure, which I hope to complete before Christmas. If you haven’t yet read the interview with Zack Decker, don’t miss out. He’s in fine form and as funny as ever.
Some days, I wonder who’s in charge. Is it the writer or the main character in my books? It looks like my friend Zachary T. Decker, of Decker’s War fame gave an unauthorized interview during which he spoke (or since this is direct from the 26th century – will speak) of himself, his life and his loves. You can read the transcript on this fine 21st century website:
Major Zack Decker in conversation
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.