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.
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.
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!
My editor has begun her review of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) and I should see the first round of comments within days. I think it’s safe to say it’ll be published this month, hopefully before the contractor starts work our our downstairs bathroom and I find my environment less conductive to the authorly arts. I’ve now been instructed to take a day or two of rest, so I can recover from an intense week of 10-12 hour days revising the novel. We’ll see. I’m not very skilled at the fine of doing nothing. Which I suppose is reflected by my decreased time watching the boob tube in favor of reading, although Netflix is being annoying and putting up further shows I want to watch, especially Scandinavian noir cop series, or further seasons of shows I’ve been watching. But soon enough, I’ll be turning my attention back to the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore installment. I’d like to see it out by early summer, as do her fans, I daresay.
I’m pleased to announce that I just finished writing the last words of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6). Yep, I’m done. Now for a few weeks worth of editorial massaging and proofreading, but there you have it: Eric Thomson’s eleventh novel. It came in at about the same length as the others, meaning a slice above 400 pages, or just short of 110,000 words. Decker fans will learn a bit more about our fun-loving, hard-fighting Marine’s past, and perhaps even get a hint about his future, or at least a possible future. The story picks up several months after the fallout from Black Sword, but it is self-contained even though some familiar names and faces from the previous installment make a return visit, because as will become apparent to those who read No Remorse, fighting Decker’s War is growing beyond the ability of one man and his partner, no matter how skilled and determined they may be. And that’s as much of a teaser as you’ll get for now.
As they say in the ad world – look for it at your favorite retailer in late March.
Just a quick word to let you know I’m busy finishing No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6), so there won’t be a regular blog post this week. I’ve reached the 95% mark, meaning the first draft will be completed within the next two or three days. Then it goes through the rounds of editing and proofing, but I’m still optimistic for a late March publication date, since my editor has confirmed she will clear full week for me the moment it’s ready.
As a novelist, I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, meaning I make the story up as I go along — within general plot parameters, let it be said — rather than outline, develop the outline into chapters, etc., etc. I tried it once with the help of some nifty software to keep things disciplined and bored myself to tears. That novel was Victory’s Bright Dawn, by the way. When I attempted a repeat with Black Sword, I gave up early on and returned to my usual seat of the pants writing, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The curse part surfaces when I’ve either written myself into a blind corner, or I can’t come up with what happens next and spend a lot of time staring out the window. The blessing comes when new characters suddenly appear unplanned, or when characters do or say something unexpected, spinning the tale in new and exciting directions. I suffered from both in recent days. A new, mysterious, and interesting character unexpectedly crossed Zack Decker’s path, but in my desire to make something of this character right away, instead of letting it percolate through the story, I cursed myself into a blind alley and lost a day’s worth of work. Then, the next day another character, this one planned, had a fascinating and lengthy discussion with Zack Decker, changing some of my plans. Although this happens with every story I write, whenever my characters take over, it’s always an interesting if not downright enjoyable experience and the cast of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) is making me live through that again. What I find really pleasant in such cases is that I make a lot of progress because the words seem to fall on the page by themselves. When I go down a blind alley, and my characters no longer cooperate, productivity becomes painful and slow. And we all know how stubborn a guy like Zack Decker can be, right?
As regular readers of this blog might remember, since leaving the demented bureaucracy for the genteel life of a writer at large, I’ve been alternating periods in front of the keyboard with work on our more than forty-year-old house. I had a plan of sorts too — focus on a specific aspect each year, be it for work I’d do myself or work I intended on handing to a contractor. Of course, the moment you inform life you have a plan, life’s response will be: hold my beer, and watch this!
The other day, just as she was leaving for work, Mrs. Thomson called me to witness a growing water puddle in the downstairs bathroom. Turns out Old Man Winter froze a sink drainpipe running inside an outer wall shut. And that latest water damage in the same space, which hasn’t seen an upgrade other than cosmetic since the house was built back when I was still in grade school, means we need to move up the bathroom rebuild by a year or two. So much for my 2018 renovation plans, but there’s no real choice, not with the danger of mold growing thanks to this last soaking. And since this is work for a contractor, not a do it yourselfer like me, I must see what I can do at minimal cost with my own hands elsewhere on the property. Thankfully, we were able to hire the same excellent company that worked on our kitchen and other bathroom in years past. I suppose the price tag is an added incentive to publish more good stories.
No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) is fast approaching the halfway completion mark, and as you may have noticed, its cover now features alongside the rest of them on this blog. After a brief moment of writer’s block the day before yesterday, the floodgates opened during my daily stint at the gym, and I can finally see precisely how all parts of the story will unfold, which always helps increase my productivity. At this rate, you can expect it to hit the bookshelves sometime in March!
It’s been a week of endings around here, some good, some sad. The city’s contractors have laid down the first coat of asphalt on our street, meaning no more mud and dust, and they’ve begun preparing front yards and driveways for rehabilitation. Whether they’ll manage to complete everything before winter remains open to question. I’m also almost done revising The Warrior’s Knife. After a few intense discussions with my editor two weeks ago, I’m making a number of changes to improve the story and kick it up a notch. As the first of a new series, we’re both anxious that I get it absolutely right. Of course, that means publication is delayed until November, or even possibly early December.
However, our lingering summer is finally over. The furnace came on this week for the first time since spring; the days are getting noticeably shorter and the breeze downright cold. And yesterday, we found out that Gord Downie, the lead singer and lyricist for the quintessentially Canadian band The Tragically Hip passed away at age 53, his brain cancer finally claiming victory. Like millions of Canadians, I was glued to the TV for The Hip’s final concert in Kingston last year, knowing that once the last note faded away, they would never appear on stage together again. Rest in Peace, Gord.