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.


Variable Speed and Good Tunes

Some stories are easier to write than others. I cannot quite explain it, but even though my Siobhan Dunmoore and Decker’s War series are set in the same universe, just not in the same era, and both are military sci-fi themed, I still find myself chugging along at full speed with one and at a slower pace with the other.

For example, Decker’s War #3 came out at the end of May, and here I am, three months later, with Decker’s War #4 two-thirds done. It only took me six months from the publication of Decker’s War #2 to publish #3, while it has been 13 months now since Siobhan Dunmoore #2 came out, and I am still not quite ready to publish #3, let alone figure out the theme for #4.

It may in part have to do with the fact that I was a ground pounder in my military days, and not a sailor, and thus find it easier to visualize Decker’s stories. After all, one of the most widely known pieces of advice for novice writers is ‘write what you know.’

I am still hoping to wrap Like Stars in Heaven up by the end of this month and have it out on the electronic bookshelves before August 31, with paperback version to follow soon after. However, the roofers should be doing their thing this coming week, which means a bit of disruption for two days, then the long, painful work of reinsulating that part of the house, and I hate doing insulation. Nevertheless, I have to get it done before the weather cools and heating season starts, otherwise, I am blowing money through the walls and ceiling.

Back to Howling Stars on this gray and rainy Sunday. At least I still have the memory of last night’s final Tragically Hip concert, broadcast live from Kingston, cheering me up. You would never figure Gord Downie has terminal cancer, the way he hustled through a full set and three encores. I will leave you with a link to my favourite tune, which they sang during the first encore last night, Blow at High Dough.  Yes, the video is just a bit dated (okay, very dated), but the song still resonates over a quarter of a century after they first performed it.