Tag Archives: time

Time Flies

One of the things I’ve noticed, growing older, is that the passage of time seems to accelerate.  In March, we celebrated our twentieth year living in the same house – a record for two people who grew up shifting from place to place as the military moved their fathers to new duty stations, not to mention our moves while I was in the regular army.  And this morning, I was reminded by our kind veterinary clinic that our youngest, and sole surviving dog, turns ten today.  Funny.  I still vividly remember him as a tiny puppy, barely larger than my hand.  Where did all that time go?  Mind you, at five pounds, he’s still small, smaller than the cat we encountered during our morning walk, but he has the spirit of big dog even if his growls and barks are more endearing than menacing.  I get a lot of smiles from passersby as we walk through the neighbourhood ever day, and I know what they see – a big, bearded, fifty-something guy enjoying a stroll with his wee little dog.  Now that he’s healed from his knee operation, my guy can put on some speed when he wants to.

Victory’s Bright Dawn has been out for nine days now, and seems to be doing well with Siobhan Dunmoore fans.  It’s the sort of encouragement that’ll have me write her next adventure, although inspiration for a storyline hasn’t struck just yet.  But I’m steaming ahead with the fifth Decker’s War installment, and as you might have noticed, the cover and synopsis for Black Sword are up both here and on my author website.  I’m aiming to have the manuscript in my editor’s hands late June or early July, perhaps even earlier if I can overcome my habitual tendency to procrastinate, which might be a struggle now that the weather is finally showing signs of improvement.


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An Author’s Christmas

I’ve just noticed that another year has flown by without warning ­­– in two weeks, we’ll be celebrating Christmas 2016! And what a year it’s been. I’ve taken early retirement from my day job to write full-time, managed to release three new novels without going insane, and reentered the home renovation hobby (not that I had a choice, but I’m pretty pleased with my work so far). In fact, I’ve taken up the reno torch to the point where I’ve resolved to re-do one or two rooms per year until I’ve upgraded our entire house. My health has significantly improved, as has my physical fitness and thanks to a reorientation of my diet, along with my daily hour of cardio training, my weight is going down for the first time in years.

Blogging will be light over the next few weeks – even full-time writers enjoying the ‘work from home’ lifestyle need to take a break now and then, but I suspect I’ll keep plugging away at the first draft of A Splash of Blood, which is now a little over half-way done. Provided things work out as planned, it should hit the virtual shelves by the end of February.

If you enjoy my books and would like to give me a little Christmas cheer, consider leaving a review on Amazon. You have no idea how much a few kind words mean to an author who gets no other feedback. It also encourages me to write more adventures involving the characters you’ve come to love. If you’ve already done so, thank you!


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Mid-August Melancholy

I have always found mid-August to be a strange time. Summer has run two-thirds of its course, the days are still warm (sometimes too warm) but the nights are getting cooler if not downright chilly, while the later sunrise and earlier sunset become distinctly noticeable. The surest visible sign of mid-August in this part of the country is finding all that moisture coating the car when you get up in the morning.

Though I have not attended classes in over thirty years, I still get that melancholic feeling when I contemplate the beginning of September nearing at high speed. Funny how the imprint of the past still influences the way in which I see certain times of the year. It is as if life is somehow in suspended animation from late June to mid-August, even though I have not had a summer of complete and utter leisure in forty years.

There are still a good two months of golf left, and even more weeks of hiking before the first snows, yet we stand at the halfway mark between our last scuba diving trip and the next one, and at the two-thirds mark between last Christmas and the coming one.

A lot has happened since the last time I contemplated the strange feelings mid-August always evokes, yet some days, all these life changes still seem surreal, and charting the next twelve months is a bit like trying to predict the weather. I know what the general trends will be, but the details? How many books will I write and publish? What will I accomplish on the home renovation front? What other things will I discover in this life free from the demented bureaucracy? I will let you know in twelve months.

One thing I know for sure: this summer has been and will continue to be as active as every previous one. However, this is the first I spend working on my own terms since I became an adult, and yes, I still get a kick out of listening to the rush hour traffic report on the radio, happy in the knowledge that I’ll no longer have to suffer through the commute.

Once I get Like Stars in Heaven back from my proofer and beta reader, sometime in the next week or two, I can finally wrap up the third installment of Siobhan Dunmoore’s adventures. In the meantime, the fourth Decker’s War is over half completed. Excellent progress, considering the previous episode came out a little under three months ago (where have those three months gone!?!).

But, as I look out the window on this beautiful, sunny Monday morning, I can only feel grateful for my life.

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The Internet Vortex

Getting stuck in an internet vortex is a mightily dangerous thing for an author.  I tend to surf the internet while waiting for my brain to come up with the next scene in my current work in progress, mostly to kill time and amuse myself, sometimes to research things, be they out of personal curiosity or related to what I’m writing.  The problem is that I’m easily caught in a whirlpool sucking me deeper into the data stream, such as when I visit a Wikipedia page for information, only to navigate from page to page without end (a phenomenon I call a wiki vortex), clicking on interesting links.  I’ll emerge hours later, wondering where the time went.

I usually come out of my voyages down the internet vortex somewhat smarter than when I started, but it sucks up a lot of time I should be devoting to advancing my own stories, especially when I’m either procrastinating or stuck after introducing a twist in the story that has me wondering why I did that.  Sometimes it takes me two or three days of desultory progress to finally figure out the reason.  When that happens, it’s about as close to a ‘Eureka’ moment as I’ll ever come, and I’ve had two of them in the last two days, finally removing the logjam that was keeping me from advancing on the first draft of Fatal Blade.  Mind you, the time I didn’t spend writing, I spent getting better acquainted with the world around me, for what that’s worth.

The third installment of Decker’s War has now passed the half-way mark and I’m hoping that progress will accelerate, now that I’ve gotten the first two acts out of the way.  Thankfully, winter seems about to release it’s grasp with temperatures forecasted to be above the freezing point from Sunday onwards.  Soon, I’ll be able to do my thinking while I’m walking the dog around the neighbourhood.  I’m sure he’s looking forward to it as well after three months of confinement.  When you’re a five pound Yorkie, snow and ice aren’t your friends.

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Time’s Passing

Hard to believe, but we’re only a week away from Labour Day, which means summer is almost over – already. In some jurisdictions, today is the first day of school, in others, it’ll be next week. Looking back, I have no idea where it went. Granted, my month of July was very much given over to finalizing The Path of Duty for publication, but even August seems to have flown by with only a few outings into the woods and one round of golf. I’m beginning to develop the theory that time goes by faster the older one gets. I’ve been in my current job for so long that I forget in which year we did what.  It doesn’t seem like all that time has elapsed and yet it’s been seven years! On the other hand, it means the roughly two and a half years I’ve got left before I retire from my day job and become a full-time writer should go by in a flash. But, one thing at a time. Even though summer is nearing the end, this week will be a scorcher and Mrs Thomson and I are planning on hitting the links on Friday. Of course, our annual scuba diving trip to an undisclosed location is also coming up fast. As it will coincide with our thirtieth wedding anniversary, this year’s will be special.

In the meantime, I’m almost done with the first draft of Cold Comfort (Decker’s War – Book 2). I should have it wrapped up by this time next week. Then, it gets set aside for a bit of maturing while I go back to the third Dunmoore adventure. Sadly, my second attempt at it also proved to be a false start, but I think I’ve got the right storyline now. All that to say, I’m still confident Cold Comfort will be ready for the planned end of October release date, while the next Dunmoore is probably going to come out early in 2016.

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Tempus Fugit

Last week, I said goodbye to the boss who hired me several years ago and who took a bit of a leap of faith on my fit into the organisation I figure, but for whom I really enjoyed working over the last six and a half years. It was one of those rare occasions in a career where styles meshed comfortably. My boss’ retirement gave me a bit of a wakeup call on the speed with which time chugs along, since the last several years seem to have vanished in the blink of an eye, even if I can remember some painful episodes that took their toll on my patience. Those of you who work in IT and deal with clients can surely imagine what I mean. My boss is only three years older than I am, and that means my retirement from my day job is also potentially only three years away, and long as that may seem as I deal with yet another unreasonable client expectation, it will be quick when placed in perspective with the years that have gone by.

I got my second wakeup call last week as well, at a symposium, where I saw one of my course officers from my early days in training, more than thirty years ago. He was young, freshly promoted and only a few years older than I was at the time, and now, he’s one of the top men in the organisation. I suppose I could say that for many of the folks I saw last week, and yet I remember the days I served with them or under their command at a time when the USSR still rattled its sabre loudly, though one could argue we’ve come full circle with Mr. Putin in that respect.

It got me to thinking about time and how it’s been portrayed in fiction, and more importantly, how a person reacts to the passage of time. I used to read lengthy sagas at one point, the kind that cover generations of one or several families, James Michener’s well known epics being the most notable example, although Edward Rutherfurd is probably better known these days. However interesting these historical panoramas were, and I learned a lot from them even through the fictional veils, even if it was only where to look for actual information about an era that I found fascinating, I never really connected to the characters. They were there for a few chapters, and then the story jumped forward and they were gone. In terms of science-fiction, Asimov’s Foundation stories occupy a similar space, with a similar difficulty in connecting. I think the first series that really caught me in terms of a story arc going over a long period of time where I cared enough about some of the protagonists to feel the immensity of the gulf of years was Frank Herbert’s Dune saga. I found that there was a sense of loss as the story moved centuries and then millennia beyond the original setting, a sense of people long gone to dust whom one still felt for. It’s a bit hard to explain, or put in words, but reflecting on the passing years, and seeing the people around me age, or looking at the young generation just starting out at Royal Military College who have their whole life in front of them carries its own sense of loss. How much more would one feel that dislocation, if one were to be immortal while most of those we’ve known die at their appointed time? Immortality would certainly give one eons to experience loss.

It’s been said the best life lived is one with few regrets, and I regret little of what I’ve lived so far. My father remarked, the other day, that the fact Mrs Thomson and I are still together after thirty plus years is increasingly unusual in this society and something to celebrate, and this may be one of our greatest victories. When I think about it, on top of a partnership worthy of celebration, I’ve achieved what I wanted in the Army, had a tolerable career in IT so far, and now finally, decades after the ambition first struck me, I’m a published author with some success. Yet I can’t help looking back at my life, and thinking about how different the life of those who follow in my footsteps decades later is and will be.   There is no value judgement attached to those thoughts, just idle musing about what ifs.

Considering my ramblings about the passage of time, I wonder if I could write stories that are far from us in time, or that cover an immense span. I feel more comfortable spinning tales that occupy little space on the wheel of time, but a lot of space in terms of the main characters’ development. The same could be said about the vistas that provide a backdrop for my stories: they also are limited to the small slice in which protagonists and antagonists live or die. I guess I’m not a big picture kind of guy, but that’s okay. There are plenty of authors out there who like to paint gigantic canvases. I like small, but exquisitely detailed pictures and if you’ve ever seen my hobby room, you’d know how much I love intricate miniatures. Isn’t it funny how much my deeply held, lifelong likes and dislikes inform my writing?

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