It seems like Mother Nature decided to give up on autumn in our part of the Great White North a few weeks early this year — it’s only mid-November and we’re already in winter’s frigid grip. Fifteen centimeters of snow fell last Thursday evening into Friday and this morning, it’s minus thirteen degrees Celsius although there’s a lovely ice fog blurring the sunshine.
At least productivity has been good lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote about needing to reassess where I was going with Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7). I’m happy to say taking a step back improved the story line considerably and I’m now almost caught up again — yesterday I passed the two-thirds completion mark. Since I’m taking a break from writing for a while over Christmas and New Year’s, I expect to send the manuscript to my editor in early January, when she’s back after her own holidays. Then, I intend to start work on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight, the first of a planned 3-4 novels in 2019, which will include a sixth Siobhan Dunmoore and a second Quis Custodiet.
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?
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!
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.
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!
And it’s live! As of writing this post, the ebook is available on Amazon, Apple, and Kobo, but is still in the process of getting published on Google Play and Barnes & Noble, with more retailers to follow. The paperback is out on Amazon already.
Click on the image below for the links to the various ebook retailers.
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.