Space Opera With a Twist

Month: July 2015

And……. We’re Done

I’ve just submitted the new Dunmoore novel, The Path of Duty, to Amazon for publication as a Kindle ebook.  It could take until tomorrow or even Tuesday before it’s available in all markets.  The paperback version should be available by Tuesday.  It being the Sunday before I return to my day job after two blissful weeks on holidays, feeling like I was retired already, I have a few things to take care of, now that the novel is wrapped up and on its way to the ebook shelves.

I just want to publicly thank two lovely ladies without whom this novel wouldn’t have seen the light of day, i.e. my editor and my proof-reader.  You two know who you are and  I love you both to bits.  Thanks for everything!

UPDATE 17:40hrs, July 26….  Looks like the ebook is live on most Amazon sites.

Amazon Canada

Amazon Australia

Amazon UK

Amazon Deutschland

It might take a few days before the “Look Inside” function appears on Amazon.  In the meantime, you can read the first two chapters on my site: The Path of Duty – Chapters One and Two


Almost There…

Update – 25 July 2015 – 20:00hrs (8PM, or eight bells in the dog watch) – The final review of the manuscript is 2/3s done.  Barring any emergencies tomorrow, it should be hitting the Amazon ebook shelves at some point between late Sunday evening and early Tuesday morning.  I have no control over that part of the process.  The paperback should be on the shelves by Tuesday morning.


My proof-reader finished with The Path of Duty last night and I updated the manuscript accordingly this morning.  I need to do one more read of the novel, to make sure nothing egregious jumps from the page and then it’ll be ready for publication.  Another couple of days at most.  I said I wanted it out before I returned to my day job next Monday, and I think we’ll manage it, even though I intend to return to the golf course tomorrow.  Once the book is live on Amazon (ebook first, paperback version a day or two after that), I’ll post the news here on my blog.

White Balls and Black Keyboards

Yes, I’m still on holidays, and no, my proof reader isn’t quite done yet.  How long before Dunmoore Book 2 is ready, you ask?  About eighty pages were left to proof as of last Sunday, so I’m expecting a email with the last comments any time now.  In the meantime, I’ve been committing violence on little white balls with high-tech clubs, and I’m happy to say that this morning’s round went much better than Monday’s.  Perhaps it’s because, with the stress of work finally draining away, I’m no longer holding my clubs as if they were the necks of people I want to choke, but as they should be held.  Suffice to say that the second half of this morning’s round saw good distance and accuracy for the first time this season.  I’ve also put a good 17,000 words into the second Decker’s War novel over the weekend and it’s already past the half-way point.  I’ll likely get back to it tomorrow, now that I’ve decided on how the next act will unfold.  That being said, if I could just keep from trying to slice my fingertips off with that fancy (and very sharp) new kitchen knife I recently acquired to process all manner of vegetables, I’d be in pig heaven.

I’ll leave you with a short video clip culled from the Astronomy Picture of the Day archives.  It’s truly worth a look if you want some science-fictiony inspiration.  Enjoy:


Holiday Half-Way Check Up

I’m just about at the half-way mark of my much anticipated summer break and the living is easy.  Catching up on sleep was job one, and that’s working out okay.  Mrs Thomson and I played nine holes of golf on Wednesday, and even though we hadn’t hit a ball in almost a year (surgery last July put an end to sports for a few months), we sucked a lot less than we thought.  I only lost three balls.  I even managed to spend a few hours with my old hobbies, creating something other than a story for others to enjoy.  Speaking of stories, my proof reader has been sending me feedback as she’s going along so as I predicted, I couldn’t stay far from the keyboard.  She was up to page 200 on her last return and the book is 366 pages long, so we’re well along.  I was very happy that she picked up on some of my writing tics and that she challenged some of my turns of phrase, so by the time we’re done the book will be that much better for it.  I also managed to put in almost 6,000 words on the second Decker’s War book in the last two days and I’m almost at the half-way mark with that story.  Taking a break from my day job seems to have no effect on my staying away from my second job as writer.  I anticipate another round of golf early next week, seeing as how much I enjoyed the last one, and perhaps by the end of my vacation, I’ll be able to entertain my readers with the next Dunmoore.  Stay tuned, as they say in showbiz.

Dunmoore’s Future

As we’re on the eve, so to speak, of the publication of the second Dunmoore adventure, I thought I’d share a bit of where I see the series going over the next few years. First of all, as I may have mentioned before, I don’t intend to write Dunmoore novels beyond a certain point, lest I fall into the all too common trap of writing dreck for the sake of keeping a series going. I’m already outlining Book 3 in the depths of my ever fertile mind, and know that at the end of it, there will be a bit of a shift in her life. After that, we’ll see in good time. I do know that Dunmoore has a long career, even after the conclusion of the Shrehari War, but will it be worthy of a few novels? It depends. What I would like to do is explore her past. Two significant incidents I’ve already mentioned in Book 1, and again in Book 2, are worthy of novel-length treatment, one centering around her first starship command, the scout Don Quixote, in the weeks and days before and after the outbreak of the war as the Commonwealth was reeling under the Shrehari assault, events that occurred five years prior to No Honor in Death. The other concerns the time she was banished to the notoriously corrupt and inefficient Sigmae Noctis Fleet Depot as first officer, after a Board of Inquiry didn’t take kindly to her losing her second command, events that occurred two years prior to No Honor in Death. I’ve been mulling over those stories for a long time and they’re fairly well fleshed out. Perhaps after Book 3, I’ll take a tour into her past and show my readers how the woman who now commands the Stingray became who she is, grey hairs and all.

Sweet, Sweet Summer Holidays

In a few short hours, I’m getting out of the bowels of the demented bureaucracy for two weeks and just in time, too. Between a geriatric dog who wants everyone to come out and play at four in the morning – we haven’t had a full night’s sleep in weeks – and the aforementioned bureaucracy, I’m about ready to quit my life and head for a secluded cabin deep in the boreal forest. Instead, Mrs Thomson and I will spend time at home sleeping in (after kicking the enthusiastic oldster out at sunrise), playing a round of golf or two and taking care of a few things around the house, like loose stones on the walkway and towel bars pulling out of the wall. Hopefully it’ll be enough to get us into a better mood by the end of it. I plan on doing a lot of nothing in between the golf and the chores other than perhaps puttering around with my hobbies. However, knowing myself, I doubt I’ll be able to leave the keyboard alone for long. The manuscript for Siobhan Dunmoore Book 2 is with my proof-reader and I suspect the moment she sends me the listing of typos and other errors, I’ll be right back in front of the computer. I may also get the urge to continue writing the second installment of Decker’s War, which at last count was over a third done. We’ll see. The first order of business is to get some rest before I lose control over my urge to deal with work stress in a more primitive fashion than what is generally approved by human resources (if you don’t know what I mean, see here Stress)


I’ve been asked where we’re at with Book 2 of the Siobhan Dunmoore tales, a.k.a. The Path of Duty, so here’s the state of play.  The line-edit should be completed in the next day or two.  Then, the printed proof gets shipped out to my proof-reader for a final check.  Once she’s done, the manuscript will have to be updated because there will be typos – there always are typos.  When I’m happy that we’ve got as good a product as we can make it, I’ll announce the publication on my blog.  My aim is still to have it in my readers’ hands by the end of July, if only because I desperately need a break from writing and editing.  I’ve been through the manuscript five or six times in the last month and I still have at least one or two more passes to make, so you can well imagine that I’m getting to the point where I’ll be happy to get it done and move on to the next book, or maybe play golf instead of staring at a computer screen at home on top of staring at one for my day job.

Happy Independence Day to my American readers.  Enjoy the fireworks, concerts and BBQs.

Addendum July 9, 2015, 11:30.  The edited manuscript is on its way to the proof-reader and should arrive in the next few days.

Happy Canada Day

Or as some of us who remember earlier decades like to call it: Dominion Day. On this day, 148 years ago, the British colonies in North America formally banded together in a Confederation that gave birth to Canada. Although we Canadians aren’t as jingoistic as some of our cousins, we can still feel a swelling of pride at our nation’s accomplishments over the years. As an island of calm in a tumultuous world, we’re indeed fortunate and that’s something to celebrate. Mrs Thomson and I will be enjoying nature and a good barbeque, liberally toasting the occasion with some good red wine from the Niagara peninsula.

Now if we could just field an NHL team that can bring the Stanley Cup back to this side of our border with the US of A.