Although I don’t relish the idea of the upcoming Canadian winter, I have to admit there’s something enchanting about the changing quality of the light while we slowly head from the fall equinox to the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Coupled with the eruption of colour as trees prepare to shed their summer cloak and descend into the annual cycle of hibernation, autumn can sometimes be the most pleasing of times. Or, as a gray weekend proved, the least agreeable.

As I write this, I see a whole army of squirrels on the neighbouring lawns, foraging to stock up food supplies. Are they sensing a harsh winter or a mild one? Time will tell. The weatherman on the radio just said we’d see our first bout of frost this coming Monday morning, which is about normal. I’ve finally put away the shorts until our next foray to warmer climes for a bit of scuba diving and am back in my usual writer’s garb of jeans and a button-down collar shirt. Though I’ll miss summer’s warmth soon enough, the cooler nights have done wonders for my ability to sleep better.

The first draft of the fourth Decker’s War adventure is still fermenting quietly in the darkness of an enclosed hard drive or two. Once it’s ready for the revision, I’ll know. In the meantime, I’ve not been idle. I’m scoping out story lines for the fourth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, now that she has been given command of a new ship, with an old friend as first officer. And – drum roll – I’ve gotten well into (i.e. past 20%) the first draft of the first novel in a new series set in the Decker’s War universe, one I’ve wanted to write for a while.

The protagonist is a character who’s been lurking in my imagination for a long time, almost as long as Dunmoore. I’ve decided to call the series Quis Custodiet, taken from the Latin Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes translated as “Who will watch the watchmen.” You can read more about it here. I’ll probably have the first draft done before this coming Christmas, with publication in late winter 2017. While the series will keep the Decker’s War space opera flavour, it won’t be military sci-fi. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as police procedural or hardboiled detective sci-fi, but if there isn’t yet, I’ll create it. So far I’m having fun with the story. It’s told in the first person, and hopefully comes across as reminiscent of the style of some of my favorite mid-twentieth century pulp detective fiction authors, although the murder victim is an alien and the story doesn’t take place on the mean streets of 1950s Los Angeles or New York, but on the mean decks of an orbital station dozens of light years from Earth.

Happy autumn to everyone in the northern hemisphere, and a good spring to my readers on the other side of the equator!