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.
Exactly three years ago, on October 8, 2014, I published my first of now nine novels, Death Comes But Once (Decker’s War Book 1). At the time I didn’t have much of a clue about anything and had no intention of turning this first foray into ebook publishing into a series, let alone write four sequels, with a fifth in the planning stages. I didn’t even come up with the series name, Decker’s War, until the following spring. In the intervening three years, I’ve had occasion to revise this first effort several times as I applied the lessons I learned while developing as a writer, so both Decker and I have come a long way.
But no one could have convinced me three years ago that I would walk away from a successful career a year and a half later by taking early retirement and turning scifi writing into a full time career (my fourth!). And now I’ve published nine novels in three years, and three more planned for 2018. Funny how that all happened. In 2014, I had no idea things would end up this way. Now, I can’t be happier that they did.
So here’s to celebrating the third anniversary of Zack Decker’s first appearance on the military scifi scene. May he keep finding fans for a long time, because I don’t intend to stop writing.
This summer, I’ve learned more interesting stuff looking out my home office window than I would have if I were still working in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy. Today was a case in point. With the new water mains installed and connected, the contractors hired by the city have now begun the arduous process of returning our street and hopefully our front yards to their previous state. As of yesterday, all of us on the affected section of the street have had to park around the corner as the workers installed guidelines and dug trenches on both sides to lay new cement curbs, in preparation for repaving our lovely little avenue.
For some reason, I expected the arduous installation of plywood forms into which cement would be poured. Not so fast, old guy. Technology has marched on. They now have a machine that swallows cement straight from the truck and spits out a continuous concrete curb. In the space of one afternoon, they were able to do the opposite side of the street, meaning tomorrow they’ll do ours, and hopefully by the end of Friday, we’ll be able to park in our driveways again. And next week? Paving! After more than three months of dust, mud, gravel and gunk… real black pavement. It makes me hope our front yard will once more be reasonably ready for winter. I took a picture of this concrete curb laying machine. Fascinating.
Watching roadway rehabilitation hasn’t kept me from working. I’m more than 15,000 words into the fifth Dunmoore adventure, Without Mercy.