Space Opera With a Twist

Month: February 2019

Futures Imperfect

January in our part of the Great White North brought us record snowfall.  For the first time, we hit our snow removal service’s 250-centimeter cap in mid-winter.  Not to be outdone, February said, ‘hold my beer and watch this.’  At least the mouse problem seems to be solved for now.  I haven’t seen any mouse spoor nor caught any mice in my traps in the last three weeks.  But they’ll be back.  They always come back, no matter how well you think your house is rodent-proof.  Now if only the warm weather could come back…

Progress on Imperial Twilight has temporarily ground to a halt.  I’m about a third done and face doubts about the storyline.  I always meant Ashes of Empire to be a sweeping saga, covering several centuries with different characters taking the lead in each installment, many of them perhaps related to or the descendants of characters in earlier books.  But somehow, the first third of Imperial Twilight written so far occurs immediately after the closing chapter of Imperial Sunset.  And when I say immediately, I mean the Jonas Morane story line picks matters up precisely where they ended in the first book, at the Estates General meeting on Lyonesse.  So much for a sweeping, multi-generational saga. 

Nothing wrong with that, of course.  The 125 pages written to date cover interesting developments that move the Lyonesse tale forward, but this week, I began to wonder about whether I’m working on a side story rather than the main one.  After all, in the first book, Morane achieved his goal of bringing his ragtag band of survivors to Lyonesse and convincing the authorities to adopt his plans.  Perhaps following Morane and the others through their first weeks and months after arrival is indeed a side story, exciting as it may be, and not the central tale of a disintegrating interstellar empire.  As my editor says, the Ashes of Empire universe gives me so much scope for storytelling, it’s easy to experience decision paralysis — so many tales, so little time and I’m not getting any younger!  I know at some point, a flash of inspiration will strike me and I’ll know precisely what to do.  Unfortunately, that process can’t be hurried.

But I’ve not been idle.  While my subconscious figures out Imperial Twilight I began work on my next project though I won’t discuss it in detail just yet.  Suffice to say I’m trying something a bit different from my usual starship stories.  It’ll still be sci-fi, with a slight dystopian twist, though not of the military variety, and takes place in the relatively near future rather than five centuries or more from now.  But that’s both the joy and frustration of being a writer.  When the creative process works, does it ever flow!  However, when it stops, instead of staring at a blank computer screen in despair, I can always get a head start on my next project.

The War is Over

The final tally in my war against mice is five in mousetraps, and one which died from poisoned bait. I think that’s it for now since I haven’t caught any more mice or seen evidence of mouse activity in recent days, but I’ll be leaving traps out on a permanent basis and check them every morning.

The other war that’s over is one which has been close to my heart for the last four years. If you’ve read Hard Strike (Decker’s War Book 7) you might have noticed how I brought Zack Decker full circle and wrapped up a lot of his story. Yes, it’s the last Decker’s War adventure. You may also have deduced from his distant descendant, Brigid DeCarde, whom you met in Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset, that Zack still has an illustrious career ahead of him. Does this mean I’ll never write of our favorite Marine Pathfinder again? No, but for the next while, I intend to concentrate on continuing the Ashes of Empire saga, write the next Siobhan Dunmoore, and work on a project that’s been fermenting in my brain for a long time.

However, it’s entirely possible Zack Decker could return in a fresh series which will chart his story through the messy dissolution of the Commonwealth and the formation of the empire as he rises up the ranks. Perhaps I might call it Decker’s Empire or something of the sort. But that’s not for 2019.

In the meantime, progress on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight remains slow but steady: I’ve reached the 25% completion mark.