In September, we celebrate work by being idle. Yes, it’s Labour Day once again in Canada and the US. Around here, that means summer is unofficially over, although the weather will remain nice and balmy for a bit yet. Considering how fast summer went by, I can only conclude that time passes more rapidly as one gets older. But it’s been a pleasant season nonetheless. On muggy days, our backyard oasis reminded us intensely of our favorite scuba diving destinations, and we made the illusion complete with a daily gin & tonic on the veranda before supper. But as with the passing of the seasons, the gin is now gone and what’s left of the tonic water will remain in the cupboard until next year.
Work on the next Ghost Squadron story has been progressing in fits and starts, but I’m past the two-thirds mark, so a late October publication date is achievable, especially now that summer is winding down.
And now, back to officially endorsed idleness. Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.
The ides of August have come and gone, and I just realized it’s been over a month since I last posted something here. As the Alan Parsons Project song says, “Time is flowing like a river” and in this case, a mighty one.
I’m past the halfway mark on the third Ghost Squadron adventure, Die Like the Rest. But it’s slower going than I would like. I was hoping for a late September release date, but October looks more realistic at this point. What can I say? Summer isn’t the most productive time for me. I’d rather be outside, enjoying life, than chained to a desk seeing as how fall will be here all too quickly. Already, the sun is barely up when I get out of bed rather than high in the sky, and it gets cool enough at night that the cars are covered in condensation (this area is humid!) come morning.
Still, as another song says, “Summertime, and the living is easy.”
Stay safe and healthy fellow humans.
Count your blessings instead of your crosses.
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full times instead of your lean.
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
Love your neighbor as much as yourself.
And may we all be alive this time next year.
To my readers, my family and my friends, best wishes for a better year than the one that just ended. Stay safe and healthy.
I just realized it’s been over three weeks since my last blog post. Like a lot of people, no doubt, I’ve been watching world events unfold with a sort of bizarre fascination. It’s a bit like living in a Michael Crichton or Stephen King novel. Here in the Great White North, we’re practicing physical distancing like there’s no tomorrow. Mrs Thomson is now in week three of working from home, while I venture out once a week to restock on consumables. But in many respects, my life hasn’t changed all that much, since I’ve been working in my home office day in and day out for over four years. Mrs Thomson and I are among the lucky ones these days, since neither of us was laid off (although I tried to get paid vacation from my boss – the bearded dude I see in the mirror every morning. Damned slave driver said no.) But as we’re in the latter part of our fifties, and I’m an ex-smoker, we’re also in a slightly more vulnerable demographic so we take our precautions. So far, so good. I recall having one or two brief bouts with flu symptoms back in January so who knows? Since we can’t go to the gym every morning nowadays, we try to take brisk 45-60 minute walks around our neighborhood, along with plenty of others doing their best to keep a two meter distance. But we seem to be exchanging greetings with strangers far more often than before. Go figure. It all feels a bit surreal, though fortunately, we don’t lack for humor, such as this example, which should amuse any of you who, like me, were trained in bayonet fighting at some point in your military career:
One of the side effects of watching all this unfold hour by hour is that productivity on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night has suffered, just when my editor finds herself with plenty of spare time. Granted, I noticed only the other day that I had a structural defect in the story that needed correcting before it would work. It’s now fixed and I’m slowly inching up to 90% completion, but I can no longer promise a May publication date. June would probably be more realistic.
Stay safe and healthy wherever you are, fellow humans, and stay away from each other. Peace.
Mrs Thomson and I just returned from our regular scuba diving trip to an undisclosed location where the temperature was 40 degrees Celsius higher than it is here in our part of the Great White North at the moment. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to the system when we stepped out of the airport. But we’ve unpacked, our dog is sleeping off two weeks at the boarding kennel beside me, and it’s back to the usual routine.
Tomorrow, I resume work on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night. The first two chapters were complete, as were the opening paragraphs to chapter three, before we took the great metal bird to more southerly climes. I’d like to see it in my editor’s hands by the end of March, which isn’t an unreasonable timeline. Then, it’ll be on with Deadly Intent, the second of the Ghost Squadron adventures. If you haven’t read We Dare yet, give it a try. The story is a fast-moving, hard-hitting military scifi story which sets the scene for the Commonwealth’s impending demise and the rise of empire.
I wish all my readers a Happy New Year.
“Always remember to forget
The troubles that pass away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.”
And on the first Monday in September, we celebrate work by being idle. The concept of Labour Day has always amused me, but nowadays, these statutory holidays make little difference in my life. If I’m driven to write, I’ll write. Mrs Thomson, who still works in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy on the other hand, quite enjoys them.
Labour Day is the unofficial end of summer in our part of the world, and in the last week or so, it certainly seemed that way. The nights are getting chillier, the sun sets earlier and rises later, and the sky is taking on that autumnal luminosity which we recognize but cannot quite describe. Mrs Thomson’s vegetable garden is just about done for the year – a few green tomatoes remain, but nothing else. Where has the summer gone? It started so late, after an awful and awfully long winter, followed by a cold and soggy spring. Will we get an early winter as well? Speaking of winter, another sign of the season’s passing landed in my email inbox the other day. Our snow removal company’s contract for the 2019-2020 season. Let’s hope we won’t need their services until well into December, but the way things have been going in the last few years…
I’ve written three quarters of When The Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 6) and should be typing those two words every writer loves, The End, in the next two weeks. After that? Well, the next installment in the Ashes of Empire saga, Imperial Night is on the menu. And perhaps the start of a new series covering events in Zack Decker’s later career when the Commonwealth slowly becomes that empire we’ve learned to hate in Ashes of Empire. I was playing with a book cover idea for the first installment yesterday, to flex my graphic design muscles and take a break from writing. The result is below. And that, as they used to say, is all the news that’s fit to print in my little universe.
I just love those lazy, hazy days of summer. And the fact our home has air conditioning! This year, Mrs Thomson went all out with a vegetable garden. And though it’s small we’re enjoying bumper crops of yellow and green beans, beets, tomatoes and of course my favorite: strawberries growing on plants in hanging baskets. It all tastes so much better than store-bought fruit and vegetables.
Funnily enough, the local wildlife hasn’t been going at our garden, even though we seem to have more wild rabbits than usual in the neighbourhood. Not a doggie walk goes by without seeing a few, and most days, I can spot at least one hopping across our front yard. I’m sure the local foxes are enjoying our rabbit population explosion. The one my dog and I saw the other morning certainly seemed well fed. And not a bit shy. The fox and I stared at each other for a few moments, separated by the width of a residential street, before going on our separate ways. One of the few upsides of my dog’s advancing years is his failing eyesight and hearing, otherwise he might see all the critters who live among us humans and try to chase them. For example, the other day, we passed within a few feet of a fairly large rabbit who, as his sort will, froze in place before my dog noticed and nervously eyed us going by.
If you’re wondering whether the lazy days of summer are having an effect on my progress with the sixth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, the answer is perhaps. I’m not writing as fast as I’d like, but the first draft is 40% done, and that means an October publication date is still quite likely.
Now back to fun in the sun
I’ve taken a break from writing in the last few days to recharge my batteries and enjoy the summer. But it’s a rather sedentary mini-holiday. Twenty-two years ago, shortly after buying our current residence, we planted a red maple in the back yard. Today, it’s a towering shade tree with enough room beneath its leafy branches for a rustic patio, complete with table and recliners. That is where I’ve spent the last few afternoons, reading, watching birds, small animals and insects enjoy our urban glade. You see, years ago, we decided a standard, sterile, neatly bordered lawn wasn’t for us. Especially not with three small terriers in the family (sadly we’re down to one now).
As a result, we turned the yard into the sort of woodland mini-meadow you might stumble upon deep inside one of our nearby nature parks. Shrubs, bushes and small trees, punctuated with all manner of flowers, vines, and other plants thrive in semi-anarchy along our ancient, gray cedar fence. And since our neighbourhood is over forty years old, adjoining back yards also boast mature trees of every description. Sitting under our red maple I can easily picture myself elsewhere.
What I really like is that it’s the sort of space which attracts small wildlife, bees, butterflies and the like. Birds in particular enjoy the bath and feeders set up at the patio’s edge. In the last few days, I’ve taken countless pictures at close range, though the birds are less shy than the resident chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits, content to pose while taking a drink or pecking at seeds. I’ll upload a few of them to my Facebook page, so if you’d like to take a peek, the link is in the menu to the right.
At this point, When the Guns Roar (Siobhan Dunmoore #6) is 20% written, but it’ll be a few days yet before I go back to work. We waited so long for summer, I owe myself and Mother Nature some quiet time away from the keyboard. Besides, a writer who doesn’t feel fully motivated to spill words onto the page doesn’t bring forth his best work, and our backyard refuge is so enchanting at this time of year…