Eric Thomson's Starship Stories

Space Opera With a Twist

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It’s A Wrap

I finished writing Ashes of Empire: Imperial Ghosts earlier this afternoon, and I’m quite satisfied with the story — it comes out to around 400 print pages and there’s a lot going on. Of course, now comes the hard part: revising and cleaning it up for my editor. I figure we’re looking at a mid to late July release date. Below is what I figure will be the final cover. There may be a few tweaks, but I quite like the image.

In other news, all three Constabulary Casefiles are now available in audiobook format from Google Play and will be available in audiobook from Kobo within the next week or so. I’m rather satisfied with the results. And for those who are waiting for the next Dunmoore, I’ll be starting when Imperial Ghosts is off to my editor. I already have the high level outline ready to go, but no title as yet, let alone a book cover design.

Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.

May Flowers

Things have been busy around here in the last two weeks or so. First, my publishing company, Sanddiver Books Inc. is entering the world of audiobook production. We’ve just signed a contract with Findaway Voices to engage a narrator who’ll turn Death Comes But Once (Decker’s War Book 1) into an audiobook, with a projected release date sometime around August. If all goes well, the rest of the series will be turned into audiobooks over the coming year or so, followed by the Ghost Squadron series. But what about the remaining Siobhan Dunmoore books you’re no doubt asking. That’s a little trickier. As you might recall, the first three, along with the four Ashes of Empire books were produced by one of the leading audiobook publishers, Tantor Media, and I still hope they’ll pick up the remaining Dunmoore novels. If it becomes clear they won’t, then we’ll go ahead and do them ourselves.

In the meantime, we’re conducting an experiment with the Constabulary Casefiles books in the audio realm. Google, never a company to let innovation escape them, has created a means of auto-generating audiobooks based on ebooks in the Google Play inventory. In other words, the audiobooks thus created are narrated by an Artificial Intelligence. And they’re remarkably good, all things considered, though in my opinion AI narration is best for novels told in the first person, because the AI cannot do different voices in a single recording, unlike a human narrator. As a result, we’re putting out all three Constabulary Casefiles in audio on Google Play and Kobo (the only places that’ll accept AI narrators). The Warrior’s Knife is already available, with A Colonial Murder to follow later this week. The price is less than half that of a human narrated audiobook. Mind you, my editor is spending at least a week per book to make sure all of the AI’s mispronunciations are corrected, so it’s not just a push the button and done deal. If you’re curious, both retailers allow you to listen to a decent sample for free so go see for yourself what this is all about. We may well have them re-done with a human narrator at a later date, now that we’re serious getting into the audiobook business.

Next, I’ve take down the forum. It wasn’t being used as I hoped and instead has been the target for bots and scammers (I’ll let you guess from which part of the world predominantly at the moment). It might return at some later date if I see a better way of using it, or it might be gone for good. Same with the Sanddiver Bookstore. We dealt with a bot-generated credit card scam in February. Fortunately, our credit card processor, Stripe, caught on quickly and the only one out of pocket, by under $20, was me. Since sales were never really phenomenal, we haven’t put it back up, though it’s still there.

Finally, I’m at the 70% completion mark for Ashes of Empire: Imperial Ghosts.

And that is all the news fit to print. Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.

April is the Cruelest Month

As I sit here writing this blog post, snow is coming down in big fat flakes outside. The white stuff on the ground melted a few weeks back, but this is the Great White North. None of the rules say it can’t snow whenever nature feels like blessing us with the stuff. And wouldn’t you know it, the ground is still cold enough that it’s not melting right away, probably because it’s been a colder April than average. Let’s hope May isn’t a rerun of April, as sometimes happens. But enough of the favorite conversation topic among Canadians.

Progress on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Ghosts is steady, if slow. Publication will likely not happen until July at the earliest. The story is becoming a tad more complex than I first envisaged, with several threads covering both the Hegemony and Lyonesse a little under three years after events in Imperial Echoes, as the race to become the dominant force starts in earnest. I’m also beginning to outline the eighth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, which picks up approximately two years after events in A Dark and Dirty War. I don’t have a title yet, but expect more political shenanigans from the Kathryn Kowalski and Ezekiel Holt viewpoint as this series moves towards what we know happened from reading Decker’s WarGhost Squadron and Constabulary Casefiles.

If you haven’t notice, I’ve started experimenting with short videos called book trailers, both here (look to the right at the top of the sidebar), on Facebook, and on my official website. I also rediscovered a YouTube channel set up under my publisher’s name. If you want to check it out, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSeUMZbenabjV1UdxTosXkw

I’ll probably be doing further videos of this sort, if only because there was a time I was heavily into producing scuba diving videos as you can see from the example on the YouTube channel. I even sold a few DVDs of my work.

And that, fellow humans, is all the news that’s fit to post. Stay safe and healthy.

 

Seasons

According to the calendar, it’s Spring in the Great White North, but Old Man Winter never gives up without a fight. After a week or so of balmy weather, we’re back into the freeze with light snow drifting down on this Sunday. Tomorrow will be equally chilly, but looking at the long range forecast, this is very likely winter’s last gasp in these parts until the end of the year. But when you’re immersed in other realities, such as the Ashes of Empire saga, does the passing of the seasons truly matter? And I’ve been living in that universe daily. Progress has been steady if not always rapid, but I’m past the one-third mark and closing in on halfway there. A June publication date seems reasonably realistic.

Other things are moving along as well. All of Decker’s War, Ashes of Empire, Constabulary Casefiles, and Ghost Squadron, have been published in Large Print Editions (available through your favorite book seller), and the Siobhan Dunmoore books are well on their way — in the next few days, the first four will come out in Large Print with the rest to follow in the first week of April. Speaking of Dunmoore, in my idle moments, I’ve begun kicking around story ideas, since she’s next on my work plan, once I’ve completed Imperial Ghosts. I have a particular goal in mind for the culmination of that series, and it just remains to be determined how I’ll get there, but that culmination will set the scene for Decker, Caelin Morrow, and Ghost Squadron.

Happy Spring to those in the northern hemisphere, happy Autumn to those in the southern. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay at peace, fellow humans.

Marching Along

I don’t know whether time passes more rapidly as you get older, or your perception of time shifts into higher gear, but my – it’s already been three weeks since my latest book came out and we’re just over two weeks away from the official start of spring. As I got up this morning, I was reflecting that it seemed only yesterday when we last heard the honking of the geese headed south. And before we know it, they’ll be headed north again. Not that you can tell looking outside. It’s still snowy, icy, and cold around here, but the weather channel says daytime temperatures are about to head above freezing as early as tomorrow and pretty much stay there (with the occasional dip). The sun, however, is visibly higher, warmer, brighter, and sticks around longer, signaling the equinox is only two weeks away.

I’m making steady, if unspectacular progress on my next novel, Ashes of Empire: Imperial Ghosts, which now sits roughly between the one-fifth and one-quarter completion mark. I’d say you can expect it late May or early June at this rate. After that, I’m planning on the next Siobhan Dunmoore for a fall publication date. Hopefully, the world will look a lot better by then. And that, as they once said, is all the news that’s fit to print.

Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans. Peace.

 

 

It’s Here!

My latest novel, “The Dirty and the Dead” is now out. But as so many things these days, publication hasn’t been smooth. At the present time, all the major ebook retailers have it available, except for Apple, which is uncharacteristically lagging. I know a lot of you buy your books via iTunes, so I’ll ask for your patience. Check once in a while. It’ll get there. If you prefer printed books, the paperback version is available on Amazon, but nowhere else for now. The printer who produces our paperback books for retailers other than Amazon and our hardcover versions (regular and large print) is badly backlogged. I figure two to three weeks at least before they get to this one. That being said, I hope you enjoy it!

As of 10AM EST, Monday February 14th, it is available on iTunes

Getting Close!

We’re in the home stretch with The Dirty and the Dead (Constabulary Casefiles #3). It’s with my proofreader at the moment so a few more days and then look for it on your favorite retailer’s virtual shelves. In the meantime, here’s the dust jacket for the hardcover version.

Another Audiobook

The fourth installment of the Ashes of Empire series, Imperial Echoes, came out in audiobook format yesterday. You can get it from your favorite retailer:

https://books2read.com/imperialechoes?format=audiobook

And in other news, the entire Ashes of Empire, Ghost Squadron, and Constabulary Casefiles series are now available in large print hardcover version. The Dunmoore series will be next. Meanwhile, my editor is still working on the third installment of Constabulary Casefiles while I’m developing the detailed outline of Imperial Ghosts.

Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.

Moving Right Along

I sent The Dirty and the Dead (Constabulary Casefiles #3) to my editor yesterday afternoon. And that means I’m going to start working on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Ghosts. Speaking of Ashes of Empire, the audiobook of Imperial Echoes will come out next Tuesday, January 25th. It’s already available for pre-order from your favorite retailer.

When do I expect The Dirty and the Dead to hit the bookshelves? Hopefully by mid-February, barring any unforeseen events or my editor finding major issues.

Around here, winter’s bite is making itself felt in earnest. Our days are bone-chillingly cold, just like the planet on which Caelin Morrow is conducting her latest investigation, as you’ll see next month. From Sunday night to yesterday, we got almost half a meter of snow (about eighteen inches), which made up for the paltry snowfalls since early December. At least the sun is now out for a few days after almost a month of dreary, cloudy, gray days.

Here in the writer’s den, things are also cheerier with a new nine gallon freshwater aquarium replacing a tired old bookcase filled with books that haven’t been opened in decades. Yesterday afternoon, it received its first tenants, a school of neon tetras and four small, delicate and fun to watch golden shrimp. All seem in fine fettle this morning, and it’s fun watching them variously swim and scamper around the plants, rocks and driftwood. We’ve had aquariums before, but got rid of our last one more than a decade ago, when we shared our home with three dogs. Now that we no longer have any dogs, I figured since I spend most of my day in the writer’s den, I might as well add some undemanding life I can watch while my brain dredges up the next plot twist.

And that’s all the news I have. Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.

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