Space Opera With a Twist

Tag: Decker’s War

Happy Autumn

I can’t believe it’s mid-October already, but the evidence is there. Leaves are no longer green, when they’re not already lying on the ground, dried up and waiting for a rake. Although we had a few good warm days earlier this week, it’s grey and rainy outside today, just the sort of weather to keep you inside.

But we’ve not been idle. On the contrary. Cold Comfort (Decker’s War Book 2) has come out in audiobook format and is slowly appearing on various retailer websites. If yours isn’t on the list give it a week or two.

If you want to help ensure the author rather than the big retailers receives most of the sales revenue from the Decker audiobooks, I encourage you to visit Authors Direct. My publisher has set up a storefront where all of the audiobooks we’re producing will appear. The two first Decker’s War books are already there, and I’m hoping the third, Fatal Blade, will be done before Christmas. And after that, it’s on with the remainder of my books. Have a look.

Finally, I’m at the halfway mark for Fear No Darkness (Ghost Squadron #4) and I’m trying something a little different. Because of the scope and reach of the story, which covers the events that trigger the downfall of the Commonwealth, Zack Decker himself is telling the tale, much like Caelin Morrow narrates her Constabulary Casefiles. So far, I’m enjoying it immensely. I’m also hoping it will be done before Christmas.

And that, my friends, is all the news that’s fit to tell. Stay safe and healthy.

Decker’s War in audio format

Though it’s been slowly percolating through the online ecosystem for the last 3-4 weeks, the audiobook version of Death Comes But Once has finally reached Amazon and Audible, the biggest retailers in the audiobook game, so consider this the official announcement. The following link will take you to the retailer selection page:

The narrator, Henry Jones, did a great job and he’s now working on the second Decker’s War book, Cold Comfort. Our plan is to have the entire series done by the autumn of 2023 by Henry.  I know some of you are thinking, what about the Siobhan Dunmoore stories that haven’t been produced in audio yet? We’re working on a plan to get those done over the next year or so as well.

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.

A Writer and his Dog

Eighteen months ago, we had a small but lively pack of three Yorkshire terriers – or terrors as I liked to call them. Then, our thirteen and a half-year-old girl’s health went downhill dramatically over the space of two weeks until we realized that her time had come. Seven months later, her fifteen and a half-year-old brother from a different litter passed away in my arms, leaving us with the tiniest of the three, now a nine-year-old weighing not much over 5lbs.

He injured one of his hind legs in early summer, and when they took the x-rays to determine what to do, they found he also had bladder stones. Thus, in late August, he was going to get surgery to fix both his leg and remove the stones. Then, during pre-operative prep, an alert vet technician found a suspicious lump just below his rib cage. So, the surgery didn’t go ahead that day. Subsequent ultrasounds confirmed he had a growth on his spleen, but thankfully, the radiologist didn’t see any other growths that might indicate generalized cancer. The thought that it might be malign and that we might lose our last dog years before his time didn’t sit well, needless to say.

Earlier this week, he finally had the surgery to remove his spleen along with the growth on it (as well as the bladder stones – the leg surgery will likely not happen until the winter). The surgeon said he didn’t see any other abnormalities, but we’re getting the growth checked by a pathologist to determine whether it was malign or benign.

It’s been a heart-wrenching few days in the Thomson household, watching our poor little guy recover from abdominal surgery. Usually an alert, lively little fellow, with his tail and ears erect, eyes shiny and always ready to give a friendly lick, he’s seemed more like a zombie than our dog. Sometimes, when he looks at me, it is as if I can see reproach in his eyes for putting him through all of this. Other times, I wonder whether he’s about to launch himself at my throat. My wife and I are doing our best to keep him comfortable, but since he can’t tell us what he’s going through, we feel somewhat helpless. We humans do love our dogs, don’t we?

Concern for the little guy combined with a bout of writer’s block has killed productivity on Howling Stars this week, even though I’m less than 10,000 words shy of the end (on a 110,000 word book). It dawned on me during my daily gym session yesterday that one of the reasons for the block stemmed from writing a revelatory scene too early. It killed the story’s momentum, therefore yesterday afternoon, while holding my little guy, I removed it and cleared up the mental blockage. Hopefully, I’ll be able to plow ahead and finish the first draft over the next few days, while keeping a constant eye on my dog. He already seems a bit livelier this morning, but he’s got a few weeks of healing ahead of him, the poor guy.

Back to work on Decker’s War #4. Those vet bills aren’t going to pay themselves.