Space Opera With a Twist

Tag: spring

April Showers

So far, spring has been pretty good around here. The last few days were more like late May or early June. Yesterday, our air conditioning even came on for the first time, but we’ll be reverting to the mean by the end of the week, or so the meteorologists say. However, their seven day forecasts keep changing wildly. Yesterday, we faced a week of low to mid teen temperatures (in Celsius) with almost constant rain, something we need at this time of the year to wash away the winter’s dust and grime. This morning, the forecast gives us nothing but sunshine and high teen temperatures. I’m sure by tomorrow, the next seven days will look different once again. Sometimes, weather forecasting seems more like voodoo than science.

The latest in the Ashes of Empire saga is garnering good reviews and even queries as to when the next one is coming out (early 2022, in case you’re wondering). If you enjoyed the first three books in the series, I’m pretty sure you’ll be entertained by Imperial Echoes as well, so if you haven’t picked up a copy, what are you waiting for?

Work on a seventh Siobhan Dunmoore adventure is moving along, but at a relatively slow pace, which means I’m still debating certain story line items with myself. It happens almost every time when my initial ideas don’t pan out the way I expected, so no worries. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it should still come out this summer.

And now, I’m off to enjoy a leisurely April Sunday, complete with a brisk hike around the neighborhood later on so we can enjoy the warmth, sunshine, and some good cardio exercise.

Stay safe and healthy, fellow humans.

Another Step Forward

My editor started work on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Echoes yesterday, which means, barring any unforeseen issues, it should come out later this month, perhaps in synchrony with an eagerly awaited spring. Mind you, this winter hasn’t been exceptionally cold and we didn’t get as much snow as some years, for which most of us are grateful. Temperatures today and tomorrow will remain well below zero, but judging by the weather forecast, we’ll see the annual melt start on Monday. At this rate, the first day of spring might even be green rather than white. In any case, keep your eyes on this space and on the other internet places I frequent for updates on Imperial Echoes.

While my editor’s doing her thing, I’ll take a little break, enjoy my hobbies and let the next book take shape in my mind. At this point, it looks like it’ll be a seventh Siobhan Dunmoore adventure. If so, we can expect it to come out sometime in mid or late summer – again, barring any unforeseen events.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, fellow humans. Peace.

April Showers

There’s nothing better than a Canadian spring when we’re blessed with torrential rains while the ground is still partially frozen and can’t absorb the extra water.  They’re predicting floods in our area, and I’m not surprised.  Fighting to keep the water away from our home’s foundations is a common struggle this time of year, no matter how well I reworked the grading the previous fall.  Water will find its lowest point, and if that’s the basement, then I need to figure out how I can stem the tide.  Mind you, this past winter’s thaw and freeze cycles were the most brutal in years, and that’ll do a number on homes and landscaping alike.  I have more than a few repairs waiting for me once this weekend’s wet weather lets up, not least reworking the drainage on one side of the house where our and our neighbour’s downspouts discharge water within a short distance of each other.  Maybe I should take up hydrology as a hobby.  I’m certainly learning a lot about it these days in an effort to keep the basement dry.

At least the wee little dog is getting his daily walks again.  Or I should say his daily sniffs.  We don’t cover much distance — not surprising since he’s about to turn twelve — but his nose gets a workout.  After all, he has several months’ worth of doggie Facebook and Twitter to catch up on.  And with the spring thaw, the aromas around here are just wonderful if you’re a canine.  Not so much for us humans, though, even if our noses can only pick up a fraction of what a dog’s can.

And in other news, Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight is nearing the 90% completion mark, so we’re still on schedule for an early summer publication date.

Signs of the Season

I suppose winter is now officially over, even if there’s still plenty of snow on the ground — our snow removal contractor just took away the driveway marker signs which have adorned our front yard since last November.  I tried paying his invoice for the extra work stemming from our massive snowfall this winter via PayPal, as he prefers, and ended up so annoyed I cursed out loud. Listening to me go on didn’t do much for my wee dog’s nerves. Thankfully, his understanding of human sounds is rather limited, otherwise I think he might end up scandalizing neighborhood canines with salty language learned from his human.

But back to bloody PayPal. First, they held my payment for over a day, then reversed it without explanation, leaving me to mail my contractor a check.  When I asked PayPal why they did that, their customer service responded with a simple apology for any inconvenience. Not a word of explanation.  Argh!  This wasn’t the first time they screwed around with transactions in recent months and left me without explanations or recourse. I had to shut down my online ebook store because they started holding up customer payments, leaving me with understandably frustrated buyers and in one case, out of pocket. I’ll be shutting down my PayPal account as soon as I sort a few things out, since I’d rather not do business with incompetent, useless, thieving buggers who still hold money owed to me but refuse to release it.

Ashes of Empire: Imperial Twilight is now at the two-thirds mark and, as usual, I expect my daily output to increase now that the end is in sight.  The goal is to have the first draft done by the end of April, then take a week off before preparing it for my editor.

March Mildness

It seems spring has finally sprung in our part of the Great White North. And with St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, it’s not before time – so long as I don’t run into any leprechauns asking me if I’d be interested in 50 Shades of Green. And hopefully, even with all the heavy snow that accumulated this winter melting away, our basement won’t spring a leak or two.

You’ll be glad to know that work on Ashes of Empire: Imperial Sunset is accelerating. I’ll hit the halfway mark in the next day or two. The chances of it coming out in May remain good, though publication might slip into early June, depending on my editor and her availability.

Finally, if anyone has tried to comment on this blog in the last week and been unable, it’s because I’ve had to shut comments off. My spam filter was getting slammed with garbage from ugly little gnomes inhabiting the internet’s most odoriferous swamps. I’ll leave commenting off for a little while longer, until their spambots move on to other victims. However, commenting on my Facebook page remains open.

And that was all of my news. Happy spring equinox, everyone!

May Flowers

The warm weather finally seems to be settling in around here, and not a moment too soon. Mrs Thomson has finally been able to engage in one of her favorite activities, gardening, while I have been able to indulge in one of my own, not gardening. But I have fired up the grill for the first bout of backyard cooking in 2018. And more work on the property awaits me over the next few months.

I’m glad to say Imperial Sunset (Ashes of Empire #1) is now two-thirds done, and as with all my books, has taken on a slightly different arc from what I’d originally planned. Characters that appeared unexpectedly in the first half are now becoming more and more important, and will likely be a major force in the subsequent installments of the larger, multi-volume saga. I won’t reveal anything here, but these characters will be familiar to readers of Decker’s War.

In other news, as you may have read, all of my novels are now available in hardcover, and to my surprise, the hardcover editions of Decker’s War are selling already. That’s sufficient motivation to ensure I publish hardcover editions alongside the ebook and paperback editions in future. And finally, I haven’t given up on the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure. I sense that she might talk to me again in the near future, and that means Without Mercy might get back on track.

And now, off to the gym, so that I don’t turn into a chair potato.

Fickle Nature

Mother Nature’s a fickle one, even at the best of times.  Last week, it was cold, rainy, with plenty of Spring flooding in my part of the country.  For the last two days, it’s essentially been mid-July, where the temperature, sunshine and humidity are concerned, yet the leaves haven’t fully erupted from their buds yet.  But, starting tomorrow, and at least into June, temperatures will be several degrees below the average for this time of year.  Go figure.  I love the heat.  Mrs Thomson, not so much, which means she won’t complain at the cooler temperatures.  Now if it could only stop being so windy!  The May rains have ensured a bumper crop of dandelions and other weeds, but spraying or burning them in anything more than a light breeze is asking for trouble.

I suppose I should start thinking about where we’ll take our first hike of the year this coming long weekend.  Mrs Thomson will probably want a reasonably flat trail, but it’ll have to be on higher ground.  Many, if not most of the good ones meander around ponds, bogs and outright swamps, and water levels are still high, meaning they might not even be open.  If all else fails, a long walk through the neighbourhood will have to do.  At least that kind of an urban hike allows us to gaze in wonder at the massive single family homes around here, most of them very tastefully designed.

Progress on Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5) has been steady – I’m past the 25% mark – although I’ve stopped writing seven days a week, reserving Saturday and Sunday for home renos, to give my fingers and brain a break.  I’ve also visualized a good opening scene for the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, but have nothing more than a very high level idea of what the story will be.  Hopefully, I’ll get a starship-sized burst of inspiration at some point.

Not Quite Spring Fever

Last Friday promised to be the best, and with daytime temperatures forecast to be above zero for the next two weeks, possibly one of the last good cross-country skiing days of the winter. We received almost forty centimeters of fresh snow during the week, and the sun would finally poke out from behind the clouds. But wouldn’t you know it, I came down with a bout of the flu. I could feel something creeping up on me for a few days, but by Friday morning, it had become clear that not only was skiing out of the question, going to the gym as per my usual routine was out as well. As I write this on Sunday morning (day three without going to the gym), it’s already three degrees above zero on a February 19th in the Great White North, and for all intents and purposes, the Spring melt has already begun. Both Mother Nature and I are experiencing a bit of a fever, it seems. Mind you, I’m not complaining about the weather. I’ll never be a winter lover. And the sooner the snow is gone, the faster my little canine companion can go out on walks again. He needs the exercise to rebuild the muscles in his rear leg after last months’ operation. Running around the house just isn’t enough anymore.

Thanks to my bout of flu, productivity has taken a bit of a hit over the last few days, but I’m nonetheless pleased to have reached the two-thirds completion mark for the first draft of Victory’s Bright Dawn (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 4). I think mid-March is beginning to look like a good time for my editor to clear her calendar.  It also coincides with another significant milestone ­­– we’ll be making our final mortgage payment and the place we’ve called home for the last twenty years will be entirely ours. I think we’ll crack a bottle of the finest French bubbly on that day which, at this rate might see us freed of another winter’s snow.

April Showers, May Flowers

So far, May, even though in its infancy, has been a productive month. My editor is done with Fatal Blade and I’ll be incorporating her comments over the next few days.  It’ll be on the electronic bookshelves, ready for Decker fans, in a few short weeks.

I’m two-thirds done with the first draft of Like Stars in Heaven. Although still unspectacular, progress is steady, and if the past is any guide, it will begin to increase exponentially as I get closer to the explosive action that triggers the story’s climax. The draft should be ready for my editor by early June.

More interestingly, I was interviewed this week by Brandon of Build Your Author Career via Skype about my trek from corporate drone to full-time author. He’ll be publishing a transcript of the interview on his website and I’ll make sure to post a link here the moment he does. Thanks, Brandon. It was a lot of fun!

The gas grill and my Big Green Egg got their spring cleaning this week and both are now ready to help me create culinary sensations with flame and smoke, something I’ve been looking forward to as the weather slowly grows warmer. Of course, the list of chores around the property grows longer as well. Good thing my new job allows me as much personal time during the day as I like, just as long as I put the requisite effort into my writing, which, you may rest assured, I am. At this rate, I think a fourth Decker’s War adventure for late 2016 is becoming a distinct possibility.