My editor has begun her review of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) and I should see the first round of comments within days. I think it’s safe to say it’ll be published this month, hopefully before the contractor starts work our our downstairs bathroom and I find my environment less conductive to the authorly arts. I’ve now been instructed to take a day or two of rest, so I can recover from an intense week of 10-12 hour days revising the novel. We’ll see. I’m not very skilled at the fine of doing nothing. Which I suppose is reflected by my decreased time watching the boob tube in favor of reading, although Netflix is being annoying and putting up further shows I want to watch, especially Scandinavian noir cop series, or further seasons of shows I’ve been watching. But soon enough, I’ll be turning my attention back to the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore installment. I’d like to see it out by early summer, as do her fans, I daresay.
Just a quick word to let you know I’m busy finishing No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6), so there won’t be a regular blog post this week. I’ve reached the 95% mark, meaning the first draft will be completed within the next two or three days. Then it goes through the rounds of editing and proofing, but I’m still optimistic for a late March publication date, since my editor has confirmed she will clear full week for me the moment it’s ready.
As a novelist, I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, meaning I make the story up as I go along — within general plot parameters, let it be said — rather than outline, develop the outline into chapters, etc., etc. I tried it once with the help of some nifty software to keep things disciplined and bored myself to tears. That novel was Victory’s Bright Dawn, by the way. When I attempted a repeat with Black Sword, I gave up early on and returned to my usual seat of the pants writing, which can be both a blessing and a curse. The curse part surfaces when I’ve either written myself into a blind corner, or I can’t come up with what happens next and spend a lot of time staring out the window. The blessing comes when new characters suddenly appear unplanned, or when characters do or say something unexpected, spinning the tale in new and exciting directions. I suffered from both in recent days. A new, mysterious, and interesting character unexpectedly crossed Zack Decker’s path, but in my desire to make something of this character right away, instead of letting it percolate through the story, I cursed myself into a blind alley and lost a day’s worth of work. Then, the next day another character, this one planned, had a fascinating and lengthy discussion with Zack Decker, changing some of my plans. Although this happens with every story I write, whenever my characters take over, it’s always an interesting if not downright enjoyable experience and the cast of No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) is making me live through that again. What I find really pleasant in such cases is that I make a lot of progress because the words seem to fall on the page by themselves. When I go down a blind alley, and my characters no longer cooperate, productivity becomes painful and slow. And we all know how stubborn a guy like Zack Decker can be, right?
As regular readers of this blog might remember, since leaving the demented bureaucracy for the genteel life of a writer at large, I’ve been alternating periods in front of the keyboard with work on our more than forty-year-old house. I had a plan of sorts too — focus on a specific aspect each year, be it for work I’d do myself or work I intended on handing to a contractor. Of course, the moment you inform life you have a plan, life’s response will be: hold my beer, and watch this!
The other day, just as she was leaving for work, Mrs. Thomson called me to witness a growing water puddle in the downstairs bathroom. Turns out Old Man Winter froze a sink drainpipe running inside an outer wall shut. And that latest water damage in the same space, which hasn’t seen an upgrade other than cosmetic since the house was built back when I was still in grade school, means we need to move up the bathroom rebuild by a year or two. So much for my 2018 renovation plans, but there’s no real choice, not with the danger of mold growing thanks to this last soaking. And since this is work for a contractor, not a do it yourselfer like me, I must see what I can do at minimal cost with my own hands elsewhere on the property. Thankfully, we were able to hire the same excellent company that worked on our kitchen and other bathroom in years past. I suppose the price tag is an added incentive to publish more good stories.
No Remorse (Decker’s War Book 6) is fast approaching the halfway completion mark, and as you may have noticed, its cover now features alongside the rest of them on this blog. After a brief moment of writer’s block the day before yesterday, the floodgates opened during my daily stint at the gym, and I can finally see precisely how all parts of the story will unfold, which always helps increase my productivity. At this rate, you can expect it to hit the bookshelves sometime in March!
Winter has finally struck for good and this time, it’ll stick. We woke up this morning to a white blanket over everything, more than the weather forecast led us to expect, and it’ll be followed up by a solid dump of snow tomorrow night, with mostly below average temperatures for the next two weeks. A white Christmas is now a certainty in our part of Canada.
Sadly, it means yesterday’s walk was the last of the season for my dog. He’ll have to wait until late March or early April before chasing squirrels again. Tiny and low to the ground as he is, even a few centimeters of snow make walks unpleasant. And that means more time at the gym on the treadmill for me. But the first true snowfall of the winter, the one that will stay and become the foundation layer, is pretty to behold. A shame that I’ll no doubt be cursing at Mother Nature soon enough when I tire of the cold, of scraping off the truck and of slogging through another dump of white crap. Nope, I’m not a winter person.
The sixth Decker’s War adventure, No Remorse, is coming along nicely. I’m almost at the 20% completion mark for the first draft, so it will likely be published before the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, sometime in late winter or early spring. And if you haven’t checked out my latest, The Warrior’s Knife, give it a try. I’ve posted the first four chapters to give you a feel for the style and story. It’s available for purchase anywhere ebooks are sold.
This will likely be the last blog post for 2017. Even full-time authors need holidays every so often to recharge the creative batteries, but I’ll be back in January, hopefully well-rested and ready to face a new year of writing.
Season’s greetings to all my readers.
May your Past be a pleasant memory,
Your Future filled with delights and mystery,
Your Now a glorious moment
That fills your life with deep contentment.
And may we be alive this time next year!
Exactly three years ago, on October 8, 2014, I published my first of now nine novels, Death Comes But Once (Decker’s War Book 1). At the time I didn’t have much of a clue about anything and had no intention of turning this first foray into ebook publishing into a series, let alone write four sequels, with a fifth in the planning stages. I didn’t even come up with the series name, Decker’s War, until the following spring. In the intervening three years, I’ve had occasion to revise this first effort several times as I applied the lessons I learned while developing as a writer, so both Decker and I have come a long way.
But no one could have convinced me three years ago that I would walk away from a successful career a year and a half later by taking early retirement and turning scifi writing into a full time career (my fourth!). And now I’ve published nine novels in three years, and three more planned for 2018. Funny how that all happened. In 2014, I had no idea things would end up this way. Now, I can’t be happier that they did.
So here’s to celebrating the third anniversary of Zack Decker’s first appearance on the military scifi scene. May he keep finding fans for a long time, because I don’t intend to stop writing.
This August is proving to be a wonderful month indeed. Recently, No Honor in Death found itself in good company on the Kobo retail site. Now, it’s the turn of Black Sword, my most recent novel. What more could I ask for? If you’re a Zack Decker fan and you haven’t read his latest adventure yet, you don’t know what you’re missing!
It’s said, not without some truth, that you can judge someone by the company they keep. If that applies to authors as well, I invite you to contemplate what the screen capture from the Kobo ebook retailer website, taken today, says about yours truly and the company his novel No Honor in Death keeps!
My second audiobook, The Path of Duty (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 2) will be released tomorrow, joining the audiobook of Dunmoore’s inaugural adventure on the shelves of Amazon, Audible, iTunes and more. And that means the audiobook of Like Stars in Heaven (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 3) will soon be available for pre-order, as I expect an August 20th release for it.
In the meantime, my editor has indicated I might get her comments on Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5) by early next week. Figure on a mid-August release for it. All in all, 2017 is turning out to be a good year for this author. And yes, I’m also working on the plot for the fifth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure, tentatively titled Without Mercy, though it might not be published before 2018.
As I mentioned before, music is an important part of my inspiration to write, my muse if you like, and a great motivator when I’m procrastinating. I try to give each of my books a theme song, sometimes more than one, when I stumble across pieces appropriate for various parts of the story. It’s hard to predict what will trigger the muse, or what will crop up that meshes well with my writing. Case in point, the theme song for Black Sword (Decker’s War Book 5) has turned out to be a 1982 hit by the band Golden Earring, called Twilight Zone. Once you read the book (it will be out later this summer), you’ll see why I chose it. As far as musical pairings go, this one is the best so far.
I’m currently more than halfway through the revision of Black Sword. With the greater part of this year’s home reno project done, I’ll be able to give it a sprint, so I figure my editor might see it in a week or so.