TSJ at Fifty-One

TSJ at Fifty-One

I celebrated my birthday this year with family and friends at one of the best restaurants in London, Michael’s on the Thames. Following this, we watched James Bond in No Time to Die. Dinner was amazing and Bond was incredible. No spoilers here, but know that it was Daniel Craig’s best Bond. It was emotional, powerful, and the story was gripping. (Post continues below.)

I saw my first movie in theaters in a year:

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See Previous blog posts about TSJ’s birthdays here:

At Fifty, TSJ was nostalgic about the books he read growing up that inspired his love of the genre.

At Forty-Nine, TSJ wrote about how the genre saved him during his teen years.

At Forty-Eight, TSJ wrote about the explosive growth of computer technology during his formative years.

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Signs of normalcy are returning. I have watched high school football games this Fall with players, coaches, spectators and refs, all  smiling, proud, happy and cheering. I also went to see a movie … in a theater!  Things are crawling toward normal. We are succeeding in the battle.

We’re breaking the chain of transmission and the signs are all there.

Normalcy is coming.

I also went to see Ridley Scott’s new film, The Last Duel.  It was excellent, but just being in the theater again was a nice change from streaming movies over Netflix or Amazon Prime.  I also watched the new (and excellent) Halloween Kills, which had John Carpenter’s bloody fingerprints all over it.  His score was magnificent.

Halloween, 2021.  There are two Captain Kirks in this photo.  Did you know?

This past year has been bizarre. It had highs and lows. I vividly remember 12 March 2020, the day the provincial government extended March Break for students. It was only supposed to last two weeks. That was twenty months ago. However, in the midst of a pandemic, I signed a four-book deal with Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Fatal Depth came out in May, and An Island of Light is coming this month. There was a long period where the only marketing I could do was online.  I wrote (and edited) a great deal.  I had to ask my daughters to cut my hair, something many fathers had to ask of their family.

Eventually, after months of lockdown and a very changed society, I did four book signings at stores without public appearances (no in-person signing allowed), and then only recently did two in-person signings at a store in November as things began opening up.

This is another indication of increasing normalcy. Hopefully there will be more public appearances in the new year, so I can promote books and meet my readers. But there is no doubt that the pandemic severely hurt the arts. Not just music, concerts, movies, and public performances. All retail stores specializing in the arts (like book stores) suffered, and hence, so did writers, musicians, artists, and so on.

When I think about pop culture and the pandemic, what are some things that stood out? Tiger King and Squid Game, mostly. I saw both. I retreated to my X-Box and enjoyed some video games. I spent A LOT of time with my family at home, and we enjoyed new shows and movies together. I wrote another book. In this way, the lockdowns were positive, but there were more negatives there than I can write here. Education does not work during lockdowns. Teachers adapted and changed, sometimes on a daily basis, and they did their best, but students need to be in school to effectively learn. Mental health has suffered, for both teachers and students. Many businesses closed and people lost their livlihoods.

New book coming this month!

I have long known that something like this would happen. I read The Hot Zone in the 90s. I read Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague. I have a university education focusing on the environment and our impact on it. The contracting Global Village (due to rapid and efficient air travel), combined with deforestation and environmental devastation, is bringing the human race into more frequent contact with dangerous viruses.

It was inevitable, and it will happen again. The early days of the pandemic, in March/April of 2020, were eye-opening. I fear what impact it had on children, especially those of primary school age.

My point is there have been huge highs and low lows for me during this pandemic.  I am happy we are emerging on the other side.

So what’s next for Timothy S. Johnston? I continue pressing on. I’ve learned that life is a marathon. I am doing my best for my daughters, one of whom is now in University and the other now in high school. I have two more books in the pipeline with Fitzhenry & Whiteside. An Island of Light is coming out this month, and The Shadow of War is coming next year. After that, there will be one more in this series, then I will move away from the underwater world of warfare. I am excited about what is coming, because I already have three more books in other series completed. I will send them off (I’m guessing) in 2023 or 2024 to find a home. I hope they will one day see a bookshelf in a retail store, and I can continue my writing career. I am so appreciative of everyone who buys my books and supports me. I can’t say this enough. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.

Thank you, everyone. I wish you all a great Fall and Winter! And please buy An Island of Light! Pre-order now; it is out next week!

— Timothy S. Johnston, Fall 2021

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See Previous blog posts about TSJ’s birthdays here:

At Fifty, TSJ was nostalgic about the books he read growing up that inspired his love of the genre.

At Forty-Nine, TSJ wrote about how the genre saved him during his teen years.

At Forty-Eight, TSJ wrote about the explosive growth of computer technology during his formative years.

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“This book is impossible to put down … Perfection … Doesn’t get better than this.” — Amazing Stories

“Nonstop action … unpredictable … exquisite.” — Midwest Book Review

“The excitement factor in ‘Fatal Depth’ is no joke … I read the second half of the book in one sitting …” — SFcrowsnest

“It’s an SF techno-thriller that opens with a tidal wave of action (literally!) and never lets up. Indeed, Fatal Depth is an unpretentious, hugely entertaining read set in a vividly realized and all-too-plausible future world. Mix one part Tom Clancy with one part Ian Fleming and the result might well be Timothy S. Johnston …” — Michael Libling, author of Hollywood North: A Novel in Six Reels

“Heart-stopping action! … There’s a reason Johnston was the winner of the 2018 Global Thriller Award.” — 5 Stars at Readers’ Favorite

“The story torpedoes forward with blood-wet battles … certainly binge-worthy reading.” — J.J. Martin, Author of Father Sweet

Fatal Depth is a whirlpool of a novel that sucks the reader right in and doesn’t let go.” — J.J. Dupuis, Author of the Creature X Mysteries

THE WAR BENEATH:  FIRST PLACE 2018 GLOBAL THRILLER Action / Adventure Category Winner, 2019 Silver Falchion Award Finalist, 2018 CLUE Award Semi-Finalist, & 2019 CYGNUS Award Shortlister

THE SAVAGE DEEPS:  FIRST PLACE 2020 CYGNUS Award Winner, 2019 GLOBAL THRILLER Awards Finalist, 2019 CLUE Award Shortlister


“If you’re looking for a techno-thriller combining Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy and John Le Carré, The War Beneath will satisfy … a ripping good yarn, a genuine page-turner.” — Amazing Stories
“One very riveting, intelligent read!” — Readers’ Favorite
“If you like novels like The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising,
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“… a thrill ride from beginning to end …” — SFcrowsnest
“… if you like Clancy and le Carré with a hint of Forsyth thrown in,
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2017 Nebula Award & 2018 Dragon Award Finalist
“Fast-paced, good old-fashioned Cold War espionage … a great escape!” — The Minerva Reader

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