Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Crevan, pappilon and 7 guests

Another update from David, including snippet

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Duckk   » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:06 pm

Duckk
Site Admin

Posts: 4088
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:29 pm

For those of you who don't visit the Safehold forum, David has posted a lengthy update. It includes a snippet from one of David's short stories regarding the Peeps:

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8809
-------------------------
Shields at 50%, taunting at 100%! - Tom Pope
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Duckk   » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:10 pm

Duckk
Site Admin

Posts: 4088
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2009 5:29 pm

Copy of David's post for posterity:

***

Hi, guys —

First, I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. More about that in a minute.

Second, about the discrepancy between the audiobook and the print/electronic version of At the Sign of Triumph. I don’t know what happened. I agree that it is a significant difference, and I have emailed TOR about it. I have to confess that I haven’t actually listened to the audiobooks in their entirety myself. I’ve listened to “samples” of each of them, but I don’t have enough time — and I don’t do enough long-distance driving — to fit listening to the entire book into what Sharon and I laughingly call “my copious free time.” So I don’t know if there had been similar departures from the text in earlier books. That’s not something the author normally worries about, to be honest. The understanding is that the book you hear will be the one that he wrote, which doesn’t seem to be what happened in this case.

Hopefully, we’ll find out what happened or at least prevent it from happening again. And I want to thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Now, about my absence from the forums.

Most of you know by now that I hit a wall, physically speaking, last September. You may not know how hard I hit it, though. I was passing out unexpectedly, and with no warning. Thank God it didn’t happen while I was driving before we realized what was going on! I was losing whole conversations — for that matter, I lost at least one entire day — from my memory. I was experiencing vertigo and a whole bunch of other symptoms that I really would have preferred to avoid. Silly of me, I know, but there it is.

My a neurologist told me “Get out of the damned office and stay there for two months.” I said, “I can’t, because —” He said “Get out of the damned office and stay there for two months.” I said, “I’d love to, but —” He said, “Get out of the damned office and stay there for two months. Am I failing to make myself clear?” At which point, She Who Must Be Obeyed, said “Oh, you’re making yourself perfectly clear.”

So, starting in October, I meekly got “out of the damned office” and stayed there until after Christmas. And being “out of the damned office” included staying off of the forums, which are my only concession to “social media.”

Now, since I sold the first book in 1989, I had never spent two consecutive months without writing something, so I was really eager to get back to work in January. And I was also scared — I will admit it — by how hard it was to do that. Fortunately, that’s behind me now, but it took me all of January to really start getting back up to speed. I spent that time working on A Call to Vengeance, specifically in writing the combat and maneuvering segments to fit into Tim’s narrative, and it was probably good for me to be figuring out how to mesh with that storyline. It’s actually a lot harder to do that, especially when your co-author isn’t as familiar with the tactical mechanics as you are and you have to do quite a bit of rearranging to get to the storytelling outcome that he needs, than it is to write entire chapters from scratch. In the beginning, it was a real grind; by the end of the process, I was enjoying myself again, which I had been — seriously — afraid wasn’t going to happen.

Since then, I've written two new Honorverse short stories/novellas, including the story of how Eloise Pritchart became a revolutionary and the story of how the People’s Republic created Bolthole, and I am very satisfied with both of them. I am also just under 185,000 words into Uncompromising Honor, which I hope to have handed in by the end of June. And once it’s been handed in, I will be starting on a new Safehold novel.

Now, as to the reason I hit the wall.

We couldn’t find a single organic cause for everything that was happening, and, believe me, we tried. I doubt that there is a test for neural function that didn’t get run on me. We did EEGs, EKGs, MRIs, CAT scans, blood work, neural conductivity tests, balance tests, hearing tests, circulatory sonograms, and probably tests for things that haven’t been invented yet. All of them — I repeat, all — came back negative.

Then we pulled the memory card on my CPAP machine and discovered that for a period of approximately five months I had averaged approximately 3.4 hours of sleep a night. Most of it was probably production deadlines. I wasn’t consciously getting myself up to go back to work. I was simply waking [i] up and, being unable to sleep, deciding to get up and get some work done. I thought I was dozing off in my chair while I worked because I wasn’t getting enough sleep. We now believe that was happening was that I was [i]coming to in my chair, having passed out without even realizing it.

I think I scared Sharon and the kids. I know I scared myself, and I know that it was Sharon’s love and her willingness to kick my stubborn ass that got me to admit something was going on instead of simply toughing it out because “that’s my job.” I’ve always been someone who takes professional commitments and deadlines seriously, and I think it was my inability to admit the pressure that was creating which pushed me to actual physical collapse and the threat of long-term consequences which, by the grace of God, didn’t happen.

The coup de grace was doing the author’s page proofs for both At the Sign of Triumph and Shadow of Victory (somewhere around 600,000 words) in just nine days. That’s a lot of words, and a lot of other people — especially at Baen — were working awful hard to get it done because of my late delivery date. It was my job to get my part of that process done, too, and I did. At which point it caught up with me.

I would guess that I was probably working at somewhere around 40% efficiency, but I was still getting some work done, which is what made it impossible for me to admit I simply had to stop and recover. Toni Weisskopff is now planning to not schedule any of my books for release until the manuscript is completely finished, which I think is very wise of her. It means that Baen won’t find it necessary to pull a book from the production schedule because it wasn’t delivered on time (which is actually what happened to the original release date of A Call to Vengeance, thanks to what happened to my meeting myother deadlines). It also means that I can no longer get away with telling Sharon “But I have to go back to the office, honey! Otherwise I’m going to miss Toni’s deadline!”

Now, having said all of that, I can truthfully say that I think I’m back at or near the top of my game. I really like what I’ve written since going back into the office, I’m getting my production rate back close to what it was at its peak (I’m now averaging about 6-7,000 words per day when I’m actually in front of the computer for a full workday), and I am bringing a much fresher eye to the work. In short, I think the hiatus was good for the work, not just for the worker.

I’m also trying to remember the other point which Doctor Absher, in his infinitely tactful way, expressed to me. He said “David, you can’t be doing this. You’re not thirty-five anymore. You’re not even forty-five anymore. Hell,” (and he could have stopped before this next point, you understand) “you’re not even fifty-five anymore!” I thought that last little bit was gratuitous piling on, but Sharon was too busy laughing to show me a great deal of sympathy.

I am, however, trying to be good, which means I’m eating my vegetables and getting at least 6-7 hours of solid sleep every night. I’d love to get more, but that seems to be about my maximum without pharmaceutical assistance, and the whole idea is for me to find my natural sleep rhythm and stay with it.

I probably won’t be back on the forums very much for the next little bit. Not because I don’t really love all you guys (even the ones who pick on me about building unnecessarily vast armored cruisers), but because I do have that end of the month delivery deadline (set by me , not Toni) and I am determined to remember Doctor Absher’s dulcet observation that I’m “not even fifty-five anymore” while I go about meeting it. Hopefully, once I get Uncompromising Honor delivered, I’ll be able to free up some time to spend here.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you who have contacted me or Sharon individually to express your good wishes. We really, really appreciate them.

And, although I know this isn’t really the proper forum (although I am sure Duckk can get it repeated on the right one) here’s a little tease of the Bolthole origin novella.

Please note that the star system name cited in it is not a mistake. It’s the sort of star system name this likely to get used by more than one group . . . especially when one of them has no idea the other one’s already used.

Be well, all of you.

_______________________________________________


Dark Fall


●I●


Hear now my song and weep.

Hear of the blackness of dark fall,
Of death dust and destruction of all.
Hear now of terror on night-black wings,
Of heartbreak, horror, the end of all things,
Of destruction below and death from the sky
On the day human history died.
— The Dark Fall Saga.

* * * * * * * * * *

“I can’t believe even Pierre and Saint-Just would have done something like this,” President Eloise Pritchart told Admiral Thomas Theisman. She thought about what she’d just said for a moment, then snorted harshly. “I suppose what I really mean is that I don’t want to believe it.”

The two of them stood on the admiral’s bridge of Theisman’s temporary flagship, gazing at the main visual display as RHNS Tourbillon decelerated into Sanctuary orbit. Sanctuary was a gorgeous blue, green, and tan marble ahead of the battlecruiser and the feeble sunlight of the K8 star its inhabitants called Refuge gleamed from the vast sprawl of its orbital shipyards. The steadily growing skeletons of capital ships seemed to be everywhere, long chains of in-system freighters trekked steadily towards them from the orbital smelters, the tiny dots of hard-suited construction workers glowed like twice a thousand fireflies, and she had to admit it was a tremendously impressive sight.

“To be fair, although it feels distinctly unnatural to even try to be fair to the two of them, they didn’t start it, Madame President,” Theisman said. “We can thank President Harris and the Legislaturalists for that.”

“And for so many other things, as well.” Pritchart’s magnificent topaz eyes darkened with memory and old pain. “But Pierre could damned well have done things differently once he took over! And what he should have done was go public, even if he didn’t want to give up the system’s exact coordinates! Damn it, these people deserved better than this! They should’ve at least had the rights he was prepared to let our own people have, and they didn’t get even that much!”

“I can’t be sure, but I suspect from some of the file copies of memos between him and Saint-Just that he seriously considered going public immediately after the coup,” Theisman said. “That was before he realized they had to continue the war against the Manties if they were going to stay in power, of course. I think Saint-Just accepted that they would before Pierre did and that that’s why he argued against the idea of telling anyone who didn’t absolutely need to know that the place even existed, much less how it had come to exist.”

“You’re not making it any better, Admiral,” Pritchart said, turning to look at him coldly.

She still didn’t know Theisman very well. For that matter, she still wasn’t positive he’d meant it when he insisted the head of the provisionally restored Republic of Haven had to be a civilian. To be fair, he hadn’t showed a single sign that he didn’t mean it, and Javier and Lester Tourville both spoke of him in glowing terms, and so did Kevin Usher. That counted with Eloise Pritchart — counted for a lot — but it was her job to be suspicious. Haven had staggered from façade democracy, to totalitarianism, to a dictatorship that was still worse for far too long. She’d lost a beloved sister, more friends than she could count, and too many pieces of her own soul fighting that process.

It would end. It would end now, with her. With Thomas Theisman, too, if he was serious, but it would end, whatever it cost and whatever it took.

“I’m not trying to make it ‘better,’ Madame President,” the Chief of Naval Operations and Pritchart’s Secretary of War replied, meeting her cold eyes. “I’m trying to explain it.”

“And to justify going right on doing it.”

Pritchart’s voice was even colder than her eyes, and Theisman’s nostrils flared ever so slightly. He started a quick reply, but stopped himself. Then he nodded.

“For certain values of ‘going on doing it,’ that’s exactly what I’m suggesting, Madame President,” he said very levelly. “I fully agree that the way in which Harris and Public Safety went about doing it was reprehensible. Unfortunately, I can’t shoot Saint-Just all over again for it.” Something that could have been anger flashed in Pritchart’s eyes as he reminded her who’d actually accomplished the Committee of Public Safety’s overthrow. “Nor does the fact that their decision about these people’s fundamental rights was as immoral as everything else they did mean we don’t need the star system’s capabilities. Or that we don’t need to keep its very existence as dark as we possibly can for as long as we possibly can. I don’t like it, either, Madame President, but it’s part of my job to tell you things like that.”

It was Pritchart’s turn to pause before she fired back. She gazed up into the taller Theisman’s face for a long, taut moment, then gave him the grudging nod his honesty and forthrightness deserved. One thing she had discovered about Theisman was his total lack of patience with the carefully phrased, easily disavowed, cover-your-ass sort of policy recommendations which had become the norm under the Committee of Public Safety. When he sent her a memo, she could at least be certain that it said what he truly thought, set forth in clear and logical progression. She might not agree with it, but she never had to wonder if he’d told her the truth as he saw it and given her his very best advice based upon it.

“Believe me, Admiral,” she said finally, “I understand the basis for your argument. And if Wilhelm and Kevin are right about High Ridge, your points are even stronger . . . from a military and pragmatic perspective. It’s the morality that bothers me. Expediency is a slippery slope. Rob Pierre discovered that.”

She sighed and looked back at the visual display.

“I knew him before the coup,” she went on in a softer tone, almost as if she were speaking only to herself. “I know the Committee of Public Safety turned into something he’d never envisioned, never wanted, when he started, and he changed in the process, too. I don’t want to go down that same slope. I won’t.”

“With all due respect, Madame President, you’re not Rob Pierre and I’m not Oscar Saint-Just.” Her eyes came back to him, and he shrugged. “Well, you’re not Pierre, and I’m pretty sure I’m not Saint-Just. The fact that my proposal disturbs you so deeply pretty much proves that in your case. The fact that I’ve made it does seem to indicate the jury may still be out in mine, I suppose. But while I don’t think I’m another Saint-Just waiting to happen, there is one thing I have in common with him.”

“And what might that be, Admiral?” Pritchart asked warily, and he smiled ever so slightly.

“Oscar Saint-Just was a sociopath, which I don’t think I am,” he told her. “But he was a very loyal sociopath. Rob Pierre was Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety, and even when Saint-Just disagreed with him, he never forgot who was Chairman . . . and who wasn’t. I may disagree with you upon occasion, but I’ve got a pretty good memory, too.” He shrugged again. “Madame President, you’re President of the Republic of Haven . . . and I’m not.”

She looked at him for another long moment, then nodded slightly.

“Point taken, Admiral,” she said. “Point taken.”
-------------------------
Shields at 50%, taunting at 100%! - Tom Pope
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Somtaaw   » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:23 pm

Somtaaw
Commodore

Posts: 994
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:36 am
Location: Canada

Bolthoe creation teaser? :o :o *starts reading furiously*


But thanks for the cross-post update Duckk, good to hear DW's doing better.
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Daryl   » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:15 pm

Daryl
Admiral

Posts: 2239
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:57 am
Location: Queensland Australia

An early Pritchard story, I wonder who will be interested in that?
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by kzt   » Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:36 pm

kzt
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 8896
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:18 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Glad David decided to not kill himself with overwork. And getting the publishers to relax the schedule pressure a bit is great. The last few books have really shown that there wasn't enough time to edit.
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Kufat   » Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:33 am

Kufat
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)

Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:55 pm

Duckk wrote:Copy of David's post for posterity:

***
[...]
Then we pulled the memory card on my CPAP machine and discovered that for a period of approximately five months I had averaged approximately 3.4 hours of sleep a night.


Good thing we're living in the future. Sleep deficits are no joke.
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by SCC   » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:45 am

SCC
Commander

Posts: 216
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:04 am

Given what David is describing I'm surprised he managed to even get that much work done (My farther and youngest sister have chronic fatigue, and what he's describing sounds a lot like that in certain respects).

For Bolthole my first thought is Genetic Slaves but then I remembered that Dertwieler said they weren't making any sales headway there, so maybe Harris wised up to what was going on and tried to build a counter with intelligent people who where politically savvy enough?
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:58 am

Jonathan_S
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 5364
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:01 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Thanks for cross posting Duckk. Back at Honorcon, in October, I'd heard that David had been kicked out of the office for two months on doctor's orders and Sharon's enforcement - but ST that point I don't think they'd figured out the source of the problem. Glad to hear they think they've got a handle on it.

As for the story snippet I'm thinking less exotic that genetic engineering. Just nice simple forced secret relocation combined with forced labor, police state, and total isolation from the outside world. Disappearing people with useful skills and imprisoning them in your secret factory world.
But I look forward to seeing how I'm wrong in that guess and also watching Theisman and Pritchart's professional relationship, and friendship, grow away from these initial suspicion.
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by cthia   » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:19 am

cthia
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 8207
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

Don't you just envy the days when an author published his next book when he damn well pleased and the fans were simply happy to receive it?

Well that was the days of the Indians and then the Cowboys came along thinking they could make things better and it all went to hell in a handbasket. It's called... progress.

I think I scared Sharon and the kids. I know I scared myself, and I know that it was Sharon’s love and her willingness to kick my stubborn ass that got me to admit something was going on instead of simply toughing it out because “that’s my job.”

Thank God Sharon is your own Soul of Steel, because your biggest fans are your wife and kids.

Now, having said all of that, I can truthfully say that I think I’m back at or near the top of my game. I really like what I’ve written since going back into the office, I’m getting my production rate back close to what it was at its peak (I’m now averaging about 6-7,000 words per day when I’m actually in front of the computer for a full workday), and I am bringing a much fresher eye to the work. In short, I think the hiatus was good for the work, not just for the worker.
Stepping away is always good. It gives the memory banks and the imagination a new lease on life. One can work on a particularly thorny problem forever and not make any headway. Step away from it for only a week and "Eureka!"

What really makes me smile is that you like what you've written. Being a writer is supposed to be enjoyable isn't it? When the pressures of the business and the fans begin to counter that, then what is the point. In today's atmosphere of the internet, 'Cons, co-writers, disgruntled fans, arrogant forumites and the many more millions of maniacal reasons of rampant miscreant meddling it must be hell being an author. I bet you thought you had it sooo good Mr. Weber when technology created the PC, but you probably didn't sign on for everything else that technology brought along with it. Now you're probably envying the authors who simply had an old noisy Remington typewriter, smudged ribbons, dropped letters but NO internet or holier than thou rambunctious know-it-all fans who think that they should be sitting at the computer instead of the author. Progress ain't always what it's cut out to be.

I’ve always been someone who takes professional commitments and deadlines seriously, and I think it was my inability to admit the pressure that was creating which pushed me to actual physical collapse and the threat of long-term consequences which, by the grace of God, didn’t happen.
By the grace of God indeed, because I am sure he is an Honor fan by way of Tester.



Good thing even in this world of progress is that the brightness at the end of your tunnel is controlled by your wife standing by the door with her hand on the light switch.

Behind every good writer is a woman telling him it's bedtime.


Godspeed!


.
Last edited by cthia on Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
Top
Re: Another update from David, including snippet
Post by fallsfromtrees   » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:09 am

fallsfromtrees
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1764
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 10:51 am
Location: Mesa, Arizona

Great snippet. Where and when do we find the whole story? Inquiring minds want to know.
The only problem with quotes on the internet is that you can't authenticate them -- Abraham Lincoln
Top

Return to Honorverse