The New Book: First (I think) Snippet

Posted: March 30th, 2015 under snippet.

The new book, having slowed down to take a deep breath in medias res, as it were, with some brainstorming, more research, and hard thinking going on, has now reached 280 manuscript pages (some out of order) and is moving again–though the Holy Week services and car problems will slow it down again this week and I have a house guest next week.  Still.  Moving along, new ideas flowing.   So I think it’s time for a snippet that may or may not survive later editing.  (This is the first, very rough, draft, after all.)

Location: New Vatta HQ building, Slotter Key

Who:  Helen Vatta, interim CEO of Vatta on Slotter Key, her daughter Stella Vatta, visiting from Cascadia and CEO of Vatta Enterprises there.  They are expecting the arrival by midafternoon of Ky Vatta, believing her to be safely on a Slotter Key Spaceforce  shuttle from the main space station, after the arrival of her flagship in the system the day before.   It is Ky’s first visit to her home planet since she left years before in disgrace;  she is needed there for legal reasons (transfer of authority w/in Vatta, requiring Helen, Stella, and Ky–all the heirs of the former CEO and CFO–to be present), but it’s also a sort of state visit by the great hero of the recent war, so there’ve been preparations beyond the family.


They were in the lunchroom when Stella saw her mother stiffen and set down her glass of white wine. She waited, dread rising up her chest like a tide. Her mother’s face had paled.

“The shuttle went down,” her mother said.


“They don’t know. It was in the ocean. They don’t have any location other than that.”

“So…she could still be alive.”

“She could. But they–we–don’t know–”

“Was that Grace calling, or someone else?”

“Grace. She’s canceled all the ceremonies and said we should leave here. Go home, was her suggestion.”

“Do we have a secure connection to the local ansible?”  Stella had put down her fork and pushed back her chair.

“Who do you want to call?”

“My people on Cascadia need to know, and I want to let Toby’s parents know. If they’re after Ky, they might be after Toby, or me, or my people. Our ships need to be warned.”

Her mother stared a moment, then shook her head.  “I should have thought of that.  You are definitely the right one to take over, Stella.  I’ll show you where Communications is.”


Ky is still alive,  but they won’t know it for an inconveniently long time.   Ky’s adventures  will be interwoven with the economic, legal, and political machinations that cause, and arise from, her “disappearance”.    It’s becoming delightfully complex in the way that promises more good stuff later.

Besides the external threats Ky must deal with, she’s got to grow as a commander in this one.  She’s a tactical genius and growing in competence as a strategist, but she’s still young to have the psychological insights that make a great leader over the long haul, and she’s never had to deal with leading a group of people she had no part in choosing (outside the crew of the ship she started with, hand-picked by her father.)  She’s making mistakes and learning, but…boy, did I stick her in a bad place.


  • Comment by Gareth — March 30, 2015 @ 2:26 am


    All sorts of possibilities here… sounds like the book has properly taken root and (since it’s spring) is throwing up new shoots. Given Ky’s situation dare I say keep watering it…

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — March 30, 2015 @ 5:36 pm


    Well, now we have a pretty good idea who is in one of those lifeboats you asked us to name. Unless this is just a red herring. 😉

  • Comment by Kaye M — March 30, 2015 @ 8:28 pm


    Wow! It’s good to be back in the future again after 10 books in the pre-industrial age! The Vatta stories seem like old friends revisited. Will be waiting for it.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 30, 2015 @ 10:41 pm


    Gareth: (wicked chuckle)

    Daniel Glover: Would I let a red herring swim in the pure ocean of my imagination? Well…of course I might. It’s what we writers do. You’d better hope Ky is in one of those lifeboats, or she’s all alone in a very big ocean.

    Kaye M: But…there were only _five_ of the Paksworld books between the last Vatta book and this one. The other five were much older, and in between were 16 science fiction books mostly set in space.

    OTOH, I’m delighted you’re looking forward to a new Vatta book.

  • Comment by Annabel Smyth — March 31, 2015 @ 10:52 am


    I forget which author it is whose modus operandi consists of taking her characters and saying “Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen to X or Y?” and then implementing it.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 31, 2015 @ 1:24 pm


    Lois McMaster Bujold says she does that. So do others I know.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — April 2, 2015 @ 3:50 pm


    I was hoping it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but it looks like poor Ky gets to go through the wringer again. Oh well, it makes victory that much sweeter.

  • Comment by C larence — April 5, 2015 @ 6:37 pm


    I’m happy to see you are continuing the Vatta stories, but you don’t really plan to leave Paksworld in it’s current state, I hope. It still needs several huge doses of closure!

  • Comment by elizabeth — April 5, 2015 @ 7:45 pm


    Realities of life: I will move from series to series as I can, and since the household depends on my writing income…what series a publisher will pay a good advance on is what gets written next. And–as I get older–other things factor more into how many more books I can write at all. My plans are a lot less long-term than they used to be. So readers will just have to be satisfied with what I can do, knowing that there are other forces in play.

  • Comment by Sharidann — April 6, 2015 @ 3:03 am


    Thanks!!! And belated happy Easter!!! 🙂

    Can’t wait to read the full book!

  • Comment by GinnyW — April 9, 2015 @ 6:50 am


    Now we know which world the lifeboats are fishing around in, at least. I am looking forward to the latest installment of corporate intrigue.

    One (very short) outtake and Stella has already rewritten the “stupid” Stella image in her mother’s mind. YEAH!

  • Comment by Jay C — April 21, 2015 @ 7:49 pm


    Thank you! Now to go re-read the Vatta series!
    There are worse fates! 😉
    Also, thank you so much for Paladin’s Legacy.

  • Comment by Linda — April 22, 2015 @ 12:31 pm


    Recently re-read some of the Vatta books and have been thinking about Ky’s treatment for her mental health challenges. Seems to me she would have a better chance of staying healthy if she indulged in some recreation, had a vacation now and then, spent time in nature, could confide in a friend, read some good books … I know that those may not be strictly relevant to how she wins battles, but still, her life appears bleak when compared to those of the other characters. Rafe can talk to Gary and Penny, Aunt Grace has the Master Sargent and her surviving family, Stella has the two teens and Rascal.

    There are big chunks of time in FTL travel and so forth when worrying seems to be her main activity, and I’d like to know how
    she unwinds, what she dreams about. I think the richness of Paks’ inner life and the those of her companions leaves me wanting to know what’s going on in Ky’s head. Maybe we’ll get to meet the inner Ky out there in a life boat.

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