I’ve been writing with David Weber for six years—first on The Gordian Protocol, then The Valkyrie Protocol, and now on three more novels set within the same multiverse, the first of which will come out later this year.
Even after this long, the notion of writing with David Weber maintains a certain … surrealness in my mind.
David Weber is one of the authors who inspired me to write in the first place, and how many people get the privilege of writing with those who inspired them? There are still times when that aspect of my author journey doesn’t feel entirely real.
So here it is, the tale of how nobody indie author Jacob Holo went from that … to being “the other guy” on books with David Weber’s name on them.
Act I: Cancer
The story starts with cancer.
And, as my wife is fond of saying, “I do not recommend starting here.”
In the summer of 2014, we found a suspicious dark spot on H.P.’s leg. That spot ended up being a melanoma—the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Luckily for us, we caught it early enough that the dermatologist thought she might have caught all of it in the first visit. But with cancers this aggressive, it’s best to be sure, so H.P. went in to have the skin around the cancer excised and a lymph node biopsy performed to check for any signs of metastasis.
The good news is the operation was completely successful, and H.P. hasn’t had a recurrence since.
The week of waiting between the excision and biopsy results was miserable. For more than the obvious reasons. You see, of all the things H.P. likes to do, staying indoors in one place is not one of them.
For context, H.P. gets stir crazy on rainy days. I’ve been married to her for over a decade, and I still don’t understand this. She once went out to mow the grass during a tornado warning, with the reasoning, “The tornado’s not here yet, and I still have half an hour left on my audiobook.”
The excised patch on her leg wasn’t too bad, but the doctors had to cut through muscles to reach the lymph nodes, so she was basically recovering from a hernia that week. Walking was a chore at best, painful at worst, and required my help either way, which meant she was stuck on our couch with nothing but painkillers and me to keep her entertained.
Which, by the end of her prescribed recovery week, meant she was ready to go literally anywhere, as long as it wasn’t our house.
And by “go,” I mean hobble. Slowly. With lots of grunts. I wasn’t inclined to take her anywhere, but H.P. is stubborn, especially where cabin fever is concerned. And she isn’t opposed to playing dirty in order to convince me to go somewhere or do something (which is how we ended up with our beloved cat Nova, but that is a whole other story).
H.P. handles the scheduling for all our con appearances, which means she has a general working knowledge of all the conventions in our area. This meant she knew about a little event—the now-defunct Monster Con—that was happening close to our home that very weekend.
She casually mentioned this con the day before … while at that very moment holding onto me for support during a walk around the living room.
Naturally, I tried to convince her otherwise.
That’s when H.P. began to form her plan of attack.
She went to Monster Con’s website and brought up the list of guests, hoping she’d land on one that would change my mind.
She landed on David Weber.
I wavered—but again, considering her difficulty walking, I stressed her need to focus on recovering.
That was when H.P. put on a truly serious face and said:
“Jacob. You told me three weeks ago that David Weber was one of your favorite authors of all time. One of the authors who inspired the manuscript you’re writing right now. And your copy of In Death Ground is so well read we keep it in the cabinet to protect it from falling apart! WE ARE GOING TO GET THAT BOOK SIGNED!”
So … we went.
Continue to Act II here!