Let's get this out of the way immediately — we're not talking about 2020.
2021 has arrived, and as you've probably noticed already things are back in full swing in the Armadaverse.
This post is a round-up of the plans for this year. Don't forget that there are two mailing lists for the Armadaverse. It's recommended to subscribe to one of these, because there's a good chance that the Armada Wars brand will abandon mainstream social media in the near future.
Releases Planned for 2021
I am now resuming my original plan of interleaving the novel releases with the novella releases, albeit with the following changes:
My aim this year is to knuckle down and keep up a steady pace. I Dream of Damastion is already available for Kindle, with the paperback proof on its way to me even as I type. I am planning to have A Storm to the Savage ready for a release in the first half of 2021, then all efforts will be focused into Whom Gods Shall Fear.
You may have noticed the artwork for IDOD changed in the past week, and the same iconography and cover design has been used for ASTTS. It will also be used for Forge Ruinous, although I have not yet chosen an image for the central glyph of FR's cover. Feel free to suggest your thoughts in the comments below.
Steal from the Devil — the Redux
I've said before that there are aspects of Steal from the Devil which I now find embarrassing and or problematic. As a debut novel, although many readers do enjoy it, one can only really say that it was released way before it was ready.
I've previously floated the idea of making some quite large changes. On those occasions I have received mostly negative responses, with people saying they would rather it was left just the way it is.
I've decided to split the difference. As well as being generally tidied up (see below), SFTD is going to get some enhancements, clarifications, and — of course — a thorough stylistic edit. I want to be very clear that nothing will change substantially as far as the plot goes. What will happen is that characters and situations will get expanded text, so that it is clearer what is happening, and the consequences further down the line are more understandable. I will try to bring the style of the book into line with the sequels, without losing any of its weird atmosphere.
I also aim to trim just a little fat — this means the teasers and references that ultimately went unused as the story found its own way through the sequels.
If you have strong feelings about this, then please do say so in the comments.
Over the years, with me having to update the same stories in various alternate files, discontinuities have crept into the published materials. These include vanishing custom fonts, different typographic conventions, and in some cases even material differences in the actual words of the books.
There is also the MAGA-cap wearing elephant in the room. A poll was conducted across Twitter and Facebook, and the overwhelming majority favoured a retrospective change to the lore where that acronym is concerned. The conventional air and ground assault forces will have to be called something different. Perhaps I just solved it there, and CAGA will be the replacement*. The point is that I've had it up to the eyeballs with people assuming that 'MAGA' is a nod to Trump, despite it obviously having nothing to do with him, so I'm just going to change it.
"AGRO" won the polls (standing for 'Air and GRound Operations'), but I think I will save that label for a team of specialists in a future story :o)
For all of those reasons, every single Kindle edition and paperback is going to be overhauled over the next couple of months. With the exception of I Dream of Damastion, which from today has the latest typography, corrections, and defined lore, all the updated versions will be released together. I will do my best to convince Amazon to push the Kindle updates out to existing customers, but only the changes to Steal from the Devil are likely to be considered significant enough to justify doing that.
Originally due in 2017, Whom Gods Shall Fear is still notable by its absence. Regular fans of the series will have noticed that the production schedule went from a prolific, one-a-year assault on the readers' senses, to a long and painful wait set to the refrain "not yet but soon, not yet but soon..."
All I can really do at this point is apologise. I'll probably write a longer post about this at some point — lord knows it must affect a large number of independent writers — but for now let's just summarise the root cause as a prolonged and non-trivial bout of depression.
The thing about depression is that it saps not only your motivation to do anything, but it also affects your memory. With an author, for a long time it can pass undetected as "I'm just not feeling inspired."
In fact, prior to recognising what the problem actually is, I was reading and re-reading my own books in order to "get re-inspired". And do you know what happened? My working memory must have been affected pretty badly, because in certain parts I kept wondering if I really wrote all this, and how. Weird huh.
Anyway... the part you as the reader want to know: I am taking steps. Normal service is resuming bit by bit. My priority now will be to get WGSF finished, and I'm just going to stop suggesting release dates that may or may not be kept.
The delay has had benefits. As I have mentioned previously in various spheres I have adjusted Voice's storyline so that his actions fit more smoothly into the overall Armada Wars story (I think I mentioned before I've got a couple of decades of releases planned out, which all contribute one way or another to a final conflict of prodigious proportions.) It's also given me, as you might expect, some first hand insight into some of the characters' situations, and rather than being a two-dimensional asshole Maber Castigon in particular will now be far more rounded via his flashback episodes. Also, while these delays have been ongoing, discoveries and observations have appeared in the astrophysics news which have direct impacts on the climax of the book and future plans. Hasty but careful adjustments are required!
In related news, I've spoken to a few superfans about Tankers, and what is very clear is that there's an underlying need for their sub-world to be expanded. I included more of Tanker Regiment very deliberately in From Shattered Stars — purely because they were so well-received when they first joined the lead characters — but it seems there's still great demand to see more of them in action.
Because of that, I've now decided that the planned novella Forge Ruinous will now be written as a full length novel. It will of course link in with the plot points in FSS, and I'll leave it to you to speculate as to how it does so. Writing this as a novel may somewhat delay the start of the Perseus Aflame series, but I guess delay is now becoming a tradition.
Because of that change, the 'novellas' section of the web site has now been restructured as the Expansion Episodes section.
The web site just keeps getting bigger, better, and badder! Here's whats been added or changed in the past week or so:
The web site has been lavished with attention this week. In the past day, the following changes have gone live:
See the post from the other day to read about the other changes made this week.
It's been a week of news in the Armadaverse. If you're feeling shell-shocked, imagine how I feel.
Along with everything else added to the site this week, I sneaked on the details pages and synopses for the two novellas which will expand the fourth full novel, From Shattered Stars.
Whereas the novellas expanding The Ravening Deep are intended to explore two of the core mysteries of the novels, in quite personal ways, these two novellas will be more action-oriented. They will take a closer look at two of the groups operating within the Imperial Combine: intelligence field agents, and Tankers.
You will probably pick out hints from their synopses about what is coming in the last two novels.
Exclusive to ArmadaWars.com, in this final month before the release of The Ravening Deep, the title of the fourth major volume in the current series has now been confirmed as From Shattered Stars.
Just as The Ravening Deep has two companion episodes coming, the fourth instalment will also be followed by two linked novellas. These will be:
All of those titles are listed on Goodreads, for those who wish to add them to their reading lists. They've also been added to our own books page.