I think it's fair to say nobody really saw the triple-point scoring, game-ending combo of 2020/2021 coming, and the effects are being seen everywhere. Hats off to the people and organisations who have kept their momentum and provided the same service consistently throughout, whether they be creatives, produce providers, emergency services workers... everyone.
For my part it's been a funny old time. As I have mentioned previously there are some ongoing personal issues which were magnified greatly by the isolation of multiple lockdowns, to the degree that they're now obstructive enough that I need to deal with them as my main priority. Hence the ever-expanding delays to my increasingly optimistic release schedule.
I am however determined to get this current series completed — everyone has waited so patiently, which must be difficult given the whopping great cliffhanger of the latest novel.
The next release is going to be A Storm to the Savage, which takes place on Palanda Ire shortly before the joint Fleet-CAGA counter-occupation. This was originally planned as a novella but it's turning out to be layered in an even more complex way than I had planned, with a much more nuanced protagonist. I'm trying to have little to no excess in it, but at the same time I don't want it to be a superdense read that has no resting space for the reader. It will likely end up as a short novel as a result, rather than a sub-40k word novella.
Once ASTTS is released all my attention will be focused on the grand finale of the series: Whom Gods Shall Fear. I'm very conscious of the length of the delay (I think my release schedule for the preceding books had an average separation of less than eighteen months), and I expect by now some people think this series will never be finished. It will.
The following books are now updated, and you can download the updates for your Kindle immediately:
You can check which version of each book you have by looking for the revision number on the copyright page. If there is no revision number, your edition pre-dates the adoption of that system.
If you don't have automatic updates turned on, you can push the updated files to your Kindle device/s or app/s using the "Manage My Content and Devices" page in the Kindle area of Amazon's web site. That page is also available in the "Digital content and devices" list, found on the "My Account" page.
Please leave a comment if you have any problems obtaining updates — KDP had some communication issues this week, and I'm eager to ensure everything has gone smoothly.
The Fourth Edition of Steal from the Devil adds some new material, and changes the order of scenes up to the climax in order to make the flow of text far better. The climax is more robust, and key characters have enhanced scenes or background added throughout the book. Grammar and punctuation have received a very comprehensive scrubbing.
In all other books, including SFTD, other tweaks have been made. MAGA is now CAGA, fonts have been replaced since their accidental removal, the NCX files which build the "Go To..." menu have been repaired in the omnibus editions, typography has been brought in line with the printed editions, and so on.
Did You Know...?
Armadaverse Kindle books have always included "publisher fonts", so that you can read the book exactly as it was intended to be presented. These cause the eBooks to mimic the printed editions, both in style and typography. You can turn them on in the display options for your Kindle device or app.
A previous update accidentally omitted the font data, but it has been replaced across the updates above.
Another advantage of including fonts is that it allows stylistic differentiation in the text, such as for the incident in which Bruiser discovers anti-human graffiti in his home town:
As I mentioned previously, refreshed versions of the current novels (volumes 1–4 at time of writing) will be released soon. The plan is to release them all together for both the Kindle and paperback editions, including the omnibus and boxed set versions.
Books 2–4 will only be getting minor tweaks and corrections — nothing major needs changing. The files for the paperbacks, Kindle individual titles, and Kindle boxed set versions will be getting a hard reset to the "master version" of their respective texts (I've noticed slight discrepancies between the editions, thanks to a sloppy workflow.) The rear covers of the paperbacks will also be tweaked to make them look a bit more professional.
However Steal from the Devil has had a massive overhaul. I consider this the fourth edition, and some of you won't like this but there's... like... more material. I know, I know, I thought I was making tweaks and I guess I just got carried away. What I can say is that the longest new passages have all been character-based additions with the exception of the climax which gets some more action.
I will make sure Amazon KDP pushes the refreshed SFTD as a free update to Kindle customers. For paperback customers, you'll have three options:
So what has changed in Steal from the Devil? Here are some examples:
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.
You don't have long to wait now before the next volume arrives from the Armadaverse: I Dream of Damastion is now available as a Kindle pre-order!
It's been a dry couple of years for Armada Wars fans, and this expansion episode should hopefully slake your thirst prior to the release of the final full novel in the current series.
Set during the events of The Ravening Deep, IDOD takes a sideways step from Caden and the others, and follows a different set of characters as they discover and resist Voice on a smaller and more claustrophobic scale.
The People pages under the Universe category have now been completed for all characters seen or mentioned so far in the Great War of the Shaeld series. This literally includes every named character, from civilians seen in passing to each and every member of Tanker Regiment seen in the last book.
[Edit: since this article was first posted, new index pages have also been added for all characters by surname, all the women, and all the men.]
This feels like a great achievement, since there are over 100 named characters, many of them linked to various events throughout the four existing novels and beyond.
The "upcoming characters" page has now been removed, so the new characters who will be arriving in Perseus Aflame will be added to this site when the first book from that series — On Vicious Wing — is actually approaching its release date.
Some characters from the first of the upcoming GWOTS-era novellas, however, do have partial profiles on the site already. These are:
That novella is of course I Dream of Damastion, which should be released before the end of the year and may help to tide people over until the much-delayed release of Whom Gods Shall Fear. The protagonist of another novella — A Storm to the Savage — also now has her own holding page. Watch this space.
For serious fans of the Armadaverse, it's highly recommended that you take a deep dive into lore by reading the background and insights into your favourite characters!
Don't forget, if you subscribe to kindleunlimited then you can read any of the Armadaverse books as much as you like, without paying a thing. Were you planning on subscribing? Why wait! → UK / USA.
And of course for those who prefer paper to eBooks, all the Armadaverse novels are available as paperbacks: USA / World • United Kingdom.
Keep an eye out during lockdown for further offers!
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.
It's been a while, and you probably thought everything had ground to a halt in the Armadaverse. But fear not, for the wheels are always turning.
When the blurb dropped for volume one of Perseus Aflame some people got so excited that a little bit of wee came out. You still have to wait until 2021, but in about eight seconds you will know what you're actually waiting for.
The volume one book page has now been updated with the actual title, and it's officially on Goodreads.
In addition to the previously mentioned price drops for Kindle and the standard paperbacks, there's a new offer running throughout September. While stocks last, signed paperbacks bought from this site will be discounted by a whopping 33%!
The coupon code for that offer is 09KABOOM18. You can shop for signed copies here.
The discount does not apply to the new Omnibus paperback, nor to the Whom Gods Shall Fear pre-order. It's available on the four individual paperbacks that are currently available.
In related news, it is now time to retire the mutating coupon code. This was the code found on the back of the business cards distributed through Armada Wars convention appearances.