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!
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.
Many of you will have been disappointed at the postponement of 2016's promised novellas, I Dream of Damastion and The Granite Whistle, and I imagine even more disappointed at the lack of From Shattered Stars appearing on the Kindle store and Amazon paperbacks list.
Firstly, an abundance of profuse apologies for the wait. And I really do mean that, because I know that a year is a long time to wait between books. Granted, many series gain new entries over several years (and sometimes even decades), but this was not supposed to be one of those.
The reason for these delays is, essentially, the curse of 2016. As it was for many people it was a horrible, horrible year for me. Just because it will be remembered — amongst other things — as the year in which gravitational waves were proven to exist, doesn't mean it wasn't lousy, demoralising, demotivating, and generally... well, shit.
I'm not going to go into the details here, because they are quite personal. Also that would feel very much like proffering excuses. Suffice to say that if you're angry at me for not having these titles out yet you can rest assured that I've paid for it.
So my plan now is to act as if 2016 never happened, in writing terms. The launch of From Shattered Stars is now the priority, since the novellas are not essential to the overall story; they are merely there to expand the universe a bit and offer different perspectives on the Great War.
The good news here is that the delay has allowed me to further develop several major plot points and character arcs. The novel which will be released this spring is going to be quite different from the book which would have appeared in December had I slogged away at it through all the heartache of 2016. The opening few chapters now have a more logical, internally consistent structure than I originally planned. Some key characters are now exposed to events and conversations which better utilise their established personalities and recent histories, and which also set them up wonderfully for all the terrible things they will have to face in the finale, Whom Gods Shall Fear.
So in some ways, this has actually been a helpful interlude!
Those of you who were looking forward to reading the side-episodes for The Ravening Deep will of course have noticed by now that they have not yet materialised.
Long story short, real world events have hampered my progress with the two novellas. My pre-readers and 'inner circle' fans are aware of what has happened to get in the way, but that's not for here.
The outcome is that if I continue to work on I Dream of Damastion and The Granite Whistle, then the fourth novel — From Shattered Stars — will suffer a delay.
That's not something I want to happen. I very much want to maintain the release cycle, and I'm pretty sure readers will be more interested in the resolution of TRD's cliffhanger ending and the continuation of what is now a full-blown war story.
So my plan now is to pause the novellas and get working on FSS to ensure it's out on time. I'll just have to come back to IDOD and TGW. Nothing is really lost, because although the novellas all link to the main story arc they aren't required reading. They simply expand the events a little with some different characters, places, and situations.
I'd imagine most fans will support this decision. But if not, by all means leave a comment!
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.
The synopses for two upcoming episodes have now been made public, here and on Goodreads.
You may have read the synopsis already for the imminent novella I Dream of Damastion, which is due within the next month. Added this week was the synopsis for the second novella — The Granite Whistle — which also expands the third novel in the current story.
Sneaked onto the site at the same time was the book page for the fourth novel in the series, which also includes that all important, panic-and-joy-inducing synopsis. That's right: you can get your teaser fix for From Shattered Stars right now!
The cover art for the imminent novella I Dream of Damastion is here at last! Behold.