The Road Ahead

As Suicide Run continues to sell and Checkmate waits in the wings, it’s time to look at the future of the series.

“Hey, wait a minute. You’re not even two books in. And you’re looking at the future?”

Well, actually, the Suicide Arc is a continuation of the Compact Universe as a whole. You can start there, since I meant it to stand on its own. Still, I’ve been at this since 2015, when I released what is now The Roots of WarAt the time, prevailing wisdom said that an indie author had to pump titles out one after the other. That got to be overwhelming, especially since real life dropped a wedding and a new house on me at the time. I turned things over for a time to Clayborn Press, relieving me of doing covers and final edits. But then we paused to relaunch the Jim Winter brand, which probably stalled momentum on the Amargosa Trilogy and its related novellas.

To avoid this, I took advantage of the pandemic and wrote the Suicide Arc as one long story. Some of the novels in the can are still messy. Others need inconsistencies corrected or adjustments made for the final versions of earlier stories. The final book in the arc, Suicide Solution, needs not only another trip across the keyboard (as in a full rewrite) but a new outline. The books are coming out once every six months. If that rhythm holds (depends on both my situation and CHBB’s needs), you’ll get that one in August of 2025. In the meantime…

I was going to do an omnibus edition of the Amargosa Trilogy, but the manuscript, when combined and whittled down to single-spaced text, including copyright and attendant pages, came out to over 500 pages. I’ve prided myself on being able to offer a $12.99 paperback, even though it means I can’t approach a bookstore with that margin, but 500 pages is going to push the price up to $18 or $19. That’s a lot for an indie author not named Howey to ask of fans. (Actually, it’s a lot for Hugh to ask, but he has a publisher now, so… Mass printing it is!)

I also realized that the omnibus editions of the novella arcs are a bit disjointed. Gimme Shelter is really the original first ten chapters of The Children of Amargosa with Davra twiddling her thumbs cut out. Broken SkiesWarpedTishlaThe Amortals, and Flight Blade should all have been novels in their own right. The Roots of War is more a series of sketches to introduce the Gelt than a coherent story while The Marilynists is a glorified short story. I’m not saying don’t buy them. One, I have a mortgage to pay, and two, they’re part of wider story around Amargosa.

But a change needs to be made. And fortunately, the beginning of that change goes toward making an Amargosa box set possible. Gimme Shelter and a newsletter-only story, “Among Wolves,” will be combined with two of the Amargosa novels, each into a single volume. Roots will be rolled into Tishla, giving it what it always needed: A single point-of-view. Likewise, The Marilynists will be rolled into The Amortals with some additional material cut out of the original put back in. Flight Blade will be expanded. So, instead of a bunch of novels whose reading order is confusing (or it it? I have pages for that!), you’ll get two overlapping trilogies.

What about Broken Skies and Warped?  Haven’t decided yet, but they’re both important to the wider mythos I’ve built. I’ll have to look at their word counts and decide. The end result is you get a better version of the same story.