Thursday, July 30, 2009
Battlestar Galactica is gone, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis are over. They say Stargate Universe isn't going to be a big enough show to fill the shoes that Farscape left empty years ago, and they're looking for the next great SyFy Space Opera. (For the record, I'm looking forward to Stargate Universe).
Weeeeelll here it is!!
I posted a short proposal with a brief thematic overview on their forums here: http://forums.syfy.com/index.php?showtopic=2335588 and I'm calling all my readers from every end of the world to post and demand that the SyFy Channel buy the television rights to Spinward Fringe and boot this bugger up as a full on Space Opera extravaganza (YES!! I SAID IT!! EXTRAVAGANZA!!) of a Television series!!
Calling all Fringers! It's time to bring the rest of the world out here with us on the Fringe! Post on your blogs! Comment on your bboards! Submit stories to the media outlets! Contact your cable providers (well, maybe wait until there's actually a show...), do whatever you can to get attention so at the very least the world knows we're here, we're reading, we're blogging, twittering, Facebooking, and all twitchy in general about getting the Spinward Fringe on television!
Am I crazy? Doctors did not conclude that I was a serious threat to myself or others, so probably not! Now go post on the SyFy boards! http://forums.syfy.com/index.php?showtopic=2335588
Feel free to steal the banner below and post it wherever you want!
See you on the Fringe!
[The latest Spinward Fringe novel, Broadcast 5: Rogue Element, is over half finished, more on that later!]
Here's the skinny on how much publishing online costs me. NOTHING.
My books are in the top 10 in the Science Fiction category on Mobipocket because the readers enjoy them, rate them, spread the word and people continue to purchase and enjoy them. I'm very fortunate.
I do not pay Amazon a fee to get my books registered with their Kindle reader or in print on their site. I use Createspace's free service for print and Mobipocket's distribution network to list my eBooks. I do order print copies for myself, but that's the same as anyone ordering a copy from Amazon (except for my massive discount), they don't charge a dime for publishing.
Lulu.com offers all their services for free, and they're very happy to have me.
Any place you see my books you can rest assured that they didn't charge me anything to put them there, in fact, they listed them because they see that they're selling elsewhere, mostly on Mobipocket. They want to bring that success to their retail outlets as well.
I don't pay for marketing services either. I use Twitter, my Blogs, Facebook, and most of all people who I have a connection with to to get the word out. I also frequent other blogs, comment on them as often as I can, participate in online events and put a lot of hours into guerrilla Internet marketing. Oh, and don't email me with a "get 15,000 followers in one month" or another "make sure you're heard!" marketing scheme. I don't care about reaching 15,000 random people, I'm interested in reaching people who are interested in what I do specifically. I also enjoy connecting with people who are interesting, which doesn't happen often with mass join scams.
I also don't pay for advertising. Effective Internet advertising is an art form and to be honest, I'd rather use online social networking. There's more feedback and it's a lot more fun.
For everyone whose ever asked me how it's done; I don't have any magic trick. I don't pay someone to do the work for me, and vanity presses are expensive money pits. I work about 10 hours a day between writing and marketing.
I'll never, ever pay someone else to publish me. In fact, I won't take any offer on the rights to my work from a publisher that comes with an advance under four figures. I'm fortunate enough to have a number of readers who enjoy my work. I do my best to entertain them and in return they buy my work in the format that is most convenient for them. I should never have to pay anyone to publish my work because those retailers and publishers are going to make money from selling my books. It's bad enough that I only recieve a 30%-35% royalty on most titles as an independent. That sounds like a lot to some of you, but you have to consider that I don't sell the volume that published authors do, no where near. (Less than 5% of what a non-best selling author sells).
That brings up another point. I can't afford to pay for publishing or marketing services! Being a successful self published author to me means making enough money to keep writing, to keep entertaining readers. I live a happy, simple life where I get to work the trade I prefer without frills.
I'd like to end this post on a positive note by thanking the readers, who have been very supportive. I've said it before and I'll say it again; they keep a roof over my head, the lights (and Internet connection) on, and food on the table. I thank you and hope that you continue to enjoy my work enough to remain a reader and spread the word.
[Where do you want my books to appear next? Tell me below!]
Monday, July 27, 2009
It also means that there are 200 readers who wanted to follow me at least that far on this journey. They're talking about the books too. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus is still selling, meaning that more people are joining the crew every day.
How does this effect the future of Spinward Fringe?
Well, Spinward Fringe Rogue Element has undergone some creative alterations that aren't the result of good or bad sales numbers. The whole series has become a creative exercise again whereas Frontline felt more like marathon brain surgery. Frontline was built as a fully outlined, balanced novel and even though I enjoyed writing it, I didn't like having such a strict plan in place from the first to the last word.
I had a storyboard for Spinward Fringe Frontline that flowed past the edges of a three by three meter square. The planning involved in that book, with its multiple parallel storylines and deeper character development, was nothing short of meticulous. Every chapter had a full outline, notebooks were filled, trees were killed. I wanted to see if I could write a book that was so well planned from the beginning and I did.
As it so happens, I've read the final product since and was surprised. I made an effort to keep it fast paced but the story moves faster than I could have anticipated. Some of the characters do take serious strides and many of the points brought up by readers (thanks guys!), are proven to be valid and helpful. I enjoyed writing Frontline despite the careful planning and design. I have to admit I enjoyed reading it and I hope everyone who bought it did too.
I found room for improvement like any writer who reviews his own work would. That's not to say that Frontline isn't the best book in the series, to many readers it is. I learned a lot by reading Frontline again and I'm carrying those lessons with me as I write Spinward Fringe Rogue Element.
Rogue Element is a very different project. I'm taking an entirely different approach with only a basic outline. I'm focusing on character goals and bringing a sense of wonder back into the scenery. There are other things going on with Rogue Element, including a couple of experiments you'll see evidence of before the novel comes out.
I'll talk about Spinward Fringe Rogue Element more later. I'm so excited about it that it's difficult not to.
The point of this blog post is to say thank you and to tell everyone that people seem quite happy with Spinward Fringe Frontline, so the future of the Spinward Fringe series is quite secure. The work and the journey goes on and I couldn't be happier.
[What did you think of Spinward Fringe Frontline? Leave a comment!]
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The First Light Chronicles is the precursor to the entire Spinward Fringe series. It contains the three novellas in that series and the afterword that discusses why and how it was written. It also addresses the Spinward Fringe series and why the story had to go on. Even though I believe I've written better fiction since, I can't help but be proud of the enthusiasm, creativity and style of this short series.
Here's the synopsis for anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about.
In the middle of the darkest region of explored space sits one bright beacon; Freeground Station. Serving as a supply and trading post it is home to a select number of human beings that will take an unlikely chance to make a difference in their end of the galaxy.
Jonas and his friends spent their spare time in tactical simulations and drew the attention of Freeground Fleet Command when they hacked into restricted combat scenarios for elite trainees and defeated all comers.
Instead of punishing Jonas and his friends they offered them an opportunity to undertake a dangerous and exciting mission. They were to go out into the Galaxy and acquire any advantages that would improve life for Freegrounders.
This series is about their first voyage together, the challenges they face, and the relationships they forge with each other and the beings they meet along the way.
The First Light Chronicles Omnibus contains the entire First Light Chronicles Trilogy. Freeground, Limbo and Starfree Port.
The Spinward Fringe Series follows this collection in the following order: Spinward Fringe Resurrection, Awakening, Triton and Frontline.
If you know someone who enjoys first person perspective storytelling, fantasy, science fiction or fiction in general it's a great time to recommend this to them. The entire Spinward Fringe series is also available on Amazon Kindle Reader and in print.
A special thanks to Geoff for announcing the effort to spread the First Light Chronicles far and wide on Somacow!
Monday, July 20, 2009
I've been getting questions from a few readers like: how long until we see Spinward Fringe Rogue Element? I've heard you say this book will be different, how? What kind of book is this going to be?
They're all legitimate questions and I'm glad you're asking. I'll answer them as best I can, promise.
How long until we see Spinward Fringe Rogue Element?
Writing is going very well. I'm a third of the way through it and the plot points have been nailed down. I've been working on this book for three weeks and I've noticed a trend, it's getting easier to write as I go. The work is going faster and faster. I'm hoping to have a draft completed in three to four weeks. If all is well and I've done my job to my editor's satisfaction it'll take another one to two weeks to edit. It'll be launched on Mobipocket and Lulu the day it's ready. Remember that the creative process requires latitude and there's no guarantee that this book will be available in the time frame I've quoted. I'm also not going to dismiss the possibility that I'll finish my draft early.
It's true, this book will be different from everything that's come before. I approach each book differently and this one is certainly no exception. Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is being written like a high budget Space Opera film. It's really that simple. I have the setting, the characters, and the plot foundation.
There's also a preamble at the beginning that fills new readers in on all the essentials with regard to the story so far. Don't get me wrong, someone who starts with Spinward Fringe Rogue Element will miss all the details and more interesting bits of the series before it, the preamble doesn't go into a lot of detail. It just ensures that anyone can just pick up a copy and start there while reminding long time readers of a few pertinent details. There are other not-so-subtle differences and plot risks in this book but I won't go into it just now. Spoilers are generally wrong.
Now on to the question; 'what kind of book is this going to be?'
Rogue Element brings the Spinward Fringe series back to its science fiction adventure roots. The First Light Chronicles (the precursor to the Spinward Fringe series), was very enthusiastic overall and I admit the pacing and development could have been a little better in some places. I'm bringing that enthusiasm back into the series in Rogue Element along with the sense of wonder and discovery that was so prevalent in The First Light Chronicles. What I'm keeping from the Spinward Fringe series is the character and story development that people enjoyed so much in Triton and Frontline.
I'm really enjoying crafting this book. I wake up every morning, and I mean every morning looking forward to writing another chapter. I could go on about how excited this project makes me but I'd rather get back to work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element.
Thank you very much for staying on this journey with me and spreading the word about the series. Right now the precursor to the Spinward Fringe Series, The First Light Chronicles is still on sale for $1.00 at Mobipocket and Lulu, so keep telling your friends about it. If they're not into eBooks this is a good opportunity to get them interested.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The other day I was thinking over the whole of the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe Series all the way up to Frontline and couldn't help but smile.
A number of things have happened since the first copy of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus sold from Mobipocket. My writing has gotten better (though I'm told Omnibus is still a fantastic read), and thanks to the support shown for this series the depth of storytelling in the Spinward Fringe Series has improved a great deal.
Out here in the real world Mobipocket and other science fiction fans have been kind and appreciative enough to support me by buying the books and sending donations the help out with necessities. Others, like the Somacow crew, have been there when I needed help online with everything from spreading the word to saving my Wiki entry.
It's not easy being an independent author full time. When sales slumps hit the concern that my run as a full time writer could come to a quick end becomes very real. Many people assume an independent author is self publishing because a publisher won't pick up his work and I can tell you, that's not always true. I've turned down three bad offers from publishers who assume I'm so desperate to get my stuff on the shelves that I'm willing to sell the whole series and all rights (print, ebook, TV, film, international and merchandising), along with a future book for a handfull of magic beans. The last offer was for an advance of $1.00 and the terms only got worse from there, for example. They obviously consider the series worthy of publication, I'm just not willing to sell it all for a publishing credit only to find myself making so little on each sale that I have to go find another full time job, taking most of my time away from writing. It sort of defeats the purpose...
I enjoy being connected to my readers and fully accountable for my work. You good readers determine whether I can keep doing this full time by buying the books, spreading the word and bringing new readers into the fold if I've entertained them well. You guys also send me emails, post your opinions in this and other blogs and get others hooked on the series. Without you I wouldn't be doing this full time and I'm very greatful. Having said that, if a publisher makes me a reasonable offer on the printed rights in any country I'd be glad to accept and see copies on the shelves. After all, printed copies of my work are still difficult to obtain outside of the US and very few have been sold, less than fifty.
Story wise, much of what began with The First Light Chronicles Omnibus has come full circle. By the end of Spinward Fringe Frontline so many things have resolved. I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out with the storyline.
Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is one of those very special books wherin I get to write a story I've been looking forward to since Spinward Fringe Resurrection was completed. The whole series has what I consider a solid foundation and vast potential and Rogue Element is where I start to take full advantage of the characters, their individual struggles, the micro storyline and the macro storyline. This is a faster work, it's taking a lot less time to pen. I'm also trying a different approach to novel writing that's working out exceptionally well.
People around the world have been simply amazing. I have to admit that part of this post was prompted by an email I received recently that asked if I was giving up Science Fiction for writing Horror. I can answer that in a word: no. The Dark Arts Horror Novella (which is being posted in serialized format right now), is something I completed over a space of four days. It resulted from a bunch of developmental writing I worked through to improve my writing skills, give my imagination a general workout and to clear my head after working on Frontline for six months solid. I've been working on Spinward Fringe Rogue element for almost three weeks now and am focusing all my writing efforts on science fiction. Will I cross over into other genres in the future? Sure!
However, as of this moment I have many stories left to tell in the Spinward Fringe Saga, and since readers are demanding more (Frontline has sold 150 copies so far depsite a brutal sales slump that's taking place right now), it looks like they want me to keep going. Science Fiction is a constant challenge, beyond any other I've faced. I'm heavily engaged in the characters and love the universe I'm building, so when I leave it's not for long.
There is SO MUCH going on with my work right now. For the next five weeks parts of the Dark Arts series will be posted. Add an upcoming event with The First Light Chronicles Omnibus and work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element and you could say I'm very busy these days. Still, thinking over the past seven books (including the novellas in the First Light Chronicles Series), leaves me amazed. How far this has come and the support of the 300 or so readers who have jonied me is fantastic.
For anyone who isn't familiar, here's a list of the books I'm talking about:
First Light Chronicles Freeground
First Light Chronicles Limbo
First Light Chronicles Starfree Port
First Light Chronicles Omnibus (Contains all of the above)
Spinward Fringe Resurrection
Spinward Fringe Awakening
Spinward Fringe Triton
Spinward Fringe Frontline
I consider the First Light Chronicles books a part of the Spinward Fringe series simply because the storylines ended up being intertwined. Anyone who is looking at reading the Spinward Fringe series should begin with the First Light Chronicles Omnibus.
Look for frequent updates right here on what's happening in my little microcosm.
On Friday I'll explain what the First Light Chronicles Omnibus Banner is all about. See you then!
Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is going extremely well but I won't be finished for some time, at least a few weeks.
In the meantime I'm releasing a short horror novella on the Dark Arts Blog one chapter at a time as a serial. The first part arrived on July 7 and can be seen here.
The second part is now available and is available right here. Things get a little darker and dawn is no where in sight.
The Dark Arts series is about the weakening of the barrier between the spirit and material worlds and the diminished secret society of guardians that were tasked to combat the darkness. It's written by Randolph Lalonde under the name L.S. Randolph and is free to read.
Go have a read and leave a comment! I'm looking forward to hearing more first impressions.
A status update on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is forthcoming, stay tuned!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
It seems everyone is worshiping the ground Ronald D Moore and his cohorts walk on. Sadly, I'm not drinking the kool-aid.
Jonestown references aside, the "two hour movie" Virtuality is really a television pilot. Critics loved it, which surprised me. I couldn't have disliked it more.
The actors are fine, there are several who I've seen before and they're good performers. The performances are par for the most part with some impressive moments scattered throughout, so I have no complaints there. It's just too bad their considerable talents are wasted on this bit.
The technology the crew uses in this "feature" does not surpass what is available right now. I'm not talking about the unimaginative virtual reality trip the characters go on, but the control systems and gadgets that are used on screen. I can order better than what they have from Hong Kong today. I realize this isn't set in some super-future, but even ten years on we'll have better gadgetry than what we see them interacting with in Virtuality. It was unconvincing.
The pacing and flat direction of this snore fest reminded me distinctly of a film called Silent Running, a hit science fiction film that came out before Star Wars (1972). Silent Running is a film from an era of science fiction we generally do not miss because it was typically drawn out, under featured, under funded and bland. For its time Silent Running was a great film and should be considered a pre-George Lucas classic, but no one's rushing to remake it simply because the film's message is one we hear every day and the pacing isn't something that would keep audiences interested.
That brings me to my next point; the interiors. They were flat, bland, had padded panels everywhere which don't make sense since they'd hamper any efforts to make repairs or take quick measures in an emergency. They also looked like they were designed in the 70's, and I'm not talking the outrageously colourful Austin Powers 70's design, but the 'everything is clean, shiny and perfect' boring 70's design. The garden they show during this pilot is nothing short of pathetic. Even the most advanced genetically modified plant life on earth cannot provide any significant amount of food, medicine, oxygen or anything else in the quantity that they display. I've seen bigger planters in public buildings, frankly.
Now we go on to the general concept of the show. Virtuality is about a vessel that is seeking a new home for us earthlings because we've ruined our planet. It's a ten year voyage so they have an artificial intelligence and a virtual reality system to keep them entertained. The artificial intelligence and virtual reality system is damaged or corrupt causing injury and death. I have a few things to say about how they handled these concepts.
First of all, the flat, emotionless artificial intelligence makes HAL look like an Robin Williams by comparison. Secondly, their idea behind virtual reality is nothing new at all, in fact Star Trek has managed to explore most of the ideas that you'll see in this show (if it gets picked up as a regular series), already. Artificial intelligence is also a factor in Caprica, the upcoming Battlestar Galactical Prequel prime time soap opera from Ronald D Moore and it is handled exactly the same. It's like Ronald D Moore just realized that virtual reality is a solid Science Fiction concept and he's "pressing at the boundaries" of the idea. I have news for him; virtual reality has been around for a very, very long time as a concept as has been demonstrated quite well in films such as The Matrix. He does nothing new in Virtuality, in fact his version of virtual reality is pedestrian and boring for the most part.
The most interesting virtual reality scenario included is a direct rip off of several old anime concepts that isn't adequately explored probably because the writers knew they were ripping off countless anime classics based on the idea of a crime fighting rock star / secret agent rock star. Oh, and the music? Fun the first time it was on screen, but irritating when they revisited the band scene.
Virtuality was also predictable and at times even irritating. The whole thing is sort of packaged as a reality TV show like Big Brother. They do a half assed job of it, making it look a little more like a scripted television series rather than creating an atmosphere for the viewer that is similar enough to a reality TV show to draw them in, to make it more immersive. I didn't feel that I was rooting for one character or another, in fact they gave the most interesting characters the least screen time. This is a problem that plagued Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine, two series that Ronald D Moore worked on extensively.
After seriously blundering with the whole last season of Battlestar Galactica it shouldn't surprise me that Ronald D Moore and others from that show have managed to thorougly cock up Virtuality right from the start. Why does this matter? I'll tell you. If this show performs poorly it makes all the network execs think twice about other science fiction shows. If it performs really well and continues to be this bland and terrible, then network execs will actually ask; "is it like Virtuality?" whenever someone else comes along with a good science fiction show pitch.
In all honesty I hope this show turns into something decent when it gets picked up as a regular series. Many space science fiction shows without a big franchise behind them fail, it would be nice to see this show turn around so well that I end up eating my words (that happened with the Sarah Conner Chronicles), but I don't see it happening. I'll watch the show if it gets picked up as a series in hopes that they somehow take this very thin concept and develop it into something worthwhile regardless of the terrible pilot and I suggest any science fiction fan does the same. If anything it's good to support science fiction TV, at least for a few episodes. I guess the biggest reason for my disappointment is because I know Ronald D Moore can do better, much better.
Well, that's my rant, I'm finished throwing stones in this glass house for a little while. Now back to work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element. I'll try not to pull a Ronald D.
[What did you think of Virtuality? Speak amongst yourselves in the comment section!]
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The Dark Arts series is about the weakening of the barrier between the spirit and material worlds and the diminished secret society of guardians that were tasked to combat the darkness. It's written by Randolph Lalonde under the name L.S. Randolph and is free to read.
Go have a read and leave a comment or rating! I'll be over here working on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element...
Sunday, July 5, 2009
In a monumentally pathetic move to re-brand the Sci-Fi channel so they can register the logo as a trademark and "reinvent" itself, the genre representing channel has renamed itself as the SyFy channel.
This move follows after GE (the owner of the SyFy Channel) attempted to register Sci-Fi as a trademark and claim ownership of the logo and failed. Now they can register the new name as a trademark but will suffer for it since, historically, people who refer to Science Fiction as SyFy typically don't enjoy, respect or understand the genre or the fans. This is absolutely perfect considering the SyFy channel started falling out of grace with Science Fiction fans as they started piling on bad reality television shows, wrestling, and other unrelated television shows such as Ghost Hunters. Add the fact that they use the channel as a dumping ground for long dead series that play right next to more impressive reruns. I've also heard many, many science fiction fans complain that they show the same movies over and over again, this is true. Pile atop that the straight to DVD B-Movie and worse quality "Sci-Fi Original" films that they use as filler or feature during prime time the station has turned some die hard Science Fiction fans away for good.
On a more positive note I have enjoyed some original programming (the Stargate Franchise, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, Eureka and others), but I find those shows are making up for the rest of the poor programming less and less. I shouldn't expect integrity and quality from a channel GE sees as a secondary concern compared to other stations such as MSNBC but there was a time when the Sci-Fi channel was pretty good, good enough so our Canadian version couldn't measure up. Those days are gone, sometimes the Canadian Sci-Fi channel (simply named: SPACE), is actually better.
It's sad to see a genre channel increase its rate of deterioration. We can only hope that science fiction content continues to invade main stream television so we don't have to channel surf to SyFy.
Friday, July 3, 2009
The short answer is, he's Randolph Lalonde, an independent author who lives in Ontario. Canada. He's also the best selling science fiction author on the Amazon.com owned Mobipocket.com EBook website (for seven months and counting). That sounds impressive, sure, but in truth he's still a new author and Mobipocket isn't a very big site.
Randolph Lalonde writes full time, focusing much of his efforts on the Spinward Fringe space opera series of books. For more information and a quick bio you can check out the Wikipedia page.
Why take a pseudonym if you're only going to go public with it?
Many authors take a pseudonym for many reasons. In this case the name Randolph Lalonde is starting to become known for Science Fiction that's suitable for young adults up to adult readers. It's all rated PG-14 and thankfully many readers enjoy it a great deal. It's also important to mention that publishers and agents find it awkward when one author's name is attached to more than one genre. There are a lot of reasons behind that and I won't bore you with them.
A pseudonym can afford some creative freedom and that's the most important reason behind it in this case. I'd rather write horror unfettered by expectations set in my other work. Let's face it, horror is nothing without the terrible things that the genre tends to visit upon the characters trapped in the genre.
What kind of horror does L.S. Randolph write?
The first project is Dark Arts Rising. It's a supernatural / horror tale that begins with a series of terrible events. There's bloodshed in the first dozen or so words and the whole tale begins with a victim. Not typically what you'd see in the science fiction from Randolph Lalonde.
The second project may be RAGE³ (Rage Cubed), which follows the story of a serial killer from a unique perspective. It's looking like this novel will take a very, very long time to write and is well divorced from the Dark Arts Rising project. No hocus, no pocus, no supernatural aspects at all, just good old torture, murder, human evil and the chase involved in finding a way to stop it. Again, not exactly the kind of story you'd expect under the name of Randolph Lalonde.
Will there be other horror/supernatural projects? I have no idea. With enough support Dark Arts could be an ongoing series and considering someone's already donated a small but respectable amount in good faith that could be likely. I'm still writing Spinward Fringe full time, but there's nothing saying that another book or short story idea won't come along and you'll find yet another title attached to the name; L.S. Randolph (which is really Randolph S Lalonde lightly scrambled).
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I understand your concern Paul. There are a few series out there that were never properly finished. The Wheel of Time comes to mind. I have a fantasy series that I've been meaning to finish myself, actually and I promise, I will. Especially since about one person a week buys one. At that rate I might have an angry mob by 2011. Fire bad!
All humor and obscure references to Young Frankenstein aside, there's something different about the Spinward Fringe series. Okay, there are several things that make it different from other series. Let me start at the beginning.
In early 2008 I finished the First Light Chronicles. It had a real ending because there was a specific plot cycle for the main character and the story was told in the first person. The plot outgrew the series and I wanted to take things in a new direction. I also wanted to write science fiction that read like a high budget television series, a bona fide space opera. I planned the Spinward Fringe series just like a television series is traditionally planned; to be open ended.
Spinward Fringe is an unlimited series in which I work to provide a soft ending in every second book so the series can satisfy readers who don't wish to read on while giving everyone else something to look forward to. I love the Spinward Fringe universe, it's very flexible and open. I also enjoy writing the characters immensely so I don't plan on stopping any time soon. So who decides when it all comes to an end? Well, considering the fact that I'm writing the Spinward Fringe series full time thanks to the support of a few hundred readers (about 350 people have purchased everything up to Triton at this point), it's really up to them.
I just released Spinward Fringe Frontline and sold about 100 copies in three weeks through Mobipocket.com. That in itself tells me that people are still interested. I'm also selling a few copies of the First Light Chronicles Omnibus per week and that tells me that people are spreading the word, more readers are coming aboard. As long as Omnibus is spreading I know Spinward Fringe's following is going to grow, making the future look a little better every time someone enjoys the experience of reading it. It's almost like selling DVD's of previous seasons. Whenever someone starts enjoying the story from the beginning it helps assure the future of the series.
Let's consider the worst case scenario. If the series died I'd have to focus my attention elsewhere. Would I keep revisiting the Fringe? Sure! but instead of 2-4 books a year I might only have time for 1 every 2 years. Eventually I might find new characters in a new universe to love and then you'd probably see a book every 5 years, if that.
Sorry Paul and everyone else who was looking for an final book and hard, conclusive ending. The readers have spoken and they don't want to see Spinward Fringe canceled any time soon.
I know I might lose readers over this, but what can I say? I'd rather tell the truth and say I hope it never ends.