Saturday, January 19, 2008

Title Seven

My editor and I have passed around the alternate title possibility list for Rob's book and come up with a final pick. Although nothing is absolute until the cover flats are printed, I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty that Darkyn book seven, to be released in January '09, will be titled Stay the Night.

Book seven is the last Darkyn novel I have under contract. Usually this is the point where a writer like me has to decide whether to continue the series, go on a short sabbatical and do something else, or let it end there. However, I created the Darkyn universe to be, like StarDoc, open-ended, which means I can pretty much keep writing it as long as I like -- or end it whenever I want.

Right now I'm thinking that five years and seven novels is a respectable run for a series like this, and maybe it's time to do something else.

When you have a successful series, the temptation is to stick with what works versus trying something new. This is true of writers as well as publishers, and Darkyn is the most successful series of my career to date. But there are also other considerations that (in my view, anyway) are more important than the Almighty Buck. Being around to finish what I started, for one thing. There's nothing wrong with me, other than I'm not a kid anymore, but anything can happen. I guess since Robert Jordan passed away I've been thinking more and more about this kind of thing.

We talked about that and other factors when I was debating the same thing about the StarDoc finale. If I can impose on you all again, what do you think about the end of the Darkyn series? If you were in my place, would you keep it going, take a sabbatical, or end it with book seven?

101 comments:

  1. Hmm. My inner reader really, really wants a Richard book. Like, craving dark chocolate wants a Richard book. So, she's screaming, "NO!"

    On the other hand, my outer writer says 7 books is a lot, and I'd be getting kind of bored, and wanting to do other things before the big yellow bus in the sky takes me away.

    Tough decision.

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  2. GASP!!! THE END???? Speaking from the perspective of a selfish self-inducgent reader, I am gasping for air whilst contemplating the last Darkyn novel. I love the Kyn and the world you have created around them. However, when thinking about how an author would feel about endlessly writing into one vein, I can understand that your creative muse might be hundering for something new on its plate. So I say go for it. A new series from you will be well-received by your readers, and we know that we can count on your for something really groundbreaking. And as you said, you could make it open-ended, so should a Kyn come to you in the night and say "It's my turn, Ms. Viehl" you can indulge him/her. So take another tack for now, a sabbatical from the Darkyn series, and explore something new.

    That's just this reader-fan's humble opinion.

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  3. Sniff...doesn't want the series to end. Okay, sniffing aside, you have to do whatever will make you happy. If you aren't happy then it's time to move to something else.

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  4. Sorry to be so long-wided, but I have one other thing to say: there is something to be said for the finality of ending a series solidly, as opposed to leaving it open for further books. When I finished the McCarrick Brothers trilogy by Kresley Cole, as much as I loved the books, I felt like my heart had been ripped out! I felt like these characters the I had loved were gone from me forever. I knew I would never get to read a new story about them again. And that really crushed me.

    So even if you chose not to keep writing the Darkyn novels, leaving the series open-ended would at least lull me into a sense of hope, rather than feeling abandoned.

    Maybe I am the only person who feels this way, I don't know. But that's my take on it (again).

    :)

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  5. I can't visualize my reading universe without Michael/Alex/Phillipe/Lucan. Your powerful Darkyn series has captured my imagination like no other. It will be very difficult for me to let go.

    That said, I understand that your query is directed at other writers. I'm a reader. If you offer tasty ebooks featuring my fav characters, I can maybe handle this. *g*

    Your considerations rule. um . . . But how about after Stay the Night a sabbatical to think it over? :)

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  6. I think I might take a sabbatical.

    That way, I could leave it for as long as I like, come back if and when I was good and ready, or announce that the series has been retired.

    But I can certainly understand the desire for...er, fresh blood. ;)

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  7. Melissa B.8:10 PM

    Well, I personally would like to see a book about Philippe. He's the one character left out of your huge group of Darkyn that I think needs a lover. After that, I would be satisfied. :D

    Plus, eight is my favorite number. ;)

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  8. You ask hard questions.

    Hmmm... I know... let me read book seven and then I'll form an opinion...??? Are you going to buy that?

    In all seriousness (not that I wasn't serious above) but I'd think you'd be the only person who can answer that question.

    Do you think it's time to move on?

    One thing I can say is that I'd love to see some more romantic suspenses like Jessica Hall gave us. But I don't know if I'd want it at the expense of Darkyn.

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  9. Nicole P8:57 PM

    I would say that it's not a just comparison to parallel an opened ended series to a trilogy, quadrology...or whatever the WoT series was at the point of Jordan's death.

    As long as you feel you can invest in the process of writing them to produce a quality book, I'll keep buying! Even as late as intros in Evermore, I was going...hmm, great character, hope he gets his own book.

    On a non-directly related note, did we ever find out in Evermore who was torturing Rainier? I'm afraid I missed it, if so. Please share, someone....

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  10. I know one of your major conflicts in the series is whether or not Dr. Keller can find a "cure". I don't know what other conflicts you need to resolve. That obviously can help you determine whether or not you CAN or SHOULD end the series (I'd personally hate for you to leave loose ends, because that would drive ME crazy!).

    Maybe you can resolve the major conflicts and leave some loose ends even at the end of the 7th book. That leaves a possible opening for a new series if the spirit moves you that way, but you can steal leave it as an ending if you so choose.

    A lot depends on whether or not you'd WANT to continue with more books. Can you keep yourself fresh? Can you come up with new conflicts?

    You've got loads of talent. Only you can decide if you want to close it down, but I've become a devoted reader, and I'd love to see you keep going.

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  11. Erin wrote: Hmm. My inner reader really, really wants a Richard book. Like, craving dark chocolate wants a Richard book.

    After I wrote Night Lost, I debated whether or not to continue Richard's personal story line in a novel. Like John, he works well as a secondary character, but like Lucan, he'd be a real challenge to write as a protagonist. In the end I put together some notes on what I would do with his story line, and filed them away in the "Maybe Someday" file. I have similar notes filed away on Jamys, John, Phillipe, Cella, Arnaud, Korvel, Geoffrey and some other characters the readers haven't met yet. Once I've decided what to do about the series, I might start raiding that file to put together some free Darkyn e-books for the readers.

    I know that's not much of an answer, but I guess it's better than saying "no, never." :)

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  12. Maria wrote: A new series from you will be well-received by your readers, and we know that we can count on your for something really groundbreaking.

    Your faith in me makes me want to hide under the bed for a few years, Maria. Thank you.

    I recently talked to my editor about an idea I have for a series that would not replace Darkyn, but would take the readers to another part of that universe (not a spinoff, exactly, but there will be a historic connection.) The approach is very fresh and completely unlike anything that's on the dark fantasy/paranormal romance market right now, too. I think if I decide to go with it and I can get it to work on the page that Darkyn readers will like it as much if not more than the current series.

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  13. Melissa B.9:55 PM

    I like that answer. I love free ebooks :D. And after Philippe, Cella and Jamys are my next choices for their own stories.

    Like Lainey said above, I could handle tasty ebooks. ;)

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  14. JC wrote: If you aren't happy then it's time to move to something else.

    I have mixed emotions, to be sure. On one hand I'm happy that so many readers like what I'm doing, and I certainly like playing in this universe. Frankly, it's a writer's wet dream to have a hit series, and for a gal like me who's been midlist for most of her career, quite surreal.

    On the other, I don't want to get complacent, collect my royalties and start phoning it in just to make money, if you know what I mean. I'm not spitting on the authors who do -- some of them have no choice but to keep writing the same thing over and over -- but I've never been about that.

    Hence the mixed emotions.

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  15. It's a tough call. I love the Darkyn series and hate to see it end. You could always write the "final" installment to be published when it was time, if you were worried about leaving things tidy. Additional short stories or novellas would be a nice bone if there aren't any more novels.

    But the new series in the same universe sounds very intriguing, too, and you don't want to get to the point where you're continuing to do something that gives you the "been there, done that" sensation. Whatever you write, I'm sure it'll be fun to read!

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  16. I would say, let your muse be your guide. If the stories are there...write them. If not, then it's time to end the series and go on.

    Whatever you write, it will be well received.

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  17. Maria wrote: Sorry to be so long-wided, but I have one other thing to say: there is something to be said for the finality of ending a series solidly, as opposed to leaving it open for further books. When I finished the McCarrick Brothers trilogy by Kresley Cole, as much as I loved the books, I felt like my heart had been ripped out! I felt like these characters the I had loved were gone from me forever. I knew I would never get to read a new story about them again. And that really crushed me.

    You are not long-winded; I appreciate the candor, and I understand how you feel. Some of my favorite authors have done the same thing, and I ended up feeling these gaps in my reading life, and nothing else fits in them, so there always there (Anne, Tanya and Holly, I hope your ears are collectively burning.)

    I am dreading writing the last of the StarDoc novels for this same reason. Of all my readers, my StarDoc loyalists have been with me the longest. We've kept the fire burning together for eight years, through some of the worst times in my career, and I don't want to disappoint them or abandon them. I have something new planned for them, too, but will it ever be enough to replace Cherijo and company? My stomach says probably not.

    It's times like these that make me wish I was a standalone author. :)

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  18. I would hate for this to be the end, so I would say sabbatical (although I'd miss the series all the way in between). The title for Rob's n ovel sounds great, by the way!

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  19. Go write something else. Your loyal fans will follow. And just think, if you do write another Darkyn novel, the advertisement will say "A NEW DARKYN NOVEL by Lynn Viehl!" because the success of the series will bring back your old readers just on that phrase alone. Meantime, you get to work on something new. How cool is that?

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  20. I agree with Shiloh on the Jessica Hall thing...your romantic suspense rocked.

    Ending a series. It's hard to let go of something you've poured your heart into while at the same time balancing your place as an author (creativity, new opportunities, etc)...

    If you're ready to move on, we'll move on with you. It's that simple.

    I love Darkyn. I love Stardoc. (Did I mention my love of Blade Dancer???) But I love the way they open up my imagination too. By leaving it open-ended, you've got an opportunity to return to the universe at a later date.

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  21. Lainey wrote: That said, I understand that your query is directed at other writers. I'm a reader.

    I do tend to address writers here on the blog, but subconsciously I'm including my readers, too. When I got started in the biz I didn't even know any other writers. Back then all the feedback I got came from my readers (and much good advice, as it turns out, as you were the ones who among other things kept encouraging me to pitch the Darkyn novels.)

    If you offer tasty ebooks featuring my fav characters, I can maybe handle this. *g*

    I've been mulling over the idea of writing another book about Samantha and Lucan. Second-in-a-relationship novels like this are tough to sell to publishers, so I'd probably do it as an e-book.

    But how about after Stay the Night a sabbatical to think it over?

    That seems to be where I'm heading right now.

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  22. As a reader, I've been wearied by the number of "series" out there by various authors. Jeez, I suddenly realize three years or more have gone by while I live my life *waiting* for the next book in a must-read-NOW series ... ;p

    As a struggling writer, I can see the "safety" (if I can use that term) of returning to the same world, where a million potential stories might be told. Personally & creatively, *I'd* get bored after a while and want to go find new fields to turn over.

    Ultimately the decision is yours, and as others have said before me, fans of your writing will faithfully follow you down whatever road you take. Your hint at a "historic connection" series, or even that "maybe someday" file gives us hope we'll see the Darkyn world yet again one day!

    — Bonz

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  23. My first suggestion -- which you don't need -- is: do what makes you happy.

    But of course, I enjoy the Darkyn novels so much, I would be very happy if you kept this series going.

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  24. You’re a versatile writer. You know a lot of things, and you’re good at many types of writing. I would love to see new stuff from you! You’re making me so excited with this talk about a new series for Darkyn fans and a new “something” for Stardoc fans.
    I wouldn’t be sad when the Darkyn and Stardoc series end. I love almost everything that you write, so as long as you’re writing, I’m happy!

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  25. As a writer I think I'd say, as long as there are still stories to write, then I think I'd want to write them. I haven't published anything, but in my stories I pretty much know the number of stories I have to tell about characters. The two things I'm working on at the moment - one is a trilogy with a couple of other stories possible about secondary characters, and the other is a trilogy + duology set in the same universe. I don't think a writer should force themselves to write something necessarily because the fans want it. Mainly because I think it cheats both the fans and the writer. I think readers can tell when a story has been 'forced'.

    Having said that. :) As a reader I would really love a story about Richard. There's so many little bits about him dropped in the other stories and I want to know more. And also Jamys, after what happened in Evermore, I was hopeful for him being able to have a heroine of his own.

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  26. Whatever keeps you fresh and challenged as a writer is most likely right for you and what I would recommend. I'm with Maria on her comment, but I can imagine the pressure it might put on you (quite unintended).

    I don't like things too wrapped up -- I like to wonder what's happening to characters after the series is over.

    There is the question: "What happens to the Kyn if they are "cured"? Do they become mortal and die like everyone else after living out the remainder of their "human" years? Or, since they're already so old chronologically, would they die immediately? That would be a likely but certainly unintended consequence of a cure -- and a real downer for the series.

    With the Kyn, you've taken a (for me) "must not read genre" and made me read it. (Yes, made me -- I wouldn't have done it if not for you -- and Holly's "dark chocolate" blurb. The two of you...wanders away shaking head.) For that alone, I'll read anything you put out, betting it will capture my interest as well (no pressure).

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  27. I think you should do what makes you happy. I love the Darkyn series and I'll follow characters in a related universe. I hope you tie up some loose ends but not all of them. I like to think the Kyn world continues even when there isn't a new book to read.

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  28. Chicago! Awesome! Robin would be so pleased, heheh.

    I'd always hoped for some sort of redemption for Guy of Gisborne after Evermore, but that's just the hopeless bad-guy chaser in me hoping for a new anti-hero to drool over. Poor guy. He's just misunderstood!

    However, the writer in me thinks that a sabbatical would probably do you good. You could step away from the series for a while -- long enough to take an objective look at it. Outside looking in, you know. Some distance might help you decide if you're truly keeping the writing fresh or just pumping out a laundry list of characters to keep beating a dead horse.

    Of course, I have no doubt that the Darkyn series is both lively and still kicking gleefully, but hey. I'm just a reader there, and I love what I see.

    In all, you're the only one who can make this call. Even the publisher can't do it for you, although they can try to persuade you either way. Do your own thing, PBW, and we will follow.

    I've said it before, but I'd read your grocery list, even if just to see what snarkery you use to list out your produce needs.

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  29. I would be sad to see Darkyn end, even if you took a mini vaction would be fine. But if you decide to end it, I would like to maybe see a short story about Jamys or Arnaud. I am also very happy you have a Darkyn book about Val. Only you can decide which is right and I believe your fans will understand.

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  30. I would say second only to following your heart is following your muse. If she's calling you to greener pastures, I'd hate to miss what she offers.

    Also, pardon my apparent naivety, but why not just but a little more distance between Darkyn books and work on your other ideas simultaneously? I know this will be a bitch as far as finding time for everything, but if you're not sure, there are ways to do both.

    At any rate, I'm with everyone else, I'm sure your readers will follow you down whatever avenue you choose.

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  31. I just discovered the series and glommed them so it is hard to wrap my mind around them ending with just two more books. But some series do drag on too long. I think you should write them as long as you are enjoying them and you have something new and fresh to add to the series but always keep a foreseeable ending in mind. I would definitely follow these characters into ebooks if you go that route with them after book 7.

    Beki, a new fan and reader

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  32. Mary22:37 PM

    As much as I would hate to see the end of the Darkyn series, I know that someday they will end. You are their creator, that end has to be when you think it is best.
    Having said that however, as a reader I have always assumed I would someday read Richard's story, just as I assumed I would read John's. I don't know why, but like Robin, in Evermore, these characters somehow have differentiated themselves from the others in my mind and heart, and I just knew there would someday be more.
    I would be happy to take Richard's story any way I can get it :)
    As a reader I would sample the new series, of course :) And knowing you, I would have to make room on my bookshelves for another series :)

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  33. Long ago and far away (my mid-20's), a tarot card reader Explained It All. With the Knight of Wands in full armor on his rearing steed as the focal point of the layout, she revealed that I had been a Crusader who became as corrupt and cruel as the heathens he journeyed to the Holy Land to conquer. That all my problems in my incarnation as a woman were karma from my medieval excesses as a brutal male. Since then, I have been intrigued by the Crusaders, by the Knights Templar.

    That other part of the universe that you are contemplating sounds fascinating. I want whatever it is that you are envisioning. Alex feels driven to research the cause for vrykolakas although the Kyn don't WANT to be cured.

    But I'm with Erin. I'm going to be disappointed if I don't find out how Richard's changeling situation works out, what color hair he has *g*.
    And like Melissa b., I would love stories about Phillipe and Cella. These two characters have so much depth.

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  34. Since I just discovered and glommed the series it is hard to imagine them ending with book seven. But I have read some series that dragged on way too long. I would like the Darkyn books to continue as long as you enjoy doing them and they continue to add something new and fresh to the series. I personally feel that all series should be written with a foreseeable but hopefully not a premature ending. I would like to see all the current story lines wrapped up and some of the secondary characters get their stories told first.

    Beki, a new fan and reader

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  35. [. . .] a series that would not replace Darkyn, but would take the readers to another part of that universe [. . .] a historic connection [. . . .] very fresh and completely unlike anything that's on the dark fantasy/paranormal romance market right now [. . .]

    This makes me salivate. (Can I say salivate here?)

    I agree with those who are suggesting you follow your heart, and I think you have a reasonable safety net there: not only will you be satisfied in the end, but you've got an audience willing to take a new journey with you.

    As a P.S., I received my Galley Four prize the other day: aside from being thrilled, I have to commend your packaging and thank you for the workout. One day of the week we have an idiot who delivers the mail. Not only was he unable to read the red FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE note on the package, but also, he must have used a lubricant and heavy equipment to SHOVE the package into the box. (I skipped my workout after struggling to free it.) Had it not been protected. . .

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  36. I have collected - or am completing the collection of - the entire works of only five authors, and you are one of them. As a reader, I have enjoyed every one of your books (a few of the earliest are yet to be obtained). As someone studying the art of writing, I'm fascinated by the glimpses I have of the way you do intensive research - for instance, on swords - and then use it so effectively in so many ways in different series.

    I want to see where your creative mind goes next, even more than I want to see more Darkyn or StarDoc novels.

    I think you deserve to give yourself the rewards of success, whether it is a month, a quarter, or a year of doing whatever it is you want most that isn't possible with a writing schedule.

    And then I want to see what you will create. I know two things - I will love it, and I can't possibly imagine what it would be.

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  37. "Right now I'm thinking that five years and seven novels is a respectable run for a series like this, and maybe it's time to do something else."

    Noooooooooo! ::gnashes teeth/rends garments::

    lol. How about compromise? Put the series on hiatus for a bit while, then come back to it fresh/renewed.

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  38. Oh my gosh. I just found you and to loose you would be Ugg..........

    I would really hate to see the series end even though Evermore is the only one I've read so far. I am in the process of getting all the others so I enjoy the writing all that much more.

    Please read my review at terra57.blogspot.com and you'll see how much I love Evermore, then you'll be able to understand how I feel.

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  39. Yowza, that's a tough decision to make and I feel humbled that you are asking your fellow writers (and your readers!) for their input. ^_^

    I am a huge fan of your writing, period. You're always willing to explore new avenues, push some envelopes, your characters complex and ALWAYS interesting and you know how to hook readers in and not let them go. So if I haven't made it clear enough; your writing is addictive and I would follow you wherever you decided to wander in the literary universe ;)

    That being said, I adore your Darkyn series, probably just as much as I adore StarDoc (which is saying something). I've actually been saving Evermore up as a reward for finishing something because I know it's going to be so good. As father-turtle mentioned, I think it would be nice to have the main conflicts of your storyline wrapped up somehow. I would definitely love to read Richard's story and a lot of your other characters -- but I would definitely be fine with e-book format. But I am convinced that you could write a 50 book series and still keep it fresh and interesting, so I'm a little biased. I also think that now that you are a best-selling, well-known, established author, you have a lot more freedom to go with it and know that most of your readers will happily follow along for the ride.

    So in conclusion, if you'd like to go off in a completely new direction with the Darkyn series, or end them altogether, go for it! Also, you have left me very intrigued about the new twist you will introduce to the StarDoc series. :) Also, thank you for being such a terrific writer and feeding my addiction for great stories filled with interesting and engaging characters.

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  40. Anonymous10:04 PM

    I love the series. It's very refreshing and I anticipate the next. Please don't make 'the end,' The End.

    Thanks!

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  41. Yay! My first choice for title wins! I rule! *twirls*

    I love the Darkyn, but seriously? If you're ready to move on, you should probably go. Life's too short, yes?

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  42. Shanna11:01 PM

    Everyone here is trying to take the "higher" road, not be selfish, and tell you to move on if you want. Well, I'm going to say what is on many minds-PLEASE don't end the Darkyn series. These are the best books I've ever read-I'm addicted! So...I'm going to throw a childish fit, lay down kicking like a small child, and cry, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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  43. Raine wrote: But I can certainly understand the desire for...er, fresh blood. ;)

    Lol. Keeping anything fresh means going to new places and trying new things or your stagnate. And there's only so much change you can bring within the confines of a series without warping it into something else that the readership may not be receptive to (as we've all seen with work that radically morphs in mid-series.) On the flip side, too much continuity can make a series repetitive and stale. It's a lot to think about.

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  44. Melissa wrote: Well, I personally would like to see a book about Philippe. He's the one character left out of your huge group of Darkyn that I think needs a lover.

    Phillipe definitely deserves a story of his own (at one time I considered using Nurse Heather from book one as his future love interest, but then someone else came into the picture.) In his case his role as Michael's seneschal and Alex's backup protector is the issue. He has become such an integral part of Michael and Alex's storyline that I'd almost have to strand him on a deserted island with someone to give him the proper amount of time and space to do justice to his story.

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  45. Shiloh wrote: Hmmm... I know... let me read book seven and then I'll form an opinion...??? Are you going to buy that?

    I'm in the same shoes (right now I'm writing book seven, and wondering exactly how to end it, what comes next, etc.)

    Do you think it's time to move on?

    I think it's time to pick a direction. :)

    One thing I can say is that I'd love to see some more romantic suspenses like Jessica Hall gave us. But I don't know if I'd want it at the expense of Darkyn.

    Neither would my publisher, I'll wager. :)

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  46. Nicole wrote: On a non-directly related note, did we ever find out in Evermore who was torturing Rainier? I'm afraid I missed it, if so. Please share, someone....

    To avoid spoilers, the answer is on page 190, Nicole.

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  47. I'm having a real problem getting Blogger to cooperate tonight, folks. I'll be back in the a.m. to pick up the discussion.

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  48. As a reader I vote for more Darkyn books. I just finished Evermore and I'm not ready for the series to end.

    However having said that, more Darkyn books only works if you aren't bored with them and still feel you have stories from their world to tell.

    I also love your StarDoc books but would never have found them if I hadn't first read "If Angels Burn." Has having a series as successful as the Darkyn books increased sales of your other series/books. And has it changed what your publisher expects/wants/will consider when it comes to future books.

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  49. ChummyGirl1:59 AM

    I would totally be on board with the Darkyn series ending.

    Have you ever seen the utterly classic movie 'High Fidelity.' There's a line that your post made me think of - one of Jack Black's - "Is it better to burn out or to fade away?"

    I can think of several series, one in particular in the Vampire genre, that has faded away. It used to be my favourite -- it was the one that started it all for me (if not for the genre) and now it's a shadow of what it once was.

    I don't know if Darkyn novels would run the same risk because while Alex and Michael recur, they are not the focus of each book. However, I would much prefer the series to put down the series because it ended with a resolution than because I couldn't stand to watch it mutate and limp along.

    I'd ask that you do one or two more books after Seven to tie up some loose ends -- or to leave the untied. What about John Keller? I agree with an earlier post, what about Richard?

    I'm certain that the ending to Robin's novel will be satisfying (I love him -- I had to go back and watch the classic Disney cartoon after reading Evermore) but I can't say that I'd be satisfied to have him end the series.

    So, to sum up: Yes, end the series, just not with number 7.

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  50. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I think the fact you're posing the question means unconsciously you know it's time to move on.
    The question is which way?
    From my lofty postion of having written zero(0) hits series, I think you should end with a bang in book seven and leave them wanting more.
    Then take everything you've learned,from fancy advertising sites to how readers reacted to individual characters and pairings and write the best series of your life.
    IMHO, you're poised for greatness.

    martie

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  51. father turtle wrote: Maybe you can resolve the major conflicts and leave some loose ends even at the end of the 7th book.

    Part of the major conflict in Rob's book will resolve (or at least bring to the threshold of resolution) most of the major running subplots in the series. Where the Kyn go from that point depends on the direction they choose (mirroring my own dilemma, oddly enough.) I don't think I can close the door completely on this series, unless I kill all of the characters, which I'm not willing to do.

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  52. Gutterball said above "I'd always hoped for some sort of redemption for Guy of Gisborne after Evermore, but that's just the hopeless bad-guy chaser in me hoping for a new anti-hero to drool over. Poor guy. He's just misunderstood!"

    How could I have forgotten about Guy. LOL - I've only just read about him.

    I always had suspicions about John Keller as well. And I'd like to know if I was right or wrong.

    Funny how in this thread, so many of the posts have me going - me too!

    But I'd also look forward to reading something new.

    My favourite short story is A Diversity of Houses. I find those blue guys fascinating.

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  53. Melissa wrote: I like that answer. I love free ebooks :D.

    Writing and putting together the free e-books and stories are a lot of fun for me, and I still think they're the best form of self-promo out there.

    And after Philippe, Cella and Jamys are my next choices for their own stories.

    Cella has one hell of a backstory, and I do hope I get to explore it and her character more in the future. Jamys, too.

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  54. Charlene wrote: You could always write the "final" installment to be published when it was time, if you were worried about leaving things tidy.

    I'm doing that StarDoc finale. I should have it finished by March, at which time I'll send copies to family and friends in the event I'm not around to sell it. Once it's done I'll feel better.

    Darkyn is a bit different, in that the series protagonists are secondary, not primary characters. I do want readers to know what happens with Alex and Michael, so I'll probably just write the last chapter I have planned in their story and file that away.

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  55. BJ wrote: If the stories are there...write them. If not, then it's time to end the series and go on.

    The stories are there, will always be there, I think. The Kyn universe is a big playground. :) There are other stories and other universes, and I don't want to let success keep me from them. I hope that makes sense.

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  56. Applejacks0711 wrote: I would hate for this to be the end, so I would say sabbatical (although I'd miss the series all the way in between). The title for Rob's novel sounds great, by the way!

    Thanks, A. I'm very happy with the new title, too; it's stayed at #1 on my personal alternative choice list.

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  57. cherylp wrote: Go write something else. Your loyal fans will follow. And just think, if you do write another Darkyn novel, the advertisement will say "A NEW DARKYN NOVEL by Lynn Viehl!" because the success of the series will bring back your old readers just on that phrase alone. Meantime, you get to work on something new. How cool is that?

    My readership is the best, of that I've no doubt. It's great that so many of you are voting for a sabbatical, too, because I was worried that taking time off from the Kyn would leave the readers feeling collectively stranded.

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  58. I'm doing that StarDoc finale. I should have it finished by March, at which time I'll send copies to family and friends in the event I'm not around to sell it. Once it's done I'll feel better.


    Mourning to commence...this one is going to be painful.

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  59. Dawn wrote: It's hard to let go of something you've poured your heart into while at the same time balancing your place as an author (creativity, new opportunities, etc)...

    I won't talk about how important the Darkyn series is to me on a personal level, as I hate getting mushy on you guys. I refuse to let anything I write become The Book of My Heart, either. But this series has helped me grow as a writer and a professional, and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to share that with you all.

    I don't mean that in the authorial-speak way it sounds, either. I mean, I put my own poetry in Evermore. For me that's like walking naked down Hudson Street. During rush hour.

    I knew these boxes of Kleenex from my daughter's science project would come in handy.

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  60. Bonz wrote: As a struggling writer, I can see the "safety" (if I can use that term) of returning to the same world, where a million potential stories might be told. Personally & creatively, *I'd* get bored after a while and want to go find new fields to turn over.

    It is safe, especially when you've got something that works so well for the readers. And therein lies the danger -- you get so wrapped up in that blanket of approval that you almost come to expect it. You forget how to work for it. Meanwhile, readers eventually do get bored and want something fresh, and your series plateaus and then starts sliding into oblivion.

    Safety is a great thing, but if you cling to it usually you just end up with you, books that don't sell, and your blankie. :)

    Creatively I have enough projects in other genres to keep me motivated. I just worry about the safety factor.

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  61. Bibliophile2:09 PM

    I say go to book ten... thats a nice round number and I would have a few more books to read before I have to find something else to read LOL.

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  62. Lynn Viehl said: The stories are there, will always be there, I think. The Kyn universe is a big playground. :) There are other stories and other universes, and I don't want to let success keep me from them. I hope that makes sense.

    Yes it does. I'm torn between wanting the existing series to go on, and to see the new material that you create.

    In either case, we, your biggest fans and readers, will enjoy whatever stories that you decide to write.

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  63. Doug wrote: My first suggestion -- which you don't need -- is: do what makes you happy.

    Amen.

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  64. Petepete wrote: I would love to see new stuff from you! You’re making me so excited with this talk about a new series for Darkyn fans and a new “something” for Stardoc fans.

    I won't kid you, the SF something is going to be a tough sell for a couple of reasons, the primary being there just aren't that many slots available for SF stories. But StarDoc has been such an enduring series that I'm hopeful the publisher will be receptive to my new idea when contract time comes around.

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  65. Lesley wrote: . . .in my stories I pretty much know the number of stories I have to tell about characters. The two things I'm working on at the moment - one is a trilogy with a couple of other stories possible about secondary characters, and the other is a trilogy + duology set in the same universe.

    Being able to see the work not only in single story form but in sets and branches of possibilities like this will help you out a lot when you go pro, Lesley. Publishers like having options, and they really like writers who can see beyond the one-book boundaries.

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  66. Jean wrote: There is the question: "What happens to the Kyn if they are "cured"? Do they become mortal and die like everyone else after living out the remainder of their "human" years? Or, since they're already so old chronologically, would they die immediately? That would be a likely but certainly unintended consequence of a cure -- and a real downer for the series.

    I should really put out an e-book on the biology of the Darkyn. :) Some series spoilers follow, so if you don't want to know the medical science involved in the Kyn condition, skip this comment.

    The answer to your question is based in your own physiology. Although some of your cells (like nerve cells) can't be replaced once they're destroyed, others like your red blood cells are replaced every 120 days.

    Now, if you introduced a trio of pathogens that in effect turbo-charged your immune system to produce mega phagocytes and speed up that cellular replacement process (say program it to work a hundred thousand times faster), and replaced every cell you possess, including the nerve cells, you would heal instantly, be impervious to all diseases, never age, etc.

    This is of course fiction based on medical science (such pathogens do not exist as far as we know) but if such pathogens existed, it could in theory grant any human virtual immortality. And if you could successfully remove the trio of pathogens, you'd have a human body that has been perfectly maintained, all brand spanking new (on the cellular level, anyway.) If you were infected at age 25, you would be 25 forever, or at least until the pathogens are removed from your system.

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  67. As Joseph Campbell would say, you should follow your bliss and do what feels most natural to you. No matter what you write, you have loyal readers who will follow you.

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  68. Darlene wrote: I hope you tie up some loose ends but not all of them. I like to think the Kyn world continues even when there isn't a new book to read.

    I think I can swing that. :)

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  69. Gutterball wrote: I've said it before, but I'd read your grocery list, even if just to see what snarkery you use to list out your produce needs.

    Let's see, here's the one from yesterday:

    1. Produce: Granny Smith Apples, watermelon, canteloupe, bananas (check for tarantulas before taking whole crate.) Ask produce manager why the broccoli looks older than me.
    2. Dairy: Reduced Fat milk, seriously sharp cheddar cheese, Trix-flavored yoghurt for the kids, and don't make the euww face in front of them over that disgusting yoghurt.
    2a. Get to store before all the old people from the retirement community come in and buy out the Lactaid milk section.
    3. Dry goods: CS, Twinings and Crystal light tea. Gen-soy chocolate mint bars. Fruit leather. Do not go down the cookie aisle.
    3a. I said, do not go down the cookie aisle.
    3b. I mean it. Those double stuff Oreos go right to your hips.
    4. All right, look for diet Oreos. They probably have those vile 100 calorie packs of the wafer-thin kind that don't even have any middles or frosting in them, and what is wrong with these people? Why are they torturing us by calling those cardboard circles Oreos, anyway?
    5. Bring extra Kleenex in pocket to mop up tears while feeling sorry for yourself.

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  70. Big T wrote: But if you decide to end it, I would like to maybe see a short story about Jamys or Arnaud.

    Gotcha. Arnaud is one of the characters I always hoped I'd get back to someday; he and Gard Pavier have interesting converging backstories/storylines happening off stage.

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  71. Mitch wrote: Also, pardon my apparent naivety, but why not just but a little more distance between Darkyn books and work on your other ideas simultaneously? I know this will be a bitch as far as finding time for everything, but if you're not sure, there are ways to do both.

    I used to write seven to nine books a year, but that was when I could use my hands to type. Since my arthritis has gotten worse I've become 85% dependent on VRS to write, so I talk to the computer all day. I'm good for four to six hours, and on some days eight, but then my voice just gives out. Any other writing and editing I have left to do must be done manually. With my hands the way they are I just can't handle too much keyboard time.

    It's frustrating to have to slow down when my brain is still in high gear, but until they invent some sort of cerebral transfer process, I have no choice but to scale back on the number of books I write per year, and how many I work on simultaneously, too.

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  72. Beki wrote: But some series do drag on too long.

    Too true. I probably obssess on that aspect of series writing as much as the "What if I buy the farm before I finish?" angle.

    I think it's a lot to ask new readers -- like you, Beki -- who find the books in mid-series to go back and buy all the earlier novels to catch up. I know as a reader I don't mind buying three or four novels to catch up on a series I've just discovered. But if there are more than seven? I'm going to think twice about even bothering with that author.

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  73. PBW wrote "If you were infected at age 25, you would be 25 forever, or at least until the pathogens are removed from your system."

    Thanks for the reminder (you have covered this in the books in slightly different wording). So, the DNA never gets damaged in the replication process? But, yes, this makes sense. So if "cured" they would return to aging normally. Good. Dead Darkyn everywhere would probably be a biohazard of some proportion (despite the alliteration), but it would give a new interpretation on Revelation...

    Regarding the grocery list...consider those 100 calorie pack Oreos the equivalent of Communion wafers. Depending upon your theology, they either ARE the real thing or REPRESENTATIVE of the real thing. I think we're of the same theology on which is which. By the way, should any ever last two years past the expiration date on your pantry shelf, just throw them away. (Don't ask me how it happened but it did. Really nasty.)

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  74. 3. Dry goods: ...Fruit leather. Do not go down the cookie aisle.
    3a. I said, do not go down the cookie aisle.
    3b. I mean it. Those double stuff Oreos go right to your hips.


    I love you. Can I say that enough?

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  75. Lynn Viehl wrote: "until they invent some sort of cerebral transfer process"

    Ya know, that sounds handy, but I've talked this over before with a fellow writer and we've decided it would all just lead to more work. Imagine editing your thoughts:
    "He walked - walked? no, more dramatic...stalked over to her - stalked, that doesn't seem right either, too cliche, I'll just have to come back to it. He 'something' over to her and said, -damn, I've got to pee! I drink way too much coffee. I wonder if I can hold it a while longer...eh...no, probably should go potty before starting the steamy sex scene."

    Or something like that. I find my mind doesn't usually remain completely on whatever I'm working on, particularly during tough scenes that want to drag. It's only good in theory.

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  76. Mary2 wrote: Having said that however, as a reader I have always assumed I would someday read Richard's story, just as I assumed I would read John's. I don't know why, but like Robin, in Evermore, these characters somehow have differentiated themselves from the others in my mind and heart, and I just knew there would someday be more. I would be happy to take Richard's story any way I can get it.

    I'm really surprised a lot of you have put in a good word for Richard. Even after the various revelations about his situation, he's still such a dark character that I thought he wouldn't appeal much as a prospective protagonist. A lot to think about there now.

    As for John, I think I have to table any discussion about his storyline until after Twilight Fall is published. ;)

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  77. Lainey wrote: Long ago and far away (my mid-20's), a tarot card reader Explained It All. With the Knight of Wands in full armor on his rearing steed as the focal point of the layout, she revealed that I had been a Crusader who became as corrupt and cruel as the heathens he journeyed to the Holy Land to conquer. That all my problems in my incarnation as a woman were karma from my medieval excesses as a brutal male. Since then, I have been intrigued by the Crusaders, by the Knights Templar.

    I don't know whether to say how cool or yikes. Maybe both?

    My interest in the Templars probably started when one of my high school teachers gave me Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror as a graduation gift. I'd never really read about history for pleasure until Barbara got hold of my imagination and sucked it into her time machine.

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  78. Shawn wrote: As a P.S., I received my Galley Four prize the other day: aside from being thrilled, I have to commend your packaging and thank you for the workout.

    No problem, and thanks for letting me know it arrived. I've been experimenting with different ways to ship galleys to readers so that the pages don't get messed up, and I'm glad to know that document wallet thing flexed when it should have. :)

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  79. If the series feels like it's coming to an end, then go with that - but two more books, max, should do it.

    Start something new, we'll be here, waiting. (Does that sound stalker-ish?)

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  80. I've been mulling this over for the weekend. The reader in me squawks immediately, "End? Are you kidding? I only found it this year!" But then even the reader steps back and thinks, "I've seen some pretty nasty things happen to series around the seventh or eighth book, not naming names, but yanno, if you're even asking this question... you probably already have the answer."

    It's like dating. If you're asking your friends if you should dump the guy, really all you're looking for is external justification or permission. You want to do it, but you don't necessarily want to own up to it. That's not bad, either. You like the guy/series, but you know, it's just that time. It's no one's fault, but you're going to feel bad no matter how it goes down.

    And really, as long as you don't leave us all hanging and give us those short stories, it's cool. ;)

    And I'm with whoever said *salivating*. You tease, Lynn! I want to know what's up with this new series idea!! Also, I request the John story, I don't care what happens in TF as long as you don't kill him. :D

    And am I the only person who doesn't like Oreos?

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  81. Gwenhwyfar3:19 PM

    The real question is whether or not you continue to be interested in these characters and their world. If yes, no reason to stop. If no, well then, wrap things up (but if could squeeze in Richard AND Korvel's stories that would be great (esp Korvel - he needs to get over Alex - she's not my favorite - I unrequited love is just too sad to leave hanging - Eliane (sp?) in the same boat. So I guess, I'm in "please, may I have some more?" camp.

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  82. Pandababy wrote many lovely things that made me hide under the bed for awhile, and: I think you deserve to give yourself the rewards of success, whether it is a month, a quarter, or a year of doing whatever it is you want most that isn't possible with a writing schedule.

    Writing is its own reward, and yeah, I know how hokey that sounds. :) I am going to write one dangerous book this year, which is something I haven't done for a while, and I look forward to that because it is something I believe every pro should do now and then.

    I'm also fortunate in that I have a family life, a writing life and an artistic life. When I'm not writing or being mom, I still paint and quilt when I can, write poetry, garden, and share my love of art with like-minded friends. Not big things, just little, but you don't need to do something huge to enjoy it. At the moment I'm getting ready to collaborate with another artist on a shared sewing/embellishment project, and that has me pouring over piecing patterns and playing with my quilting software.

    Of course, if George Clooney ever decides to take me up on my open invitation to spend the summer in Tuscany with him at the villa, then I'm out of here. ;)

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  83. Vanessa wrote: How about compromise? Put the series on hiatus for a bit while, then come back to it fresh/renewed.

    That seems to be the most popular option. And I've done it once already with another series, although in that case the hiatus wasn't my idea.

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  84. Terry wrote: I would really hate to see the series end even though Evermore is the only one I've read so far. I am in the process of getting all the others so I enjoy the writing all that much more.

    I appreciate the investment, Terry, and I hope the earlier books prove just as interesting for you. Thanks also for taking the time to write up your thoughts on Evermore on your blog. The support from bloggers for the series has been phenomenal, and that's the kind of thing a writer can't buy, beg or borrow.

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  85. lleo wrote: But I am convinced that you could write a 50 book series and still keep it fresh and interesting, so I'm a little biased.

    A fifty book series, now that would be . . . no. Brain, do not go there.

    I also think that now that you are a best-selling, well-known, established author, you have a lot more freedom to go with it and know that most of your readers will happily follow along for the ride.

    True, success grants an author a little more leeway, but I don't want to ever take you guys for granted and assume anything I decide to do will be fine with you, if that makes sense (thus this post, and others like it.)

    I admit, I'm very leery of too much success, too. I've seen it seduce and ruin a bunch of talented writers since I got in the biz, and that's one path I don't want to follow.

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  86. Anonymous wrote: I love the series. It's very refreshing and I anticipate the next.

    Mom, stop posting comments on my blog. ;)

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  87. Selah wrote: I love the Darkyn, but seriously? If you're ready to move on, you should probably go. Life's too short, yes?

    I have to avoid the temptation of making Le Grand Exit, is all.

    And yes, you do rule. ;)

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  88. Shanna wrote: Everyone here is trying to take the "higher" road, not be selfish, and tell you to move on if you want. Well, I'm going to say what is on many minds-PLEASE don't end the Darkyn series. These are the best books I've ever read-I'm addicted! So...I'm going to throw a childish fit, lay down kicking like a small child, and cry, "NO!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    No problem, go right ahead. I had a four year old grandnephew do that to me pretty much all weekend (and may I take this opportunity to lavish my sympathy on all the mothers of toddlers and preschoolers out there? Ye Gods, I forgot how time-intensive they can be, and the truckload of decibels they can generate.)

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  89. Sherry wrote: Has having a series as successful as the Darkyn books increased sales of your other series/books. And has it changed what your publisher expects/wants/will consider when it comes to future books.

    Darkyn has definitely had a positive impact on sales of my other novels and series, but I really have to give the credit for StarDoc staying in print to the SF readers, who supported it and passed the word around even when the series was cut and I was teetering on the brink of quitting the biz altogether back in '03. MY SF simply never stopped selling (like it was supposed to) and that led to me getting a new contract in '04 before Darkyn ever hit the shelves.

    The expectations from my editors and publisher have always been realistic, and I hope they'll continue to be so. I'm fortunate that I work with people who I believe know that I'm a long-term investment type writer, not a flavor of the month.

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  90. Chummygirl wrote: I don't know if Darkyn novels would run the same risk because while Alex and Michael recur, they are not the focus of each book. However, I would much prefer the series to put down the series because it ended with a resolution than because I couldn't stand to watch it mutate and limp along.

    I'm finding that writing series protagonists as secondary characters (this is the first time I've tried doing this, so it's like an ongoing experiment) creates an odd challenge. I worry that in time Alex and Michael will become simply plot foils to the primetime players versus carrying on their own storyline. And that's what I think would make this limp.

    The mutation factor is also a concern. In my old age I'm getting rabid about not writing the same book over and over, and I know sometimes that desire can get out of hand. I took a calculated risk with the story structure of Evermore and broke what I was seeing as a repetitive plot pattern. This time it seemed to work, the next time it might not.

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  91. Martie wrote: Then take everything you've learned,from fancy advertising sites to how readers reacted to individual characters and pairings and write the best series of your life.

    I have learned a great deal from this series and the way it's performed on the market. I think it's rocked a few boats, too, which makes me quite happy. I hope I can keep learning and do a little better each time I'm given the chance to bring out a new series.

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  92. Lesley wrote: My favourite short story is A Diversity of Houses. I find those blue guys fascinating.

    That was a fun one to write. I'd like to do a book just on Joren and the HouseClans one day, but I keep thinking it's too self-indulgent.

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  93. Bibliophile wrote: say go to book ten... thats a nice round number and I would have a few more books to read before I have to find something else to read LOL.

    Ha. If I'm not careful, I'm going to end up being the ten-book series writer. :)

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  94. The anti-wife wrote: As Joseph Campbell would say, you should follow your bliss and do what feels most natural to you.

    Good advice, always.

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  95. Jaye wrote: Start something new, we'll be here, waiting.

    Thank you.

    (Does that sound stalker-ish?)

    Only if I offend you on a regular basis. ;)

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  96. Jess wrote: You tease, Lynn! I want to know what's up with this new series idea!!

    What, I can't drop tormenting hints for a few more weeks until I see if anyone wants to buy it? You're no fun to torture.

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  97. Gwenhwyfar (gorgeous name) wrote: The real question is whether or not you continue to be interested in these characters and their world. If yes, no reason to stop. If no, well then, wrap things up (but if could squeeze in Richard AND Korvel's stories that would be great (esp Korvel - he needs to get over Alex - she's not my favorite - I unrequited love is just too sad to leave hanging - Eliane (sp?) in the same boat. So I guess, I'm in "please, may I have some more?" camp.

    I actually meant to wrap up Korvel's story in Evermore but he grew on me and I couldn't stick to the original plan. I wrote up some ideas for him just after I finished the novel, and I have a feeling he's going to be like Squilyp from StarDoc -- one of those characters who won't leave me alone.

    Maybe I should have an unruly character garage sale.

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  98. I'd like to thank all of you for discussing this with me for the last couple of days. Your suggestions and ideas have been great, and being able to hash this out has helped me more than I can tell you.

    I'll keep you posted on what evolves from here.

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  99. Lynn --
    I may be late in posting - mostly because I saw this note and comments and just couldn't say anything....but I really wanted to..

    I have been enjoying this Darkyn series more than any other series I've read...and I've read a bunch. I try to just read the story and not jump too far ahead with my suppositions about where you're going with the story or the characters.. I think there's so much still yet unrevealed that I cannot fathom no more Darkyn stories.

    Now, that's from the reader side of me that is crumpled in the corner sobbing at the thought of ONLY 2 more Darkyn books. The author part of me completely sympathizes with your concerns about the series becoming boring or too long or too much of the same thing. When I tried to post that the first time, the reader side pummelled the author side into silence...

    So, I hear what you're saying, but just can't find it in me to urge you to give up the Darkyn..


    Terri

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  100. Thanks for responding. I love that you are so interactive with your readers and fellow writers. And I'm glad if we were able to help you come to a decision. Although I think the general consensus is, "Noooooooo! Don't end it!! You can't end it yet! I'm too invested!!!"

    But I guess we were too diplomatic and mature to say it like that. Lol. Or something like that... ;)

    I just wanted to qualify the comment I made earlier about how your success now makes it easier to take bigger risks while at the same time being assured that your readers will follow you no matter what. And you are right in pointing out that if you get too comfortable, you might lose some of your drive to shake things up and constantly challenge yourself and your readers. (Not that I think that will ever happen ;D). But I think I undermined what you've already done as an author when I said that now you can start getting really creative and really stir things up. Because I think your whole writing career and success has been partly based on your ability and courage to shake things up, challenge convention and really make it work. And the fact that I know you will continue to do this only makes me love you more as an author. ;)

    P.S. Those 100 calorie snacks do kind of suck. I suggest caramel or chocolate frozen yogurt (half-the-fat of ice cream and still tastes like ice cream!) and mini chocolate bars. Really, if you only have 2-3 a day, that only equals half a chocolate bar. ^_~

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  101. End? As in no more???? NO!!!! You just can't do that. I just discovered the Darkyn series about a week ago and I'm impatiently waiting for Borders to open up tomorrow so I can go out and buy Night Lost. I'm already so sucked into the series that all I've been doing is reading. :o) I say keep going!!!!

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