Before we get into this week's Q&A, I have to try to compete with Marjorie and Alison, as they both have gorgeous new cover art posted at their blogs.
Jerry Vanderstelt, the artist who also created the cover art for my StarDoc novels Endurance, Eternity Row and Rebel Ice, has always done a marvelous job depicting Cherijo and various alien characters from my novels as I've described them. He took on both Cherijo and the Hsktskt this time, and (at least from the author's POV) achieved perfection.
Also, a bit of news: Plague of Memory is my last SF novel under contract, but my publisher has already inquired about buying more StarDoc novels. I have a couple of things up in the air at the moment, so I can't commit yet, but I'll be discussing it with my agent and making more of those fun career decisions we all know and dread.
I know some of you out there are series writers like me, and like to stay and play in the universes you create. We face a bunch of unique challenges in today's market, not just with selling a series from book one and trying to build a readership but with keeping a series alive despite of chains ordering to the net and publishers only offering one- and two-book contracts at a time.
Successful series writing is a struggle in any genre, and you often find your plans have to change from book to book. Some pros are self-publishing to continue series that publishers dump; others are selling novels in serial chunks to magazines or in reprint editions to small presses. The hardest part is to know when to push, when to hold on, or when to abandon a series. Twenty years ago a long-running series was one that went twenty or thirty books over the span of a career. Today StarDoc, with only six books in print in as many years, is being referred to as a long-running series (and yeah, when I first heard that, I thought, what the hell?)
Time for questions: got any for me?