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Another day; another cover…

UpLink, this time. The history of this cover is a long and sometimes horrifying one…

hmmHmmm…there doesn’t appear to be bookmarks on this page. I’m going to have to rectify that. Ah, well, just follow the link and scroll down to “A Question of Covers” in big yellow letters. I’ll get the bookmarks up later.


Anyway, I really really really wanted the computer kachina with Nayati in the caves; instead, I got the melting face bwahahafrom hell. So…I had a lot of pressure on me from the peanut gallery to get this one right. (slideshow:) Again, we have philosophical conflict, but it’s not straight forward. It’s not totally the environmentalists vs the techies. It’s more … well, it’s easier to read the book, but note the title and ask yourself What is Nayati really up to?

UpLink is a middle book of a trilogy. A lot  develops, but not a lot gets resolved. I tried to let each book focus on a growth in Stephen, but a whole lot happens in a very short amount of time and it all comes together in the end of Harmonies…not UpLink.

Anyway, in case you haven’t guessed, the books involve Native American Ethnic Reconstructionists. The Recons of the Alliance are sort of like the SCA given planets to play with. Only problem, the NA want a planet that doesn’t need terraforming in order to be inhabited…and they end up with something of an Eden within the Alliance. (And before anyone mentions a similarity to a certain episode of ST: TNG…remember, this book came out long before that episode was even a twinkle in the producers’ eyes.) Anyway…this planet, Hutenamid, holds secrets within its caves, secrets Nayati is determined to protect.

Again, I wanted to reflect the conflict that is more than a political battle, hence the computer chip/cave, the arrow/electricity, human/god juxtapositions. The Kachina had to be right, and he turned out better than I could hope. I used elements of the computer board and warped, cloned, cut and pasted them to be everything from feathers to eyeballs. I was actually surprised at how fast it went, once I began working on it. If you’d like, I could put up a slideshow just of the Kachina. Anyway…for your amusement:

All images are copyright © 2009 Jane S. Fancher. Thank you for respecting that copyright.

1: I began with the same background as for GT. But I soon decided the stars made it too busy.

2: So I went to just a transparent computer chip and this great rainbow gradient.

3: Then I began adding semi-transparent cave images. First a lake…

4: Then some cool rocks and stalactites.

5: I still debate this next move, darkening the whole thing, but think I’ll stick with it for the added depth it gives the final result.

6: A couple of dark shadows “buttonized” to give it the bevelled edge depth…

7: Balanced the same sort of background for the title.

8: That all-important title and author…

9: And then came Nayati. His development is a whole other slide show!

10: A little shadow at his base to “ground” him in the cave…

11: And my Computer Kachina! I LOVE the way he turned out!

12: Talk about another slide show! Then, I needed a link between them.

13: Suddenly, it hit me. Electricity. Lightning. And, boy, did I have the perfect bolt!

14: His wand needed …something. He represents the ‘Net and N-space…

15: …so I began with a black hole and matched it with a white hole in his other hand.

16: Then I made his wooden staff into a computer staff, added some halos…

17: But the staff still needed some… tweaking. It looked too much like a rolling pin!

18: Serendipity struck while preparing the slide show in the form of the original, unrotated lightning.

19: A final layer of dark beneath the center to up the contrast for the B&W and…viola!

So…Whatcha’ think?

Ja ne!
Ja ne!

Breaking News!!!!!

Ari and Kenpachi took gummi worms from my fingers today. Not just once, but twice! Each! Not surprised they were the first. (Actually, these are freeze-dried tubifex worms, but they’re serious fish-candy.)

17 comments to Another day; another cover…

  • Glyn

    Beautiful! And so much better than the old cover. I remember reading the book and then looking at the cover again, confused. It was eye catching, but hardly accurate. This, however, is everything the other wasn’t: accurate, artistically pleasing, and it has everything you originally wanted it to have to boot! Oh, and it’s still eye catching!

    Great, great work!

    • Jane

      Bless his heart, Barclay (Shaw) tried so hard to give me the cover I wanted, and the dodo-birds at the head of Warner screwed us both. I don’t think he ever intended the “melting face” to make it past the art director. He did a good job on the cover, but it was definitely not what either of us wanted. OTOH, if he’d done the one we wanted, I might never have done this one. Who knows? And I have to admit… I do love this cover. :wub:

  • OrionSlaveGirl

    It’s even more wonderful compared to the version I saw yesterday. You’ve been busy — shiny, shiny, shiny! That lightning bolt is fabulous!

    Squeeee for fishies also!

    • Jane

      Next time you’re here, you’ll be getting fishy, kisses, I suspect. 😉

      This is the version I was trying to get the computer to boot up to show you. Sometimes, however, like when a program is installing, you just don’t upset the chips! :w00t:

  • aelith

    That is definitely a cover that makes me want to read the book. (I bet you wish L.A. lives closer)

    • Jane

      Oh…for me, I’m just now getting started on my part of the CC project. As long as I stay in “art” mode, I’ll be making covers. Then, I’ve got to prep the files, though the GT files won’t take much. So…no, I’m not too stessed about it at the moment. I know when she can, Lynn will get the site up and running. Right now, I just pray her friend beats this new bout of illness.

      Hmmm…OTOH, I might just get the GT books prepped ASAP since I’m going to be offering them for free. That would give you all a chance to give us input on the actual prduct before we start charging!

  • mitha

    Ooo! Ooo! (jumps up and down) Looks great!

    I’m always amazed at the effect of shadows. Without a shadow, Nayati appears to be leaping.

    Er, um, why B&W, though? Not that I wouldn’t buy it that way, any more than I would buy a book just because of its cover art, but there are books I treasure just because of their cover art. For example, my well-worn first copies of the LoTR trilogy, which I discovered to my great delight (at age 12 or so), make one big picture when you set them next to each other.

    Congratulations also on the successful progression of the fish-socialization!

    • Jane

      And this morning, they were ALL coming up to my fingers! Fast learners they are.

      Well, except for Rukia. She was asleep in the filter basket! Lazy Rukia….

      The covers need to work in black and white because the e-readers don’t yet support color. I want it to look good in the “libraries” of the readers! 😀 If you’re using your computer as your reader, you’ll get color…I think. Hmmm…

      I’m also thinking of making a slideshow of the covers for use as a screensaver. They’re turning out so much better than I ever imagined, I’d like people to be able to enjoy them.

      There’s a terrific little screen saver out there called ScreenPaver…I’ve been using it since Win98.


      I love it. You can put your own music and everything in. You can download and use it for free, but you get a nice little utility when you register. You’re registered for life, but when I upgrade my OS, I generally send him another $10 ($13, now). Cheap at half the price!

      Eventually, I’ll sell prints through the site as well. They’re hard to get to print the way I want them, so if you want the “official” look, I guess that would be the way to get it! 😀

    • Jane

      Oh, yeah…Shadows. Definitely grounds an object. It provides that “visual connection” between otherwise unrelated objects. In the first cover, the reflection in the planet achieved the same effect.

      In Harmonies, now, the figures are supposed to be floating…or at least disconnected, so it’s a bit different problem. I’ll have that one up soon.

      The thing I’m in danger of overusing is the drop shadow effect. I love making things glow! It gives such a great dimensionality. And it’s hard not to imagine things that way, given the mystic qualities of SF/F.

      OTOH, I don’t want to become repetitive, either. Sigh. Although, I guess that could become a distinctive look for a Fancher cover, eh? 😆 😆 😆

  • mmberry

    I took the time to read the history of the earlier covers and other information. It was very interesting from a marketing perspective. I’m wondering how many other new writers have run into similar problems. It did NOT sound whiney or POOR ME!

    I’m also curious (stupid question, I know) how many book covers are being created using tools like Paint Shop? I can’t imagine someone taking the time to paint a book cover as incredible as the ones you’ve created. Especially for a newer author.

    • Jane

      I’m relieved for that. Succeeding as an author is often a matter of the luck of the draw. GT et al were victims of an intersection of a … series of unfortunate events. I don’t know how often I’ve heard “where were these books? How did I miss them?” And so I decided to post at least some of the gory details.

      I do know of several authors who might otherwise not have made it at all, who have made it big in part thanks to a great matchup between first cover and book, and other really good first novels that went nowhere, whose failure can easily be attributed at least in part to poor covers. I don’t think there’s any way to quantify it.

      And then, there are the matches made in heaven…Like Carolyn and Michael Whelan, whose first book and cover came out together.

      Ditto for the covers done on computers, but I know that the last ones to catch up with the computer age have been the New York publishing houses and I believe most of them are still using paintings, though I could be wrong. I haven’t actually looked at enough covers recently to judge.

      However there’s undoubtedly a lot of computer work behind the covers, even when painted.

      I know that, as with writing, computers make it possible for me to realize what I see in my head. I know in theory how to do everything I’ve done on these covers on a real canvas, but (a) would I want to take the time? (No.) and (b) The number of sketches I’d have had to do to “find” the look in the first place would have kept me from doing it. (Sheer boredom factor.)

      As with writing, the computer allows me to edit easily until I can achieve the end result I need to satisfy my inner perfectionist.

      • Glyn

        I agree with the luck of draw with first novels. I’ve seen so many new authors flounder solely because the industry didn’t want to take a chance. This is especially true with anything Christian that doesn’t fit in the “Christian Fiction” mold. Thank God for small publishers.

        On the flip side, I’ve seen some truly *bad* fiction make it to market, mass market no less, and sell well because the ads for it ran in every newspaper in the country.

        • Jane

          Oh, wow…yeah. Best sellers aren’t written, they’re created. What’s funny is the number of best selling authors who got dream send-offs that are insistent that they got no special treatment! 😀 I always respected Julie Jones who just flat out advertised she was in the right place at the right time with the right product for Warner’s new Aspect line. Alternatively, the Groundties books came out right in the middle of Warner’s attempts to kill the Questar line.

  • kokipy

    I LOVE it, especially the kachina.

    • Jane

      I dreaded that little guy and he ended up being a blast. I actually built him right over an image I got off the internet, but Kachinas need to have a certain attitude and proportion and I didn’t want to get it wrong. There’s nothing of the original left except that position, and it’s a pretty classic stance.

  • OrionSlaveGirl

    “There’s nothing of the original left except that position, and it’s a pretty classic stance.”

    Great job of filing off the serial numbers! 😉

  • mitha

    “The covers need to work in black and white because the e-readers don’t yet support color.”

    *slaps self upside the head* (where’s a “doh” smilie when you need one!) 🙂 I do get color covers with the Baen books, both the free library ones and ones I purchased.

    One thing that has surprised me about reading on the laptop is that I enjoy short stories more. With books, I tend to find short stories frustrating; just as I am getting to know the character(s), they go away. But for some reason, this seems to be OK on the computer. Hmmm, need to think about that…