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Messages - Jane Fancher

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The Book Bazaar / GroundTies: definitely not WYSIWYG Science Fiction
« on: April 04, 2011, 09:48:57 am »
I didn't realize there was a place to post our books! Yippee! Thanks, KB!

GroundTies was my first novel. It's available for the first time in years on Kindle and in multiple DRM-free formats at

GroundTies is the first of three books which provide the core of my future history. They first came out from Warner/Questar in the early 90's, but have held up remarkably well, especially considering that the core of the society revolves around an interstellar internet! More to the point, it's underlying messages of self-acceptance, tolerance, communication, education, and ecology have never been more relevant than they are now.

The story is hard SF in that it's environment is based on technological extrapolation of today's world, but the characters drive it. Their motivations, their dreams, their loves and their enemies. The basic story is simple: The ComNet that binds the Alliance together is losing data, something that is, supposedly, impossible. If the trend continues, all of civilized space could be at risk. A young academy graduate has brought top level attention to a paper which might shed light on the problem. That electronic paper trail leads to a planet on the edge of ComNet space where both the young graduate and the crew who delivered him find just a bit more than they bargained for. The basic story is simple, but it's the hidden elements, not to mention the characters themselves which add the layers of complexity that turned it into a three-book series, spawned a prequel and at least one more story arc before it's complete.

GroundTies is one of those many books that has a badly screwed up publishing history. It never had a ghost of a chance of reaching its market and when Warner/Questar went under, no other publisher wanted another publisher's midlist leftovers. I went on to write other books, but I've never given up on this one. I believe in the series and owe the characters conclusions to their stories. On one publisher's suggestion, I wrote a prequel (which I think is the best thing I've ever written) and rewrote the original series as new editions, adding the nuance that comes from the insight of writing a prequel. Then, the market changed, thanks in no small part to ebooks, and the publisher pulled back. it's in my hands.

The only difference between the Warner book and the Kindle version are my cover, the front and back matter (including an introduction by C. J. Cherryh) and the lack of typos within the text!  ;)

Since posting the book on Kindle last month, I've been completely humbled by some absolutely beautiful reviews and even the handful of negative ones are well-considered and respectful. One complaint, that the story is incomplete, is absolutely legitimate. Warner's one editorial input was to tell me to make it shorter. Not because it needed to be shorter but because Warner wouldn't publish a first novel that long. Ultimately, the only way to do that was to split it in half. UpLink, the missing half has just been published to Kindle. I'll be giving it its own page in a couple of days, once it actually is available. The third book, Harmonies of the 'Net, will be out later this month, and the prequel and new editions will be out this summer....after I get my other backlist up.

If you like complex, multilayered stories, I'd like to encourage you to give GroundTies a try. At $.99, how can you lose?

The Book Corner / Re: Low-priced Indies - Worth the risk?
« on: March 13, 2011, 02:50:00 pm »

And the tools and services to support the remaining authors will be even better (human and machine). So when the dust settles, I believe there will be fewer low-quality books out there cluttering up the interwebs.

That is my infallible prediction.

I sure hope you're right!   :-*

BTW...just checked out your Mars novel. Downloaded the sample. Love the sound of it!

The Book Corner / Re: Low-priced Indies - Worth the risk?
« on: March 13, 2011, 02:40:47 pm »
I know at least two authors who spent well over twice what I did on editing and they still had it's a mixed bag.

Youch! Editing is different from copy-editing. Typos, grammar: copy-editor. Consistency, pacing, character balance, etc: editor. Both important but very different. Typos are the least of a writer's problems, and have been a constant reality in published books since the beginning. A few of those don't bother me. Consistently bad grammar and punctuation...I consider that an author who hasn't bothered to take the time to learn the basics of their craft and am certain I'll find that lack of basics in the story-telling as well.  (After years of workshop experience, I've never, ever found that not to be the case. There might be a good idea, even some endearing characters, but the story itself will be lacking.)

The story-telling is where an editor can really make a difference. I've seen lots of polished work...nary a typo nor grammatically mistake in sight...where the story-telling sucked pond water. FWIW, I'd say, in general, it's smarter to spring the big bucks for an editor and learn to do the copy-editing yourself. That critical overview is invaluable.

The Book Corner / Re: Low-priced Indies - Worth the risk?
« on: March 13, 2011, 02:20:55 pm »
But do some of you indie authors choose to use or not use "indie editors" to improve the quality of your work and, if so, do you factor that into the price of your book? If that value is, say, $1.50, then should I just plan to "grin and bear it" for any poorly-edited book that costs less than $3?

Good editing is essential. Writers who care enough to really edit their own work soon get too close to it for a clear overview. Writers who don't care enough get the kind of product they deserve.

We're lucky at Closed Circle. Lynn Abbey, CJ Cherryh and I edit each other...far more ruthlessly than NY ever edited any of us. (The only thing I ever got out of NY was (a) make it shorter (not because of the quality but because Warner wouldn't put out a book that long as a first novel---even the editor couldn't see how to make it shorter. Just told me "do it.") and (b) use double instead of single quotes and spell grey "gray". Real useful input.

I suspect that ultimately, and if they play their cards right, the most important non-writer in the book publishing chain will become the professional editors. I wouldn't be surprised to eventually see a time when a given name listed as "editor" will make a real difference in the success of a book. It means editors will become quality sieves in their own right in order to protect their "name" on a product.

Ah, such a brave new world we're living in! 

The Book Corner / Re: Gutter-mouth!
« on: March 13, 2011, 02:09:52 pm »
It's all part of the character and the viewpoint voice. It has to fit. Some characters, it's jarring if they don't swear!

I admit, as part of the editing process, I make a final pass through a book and examine every use of the f-bomb and make certain it's justified. I've even done it for the "lesser" terms. I write an initial draft without ever thinking about it. I need to sort of "channel" characters and thinking too much about language gets in the way, but depending on my mood (esp if I'm having serious problems with the computer) a character's language can go seriously into the gutter.  :o That needs to be reconsidered!

The f-word in my fantasy world is rare...must be because they don't have computers!  :P But when it occurs, it's pointed and shocking and for a definite reason. Again...not something that I think about as I write, but in that series, when it occurs, I stop right there and ask Why? Only because it is that rare. The "lesser" terms have their place and curses are much more specific to the culture. I see the 'NetWalkers universe as a direct extrapolation of our own and basic cursing hasn't changed much in a loooooong time!  ;D

The Book Corner / Re: So, when do you call it quits on a book?
« on: March 13, 2011, 01:51:25 pm »
" I read a good portion of the book and if I don't like it I skip to the last chapter, then I read the last chapter and if it's good I go back to where I stopped reading. If not, I discard".

Brilliant! and I just realized, I do the same thing! Ah, the insights of youth...

I was trying to think how I'd answer this. A lot of the other characters I care about, no problems I care to solve, bad writing...all those things will knock my out of the fantasy, but she's right... before I stop, I always go to the end to see if the pony is worth the asking price! If I really like the end, I'll at least give it another try.

Setup is hard. Sometimes it gets slow trying to get all the things in you think you need. Getting that balance right is one of the hardest parts of writing. Reading the end sometimes gives me an idea how it's all going to fit together so the details stop putting me to sleep.

The Book Bazaar / Re: Author Blogs: List Yours Here
« on: March 13, 2011, 01:30:05 pm »
I've got what is probably the most disorganized blog on the internet. Sometimes I say something interesting, but a lot is the day to day craziness of trying to get organized and ebooks converted.

I do put up slideshows of how my covers are adding the layers, you see how it's composed and how little changes make big differences. People seem to enjoy those. Also, I do a lot of landscaping, including a pond in my back yard that people seem to enjoy. Mostly, I use it to keep in touch with my terrific readers.

Your Admin Team / Re: Hello from Harvey - site admin
« on: March 12, 2011, 08:22:09 pm »
There are some quirks to bbcode that can make this tricky. I updated your signature, and FYI here's the code (which might be helpful to others):

Hope that helps - feel free of course to tweak it more in your profile area as you see fit!


Beautiful!  :-* Just what I wanted. Thanks so much. Don't know why I didn't think of a table. It's how I've organized my text and images on my site and blog for almost twenty years!  ::)  I see someone has rotating images. That's kinda cool! Would you mind passing on that code? Before the year's out, I'm going to have all my extant ebooks up on Kindle and that will be eight...a bit to many to string!

Now...time to go tiptoe through the boards with my pretty new sig!  ;D

Your Admin Team / Re: Hello from Harvey - site admin
« on: March 12, 2011, 09:06:16 am »
Hi, Harvey!

Thanks for the wonderful site.

I've just joined and I'm ashamed to say that I can't get my BBC code to work in my sig. I can't get the text to align up with the top of the image/links. I don't want to post anymore til I get it resolved cuz it looks icky and takes up too much "shelf space." I feel so stupid. I taught myself pretty complex html code back in the 90s and I can't get this to work! (blush)

Can you help me?

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