1. Most important news of course is that Perseus Corbett and the Forbidden Valley is up at last!
2. When you buy the book (as I must assume you will, being readers fond of adventure and romance in darkest jungles full of ancient secrets), you’ll find that I include epigraphs in ever chapter and one for the book as a whole. This is the sort of thing I like seeing in books; I think I first got the idea from Watership Down.
I see it as a way both to cite my sources and to point readers to other, more important works that I think they should check out. You know, classics like King Solomon’s Mines, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Anaconda.
3. Every book is a learning experience: for this one I learned that I oughtn’t to make announcements until the book is 99-100% ready to go. In the week-and-a-half since the announcement I had a final proof read, three or four epigraphs to decide upon, and formatting for publication (always a nightmare). As you can see, I got it done, but it was not fun and I had to hold off the paperback a bit. I hope you’ll attribute any flaws or mistakes you find to this editing process and not to my being an incompetent writer.
4. It didn’t help that this is, by far, the largest book I’ve yet published at nearly 78,000 words, coming to about 280-plus pages. Though it’s not the largest book I’ve written; one of my “not good enough and needs a full re-do” manuscripts came to about a 110K words.
Anyone who wants to be a writer; yes, writing a 100,000 word manuscript only to decide it doesn’t cut it is part of the process.
5. That lovely cover pushed my then-current computer’s processing power to its limits, even though it’s done in sections. The figures and foreground jungle are separate DAZ-3D layers. The background jungle and cliffs are various photos re-touched and blended. The pyramid started out as a Blender object, but lacked texture so I overlaid a de-saturated and color-inverted image of the Great Pyramid of Giza onto it, squeezed it to fit the shape, then smudged all the details I think it ended up looking pretty good on the whole. The glimmer was hand-made by drawing a set of lines in yellow and white then blurring them.
And if I’d had more skill / practice, or if my computer had been more powerful, we probably would have had the book a month or so sooner. Oh, well.
6. My hero, as Riders of Skaith correctly guessed, is of course named for Col. Jim Corbett, the incredibly awesome British-Indian hunter, naturalist, Army officer, and writer who ended up specializing in hunting man-eating big cats. At the same time, he strongly emphasized again and again that this is not these animals’ natural behavior, that a tiger only becomes a man-eater if it is too old or too injured to hunt its normal prey (e.g. if it gets shot by someone who doesn’t take the trouble to follow-up on it), and therefore you shouldn’t go around shooting random tigers and pretending it’s a public service. He was a strong advocate for protecting India’s wildlife and, like many hunters, evinces a great respect for the animals he pursues.
Anyway, he was a crackling good writer of his own experiences, with just the right blend of information, action, and self-deprecation. Not to mention that his works give a marvelous look into the world of rural India in the late 19th-early 20th century and the experience of hunting dangerous animals. Plus this edition’s royalties go to support the tiger sanctuary he founded. Check it out!
(Yes, I’m recommending someone else’s book while releasing my own).
7. And to end on an unrelated bit of wonderful news: I’ve just learned that J.J. Abrams’s planned Superman film (wherein he was going to be race-swapped) has officially been cancelled, a long with a lot of other upcoming DC films. Thank God; having suffered under Snyder, Supes at least won’t have to get the Abrams treatment!