My blog ... updates ... news
For most of June I was contacting online book retailers, getting them to remove my publisher's blurb and substitute my own (accurate!) synopsis and author biography. We're getting there ...
Meanwhile I'm working on proofs of the 16-page colour plate section - a mix of portraits, pictures of Armstrong's various aeroplanes, and fabulous action paintings of some of his wonderful feats of airmanship. Rash to make a promise, but most will be entirely new to most readers: even aero historians will find images they've never seen before.
All my aviation books have been copiously illustrated - Flight Fantastic had over 300 pictures, and this new one will have well over 150. <thinks: I need to count them!>
The sad thing is that still photography can never do justice to flight, so we'll never see the exploits of an entire generation of brilliant early pilots. Thank goodness for the amazing talents of aviation artist Lynn Williams. Can't attach an entire picture, but here's a small detail.
It's called 'CAMEL PILOT SUPREME: CAPTAIN D.V. ARMSTRONG', and at last the jacket design's right! Details are here on the publisher's website: https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Camel-Pilot-Supreme-Hardback/p/16477.
Unfortunately my health-warning still applies to the inaccurate synopsis on Amazon and all the other online retailers. They use what they're first given, and it takes heaven and earth to change it. <grrr!>
Still, a picture paints a thousand words - and I get a thrill every time I look at that cover illustration by the wonderful aviation artist Lynn Williams. You can see it enlarged on my 'Aviation' page. Lynn has contributed several of the 150+ illustrations in the book, four of them in full colour depicting a selection of Armstrong's airborne feats. Amazing.
How depressing that the thought police are circling like sharks around poor Prince Charles, protesting that the '-ize' spelling format is used only by (shudder) our American cousins. Yet these critics presumably represent the complaisant majority that has already adopted such Americanisms as 'program' for 'programme', 'maneuver' for 'manoeuvre', 'pediatrics' for 'paediatrics' and much besides. Do they spell 'mediaeval' the American way, 'medieval'? And have they observed its truncation, as a result, from four syllables to three ('muh-dee-val')?
Has anyone also noticed that the good old English word 'homage' is now almost universally pronounced by media persons in the nouveau American way, 'ommage'?
And have they adopted all these transatlantic imports only for their gorge to rise at the standard Oxford English Dictionary usage '-ize'?
As for John Humphrys harrumphing on this morning's 'Today' programme about how he dislikes seeing words spelt by the Prince 'the American way' ... I suspect this reveals more about his reading habits than he thinks. In my experience a great many leading British book publishers prefer the '-ize' usage, including my present publisher Pen & Sword. How can he have failed to notice this in his preparations for interviewing so many authors? ? Or (OMG) does he perhaps rely on summaries produced for him in journalese?
Only last year, when proof-reading my colleague Dr Arthur Kincaid's new publication of Buc's Richard III, one of the earliest parameters we established was his use of the '-ize' form. It really is quite prevalent. Not, I think, merely because he's an Oxford man ...
Is there not more than enough division in our fair land already, without inventing new ways to larrup each other? My Burchfield edition of Fowler's Modern English Usage (1998) regards the choice of 'ise' / 'ize' as a matter that ‘remains delicately balanced but unresolved.’
For heaven's sake let's lighten up and allow differentness to thrive.
Things move slowly in the world of Pen & Sword. If anyone has seen an illustration of this book's front cover on a site like Amazon, please disregard it: it was rejected eight weeks ago!
Please also disregard the extraordinarily pedestrian and inaccurate blurb they've attached to it. Who writes this stuff? Don't they read the book first? And why don't they use the written material I've given them??? Worse still, if anyone looks at this supposed synopsis they'll assume my book is pedestrian and inaccurate too. <sigh>
Authors who have slaved on a subject for months and years, making it authentic and gripping, get a raw deal when publishers brush aside their intimate knowledge and expertise. It's not my habit to go public with a howl of protest, but I can't sit silent when they shove this kind of stuff out to the media.
Dear friends and readers, please be patient and trust the meticulous care and accuracy I am famed for. You'll love the book, I promise - and the 150+ pictures and original illustrations. I just need to get Pen & Sword to love it too.
It's taken two months but I can now confirm that The History Press have withdrawn the defective copies of 'The Maligned King' and they tell me the latest reprint has the colour plates restored. If anyone has a dud copy without colour plates I suggest trying to get The History Press to replace it - try Jonathan Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If unsuccessful please contact me via this website (see email address on my 'Online Store' page) and I will replace your book at my own exoense.