Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kindle, Nook editions available!

The Kindle and Nook ebook editions of The Grand Mirage are now available on Amazon and respectively! The price is a very affordable $2.99, so if you have a Kindle, or Nook, or iPad, or Kindle for PC, download the book and enjoy it with your Starbucks cappuccino.

The book has adventure, suspense, and romance and it takes you back to a vanished era in the Middle East that lurks in the subconscious of our culture. I hope you enjoy it.

The paperback version is on the way and will be available at these two online booksellers in a week or so. It will also be available to order through your favorite bookstore. Watch this space for further information.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coming soon!

We are very nearly ready to publish The Grand Mirage. The Kindle edition should be available sometime next week and the paperback, if all goes well, the following week. Watch this space.

It's been a whirlwind four weeks since I first contacted Jose Ramirez at Pedernales Publishing about going ahead with this project, and it's largely due to him and his partner, Barbara, that everything has been done so quickly -- and so well. Can't say enough good things about them. The cover design is brilliant, execution on the formatting has been flawless, and Jose has been terrifically responsive at every step of the way. Not least, his pdf guides for completing all the other steps in self-publishing -- getting the contract with Lightning Source, buying the ISBNs, getting the Library of Congress Pre-assigned Control Number, and so on -- have made every step relatively easy.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The working title for The Grand Mirage was ORIENT. When it came time to decide on a title, I considered The Orientalist, referring to Lord Leighton. But at about that time, a nonfiction book by Tom Reiss -- a fascinating biography of Kurban Said -- appeared under that title and it seemed silly to compete.

I was afraid a title like Caravan to Baghdad would mislead readers who might be looking for something about the war in Iraq. My editor suggested Baghdad, 1910 to get around that, but I wasn't sure that would convey that this is an action thriller.

For a brief moment, I thought The Grand Caravan would be it, until driving behind the Dodge minivan of that name the next day, I realized it wouldn't do.

So we brainstormed. That is, I got together with several writer friends, ordered pizza, put a flip chart on an easel and we played around with numerous combinations before settling on The Grand Mirage. And now, here it is.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cover art

The cover for The Grand Mirage, which blends two images from the services used by Pedernales Publishing, perfectly captures the spirit of the book – exotic, adventurous, mysterious.

The title itself comes from the musings of the hero, Lord Leighton, as he crosses the Syrian desert with a merchant caravan. Amid the heat and the dust, he reflects that Europe’s effort to contain the Orient in its civilizing embrace is futile, and leaves the Great Powers grasping at a mirage that eludes them.

The etching of Baghdad, showing the pontoon bridge that features in the narrative, awakens subconscious memories of a thousand and one nights. Though it has fallen on hard times when the action of the novel takes place, it remains a symbol of a lost civilization. Baghdad is the destination of the railway that the Germans want to build with the Turks, and so the goal Leighton needs to reach as well, but the bulk of the novel’s action takes place in Constantinople, the storied capital of two empires.