Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Revision to The Chinese Spymaster - adding an image

In view of the forthcoming publication of The Ninja and the Diplomat, vol. 2 of The Chinese Spymaster, and in anticipation of renewed interest in volume 1 itself, I recently revised the text of The Chinese Spymaster.

The revision consisted primarily of eliminating typos and formatting issues as best I could. I have learned of course from reviewers about aspects readers found wanting. Several wished for more action and/or a faster pace; others thought the flashbacks and asides in the narrative or the dialogue distracting. I have taken these comments to heart, but I did not revise the book to reflect any of them. Flashbacks and asides need to be handled more adroitly, and I hope to have accomplished these matters of style in volume two. More or faster paced action, however, are not only a matter of taste but also a result of the author's vision. I did/do not wish to write with James Bond or the Bourne books/movies as my models. It is simply not how I visualize the Chinese spymaster and his colleagues. 

The Ninja and the Diplomat will be tighter in narrative and action. Readers will soon learn that I have not written to a formula, although I hope the thoughtfulness and awareness of geopolitical as well as national political and security issues of the main characters remain. The areas of geographical interest have also changed. Volume 2 takes on China's maritime interests to the northeast and southeast of Asia. I have found maps to accompany the text that I hope will make those contentious areas visually clear to the reader.

In The Chinese Spymaster, volume 1,  the intrigue was centered on Afghanistan and the ramifications were envisioned to spread through all the Central Asian "stans." It seemed desirable to include an image of the area to the book. Doing so for the Kindle version was more difficult than for the print version or in other e-book formats. I tried to follow Kindle's formatting style guide but failed initially. The Kindle community/forum, the last time I checked, did not have a thread discussing my problem although I find it hard to believe that I was the first to experience it. Fortunately, "Contact us" led to a very useful email exchange that cleared up the mystery for me.

For the benefit of other authors, the text (saved as a web-filtered file) and the image should not be upload in a single folder, nor in such a folder that has been compressed (zipped). The trick is to place the image in a folder and then to send both that folder and the (web-filtered) text to the "zip" function in Windows 7. (Sorry, I have no idea if this would work for other versions of Windows or for Macs.)

The map, originally called the Political Map of the Caucasus and Central Asia is a product of the CIA's work and is in the public domain. It is available from Wikimedia Commons.

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