I’ve been on-line quite a bit selecting illustrations for my e-book publications (coming up!).
It’s wonderfully easy to get lost in this process. Side-tracked, in fact. Here are some rather surprising discoveries, specifically having to do with the people in the life of Josephine’s daughter Hortense (the subject of my next novel).
I’ve always been fond of this portrait of Alexandre de Beauharnais, Josephine’s first husband, because he’s posed with his hand in his vest — exactly as her second husband Napoleon will be portrayed.
And her son Eugène, for that matter:
Coincidental? (I think not!)
The portrait that took me aback was this grim one of Alexandre, which I’d never seen before:
My suspicion has always been that Alexandre might have been bi-polar — something he might have passed onto Hortense, in fact. It’s only a hunch, but this portrait would certainly confirm that he was not a happy man.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ll soon have my Sandra Gulland Ink e-books up. In the words of a youngster I know, “Soon is a very long time.” We are close — very close! — but for the concern that a few typos remain.
I proofed the files in France last summer, in the backseat of a car full of film crew, radio blaring. Not ideal!
Since then, Kris Waldherr, designer and tech wizz, read about half the chapters, and found typos. There are others, no doubt, and I’m on deadline revising This Bright Darkness: so no time to spare!
Here is the request. Are there any of you who 1) have an iPad, and 2) would be willing to read the new digital edition of The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Joséphine B.?
If so, I’d email you the file with instructions on how to get it into iBook. Then all you would have to do is read it, highlight whatever errors you find, and email them to me. (iBook makes this very easy.)
If you are interested, let me know! sgulland AT sandragulland DOT com.
I’m told by Allegra, the editorial assistant at Turnstone, Simon & Schuster, in New York, that ebook errors happen because the text is shrunk. I’m simply to let her know and they will be corrected. (Thank you, Allegra.)
So I returned to AmazonKindle to check what’s been highlighted by reader/proofreaders. Here’s what I discovered:
From The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.:
–3 readers highlighted: In the light I see security, but in the shadows I see grief . . . in the shadows I see defeat.
–4 highlighted the typos “aman” (a man) and “aspisspotin” (as pisspot in)
–4 also highlighted: intelligent; she amuses; she is pleasing. She is grace and charm and heart. Unlike Rose: scared, haunted and needy. Unlike Rose with her sad life.
From Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe:
–3 readers highlighted, from the copyright page: Ogni talento matta. (Every talented man is a madman.)
–3 also highlighted: A woman’s truths, how secret they must be. Hidden, buried, only to emerge in the night.
From The Last Great Dance on Earth:
–6 readers highlighted the sentence: That we are born, we live and we die—in the midst of the marvelous. (A wonderful Napoleon quote, in truth. I worked hard to get it in.)
–3 highlighted: We are punished for our pleasures; if only we were rewarded for our pain.
From Mistress of the Sun:
–3 readers highlighted: Patience is the companion of wisdom, her father had often said, quoting Saint Augustine.
What does this tell me?
One, that there are not too many typos. And two, that readers like wise nuggets. And three: that the Amazon recording system may be suspect. It seems too coincidental. As a novelist, I’d never get readers to believe it.
You might be pleased to know that the second most highlighted text for all of Kindle is:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
From Pride and Prejudice, of course, by Jane Austen: highlighted by 3547 Kindle users.
As for the #1 favourite? It’s a quote from Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese that begins:
The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t.
What do you think? Are you a highlighter? (I am: shamelessly so.)