Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feeling the tug of the train

I'm back from Upper Michigan at winter quarters in Evanston, Illinois, and getting ready for another workshop--the one for train travel writers and photographers that I'm co-teaching with rail lensman Carl Morrison at the Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata, Missouri. It runs Oct. 16-21 and there's still room for participants, if you're interested.

Now that the three mystery novels are now available as e-books (Kindle, Nook and other platforms), I'm thinking about updating my 1994 nonfiction book about life aboard a transcontinental train, Zephyr: Tracking a Dream Across America, and re-publishing it as an e-book. That is, if I can get Random House (which seems to have no interest in bringing it out as an e-book) to revert the rights to me.

That would keep me busy for quite a while. The manuscript exists on a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk kept in a safe deposit box, but I have no idea if the disk is still good--magnetic media tends to spring leaks over time. I might have to laboriously scan the book, page by page.

Whether or not an e-book of Zephyr happens, some heavy-duty rail riding (and rail writing) lie in the future. The Lady Friend and I are planning a round-the-West Amtrak trip for next March--the Southwest Chief from Chicago to L.A., then the Coast Starlight from L.A. to Portland or Seattle, and finally the Empire Builder back to Chicago. That's six days and five nights enroute, with a stopover in either Portland or Seattle. I'll be in heaven.

We're also woodshedding a trip next fall on VIA Rail's Ocean round-trip from Montreal to Halifax,  with a 10-day tour of Canada's Maritime Provinces.

It'll be nice to get back into training.


  1. Henry, what happened to the last Steve Martinez book that I believe you were writing last year? Is that going to be available electronically?

  2. If Hang Fire is picked up by a hardcover publisher, it will appear in 2013, and so will the e-book.

    If the novel isn't taken by a hardcover publisher, it will appear as an original e-book sometime this winter.