This week, I’ve been lucky enough to see several versions of Angel’s Ink cover. The art is done and they are now tweaking the words, working on font, arrangement, and colors. It’s awesome that I’ve been lucky enough to be sent several versions and allowed to comment. Largely, authors are sent a finished cover and told: “There! There is your cover! Tell us how much you love it!” And I have blessed by the cover gods in that I do love all my covers. Generally, you don’t have any say in your cover and it’s better that it is left up to the experts. At least in my case. I have no knowledge of art and I don’t know what’s going to catch the eye of a reader. But, I got to put in my two cents and it was fun!
Meanwhile, the writing continues.
In my spare time, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. A small part of me feels guilty for what I’ve been reading. I’ve got so many friends and acquaintances who have written the most magnificent stories, and they are simply sitting on the shelves, piling up. That’s the danger when you become an author. You meet other authors and you want to read their books. So you buy their books when they come out (which gets really expensive when you think about all the people you now know), but you’ve also got to find the time to write your own books.
And then there’s this Guttenberg Project thing, which is also threatening my reading life. If you’ve got an e-reader you probably know what this is. If not, welcome to my heaven and hell. It is my understanding that the Guttenberg Project has taken all the old classics that are a part of public domain and made them available for free as e-books.
As a lover of so many wonderful classics, I quickly downloaded Dracula, Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (seeing a pattern here?), but also Emma, Sense and Sensibility, An Ideal Husband, Pride and Prejudice, Anne of Green Gables, Peter Pan, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Most of these I’ve read at least once before and others I’ve been meaning to jump into for years. On a whim, I also downloaded Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I love my classics, but it’s a restrained, quiet love as the language and pace of the story is different from what I write and read on a more regular basis. I generally read one classic about every three to four months compared to two or three contemporary novels a month.
But Tarzan is different. Oh, the language is different from the contemporary novels in my collection, but the story is so wonderfully compelling. It is 100% pure escapism. There is danger, intrigue, romance, honor, chivalry, heartbreak, adventure, exotic places, and just a sense of freedom that seems long dead and cold from this world. And somehow, quietly, underneath it all, is a little social commentary on the so-called “civilized man.”
It represents to me the heart of what a novel once was so long ago. It was a means of escape. It was an adventure folded between two hundred thin pages and so much fun.
So, I unexpectedly found myself sucked into the African jungles with a sexy man in a loin cloth as he hunted from the treetops. I watched as he killed and fought and fell in love. I watched as he learned what it meant to be human.
When I finished Tarzan of the Apes at two in the morning, I screamed. The book did not end how I had expected. Furthermore, it quite obviously continued in Return of Tarzan. I didn’t know there was a second book so I hadn’t downloaded the second book.
First thing I did the next day? I pulled up the online book store only to discover that there isn’t just a second book, but a third, fourth, fifth…. Yes, my friends, there are at least eight books on Tarzan’s adventures. I’ve finished Return of Tarzan, which did have an ending more to my liking and I’ve finally paused. Not because I don’t want to continue to follow Tarzan’s life, but because I don’t know what is technically the third book in the series. Back to the internet….
So, thank you Mr. Edgar Rice Burroughs for writing such an amazing, compelling tale about a man raised by apes in the jungle who turns out to have a better sense of what it means be human than his more “civilized” counterparts.