Maybe You CAN Tell a Book By Its Cover.

I’ve been spending the last several days going over page proofs of the fourth edition of my book*. It’s tedious work, especially because there are a lot of distractions: beautiful weather, errands to run, several projects for NARP … and did I mention the beautiful weather?

The trouble is, I keep coming across sentences in which I say something is so … and I have to wonder, with all the cost cutting going on, if that something will still be so in December when the new edition reaches the bookstores.

For example, just before submitting the revised manuscript five or six weeks ago, I deleted references to several of the very nice little amenities that used to be the norm for passengers traveling in sleeping cars … like the wine tastings on the Coast Starlight or a newspaper being slipped under your door during the night on the California Zephyr. But now I hear reports that some of those little touches may be restored. So how do I deal with that? Put it back in? Or leave it out? See? It’s a dilemma.
I’m happy to say, however, that we have taken one giant step forward: we’ve finally decided on a photo for the cover of the new edition. An Amtrak train in a winter landscape was the first one considered, but pretty much everyone thought it wasn’t particularly inviting. (My Hawaii-born wife took one look, shivered, and left the room.)

So here’s the one we’ve decided on.
It’s Amtrak’s eastbound California Zephyr just after emerging from Tunnel #1 in Colorado’s Flatirons and beginning its descent into the Denver area, which is visible in the background.

The photographer is Mike Danneman and his work really stood out for me. He makes an obvious effort to photograph the train in a scenic context and, clearly, he must go to a great deal of trouble to do that. Most of his photos of Amtrak trains show them passing through magnificent scenery and he couldn’t have gotten them without doing a helluva lot of climbing. 

Mike lives in Colorado, so much of his work features the Zephyr passing in and around and through those magnificent mountains. He has very generously agreed to let us use this photo on the cover of the 4th edition and I am most grateful. It will be a better book for having his wonderful photo right up front.

*All Aboard–The Complete North American Train Travel Guide; Chicago Review Press, publisher.