I was on the road again yesterday, I had been invited to Helion and Company's Christmas bash, as you know I have drawn maps for Helion and have done for just over a year now but I have only ever communicated by email and have never met anyone from the company. I have been invited to book launches but London was a city too far, so as the party was in Solihull just south of Birmingham I thought I would make the effort, still a fair old drive but it would be nice to put faces to the email signatures.
I stopped at a friends in Wolverhampton and then shared his car to Solihull, we duly arrived at owner Duncan Rogers' parents house which for now is Helion HQ and I met Duncan for the first time, a gentleman, I was made welcome and began to mingle. I met several people for whom I had drawn maps, both editors and authors and my head began to swell as they complemented me on my maps, I of course returned the complement about their books.
There were not a lot of people present but they covered the whole range of specialists required to bring a book to the printers, author, commissioning editor, indexer and proof reader, cartographer and typesetter. I enjoyed chatting about books for almost three hours.
Just before we left Duncan handed me a copy of the atlas I had worked on, 118 maps which I thought I would never complete to accompany a series of books on the battles for Smolensk in 1941. It is a lovely book, but of course I would say that, and the simple thrill of holding it I doubt you will ever achieve with a digital reader, I left the party very pleased that the journey had been well worth the effort, I also enjoyed the swift return in the Batmobile, sssshhh.
If you have never looked at the range of books offered by Helion I urge you to do so, especially interesting for the wargamers among us will be their series 'Century of the Soldier' covering the 1600's with some excellent books on the English Civil War. The commissioning editor for this series is a friend of mine, Charles Singleton, who has also written the upcoming ECW supplement for Warlord Games' Pike and Shotte rules. Helion have also just retained another academic to do the same for the 1700's. You can find them here.
I also managed to talk to someone else at the party who runs his own successful company producing maps, book covers (he produced the cover for the atlas) and all sorts of other stuff related to military history, have a look if you have ten minutes to spare, Battlefield Design.