“From one End of this Continent to the other”

Happy U.S. Independence . . . weekend! Future U.S. president John Adams, who had persuaded the younger and largely unknown Virginian Thomas Jefferson to draft the independence declaration because – among other reasons – Jefferson had a knack with a quill, had foreseen almost exactly what independence day would develop into as a national holiday:

In writing of it there to his wife Abigail back at home in Massachusetts, Adams’s only real “mistake” was that he got the date wrong. Yes, on July 2 the Continental Congress (of which he and Jefferson were both members) had voted for independence. However, the Declaration of Independence that Jefferson had largely written was formally approved on July 4, and that became the big celebration day.

The brilliant, sharp-tongued, and at times obnoxious, Adams is one of the real characters in American history. Many years later, estranged from his former close friend Jefferson after they had become political opponents, Adams wrote disparagingly that he was sure they’d build Jefferson monuments someday because he writes nice words and never says anything really controversial. Paraphrasing him here, Adams wrote as well: No one is gonna build a monument to me.

Now we have the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.: the third president’s magnificent monument in the national capital that is named in honor of the first president – who, of course, also has his own big monument:

[Stock Photo. Illustration of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.]

Second president Adams’s big memorial? Nowhere in sight. If he could today stand before the incredible Jefferson Memorial, Adams would almost certainly shake his head and mutter: Damn, I knew this would happen.

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To a related topic. Mr. Adams makes an appearance in Conventions. How could I leave him out?! 😉

Visiting with friends on Saturday night at their new house near Cambridge, my writing came up as it usually does when we haven’t seen them in a while. At the kitchen table, the Mrs. half of the married couple asked, “What’s the name of your new book?” After I told her and explained a bit more, she put her Kindle down in front of me and asked, “Easiest if you just find it for me.”

After I did, she bought it with a click. Having done so, she also provided me with an interesting customer perspective that I had not deeply considered before. I told her that the number sold so far had surprised me. However, I noted also that I had cut the Kindle price to 99p; so clearly that price must have had an impact. I said as well that at one point it had even made it all the way into the “Top 50” Kindles in a couple of historical fiction genres at Amazon.co.uk.

I have long known that she loves to read, but I didn’t realize how she used the Kindle. She said that she buys and buys and buys and that she is likely to take a chance on a little-known writer if the subject interests her and the book is only 99p; but she is not nearly as quick to click “buy” if such a book is more than a pound. “Lots of big authors have books at 99p on Kindle, too,” she added.

I had kinda suspected the former and already knew the latter. Which led me last night to go this route. For the foreseeable future, I have reduced all of my novels on Kindle and other e-readers to only 99 cents US (plus operating costs), 99p here in the UK, and the “99p” equivalent in other currencies.

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.