Weekend Amidst The Trees

We drove down from the Catskills

[Catskills, New York. Photo by me, 2019.]

…to northeastern Pennsylvania to visit with my dad here for a few days…

[Northeastern Pennsylvania. Photo by me, just after 6 a.m. today, April 28, 2019.]

…and as you see, they have trees in Pennsylvania too. 🙂

As you also see, I caught a gorgeous sunrise behind his house just around 6 a.m. Dad is also in better spirits than I have seen him in some time. Spring and warmer days may have helped his life outlook perhaps a bit.

* * *

I had one of those writing moments early on Saturday morning here at my dad’s house too. These things often hit us in the middle of the night. Actually… in that case I mean about 4 o’clock in the morning.

I’d had a similar “epiphany” while finishing my previous book, Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Then an answer had come to me unexpectedly. I had followed my gut instinct and reworked “the problem” in that manner to my satisfaction.

This time I had felt for months I was making a blunder with an important aspect of two characters’ lives in the soon-to-be new novel. I feared what I had concocted might seriously damage the overall story and readers might think, “Huh?” Suddenly, at about 4 a.m. on Saturday a way out hit me.

[Excerpt from Tomorrow The Grace, which will be published in 2019.]

Fortunately it did not require a huge rewrite, but merely to introduce two new minor characters and to revise some actions other characters had undertaken. It was a relatively smooth change that also created an unexpected surprise and plot twist. It took me all of an hour or so to clean up and redo.

One thing I have also learned over the years in writing fiction since 2012 is that you must leave your mind open to such “radical” alterations. Always consider what you do from a reader’s perspective. In that case having REALLY done so, I feel a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders: the book will be better now.

Sometimes as writers we must embrace seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.

* * *

Yesterday was apparently “Indie Bookstore Day” in the U.S. I discovered that because an Instagrammer I follow and generally like revealed in a post that she buys her books only in one local independent bookstore. She announced as well that she never buys on Amazon.

Doing both is her right of course. That also means she has probably never read my books and likely never will… unless they ever end up on a shelf in that shop. But not reading them is naturally her right too.

[My novels. Paperback versions. Photo by me, 2018.]

I am a supporter of indie bookstores as well, and here, so to speak, is also my effort to distinguish the publishing forest amidst the retail trees. Indie bookstores sell books, yes, and allow readers to buy them on the spot in a pleasant, book-loving environment; several readers over the years have told me they have gone into a bookshop asking for one or more of my novels in order to get a store to order copies. However, no indie bookstore would even have any novels of mine to sell without Amazon’s KDP service which prints those books in the first place. In the end, were it not for Amazon if they even existed at all my books would be merely scribbles in notebooks I’d written that no one else would ever see, or perhaps unpublished Word files sitting in old PCs.

It is easy to criticize Amazon: it has become a huge global brand and it is hardly a perfect company. But attempting to turn one’s back on it nowadays for book choices is cherrypicking Luddite-ish; the same people probably use Gmail, or an iPhone, or drive a BMW car, or fly on American Airlines, or use other instruments of corporate modernity without blinking an eye. Taking her tack means that rather than exposing oneself to more books which are available from indie and other authors through Amazon, one is in fact restricting one’s potential reading to what such small local stores know about and choose to stock in their limited retail space.

Amazon’s online reach has enabled me as an author to reach readers nearly anywhere around the world. Authors of centuries past could only but dream of such. It is also worth remembering that too.

Have a good Sunday, wherever you are. 🙂


  1. This post, dear Robert, makes ponder: why don’t you wish to become an official writer? You have been successful in the indie sector. You might try to move on further. Or this sort of business is out of your interests? Historical novels are always worthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy weekend to you. And Thank you for that.😊 I enjoy what I do. I focus on my books and making my readers happy: that’s what matters the most to me. In that sense I am I believe quite official.👍🏼😁

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      • I see,,,however the official publishing might make you more powerful. And I wish you to enter into this range no matter what you are at the moment. You are a rare author who remembers the quality English! You should be memorized.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm . . . Little confused by the Indie opinion of you Insta friend. As I move a bit closer to future publication, I am blessing Amazon.

    Looks like you’re having some wonderful weather in Pa. The sunrise image is gorgeous. Have to say that one of the few things I miss about living in Pennsylvania is the countryside. One of my favorite things was to ride in the woods and farmlands, at least until a pheasant flew up or deer jumped out scaring my horse half death and nearly getting me killed, lol.

    Might I also add how admiring I’ve been of your organizational skills? No way could I have bought a house, moved, and planned and executed a transatlantic journey. Hope you’re enjoying some well-deserved down time.

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    • I have found Amazon to be an invaluable “launching point” to write for readers whom I don’t know and never see. A real “jump in at the deep end” and see what happens. I now probably spend MORE money on Indie books I find on Amazon than I do on mainstream BIG books – those authors don’t need my money or my purchases, while I know every sale to an Indie writer is REALLY APPRECIATED.

      We have been creating laughter on our personal Facebook. Tomorrow, if the weather improves here in Windham, we are going to stain our deck; when we get back to England, I have to stain that deck too. It all came together in the purchase in England just about the time we had booked this trip, which we did many months ago. So we are, well, a bit worn to say the least!

      The weather here had been great, but today is another lousy day. But I don’t even mind lousy weather here. All of the weather – even the bad sort – is great in the mountains. And we have deer and other wildlife (including the occasional black bear) roaming around out there (although we haven’t seen a bear in a while). A few years back, some porcupine attacked the house when we were away, scratching at a couple of doors seeking to eat the salt in the wood stain! Ugh! Nature! LOL!

      And good luck with your coming publication, Laura. I want to see lots about it on your blog and your Instagram! 🙂

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  3. Same! I think I have about two hundred TBRs on my tablet! Shhh, don’t tell my husband, lol. Actually, it’s really hard to turn down a $1.99 Indie book with an alluring cover blurb, and I love supporting the authors!

    Your Insta photo of the cabin deck looks great! I’m sure your efforts will be equally beautiful on the deck of new home.

    And thank you for your good wishes. I’m somewhat reticent when it comes to self-marketing–sigh–but I will make it work somehow. I find the methods used by some authors that I follow, yours included, to be effective and definitely more my style, so thank you for blazing that trail and showing me the way! 🙂

    Enjoy your vacation, and stop working so hard!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the deck: we did it before the rain! ☔️

      On the self-marketing: I know how you feel. I have based what I do on an article I read years ago as I was getting started about authors doing just that. The piece suggested talk about your work, but don’t beat people over the head with it and become a spmmer-like bore. If they are interested, they’ll read it. You can’t *force theme too. Indeed. I like that approach.😊

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