Independent Bookstore Day! – April 28th

Photo credit: Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, Washington.

Last month my daughter and I took off on adventure – in our own back yard!  Inspired by an article in the Seattle Times by literary critic Moira Macdonald, we took the challenge to visit 19 different bookstores in the Seattle area in ONE DAY, thereby qualifying for a 25% discount ALL YEAR at the bookstores on the tour.  Wow.  We started at 7:55 in the morning on Saturday morning, riding the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island, where we visited two bookstores on the same street, including Eagle Harbor Books (our photo above).  For fun, they had tiny muffins for us to munch on, – and! they took our photo beautifully for posting on Instagram.  So fun!

Fast-forward through 18 more bookstores, we visited Poulsbo, Edmonds, the Eastside, and then several bookstores in a variety of Seattle neighborhoods.  Taking a break for lunch at another ferry terminal – yummy crepes! – and an afternoon tea break at Petit Pierre Bakery – scrumptious French tea! – before winding up at Ada’s Technical Books on Capitol Hill at 8:00 pm.  Whew!  We were exhausted.  Luckily for us, right next door we had a delicious and well-deserved meal at Coastal Kitchen.  I had savory Arctic Char, and my daughter had hearty Wild Boar meat pie, from their “Quebec Touring Menu” and I can still taste the delicate and robust flavors we enjoyed at that meal.  – Not to mention an illuminating conversation together about all-things-books!

What I remember most about our day together is the feeling of visiting bookstores we had never been in before.  We visited a colorful cookbook-store, an inviting poetry-only store, several local- and welcoming-stores, old favorites, large and small spaces, places with old-fashioned typewriters set out to type on, and lots more.  It was truly an adventure – although also a very long trek, lots of driving and parking and walking and driving and parking and walking and . . . you get the idea.

But, I’m already thinking ahead to next year, when I’d love to “cherry-pick” our favorite places and go back there.  If you visit three or more shops and get your passport stamped, you get a one-time 30% off discount, and that will be enough.  It’ll be fun to really stop and enjoy our favorites over the day without the mad rush to visit all nineteen!

What a lovely gift of a whole day together with my daughter.  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Where have I been?

Where have I been, where have I been?  I’ve been enjoying catching up on other bloggers’ posts, even while I’ve been somewhat absent on my own blog recently.  I have been putting all my focus on my “Little Book of Lies” collection, during the last part of April, and even before, striving to get the complete manuscript done.  This is my small-book-sized collection of stories involving various kinds of lies and lying.  I’m delighted to report I completed the manuscript on May 1st.  Hoorah!

What a wonderful feeling, to have a whole complete set of writing that you’ve invented and developed, edited and polished, to read each story and feel a sense of satisfaction that you’ve got the story doing what you wanted it to do.  It can take a long time to get to this point; I first started drafting this set of stories back in 2016, as all flash-fiction, and then I came back to the stories last fall (2017), to evaluate which were ready and complete, and which need strengthening.  All winter and early spring I’ve worked on bringing these stories along, so that I could have a complete manuscript ready for submission.  It’s a great feeling to see the nearly-85 pages in one chunk on my desk, to leaf though them and recall the sense of wonder as I recall each character, the settings and the stories, and to feel I’ve done my best.

The manuscript is a short one – only about 22,000 words – where a novel-length book runs about 60,000 to 80,000 words.  However, I’ve got a couple of other companion projects in the pipeline, which I’m calling “The Little Books of Monsters” and “The Little Book of Fables.”  Assuming those projects run about the same length (20K-25K words), I may be able to present all three books together for a publishable project.  How fun.  Wish me luck on these two upcoming projects!

Looking Up!

Photo by Theresa Barker.

Remember those lobby photos I’ve posted about before? Here’s an updated photo! When I walk through the lobby of this building every week I think of all of you on my blog. Thank you for your interest!

For cat lovers

My friend and fellow writer and blogger Luanne Castle often posts about her cats, and I always enjoy catching up on her cat household.  Here’s a photo of one of our cats, Pickles.  She’s looking very hopeful for getting attention.

Photo by Theresa Barker.

A postscript about bookstores

Why are we celebrating independent bookstores?

Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent. – from the “Independent Bookstore Day” website

Do you have a favorite bookstore?  Or how about a favorite library, even better!  Are you working on a writing project of your own outside the world of blogging?  I’d love to hear from you.  Happy May!

52 thoughts on “Independent Bookstore Day! – April 28th

  1. a)I’m very excited for you about your manuscript!
    b)Your bookstore trip looks cool, I’ve been to the UW one several times.
    c)I miss my St. Louis County public library, of all the places we’ve lived, it was my favorite.
    d)My Africa book arrived yesterday. It looks great! I thought of you when it got here and was wondering how your projects were going, so I enjoyed reading this post.


    1. Amy, Hooray! I’m soooo excited for you and your Africa book. I’ve been enjoying some of your Africa photos on Instagram, so it must be really great – and quite an achievement – to have them curated into a book. And, don’t we miss those very special book-places. It’s a magical feeling (even though that may sound trite!).

      Now that your Africa book is in your hands, do you have any thoughts about a new project? 🙂 (sorry if it’s too early to ask!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love a backyard adventure, but wow — that is a lot of bookstores! Congratulations on finishing your manuscript! I’m looking forward to finishing my collections of travel stories at some point, though the end seems far, far away.


  3. Your daughter is beautiful Theresa (and so are you!). You seem to have had a wonderful day (albeit exhausting one) garnished with some yummy food 😀 Congratulations on your progress with your book and all the very best for your two other projects. Do you intend to publish as one unit or separate? I often contemplate publishing but then backtrack as I am quite hazy about the whole process and I am not sure if i have enough quality material. Oh well maybe someday, in the meanwhile I am happy to take tips and notes from your experience. 🙂 And perhaps it is time for a little update on your patch of garden 😉 Have a wonderful week Theresa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dahlia, for your kind message! About publishing, that is a great question. Luanne Castle suggested that I could try submitting it to chapbook publishers, who often publish poetry, but some of them also publish prose. Those would probably be very competitive markets. (Meaning, chances of publication would be low.) I’ve looked into those, using the Poets & Writers database (I’m a subscriber to Poets & Writers Magazine). Some are contests, and I usually stay away from contests, personal preference.

      After talking to another poet friend about chapbooks, my thoughts are probably to try one publisher who I have once submitted a novel to and got a good rejection from. (Years and years ago, but still.) And possibly see if any of the chapbook markets might seem like a good fit (they usually have certain topics they are looking for). Assuming both of those avenues aren’t interested, I would consider self-publishing, on Amazon or another on-demand market. And, yes, if I get all three “Little Books” completed I would consider whether they could together be a good submission to a publisher.

      Publishing is hard! Last year I sent out 45 submissions of about a dozen stories or so, and I did get 3 accepted/published by the end of the year, with two more accepted that came out in early 2018. That’s actually a pretty good “average” as these things go, but I’ll tell you, every rejection feels hard, even so. So, I would say, don’t criticize yourself if you’re not publishing, you certainly are “publishing” stories on your blog, and getting them read! That’s great!

      And thanks for the reminder about the little garden! I’ve been out there every week or so, cutting back the sprouting weeds and giving it a little water when the weather gets dry. So far, so good! Same as my writing, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is quite a day. 19 bookstores in one day and it did sound like quite the outing with your daughter. Each bookstore must have been different – different kinds of books, different kind of ambience, style and decor. Hope you got that discount in the end. The treats along the way sounded delicious. Although it is convenient and cheaper to buy books online these days, there’s always a warm feeling about going into a bookshop, browse the books beforehand first and then seeing which one connects with you one on one.

    Congrats on completing your short manuscript. What an achievement. It does take a while for us to finish a draft, and then another draft and then another and maybe more and then the final product. Not only do you feel a weight off your shoulders, but more of a feeling that you have earned it 🙂


    1. Mabel, you are right about the bookstores. We ran into some people along the way that we recognized from an earlier bookstore (at least a couple of times), when we were in that French bakery. Just to make conversation I asked them which was their favorite bookstore so far, and they (all three) raved about this one bookstore, how wonderful, it was. We had not been there yet, and when we went there, we saw what they meant about what impressed them. But we also felt our favorite was probably the first one we went to, who served little muffins and also sold some lovely tea in tins that we purchased. “To each their own”!

      Thank you for your kind message! I hope your own writing is going well this spring! 🙂


      1. It sounds like you stumbled upon quite a book community there, Theresa. Lovely to hear that you connected with the bookstores. I also really like the sound of the one serving the little muffins…it is such a warm and homely touch. We are smack bang in the middle of Autumn here…hopefully we get Spring again at some point. Happy Spring 🙂


      2. Yes, those little muffins were a really nice touch. We had to get an early ferry to get to that particular bookstore before 9 am (they opened at 7:30 am), and they said the muffins were a thank you. Great way to start the day!

        Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere sounds so exotic! Have a good weekend!


      3. Nothing like a sweet treat to warm you up early in the morning. Maybe you could do a similar bookshop tour again at some point, maybe in a different state 🙂 Have a good weekend too 🙂


    1. Oh! Luanne, you just made my day. I remember reading about your visits with your son and daughter-in-law? last year, and I felt the same way. Yay! We are lucky to have families who enjoy spending time with us, eh?

      THANKS for commenting on Pickles. I was hoping you’d keep her in mind when you are enjoying your next cat-entertainment in your house. At least, I think of you and your cat-family when I’m petting my kitties too. It’s a smaller cat-world that way!

      Have a GREAT week of May! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I plan to tell my guys about Pickles! away from them but almost home! So lucky with the families! We just went to dinner with them although DIL had to work later.


      2. Haha! I hope you don’t mind, I went in and edited your comment to avoid the autocorrect errors? Let me know! I’ve never edited a comment before, but this seemed like it might be welcome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. A bookstore kind of a day would be my favourite too 🙂 That and coffee with some cake. Heaven! Edmonds is so pretty. I remember visiting it three years ago when I explored places around Seattle for the first time. Congratulations on the completion of your manuscript, Theresa! All the best for the rest of the process. xx


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