An August garden in Texas can be a discouraging place. My cucumbers played out about a week ago, so I removed the vines and dismantled the trellis. The tomatoes are on their last gasp, since container-tomatoes (in my experience) don’t last as long, and now mine have 6-10 hangers-on surrounded by vines that look tired. The herbs are fine, and until this morning, the peppers were thriving. But, this morning I found that something (squirrels, if history is any clue) stripped all the leaves from the plant and gnawed about 25 peppers, leaving another 20 or so with no protection from the merciless sun. So I harvested what was left and took the plant down, leaving only herbs and a few puny tomatoes left until it is cool enough to plant the fall crops. Only the compost bin is happy out there right now.
You have time on your hands in the Texas dog days, so I’ve been thinking back over the last six months, since my new novel was released. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m especially grateful to all the people who’ve supported me and the book. First are all the readers, who invest money and time in a novel. Next are all the wonderful radio interviewers who had me on and asked great questions and helped me get the word out about the book. And then, there are the bookstores, the real heroes of this story.
Every independent bookstore is a beacon of hope in the literary world as well as in the small-business world. They are owned and operated by true believers, by Davids willing to stand against the giants who don’t bother to understand the books or the authors but who are big enough to dictate the market. The indie bookstores persevere because they have a passion for literature and how the literary community can elevate everyone in it by bringing authors and readers together in a special relationship.
So, find your local bookstores and support them. I can’t name them all, so let me name two that have supported me recently.
Monkey and Dog Book Shop in Fort Worth is a cozy haven for children and adults. Filled with comfy chairs and sofas, you can escape the heat and enjoy browsing, sitting and reading, or chatting with the great staff.
The owner, Shelley Lowe, is a delightful conversationalist who followed her childhood dream to own a bookshop. She provides great programming for children (including reading to them herself) and adults, and was kind enough to host me in late June. I hope to return there this fall for another event.
Interabang Books in Dallas has a relatively brief but interesting history. Founded in 2017, their store was struck by a tornado in October of 2019. It would have been understandable if they had closed their doors permanently, but they located a temporary spot that ultimately became their permanent new location. Having survived that disaster and still working through the pandemic, they’ve demonstrated resilience as well as a strong commitment to the literary scene in Dallas. They’ve been very kind to me, hosting me for my second novel, Back Side of a Hurricane, in 2017, and last month for Eddie’s Boy, where they honored me by allowing me to sign one of the event chairs.
Both stores are invaluable to our metroplex, and there are others that I’ve mentioned previously. Please stay out of the heat and spend some time browsing, reading, and chatting in these wonderful places. Buy some books now and be prepared for when you can sit outside in the cooler fall weather and enjoy another story.