So, despite the treachery of that NY agent who had boosted my hopes skyward and then shot them down, I did, nevertheless, heed some of his advice: I read a book he recommended for a model of how he envisioned Trout Kill might go. That book was Spartina, by John Casey. I loved the story. In Spartina, the protagonist builds a fishing boat to help him battle the “ghosts” from his past, and then he sails the boat into an Atlantic storm and finds redemption. In the Trout Trilogy, the protagonist builds a new heart and “sails” it into the storms that arise from his troubled past. Maybe he’ll be redeemed, and maybe not–I haven’t got to the end yet, so I don’t know what his fate will be. But you can see the parallels between the two stories. After reading Spartina, I rewrote Trout Kill, streamlining the plot … and never heard back from that bastard agent. That’s what put me on the road to self-publication, which I’d always frowned upon before as mere “vanity press.” But my mind was made up. I asked a few friends to help edit TK, design the cover and take the author photo. I was ready to find a publisher. I started locally, with Inkwater Press in Portland, Oregon. I expanded my search and eventually settled on Outskirts Press in Parker, Colorado. They seemed to offer a few more bells and whistles, like giving authors 10 free copies instead of only 5.
(Part IX later)