Sunday, June 6, 2010

That Green Floaty Thing

The thing about living near salt water is that when you paint your house, you enjoy it for about a year or one hurricane season, which ever comes first. Then the salt and the humidity overpower even the highest grade water-based enamel, and you spend the next five years trying to salvage the paint job before having to do it again. This includes scraping, sanding, priming and painting anything that isn’t stuccoed…my job on this Sunday afternoon.

If I were so inclined, I might compare this job to the process of rewriting, editing and polishing the first draft of a novel. I might compare scraping away loose chips of paint to cutting sentences that don’t advance the plot. I might equate scrubbing wooden beams with a wire brush to cutting adverbs and prepositional phrases until sentences flow smoothly through a manuscript. I might compare that first coat of primer to a second or third draft, or perhaps the twenty-third draft, when Writer feels she is nearing a final product. I might compare the high-gloss coat of exterior paint to the last draft Writer writes before sending it off to Agent or Editor. But all those comparisons would be cliché and trite. So I won’t make them. Instead, as I scrub a column with my steal bush, the sweat dripping from my forehead, I’ll compare the green inflatable raft floating in our pool, a mere ten feet from where I work, to the internet.

The internet is a writer’s worst enemy, and we have many. We have dishes and laundry, which we are always happy to wash when we should be writing instead. We have supper to prepare, because our family really does deserve a decent meal just this once. We have closets to clean, floors to sweep, weeds to pluck, shoes to polish, book shelves to dust, dog nails to trim, cabinets to paper and dust bunnies to vacuum. And then there is the internet.

We all do it. No matter what lie we tell ourselves, we all spend too much time on the internet when we should be writing. We scan Publisher’s Marketplace—an industry website with all the latest publishing news—imagining the day our own book deal will be announced there. We read the blogs of every editor and agent we can bookmark. We scan book reviews, again imaging the day our book will be reviewed there. And last, but certainly not least, because we do it the most, we writers Google ourselves.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I do it, too. However, the amount of Googles that come up when I Google myself and my novel are relatively small at this point. Hopefully that will grow over time, so I knew immediately when a new Google showed up this past Thursday night. But, if it weren’t for one universal word, I might have skimmed right over it. The entire Google was in Japanese. Except for one word. Amazon.

I clicked on this new Google and found myself on Japanese Amazon. Unable to read any of the text except for BENT ROAD and LORI ROY, I still called out to Daughter, the only one home to share the moment. She looked at the screen, rolled the mouse to the top right corner and clicked the “In English” button. Yes, it was official. I was available for pre-order and already marked down.

Google didn’t find me on any other version of Amazon, which includes Canada, Germany, France, China and the UK, but Daughter and I did. I am on all of them—available for pre-order—except China. (Though I’m not sure what I was doing or what I was looking at on the Chinese site.) I looked last at our own Amazon. Daughter typed in “Lori Roy”. Nothing. Perhaps it was a difference in systems or a time zone thing. Then Daughter typed in “BENT ROAD.” Available for pre-order. Already marked down, but I took comfort in the fact that all of us authors are marked down.

So, on this Sunday, I resist the temptation of the floaty thing in our pool and I finish my job of scraping, sanding, priming and painting. I’ll try to resist the internet, too. I’ve discovered Google Alerts. From now on, it will do my checking for me.

Two great books out this week –

SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta.
For more information and reviews -

STAY by Allie Larkin
For more information and reviews –

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