The fun was the book party for my novel, Fish-Eye Lens. I was determined all along that the event be more party than literary event, especially since "literary" is not one of the adjectives I would use to describe this light book. It had to have music, brightness and booze to evoke the novel's island setting. I found the perfect place at C'est le Vin, a wine shop and art gallery in my neighborhood. Genet, the shop's owner, ordered Fisheye wines for the event, and I pre-empted for one day a lovely exhibit of art featuring Ethiopia, instead showing sprightly mosaics by my art mentor, Lorraine Hoff Meade, and shimmery-watery metal wall art by Steven Lloyd. My husband Tom put together a music playlist that included Buffett, Sinatra, Marley, Lovey Forbes (our neighbor on North Caicos) and other island-ish tunes.
Kelly Justice from Fountain Books ran the sales table, and I set up my "signing station" in a beach chair under an inflatable palm tree. And thanks to the work of all these people, the thing worked. A wide range of people showed up: members of the Parrot Head Club of Richmond, Tom's colleagues, some of my former colleagues from the Times-Dispatch, the artists and a few family members who made the drives from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Norfolk (kudos to Bridgid and Jason, who braved a massive tieup on I-64, making the 85-mile trip take three hours). I think everyone had fun; I sure did!
Meanwhile, there was the stress. I was into the last week of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and still had about 5,000 more words to write to reach the 50,000-word goal. I had been keeping up with a steady pace all month, but the problem for me was that my novel ended - that is, I reached a logical stopping point - before I got to the magic mark. So, on Tom's advice, I simply started a short story after that. Unfortunately, it wasn't a story I had let percolate until I loved it enough to start writing. Sort of a half-boiled idea, you might say, but I started it anyway and grew to hate it passionately. But I soldiered through, just so I could say I met the challenge. And I did, reaching 50,127 words just yesterday, Nov. 30. Now those pieces are going to sit for a long time before I go back to see if there's anything worthwhile there.
And I also ended the month with some good advice to propel me into December and beyond. My publisher, Robert Pruett, attended the book party, and in a discussion with him I learned my new challenge: the Rule of Five. "Every day, do five things to promote your book, even if one of them is just sending an e-mail," he told me.
He couldn't have done anything better for a task- and deadline-oriented person like myself. I'm already into my "fives" each day, and this blog is one of them for today. Here's the one thing: telling you where you can find Fish-Eye Lens. Visit www.belleislebooks.com or www.amazon.com for a quick visit to the islands.