Last week in my column I wrote about serendipitous stuff that has happened to me over the years. I then related my fortuitous online meeting with a pro tarpon fisherman and budding writer named Dino Ramaciere. I urged everyone to check out the latest (April) issue of Field & Stream magazine, wherein they could find Dino’s first published story - Beauty and the Tarpon.
One of my readers, who I think lives in Australia, wrote to ask if any of Dino’s writing appeared online as he had no access to the magazine. I knew Dino hadn’t posted or published anything except for his F&S story, so I wrote back saying I’d ask Dino’s permission to send the draft of the story that he had sent me some months before.
Dino did me one better and sent me the galley from the magazine which included one of the spiffy illustrations used to accompany the piece. I forwarded the galley and made a note to offer to do so in my next column to anyone who had problems finding the mag.
Now a bit of back story:
About a month ago I came across a reference to Google Alerts on the Absolute Write boards. Many of you probably know about it but for those of you who don’t - it’s a service provided by Google wherein you input keywords and they’ll email you any search results containing those keywords. I thought it might be a fun way to track my book so I entered “what fish don’t want you to know” (without the quotation marks).
Every 24 hours I received an email from Google Alerts which contained links using my keywords. Unfortunately, probably because I didn’t use quotation marks, I got mostly inappropriate results - stuff like:
Trout season tips to live by Trout are safe, healthy meal Rules ...
Scranton Times-Tribune - PA, USA
... have broken or unusable straps, or that don’t fit are ... Also, if you catch fish, like perch or sunfish, that have no minimum size and you want to clean ...
The first line would be a clickable link. The second was the source. The rest was a snippet from the linked page highlighting the “appropriate” keywords.
Usually among the 10-15 results there would be one or two that actually related to my book’s listing on Barnes & Noble, or Amazon or elsewhere but most weren’t at all germane. I tended to delete the mail after a five-second scan and each time would make a mental note to alter the listing to include quotation marks to winnow out the inappropriate links. But as we all know, mental notes aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on and I kept putting it off.
This morning, the first listing in my Google Alerts was:
Beauty and the Tarpon
Field and Stream - USA
... I went fishing one morning with my wife and my sister. Initially, my sister didn’t want to make the trip. ... You know I don’t like to fish....
Yep. Dino’s story is online. Now you don’t have to shell out bucks or visit your library to read a fine story by a fine writer. Go read it right now. You won't be sorry. I'll wait.
I suppose sooner or later Dino, or someone, would have tripped over the online listing and let me know. But it was a hoot to come across it this way.
Might even call it serendipitous.