by Caren Crane
Hola, Banditas! As many of you are aware, I (the contemporary romance writer) count many fabulous historical romance writers as my dear friends. One of my best and most beloved friends, the delightful Deb Marlowe (please note self-indulgent inclusion of extra-cute Caren and Deb picture from RWA conference when Deb won her Golden Heart!)is here with us today to discuss a dirty little writing secret. One we hope no one notices or holds against us: typos. Here with the dish on typos and other little "oopsie" moments, is Darling Deb.
I was in the grocery line the other day, behind a woman who was disputing a sale price on one of her items. The exasperated clerk sent someone to check and it turned out the customer had been right. She didn’t gloat, but she did leave with a parting shot. “You didn’t have to be so surely about it,” she muttered as she left.
It took me a minute to figure out that she meant surly. I didn’t correct her, of course. She was right—the clerk was surly—and I wasn’t going to rain on her moment of triumph. We’ve all had days when we needed that small triumph—and days when what we meant to say came out as something else.
Those sorts of things happen in publishing too. Books do sometimes get printed with . . . gasp! . . .typos. Sometimes they are introduced in the original manuscript and get past the author, a critique partner, an editor or two and even the copy editor. Sometimes they are introduced in one of the many steps it takes to convert a file into an actual book. All authors cringe when they find them, though.
I’m cringing. There’s a mistake in my new release, Her Cinderella Season. I’m not sure when it happened, but I didn’t find it until I held my first author copy in my hand. But after I got over the horror, I had to laugh. Let me set the scene:
The hero of Her Cinderella Season is Jack Alden. He was the scholarly younger brother of my first hero in Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss. In An Improper Aristocrat, he’s the expert that Trey and Chione come to for help in their quest to foil a ring of antiquity thieves. So I was thrilled to give him his own story at last.
As Her Cinderella Season opens, Jack is recovering from the wounds he received at the end of An Improper Aristocrat. A gunshot wound is a shocking thing for a quiet, scholarly type, and this one has shaken loose a few demons. Jack has his wounded arm in a sling and is driving a feisty team of horses through the busy London streets—even though he knows he should not be.
In the scene, the horses are meant to be spooked by a calling cart vendor. You know the sort—oranges, meat pies, chestnuts, etc. Instead, it is a calling card vendor who frightens them with his shouting.
So after the gasp of shock, I was hit with the funniest image! Picture a shady Regency gentleman in a greatcoat, whipping it open to showcase a large selection of parchment calling cards. “Psst! Ye want an entrée into Society? I got yer calling cards here—get you into any house in Mayfair! Ye want ter be the Duchess of Devonshire? Right here! Lord Byron? I’m yer man!”
Okay, so it’s ridiculous, but I’m trying to look on the bright side! Cut me a little slack?
The heroine in Her Cinderella Season, Lily Beecham, wants an entrée into Society. She was born a gentleman’s daughter, but she’s spent the last years in an Evangelical household. She enjoys the charitable and political works she’s been involved in, but she’s not willing to accept her mother’s choice for her husband, and she’s not quite ready to give up on the idea of a life filled with music, joy and love. She faces the difficulty of blending her two worlds, finds herself mixed up in the excitement of helping Jack track down a villain, and takes on the greatest challenge of all—winning the elusive Mr. Alden’s heart.
So—have you ever said the wrong word in public? Found an irritating typo in a book? Found a typo in your book? Will you give Her Cinderella Season a try even though I planted that image in your head? :-) Make me feel better, please! Share your story and I’ll send an autographed copy of Her Cinderella Season to one commenter!