Essay from Christina Dodd on her Funniest Mistakes
I have been publishing books for eighteen years. On September 1, my fortieth full-length book, Storm of Shadows, is on the shelves. I'm not bragging (well, only a little), just giving you some background before we dive in.
Last year, I wrote a scene in Into the Flame where the hero sees the heroine for the first time in two and a half years, and startles her. The line I wrote was, "She didn't jump, he'd give her that. But Firebird Wilder had always had balls of steel, and she showed them now as she coolly turned to face him."
I am a professional. Don't try this at home.
In Into The Shadow, my heroine stumbles onto the hero sitting in the Japanese garden. He jumps to his feet and says, "Is this your private place? Should I leave?" and she says, "No, it's okay, my private place is big enough for the both of us."
Unless I'm writing erotica (and I'm not), that's just embarrassing.
There was the time during the passionate kissing scene when I described the hero as "big-boned" and said the heroine "stained against him." Euw. Just ... euw.
I don't even want to discuss the infamous, "He pinned his eyes to her chest."
I'm not the only writer who does this stuff. At one of my first Romance Writers of America conferences, one of the award winners got up and thanked her critique group. Before she joined them, she wrote sentences like, "Angrily, he thrust his hands into his pockets and tried to get a hold of himself."
My nightmare is that one of these lines will slip through all the editing and make it onto the printed page.
Oh, wait. That's happened, too. My husband was reading my first published book, Candle in the Window, a medieval, and came to me with a question. After the hero and heroine were married, I wrote, "They stood on the battlements and waved until the wedding guests were out of sight." Scott wondered, since the heroine was blind, how long she had waved.Storm of Shadows is on the shelves now. Buy a copy for your chance to find the faux pas that will haunt me for the rest of my life. No, I don't know for sure there is one. But the chances are pretty good. In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt from Storm of Shadows :
"Hello?" Aaron called into the depths of the library basement. "Dr. Hall? It's Aaron Eagle."
"Back here!" A voice floated over and through the shelves. A woman's voice.
They must have finally dug up the funding to get Dr. Hall another assistant. Good thing. The old guy could croak down here and no one would notice for days. Aaron walked back to the work area where manuscripts, scrolls and a stone tablet covered the tables.
A girl leaned over the tablet, mink brush in hand, studying it. "Put it on the table over there." She waved the brush vaguely toward the corner.
Aaron glanced over at the table piled with Styrofoam containers and fast food bags. He looked back at the girl.
Her skin was cream, fine-grained and perfect, and that was a good thing, since she did not wear a single drop of make-up. She was of medium height, perhaps a little skinny, but with what she was wearing, who could tell? Her dress drooped where it should fit and hung unevenly at the hem. She had latex gloves over her hands—nothing killed a man's interest like latex gloves— and she wore brown leather clogs. Birkenstocks. Antiques. As the crowning touch, she wore plastic rimmed tortoise shell glasses that looked like an extension of the frizzy carrot red hair trapped at the back of her neck.
Yet for all that she was not in any way attractive, she paid him no heed. "Who do you think I am?" he asked.
"Lunch. Or"—her glasses had slid down her nose—"did I miss lunch? Is it time for dinner already? What time is it?"
"Rats. I did miss lunch." Lifting her head, she looked at him.
He did a double take violent enough to give him whiplash.
Beneath the glasses, dense, dark lashes surrounded the biggest, most emphatically violet eyes he'd ever seen.
Like a newly wakened owl, she blinked at him. "Who are you?"
"I'm. Aaron. Eagle." He emphasized each word. "Who are you?"
"I'm Dr. Hall."
To explore the special paranormal section of my website, read more excerpts and watch videos, I invite you to go to my website http://www.christinadodd.com, and while you're there, don't forget to join my mailing list http://christinadodd.com/lists/?p=subscribe for publication updates and news.
For the wild at heart!