May 19, 2005: A Ginormous Mistake

It had to happen. I am in the midst of proofing my galleys – the final pages before my book gets turned into, you know, abookand I asked Myretta Robens if my hero’s title was correct.

It is not. And it is too late to fix.

I’m not exactly a historical accuracy freak or anything. I turn a blind eye to all kinds of improbable shenanigans to get the hero and heroine alone; this is fiction, after all, and not a historical primer. Which have fewer sizzling glances and tight breeches. But something as simple as a title, a title that could be checked on any number of websites, including this one, is simply careless. And I feel like an idiot.

You might ask why I just don’t correct it in the final version. Well, I could, but Signet would be mad, and what’s more, would make me pay for their anger. Literally. If I make more than a certain amount of corrections to the copy, Signet has the right to charge back for the additional charges. As a policy, it makes a darn good amount of sense. Why should they suffer for an author’s carelessness?

So I’m slogging through, trying not to wince every time my hero’s title is mentioned. Which is, in fact, a lot. As I’m reading, though, I’m also enjoying the story. My heroine (Miss Titania Stanhope, thank goodness I stuck with a plain ‘miss’) is flawed, both physically and mentally. She’s got a broken nose, stick-straight hair that won’t curl, and she is a mediocre horsewoman. She’s acerbic, self-deprecating, grumpy and overresponsible. My hero (Lord Worthington, Earl of Oakley, thanks for asking) has a quick temper, hates wearing cravats and has been soured on love. I like them; to me, they’re fun, real and occasionally charming.

So, I guess, I have to get over worrying about the historical accuracy of the thing and look at the bright side: I don’t hate it. And, I guess, I also have to be relieved I am now writing a contemporary, where the most egregious mistake I can make is confusing Old Navy with Barney’s.

The writing on my Mommy Lit is going really well. I set a 1,000 word a day goal, and have been achieving that, plus an average of 500 words more. Of course, I’m not certain all of it is compelling, much less even good, but it is getting written. Once I am done with the rough draft, I am going to take a breather from it, then dive into revisions. I hope to have the finished version by the end of the summer. Because I cannot work unless I have a goal, I’ve been sending my stuff, at exact 50-page intervals, to a friend who writes African-American Mommy Lit (and who has just secured an agent!). She’s made some excellent suggestions, and it’s good to get the occasional “this is good!” or “cute” comment in my text. I’ve also been being consistent with my website’s Writing Diary, because I hate it when authors don’t update more than every week or so. After all, what can I read while I’m procrastinating? The Writer’s Diary allows me to vent about my writing, people on the street, me, more people on the street, me again and maybe a little bit more about my writing.

I’ll be finished with the galleys by tomorrow. I still don’t have a cover, but my editor promises one within a few weeks. I’ve got to pick Master Marketer Myretta’s brain about bookmarks and the like. I’ve also got to go brave my local Barnes & Noble store and inquire about the “Local Authors” section, which wouldn’t be so daunting except my local authors are Paul Auster, Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Thanks for reading.


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