- A Kitty in the Henhouse
- Chicken Scratches and Other Writing Tips
- Eye Candy
- Happenings at the Henhouse
- Music of the Coop
- Pop Culture
- Squawk Authors: Latest and Greatest Books
- Squawk Friends
- Squawk Interactive: Captions, polls, etc
- Squawk's Favorite Books
- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
“>Every writer faces a moment in her career when she realizes that a good part of success has nothing to do with skill or planning, and everything to do with pure, dumb luck. For me, that moment arrived at a party at the Romance Writers of America conference in St. Louis in 1993, when a colleague came to me and asked, “Did you know the heroine on the cover of your newest release has three arms?”
That’s not a question one hears everyday. It’s along the lines of, “Catch the piano!” — a remark so bizarre most normal people would never imagine speaking those words in a single sentence. Certainly I’d never thought to hear that my heroine possessed an extra limb. After all, I’d had a 12x18 of the cover on my desk for months, and I hadn’t noticed anything except that the art was beautiful and my name was spelled correctly. But my colleague seemed so sure and, worse, so amused, that I rushed to the conference bookstore and checked the cover.
Yes. It was true. CASTLES IN THE AIR featured a heroine with one too many appendages. The hero held one of her hands, she leaned on another hand, and the one tucked into her skirts seemed so unnecessary, so superfluous … so much like a great big bonus to my career I could scarcely believe I was that lucky.
It rapidly became clear that the news about my cover had flown through the conference. Everyone knew … and if they didn’t, I found myself telling them. “Hi,” I’d say, “I’m Christina Dodd. I write historicals, thus fulfilling a lifelong dream and making my mother proud.”
“My cover features a three-armed woman.”
“Oh, you’re the one!”
From that point forward, I became The Author of the Three-Armed Woman Book. Never mind that I’d had nothing to do with the art; I embraced that three-armed woman (ha!) as my own. At every opportunity, I pointed out that the first line of the story complimented the cover (“She had all her teeth,” the book began.) I gave speeches to business and leisure groups, and the high point was always The Showing of the Arms. My bookmarks and brochures for my future books contained a list of titles and ISBNs and the question, “Which of Christina Dodd’s book covers feature a heroine with three arms?” At any booksigning, I requested that the bookseller order CASTLES IN THE AIR and I used it to open conversations and sell books — to everyone. I sold that book to literary snobs, to men, to other authors. I listened to all the witticisms, and I laughed dutifully. “Does he have another woman hiding under there?” “I bet she’s great in bed!” And, of course, the big question, “How could this have happened?”
According to the statistics posted on the RWA website, 2,285 romance titles were released in 2004. What’s amazing is not that my three-armed woman made it to publication, but that more romances aren’t published with mistakes.
But all good things must come to an end, and one day a bookseller told me the fun cover of CASTLES IN THE AIR had been replaced by a new, fairly boring cover. I’d sold out the whole print run, one book at a time.
I still have people who walk up to me, grinning, to inform me they own a copy (I ended up with only four — where’s the justice in that?) I’ve seen the book packaged in shrink-wrap at a used book store and go for amazing prices on Ebay. When you visit my website, you’ll find a page dedicated to the infamous CASTLES IN THE AIR cover, while you’re here, run your mouse over the RULES OF … books in the Governess Brides series. The stepbacks (the inside covers) each features a headless woman.
Okay, I’ve teased you all enough. The winner of an autographed advanced reading copy of SCENT OF DARKNESS is … gannon! Congratulations, gannon! Just e-mail your name and snail mail addy to and I’ll mail it out to you.
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