Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guest Blog by Author Gayle Trent

I am very pleased to have my first guest blog post by author Gayle Trent. Ms. Trent writes a mystery series featuring female-sleuth and cake decorator Daphne Martin. There are two books in the series set in a small Virginia town. Book number two is called “Dead Pan” and it was released earlier this month by Bell Bridge Books.

In “Dead Pan”, several people fall ill at a company Christmas party. When one of the victims dies, police intensify their search for the culprit, including the cake Daphne made for the occasion.

This should be an interesting series for me as my aunt used to bake and decorate cakes for special occasions. So please stay tuned to this blog for more info about Daphne.

In the meantime, enjoy the following post:


Thorough Investigations
A mystery writer has to be thorough, right? I’ve often stopped what I was writing to call a police officer to make sure I had the protocol and procedures down correctly. You can’t come across to your readers like you don’t know what you’re doing. Especially when you don’t.
My daughter’s Spanish teacher wanted a copy of the first book in my Daphne Martin Cake Decorating Mystery Series, Murder Takes the Cake. I decided to be really clever and translate my inscription into Spanish. I’ve never had a Spanish class, other than what I’ve gleaned from Dora the Explorer—and that was several years ago, but how hard could it be? I did a search for online Spanish translations, entered my inscription in English and then copied it verbatim from the Spanish I was given.
The next day when I picked up my daughter from school, I asked, “Did your teacher like her book?”
“How about the inscription?”
 I knew from the drawn-out “well” that something wasn’t quite right.
“She asked me if you speak Spanish,” my daughter continued. “And I said, ‘no, she Googled it.’”
My attempt at cleverness was leaving me with a feeling of dread. “What did it say?”
“She said it said, ‘Relax and enjoy this mountain of . . . .’ something. She mumbled that last word, and I didn’t understand it.”
My eyes nearly popped out, and then I started laughing. I bent over the steering wheel laughing. My daughter, son and I all laughed until we cried.
An inscription that had begun as “wishing you lots of sweet surprises” had morphed into “relax and enjoy this mountain of ?”? Mountain of what? That plagues me still. My older brother has been quick to provide possibilities (none of which I can print here), and I’m afraid he might be right since the teacher “mumbled that last word.”
I e-mailed the teacher, apologized and told her what the inscription was supposed to say. I offered to send her a signed bookplate she could place over her so proudly-written Spanish inscription. She declined. She did, however, tell me later that she loved the book. That was some consolation.
The moral of this story is not to let your investigating slide. You might concede to “not sweat the small stuff;” but if you’re going to plaster the “small stuff” in a book to be immortalized and come back to haunt you for the rest of your life (and your children’s lives), you’d better thoroughly investigate the “small stuff.” And when you don’t know something, don’t try to pretend you do.


Interesting post! I remember reading some funny lost-in-translation phrases. Thanks again Gayle!


Mason Canyon said...

What a cute story. I can see that popping up in one of Daphne's adventures (with a few changes of course so the teacher won't know).

Gayle said...

I remember a cute story John Steinbeck's widow told on the Today Show once. Bryant Gumbel asked her if she ever found any of her husband's during her frequent travels abroad. "Oh, yes," she said. "I remember once asking a clerk if they had any books by the American writer John Steinbeck, and the clerk came back with a copy of The Grapes of Wrath and said, 'We have The Angry Raisins.'" :-D

LadyPI said...

The Angry Raisins - that's a classic!