Mistakes I’ve made

In the back pages of every novel that I write, I ask the reader for a review. I also ask them to point out any errors I may have made. In this new age of digital publishing, an author can now revisit his work and correct things that are needed. So the reader can actually help the author make his work better, and that in turn just helps the next person enjoy the book even more.

I also promise anyone who finds an error that I will thank them here on my website. So here we go.

I received this letter from Robyn Kozierok, who pointed out two errors she found in Closure.

Hi Randall,

I received a review copy of Closure from BookRooster and really enjoyed it. (I did post my review on Amazon.)

As a minor point of fact, MIT does not offer any academic (merit) scholarships. All their financial aid is need-based.

Also I think there may have been a continuity issue at one point where Jack took the bathroom door off its hinges in a hotel room to use as a workbench, and then later closed the bathroom door to contain a bad smell.

Best of luck with your writing!

–Robyn

Robyn is correct on both accounts. I wasn’t aware of the MIT scholarship issue, but felt that it would be best to make Eric a scholarship student for the sake of the story. I wanted Eric to come from a law enforcement family. Due to the average salary of someone in that profession, Eric would never have afforded MIT without a little help.

The door issue made it past me, my beta readers, and my editor without any of us catching it. In the new version, Sam will use a closet door for his work, and that will keep the bathroom door in place to combat the smell of what he’s cooking inside.

So a big thanks to Robyn and her sharp eye. This author is grateful for her input.

***

A reader by the name of John M emailed me today with another error I missed. Ironically, it’s in the same exact scene as the one above!
Actually it’s an error I was already aware of, but I’m still giving him credit for finding it. In the scene Sam is mixing up some standard auto-body fiberglass for a dastardly purpose I won’t mention here. He later goes and checks to see if it has “dried” enough for him to continue working with it.
Only fiberglass doesn’t dry, it hardens through a chemical process known as curing.
Cure (kyoor) v.tr    To prepare, preserve, or finish (a substance) by chemical or physical process.
The problem is, 3 out of 5 of my beta readers didn’t know what the term meant, and I hadn’t written it so they could determine its meaning from context. I was worried that the word would pull the average reader out of the story. So, I changed it to dry.
Now that John’s pointed it out I don’t feel that was the right choice to make. If he noticed it, no doubt several other savvy readers did too. From now on, I think I’ll aim for using the correct word. And if the reader isn’t familiar with it, all one will have to do now is tap on it with a finger, and his e-reader will tell him what it means. Or look it up in an old-fashioned dictionary. I do it all the time.
What’s got me shaking my head is the fact that I have two mistakes in the same scene.
Maybe I was hung over that day? It’s happened before.
So thanks to John and his sharp eye for taking the time. I truly appreciated it.

*

A reader by the name of Kaitie wrote me from the UK, where a portion of the fourth novel Security takes place. She caught an error that I was totally unaware of:

” I have been enjoying the Jack Randall books very much. Just started Security. Loved Pestilence. You imply that the court illustrators in London are sketching, however, this is illegal in the UK – the illustrators have to make notes and have really good memories, then quickly sketch when they have left the court. Hope that helps!”

I had no idea. I assumed it was a standard practice around the world. Well you know what they say about assuming. Actually assuming that other court systems are like the circus sideshows of the American system is kinda scary.

Anything I can do to improve the books and make them more accurate certainly helps. So thanks to Katie for catching this for me. The change will be made on the next update.

*

Another reader by the name of Susan caught a very embarrassing misspelling.

She writes:

“Hi ,  Just finished reading four of the Jack Randall books.  I thoroughly enjoyed them, but I found two errors that I thought you might want to correct (one in Security and one in Pestilence).  In both books, you referenced a base called Fort McDill in Florida which is incorrect.  The base in Tampa. FL,  has been called MacDill Air Force Base since 1948.

 It is an active United States Air Force base.  The “host wing” for MacDill AFBis the 6th Air Mobility Wing (6 AMW) of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), part of AMC’s Eighteenth Air Force (18 AF).  The base is currently host to US Central Command, US

Special Operations Command (which I believe is the command you meant to reference in the book) and 30 other smaller tenant commands.”

 The embarrassing part is that I’ve been to this base numerous times. I blamed it on the voice-to-text software I use, but I still should have caught it. So, thanks to Susan for catching the error.

This one came with a plus side, though. If my military fans can enjoy my books without rolling their eyes too much, I count that as a win. Sometimes, I have to stretch the truth a bit, but they never rat me out. I figure that they either know what I’m doing and why and forgive me, or they just enjoy the story and don’t care.

Either way I’d like to say thanks.