Every once in a while, something gets past the author, the editor, the copy editor, and the proofreader. Hence this page. I have not listed every typo that has been pointed out to me. They happen and they’re pretty obviously just that . . . mistakes. I’m also not going to comment on spelling choices I’ve made between Scottish and American, Gaelic and Anglicized. Spelling decisions were mine, not something forced upon me by an editor. If you think I made the wrong choice, it is your right to disagree, but I don’t consider these decisions to be bloopers. Below you will find some of the more interesting discussions I’ve had with readers about what may . . . or may not . . . be actual errors in the text.
Blooper in Kilt Dead
An alert fan named Elizabeth caught a careless continuity error and wrote to me to ask how Liss managed to hang onto the keys to the store, her aunt's apartment, and Amanda's house when I'd just had her lose both her purse and her car (I'm trying to avoid spoilers here, so I'm not saying how this happened). Good catch. I never even thought about this when I was writing or I would have had someone leave spare keys with a neighbor. Once upon a time, folks in a small Maine village would have left their doors unlocked, but not even in fiction can I suspend disbelief to that extent these days.
On page 79, I call Stewart "Victor." Twice! I have no idea why I didn't catch this, except that writers make the worst proofreaders. We tend to see what we meant to write rather than what is actually on the page. By this stage of the story, Victor is already dead, a fact several people emailed me to point out. My thanks to all of them and my apologies to anyone who was jolted out of the story by this mistake. I am assured that it will be corrected in the paperback reprint.
A fan named Marilyn wrote to ask me about a word choice on page 81, where I refer to the "clutch in the room." She asked if "clutch" was supposed to be "culch," meaning refuse or rubbish. In my answer to her, I replied that I think I meant to write "clutter," but since more than two years had passed since I wrote the book, I couldn't be sure about that. I should, however, have caught "clutch" when I proofread. See the paragraph above for the likely reason I didn't.
One other error in Scone Cold Dead may just be a matter of semantics. A fan in the U.K. wrote to me to point out that I "describe scones as flaky pastry confections and the illustration on the cover definitely makes the cakes presented look very flaky but scones aren't flaky here in the UK; they may be light textured when made well but, even when made well, they're too solid to be flaky. They're something between a sponge and bread and more towards the bread end of the spectrum. Is this a US/UK thing or am I misunderstanding you?" I replied, saying that the scones I'd sampled here in Maine, although mostly of the box-mix variety, have been buttery and light, and flaky in the sense of crumbling easily, like buttermilk biscuits. I have to admit that I'm no expert. Nor am I very good at baking things. I suspect, however, there are as many varieties of scone as there are bakers and that whatever type folks in an area are used to are what they think of when they describe scones. A Canadian reader emailed to say that in her part of Canada scones are more like dropped (as opposed to rolled and cut) baking powder biscuits and not as flaky as they appear to be on the cover of the book.
I'd love to hear from more readers on the subject, and if you have any favorite scone recipes to share, feel free to send them, too. You'll have to let me know whether or not to mention your name on this page and if I have your permission to reprint a recipe here. If you don't come right out and say, in your message, that it's okay to do so, I won't.
Another fan, self-described as "a
native born Scot" points out that in Scotland the word "scone"
is pronounced to rhyme with "don" rather than "own." True,
but my books are set in Maine, and here we (mis-)prounounce it so that scone rhymes with stone and the title
makes sense (more or less
That same reader continues, "I have always understood that a Scottish wildcat is untameable. In fact, during my childhood in the Highlands, I heard many stories of crofters, etc., who tried to tame wildcat kittens without success. Nit-picking, maybe, but I thought I would drop you a line. Please carry on with Liss. I look forward to reading much more about her, she is a delightful character."
My reply, in part, was that I'm always delighted to hear from readers, even when they nit-pick, and that I admit to taking some liberties in my story about the Clan Chattan mascot. The incident Liss and Gordon recall on page 50 is entirely fictitious and took place at an equally fictitious gathering.
Did you try to imagine what mushroom scones would taste like, assuming as they wouldn't poison you? One reader did.
I am an adventuresome cook who visualizes completed recipes in my head, after tweaking them. Savory scones are not as far-fetched as you might think. I minced up some teriyaki mushrooms, onions, and bok choy that I had on hand, added some fire-roasted red peppers, and used that as a filling for one of my favorite scone recipes. They would make a hearty lunch with a salad or part of an hors d'oerve course for an open house if made on the smaller side. Sweetness could be cut back by cutting the sugar in half.
Jacqy, a reader in Australia, has sent me more scone recipes with permission to share them here. Enjoy!
An English Scone
recipe from Australia:
1 cup self-raising flour (or plain flour with baking powder)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Rub together until roughly the texture of bread crumbs
Mix to a soft but not sticky dough with milk
Knead VERY lightly, pat out on a floured surface to about 1” thick
Cut with a scone cutter, place on a greased tray and bake in a moderate oven (180 C) until risen and browned on top
Cool, split in half and serve with butter and honey or jam and cream
Alternately one can pat the dough into a circle, place on tray, then mark into ‘farls’ (triangles). When the scones are cooked, you can break the farls apart.
Sometimes currants and/or other dried fruit is added, but it is not considered necessary to have anything but butter on top
A savory variation:
A very good savory variation is to omit the butter, add 1 cup grated tasty cheese and mix this with flour. Add chopped spring onions or other herbs if you like. Carry on as above, serve with butter. Very nice as an accompaniment to soup.
Drop Scones (called ‘pikelets’ in Australia):
The recipe is the same as pancake batter, but thicker (use less milk) and cook on a greased griddle or frying pan in one tablespoon amounts (or less if you want very small ones), turning over with a knife or spatula when bubbles start to appear through the batter.
Can be eaten with butter or cream and jam or honey.
If you want to be fancy, serve small ones topped with sour cream and smoked salmon.
Thanks to Edie for catching a definite blooper on my part. The "Twelve Shopping Days of Christmas" revolve around a pageant in which the birds and people in the twelve verses of the song are represented on their appropriate days. Unfortunately, instead of the nine ladies dancing and ten lords a leaping, Liss ends up with ten ladies and nine lords. I'd blame this on one of my characters misspeaking, but the truth is that I just plain got it wrong. (Three times in the course of the book! Ouch!) I suspect I didn't catch the error because, although I looked at the song lyrics initially, I did not actually have my characters singing any of the verses. I didn't think to go back and check the lyrics again after the manuscript was finished because by that point ten ladies and nine lords looked right to me. Neither leapt (if you'll pardon the pun) off the page and screamed "fix me, you dummy" as I was proofreading and no one else caught it before publication either. There's always something that slips past everyone and it looks like, for this book, that was it.
Blooper in X Marks the Scot
Thanks to both Mark and Amber for pointing out that while it is Liss's iPad that is stolen on a trip to Canada, Sherri consistently calls it as a laptop later in the book. Liss never does, but she doesn't correct Sherri, either, so this counts as a blooper. It sailed right by everyone who proofread the manuscript.
One of the emails I received after Kilt Dead came out made me realize there might be some confusion about the location of Moosetookalook, Maine. Here's what Annie B. wrote:
as I enjoyed the book Kilt Dead,
the location drove me nuts. Here's my thinking:
Moosetookalook is clearly based on the name of Mooselookmeguntic Lake, which is about 30 miles north of Bethel and on the road to Farmington. Also that the full name of the town is Moosetookalookandleft. The county fairgrounds and the state university are in Fallstown. Is this name a pun on Waterville? I think that Farmington is the only place with both of these, near the mountains. I think that Waterville/Farmington is the general area. However, the Maine Highland games are held in Brunswick, which just won't fit! Unless Fallstown is Lisbon Falls and the university is Bowdoin. Nah.
Here's what I replied (slightly edited):
Moosetookalook is entirely fictional. I gave Maine an extra county for the purposes of my story, and so that the many law enforcement people my husband and I know wouldn't get mad at me for making local cops in a real place look dumb. (If the amateur sleuth is going to solve the case, the police almost have to be a little slow). Carrabassett County is between Franklin and Oxford Counties (again, fictional) and Fallstown, although also fictional, is based (loosely) on Farmington and the University of Maine at Fallstown on the University of Maine at Farmington, where I was a library assistant for several years. I live in Wilton, halfway between Farmington and Rumford. The name Moosetookalook is my husband's invention. It's what he calls the small manmade pond in our back yard. As for the Highland Games, I invented a second gathering that has no connection to the games in Brunswick. I've attended Scottish festivals and Highland games in several different states and used a combination of these to create one that suited the story.
The Great Continuity Read-Through:
Recently, in the interests of making sure I got details right in the thirteenth Liss MacCrimmon (A View to a Kilt, February 2020) I reread all the earlier books in the series and took notes on what I said about characters and settings. In the process I discovered several interesting contradictions. It's way too late to change them now, but for those interested in such trivia, here's what I found.
Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium is air conditioned in Kilt at the Highland Games but in X Marks the Scot it not only isn't, but never has been.
The Moosetookalook Police Department is sometimes furnished with one desk and several file cabinets and at others with two desks and one file cabinet.
The Moosetookalook Fire Department has two bays, but sometimes has one fire truck and at others has two.
Liss and Dan's house has a dishwasher in the early books but in Overkilt Liss says she's never felt the need to own one.
I also discovered that I committed the "flaky" scone error in Kilt Dead. I just repeated it in Scone Cold Dead (see above).
All in all, not too bad. And now I have "cheat sheets" to help me avoid future bloopers.
Have you spotted a blooper? You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org