Tuesday, 20 June 2017

I am honest caring doctor and have communion in the face and breasts.....

.... I'm talking about the fake profiles that have been following me on Twitter of late!  I get followed by roughly 20 of these per day at the moment, and am writing this so that you recognise them and don't follow them back πŸ˜‚πŸ˜„

They target middle-aged women and are clearly made by people looking to carry out some scam or other ~ you never know what you might be clicking on if they send you a link in a DM 😱😲😳.   As Julia has said, in a comment below, it's a numbers game; the people who make these profiles are often run by the master scammer, who knows that if they make enough of them and follow enough people, eventually they'll get a 'hit' ~ someone who is foolish enough to send them money.

Please click the links and enjoy...take a look at @Steven21773017

He is a perfect example; a photo that's clearly taken from photobucket or similar, and a bio in bad English.  No tweets.  They're usually 'medical doctors' or 'bankers' or 'army officers', and often claim to be 'humble' or 'love God'.  'Am honest and caring man' is another favourite.  Sometimes the maker of these profiles has taken two pictures from whoever's profile they downloaded the photos from, and used one as a header photo too...like Lucas20Davis who is even tweeting the occasional one!
@dennisham3131 can't seem to decide how to spell his name and, though a 'military office', cannot write basic English....

... but centre stage must be given to @albertgrandy3
At least this one's tried harder with the bio! 

@CaptainJerryJa1 is working hard 'as a Navy' (does he mean navvy??!)....

But best of all, though, is @willians6643007 who appears to be the identical twin of @Lewis336David!

They target us in the hope that we are lonely, naive and looking for love; they've probably seen all these programmes like 'My Online Nightmare' about women who fall 'in love' with men they meet on the internet, and get conned out of their life savings.  My sister says she gets them popping up on Skype; they're always respectable looking, middle-aged men in military uniform, but have no actual profile.  Those on Twitter are the lowest of the low when it comes to internet scam hierarchy; they don't want to pay for online dating profiles, and aren't even intelligent enough to make sure their English is right and their profiles convincing!

Be careful.  They might con you out of your life savings.  
Then again,  I doubt they'd know where to start.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Tipping Point: my new release, out soon! #amreading #Kindle

It's been a while...!  I've been busy writing two books, and Tipping Point, the first in a trilogy, will be published later in the summer, probably August🀞🀞.  I daresay both the cover and the blurb will both be subject to some of that 'it's still not right' tweaking, but here's the official first version. πŸ˜ƒ

  The facts:
  • Genre: Post apocalyptic, family drama, romantic relationships, dystopian, with a background thread of government conspiracy.  As with all my novels, it's very much a character-driven book.
  • Length: Around 95K words, ie, roughly the same length as The Devil You Know but shorter than The House of York, and Kings and Queens and Last Child.
  • Setting: The fictional Norfolk seaside town of Shipden (based on Cromer), and a fictional village in Tyne and Wear, Elmfield (loosely based on Monkton Village, near Jarrow).
  • Main Characters: 34 year old Vicky Keating and her 16 year-old daughter, Lottie.  Her long-term partner, Dex.  Friends Kara and Phil, and Heath and his teenage son, Jackson.

The blurb
The year is 2024.  A new social networking site bursts onto the scene.  Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all.  Across the world, a record number of users sign up. 

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it's spreading—fast.  The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme.  Members of undercover group Unicorn believe the public is being lied to, that the disease is man-made, and they suspect a sinister link between Private Life and the vaccination programme.

Vicky Keating's boyfriend, Dex, is 250 miles away, working for Unicorn, when the first UK outbreak of the virus is detected in her hometown of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast.  The town is quarantined under military lockdown, and, despite official 'no need to panic' claims, within days the virus is out of control.

Their lives crumbling around them, Vicky and teenage daughter Lottie cope as best they can.  Three months later, the UK has collapsed.  More than ninety per cent of the population are dead.  Vicky is safe with Unicorn members in the north east of England, but Dex is missing.

In London, government employee Travis is working on a bulk data analysis project when he begins to question its purpose, while in Newcastle a violent escaped convict has scores to settle...

I'm currently on draft 3 of Book 2, Lindisfarne, which is (oddly enough!) set on the island of the same name; I plan to publish Lindisfarne only a few weeks after Tipping Point.  I will be starting the 3rd book (as yet unnamed and only loosely plotted) as soon as Lindisfarne has been sent for proof and test reading.

What inspired me to write it?
I've had the story flitting around in my head for a couple of years now. I love to watch and read anything about the breakdown of society due to global disaster, and survival in a post-apocalyptic world ~ does not have to include zombies, obsessed with The Walking Dead though I am!  I've also become interested in how the information we give out on the internet is used, and how the media influences our opinions... if you're of similar mindset, I hope you will enjoy Tipping Point πŸ˜ƒ.  Regular readers, I must assure you that it's along the same lines as my other books; there's plenty of family and relationship stuff, as the drama unfolds from Vicky's point of view, in relation to the fates of her family and friends.

Lindisfarne brings a return to my usual structure, as it's written from the alternating points of view of a selection of the characters.

I'll let you know when it's out! 

btw, if you're interested in the way in which the population's thoughts are influenced by the media, you might like to read this fascinating post by Carol Hedges: Sleepwalking Towards Gilead

And an article from the Guardian about how Facebook and Twitter are used by government and other individuals to manipulate public opinion: HERE 


Saturday, 20 May 2017

#amwriting - or would be if I could string a sentence together....

....what to do when the words just won't come.

You've probably been there.  It's first draft season and, the night before, when you were watching a mediocre film on TV, half your mind was planning out the next few scenes of your plot.  You can't wait to get back to it.  Next day, you make your beverage of choice, sit down and ... nothing.  You write a couple of paragraphs, and think, "If I paid money for this, I'd ask for a refund".  Your dialogue is banal, your descriptions wooden, and that scene that seemed so intriguing and relevant last night now comes across as hackneyed/unfeasible.  

A few suggestions about what to do when this happens 
(and what not to do):
  • Push through it.  It might be that the spark re-ignites in the next scene, and it begins to flow, after all.
  • Push through, even if it doesn't.  But won't this section be useless, and need to be scrapped, anyway?  Probably.  Or maybe it can be improved upon in the second draft.  There might be some good ideas hidden in the bad stuff.  The important thing is that you've got it down, and taken the draft to the next stage.
  • Do you have a daily word count target/must-write for your first drafts?  I do.  It's 2K.  I don't allow myself to get up from my chair until I have written those 2K.  On odd days like this, though, I give myself a break.  I say, "Right, it's not a good writing day, so you can get up when you've written 800".  Inevitably, I carry on and write more.
  • Accept it.  Don't give yourself a hard time, and bow out for the day. Use that allotted writing time for something you wouldn't otherwise have done, so you feel it wasn't wasted.  Like the ironing.  Yes, yes, I know that in the grand scheme of things the ironing isn't anywhere near as important as your novel, but most of us don't live in the grand scheme of things.  And tomorrow, when the sentences are falling out of your head faster than you can write them, you won't have to think, 'damn, better stop now, I've got to do the ironing.'
  • Write a blog post.  Write the plan for the short story you've had in your head for a couple of months.  Plan out the next few chapters.  Write the first draft of the blurb.  Any of these things will give you a sense of achievement and put you in a better mood - and they might even give the creativity a kick start.
  • Talk it through with a writer friend, either in person or via emails.  It might not solve the problem, but it's good to talk to someone who will understand. 

And what not to do?
  • Get drunk and morose about it.  You're not Hunter Thompson or Ernest Hemingway.  It'll just make you feel worse, and you won't be able to write tomorrow, either, because you'll have a hangover.
  • Read one of your favourite books.  It'll make you even more depressed, and convinced that you might as well unpublish everything you've ever written.
  • Take it out on your loved ones, acting the prima donna about your 'writer's block'.  Don't glamorise it; it's not some mysterious syndrome that afflicts the creative/artistic.   You just can't think what to write, that's all.
  • Become convinced that you will never be able to write anything decent, ever again.  You will.  It'll come back

But what if it goes on for over a week, or a month?  If you've already written several novels, maybe it's just that you need a break.  Some writers start the next one as soon as the current WIP has been despatched to the proofreader.  Some need a few months to collect their thoughts.  If it's your first try, it could be that writing novels isn't the best move for you at the moment, and you might be better writing short stories, or novellas, or articles, to keep your hand in until the time's right.

If you're having a bad writing day today, I hope the words flow better tomorrow!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

If Twitter had been around in the 1980s... (Part Four)

.... what would some of my Twitter friends looked like, and been tweeting about?

To see what we're up to 30 years on, just click the user name above the picture.

More youthful faces and Yuppie restaurants in Part One  HERE
... big hair and lack of jowls in Part Two  HERE
... Levi ads and pixie boots in Part Three  HERE

Alison Williams @AlisonW_Editor 

#FridayNight: Black hat? Check.  Black make-up? Check.
See you after the black hours....
(btw, am not a Thompson Twin)


Trisha Ashley @trishaashley

Pregnant, barefoot but not in the kitchen!  My #artwork on the wall; post-birth, do I take A Leap Of Faith and concentrate on #art, or #writing? 


Barb Taub @barbtaub

Where did these come from?  Aren't I supposed to be a high-flying journalist? #amdreaming about a no-kids trek around India....


Sarah Boucher @saraheboucher

Am hoping my fairy godmother will magic me some new shoes 😍 .... the modern day fairytale#SixYearOldShoeaholic


Rose Edmunds @RoseEdmunds

Life Goals:
Be Sleeping Beauty
Be Famous #Writer
Wear pyjamas most days.
Yes, all at once.


Val Poore @vallypee

That was me, thinking I'd never wear school uniform again... #ProperWritingJob
I WILL live on a barge one day, I will, I will....


Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

What a great way to see out the 1980s: meeting Steven Tyler on Saturday, November 25th, 1989! 

..... and I'll leave you with a few more, just for laughs.  First one is Proofread Julia and me, in 1984 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜†πŸ˜…

 I think this one was at the beginning of 1983 
(I had my first blonde highlight in 1984!)

 Julia outside my shop in Northampton, in 1984

 ...and a very early 1980s one - think this was taken in April 1980

Might think about doing a 1990s one some time......

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

If Twitter had been around in the 1980s... Part Three

....what would some of my Twitter friends have looked like and been tweeting about?

To see what we're up to now, just click the username above the picture πŸ˜ƒ

More from the Big Hair decade in Part One HERE
... and even more shoulder-padded fun in Part Two HERE


Rose Edmunds @RoseEdmunds 

#Thatcher'sBritain?  No, taking time off from the cut-throat world of high finance to give some exposure to my maternal instincts...!


Nick Mann @Nickmann70

Fancy myself in the new Levis ad. Another Nick (Kamen) beat me to it. 


Jill Doyle @JillsBookCafe

My favourite pixie boots!  And love my new scarf; could this become my signature look? Now to find a nice Cafe and have a Good Read!


Liz LLoyd @LizanneLloyd 

Mum of the year - if only she would sleep, so I could get Lost in a Good Book! #amreading #Iwish 


Bev Spicer @BevSpicer1 

Practising my Bunny Girl pout in Crete! #TravelTuesday


Julia Gibbs @ProofreadJulia 

Just woke up from an amazing #dream set in the future, in which I was working for #A-ha! Must make it come true 😍 #MortenHarket #MondayMotivation
Julia in 2002....

Sunday, 23 April 2017

If Twitter had been around in the 1980s... (Part Two)

....what would some of my Twitter friends have looked like and been tweeting about?  More 1980s fun in Part One HERE!

To see what we're up to 30 years later, click the user name above the photo....

Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

The Ladies in Red....!!  
Hope someone invents hair straighteners soon....


Rosie Amber @rosieamber1 

Shadow Puppets time!  Any requests? Complete the form on my BLOG, and it will be performed for you by a member of my Shadow Puppets team #RSPT  Meanwhile, #amreading.  No, really. πŸ“š


June Kearns @june_kearns 

My life: Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub.... 
(famous novelist dreams currently on hold...) πŸ‘·


Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook 

Early start (yes, Before The Dawn!) and wilful horses ~ #amriding!  (#SentFromPub #SouthernComfort #Wahey!!) πŸ‡πŸ‡


Carl Rackman @CarlRackman

Bumped into Tessa Sanderson in the pub. πŸƒ
She chased me home.  Honest.


Lizzie Lamb @lizzie_lamb 

Wonderful #Usigebeatha!  Had idea for novel set in Highlands and Islands; well, I've got the title!  Scotch on the Rocks - like it?

 More next week.....