Category Archives: writing

Is it Facebook, Scambook, or Sexbook

Scamming people is okay, pointing out the scams is not

When I joined Facebook some ten or eleven years ago, it was a place to stay in touch with friends, make new friends, post pictures and experiences, and generally have a good relaxing time.

Over the years, Facebook has changed. Ever so gradually various members started advertising their services. Writers offering other writers with their craft; editors wanting to help those with poor grammar and spelling; marketers who promised better sales with their help.

Personally, I never took any of them up on their offer of help. We all know that the self-publish industry has exploded over the last few years and it has brought about a number of scammers.

Over the last few weeks, the scams have reached an all-time high. Whenever I open Facebook I have to scroll past several dubious posts.

Amazon needs packers. $30 an hour. Contact me at …
(At least fifty in one hour)

Urgently looking for a part-time office assistant, this is a daily job that will only take a few hours of your time, 3 to 4 hours daily job and the Duties would include sending and receiving of email, scheduling, going to store once in a while to make findings, etc very low-stress job with no prior experience needed. Experience in Personal assistant and simple accounting is a plus but not required, as this is a home-based office work only available for people currently in Canada. Compensation:: $600weekly

(Up to 100 posts a day)

My friend, Jeanine, replied to an ad that promised her $100 a day to do data entry and surveys. She was informed by Em M. that to get started she would have to complete six tasks. She agreed. He sent her task 1 which was to register with a survey company and take two surveys. Upon completion, he sent her tasks 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, which were also to register with a survey company and complete two surveys. Three hours later Jeanine was finished and Em M. said she would find $100 in her PayPal account. When three hours had passed, Jeanine wanted to contact Em M. but not only could she no longer reach him via Facebook’s messager, he had deleted his profile.

Scammers such as Em M. go by different names. They create a Facebook page, post two or three pictures, and construct carefully worded messages promising money. They know that plenty of people are unemployed or don’t make enough money in their jobs, so they don’t promise them a fortune but enough to relieve their financial burden. Then they sit back and wait for the unsuspecting to fall for their scam.

Then there are those who offer duct cleaning services. Not one or two offers, but according to my last count, 27 of them in one day. None of them are actual duct cleaning companies, they are people fishing for information. As a trusting customer, you provide these people with your name and address and this leads to identity theft. If you need cleaning services, ducts, gutters, carpets, or anything else, contact a reputable company, not someone who advertises on Facebook.

Next up, individuals who claim to be social media managers. Their scam is primarily aimed at self-published writers and graphical artists looking to broader their horizons. After all, who wouldn’t want more exposure on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. without putting in the effort? Let someone else do the legwork. The individuals claim to work for large organizations and guarantee client satisfaction. This of course is another scam. After you paid the so-called media manager their fee, you never hear from them again. When seeing such an ad, pay close attention to spelling and grammar. More often than not, there will be mistakes. True media managers don’t make spelling and grammar mistakes. They proofread their work because they know that even one mistake in their presentation can ruin their reputation.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll start to recognize scams quite easily. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If money is promised with little or no effort, rest assured it’s a scam. If someone claims to be a millionaire and promises you financial independence, run a mile. True millionaires won’t contact you via Facebook or any other social media site. Keep in mind that where it comes to money there are only four legitimate ways of getting it: you can earn it, find it, win it, or inherit it. Quick rich schemes are just that, schemes and sooner or later you will kick yourself for believing in them.

Other than scams, Facebook recently became the go-to place for sex ads. The most popular one shows a woman on a date, discreetly taking her pink lace panties off while sitting opposite a man at a table. The caption merely states ‘PM me’. By sheer coincidence, I met a guy who took her up on her offer. He stated that after one or two innocent messages, the woman asked for a picture of his unclad lower region. Proud of his ‘equipment’ the man complied. Within minutes she replied to send her $300 dollars via Western Union or she would splash his sexy picture all over Facebook. Gentlemen, you’ve been warned.

A rather overweight young woman, with a Dolly Parton bust and the legs of a bodybuilder, runs the same scam. She offers her ‘services’ to one and all. First, she wants to see a picture though, a special picture if you know what I mean. No sooner does she have this picture than she wants money or she threatens to expose the man to his Facebook friends.

Seeing these ads once is bad enough, but seeing them over and over and over again is downright annoying. When these ads started pulling on my last nerve, I started commenting, calling them scams. Within 24 hours I received a warning from Facebook that my hate speech could land me in Facebook jail for three days, ten days, or have me banned from Facebook permanently.

This begs the question, where are the admins and the moderators of these Facebook groups? Why is it okay to post deceiving ads and sex ads, but not okay to warn others that these are scams?

Instagram isn’t much better. Everyday videos are posted with advice on one thing or another. A 16-year-old kid gives advice on hair care, a 14-year-old kid shows an extremely dangerous technique on how to get fuller lips, women barely dressed entice men to contact them … it’s all allowed. But let nobody point out the dangers of what these kids are doing because their account gets removed.

Then there’s Tik Tok, literally crawling with sex ads. I had to delete my Tik Tok account because I couldn’t deal with the number of sex ads of young girls. They film themselves in their living room, bedroom, or bathroom, barely dressed, ‘dancing’ to entice whoever is watching. I put dancing between apostrophes because what these girls are doing, one cannot really call dancing. They’re standing there wiggling like silly worms, tossing their hair, pressing their boobs together, twisting their butts.

I feel sorry for the parents of these girls. They are little tarts who sooner or later will end up in trouble. Perhaps you should check out Tik Tok, see if your daughter is there.

8 Writing Tips You Can Ignore

Writing advice every writer should throw out the window

Writers are by nature not the most confident of people. They wonder if their work is interesting, gripping, colorful, helpful, funny, or just plain good enough. Knowing that their family and friends are often not the best critics, they seek advice and guidance in books, at webinars, or from their peers. My advice, stop! Stop wondering, stop asking. When you deliver quality work, you’ll know it. In the meantime, throw the following writing advice out the window.

Listen to critics

Whether it’s a book, a story, or a poem, there will always be readers who will love and who will hate you work. Are you the only one who gets praised or hammered? Of course not, even James Patterson and Stephen King have to accept the good with the bad.

While it’s important not being discouraged by negative feedback, occasionally you might find a pearl of wisdom in someone’s criticism. For instance, should someone say that your article was inaccurate – next time do more research; should someone say that your characters were too one dimensional, next time put more meat on their bones.

Don’t rely too much on feedback though. Just read the comments on published books. One reader might give a book a five star review and describe it as gripping and exhilarating, while another might give it a one star review and think it boring and lame. Which one is to be believed?

Don’t worry about your work

Even though you shouldn’t put too much stock into what others say, keep listening to yourself. If you think something is crap, it probably is. That doesn’t mean you have to throw your work away. Put in on ice for a while and revisit later. The idea might be good but the wording might need a little tweaking. Whether you’re angry, sad, nostalgic, funny, or have something valuable to share, you have to feel something. Words alone don’t cut it, there has to be emotion in your work.

You have to read a lot

It’s not because you read a lot that you’re going to be a good writer. Reading, or shall I say, studying books, might help you in plot development, scene and character description, and even help you develop a larger vocabulary, but it won’t necessarily make you a good writer. It’s not because you study Ernest Hemingway, Tom Clancy or Joy Fielding that you’ll write like any of these writers. You have your own voice, your own style, and the best you can do is to perfect that voice and style.

Trust an editor

If that editor is a real editor, I would say yes, absolutely, trust him or her. The problem is, these days everyone with a spellchecker calls himself an editor. It’s not because someone offers to edit your work, for free or for a fee, that they actually have the qualifications to do so. Before you let anyone touch your work, or agree on a fee, ask to see their diploma. Asking for references is not always helpful as they might give you names of family or friends. What you need is the name of a university or college.

Know your genre

Baloney! Far better to experiment and step out of your comfort zone. You might think that you’re a pretty good romance writer, but one day you might sit down, get an idea for a mystery novel, a fantasy story, or a children’s book. When inspiration hits, grab a pen or open your laptop and start scribbling. It’s when you step out of your comfort zone that you might deliver your best work.

If books aren’t your thing but articles are, try different topics. Even if you like writing ‘how to’ articles, try a biography, if so far you’re written about health issue, try writing about the antics of your pets.

You need to write every day

More baloney. If you can write every day, good for you, but if you don’t feel like writing, don’t. If the well of inspiration has dried up, take a break. If you’d rather paint, play with a pet, or go for a walk, feel free to do so. Writing should never become a chore. Once your mind has rested, you’ll be surprised at the number of topics that bubble up.

Nobody will read your first draft

A statement like this shouldn’t be generalized. While it’s true that a first draft might need work, some people have the ability to write something brilliant first time. Some writers will pick at their first draft, adding to it, taking away from it, only to come to the conclusion that what they originally had was their best work. This is why nothing, whether on paper or electronically, should never be tossed in the wastepaper basket or deleted until you’re 100% happy with the end product.

Pick a time of day to write

This only works for a select group of people. Early risers may get up at the crack of dawn, while night owls might feel at their most productive after everyone else has gone to sleep. The majority of people have jobs and writing is a hobby. They drag themselves out of bed at 6:00 a.m., commute to their workplace, and come home tired, where the are expected to cook, clean, do laundry, etc. Where do these people find time to write? Most do it during their downtime. They might write on the train or bus, while they don’t have much to do at work, write during their lunchtime, at night in bed, or over the weekend. In other words, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

When all is said and done, you know yourself best. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. Write and have fun with it. If it goes smoothly and feels right, you’re on the right track, if it’s labored and you think you can do better, you probably can.


Writing Erotica

Writing erotica is unlike any other writing genre. While writers may try their hand at romance, science-fiction, or fantasy and find an audience for their work, writers really have to know what they’re doing to pull off a good erotica story.

While respected mainstream authors shy away from these types of stories, plenty of boys can’t wait to describe their wildest fantasies.

One such boy is Gary (not his real name). He announced on a popular social media site that he specializes in erotica. Really? Gary is not the most talented writer to begin with, so I wondered about his erotica work.

I hopped over to another website, looked up his name, clicked on his book, and read the preview. Five sentences into the story I was already shaking my head and I remembered my author friend’s words … ‘When done correctly writing erotica can be nice and exciting but you really have to know what you’re doing. If not, the whole story becomes laughable.’

I read the excerpt of the book to a few friends and they dissolved in peals of laughter. The whole thing was so absurd. Not just the erotica part but the whole writing style.

Curious we looked up the writer of this story and he was just what we expected … a boy, barely out of high school, overweight, spotty skin, greasy unkempt hair. In other words, a boy who finds it hard to find a girlfriend/boyfriend and as such gives way to his fantasies in stories.

When I remarked that he would do well to take a creative writing and erotica writing course, and quoted Alexander Pope who said ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’, my comment was promptly deleted by the admin of the group. So much for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Apparently Alexander Pope can make such a statement, but I cannot.

In the name of research, I looked at a few other books and noticed from the previews a distinct difference between male and female erotica writers. Female writers write with elegance and subtlety, concentrating on the forbidden, the mysterious, and the dangerous, while the male writers were much more aggressive and domineering.

While some writers, young and old, write for the sake of expressing themselves but their work never sees the light of day, others publish for all to see. Not that many do see them. These self-published works are soon swallowed up by the masses and disappear into oblivion.

My advice to anyone who wants to write erotica read at least ten books on the subject. Not self-published books, but books published by traditional publishers. Don’t just read them, study them and make notes.

If you think you have a story, before you even write or type one word remember the phrase … Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.



Four tips to be more productive

Most writers wake up in the morning and resolve that this is going to be a productive day. They have some idea what to write about and they can’t wait to get onto their computer. But … life gets in the way.

Advice articles give more or less the same tips:

· Turn off the internet
· Keep a schedule
· Take breaks
· Don’t look at your emails

If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Not only that, most of the advice articles I’ve read are as dry as five-day-old bread. I have been a writer for a good 20 years and I have a different approach to writing.


For starters, I don’t turn off the internet because that’s where most of my inspiration comes from. There have been times that I want to write something, but my muse is as silent as a grave. However, 15 minutes on my favorite social media site (it can be a picture, a topic, or a comment) and I have ideas coming out of my ears. My advice, do not turn off the internet because that could kick start your inspiration. Besides, you can’t really turn off the internet, what if you have to research something?

Keeping a schedule

I don’t know about you, but keeping a schedule doesn’t work for me. Most days I get up at 8:00, shower and dress, have breakfast, and then fire up my laptop. And then I sit there, fingers poised over the keyboard. What to write about? Idea after idea gets dismissed. After a while I get up, go make the beds, and then an idea hits me. Or I’m in the middle of doing the morning dishes when I have a memory flash and think, that would be a great topic. Most topics come to me when I’m not writing, when I’m nowhere near a computer. That’s why it’s recommended to keep a small notebook and pen handy.

Taking breaks

Well, no problem there. I take breaks when doing house chores, not to mention that I have three cats that need attention and won’t take no for an answer. Rather than putting them off or shooing them away, I pet them, I pick them up, and I play with them. If I don’t, they’ll just keep bugging me. Other than that, there are cups of tea to be made, lunch to be had, naps to be taken, shopping to be done … the list goes on and on. So yeah, feel free to take breaks. Not only does it give your mind a rest, but stepping away from the computer is good for your eyes too. From what I’ve read, one should take a five-minute break every hour, and a thirty-minute break every four hours.


Not looking at my emails is something I can’t manage. I’m curious by nature, so when I see that I have a new email I simply have to see what it is. If I don’t I keep wondering and it and this distracts me to the point that I can’t write anymore. When I do look, it’s either an ad for one thing or another, a message from a friend, or a message from my son. Answering some of those messages can wait, others require an immediate response. For instance … ‘Shall I bring anything for dinner tonight?’ or “Do you feel like takeouts?’ Now imagine if I had ignored such messages.