Scammers, Cyberstalkers and Trolling Book Reviews

I saw this subject recently come up on Twitter this week that Internet Trolls are targeting authors. I thought at first, “interesting” but maybe it’s just something to Tweet about in the #writingcommunity for the sake of tweeting.

As the days went on, this story was getting traction. I also found an article that might back up these claims. Check out the story on

What would you do if you woke up and saw an email like this?


It would devastate me. However, (scammers, cyberstalkers and trolls) it’s not worth it to pay a ransom in my case. I’m really not sure something like this would end my writing career, but I’m not in it for the money.

This also got me thinking about the random emails I get and the links on Twitter—those that wish to guarantee me an excellent review. I guess these are potentially scams as well and could backfire on those who go that route as well. Some messages say that these services that could boost your book can also be the very trolls that are now ruining the lives of hardworking writers.


We might have to change our purchasing practices and not rely on reviews. In my case, if a book intrigues me, I read the first page and then decide to try—then I’ll read the first 5 pages to decide to buy.

Happy reading and have a safe weekend.

Twitter: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There’s a lot being said these days about the etiquette of social media. The ugly rules here are a basic list that should be observed as the golden rules for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Story Empire

Hello, SEers! It’s a Mae Day on Story Empire, and the topic is Twitter. We all have social media platforms we favor. For me (outside of blogging) it’s all about Tweeting. Strangely, when I first ventured into the realm of social media almost ten years ago, I was certain I would detest Twitter. Not so.

Which brings me to this quick overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly. See if you agree.

Two Head Of Lama, Closeup Portrait, White


Twitter delivers news as it happens, enabling a user to follow a thread as it unfolds in real time. I like that. And not all news is bad news. There’s a lot of silliness out there, too. A few years ago, I remember watching two escaped llamas lead police officers on a merry chase through a downtown city. Tell me THAT wasn’t fun to watch in real time!

There are a lot of connections…

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Often Funny – Author Invented Rules for Writing

Great insight but funny take on what works for other authors.

Story Empire

Photo by Call Me Fred on Unsplash

Hello SEers. John with you today.  I think we all could use a little fun today.

I was doing some research (ahem, make that surfing the net) when I came across an article from the Guardian UK describing several author-provided rules for writing.  I was taken with the list of Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Independence Day. Here is his list:

1 Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea.

2 Don’t have children.

3 Don’t read your reviews.

4 Don’t write reviews. (Your judgment’s always tainted.)

5 Don’t have arguments with your spouse in the morning or late at night.

6 Don’t drink and write at the same time.

7 Don’t write letters to the editor. (No one cares.)

8 Don’t wish ill on your colleagues.

9 Try to think of others’ good luck as encouragement…

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Writing Quotes

Getting back into the swing of writing my next WIP after some much needed rest. Thought I would let you all know that I’m still around and getting the finishing touches on The Smoke Eater should be out in a few months.

Until then, here’s a motivational quote to push on.

Literary Greats

After reading a blog a few weeks ago, the writer mentioned that J. R. R. Tolkien was one of the most influential writers on American Literature. It struck a chord that he was quoting several sources that proved his assumption.

I found this very refreshing. I saw a bunch of books and authors that I knew that lacked something Tolkien did. Tolkien entertained his readers through his works. My hidden assumption is that great literature was both painful to read as it would have been painful to write. (This is just my personal taste on what I have on my bookshelf/kindle).

I really loved that blog. Thinking back on it, if we consider Tolkien as a great literary author, then there’s hope that great literature doesn’t have to feel like a chore when you read it.  I would love to see high school students studying the Lord of Rings in the English class—that might make things better.

Another novel that I saw on the list was To Kill a Mocking Bird. Wow, there’s another little Gem that I love as well.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a great that talented author.

What great books do you love that also entertain?

Enjoy your day

The Smoke Eater is coming…

With the help of friends and family my new novel is getting close to done. Today I share with you a new synopsis and front cover for my best work yet.

Thank you,

Synopsis – The Smoke Eater

Reid Harris is a firefighter who has seen better times. Still healing from his last act of heroism, the marks of third-degree burn have impacted his emotional and physical wellbeing. With a crippling injury on his right leg, and living with post-traumatic stress, Reid is still desperate to keep working in the only career he ever knew. To keep his life on track, Reid travels to Azurbar, in the Middle East, where he doesn’t have to pass any physical or mental tests.

But on the day Reid travel to the desert, all hell breaks loose. Reid witnesses a shocking event that provides a common taste of what life is going to be like. Threats of violence unleash in a ruthless tirade never seen before in this once peaceful country raising the tensions to their highest levels ever. The terrorists, from the Persian State, don’t see eye to eye with the royal family. Reid’s path will intersect that unknown adversary who is bent on disrupting the Azurbar way of life.

Even though Reid knew he would endure tough times, the mental trauma inside him spikes. He struggles with an Azurbaree national who threatens Reid’s safety, while his alcoholic mentor isn’t coping well with the steady rise terrorism. Reid is stationed in a facility that the terrorist continuously target—BuHasa—one of the biggest oil and gas facilities in the world.

The Smoke Eater is a thrilling novel about adventure, survival and redemption; while exploring foreign Oil and Gas industries that few people know.

Inspiration for the week

My vacation time with the family is almost over; which at my wife’s suggestion I took a break from everything, including my day job and creative writing. I don’t miss the day job but I miss working on my novel(s).

Creative writing hasn’t been a grind for me but it gets intense. I’m one of those who works towards a weekly quota and it’s time to produce again.

Thought I would provide a quote to start the week and hopefully inspire a few of you as well.

Front Cover

Today, I wanted to present a perspective front cover for your review and comment, for my upcoming novel, The Smoke Eater. Keep in mind the book is Thriller type novel.

All comments are welcome, good or bad or otherwise.