Always be careful on social media…

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A couple of days ago someone pretending to be the well known American movie star Scarlett Johansson who I consider to be an absolute stunner, befriended me on Facebook. The alarm bells should have immediately sounded. But for a few minutes they didn’t, because I was still half asleep and I admit that I was initially flattered, not to say puzzled. Although why a beautiful young woman like Scarlett who doesn’t know me from Adam should want to send a friend request to a man in his sixty-ninth year bothered me?

Within a half hour all became clear. I was dealing with a money scammer hiding behind Scarlett’s full married name. I kept them talking for a while before giving them a piece of my mind in the form of a few choice words – mainly expletives! What was the reaction? They disappeared like a rat up a drain pipe.

It turns out that at least two of my male friends of a similar age, one two months older than me, the other a few years younger were also targeted by exactly the same scammer. Fortunately for them, unlike stupid me, they were both wide awake and didn’t rise to the bait.

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The real Scarlett

I know, I know – there is no fool like an old fool. But I can dream can’t I?

PS – it’s not just scammers that are on the hunt on Facebook. For instance, don’t take sponsored adverts at face value. Currently there is one appearing with the English actor Ian McShane’s picture on it about his death. DO NOT CLICK ON IT LIKE I DID. MY LAPTOP LOCKED UP AND A PHISHING PROGRAM DISGUISED AS A WINDOWS ALERT BEGAN TRYING TO COLLECT ALL OF MY COMPUTER’S PASSWORDS ETC. FORTUNATELY I KNEW HOW TO STOP IT. MANY DON’T..

😉

 

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Visualising My Female Characters

When it comes to the female characters in my books, I grow extremely fond of every one of them, even the evil ones. What can I say, when it comes to my fictional women, whatever they want me to say about them, happens. You would comply too if you have ever tried putting words in your female character’s mouth that you know full well she would never ever utter, or tried forcing her into a particular situation which a woman like her would never ever willingly enter into.

Believe me, when you live with one of them in your head as I do each time I write a book, for the sake of your sanity and a quiet life, you do as your character demands. If you think you are creating a character, forget it, your not. They creat and reveal themselves. All you as the writer have to do is listen to what they are saying. Having said that, before you reach for the phone to call the men in white coats to take me away in a straight-jacket, no I’m not mad. I’m just a writer.

It helps me enormously if I can either find a photograph of a particular individual closely resembling who I have in mind, or perhaps even an illustration or painting. For instance, in my best selling scifi adventure novel The Seventh Age, I needed to get a clear image in my head of the principal female character, an alien who tracks and protects the hero Nick Palmer, wherever he goes. It wasn’t until I was reading the late Mac Tonnies’ blog one day, that I came across the artwork for the cover of his book The Cryptoterrestrials, which I immediately bought a copy of, and thoroughly enjoyed reading. Staring back at me from the cover exactly as I had always imagined her, was the hauntingly beautiful face of Ithis, the androgynous alien inhabiting my mind at the time.

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When it came to writing my recent novella Cataclysm last year, the story has two strong feminine characters, Arianna a beautiful example of the third gender, who the hero Gilbert Briggs, falls head over heels in love with, and her nemesis Taliva, another member of the same Apex race as Arianna whose ancestors are responsible for creating mankind, as a docile slave race in the novella. In both cases it helped when I found two particular photographs. The one I used for Cataclysm’s cover depicting Taliva, is actually a photo of a mannequin.

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The other photograph which I came across while looking for an image that said Arianna to me is this one. The fact that the beautiful human being pictured is a real life Arianna, is neither here nor there.

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On the other hand when it comes to any of my male characters, I don’t need any form of visual representation. I find them much easier to come to terms with. All I need is to get their various physical characteristics, character traits, faults and prejudices etc firmly fixed in my mind for the duration of the write.

As for my current work in progress, The Guardian, when it comes to my latest heroine I’m still looking for a photograph that says Lynne Crawford to me. So if anyone knows of a photograph, illustration or painting, depicting a beautiful full bodied woman with honey blond hair in the form of a crew cut hairdo…

In the meantime the picture I currently have of her in my head will have to suffice. Not to worry. One day soon I will eventually find a representation of her, just as I did for all my others, hopefully before I’m halfway through writing my WIP.

😉