Writer Beware: Is Someone Using Your Name Without Your Knowledge?

I recently decided to enter a writing competition. The name of the individual listed as the judge was one I’d not previously come across. So I Googled him, as you do. As usually happens, the first result was from Wikipedia. This gave me an outline of his career, his books, awards for which he had been nominated, and a list of the publications to which he has contributed. At the bottom, among the sources cited, I found a link to a website.

Following the link I found what I at first took to be the writer’s own website. But something didn’t seem right. The biographical details tallied but the language was not what you would expect from a professional writer. It seemed more like the work of someone for whom English was a second language. Exploring further, clicking on ‘recent posts’, I found articles in which this, to say the least, quirky rather than creative use of language was very apparent.


Returning to the Google results page, I quickly found the person’s real website. Obviously real, because of the correct use of language. Use that was certainly creative, as you would expect, but in the right way. Neither site offers contact details. The real site, however, does provide the person’s Twitter handle.

I tweeted him, suggesting he examine the site and saying that it looked fake. I received a reply agreeing that it was indeed fake.

What I find puzzling is why anyone would do such a thing. What does the person who created the site and offered articles purporting to be writing advice from a successful author hope to gain from the exercise?

It could be you

I have not named the person, to save embarrassment. I know that at least some of my followers are writers. My advice to you is to Google your name. Maybe someone has created a fake site in your name. I’m guessing you would not want to have poorly written writing advice out there carrying your name.

And to those of my followers who engage frequently in re-blogging, I would urge you to re-blog this, so that all your writer followers get to see it, too.

A Super Free Tool for Authors on a Budget

I love Indies Unlimited. If you don’t know, it’s a community of independently published authors who share lots of useful tips and information. A recent post is typical. It provides an introduction to some really cool free graphics software. The article also includes a link to a database of other useful stuff. There’s no need for me to say more. Just click here to go to the article, then browse around to see what else Indies Unlimited has to offer.

Getting it – or Not?

I am no linguist. Apart from schoolboy French, mostly long forgotten, I know no language other than English. Nevertheless, I have a love of language. One of the fascinating things about the English language is that, whilst there are some things for which there is more than one word, there are also many words that have more than one meaning.

It is the latter fact, in relation to one word in particular, that has mired the Irish Cancer Society in controversy in recent days. The particular word is “get”.

Meaning #1: acquire, as in “I’m going to get a new phone.”

Meaning #2: understand, as in “I get that there is more than one meaning for the word ‘get’.”

Meaning #3: to wreak revenge, as in “I’ll get you for that.”

The Society has been running a series of television and radio advertisements in which individuals are recorded saying “I want to get cancer.” Some of these clips are broadcast without any accompanying explanation. The explanation, when it comes, relies on a statistical prediction to the effect that half the population will be diagnosed with cancer in the next few years.

The individuals in the advertisements are implying that if one out of every two people is going to be diagnosed, they would rather it was them than their friend, partner or close relative.

The society’s message goes on to point out that they, too, want to “get” cancer, both in the sense that they are working hard to understand cancer in order to find more effective treatments, and that their aim is, not so much to wreak revenge on it, as to destroy it.

It is a clever play on words and the wonderful peculiarities of our language. The problem is that, whilst literate adults have no problem grasping the underlying message, the way it is presented, with people saying they want to get cancer with no explanation, children, especially those who may have seen a close relative die from cancer, are disturbed by the thought that anyone would want to acquire such a devastating disease.

One mother, whose 20 year old son was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of the disease in August and died shortly before Christmas, is so angry that she has posted an open letter to the Society on Facebook. The post has received a great many “shares” and “likes” and attracted many messages of support.

Whoever came up with this idea at the Society – or approved it, if devised by an agency – is probably regretting their decision. The official line is that they wanted to get (that word again!) people talking. Whether the conversation that is being had is the one they wanted, however, is questionable.

Sugar is addictive, bad and a legal killer

Forget the grammar and spelling issues, this man is a dentist and knows what he’s talking about. I’m much worse at dentistry than he is at writing.

Belfast Food Man's Blog

I’m so passionate about this subject I’m reposting it. Please keep sharing, listening and learning……..

Sugar is the topic today. Kids are eating too much before they get to school!! With my dentist, father and consumers hats on today I shall give a wee insight.
As a dentist sugar causes tooth decay, disease and tooth loss as well as associated pain. This results in fillings, extractions and the problems of aesthetics which lead onto self esteem and mental health issues as well as dental phobias.
As a parent and consumer sugar is in majority of what we eat or drink. Be it natural i.e. Fruit or milk or honey or maple syrup or refined. Even natural palm sugars and other such sugars available all have sugar in them. Now the sugar I’m talking about is in the form of glucose.
You could call glucose a building block which can be…

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Medieval Monday Index

Here’s a handy index to a selection of articles telling what life was like in medieval times. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of them.

Allison D. Reid

Looking back, I have nearly a year of Medieval Monday posts behind me, can you believe it?! For the start of 2017 I thought it might be fun to take a glance back at posts you may have forgotten or missed, and at the same time create a much needed index. For those of you who might use these as a general resource, an index will make it easier to find information on specific topics of interest. I will add this post to my menu and keep it up to date as I write new ones each week.

Want to know more on a particular topic, but don’t see it here? Make a suggestion! I’m up for the challenge. 🙂

Labors of the Months

June: https://allisondreid.com/2016/05/30/medieval-monday-the-labors-of-june/





November, part 1:https://allisondreid.com/2016/11/07/medieval-monday-the-labors-of-november/

November, part 2:https://allisondreid.com/2016/11/14/medieval-monday-more-labors-of-november/


How things were made


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Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming

A timely reminder of the importance of libraries and reading. Timely because of the ever present threat of cuts. I have to say I have mixed feelings about plans here in Ireland to operate some libraries and/or some opening hours, ‘staffless’. It is potentially a good thing if it increases the accessibility of the library to readers. Not so good if it means staff cuts so that the help that can only be provided by a passionate librarian is no longer available.

On Art and Aesthetics

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (2016, William Morrow)

Why read? English author Neil Gaiman (born 1960) gave good reasons in a lecture he delivered at the Reading Agency, a UK charity, in 2013. It is available in print in his collection of selected non-fiction The View from the Cheap Seats that was released earlier this year.

In the talk titled “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming”, Gaiman mentions two big uses of fiction. First is drive – which gives us a sense of purpose, second empathy – which helps build groups. Gaiman explains:

Firstly, it’s [fiction] a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end…that’s a very real drive. And it forces…

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