The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software

Scammers never learn…

David Gaughran

IWSParadonIn today’s episode we are going to out a two-bit huckster who tried to put one over on yours truly, take a quick detour through the verdant fields of copyright law (and the slightly plainer meadows of moral rights), and then end with an example of how to handle a scammer.

Sound fun? Strap yourselves in!

A helpful reader – who will remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious – emailed me yesterday morning. I was just about to start work but the subject line caught my attention: Did You Give Permission For This?

Uh oh. I started reading the message he had forwarded.

It had originated from a domain called (you can cut-and-paste that address or Google it, but I’m not linking directly and giving them an SEO boost). And it appeared to be a straight cog from my book Let’s Get Visible.

Emailexcerpt1What was going…

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Let It Suck Series: To Write Better Dialogue, Listen to Craig Ferguson (revisited)


Pulling some of my previous blogs into the “let it suck” series. This one borrows simple advice from a great comedian to help you with character dialogue.

Here we go:

Every fiction author wants to write great dialogue. While there is almost too much advice out there regarding this topic, the best advice may come from an unexpected source – famed and respected comedian Craig Ferguson.

The most prevelant problem emerging authors have with dialogue is overwriting, tending to let conversations go on too long, burden it with too much exposition, or make it suffer from stilted, unnatural cadences.

Not to worry, Craig Ferguson is here to save the day.

Ferguson is hilarious about many subjects, but one of his more famous bits – which is actually about keeping peace in a marriage – is also helpful when writing dialogue. He says, “There are three things you must always…

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The Art of the Con: Four Stories About Scams



This morning, as I filed folders at my day job, I turned to the podcast Criminal for comfort. Today’s episode was Gil From London, the story of a strange man posing as a British sixty-something who almost seduced an American widow named Karen. There are lots of well-told stories about con men, Craigslist hoaxes and financial scams—here are a few of my favorites.

1. “Crowded House.” (Tad Friend, The New Yorker, May 2013)

Mix cutthroat New York real estate, a too-good-to-be-true apartment, an unstable photographer to the stars and dozens of international tenants.

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So this year, we’ve had a Korean ferry sink, a Bangladeshi ferry sink, a plane go missing, a plane shot down, a train crash in Moscow, a train crash in France, an Ebola outbreak spanning several countries, an 8.2 earthquake in Chile, escalation of civil war in Iraq, Mt Fuji with a “high potential of erupting”, 2 coup attempts in Libya, a successful coup in Thailand, Boko Haram coming into international prominence. A disturbing array of public shootings. We also had a 7.2 magnitude earthquake at the capital region of the Philippines. Ukraine tipping into a civil war at this point. Oh, and the ISIS invasion of Northern Iraq joining the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts together. I think it is beginning to be referred to as the Levant war in some circles. And Israel’s invasion of Gaza which has recently commenced. All the catastrophic floods in several Balkan countries too. Anti-gay genocide in Uganda. Russia as well. A remote possibility of an independent Scotland… 2014 is a pretty active year… 2013 seemed a lot quieter.