Pulling Weeds

Starstone_Front_Cover_Only - 1

I used to think of the internet as a lovely garden. You could wander down intriguing paths and find all sorts of lovely sites. Sometimes, you might even luck out and find a place offering something for free. And who doesn’t love to get something free.

Unfortunately, the other day I followed some signs claiming to have freebies, but  when I got there, I found nothing but weeds.

I’m talking about scamming sites, phishing sites. Sites that offer you something for nothing…and not just any something, my something. These places were offering my book for free. The sites claim that all you need to do is give them some personal information and you can get a free copy of my book. But the truth of it is, I didn’t authorize a giveaway of my book, and they don’t have copies of my book. What they have is a way to lure you into giving them your personal information and you get nothing, except hurt feelings and maybe some anger at me, the author, for not following through.

So far, my husband and I have come across these seven (7) web sites offering to let you download my book, The Starstone, for free, but there may be others that we haven’t found (yet):

  • Mortgage Magic System
  • Elka Acne Storage
  • Zippy Share
  • Media Fire
  • Deposit Files
  • Freak Share
  • GET.TT

The site listings appear like this in a Google or Yahoo search:


My spouse and I are reporting these sites to the Federal Trade Commission; however, I doubt that it will keep them (or ones like them) from popping up under some other name. Sites like these are like weeds, even when you kill one patch, they pop up in another cluster somewhere else.

Do not give any of these sites your information…in fact, don’t give any site that isn’t secured any personal information. A secured site is one that starts with an https:// (The ‘S’ at the end of the http indicates that it is secured.) Also, please feel that you can ask me whether I’m hosting free books at some site other than say, Amazon, my blog (here), or some other recognized book selling site.

For fellow authors, be sure to check your own books to ensure that scammers aren’t using them to phish with. The last thing any of us wants is for our names, brands, and books to be tarnished by someone else’s flagrant misuse of them.

If any of you find any phishing sites of any type, be sure to report them to the FTC (at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/) and to the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (at phishing-report@us-cert.gov). Perhaps if we all remain efficient gardeners, we might eventually keep the weeds from polluting our lovely garden of books.

Give a weed an inch and it'll take a yard.
Give a weed an inch and it’ll take a yard.

Just in Time for Summer Reading Enjoyment

GOS Front Cover - 6x9 - 150 PPI


Wow…the cover is done! I think it’s spectacular, but then DL-Designs and Digital Art has never let me down yet. If anything, the design process took a bit longer only because I couldn’t make up my mind. I absolutely drove the poor man batty with my “…try this over here…” or “…can we add some of that…” nonsense. But he put up with me, and the cover is wonderful.

I’ve placed the book with CreateSpace (for those who prefer paper), and I’ve got it out with Amazon and Kindle. However, I’ve brought in help to conquer the confusing and obtuse world of epub. I’ve waded through the instructions for publishing with Smashwords (oh, but those people need a competent techwriter to help them out with their guides) and still can’t seem to make it through their maze of rules without getting pinged somewhere along the way, so now I have help. I figure once it gets through Smashwords, Draft2Digital should be a breeze.

So, with any luck, and lots of manpower and technical help, I should have all e-formats covered by the end of the week. This leaves plenty of time for people to order a copy for their summer reading pleasure.





My Review of “Elephants Never Forgotten”

I had the privilege of reading “Elephants Never Forgotten” by Ellis Nelson and quite enjoyed it. In fact, my greatest disappointment in the book was that it ended too soon. I wanted more.

The story flows around two young adults, Nigella and Kepler. After receiving some micro-elephants, Nigella becomes convinced that perhaps some true-sized elephants might still exist, and she enlists her best friend, Kepler, to help her find them. They travel to different points of the globe in search of information, while being helped along by several adult mentors.

The story was entertaining and informative. (I knew very little about elephants before starting this book, but am now so intrigued, that I have begun researching these large, gentle giants.) I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a mild adventure, some intriguing information on elephants, and an interesting take on a possible future Earth.