Happy Sunday! Today’s Bloganuary topic is as follows:

Interview a fictional character.

I’ve picked one of the characters, Lauren, from my recently published novella ‘Scam!‘ The novel came first in a writing contest, and the prize was was publication with Crimson Cloak Publishing.

Stevie: Hi Lauren, tell me how you first became drawn in to the scam.

Lauren: I read online that quite a famous actress was extolling the advantages of buying Bitcoins. She mentioned how much profit she had made, and I was hooked. There was a website listed for more information, and I clicked on it. I told them I was interested, and I gave my email address.

Stevie: What happened then?

Lauren: Somebody from the company sent me an email straight away. I’m ashamed to say I fell hook, line and sinker for the spiel and gave them all my details. I was desperate for my fiancee Ben and I to be able to move out of his mother’s house and buy our own place. Within a few days ‘Paul’ phoned with news that he had insider knowledge about the London Liverpool Bank (LL), which had been failing. Apparently they had agreed to a merger, which would cause the price of shares in the LL Bank to rise. For an investment of £10,000 the profits would be around £150,000.

Stevie: And you believed him?

Lauren: Yes, because that particular failing bank had been in the news. What Paul told me was absolutely true. Paul was a stockbroker, or so he said, and I believed he’d have access to insider knowledge.

Stevie: I saw online yesterday that Harry and Meghan were also raving about Bitcoins. I guess that every advert for Bitcoins now could be a potential scam?

Lauren: Yes. I saw that advert too. I’m sure they would never lend their names to something like that. I’m older and wiser now, and have learned from my mistakes. I still have Ben, and that’s the main thing. Things were a bit rocky between us for a while, but we’re okay now.

Stevie: Glad to hear it. Always be on your guard, Lauren. Everyone is after your money.

Lauren: Thanks for the warning, but I know that now!

Here’s a couple of 5 star reviews for ‘Scam!’ below:

5.0 out of 5 stars Not as straight forward as it looks

Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2021. I received an advance copy of this book as an ARC reader. There were no expectations of my review content nor was I compensated. Now, that’s out of the way…

This is a well-crafted suspense story that I didn’t see coming. And, though called a “novella,” it is an appropriate length for a modern fiction work weighing in with a 23.5k word count. It starts out as the story of a young woman who wants her own home so she can get out from under her in-laws. By her own enthusiasm for a quick prophet gets scammed out of her down payment savings. That part you can see coming. At this point, it could go all moralistic about the consequences of greed and impatience, but does not. Instead, once we meet everyone and the scene is set, readers are taken on a surprise ride of consequence(s) far more dire than angry and embarrassed and cut off over identity theft. I’m going to stop there as far as the story line. Read it and you’ll see.

Any technical issues? Considering the material and the true commercial publisher quality of the work, I would say none that got in the way except several pages of a contract I could have done without. I see that stuff, my eyes glaze over I and skip ahead to find more story. I also had issues with certain aspects of the character dynamics as well, but to call them out would give the story away, and those issues do not, I repeat do not reflect on the quality of the work, but on my preferences. Overall, this is a damn good book with a surprise hard twist that rears up and slaps your face, regardless of whether I agree with the characters behavior(s). To get bumped out of my comfort zone and still feel like I read something that was a solid, professionally produced story is a good thing.
There are no down votes for craft on account of the cover, which is in the style of stock photography humans that I can’t stand. But that’s me and has no bearing on the work’s craft-person-ship.
Overall Scammed! is a worthwhile, surprising, and satisfying short old school suspense read in the classic Noir novella fashion. For the 21st Century. – Phil Huston


Tigerman55 5.0 out of 5 stars If something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is a scam

Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2021This short but great story that I received as an ARC reader, shows how easy it is to be scammed. . It is well written and shows that one should always think before acting when offered something for nothing. The story points out that one can lose far more than money, so be warned. Take care not to be scammed by those waiting for the unwary. –Tigerman