Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Email Spam Feb. 1

Warning: A rant about email spam (in which I start too many sentences with conjunctions).
My morning began with spam in my inbox.

 I've taken the liberty of removing identifying details, but here it is:

Now, the person mentioned in this spam is not the person who sent it. Since the email was unsigned (and I didn't recognize the addy), I'm not sure who sent it. I hope the person this is about didn't pay a pile of money to a public relation, uh, service to spam unsuspecting (and uninterested) folks with this poorly written promo.

I figure if the promo is poorly written, whatever the promo is about is not so great either. I could be wrong, but that's my opinion. Let me go through the spam line by line:

We have located a great service being performed by a great person in [midwestern state]. This woman named [let's call her Hephastia Vanderbrunk] is doing a show on internet radio. She is a published author and novelist so the educational value of the topics discussed are great for the creative writer and she is always bringing other published authors on the air so you can get advice from more than just one professional.

Who, pray tell, is "we"? And how is whatever service she provides great? If it's an internet show, what does it matter what state she's in? "Published authors"? How about just "authors" because anybody can be published these days? And how about condensing the verbiage to this: 

Hephastia Vanderbrunk—whose novels include Gone With the Windmill, The Great Catsby, and Doby Mick—has an internet radio show that features other authors.

I'm not sure what "the educational value of the topics discussed are great" means, other than to illustrate lack of agreement between the singular "value" and the plural verb "are." And aren't all writers "creative"? And some specific info would be a nice touch—maybe this:

Among the topics she discusses with her guests are "What if Your Character Doesn't Speak to You in Iambic Pentameter" by Will Shakespeare, "Verbosity Pays When You're Getting Paid by the Word" by Charlie Dickens, and "Poetry: the Perfect Genre for Recluses" by Em Dickinson.

The part of this show that makes it special is that there is a chat room directly connected to the radio show so you can interact with the people on the air live. This becomes a very educational experience at the point that people start sharing ideas in the chat and the listeners can interact with the interview. You can ask the questions you need answered from professionals and they can interact in a way that gives u ability comparable to a phone call. 
What the heck???? (Pardon the excessive use of question marks.) What does this mean, exactly? And what's with the u? A slip into texting, maybe? And I'm still trying to wrap my head around an "ability comparable to a phone call." Maybe the writer meant this:

During the show, listeners can call in and talk directly to guests.

Still that is not the story...[Hephastia] does all of this with deadlines on her own publisher and living the busy life of a stay at home mom. She has over come the busy life of a housewife with children and a full house to volunteer her time towards reaching upcoming novelist and writers in general. To contact her email her at [her name]@ or call [Fred] and [Ethel] at 6xx 7xx xxxx if you have an interest or you can simply tune in between 10am and noon at [URL] Thank you for your time. 

I not bothering to correct the above paragraph. But most writers do work with deadlines. And most writers likely have families. And many do volunteer work. And a whole bunch of them even hold outside jobs. So why is what she does so special?  

I did Google this author. She has two books out from a "unique kind of publisher" that's less than a year old and doesn't market to bookstores. And she has an agent (who welcomes "new and established writers" and who spells "addresses" as "adresses" on her website), but an Absolute Write forum doesn't hold this agent in high regard. Uh-oh. 

Finally, my name isn't "To whom it might concern." When I get email addressed this way, I know it's something that won't interest me.

OK, rant over. As you were.



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