<![CDATA[Annie Harrower-Gray - Annie's Blog - Publish and be Damned]]>Fri, 01 Jan 2016 05:42:27 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[How to Write a Press Release. ]]>Sun, 23 Mar 2014 10:17:18 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/how-to-write-a-press-releasePicture
     Well it's out. Scotland's Hidden Harolots and Heroines is on Amazon and in the shops. After a year and a half of hard work you would probably think  I could  now sit back and relax - you would be wrong. 
     These days publishing a book whether it be traditionally published or self published doesn't end with the writing. The author now has to do a large proportion or all of the marketing. 
     As the book was hitting the shops I was sitting down to write the press releases. A traditional publisher will probably send a press release to the local press but little more. It's up to the author to find a hook that will get  a wider variety of newspapers interested. 
        The publisher will probably also send out a generic press release with details of the book, publisher and author. After making a list of all the newspapers published in Scotland, my first thought is 'what's in it for them?'.
Well the first one was easy. I chose the paper local to the place I grew up and headed it 'Former Alva Academy Pupil publishes New Book.'. It's easy to see what would interest the local paper, it's a compliment for the local School. This as it turned out,  was also the first press release to appear  in the paper. 
        So, what about the others. First start with a good heading. Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroines tells 300years of Scottish History through the eyes of the nation's women. These women came from all over Scotland, from Galloway to John O'Groats, so I found a paper that covered the area they lived in and wrote the article around each woman. Not all of the women in the book  are heroines though, so a little careful editing had to be done. Maud Gaunt, accused of doing unspeakable things to her female servant with a piece of clay shaped like 'ane part of a man', might not be suitable family reading. 
       The press release itself should be sent as an attachment with any relevant photographs (300 dpi for printing) though it's best if you keep those to a minimum and of course, include a photograph of the author. At the bottom make sure all contact telephone and email addresses are listed and finish with saying that  the author is available for interviews and writing articles. All press releases are written in the third person. A good idea is to try and fit the article into one page so that a journalist just taking a cursory look doesn't need to scroll down. 
          A covering email that doesn't just say 'Press release' attached also needs to be sent. Place your heading in the subject box and then in the body of the email give a brief summary of the contents of the press release, check everything, edit if necessary, check again and press send. 

<![CDATA[How to be Published and Celebrate]]>Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:10:48 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/how-to-be-published-and-celebratePicture
It's Out Today 
Jessica Fletcher makes it look so easy. She hammers  out a few pages of the first draft of her new book on an old typewriter,  takes a coffee break while her agent is murdered and she solves the crime.  Next thing you know she's sipping champagne at the book launch. I wish I knew how she did it. 
Its a year and nine months since Jen Newby my editor at Pen and Sword commissioned 'Tarts and Terrors',the books working title. A year and eight months since I ordered my first research books from the library. A year since I was banned from the library for running up fines.  Christmas I spent writing an index. It's all been worth it though, for Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroines is published today. However Jessica manages it, she can keep the champagne for tonight I'll be having a wee single malt and toasting heroines everywhere. 

Available  online at Pen-and-Sword, Amazon and bookshops everywhere

<![CDATA[How to Write Good Dialogue]]>Sat, 01 Mar 2014 08:29:54 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/how-to-write-good-dialoguePicture
Well, at last spring seems to be poking its head through the dreary rainclouds. I picked a bunch of wild daffodils this morning as I strolled down to the beach. It's time to get to work on the crime novel 'Poacher's Moon'. I need to get cracking if I want it published before the 'Bloody Scotland' book festival in September. There's a lot of dialogue in the next chapter and I always find taking a walk helps me think through this often  difficult aspect of novel writing. People who meet me on the way would probably class my methods as 'talking to herself again'.

     One of the reasons dialogue can be tricky is that in real life, we'll meet someone in the street we know, say to them 'another dreich day' get a nod in response as the person pulls their hood further over their head. Or, we'll meet the person we dread running into: the one that bores you rigid for ten minutes and never lets you get a word in edgeways. 
   Neither of these exchanges would work in a novel. Readers want conversation that is lively, they want to hear characters say things that are interesting and exciting. They want a character  to divulge where granny hid her hoard of gold sovereigns. 
      Good dialogue should do one or all of three things. It should:
      1. Reveal the relationship between the characters.
      2. Move the story forward
      3 .Increase the tension. 
      I'l try to write a piece of dialogue that does all three. 

Dialogue in Crime Fiction 

      So, lets jump into  a crime novel, we'll call it 'The Last Ride'.  Darren is a rapist and serial killer of young girls. His appearance isn't particularly attractive or what anyone would describe as trustworthy. He's not the sort of stranger, young girls would get into a car with willingly. Elizabeth, a forty five year old  schoolteacher is besotted with the twenty-four-year old Darren though,and keeps hoping they'll begin a physical relationship. Darren has been using Elizabeth to procure his last three victims. She pulls up alongside a schoolgirl on her way home and offers her a ride. Darren in hidden in the back of her car. Now Darren is impatient  to kill again.  

       Darren run his fingers over her forearm, stroking the fair hairs until a tingle ran up Liz's spine. 'Ive picked out another girl. She walks home down Draycot Avenue.'
       The pleasure Liz had been feeling  ended and she turned her head away from him. 
       'This one will be dead easy to grab. She's always on her own and the street is deserted  around four o'clock' said Darren
        'Liz pulled away from his touch.' I don't think we should do another one.'
        'Why not?' You're not going off me are you?'
        'No, of course not. I just don't think we should take another risk.'
        Darren's smile disappeared. 'When I want your opinion, I'll tell you what it is. Now are you listening? We're going to take this one on Monday'. 
        Tears streaming down her face, Liz picked up her jacket from the back of the chair. 'I just can't do this anymore Darren.'
        'You can and you will, do you hear me?' Darren was shouting now, but the door was already closing  behind Liz.'
        I hope this dialogue meets with all three conditions. It should tell the reader that Darren is the dominant partner in the relationship and also that he manipulates her. He manipulates Liz by hinting that they are on the verge of having a meaningful relationship when has no intention of becoming sexually involved with her. 
       Hopefully, it moves the story forward in that it shows Darren is eager to kill again and has a victim lined up. It also reveals a twist in the storyline. Liz is no longer going to do his bidding. 
       The tension is created when Liz walks out without another word. Will she keep quiet about the previous killings and Darren will carry on alone? Or  will she walk into the nearest Police station?
       Well, the only way to get on is to get started, so onto Poachers Moon and the next chapter. That parrot is still causing dialogue problems. The Bosun is still saying just what he likes. Sometimes he's downright rude and offensive. He just doesn't care what people think of him. I don't know who he gets it all from, I really don't. 

A collection of five Scottish tales to prolong a sleepless night. 
Shadows of the Silver Darlings
Four women with all too true stories of domestic violence but are all the women real or only one of them?
Sandy MacShoogle's Invention
Sandy MacShane is different to all the other boys in 1920's Gallowgate as his neighbours are just about to discover. 
Tackety Boots 
Is Maggie's escort a heavy footed cobbler or a tortured apparition?
The Independent Candidate
A ghostly incident ensures a lying politician keeps his word. 
It's A Braw Day for Drying
In Anstruther, who is wearing the frock stolen from Mrs Doigs washing line?

<![CDATA[How to Buy an iPhone for Pennies]]>Fri, 14 Feb 2014 08:41:31 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/how-to-buy-an-iphone-for-penniesPicture
With the cost of postage these days, Ebay doesn't seem so cheap anymore. So when I read a post  by Taylor Morgan on Lifefactopia.com claiming there are secret  internet sites selling I-Phones, I-pads and HD televisions for just pennies, I thought there might be a magazine  article in there somewhere.    
      A link in the post  took me straight to the Quibids site, an Aladin's 
cave of electronic goodies. Quibid's stock comes from warehouse closeouts and overstocks, and photographs  give  the impression it has  been bought in bulk to sell at knock down prices. On the home page there are several auctions running with only a few seconds left  and a good-looking smartphone looking as if it  about to be sold for 64p. 
Quibids claims to have thousands of satisfied customers, one of them, Lurker  bought a Canon EOS Rebel Camera for 148.58, an Apple iPad for 44.07 and a Toshiba Netbook for only 67.37. In all Lurker saved 1,935 pounds says Quibids. 
      At the bottom of the page lurking in the small print are the words, 'results are of highly skilled Quibids users. Prices do not include cost of bids'. Words that are worth remembering. 
Free Bonus Bids
      Now,  I'm not a great lover of gadgets. I can't even remember which drawer the mobile is in. One day a pair of socks will ring and I'll go into coronary heart failure, I decide though  to bid for a smart phone, a gift for a friend who's birthday is coming up. At those prices I could afford to buy her a lovely surprise couldn't I?. 
      Well, signing up is fairly simple if you have a credit or debit card because before you get anywhere near the auction, you have to buy a  package of 90 bids costing 36.00 and you are given 3 free bonus bids. 
       As I wait for the phone I've chosen to reach the electronic rostrum, I see there is a jumpdrive.being sold and no bidders. I need one  and I win it for a penny. Whoopee. A good omen for when the phone comes up. It was only later that I discovered I would be paying 3.99 for standard delivery on something that would normally cost around a pound to post. 
       Bidding on the smartphone bundle starts and I hold off a wee while, just watching. These sales are called penny auctions, not because you win items for pennies but because bids rise in increments of a penny. It's easy to forget that each bid you make, win or lose, is costing you 40p and the item still has to be paid at the end of the sale.  
Bidding Frenzy 
       Quibid's rules state that after each person bids, 'a maximum of 20 seconds will be added to the timer and one bid will be deducted from your account with each bid placed. An auction ends when the timer on the quibids servers hits zero.' When I did start bidding I waited till the clock just hit zero, my bid was accepted  but always,  straight on top of my bid another appeared, usually one of the same two names and the clock went  back up to 15 seconds. The auction doesn't always end at zero. That zero is there to cause a bidding frenzy. 
       When the phone reached 4.25, I decided to skip a bid. there were three of us battling it out after all. I've many years experience of traditional auctions and Ebay and it's rare for two out of three to drop out at the same time. But this is apparently what happened and the item was sold while I took a sip of my coffee.  The whole experience had cost me 23.60 and I had nothing to show for it. 
       Immediately, after the sale, an email of consolation arrived saying Quibids didn't want me to be disappointed and walk away with nothing so they were offering to sell me the phone at the retail price of 69.00 minus the 23.60 I'd just lost. Nifty marketing. 
Lurker's Lucky Wins
       If we look at Lurker's lucky wins, we can now see that his real savings weren't 1,985 because we don't know how much he spent on bids. What we do know is that each bid raised forty pence and even taking into consideration that a few of those may have been free bonus bids, Quibids made around  10,280 pounds from auctioning these three items, which they probably bought for pennies.  Money would  have been made from selling similar items to losing bidders at the retail price. On top of that was the profit  from  handling   charges added to the postage. 
      Its seems the company's 'thousands of satisfied customers' are gambling  on iPads, iPhones and HD televisions when the odds on winning them, are longer than those on a three- legged  donkey romping home in the Grand National.  Meanwhile, the site must be raking in millions of pounds.  I'm just wondering how much of those millions Quibids Malta Ltd., with a base in Bristol, are handing over to Her Majesty's Government in taxes. 

A collection of five Scottish tales to prolong a sleepless night. 
Shadows of the Silver Darlings
Four women with all too true stories of domestic violence but are all the women real or only one of them?
Sandy MacShoogle's Invention
Sandy MacShane is different to all the other boys in 1920's Gallowgate as his neighbours are just about to discover. 
Tackety Boots 
Is Maggie's escort a heavy footed cobbler or a tortured apparition?
The Independent Candidate
A ghostly incident ensures a lying politician keeps his word. 
It's A Braw Day for Drying
In Anstruther, who is wearing the frock stolen from Mrs Doigs washing line?

Kindle Edition Available at Amazon 
Buy it Now
<![CDATA[A Writing Blog or a Log in the Bog]]>Fri, 10 Jan 2014 06:56:16 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/a-writing-blog-or-a-log-in-the-bogPicture
Well, Archie's war wound is healing nicely and I'm no longer having to carry trays up to him in bed. I'm wondering though if he's suffering from a bit of concussion . Whenever I say 'lets write our blog' he takes off for the cat litter tray in the bathroom  and I find a log in the bog. Maybe blog is cat speak for…well never mind. Where's the air freshener?
   I wasn't too happy with the cover for my book  'Midgie MacAlpin and the stone of Destiny'   The selection of images available with Createspace is a bit limited especially for a book cover for children and young adults. So, I decided to design my own. This meant teaching myself photoshop and spending most of the last week cross-eyed as I fought with tracking and kerning text. I'm quite pleased with the result above, but I just know that as soon as it goes back up on sale, I'm going to spot a great glaring mistake. Oh dear just spotted one. There's a little blob of white on the bottom left hand corner. Too late now. 
     Then there has been 'Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroine's to think about now that Pen and Sword have given me a definite launch date of 1st March. I've been taking a serious look at the questions I brought up in my last blog. After looking at the advice of writing and marketing experts, it appears writers nowadays also have to have 'media training' be able to write good press releases as well as be polished public speakers. I think you're going to see quite a bit of swearing in the next few blogs as I get everything wrong. 
     Well, time to get up and put the porridge on and start the day, for the only way to get ahead - is to get started. 

<![CDATA[Can I Talk as Well as Write? - Something a Publicist Might Want to now. ]]>Fri, 03 Jan 2014 15:13:15 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/can-i-talk-as-well-as-write-something-a-publicist-might-want-to-now Picture
Well, its all over, the new year is beginning to get old and it's back to work on the quest to find the secret of writing a great novel. 
This plan has met with a slight setback though. Yesterday morning, around 6am, Archie, one of my cats became involved in a fight. Well, actually, he started it. Archie is very territorial over his hunting grounds, my neighbour's garden, the wynd, and the car-park. This I've never understood because  the only place Archie  ever hunts is in the cat food cupboard. 
         Anyway, there's a new kid on the block, a ginger and white marauding man cat with no name.  My boy's not happy with this swaggering stranger who seems to have a  huge sense of entitlement. 
         It seems the ginger and white mafia are trying to take over the car- park and yesterday morning the dispute developed into blows. My other cat Cuillin ran away shouting 'it wisnae me' when he saw me 'hinging out the windae' screaming at the two duelists, who were sitting on  chip wrappers staring each other out. This does make a change from me chasing Archie up the High Street in my pyjamas though. 
         Some two hours later, my wounded hero came limping through the vennel dragging his sore leg behind him. After a few hours of sulking and me attending to the bite on his leg, I put Archie to bed and have been taking his meals up to him. He's a little better today. 
         In the meantime, I've finished the author's questionaire for 'Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroines' and I thought that after supplying the head of Pen and Sword's marketing department with the names  of half of Scotland's press that might be the end of my involvement. I've just been reading a book on marketing though, and it says I might face some difficult questions from a publicist. For example, What do you look like? Would a photograph of you make journalists sit up and notice? - Oh aye, more than that, they'd come running - right past me. 
         Can you talk as well as write? - Well, I think the talking bit came first. 
         Where do you live and what do your neighbours think of you? - Lets get this book out before we think about writing another.  
         From the amount of kisses and cuddles I'm getting, it's a fair guess Archie is ready for his tea.  I'd better away to the kitchen and prepare his tray -after all the only way to get ahead is to get started. 

<![CDATA[December 30th, 2013]]>Tue, 31 Dec 2013 07:04:43 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/december-30th-2013The Writer's Resolutions 

It was only a few years ago that on Hogmany I was was swirling round the contents of a glass of single malt and resolving to spend more time writing. 
     This year, one of my resolutions is to get out more and explore the beautiful Scottish countryside and meet more of the warmhearted people who occupy it.
      Words on paper are important, but exploring new situations gives writers  the inspiration for those words. It  is meeting new people that provides the basis for characters and plots  in fiction. Apart from that, I think I'm looking a bit pasty and could do with some fresh air and a longer stroll than the one from the laptop to the fridge. 
       I've already made a start on one of my new year resolutions - to learn Photoshop. My books are a mixture of traditional and self-publishing and I found that one of the disadvantages of self-publishing is the lack of suitable cover material in Createspace's library. There are of course plenty images on the internet and magazines to scan but most are copyrighted. Even images offered free are of too low a resolution and are locked, so that no-one can use even part of the image. So, the only way to go is either hire an illustrator, or if you're counting pennies, design your own. 
      Taking after my great-aunt Jenny in the stubborn, cantankerous and adventurous department, I couldn't be happy with just messing around with a simple picture. Oh no, after only two online tutorials ( The Martin Perheniak ones for Adobe are very good) I decided my experimental cover for 'Poacher's Moon' would contain the bits of five pictures, painting and text. 
       Tonight, as the bells chime in the New Year, I've no doubt as to what I'll be thinking about as I raise my glass to 2014 - how am I going to get the Volkswagen Camper into that picture of Stirling Castle. 
       Well, shopping to do, food to prepare for tonight,  a bit of hoovering wouldn't go amiss and the only way to get ahead is to get started. 
       Slainte everyone, aw the best, and I hope the forthcoming year brings all you could wish for yourself and yours. 

       Annie xxx

<![CDATA[December 27th, 2013]]>Fri, 27 Dec 2013 14:01:45 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/december-27th-2013

How to Write on a Full Stomach

Well, Christmas has come and gone,Archie  the cat stole the backend of the turkey and spent the rest of the day sleeping it off under the duvet.  Cuillin my other cat sulked for hours because Archie didn't give him any stolen  turkey. I've watched Mrs. Brown's boys twice, caught up with Taggart,eaten the chocolates and now I'm bored. It's time to get back to the quest to find the secret behind writing the great novel. 
     What makes one fictional detective more successful and attract more readers than others? Is it their flaws, is it because they're a maverick or is it the fact that male readers emphasize with the detective that still listens to sixties music and has never really matured past  his teenage years.
     At the moment I'm reading and analyzing Rebus and will let you know what I discover. The only way to discover the secret, I think,  is to do a bit of psychoanalyze on the characters and the writing. 
     In the meantime I'm in a dilemma as to what colour wellies  to wear with the little black frock when I go first footing next Tuesday. You thought that was my Jimmy Choo above, good gracious no, going out in those would be  pure murder. 
     Well, there's work to do and the only way to get ahead is to get started. 
<![CDATA[Is This New Sport Going Viral ?]]>Thu, 19 Dec 2013 15:13:04 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/is-this-new-sport-going-viralPicture
   Last week I wrote of my good fortune at being able to claim a share of the 10.5 million dollars left by Robert Harrower-Gray who died intestate  in the republic of Benin Those who read the story will be disappointed to hear that I didn't get my new onesie . Unfortunately, I have a problem with 'doing as I'm told'  and didn't send the 3,400 Euro's for the court fees. Somewhere in Nigeria there is a very disappointed man. 
   I might not be materially better off today,  but I've learned a lot in the last week and have the makings of a good thriller where the hunted chases the hunter. Shades of  Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in there I think. 
         Although I didn't realize it, I was participating in a new sport called 'Scam baiting'. As a player, your mission is to waste as much of the scammers time and resources as you can by stringing him along for as long as possible. The fun is is playing around with the minds of deserving thieves.The object of your mission - to aggravate and humiliate scammers worldwide and to keep them away from potential victims. In fact, to boldly go where no one  has gone before. Oh dear, I've just split an infinitive!
         Some bounty-hunters don't wait for the scam email to drop into their in-box but set themselves up for what is known as the 'advance fee fraud' or '419
Fraud' named after Section 419 of the Nigerian Penal Code. Only advanced or experienced players should attempt this. In fact the game shouldn't  be played at all by anyone who thinks they may be susceptible to the plausibly of these fraudsters. The death certificate above shows  to what extent these people will  go to, to convince you their fraud is real. Also, this particular scam,- where my so caller attorney Thomas Huberts  presents me  to the  United Bank of Africa as a false claimant is quite clever. Had I sent the bogus fees, I wouldn't have been able to complain to the authorities when I lost my money, for I too would have intended to defraud. Nifty huh?
         There are  websites such as Mac's Bait Store  and  419eaters, to help you with putting together bogus bank details etc to send when they are requested. One player actually banks with Plunder and Flee Incorporated. Sounds like quite a respectable bank in this day and age. I claimed to be with The Royal Bank of Scotland but my scammer wouldn't accept the money without a guarantee. 
         Thomas Huberts, respected Rupublic of Benin Attorney, also appears to be the Reverend Jimmy Huberts and seems to prefer women as his potential victims. He does have some morals though in that he detests the practices of his fellow scammers. In an email to one of the game's heroines Miss Young http:/419.bittenus.com he states:
         'But God will surely judge all of them who live by cheating. My bible tells me that what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul..'
         Maybe I will send my scammer something after all - a tin of Brasso to polish his neck. 
         Well, must get on with the bread and butter writing, this index for 'Scotland's Hidden Harlot's and Heroine's' due out with Pen and Sword 1st March,  won't write itself. I'm up to the chapter where a wife is being sold by auction at the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, she's received bids from a drunken cobbler and a pensioner but eventually she is sold for… maybe shouldn't give to much away. So, the only way to get ahead is to get started. 

<![CDATA[Publish and be Scammed ]]>Thu, 12 Dec 2013 06:35:50 GMThttp://annieharrower-gray.weebly.com/annies-blog---publish-and-be-damned/publish-and-be-scammedThe Opportunity of a Lifetime
       There it was posted on my Kiltr Group 'Scottish Women in History' , an invitation to email Thomas Hubert to discuss some important business. Was he looking for an ancestor of Scottish descent, his long lost mother who gave him up as a baby? Curiousity got the better of me and I pressed send.  
        I received a repy almost straight away. Robert Harrower-
Gray,  sadly died in the Republic of Benin five years ago without leaving a will. Now Thomas his attorney, had only  three weeks left to find an heir to ten million US dollars. The paperwork had already gone into the United Bank for Africa to back up my claim. It wasn't going to be disputed. Thomas of course would be looking for 70 percent of the booty. 
        Nevertheless, I sat back and thought what I could do with just over a million and a half pounds. I could buy a stainless steel bin for the kitchen instead of the plastic one I intended. Maybe buy another onesie, so that I don't have to be coaxed out of the one I have on washdays. Okay, when it comes to wants lists, I don't have much imagination. 
        No doubt, it was the opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn't resist emailing Thomas back straightaway. I told him I'd never heard of Robert Harrower-Gray and I wasn't for being scammed - If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. 
        Thomas was hurt that I should think it was a scam. He, a father of three was a respected attorney, as I could see from the address on the top of his letter, and was also standing for the Republic of Benin Government. This was just a rare opportunity  he had happened upon and if I didn't claim the money, it would be lost to the government.
        I sat back and thought about it, his children's Christmas presents, a whole new way of life for both of us and was there a story in this? If I couldn't use it for the great novel then there was always the bi-product - a newspaper article. I went along with the plan. 
        Thomas went to a great deal of trouble to reassure me. He sent a copy of Robert's death certificate and a draft letter for me to send to the bank claiming the inheritance. I emailed the letter to the bank together with proof of identity - my National Library of Scotland card. The bank then sent me an email saying my claim had been approved at their board meeting that morning. It would seem we now have psychic banks for they wouldn't have received my 'claim' until the afternoon. 
         With ten million dollars now waiting and me drooling over sleepwear in the 'Next' catalogue, all that remained to be done was wait for Thomas to get approval - a warrant and an affidavit from the Supreme Court.
          Next morning, it was all finalized and all I had left to do was pay the court fees - a mere 3,400 euros. Should I tell Thomas now that all I was after was a story, it would be the decent thing to do. It seems I'm not very decent because I decided to have a bit more fun. I emailed him saying that it would take time for my bank to change pounds to euros and I'd accidentally deleted the email with the payment instructions. Not to fear though, because I'd found the Supreme court website and contacted them asking that they send the instructions again. 
           The reply I received had steam coming out of my inbox. Thomas was livid. I was not to contact such sites (the official supreme court) for it was full of scammers and couldn't be trusted. I should only follow his instructions and he'd already been on to the court, who generously conceded that if I sent the money straight away they would accept sterling. 
            I really should have replied straight away in case the poor man was having a heart attack but I decided to wait till the following morning to tell him the bad news. It's the season of good will, let him have a night of pleasure browsing through the Next catalogue and dreaming of parcels to come. Of course there would have been a bit of worry too. Would the Supreme Court get back to me before I'd filled the saddlebags with sterling and sent them off on the pony express specified in his email? 
            Next morning, I did tell him it was all for a story and hoped he appreciated being put through the anxiety, disappointment and sense of loss that he was putting through anyone foolish enough to fall for his flawed scam. Not to mention the humiliation at being taken for a ride. Oh and I wished him a happy Christmas. I haven't received a reply yet. 
            Well time to think about that article, for the best way to get ahead is to get started.