Wednesday, April 5, 2023

IWSG -and Library read day... Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson

Oh wow—it only seems like a week or so ago since the last IWSG hit the blogging world. And it's already time again! Where did my March go?

IWSG meets on the 1st Wednesday of every month and gives writers/authors a chance to share thoughts, encouragement, and experiences. Since it's early days, when Alex J Cavanaugh founded this group, it has grown and sprouted into various outlets and opportunities. But the group is as amazing as it always was. 

Anyway, I'd like to thank this month's co-hosts because they have some work to do today, too: Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

I'm skipping this month's question and heading into something I ran across about two weeks ago. A scam aimed at writers. Yes, these do exist, and no, I didn't fall victim to this one, since scams are nothing new. This one, however, shocked me in how much effort the scammers put into it...and how many of my fellow writer friends follow this person on Twitter.

I'm just going to sum up what bear with me because this scam is quite the thing.

I received a DM from a Twitter account, which I’d been following for several months (although not actively engaging), claiming they needed some help with a kidlit request and asked if I was willing and comfortable with writing 'clean' stories. The account had around 3,500 followers (over 150 writers which I follow myself), did regular posts with book news and religious quotes, and didn’t seem off in any way. After a little back and forth, they claimed they were contracted by a large company (an existing firm, which was not involved in the scam and oblivious) to find remote writers for a project. It was a permanent position with a monthly salary of $4000. This sounded weird but I was curious, so I agreed to an interview on Skype, which was then scheduled three days later.

The first real alarm bells sounded when the gentleman, who was to interview me, insisted that it be conducted per chat…claiming the printed version would assist in the company's further decisions. During the chat, the logo of the supposed contracting company was present. The interview was very normal, came with very standard, usual questions, and lasted more than 30 minutes. When it was invited to share my questions, the answers from them were vague, and the conditions, while nothing over-the-top, sounded too good to be true. At the end, the interviewer claimed I appeared to be a good match, and a second interview was scheduled with the supposed hiring company's manager for the next day.

This interview also came as a chat only. While starting out with the usual questions, the ‘you’re hired’ popped up much too fast. Claiming they needed me to start as soon as possible, they requested personal information, supposedly to speed up the paperwork process. While I didn’t let it get this far, I’ve since learned that it would include everything from address, birth date, bank information, credit card, and even SSN.

I contacted the true company, who verified that the names of individuals used during the interviews were unknown to them. They were extremely kind, helpful, and took the ordeal very seriously. The account has since been reported to Twitter, but as of yet, it's still up.

After this, I learned the scam runs on job boards, Instagram, and other social media sites. I can only sing praises of the open ears and assistance of the crew at Also, C Lee McKenzie had more than an open ear...along with the rest of the IWSG gang. If we spread the word, maybe we can save fellow writers/authors from falling victim to these things.

Oh, and here's an article about the same scam if you're interested:


Off to happier's library read day! Which mean that today's book is one I picked up at our small town library. This book was recommended to me by a dear writing friend and hit the shelves in 2022. So, it's not 'old' either. But let's just take a peek, shall we?

by JC Peterson
YA Romantic Comedy
384 pages

Acerbic and delightful, this YA rom-com about a girl who resolves to become the main character of her own story is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Becky Albertalli.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every bookworm secretly wishes to be Lizzie Bennet.

A less acknowledged truth is that Mary Bennet might be a better fit.

For seventeen-year-old Marnie Barnes, who’s convinced she is the long-suffering protagonist of her life, this revelation comes at the end of a series of self-induced disasters that force her to confront a devastating truth: Marnie has more in common with Mary Bennet—the utterly forgettable middle sister—than the effervescent Lizzie.

Determined to reinvent herself, she enlists the help of her bubbly roommate and opens herself up to the world—leading lady style. And between new friends, a very cute boy, and a rescue pup named Sir Pat, Marnie realizes that being the main character doesn’t mean rewriting your life entirely. It’s about finding the right cast of characters, the love interest of your dreams, and, most important, embracing your story, flaws and all.

With a hilariously sharp voice, a sweet and fulfilling romance that features a meet-cute in an animal shelter, and a big family that revels in causing big problems, this charming comedy of errors will have readers cheering for Marnie during every step of her obstacle-ridden journey toward embracing who she truly is.




Taking 'self-inventing' to a new level, this is a fun read with more than a few giggles and heart.

Marnie is anything but a usual seventeen-year-old. She's an introvert to a ridiculous, book-orientated extreme and comes off a little strange because of it. Soon, she believes that she's a mirror-copy of a character in one of her favorite books, Mary Bennet...the middle sister in Pride and Prejudice...and that's terrible. Determined not to be as awful as this character, Marnie gets her roommate at school to agree to help her become more Lizzie like. Mix that with some over-the-top family members, first loves, and a contest, which has to be won, and it's hard to guess what will happen next.

I am not a fan of Pride and Prejudice, so when this read was suggested to me, I was more than a little skeptical, but I decided to give it a chance. I'm so glad I did.

This book is hilarious...and no, you don't have to like or even know much about the original novel to get wrapped up in this one because it has nothing to do with the classic. Marnie simply loves the novel herself and rattles off all the attributes she wants to avoid to not become like Mary Bennet. Oh, and Marnie does speak and think like an older novel, at times, which was quirky, but then, that's what this read is. Marnie has to learn to like and see herself for who she is, and this is a theme the intended audience will understand. 

There is romance. After all, this is a romcom, but it's not thick. Marnie has been chasing her first love for years, and he's about to marry someone else. The other love interest is clearly one, but Marnie is so chaotic in her other endeavors that romantic is a far-cry away. I see this more as a comedic tale about a girl, who danced to her own tune and suddenly becomes aware of herself in the world around her...a bit of coming-of-age but not completely. So there's some sweetness, but there's a lot more.

I was surprised to see the large dose of family dynamic and found it well done. Marnie might seem independent, considering she's living in a dorm already at seventeen, but her family is large and tightly woven with each member carrying their own very unique personalities. It's just a treat to follow her during this self-discovery and eye-opening to the real intentions of those around her...a bit like she's finally coming out of her book-concentrated world. 

I can only thank the person, who recommend this one, because it was an entertaining and fun read.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for sharing that scam. It's in the IWSG site post today as well.

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for alerting us about the scam. It's a shame people do this! If they'd spend their time and efforts on positive things, I'm sure they could make this world a better place.

Tonja Drecker said...

Alex - Thanks to you guys for helping spread the word!

Sherry - The entire interviews alone take around an hour each...and I understand it's been running since around 2018-19. So, there must be quite a bit of money in it for them, which is sad.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for sharing your scam alert. We have to be so careful these days. And glad you were surprised and really enjoyed this book.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What's sad is no one's been able to legally catch them.

cleemckenzie said...

A lot of writers have read about the scam, so you've helped people by speaking out, Tonja! Good for you.

Thanks also for posting about Being Mary Bennet. It sounds like a delightful read.

Tonja Drecker said...

Natalie - The book is quirky but cute.

Diane - I'm willing to bet they are international...which makes it so hard.

C Lee - Thanks for your open ear!