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Tips to avoid being scammed while traveling

As a tourist in a foreign country, you become an easy target for scammers. You can be naive of the different cultures and customs and let your guard down when it should, in fact, be at its highest. It is common for people to not realize they are being scammed, or have been scammed until they check their pockets or look at their bank balance, so it is, therefore, important to stop the scam when it is in motion.

I will describe below some of the scams to watch out for and how to best avoid them. It is fair to say that many scams have the same core principles and are just variations of each other. Once you are accustomed to the signs of a scammer you will easily be able to spot future ones.

From each of the situations outlined below, there are valuable lessons to be learned regarding how to stop situations getting worse, and how to handle yourself. Some of these were attempted or actually performed on myself during my travels, so, unfortunately, I am talking from experience. Hopefully, you will be a little more vigilant after reading this and will be able to recognize suspicious behavior and act accordingly.

Fun we we’ve had

Have you noticed the sun setting earlier? Are leaves already starting to turn color in your neck of the woods? It’s hard to believe the summer has crept into its final weeks. Soon the seasons will change from baseball to football. Good gravy, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo! But as far as I’m concerned, any time can be shorts weather. Let’s see and listen to what Stephen King says on writing short stories:

No, I’m not one of those crazy polar bears who swims half-naked on New Year’s Day. Rather, I’m talking about short stories. I’ve spent much of my summer vacation from my work-in-progress by taking week-long trips with new characters. And when I haven’t been writing them, I’ve been reading them.

Aaron D Wiegert

I met with the author Aaron D Wiegert and we talked about the function and role of Leadership. Here is a small summary of our conversation.

In working from home careers, such as home-based internet businesses that involve a network or team, you will be the Leader for the people you attract into the business opportunity.

Looking at the Leadership principles in How to Win Friends and Influence People, you’ll notice it is emphasized that we need to positively acknowledge this Leadership role. Why does Dale Carnegie devote a whole section to Leadership?

The answer is simple, people are attracted to Leaders. The book is about how to win over people hence the more you behave like a Leader the more people will be attracted to your opportunity.

One of the things I have seen unsuccessful Leaders do is the, ‘leave alone zap’ way of Leading. This method involves ignoring people if they are doing things right day in and day out, but boy do they ‘zap’ you if you get it wrong once.

Liz Martin Inspiration

I recently had a chance to meet Liz Martin, the Instructional Specialist of Writing Studies. She truly inspired me. Below are some thoughts that I have after meeting her.

Going to an interview can be downright intimidating, and going to your first job interview is no exception. Without any prior work experience to point to, you have to somehow try to convince the employer that you’re a good choice.

Luckily, most interviews for jobs in high school and early college jobs aren’t too grueling. Most employers will ask some simple questions to get to know you and then make a decision. The way you present yourself in an interview will usually make more of an impact than whatever you have on your short resume.
Employers want workers who see the job as more than just a paycheck — they want workers who actually care about what they do. If you can give the impression in your job interview that you do care, then you’ll have a much better shot at getting hired. Here are four ways I’ve found pretty helpful:

Come to the interview well-dressed and well-groomed.

You don’t need to rent a tuxedo or anything, but wearing moderately-formal clothes will reflect on you much better than a teenager who comes in wearing typical casual clothes. Remember, dress professional, not formal. Wear something you would expect higher-ups in the company to wear. Show it!

Nathan Graziano and a few highlights of my year

Nathan Graziano is the author of two collections of poetry. I really enjoy his writing. Check out for your self.

It’s almost December already and I’m trying to figure out where my year has gone. It sucks that even now, at the end, I can only pick out a few highlights of my year. I don’t want to go into detail, but this is just a short list.

1. I managed to be a bit more social which was last years resolution. I still don’t go out that much but I’m making progress. I realized I’ve missed out on a lot of things and that living a life, is life.

2. Kept my word. Okay, for the most part, when I said I was going to do something, I did in fact do it. And that I’m proud of. Maybe the procrastination stuck around, but things got done.

Bigfoot and I

Do you remember a story about the Bigfoot on the main street? We were young, 15 maybe? and thus had little idea of the concepts of mortality and moderation. Young and in our rebellious stage, we were a steadfast band jokingly referred to by friends and classmates as The Three Musketeers; I’m sure our teachers and enemies had less-friendly names for us than that.

I was the dark one, the sole brunette–when it came to an argument, they’d usually side against me in a show of blonde solidarity, but then I would remind them who ranked highest (it was always the girl with the biggest cup size–and my C’s outranked both their A’s put together), and they gave in. I provided the bank and the ideas, the excuses and the plans. I had the outfits and the easy access and made liberal use of them all.

Janet was the bitch, the dirty-blonde, always cool and using her surprising intellect and mile-long legs to intimidate. During the week, we’d usually head to her house after school; it had the best munchies and biggest t.v., and a lock on the basement door when her kid brother got out of hand. She was the one we’d send into the convenience store to buy cigarettes; she’s the one with the laser stare.

The Only Way it can End

I was thrilled last month to sign a contract with a publisher to publish my first romantic suspense novel. The reactions I have received from friends and family as I share my news has been varied, and yet still followed a predictable path. Check out also this video with great tips for aspiring writers:

So let’s see what they all have to say. I’ve compiled a list which inspired this post. Enjoy!

  • I should write a book! This response has generally come from the people you would categorize as “least likely to ever write a book.” I’m not sure if writing and publishing a book sounds like easy money to them, or if they just think if I can do it anyone can do it. Maybe anyone can do it, (after all I did), but I can promise you it’s far from easy money. More like pour every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears you have into creating a story on the page and then hope someone buys it so you can prove to your family you weren’t really just wasting time. Or avoiding them. Or both.

Interview with Clay MCleod Chapman

Here is a great interview with Clay MCleod Chapman, the author, and actor.

Bonus from us: Five Easy Ways to Create Characters That Will Knock Your Readers’ Socks Off, Dazzle Agents, Woo Editors, and Won’t Be Soon Forgotten:
First off, take a good, long, hard look at your characters.

Are they layered? Are they multi-dimensional? Are they the kind of character that becomes so real they can walk right off the page and cozy up in the memories of your readers?
And the big question: Can your characters sell your stories or are they holding you back, getting you rejected, and you don’t even know it?

For me, the characters in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible were so real that at times I had to remind myself that they were not, in fact, real and that they were simply made up. Fiction. These characters and their depth is something I strive for in my own work.
Let’s take a peek at how we can make our own characters so real we forget we made them up. And for a splash of fun, we’ll use Cosmo Kramer from the old hit show Seinfeld as an example.

Boarding Time

Fake pockets are the bane of my fashionable existence. Nothing’s worse than going to stash my bank card or chapstick, only to encounter resistance. No pocket for you! It’s a disappointment, to say the least. Words can scarcely describe the letdown. Don’t let this same thing happen in your writing! You should be aware of Fake Pocket Syndrome (FPS), to avoid irritating your readers and turning them off of your story.

Fake pockets promise, but don’t deliver. So your hero is a tough manly man who finds himself relying on the aid of a sultry vixen to accomplish his mission. The entire book is rife with sexual tension, but in the end, the two shake hands and part ways like old drinking buddies. I call FPS!

Intergluteal Numismatics

In this episode of the fifth season of Community, we are exposed to a detective movie parody where Jeff and Annie try to figure out the mystery of the Ass Crack Bandit, who has been terrorizing the school by putting quarters in people’s butts.

It’s the juxtaposition that sells it—the decision to partner what might be the single silliest plotline in Community history with a parody of one of the most decidedly not silly filmmakers in Hollywood, the dour David Fincher.

In my heart of hearts, I am a plotter. The problem is that, in my brain of brains, I have a sadly inconsistent grasp of story structure.

Community 5 NR 3 from Community 5 on Vimeo.

Pure pantsing, in which I attempt to write while having no idea what my characters are moving towards, leaves me floundering and paralyzed; trying to articulate every twist and turn of the story before I start to write, however, makes me break into a sweat as I contemplate the (inevitable) gaping holes in my imagination. I need an approach to a story that protects me from the feeling of being in free-fall while helping me to tolerate (and even embrace) all the stuff I don’t yet know about What Happens Next and Why.