This weekend I received e-mail from a woman who is one of the organizers of an upcoming convention; she wanted to know if I was planning to attend. I said no, I wasn't. The first half of her next e-mail was about the convention, but then she wrote this:
The second reason would be to have the opportunity to meet you face to face. You see, I've made an interesting discovery. You have a 'twin' of sorts. This is not major, but you need to be aware of it.

I run a listserve on writing technique and one of our members has your same name. Not a problem, certainly, but we have discerned that she has a tendency to inflate her reputation somewhat and has made some
claims about her skills and accomplishments that are clearly impossible for normal mortals.

Here is the tricky part. There are members of the group that have gotten the impression that she is the one who put up your website and wrote your books. At this point I'm trying to politely and carefully find out if 'our' Barbara Paul is now or ever did actually 'claim' them. If she did, you will get full notification complete with any documentation we are able to collect..

I'm hoping that she didn't actually do something as foolish as to claim your website and reputation as hers. But while I've not met her personally, her own reputation precedes her. It is possible.

Although I don't suspect that she would be a bother to you professionally, you need to know that this situation exists. She is a Georgia gal who just enjoys having people in her small pond think she is a big fish. As more information comes in, I'll keep you informed.

Sorry to be the bearer of odd news. I'm not in Louis's class as a detective, but we'll get the job done. Just no Tasmanian Devils, please!
Obviously this is no major disaster in the making; it's just some woman puffing herself up at my expense. But I will admit it's a small thorn in my side. I'll wait to see what my correspondant turns up, but I do want to put an end to it.

The most obvious solution would be for me to subscribe to the mailing list myself and there make it clear there's more than one Barbara Paul in the world. But that strikes me as firing off a cannon to kill a gnat.

Are there any strategists around here? I'm open to suggestion.

[This message has been edited by Barbara (edited 02-06-2000).]