Writing Up A Storm – November 2009

Posted on Nov 15 2009


First of all, let me apologize for not putting the October issue in
the blog. During the second full week of October, my website was
hacked for three different days from an ISP in Rugby, England. At
some points, the entire website was taken down; and at other times,
only the blog was missing. That’s why this month we’re talking
about Internet security.


Question of the Month: How can I protect myself from computer
Link of the Month
Market Spotlight
SHAMELESS Self-Promotion

Thanks again for joining me. I hope you have a wonderful month.


Question of the Month: How can I protect myself from computer hackers?

The week of October referenced above turned out to be a very stressful and costly one for me. Infected files had to be deleted and recoded by my web host’s computer programmer. I had the additional fear of what other information the hacker had gleaned.

So, what’s the solution? Writers and other professionals have careers that demand they spend numerous hours online. If we aren’t online promoting our books in this Internet world, then readers are buying other authors’ books. And yet, if we’re surfing the Internet unprotected, we risk losing more than book sales.

1) Invest in good virus protection.

I had virus protection that I thought was sufficient. Apparently, it wasn’t. I checked with a computer programmer I trust, and he recommended Norton’s 360. This package includes anti-virus protection, backup, identity protection, pc protection and pc tuneup. If you’re unsure about the virus protection you’re running on your computer, check with a computer professional you trust; or consult with Best Buy’s Geek Squad, either in person, by phone or via the Web.

2) Run multiple scans.

Even if you feel your PC is adequately protected, run free virus scans from trusted sites. Again, a good source of trusted information is the Geek Squad. Also, run a scan to ensure you have the most up to date versions of Adobe Reader and other free programs. My friend, the computer programmer, warned that old versions of these programs are often susceptible to hackers.

3) Beware of following e-mail links.

We all know better than to follow the link to the Nigerian aristocrat or the “update your bank information now” links, but some e-mails aren’t so suspicious. Years ago, I worked for the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission where an upper-level co-worker fell victim to the “I Love You” virus. The newlywed received the e-mail, thought it was from her husband, opened it and infected her computer. Always check the return address; and when in doubt, delete. Also warn your children against downloading


Links of the Month:

Here are some virus scans you might find helpful:



Market Spotlight: Barefoot Books


Barefoot Books publishes quality children’s picture books celebrating independence of spirit and openness to others. Publisher prefers submission of completed manuscript. See website for additional information.


S h a m e l e s s Self-Promotion

Gayle Trent: Dead Pan will be available on Amazon by November 9.
Look for Bell Bridge Book’s full-color ad which includes Dead Pan
in the November issue of RT Book Reviews. I’m a guest on Cozy
Chicks Blog on November 12 and on Free Book Friday on November 13.

If you Twitter, you can enter a contest to win a signed copy of
Dead Pan, a signed copy of Murder Takes the Cake and a red Murder
Takes the Cake apron. The contest runs through “black Friday,”
November 27. To enter the contest, Twitterers should follow Gayle
http://twitter.com/gayletrent and re-Tweet (or RT) the contest
announcement. There is no limit to how many times a person can
enter the contest.

Check out my page on Fresh Fiction at

Also, check out my audio interview on Fascinating Authors at

Be sure and send in your own shameless self-promotions!

Take care,


Copyright 2009 by Gayle Trent.

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