Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hijacked by evil spammers

Sounds like a great title for a B movie sci-fi flick. Ah, if that were only so. Nope. Instead, my website was attached by a malicious visitor. They attached a virus to pieces parts of my website so that when ever anyone visited they would then be infected with the malware.

First of all, I use and they've been great to work with. If not for them, I probably would have been blissfully unaware of the problem. Needless to say, I got an e-mail from them regarding my site. I went to my site and lo and behold, my anti-virus program stopped me from going any further so at that point, I realized I, indeed, had a nasty virus and not the kind that can be easily dealt with by taking aspirin and vitamin C.

Arggggg. Okay, after saying a few choice words, I promptly called godaddy. The first thing we did was reset passwords for both my user account and my ftp. I also arranged for their security guys to do daily probes of my website to help insure this doesn't happen again (oh, at a minimum fee but I felt the cost was worth it).

Anyway, I spent all day Friday trying to figure out where the evil code had been installed on my website but as I know just enough to be dangerous, I couldn't find anything suspicious on my main pages. I did, however, have a ton of files that were out of order and not necessary so I figured I'd clean up the site first and go from there.

The next day I got a more helpful e-mail from godaddy and one of the tips they had was for me to do a google search using the phrase "what is the status of". I did and the google search showed warning labels on three of my pages. In so doing, it told me where to search. So, once again, I went into my site and cleaned house some more. I got rid of all my pdfs (as this was the source of most of the malicious stuff) and I have disabled my links page as this was another area of concern.

Now, the real question is: how long will it take before google allows folks to go back to my site?  And was I able to get it all.

So - advice to those of you that maintain your own websites. Change your ftp password often. If you don't really visit the site very often or make changes very often, I suggest a sitescanner service. I don't know how this person found me, but ....they did and if they found me, they can find you too.

Monday, June 17, 2013

From slipper to clog

It's been a while since I've been in a critique group and I miss that comaraderie shared by those with a common love of writing. Needless to say, I'm in a newly formed group. As we're all established authors, this group isn't as chatty as I'm used to, but that's fine. What they are is very talented. Sure, I can probably get by without critiques but my writing won't be quite as sound. Let's face it, once you've committed the thought to paper, it's hard for the author to see the small problems that the reader might encounter. Your work always needs fresh eyes.

That said, one of my new critique partners read through a first chapter I'd written and commented on my use of the term clog. To be quite honest, I'd found a reference to some 1870 style shoes in which it was common for women to wear "mules". I also found a reference to clogs. The mules look like bulky slippers and can be rather elaborate. The clogs are less frivolous and more serviceable. Mules typically didn't have a back at the heel whereas the images I found of clogs could have a back or not. When someone calls them slippers a more dainty image pops in mind. I'd used the term clog and slipper interchangeably and I could see her confusion.

Wooden Shoes
Wooden Shoes by Vera Kratochvil
Quite frankly, part of the confusion was mine. I hadn't yet cemented in my own mind what that shoe might look like so I began some more research. What I discovered were wooden clogs. Now why would that work in my western story? Wooden clogs are typically Dutch, after all.

There was a brewery in Odgen, Kansas that was run by a German imigrant. His workers wore wooden clogs while working in the brewery. My story begins in Dodge City, Kansas and so I think it quite feasible for one pair of wooden clogs to journey from Ogden to Dodge. Too fun.

Finding this jewel of information led me to an idea for my story, one that I hope will enhance the imagery I'm trying to create. Things like this are a writer's spice.

A huge thank you to my new critique partner for setting me on this course of investigation.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I drew a name!

Congratulations to Quilt Lady for winning a kindle copy of Texas forged.  She visited my blog Wednesday and commented on Charlene Raddon's new release, the Scent of Roses.

Quilt Lady, I have your e-mail and will be sending you a gift card soon. Thanks to all who visited and commented.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Welcome Charlene Raddon as she tells us about her latest release

The purpose of this blog hop is to promote Charlene Raddon’s latest release, The Scent of Roses, as well as the work of each of the participating bloggers. Be sure to read to the end of this page so you don’t miss out on the grand prize. Also be certain you visit each blog and comment to qualify for the individual giveaways, and the big prize.
Charlene Raddon has been writing historical romance novels for over thirty years. Her work has won several awards and much well-deserved praise. Here is what she has to say about her newest release.
Any day when a new book is released is exciting for the author. I’m thrilled to announce that my eBook, The Scent of Roses, is now available.
The Scent of Roses is a sequel to my last eBook, To Have And To Hold, but stands alone and does not need to be read in order to be enjoyed. Whip Kincaid, from The Scent of Roses, is the half-brother of Buck Maddux from To Have and To Hold. Whip also has a twin, Cale, who readers met in Buck’s story, which gives me an excuse to write a third book for this series.
The added touch of paranormal elements made The Scent of Roses a fun story to write. Who doesn’t enjoy haunted houses with hidden passageways? When I first moved to Utah, I lived in this house. No, there weren’t any secret passageways, but in every other way, my description of the old house is accurate. The third element new in this book is the subject of polygamy.
Rosalyn Delaney came to Whisky Ridge, Arizona expecting to receive aid from her estranged husband, Josiah Bullock, in escaping the crazed leader of a polygamist cult determined to have her. She’s broke and has nowhere else to go. But Josiah is dead, murdered the very evening of her arrival. The town is in uproar, searching for the suspected killer, Josiah’s business partner, Whip Kincaid. Rosalyn also learns that Josiah has taken a second wife.
Whip is innocent but to prove that, he needs to stay out of jail. He hides in secret passageways in the old house he and Josiah shared. Smythely, the elderly butler who came with the house, is the only other person aware of the passageways. Lurking between spiderwebbed walls and using the abundance of peepholes provided allows Whip to keep up with what’s going on. Sneaking out at night allows him to investigate. He’s particularly interested in Rosalyn Delaney, and for more than one reason. Besides being attracted to her, he’s sure she knows something about the murder.
But does she? Is she safe at Rose House? Will she be safe from Whip Kincade?
I hope you enjoyed this peek into The Scent of Roses. Find it here, at

June 1 - Official blog tour for Kat Flannery (not part of PUB/PM blog hop)
June 19, giveaway
For those that comment here, I'll be giving away a kindle version of Sarah's Brass Token.
Striving to make ends meet after her brother is hung for murder, Sarah Jones is determined to make it on her own.

After losing everything to war, Tabor Nolan yearns for family and a home. A chance meeting with Sarah prompts Tabor to make decisions that threaten her independence. Will she allow this stranger into her life and into her heart?
Please visit Charlene's Blog to learn more about Texas Forged and to be entered in her giveaway.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Firey End

Today didn't start out as I'd planned. Being the first day of my summer time off from teaching, I hoped to just relax and do nothing but fate had other plans. Today, I watched a house burn to the ground. We had a terrible storm strike around 5:00 AM. The wind noise alone made me think tornado. I woke off and on but crawled out of bed around 6:45 to feed the new kitten. That's when I became aware of a different noise.

Fire engines. I think there were four fire engines, two ambulances and two police cars blocking the cul-de-sac that tees into the street I live on, in fact, joins right at my house. Four houses down, a fire blazed, shooting into the sky at least 8 feet above the roof line.

I hurried to dress, slapped food on the cat's plate and dashed out the door. Another neighbor met me outside and gave me what details she knew. I was relieved it wasn't our rental but I was saddened to discover it was the home of my son's best friend. When I saw our renter outside, I walked down the street to visit with him and to make sure the house was not in danger, all the while, consciencious of the many workers trying to control the blaze.

My husband arrived home from a weekend at the lake as he's kind of the neighborhood caretaker. Whenever there's a problem, they call on DH and today was no exception. His phone lit up about 7:00 AM and the news brought him home an hour later. He called the folks that own the home as they were on vacation and from that moment on, he relayed information to them.

Those tireless firefighters were incredible. They worked on that house until about 11:00 AM. They intended to leave as there were two other major fires in town but just when they thought it was all under control, the fire started again. They stayed until well after noon and then came back three more times to check to make sure it was out for good. Needless to say, the family lost everything.

What caused the fire? The wind was so high, it broke a tree limb that fell and caught the power line. It broke the weather vein and shorted out the main line to the breaker box.

The experience, though, has taught me many things, things I already knew but didn't take as seriously as I should have.

  1. I need to do a serious inventory of my house and place it somewhere safe like a safe deposit box.
  2. I need to clean, to weed out unecessary stuff. The fire fighters can't do their job properly if they can't navigate through each portion of the house.
  3. I need to contact my insurance agent soon to make sure we have enough coverage.
  4. We have a date with the tree trimmers to eliminate the potential for breaking limbs.
  5. I plan to find a spot in the house for extra keys to vehicles that can be easily reached in the event vehicles need to be moved.
  6. I plan to make a copy of digital pictures and place it in the safe deposit box
  7. I plan to review my evacuation plan.
  8. I plan to unplug all unecessary electrical objects.
I'm sure I'll think of more as I mull things over but ...