It’s been very busy around here lately. My house is for sale and I’ve started packing my things – positive thinking – and I’ve had a few things I’ve had to repair. I even replaced a pond pump. Easy peasy. My air conditioner went out on a 115 degree day. I couldn’t fix that myself. I wish I had the skill to fix it. Who’s going to buy a house in the desert with no AC? Thankfully, it’s been repaired.
However, in the midst of this I received a Google Alert. A site was offering to download some of my books for FREE in PDF format. Huh? I wanted to see who was doing this, so I clicked on the link. Dumb move, but I think I caught myself in time. There was no actual site. It just started to download my book. It didn’t feel right, so I clicked out of there as fast as I could.
This has happened a few times in the past. I clicked on a link and actually went to a site. Here’s what I learned, again clicking out because it didn’t feel right.
I made a call to a computer tech and he explained that there are two basic things going on. Some of these sites want you to “join” their site and they ask for pertinent personal information. Red flag! Don’t give out your personal information. Fortunately, I knew better, and I’m sure most of you do, too.
The second thing is that sometimes these sites will give your computer the flu (a virus), or plant something in your computer like malware.
Either way, if you get sucked in by thinking you’re getting a free book, you just might end up with more computer problems than you can handle, and that’s not generally a free situation. There are some legitimate sites where you can obtain books, but I haven’t taken them up on their offers. Actually, I’ve only heard there are legitimate sites, other than places like Amazon.com.
Forewarned is forearmed, right? Sometimes we’re in too much of a hurry to think things through. Make the time if you’re headed to a site for free books.
Speaking of sucked in, today I had to run to the store to buy a special light bulb. Uh, it cost $10.00. For one light bulb? Come one, gang. But, then, prices are going up on so many things lately.
Sorry, but I moved off topic.
Think about writing books. Can your protagonist have a day when everything seems to go wrong? Of course. Just think about one of the “off” days in your own life. Real life can certainly be used to come up with a scene readers can relate to. I’d rather not use reality to think up a scene or scenario, but sometimes a bad day can be quite inspirational. Imagine your character is out in the desert in 120 degree heat. Or maybe your character is in Alaska and it’s 60 below. Ah! Maybe your character visits a questionable Internet site and receives a virus as a Thank You. Maybe your protagonist has a neighbor or friend who does this and he/she needs to help them out of a tight situation.
As I reread this post I realized how one topic leads to another. The same thought patterns can lead your protag to solving a mystery, too.
There are so many things in real life that, with a twist and a turn, can become part of a mystery. It goes far beyond temperatures. Have you been through an earthquake or a tornado or hurricane? Let your character react the way you did, or the way you wish you’d handled things.
Have you had an experience with any of these ugly websites? Have you lived through one of nature’s misadventures? Have you ever been mugged? Robbed? Burglarized? Attacked? Writing about it as fiction can be quite therapeutic.
Until next time, be careful where you click, and enter an Internet site at your own risk. Careful is the word of the week.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw’s website
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to Amazon.com
I was working on a new book titled, “It’s What I Do”, but circumstances have made me put it on hold for a while. In the meantime, you might give “What Are the Odds?” a try. Sandi Webster is about to turn a corner in her life, along with those closest to her.