A Brush with Computer Malware

I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. I’d been visiting social network sites that evening and managed to get into trouble. While checking my hotmail.com messages, I tried to track one back to twitter but failed to connect. After trying several times, I gave up and closed hotmail – and found a disturbing message waiting for me on my desktop. It said my computer was infected with spyware and viruses. It looked genuine, referring to MS security. Then I spotted this little red flag down at the bottom and, like an idiot, I clicked on it.

That’s when the fun really started. Big red warnings began flashing all over the screen. No matter what I did, they wouldn’t stop! They told me I needed to buy this “tool” which would supposedly decontaminate my computer. That made me suspicious, but it was too late to call my son and ask his advice, so I turned off the computer and went to bed. For more than two hours I lay tossing and turning, worried sick about the distressing messages. Had I really blown it by clicking that red flag? Was there some nasty virus on my computer that would eat my writing files, my ancestry research, my family photos – years worth of work? (Most files were backed up but not all. I MUST remember to back up more often!)

As soon as I dared the next morning, I called my son, Dan. After listening to my panicky story, he said it sounded like I’d accidently downloaded a form of malware. It wouldn’t destroy my files, he assured me – to my great relief – but it would greatly slow my computer and pester me until I gave in and bought the “tool” which was supposed to get rid of the infection. To make a long story shorter, my brilliant tech-savvy offspring cleansed the bug from my computer and set up an extra safeguard to keep this kind of thing from happening again.

Moral of the story: Don’t open anything you aren’t sure is safe! Because there are a lot of creeps out there, eager to invade our computers, yours and mine, and steal from us. They are thieves, nothing more, nothing less!


Altered Book Cover

I just finished uploading a revised and, I hope, improved book cover image for Darlin’ Druid. This is one of the nice things about publishing a Kindle book. If at any time you want to alter the cover or text, you can do it. This is actually my second attempt to “fix” my cover. I was never happy with the girl’s (Jessie’s) hair and hand. You would think that as a former fashion illustrator such features would be easy for me to render. Not so. When I work in advertising, I drew with pen and ink in a very stylized manner. Painting is a whole different animal, and using MS Paint is no picnic. Blending colors smoothly is difficult.

Determined to improve the girl’s image before submitting Darlin’ Druid for another book review, I dragged a bunch of romance novels off my bookshelves and closely studied their covers. This helped enormously. I never turn my back on help if I can get it.Winking smile

While working on the Jessie’s hair, I also decided to turn her head and show her gazing upward at David. This full profile is more appealing, I think. If you agree, let me know.

Amazon Discussion Threads

Within the past few days I have discovered several author-friendly discussion threads on the Amazon forums. I first tried posting a brief mention of my book, Darlin’ Druid, on one of the romance (historical, I think) forum threads a couple months ago. I immediately got shot down for daring to invade the readers’ territory. That scared me away for a while, but I finally decided to give it another try, this time on the western romance forum. And I’m happy to say I found some fellow authors who like to share info about their books and their writing experiences. Then, today, I found another good thread on the paranormal romance forum. Check them out:

“Have You written a Western Romance? Indies Post here.” — in the western romance forum

“western romance” discussion in the western romance forum

“I miss my indie and small Pubbed authors” – in the paranormal romance forum

Jaw-dropping Review for Darlin’ Druid

DD just received a tremendous review from Todd Fonseca on the Tag My Book at Amazon! site. Here is an excerpt:

“This is an engaging, page turning, can’t put it down, don’t know where the time went, read. In fact, when I received Horner’s book I had already started Steig Larsson’s “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”; having finished the first two books in Larsson’s series I was anxious to complete the third. But I picked up Horner’s book and frankly the pace was so much faster and the book more engaging that I put best selling Hornet aside in favor of finishing Horner’s book.”

If you would like to read the entire review please visit: http://tagmybookonamazon.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/book-review-darlin-druid/

I’d rather be writing!

Glued to my laptop as usual, but not doing any actual writing. Instead, I’m working, working, working on photo pages for Six Cats in My Kitchen. It was fun for a while but now it’s really becoming a chore. Finding photos, scanning them in, sizing, cropping, combining them in a pleasing (I hope) arrangement on each page — it all take loads of time, too much time.

Making matters worse, I am so disgusted with jpeg saves! It requires several saves to produce a finished page of photos, and with each save edges between colors become more blurred. I’ve tried cleaning up the edges, but it’s a colossal waste of time. They show up blurred again after the next save. Does anyone out there have a solution to this problem? I’m an amateur at this kind of thing and could really use some help.

I just want to be done with this mess and get back to writing. Feeling frustrated in Fort Worth!

Shy Tiger


Youngest of the six cats, Tiger is still with us. She came to us in the dead of winter, another stray in need of a home. Although she loves to be petted, she does not like to be held and is wary of strangers.  During the summer she lives outside even on the hottest days, but when cold weather sets in she retreats indoors and spends most of her time curled up on a blanket. She’s getting old, occasionally limps with arthritis but still holds her own among her newer housemates, sometimes chasing one young tomcat around the house just to show him who’s boss.