Starting 2014 right

CounterattackThis is gonna be a good year. I’ve got a feeling.

So far, I’ve published a new book, vanquished a thousand spammers, and generally been on a roll. Feels good.

I’ve been quiet lately, on this blog, and with good reason. Finishing the new paperback version of Dinosaur Wars: Counterattack was one long, brutal slog through revision purgatory. And while I grappled with my text, a legion of spammers somehow got wind of my blog site and went after me like there was no tomorrow.

Nonetheless, the book–DW2 I call it for short–is now in print and available all over the world, thanks to Amazon’s very nice CreateSpace publishing service. Even though it’s an Amazon imprint, all book distributers will have it soon, if they don’t have it already. I’m extremely pleased, especially holding my spanking new PROOF copy of the book and admiring its quality immensely. It’s a thang of beauty, as they say.

Simultaneously or thereabouts, I put out new revised texts for the ebook versions of the novel. Those are also working their way through the proper channels and will be available soon, if not already. Here’s a link that will lead you to your favorite version.

So, as you can see, I’ve been busy. So have the spammers.

If I understand this right, there are slobs out there who pay poorer slobs a pathetic wage to sit all day and MANUALLY send individual spams to as many web addresses as they can handle (wow, what an ambition in life!). This makes it tough for anti-spam software, but not impossible.

So the software company that protects my blog’s comment inbox, Akismet, sent me a note or two about how hard life is and wouldn’t I like to pay them in the future for the service they had been providing in the past for free? What with vacationing in Mexico and a dozen revision passes at DW2, I just, well, sort of neglected to answer them.

So a couple weeks ago, my blog’s incoming comments file exploded. I was getting up to a thousand fake “answers” to my blog entries, containing all kinds of links to clothing and drug retail sites (also fake, no doubt). I tried manually deleting them, but soon could see they were coming in faster than I could dump them out.

So I went back and read that last note from Akismet and thought, “Oh, well. Their service is probably worth SOMETHING, anyway.” So I upped for a few bucks and all of a sudden the spam stream went completely dead, just like in the good old days of last month. Whew!

By the way, I wouldn’t expect any of my readers out there to have gotten any of this spam. My blog service does not allow even a single “bounce” to happen with blog comments. That is to say, it never could come into my account and on to yours. That’s always 100% forbidden, lucky for us all.

Anyway, 2014 looks quite promising now. I’ve already got a new book out there. I’ve stopped spam in its tracks. And I’ve got so many story ideas, my only problem is choosing which one to go after.

Hmmm. Maybe the one where spammers all over the world stare blankly at a subliminal flicker on their computer screens, and then rise slowly and walk to the nearest window and jump out. Ooooh–eerie. In a satisfying sort of way.

About Tom Hopp

Thomas P Hopp is a scientist and author living in Seattle. He writes medical thrillers, natural disaster novels, and the Dinosaur Wars science fiction series.
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