The Ransomware that Took Out My Desktop

The Ransomware that invaded my desktop was called Zeus.

Trend Micro says, “Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid.” To learn how Ransomware arrives on a computer, click the link in this paragraph and read Trend Micro’s post.

The Ransomware that invaded my desktop on February 12, 2017 popped up on the right screen through Firefox and my g-mail account.

The invasion took place in stages.

I use three browsers: Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox and two are often running at the same time since I use two screens with my desktop. The left screen is used for Google Chrome and the right screen for Firefox.

My first attempt was to restore my system to an earlier date but there was no early date. I think Zeus got rid of that option because that has never happened before. Restore has always worked to deal with similar problems, but not this time.

Zeus took over my right screen on Sunday and flashed a loud message that I had to obey or else. It was noisy and irritating. To get rid of it, I deleted the Firefox browser from my computer.

I thought I’d defeated the threat, but I was wrong.

Google Chrome kept working and Zeus didn’t appear again.  It wasn’t until late Monday morning on February 13 that I couldn’t access any of the files stored on the desktop’s hard drive. Then the desktop stopped working.

I now know that Symantec.com offers a free removal tool for Zeus. “Our free tool will check if your computer is infected by Gameover Zeus and remove the Trojan if it’s found.” In fact, most if not all computer security programs like Norton offer some protection from Ransomware.

Zeus isn’t the only Ransomware out there, so beware.

The security program I was using at the time of the Zeus attack was Bitdefender and it had been offering me Ransomware protection for several weeks at no additional cost, but every time I attempted to accept it, I found the process too time-consuming and confusing, so I didn’t follow through. If it had been a simple and easy process, that ransomware protection would have been active.

Anyway, don’t do what I did. After I deleted Firefox from my desktop, I used Google Chrome and continued to use both of my screens through that one browser. I never saw the Zeus pop-up Ransomware screen again, but Zeus was still there hidden away in my operating system eating it.

On Tuesday, a friend recommended that I take my desktop to R Computer that another combat vet he knew, who has trust issues, swore by.

The R Computer tech said that there is no 100-percent protection from a computer virus like the Zeus Ransomware. Some security programs are just better than others.

The R Computer tech struggled valiantly through the rest of the week to get rid of Zeus and recover the desktop’s operating system, programs, and files, but there was no easy fix because the hard drive was also dead.

The stress from the Zeus virus must have shortened the harddrive’s lifespan.

Nothing lasts forever and hard drives have lifespans too. To find out if there is an average lifespan for hard drives, I turned to LifeHacker.com . Life Hacker says, “Any hard drive in active use is essentially a ticking bomb. Let’s be honest: It’s not a matter of if a hard drive fails, it’s a matter of when, and how lucky you’ll get postponing that as long as possible. If you’re really lucky, it’ll be after you’ve upgraded to a new one. If you’re unlucky, it’ll be in a matter of months or years, and when it does die, we can only hope you’ve made sure to back up your computer before it happens.”

As the week slipped by without a computer and internet access, I felt lost, but adjusted and started to read more from real books and go out more often. I even went on a 3-mile solo walk, something I seldom do since I prefer walking with a friend or a group. It didn’t take long before I realized that the internet and social media is an addiction that destroys life in the real world outside of cyberspace.

Planning to spend more time away from the computer, I wondered if there was a 12-step program to help. If you are interested, I Googled “cyber addiction” and found ITAA, Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous that offers a 12-step program.

If it was only the internet and social media at stake, I might not be here writing this post, but I’m an author with an addiction for writing that I don’t want to get rid of, and my next book is going through final revisions before I send it off to an editor.  That’s why I bought the laptop last Friday that I’m now using.

I’m glad I’ve been backing up my files on a regular daily basis for more than a decade. 

My desktop is still in the shop. When it comes home, it will have a new solid-state hard drive (with a longer lifespan). and my programs and files will be on it ready for me to get started again.

I have two large 27-inch screens that have been sitting dark for a week, and the 15-inch screen on the new laptop is small in comparison. I admit it. The larger screens spoiled me.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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The Latest Trump Twitter-Tantrum Alleges the Press Isn’t Covering Enough Terrorist Attacks

The world, except for Russia and North Korea, is concerned. The UK’s Independent reports, “More and more mental health experts are sharing their diagnoses to warn the public.”

The malignant narcissist President Littlefingers (this is the street name I gave him) Donald Trump’s latest Cry Wolf, the Sky is Falling, is that the media is ignoring attacks by Islamist militants in Europe. He acts like an infant in diapers crying for another piece of candy, another sip of soda, and when he doesn’t get what he wants, he gets angry and often Throws another Twitter Tantrum spewing more lies; more misinformation.

Foreign Policy Magazine said on February 7, 2017, the White House “released a list of 78 terrorist attacks it claimed were not widely reported. The list included the attacks in Paris, Nice, San Bernardino, Brussels, and Berlin that received massive, wall-to-wall coverage in print and broadcast media.”

The Daily Wire lists 101 of Trump’s Greatest Lies. “But there’s only one truly massive liar in this race: Donald Trump. When Politico attempted to measure how many lies Trump told over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches, they found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes. When Huffington Post catalogued his lies over the course of just one town hall event, they came up with 71 lies.”

And this is from the popular-vote losing President of the so-called free world. The biggest documented liar on the planet rants that the press is very dishonest.

Reuters, a European news service, reports, “Trump at one point cited attacks in the French cities of Paris and Nice, which were widely covered.”

During the election campaign, Littlefingers often claimed the election was rigged but if the won, it didn’t matter. The UK’s Daily Mail reported, He (Trump) joked about voter fraud and said it would be ‘okay’ for people to cheat because he might actually benefit.

During the election, the malignant narcissi said he wouldn’t lose his (deplorable, ignorant, racist, biased) supporters even if he shot someone dead in Times Square in front of thousands of witnesses.

When this tantrum-throwing toddler claimed the election was rigged, he was right.

There was widespread voter suppression of minorities in several Republican-dominated States. The Atlantic reported, “Trump’s ‘Voter Suppression Operation’ Targets Black Voters. Even as the Republican launches a purported African American outreach campaign 12-days before the election, his aides say their goal is to depress turnout in the bloc.”

The Republican Party helped. Think Progress reports, “Republicans were wildly successful at suppressing voters in 2016.”  … “Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed studentsthe poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party.”

Using the internet, an operation approved by Vladimir Putin, Russians tampered with the election by spreading gossip, rumors, and lies, to mislead as many American voters as possible. Reuters reports, “For Russia, U.S. election meddling claims strip Trump win of luster.” … “The belief, widely held in the West, that the Kremlin helped discredit Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by orchestrating embarrassing media leaks, has relegated U.S.-Russia relations to a post-Cold War low and stoked fears Russia will try to subvert French and German elections this year.”

In addition, the director of the FBI, a life-long conservative, released information on investigations of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails before those investigations were concluded. The FBI and police do not release information for ongoing investigations. This was a first. After it was too late, those investigations concluded there was nothing to take to court.

Media matters reports, “The recent FBI leaks about the bureau’s investigations surrounding Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are “dangerous” for democracy and “unprecedented,” according to FBI historians and former agents who tell Media Matters that the leaks harm the FBI’s reputation and unfairly influence the presidential election.

Rewire says, “Our democracy is in danger. Within a day of taking office, President Donald Trump began spewing lies right and left on national television. He has threatened freedom of speech and of assembly by attacking both journalists and protesters. And he’s repeatedly and falsely claimed there was massive voter fraud in the national election, setting the stage for another round of voter restrictions. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway calls the administration’s lies ‘alternative facts,’ but what we are really seeing is propaganda, conspiracy theories, and lies.”

The Republican Party holds the majority in both Houses of Congress and is doing little to nothing to safeguard the U.S. Constitution from its lying, con-man president who won an obviously rigged election that favored him.

Everything most of the people of United States want to believe in about their country is at risk. Everything!

Business Insider tells us the United States has 1,920 deployed nuclear warheads and another 5,380 warheads in storage ready to use. This malignant narcissist of a president always has his little fingers close to the button that launches those missiles.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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The Nightmare for Everyone on the Planet that some Clinical Psychologists call A Dream Come True

How dangerous is President Donald Trump? The answer is that he is very dangerous, and what does that mean?

Malignant Narcissism Described by Psychologia.com

“If you are hearing about malignant narcissism for the first time, you may be wondering how is that different from narcissistic personality disorder or simply narcissism. Isn’t narcissism malignant in itself? …

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a destructive preoccupation with one’s own personal adequacy, power and prestige. People with this disorder crave for admiration, have an unreasonably strong sense of entitlement and are often preoccupied with unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty and ideal love. Unlike malignant narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder is defined as a mental illness in DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the Fifth Edition). …

“Campbells’ Psychiatric Dictionary defines malignant narcissism as a mix of narcissism, antisocial personality disorder, aggression and sadism. …

“the Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychology has described the film American Psycho as a screen illustration of malignant narcissism.”

Vanity Fair.com reports, “For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. ‘Remarkably narcissistic,’ said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. ‘Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,’ echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. ‘He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. ‘Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.’”

Officer.com shows us The Malignant Narcissist.

“Malignant narcissists seek omnipotence and total control, and will attempt to achieve those goals by any means. They will defy those in authority, challenge them, and attempt to demean them. Narcissists cast themselves as victims, justifying all of their feelings and actions. They blame all of their shortcomings on perceived enemies. …

“Malignant narcissists are predators who hunt easy prey. Being a predator puts the narcissist in the class of psychopathology; in fact all psychopaths are narcissists. Serial bullies, serial adulterers, gold-diggers, pedophiliac priests, rapists, child molesters, terrorists and serial killers are all examples of malignant narcissists. They prey on others simply for ego gratification. They are able to violate the rights of others because they are incapable of feeling empathy for anyone else. They tend to view others as objects or tools, to further exploit for their sense of entitlement. …

“There has been no real success in treating people with NPD. Those who commit the most heinous offenses are frequently repeat offenders (rapists, pedophiles, serial killers). There is no magic medicine to cure a personality disorder, and talk therapy isn’t the answer with predators.”

Officer.com is “Law Enforcement’s leading source for News, Training, Jobs and Online Forums for local, county, state and federal law enforcement police and officers.”

Learn more about Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States:

The Mind of Donald Trump

‘Malignant narcissism’: Donald Trump displays classic traits of mental illness, claim psychologists. More and more mental health experts are sharing their diagnoses to warn the public

Temperament Tantrum

Some say President Donald Trump’s personality isn’t just flawed, it’s dangerous

NOTE: This morning on another forum, I was accused of an ad hominem attack for calling Donald Trump by the street name I have given him, LittlefingersHowever, in some cases, ad hominem attacks can be non-fallacious; i.e., if the attack on the character of the person is directly tackling the argument itself. For example, if the truth of the argument relies on the truthfulness of the person making the argument—rather than known facts—then pointing out that the person has previously lied is not a fallacious argument.

The 45th President of the United States is a known conman, a fraud, a serial liar, an alleged serial sex offender, a malignant narcissist, and he has earned the street name of Littlefingers.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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Thank you for asking me to review your book, but …

Occasionally, an e-mail arrives in my overcrowded inbox—like one did today—from an author asking me to review a book, and 99.9 percent of the time I say no. Then I offer advice on where to seek reviews from what I have learned since I launched my first title in December 2007.

Does that mean I don’t read books?  Of course I read books. I have exactly sixteen very patient tree-books waiting on my bedside table. Some have been waiting to be read for months. I also have four audio books (on CDs) waiting for me to review. These days, I read more books with my ears than my eyes.

Hint—ask avid readers for reviews who don’t write books. The odds of hearing a yes might be better.

The reason why I don’t accept 99.9 percent of books authors ask me to review is due to the fact that I’m usually spending fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM working on my next book, or promoting the books I’ve already published. For instance, it’s Sunday and I’ve been at it since before 6:00 this morning. I did take a break to walk two miles and eat. I’m eating now as I write this and it’s almost 4:00 PM.

I even force myself to get out of my chair and walk to the bathroom when the call comes, and Monday through Friday, I spend an hour a day exercising with weights and aerobics—something I get out of the way as early as possible.

Here’s some of the advice I offer:

I understand the hunger for reviews, so I suggest starting out with a Library Thing Giveaway in addition to hiring an internet publicist—my publicist is Teddy Rose—for a few hundred dollars to arrange a book blog tour that might generate a few more reviews that appear on Amazon and on blogs that review the book.

You might even want to attempt a Goodreads Giveaway, but be warned, there are trolls who are members of Goodreads dedicated to trashing books—that they never read—with rotten reviews and 1-star ratings, and that even happens on Amazon. Trolls are mean, sneaky, mentally ill people addicted to anonymously hurting others, and standing up to them just motivates the trolls to be meaner. Consider these trolls to be the Ebola virus of the internet. If you question why there are such people on the earth, think about Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

You may not know this, but last year when I decided to stand up to a flock of Goodreads trolls who attacked me and my work, one of them predicted my career as an author was over—more than seven thousand copies of my work has been sold since that flame war.

Once a book has garnered enough positive reviews to be considered, I suggest submitting to sites such as BookBub or eReaderNews Today and then, if they accept the book for a paid e-mail blast advertisement—you have to offer it for sale at a reduced price or for free—be aware that not everyone who reads a book will review it, but a few might.

For instance, My Splendid Concubine had an e-mail blast from BookBub earlier this month, and the book has already garnered two, great 5-star reviews from verified purchases and one review from a troll that wasn’t a verified purchase—most trolls are too cheap to even pay 99 cents for a book they plan to trash. Since this June’s BookBub blast, as of this morning, Concubine has sold more than 3,000 copies.

There’s also eBookBooster to announce a book that is going on sale. Click the link and discover for yourself what eBookBooster offers and what it costs, and never forget that there are no guarantees for anything you do as an author to promote your work.

The truth is that for most authors, it takes time, patience and persistence to attract readers, reviews and build an audience. Because there’s a lot of competition from other authors, that means readers and sites like BookBub get to reject books and even ignore them if they aren’t interested.

There’s also another reputable site I know of to submit a book for a possible review, but even The Midwest Book Review only accepts about a third of the books sent to them. For instance, Midwest reviewed my first book, My Splendid Concubine, but didn’t review my second book, Running with the Enemy.

Midwest will not tell you that they haven’t accepted your book for a review or the reason why. What happens when a book is not reviewed by Midwest is that you will never hear from them. If they review the book, they will contact you and send you a copy of the review.

Also, be aware that Amazon will not allow sites like Midwest to post reader reviews. That doesn’t mean Midwest sells fake reviews, but it does mean that Amazon has a policy not to allow any review that was paid for to be posted on their site as a reader review.

Midwest reviews are free for paperbacks but not for e-books. Because Midwest charges a fee for e-books submitted to be reviewed, that disqualifies all Midwest reviews from being posted on Amazon as reader reviews even though they are reader reviews. Here’s my disclaimer—I have never paid Midwest for a review, because I have always submitted paperback copies to them.

Does that mean reviews that Amazon will not allow to be posted on their site can’t appear on the Amazon page of your book?

Unless Amazon changes their policies and rules, any reviews that Amazon rejects as a reader review may be posted through Amazon Author Central. To see what I mean, I suggest you visit the Amazon pages for My Splendid Concubine and Running with the Enemy.  Scroll down and read each Book Description and/or the Editorial Reviews section, where the awards and some pull quotes from reviews are posted. These appear before the reader reviews.

These are legitimate awards and reviews that come from reputable sources. The literary contests charged entry fees for juried literary contests that offer no guarantee that a book will earn an award. In fact, I have been told by the book festival organizers that less than five percent of submissions earn awards.

In addition, next time someone tells you that it’s wrong to pay a fee to enter a literary contest, consider this: The National Book Award that is announced in the national media annually, charges an entry fee of $135 for each title submitted, and the Pulitzer Prize charges authors/publishers a $50 entry fee and again charges to attend the award ceremony where an author, who is a finalist, might not win. The National Book Award and the Pulitzer are considered by the media to be two of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States and possibly the world.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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Freedom of Speech and its limits

Recently some internet sites have been pumping out news and opinions reporting the reaction to Goodreads cracking down on those few who victimized authors with the goal of destroying reputations and careers in publishing. Some of the comments in this debate are angry; some are celebrating, and some are waiting to see if these changes are real.

I’m not going to go into detail about this issue. Instead, I want to look closely at freedom of speech and its limitations.

Do sites such as Goodreads and Amazon have a right to define limits to freedom of expression on their private sector internet sites? The answer is yes as you will discover.


The Limitations of Free Speech

If you read the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution carefully [it is short and to the point], you will discover that it was clearly meant to protect the opinions of American citizens from government harassment and persecution and in no way does freedom of speech mean you can say or write anything you want anywhere at any time without fear of censorship.

For example, Censorship in America.com says, “For much of the nation’s history, the First Amendment was not held to apply to states and municipalities.  Entities without any prohibition in their own charters [in the private sector these charters are known as terms of use] were free to censor newspaper, magazines books, plays, movies, comedy shows and so on. Many did, as exemplified by the phrase banned in Boston.”

It wasn’t until the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren [he served as Chief Justice 1953 – 1969] that the 1st Amendment was extended to local government—with no mention that freedom of expression in the private sector was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Shaw Valenza.com says, “Federal free speech protections apply only to the government. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for example, does not regulate private employers.”

North Iowa Today.com says, “A private-sector employer has a lot of latitude as to what’s permitted or not with respect to political speech, or pushing any view for that matter.”


The Consensus of the Public

In conclusion, “The [U.S. Supreme] Court has also decided that the First Amendment provides less than full protection to commercial speech, defamation (libel and slander), speech that may be harmful to children, speech broadcast on radio and television, and public employees’ speech. … Furthermore, even speech that enjoys the most extensive First Amendment protection may be restricted on the basis of its content if the restriction passes strict scrutiny.”

Even international law says, “Freedomofexpression is not absolute and every system of law provides for some limitations on it: For respect of the rights or reputations of others; for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals. This means that it is permissible to think the most evil and depraved thoughts, although giving expression to them may legitimately warrant a sanction.” Source: Centre for Law and Democracy

For sites such as Goodreads and Amazon, those restrictions are spelled out in their Terms of Use Agreements and these private sector businesses reserve the right to change the Terms of Use at any time.

Goodreads concludes its Terms of Use with “IMPORTANT: These Terms & Conditions of Service for Goodreads Services (“Agreement”) is a legal agreement between you and Goodreads Inc. By using or accepting the Services, you agree to be bound by the terms of this Agreement. If you do not agree to the Terms of this Agreement, do not use these Services. You agree that your use of the services acknowledges that you have read this Agreement, understand it, and agree to be bound by its Terms and Conditions.” For more details about the Goodreads Terms of Use, I suggest you click on the link and read them.

And if you go to Amazon’s Terms of Use, and you will discover, “Visitors may post reviews, comments and other content; and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable and does not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of ‘spam.’ You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead as to the origin of a card or other content. AWS reserves the right (but not the obligation) to remove or edit such content, but does not regularly review posted content.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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Watch out for Murphy’s Law when promoting a book

Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

True, it happened to an advertisement of “My Splendid Concubine” scheduled to run Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

I’ll explain what happened later.

In this post, I want to share some examples of what I have done to promote my work—with results. Also more examples of Murphy’s Law.

“My Splendid Concubine” came out December 2007. But I started researching the main character—Sir Robert Hart—in 1999. The research; revisions and editing continued for more than a decade. Along the way, I researched China’s history and culture and made several trips to China with my wife and daughter. It also helped that my wife was born in China and is Anchee Min, the author of “Red Azalea”, a “New York Times Notable Book of the Year” (early 1990s) that also won the “Carl Sandburg Award”. My wife would go on to write six historical-fiction novels with China as her subject, and her last book—“The Cooked Seed”, a memoir—was published this year.

Anchee is my go-to person when I have questions about China’s history, art and culture.

This week I ran my third internet advertising campaign through the Authors Marketing Club.  The ad was supposed to run on March 25 listing a .99ȼ sale price— reduced from $3.99. Instead—this is where Murphy’s Law comes in—the ad ran on the free page and there were hardly any sales. No surprise there. Imagine someone expecting a free book discovering it selling for ninety-nine cents. I sent an e-mail to the Authors Marketing Club alerting them about the glitch, and I’ll update this post if I hear back from them.

Although I have offered free, review copies through Goodreads (10 paperback copies); Library Thing (25 paperback copies), and complementary copies for internet book-blog tours, I have never run a free giveaway for the “My Splendid Concubine” e-book, and I don’t think I ever will.  Ninety-nine cents is as cheap as it’s going to get.

Why?

Mainly because in 2008, a copyright pirate—without permission—offered the 1st edition of “My Splendid Concubine” as a free pirated download, and it hit #1 on the piracy download list that year.

Being the number-one most pirated book in 2008 isn’t exactly something to fall in love with.

I discovered the piracy while I was shopping one day, and a clerk at Fry’s [the electronics warehouse] recognized my name because he read about the novel breaking records being downloaded from pirated sites—it seems that there were tens of thousands of downloads. I think this is another example of Murphy’s Law.

Expecting the ad through the Author Marketing Club to run on Wednesday, I announced the sale through Twitter early Wednesday morning, and I think the following tweets resulted in maybe three or four sales that day.  But the sale will continue through October 1.

 99ȼ -75% off@ http://goo.gl/gHVuVB City Weekend Magazine says “a stunning work”; Midwest Book Review said “highly recommended”

#OnSale 99ȼ@ #iTunes http://goo.gl/5iQpu #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

#OnSale 99ȼ @ #Kobo http://goo.gl/Au8gM9 #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

#OnSale 99ȼ @ #Nook http://goo.gl/OZytMX #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

“Probably the best book I have read since Lonesome Dove” is #OnSale @ #Amazon http://goo.gl/gHVuVB  MySplendidConcubine #LoveStory #awards

Kindle_LR_e-book_cover_MSC_July_25_2013e-book cover (the paperback has a different cover)

Promoting “My Splendid Concubine” has been an ongoing job that I started in 2008 with Internet book-blog tours in addition to author events at several local independent brick-and-mortar bookstores in the Bay area. I was also a guest on thirty traditional, broadcast-radio talk shows—a few of those interviews may still be around as podcasts. There is a link or two in the top bar on the book’s Website @ My Splendid Concubine.

Then in 2010, I took more than one workshop and learned how to Blog properly and launched several Blogs: iLook China.net; Crazy Normal; The Soulful Veteran, and Anything Goes @ Lloyd Lofthouse.org where this post appears.

For more than three years I relied on blogging to promote my work and the sales numbers indicate that the posts I was writing for my blogs worked. For example, iLookChina has had almost a half-million visits to the site.

And in 2008—without the blogs—“My Splendid Concubine” only sold 221 copies, and in 2009, 341 copies.

Judge for yourself if building a proper author-platform blog pays off—In 2010, Concubine sold  2,375 copies; in 2011, 4,641, and in 2012, 4,158.

In 2013, I decided to advertise on the internet, and my first ad ran on BookBub on June 17. I kept the price at .99ȼ for a week before changing it back to $3.99. That first ad campaign through BookBub resulted in the sale of almost 3,000 copies that month and the highest royalty check I’ve earned so far for one month’s sales.

The second ad campaign ran through eReader News Today (ENT) and that ad ran on September 1, and the sale stretched for one week @ 99ȼ.  Three-hundred-sixty-four copies sold while the price was discounted.

Total sales of Concubine have reached more than 16,000 since it was first published and continues to sell a few copies daily even when it isn’t on sale. For example, between the two September sales the book sold more than sixty copies at the full price of $3.99.

Over the years, the novel has placed in fifteen juried literature festivals where less than 5% of entries earn awards and it has been reviewed by the Midwest Book Review.

Although Midwest charges a reading fee to submit an e-book for a review, there is no fee to submit a paperback for a review, and I have only submitted paperbacks to this review site that was established in 1976 to serve academic library organizations in California, Wisconsin, and the upper Midwest. It selects about 450 books to review out of the 1,500 submitted each month.

The Midwest Book Review said “My Splendid Concubine” was a strong pick for historical fiction collections and was highly recommended.

Most authors who want to find readers and sell books must promote his or her work. In this post, I have briefly outlined what I have done to find readers for my work. This has been my experience and in no way guarantees a similar experience for other authors.

There is one more example of Murphy’s law interfering with a book launch. In March of this year a tribe of cyber-sociopaths attacked me and my second novel, “Running with the Enemy” as it was being launched, and this attack resulted in a number of 1-star ratings on Goodreads from anonymous bullies who never read the book, and the first review on Amazon—1-star from a troll called Miss M, who never bought or read the book. There is a comment thread for that 1-star review littered with attacks from cyber sociopaths all linked to the same Goodreads group—along with Miss M who is also a member of that tribe. The group calls itself Badly Behaving Authors and some of the members of that group are authors so the name fits.

But promote you must—if you want to find readers—and as I have discovered, the journey can sometimes be full of potholes as described by Murphy’s Law.

Discover Anchee’s Website

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

Did Calibre and/or Bing hijack my opening page on Google Chrome?

Warning!!

Avoid Calibre’s free ebook management program—even if it is offered through CNET. In fact, I suggest you avoid anything from Calibre.

Here’s why: a few weeks ago I was looking for software that would allow me to convert a Microsoft Word File into the three major e-book formats. I already had software to convert a Word file into PDF and EPUB but not for Mobi.

I learned too late that Kindle makes it easy for an author to convert a copy of a novel to the Mobi format. But by then it was too late because Calibre had hijacked my Google Chrome opening page.

I log onto the Internet through Google Chrome, Firefox Mozilla and Microsoft Explorer. I keep buttons for all three of these web browsers on my bottom tool bar so I may click and log on.

And if one browser is having a bad day, I may use one or both of the others. Check the embedded screen shot that shows the opening page that Calibre—a cyber-crook—slipped into my system without my permission, and you will see what I mean.

Caliber Bing Hijack

Anyway, I wanted to buy the software on a CD—less risk of hitchhiker viruses or Trojans hijacking the computer. I went to Fry’s, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and Staples. No one sold software on a CD that would do the conversions I wanted. I then checked Amazon and e-bay.

The only program I found that claimed it would do what I wanted was Calibre.

Calibre is a free and open source e-book computer software application suite—with surprises you may not want—that organizes, saves and manages e-books, supporting a variety of formats. It also supports e-book syncing with a variety of popular e-book readers and will, within DRM restrictions, convert e-books between differing formats.

To be safe, I went to CNET where I hoped to find a free download of Caliber without those unwanted hitchhikers.  No luck.  During the download process, my Kaspersky Internet Security went crazy so I cancelled the download but not before the damage had been done.

After I discovered what Calibre had planted on my computer, I ran the Uninstall Program—the one that comes with the Microsoft system software—and discovered that Caliber had stored junk in more than two dozen locations on my hard disk—all were deleted.

But not the one that remains hidden to this day.

I then did a complete system restore but no dice. Calibre had somehow hijacked Google Chrome on my desktop. And I can’t get rid of it. Even after calling two technicians and spending hours on the phone struggling to get rid of what Calibre planted somewhere on my hard drive.

By the way, does Bing (aka Microsoft) own Caliber? Is Caliber a Trojan horse for Microsoft that hijacks computers so Microsoft’s Bing search engine appears first when a victim—like me—logs on to the internet through Google Chrome?

Any ideas on how to get rid of this unwanted pest?

UPDATE: February 6, 2014:

Recently, while updating my computer through Microsoft, html code that wasn’t part of Google Chrome was detected, and I was asked if I wanted it deleted. I clicked yes and that seems to have done the trick to rid my computer of the unwanted Caliber/Bing Trojan horse.

Discover” Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”