This week will be noted in history books as a very stressful week for me. Okay, so maybe it will only be my personal, mental history books, but it will never be forgotten. For a couple of hours anyway.
At the top of the list is the never-ending formatting issues with A Fine Mess. Three separate PDF converters, the correct template, about two dozen conversions, and the paperback version is no closer to being available than it was three weeks ago. You know that ‘mouse through the monitor’ thing I sometimes joke about? No, I didn’t actually do it this time…but it was a closer call than normal.
Then there has been the intermittent issue with my car. As in the ignition doesn’t always ‘recognize’ the computer chip in my key. And the battery keeps dying. Even though, in less than a year’s time, I’ve replaced the alternator and battery….twice.
Only that seems to be coming to an end. The new mechanic called me, within half an hour of the tow truck dropping it off, wanting to know if the car had ever had a remote starter. Yup. Sure did. But I haven’t been able to use it in awhile. The tiny little remote that was powerful enough to control a car that probably weighs a ton was pretty darned wimpy when it came to the wash and rinse cycle in a much smaller household appliance.
Apparently the remote thing that was still in the car missed its little buddy though. Because it appears that this thing, hidden in the steering column, continued to try and start the car. For about a year. It never actually succeeded…except in killing batteries and alternators.
Needless to say I’m very happy that I’ll be getting the car back today, free of starting and ignition problems.
These two things, however, don’t hold a candle to the most stressful event of the week. And I’m probably begging for more trouble by writing about this, yet here I go. (A word of advice to other bloggers out there. Evidently it is a really bad idea to use the word homicidal and stalker in the same blog. At least as far as Avast! Antivirus is concerned.)
My website has always had green bars (their rating system), indicating that it’s a good and safe site. Until about two hours after I posted the blog that contained the two words I just mentioned. And not just those two words, but those two words together as a phrase.
I’d gotten a notification about some activity on my Facebook fan page and went to respond, but instead of doing that, my eyes were immediately drawn to a link for my website. Hard not to notice that formerly green bars were now a brilliant red. Yup. My website had been deemed bad and unsafe. I refreshed the page a few times, thinking it had to be a glitch. Or that my eyes were playing tricks on me. But nope. The bars remained red.
I probably overreacted, but I was shocked and horrified to find that my website was now something people would avoid. Red bars mean it’s likely you’ll wind up with a computer virus.
So anyway, long story short, I wound up emailing Avast (twice in about thirty minutes). I explained what the website was, and that there was nothing, to my knowledge, that could possibly be harmful or offensive to other users. I also explained about the blog I’d posted that evening.
Why did I use the words homicidal and stalker? Because the five-book series I’m working on now includes a mystery involving a stalker. And since I’m a coward and don’t watch crime dramas, halfway through the third book, I began to run out of things for my stalker to do. So I made an appeal to writers who read my blog…for ideas.
The next day the bars for my website were gray, meaning no rating. Not great, but at least they were no longer a bright red warning flag. I could live with that. But it seems that Avast actually checked into things because they’re back to green today!
I love Avast. Yes, I was pretty upset over what happened, but I realize that it was simply the antivirus looking out for other users. The system that caused my chin to bruise when it hit the floor over the red bars is the reason I use it. If Avast green-lights a website, I feel safe in visiting it.
I’m also impressed with the way they wasted no time in resolving the issue. And I have every confidence that if the same thing happens today, because I used those two words again, they will continue to impress me.
That said, if anyone has any suggestions to make my stalker a little scarier, please feel free to drop me a note. Which reminds me…thank you, Laura, for all the information you’ve shared with me. My non-stalker characters are going to be in for some nasty surprises based on what you’ve told me. 🙂
***Update. Darn. Looks like there’s still a micro drain on the battery so I’m not getting the car back today after all… Guess I’ll have to spend the time I won’t be driving anywhere admiring my green bars. 🙂