Monday, October 8, 2012

Won't somebody please think of the children!

One of the questions that I get occasionally is "Do you think violence is appropriate in a young adult novel?" Only adults ask this. Kids are invariably fine with it, probably because they haven't yet learned that they're expected not to be. If you've seen the movie Stand by Me, you know what I mean: four boys go on an overnight trip just to see a dead body, and maybe poke it with a stick.

There isn't that much violence in Torn from Troy, but the book is set in the Trojan War, after all. Bronze age warfare was much more brutal and personal than warfare today. If you killed someone, you could expect their blood to splash you, and possibly a few organs or body parts.

There is no gratuitous violence in Torn from Troy, and what there is serves a purpose. To tell a story like the Odyssey with no violence would be like telling a story about the Arctic without snow: it's too deeply a part of the landscape for the story to feel real without it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Da blog is back!

Who knew that being an author meant dealing web site hackers? My apologies to everyone who has waited patiently for my blog to come back up. About six months ago, my web site was shut down. Turns out that it had been hacked by someone who was using it to do credit card scams. They hack into your web site, set up a "dummy" web site that looks like a bank web site, then send out a few hundred thousand emails saying "please log into your bank account (at this helpful link) and verify your bank account information. A few of those people will have accounts with that bank, and a few of those in turn will log in and cheerfully type in their account info and password. The hacked web site then emails those to a harvester site, which uses them to get into that bank account and transfer that person's $250 savings to the Cayman Islands. Pretty clever, actually. For those of you who were on my web site, there's no danger. The pages they create aren't even accessible through the link structure of the web site. Only through their email.

My web site hosting company watches for this, and shut down my web site within a few minutes when they saw it. I cleaned out the infestation, brought the site back up and ... same thing a week later. Eventually it became clear that they were getting in through my blog, WordPress. Apparently people keep finding hackable holes in WordPress, and WordPress keeps issuing updates. If you don't apply the update fast enough, you get hacked. Eventually I gave up and removed the blog entirely.

Now that I've got the manuscript for Cursed by the Sea God (the sequel to Torn from Troy) submitted, I've got time for this long-overdue maintenance. So my blog is back up, now courtesy of Let them keep the hackers out! I'm sure they'll be a lot better at it than me.