Skeleton Keys: A Horror Story That Will Scare All Writers

Six Ways To Stay Safe Online

  1. Avoid pop-ups and banner ads – you haven’t won anything, those pills won’t work and none of those women are waiting for you in your area.
  2. Keep an eye on what’s running in your system and browser’s background. Pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL on Windows will bring up Task Manager. Don’t recognize it? Head to your nearest search engine and check it out.
  3. Don’t click on suspicious e-mail links and avoid unrecognized attachments. This includes e-mails that look like they’re from the bank, mysterious competition wins and the old favourite relative you can’t remember died.
  4. Clean up your PC. Like with anything else, systems get clogged up over time. Get rid of software you don’t use and clear your browser history (cough…). CCleaner comes recommended.
  5. Keep personal information personal.
  6. Don’t take a rock to a gunfight. Use the latest versions of software – especially an antivirus, which has to be updated regularly.

As a last piece of advice, Malan adds a bit of tech-Zen: “When in doubt, Google.”

Guest post by Alex J Coyne. Alex is a South African author, freelance journalist and language practitioner. His work has appeared on blogs and in national and international publications. He can be found at his blog


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  1. Robin E. Mason

    GREAT ADVICE!!! i tend to err on the side of caution—’cause i’ve lost stuff before! i had a tidbit to add to your list: don’t click on stuff when you’re extremely tired or have to use the loo really badly….. clouds your best judgment!! (and yes, i’ve done this)

  2. Robin

    This. Is AWESOME.
    Thank you so much for the info! Love it!
    Extremely helpful.

  3. Max B

    i heard of authors who kept their manuscripts in the freezer to protect them

  4. Alex J Coyne

    Robin E. – Glad it helps! Not clicking on things when tired is noted; ending an e-mail to an editor with “kind retards” won’t go well! Ironically, studies have shown that a full bladder can increase on-the-spot thinking…

    Max B. – But against what, I wonder?

  5. Basil

    Epic advice, Alex! Simple, but effective! One another writer’s dread is being his work plagiarized by someone. Fortunately, there is special plagiarism detection software as Unplag or iThenticate that help you to protect your original work. Sad but true that currently many law suits with this issue appeared.

  6. Alex J Coyne

    Thank you for the kind words and suggestions, Basil! There’s also CopyScape (to see if you’re accidentally plagiarizing someone else – i.e. Helen Keller and “The Frost King”)…

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