TaleCatcher™ News

October 2003  

Bill Neugent's picture

News and entertainment
for readers, writers, and cybersecurity geeks
from TaleCatcher.com and Bill Neugent

  You've Got To Be Kidding
  Treasure Hunt Clue
  News Headlines
  Whining and Dining


Welcome to new subscribers from E-Gov. Because many are receiving this free monthly newsletter for the first time, let me tell you what it’s about. Regular subscribers, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

TaleCatcher news has four regular sections:

  • You’ve Got To Be Kidding. My choice of the most humorous or peculiar cybersecurity event of the prior month.

  • Treasure Hunt Clue. A hint to help readers find the message hidden in the book (and in the sample pages posted on our web site). The prize is $1,000 and recent clues have brought this contest within reach.

  • Headline News. Adventures in book promotion. This includes successes, failures, and experiences in marketing my novel that might be of interest to friends, fans, and fellow writers.

  • Whining and Dining. Restaurant experiences mainly in Northern Virginia.

During September, a movie studio inquired about film rights for the novel and Jill and I set up the lone author booth at a tradeshow of publishers and booksellers. Also, the Naked in Cyberspace poster series continued, with the unveiling of the naked cat. Check out those stories and more in News Headlines.

Bill Neugent
The Amazon top-500 author of No Outward Sign

Buy the book on: Amazon.com or read sample news coverage.

You've Got to Be Kiddng icon

You've Got To Be Kidding

Spam plumbed new depths with the note that advertised, “Spy on Anyone by sending them an E-Greeting Card!” Below the graphic, large type directed the recipient to “Click here.” Right. A firm that claims to surreptitiously install spyware when someone clicks through to their e-cards tells you to click through to their site for information. A snippet of dialogue comes to mind.

Legal counsel for spammer: “Let me get this right. You’re accusing my client of doing to you what you planned to do to others?”

What might spyware do? I did not click through to find out. It’s certainly possible for spyware to record every keystroke on the target machine, package them up, and spirit them away. Heck, it could also record what’s said in the vicinity of the target computer. And if the target has a web cam… Well. See you later.

You've Got To Be Kidding Archives

Treasure Hunt Clue icon

Treasure Hunt Clue

This month’s clue is that the author’s notes and acknowledgments are part of the book. Combine this tidbit with the summary of clues in the September newsletter and you could win $1,000. The sharp-eyed person who spots the hidden message is going to slap a high-five against his or her forehead and wonder why it took so long.

As always, remember that this is a game of skill and no purchase is necessary.

News Headlines icon

News Headlines

Okay, so you’re wondering about the film studio. It’s a Los Angeles studio that does both mainstream movies and TV movies. Turns out a long-time cybersecurity acquaintance read the novel, liked it, and passed it on to his daughter, a film producer with a can-she-really-be-this-young voice. She had her people read it; they “loved it” and drafted a report for the top guy. The producer asked whether I’d sold the film rights, since she didn’t want to pursue the opportunity otherwise. Pursue away, I told her. They say Hollywood is an old-boy network, that it’s all who you know. Never thought my connection would be through a young woman I’d never met.

The quest for extreme marketing humiliation continued with an excursion to a tradeshow of publishers and booksellers at the glitzy Borgata casino hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. What could I do to get noticed, I wondered? Easy. Rent a booth on the tradeshow floor, the only author booth in a sea of booksellers and publishers. Hey, I might be different from the rest of them, but at least I could Be a Good NAIBA.

What else does an author do to get noticed and sell books? What’s worked best for me have been speeches. I did two during the month, the most prominent being a luncheon keynote speech to 160 people at an E-Gov Information Assurance conference. Two sold-out E-Gov book signings followed that talk. A week later came the role of conference chair at an Information Superiority conference.

Other promotion experiences were routine, a three-way video teleconference meeting with the MITRE Knowledge Management Book Club (thank you Antoinette Arsic), an interview with Alison Stern-Dunyak, a delightful MITRE reporter, and a telephone interview with journalist Sharon Gaudin, who had the session published and posted on a Datamation eZine within hours of our chat. Other web sites and at least one email list picked up the story, generating some online sales.

At this point, many of you surely are disappointed. For the past two months this otherwise modest newsletter has featured a naked gal and a naked guy, both serving the shameless purpose of drawing attention to the novel. Those of you who hunger for more flesh will not be disappointed, for the Naked in Cyberspace series this month features a naked cat (1,011 KB file). Okay, maybe this wasn’t what you had in mind, but at the NAIBA tradeshow all three naked images were featured on T-shirts and the image that drew the most attention, hands down, was the cat.

Whining and Dining icon

Whining and Dining

As a not-for-profit, work-in-the-public-interest guy by day, it is difficult to admit to bribery. But for years, bribes worked to get us wonderful tables by the fire at Old Anglers Inn in Potomac, Maryland. The maitre d' always protested, I always insisted, he always took the money, and he always gave us a great table. We had a relationship that worked both ways, a partnership. Then Old Anglers changed hands and my friend disappeared. I felt as though I’d lost a member of the family, and we definitely lost that seat by the fire. Ouch.

Imagine my delight to find my old partner now a host at L’Auberge Chez Francois. The trouble is, there’s nothing to buy. We only visit L’Auberge to dine on their terrace, which by the way has the most spectacular ambience of any outdoor restaurant in the D.C. area, thank you, no contest. The incredible thing about their terrace is that they don’t take reservations. Those are taken only for indoor tables and you have to call weeks in advance. For the far-superior outdoor tables, you just stroll in a few minutes before they open. Voila. We can do that. The thing is, all their tables are great. Bribery is unnecessary. I felt so sorry for my old partner.

The food? It’s fine but nowhere near as phenomenal as the restaurant guides say. For an in-depth assessment of a meal, see Kathy Wang’s web log. One feature we enjoy is the assortment of veggies. We ordered a beef entree with two meaty medallions and a vegetarian entree and split them. The vegetarian dish had maybe ten different veggies! This was awesome. I once ordered the vegetarian entree at the Hunan Lion in Vienna and they dumped before me a colossal mound of a green leafy thing they might have found on a beach at low tide. I didn’t know what it was and didn’t want to know. At L’Auberge, I recognized everything on my plate. Taken singly, each was routine. In aggregation, the dish was delightful. As usual for us, the culinary high point proved to be the berry tart, in the classic French style so rarely found in the U.S.



For something different, visit Bill and Jill's book-signing, antiques, and crafts booth at the MITRE Craft Fair & Flea Market on Saturday, 25 October, 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, in the MITRE 1 parking lot at 7525 Colshire Drive, McLean, VA. You'll be able to buy books, the Naked-series T-shirts, and other oddities. For the holidays, remember that a signed book is a great gift. The rain date is 1 November.

Throughout August and September, reality emulated my novel with worms and blackouts. Spread the word by recommending my talk: Cyberterrorism; We’re Toast. The talk gives the story behind the news, is informative and entertaining, and is in great demand. Mandatory honoraria are coming, although I’d prefer organizers buy copies of the novel rather than give me a fee. So far, six groups have bought almost 800 copies and several other groups are considering purchases. Of course, if the organizers don’t buy books for the crowd, then I need to be able to sell and sign books after the talk. Think of this not as an ad, but as a public service announcement, since the novel raises awareness about our national vulnerability to cyberterrorism.

Enjoying this newsletter and wish there were more to read? Try the novel. Several people have likened the writing style to that of Robert Ludlum. Incidentally, hardcover copies are now available from Amazon.com and bn.com.

Buy No Outward Sign


Copyright Information

© 2003 Bill Neugent, All rights reserved. You are free to use material from this TaleCatcher™ News eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include the following attribution:

From Bill Neugent's TaleCatcher™ News eZine. Please visit his web site at http://www.talecatcher.com for more news, tips, and entertainment.


Final Notes

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