If you write in to the firstname.lastname@example.org account, and get an answer from my private Yahoo account, don't be surprised. It really is me answering. Here's what happened.
I got home from a vacation (my first time off in over two years) only to find that The Worst had happened. In my absence my computer had pined away for me and died. Completely, irrevocably, quite thoroughly died. It had joined the choir invisible. It was pushing up the daisies. It was a non-booter, black-screened, unresponsive hunk of metal that did not respond to anything. It had gone to the Great Spare Parts Land in the sky. It was an ex-computer.
So I did what any sensible, resourceful woman would have done: I burst into tears. And when I was done crying, I picked it up tenderly and took its corpese to Fry's, Electronics, which in my area is the only computer store left, having driven all the other stores out of business.
There I met George, a brilliant young man with wise, but somehow sad eyes, a soft voice, and a sister who liked The Vampire Diaries. He also turned out to be a brilliant repairman because in only a few days he had transferred all my data from my old computer (which had croaked because of a video card that had bitten the dust) onto a sleek new fuel injected PC with two googleplexes of disk space, an automatic redundancy mode, a monitor bigger than most movie theater screens and all sorts of doodads that I don't know how to work. Okay, maybe I'm exagerating a little. But this monitor really is bigger than my TV.
The one thing George couldn't do was to rescue my old Outlook Express files. There was just no way to get them off the old drives.
All was not lost though (I was thinking OH MY GOD! All those contest entries!). I still had my own personal computer guru--the One who has made the cool new website which will be unveiled before Halloween. And he, Usok Choe, of Usok Choe Computer Designs (who is also, believe it or not, a Taekwondo World Champion--dude! You don't want to get on this guy's bad side!) performed a holy miracle and managed to recover alllllllll my email@example.com messages. So everyone's contest entries are safe.
However, this was done by downloading the messages once again from the server, and I was left with one or two small problems. One: I no longer have the file with the names, addresses, and books to be autographed by those who suggested versions of The Hunters for the new Vampire Diaries trilogy.
Two: right now I can read email from that account but can't send email from it. So if you get an answer from me from my private Yahoo account, don't freak out. It's me. Really me. It's just that I have to answer you from that account or not answer you at all.
So, once again: if you previously wrote to me to tell me that you suggested a title similar to The Hunters and gave me your address and told me which book to autograph . . . I no longer have that information. If you want your prize you will have to send it to me again. You will know I've gotten your message when I answer from my private Yahoo account.
Also, please join me on Halloween and take a look at the new site. It will have new Sneak Peeks, deleted scenes from recent books, new art, a whole gorgeous new format, and soon a new contest. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.