Something About Me

My photo
In every day life, John Jackson, a former Ship's Captain now retired. He still retains an avid interest in the Hash House Harriers, Rugby, Food, Romantic Fiction, Philately, etc etc etc.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Long (and Suddenly VERY) Hot Summer.

Life seems to have been unbelievably busy since the last update.

England positively STUFFED Australia – in Australia – at Rugby. They have never done that before. This is a Good Thing!

Pam and I went over to RHS Harlow Carr for their first ever flower show. Gardening fans will know immediately what I'm talking about. Not the brightest day, but still dry enough and "full enough of flowers" to make it a great day out.

I went down to Birmingham for a Bloggers – Authors – Meeting, held in a really nice pub just next to the "New" New Street Station, and put together by Kim Nash. (otherwise known as Kim the Bookworm)  Some old friends and a few new ones and well worth a couple of hours on the train.

July started with a bang – July 1st is my Birthday, and I had 486 Facebook Happy Birthday wishes. As many of you will know, I always try to reply to messages as soon as I can, so it kept me busy all day. We were off to London during the day as well; an old friend's wedding on Saturday.
This is one of the better pics of Pam and I of recent times.

Mr & Mrs Mike Eastgate

As you can see there were lots of old friends, festivities, and Dad-Dancing!

This was followed by a meet-up with other friends in West London – out in their garden with 2 sets of twins, a 5-month old and three more under-fives. They were ALL well behaved, and a total pleasure to be with.

This is my mate William! 5 months old.

...and Charlotte & Johnathan.

The Monday saw us both fulfil a long-held ambition to visit the Royal Observatory. I was one of the last generation of seamen for whom Celestial navigation and an accurate time source was, literally, a matter of life and death. It is sad that many ship's officers today will never use a sextant or an azimuth mirror in their lives, outside, perhaps, of the classroom. The most valuable navigation tool on a ship's bridge today is a finger!

Pam bestriding the Hemispheres!!

From Pam and the girls, I got a Trail Cam for my birthday. Some great hedgehog pics coming through. I'm currently working out how the different settings affect the results. The hedgies (4 of them now) don't seem to mind it at all. Neither does the mouse!!

No sooner were we home from this trip than I was heading over to Lancaster for this year's RNA Conference. A super venue, some great sessions and talks, and two days of non-stop talking.
As is my wont, I had the camera surgically attached to my right hand; it was great snapping people, and of course, seeing so many old and new friends. As I write, a lot of my friends are complaining massively of lost voices, sore throats, and complete exhaustion – as am I. I wonder why?

I love taking pics, and there are some people who I find my camera loves. It is just SO easy to get a decent photo of them. From the camera's point of view, I would say they all have lovely "open faces". Bearing in mind I'm a "snapper" rather than a proper photographer, I would love to know if anyone else finds this. There are some people though, who are delightful to meet and know, but I just never seem to be able to get the photo I want. Isn't that weird?
In no particular order, the easy ones to snap last weekend include Immi, Katie, Jenni, Iona, Lucie, Liz, Rae and Karen.

Imogen Howson
A super pic of both Katie and Sue.

Jenni Harper

Iona Grey
Lucie Wheeler

Liz Fenwick

Rae Cowie

Karen Aldous

Hopefully, the next few weeks will be a little more restful – but somehow I doubt they will be! Enjoy your summer. I expect the next big update to be after our holidays in France.

Enjoy the hot weather!!

John  (who welcomes your comments!)

A few links:

Karen Aldous: 
Rae Cowie       
Liz Fenwick    
Lucie /Wheeler
Iona Grey        
Jenni Harper    
Katie Fforde    
Sue Moorcroft 
Imogen Howson

The Romantic Novelists Association:

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

RHS Harlow Carr

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Janet & John go back to Twitter and Facebook

(with a bit of general security thrown in)


You all have Facebook pages – or should have. When you set-up your Facebook page, you will be asked for your contacts. Time for some "Joined-up thinking"

Put EVERYTHING that you want your readers or friends to see.

THIS is the place to put:
a.         1.  Your Twitter address
b.        2.  Your Blog address
c.        3.  Your Website
d.        4.  Your author page.
e.         5.  Your e-mail address
f.         6.   Your Birthday – (the date without the year if you wish)

If you wish, set up an "Authors e-mail address" to keep it separate from your personal e-mails.

But – DO NOT put your full home address in. This is basic security.

DO put your home country and county or city.

This is my Facebook Page. More details about me can be found by clicking on the About link.
Put down everything you think your readers or friends would be interested in, BUT only things that you are happy to display in public.

You will be asked to put your phone number in. If you do this (and it can be very useful) you can choose it to have it visible to everyone, i.e. Public, visible to your Friends, or just you. Set it to "Only Me". 
If you forget your Facebook password, you can click on the "Forgot my password" link, and Facebook will send a text message to your mobile with a new temporary password.

To help remember your password (and all passwords) try e-mailing a copy of them to yourself.

Do put your Birthday down, but not your Year. You can leave that blank.

The page above shows my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my Blog addresses. It also shows my mobile number – but the security setting on this is set to "Only Me"

Also, DO make sure your Twitter page shows your Website, your Blog and your Facebook page. Make it easier for a prospective reader.

When someone Friends or Follows you, you can set your computer to send an automatic message. This is a common feature of "platforms" like Crowdfire.

Fine, but if you do so – DO NOT say "Hi – buy my books" (or variations thereof).

This just comes across as needy! Personally, I hate Auto-messages. It IS a Social medium, so try and be there.

You can use a "Validation Service" like Truetwit. This helps weed out any spam Tweets. I know of at least 2 friends who use it. It seems fine, but personally, I haven't needed to. Do remember, there may be a gender issue here.

New Friends on Facebook

This is the "important bit" of your top bar on your Facebook page, and THIS is where you find your new Friends. If this is marked RED then someone wants to "Friend" you.


Click on it, and you will see their details. In general terms, it is only good manners to accept and "Confirm", but, if they have no friends in common with you, or if they are obviously using a false picture, or if their name is in an Oriental script, in  Arabic or doesn't make sense, then DO NOT FRIEND THEM!

If in doubt, right-click on their Photo, and if it has been ripped off from some oriental film star's page, it may show up. Not guaranteed, but a help.

I get a number of requests to Friend from some VERY odd people. Single ladies from the Far East in the main.

The best way of finding new Friends is through your EXISTING friends. When you click on your Friends tab, you will get a page showing, eventually, ALL your current friends. Thjs is MY Friends page (as in early July 2016)

Clicking on Sue's page, and then on her Friends link gives you:

You can see some of the details of Sue's Friends, however – if you click on "More" you will see a tag "People you may know"

Clicking on "People You May Know" brings up this screen:

If you look at the names, you can see a number of people listed who have a LOT of friends jointly with me. I use a working figure of 60. If we have 60 or more friends in common, then we are likely to have interests in common, and can be a 2-way source of support.

I have now sent a Friend Request to Candie, Elizabeth, George and Glennis (and had positive replies from them)

You can also SUGGEST friends. Click on the link marked "Suggest Friends" and you can suggest to the owner of the page any of YOUR friends you think they would like to know.

Note that JoJo Moyes appears in the above list. BUT Jojo doesn't empty her Facebook requests, and she has had so many that you get this message:

Unable to Send Friend Request
This person has reached the friend request limit and can't accept any more.

So keep looking for friends. Your publisher and agent will like it, and, hopefully, so will your sales figures.

A Separate Author (or Blogger) Page.

Several of you may have, or want to have, a separate "Author Page". I have one, and I find it useful for news purely related to writing and the WiP.

They are very easy to set up: Click on the small downward arrow in the top bar of your own Facebook page. In the drop-down menu that appears, click on "Create Page"

You will then get a choice of what type of page. As a writer or author, you may well choose "Artist, Band or Public Figure"

You can then select either Author or Writer from a drop-down list.

You name your page: i.e. John Jackson – Author, and you add a profile picture, a background picture and information to suit.
You want people to "Like" your Author page. Your Agent or Publisher wants it even more. That being the case, announce it on Twitter and on your main Facebook page, and LIKE YOUR FELLOW AUTHORS PAGES!
Then they will like yours.

And, there is the added bonus of when you actually meet someone at an RNA, Writers or Bloggers function or the like, you have an instant intro "Hi, We are Friends on FaceBook! Or "I Liked your Author's Page""

And so to Twitter.
I get "Followers" EVERY DAY who will promise to get me several thousand new followers. Well, no, they won't – and they won't get them for you either.

Mr Goredama Farebrother – who may be better known as Fany Vekhunu has been reported to Twitter and blocked.
It's VERY easy, and just a few clicks of the mouse. Just click on the "Little Man"

Click on "Report",

 and then on "They are posting spam",

 and finally, "Block", whereupon, Twitter will thank you.


But what about Twitter followers who have slipped through the net? (and they do!)

Click on your Twitter page:

Then click on "Followers"

These 3 Followers are pure Spam! They want to sell you followers.

This is a classic page where the owner has not deleted her Spam followers.
If you don’t, you will find yourself getting more and more of them. Notice that the
Twitter address NEVER matches the person's name. (look at the 2 on the right, and the bottom middle one)

Just for fun, I clicked on one to see what Tweets they had sent out. NOTHING but spam.

This was another that came to me. I'm not altogether sure she has any interest in writing, beer or
romantic fiction. This MAY be a gender issue, of course. You may all find yourself being
Followed by hunky guys.

She has only sent 35 tweets, is following 1318, and is only followed by 134. That itself is a sign of a spam account.

There are some good ways to extend and keep your Followers list. Here are a few.

a.       Follow people who follow you (or "Follow Back")
b.      Follow those at the top of the tree – like, for instance,
                                                              i.      @KatieFforde, (8,000 followers)
                                                            ii.      @JillMansell,(18,000)
                                                          iii.      @carolematthews.(12,000)
c.       Follow other RNA Members. You'll find a LOT of them at
d.      Send a DM (a Direct Message) to your new followers. DO NOT try to sell them your book)
e.       Use Hashtags. These allow people to link to other tweets on the same subject. An RNA convention has evolved of sending our book-related news out on a Tuesday with a tag of #tuesnews and also addressed to @RNAtweets.
f.        Also on hashtags, I use #ff for the Friday tweets. This stands for "Follow Friday" and is used to identify friends and followers.
g.      Be informative and original. DON'T just Retweet other people's tweets.
h.      Don't rapid tweet - Don’t incessantly tweet to your Followers. They really don’t need to know what you are doing every five minutes.
i.        You only have 140 characters. This can REALLY sharpen your headlining and general writing skills.
j.        Respond to RT’s - If someone has retweeted you, thank them.

Twitter and Facebook are well described as "Social Media", and, like so many things – the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

I had an e-mail this week. It is a perfect example of a Phishing e-mail The perpetrators are looking to harvest and sell live e-mail addresses. Should you be so mistaken as to give your account details out then they would be delighted to help themselves to the contents of your account.

Today at 7:27


Your online security is important to us.  That is why we are committed to safeguarding your personal information to keep it secure and confidential.

There was an attempt to sign in to your Natwest online from an unrecognized device, for your protection you are hereby requested to perform some necessary information update

Review your account

 To strengthen the security measures protecting your account, we have added additional security. We will review and verify the activity on your account with you and take necessary steps to protect your account.

We know what it means to serve you,

Yours sincerely,

Natwest Online and mobile banking team

This is a CLASSIC "Phishing" scam.

It also has some classic giveaways.(Highlighted)

1.       The senders e-mail address is not a NatWest address. Anyone can get a Hotmail address, and no bank or business would EVER use one.
2.       The Grammar is shocking, as is the punctuation.
3.       It "looks wrong".
4.       It hasn’t got my name on it – only my e-mail address.

If you EVER get an e-mail like this do NOT click on the link. You are demonstrating that your e-mail address is "live" and they can then add your address to many other lists and sell it on.

Mark it as Spam!

And finally, be nice to people. God knows the world, including the world of Twitter and Facebook needs a little kindness.