Be vigilant, scammers are on the prowl

And with this new year comes more vermin searching for an opening, no matter how small.Mouse and hole

I’m referring to scammers, hackers and trolls.

The more gadgets we have, the more avenues and opportunities for a criminal to find you. Don’t fall for these frauds. From our email, smartphones, yes iPhones too, computers, tablets, blogs, websites, Amazon Echo, Google Home, or even smart TVs, we are all susceptible to these damn crooks. AND, of course, we are vulnerable on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any of the many social media sites. Scammers are trolling for any insecurity or vulnerability in your life, online and real.

Once upon a time, long long ago, Apple products were immune. Or so we thought. But that is not the case, not now. So don’t let your guard down just because you have an Apple product. Scammers are everywhere phishing for your information.

No need to live in fear. Just be aware! Be smart!

Some things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Install good security and virus software.
  • Keep all software updated.
  • Do not click on an email that requests you verify account details.
  • Be careful about downloading free mobile apps. Know who and where it comes from.
  • Never click on an unsolicited email or alert that comes from a bank,  institution or company. Go directly to their website instead.
  • On smartphones and tablets, watch out for text messages requesting you click on them.
  • Don’t recognize the phone number? Hang up or better yet don’t answer. If it’s important they can leave a message.
  • Be aware of phone number scamming. Fraudsters are now spoofing legit company phone numbers. Be careful, the person on the other line may not be a real Apple, ATT, Netflix, agent.
  • Remember if it sounds too good… well you know the rest.

Last but not least…

Think before you click. Just like crossing a street, take your time and look both ways. Let’s start the new year aware and in control. 

Thanks to Terry Ambrose, Grace Sweeney and Kevin McAllister for these tips and their timely articles on the latest scams and fraudsters.

Below are links from these savvy writers to help you avoid falling prey to a scammer. Keep reading… 

Scam Tip – Apple users beware of Apple phishing scam By Terry Ambrose

New year, new scams: what to watch out for in 2019 By GRACE SWEENEY

Outsmart the Scammers: How You Can Avoid Fraud By Kevin McAllister

Apple iPhone scam returns as new model nears By Terry Ambrose




Do you know how to Vlog?

Continuing on with the A-Z Challenge:


I’ve always prided myself on having an open mind. Always ready to learn something new. But for the love of all that is holy! I just don’t know if my brain can hold much more.

Our family used to have a running joke, don’t ask Mom – she doesn’t remember. To which I would respond, “I remember the important stuff. Unimportant stuff, I delete from my mind to make room for new stuff. A person only has so much gray matter.”

Okay, enough ranting. Deep breath and back to the subject at hand.

Vlogging? What the hell is Vlogging?

I’m still struggling with Instagram and Facebook.

And don’t get me started on learning about formatting a book for IngramSpark and CreateSpace. Geeze, bleed area. Picky, picky. Understanding the terms and applying them are two different things.

Now a writer should know how to produce an infomercial about writing or what people are saying about writing or about books or….

A Vlog is, a short, entertaining commercial, that doesn’t look like a commercial. Click to tweet.

It’s all about subtle product placement.

What do you do on a Vlog for 1 to 3 minutes? Anything you want.

Talk, dance, read, go about your day, or write as if no one was watching. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t bore people to death.

In this instant, YouTube generation, they will click on to the next video before you can shout, “Wait.”

Yes, this year, I made room in my ever shrinking brain for something new called a Vlog.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. Vlogs are located on Youtube.
  2. Make your Vlog easy to find. Link it to your blog.
  3. A Vlog should last 1 – 3 minutes.
  4. You and your books are the product in a Vlog.
  5. A Vlog, above all else, must be entertaining.
  6. It is another media to introduce you to your readers.
  7. Like a blog, you must update your Vlogs and post consistently.
  8. Make it fun. If you don’t enjoy watching your video, no one else will. 
  9. Last but not least, I learned I’m not ready for Vlogging.

Have you jumped onto the Vlogging social media train?

Do you think Vlogging is a good platform for writers?

Talk to me, the lights on and comments are now open.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdelland, stop by and say hey! Please remember to click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.

Great information dead ahead!

Vlogging Anyone? By Jennifer Wilkov

Vlogging For Writers By LEENA NORMINGTON

What’s a Book Vlogger? By Shari Stauch

Why Authors Should Be YouTubers – Vlogging Advice From Lindsay Mead

Are you timid about promoting your book?

Do you fear sounding like a Twitter or Facebook Harpie?

Buy mine! Buy Mine! Buy Mine!


Well, I do.

I want to sell my little book as much as any other author, but I don’t want to beg. There has to be a better way than flooding social media with ads.

Thanks to Chris over at THE STORY READING APE for another terrific find. I don’t know where he manages to find so many amazing and informative websites, but I’m so glad he does.

I devoured this one on how to market a book without posting ads by the thousands on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

As an introvert, some of these would be difficult for me, but one of my goals for 2016 is to move a little more out of my comfort zone. The first step toward that goal, is participating in a local Author Con in the Spring.

You may not want to use all of her tips, but even one or two of these ideas could be the springboard you’ve been searching for to launch your book.

Are you ready to move beyond social media to promote your book?

Could you do a book fair, meet with a book club or do an interview with the local media?

Or how about my favorite on her list, create a holiday

Click below and read the entire article. Let me know which of her ideas you think have merit.

How to promote a book without using social media by Author Sandra Beckwith

What did you do to market your book? Did it work? 

Talk to us. Inquiring minds want to know.

You can find me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! Please remember to with a click and share this post with your Twitter peeps and Facebook fans.


Are you happy with your latest writing idea? Need a new one?

Since National Novel Writing Month is almost over, what will you do next?

Thanksgiving is here and we are right on top of Christmas.

So what will you write now?

Where will you get your next big idea?

After you finish one project do you jump right into the next? Or do you get idea fatigue?

Whether it’s a home improvement, decorating, a big party, or a writing project, afterward I fight the dreaded fatigue fugue.

That’s what I call it. You know the feeling that you’ve given all you can give? When my brain is totally tapped out. I call that, fatigue fugue.

I convince myself that there couldn’t be another idea left in my tired old brain. But then when I least expect it a seed starts germinating.

Sometimes it starts with a word, a prompt, a comment by the grandkids (yes, kids do say the darnedest things), a news story, or a view.


If you’re struggling with idea fatigue or stumbling into a fatigue fugue, start looking around, listening or free writing.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so head over to Pinterest. There is no end of ideas waiting there. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can stir up emotions. People have lots of opinions that might start a conversation and lead to a great story.

Still need a jump-start? Clear back while I grab the cables.


Robin Oliver with one simple question gives us 5 steps to jump start content strategy. I believe this tip can even work with fiction.

What question could you ask that would get the ideas pumping?

We are all familiar with the “What if” question, so add that to Ms. Oliver’s question and see what happens.

 answers the question, Where Do Successful Authors Get Their Most Brilliant Writing Ideas?