Monday, 2 July 2018

What to do when your phone is stolen

I've been lucky in that I've never had my phone stolen, at least until last weekend.

At first I thought I'd dropped it on a walk with my rescue dog and my partner went outside to look for it and kept on ringing the phone only to get the message "this phone is not available." 

I stayed in and looked all over the house in case I'd lost it there. But then I remembered that when we were out a white male in his  twenties or early thirties bumped into me and that's when I think my phone was stolen. It happened so fast I think he picked my pocket.

I was devastated. I use my phone for my writing and had pictures and texts of my late dad that I couldn't replace.

But my anger gave way to more practical matters, namely mitigating the potential for damage the thief could cause me. I needed to act fast or have my bank account and PayPal account emptied and a bill for a string of expensive calls.

How to find your IMEI number.

This is what you should do next -

1-Call your mobile/cell phone provider and ask them to block your SIM card. This will stop the thief from making expensive calls. Give your provider the IMEI number. This is a 14 or 15 digit identification code unique to your handset.  You've lost your phone and you'd find it behind the battery compartment so you need to access it another way. I still had the box my phone came in and it was printed on that near the barcodes

Tip - Your mobile phone provider may also have your IMEI number. Mine was in my online  account near my  phone number.

2-Change ALL of your passwords. And I mean all and do this immediately. Do to most important ones - ones that the thief can use to get at your money.

Here's my checklist -
Online banking
Grocery account
Social media including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Tip - if you're worried at all that your bank or PayPal has been accessed call your bank and PayPal immediately. You will probably not be held accountable if your accounts have been fraudulently used.

3-Access the phone remotely and lock it if you can. I did this because I was lucky to have backed it up and set up "find my phone" and enabled location. Locking the phone will prevent anyone else from using it.

Here's how to lock your Android phone remotely if it's lost-

4-Check to see if backing up the phone worked. If it did you can get all of the photos, texts etc you had on the phone back.

Tip - If you don't like the thought of some stranger going through your stuff, you can remotely delete your phone. There's some great websites that will give you instructions to follow.

5-Contact the police and give them details of phone - make, colour, description of case and most importantly that all important EMEI number. By giving them that 14 or 15 digit number  you might be able to stop the phone being sold or pawned. And if you're extremely lucky, the police might find your phone. They didn't find mine despite me being able to locate the street it was in through Find my mobile and having three picture the thief took added to my Cloud storage.

6-Tell your friends/work colleagues/boss/mum in case the thief somehow gets access to messaging or your email and sends them nasty or weird messages.

7- Call your home insurance company and find out if you can make a claim. You may or may not be covered for theft, but try. The insurance company can always say no.

If you've ever had your phone lost or stolen, you have my sympathies. It's a scummy thing to happen to anyone.

If it makes you feel any better imagine the thief touching your phone and getting their fingers burned. Trust me as a crime writer I've come up with many creative ways to punish the person who took my phone. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

WHO TOOK OFFICE WORKER SHELLEY CRAIG? An extract from Vile City by Jennifer Lee Thomson

Vile City tells the story of abducted office worker Shelley Craig and Detective Inspector Duncan Waddell's attempts to find her.
Vile City is published by Caffeine Nights and is available now in paperback and in eBook (across a range of formats). 

~ Read an extract ~

Chapter 1
Stuart was hiding something. Shelley could tell. She was always the one who'd had to wake him because he could always block out the shrill of the alarm clock, but these days he was up before her, grabbing the mail whilst she slept. And, he’d started making breakfast – nothing much, just tea and toast, but that was more than he’d ever made her in their two and a bit years together.
When she'd calmly ask him if anything was wrong, he’d shrug his shoulders, give her a wee smile and say everything was fine. But, she knew he was lying because his face went even paler, making his freckles stand out as if they'd been drawn in by a kid with a coloured pencil. She never pushed it, maybe because deep down she was worried that he’d tell her he’d met someone else.
The No.76 bus was empty when they clambered onboard - one of the benefits of working until 11 at night in a call centre, was that there was no need to scoot past a sea of legs and become a contortionist to get on and off a bus.
Their cold breath filled the air with ghosts as they walked towards Waterstone’s, Shelley pausing to take a peek at the new crime fiction releases showcased in the illuminated windows, whilst Stuart fidgeted with his watch. He was always footering about with something since he’d given up cigarettes and it drove her mad, but at least it didn’t fill his lungs with tar and make the house smell like an overflowing ashtray.
“I need to have a pee,” he announced, as they came to the dimly lit lane off Mitchell Street that reeked of eau de Glasgow: decomposing takeaway, urine and other bodily fluids.
She groaned. “Can't you wait until we get home, Stuart?” She knew she’d pronounced his name “Stew-art” as she always did when she was annoyed with him, but she couldn’t help it. What made men think it was okay to urinate in public?
Stuart looked pained. “Sorry, I can’t. Too much coffee tonight.”
She let him walk on ahead of her and whilst he scooted down the alley, she stood outside the amusement arcade, pretending to look in so she wouldn’t be mistaken as a prostitute. Around here, at this time of night, unaccompanied women were likely to be mistaken for prostitutes. It'd happened to her once when she'd got off the bus alone. Stuart hadn't been working that night.
Five minutes later, she was so cold she couldn't feel her nose and Stuart still wasn’t back.
She turned the corner to look for him, fully expecting to see him ambling back towards her with that jaunty walk that always made her smile. But, he wasn't there.
Where was he?
Anger welled up in her chest. Had he started smoking again? He swore he wouldn't.
There was one way to find out.
She headed down the alley. The sole light was provided from some nearby buildings so visibility was poor.
She’d walked a few steps when she spotted a bundle of rags on the ground. Was someone sleeping there?
She moved closer. Squinting into the dim light, she realised it was Stuart. He was lying motionless on the ground. He must have tripped and knocked himself out after hitting the concrete.
She ran over to him, calling out his name, the squeezing in her chest waning slightly when she knelt down and heard him groan.
She pulled her mobile phone from her bag to call for an ambulance.
She didn’t make it to the third digit. A gloved hand clamped across her mouth and nose, cutting off her airways and the phone fell from her grasp, clattering onto the cobbles. Terror gripped her and she couldn’t breathe.
As she struggled, her assailant pressed his mouth to her ear. He was so close that it occurred to her that if anyone saw them they would think he was her boyfriend whispering sweet nothings in her ear.
“Your man’s been given a strong sedative. He’ll wake up with a sore head and nothing more. But, if you scream, I’ll kick him several times in the head and he’ll never get up again. Do you understand?”
She didn’t recognise the voice, but there was an accent. Not from around here. His voice was cold and emotionless.
She nodded under his hand. Then she did something he didn't expect: she back-heeled him in the groin.
There was a satisfying yelp as he released her.
She ran, arms pumping away like Usain Bolt’s, down towards the cafĂ© at the end of the alley and safety.
She'd almost made it when he grabbed her arm and hauled her back. An electric shock shot from her elbow to her shoulder as she pulled herself free. He was too strong.
She could offer little resistance as he dragged her towards him.
Before she could scream, he punched her fully in the face and she went down with a thud jarring every bone in her body, momentarily stunning her.
As she fought to get up, he punched her in the back and she fell again.
The last thing she saw was the pavement rushing towards her before she blacked out...

Out now at Amazon.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Thanks to everyone who bought Living Cruelty Free I've donated to Network for Animals

Thanks to everyone who bought Living Cruelty Free I've donated to Network for Animals who help neglected and abused animals around the world.

You can read more about this amazing organization here via @network4animals

Give yourself a hand, folks.

So, give yourself a hand, folks. Together WE can help change the world by doing it one little bit at a time.

About the book
Living Cruelty Free Live a More Compassionate life is available in paperback and on Kindle. The book offers tips and advice on how we can be kinder to animals and each other and live an all round kinder life.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Cannibal City DI Waddell book 2 coming soon from Jennifer Lee Thomson and Caffeine Nights

Delighted to announce that Caffeine Nights will be publishing CANNIBAL CITY book 2 in the DI WADDELL crime series.

Publication date tbd.

The series started with VILE CITY.

Here's a wee taster -
A killer's stalking male victims on Glasgow's streets. Men are being abducted, kept tied up for weeks then strangled and their livers are being removed.

Detective Inspector Duncan Waddell has enough problems not least of all that his best friend and colleague Stevie who's meant to be comatose is talking to him and only him. Now he faces his most bizarre case yet.

Who killed schoolgirl Caroline Glachan?

Caroline had her life stolen from her 

Twenty-two long years ago, on Sunday 25 August 1996, 14-year-old schoolgirl Caroline Glachan was found dead on the water’s edge of the River Leven near Bonhill, Dunbartonshire in Scotland.

One of the last people to see Caroline alive was her friend Joanne Menzies. Caroline left Joanne and a group of friends at some shops just before midnight. She was going to meet her boyfriend in nearby Renton which was a mile away.

She never made it. She took a shortcut through the woods.

What happened next nobody knows.  

Where the teen's lifeless body was found

She was found dead on the banks of the River Leven in Dunbartonshire. She'd been badly beaten and possibly drowned. It wasn't clear if she was dead or alive when she'd ended up in the water. She could have been unconscious.

The ambitious teenager with a feisty attitude, never made it to fifteen as her life was snatched away.

A killer among us? 

Caroline's mother and Police in Scotland believe the answer to who killed Caroline lies within the local community. Could the killer of the teen be walking amongst them?

Caroline's murder was featured on TV true crime show Crimewatch two years ago, where her mum Mrs McKeich spoke in heartbreaking detail of how she found out her daughter was dead on her 40th birthday.

For her life didn't begin at forty, she said, it ended. She'd lost her only child.
"There's two questions I need answered - who and why."

Could this be the man who killed her?

After her murder, police released a photo of a man in a dark green hooded top who was seen by a taxi driver walking near Caroline as she made her way along Dillichip Loan around 12.15am on Sunday, August 25, 1996. The man was described as having sharp features.

He was asked to come forward.  The call was never answered.

Was this man her killer?

Do you know who killed Caroline?

If you have any information on Caroline's murder, Police Scotland are waiting to hear from you. They can be contacted from the UK by dialling 101. Or you can email officers at 

Alternatively CRIMESTOPPERS can be contacted on 0800 555 111 or through contacting the site. Anonymity is guaranteed. 

One call could help ease the suffering of a grieving mother whose only daughter, whose old child never came home.

Whoever killed her needs to be found so her mother can finally have closure and a killer can be taken off the streets. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Let's potato chips- the fake brand US TV companies love

Chances are if you've watched any American comedy you'll have seen the characters eating Let's potato chips.

Whether you've seen them being eaten in shows like Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, The Middle, Ugly Betty, My Name is Earl or Community, you might have found yourself saying like I did: "Mmmm, they look nice - I fancy a bag."

It's when you start looking for Let's potato chips that you hit a rather large snag.

It might surprise you to know - because it sure surprised me - that they're a fake brand that are manufactured and sold by a company called ISS Prop House.

What's more, they don't come cheap and cost 40 dollars for a big bag and 20 dollars for a small bag. So, no spilling any of those lovely chips, TV show stars because they quite literally cost a packet.

Community is one show that used the chips frequently throughout the show’s six season (and hopefully a movie) run. The diva of a Dean is often seen eating them as is Abed and his pal Troy. Abed's favourite TV show also features Let's potato chips.

In The Middle siblings Axl and Sue Heck even share a bag. Well, kinda. Axl's not the sharing type.

As well as Let's potato chips, creators ISS Prop House also have a huge collection of props as well as doing a large range of snacks and drinks like Henry's chocolate bars, Hooskerdoo cookies, Tit For Tat bars and Rocky Road ice cream among others.

You can read more about Independent Studio Services and the props they offer here

According to their site, Let's potato chips come in 3 different flavours and are available for when TV show makers want their actors to get their snack on.

Note - The copyright for Let's potato chips belongs to ISS.

DI Duncan Waddell - Detective in a Coma Book 2

What to do when your phone is stolen

I've been lucky in that I've never had my phone stolen, at least until last weekend. At first I thought I'd droppe...