Living in Cyprus: Follow The Money

Money

We all know that money laundering is a major crime, yet little attention is paid to this by anyone except governments and law enforcement officials. Your average person simply carries on regardless of what’s happening around them. That’s because we, the people, are focusing on our ability to pay the next bill or ensure our kids have food and clothing. We’re not really that interested in anyone trading in huge sums of money that may or may not be from criminal activity. The fact that some of the money we handle may well be dirty money is lost on most of us. I couldn’t care less if the 20 Euro note I’ve just used to pay for fuel for my car was laundered money and I’m sure the owner of the petrol station isn’t bothered either. Yet that is exactly what’s happening, right here, right now.

Accusations have flown thick and fast from the soap opera that is America politics over last few weeks that banks in Cyprus, one in particular, is a hot-bed for Russians laundering dirty money stolen from the Russian government, i.e., the Russian people. The money is apparently being diverted by those in power in Russia to a bank in Germany and from there to other banks, including a certain bank in Cyprus. Nobody knows the truth of these accusations and we await the outcome of an FBI investigation on the American President and his team, which seems to point to collusion between Trump and the Russian President.

At the end of the day, true or false, this will probably not impact on the ordinary people of Cyprus unless banks are closed for spreading ‘funny money’ around. To be honest, we shrug our shoulders and get on with our lives. So long as we the people can pay our bills and manage a good standard of living, we’ll just roll with the blows and carry on watching the soap opera now developing around the White House.

Tom Kane © 2017
Author of ‘A Pat on his Back’ the story of our hilarious move from England to Cyprus. Download a free sample here.

my book cover
A Pat on his Back

4 out of 5 stars
A good read, and as described
By Joanne on 29 April 2016
Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I lived in Cyprus for over 3 years and this book in my opinion is 99% accurate. A good read, and as described; never underestimate the difference in cultures. Also be aware of ‘brown envelopes’!

 

 

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The Madness of King Trump

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I like America. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Americans are in the main honest, happy and will welcome outsiders with open arms. True, they can be quirky, odd and sometimes downright violent, let alone loud and in your face, but that’s the same for any group of people or nation, we all have off days. But of late, America seems to be descending into a sort of collective madness.

Ever since the assassination of JFK I’ve paid particular attention to what is going on in America. It’s a fascinating country and as leaders of the free-world its politics are especially diverse and sometimes compelling reading and viewing. Now though, sadly, from a Brit’s eye view, America seems to be ripping itself apart due to corruption and media manipulation. The culmination of this media manipulation is evident to outsiders in the vote for Donald Trump as President. Donald Trump? For the love of sanity America, what were you thinking of? Never mind the British penchant for eccentrics, your President is not eccentric in a British sort of way, he’s simply out and out dangerous. It may seem a bit rich to many Americans that a Brit is commenting on their political process, but when the nation vaunted as ‘leading the free-world’ seems to be going a little crazy and it’s leader is the most powerful person on the planet… enough said.

What makes the President of the United States of America so dangerous? The fact he knows how to manipulate the media for his own ends and has been doing so for years and getting away with all sorts of illegal shenanigans. All you have to do is read one book, The Making of Donald Trump by American investigative journalist and Pulitzer prize-winning author David Cay Johnston to realise how Trump has managed to manipulate the media and has had his finger in so many suspicious pies. His manipulation apart, there’s also growing evidence of the hand of the Russian Kleptocracy in pushing Americans into voting for Trump. With the FBI involved in an investigation of the Trump election campaign and the growing number of world leaders Trump has already insulted, doesn’t it seem odd Trump won’t have a word said against the Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Now it seems there are threads linking Trump associates, Russian Oligarchs, money laundering and a bank in Cyprus. Cyprus? Our home for nearly nine years, for heaven’s sake!

We in Britain, as you in America well know, had the madness of King George. It seems clear to me, America is suffering the madness of King Trump.

Good luck America, you’re going to need it.

Tom Kane © 2017
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Word of the Week: Recuse

Image of Jeff Sessions
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Until Senator Jeff Sessions, in that wonderful southern drawl, recused himself from investigations into the Trump campaign last week, I had never heard of the word recuse. The definition is, (of a judge) excuse oneself from a case because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality. Taken from the latin recusare, it sounds a pretty dry term though its use is becoming pretty widespread on American TV due to the whole thing about Trump in the USA.

As an Englishman Living in Cyprus, it’s not going to be a word I’ll be using very often in my day-to-day duties as a semi-retired writer of books on Cyprus and my works of fiction. But, if I ever write a courtroom drama, be sure that I will have a southern gennleman judge who will need to recuse himself. Though I do have three misgivings on this. First I know nothing about the law. Second recuse sounds way to much like word a Frenchman would use to describe a turd he had trodden on… “Zoot alors! Recuse! Merde!” Third it sounds like something someone would say, grabbing their stomach and shouting, “Sorry, I have to recuse myself,” while rushing to the bathroom. You see, we English have a great grasp of our own language in a sort of tongue in cheek, toilet humour sort of way.

Tom Kane © 2017
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Living in Cyprus: My Wife Likes Watching Me Screw

image of woman looking over the top of a presentYeah, I know what you were thinking, but this sort of screwing needs a screwdriver! But never mind, read on.

It was birthday time at the end of January, mine to be precise, and my wife got two presents for me. One arrived in time but the other was lost in the Cypriot postal system. No big deal, happens all the time and if I were lucky it would turn up for my next birthday. But my wife is dogged and she found out, eventually via Amazon’s tracking system, that the package had been delivered and signed for!

Long story short, it was actually on the island and someone, other than either of us, had signed for it. Eventually we tracked it down to the main post office in Larnaca. The box, when it was retrieved from the mass piles in the corner, was, to say the least, quite large. My wife had indicated it would be quite small, but nope, it was quite big.

Now some of you may remember my posting here after we visited IKEA a couple of years ago. Well, this time it was not two pieces of furniture I was putting together, but it would be a similar experience though slightly more complicated as the instructions were simply a picture indicating what to do. What the picture didn’t show was how you had to put several screws into pieces after A had been clipped to B and so on. So Tuesday ended up a screwing day.

But the end result is a great looking bird-bath-watering-hole-planter that will fit nicely into my home-made rockery.

All we need now is a few birds to use it… but they’re avoiding it like the plague at the moment!

I have however come to the conclusion my wife buys me presents that have to be screwed together, simply to watch me put it together upside down, backwards and indeed miss bits out… why are there always bits left over?

Tom Kane © 2017
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Website Design: Nobody Visits My Website

image of someone searching google“My website looks great. But nobody visits it. Why?”

It’s a simple question, with a less than simple answer. Your website may look great and do all you expect of it, but with no visitors, i.e., no traffic, your website isn’t reaching its full potential.

Getting traffic, or visitors as some call it, isn’t an easy thing to achieve. Unless your website offers a must have service, essential information or you have piles of money to throw into marketing your website is not easy to get people to visit your website, to achieve that elusive ingredient to your success, website traffic.

It doesn’t matter if you are a club, business, individual or blogger. If you have any form of website then you must feel you have something to say or offer to the world or simply your local community. That being the case, then you want people to visit your website, you want traffic. Simple, right? Wrong! There is nothing simple about marketing your website, it’s a long hard slog. You could, of course, pay someone to wave their magic wand and do it all for you… but that takes money and you need to ensure you are confident they know what they are doing.

Don’t buy web traffic

Let me state right here and right now. Don’t be tempted to pay for traffic to visit your website. It’s easy to do, there are plenty of people out there who will take your money and supply you with traffic, but 9 times out of 10 it will be a complete waste of time and money. The traffic will flow over a short period of time and then disappear… leaving you with an icy wind blowing round your nether regions, out of pocket and in the same situation you were before.

There are many ways to get traffic, but you don’t want any Tom, Dick or Harry to pop in for a 30 second visit and then leave your site for pastures new. You want traffic that wants what you have to offer and is willing to look at your website to get what they want. You have to offer your visitor a good and worthwhile experience.

How do you get website traffic?

What I’m going to do over the coming weeks is to show you how to ensure you not only get traffic to your website, but more importantly, it will be traffic, visitors, who want what you have to offer, people who are looking for what you have to offer.

Over the next few posts we’ll look at whole array of things you need to address, from your website’s design to the SEO on your website, your website content, your bounce rate, keywords and how to utilise Social Media to create a steady flow of traffic. Equally importantly, we’ll see how we can keep that traffic coming back for more.

Tom Kane © 2017
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The Indie Author: Be Sociable

image of cartoon boy sharing an ice-creamOn a lot of blogs and websites you’ll see the phrase “Sharing is caring” used quite extensively. Whoever thought this phrase up is quite clever, because one way of gaining an audience is to share your content.

No idea what I’m on about? Then read on, otherwise go and make a cup of tea.

Do You Have A Blog?

An indie author without a blog, is like a cook without a kitchen. A blog is where you go to mix your words, form them into sentences and bake until your story has risen. You need a blog to attract an audience. From there you will undoubtedly gain sales for your books. Assuming your writing is any good.

What Is Blog Content?

Your content is what you write and publish in your blog, those words of wisdom you want to impart to others. Your content has to be both of value to your readers and interesting, if not downright entertaining. I like to add a little humour to my musings… it’s up to you as to whether of not you feel I have achieved that.

How Do I Share My Blog Content?

Here’s where we came in, sharing is caring. The phrase applied to content on your blog simply means you should not only supply content, you should also provide your readers with the means to share your content.

My blog platform is WordPress.org which is attached to my website. In essence my website actually consists of two websites. The pages with information and another that holds my content, my WordPress site. A blog attached to a website makes for a neat combination.

If you haven’t got a website, get one. No website and no blog means you are making it harder to achieve your goal… which is to sell your books.

Once you have your website and blog organised you then need to ensure that whatever content you have is shared by those reading it. Make this a no-brainer by adding social sharing buttons. I use Shareaholic which has allowed me to build my audience steadily since 2015. What was a trickle is now in the thousands and rising.

There’s actually a lot, lot more to gaining an audience and your blog and content are just a part of a multi-pronged attack you should consider implementing, but more on that in another blog post at a later date.

Tom Kane © 2017
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The Indie Author: What The Blog!

image of a blog buttonWhy would anyone want to write something, display it to the world and ask for criticism? There’s two answer to this question.

(1) You have an opinion and want to be heard

(2) You’re an Indie Author and you want to talk to your readers

Both of these are valid. So, off you trot and set your blog up. Then start writing and posting. However, once you’ve posted your piece on your blog, how do you know anyone’s reading it? Moreover, how do you attract an audience?

How to you attract readers to your blog?

Put links out to your blog on websites where a lot of readers gather. Places like Goodreads has a few blog groups you can join.
Take a look at blog directories and try and get listed on them.
Here’s a good directory to get you started: –
http://www.bloglisting.net/

Download some plugins for your blog.

SEO, that’s short for Search Engine Optimisation, is essential and Yoast is by far the best. With the full version, no it’s not expensive, you can choose multiple focus words. edit the snippet – your posts description as seen when shared. Plus it will show you how good (or bad) your writing is.

Open a Medium account and add the plugin, this will send posts to my Medium account.

Also use the Shareaholic plugin. Once you write your piece and publish you can then use the links Shareaholic generates to share on your social media sites, like Facebook. I actually get more people visiting my blog from Stumbleupon than any other social media site.

Instant Articles will automatically format your blog for readers using mobile phones.

Add an RSS follow to your blog and post links at the end of your piece when you sign-off the posting, as I’ve done on this piece at the bottom.

How do you know anyone’s reading your blog?

If you haven’t already got one, get a free account with Google Analytics. Then add the Google Analytics plugin to your blog. There are other, simpler methods of tracking who reads your blog, but be careful as some estimate your readers.

I have wordpress.org attached to my main website, Which is a much better setup than WordPress.com – yes, there are two versions.

I started my blog in March 2015 and I’m now getting over 1,000 hits a month and rising rapidly.

Tom Kane © 2017
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PS Make sure you write good, interesting and readable content. Otherwise none of the above will work.

The Demon Murders: Kindle eBook Free For Five Days

image of the Demon Murders book cover

If you want to take advantage of this FREE eBOOK offer, then you need to get cracking. The Demon Murders is available to download on your kindle from Amazon for FREE – but only for five days. The 7th February to the 11th February 2017.

Be aware this is a dark, paranormal erotic book and not for the faint hearted. Adults only… you have been warned.

Plus, in case you want to know what happens next to May Brubaker and The Demon Detective Agency, you can get Chapters 1 to 3 of the sequel, The Demon Terror,

image for the book cover to Th e Demon Terror

for free as well, if you subscribe to my mailing list – I know, sneaky aren’t I? There’s a link at the front and end of The Demon Murders.

So, stop what you’re doing and go take a look see by clicking here to visit Amazon and get the book for free.

Happy Reading
Tom Kane (c) 2017

Living in Cyprus: A Sign of the Times

image of sardinesWhen we arrived in Cyprus, nine years ago this year the English language in terms of signage was quite widespread. Road signs in particular used English extensively, a lot of Brits holiday here. Commercial vehicles also used English a lot, though confusingly the business title is in English, but any other details are in Greek.

Spoken English was already widespread nine years ago and now it’s being spoken even more. The use of terms like okay and bye-bye now appear standard in many conversations. You hardly ever here dax, or the more correct endaxi, which is okay in Greek.

So it can be confusing to Brits when we look at signs or labels that don’t quite seem correct. Take my dogs for instance, they love sardines for their breakfast… stay with me on this, it’s not a fishy tale. Okay, I’m sorry for yet another lousy pun.
Yesterday I had to buy them a few more tins of their favourite breakfast meal. They get a small tin between them three times a week, so when I went to buy them yesterday, I saw the shelf was almost empty. Happens a lot here so I scouted around for an alternative. And I thought I had found one. Pieces of Cephalopod in sunflower oil. As it happens, I know what a Cephalopod is, but many wouldn’t.

So I gave the H Team, Harvey and Holly, their pieces of Cephalopod in sunflower oil. Only problem is, neither of them liked it. I suppose it was too much to ask as cephalopods are related to molluscs… that most people know is the common snail. Cephlapods of the large class predatory molluscs, better know as Squid or Octopus, are what I was feeding our dogs. But they were having none of it.

I’ve eaten snails in Paris, squid in Greece and Octopus in Cyprus and they are all quite nice. But this little breakfast treat, pieces of Cephalopod in sunflower oil, is bland beyond description. Most people seem to think squid and octopus taste like chicken. Believe me, pieces of Cephalopod in sunflower oil is no chicken I’ve ever eaten.

So it’s back to the fishy on a little dishy… when the boat comes in.

Tom Kane © 2017
Living in Cyprus: 2015 is still free on Amazon Kindle. Download here.
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Living in Cyprus: Recycling

image of woman recyclingForgive the pun, but recycling in Cyprus is not so much a dirty word, it’s more an unknown word. There is a company called Greendot who seem to specialise in recycling. But a map on their website, showing recycling collection points, didn’t have our village on it! I think we’ve been recycled into something else! When I downloaded a list of glass recycling points it was all in Greek. I know, I live in a Greek speaking society so I can’t complain and should not be surprised.

But I was surprised when talking to my daughter-in-law about recycling as  she told me that they have recycling bins outside the school she runs. They always dutifully put the correct item in the correct bin and wash bottles etc. Very green credentials.

Nor was it a surprise when she told me she happened to be outside one day when the bin men arrived in their vehicle to collect the trash… and proceeded to throw it all in the back of the bin lorry where there is no separation between glass, tin or anything else for that matter.

Recycling, the Cyprus way.

Tom Kane © 2017
Living in Cyprus: 2015 is still free on Amazon Kindle. Download here.
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