My favorite passage from A Cup of Pending is this one from Chapter 3:
“… and that’s the third great lesson of Job. There’s no justice in a world where God makes bets with the Devil for his own amusement.”
Irreverent, sarcastic, a little caustic – this is the kind of line that defines my writing and my usual demeanor. My second favorite passage comes a little earlier in the same chapter when Blanche offers to pray for Cliff and makes a mockery of Christian charity in the process:
She still had a grip on Cliff’s hand. A crowd had started to gather around them, circling like sharks sensing blood in the water. Blanche looked up toward the ceiling, suspended acoustic tile punctuated with fluorescent light fixtures. So fervent was her gaze Cliff almost believed God must be on the other side of the tiles, hiding in the conduit and duct work, just waiting for the chance to bless a petitioner. Continue reading
Mixed Feelings? Oh, Hell Yes!
Don’t get me wrong. I need book reviews to sell books. That doesn’t mean I need the reviews I get though–and surprise! surprise!–the good ones can be just as bad as the bad ones. Continue reading
Can Finance Ever Be Truly Fascinating?
I’ve been binge-watching Showtime’s in house series, Billions. with Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. For my money it’s the best thing on TV. Of course I’m an accounting and finance geek, so there is probably a lot of stuff in it that appeals to me but leaves people who are easily bored with such matters cold.
I know they’re out there. Econophobics. The kind of people who get a headache when conversation turns to interest rate swaps or in-substance defeasance of advance refunding bond issues. In fact, I’m pretty sure our president is one, but he has people for that stuff. (Not that he would ever listen to them.) I can’t say it’s their fault. I mean, really, that’s pretty arcane territory for anyone but a financial savant. Continue reading
When Characters Write Themselves
If you’ve read any of my fiction, you know I have a soft spot for quirky characters–the kind we used to call half a bubble off plum or a couple of bricks shy of a load. These are the most fun to write and perhaps the most instructive, not that anyone is reading my stuff to achieve enlightenment.
In Speedster I have two favorites, Dwayne and T-Ball, a couple of neon-haired slackers who spend their days complaining about the fundamental unfairness of their lives and trying at the same time to achieve fairly lofty goals without putting in any effort. Much like real life, the smarter one, T-Ball, is continually over-ridden by the loud one, Dwayne, whose loutish ignorance is exceeded only by his abiding self-confidence. I imagine that T-Ball’s daily trials are very similar to those of the current crop of staffers and hanger’s on in the White House. I can sympathize. Continue reading
Weapons of Choice
I just switched cable companies, and am saving enough money on my monthly bill to subscribe to HBO again. I haven’t had HBO for several years and was woefully behind on Game of Thrones. Now I’m bingeing on season four, which as you may know, contains a lot of defining moments. My favorite by far is the death of King Joffrey at his wedding.
As TV deaths go, it was pretty satisfying. Not perfect, mind you. I would have made it bloodier, more painful, and longer. Let’s face it, the little shit had it coming. Still, it was good enough to get me thinking about how I kill characters in my books. Continue reading
Surely you know the drill by now. Help a brother out. Better yet, do yourself a solid and buy the book if you haven’t already. You’ll be glad you did. I promise.
Underground Book Reviews just nominated A Cup of Pending for their weekly Perfect Pick feature. If it wins the week it will be featured in their magazine and entered in their novel of the year competition. You can help me out if you click the link, subscribe, and vote for my book.
Why is ‘Get a Job’ not a useful thing to say to a homeless person? If you don’t already know the answer, you are part of the problem.
Homeless and unsheltered folk are resourceful, and they work hard at maintaining some semblance of dignity and self reliance. If you think it’s easy, you’re mistaken. If you think not working is some kind of picnic, you are deluded.
Here’s a pretty good look at what it’s like in Fairfax County, VA – one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S.
My homeless characters in A Cup of Pending have it better than these plucky Virginians living in their cars, but my story is funny, even when it makes a point. The Washington Post article is reality. It is the point. It’s one of the points of Cuppa. It’s not very funny.
The Book Review: Bane or Boon?
I’ve been looking for book bloggers and reviewers to give me objective reviews of A Cup of Pending. Reviews are a numbers game for indie authors like me – the more reviews and ratings we get, the more readers we are likely to attract. It’s a snowball effect. It’s the on-line equivalent of word of mouth recommendations.
To this end, I have been trolling review groups on Goodreads. You’d think this would be a fairly straightforward process: find a post by a potential reviewer looking for books to read, reach out, and, if they’re interested, send them a book. There’s more to this than meets the eye, however. For example, you probably don’t want to send your military action adventure story to a millennial fan of paranormal romance. You are not likely to find an open mind in such an exchange. Of course, the reverse is also true.
With this in mind, I try to vet potential reviewers before I approach them. It just makes sense to get a sense of the kind of treatment I can expect before I put the future of my life’s work into someone else’s hands. Frankly, I have been stymied by this process. Continue reading
Coming to Grips with Poverty
I have rather a lot to say about poverty and homelessness in Cuppa. Some would probably say, too much, while others, not enough. Depends where they fall on the spectrum of wealth distribution.
Fun Fact: most of us are a lot lower on the scale than we imagine.
I know that I personally am a lot lower than I used to be, and the precipitous slide has prompted me to give up my Voldemort Republicanism for something more egalitarian and charitable. That’s just me, though, everyone reacts according to their own particular sensibilities and beliefs. Continue reading