Billions and Billions

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

Depth of Character

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.

I 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

The Ice Pick Is Killing It!

ice pickWeapons 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

Stood Up! Shot Down!

pretty blond with nose ringNavigating a Tragic Love Life

I’ve been stood up more than my fair share of times. I don’t know why this should be, but my stats are undeniable.

This all started when I was in high school more than half a century ago. I arranged a date with a cute little slip of a blond from the neighboring village of St. Henry, Ohio. I had in common with the girl, whose name is long lost to history, that we both played saxophone in our respective high-school marching bands.

It was my first bona fide date in the sense that I’d manned up through my own force of will, asked her out in a straightforward manner without the usual teenage machinations and guile, and she had accepted in spite of already knowing what I looked like, an obvious fact to me since I was standing in front of her when she said yes. It was a pretty satisfying experience up to this point. Continue reading

What I’m Working On – The Geezer Screed

tentative book cover

Click on the image for more – including sample scene

Work in Progress

Look for it this summer.

Meanwhile – a little teaser to whet your appetite!

So this is what I’ve got going on at my house. Not fully formed yet, but gathering steam in my head. Click the cover image for a detailed description and a sample scene. Fill out a form to get on my mailing list while you’re at it. (Over at the top of the right hand side-bar) That way you’ll get progress updates and new developments as they happen. It will be a lot like living at my place, but you never have to see me in my underwear.

Book Review – From A to Zoe

From A to ZoeFrom A to Zoe by Marie-Jo Fortis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this little book. It lacks pretension. It’s self-aware without being self-absorbed—artsy without the fartsy. It’s beautiful with a healthy dose of the real—like Mona Lisa with a gap-tooth grin or The Birth of Venus with a mastectomy scar.

Zoe Zimmerman is a modern girl, a writer trying to slip the bonds of her small-town past in the middle of a seedy Manhattan that just doesn’t give a damn, except sporadically, and then just enough to keep our girl plodding on. I’ve known Zoes in my life. Mostly I try to avoid them. They are, in the parlance of my adopted Southland, hot messes. They are hard to live with, but easy to love. They are too interesting for their own good. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: A Falling Body by Anders Kermod

A Falling BodyA Falling Body by Anders Kermod
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an objective review.

A Falling Body is the story of a young Englishwoman, Andrea Williams, who agrees to a technological implant which allows wealthy, aged, and infirm businessman, Claude LeGrande, near total access to her thoughts, sensory experiences, and emotions. The arrangement quickly veers from Andrea’s expectations, and she finds herself over her head in dangerous waters. It becomes evident that LeGrande can not only read her thoughts and anticipate her moves, he also has the power to influence her circumstances from outside. She struggles to extricate herself, in vain it seems, as events confine her options to an increasingly limited range of possibilities. Continue reading

Book Review: THE BLACK DAHLIA by James Ellroy

The Black Dahlia (L.A. Quartet, #1)The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Black Dahlia is a fictionalized account of the investigation into the real life torture, mutilation, and murder of Elizabeth Short in 1947. It is appropriately dark and deeply disturbing. On balance, I thought it was quite well done. It was consistently engaging and sufficiently challenging throughout. It is not loads of fun unless you really embrace the darkness. Continue reading

2 out of 5 Stars for Moby Dick??

humpback whale underwater blueThe 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