Humility and The Book of Job

Favorite Lines

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

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.

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

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

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: Dispatches by Michael Herr

DispatchesDispatches by Michael Herr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this and two other books about the U.S. experience in Vietnam by way of research for a novel I am writing. I was looking for firsthand experience of slogging through the muck, both physical and figurative, to execute the failed strategies of our involvement. Dispatches delivers on all fronts.

War is not just hell. It is a ridiculous one fueled by its own kind of stupidity: “When the commander heard that [we were correspondents,] he wanted to throw a spontaneous operation for us, crank up his whole brigade and get some people killed. We had to get out on the next chopper to keep him from going ahead with it, amazing what some of them would do for a little ink.” Continue reading