Archive for November, 2008

“MOST VICIOUS VILLAIN IN MODERN AMERICAN FICTION…”

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

In his Amazon review this past summer, that’s what Thomas Livingston called Karl Stohner – Dawn and Abner’s nemesis in my novel, “3 ACES.”

Take a look again at last week’s blog. You’ll see (in Part I, of “Wake Up America!”) my confession about an earlier draft missing the real thrust of the international financial disaster unfolding before us.

What has this to do with Karlton Stohner – the novelistic villain concocted some years ago as I wrote “3 ACES,” my recently released action-adventure/romantic-suspense novel?  Well, I had the pleasure of attending prep. school with a number of future movers and shakers, a few of whom have been in high governmental positions. Several others became executives in New World Order enterprises, waxing rich on the import business from goods manufactured in their foreign plants – goods showered upon the American consumer who was frantically tapping supposed home equity with adjustable-rate 2nd and 3rd mortgages; but, as it has turned out, really consuming their retirement nest eggs.

In my saga I wanted a villain who would personify all that I felt had gone wrong in the globalist businessman – a character who would act as a foil to the down-home, simplistic goals of my trucking duo, Dawn & Abner; Karl Stohner resulted.

To start with: what better than concocting an eponymous surname connoting the biblical act of stoning someone to death? (...Stohner condemns you to  slow financial death – enticing you today into cheap imports and expensive casinos with funds that should be tomorrow’s savings.) As with  Dawn Carlisle and Abner Weaver, my leading duo, Karl Stohner evolved as a composite of several people.

As a schoolchild, I never forgot the bullies. I remember being  pushed face-first into a blackboard by one of them when the teacher had briefly left the room. He had a henchman then; now he has several, and his physical insults have matured into snide comments. At a dinner several years ago, he was not shy in comparing my closeted life (“your downhill struggle for literary success”) with his global, money-making genius. Another of the bullies has passed away; a third remains in questionable health. All of them were tall of stature, neatly topping off their air of nastiness. (Why do the tall ones among us most often rise to executive status and wealth? Are we forced to look up at them, or do they simply bull ahead with that looming presence?) So I made Stohner a collegiate basketball star, who briefly entered pro. basketball – before finding a way to make far more money.

We first meet Karlton Stohner, fresh off his private jet, in Chapter 12 of “3 ACES,” as he heartlessly prepares to scavenge the key accounts from a trucking competitor, the current employer of Abner Weaver. (At the same time Stohner is ripping off the man with the lease of used vehicles he is certain to profitably repossess.)  When the competitor collapses and Abner is carried into Stohner’s fold of companies, Stohner spies Abner’s driving partner, Dawn, and sets out to possess her as well.

If Karlton Stohner is to attempt this, we need to invest him with a goodly amount of charm. Divorced for some time, his solid wealth a given, I made Karl extremely personable; somewhat of a raconteur; and marginally modest in the presence of an attractive woman (“…I speak as the unvarnished son of a Kansas wheat farmer”). Stohner always plays the odds – he mistakes Dawn for a pushover when he puts the heat on and invites her, in Chapter 27, to join him in his Hong Kong container, shipping, and currency trading operations. He’d present a challenge to any intelligent, ambitious woman: Stohner is attractive, bright, smooth and slippery – a world class shark!

Abner is not fooled. In reference to Stohner, alluding to to his youth in southern Pennsylvania, he warns Dawn: “The dirt of Lancaster county ran through my hands ’til I left for Vietnam. How does a man turn his back on his homeland…unless he’s a sick rat!”

This is a tale of global business, American Trucking, and the Vietnam war. Conflict lies at the heart of any good action/adventure novel. “3 ACES,” by its very nature, has plenty of action and adventure – and the character of Karl Stohner promises there will be plenty of conflict.

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WAKE UP, AMERICA!… (PART I.)

Sunday, November 16th, 2008

It’s amazing how, in this country, just a few months can bring so much change.  When I penned, then held back, publication of the (Part II.) diatribe below I was livid about the rape of the American consumer – yes folks, the RAPE the oil companies were pulling off at the gas pumps, with the apparent complete cooperation of our brain dead and wallet-happy folks in session down there in “foggy bottom.” Something more was in the air – I got several heady whiffs of it, but wasn’t sure – making me wonder if somehow (in the middle of my rant) I hadn’t missed the real story.

Well, now we know! That story is the ongoing financial collapse of the overly-leveraged (house of cards, spun to infinity, super-sold throughout the entire New World Order) housing and manufacturing bubble.

Now we can watch the picture, full-screen and in breathtaking color, streaming before us. Not just the Airlines, but GM. Ford, and Chrysler; and the entire retail establishment, at XMAS-tide no less. Don’t confuse this collapse with the 1930’s… No, no! This one has all the earmarks of a greater disaster, simply because personal, corporate, and government debt has reached something like 350% of U.S. GDP versus roughly 150% in 1929. Then, we didn’t have the generation and world-wide dissemination of CDOs, CDSs and criminally rated AAA mortgage paper from our shores – the ladling out of a space-age derivative soup to banks, insurance and financial companies  (both domestic and foreign) and many large pension funds who are now choking on the brew. And this collapse is being insidiously softened with all the modern tools the modern financial system can bring to bear; Wall Street and Treasury Dept. stabilization tools that gentle down the daily, the weekly shrinkages in securities values. Together with brilliant bursts of spin (thank you, Madison Avenue…) that keep us holding our breath, hoping for that elusive recovery just around the corner. (more…)

Dawn & Abner Meet Dahris Clair’s The Infinite Writer…

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

What?… You don’t know from Dawn Carlisle or Abner Weaver? And you’ve never heard of Dahris Clair? Well, bud (or ma’am), that’s a sorry situation! Guess you never opened a copy of “3 Aces” to Chapter Six either, ’cause if you had you’d have known that Dawn and Abner were cruising out of Mississippi down the west coast of “the Bikini,” in a Groff International Eagle, with a load of bagged yogurt mix for a dairy down in Miami Gardens. And it just happens that at Homosassa Springs, they decide to stay south on State Route 19 and swing into Dahris Clair’s expanding project – The Infinte Writer – for a couple cups of joe.

Okay, don’t ask…joe is slang for coffee…and you never heard of The Infinite Writer either, right? Well, let me put you straight: ‘The Writer’ is one very classy ‘zine. Oh, c’mon now…’zine is slang for e-zine! Hunnnh? You don’t have any idea what we’re talking about here?  Look, every serious student of writing – young or old – anywhere near Polk, Pasco, or Sarasota Counties in Florida could tell you that Dahris Clair’s online magazine, in the year and half it has been in existence, has gleaned nearly 2000 eager subscribers. (more…)

Creed Of The Long Haul Trucker

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

In every occupation (in my case, former…) there comes a point where the agonies, the glories, the victories, the frustrations, and the respites from odd moments of boredom produce bits of humor; in this vein, may I present:

THE CREED OF THE LONG HAUL TRUCKER…

1. Thou shalt deliver thy load on time:

a. Even when dispatched 5 minutes after delivery is due.
b. Night or day-come black ice, the deluge, fog, or flame.

2. Bestow pity upon thy dispatcher:

a. Whenever he proves himself a raving jackass…
b. Forgive him, for he is weak.

3. Honor thy truck:

Neither is it a damnable beast, nor doth it conspire against you; nor can it outrun the wind when screamed at. (more…)

 

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