Tag Archives: novel

Justice, Part Two


Asklotta requested I write Part 2 to 8/23/2012’s short story “Justice.” Your wish, Asklotta, is my command.

I went hunting for inspiration and found it on www.zerohedge.com in Tyler Durden’s 8/23/2012 post titled “JPM’s London Whale May Face Jail Time for Mismarking Billions in CDS.” I hope you enjoy another installment of “Justice.”

Justice: Part Two

by Fay Moore © 2012

 On the 20th floor, night’s blackness is arriving without a sound. Reds, purples and oranges chase the sun out of sight beyond J.R.’s office window.

Late nights are de rigueur at the Wall Street firm, so an analyst knows where to find J. R. when the after-hours news comes across the wire. J. R. is in his office, as expected. Unexpectedly, J. R. is in front of his desk when the subordinate knocks on the jamb of the open office door. The boss is striding back and forth atop a broad gilded stripe on the carpet, as if the line is a runway and his feet, the plane flown by a pilot practicing incessant touch-and-go landings.

The underling centers himself inside the door frame, lowers his eyes and waits politely. J. R. makes two more passes in front of the desk before acknowledging the interruption.

Can’t you see I’m busy?”

You asked me to let you know if anything hit the alternative news wires. Something is up on ZeroHedge.”

The boss swears under his breath and heads for his desk. He grabs the arm of the executive desk chair forcefully, rolling it backwards, and jumps into the leather seat, driving the rolling chair forward. The ricochet reminds the subordinate of the lethal motion of a pistol slide.

The Internet article says J. R., as chief executive officer, and his firm are in trouble: in addition to the uncomfortable news of the firm’s suffering massive losses for the quarter, now comes an accusation that players in the firm engage in criminal mismarking of credit default swaps to boost reported profits with the intent to defraud shareholders and investors.

J. R. knows that regulators are three years behind in following up allegations of wrong-doing. A bigger threat, in the form of bad press, comes from self-appointed enforcers outside the establishment. Envious or angry insiders leak damaging information into the alternative news channels. Internet-based sleuths are busy lifting carpet corners, shining light on hidden filth missed by lazy, stupid or blind regulators. Going from trickles to torrents,  the news leaks push J. R. to make admissions about the bad behavior of the London-based trading office, and name names of guilty parties. To cover his own ass, he denies foreknowledge of the crimes. Then there’s the LIBOR scandal, to which J. R.’s firm is a party–if not directly, then by association.

J. R. belongs to the You-scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours Boy’s Club where men help each other evade the law, at least, and commit horrific crimes, at most.

The executive admits to himself that the media snowball is rolling downhill and growing out of control. The bad news, that came in monthly dribs and drabs of disjointed factoids in the beginning,  is coming faster and faster now; from monthly leaks to weekly to daily to hourly ones.  At first, J. R.’s smooth spin paints the Internet newsmongers as “nutters” chasing phantoms. J. R. is a master at disconnecting the dots. His executive board loves him for that quality. But now the fouling of the firm is overwhelming. The big question at the top is who is going down?

J. R. is waiting for a call from his criminal defense lawyer. That’s why he was pacing when the associate showed up in his office doorway. He needs the legal firm’s resources to manufacture an escape route that will keep him alive and functioning. He is trying to keep his neck out of the noose.

The television mounted on his office wall—the one that is always on and tuned to the financial news network with the prettiest broadcasters–sounds a bell. For some odd reason, J. R. mistakes the sound for the peal of the early warning system. He looks up at the screen. The announcer speaks. The news rattles him. The former head of a competing firm is dead, shot today by an unidentified gunman while he and his wife are vacationing in the south of France.

In the middle of a sentence, the broadcaster stops speaking, pressing his finger against the device in his ear.

After a pause, the reporter says, “We have breaking news. The shooting appears to be an assassination. A source inside French law enforcement says the shooting has all the hallmarks of a professional hit. We’ll bring you the details as soon as we know more.”

A professional hit? By whom?” the underling asks his boss.

I don’t know,” he answers, his voice quieter than normal. “Look, I have a call to make. Thanks for telling me about the ZeroHedge thing. That’s all for now.” J. R. walks the man toward the door, shutting the door behind him.

He calls his lawyer again and gets the receptionist.

He identifies himself to her, then says, “This is urgent. I need my attorney now.”

The barrister’s paralegal comes on the line. He recognizes the investment banker’s voice. J. R. gets to the point.

I don’t know if you’ve heard the latest. I fear someone is targeting investment bankers.”

Yes, I heard the French news.”

“Then you understand. I need protection, and I need it tonight. I don’t know who is behind the threat, but. . . .”

A bullet breaks through the office window glass, striking J. R. in the back of the head and blowing a gaping hole in his frontal lobe as the projectile exits the skull. As J. R. falls, a tinny voice calls through the small speaker of the phone.

Hello? Hello?”

In a moment, the line goes dead.

Quotation for 7-28-2012


Writing a romance story? Perhaps you can find inspiration in today’s quotation:

“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” 

― Rumi,  The Illuminated Rumi

Same author, more inspiration on the same topic:

“I want to see you.
Know your voice.
Recognize you when you first come ’round the corner.
Sense your scent when I come into a room you’ve just left.
Know the lift of your heel, the glide of your foot.
Become familiar with the way you purse your lips then let them part, just the slightest bit, when I lean in to your space and kiss you.
I want to know the joy of how you whisper ‘more.'”

 ― Rumi

Stephen King on Writing Stories


Getting into the brain of another: it’s a writer’s Mecca. Getting into the brain of a commercially successful author: that’s orgasmic. Today, you have entree (dictionary says “the privilege of access”) into the mind of Stephen King. The first comes from a 1997 airing of television’s “60 Minutes:”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCI3oFn50z8&feature=g-vrec

The second is an interview segment from Bordersmedia 2008:

 

 
Very good stuff here. Insightful. Encouraging to us wannabe’s.

A First-Time-Published Story


The following is a true story by author Brad Geagley. He admits that his story makes the envious seethe. But it is the end of his tale that has me intrigued. Brad is entering the now-level playing field of the self-published. This story is a prelude to the story yet to come. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

Fair warning – when other writers hear my story they sometimes scream and throw themselves out their windows.  It’s the tale of how I got my first writing contract, and I don’t think anyone had ever had so easy a time of it.

When I was living in New York City, where I was VP of Production for a special effects house, I purchased a loft near Washington Square.  Instead of Escrow, as they have in California, a buyer and seller must instead use real estate lawyers to draw up the contracts.  My realtor recommended an attorney he usually worked with, a woman by the name of Judy Levin.  When I went to her offices to sign the papers I noticed that her walls were hung with posters from the New York Stage.  Some of the productions I had even heard of.  “Wow,” I said, “you must really love the theater!”

Judy, who was both the most laconic person I’d ever met and, perversely, the most loquacious, merely said, “Oh, those?  I produced them.”  It turned out that she had started her career as an entertainment lawyer, and handled the legal affairs for a variety of theatricals.  When you do that in New York you also get a producing credit.  But, as happens to many who work in entertainment, she got burnt out and retired from the fray to become a real estate lawyer.

Well, it just so happens that I was looking to option a book to turn it into a stage play.  Judy got me the book in very short order and for a very reasonable price.  Having tasted the thrill of the theater again, however remote, she then asked me, “Do you have anything else I could look at?”

Did I?!

It just so happened that I had the first hundred pages of a novel to show her, a mystery set in Ancient Egypt, which I had called generically “Ancient Egyptian Murder Mystery”.  She took it and a couple of weeks later told me, “I really like it.  Do you mind if I show it around?”

What do you think I answered?

Judy had brittle bones – this is not a segue, by the way – and had broken her foot.  She would hobble down to the courtyard of her building in Chelsea and – as I might have mentioned – Judy could talk to anyone in that same even monotone she used with me; a stranger, a dog, the clothes dryer.  A gentleman was also in the courtyard that morning, someone from her building who she had never before met.  He too was ill and was staying home from work.  In the course of their conversation he happened to mention his wife, Carol, who happened to work at Simon & Schuster, where she happened to be secretary to the legendary Michael Korda.  Korda, for those of you who don’t know, ran the editing staff of S&S since the 1950s.  “Do you mind if I give you a manuscript?” Judy asked Carol when she met her for the first time a few days.

Carol accepted the manuscript in their laundry room.  “It takes a brave woman to take a manuscript in a laundry room,” Judy said to me.  I could only agree.

But the good news was that two weeks later I had a contract not only to finish my novel, but also to write its sequel.  The first novel, Year of the Hyenas, went on to be named one of the five best mysteries of the year by Library Journal, while the second, Day of the False King, debuted on the LA Times Best Seller List.

And all because I bought a place in New York City.

Luck like that can happen only once in a person’s life, but it is also a story that could only have happened in New York.  It’s a city where you run into people you know all the time, thrust together as you are on sidewalks, in buses and subways, or by frequenting the same restaurants.

The luck began to change when Michael Korda retired, but I always knew that I had gotten to know him at the end of his extraordinary career.  When I was assigned to a new editor, she frankly told me she was not “into” historical fiction and was I interested instead in the chick-lit field…?

We severed our relationship on the spot.

I’ve gone on to write another mystery, but not set in ancient times – instead it takes place in 1957 Hollywood.  What would you do, it asks, if you were a studio mogul and your leading man happens to be a serial killer?  How would save your studio, your film – and your leading lady?

I’ve decided to go explore the self-publishing route this time; the new publishing industry is as unchartered as the wild west, but I’m game for anything.  I guess this is where the REAL work begins.

What Do You Think?


This morning I have had my first negative thoughts about the anthology project of the local writers group.

My WordPress galpal Crubin calls her negative self-talk Mr. Nasty Pants.  Apparently he is visiting me this morning. He is suggesting that my writing micro-fiction for the anthology is a bad thing because I am trying to be a novelist. I am sending a wrong message to readers by introducing them to me through micro-fiction.

I say, “Nonsense.” He is persisting in his argument.

My view is  I am new at this writing game. I have made a conscious choice to write a novel: that is the genre in which I believe I want to work. However, blogging has taught me that I like writing short pieces just as much. Then I discovered micro-fiction. It’s the haiku of story-telling. It’s fun and challenging to me.  It improves my self- editing skills. Yes, the flavor is different than the novel. But is it really a bad thing to write in more than one genre?

When I get an ice cream cone, I mix up the flavors. Each scoop is different. I eat one flavor at a time, with an occasional drip-catching lick to the others. I like variety. I like sampling. It’s my bad.

Remember. I have stated, “I am not a Hemingway.” What I mean is I have no illusion of producing classic literature that will be studied through the ages. I want to entertain, amuse, calm, nurture, persuade, tickle my reader. My works are meant to be read, mulled over for a brief duration, then shared or shelved.

If I aspired to create literature, then I would understand perfecting my craft in a single genre. As it is, I just want to be read, then read again.

What do you think? Give me your point-of-view.

The Hunger Games, the Movie


A couple of days ago, I saw the movie. (I’m only three weeks later than everyone else.) It tapped into my mortification and my sinister. Mortification doesn’t write, but Sinister does. Time to get back to writing about the bad guy in my novel, now that I am inspired.

Ahhhh.

Message to Riatarded of “The Uninspired Chronicles”: Go to the movies to trigger creative thoughts. Pick something that your brain can associate with the part of the plot giving you trouble. I was dragging my feet surrounding the mind and action of my villain. Seeing The Hunger Games touched my psyche with samples of all kinds of evil. My brain made the connection. Now it’s off to the races for fingers galloping across the keyboard.

Revisiting My Resolutions for Writers by Brad Geagley


Revisiting My Resolutions for Writers.

Today I chose to “press this” so that new writers can see that pro writers struggle with many of the same issues as novices. But there is another lesson from Mr. Geagley that is unintended. Examining his page and biography illustrates how a professional author markets himself and his works. Examine Geagley’s page with marketing in mind. Take notes. Learn from a man who has four novels out there, AND a man who has entertainment field credits.

The motion picture industry is masterful at marketing. Geagley learned what works by direct observation. He puts those lessons to work in his public relations for his products. Study his page and take away some ideas for your own use in the future.

Thank you, Brad Geagley.

Brad Geagley is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, “Day of the False King” and “Year of the Hyenas” and the self-published, smash hit, “The Stand In”. He has worked for many years as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry. The film that changed Geagley’s life was Joseph Mankiewicz’s 1963 film starring Elizabeth Taylor in the title role, Cleopatra. In fact, Geagley learned so much about the Egyptian ruler that he was asked to contribute to Kevin Burns’ two-hour AMC documentary, “The Film That Changed Hollywood”. Mankiewicz became both Geagley’s friend and mentor. More recently, Geagley can be seen in the new documentary, “Cleopatra’s Lost Footage” soon available on the BluRay release of the famed film.

His newest novel, “The Stand In”, a noir mystery set in 1957 Hollywood was inspired by an anecdote from Joseph L. Mankiewicz about a Famous Movie Star.