Just a quick note. My breakout novel, Fatal Exchange, is part of an awesome action/adventure bundle with some top notch authors at StoryBundle. The way it works is you can get the bundle for amazingly cheap, and if you elect to step up and pay a few bucks more, get even more amazing reads from the likes of Lawrence Block, CJ Lyons, J. Carson Black, and Vincent Zandri.
Go check it out. Part of the money goes to charity, part to the organizers, and a sliver to paying my bar tab.
Would that sliver were larger, but hey, can’t have everything.
You can find out all about the bundle here. It makes the perfect anytime gift for in-laws, that relative you kind of despise but have to be nice to, the co-worker you wish would choke on his/her own tongue and asphyxiate while you chortle with glee…virtually anyone you want to give something to and seem wildly generous while in reality doing so on a shoestring.
My YA/NA coming-of-age romance, Less Than Nothing, is free for a limited time. I use the pseudonym R.E. Blake for this genre, so my action/conspiracy readers won’t think it’s my latest breakneck thrill ride when I release a romance.
Why am I making what is arguably a damned fine book, free?
Because I love you all so much I just want to give back?
No. That’s probably not it.
Because I hate money and have adopted a vow of poverty, in addition to my vow of celibacy?
Mmm, not so much.
No, it’s for two reasons. First, because I’ve been told by several readers that they were surprised by how much they enjoyed the trilogy, even though it’s unabashedly gooey and not at all the same as my conventional fare, and I figure some of my readership who might be reluctant to try it if they had to shell actual money out to read it, might appreciate it. Second, because I’m delighted with the way it turned out, and want as many folks to read it as possible.
So I figure, make it free, and then the reader has nothing to lose but a few hours of their time. If you’ve ever felt incomplete because you haven’t read me writing as a 17 year old female teenage runaway, well, now’s your big chance to correct that and fill the gaping hole in your life. At no cost.
It doesn’t get much better than free. And tell a friend!
A reader of my blog and FB page asked me the other day why I say the markets are all rigged, and a lie.
I began explaining, and thought some might find interesting how the markets actually work. So here’s a quick summary, which will then lead into a disturbing set of conclusions about the geo-political environment (which is longer due to the ground covered). But first, markets.
Take gold, silver, copper, platinum, wheat, coffee, oil, etc.
Commodities. Real items in the real world. Ostensibly with easily determined values based on supply, and demand.
The idea of commodities exchanges was twofold: to give producers a place to sell their goods in a central location, and to enable them to hedge their future production and lock in a price for it so they eliminated their risk of price fluctuations (and to enable purchasers of raw materials to buy in advance and lock in their supply). Supply and demand in this case is supposed to establish the price of the commodity. All good. The producer issues a contract good for, say, 100 ounces of gold, or 100 bushels of wheat, or whatever, and come time that the contract expires, is expected to deliver the product.
But that’s not how the modern commodities markets work. Instead, you have investment banks, speculators, and market makers, all of whom create a price for the asset based purely on the number of contracts they print up, knowing that 99 out of 100 contracts won’t be asked to deliver anything – speculators play the differences in the prices of the options contracts over time, and never want delivery, choosing instead to close out the contract or let it expire without exercising it.
Anyone see the immediate moral hazard here? Now, JP Morgan can write options contracts for 100 times more gold than is available in the entire world and those contracts will have the effect on the price of the commodity the same as though production increased 100 fold. Because you’ve increased apparent supply by 100. Or 1000. Or a million.
Markets work on a basic principle: that they are honest (that price discovery is a true reflection of supply and demand), and can’t be rigged. That’s not the case with the U.S. commodities markets. Price is purely a function of how many pieces of paper a bank wants to print, knowing it won’t ever deliver anything, which radically distorts the supply/demand outlook, and hence the price. And worse yet, if the bank is called upon to deliver the commodity by a buyer who really actually wanted the commodity and not cash, it can simply say, sorry, don’t have it, here’s the cash equivalent – the price of the contract, which as we just saw, is completely artificially controlled based on pieces of paper, not the actual supply and demand of the asset.
Same thing happens with stocks. In naked short selling, unscrupulous players sell IOUs for stock they then don’t deliver (because they don’t have it, can’t get it, and never intended to deliver it), but those IOUs are treated as legitimate supply by the system, again, badly skewing the supply/demand curve. Say company A issues 10 shares of stock. Theoretically the price of the stock would be whatever someone is willing to pay for 10 shares. If eleven people each want one, then the tenth person has to be offered sufficient money so they are inclined to sell. Supply, demand. But what the system does is sells the eleventh person an IOU it treats exactly like the real thing, and never tells the person they didn’t get a share, they got an IOU. What happens to supply and demand at that point? The price likely stays the same, because a synthetic share has been created out of thin air by the system. Or maybe even goes down, if the seller of the IOU has a reason to offer the price lower than the real shares trade at, thereby bringing all prices down to the new, artificially manipulated price. That, in a nutshell, is how unscrupulous manipulators crater the price of stocks, making fortunes on the price decline – they flood the market with IOUs, which badly distorts supply, causing their bets on a price decline to become big money makers (it’s far easier to get folks in a theater to panic by screaming fire than to get them to buy, so this is how the real money’s made on Wall Street).
Now multiply that by millions of shares and you start to see the problem in the markets. Of course, the regulators and the media claimed that never happened, and then grudgingly agreed it could but didn’t happen often, and then during the financial crisis had to pass laws barring the practice for ONLY the financial stocks (who were the groups doing it in the first place) because it was crashing the financial system. Of course, the baddies simply ignored the law and kept doing it, because they knew the regulators were toothless and they could get away with it. But that’s a whole nother story.
So next time you see all the articles in the media about why oil is X price or gold is that price, citing supply, demand, shortages, gluts, trends, understand that’s pure bullshit that simply ignores the effect of paper oil or paper gold on the price of the physical assets. Until the market gets so out of whack that the producers refuse to sell their commodity for the price listed on the exchanges, that price, which is established by these paper contracts and not physical supply and demand at all, is treated as the legit price – it’s a confidence game, and only falls apart when confidence in the price’s veracity is in doubt.
At those times, the physical disconnects from the paper price. In the gold market, for instance, in China and India and Malaysia, there is often a premium paid over the paper price, because there’s simply nobody willing to sell for the paper price. That’s an example of the market breaking down – the buyers and sellers concede there’s no real basis for the artificial paper price, and so add on cash until someone’s willing to sell. We’ve seen that increasingly of late, and it’s a sign that the legitimacy of the paper exchanges is no longer assumed by actual buyers and sellers of the physical commodity. Of course that’s rarely reported by the media, which is concerned with ensuring that the status quo is maintained, and that the majority of rubes, er, I mean, investors, believe the published prices.
But back to commodities and stocks. The ability to game the supply curve with paper instead of legitimate supply is why the markets are complete BS. The owners of the exchanges are the same big banks that distort the prices with paper prices, and they’ve created rules that allow them to do so with impunity. The game works until enough folks discover they can’t actually get the asset they bought at the price they paid for it, and then the legitimacy of the exchange collapses. In the silver market, there were six to eight week waits for silver coins at a time when the price was especially low. Now, in a working market, increased demand would drive prices up. But in the commodity markets it worked the other way – low prices bought out hordes of buyers, but supply simply didn’t exist, so they had to start handing out IOUs for the metal, delivery to occur at some point in the future. Sound odd?
Now you understand why I say they’re all bent.
Let’s look at oil prices, since those are in the news. I believe that the U.S. government, aided by their allies, the Saudis, are deliberately using low oil to punish the Russians for blocking U.S. attempts to go to war in Syria, predicated on a lie (last year’s sarin gas falsehoods propagated by the western media as truth, and later exposed as false). The U.S. really wants to go to war in Syria, in spite of the claims it doesn’t, because Syria is key to oil flow to Russia, and if the U.S. controls it, they own the Russians. Russia obviously doesn’t want them to do what they did in Libya, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, which is destabilize the region and create complete anarchy. So Russia blocked the U.S. war machine, the sarin gas reports were discovered to be as false as WMDs in Iraq were, and the U.S. looked like a bunch of liars trying to start yet another undeclared war in the Middle East.
I believe that the U.S. decided to retaliate against the Russians by doing two things: Sponsoring and supporting a conflagration in the Ukraine, wherein the democratically elected government was overthrown by a pro-U.S. de facto dictatorship, plunging Russia into a war on its border (note the media doesn’t discuss the hundreds of U.S. mercenaries on the ground in Ukraine hired by the puppet Ukraine government or the fact that most Ukrainians don’t honor the puppet government as being legit), and placing some calls to Goldman and JP Morgan and the Saudis and telling them to turn on the Xerox machine and drive the price of oil to $40. Because at that price, Russia’s currency falls apart.
Which would be the completely illegal and immoral manipulation of commodity markets to achieve political agendas of unbridled aggression.
Lest anyone believe that can’t happen, of course it can. Just as the NY Fed can steal Germany’s gold, sell it into the market to keep the price low, and then when Germany demands 10% of it back, be unable to return it. It supposedly can’t happen, and yet does, all the time. When banks and governments decide they are above the law, and aren’t accountable for fraud, theft, murder, etc. etc. anything goes, and that’s the world we live in.
For another bit of cheer you’ll never hear in the mainstream media, witness a recent DOJ push called Operation Chokepoint, which is where the administration bypasses Congress and the Judicial system, and effectively attempts to shut down a whole host of industries it simply doesn’t like, exactly as it tried to use the IRS to punish enemies of the administration. Coin dealers, gun dealers, fireworks dealers, payday loan places, pawn shops, all are targeted as being of heightened risk for money laundering, and the word went out to their banks that they shouldn’t really be supplying them accounts for that reason. So all of a sudden legitimate, law-abiding enterprises are finding themselves out of business without access to the banking system, and without any hearing or due process, their demise decided by un-elected bureaucrats – illegally, I might add. This is still going on, in spite of a bogus Wiki article saying it’s over. It’s not over. That is disinformation designed to mislead. In other words, a lie to cover up an illegal witch hunt the government knows it has to legitimate authority to conduct. Now, why would the government want to do away with shops where you can buy gold and silver, or guns and ammunition, or get an advance on your paycheck outside of the banking system? Hmm. A couple of troubling notions come to mind. Mainly, it’s an attack on alternatives to the dollar, and the second amendment, and alternatives to the mainstream banking cartel, that it knows would be shot down if attempted legally.
Google it. I have a friend who’s business almost went under because of it. That isn’t supposed to happen. And yet it does, every day. Because the U.S. government is increasingly behaving like a totalitarian state, and not like the constitutional republic it supposedly is. Witness that it is going back into Iraq for the third time, even though it says it wants nothing to do with the place after destabilizing it (when Hussein announced he wanted to get off OPEC and start trading oil for gold) and inserting a pro-west puppet government (sound familiar?) the population refuses to honor as legit, it’s going into Libya for the second time (same thing – doesn’t want anything to do with it after sponsoring an uprising when Qaddafi proposed trading oil in gold instead of the dollar), wants to go into Syria and is asking for war powers to do so.
Which brings me to ISIS – the new boogieman. Isn’t it funny that ISIS, instead of unifying the Muslim world, is basically destabilizing it, with Muslim battling Muslim. And isn’t it odd that it really came to power (it was basically a zero before then) immediately after the U.S. got bitch slapped by Russia about Syria? Of course, the first place it went to ground was…Syria. Demanding U.S. response. If you look at a map of places it’s now “entrenched,” it’s basically a map of every resource rich area of the Middle East. And of course, the U.S. must root it out wherever it is. Which means endless U.S. wars and presence in the Middle East’s most oil rich or strategically important places.
ISIS, as far as I could tell, was about 100 guys with a camera crew instructed to carry out horrific executions in the most inflammatory manner possible. And which just so happened to align 100% with the U.S.’ desire to invade or destabilize a host of Middle Eastern countries that were either proposing trading using a gold back dinar instead of the U.S. dollar for oil, or are strategically important to China and Russia’s oil flow from Africa.
Believe what you like, I just find it awfully interesting that the new boogieman pops up when the public is no longer buying fake WMDs or spurious sarin gassing of civilians. But now we have a whole new reason to crank up the war machine – because the ISIS threat never sleeps and will get us if we don’t reluctantly invade all the countries that have anything worth taking!
Sorry. I’m just a tad cynical these days. Seen a little too much. Know a little too much. My take is that the military/industrial complex sees that the U.S./anglo alliance is slowly losing most of the world, with the BRICS nations now settling their trades without using the dollar, and with increasing oil producing nations unwilling to trade in dollars, and with China and Russia leading the charge away from the dollar, and has decided to do a series of false flag-based land grabs of strategic locations while it thinks it can still summon support.
Geo-politically, though, it’s backfiring, because Europe is seeing that it’s not in their best interests to support sanctions against one of its largest trading partners (Russia), and because most of the world outside of the sway of the U.S. media doesn’t for a second believe that ISIS is anything but a CIA-funded group designed to stoke the flames of outrage and give the U.S. an excuse to go to endless war in the Middle East, at least per a lot of the folks I talk to around the world.
The problem is that everything is basically a lie, designed to advance the agendas of those who want more power and more money at your expense. The markets reflect that truth – they lie early and often. We know the U.S. manipulates the stock market – it has a “plunge protection team” to do precisely that. Again, Google it. So in a world where nothing is actually the truth, the only sensible response is to be skeptical of everything – but that’s considered treasonous by a certain faction in the U.S., which have mistaken being patriotic for being unquestioning about the actions of its government, or the absurd official explanations it floats.
I don’t get it. I mean, I do, but I fail to understand how thinking people can buy fairy tales as though they’re truth. Usually, as is the case with the markets, by choosing to remain ignorant of how things actually work. Because ignorance is comforting, until a big boot steps on you, at which point I suppose it doesn’t matter.
I’ve found there are two basic types of people: those who want to understand reality as it actually exists in their limited time on the planet, and believe reason trumps all, and those who are anxiously awaiting the release of a new iPhone because it’ll be like totally even more bitchin’ and shit.
As a final bit of fun, today, the Baltic Dry Index, a measurement of supply and demand for container ships (higher and stronger means the better the economy is, due to increased commerce) put in yet another new historical low, lower than at any point in 30 years, signaling a worsening of the world economy even as Yahoo trumpets conditions improving!
Now back to writing. Have to finish up JET – Ops Files, Terror Alert, and then outline my next one!
Fight tyranny. Stand up for truth, puppies, and Grandma’s apple pie.
Buy. My. Crap.
I’m trying an experiment. No, not six months in a Turkish prison. Although after a certain age…
Rather, it’s specially priced bundles of my first six JET novels. To save the cheapskates a few bucks and make it twice as easy to enjoy our favorite ass-kicking female super spy in delicious bite-sized chunks!
For this laughably low price, you receive twenty to thirty hours of entertainment in each installment, and don’t damage your lungs or liver or contract an embarrassing or potentially fatal disease. It’s the bargain of the century! It’s the perfect companion – one that won’t file restraining orders or expect half the house and car!
So what are you waiting for? Act now!!!
Not to oversell it or anything…
Click on the covers for the Amazon links. Also available on Smashwords and wherever ebooks are sold.
After being badgered for months by impatient readers who don’t seem to appreciate that I’m working my little digits to nubs in order to keep them entertained, I’m delighted to announce that the second installment in the JET – Ops Files novels, is available on pre-order. JET – Ops Files, Terror Alert will release March 30, assuming no comet smites the earth and that my tequila supply stays steady, which is where you buying my crap comes into play.
The novel chronicles Maya’s operational life in the Mossad, and pits her against Muslim madmen intent on misbehaving, this time with a dirty bomb. Before anyone gets all up in my face about the madmen being Muslim, I’d direct you to the countless reports of terrorist atrocities in the West, and ask you on a percentage basis to rank the number attributable to Muslim extremists, vs., say, Buddhists, or Zoroastrians, or Amish. In that answer lies the reason that they tend to pop up in popular fiction as bad guys.
But this isn’t about geo-political commentary. It’s about ass-kicking female Mossad operatives whose bodies are lethal weapons and who aren’t shy about spraying lead like a murderous Rainbird. Which is what Maya, AKA Jet, is all about. Probably wasn’t breast fed sufficiently as a baby or something, but that’s not the point. What matters is that she’s a teenage leather-clad killing machine with heart.
Some have asked that I share more about my daily process than the casual references to writing with which I pepper my blog, and have demanded that I delve into the actual operations of a publishing juggernaut the likes of which are unique in the annals of self-publishing history.
In doing so, I thought I’d clear up some misconceptions. Namely that I lounge about in board shorts, swigging margaritas, tapping out an occasional paragraph between bouts of snorting coke off strippers’ bottoms and dodging the Federales. Would that it were so. A tremendous amount of work goes into this, so I’ll describe a typical day so you can be the judge.
First thing this morning there was a board meeting that seemed to go on forever.
Then there was a concept development session.
Followed by plotting.
I broke for lunch, but it was a working lunch, during which I interviewed virtual assistants.
Then I spent several hours at a PR event discussing my work and upcoming releases.
Then, back to the grindstone until dinner.
As you can see, my existence is not an endless series of debauched adventures and aimless slacking. I stay to a rigid schedule, albeit one that has suitable flexibility to accommodate my creative bursts, and I put in the hours required to achieve my goals. Anyone who believes that being a bestselling author involves jotting down a few pages of meanderings between bouts of problem drinking and being chased by inebriated women off the cruise ships has a distorted view of what I do.
I hope I’ve been able to clear things up once and for all.
Now go buy my crap. Drinks ain’t free in these joints.
Today marks the release of a novella I wrote in Steven Konkoly’s The Perseid Collapse Kindle World – the first such effort I’ve produced. It’s a dystopian romp that chronicles a sliver of time after an EMP wipes out North America’s communications – concurrent with a massive hurricane hitting the locale where my protagonist lives.
The goal was to create a non-stop action romp set in a world that’s the day after the end of the world as we know it. I think it turned out well, but readers will ultimately decide. The title is Deadly Calm, for the deceptive calm that settles in after a major natural disaster like a hurricane.
It wasn’t hard to write it, having just survived Hurricane Odile’s flattening of Los Cabos, and my hope is that the descriptions in the book have a ring of authenticity – they should, as most of it’s drawn from my real-life experience.
This is my first prepper-themed dystopian effort. It likely won’t be my last. Writing in a world where the rules don’t apply, where nothing is as it should be due to the dislocation caused by the end of the world event, affords a certain freedom I enjoyed. We’ll see what else spews forth from my printer, but for now, give Deadly Calm a whirl and see what you think.
Special thanks to Steve for making it so easy to jump into that world. Here’s to hoping it catches some lift and sparks imaginations, or at least sells enough to buy some serious rounds of drinks for all concerned. Whatever the case, I think the story is an engaging one, and could see it running farther. One never knows.
For some fun images of my neighborhood after the hurricane, see below.