Month:

June, 2020

16 years ago I moved to Mexico, changed my name for reasons that shall become clear shortly, and started a new life as a retiree, lazing in the sun, after which I decided to become an architect and builder, and then, a winemaker, and ultimately, an author, restaurateur, and entrepreneur.

But the past never stays in the past, at least if vengeful pecuniary interests are involved.

To understand what I’m talking about, a little history might be in order. Before I moved from the U.S., I sold my medical company and became somewhat of a Wall Street sensation, first as the creator of a website that countered the hatchet jobs of a Who’s Who of short sellers, and promptly thereafter, once I recognized that Wall Street had a systemic problem, as the creator of a group that exposed the criminal antics of the seedy underside of stock traders who destroyed companies for profit.

That website and organization drove very powerful people in NY berserk, because my opening salvo was a full page ad in the Washington Post highlighting a practice called Naked Short Selling, which is basically counterfeiting stock and selling it as though it was genuine, in order to destroy a targeted company’s price.

Given that was the livelihood for some unscrupulous players, they weren’t amused. My audacity of confronting them publicly was an affront to massive egos that ill-gotten gains had inflated to Hindenburg proportions. And their “investors,” which included Russian and Italian crime figures, tended to play rough, and didn’t appreciate the antiseptic of sunshine directed into their customary shadows.

But I’d watched retirees driven into the poor house so some rich, corrupt players on Wall Street could buy a new place in the Hamptons, and because I had the time and resources, decided to take on an impossible fight even if it endangered me and paid squat. So I spoke truth to power in a very visible manner. Note to self: bad idea, as Assange has discovered.

The SEC and every major financial publication insisted I’d called the naked short selling conspiracy wrong, I was nuts, this was all nonsense – that naked shorting never happened, and if it did, it was tiny volume, and completely innocent. Which was pure bullshit, because when forced to detail exactly how many shares per day didn’t settle (i.e. didn’t exist), it turned out to be a massive number – something like 15% of all trading on the NYSE on many days.

So the benign explanation – that this was all innocent, likely grandma forgetting where she placed her stock certificate, turned out to be BS. As did the next parry, which was that, well, okay, maybe it did happen, but it was nothing to worry about. I was vilified, even on the front page of the WSJ business section (you can imagine why I was tickled that I made the front page of the WSJ above the fold years later in my new incarnation as a highly successful author), attacked constantly in major publications – me, a little nobody who used a pseudonym for self-protection, with a cheesy website calling out a problem with stock settlement.

One of the kindred spirits who joined this fight against Wall Street miscreants was the CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, who was a pugilistic kindred, and pitted himself in a public manner against the big dogs of Wall Street, eventually suing them and emerging victorious, all the while being described as a loon, a nutter, a dope fiend, you name it, by the NY mainstream media – which is largely nothing more than a propaganda arm for Wall Street and their compromised politicians in Washington, as many have learned over the last four years.

Then the 2008 crash happened, and suddenly naked short selling, which we’d been assured never happened, was conspiracy theory lunacy, or if it did, was benign…had to be made illegal when directed at the big Wall Street firms – not for everyone else, of course, but for the banks responsible for most of it. The irony was not lost on me, but I was vindicated, because in a matter of days the thing that never happened had to have emergency legislation in order to be stopped, or it could collapse the entire economy in hours. They literally said that, out loud, in print. It was a magical moment, where the “you’re a conspiracy theorist and are wrong about everything” turned out to be that I was 100% accurate about it, in spite of all the denials, including from the highest levels of the SEC.

Those who know how to use the Wayback machine should look up NCANS.net – the National Coalition Against Naked Shortselling, as well as TheSanityCheck.com. You can see the entire labor of love, and judge for yourself whether it was a noble pursuit, or Satan’s plaything, as it was colored by Wall Street. Needless to say I was vilified as a combo of Hitler and Chuck Manson by the three or four captive “journalists” who essentially were the lapdogs of the big hedge funds and brokers who lost big due to my actions.

Naturally, given the powerful enemies I’d made and warnings from some powerful folks on my side of the battle, I decided to bow out of the limelight and move on – my point that Wall Street was a rigged game populated by snakes and connected con men had been made by Wall Street itself during the financial crisis, so there was nothing left to fight for, especially with Patrick continuing the battle with his website, DeepCapture.com, which chronicles the entire ugly crusade in detail and is a worthwhile read.

Given the level of danger involved in hitting Wall Street and organized crime snakes on the head with a stick, I got out of the country for good, changed my name, and began a new life, reinventing myself and leaving the cause celebres to brighter minds.

Now the same Wall Street press lapdogs are coming for me again, using their usual tactics of innuendo, misstatements, unverifiable or false claims, half truths, etc. Their purpose is to cause me problems. There is no other reason – it isn’t news, nobody in their audience cares, and there is no there there. But their masters have long memories.

I expect to see a slew of lurid innuendo and half or partial truths. But as any author knows, the irony is there is no such thing as bad publicity. Should be good for more than a few sales of my Wall Street novels, like Zero Sum (which is somewhat autobiographical, and available from Amazon for a song – wink) or Silver Justice.

The good news is that my little crusade was on the side of the white hats, and did nothing but threaten the ill gotten gains of some of the biggest predators on Wall Street. That comes at a cost, and the price is the threat of one of them trying to get even for the financial damage the exposure of their scam caused them. One large hedge fund actually went out of business due to Patrick’s lawsuit, and another, one of the biggest on the Street, wound up being prosecuted and found guilty of all sorts of impropriety – but was powerful enough to avoid anyone going to jail. That’s the clout of these people. There are two sets of laws, as should be clear by now: the ones you and I must follow, and those they get to ignore, which are one and the same.

If this sounds like something out of one of my novels, as I’ve said many times, the truth is far stranger than any fiction I can engineer. My job is really just toning down reality so it is believable.

The irony in all this is that I’ve spent my entire life creating – building companies from scratch, writing, generating content of all types. I’ve learned there are really only two types of people – creators, and destroyers. Creators are driven to build. Destroyers try to profit from destruction. Which brings me to why this, why now: this is all about my pulling my endorsement from Adwerks, and Michael, who uses a fake name in order to conceal his criminal past, trying to punish me in retaliation.

Being as that is the case, I’ve been advised by my attorneys that I should make no further comments and offer no rebuttals, so this will have to suffice until the Adwerks legal action is adjudicated. I apologize in advance, because I’m sure there will be a ton of torrid prose churned forth I’d love to chime in on. But make no mistake that this little welcome bump in publicity stems from the Adwerks kerfuffle, and an embittered felon’s attempt to engender support from some of the most malevolent folks on Wall Street. Peas in a pod, so to speak. Whether the “journalists” will see through the effort to get them to do the felon’s dirty work for them is unknown – I would expect so, as these aren’t stupid people, but you never know. Anyone who wants more info on that felon’s criminal history can email me for the horrific details – I hesitate to sully my blog with it.

So sit back with popcorn and enjoy the coming show. I have no doubt it will be C-movie level competence, but A-level interest, and should command considerable positive attention as the truth becomes known.

For the record, I’m not depressed or suicidal, nor do I intend to nail gun myself, shoot myself in the head twice with different weapons, drown while canoeing, or ram my car into an embankment at 150.

Anyhow, that’s what I am allowed to write. I have more. Way more. But attorneys gonna law and such. So my fingers is all tied.

To conclude, I’m fond of saying everyone’s got a story. Some are just more interesting than others. And you have to admit, this one just got a lot more interesting…

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Nine years ago I pressed publish on my first novel.

To say it’s been a hell of a ride would be the understatement of the century.

Since then I’ve published sixty-something novels, including two co-authored with Clive Cussler. I’ve been celebrated on the front page of the WSJ, I’ve been featured in The Times, the Boston Herald, Huffington, you name it. I’ve had my work translated into a whole bunch of languages I can’t even remember. And thankfully, I’ve been able to build a loyal following of readers who seem as happy to read what I’ve written as I am to write it.

If it gets any better than that, I’m not sure how.

When I first got into the game, names like John Locke and Amanda Hocking were the rage. We were still a couple years from them fading from the indie spotlight, and the future looked bright for authors for the first time in forever. Up until 2010 or so, being an author meant even if you had a bestseller or five, you’d best not quit your day job. All that changed when Apple forced Amazon’s hand to match its 70% royalty rate, and suddenly it was the content creators who saw most of the rewards instead of the middlemen.

Fast forward, and the meritocracy of the early days transitioned into a more mature retail market, where the tsunami of crap that was warned about became a viable business model for the blink of an eye, and organic visibility got replaced by pay-to-play advertising, exactly as I warned a few years before it happened. Now, we’re in a difficult market where it takes money to make money, and the dream of writing something, creating a cover in a few hours, having your mom “edit” it, and getting rich, seems an impossibly distant dream from a naive time where anything seemed possible.

The business is now largely a battle of marketing dollars to attract eyes. Amazon ads have become ineffective as the market has been saturated by the desperate seeking any chance at being seen, and bids have gone through the roof, which shows no signs of stopping. And now, with the virus, trad publishing has been kicked in the throat with the closure of hundreds of indie, airport, and chain bookstores, slashing its profits to the bone. The future is no longer rosy, and there are storm clouds lingering on an uncertain horizon.

Still, after shifting something like 4 million novels over the years, it beats flipping burgers, and many are still making bank, albeit less than before, and working harder for each dollar. That’s how mature markets work, as Amazon has crowded out the other players to dominate online book sales, giving it a de facto monopoly in many genres.

Meanwhile, spiders and flies continue to do what they always have, and the world continues to turn.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to another nine years of writing. I love the process, love being my own boss, love the joy of inventing a new twist or story.

And of course there are the orgies. But I digress.

To my readers, thanks for an amazing run, and be sure to buy my crap, and encourage everyone you know to do the same. To my enemies, as always, you can bite me and fester in your own sick at the fact that I’ve done as well as I have, in spite of a dearth of talent and a penchant for malingering. To my fellow authors, I’ll raise a cup, because that’s sort of the whole point of it, besides the writing and the human sacrifices.

Oops. Hope I’m not giving anything away there. Better shush before I commit suicide with a double tap to the back of my head with two different guns, or decide to plow my car into an embankment at 120 MPH.

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The tenth installment in the international bestselling Day After Never series is now live, and is one of the best yet, in my completely biased opinion.

There are a lot of surprises in this one, so strap in for the ride, as it goes in unexpected directions you won’t see coming.

Exclusive to Amazon, it’s available for download now, although it typically takes a few more days to make it live internationally.

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