Monday, June 29, 2009

Bernie Madoff Finally Hears His Fate

A sentence was finally handed down today in a case that gained international attention as a symbol of the greed and corruption that sometimes go unchecked for long periods of time in our country. The packed courtroom and throngs of media waited anxiously to hear how long the mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Bernie Madoff, would be spending in jail. Judge Denny Chin decided to give Madoff the maximum penalty of 150 years, as requested by the federal prosecutors in New York. Already seventy-one years of age, it is safe to assume that Bernie Madoff will spend the rest of his life behind bars. This will be a much different lifestyle than the one to which he became accustomed using all of his clients’ money.

Investigators have uncovered more than 1300 victims of Madoff’s investment scheme, with their losses totally more than $13 billion. This figure is likely conservative, as the damages are still being tallied and others who gave money to Madoff have until July 2 to report their own accusations of fraud. Judge Chin described Mr. Madoff’s crimes as being “extraordinarily evil” and a “manipulation of the system.” With this perspective, it is not surprising that the leniency of a twelve-year sentence, which was requested by the defense team, was not the decision of the court today.

While my three published novels center on the game of golf and the characters that spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course, I also carry several ongoing commentaries and observations throughout my work. From the power grabs of local politicians to men who treat women as sexual objects to members of the banking industry who defraud their customers, I delve into some of the more unpleasant aspects of human nature. In fact, I believe you will find a few characters in Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course who bear some resemblance to Bernie Madoff. I hope you will check out my work and let me know what you think of my social critiques!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Author James Ross is hitting the radio waves once again!

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know I will be hitting the air waves again tomorrow at 10:10 central; 8:10 pacific (a.m.)

Vince Mastracco
Here's aGolf Talk Radio Show

Producer916-220-PUTT (7888)



If you did not catch the interview it is now posted on the side of my blog.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The U. S. Open Provided Many Stories of Human Interest

Like most golf fans, I was glued to the television over the weekend watching the U.S. Open play out in Farmingdale, New York. Of course, discovering the winner took longer than normal with the rain that plagued the eighteen holes for a good part of the weekend. For the first time since 1983, and not in a situation that involved a playoff, the final holes were played on a Monday. I wonder how many golf devotees called in sick to start the week so that they wouldn’t miss the exciting finish! When it came to this year’s tournament, the weather was only of the stories that made headlines.

The sentimental favorite of the U.S. Open was Phil Mickelson, as he will be leaving the circuit indefinitely to be by his wife’s side as she battles breast cancer. His every swing was followed closely by both spectators and TV viewers. But, as so often happens to Mickelson in major tournaments, he ended up placing second when all was said and done. Our thoughts and prayers will be with this great player as he now shifts his focus to something much more important than the game of golf.

The victory was earned by Lucas Glover, a 29-year-old player who was hardly one of the premier players on the circuit when he started his first drive towards the championship on Thursday. Now, his new standing as the current U.S. Open champion has lifted his world ranking from No. 71 to No.18 and he is a much wealthier man. Has a star been born?
And, of course, there is always the compelling story of Tiger Woods. Recovering from major knee surgery that took place just over a year ago, Tiger ended up with even par when the tournament reached its conclusion. This effort was not enough to make him much of a factor at any point on the leader board. This is now the first time in five years that all of the major trophies belong to someone else other than Tiger Woods. I know this is an odd sensation for everyone in the world of golf.

There is no doubt that the game of golf is filled with human drama and stories of inspiration. That is why I am thrilled to have the fictional Prairie Winds Golf Course as the backdrop for my three novels. I know that my plotlines cannot compare to what real people are experiencing, but I appreciate the opportunity to offer my small contribution.

Hey if you Have time Tonight.............

I'll be online tonight 11:30 central until 12 with
Peter Anthony Holder
CJAD 800 AM, Montreal
CFRB 1010 AM, Toronto

Hope you can listen in!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Your Reviews Wanted! It helps me with my writing!

I am writing today to ask for your feedback! I have heard from so many of you who have read one or more of my books and let me know that you really enjoyed the setting of the golf course and the unique characters that I worked to create on the pages. Your words of encouragement have meant so much to me and motivated me as I’ve worked to put the finishing touches on Opur’s Blade, which is scheduled to be released later this year. Thank you to everyone who has sent me an email or left a comment on this blog.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would share your thoughts on Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course with the reading audience that is out there and eager to find a great new piece of fiction to enjoy. If you enjoyed meeting personalities like J. W. “J Dub” Schroeder or WeWildapheet Ulisees “Tuey” O’Tweety, please let the readers at Amazon know what you have already discovered. If you are a golf fanatic and you know that other players of this great sport would relate to the conversations that occur at the Prairie Winds Golf Course clubhouse, would you share your experience with my books on your favorite golf forum? I know how powerful “word of mouth” recommendations can be!

I cannot begin to explain the amazing journey I have taken over the past several years as I made the decision to become a writer and then actually took the steps to make that dream happen. I am so fortunate to be able to combine two of my great passions—golf and writing—into a profession that allows me flexibility and endless personal satisfaction. If you truly enjoyed what I put out there for your reading consumption, I hope you pass it on.

Please know you are a part of what allows my dream to flourish!


James Ross

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Challenging Stereotypes through Entertainment

There have been certain books, movies, and television programs over time that, while meant primarily to entertain, have stirred quite a bit controversy and caused many of us to rethink our preconceived notions about people. Do you remember the weekly off-color comments that Archie Bunker made from the comfort of his armchair? He spoke in an honest and sometimes offensive manner that would never be allowed on network television today. How about when Ellen DeGeneres used her television program to present an openly gay lead character to the country? She continues to be one of the popular figures in entertainment today. The movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which was released in 1967, caused great controversy with the presentation of an interracial marriage. And, books ranging from The Bible to works by Mark Twain to The Joy of Sex have been burned for the supposed dangerous ideas they asserted. I love the idea of these different art forms being the sparks for some great debates!

My three published books all center on the game of golf and the personalities who spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course. However, another theme that runs throughout my work is the use of stereotypes that purposefully challenge our comfort levels. From race to sexuality to parenting, I worked diligently to create language and physical details that would force the readers to examine their own views on how society portrays different types of individuals. I want people to break out of their comfort zones a bit when they read my books.

If you have read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, or Tuey’s Course, I would love to hear your thoughts on the stereotypes that I work to expose. Did you have a particularly strong reaction to any of the characters? Was I accurate with some of the ideas that we commonly hold, or do you think I was completely off-based? I would love to know either way! I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Who is the real hero here?

Was it "Author James Ross" or was it one of his books?
Click on the link below---listen and tell me what you think.

Leave your vote in the comment section of this post....
Be honest I will not be hurt.....:)

There Is No Shortage of Addictions at Prairie Winds Golf Course

There are a countless number of addictions that can claim a hold over our lives and alter our professional success, financial standing, and even relationships with other people. Some addictions may seem harmless, or even beneficial, on the surface. People who are devoted to exercise may find an inescapable pull to go to the gym for hours every day. Or, concerning an addiction to which I perhaps can relate a bit more, those with an utter devotion to golf cannot imagine a sunny Saturday morning that is not spent with a club in hand. What’s wrong with either one of these scenarios? The truth is, even healthy pastimes can become dangerous if time with family is compromised, other responsibilities are not met, or injuries are ignored.

Of course, there are also the addictions that we more typically view as dangerous—drugs, alcohol, sex, overeating, etc. We all know the dangers of getting caught up with any of these activities and there are support groups available for people who are struggling to break free from the chains of such unhealthy lifestyles.

No matter the type of addiction, putting yourself in a positive environment and surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends is crucial. For those of you who have read one or more of my books, do you think that the Prairie Winds Golf Course and its regulars would be helpful to someone who is trying to get his life in order? There is no doubt that quite a few of my characters are struggling with some of those so-called monkeys on their back. From drinking to obesity to dangerous sexual practices, it is difficult to keep track of the addictions present in just one location.

If you haven’t already, I hope you will read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course and discover the all-too-human personalities who spend their time on the fictional golf course I created.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Supportive Spouse Can Make All the Difference

Maintaining a successful marriage is never easy. Stress over finances causes more than its share of heated discussions around the kitchen table. Raising children brings exhaustion and long hours of worry and guilt. Heck, simply putting two distinct personalities under the same roof is enough to result in some conflict from time to time. When one or both of the participants in a marriage is involved in a high-profile or demanding profession, the dynamics of the relationship can become even more delicate. In such instances, there is usually one spouse who needs to make more sacrifices or offer a position of unquestioned support. If this dedication is absent, the marriage will be on shaky ground.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be Michelle Obama or Laura Bush? Your husband holds the most powerful position in the entire world and deals with professional and professional criticism on a daily basis. The quality time that a president gets to spend with his family certainly is limited. As First Lady, you must be ready to greet dignitaries, travel the world, and present a beautiful picture of life in the White House. Or, in a field with lesser consequences of a global nature, what about the women who are married to professional athletes? Your husband is likely travelling half of the year and consumed with training or other obligations when at home. He runs the risk of injury every time he takes to the ice, the field, or the court. He is competing in a profession in which someone younger and stronger is always waiting to take his place. A wife of an athlete must always be ready to comfort bruised bones and bruised egos.

In my first novel, Lifetime Loser, J.W. Schroeder (known as J Dub) is aspiring to become one of the next members of the PGA Tour. His pregnant wife, Marcia, stands by his side through this grueling effort and all of the life decisions that follow. I believe that Marcia’s strength and softness provide a great example of the difference that a supportive spouse can make in the life of a hopeful golfer. I hope you will read Lifetime Loser and let me know what you think of Marcia and the role that she plays in J Dub’s happiness.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Review of Tuey’s Course by James Ross

Ladies on the Tee Reviews
A Golf Community for Women by Sherry Tabb

Tuey’s Course is the 3rd novel in James Ross’ series of 3 that showcase the human spirit, flaws, resilience and frailties using a golf course as a backdrop and plot enhancer. I have already registered my opinion on Ross’ first 2 novels; Lifetime Loser and The Finish Line.

This 3rd novel was not my favorite of the three but that does not mean you should ignore it. Ross again displays his adeptness at showing how the world of golf mirrors life in so many ways. This story is about a hapless and downtrodden black businessman, WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety, a.k.a. Tuey, who is targeted by the corrupt politicians at City Hall in St. Louis and a local bank president among others based on their personal greed and agendas.

Ross’ mastery of Tuey’s dialect is of note as it takes you deeper into Tuey’s mind and world. You really start to feel Tuey’s pain and frustration in a way that only his use of the special dialect can allow. At first the story line does seem encumbered with too many references of the key players’ physical characteristics to their animal counterparts. However, as the plot develops and the ending ensues it all seems to make sense.

The problem is that unless you hang onto the end you think Ross has gone down a totally bizarre path in Tuey’s Course. I am glad I kept reading as the ending clears up the confusion of the analogies and smacks you in the face with what Tuey does to deal with his discriminations and frustrations.

For an overall review of James Ross’ series, I rank Lifetime Loser as my favorite with its Grisham-like plot, The Finish Line is next but a close second to Lifetime Loser and that leaves Tuey’s Course coming in as my 3rd choice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

One of my favorite golf courses.......

One of my favorite golf courses is Lake Forest in Lake St. Louis, MO. That's a country club in the far western region of the STL metro area.

I had the pleasure to play in the Member/Guest tournament over the last few days. I warmed up with a practice round of 78 and then shot a 79 and 76 during the two day best ball tournament.

My golfing partner and I were one of ten teams in the 108 player field to qualify for the shootout.

The competition then switched to an alternating shot format.

Five holes later my partner sank an eight foot putt to win the event. That was one of the most satisfying golfing events that I have ever competed in.

What a day!

James Ross

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why is Golf So Popular with Retirees?

I am sure that most of us have dreams about what we will do after we retire. Perhaps you have a long list of international travel destinations that await your arrival. Maybe you want to develop a hobby like woodworking or boating that was not possible with the time constraints that come with a nine-to-five job. What if you want your post-employment plans to include some athletic component? Realistically, given the age of most retirees, tackle football is probably not the best option. And, the opportunities for competitive softball leagues are limited for the fine senior citizens of our country.

On the other hand, just do a Google search for “golf retirement.” You will find pages of results for golf communities, senior golf tournaments, and golf-related retirement gifts for that special someone. There are several reasons that golf is the ideal pastime for those who are enjoying the golden years of their lives. Many of the most popular and beautiful courses are located in warmer spots of our country that attract retired couples. Only those for whom long hours of work are a thing of the past can devote hours on a Monday morning to honing their swing or relaxing in the clubhouse. And, golf gives us the opportunity to remain active while not taxing our bodies to an extreme. With golf carts, long breaks at the club house, and other amenities, golf can be as much or as little of a workout as you wish!

In my three published novels, all of which have the Prairie Winds Golf Course at a backdrop, some of the characters I feature are enjoying their retirement years with friends, beers, and mornings on the course. Sounds pretty ideal to me! Are you currently retired and enjoying a full-time golf life? Let us know if the reality lives up to the lifestyle that golf fans everywhere imagine!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thank you Simon for the great book review of "Lifetime Loser"

May 20th, 2008
by Simon Barrett in Book Reviews

This is James Ross’ first exploration into the literary world, and he should pat himself on the back for producing a very well designed and executed story. I like my heroes heroic and my
villains villainous, and Ross delivers.

Being a book reviewer, I maybe treat reading a little different from most people. I pick up a book, check the number of pages, the typeface, and font size. "Lifetime Loser" based on my reading criteria looked like a two, or at most 3 day adventure. How wrong I was, it took me over a week to read this book. The plot lines are intricate, and the character development intricately and cleverly handled. I knew I was in trouble when at the end of my first day of reading I had barely scratched the first 50 pages. I took some time out to think about this shocking statistic. It wasn’t that I had lost my touch at the art of reading, it was just that there was so much detail that was so well written, it took time to assemble and file the information.

OK, I suppose you want to know what the book is about?

Our hero is J. W. Schoeder (aka J Dub), we meet him as a young man who has a flair for the game of golf, his father having taught him all he can about this gentleman’s game. J Dub has a chance to make it to the big league, a player on the PGA. One momentary lapse of concentration wrenches defeat from the jaws of victory, and J Dub loses his opportunity. What next for this young man and his pregnant wife? A life giving golf lessons at the local driving range?

J Dub’s angel comes in the form of one Lewford E. Zerrmann. Lew is a ‘land man’ and has recently purchased a rather run down golf course, he needs someone with a knowledge of the game to run it for him. Better still, because Lew is such a nice guy he will offer a partnership, J Dub can have have 20% of the business, and a first option to buy should J Dub wish to become a sole owner.

15 years elapse, and about the only thing J Dub knows for sure is that his partner is no gentleman, he has no people skills, and seems to be hell bent of driving customers away. The golf course on the other hand is a popular spot, cash flow is great, yet their never seems to be any money left in the bank after expenses have been paid.

As the relationship becomes increasing strained J Dub is forced to start looking around, and talking to people. What he hears and sees does not make for a pretty picture. He must know make a decision, to walk away from 15 years of sweat equity or stay and fight?

This is a great book, it has murder, swindles, forgery, tax evasion, pretty much everything you could want in a great read. Lew has all of the social skills of Rattle Snake, while naïve J Dub plods gently along at his own pace. In a David V Goliath battle who will win?

I will not give the intricacies of the plot away, and neither will I spoil the ending, but I will whet your appetite with the fact that the ending will come as a big surprise.

You can pick up your copy from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

Monday, June 1, 2009

Writing Novels Can Be a Great Release for Political Opinion

You do not need to be a seasoned politician with a well-rehearsed stump speech in order to express your opinion concerning current events and the decisions being made by our lawmakers. There was an endless supply of protest songs recorded during the Vietnam War, with the topic of war and peace becoming a popular topic again for songwriters in the past few years. Movie and television stars often use the honor of winning an award for espousing their political views from the podium. The same opportunity for expression holds true for authors.

In my three novels, I have used my characters to express a conservative perspective on a wide range of hot issues. There is prominent distrust of big government that is expressed my many of my characters, from the federal government’s desire to impose an ever-increasing tax burden to local officials who go to extremes with their small sphere of power. The government is repeatedly portrayed as an entity that causes more problems, not a body that can bring about effective solutions. With this in mind, I have to wonder—would any of the men and women in my books have participated in the recent “tea parties,” which protested the growing reach of the federal government? I have a feeling that a few of them would have been front and center with a bullhorn.

I hope you will read my three books, Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, and Tuey’s Course, all of which have the Prairie Winds Golf Course as a primary backdrop. Then, let me know what you think of my characters’ political opinions. Do you agree with the perspectives that were shared? What do you think some of the clubhouse regulars would have to say about some of the recent decisions made by government? I look forward to hearing from you!