Monday, August 30, 2010


Since I’ve always found numbers to be fascinating I thought that I’d take advantage of a date that only comes around once in a millennium. Quickly approaching is 10/10/10.

Yes, October 10, 2010 will be here shortly. It is the second Sunday in October this year and comes at a time when summer is winding down, leaves are changing, college football is in full swing, and the baseball playoffs are underway.

This year we’re going to ask that everyone mark their calendars and get a copy of Opur’s Blade from Amazon on this date. This is the day that we are going to designate as the launch of the fourth book in my series that takes place at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

Please help to push this book to the best seller lists. Mark your calendars and spread the word to friends, relatives, e-mail lists, reading groups, book clubs and anyone else who might have an interest in my underdog story.

Get Opur’s Blade, published by Nightengale Press, from Amazon on 10/10/10.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Philadelphia Sees Profit Potential in Bloggers

To all of my fellow bloggers out there -- before you type your next post, make sure that you are ready to pay for the right to express your opinion or share your hobby on the internet. If you live in a city like Philadelphia, you may find yourself the recipient of a letter asking for a substantial fee to remain in good standing with the purchase of a business license.

For those who have not read the news that has writers and First Amendment scholars everywhere debating its implications, cash-strapped Philadelphia now plans to go after the bloggers who live within its city limits and demand payment of $300 for a home business license. This fee will apply to any blog that posts ads alongside its content or has some other potential for profit on the site.

Apparently, Philadelphia's Department of Revenue came up with the money-making idea after several bloggers in the city did follow the letter of the law and report their websites to the IRS. These records raised a flag of interest to those in power, and soon letters went out in search of those who did not voluntarily record their blog earnings, however meager, with the taxman.

In my third novel, Tuey's Course, the title character becomes frustrated with a local government that seems to enjoy creating ordinances that will irritate and hurt the "little people" of their town. And, this blog previously has reported on several other real-life instances of government officials taking their power too far.

What do you think about the license that is now being required for bloggers in Philadelphia? Is this a violation of free speech? Or, is the city just applying its laws equally to all citizens and businesses?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Controversy at the PGA Championship

Who was the real winner at the PGA Championship this past week? Does anyone even care? It’s a shame that the winner of the tournament, Martin Kaymer, will be an afterthought after the events that happened on the 72nd hole altered the results.

For those of you that missed it, Dustin Johnson walked onto the tee of the 72nd hole at Whistling Straits with a one stroke lead. He flared the ball into the crowd that lined the right hand rough. When his ball came to rest it was on a patch of sand. He proceeded to bogey the hole to finish in a three way tie with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.

Not so quick. As Dustin walked off the green an official informed the player that he had grounded his club in a hazard. That is a golf no-no. Johnson was assessed a two stroke penalty. What was expected to be a three way playoff turned into a two way battle between Watson and Kaymer.

The rules had been posted all week. Anything on sand was pretty much considered to be in one of the twelve hundred bunkers that dotted the golf course. Johnson had no idea that he was in a sand trap. In this case the shape, configuration and even the identification of the sand trap was in question. The crowd had also trampled it down.

Johnson took his medicine and recorded a seven on the last hole. In this case the PGA
was the loser. Few are talking about Kaymer’s win. Most are talking about the ambiguity of the playing service and the raw deal that was administered to Johnson. Such is life when playing within the rules of golf. It doesn’t seem fair, though, does it?

James Ross has authored four novels about the “gentleman’s game.” Feel free to join his cast of characters that seem to have no shortage of comments concerning life in the society that we have created for ourselves. Read Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, Tuey’s Course and his new release Opur’s Blade.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet Julie -- The Voice of Reason at Prairie Winds Golf Course

Another Julie who kept the guys in line

Many of you probably remember Julie from The Love Boat. She was the cruise director who made sure that all of the travelers had a fun and memorable time. She was that "open smile on a friendly shore!" But, Julie also played another equally important role. Julie had to keep all of her male co-workers in line when it appeared they were too disorganized to make it to the next port! What would Captain Stubing, Doc, Gopher, and Isaac the bartender have done without her?

My series of novels that revolve around golf and the life lessons discovered by the men and women who spend time at Prairie Winds Golf Course also feature a character named Julie, and she finds herself in a similar situation as her Love Boat counterpart. She runs the clubhouse at Prairie Winds, keeping track of the accounting books and providing friendly service to the players. She is well-known by the regulars, some of whom are not always gentlemanly in their conversations with her. But, deep down, everyone knows that Julie is essential in holding the operation together.

Prairie Winds Golf Course needs to appreciate her while they have her, because Julie is definitely a woman who can hold her own and who knows that her dreams will not allow her to stay in the clubhouse forever.

Have you ever held a job at which you felt like one of the only normal people surrounded by a group of eccentric characters? Did you have to bite your tongue while customers or co-workers used language or discussed topics that were not appropriate for the environment?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Underdog Status is Unknown Territory for Tiger Woods

The world of golf certainly has undergone a shift in its foundation with the fact that Tiger Woods is considered a serious underdog as play in the PGA Championship begins today at Whistling Straits.

The most successful golfer in the history of the sport just has not been himself since returning to the game after an explosive several months. Coming into the PGA Championship, Tiger has just finished the worst series of four tournaments in his entire career. In May, he parted ways with his coach of six years, only the second coach Tiger Woods has had in the history of his amazing career. He has stated that he now intends to coach himself, with the assistance of friends who will videotape his swing while on the course.

After a hot start to this morning's first round of action, Tiger found himself in a bit of a slump and ended the day one under par. This is certainly a better showing than his other recent efforts, but still not the play that we expect from Tiger Woods. We'll have to wait and see how the rest of the weekend unfolds for the fallen champion.

In my first book, Lifetime Loser, readers are introduced to a character who would have given nearly anything to be playing where Tiger is today. J Dub Schroeder finds himself one shot away from qualifying for the PGA Tour and fulfilling a lifelong dream, but one moment of lost concentration destroys his chances.

There are thousands of men like J Dub on golf courses around this country. I wonder if Tiger Woods realizes how fortunate he is to be in a position that is envied by so many!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Connecticut Shooting Offers Real-Life Example of Senseless Violence Based in Frustration

On popular television shows like Law and Order and CSI, you often will hear as part of the promo for an upcoming episode that the plot was "ripped from the headlines." When a news story captures the attention of a national audience, network executives see the opportunity for great ratings. This same concept also can happen in reverse, as my third novel and a recent tragedy in Connecticut illustrate.

Earlier this week, Omar S. Thornton opened fire at the Hartford Distributors beer distributorship and left eight people dead. Then, he turned the gun on himself. The violence occurred as Thornton was being escorted from the building, having just been given the choice to quit or be terminated. Apparently, he had been caught on video stealing cases of beer.

The mother of Thornton's girlfriend said that Thornton had complained about racial harassment at work, but no official complaints had been filed with the company or with his union representative.

In my book Tuey's Course, the title character is a man who becomes frustrated with years of discrimination, poverty, and a power structure that is unwilling to listen to his concerns. Just like Omar S. Thornton, Tuey eventually reaches his breaking point and leaves innocent people the victims of his violent rage. While there is no comparison between a real-life tragedy and a tragic life that is played out on the pages of a work of fiction, both speak to a feeling of hopelessness and the culture of violence that surrounds us.

My thoughts go out to the families of those who were killed in Connecticut on August 3. May you someday be able to find answers to the reason behind this senseless tragedy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meet Tuey and Feel His Frustration!

It is not difficult to turn on the television news these days and find someone who is mad at the government. The Tea Party movement that has been building over the past year is one powerful example of citizens who are fighting back against their elected officials. The antiwar marches that were common during the Bush administration also are well-documented efforts of our citizens to share their displeasure at certain policies that have such a profound effect on our country. But, what about frustration displayed on a smaller scale? I am sure that many of you have written angry letters to your representative on the city council or grumbled over the latest decision by your mayor. Let me introduce you to WeWildapheet Ulisees O’Tweety, a man who has done the same.

WeWildapheet, known to most as "Tuey," is a man without much money to his name but who is determined to make an honest living. However, Tuey is facing corrupt elected officials in his town who seem to have a relentless desire to make his life miserable. Local ordinances that could easily be ignored are strictly enforced and, in other instances, violations against code are simply invented for the purpose of bothering this one man.

While out in the greater community, Tuey faces the prejudice that his socioeconomic status and dark skin unfortunately so often bring. It eventually all becomes too much to bear. Tuey tries everything possible to have his voice heard, with the ultimate result being a moment that the town will not soon forget.

Have you experienced a moment of complete frustration or anger at elected officials, whether they be at the federal, state, or local level? What did you find to be your best way to make your feelings known, if you did at all?