About Me

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I'm a business journalist and a fiction author. My novel Mute is available now from Silver Leaf Books.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Check out LeBron James' house

King James has his castle in Miami. A story by Oscar Pedro Musibay and yours truly was the first mainstream media mention of Miami Heat superstar LeBron James buying a mansion in Miami. The story is here if you care to dig in:

http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2010/12/08/lebron-james-buys-miami-mansion.html


How opulent is the castle of #6? A scan of the Realtor listings when it was for sale provides some stunning glimpses. The house had six bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms in 12,178 square feet. The three-floor home has an infinity pool leading to Biscayne Bay along with a coral rock bar and cascading waterfalls. The master suite – one might call it the King’s throne room – has a balcony with a view of the bay. The master bathroom has a freestanding Victoria Albert Napoli tub. The home has a gourmet kitchen looks suitable for a team of chefs. It has a theater room with elevated leather seating and a wine cellar.

When James wants to invite some friends over, he has a private balconied guest house for them. To keep out prying eyes, the home is gated and has an advanced security system.
 
The home was first built on the site in 1924, but it was torn down and built from the ground up in 2010.

It was originally listed at $11.9 million, but James got them to come down to $9 million. Still, he paid $739 per square foot of living area. Few homes in South Florida sell in that range anymore. Being on Biscayne Bay and having decked out amenities sure helped boost the value. Zillow.com estimated the home’s value at just over $5.1 million.
  
It must put a smile on the faces of his new neighbors because this deal could boost their property values. When the property gets reappraised by Miami-Dade County, the tax bill will probably be enough to employ a whole station of firefighters.

Now where in the house will James display his MVP trophies? Hopefully he'll save space for some NBA championships. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Airport Security Check

What's up with the increased security checks at airports? Full body scans? Invasive pat downs? Next time I finish clearing security, I'm going to get tested for STDs.

I heard that the sexual offenders who lived under the causeway in Miami had all cleared out. They applied for positions in airport security. Is there a better dream job for a perv than at the TSA? Their background checks better be top notch.

It's not like criminals are ever busted working at Miami International Airport. Well, none besides the cargo handlers and the fuel distributors and the...hey, this is South Florida.

Don't the officers who "privately" look at the full body scans of passengers in the buff have camera phones? I know a lot of travelers are cringe inducing, but if the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders are lined up for the scanner, you can bet that the officers on the other end are excited.

If there's a merger between the Airport Security Employees Union and the Pornography Directors of America Union, there's reason to be worried.

Oh, it's all because some terrorist tried to smuggle a bomb inside his underwear. Right. He was probably taking one for the team on behalf of all peeping toms. What's next, the exploding bra? The thong sling shot?

The "Don't touch my junk" guy has a great point. Do passengers really need to feel like they've just worked the champagne room at a strip club? They're telling us to let them see beneath our clothes or they'll feel us up. Oh, and they've got guns and handcuffs if we don't like it. Does pimping count as a qualification on the resume?

So how can we avoid getting fondled? Try being ugly, but don't resort to a Mrs Doubtfire mask because that will make it worse once they rip it off. Maybe try not showering for a week before the flight. They'll keep their distance.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Famous After Death - update

The writing of my fifth book is moving along with gradual, yet deliberate progress. I've got Famous After Death all plotted out and I just finished the third chapter.

So what's my inspiration this time? Not a bottle of scotch, if you can believe it. I decided that I absolutely had to start writing after I read Leonard Pitts' column on web cam harassment last month. He said, "There is always some video going around whose calculated effect is nothing more or less than humiliation on a global scale. Technology, it seems, has unleashed an ugliness in us."

That in essence, is the story I had been crafting for months up to that point. Thanks, Leonard, for sparking me into action.

In Famous After Death, three outcast teens in South Florida set out to play pranks on people and post the videos online when something goes horribly wrong and a police officer is killed. Undeterred, they post the video and the response from the cruel souls in the web world is overwhelming. Sick of being ignored by their parents and classmates, the teens have found that they can capture global attention...they just have to keep creatively murdering people.

The blood lust displayed online by the killers' fans has the police officer assigned to catch them questioning his Christian faith. With so many people craving death and sexual depravity as they unmask the ugly sides of themselves online, do the masses truly deserve saving?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Be careful what you say in e-mails

As I am learning by covering the BankAtlantic Bancorp shareholder class action trial, be careful not to say nasty things in e-mails, especially about your boss. The bank's Perry Alexander had to sit there while the plaintiff attorney read him e-mails he sent over the years calling his superiors and co-workers some harsh names. Meanwhile, CEO Alan Levan was watching him on the witness stand from across the courtroom. Alexander said he didn't mean what he wrote and he regrets it. How will the jury take this? We shall see.

I'll post more details in the South Florida Business Journal on Friday.

Lawsuits can bring a lot dirt to light, so keep a lid on it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Do publishers have tricks up their sleeves?

I've had a few curious experiences with publishers as I've been shopping around my novel, Mute.

One publisher, I ain't naming names, asked me for $1,000 up front and then he would kick in $5,000 to publish the book. He says he's asking only the best authors to pay and it's because it's so tough to sell a book. So what do I get? A print-on-demand book with art and a "media kit." What, is that like one of those do-it-yourself plane kits?

I know it's hard to sell a book, but I could put it on Amazon or make it available on the iPad for virtually no investment on my part. I want a publisher for credibility (it can get reviewed by journals and newspapers) and for their expertise in marketing and product placement. Besides, how do I know this publisher would really spend $5,000 on my book? I saw a lot of negative blog posts about this publisher, so I declined.

Several publishers have responded by saying that they aren't accepting any novel submissions now (although Writer's Market clearly says they are), but they'd love for me to enter my novel in their contest - for a fee. Must credible publishers don't charge a "reading fee" for submissions. Making contests the only way to submit is basically the same thing.

Writing fiction is a tough business, as a recent Wall Street Journal story said that even moderately successful authors can barely scrap out a living. (My wife thinks we're getting a mansion after I sell my first book LOL.) I'm still pursuing it. If I wanted to be rich, I wouldn't have gotten into journalism.

So I have four books written and I just started working on another one. A preview of two novels are on Authonomy.com. Just search for "Mute" or "The Centauri Generation."

Coming to a bookstore near you...one day.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Welcome

Welcome to my blog. I'll let you know about the crazy things on my mind.

Hold on tight.