The looming retirement crisis (and it’s not the one you think)

October 6th, 2013

There’s been a lot of emphasis put on financial planning for retirement. Apparently my generation (baby boomers) have not put enough aside to live our twilight years in comfort. Since the financial crisis of 2008 many personal retirement nest eggs have taken a real hit. Now, economists and financial planners are warning that we face a crisis. And this may be true. Because I have a limited knowledge of things financial I have had a number of friends ask if they are going to be financially set for retirement.

I always suggest they talk to a certified financial planner or use one of the handy income calculators online. However, my personal view is that things are not as dire as the experts would have you believe. We need to question the source of these pronouncements and look closely for an agenda.

The truth be told, I think you will find that you are not doomed to be a Walmart greeter until you are 90 and that you probably have enough for a comfortable retirement.

Perhaps I am whistling past the graveyard here. Perhaps we will be eating cat food three times a day. Though I doubt it. And if your situation is that bad I doubt very much that you will be able to afford Whiskers anyway.

There is, however, a larger retirement crisis looming and it is one that you need to start thinking about and planning for today. It is the question of just what the hell you are going to do when you finally leave the office for the last time.

Now I know what you’re thinking  you will sleep in a lot and travel the world the rest of the time. Or you will spend six months a year somewhere warm and sunny, or grow prize winning roses, or learn to bake bread, or go back to school, or learn to design box girder bridges.

Remember the time and effort you put into planning for your education and the plans you made for your career? And all that planning and education prepared you for the first half of your life that approximately 40 year stretch between ages 25 to 65.

But how about what follows? What are you going to do from the time you retire to the time you slough off mortality and join the invisible choir? With advances in modern medicine and technology it could be another 40 year stretch that most of us have only a vague thought about how we are going to spend.

Do I have an answer about just how you should spend your retirement?

Well, no…

But I do have some ideas about how you might prepare yourself psychologically for the day, in the not too distant future when your career door closes and the retirement one opens.

Stay tuned.

To the land beyond, beyond – Remembering Ray Harryhausen

May 8th, 2013

Ray HarryhausenI haven’t posted in quite a while because I have been busy with my other writing. However, I do feel compelled to say a few words on the passing of special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen. Read the rest of this entry »

DARK SUNSET has arrived . . .

February 2nd, 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

Mass Killings are American as Apple Pie Redux

December 16th, 2012

Four months ago in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater tragedy I wrote about gun killings in America.  I thought after that atrocity that discussion about gun control might be put on the table during the Presidential election.

It wasn’t.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are mass killings becoming as American as apple pie?

August 7th, 2012

The recent spate of mass killings in the United States has renewed a call for stricter gun control.  That’s probably a good thing, however, easy access to firearms isn’t necessarily the entire solution. Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Circus on TCM Sunday, June 24th…

June 16th, 2012

Read the rest of this entry »

Ray Bradbury

June 11th, 2012

Sparkplug’s Arizona correspondent Ted Rushton comments on the recent passing of Ray Bradbury.

“It was a pleasure to burn,” is the opening sentence in ‘Fahrenheit 451.’  Read the rest of this entry »

A ghost of a chance

May 22nd, 2012

The Woman in Black comes out on video today.  I loved Susan Hill’s original novel and the earlier television version of it but the new version made by Hammer Studios and starring Daniel Radcliff is a superb ghost story and is filled with old-fashioned chills. Read the rest of this entry »

About my books…

April 23rd, 2012

The Sunset website is starting to produce results that I hadn’t expected.  The most interesting thing is I have had people ask where they can buy DARK SUNSET and my other books. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunset – a life of its own

April 9th, 2012

Last week I launched the website for Sunset, Michigan, the fictional town where I set my mystery novels.  My original idea was to use it to house some of the material I had to cut from the books, and to fill in gaps in the stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you visited Sunset yet?

April 6th, 2012

My novels are set in the fictional town of Sunset, Michigan.  For those of you who know Michigan the exact location of the town is just north of Traverse City and south of Petoskey, on the Lake Michigan shore.

During the rewriting of the first novel DARK SUNSET, I had to cut a fair amount of background story out of the book to keep it flowing along.  It was really good stuff and provided some historical perspective and color to the novel.  However, I had to kill these children as they just slowed the story down too much. Read the rest of this entry »

Getting published – query letters

March 15th, 2012

An effective query letter is an important second step to having your book published (the first step is writing a fantastic novel of course). Read the rest of this entry »

The Brutal Synopsis…

March 13th, 2012

I just finished writing the outline for my next mystery — Hair Trigger, which will be the first book in a new series.

My first two mysteries — Dark Sunset and Bloody Sunset — are set in a small town of Sunset, Michigan.  For Hair Trigger I thought I might give Sunset a rest and go in a different direction. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storybook beginning…

March 6th, 2012

storybookpro.jpgAs a writer I have never had a problem generating ideas.  My biggest issue has been organizing them.  Over the years I filled numerous notebooks and scraps of paper with thoughts and concepts.  Most were titled ‘What If’.  However, few of them ever seemed to make it into a finished narrative.   A huge percentage ended up tucked in drawers or filing cabinets stagnating and forgotten. Read the rest of this entry »

World Fantasy Convention 2012

March 5th, 2012


For all those of you who are specifically interested in reading and writing fantasy fiction (the darker type) the annual World Fantasy Convention is being held right here in Toronto at the beginning of November. Read the rest of this entry »