Author Ronald Joseph Kule

March 2017“Internationally published author, biographer and ghostwriter of non-fiction and novels” sounds fancy, but I’m simply a professional author with a mission to write entertaining, uplifting stories for reader enjoyment.

People tell me that I write well: “[Kule] creates emotional stories… he paints pictures with his words.” Well, I write what I see in front of me, adding imagination where it will improve the story.

Growing up in a cramped house, competing for personal space among seven brothers and sisters, two parents, at least one good hunting dog (most times), and a score of kids living on our block, I learned how to hold my ground, at times from a perch 30 feet up my favorite tree in the woods behind our house.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, descended from Polish-immigrant coal miner and blue-blooded, Colombian-Chilean parentage, I came to appreciate ethnic values and cultural differences by observing directly the disparate social classes and living conditions of Colombia, Peru, Chile, and 48 contiguous American states and Hawaii.

My heritage paint-brushed a wanderlust onto my life-canvas: I’ve spent time in 35 countries and performed keynote-speaker engagements in 17. I laugh often and can experience a panorama of emotions just for fun, although I prefer to make other people smile, laugh and generally feel happier for having met me, or my written works.

If you curl up with one of my books and find yourself breathless, provoked, inspired, changed and feeling like you just undertook an important journey, which left you more than satisfied, my job as the author will have been a success.

Currently, home is Clearwater, Florida, but my passport yearns for more nation-stamps, and my bags can be packed on a moment’s notice!

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“As good as his work is, behind Ron Kule’s prodigious work-ethic lies a heart that beats for others to whom he can give service, expecting in return only the time-honored values of honesty, tolerance, and demonstrated competence. His keen insights into what motivates and inspires people to want to do better has made a difference in my life. Not one to rest on his laurels, he would rather effect positive changes in those close to him, and the world, no matter the personal consequences. These qualities tell us that here is a man of intense personal integrity.”

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  • Ronald Joseph Kule is an internationally published author of non-fiction and fiction books, also a ghostwriter for numerous clients. For details contact:
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How To Write A Biography

How To Get Started:

First, the Idea

I had come to the conclusion that no one else was going to write about the life of Friedemann Paul Erhardt (a.k.a culinary icon CHEF TELL) and that I better do something about  that. After all, he had been my brother-in-law.

I was not sure that writing his life-story was a worthy endeavor — family and friends were in opposite camps about the man: some loved him, others hated him. I just wanted to research the facts and decide for myself.

In December of 2011, one of my sisters, Bunny Erhardt, widowed since Chef had passed away in 2007, granted my request for access to her friends and acquaintances. She gave me permission to write the first Chef Tell biography.

Embarked on my quest to discover whether this man was worthy of my time or not, I developed a three-part outline loosely fitted to the early, middle and later years of his lifetime.  As the work progressed, data gathered on my desk and on sheets of papers surrounding my desk, fitted into corresponding sections of that outline. Eventually, a timeline list of major events in Tell’s life took shape and became the backbone to my body of work.

As people’s names popped up, I jotted these down, notching a mark each time the same name appeared more than once. The resultant list directed me to individuals who would become subjects of interviews that, I hoped, would provide personal anecdotes, as well as qualify the data, which, by now, were adding up to conflicting accounts.

Fact and fiction overlapped more than a few times. These were not proverbial “truth is stranger than fiction” mishaps; either the subject of my book had lied to the press, or journalists had researched poorly their magazine and newsprint articles, or not at all. Sifting actual facts from a widespread panoply of published falsehoods circulated among articles, media interviews, and the chef himself, became the hardest part of the task!

My Virgin Interview

My first in-person interview was in the Philadelphia administrative office of Chef Georges Perrier, a contemporary of Chef Tell and one of the Top Five, premier French chefs in America. Perrier had agreed to 15 minutes only — not much time to request more than a simple, “Tell me, chef, what was important about Chef Tell?” If any more time would pass, I would wing it by following my instincts.

I had never conducted a live interview with anyone before. Working in international marketing sales (to support my writing aspirations) I had met and sold products and services to many top business executives in the financial and healthcare industries for over 18 years, but this would be my first live interview as an “Author.”

The questions I asked were never a part of my notes, and Perrier was a wonderful interview. He waxed on about his friendship with Tell as I wrote highlights on my pad of paper. My small recorder captured the actual phrases and nuanced details for later playback. I prodded infrequently and only to let Perrier loose. In the end, more than an hour had passed us by. We hugged, perhaps with a hint of tears in our eyes, because Perrier had not known that Janet Louise Nicoletti, Tell’s fiancee when the two chefs first met, had overdosed and died years earlier. Perrier’s summation of the woman said it all succinctly,
“Mon dieu, I did not know this. I knew this woman; she was simply tall, bright and beautiful.”

Later, having shelled out a twenty-dollar bill to retrieve my rented car from the union-run, Philly parking garage, I made a mental note to bring enough change to feed the street meters at future interview meetings. That evening I rewarded myself with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich for making it through what I thought would be the worst of my gauntlet of interviews for this book.

Now I was proud that I had struck out on this course. Perrier, a man at the top of his profession — the same as Chef Tell — had confided to me two significant morsels:
Chef Tell was a giant of a man. I miss him. I loved him,” and “You know, maybe I’ll have you write my biography, because I like you. But, of course, it would be a very naughty book!”
(Perrier’s remark, though it made us both laugh, had served to break the ice between us early on and opened a more intimate repartee; it also gave me a reason to respond with,
“Georges, perhaps you should wait until you read my book; you may not think I can write well.”)

Each subsequent interview, each fork in the road, each turn, hill and valley on the path I took to find new information about whether I would love or hate the man who had been Chef Tell,moved me inexorably toward its own conclusion. detailed story, sprinkled among never-before-released photos and Chef Tell recipes, is recorded in CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, the 452-page book published by Skyhorse Publishing (NYC) and available online and in bookstores in hardback, eBook and AudioBook formats. Forewords are by Emmy-winning TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib.
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 “WOW is a great start! This is a wonderful account of one man’s voyage and how in so many ways every reader will connect with something.  It is engaging, and takes you through all the emotions of life, leaving you to decide what is next for you, and how you will make the most of your today – it’s a testament of the human spirit.”—Tracy Repchuk, #1 Best Selling Author and Top Woman Speaker in the World Online Business Strategy

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Ronald Joseph Kule is an internationally published author/biographer/ghostwriter who writes non-fiction and fiction across several genres. Readers consider his work as five-star quality. Contact the author by emailing to

How to Use Power Branding Secrets

The following guest blog is from an author and business consultant, for whom I had the honor of editing his book.

Edwin Dearborn, the author and motorhead with a strong sense of humor, and I wish you to enjoy his blog (lightly edited by me) here:

Power Branding Secrets


(37 Reasons to Buy Edwin Dearborn’s Book!)

Reason No. 1: If you are an entrepreneur working in a startup or small business, you lack the time to learn this branding and marketing game on your own. You need effective answers and you need them contained within 240 pages.

Reason No. 2: Most likely you lack the finances to hire expensive (yet extremely smart and effective) branding and marketing consultants. For less than the cost of a “Power Lunch,” you can own Power Branding Secrets.

Reason No. 3: Marketing people sometimes “explain” branding, marketing and social media in a way that leaves you confused. Power Branding Secrets will bring clarity and actionable accomplishment.

Reason No. 4: To revive your business’s economy, you will need to become more proficient at branding, marketing and sales. Power Branding Secrets demonstrates to you how to become extremely proficient in these very areas.

Reason No. 5: The best ideas, products and businesses do not necessarily succeed on their own merits; they need to be marketed, sold and distributed professionally and rapidly.

Reason No. 6: For those wanting to learn a better way to build their personal brand, Power Branding Secrets offers you insights on how to build a powerful personal brand.

Reason No. 7: I am a first time author. Help support new authors by purchasing their books. Buy my book!

Reason No. 8: I am a conservative Libertarian. I believe in a free-market system. This book will help propel our nation’s economy upward.

Reason No. 9: To understand how to succeed in business, regardless of your specialty or field, you need to learn how to brand, market and sell yourself and your business. The most successful CEOs and leaders became so because they are amazing at selling their ideas. Power Branding Secrets empowers business leaders (like you) with pragmatic know-how.

Reason No. 10: To understand the true meaning of the most abused word in advertising – “Value” – and how it relates to branding, marketing, sales and attracting new business, you will need to read Power Branding Secrets.

Reason No. 11: Blogging is the one of the most effective small-business marketing tools to promote a brand. Most business people are in the dark about blogging’s prowess. Power Branding Secrets shines light on how to blog effectively.

Reason No. 12: You either need to create or curate branded content. Power Branding Secrets clarifies how to create and curate branded content with ease.

Reason No. 13: Most businesses do not know how to establish a marketing budget. Power Branding Secrets reveals the importance of managing your marketing budget with exact tips.

Reason No. 14. In order to succeed branding requires the support of a well-drilled infrastructure. Power Branding Secrets informs you about the relationship among organizational processes and marketing success.

Reason No. 15: Power Branding Secrets explains what “content marketing” is and how it helps a brand explode with relevance, awareness and new customers.

Reason No. 16: Power Branding Secrets shows clearly the importance of Marketing and Sales working together, versus the common tragedy of these two departments working at odds.

Reason No. 17: If you have ever desired to know – with total certainty – the difference between Marketingand Sales, then you need to buy and read Power Branding Secrets.

Reason No. 18: You can discover what I refer to as “forgotten content” and how it can elevate the quality of customer service as your competitive edge in a dog-eat-dog business world.

Reason No. 19: Learn how proper market research can be conducted rapidly, easily and with very little money.

Reason No. 20: I dedicated my book to my mother, Jackie. The more books I sell, the more people will know how awesome my mother is.

Reason No. 21: I am the father of four, wonderful and beautiful children. More of my books sold means more opportunity that I create to give my children a better life.

Reason No. 22: I reveal in Power Branding Secrets why strategy is so key to building a brand. Most companies operate on hope or vague, unwritten plans. Strategic planning is an exact process that increases a brand’s chance for viability and notoriety.

Reason No. 23: In my book, I clarify and describe in detail the “Branding Triangle” and how it provides insight into the full conceptual understanding of what Branding is composed, and how to build your own triangle.

Reason No. 24: I love motorcycles and have been riding them since I was 10 years old. When I sell more books, I will be able to purchase numerous more motorcycles.

Reason No. 25: In my book, I dedicate an entire chapter to mobile marketing and actionable tips on how to become more proficient in promoting your brand in this mobile age.

Reason No. 26: I teach in my book how to leverage the power of video marketing and YouTube to reach, engage and convert more customers to your brand. You will learn how to conduct a successful video marketing program.

Reason No. 27: Your brand can easily grow by working with “Influencers.” I show you how.

Reason No. 28: I list out the four unique uses of social media. Do you know and use all four to grow your brand?

Reason No. 29: Learn my best tips on how to grow your social media followers organically. In less than 3 years, I now have over 30,000 followers on social media.

Reason No. 30: I reveal in my book how we can revive the American economy. So simple, yet very powerful and direct.

Reason No. 31: I dedicate one entire chapter to Public Relations and how to leverage it to generate positive exposure, recognition as a leader and, most importantly, additional customers.

Reason No. 32: I list out the exact 37 branding, marketing and sales leaders, which you should be following.

Reason No. 33: In Power Branding Secrets, I cover the topic of “Newsjacking”and how this could become some of your most-shared news and content, driving leads and customers to your business.

Reason No. 34: Want to become a published author? I show you the best methods to making this dream come true. This was my road map to becoming a published author.

Reason No. 35: In the second-to-the-last chapter, I detail a content marketing strategy that is the “sweet spot” between perfectly branded content and SEO.

Reason No. 36: I reveal the secret of why customers prefer to purchase branded products and services over non-branded counterparts.

Reason No. 37: Power Branding Secrets is just a damn good book! Buy my book today!

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EDWIN DEARBORN is an author, family man, motorcyclist, and 30-year, acclaimed C-level expert executive, who consults and coaches business owners internationally.

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Energy Drinks, Nutritional Products and Residual Income

Energy Drinks, Nutritional Products and Residual Income

The Tree of Life

At a time when we were practically broke and we had to find some new work, we found a fairly new company that looked like a good opportunity for us.  We would have to bootstrap our way back up the ladder of success, because we had just lost our jobs in 2009.  After 18 years at Number One in Sales, we had been canned without warning… with an email!

We had no choice but to start and work hard — that, or starve.

We were, however, excited, too.  We liked the new work and liked that we could help others in our situation.  Our team became like a family.

We were all getting a bit healthier, too, because our products were nutritionals that not only tasted good, they were packed with healthy ingredients and added value.

We are still with the company in 2015.  Their name means “Tree of Life;” in Brazilian Portuguese that’s “Mona Vie.”

Mona Vie’s larger family of independent distributors produced sales in excess of one billion dollars in record time, less than five years from start-up.  The reasons were the products worked, tasted good, had excellent testing behind them, and the compensation plan was attractive.  Today, Mona Vie is a worldwide success story that we’re proud to remain an active part of.

Your Opportunity

At one time we were broke but not broken…first selfie!

  • If you’re looking for healthy alternatives to food supplies in stores…
  • if you want a better energy pick-me-up than highly sprayed, contaminated coffees and teas…
  • if you want to manage your weight and fitness naturally…
  • if you are looking and open to an extra income opportunity in which you set your own goals and hours…

… we would be happy to help you learn more about the “tree of life” lifeline that we discovered when we needed to find one.

We haven’t made a fortune with what we do part-time with MonaVie, but we feel fortunate that we can assist our own health and that we can help others with nutritional products and an opportunity that we understand and believe in.

If you just want healthy products for you and your family, we have products.

If you have work or income questions, we have some answers and help to give.

All you have to do is reach out, just like we did back in 2009, when we were practically broke.


The following article is a press release of important news for the football world in America. The SoCal Coyotes’ head coach J. David Miller is our ally and closest friend.

Please take a few minutes to learn the news:

APFL begins

Anna Holt President of the new APFL addresses the inaugural crowd and media on February 17, 2015.


The AAA Professional Football League (APFL) debuted the nation’s fastest-growing developmental franchise football opportunity Wednesday on a postcard-perfect day at the Palm Springs Hotel, and the crowd that gathered poolside for the inaugural press conference witnessed history as the league firmly positioned itself as America’s #1 developmental opportunity.

“The APFL is open for business,” said president Anna Holt. “Officially, our business is ‘Building Champions by Building Men,’ with a league that challenges young men to Be Paid, Be Insured, Be Discovered – and Be a Man.”

With that, Ms. Holt and other APFL officials threw a lifeline to thousands of stranded developmental players nationwide, who are desperate for opportunity.

“We will pay modest stipends and offer insurance, develop players who seek NFL, CFL or AFL discovery, while building employment and leadership opportunities around them,” Ms. Holt said.

“Off the field, the success of the APFL will hinge on our vast experience of accounting, payroll, workman’s compensation, key-vendor relationships and evolving health-care and employee benefit issues, all standards as a league that we intend to set.”

With media mingled among corporate partners, local business owners, fans, players and celebrities, Ms. Holt delivered a stunning, 10-minute, 10-point outline that resonated with answers. Chief among them – the APFL will launch a “showcase spring season” on April 11, with “four games in four markets in four cities.”

The Palm Springs-based SoCal Coyotes were introduced as the APFL’s cornerstone, flagship franchise, “a model that can now be shared in markets around the nation,” she said.

The Coyotes open at their new Palms Springs High School home field April 11 against the California (San Diego) Sharks. The other teams are the Arizona Scorpions and Las Vegas Lions.
The league will expand to 14 teams and return for a fall 2015 season.

The following transcript is taken from Ms. Holt’s historic recorded remarks:

“WELCOME TO THE INAUGURAL PRESS conference of the AAA Professional Football League – my name is Anna Holt, and this day has been long overdue … The APFL is open for business, and officially, our business is ‘Building Champions by Building Men,’ with a league that challenges young men to ‘Be Paid, Be Insured, Be Discovered – and Be a Man.’

“We will pay modest stipends and offer insurance, develop players who seek NFL, CFL or AFL discovery, while building employment and leadership opportunities around them. Off the field, the success of the APFL will hinge on our experience of accounting, payroll, workman’s compensation, key-vendor relationships and evolving health-care and employee benefit issues, all standards as a league that we intend to set, and clearly my goals as your league president.

“ALL OF OUR LEAGUE AND TEAM WEBSITES ARE LIVE this morning, and mobile apps for the league, and its member teams, have been launched today through our corporate partner GoMobile Solutions, the industry leader in modern mobile marketing.

“All of the announcements we make today are available across all of our websites, apps and social media platforms, and we encourage you to read and learn more about each announcement that is made today not only in your press kits, but on each respective website, Facebook page and mobile app.

“THE AAAA PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS A NON-PROFIT sports leadership organization and founded upon the SoCal Coyotes, America’s number-one developmental football program. As a national sports management opportunity for developmental players, coaches, and administration, with a single governing body, and league-wide transparency, efficacy and parity, the APFL is the nation’s fastest-growing AAA football franchise opportunity.

“THANKS TO THE FINANCIAL UNDERPINNING OF Five Star Sports & Entertainment, and the insurance disciplines of Five Star Financial and the rest of the Five Star Companies, the APFL will be the first developmental league capable of paying players not only a small weekly stipend, but insuring players and providing life and Rx Card benefits. . It is the special courage of Five Star Founder John Biyikoglu, CEO of the Five Star Companies, along with support of the Holt and Biyikoglu families, to commit the power of all of the companies to make this a reality.

“MAKING INSURANCE AND PAYROLL POSSIBLE TODAY IS INFINITI HR, the official Professional Employer Organization (PEO) of the APFL. Infiniti will play a critical role in providing our league professional, human capital management infrastructure and development for new franchises, and our corporate brands.

“THE COMMISSIONER OF THE APFL is a household name to every fan who has loved this great sport for the past 50 years. Darrel “Mouse” Davis, godfather of the Run ‘n’ Shoot and modern four-wide offense that revolutionized the game – and the architect of the successful Arena Football League that started an entirely new sport and generation of football in 1987 – has been formally appointed as the first commissioner of the AAA Professional Football League. Mouse Davis changed the lives of legends like Barry Sanders, Jim Kelly and Warren Moon, and coaches like June Jones, and now he’s set to continue this trend in the lives of the APFL’s developing athletes. He will be introduced at our training camps in March.

“OVERSEEING THE BOOKS AND ACCOUNTING of the APFL is former IRS agent, CPA and finance specialist Troy K. Vigil. Mr. Vigil ensures the APFL’s tax exempt status remains in compliance and that the required filings with the Internal Revenue Service and the State of California are prepared and submitted on time. In addition, Mr. Vigil oversees the tax and accounting functions for the APFL, and offers expertise to individual teams, players, coaches, and volunteers.

“THE CARE OF OUR ATHLETES IS IN THE HANDS of Dr. Sydney Pardino, who has been named as Director of Sports Medicine and Chief Medical Officer. In the field of sports medicine, few doctors enjoy Dr. Pardino’s sterling national reputation, evidenced by his work at the pinnacles of sport, such as the 2010 NFL Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, and the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. Dr. Pardino also serves as Director of Sports Medicine at the esteemed Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences at Desert Regional Medical Center here in Palm Springs.

“TURNING THE DREAMS OF APFL PLAYERS INTO REALITY will rest with Don West Jr., who has been named the league’s VP of Player Legacy and Development. Mr. West has long-standing relationships throughout the NFL, CFL and AFL and executive sports management firms. He specializes in the formulation and execution of long-term strategic plans, particularly the development of individual client legacy plans that maximize post-career financial prosperity.

“FINALLY, THE APFL FLAGSHIP FRANCHISE that brought us all to Palm Springs is the SoCal Coyotes. Their success under J David Miller is now a model that can be shared in markets around the nation.”

For more information, email Brandon O’Neill, VP Program Development, at

© 2015 by The SoCal Coyotes and Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

David Carus Is Giving Away Presents on His Birthday Today!

Going Pro Se With Bankruptcy ~ A Trap for Jimbo?

Going pro se (LATIN, “for one’s own behalf.”) with bankruptcy  was his original idea, but…OH MAN!… did my buddy, Jimbo, ever dodge a bullet the last two weeks!pro se

Jimbo was only trying to save a few dollars toward the next place he would hang his hat and bed down, albeit as a tenant, no longer a homeowner. He figured he could “go it alone” in the bankruptcy court if he burned the midnight oil and read every article available about bankruptcy that he could find online. He had to act quickly. His home was about to be auctioned away in four days!

Jimbo really is a good and able guy. In fact, for years he acted the faithful husband, a Road Warrior, earning all of his income, averaging a decent $15,000 per month, through his personal sales efforts.

Sure, he’d had to travel three weeks of every month on the road. Sure, he’d done the job for 18 years. Sure, there were temptations — the Devil always tries to get his due — and, yet, Jimbo had kept his nose clean and to the grindstone, and he brought home the bacon, month after month, year after year.

Jimbo looked forward to a retirement that included a homestead he owned free and clear of any mortgage. He looked forward to larger Social Security benefits kicked in at 65, which would allow him to do more than dream about writing and fishing for the rest of his days and nights. He was comfortable with his plan — hard work was noble; and his father had been a hard worker who came from “good stock,” which is why every time he got the mortgage statement from the bank he always looked first at the current value of his home — it was a kind of  payback. Right there in black and white was his Nest Egg.

Jimbo’s Woes

cracked-nest-egg2008 changed all that for Jimbo: the bottom dropped out of America’s real estate values. The Nest Egg cracked overnight. Still, after a few adjustments, Jimbo was back up on his feet. The Great Referee was telling him he could stay in the ring and keep fighting. Jimbo was groggy, but his dizziness had gone away.

2009, however, was worse. In May, the company he’d represented for more than 18 years, and where he had been Number One in sales every year, unceremoniously dropped Jimbo from the sales staff roll.

Without explanation.

By email.

Caught without their financial pants up, Jimbo and his patient wife, Rita, had no Reserve Account on which to rely. They struggled to keep up with the unrelenting days, weeks, and months that brought more and more escalating credit card bill invoices and mortgage payment due notices.

“Too much month at the end of your money,” as they say in some circles. — Jim Rohn, motivational speaker

Jimbo’s New Reality

street selling illustrationAt times, for weeks on end, Jimbo and his sweetie, Rita, could be found around the local area on street corners busking drivers to stop and buy their wares just so they could eat that day. Soup for most of a year was the main entree at morning, noon and night-time mealtimes. They both lost weight, but their health didn’t seem to suffer — maybe this is a blessing they each thought as they looked in the mirror. In doing so, they discovered they could do what they had to do to stay alive, even to make some sense of how to pull themselves up out of the hole in which they found themselves.

Jimbo and Rita went from gig to gig, trying to find some of the stability they had thought they had in early May of 2009. The lead-up to their current point of bankruptcy spilled past six years.

Jimbo’s new reality, at first, was anything but pretty: first, the second car had to go. Rita and Jimbo wondered how they would make do on separate schedules with one vehicle, but they found a way.  Next, the yard work, they realized, took a lot more of their time away from working on their income problem than they liked, so they found an inexpensive service to do that work, while cinching their belts tighter at mealtimes.

The creditors’ letter and phone call demands, they eventually learned, could be staved off by challenging them in reply with Requests for Validation of Debt letters. These bought Jimbo more time to see if he could discover another sales game that would pay well.

While the Val/Debt requests caused some creditors to fall away, there were always others to replace them in the money chase. Credit counselling agencies had been an earlier “solution,” back when they still felt they would surface quickly, but the real, unshakable, underlying problem of never as much income to count on to pay the bills, persisted.

How long could Rita and Jimbo hold their breath before drowning?

Strategic Planning

strategic defaultAdvised back in 2009 to stop paying the bank that held his mortgage, because “banks will not negotiate a better situation with you until they see you really can’t pay them… you have to stop paying them,” Jimbo, like many others, had the best of intentions to set it aside that money and not touch it. Those funds were reserved for either the day he could modify his mortgage to a lesser payment that he could afford; or the local court would rule that the new bank — the one that had bought Jimbo’s old bank and mortgages — had provided no proof of ownership and dismiss the foreclosure case with prejudice, telling the bank to move on to new ground.

Unfortunately, as earlier mentioned, earning income was the better half of Jimbo and Rita’s struggle, and problem. The couple had to eat every day, feed the car’s gas tank weekly, somehow keep moving forward with their hopes every hour of every day and night. They worked plan after plan, trying they put themselves again on sure economic footing.

“The thrown pebble disturbs more than the water’s surface.” — Li Po, Chinese Poet (a.k.a. Li Bai)

Their plans seemed to be working, too. Seven days a week, each spouse worked 2-3 jobs, or entrepreneurial ventures, well into each night and often into early-morning hours. A flow of funds trickled in slowly but steadily.

Sure, Jimbo and Rita were further in debt from the accumulating bank fees and interest rates, but their hopes had not been totally dashed… so far. One by one, some of those unsecured creditors had even reached their limits of patience and given up their fights. Statutes of Limitations kicked in, or heated arguments dissolved or went moot.

Still, new “walking wounded” — newly “assigned” hound-dog creditor firms — licked their chops over the “fresh meat” offerings that crossed their transoms. When one creditor gave up the fight, they sold the papers to another one.

A Line of Creditors is a Never-ending Gravy-train Line!

debt7You see, Jimbo uncovered, by having to figure creative ways to stay afloat on his sea of debt, that when banks write off credit card debt, they sell the “paper” to blood-thirsty legal firms for pennies on the dollar. These legal beagles, in turn, hunt the unwary debtor who, unknowing, believes the new guy’s claim is real and valid (never mind that they had never met before) and gets sucked into apparently new versions of old, discharged debts that went away.

Original bank-card creditors write their paper debts off after a specific time, because their regulator rules require them to; and federal and state statutes of limitation deadlines kick in variously.

Challenged with Val/Debt Letter requests, many debt-chasers fold up their tents… but not without first selling off the “dead” paper to another bunch of hound dogs willing to attempt the same pursuit.

The unwary debtor never realizes his rights or the existence of the statutes of limitation and, instead of making the debt go away, which is what he/she wants to do, he makes it more possible for ever larger unpaid balances to be judged and levied against him. Unknowingly, he is liable to extend statute time limits for collection attempts of certain debts, often resulting in new judgement liens aimed at his eventual payment of bills long-ago written off by the original creditor.

Bankruptcy is a Personal and Legal Condition

Not paying your bills and obligations, no mistake about it, is a moral and legal situation. Jimbo and Rita’s funnel of choices devolved to the one legal remedy that resolves accumulated and ultimately overwhelming problems: bankruptcy — an action not to be taken lightly.

There are different classes of bankruptcies to help all sides up from the table –feeding trough, if that makes you feel better about it — with something tangible to show for timely and costly efforts expended by both sides. There is no doubt that bankruptcy is an embarrassment and, in a way, an admission of failure, but it is also a legal solution for starting out anew, a second chance, if you will.

In Jimbo’s case, the local courts eventually sided with the national bank that had taken over his mortgage. The judge told both the creditors and the debtors (Jimbo and Rita) that the bank could move ahead and foreclose on his home. Trouble was, no one thought to notify Jimbo and Rita about that judgement, and Jimbo had only days to burn the midnight oil or be out on the street, homeless.

To make matters bittersweet, Jimbo’s initial research into bankruptcy lulled him into thinking he could make a favorable showing at the bankruptcy trustee’s meeting, if he went “pro se” (Latin, “for oneself, on one’s behalf’). If Jimbo could confront and manage the pile of Schedules and their instructions for filling them out, correctly, though it would take him hours — try scores of hours, he might prevail over his creditors. He would have all of his debts discharged by the bankruptcy. In a couple of months, he and Rita could, at least, be debt-free and able to move forward.

Practically homeless and still on a minimalist’s diet, but with a little more breathing room after having, like the lowly oyster, spit out the grainiest air-passage blockers, Jimbo and Rita thought they could struggle forward onto dry land and rejoin the Land of Opportunity without impunity.

Oysters, the Sea and Bankruptcy

But oysters come from the sea, and, by analogy, in Jimbo’s case, the sea kept pushing sand and surf inside his mouth just when he had inhaled and exhaled. Believing that he had finally gotten ahead of another one of those darned bankruptcy schedule forms, which had to be filled out exactly to avoid the risk of his bankruptcy being dismissed on a technicality, he almost missed listing one or more creditors, which would have then survived the bankruptcy and been able to bring other powerful forces against the beleaguered, hapless Jimbo and his lovely mate Rita, who, by now, were simply  getting exhausted.

Having spent the last 36 hours awake in preparing the forms to file bankruptcy before their home was auctioned away, Jimbo and Rita scraped up the fee for filing the papers, filed, and waited.

Automatic Stays

going pro se with bankruptcyIn the vacuum of the silence — filing a bankruptcy causes an automatic stay against any creditor actions against the debtor, Jimbo got nervous. With a little more sleep under his belt he reviewed his work and discovered some discrepancies. He got scared. He also knew he didn’t have it in him, or time on the clock, to go more rounds against the gargantuan gauntlet of redoing the bankruptcy forms and filing amended forms to the court’s trustee.

Turning to Rita, Jimbo said, “We need to see a bankruptcy attorney, just to make sure.”

Rita, herself exhausted, seeing her husband going down for the count, agreed to see an attorney, rather than go pro se with bankruptcy.

Within one hour of initial consultation Jimbo knew he had made the right decision. Yes, the attorney’s words directed at him after reading his forms work, were a humbling experience. And, yes, he had to agree to the attorney’s reworking of his papers, but Jimbo and Rita’s RELIEF alone was worth the price of the representation. And because Jimbo really had done a lot of homework, he at least understood what the attorney advised him, which added to his comfort every hour right up to and through the single Creditors’ Meeting they would have to face.

Money Can Be Over-rated

In the end, Jimbo found out that what he was really after was not money saved but peace of mind. dodging a bulletWhen he poured and drank his first lemonade after the creditors’ meeting, after he and Rita had shaken their attorney’s hands and thanked him for his services and returned home — what would be a temporary home for at least a 60-day period in which creditors could appeal the permanent discharge of their particular debt — Jimbo realized that he really had dodged a bullet in the last two weeks.

While going pro se had been a bright idea and possibly workable (where no complications come up), Jimbo’s papers had to be amended and, had they not, the outcome might have had bad, bad consequences.

In fact, every new realization of that fact renews Jimbo’s spirits, and that lets him turn his attention to the other half of his problem: how to bring in more income. After the bankruptcy experience, they feel like they can handle that.

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.