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Joseph Vass



Motto: "Today's headlines are ripped from the pages of my novels!"

Before writing eight novels under the pseudonym “Max Cossack,” Joe Vass worked at a lot of different jobs: assembly line in a hair drier factory; in a steel yard; clerk typist; attorney at law; and software architect (he can code).  One highlight was administering the performance examination for Tugboat Operator in San Francisco Bay (“Reverse!”…“Hard Port!”). A lowlight was his two steamy nightshifts manufacturing “Twinkies” in a Hostess bakery.

He was born in Springfield, Illinois, so naturally he was trying to memorize Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address by the time he was nine.

Around that age, he started piano lessons. His piano teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher’s teacher was Ludwig Van Beethoven. (True).

As an adult, he became a well-regarded musician whose band performed at the International Klezmer Festival in Israel.

A little later, he met a guy who writes novels for a living. It didn’t take Joe long to notice the guy works only four hours a day, makes decent money, and spends the rest of his time doing whatever he wants.

That seemed nice, so Joe decided he should write novels himself, figuring he could just make up stuff during the four hours he writes. Then, to make good use of his newfound leisure, he could draw on his vast experience as a layabout and ne’er-do-well.

Joe now spends part of his free time thinking up stories about things he loves and plotting against big institutions he despises.

For example, he loves America, good music regardless of style, and good food in large quantities. Also small smart-aleck women and big loud-mouthed men.

He despises big institutions that push people around, whether the institutions are governments or private corporations or some obnoxious combination of both. (You know who they are.)

Joe also loathes the politicians and media hacks who lie on behalf of these bullies and adores those among us who push back.

Since lying by omission is often the bullies’ go-to form of dishonesty, Joe especially likes to write into his novels the realities the liars purposely leave out.

Joe doesn’t delude himself into believing his novels will make a huge difference, but any nudge in the right direction is worth the effort. That’s why he writes about people who get fed up and fight back. Even if some of these wonderful people are only figments of Joe’s imagination, all of us—even Joe himself—can learn from their example.

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