I popped into this world more than 60 years ago, born of an English Mum and an American Dad working Air Force civil service at a UK base. My childhood enthusiasms revolved around reading, primarily mythology, British kids books (Anthony Buckeridge, Richmal Crompton and others), comic books and anything nonfiction about animals. The animal kingdom fascinated me to the point a career in life sciences was all I wanted.
My first comic book, Justice League of America #30, introduced me to a world where everything was a 100 times more amazing than my six-year-old life. Flying through space, working magic, outwitting villains, beating mind-control—it gave me a love for the more-than-ordinary that has never gone away.
In 1969, Dad’s work took him to Eglin AFB in the Florida Panhandle so we settled in nearby Fort Walton Beach. The beaches were beautiful, the people were friendly, and it became home, despite “tea” being something served cold over ice (NOOOO!). I found another home in 11th grade when I took a class with the amazing drama teacher Jo Yeager. I was an introverted kid but Mama Jo and the friends I made in her classes dragged me out of myself. I imagine at least one alt.version of myself probably tried making it as a professional actor; I hope he succeeded.
This version of me graduated Oberlin College in 1980 with a biology major but no longer with ay interest for a career in the field (I’m sure yet another alt.Fraser stuck with it). I had no idea what to do instead, but as I’d started working on a fantasy novel senior year, I thought I’d commit to writing. I sold my first story a couple of years later, but that was a long way from making a living. I spent the next decade working various jobs to keep body and soul together while selling both short stories and articles.
By the early 1990s I was stringing for one of the local papers. That improved my finances to the point that freelancing fulltime seemed doable. It wasn’t; back then I simply didn’t have the discipline. In 2000, however, I began working fulltime as a reporter for the Destin Log. I loved it, and I might still be there if I hadn’t met a woman in 2008 at a Mensa convention. Two years later I moved up to Denver to live with TYG (short for The Young Goddess) and we married in 2011. Marriage has been an even bigger, better game-changer than my first comic book.
I’ve freelanced full-time since moving up here. Most of my money comes from writing online business and finance articles, but I’ve also written for a now-defunct local newspaper and Screen Rant. I’ve sold fiction to Realms of Fantasy, KZine, Space and Time, Crimson Streets and Allegory, as well as publishing four film-reference books with McFarland (#5, The Aliens Are Here, is on the way). I’ve self-published three previous books: Atoms for Peace, Atlas Shagged and a book on the Bond films, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. I recently published Undead Sexual Cliches, a book about the stupidity of misogynist arguments. Oh, and I blog over at Atomic Junkshop.
If you want to find me on Twitter, I’m bogatyr5. I’m on Facebook as Fraser Sherman. Or just leave a comment below.
32 responses to “About Me”
Thanks for following my blog.
I read your article titled, “If my husband has a mortgage on a house he bought before we were married, is it half mine.”
I would like to share my situation and get your opinion. How can I write you? Do you have an email where I can reach you?
Joannie, I’m simply a writer who takes publicly available information and recycles it–I’m not an expert. It’s unlikely I can help (and illegal for me to offer a legal opinion without a law license).
Hi, I have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog Award. The details follow:
Cool. I shall attend to that as soon as I get a chance.
Some time ago – can’t tell from the byline – you wrote an article about LP Linear Programming in eHow. http://www.ehow.com/info_12195571_disadvantages-linear-programming.html
I found it interesting, but something tells me you are not the original source of this expertise. (?)
Do you have a book or reference that would lead me to more detailed information? Most seem to dive immediately into the background math. My interest is in understand the gray area between effective use of LP and extrapolating its value past the point of breakage.
There were references at the bottom of the web page. That’s pretty much what I worked with. I’m afraid I don’t have any recommendations for specific reading beyond that.
Thanks. and Thanks for prompt reply
can i ask your email? send you an email.
What’s the topic? Not meaning to be unfriendly but the ton of spam I receive every week makes me more cautious than I used to be.
Outstanding subject matter, helpful and easy reading material, and a fellow Yeoman to boot…
I am confused and would like to see if you can help me. I found, on-line, an (undated) article you wrote: “Income Tax Deductions on Selling Properties at a Loss” by Fraser Sherman, Demand Media.
In it you introduce the article by stating:
“When you sell real estate for more than it cost you, you pay capital gains tax on the profits. If you sell at a loss, you can take a tax deduction. Your personal home is an exception, though. If you sell it for less than you paid for it, you don’t get a tax deduction at all.”
But then, two paragraphs later you state:
“If you sell a vacation or second home at a loss, you’re entitled to a write-off. You subtract the loss from any capital gains income you have and report the result on Schedule D. If you don’t have any gains, just report the entire loss on Schedule D. You can deduct up to $3,000 of your loss on Form 1040 for this year. If you have a bigger loss, you can carry it forward to next year, take another $3,000 off and continue for up to 20 years. If you’re married filing separate returns, you can only deduct $1,500.”
(Almost) all articles I can find, and from what I can dig out of the IRS documents (including a couple you include in your article as Resources or References), indicate that a vacation or second home is personal-use property and as such while gains are taxable, losses are not taxable. [See below.] The only exception seems to be if the second home was used as an income generating (i.e. rental) property.
Please help me understand your article.
Thank you, William Sutton
Ten Facts about Capital Gains and Losses
IRS Tax Tip 2013-28, March 7, 2013
The term “capital asset” for tax purposes applies to almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes. A capital gain or loss occurs when you sell a capital asset.
Here are 10 facts from the IRS on capital gains and losses:
1. Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure or investment is a capital asset. Capital assets include your home, household furnishings, and stocks and bonds that you hold as investments.
4. You may deduct capital losses on the sale of investment property. You cannot deduct losses on the sale of personal-use property.
Topic 409 – Capital Gains and Losses
Almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset. Examples include a home, personal-use items like household furnishings, and stocks or bonds held as investments. When you sell a capital asset, the difference between the adjusted basis in the asset and the amount you realized from the sale is a capital gain or a capital loss. Generally, an asset’s basis is its cost to the owner, but if you received the asset as a gift or inheritance, refer to Topic 703 for information about your basis. For information on calculating adjusted basis, refer to Publication 551, Basis of Assets. You have a capital gain if you sell the asset for more than your adjusted basis. You have a capital loss if you sell the asset for less than your adjusted basis. Losses from the sale of personal-use property, such as your home or car, are not tax deductible.
Like-Kind Exchanges Under IRC Code Section 1031 [As further specifying a second home is personal-use property.]
FS-2008-18, February 2008
WASHINGTON — Whenever you sell business or investment property and you have a gain, you generally have to pay tax on the gain at the time of sale. IRC Section 1031 provides an exception and allows you to postpone paying tax on the gain if you reinvest the proceeds in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange. Gain deferred in a like-kind exchange under IRC Section 1031 is tax-deferred, but it is not tax-free.
Both properties must be held for use in a trade or business or for investment. Property used primarily for personal use, like a primary residence or a second home or vacation home, does not qualify for like-kind exchange treatment.
Publication 551 – Main Content [Personal-use property vs “business” property]
Table of Contents
Partial Business Use of Property
If you have property used partly for business and partly for personal use, and you exchange it in a nontaxable exchange for property to be used wholly or partly in your business, the basis of the property you receive is figured as if you had exchanged two properties. The first is an exchange of like-kind property. The second is personal-use property on which gain is recognized and loss is not recognized.
Publication 550 (2015), Investment Income and Expenses [Personal-use property vs investment property]
Chapter 4. Sales and Trades of Investment Property
Table of Contents
Investment property. Investment property is a capital asset. Any gain or loss from its sale or trade generally is a capital gain or loss.
Personal use property. Property held for personal use only, rather than for investment, is a capital asset, and you must report a gain from its sale as a capital gain. However, you cannot deduct a loss from selling personal use property.
Publication 537 (2015), Installment Sales [Specifying what is Personal-use property]
Table of Contents
What Is an Installment Sale?
Personal-use property is any property in which substantially all of its use by the buyer is not in connection with a trade or business or an investment activity.
Simple: one of us is wrong. It’s possible it was me. Given the time since I wrote it, I honestly don’t remember–the fine points slip away from me unless I go back and refresh my memory. If you think there’s a contradiction between my article and the IRS, I would definitely defer to the IRS.
Sorry I can’t be more help.
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your talk on Batman’s history on Saturday. I’d like to invite you to join a Yahoo group that I moderate, Silver Age Reviews. It’s devoted to discussing and reviewing comic books in general, and those published between 1956 and 1972 in particular. You can see a partial archive of our past reviews at http://silveragereviews.blogspot.com and if you’re interested in joining, send me an email. (Writing reviews is not a requirement of membership, but they’re always welcome.)
Thanks–I’m glad you liked the talk. I’ll send you the email.
I read your article on Arbitrage here:
Do you just have to report the net amount won on the arbitrage wagers, or do you have to report the winning wager as winnings and the losing wager as a loss?
To the best of my memory, it’s net. But even though I’ve written a lot of finance articles, I’m a researcher, not a tax pro–definitely double-check the IRS link at the bottom of the page to be safe.
Hello. I stumbled across an article you wrote last June 19 regarding the Georgia Homestead Exemption. At the start of the article there was a photo of a road leading to a barn/farmhouse with a cornfield to the left of the road. I would like to use that photo (or actually a portion of that photo) for a book cover of a kindle short story I am writing. I didn’t see a photo credit and am wondering if you could shed a little light on it for me. Did you happen to take the photo or was it a stock photo you purchased? Any help is appreciated. Thank you for your time,
If it was last June, I didn’t pick it, Leaf — the company that hires me to write the articles did. So unfortunately I have no clue, but you can try contacting them (https://www.leafgroup.com/)
Thank you, I appreciate it.
I tried contacting them and realized they are a pretty large Corp., or at least they seem to be. Do you happen to have the name and or number/email of the person you worked with? Thank you,
No, the work goes through Leaf’s proprietary system. And I have no memory who I actually worked with.
I need to reach you ASAP with a question about an article you wrote about loans against properties with two owners! Please call or text me at (404) 512-0834!
If you’re looking for advice, I have none. The article sums up everything I know, I’m afraid.
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I DEEPAK PATIL from India have read your book and found very academic and useful
It is a humble request that can you write a article on Professionalism Ethics in banking for only 900 words
Approximately 900 Words ) :-
Consider why ethical and professional behavior is important in banking / financial Services and what you think it means to be an ethical and professional practitionerw withinthe context of your role as a Branch Manager / Higher Authority.
Thanking you and looking forward for your favorable reply
Write for whom? And for what fee?
Fraser, Are there any plans to update The Wizard of Oz Catalog that was originally issued in 2005? It would be interesting to see all of the Oz activity for the past 17 years included. Y’Oz truly, Bill Beem
No plans at the moment but that is a good idea. I’ll think about pitching it to McFarland.
Please, see my review of “The Aliens Are Here: Extraterrestrial Visitors in American Cinema and Television” here: http://www.sufoi.dk/ufo-mails/um-2023/um23-381.php#b
Cool. Thank you Kim.