Thursday, July 24, 2014

Will I Always Be a Work in Progress?

So The Famous Author is busy busy busy with the final touches on my new adventure, number three in The Austin Carr Mystery Series, BIG MOJO from Down and Out Books. Below you can see the preliminary cover and an early blurb from TFA's friend and mentor, Hank Phillippi Ryan. Actually, several of the ladies over at Jungle Red Writers have served as TFA's mentors over the past few years, offering advice and manuscript help, most often Roberta and Halle. The female point of view has greatly improved TFA's writing, not to mention his language and manners.

Okay, so farther below is the back cover copy that still needs work. TFA labors away while I speak, searching for catchy phrases and popular hooks to make potential readers open up to Page One. Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions, or hard work would be appreciated in the comments section and I'm guessing probably rewarded with a free copy of Mojo when she hits the market sometime in August. Deadline is next week.

DRAFT #21

"Gordon Gekko meets Janet Evanovich in this wry and winning caper--Jack Getze does it again!"    

      Hank Phillippi Ryan
      Agatha, Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark Award winning author of TRUTH BE TOLD
  

Wall Street's miasmal garbage washes up on the Jersey Shore when a small time broker falls in love: Is he attracted to the beautiful lady -- or her brother's inside information? Held spellbound by a steamy, auburn-haired woman with a questionable past and a get-rich-quick, insider trading scheme, Austin Carr knocks down a beehive of bad-acting Bonacellis, including the ill-tempered "Mr. Vic" Bonacelli, who wants his redhead back, and local mob lieutenant Angelina "Mama Bones" Bonacelli, architect of a strange and excruciating death trap for the fast-talking stockbroker she calls smarty pants. To survive, Austin must unravel threads of jealousy, revenge and new affections, discover the fate of a pseudo ruby called the Big Mojo and slam the lid on a pending United States of America vs. Austin Carr insider trading case. Can Austin and his Jersey Shore mouthpiece possibly out maneuver the savvy U.S. District Attorney from Manhattan? Will 
anything matter for Austin ever again if Mama Bones flips that switch?



Saturday, July 5, 2014

This D-List Redhead Makes Our A-List

Fifty-three-year-old Kathy Griffin moved to Los Angeles from Illinois at the age of eighteen, studied drama at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, and several years later became a member of the improvisational comedy troupe, The Groundlings. Griffin began making people laugh as a standup comic in the 1990s. She then appeared as a guest star on several television shows, and finally achieved major public recognition on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan, beginning in 1996.

Wikipedia says her breakthrough came on the Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (2005–2010), which became a ratings hit for the network and earned her two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Reality Program. Griffin has since released six comedy albums, with all of them receiving Grammy Award nominations.

Griffin has taped numerous standup specials with HBO and Bravo. For the latter network, she has recorded 16 specials, breaking the record for the number of specials in any network. In 2011, she also became the first comedian to have four televised specials in a year.

Besides her comedy career, she is an LGBT activist involved in causes such as same-sex marriage and the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell". She has also participated in two USO tours. After being nominated for six years in a row for "Best Comedy Album", she finally won the Grammy in 2014, becoming only the third woman to win the category. Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin are the other two. Nice company, huh?

You can follow Kathy on Twitter. Or check out her tour dates, find out when she'll be close to your city. You make us laugh, Kathy. Thanks to you and Wikipedia for the info.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heartbreak No Stranger to This Redhead

Born in Georgia, now living in New York City, Allison Moorer is an American alternative country singer who overcame the early horror of her parents' death to become a star. She signed to MCA Nashville in 1998 and made her debut on the U.S. Billboard country charts with the release of her debut single "A Soft Place to Fall", which reached No. 73. 


Since the release of her debut album Alabama Song, she released seven albums and 11 singles, five of which reached positions on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Allison was raised in Frankville, Alabama, just north of Mobile. Raised on George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, she sang harmonies as a toddler, eventually thinking she'd make a career of it. Following the murder-suicide of her parents in 1986, she moved into her aunt and uncle's home.

Allison moved to Nashville after her high school graduation. She sang for a while but returned to Alabama to earn a degree in public relations. She skipped the graduation ceremony to move back to Nashville. There, she met Doyle "Butch" Primm, an Oklahoma-reared musician who soon became her husband and frequent songwriting partner. In June 1996, she took part in a series of tributes to her songwriter friend, the late Walter Hyatt, singing his "Tell Me Baby" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Nashville agent Bobby Cudd was sufficiently impressed to hook her up with producer Tony Brown. After a few meetings, Brown asked her to cut some demos, from which two tracks -- "Pardon Me" and "Call My Name" -- ended up on her first MCA album, Alabama Song.

Her song "A Soft Place to Fall" was tapped for The Horse Whisperer in 1998, and she also appeared in the movie. Because the ballad earned her an Academy Award nomination, she performed it on the 1999 Oscars ceremony. However, none of her singles from Alabama Song or its follow-up The Hardest Part caught on at radio, though both projects were highly praised by critics.

Allison enjoys sewing and keeping her southern accent. Here's a recent entry from her journal (which you can find and read yourself on her website.)

"There’s something about being born in the south that you just can’t shake. It never leaves your blood, no matter where your life may take you. I’ve been all over the world and still have Spanish moss hanging all over me. It’s in my vowels and dropped g’s, in my gestures, in my tendency to want to monogram anything that will stay still long enough, in my longings, in my music, and in my dreams. Someone asked me once how long I’d lived in New York City, and when I replied that I’d lived here for years, he asked me how I hadn’t lost my accent yet. I told him I couldn’t if I wanted to and that just for the record, I did not want to."

-- Thanks to Wikipedia and Allison's website


Friday, May 16, 2014

HOT TIPS: Treasure Hunter Stock Under $2

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OMEX), which recovered nearly 1,000 ounces of gold during an initial reconnaissance dive, is currently salvaging what it can find from the wreck of the SS Central America, a 280-foot wooden-hulled, three-masted side-wheel steamship.

In operation during the California Gold Rush, the ship made 43 successful round trips between New York and Panama, but on the 44th was caught in a hurricane and sank 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina.

When lost on September 12, 1857, the Central America carried consignments of gold for commercial interests, mainly in the form of ingots and freshly San Francisco-minted U.S. $20 Double Eagle coins.

OMEX recovered five gold ingots (shown in photo above) and two $20 Double Eagle coins (one 1857 minted in San Francisco and one 1850 minted in Philadelphia) during a two-hour reconnaissance dive. The gold ingots were stamped with assayer’s marks and weights that range from 96.5 to 313.5 troy ounces.

Odyssey was selected for the project by Ira Owen Kane, the court-appointed receiver who represents Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP) and Columbus Exploration LLC (CE). The contract has been approved by the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County, Ohio, which has given Mr. Kane responsibility with overseeing the recovery project.

The archaeological excavation, valuable cargo recovery and ship-board conservation will be conducted and underwritten by Odyssey on behalf of RLP. In return, Odyssey will receive 80% of recovery proceeds until a fixed mobilization fee and a negotiated day rate are paid. Thereafter, Odyssey will receive 45% of the recovery proceeds.

Remember: Before taking a tip from this website, Austin Carr -- that's me, the guy giving you the tip -- is a fictional stockbroker. Like, he doesn't exist.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo You Gringos!

Don your sombreros, mi amigos y mi amigas. The Famous Author is making tacos and enchiladas tonight, but being the front-runner he is, you'd better get there by eight if you want to eat.

The fifth of May is not Mexican Independence Day, by the way. Nor does May 5 celebrate the anniversary of tequila's creation, a noble holiday in its own right. So then, what IS Cinco de Mayo, exactly?

The Famous Author sponsored a contest back in 2007 asking just that question, and the grand prize-winning entry by Fred Pellerito explained it all:

"Cinco de Mayo is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities. It marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

"Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest.

"Cinco de Mayo's history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. With this war, Mexico entered a period of national crisis during the 1850's. Years of not only fighting the Americans but also a Civil War, had left Mexico devastated and bankrupt.

"On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume.

"The English, Spanish and French refused to allow president Juarez to do this, and instead decided to invade Mexico and get payments by whatever means necessary. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III. Some have argued that the true French occupation was a response to growing American power and to the Monroe Doctrine (America for the Americans). Napoleon III believed that if the United States was allowed to prosper indescriminantly, it would eventually become a power in and of itself.

"In 1862, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza, 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what came to be known as the "Batalla de Puebla" on the fifth of May.

"In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as simply "5 de Mayo" and unfortunately, many people wrongly equate it with Mexican Independence which was on September 16, 1810, nearly a fifty year difference.

"Over the years Cinco de Mayo has become very commercialized and many people see this holiday as a time for fun and dance. Oddly enough, Cinco de Mayo has become more of a Chicano holiday than a Mexican one. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale here in the United States than it is in Mexico. People of Mexican descent in the United States celebrate this significant day by having parades, mariachi music, folk lorico dancing and other types of festive activities."

Fred knows his stuff, huh?

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Still Love Lucy

Lucille Ball (1911-1989) was an American comedienne, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film executive, and star of three landmark sitcoms; one of the most popular stars in America during her lifetime; a movie star from the 1930s to the 1970s; on television for more than thirty years.

Pretty, sexy, funny, almost a dingbat, star of I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. The original Redhead of the Week received thirteen Emmy Award nominations and four wins, was the recipient of the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1979, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Governors Award in 1989. Lucy was our first Redhead Hall of Fame inductee. That was a few years ago, and where I picked up most of this rehash. I write about Lucy a lot.

Here's what I wrote back In July of 2007, the first ever Redhead of the Week:

"After much rumination, and consultation with shrinks, I now believe this thing I have for redheads stems from Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy show reruns. She was pretty, spunky, sexy in her own funny way, and definitely all the entertainment you’d ever need for a long weekend.

"Yes, she was a pain in Ricky's ass, but there must have been plenty of good reasons why her hot Latin musician husband never strayed in all those years."

This redhead was a wild thing.

In 1927, Lucy dated a gangster by the name of Johnny DeVita. Because of the relationship, Lucy's mother shipped her off to John Murray Anderson School for the Dramatic Arts in New York City. Lucy came home a few weeks later when drama coaches told her that she "had no future as a performer."

The redhead responsible for my neurosis persisted, however, and began a performing career on Broadway, using the stage name Diane Belmont, and then moved to Hollywood and appeared in small movie roles in the 1930s as a contract player for RKO Radio Pictures.

At 29, Lucy eloped with Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz.

Oh, I knew you were a WILD thing.

In 1948, Lucy was a wacky wife on My Favorite Husband, a new radio program, and when it became a hit, CBS asked her to develop it for television. She insisted on working with Arnaz. CBS executives worried about an All-American redhead and a Cuban as a couple, however, and neither were they impressed with the pilot episode. Lucy again persisted, and toured a vaudeville act as the zany housewife with Desi. The tour was a smash, and CBS put I Love Lucy on the air for a stunningly successful nine-year run.

The show co-starred Desi as Ricky Ricardo and Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel and Fred Mertz, the Ricardos' conflict-creating landlords.

On April 18, 1989, Lucy complained of chest pains and underwent heart surgery for nearly eight hours. She died a week later. We will miss her always, as will many millions of fans around the world.

Thanks to Lucy and Wikipedia. Visit Lucy and Desi's official website.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Protagonist or Antagonist, Who Will YOU Root for?

With both hands, I lift Nataska’s mask from the blanket and draw the Black Ogre’s likeness down over my face. Gazing through, a current of strength races through me, as if the black spirit's power flows directly to my heart. There is comfort in the darkness, the cover such a screen provides. This is natural. All living things must have a black kachina to go to, a killing spirit when they are attacked, a monster in chains. Why? Because everything in this world both eats and is eaten. Nature seeks us out for slaughter, and staying alive and leaving seed means protecting your ferocity. Each of us needs the ability to wage war, to struggle for our lives. And so while half the world criticizes, sees me as villain, I know I fight for my people, my culture and all the forgotten lives on this harsh globe -- that place where all of us are still eaten. And though the White Man has killed millions of American Indians, only one is needed to get even. Me. With the determination of a desperate man, I light the candle. I care not if the fire engulfs us all.

A complete manuscript is available from TFA's agent, Paula Munier at Talcott Notch. BLACK KACHINA is a 70,000 word contemporary thriller. Protagonist or antagonist -- which will YOU root for?