Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Mystery Solved Here

So after the stock market closed Thursday, our favorite treasure hunters -- Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OMEX) -- reported the company completed initial survey work in the search area code named "Symphony".

The press release sounded quite mysterious: "The work was conducted under a government permit in an exclusive claim area and in conjunction with a project partner. Results of the survey are being analyzed and compiled into a report which will be provided to the government before the next phase of work is commenced. Preliminary review of the data suggests that four shipwrecks have been located ... but at this point, none of the sites have been conclusively identified."

"This new search area has long been considered a target-rich environment for valuable shipwrecks and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to work here in cooperation with the government," said Greg Stemm, Odyssey CEO. "Research suggests that at least two shipwrecks in the 'Symphony' area are commercial vessels with significant cargoes of gold coins."

More mystery from the press release: "The expedition was conducted by the Odyssey search team on a chartered vessel. To protect the security of the search area, specific location details are not being released at this time."

Well, your intrepid treasure stock reporter has the answer. Earlier this month, OMEX reported another operating loss (they have to find treasure regularly if they want to survive. Operating costs on one big ship run close to $100,000 a month), and at the end of the earnings release, they commented on all their projects. Read this paragraph from that August 7 release:

"North Carolina Project -- Shipwreck exploration firm Intersal, Inc. has received a renewal of its exploration permit from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources for a site off the coast of North Carolina and additional surrounding areas, some of which correlate with Odyssey's "Firefly" shipwreck project. Odyssey has an agreement with Intersal, Inc. to pursue operations under this permit and to share in substantial research and data acquired by Intersal over the years relating to the target shipwreck and the work completed to date in the permit area.

"The area covered by this permit and arrest is located near Odyssey's current "Firefly" project, which was acquired by Odyssey from BDJ Discovery Group in 2007 and includes one arrested site that has already produced a small number of gold and silver artifacts. The Intersal site and permit area may also be related to the high-value, Colonial-era merchant vessel believed to be located in the area. The agreements with BDJ and Intersal are similar but separate and the areas do not overlap. Plans are being developed to resume work in this area before the end of August 2009."

Sounds like a match to me. Government. Partner. Merchant ship. August timing.

The Symphony project -- 78% of the gross income goes to Odyssey -- looks like the unnamed part of Firefly, don't you think?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Want to Be a Mystery Writer?

We don't know about you, but this mystery fan subscribes to Mystery Book News which this morning published a list of new hardcover mysteries scheduled for September publication. Wow. More than seventy-five new hardcover mysteries competing for readers attention.

Authors with mysteries this month include Susan Wittig Albert, Tasha Alexander, David Armstrong, Suzanne Arruda, M. C. Beaton, James R. Benn, William Bernhardt, Michael Bowen, Gyles Brandreth, Dan Brown, Chelsea Cain, Ann Cleeves, Margaret Coel, and Susan Rogers Cooper.

Okay, and that list was just A thru C of authors with returning characters. Authors with mysteries introducing new series characters this month include Richard Castle, Clive Cussler and Grant Blackwood, Alex Dryden, David Ellis, Charlotte Hinger, Tracy Kiely, Charles Kipps,, Vincent McCaffrey, Sheldon Russell, Annelise Ryan, Clea Simon, Jeffrey Stephen, and Charles Todd.

Then you have authors with stand-alone mysteries this month: Nevada Barr, Lisa Black, R. J. Ellory, Peter Gadol, M. E. Harrigan, Karin Hofland, Joseph Kanon, Michael Lister, Bill Loehfelm, Ronald Damien Malfi, Lou Manfredo, Pamela Oldfield, Richard North Patterson, Ralph Peters, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Rebecca Stott, Lisa Tucker, Norb Vonnegut.

For more information on any of these new books, visit the New Mysteries website.

Mystery Book News offers great websites and is a great source of daily news. We suggest you subscribe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Redhead of the Week is Hot, Hot, Hot

Firestar (Angelica "Angel" Jones) is a fictional mutant superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. She can generate and manipulate microwave radiation, creating intense heat and flames. She can also fly. In the comics, Firestar has been a member of the Hellions, the New Warriors, and the Avengers. In the cartoon from which she originated, she was a member of the X-Men and, later, of the Spider-Friends.

Firestar was originally created for the animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The creators had originally wanted to use the Human Torch, but the rights to the character were tied up.

Firestar occasionally appears to have a playful flirtation and sometimes dates Iceman. At times she dates Peter Parker (Spider-Man) as well, resulting in a relaxed love triangle of sorts (though Iceman states that, despite his feelings for Firestar, "fire and ice don't really mix." The animated series and the one-shot Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends comic book are not considered part of standard Marvel Universe continuity.

The Firestar four issue mini-series shows her development from a shy, insecure girl afraid of her developing powers to a confident young woman. Angelica Jones, a lonely girl raised by her single father Bartholomew and paternal grandmother, discovered that she possessed mutant powers.

Firestar was later to become one of the few surviving original Hellions, after most members were murdered by Trevor Fitzroy.

Firestar's primary artist, George PĂ©rez, was one of the most popular and influential artist of superhero comic books in the 80s. He primarily illustrates superhero comics, mainly published by DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and is known for his clean, dynamic, and ornate style.

Thanks to Wikipedia

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grifters, Grafters, and Me

"We are pleased to confirm the program assignment below for Bouchercon 2009...Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if for any reason you are unable to accept this assignment.
Thanks! -- The Program Committee"

True, they want me for a panel called "THE STING GOES ON, Grifters, grafters, and scams in today’s crime fiction," but we are thrilled to be part of The Show, the world's biggest and best convention for crime fiction fans. The Famous Author will be on the panel with me, of course, as will John Billheimer (Moderator), Michael Bowen, Sean Doolittle, and Richard Thompson.

TFA is also volunteering at the registration desk Thursday and Friday afternoons. While he's working, I'll be in the bar. See you in Indianapolis October 15, 16, 17 and 18.

If you haven't registered yet, get busy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Secret Password: Get it Here

OK, Sherlock Holmes fans. You have to try this new promotional website. Fill in the five boxes with the password, IRENE, and you will hear and see Warner Bros. fun video for a new Holmes movie set to open Christmas Day.

If you're a Holmes fan, you know IRENE is for Irene Adler, the woman who once tricked Sherlock into revealing the location of a valuable letter, thus impressing the famous detective to no end. Watson once wondered if Sherlock wasn't secretly in love with her.

In the new movie SHERLOCK HOLMES, directed by Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law portray Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous characters. According to the Hollywood wags, Holmes will show us martial art skills as deadly as his legendary deductions.

Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong, and Kelly Reilly co-star.

Thanks to Mystery Book News for the heads up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Redhead of the Week Returns

Our favorite fictional redhead, that Texas tornado Tammy Jo Trask, returns September 1 in a new adventure, BARELY BEWITCHED. We thought we'd give you the heads up early by naming Tammy Jo our Redhead of the Week.

In this latest adventure, Tammy Jo’s magic attracts the attention of a wand-wielding wizard and a warlock. When the trouble leads to a toxic spill of pixie dust, Duvall, Texas comes unglued, and the doors between the human and faery worlds open. Tammy probably ought to follow the rules…

Tammy Jo's creator is Kimberly Frost. Kim's website offers some nice reviews:

“If Janet Evanovich wrote fantasy, this would be the result!”
Recommended Read, Murder By the Book

“The new Southern Witch Series will keep you laughing long into the night! Kimberly Frost’s WOULD-BE WITCH is the first in the Southern Witch series and is laugh-out-loud fun. Tammy Jo is a hoot as she stumbles through her attempts at making magic and dealing with the men in her life. Zach is a stereotypical good ol’ boy, and Bryn Lyons is powerfully sexy! Ms. Frost is an author to watch for in the future.”

About three years ago, Tammy Jo's boss, Kimberly Frost, endured verbal assaults on her writing craft from none other than The Famous Author. Ha! TFA still struggles in the minor leagues, unable to hit a curve ball, and Kim is turning heads in the majors. Maybe TFA ought to read that little book again, too. The one he gave Kim...The Elements of Style, I think he called it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Two-Year Anniversary

Hey, I must have been at the beach and missed it, but my two-year anniversary went by unnoticed last month. I've been blogging since July, 2007. Wow. Who would have guessed? Feels like two centuries.

Here's the way we started back in those naive days. Who knew?

Lucky me, I talked The Famous Author into giving me my own blog yesterday. I told him it would help promote his novel, that Oprah's producers are always scanning these things for new show ideas and books. The guy is such a dope. Or desperate, I'm not sure which.

Anyway, who cares? I'm more alive here than I could be in any book, and maybe we can have some laughs of our own. I mean, humor should be even easier if I don't have to dodge ogre-shaped crooks like The Creeper, sexy, dangerous redheads, and weasily sales managers. Plus, if anybody ever discovers my blog, I could actually converse with real people--interact with the world outside The Famous Author's twisted head. Sounds like fun to me. Like a character friend of mine named Igor said famously once, "It's alive! It's alive."

One thing. In order to keep breathing, I have to post regular excerpts from The Famous Author's upcoming novel. I know. It's a pain. But this thing has to be done. Something about (1) me not actually having a physical body, and (2) The Famous Author saying it was a deal-breaker if I didn't.

I promise not to put up long passages. And I'll post chapters (yesterday was the entire Prologue) in order, so my second published adventure, BIG MONEY, can always be read from the start. Of course, The Famous Author won't let me finish the story until well after BIG MONEY comes out in 2008. He still thinks he has a chance to make money writing novels.

Like I said, what a dope.

Talk to you tomorrow. AC

Friday, August 14, 2009

Make Money in the HOV Lane

They say time heals all wounds, and right now some of the stocks the market wrote off last year are coming back with strength. The financials. The retailers. Even -- gasp -- housing stocks. One of our favorites is Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc. (HOV), which designs, constructs, markets and sells single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, mid-rise and high-rise condominiums, urban infill, and active adult planned residential developments.

HOV's homebuilding operations consist of six segments: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest and West. Its financial services operations provide mortgage loans and title services to the customers of its homebuilding operations. As of October 31, 2008, the Company offered homes for sale in 284 communities in 44 markets in 18 states throughout the United States.

Why would I like HOV? The housing market is still on its ass. Prices are falling. Unemployment is rising. Who the heck can afford a new home?

All good questions. We just think last month's statistics showed the bottom is here. First rise in prices in 30 months. Plus, HOV began preparing for this fiasco back in 2006 when they started selling off inventory and not adding to their backlist of new projects. They've been building cash for two years.

More important, HOV just bought back about $375 million worth of their outstanding bonds -- at prices around 60 cents on the dollar. Think about it. The company feels strong enough to go out in the market and make a tender offer for their sharply depressed bonds ... think that's somebody about to go out of business?

We're looking for a double over the next 12 months.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Redhead of the Week Ain't Sorry

Whuppin' ass wasn't so hard, Stella Hardesty thought as she took aim with the little Raven .25 she took off a cheating son-of-a-bitch in Kansas City last month.

What was hard was making sure it stayed whupped.

Especially on a day when it hit a hundred degrees before noon. And you were having hot flashes. And today's quote on your Calendar For Women Who Do Too Much read Find serenity in unexpected places.

"Fuck serenity," Stella said. And she shot the trailer

The creator of Stella Hardesty, author of a brand-new, very hot seller A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, is Sophie Littlefield, who grew up in central Missouri, her website says, the "daughter of a history professor father and an artist mother. She earned a degree in computer science and made very little use of it. After living in Chicago for ten years, she and her husband packed up the kids and moved to Northern California in 1998."

Her new crime novel, out this month from St. Martins, is getting the BIG BUZZ and strong early sales numbers. Here's what Publishers Weekly says: "Littlefield's amusing, sassy debut introduces Stella Hardesty, a widow and survivor of domestic violence, who owns a sewing shop in a sleepy Missouri town. On the side, Stella solves problems and metes out justice on behalf of battered women, like Chrissy Shaw, whose abusive bully of an ex-husband, Roy Dean Shaw, Stella keeps tabs on.

"After Roy Dean absconds with Chrissy's baby, Stella learns he's involved with local mobsters in a stolen auto parts ring. Chrissy sheds her victimhood to team up with Stella and do battle. After girding up their weaponry, the unlikely crime-fighting duo trick their way into the home of Roy Dean's mob boss, who they suspect has Chrissy's son.

"Stella discovers that no amount of preparation and righteous anger can prevail over pure evil, at least not without loads of trouble. Spunky, unapologetically middle-aged and a tad cantankerous, Stella barges bravely and often unwisely into danger." Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Go get'em Sophie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another Beach Day

So The Famous Author is taking me and The Whip to The Hamptons today. He's going to play The Great Gatsby, hanging out in his white linen suit at the bookstore, while me and the Mrs. sun ourselves on the beach. He doesn't know if we're going to East Egg or West Egg, but he says F. Scott will be there with him in spirit. Urging him to damn the torpedoes and speed ahead.

Me, I think he's whistling in the dark. I just hope it doesn't rain.

Wikipedia on The Hamptons: "The Hamptons refers specifically to the towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the east end of Long Island, New York. These townships occupy the South Fork of Long Island. According to the Census Bureau, the Hamptons have a land area of 213.18 sq mi. Officially they also have 463.34 sq mi of water area. Their total population as of the 2000 census was 74,431 inhabitants. By far their most populous community is Hampton Bays. The next most populous are Springs, North Sea, and East Quogue.

The Hamptons form a popular seaside resort, one of the historical Summer Colonies of the American Northeast. The Montauk Branch of the Long Island Railroad, Montauk Highway, and the Hampton Jitney provide connections to the rest of Long Island and to the City, while ferries connect North Haven and Montauk to Shelter Island and Connecticut. The strictest definition of "The Hamptons" refers to the South Fork of Long Island east of the Shinnecock Canal."

If you've never read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, please do so. Writers should know what they're shooting for.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Joe Pike Arrives January 12

THE FIRST RULE, Robert Crais's second "Joe Pike Novel," will hit stores January 12, 2010, RC told his fans this week. He also gave us a peek at this cover.

RC read from THE FIRST RULE July 15 as part of the Clarion Writers Workshop at University of California, San DIego. Fans from as far away as Tucson, Phoenix, and Northern California jammed Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore to learn hear pieces of Joe Pike’s latest adventure. You can listen at Pop Culture Nerd who recorded the reading and reported on the crowded event.

RC's letter to fans also had a lot to say about the Clarion writers workshop:

"RC began his writing career at the Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University way back in 1975. That same workshop continues, and is now held on the beautiful La Jolla campus of the University of California—San Diego. Each summer, eighteen talented aspiring writers live and work together for six pressure-packed weeks (they don’t call Clarion the writer’s boot camp for nothing!) This year, RC was privileged to teach the workshop’s third week.

"Each day, students write (the goal is to complete and submit one new short story per week), read their classmates’s stories (typically twenty- to twenty-five thousand words of new fiction per day), and offer detailed critiques (requiring that each story be read two or three times.) Sleep? Fuggidaboudit! Four hours per night is the norm."

What a great way to spend your vacation, huh? You writers are nuts!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Redhead of the Week Bites, Reads Comics

Okay, sure TRUE BLOOD would be a hit TV show without her, but half the reason we tune in to Charlaine Harris/HBO's showcase for the supernatural every Sunday is because we like to watch Deborah Ann Woll play Jessica, the redheaded virgin vampire who lives with her maker, Bill. You know, Sookie's vampire love interest. The other half-reason we watch is because Jessica always runs around in her underwear.

According to her website bio (which we think she might have penned herself), Deborah Ann "was born on February 7th, 1985 which makes her 23 years old. She is of German and Irish decent. Deborah was born in Brooklyn but ended up going to USC because of the way it allowed her to explore her acting. In 2007 she graduated from USC(University of Southern California), where she had majored in theater.

"Deborah didn’t always know she wanted to be a actress, she knew she wanted to be a proformer but she wasn’t sure what kind. By highschool she had realised it was the acting she wanted to persue and often got the leads in plays and even if she didn’t she would get a role that required hard work and energy.

"Deborah then got her first guest role on “Life” as Nancy which then lead to a bunch of other guest roles on shows such as “ER”, “My Name Is Earl” & “The Mentalist”. This eventually lead her to land her breakout role as Jessica on the hit HBO show, “True Blood”. When Deborah first joined “True Blood” she had no idea she would get a big role, she just thought her role was going to be there for two episodes but then for the second season she was asked back to play the young vampire.

"Deborah has Celiacs disease which in her own words is a severe intolerance or allergy to wheat products or Gluten. She has said it isn’t that bad and she’s learning to live with it. Deborah also is a big supporter of The Choroideremia Research Foundation, as he boyfriend has the disease. It is an eye disease which slowly makes him go blind. To read more about this and other charites Deborah suports please go here.

"Outside of acting and work Deborah enjoys reading comic books, playing Japanese logic games & computer games. She also likes to play the piano which she has had 15 years experience of playing. She is a Certified Lifeguard & has had 7 years experience of Latin and Swing dance. She has also mastered the accents of Brooklyn(which is her native accent), Irish, Bosnian, British RP, Pennsylvania Dutch."

Thanks Deborah. See you next week!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mad Men Returns With Website

Hey, we don't know about you, but MAD MEN is one of our favorite TV shows, so we thought this sounded like fun this morning when we read about it on THE RAP SHEET.

Seems the producers are promoting the third season of AMC-TV’s hit show (which begins Sunday, August 16) by launching a Web site that lets you become a character in the series. The Famous Author and I tried our hand. Click here to try it yourself.

Thanks to The Rap Sheet.