Friday, September 25, 2009

Aerial Attack Almost Gets Me!

I had real close call yesterday. In fact, I'm still so shaky, I'm not sure I can remember all the details. What I do remember -- I was almost eaten alive!

The Famous Author left me alone on a South Carolina beach yesterday. No biggie. The sun was warm, the water refreshing, and down the beach I saw a pretty redhead to keep my mind occupied. Maybe too much. All of a sudden, something grabbed me by the shoulders and lifted me into the air.

When I got over my shock, I realized I was in the grasp of a giant bird! Luckily, TFA heard my screams and managed to scare the creature by flapping his arms and reminding the bird that it was supposed to be eating fish.

Later, we looked in a book and found pictures. It was an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), sometimes known as the sea hawk, a fish-eating bird of prey. It's a biggie, too, averaging 24 inches in length with a six-foot wingspan. Brown on the upperparts, predominantly greyish on the head and underparts, with a black eye patch and wings.

The Osprey is the only raptor whose outer toe is reversible, allowing it to grasp me with two toes in front and two behind. With a diet of 99% fish, I don't know what he thought he was catching -- a rodent, rabbit, amphibian, or a another bird.

Thank goodness for TFA. Whew!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mystery Writer as Hero

Tonight, The Famous Author and I will be watching the new season opener of CASTLE. Why? Because the protagonist and star of the show is a ... Mystery Writer! The show, which premiered as a mid-season replacement series on ABC last March, features famous mystery novelist Richard Castle who is bored with his own success. When he learns a copycat killer has started staging murder scenes from in his novels, Castle meets NYPD Detective Kate Beckett.

Though they fight a lot, a touch of romance evolves as Castle helps her find the killer.

According to Mystery Book News, the season opener tonight (ABC at 10 PM (ET/PT) is called "Deep in Death". Castle wrestles with his relationship with Beckett, and while struggling to finish his soon-to-be-published bestseller, Heat Wave, the mysterious murder of a man found dead, tangled in the limbs of a tree, brings the two back together.

Michael Connelly works on the show created by Steven Cannell.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who is This Man and Why is He Smiling?

Meet Dan Brown, whose new novel, THE LOST SYMBOL, drops today with a print run of five million copies. Wow. No surprise, of course, as his previous novel, THE DA VINCI CODE, is the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time. 81 million copies in print.

THE LOST SYMBOL will once again feature protagonist Robert Langdon. Brown’s longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, "Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book’s narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. THE LOST SYMBOL is full of surprises."

Dan Brown’s popularity continues to grow. The film of The Da Vinci Code was a #1 box office smash when it was released by Columbia Pictures in May 2006 with Ron Howard directing and Tom Hanks starring as Robert Langdon. Box office receipts were $758 million. The same team will release Angels and Demons theatrically worldwide on May 15, 2009.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meet Four NJ Mystery Authors Saturday

The Famous Author and I are headed Saturday for New Jersey's number one mystery bookstore -- Moonstone Mystery Books & Twice Told Tales -- where Marilyn and Lisa are hosting "an afternoon of mystery and mayhem." Besides TFA, authors with NJ-based characters Chris Grabenstein, Jeff Cohen, and Ken Isaacson will be there.

Doing what, exactly, ladies?

"This is a group of genuinely nice, talented and funny guys who will kibitz with each other as they share experiences in the mystery writing genre, chat with the audience and sign copies of their books. They all live in the NJ and NYC-area, and readers will recognize numerous locales and landmarks in their novels."

Light refreshments will be served. For more information about the event or to reserve books for signing, contact the store at: (908) 788-9094 or email these nice ladies.

twicetoldnews@embarqmail.com

Moonstone Mystery Books/Twice Told Tales
12-14 Bloomfield Ave., Flemington NJ 08822

Monday, September 7, 2009

Redhead of the Week an Inspiration

On Terri Blackstock's website, our fifty-two-year-old Redhead of the Week calls herself a Christian fiction writer, but her bestseller status needs no qualification. Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide, and often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists. Last year's TRUE LIGHT popped number one and we hear her new one -- INTERVENTION -- will do the same on September 22. Pre-sale numbers look awesome.

In 1994, Blackstock wrote for HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, but she says a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Her most recent books are the four in her popular Restoration Series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light.

Here's a blurb on the new one: Barbara Covington has one more chance to save her daughter from a devastating addiction, by staging an intervention. But when eighteen-year-old Emily disappears on the way to drug treatment—and her interventionist is found dead at the airport—Barbara enters her darkest nightmare of all.

“Veteran Christian suspense author Blackstock seamlessly interweaves family drama with riveting crime stories. She is clearly one of the best in this genre …” Library Journal

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Backyard Wildlife

Local birders say there are at least three nesting pair of Great Blue Heron in The Famous Author's neighborhood, and the New Jersey Shore shelters thousands of these giant, magnificent birds. So I wasn't surprised this morning when TFA dropped me and our novel in progress to stare at this GBH fishing on his property.

What was surprising, this time TFA finally got the shot. See, he's been trying for years, but these big birds really hate humans and are very sensitive to movement and sound. Usually, TFA just opens the door onto the back porch and -- pow! GBH is on the wing. Some are over four-feet tall, with wing-spans of six, six and a half feet. It's like Batman taking off.

This morning, though, TFA got lucky. The screen door was stuck open, and he slipped onto the porch without making a sound. The results you see here. TFA tried sneaking down the porch stairs for a closer shot, but as you can maybe tell by this photo (GBH's black eye mixes with the fence, but ...) big bird has already spotted him.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a great website on birds. Here's what it says about GBH: "The largest and most widespread heron in North America, the Great Blue Heron can be found along the ocean shore or the edge of a small inland pond. An all white form is found from southern Florida into the Caribbean, and used to be considered a separate species, the "Great White Heron."