Thursday, August 26, 2010

Take a Stock to Lunch

Just over ten years ago, a health aide gave The Famous Author a stock tip. Buy AOL at $400 a share, he said. Being the contrarian he is, TFA immediately ran to his broker and wanted to short the entire NASDAQ market. If taxi drivers, health aides, and drugstore clerks were touting stocks, it was time to get out of the market.

TFA was early back in the fall of 1999. The stock market still had a few more months left to soar as individual investors (that's us, people, the little guys) poured their savings into the stock market. That watershed marked a record level of individual involvement in stocks -- close to 150 million Americans owned equity in corporations -- if not individual companies, then in mutual funds and 401K holdings.

In short, the little guy's interest peaked just before the crash of 2000.

Now it's a decade later and guess what? Individuals hate stocks. They've never hated them more. In fact, they just did something they've never done before. So far in 2010, small investors have liquidated $33 billion worth of stock mutual funds. Back in 1999, every month saw a billion going in. Now, the little guy is scared. He's pulling out completely. He thinks the stock market is headed to zero.

Hey, I could be wrong. But experience tells me TFA is dead right. 1999 was the time to sell, 2010 is the time to buy. For long term investors, 50 or younger, it's time to bet on the future again. Play it safe and buy SPY ($105 a share) -- an index of the nation's top 500 companies. Or take a shot with TFA and buy OMEX ($1.50 a share). He thinks they're about to discover another $500 million treasure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Joe Pike Novel In January

Just received this flash news from Robert Crais headquarters: The new Joe Pike novel, THE SENTRY, will be published in the US on January 11, 2011, and in the UK on March 17.

Select excerpts will be available in November.

Oh, boy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Buzz Babe of Bouchercon

Though appealing, her long brown hair disqualifies her for Redhead of the Week, so we're coming up with a whole new category for Hilary Davidson. Yes, ma'am, the author of THE DAMAGE DONE, due for release September 28, Hilary is our first ever Buzz Babe of Bouchercon.

Hilary's short stories have been winning awards and attracting attention for several years. And by the time crime and mystery writers gather October 14th in San Francisco for Bouchercon, Hilary's debut novel from Forge could be among the hot topics, especially of the engaging plot keeps drawing rave reviews. How's this for a set-up:

Lily Moore, a successful travel writer, fled to Spain to get away from her troubled, drug-addicted younger sister, Claudia. But when Claudia is found dead in a bathtub on the anniversary of their mother’s suicide, Lily must return to New York to deal with the aftermath.

The situation shifts from tragic to baffling when the body at the morgue turns out to be a stranger’s. The dead woman had been using Claudia’s identity for months. The real Claudia had vanished, reappearing briefly on the day her impostor died. As Claudia transforms from victim to suspect in the eyes of the police, Lily becomes determined to find her before they do.

Is Claudia actually missing, or is she playing an elaborate con game? And who’s responsible for the body that was found in the bathtub? An obsessive ex-lover? An emotionally disturbed young man with a rich and powerful father? Or Lily’s own former fiancĂ©, who turns out to be more deeply involved with Claudia than he admits?

As Lily searches for answers, a shadowy figure stalks her and the danger to her grows. Determined to learn the truth at any cost, she is unprepared for the terrible toll it will take on her and those she loves.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Other Man

Say hello, and goodbye, to a man named Chris Gulker.

As too many of us already know, maybe the worst, enduring wound of divorce is losing part of your children's life. After the screaming, fighting, and legal issues are done, emotional wounds heal over time and we get married again. So do they. Our children become part of another family.

I've seen some terrible stepfathers, and it was a frightening thing to turn my son over to another man 30 years ago. But as I told 150 people at "our" son's wedding twenty-seven years later, Chris Gulker probably did I better job raising my boy than I could have. Chris was always calm, patient, and understanding. Using only love and positive reinforcement, Chris taught our boy responsibility and courage, gave him love and self-confidence, and stood by him when the teenage years turned ugly.

Thank you, Chris. I love and will miss you always.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Crimes on the Internet

We still can't find The Famous Author, but who cares? We found lots of interesting stuff to read while he's gone, including these hot items currently tickling mystery and crime readers on the web.

Over at The Rap Sheet, author Timothy Hallinan talks about the background of his new Poke Rafferty Mystery, THE QUEEN OF PATPONG. See if this doesn't grab you: "The room is small--a bed, a couple of chairs, a table stacked with mismatched dinnerware," Tim writes. "The only light comes through a window that’s been covered in wax paper against the rains. Sitting on a metal stool in the middle of the room, her back bent into the letter C as though the weight on her shoulders were too heavy to allow her to straighten her spine, is a Thai girl of 16. At the moment the picture was taken, she had just learned that her grandmother was planning to sell her into prostitution."

David Cranmer's The Education of a Pulp Writer features the new cover for BEAT to a PULP's first anthology. Just about all of your favorite short-fiction crime writers appear. Check out the list over there.

Finally, Spinetingler Magazine offers a new feature, the Community Bulletin Board. You'll find links like these about new books, authors, and interviews.