Saturday, January 23, 2010


Ken Sherman, a literary agent based in Beverly Hills, is signing on for our week at sea. An agent for more than twenty years, Sherman represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books, plus life rights.

Sherman has returned to the classroom numerous times to teach "The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and Publishing" at both USC and UCLA for more than six years. This is an exciting opportunity for authors to explore a unique aspect of screenwriting and mystery fans to get a glimpse of behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


People are starting to reserve cabins for the cruise. As authors sign on, I'm asking what panels they would love to present.

Peggy Ehrhart, author of SWEET MAN IS GONE would like to host a panel titled “Murder With a Beat: Mysteries with Musical Sleuths and Musical Themes.” That's one I've never seen at a conference before! We'll be looking for some authors with musical inclinations to join her. Other suggestions are “The Art of Mystery: Mysteries Featuring Sleuths Involved in the Arts.”

Marilyn Meredith, author of the Tempe Crabtree series and Rocky Bluff PD series suggests “Location, Location, Location: Choosing Your Setting.”

Madeline Gornell is interested in conducting a panel on "The Importance of Rewriting and Editing.”

Marion Moore Hill, author of the Deadly Past Mysteries, would like to see her Thomas Jefferson Sleuth joined by other Historical Mystery authors.

Attorney Dorinda Ohnstad, winner of the SEAK contest, is a bonus on a short story panel. Learn how she beat the odds to win the prize.

Canadian Lou Allin is willing to go South of the Border to give us a bit of Northern Exposure. Let's talk aboot Canada for a change!

I would LOVE to see a panel of Hispanic authors, especially since we're cruising to the Mexican Riviera. I've waiting for such a panel in many years of going to conferences. We're overdue! Any takers?

And I'm willing to put on my camouflage gear to teach “Write to Win: Guerrilla Tactics For Fearless Writers.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Partial Agenda

The lust for true crime is fired by the notion that bad people are good fun, so long as one doesn’t have to share a dark alley with them. Andrew Hagan

If you are a mystery or true crime reader or writer, you won’t want to miss this cruise. True crime enthusiasts will be treated to a feast of presentations and panels presented by experts in the field of organized crime, with a focus on Las Vegas and the Mob. The movie Casino dramatized the Las Vegas reign of Chicago Outfit enforcer Tony Spilotro. Aboard the Splendour you’ll learn the real story of Mob-run Sin City. Scheduled true crime sessions are:

How the Mob Skimmed the Las Vegas Casinos;
Las Vegas and the Mob;
Investigating Organized Crime; and
Life inside the Mob.

Presenters will include author and Las Vegas organized crime historian Dennis Griffin, retired Nevada Gaming Control Board agent John Miller, Vito Colucci and other retired lawmen.

A former Gambino crime family street soldier will tell what it’s really like to be in “the life.” This special guest will provide insights into organized crime you won’t see on TV or read in the newspapers. For security purposes his identity will not be released until the ship sails.

Fans of fiction crime and mystery will also have plenty to do when not in port. Published authors and publisher representatives will be aboard to put on a variety of presentations that will be entertaining and informative.

All sessions will include time for Q&A. And there will be plenty of opportunity for schmoozing and networking.

Aboard the Valor

This photo was taken aboard the Carnival Valor last November during a writers' panel.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The primary method to skim Las Vegas

The mob skimmed money several ways from false fills to the tables to converting 21 million dollars in coin into paper currency. This was done under the noses of the Nevada State Gaming Control Board. I know, my nose was one of them.
If you love crime, and MO's, and if you need a vacation, think about taking this cruise. Seven days of the mexican Riviera plus meet cops and crooks. Find out first hand and get to ask questions.

The Scharff and Freeman Murders

In June of 1981 Ronald Scharff and Patricia Freeman were found shot to death in a tavern owned by Ron Scharff in Lakemoor, Illinois. In 1982 former Chicago and Las Vegas Mobster Frank Cullotta became a government witness. During his debriefing by law enforcement authorities Frank named the person he believed was responsible for those murders. Amazingly, that individual was never questioned by the police, and for the next 27 years the killings remained unsolved. But that changed in 2008 when Cullotta's biography was released and his account of the Scharff/Freeman murders was read by a friend of the Scharff family. The investigation was renewed and the killer was named in 2009. In this video Frank Cullotta and retired FBI agent Dennis Arnoldy discuss the case.

Las Vegas and the Mob

The 1995 movie Casino dramatized the Las Vegas reign of Chicago Outfit enforcer Tony Spilotro. Author Dennis Griffin relates the story behind the film.