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Neighborhood notebook

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 12, 2002

Keystone author signs film contract

KEYSTONE -- A screen debut may join the acclaim for Jim Swain's casino mystery series.

Swain says he recently signed a six-figure contract with Hyperion Films, which plans to work with director Tim Hunter (River's Edge) on a screenplay based around his first book -- Grift Sense. He will serve as an adviser on the screenplay and plans to meet Hunter this week in Las Vegas to show him the setting for Grift Sense, he said.

Swain, who lives on Lake Keystone, has a three-book contract with publishing giant Simon & Schuster, which will soon release his second book -- Funny Money. The stories revolve around the sleuthing skills of an aging ex-cop from Palm Harbor, Tony Valentine.

"We've had other offers on this book," said Swain, a world-class card handler who has met many casino cheaters, known as grifters. "In 1999, we walked away from a few things. This came as an actual offer with money on the table."

Swain, who owns an advertising business with his wife, Laura Swain, hopes the screenplay will result in a movie or a television series that is a cross between Murder She Wrote and Mission Impossible.

Guv'na candidates hold fundraisers

LUTZ -- Two of the most ambitious events in Lutz's guv'na campaign are scheduled this week.

On Wednesday night, a buffet dinner will be from 6 to 9 p.m. at Splash! An Ocean Grill. It will benefit the campaign of Stacy Ironside. The $25 dinner is to include appetizers, entrees and a drink. A handmade teddy bear and a Longaberger basket will be given away in drawings, Mrs. Ironside said. Reservations are requested; call 961-7722. Next Sunday afternoon, candidate Brett Montegny is planning the Second Annual Lady Lutz Pageant, an event focusing on talent and inner beauty at Skipper's Smokehouse. The pageant, from 2 to 5 p.m., will include a silent auction, a Caribbean buffet, a cash bar, entertainment by the rockabilly band Urbane Cowboys and the Lady Lutz competition. Montegny said entrants include a belly dancer, an improvisational dancer, a singer, an actor, a clarinet player and "a surprise candidate." Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance. For information, call 949-4076.

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