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February 28, 2014
Story Merchant Books Launches King Pirate by Tom Stern

A modern-day privateer - a pirate of pirates - seeks revenge on a criminal terrorizing the Malacca Strait known as King Pirate.


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Chapter 1
Ryan Kelley knew he was in deep shit when he turned the manila envelope over and a severed ear plopped onto the sticky bar.
He stared at it for a long moment. The ear was pierced. A steel Jolly Roger. Both the ear and the earring belonged to Brody. From the jagged cuts, it looked like whoever had removed the ear needed three or four tries. Or maybe he was just taking his time. For the fun of it.
The bartender came back. An ex-pat Australian with sleeves rolled up to show off faded tattoos on hairy arms. He ignored the ear, nodded at Kelley’s empty mug. “Need another?”
There are about a dozen holes in the area around Kuala Lumpur where you could drop a severed extremity on the bar and expect not to get any hassle. Kelley was on a first name basis with the bartenders in all of them. This one happened to be in Port Sweetenham, just to the southeast of KL.
“I’d better just settle up, Gar.” The other man moved off.
Kelley remembered the envelope still balanced in his hand. He peered inside. A few errant blood streaks. Other than that, empty.
There was no name on the envelope. No markings. But he knew who had sent it. Because sixty seconds before, a 10-year-old local kid had dropped it in front of Kelley. The kid had met Kelley’s eye, and repeated the only two English words he knew:
“King Pirate.”
Kelley stepped out onto the street. Early evening, on the late side of magic hour. It was still hot. Humid, like his body had been wrapped in boiled cellophane. He immediately felt sweat gather at his hairline.
Kelley wore beat-up jeans and black boots with rubber soles, the kind that don’t slip on a wet deck. He wore a simple black t-shirt pulled tight across a refined chest.
Kelley was a tough guy. Not huge like a bodybuilder. He had the lean hardness that came from years of manual sea labor and boxing. Kelley looked like a golem built from spring steel and whalebone. He had spikey blonde hair and mid-afternoon stubble. He could throw a look from his dark blue eyes that made men step back like he’d punched them in the forehead. Not many people gave Kelley shit unless they had a gun or knife in hand. Several jagged white scars slashing across Kelley’s face and hands testified to those rare exceptions.
He also wore a gold wedding ring on his right hand. It was dented and bent. He kept it for his own reasons.
Kelley immediately spotted the two assholes across the street. They were exactly the kind of Malaysian street punks Kelley’d expected to find waiting for him. Every one of them the same, like they were slapped together in a single sweatshop: tattoos of tigers and/or dragons, cheap bling, designer knock-offs, all affecting the same wannabe Triad hard guy routine. Kelley figured about one in twenty were worth keeping an eye on; the rest were background noise. They sipped from cans of Coca-Cola, probably laced with codeine and kratom. It was a trendy drink with the kids, invented by Muslim teens. Getting drunk on alcohol was a sin, but catching a buzz on laced Coke apparently didn’t count as a big deal. It had caught on throughout Southeast Asia.
Kelley swerved his way across the street, dodging through traffic that didn’t slow down. The punks waited and smoked. Kelley arrived.
They didn’t answer. The punks gave him the stare of two guys trying to come across as stone-cold killers. The punks had Malaysian eyes. Flat and jet-black, like a doll’s. It was unsettling if you weren’t used to it, or if you were a pussy. Kelley was neither.
After paying the bar tab, Kelley had stuck Brody’s ear back in the envelope and folded it up until it fit into his back pocket. He took out the envelope and repeated himself, this time in Malay.
The first punk smirked, showing off the gangsta-style gold front teeth. “King Pirate say, fifty thousand.”
“Dollars or ringgit?”
Kelley glared. “What if I don’t have it?”
The smirk turned into a grin. Gold Tooth shrugged. Don’t know what to tell you, man.
“How about I knock those gold teeth out of your head and give them to King Pirate as a down payment?”
The punk casually flicked away the cigarette butt with a quiet snap. “Try it. See what happen.”
Kelley glanced around. They were in a sketchy part of town. Lots of shady characters. Kelley and the punks fit right in. This wasn’t the financial district. Some trouble could go down. But there were plenty of people around. In traffic. Sitting in bars. On the sidewalks. Witnesses. He’d be easy to spot in a crowd. Someone called the cops, they’d find him. They’d lock him up. He’d sit in a cell for a while. They’d cane his white ass. Kelley wasn’t scared of a caning. He’d gotten several, with the trophy scars to prove it. Puckered stripes on his back and buttocks. Both cheeks. But the whole process would burn time Brody didn’t have. Kelley turned his attention back to the punks. Gold Tooth kept smiling, having no idea how lucky he was to still have teeth in his head.
Brody was a friend. He and Kelley met while working on the Asian Princess. Kelley and Brody stayed in touch. They had several interests in common. Hard drink. Women of various nationalities. And the sea. Always the sea. Both were refugees from the first acts of their lives, men who had tried and failed to handle the nine-to-five. For them, it was nothing but boredom and authority. To the squares left in the wake, they were losers, detritus who couldn’t get their acts together well enough to fit into normal society.
You know what? Fuck ‘em. Even a cattle herd needs a few rogue bulls.
Brody was a damn good friend. If they weren’t working on the same ship, Kelley made sure to look him up in port. Their work took them both throughout the Asian seas. They’d chased skirts in Japan, brawled in Vietnamese bars and wept into their beers in Indonesia. Kelley and Brody were rough men given to extremes of mirth and melancholy.
Brody was one of the best friends Kelley’d ever had. He’d been taken captive when pirates swarmed howling over the bows of the Lucky 88 five days before. Kelley knew the pirates would force him to give up family names for a ransom demand. Brody didn’t have any family. Or, at least, no family that would pay cent one for his worthless skin. Brody only had Kelley.
Hence, the ear. And Kelley’s shortening patience.
“How long do I have?”
“One hour.”
“An hour to pull fifty thousand bucks together.”
Again, that languorous shrug. Kelley was ready to break this guy’s arms.
“I want to talk to King Pirate.”
The punks chuckled, derisively shaking their heads.
Kelley stepped up, getting in their grilles.
“If King Pirate wants this money, I’m talking to King Pirate.”
Gold Tooth’s eyes narrowed. Trying to man up in the face of Kelley’s vicious glare.
“You don’t give money, you don’t get friend.”
Kelley closed in farther. They were nose-to-nose, like fighters in a ring.
“What happens when King Pirate finds out you cost him fifty large because you couldn’t dial a phone?”
Gold Tooth looked away; Kelley had broken him. He edged out of Kelley’s space, backing off. The Malay punks quickly discussed their options. Kelley caught one word in three.
The punks nodded toward a nearby alley. Kelley followed them in.
Gold Tooth made the call on a cell phone the size of a credit card. A whispered conversation. Kelley occupied himself with staring down the other guy. He wanted both of them to get the clear, unspoken message that he was not to be fucked with.
Seconds later, Gold Tooth extended his phone to Kelley: “Talk. Then you pay.”
Kelley kept an eye on the punks. Put the phone to his ear. “Yeah?”
An electronically-distorted voice buzzed across the tiny speaker. Excellent English, with an unplaceable accent strong enough to bleed through the noise.
“My friends have already explained the deal. I trust the down payment we gave you made our position clear. Do you have what I want?”
Kelley considered his options for a moment. Realized that he had none. “I don’t have the money. But I can get it.”
King Pirate went silent. The device disguising the voice hissed. Then, “Can you get it in an hour?”
“Are you sure, Mister Kelley?”
“Yes. But I can get it. It’ll take me a few days, but I’ll figure out a way.”
Again, silence. Hissssssss…
“In that case, you can have your friend back – “
Kelley fought to keep the punks from seeing his obvious relief. “Thanks.”
“– in as many pieces as you’d like. You see, we’ve already chopped him up as fish bait.”
The words took a moment to register in Kelley’s brain. Echoing in his skull, growing and rebounding, until they came out of his mouth as a primal scream of sheer fury.
King Pirate chuckled. Through the voice-blurring distortion, it was like hearing a swarm of bees laugh.
Kelley’s reaction was a pre-arranged cue for the punks. They whipped out extending metal fighting batons.
Kelley responded without thought. It takes most people a long time to react to the threat of violence. They have to realize the violence is real and immediate. They have to think and decide what to do about it. They have to deal with their fear. The whole process can take several seconds to a minute. The punks were counting on the delay time.
They didn’t get it.
With the speed of muscle memory, Kelley shot his right elbow into Gold Tooth’s face. There was a wet gok sound, like when you snap a carrot in half. His nose breaking. Hot blood sprayed onto Kelley’s arm.
The other guy cocked back the baton to crack Kelley’s skull open. He never got past mid-swing. Kelley tagged him with two fast left jabs: pop-pop! Nothing that would knock a guy out. But it broke the punk’s rhythm, put tears in his eyes. Rocked him back. Good enough.
Kelley grabbed the baton wrist with both hands. Threw the guy to the ground, still holding the wrist. Got a grip on the hand holding the baton. Gave it a quick twist. Kelley felt the delicate wrist bones snap under his fingers. The guy yelped. Kelley stomped him in the jaw. Bitch.
He took the baton away. Heard Gold Tooth recover, coming at him from behind.
Without looking, Kelley crouched low and whirled. Gold Tooth’s baton came down in an arc. It was meant to tag Kelley in the back of the neck. But Kelley was low, inside the swing. Moving. The baton glanced and rolled off his left shoulder blade.
In the same motion, Kelley slammed his stolen baton into Gold Tooth’s ribcage. He heard three break at once, like fast applause. Gold Tooth folded in half. Kelley grabbed him by the hair and guided his face right into a rising knee strike. Gold Tooth flipped backward. Hit the ground. Bleeding and moaning in a back alley, where all worthless chumps like him eventually end up.
Kelley searched the ground. He found the fallen cell phone. It was thin and delicate. Broken into a dozen shards.
Kelley cursed his luck. He wanted to tell King Pirate that he was a dead man. That, no matter what, Kelley would find him. And do to him what he’d done to Brody. But the phone was broken. So Kelley would have to deliver the message to these punks, and keep it simple enough that they wouldn’t forget any important details.
And then Kelley would find another seedy, shit hole bar. Because it was the only kind of place where Brody would want Kelley to throw back a shot in his honor. And swear his oath of revenge. With two words.
“King Pirate.”
A month later, Sanjay Gupta was using the office phone to make long-distance calls when aboop-boop told him there was someone on the other line.
He switched to line two, also switching from Hindi to Malay: “International Piracy Reporting Center.”
“Director Han.”
Sanjay rolled his eyes. Switched languages again, now in slightly British-accented English, “Call back in exactly ten minutes.”
He punched off. Went back to his call on line one.
Exactly ten seconds passed.
Dammit. Sanjay apologized to his girlfriend, at the moment on a business trip in Toyko.
Again, in Malay: “International – “
“Quit jerking me around. I wanna talk to Han.”
Sanjay clenched his teeth. These idiots.
“He’s not available to take a call at the moment,” he patiently explained.
“I emailed Han and he never responded. When’ll he be back?”
“If you wish to speak to Director Han, you’ll have to make an appointment.”
“Fine. When?”
A hint of frustration slipped out as Sanjay asked, “Who is this, and may I ask the purpose of your call?”
“I wanna talk to him about King Pirate. I checked out your website. Han’s the man I gotta see.”
Obviously, this guy was just some nut calling to waste everyone’s time.
“Call back tomorrow at nine o’clock precisely.”
Sanjay hung up without another word. When the moron called tomorrow, Sanjay would tell him to call again the next day and the next, ad infinitum, until he got the hint and crawled back into his hole.
He shifted back to Hindi as he punched back to line one. “Sorry, this idiot keeps ringing…”
A dial tone bled from the cell phone. Kelley snapped it shut. Fucker.
He stood in the midst of Kuala Lumpur’s business district. Kelley was across the street from the International Chamber of Commerce building at 27 Jalan Sultan Ismail Road. The building also housed the International Maritime Bureau, which in turn shared space with the International Piracy Reporting Center on the thirty-fifth floor. Kelley stared up at it, as if he could see through the steel and glass to spot Director Han. The Petronas Twin Towers loomed on the horizon.
“Nine o’clock, my ass.” He’d tried coming in the official way. Now it was time to get in the Kelley way.
Kelley headed for the building. Guards armed with automatic weapons stood at attention by the glass front doors. Their eyes immediately picked him out of the crowd. Caucasians were rare in Kuala Lumpur. The guards watched Kelley without reaction.
He’d come downtown expecting to see Han. Kelley wanted to make a good impression. He was wearing his only collared shirt, and his only tie. The night before, Kelley dropped some ringgit on matching dress shoes with thin rubber soles. Rubber was cheap in Malaysia. The country grew a healthy percentage of the world’s rubber plantations.
Kelley pushed through the glass doors. He came into the air-conditioned lobby from the dense, tropical heat. It was like hitting an invisible wall. His skin tightened.
Kelley stared across an ocean of marble. There was a car-sized reception desk on the far side. Four more guards stood nearby.
The guards outside had let Kelley through without a hassle. The guards inside didn’t. Two moved to intercept Kelley as he headed for the desk. They wordlessly blocked his path. The first guard was a meaty dude. He smelled like sandalwood cologne. The tag on his uniform shirt said: Min.
Kelley said, “IPC.”
The guards traded a look. Min the guard cocked his head. Telling Kelley he could proceed to the desk. He did. They followed him.
Kelley found a Malay receptionist. Mid-twenties. Magazine-cover lovely. Gorgeous body. Stylish clothes. Eyes like a jungle cat. Kelley wanted to write poetry about her, with his tongue as the pen and her skin as the paper. He wanted to drop out of a tree and surprise her as she drank from a stream.
His blood heated. It had been a while. Kelley had a rotation of favorite hookers in various ports, Kuala Lumpur included. He liked the regularity. But, since Brody’s untimely death a month hence, he’d been too busy to take care of business. It wasn’t an issue until his eyes drifted to the receptionist’s silk blouse and the wonders it held.
Woman like this behind the desk, no wonder they needed so many guards in the joint. She asked Kelley if she could help him. In more ways than one, he thought.
“I have a job interview with IPC,” he lied.
“Sign the register, including your identity number.” Her voice was music. She could have read from the phone book, and Kelley would listen all day.
Kelley felt his face flush. She picked up on it. A beautiful woman knows the effect she has on men. She smiled, narrowing her eyes just enough. Kelley could tell where her thoughts were going.
It took ten full minutes to get past the guards. IPC had tight security. Kelley came prepared. He gave them every paper they asked for, every number ever assigned him. Through the process, it occurred to Kelley that living in today’s world meant collecting an endless series of numbers. The longer you live, the more numbers you get. It was like guessing a tree’s age by the number of rings. Cut a man down, and it looks like a pi sequence.
Kelley thought about the man he recently cut down. He vaguely wondered what the last number in his stream was.
It got his mind off the receptionist. Kelley focused on the reason he was here.
They finally approved his entrance. Min the sandalwood-scented guard led him to the elevators.
Three minutes ago.
Sanjay leaned into the phone. “A job interview?” Again transitioning back to Malay. “There’s nothing like that on the schedule.”
“That’s what he says,” the main lobby receptionist answered. Sanjay frowned. This made no sense. Unless…
“What does he look like?”
“White guy. Blonde. Good looking. Tough guy, maybe a shipsman or a soldier or something.”
She was practically purring. Sanjay wondered if the guy was standing right there, and if he understood Malay.
Sanjay immediately thought of the moron call. A hand flew to his forehead. “Tell him to go away!”
“No. Send him up.”
The disembodied voice came from the tiny speakers hidden throughout the IPC offices. Loud and sudden. Like God interjecting. A man. Irish brogue-inflected English, thick enough that ‘Send him up’became ‘Saynd hem oop.’
“Tell Han” – ‘Tayell Hehn’ – “to stop whatever he’s doing and see this guy. I’ll pull his ID from the security desk and run ‘im.”
Whenever the boss spoke, Sanjay’s eyes unconsciously drifted to the ceiling. There was nothing for him to see. It was a reaction to what might as well have been a voice from the sky. The boss could hear and see everything that happened in IPC. The men and women who worked at IPC rarely saw their boss in return. Like the Great and Powerful Oz, he preferred to direct the agency’s efforts against Pan-Asian piracy from behind the scenes.
Cuchulain was a private man.
Kelley stepped off the elevator. He took one look at the neat, officious East Indian man behind the desk and knew this was the prick on the phone. But Kelley wasn’t here to start trouble. At least, not with this guy.
“Director Han.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“You know I don’t. That sweet little piece behind the front desk called me up. You know my name, you know the lie I told. But you buzzed me up, anyway. Which means he’ll see me. Quit wasting my time.”
Sanjay briefly imagined stabbing this rude idiot in the heart. But he smiled in his headset and pushed a button on the phone.
“Director Han? I have Ryan Kelley here to see you.”
Listened. Nodded. Met Kelley’s eyes.
“He’s available to see you right now. Just step through to the door to your left. Can I get you something to drink?”
Kelley ignored him and went through the door on his left.
The moment the door latched behind Kelley, Sanjay’s phone rang.
It was Cuchulain. Calling on the inter-office phone line so Kelley wouldn’t hear the speakers.“It would be difficult to find another office manager fluent in six languages. But not impossible. Quit wasting IPC’s time and giving our visitors shit. Understand?” Click.
Sanjay kept his face impassive. Stared straight ahead. Knowing he was watched. Inside he boiled. Getting a hard time from two white guys in the space of a minute could turn a rational man into a racist.
Kelley found himself in a tiny foyer. Three doors. He tried the knobs. All three were locked. He thought the East Indian guy was fucking with him. Kelley turned to go back in the office and dump him out of his chair when the center door opened.
William Han. Director of the Center. A moon-faced Malaysian in a white shirt. He wore a badge. Han was fat. He moved slowly, like he was full of rocks. Short cop hair. Graying at the temples. Flat, black, Malaysian eyes. Seeing everything. Giving away nothing. Except a calm smile.
“Mister Kelley?”
They shook hands. Kelley followed Han.
They went into IPC’s chic-but-functional conference room. Three walls of glass looked out upon the IPC office. The fourth wall was opaque. Dominated by a map of the world. Red pins marked spots in the Caribbean and off the cost of Africa. Many more stabbed the area around Kuala Lumpur, concentrated on the Straits of Malacca.
Kelley knew unseen people were running his whole life history right now. Han didn’t start with the usual who-are-you preamble. Han got right to it.
“What can I do for you?”
Kelley walked over to the map, looking it over. “I’m looking for a pirate.”
Han said, “We don’t keep pirates here, Mister Kelley.”
Kelley cocked his head.
“You’d do better looking for pirates where they operate,” Han said. He fluttered a hand at the wall map. “Those are all recent piratical activities.”
There were a lot of pins.
Han joined Kelley next to the map. His cold eyes flicked across the pins. He plucked one pin out. Held it in front of Kelley’s face.
“This one. Pirates killed everyone on a tugboat pulling a big barge of copper ingots worth ten million dollars. We had an informer inside the dockworkers, so we took the pirates down when they landed. Only their leader escaped.”
“King Pirate?”
Something flickered across Han’s face. “No. One of his top three lieutenants. Fong Sai-Yuk. We’ve been after him for years. He’s too smart. Even with our inside men giving us info, he’s always three steps ahead. Fong’s like a ghost.”
Without turning, Kelley asked, “Do you have any pictures? Anything distinctive about him?”
Han nodded. “Fong likes bling. Necklaces. Earrings. Bracelets.”
“He likes rings best of all. He buys new bling after every raid. The only piece he keeps no matter what is a ring. Gold. Three dragons, each biting the other’s tail. Their eyes are jade. We’ve heard it’s an heirloom. His mother gave it to him.” Han finally got to the inevitable question. “Is he the pirate you’re looking for?”
Kelley answered with a wry half-smile. Mirthless. It made him look like a sniper squinting into a scope.
“You’re wrong about Fong Sai-Yuk. That ring. It was from his stepmother. On his eighteenth birthday. A week later, he hit the seas on a raid. A rival pirate gang came looking for him. They found her instead. Fong was gone for three days. The gang stayed in the house with his stepmom. Having their fun. They finally got bored of waiting and split. Fong eventually came back and found what was left of her.” Kelley nailed Han with his eyes. Letting the mental image sink in.
“Each one of those guys, Fong tracked down. Cut off their dicks and shoved them down their throats. Every member of that gang died choking on their bloody cocks. Fong proved he was no one to fuck with. But he still had a soft spot in his heart for poor old stepmom. That’s why he kept the ring.” He paused.
“This ring.”
Kelley reached into his pocket. He took out Fong’s gold dragon ring. He flicked it like a quarter. It landed on the conference room table. Its tinging and rattling filled the room. The ring at last rolled to a stop.
Han considered Kelley for a long time in silence. He finally picked it up. Gave it a close look. Han had spent a lot of time staring at grainy, black-and-white surveillance photos, zoomed in on the ring Fong wore. Photos in their database. A detailed description from witnesses given to their agents. And here it was, between thumb and forefinger.
Cuchulain’s disembodied voice boomed from the speakers. Breaking the silence. “Yer hired.”
Kelley did a double-take. “What the hell is that?!”
“I’m Cuchulain. I run the IPC. I’m the top guy here.”
Kelley’s eyes roamed everywhere and nowhere. Searching for whatever camera this guy was using to watch him. He motioned to Han. “Then who’s this cat?”
“My right-hand man in the office.”
Han was used to speaking with Cuchulain through the speaker. Instead of searching the ceiling like Sanjay and others did, he picked a spot on the wall and addressed it as if Cuchulain were standing there. He held up the ring.
“This could be a fake.”
“Don’t be an asshole.”
“Where’d you get it?”
“Where do you think, a pawn shop? I pulled it off of Fong’s hand. He didn’t need it anymore.”
“Why did you bring it to us?”
“I’m looking for King Pirate.”
Cuchulain and Han chuckled. It was an odd effect; one live in the room, the other coming over a speaker.
Kelley frowned. “I ain’t kidding.”
“Didn’t think you were, Mister Kelley. You say ‘King Pirate’ as though he could be found in a bar. Like it’s that easy. We’ve been hunting him for years. The man has never been caught on film.”
“I found Fong Sai-Yuk. Took me three weeks, but I found him. And he was in a bar when I caught up. The same Fong you guys have been tracking for years. The guy Han here called ‘a ghost.’” Kelley grimaced. “He is now. So you are the last two guys in KL who should be laughing like I’m some chump. This office. These ‘inside men.’ Your cute little conference room. Fuck you.”
Kelley could tell that, behind the placid Malaysian exterior, Han was ready to go ape shit. He liked it that way. Angry men didn’t think. They reacted. To what Kelley did or said. That made him in control.
Cuchulain was a different story. He was completely removed from the situation. This office was his realm. Kelley realized this Cuchulain knew what he was doing. But the absolute control only extended to the boundaries of the office. Kelley looked around. Just as Han had said, no pirates in here. Just pictures of pirates, and a bunch of peckers like Sanjay and Han staring at them. For all the good it did. The pirates were out on the water. So who gave a shit? Kelley wondered if even the pirates did. He was already losing patience with these limp-dicks.
But they might know something about King Pirate. Kelley had come up dry. Now he was here.
Han took a deep breath. Re-asked his first question, this time measuring his tone. “What can we do for you, Mister Kelley?”
“I asked around. I checked out your website and did some research. You guys have a database. I can hunt, but I’m just one guy. I’ve only been looking for King Pirate for a month. I’m sure you guys have some pile of information in these hard drives. I figure, if I could check it out, it’d give me a lead. One lead’ll turn into another. And I’ll find King Pirate.
“To be perfectly, one-hundred percent clear: I want access to your pirate info database. That’s all I want.
“I understand this is all super-secret, and I’m not in here pushing pencils and listening to some fat guy yell into a speaker at people – “
“Fat guy?”
“Am I wrong?”
Cuchulain didn’t answer.
“You’re in an air conditioned office all day watching Han answer a phone. I’m out there looking. On the water. In the heat. I’m out there looking. I don’t need inside men. I am an inside man. With some leads, I’ll find King Pirate. And I’ll kill him. It’s a win-win situation if you gimme a lead. Gimme access to your database. What do you say?”
“Why do you want him dead, Mister Kelley?”
“He sent me something in an envelope, and I want to return it,” Kelley said. He left it at that. Kelley didn’t feel now was the time to let them know Brody’s ear was in a cooler full of dry ice in his rented storage unit. It might give them the wrong impression of the kind of man he was.
Han said, “I’ll have you know, we work in this office between raids. Our security is tight because we hit the pirates head-on, where it hurts the most. We take out crews where we find them. The lucky ones don’t make it to prison.”
Kelley gave him an up-and-down. I’m sure you’re out front with a machine-gun in each hand, pal.
After pondering in silence, Cuchulain made himself known. “By international mandate, only members of this agency are cleared to fully search our database. You want leads, you’d have to join us.”
Kelley cast a disdainful gaze at the cold office around him. “I don’t do office work.”
“Didn’t say you would,” Cuchulain continued. “What I’d like to know is, how’d you find Fong Sai-Yuk? And can you find the other two lieutenants?”
“Probably. Especially if I’m not doing everything by myself.”
“You won’t be,” Cuchulain said, the words coming out ‘Yeh wun.’ “And you’re right. We have a lot of information compiled. But we don’t always know what we’re looking at, or what we should be looking for. If you join, you’ll earn the clearance we both need to get you involved. And with you involved, we’ll find King Pirate’s two lieutenants. They’re likely the only way to get to the King, at last.”
It seemed like the way to go. But the last thing in the world Kelley wanted to do was join a government organization, wear a badge and take orders from a speaker voice. Hell. He tracked down Fong. The other two would be more alert by now. Would make things harder, but not impossible. Nothing is impossible in this world, if you set your mind to it and sacrifice everything to see it done.
Kelley shook his head, musing. Simply said, “Bullshit,” and headed for the door. Out of here. Into the open air. He threw open the door.
And almost ran straight into the perfection of the female form.
Everyone’s born with a sexual type, something in someone that flips their ultimate switch. It could be a nationality, an attitude, a style. Kelley had several types. The biggest one, nestled at the base of his psyche, was a deep longing for haughty Russian women.
When he was a kid, Kelley watched a movie called Weird Science. In it, these two high school geeks invented a woman-making machine. You type in everything you want in a woman and, poof, out she comes. If Kelley ever got a crack at that machine, the woman who popped out would be no different from the one now standing in front of him.
One arched eyebrow cocked in vague curiosity. Soft brown eyes floating in white skin. It was beyond Kelley’s ability to take his eyes off her pooched lips. Russian women did this thing where they press their lips together just a tiny bit whenever they notice a man watching them. If they have thin lips, it creates something like a miniature duck bill. But if those lips were full, Lord help weak men. In her heels, she was almost exactly as tall as Kelley. Every kiss would be a bed kiss. She moved smoothly into the room. Grace and power in her body. Kelley was a fighter. He could tell at a glance if someone had training. Three steps in, Kelley knew she was a dangerous woman to cross. In her eyes. In her movements. In the scent of expensive perfume, mild enough to merely entice. She wore an outfit that cost enough to buy a Malaysian house and the family in it. All tailored, form-fitting silks. Expertly put together. Kelley forgot about the receptionist downstairs. That girl was like a potted flower, pretty but forgettably common. This Russian goddess was a collector’s orchid. She was more woman than any man anywhere would know what to do with.
Except him.
With the same total, immediate devotion with which he had sent himself on a deadly road to avenge himself against King Pirate, Kelley decided he would rather die than suffer a life that didn’t include having this woman.
He would pursue her. Win her. Take her.
And he didn’t even know her goddamn name yet.
She blew straight past him. Dropped a thin stack of files on the conference table.
Han said, “Ryan Kelley, this is Anastasia Petrovskya. She works in Investigation.”
Kelley casually shook her hand. Met her eyes. She saw the desire gleaming in his. Kelley was trying to play it cool. She was too smart. She taunted him with an icy smile. It sharpened her high cheek bones. In most women, it would have given her a witchy look. For Anastasia, it only made Kelley wonder why a woman who could dominate any modeling agency in the world was chasing pirates. He’d find out.
“You seem bewildered, Mister Kelley. What did Cuchulain do to you?”
Cuchulain laughed to himself, a low rumble echoing through the hidden speakers. “I offered him a job.”
Anastasia idly flipped open one of the folders. Leafing through photos. “You’re in luck, Mister Kelley. Getting you to work at IPC is the worst thing Cuchulain can do to anybody. After you leave, you can go about life knowing everything will be happier and easier from here on out.”
Her voice lilted with a light St. Petersburg accent. Kelley felt goose bumps rise on the back of his neck. He zeroed on the photos.
“What are those?”
Without looking up, Anastasia told him, “They’re surveillance photos of the men we’re almost sure are King Pirate’s two remaining chiefs.”
How did she know he’d -- ? She saw the question in his eye. “Cuchulain asked me to pull the files while you were busy giving Director Han your atrocious American attitude, Mister Kelley. Though I do commend you for finding and eliminating Fong Sai-Yuk. You probably don’t know how many lives you’ve saved.”
Thirty seconds into each other’s lives, and they were already communing, unspoken. Kelley hated every moment he’d lived before meeting Anastasia. He’d never let her see it, if he could help it. She’d know, anyway. She heard his thoughts, saw them written in his eyes. She knew everything. He was helpless.
Which is why it was time to leave. Kelley scooped up one of the files. Headed back for the door.
“That file’s IPC property!” Han barked. Kelley ignored him.
“Where are you going?” Anastasia asked.
“I’m gonna find a bar and huddle over these until I work out how I’ll find these two.”
Cuchulain backed up Han. “I told you, our information is only for members of the IPC.”
Kelley looked hard at Han. Anastasia. “You can give me a badge when I come in tomorrow.” He have them a hard smile they didn’t understand. “Nine o’clock precisely.”
Han watched the unspoken exchange with eyes downward. Expressionless, but aware of the interplay between Kelley and Anastasia. He frowned at the wall spot he’d chosen for referring to Cuchulain.
“Don’t I have any say in this?”
“Of course you do, Director Han. So long as what you say has to do with making Kelley a member of the IPC.”
Han kept at it. “We’ll need a week to clear him with Interpol.”
“Are you an international criminal, Mister Kelley?” Anastasia crossed a leg. Bouncing her foot.
“Not yet.”
“I suppose I should say welcome aboard, Mister Kelley. Or should I call you Ryan?”
“Mister Kelley’s fine.”
Kelley winked and left the room. Gone. With the files.
They waited a moment. All three listening to Kelley’s departure through the office. Out of earshot. Then:
“Excellent work, Anastasia.”
“We’re making a terrible mistake on this guy, Cuchulain,” Han warned.
“Anastasia? What do you think?”
She closed her eyes. Thinking.
“We’re making a mistake. But for all the right reasons. Han’s right. This guy’s trouble. I say we harness that trouble and aim it at our targets.”
“You were an insurance investigator?”
“Yup. Good one, too.”
Kelley walked next to Anastasia, who was showing him around the IPC offices. His first day.
“That kind of investigation takes time. You don’t seem like a man who would like detail work.”
They were killing two birds with one stone. Kelley’s background check had come through. Interpol required a formal interview as well. Ordinarily, Han did the interview in the conference room.
Not this time.
Anastasia jotted notes into a PDA as they talked.
“I had assistants who did the grunt work. All I had to do was pretend I was the asshole, and figure out how I would pull the scam.”
“Why’d you quit, if you were so good?”
“They fired me. After a year, it was turning into laying bricks. The cases weren’t interesting anymore. Most people aren’t very smart. They don’t have imagination. Thing is, they think they’re these masterminds, like no one’s ever thought of their brilliant insurance fraud scheme before in the history of mankind. It’s never brilliant. Just stupid. Every once in a while, a cool case came down. But it didn’t happen enough. I started smoking a lot of weed during office hours. Boss had enough. Now that I think about it, I was pushing him to fire me so I could collect unemployment while I decided what to do.”
“What did you do?”
“Smoked more weed. Surfed.”
They came to the Control Room. Anastasia leaned forward for a retinal scan. When she was done, Kelley did the same. The door opened.
“I’m already in the system,” he said.
“I want a badge.”
Anastasia curled a hand around his bicep. Lead him through the door. Kelley concentrated on the sensation. Making sure he remembered the light pressure of her fingers on his skin. Her warmth. He quietly inhaled her scent.
The Control Room had a tall ceiling. Soaring like a cathedral, or a war room. Computer terminals were arrayed in a semi-circle. Surrounding a two-story-tall display of the world. The whole thing reminded Kelley of pictures he’d seen of NASA’s Mission Control.
“What about your military service? Before your civilian life?”
Kelley lowered his voice, like he didn’t want to disturb any of the people working at the terminals. He didn’t care if they were disturbed. Kelley wanted an excuse to push the bubble of Anastasia’s personal space.
“You know I was a Marine,” he muttered.
Anastasia replied in a normal tone. Letting him know they didn’t have to whisper. Or turning it around on him?
“I mean, your specialty.”
Kelley dropped the whispering act. “Sniper.”
“Were you good at that, too?”
“Better than most.”
There were fifteen people working the Control Room. None of them older than forty. They were all nationalities. No Caucasians. Anastasia and Kelley stood out in the crowd. Literally: they were both tall.
“And after you surfed, you joined the Border Patrol.”
“For a stint.”
“There’s a flag on your file.”
Kelley deflected. He pointed at one of the screens. “What’re these rolling numbers?”
Anastasia followed his finger. “Registration numbers for ShipLok. It’s an emergency tracking system, like a LoJack for ships. If there’s a piracy, the captain can activate the locator link.”
“You find a lot of ships this way?”
“Some,” Anastasia told him. “But the pirates are getting smarter. They know where to look for it, and how to stop the signal when they find it. Unless the pirates are new or stupid, it’s little more than an early warning. ShipLok gets us into action that much more quickly.”
“Your Border Guard experience – “
“I knew I’d hear about that.”
“Why don’t you tell me?”
Kelley put his hands behind his back as they strolled. Reluctantly rewinding old mental footage. He stopped next to a glowing plasma screen. Lines like sine waves flowed over a multi-colored map of the Asian seas.
“What’s this?”
“You’re dodging my question. Won’t look good in my report,” she said, only half-teasing.
Kelley stared at Anastasia. “Just tell me what it is and I’ll answer your question.
She relented. “Almost every square foot on Earth is claimed or regulated by someone. A country, a land-owner, whoever. No one owns the sea. The ships are like herds roaming a frontier. All we can do is track and arrest. Like a Wild West that will never be tamed.”
“You’re pretty up on American history.”
“It was my minor.”
“What was the major?”
“This is your interview, Mister Kelley.”
“You just perfectly described why I went to sea.” Kelley let her think about that. Closely watching to see if she dug it. No response. “Okay, the Border Guard thing.
“Friend of a friend scored me a shot at working with La Migra. I was running out of money. I didn’t wanna start dealing. I saw where that road went. I took the job. For a while, I stood in the booth checking trunks and shit. But ‘cause of my insurance work, they pulled me off that pretty quick. Got me into investigation.”
“How did you get the job, with all of your recent drug use? They don’t test for that in America?”
“Sure they do,” Kelley said with a grin. “I bought some clean piss from the guy who got me the job. He was cool. We surfed a lot.”
Anastasia didn’t know if Kelley was kidding with her. Kelley went back into his story.
“We were mostly tracking down coyote rings. Sometimes kidnappers. Sometimes drugs. We worked with other agencies, FBI, Homeland Security, all those guys. We got assigned to a combined operation with the DEA. They had info on a gang of Salvadoran mobsters. All of ‘em illegals, operating a meth lab out of a warehouse near the border. Most of the guys we went after were a bunch of jokers. Not these guys. All M9, former military. Armed and dangerous.
“Twenty of us kicked down doors. Managed to take down their look-outs, so we had total surprise on our side. Didn’t matter. They were well-trained, a hard-ass crew. Purely on instinct, they had guns in their hands and went at us. Card-playing one second, shootout the next. It was a war, total chaos.
“Now that I look back, the DEA could’ve done a better job on recon. Or us, I don’t know. Thing is, the boss had his little girl there. She was visiting, no idea. What kind of a guy brings his kid to a meth lab? Maybe it was Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. Who cares. She was there, in the middle of this crazy fucking gunfight. It was so loud we didn’t even hear her screaming. Like a trapped bunny, it was awful. She wasn’t hit, she was just scared.
“I had daddy pinned down. He was trying to save his kid. I let up on the gun and made for her. I wanted to get the kid first. To save her. And get this asshole to tell his guys to put down their weapons.
“He panicked. He took a shot at me.”
Anastasia listened, rapt. Finally, she said, “Did he hit his own daughter?”
“No,” Kelley said. “He gave me this.”
Kelley rolled up his sleeve to show her a puckered bullet wound on his left arm, in the flesh between the bicep and tricep.
“And, before I could stop myself, I gave him a bullet in return,” Kelley continued. “I shot him dead between the eyes. Right in front of his kid. By instinct.”
Anastasia met his gaze. Her breathing was shallow. Kelley could almost feel her fitting the scene he’d just described with the man standing before her. Deciding how she felt about it. Hating herself for being attracted to dangerous men.
“There was nothing different you could have done,” she said, her accent lilting over the words. Telling him she didn’t mind he was a killer. Now Kelley knew he had one foot in the door. He played the next card.
“No,” he growled. “You’re wrong. There are plenty of other things I could’ve done. Or, at least, the inquest told me so. But I shot the sonofabitch down, anyway. Daughter or not, he was a kidnapper and an asshole. Maybe the kid’ll be in therapy. I don’t give a fuck. Lots more people won’t suffer because her daddy got sent straight to hell. Maybe she’ll take it as a life lesson. Maybe she’ll come after me with a bullet of my own one day. Either way, I don’t care.”
Anastasia’s eyes widened. Shining, like a pair of blue suns. Her head lilted back. Exposing her neck.
“What do you care about, Mister Kelley?”
Kelley leaned into her ear. This time she didn’t pull back. And he muttered, close enough that she’d feel the vibration of his voice on her tender skin.
“King Pirate.”
With that, Kelley turned and walked away.
Anastasia blinked. Inwardly kicking herself. Not again.
Her cell phone rang. Rang again.
“Gonna answer that?” Kelley asked over his shoulder.
Anastasia nodded, breaking herself out of the reverie.
Cuchulain. “Do anything necessary to push through Interpol’s clearance. We need to get him in the field as soon as possible.”
“Agreed,” she simply replied, closing the phone. She stared at Kelley. Before he tears the walls down, she thought. For starters.
Two weeks later. The IPC conference room.
Director Han started. “Pirates boarded a tugboat off the coast of Thailand last night. The Atlas. It was pulling a barge loaded with teak logs from Burma.”
Anastasia was there. Kelley. And several lower-level IPC team members, some of them on loan for training from other international law enforcement agencies.
The Italian guy from Interpol said, “Why heist a bunch of logs?”


February 4, 2014
Turning Writers into Filmmakers



February 3, 2014
Myth in Fiction Intertwined: How one Author Wove His Tapestry

by Birgitte Rasine  

In my holiday post, I discussed the power of myth in storytelling. Today, I’m taking you with me to see how it’s done in a published novel.

Roman Pantheon, photo by Birgitte Rasine
Roman Pantheon, photo by Birgitte Rasine

I recently spoke with Dr. Kenneth Atchity, the author of The Messiah Matrix. Classical scholar and Yale-educated professor of literature and classics as well as film producer, publisher, book reviewer, and literary agent, Dr. Atchity wears many hats—yet none perhaps as enthralling as that of author.

Birgitte Rasine: What was the initial inspiration for “The Messiah Matrix”?

Ken Atchity: I’d been thinking about the subject matter for a long time—since high school, when my Jesuit teacher drew a parallel between the two JC’s, Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar. Both were said to walk on water, both performed miracles, both gave their lives for their people. So over the years it kept me thinking. Then I met a woman doing research on the topic, and eventually we came to the conclusion I need to write a novel.

BR: What made you decide to write a novel as opposed to a book of non fiction?

KA: The more I researched, the more I realized this story really needs to be told. If I’d written a non fiction book, 56 people would read it during my lifetime. With fiction, thousands of people have read it and hundreds have submitted reader reviews—and hopefully that’s just the beginning.

BR: How long did it take to write, and how many drafts did you go through?

KA: It took a year to write the first draft. I revised, restructured, and reshaped for two years, and polished the writing and checked the research for another year. All told the book took about four years. I wrote at least 40 drafts of this book. The last 20 were either cutting research or figuring out how to dramatize it. My favorite chapter is “Birth of a God,” a spectacle that Augustus stages for the people to make his divinity real to them. I couldn’t imagine this Emperor not staging a show like this.

BR: How much research did you do and how did you go about it?

KA: It took many years of research. During that time, I came across a remarkable book published in 1898, “The Worship of Augustus Caesar,” written by Alexander Del Mar, a former postmaster general who happened to be a numismatist. He’d studied the coins minted during the reign of Augustus and showed how every element of Roman Catholic worship can be traced to Augustus: the title of Pontifex Maximums, the tiara the Pope wears, his titles “Savior,” “Messiah,” “Anointed One,” “Awaited One,” “Prince of Peace,” “King of Kings,” even the golden flail he carried to signify he was a good shepherd of his people.

The more I looked into it, the more I saw this was a remarkable historical explanation for the various symbols of the Catholic faith—that made more sense to me than the unproven stories of a “real Jesus” walking barefoot around Palestine. In fact, I went to the catacombs of Rome to see for myself. The symbols of early Christianity can be traced back to Roman origins. The image of Mary with the serpent at her feet, for example, goes back to Bona Dea, the “good goddess,” the first Roman goddess of abundance and birth. It was Augustus who had the depictions of Bona Dea redone with the likeness of his own mother, Maia. That’s how the iconography related with Mary started.

What Augustus did was both ingenious and profound. He rewrote the history of his time and resculpted myth in his image. He commissioned Virgil to write the Aeneid; he had the Sibylline books edited; he had the scribes from the various nations that formed a part of the Roman Empire rewrite the historical texts, inserting predictions of his coming, predictions of a golden age and a golden child, the lion lying down with the lamb. His coins were struck with the inscription, “God and Son of God.”

Why? It goes back to myth. Augustus knew the way to leave a lasting impression on the world is to create a new myth, or associate with an old one—in his case, that of the redeemer-god who gives his life for his people (following Dionysus, Osiris, and many others). The Romans had confusing and fragmented myths, so he streamlined and unify them. He was a brilliant emperor who copied the cultural icons and concepts of his own time and sought to turn them into a global religion. The Roman Empire never ended; it’s alive today in the Roman Catholic Church, headquartered in Vatican City in the heart of Rome, where even the ATM screens are in Latin.

BR: How did you handle this rather extraordinary proposition in your novel?
KA: I created a character who was skeptical about Catholicism like I was. Ryan McKeown is a young Jesuit who doesn’t understand why there are no provable contemporary references to Jesus Christ. His counter character, archaeologist Emily Scelba, discovers a legendary gold coin that becomes the “smoking gun” to the theory they discover about Christianity’s imperial origins.

BR: What was the most challenging aspect of writing a thriller like this?

KA: Dramatizing the research and trying to make it believable and not totally expository. You’re dealing with a lot of ancient history, and you have to find ways other than expository dialogue to make it come alive. For example, the cave at Cumae, which actually exists, I described it in the context of the narrative, not necessarily exactly the way it is.

BR: What are the key differences between a typical historical fiction novel and a thriller that incorporates mythology?

KA: Some authors write historical thrillers—they only deal with history, not myth. I was dealing with how a myth is constructed. The basic structure of a myth is always the same, but the narrative elements vary. Even Dan Brown doesn’t deal with myth, he deals with artifacts and history.
A myth makes you think on a different level. Being conscious of storytelling is different than telling a story. Myth is about the power of storytelling. That’s the difference.

BR: What aspect of “The Messiah Matrix” has resonated most with your readers, and what aspect were they most critical of?

KA: I think every Catholic who is serious intellectually [about their faith] has had doubts about whether Jesus really lived or not. Writers always write for their ideal reader, not for “everyone.” So when your readers respond to your own doubts, you know you’ve reached them.
As far as criticism is concerned, some readers thought there was too much historical material to digest, but then many thought there should be more.

BR: Share your thoughts about the role myth plays in contemporary literature.

KA: Myth is in our DNA, and it’s at the heart of every piece of literature. What do writers do when they’re at a loss for a story? They consult myth. A writer should always ask, “what’s the myth beneath my story?” If something doesn’t feel right, then the myth has been betrayed or the storyteller wasn’t aware of the myth within the story. Fiction without myth is never going to be satisfying.

BR: What would your advice be to writers tackling myth in fiction for the first time?

KA: Read a book of mythology. Learn what the myths are. Get a dictionary of mythology. For example, “The Greek Myths” by Robert Graves, “Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend,” or “The Masks of God” series by Joseph Campbell.

Reposted from The Write Practice


February 3, 2014
Lila French's "Birdbath" NOFF in Review

Back in October, Lila French's "Birdbath" had its festival debut at the NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL. The film screened twice (at notable venues The CAC nd The Prytania), and each screening had a full, energetic audience who responded positively to the film. There was laughter during the screenings and great questions after.


January 9, 2014
Cuban American Bar Association Feautures George J. Fowler's My Cuba Libre

Cuban American Bar Association Article - Fall 2013

December 18, 2013
Alan Roth Among Nicholl's Fellows


Four individual writers and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. This year's winners are Frank DeJohn & David Alton Hedges ("Legion"), Patty Jones ("Joe Banks"), Alan Roth ("Jersey City Story" end left), Stephanie Shannon ("Queen of Hearts"), Barbara Stepansky ("Sugar in My Veins").


December 11, 2013
Santa Clara Magazine Features Dennis M. Walsh's Nobody Walks

Santa Clara Magazine

Thicker than water

nobody walksThis guy’s a lawyer? That’s what a number of the meth addicts, petty criminals, prostitutes, and porn stars involved with the gruesome 2003 murder of Christopher Walsh wondered about his relentless, tough-talking brother Dennis.

But, indeed, Dennis Walsh J.D. ’82, oldest son of a Cleveland cop-turned-Los Angeles-mobster, is a long-practicing criminal defense attorney. And much of the tension early in Nobody Walks (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013)—a gritty, hard-boiled account of his efforts to keep the case from going cold and bring Christopher’s killers to justice—derives from just how close Walsh came to stepping outside the limits of the law.

“Nobody walks” was the mantra—or threat—that Dennis Walsh repeated endlessly to a dizzying parade of fearful, low-life potential witnesses he hoped to convince to come forward and testify against the self-styled criminal mastermind who murdered Christopher when the two shared an apartment in Studio City, Calif. Walsh’s other brothers, some with criminal pasts like their father’s, wanted to dispense with legal niceties and exact vengeance on their own. Luckily, the police and prosecutors were just about as dedicated as the Walsh brothers themselves.

At the time of Christopher’s murder, Walsh was estranged from his youngest brother—whom the reader surmises was an addict and not a particularly nice guy. Still, Walsh makes it clear that he believes—rightly—that justice is for everyone, not just upright citizens. He also makes it clear that for the Walsh family blood is much thicker than water. 

Alden Mudge - Reposted From Santa Clara Magazine
December 11, 2013
Santa Cruz News Features Nicole Sallak-Anderson's eHuman Dawn

eHuman Dawn: A Santa Cruz author’s first scifi novel hits e-bookshelves

December 5, 2013
cover imageNicole Sallak Anderson has always loved writing, but at 18, when she was going to college, her father wasn’t exactly keen on the idea of pursuing it as a career.

Instead, she earned a degree from Purdue University and became a software engineer – a field she loved – and worked in encryption and network security software for years.
She never gave up her dream of writing though, and now she’s found a way for her two interests to intersect.

About three years ago, she woke up with an idea for a science fiction novel after a vivid dream. She wrote down some notes and when her two sons — now ages 12 and 14 — headed back to school that fall, she started writing what would become her first published novel. At first she wasn’t necessarily intent on getting it published, but the more she wrote, the more she became determined to get it out there for others to read. A writing conference in San Rafael helped her get a better handle on how to pitch an agent and she also got herself a writing coach and an editor. After pitching numerous editors, she finally got a bite.

Her book, eHuman Dawn, is now available for purchase as an e-book, and it’s just the first in what she says is a trilogy.

Deciding to go the e-book route first appealed to Nicole because she liked the immediacy and she liked the idea of not having to wait for a book to come out in print edition first. And given the topic of her novel, the medium seemed contextually appropriate.

So what’s eHuman Dawn about? Well, to put it simply, it’s about the future possibility in a post-singularity world, says Nicole.

Here’s the blurbage from the publisher:

The Great Shift is coming…. are you ready to jump?
Fast forward to the year 2242–a world in which death, disease, war and famine have been conquered, and where everything, including humans, are devices on Neuro, a complex network operating system that is controlled via human thought. Adam Winter has lived for nearly two hundred years in an eHuman body–a man of metal, fiber optics and plastic, on a world where no one dies and no one is born. Paradise on earth–until Adam discovers that the World Government is cutting power to entire cities, and his own city is on the list! 
Trapped in a body that must recharge on the network, Adam is swept up into the underworld of an eHuman anti World Government resistance, led by Dawn, the very first eHuman created. While the Resistance wages war against those in power, Dawn reveals to Adam a shocking secret about their past that not only bonds them together, but is also the Resistance’s ticket to gaining control over Neuro and taking down the World Government once and for all. Caught between the past and the future, Adam must rise up, claim his inheritance, and face his destiny– before eHumanity is powered down, forever. 
Essentially, the story is set in a world where we no longer have humans in the way we now think of that term. Instead we have non-carbon humanoid forms, aka “eHumans,” who lack flesh and must be recharged like an electronic appliance. Memories and thoughts are produced and controlled by software and other programs provided by one overarching network.

Protagonist Adam Winter is approached by a member of the resistance, a group of eHumans who come together and determine they don’t want their thoughts, desires and wants to be controlled by this network any longer.  Winter, a journalist, becomes intricately involved with the movement and with Dawn, the first eHuman ever created and the woman who initially approaches him.
The book explores the role of emotions and sex in a world where technology is the leading power, but it isn’t a romance novel per se. The romance is there, Nicole says, but it’s balanced with discussions of science and technology and its role in our lives.

Nicole says she had started thinking a lot about our connections to technology and our attachment to the electronic devices we’ve come to rely on. What would happen, she wondered, if we became the devices ourselves – providing us with a sense of immortality but also subjecting us to the limitations of technology? The intersections of technology and human consciousness are something she contemplates often.

“I’ve just always had a fascination with the technology and the mind – as well as the body and feelings, and the concepts of how the body works,” she says.
She also adds something that’s largely missing from the science fiction and technology world – a female voice.

eHuman Dawn is currently available on Amazon and it it might make a great gift for your science-fiction loving and eReader-owning friends and family, hint hint.

Be sure to check out her Facebook page, blog and Twitter feeds too, where she actively writes and interacts about many of the same topics she focuses on in her novel. And don’t worry – she’s already got most of the sequel written.


December 11, 2013
Kirkus Reviews Praise for Story Merchant Client Robin Johns Grant's Debut Novel Summer's Winter

Review Summer's WinterIn Grant’s debut novel, a young woman’s fascination with a Hollywood star affects her life in ways she never could have imagined.

For years, 21-year-old Jeanine DeValery has been in love with Danny Summer, a character from a book series, played in a series of films by movie star Jamie Newkirk. Jeanine, in her adolescent confusion, believes that God promised her that the actor—or the character he played—would change her ordinary Georgia life into something more romantic. When the author of the book series dies in a mysterious fire, Jeanine grieves but continues to believe in her destiny. Soon, her dream seems to be coming true, as Jeanine’s adored actor enters her life for real and seems to be falling for her. At the same time, she finds out about plans to restart the film series. But things aren’t as romantic and perfect as she had imagined: Jamie’s former girlfriend suspiciously dies, in the same house in which his mother apparently committed suicide two years before. Both women had similarly shaped burn marks on their skin. Jeanine soon finds out a host of strange things about the people involved in the film series, uncovering other mysterious deaths and battles over money and power. She also finds out that Jamie is keeping secrets about his family—but even after he’s arrested, Jeanine dedicates herself to proving his innocence. This complex story is told in lush, heated prose (“Heaven is as tangible as the taste of a juicy peach on a hot day, as easy and close as stepping out the school door and into another world at recess”), with a clear underpinning of Christian ethics (“Not once in the sleazy motel parking lot had [Jeanine] thought about what God wanted her to do”). Readers drawn to Christian fiction will find much to keep them turning pages. For secular readers, however, some of the story’s coincidences may be a bit difficult to believe.

A passionate, well-wrought mystery by a Christian novelist to watch.


December 1, 2013
Terry Stanfill (Realms of Gold) Featured in Le Chatillon Ai et L'Auxois

BURGUNDY, France October 24, 2013



November 1, 2013
CONGRATULATIONS to Atchity-Wong Client Alan Roth - Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Winner!

 The Hollywood Reporter

Academy Reveals Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Winners

 The $35,000 prizes will be presented at a Nov. 7 event, which will include readings from the chosen screenplays directed by Rodrigo Garcia.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting to four individual writers and one writing team.
our editor recommends
Academy Names 11 Finalists for Nicholl Fellowships

The winners, listed alphabetically by author, are Frank DeJohn & David Alton Hedges, Santa Ynez, Ca., for their screenplay Legion; Patty Jones, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, for Joe Banks; Alan Roth, Suffern, N.Y., for Jersey City Story;
 Stephanie Shannon, Los Angeles, for Queen of Hearts; and 
Barbara Stepansky, Burbank, Ca., for Sugar in My Veins.

Each winner will receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at an awards presentation on Nov. 7 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  For the first time, the event also will feature a live read of selected scenes from the fellows’ winning scripts. Rodrigo Garcia is directing the event, which will include members of the actors’ branch and which will be produced by Julie Lynn and supported by Lexus.

The winners were selected from a record 7,251 scripts that were submitted. 

Fellowships are awarded with the understanding that the recipients will each complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year. The Academy acquires no rights to the works of Nicholl fellows and does not involve itself commercially in any way with their completed scripts.

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, chaired by producer Gale Anne Hurd, is composed of writers Naomi Foner, Daniel Petrie Jr., Tom Rickman, Eric Roth, Dana Stevens and Robin Swicord; actor Eva Marie Saint; cinematographer John Bailey; costume designer Vicki Sanchez; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.

November 1, 2013
Brains, Books and Biotech New Orleans Living Features Nicolas Bazan M.D.

New Orleans Living Nov. 2013 Features Nicolas Bazan M.D.

November 1, 2013
Suspense Magazine's Suspense Radio Interviews Ken Atchity about the deeper meanings of The Messiah Matrix

October 1, 2013
CONGRATULATIONS to Atchity-Wong Client Alan Roth Nicholl Finalist for his screenplay Jersey City Story!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Nine individual screenwriters and one writing team have been selected as finalists for the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. Their scripts will now be read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, which may award as many as five of the prestigious $35,000 fellowships.

This year’s finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

Scott Adams, Menlo Park, CA, “Slingshot”
William Casey, Los Angeles, CA, “Smut”
Frank DeJohn & David Alton Hedges, Santa Ynez, CA, “Legion”
Brian Forrester, Studio City, CA, “Heart of the Monstyr”
Noah Thomas Grossman, Los Angeles, CA, “The Cupid Code”
Patty Jones, Vancouver, BC, Canada, “Joe Banks”
Erin KLG, New York, NY, “Lost Children” 
Alan Roth, Suffern, NY, “Jersey City Story”
Stephanie Shannon, Los Angeles, CA, “Queen of Hearts”
Barbara Stepansky, Burbank, CA, “Sugar in My Veins”
The finalists were selected from a record 7,251 scripts submitted for this year’s competition.
The 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships will be presented on Thursday, November 7, at a ceremony in Beverly Hills. 


October 1, 2013
Proper Manuscript Format

A reader writes to ask:

I have perused your formatting advice and have a question. You advise underline to indicate italics, what about bold? Make it "actual" or use asterisks, etc? I need to indicate vectors in bold for a fact article but for sci-fi geared magazine. Thanks.

The use of boldface type is rare enough (at least in the fiction world) that, back in the olden days, one had to indicate it by hand by drawing a squiggly line underneath the words to be bolded. For whatever reason, our society has adopted italics as the preferred method of emphasis, which is why underlining is a function readily available on most typewriters but undersquiggling is not.

Boldface is, however, more common in non-fiction. In cases where it may indeed be required, either by a publication's style guide or by conventions you've adopted for a specific article, I would just go ahead and use the actual bold function of your word processor. You are unlikely these days to submit a manuscript on paper, and using asterisks around the words to be bolded is likely just to result in mistakes in the final copy.


September 20, 2013
Story Merchant has awarded MICHAEL NEFF the first annual Associate of The Year Award for his boundless energy in identifying great commercial projects for film production and book publication. His projects in development include FIREHOUSE SHIH-TZU, REASON TO BE AFRAID, MESSAGE TO SHINGATSE, and KILLER ON THE WALL.


September 16, 2013
Tome Tender's Five Star Review of Story Merchant Author Nicolas Bazan's The Dark Madonna

The Dark Madonna: A Fable of Resiliency and Imagination by Nicolas Bazan

The Dark Madonna
by Nicolas Bazan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Dark Madonna: A Fable of Resiliency and Imagination by Nicolas Bazan is absolutely mesmerizing with its intriguing blend of fact and fiction! With few pages, the tale of art forgery, greed, and religious beliefs and mysteries lead a scholar on a journey across continents and cultures, that left me wanting more from this brilliant author.

Nicolas Bazan has written with a passionate pen, telling his story in the first person, deeply emotional and moving, almost like a pilgrimage of self-discovery and inner awakening as I was taken to ghostly remains of the German prison camps, where the determination to survive and the spirit of those who died there could be felt in the air. On visiting Poland, almost drawn by fate, our main character finds his scientific expertise put to good use when a sacred relic appearance to be a clever forgery and a young religious man goes missing. Who is behind this great deception to the faith of the masses? Will the vandal e found? Will the relic be found? Were the reasons behind its theft truly evil or misguided? Can the answer to a religious mystery be found in science?
Wonderfully entertaining and very well written, this short novella feels like a much longer work with its attention to detail and deeply thought out plot.

A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for my honest review and I highly recommend it!

September 13, 2013
Join Me on February 15, 2014 at Southern California Writers Association Lecture on the "Pros & Cons of Direct vs, Legacy Publishing"
SCWA - Southern California Writers Association 
SCWA - Future Speakers - February 15, 2014

Opportunities in a Dynamic Environment

Dr. Ken Atchity

Story Merchant Dr. Ken Atchity believes in the power of stories to change the world. A storyteller himself (his recent thriller, The Messiah Matrix , can be visited on Ken has been privileged to spend a lifetime helping stories reach their ideal audiences in both publishing and entertainment. As a literary manager he has sold over 200 books (fiction and nonfiction), and overseen over twenty New York Times bestsellers, including Mrs. Kennedy and Me, The Kennedy Detail, Dracula: The Un-Dead, and The Last Valentine. As a producer working with both major studios and indie financiers, he’s produced thirty-something films, most recently Hysteria, Erased, The Lost Valentine, and the Emmy-nominated The Kennedy Detail.

His own books include several for storytellers, including How to Publish Your Novel, Writing Treatments To Sell, and A Writer’s Time: A Guide to the Creative Process from Vision through Revision. 

Former professor of comparative literature at Occidental College and Distinguished Instructor at UCLA Writers Program, Ken has also served as Fulbright Professor to the University of Bologna and as regular book review for The Los Angeles Times Book Review for twenty years.

With what he calls “the new Gutenberg Revolution” in full sway with the technologies of communication, Ken says, “I’ve not been this excited about helping storytellers for years. Today there is truly a level playing field, where the old gatekeepers are giving way to new methods of reaching the audience.” At the recent Thrillerfest in New York, his talk on “Direct vs Legacy Publishing” was the most highly-attended workshop in Craftfest. His analysis of the situation can be found on his website

For all his background as manager, producer, writing coach, and author, Ken is proudest of being known for “thinking outside the box.” “If I find someone stuck in old ways of thinking,” he says, “I’m not sure I can help him. We’re living in a world of accelerating change, and your mind must be open to seizing the opportunities such a dynamic environment presents. Storytellers haven’t been this fortunate in over a hundred years.” That’s what Ken will talk to us about when he speaks in February.

He can be reached at

Banquet Room at The Claim Jumper
18050 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley
10:00 am - 11:30 am
Break for Lunch then reconvene with an hour Q and A



August 30, 2013
Free Five Day Download on Amazon!

Memorable Words from Writers and Other Creators

This serendipitous collection of quotes spans inspiration, the creative process; the imagination; language and style; wit and entertainment; and what writers have to say about success, failure, editors, critics, readers, and audiences. An indispensable addition to your writer's book shelf.

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- See more at:
Memorable Words from Writers and Other Creators

This serendipitous collection of quotes spans inspiration, the creative process; the imagination; language and style; wit and entertainment; and what writers have to say about success, failure, editors, critics, readers, and audiences. An indispensable addition to your writer's book shelf.
- See more at:

 Memorable Words from Writers and Other Creators

This serendipitous collection of quotes spans inspiration, the creative process; the imagination; language and style; wit and entertainment; and what writers have to say about success, failure, editors, critics, readers, and audiences. An indispensable addition to your writer's book shelf. 

purchase on

August 5, 2013
Awesome Gang Interview - Where Awesome Readers Meet Awesome Writers

by Vinny O'Hare

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
At this point I’ve published over 20 books, and have a half dozen on the drawing board.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Messiah Matrix, a romantic thriller about the origins of Christianity, was inspired by my years as a student of the Roman classics and observations of the parallels between the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Empire.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
If writing with a stopwatch running (to make sure I do my hour a day) is unusual, well, then yes I do indeed.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Virgil and Dante have been a huge influence, and Melville: “to write a mighty book one must have a mighty theme.” I think The Messiah Matrix, at the very least, has a mighty theme.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on a family memoir.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?

It’s very hard to know the answer to this, but Facebook is my very favorite because it’s so user-friendly. Check out the Messiah Matrix Facebook page–and LIKE it please.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Work a little every day, or a lot every day, but every single day; remembering the ancient poet Hesiod, who said, “If you put a little upon a little, soon it will become a lot.”

Embrace this career that allows for a lifetime of improvement. What other career can offer that?

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Go for it.

What are you reading now?
I just finished reading a non-stop action sci fi thriller by Russian Sergei Yakimov, and hope to help get it published in the U.S.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I am thinking about another novel about the Vatican, a novel about the Millennial generation, in addition to the memoir and more nonfiction books for writers to go with my WRITE series.

What is your favorite book of all time?
Homer’s Odyssey. 

June 27, 2013
Jack Marino, LA Talk Radio Interviews Dennis Walsh about Nobody Walks

LA Talk Radio

Original Show Date: June 14, 2013 

Listen to Dennis Walsh Interview 

June 27, 2013
Tome Tender Gives Jay Atleson's Platinum Blackmail Five Stars!

Platinum Blackmail
by Jay Atleson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ever read a book that had you gripping your seat, clutching at your throat or screaming, "No! No! Don't do it!"????? Platinum Blackmail by Jay Atleson will have yo doing ALL of the above as you travel the twisted tale of Mark Sterling, hot shot computer software salesman and top model, yep, he's hot! Shortly after Mark is assigned to BETA-test a sentient email system code name SAM,he starts receiving strange emails and messages that become threatening, while demanding a million dollars in a blackmail attempt that could ruin him. Never short on beautiful women, when Lisa Lancaster is assigned by her national marketing firm to work with Mark and his boss Dallas Milligan to publicize and promote SAM to the buying public, Mark is mysteriously enamored of her, forgetting all others. She seems to have cast a spell over him and seems willing to help him figure how to best the blackmailer, but, whose side is she really on? What connection does Lisa really have to SAM? For such a smart guy, Mark is running blind into the unknown, at best, his ruination, at worst, his death.

Jay Atleson had me from page one! His writing is like a race car flying through the "S" turns of his twisted tale at breakneck speed! Do NOT expect to be able to put Platinum Blackmail down until you reach the very last page, gasping for breath! As soon as my heart rate slows down, I want to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review this intriguing book!

Platinum Blackmail by Jay Atleson
ASIN: B00984N5CE
Publisher: Story Merchant Books
Date of publish: September 2012
Pages: 232
S.R.P.: $2.99 (Kindle version)
Rating: 5 Stars 

June 19, 2013
The Messiah Matrix Has Been Awarded eLit's Bronze Medal in the Mystery / Suspense / Thriller Category!

The fourth annual eLit Awards are a global awards program committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment.

June 19, 2013
William Diehl with Kenneth John Atchity's Seven Ways to Die is the Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal Winner in Best Mystery/Thriller E-Book

June 16, 2013
Blogcritics Reviews How to Quit Your Day Job and Live Out Your Dreams

Are you in an unsatisfying job and would like to get out of your current line of work? Do you want to transition from a job that is secure but soulless, from a life that is created by others to one that is created by you which allows you to follow your creative dreams? If you do, this book is for you.

Kenneth Atchity was also in a job he despised. He was a tenured professor. He should have been on top of his game and happy. He had security, and everything he wanted financially. But he was still fundamentally unhappy because he felt drained and didn’t feel as if he was fulfilling his creative purposes in life. How sad? He always wanted to be a story merchant and film producer. Then one day he dared to take the necessary steps to make his dreams come through. And this is how the idea for this book was born.

Kenneth Atchity’s book is for everyone who feels that their creativity has been squelched at their current line of work. How to Quit Your Day Job and Live Your Dreams will show the reader how to create a personal vision and recreate your life so that it fulfilling your vision, face negative peer pressure, identify and control conflicting inner voices, redefine what it means to live successfully for yourselves, steal time to make your dreams come true, and a lot more. The book is full of advice for the person who is still working at a dead end job and wants to take fruitful steps to get out. Kenneth Atchity shows the reader how to do this through consistent planning, a bit of hard work, and perseverance.

The good news is that we can all reclaim our lives, and we don’t have to stay in dead end jobs for the rest of our lives and live unhappy and unfulfilled days. We can be bold and recreate our lives so that they are what we want them to be. So, if you want your life to change for the better, pick Kenneth Atchity’s book today and get ready to transform your life one step at a time. - See more at:

June 16, 2013
WRITING TREATMENTS TO SELL Available on Amazon Kindle!

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Who Are the Buyers?


It's a fifty-fifty deal. Just make sure we get the best of it.

--Samuel Goldwyn, instructions to his business affairs office

Some writers don't care whether their writing sells, or whether it sells soon. They have the luxury of writing nothing but what they like, and the freedom to continue doing it without needing to depend upon it as a source of income. If time, for you, is not of the essence, you'll simply write what you want to write and let the results find their way onto the screen in their own time. But if you're interested in moving your career along the fastest possible track toward receiving financial rewards in proportion to the effort your making, it's more than just a good idea to keep in mind who your buyers are going to be while you're in the process of identifying good dramatic stories and bringing your treatments of them into focus. Keeping market considerations in mind you'll be able to expedite your career success. For those who are interested in speeding along, this chapter provides information on who your prospective buyers are, and what they're looking for. Of course both buyers and what they're buying change as rapidly as anything else in our accelerating world. The general observations that follow should be supplemented by current research (through phone calls and through checking the most recent directories).

Read More 

June 16, 2013 Book Review: Nobody Walk By Dennis Walsh

Nobody Walks by Dennis Walsh is a true crime book about the author seeking justice for his brother's murder. The book relates his experiences finding witnesses and encouraging them to contact the police through to the trial and sentencing. While the flow is not that great sometimes making it an easy book to abandon and never finish, the completeness of covering it from when he found out to the sentencing and revealing pertinent information as he found it out does help portray the realistic experiences and emotions.

To some extent Nobody Walks almost seems like some Hollywood script (before they cut out the fluff). The murder victim, Christopher Walsh, was a meth addict and criminal leading his brother to feel it was necessary he get witnesses to come forward or the case would become cold. While he mainly seems determined to have justice through the police and court system, he also reveals his and his brother's struggle to let it happen that way including how he does potentially taint the witnesses and provides cause for mistrial.

Overall Nobody Walks is a good read that provides the unique perspective of the victim's family seeking justice. One of the strengths is that it provides a rather complete recounting of the brother's experiences over the four and a half years from the murder to sentencing. However, this also leads to its weakness of sometimes being redundant or hard to follow and stick to reading it. - See more at:

May 30, 2013
The Bruce Collins Show - "The Lost Interviews" - Part 2 - Guest: Dennis M. Walsh, "Nobody Walks: Bringing My Brother's Killers to Justice"

“Walsh’s is a storyteller and the story he’s telling is as compelling as any police procedural with its unraveling of family secrets and lies.”
—Criminal Element

“Every once in a great while, a true crime is written that pulls at the heartstrings, while it also provides a tale of suspense that will be remembered for a good long time. This is that story.”
—Suspense Magazine

“Walsh, a criminal defense attorney for 30 years, tells the blistering true story of the 2003 murder of one of his brothers, Christopher, who was discovered in a trash barrel in a California storage locker. Despite law enforcement’s reluctance to pursue the case since the author’s father and younger brother were in prison on drug charges, Walsh shoulders the burden and delves into the nadir of the criminal underworld, quizzing thieves, skinheads, Nazi bikers, hookers, and porn queens to construct something meaningful from various lies and schemes. Good leads dead-end and seemingly ironclad confessions crumble, but the author’s resourcefulness and determination to catch his brother’s killers keep this sordid tale moving along at a quick clip. Walsh keeps his law practice operating throughout the ordeal, but still finds time to persuade reluctant witnesses to offer their testimony and cooperate with authorities; after four years of sleuthing, the trial finally begins. The hearing is a real corker, chock-full of twists and turns, and written with passion and an eye for drama. Taut and relentless, this chronicle of a former cold case puts one man’s resolve and the American idea of justice to the test.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Pulpy, engrossing account…Walsh captures the arc of his family’s involvement in an act of senseless malice, calling into question the cultural endurance of macho violence within certain subcultures and the difficulty of holding men responsible for horrific acts within the legal system’s overtaxed framework. Gritty, effective, personalized tale of the outlaw lifestyle and its consequences.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Nobody Walks is a triumph, a grimly fascinating true tale of one street-wise criminal defense attorney’s quest for justice in the brutal murder of his brother. Dennis Walsh’s tireless four year odyssey plunged him headlong into an underworld populated by dopers, porn stars and gangsters   and culminated in an explosive courtroom drama and the arrests of hundreds. Walsh’s captivating style engages, inspires and unnerves as he lends new meaning to the term ‘brotherly love.’”
—Kerrie Droban, author of Running with the Devil and A Socialite Scorned and co-author of Prodigal Father, Pagan Son

DENNIS WALSH has been a practicing criminal defense attorney for thirty years. Walsh was drafted in 1972 while he attended CSUN and joined the Navy. Upon returning home he received his BA from CSUN and went on to graduate from the University of Santa Clara School of Law. Walsh lives in California.

BRUCE COLLINS is a former pro wrestling promoter, an author of three published books (one of them with Brett Wagner, the host of The Speed Channel’s PASS TIME and voice of Monster Garage and another book with Ric Drasin, the middle Hulk in the 1970’s Incredible Hulk tv show with Bill Bixby and the creator of the Gold’s Gym logo) and the former book reviewer of Monster Radio, which was nationally syndicated in 84 radio markets. Bruce has hosted The Bruce Collins Show (and its’ genesis known as The Big Finale) since January, 2006. The Bruce Collins Show graduated to AM radio in 2009 and spent two years broadcasting at WSMN 1590 AM in Nashua, New Hampshire and WWZN 1510 AM in Boston, MA. Currently, the program resides online at . Based on the AM radio exposure, he was approached by the History Channel’s Decoded TV (with bestselling author Brad Meltzer) to audition for their program. After learning he would have to interview occultists and numerologists without expressing his own opinions, he turned down the invitation. Bruce is the self-proclaimed Baron of Broadcasting.

May 10, 2013
Congratulations Royce Buckingham on Your 2013-14 Sunshine State Young Readers Award and Sasquatch Book Award Nominations for The Dead Boys!

Sasquatch Book Award Nominee

Titles are selected by Librarians in the State of Washington in order to encourage students to read some of the best new books published each year. 

The Sunshine State Young Readers Award (SSYRA) is a program co-sponsored by the Office of Library Media and the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). This program for students in grades 3-8 is designed to entice students to read high interest, contemporary literature for personal enjoyment. 

May 10, 2013
AEI Client Dennis Palumbo's Night Terrors Reviews on Kirkus


Pittsburgh clinical psychologist Daniel Rinaldi (Fever Dream, 2011, etc.) finds to his sorrow that even serial killers have fans.

Now that Wesley Currim has confessed to killing wealthy Wheeling coal-mine executive Edward Meachem and led Chief Avery Block and Detective Sgt. Harve Randall to the headless corpse, you’d think the case would be closed. But Wes’ mother, Maggie, swears he’s innocent and provides him with a cast-iron alibi he’s determined to repudiate. Do Block and Randall have the right man in custody? Dr. Rinaldi, who went along with them since Wes had refused to talk unless he was called in, can’t say. And he has no time to yield to Maggie’s pleas and break Wes’ confession because he’s been snatched off the street by FBI agent Neal Alcott and plunged into a different nightmare. Even though John Jessup, convicted of killing four prostitutes, has been beaten to death during a riot in an Ohio prison, the pen pal calling himself “Your Biggest Fan” is determined to avenge him by carrying on in his tradition. In short order, the prison guard who killed Jessup, the judge who sentenced him to four life sentences and the Cleveland ADA who prosecuted him are shot. Not surprisingly, Lyle Barnes, the retired FBI profiler who helped nail Jessup, is having night terrors, and Alcott wants Rinaldi to meet with him and calm him down. For his part, Rinaldi wants to be left alone to consummate his stymied romance with Detective Eleanor Lowrey of the Pittsburgh PD. How likely is that when the entire tri-state region is full of serial killers and killers-in-training?

Some thrillers are beach reads. Palumbo’s are strictly for late at night and for readers who have no pressing engagements early the next day.

May 10, 2013
Story Merchant Clients Lisa Cerasoli and Dennis Walsh Talk Books on Peter Anthony Holder's Podcast

 Listen to Podcast

The Interrogator's Notebook, by Martin OttWriter and filmmaker, Lisa Cerasoli, is the author of As Nora Jo Fades Away, a non fiction account of caring full time for her grandmother who suffered from Alzheimers.

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 Dennis Walsh is a criminal defence attorney and the author of Nobody Walks: Bringing My Brother's Killers To Justice, the true story of how he avenged the murder of his youngest brother.

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Peter Anthony Holder

Welcome to my website! I'm a Montreal based broadcaster and the host of The Stuph File, an eclectic program that's a mix of interesting interviews and odd news. 

Guests I've had the pleasure to talk to in 20 years of hosting a late night radio show include the likes of Star Trek's George Takei; Steve Allen, the first host of The Tonight Show; Burt Ward, Batman's original Robin; Buddy Ebsen; the legendary Carol Channing; astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon; Lindsay Wagner,The Bionic Woman; Cloris Leachman; Karl Malden; Peter Bogdanovich; Gilligan himself, Bob Denver and more. 

May 10, 2013
Tome Tender Reviews Terry Stanfill's Realms of Gold

Realms of Gold by Terry Stanfill

Realms of Gold
by Terry Stanfill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terry Stanfill’s Realms of Gold is part suspense, part mystery, and part romance all in one book, so pay attention to the details, and trust me, realms of Gold is full of rich detail! Giovanni Di Serlo and Bianca Caldwell meet at a wedding in Italy, discovering how much they have in common. He is an Italian archeologist working on a secret dig in Puglia, Italy while she writes articles for an art magazine, getting her inspiration from dreams and visions-a gift passed down through the generations. Bianca is immediately smitten with Giovanni, who is reluctant to share more than a polite cup of coffee with this plain woman. Their common ground is the beauty of history and its many mysteries waiting to be uncovered. When Bianca’s dreams and visions of a woman named Zatoria cause her to contact Giovanni after they have each returned to their own lives, they begin a journey together that leads them on a path that connects the Vix Krater, an ancient bronze vessel to the legend of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. As these two become more involved in ancient history, they begin a romantic journey of their own that binds their hearts as well as their minds.

Terry Stanfill takes us into the hearts and minds of these two people as they travel Europe on a quest through time unlocking the doors of history in this character driven novel. Her writing is dreamlike, with rich scenes, and intense emotional tension. The pace is relaxed and slowly pulls us through on soft waves of well-written prose. As history unfolds, it is plain to see that Terry Stanfill has done her homework in creating this well-crafted tale, making it an intriguing historical read and an unconventional romance with a taste of mystery and quiet adventure.

May 10, 2013
Nook Users Book Club Reviews Larry D. Thompson's Dead Peasants
Jack Bryant was born and raised in Ft Worth, Texas.  Some might say he grew up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Jack, soon to retire, is a successful plaintiff lawyer practicing in Beaumont, Texas.   He moved back to his home town to watch his son play college football and to show all of those people (from the right side of the tracks) how well this former poor boy did as an adult.  His son, JD Jr., is a walk-on at TCU and is balancing his training with spending time with his father.  Upon arriving home Jack meets Colby Stripling, a woman with a secret, as well as a real estate agent who sells him the oversized home that he pays for with cash, just because.

When Jack realizes that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be he decides to become a pro bono lawyer for the less fortunate.  His first case is for June Davis, the widow of a local man (Willie Jr.) Jack has become friends with. June finds out by accident that his former employer, Allison Motors, had a life insurance policy on her late husband that paid $400,000 when he died.  Jack attempts to get Allison Motors to relinquish the funds to June however, during the course of the trial it is determined that there is more going on than just one Dead Peasant policy.

This is a fun and fast paced novel without a lot of unnecessary filler.  The characters had very distinct personalities, even those that were not so prominent such as Willie Jr. You could see the confusion he suffered with the changing racial times and what he was brought up with.   The descriptions of the area are rich and accurate.  Being a Native of Fort Worth, I loved reading about Fort Worth, the local streets, buildings and areas that are so familiar to me.  On the other hand, I found some of the other details to be exaggerated. We understand that Jack is filthy rich and he likes things a certain way, but it felt like overkill or name dropping with the incessant use of name brands or school names.  It felt a little bit like product placement in the movies.  However, these negatives are not enough to distract from the story line.  The novel made us guess and then guess again as twist and turns led to the eventual killer.  This book is not too long (~210 pages) and would make for a great read weekend read. Excellent job!

About the Author:  Larry D. Thompson is a veteran trial lawyer and has drawn on decades of experience in the courtroom to produce riveting legal thrillers. Dead Peasants is is third After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Thompson founded the Houston trial firm where he still serves as managing partner. The proud father of three grown children, he lives and works in Texas but spends his summers in Colorado, where he crafts his novels and hikes the mountains surrounding Vail. His greatest inspiration came from Thomas Thompson, his brother, who wrote many best-selling true-crime books and novels.

May 10, 2013
Connie Martinson Talks Books with Dennis M. Walsh Author of Nobody Walks

May 10, 2013
Book Review: "Dead Peasants" by Larry D. Thompson
Larry D. Thompson in his new book, “Dead Peasants” published by Thomas Dunne Books brings us into the life of Jack Bryant.


Lawyer Jack Bryant retires early to Fort Worth to kick back, relax and watch his son play football at TCU. Bored with retirement he opens a pro bono office in his RV. When Jack finds an elderly widow at his doorstep, clutching a check for life insurance proceeds on her husband but payable to his former employer, Jack files a civil suit to collect the benefits rightfully due the widow. A seemingly accidental death of his client’s husband thrusts Jack into a vortex of serial killings. He and his new love interest find themselves targets in the same murder for hire scheme. To stop the killings Jack must unravel what in their past makes certain people worth more dead than alive.

Somehow the term, dead peasants and legal thriller do not seem to go hand in hand.  Dead Peasants seems to lend itself to a tale of knights and kings and feudal society don’t you agree?  It seems that dead peasants is a legal insurance term for when an employer takes out an insurance policy on his employees and continues to pay the premiums even after the employee’s dismissal or retirement. The employer hopes to collect the benefits upon that person’s death. This practice has been deemed illegal in most states.  Jack Bryant is brought into the case when he finds that the former employer of June Davis’ deceased husband had a very large life-insurance policy, a dead peasant policy, on her husband, which made the employer the beneficiary.  Now as Jack goes to court to collect the benefits rightfully due June he also has to battle to stay alive as he has walked into a murder mine field.  This is one exciting book.  An action, adventure, mystery, courtroom thriller as Jack’s life is in deadly danger.  I do not recommend you drink coffee while reading this book as there is more than enough excitement to keep you going.  Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy this book as you will want to finish it before going to bed.  “Dead Peasants” is an exciting adventure from start to finish.

May 10, 2013
Nadine Maritz of My Addiction Interviews Martin Ott About His Thriller Interrogator's Notebook


Martin Ott is a former US Army interrogator who wrote the The Interrogators Notebook. M.A is extremely honoured to have this interview with someone of such calibre. Even though I reside in South Africa I have always felt great honour towards the people that would do anything for the sake of their country.

The Interrogator’s Notebook is based around a character Norman Kross whose story reflects on real-world experiences and meticulous research. Norman Kross is a master interrogator skilled at deciphering secrets. He is however totally blind to the truths within his own life.

Martin, we are very honoured to have you here today. Tell us a bit more about yourself and your journey towards writing The Interrogator’s Notebook.

I wrote and published a short story The Interrogator’s Last Question about a former interrogator with a troubled family life, and this provided the genesis for The Interrogator’s Notebook. During the course of writing the novel I changed the setting – from DC to Los Angeles – as well as the structure. At one point, Saddam Hussein was even a character.
I kept my eyes on the news and researched interrogation throughout the process to make sure that I was accurate in my portrayal of Norman’s career. I was fortunate enough to have manager/producer/writer Ken Atchity read my novel, and he convinced me to publish it on Story Merchant Books.

Doing some research on the novel I noticed that some readers where fairly critical – in your case they are luckily view and far in-between. As an author I know that we need to know that not everyone would love what we write even though we put everything we have into it, how do you deal with the criticism?

I received feedback from fellow writers, editors, agents, and readers that I integrated into multiple drafts of the novel. I think you have to be open to feedback to become a better writer. The Interrogator’s Notebook has received a couple of negative reviews, and I only wish the feedback was more specific.

How long have you been an author, when did you know that writing was what you wanted in life?

I have always been an avid reader and began writing seriously, at first in a journal, when I was in the Army. I studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, and in the Masters of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California to help hone my craft. I have always been interested in working in different genres, and I have also published 3 books of poetry and optioned several screenplays.

You have published dozens of short stories in publications such asConnecticut Review, The Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, Nimrod, Praire Schooner and Quality Paperback Literary Review – were all your stories based on interrogation?

Only a couple of my short stories focus on the character of an interrogator. I have written stories from the point of view of small boy, a 70-year-old woman, and everything in between, including stories that test conventional form.

How close is your character Norman Kross to yourself? How close are his experiences to your own?

I think all authors dip into the well of their life experiences. I used the familiar locales of my hometown in Michigan and Los Angeles neighborhoods, but the details of Norman’s family are not very close to my own. I did, however, use a few details from my own experiences as an interrogator throughout the book.

Can you tell our readers a bit more about the book? What can they expect, what would draw them in?

There was a central theme that drove me to write the book: to explore what happens when a master interrogator is blind to the truth of his own family, friends, and relationships. I also wanted to explore what happens when someone who is used to being in control gets the tables turned on him.

How do you write? Do you set out a timeline and write accordingly, do you do graphs? A lot of people don’t do either what works for you?
I write because I don’t know how to not write. I set weekly and monthly goals for myself, and never seem to hit them! However, barely a day goes by where I do not write or edit creative work.

How do you feel writing and publishing has grown over the past ten years? Did you know from the word go what you were letting yourself in for or has publishing been a long hard journey?

I believe that electronic publishing and ebooks are creating a shift in publishing, and providing opportunities for dedicated authors to find audiences for themselves. For me, it has taken longer than some to get books published, but I never thought that it was a long journey or a hard one.

As an author, what satisfies you in your writing? Some people do it for money, some write for a hobby – me time. What makes it worth it for you?

I love the process of writing in a way that makes it more than a hobby. I don’t write for the purpose of making money, but I am very aware that the more I make directly from my writing the less time I have to spend on a dual career as a marketing professional.

Any plans on going to film?

Several readers in the entertainment industry have thought that The Interrogator’s Notebook might translate to film or television. I’m open to the possibility.

As a final question, where can readers and fans follow your work?

The best way would be to visit my writing website or follow me on Twitter: If there are any people interested in the craft of writing, I recommend my blog:

Martin Thanks so much for your input, it’s been great chatting with you. MA wishes you well in all your future endeavours.

May 10, 2013
Fossil River - Kirkus Reviews

This pedal-to-the-metal speculative thriller revolves around the discovery of a highly territorial colony of predatory dinosaurs in Alaska that has survived undetected for millions of years.

The story begins in an America on the verge of collapse: The nation’s oil reserve is almost gone, and, within a matter of weeks, the country’s entire infrastructure could crumble. However, scientists have discovered the largest fossil fuel deposit in the world, within Alaska’s Noatak National Preserve, which could save the nation from imminent disaster. But there’s one major drawback: a large colony of vicious birdlike dinosaurs (classified as Deinonychus) that have lived in the secluded area for millennia. Zoologist Scott Chandler and his ex-girlfriend Kimberly Fulton, a pre-eminent paleontologist, are tasked by the president of the United States himself to help identify and somehow suppress the mysterious predators—– but an overzealous military presence turns the volatile situation into an all-out blood bath, as dozens of Marines enter the “lost world,” and none return alive. When Fulton’s wayward son and his girlfriend venture into the area, Chandler and Fulton are forced to attempt a desperate rescue.

The narrative features well-developed characters, a plausible and well-researched premise, vivid description and brisk pacing throughout. The only two significant criticisms are that the conclusion is somewhat predictable, and the overall concept isn’t particularly original; James Robert Smith’s The Flock (2006), for example, features a very similar setup. That said, readers who like intelligently written thrillers, à la Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (1990) and Frank Schätzing’s The Swarm (2006), will likely enjoy this pulse-pounding trip into the Alaskan wilderness.

An undeniably readable thriller with breakneck pacing and jaw-dropping action sequences.

May 10, 2013
Feathered Quill Book Review of Night Terrors

A third book featuring Pittsburgh psychologist, Daniel Rinaldi is headed our way this spring and this reviewer is thrilled to be one of the lucky people to read it first. The title is Night Terrors by Dennis Palumbo. And it is chock full of terror on almost every page.

In the latest installment of this mystery series, Dr. Rinaldi is invited by the FBI, somewhat reluctantly, to treat one of their recently retired profilers. After a stellar career looking inside the heads of serial killers, Special Agent Lyle Barnes is missing a lot of sleep and is having horrible dreams. He dreams about these killers and how they tormented their victims and then wakes up screaming each night. Dr. Rinaldi is trying to get the agent to talk about his years as a profiler and try and remember what he went through in the capture of these criminals. This is not an easy job as the agent is in the cross hairs of an admirer of serial killers who is advertising the fact that he will kill everyone who had a hand in the capture of a recent killer (Judge, Jury and Executioner) and has started to do just that. To make matters worse, Agent Barnes goes on the run and the police and FBI are trying to find him before the killer does.

Dr. Rinaldi is also involved in a case of a young man who is accused of murdering a local businessman. His mother says that he is innocent and, even though the man has confessed, she is adamant about her son being set free. So, Dr. Rinaldi tries to help her prove her son is blameless even though he thinks that the man might be guilty. Dr. Rinaldi is beginning to think that these two cases are linked and both cases are becoming difficult to handle.

As usual, I really liked this book and it was a one-day read. After knowing Dr. Rinaldi for a while, it seems that he is getting a little over confident in the fact that he is good at his job and thinks that he is always right. In his defense, he usually is. Also, this installment is much more gruesome than the previous books.

Quill says: This particular story is lacking some of the humor that the others in the series had, and is also rather grisly in places. It might make an extremely good Quentin Tarrantino movie. As an admirer of Tarrantino, I still have to shut my eyes in some of the scenes in his movies. Good luck with Night Terrors and we will be looking forward to the next installment.

May 10, 2013
Nadine Maritz of My Addiction Interviews the Nobody Nowhere Team

Nobody Nowhere
Three Way Interview – Beverly Nero for the road that led her to Nobody Nowhere, The involvement of Donna Williams author of Nobody Nowhererelating to autism and Dan Ireland the dream director for …. “Nobody Nowhere”

Beverly Nero came to know Donna Williams through her own struggles with her autistic son when he hit age 14. Donna became Beverly’s pillar of strength through some treacherous times.  In this interview we aim to cover various aspects of a mother with an autistic child, the assistance of an award winning author and the road taken toward getting Donna’s story to film.

Beverly, it’s a great honour for MA to be able to host this interview today.

Thanks, Nadine, the honour is surely mine.

From what I have seen in some of my research, you come from a very musical background.

Yes, I'm so proud of my dad, Peter Nero, (Grammy Award winning pianist/arranger/composer/conductor). Growing up hearing his warm up exercises every day was such a gift.  It still is, when we visit.
How did you start your career and when did you actually decide to take the leap towards producer? 

I started taking classes in NY when I was 12, got a BFA in theatre when I was 20 and moved out to the west coast.  I lucked out and booked a couple of commercials and a guest starring role in a pilot, and then spent most of my time studying in Emmy Award winning director Joan Darling's acting class where I learned all I needed to know about the business and about life in general.  During that time I worked on TV, film and a lot of stage. I loved the craft so much; I never thought I'd end up on this end of things.  On the other hand, all of the 'day jobs' I had, kept my utilities on and put me in good stead for producing. 

You have been involved in producing and fundraising for the well-known Deaf West Theatre.

Yes, I'd first been exposed to sign language through music, ironically, when we toured with my dad to Australia. The children we met there didn't care much about what my brother and I were performing for them on piano and drums, but I fell in love with the music of their sign language.  Flash forward to arriving in L.A. and a series of events lead me to Deaf West Theatre where I became the Artistic Directors "right ear."  In the non-profit world, everyone wears multiple hats, so all involved in producing became second nature.

How did you end up getting involved with Donna Williams the author?

My husband and I have a 22 year-old autistic son, Gordy.  When he turned 14 it was a challenging time and I searched online for 'a voice' that could speak for our son.  Sure enough, I found the writings of Australian author/consultant, Donna Williams and it was as if I had found an 'autism interpreter' for Gordy, just as I had interpreted for those in the deaf community.   Our conversation was limited to formal consultations through writing emails back and forth and gradually we became trusted friends online and eventually the screen rights came up for "Nobody Nowhere."  In our emails, I was enthralled by her every word - so ironic that a non-verbal child absorbed it all and was able to express herself so magnificently in the written word.  

I told Donna that if she wrote the screenplay herself, I knew enough people in the business that I felt I could help her bring her bestselling book / screenplay adaptation onto the screen.  So every day for the next 4 weeks I received a jewel in my inbox with a scene from her screenplay.  It was fun for Donna because she got to tell even more of her secrets in her screenplay and depict her more of her experiences, spit back dialogue she'd been threatened not to repeat, and in perfect Australian, Birmingham, Welsh, and German accents. She even does a great NY accent having been there as well.  An ill-fated love story became part of the narrative and her ultimate survival and the way she chose to share her story so bravely in case there was anyone else out there who could relate ... I was in awe with what I read, in awe of Donna's once in a millennium mind, and sure enough, when it was finished, my idol, director Joseph Sargent read it and agreed it was something very special and a story that had to be told.  He introduced me to Norman Stephens who came on to produce with me. Very gratefully, Ken Atchity agreed with Norman and has joined our blessed team.

Nobody Nowhere is an award nominated autobiography written by Donna Williams who herself struggled with autism from as early as she could remember. She was thought to be deaf, psychotic, disturbed and retarded. It was only as an adult that she discovered her difficulties to be caused by autism.

As Donna has taught us, there really is no such thing as 'autism' but a combination of conditions, symptoms, mis-wirings, genetics, birthing circumstances, environmental issues, any combo of which results in each individuals "autism as a fruit salad' of co-morbid disorders.  Donna can go on and on about the many 'fruits that make up her own salad,’ and she was able to help us manage the individual issues rather than dissolve into despair that there is no cure for this label that doesn't really exist, except to make sure that medical services can be covered within a system.

To date the first novel has grown into a spectacular nine books of which, Somebody Somewhere, Like Colour to the Blind and Everyday Heaven are some popular titles. How did Donna manage to link her struggles with that of publishing?

Her friend and journalist, Mary Kay Blakely did a series of fabulous articles about Donna when her first book, Nobody Nowhere, shot up to #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.  I have those articles if you'd like me to scan and email them to you.  She was a sought after guest on talk shows, etc. and at the beginning, it was all very difficult for Donna who would rather have a root canal than be famous.  As time went on, she would write to every single reader who wrote her with questions about her book, and she was compelled to keep writing to keep helping people all over the world who were coming to diagnose themselves and relies that had gone un - diagnosed before Donna's book came out.  Temple Grandin was Donna's U.S. 'counterpart'--about the same age, and their books were published around the same time, but they are as different as night and day, from their family backgrounds and advantages they had and didn't have, and the very nature in which they each experience their own worlds, proving that no two 'autistic' people are alike.  

As Norman likes to say, and some of Donna's book reviewers quipped similarly, Donna writes about 'the human spectrum' and after reading Donna's book, one can't help recognize that we're all just a little autistic. I think her favourite interview was walking along 5th Avenue with the late great Peter Jennings who quickly grasped that no eye-contact was much more comfortable for Donna at that time, and that 'she wasn't a huggie.'  Back to the heart of your question: In the beginning, Donna struggled with sharing her story with strangers, but as time has gone on, she's become the best of anyone I know at that--anything to help anyone with any of the conditions (past present or projected) that she grapples with.  She had cancer last year, double mastectomy, and posted brave videos on YouTube walking people through it as she experienced it. 

From what you have told me about Donna I can see that she is hugely influential. Can you tell our readers a bit more about the struggles she had to fight throughout her life, (apart from being autistic) and why she has been your inspiration thus far? 

She tells me--sometimes life gives you shit.  You just have to make it into sculpture.  And metaphorically, she does just that.  She's a hero for our times because in this age of entitlement, she's someone who takes our excuses away. 

When did you decide to start talking about film rights to the novel Nobody Nowhere, when did you know that this was something you definitely wanted to get to film?

I think that somehow got answered above as well--are you okay with that, or would you like me to separate? I got on a roll....

Donna Williams wrote the relevant screenplay herself. Is this a feasible and common thing to happen once author and film collide or was it her ability to actually do it that made it special?

When it had been optioned in the past, apparently there were many writers who took a shot at the screenplay, but how could anyone come up with something that really lived inside Donna's head?  Autism was on nobody's mind at the time.  An inside out approach to the story, letting her secrets and revelations and death-defying struggles come out (painfully for Donna oftimes, I'm sure) not only helped Donna learn even more about herself, but it created a wholly originally and truthful story, so much more relevant than anyone else could have possibly come up with from their imagination or research.  

She 'maps structures' so all she needed was a general structural guideline, which she equated to her slide shows when she lectures (she's a rock-star when she does-amazing how she can anticipate questions and give everyone answers it appears they've longed for forever). She's got a gift for any kind of writing.  Her poetry slays me, as do her song lyrics.  She is also a painter, sculptor, selling her works all over the world. 

Once you started receiving parts of the screenplay you reached out to Joseph Sargent who worked with you while you were part of Deaf West Theatre. He put you in touch with Norman Stephens, his favourite producer who in return brought you to Ken Atchity. After numerous debates you, Norman and Ken decided on the director Dan Ireland. What made you choose Dan?

I'd been introduced to Dan when he did a fantastic presentation on another project I'm working on with other producing partners. They needed a Londoner for that project, but I'd already fallen in love with Dan.  I attended a screening of "Jolene" and flipped out even more, and interestingly, Dan had always been on Donna Williams' list because of "Mrs Palfrey and the Claremont "   I'd given Dan an early draft of the script and asked him to hold on to it until the time was right.  He kept his word, and when I said 'okay, now'--I was so thrilled when he responded as he did, loving Donna's story.  When he and Donna met on Skype, they both felt an instant effortless soul sister/brother connection and they worked hard together to bring the script to the next level, which they did and Norman and Ken and I were ecstatic.

From what I understand, by now, you are in early casting. When do you expect to launch the film?

We have our male romantic lead attached ' a real live Welshman!' who we'd been eyeing for years, waiting for the right moment to approach, and we're very gratified that the feelings are mutual. We can't wait to announce him when the time comes.  He's brilliant, gorgeous, and beyond perfect for the role. 

Our huge female lead actress for the role of 'Donna' is currently pending in the hands of a wonderful actress and as soon as we can get a definite answer there, we will be able to move forward either way. There is so much incredible talent in that age range, and though an Aussie is ideal, there seems to be acceptance between Aussies and UK actors taking turns playing each other, whereas we'd feel uncomfortable casting Americans in the two leads. Authenticity is critical for this piece.  Donna was a 'nobody nowhere,' homeless at times, and there by the kindness of strangers and her own survival instincts did she live to tell the tale, but each location she had to sink or swim in is a clearly defined character in the story. 

Dan Ireland began his career at the age of nineteen. Dan is the co-founder and co-director of the enormously respected Seattle International Film Festival. The list of credits I noted for him runs over an entire four pages. He is behind the rising stardom of many actors like Renee Zellweger, Emmy Rossum, Rupert Friend and Jessica Chastain.

He has received awards such as:
"The Whole Wide World" – Best Film, Seattle Int'l Film Fest., Best Actor  -Vincent D’Onofrio. Seattle Int'l Film Festival, Runner-up National Society of Film Critics, Best Actress - Renee Zellweger, National Board of Review, Mar del Plata Film Festival.
  "Mrs. Palfrey At The Claremont" - Best Film, Palm Springs Int'l Film Fest., Best Film, Newport Beach International Film Fest., Best Actress - Joan Plowright, AARP Awards, Best Newcomer Rupert Friend, Golden Satellite Awards.
 "Jolene" - Seattle International Film Festival, Golden Space Needle Award, Best Actress - Jessica Chastain
Dan in short, can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself?

Well, I think you’ve said it all above, but if I had to add anything it would be that I feel that I’ve been so fortunate in my life to have the freedom of living my dream. From creating and running a film festival to acquiring and producing films for a major independent distributor, to my journey of becoming a filmmaker, I’m one lucky guy.  I’ve been in love with film since as far back as I can remember, and as clichéd as that sounds, it’s the truth. To be able to have had the freedom of immersing myself in almost every aspect of the world of film has only pushed me further into my obsession of telling a story and creating the world around it. 

What was it about Donna Williams and Beverly Nero that made you agree to work on the film?

When I first met Beverly Nero on another project I was up for, I was immediately struck by her intelligence, her passion and her deep respect for other people’s opinions other than her own.  She was kind, generous and made me feel at home in what was otherwise one of the most challenging meetings I’ve had in recent years. The two other producers she was working with at the time were trying to make me prove I was worthy enough for their screenplay. Beverly was convinced that I was ‘the guy’ to do it, and she wasn’t afraid to say it in front of her partners. She made me feel worthy; she has a dignity and respect for talent. When she believes in you, there isn’t anything she won’t do for you.  You can’t buy that. We connected instantly, and after attending the screening of my film Jolene (Jessica Chastain), she came up to me and told me she had something special that she wanted to show me, but couldn’t just yet. So, she sent me the script of “Nobody Nowhere” and asked me not to read it until she told me it was okay. I loved that subterfuge, and like a patient boy at Christmas (is there one) I waited for the call.  And when it came, I read the script 10 minutes later. With Donna, she had me on the first page of her book, on which the film is based.  Characters like Donna Williams don’t come along every day, and stories like hers are a gift that any filmmaker with a heart, a soul, a sense of adventure (like Donna herself), and a half a brain would leap through hoops of fire to do. And when I finally met Donna on Skype, it was amazing.  There’s this amazing person whose story just shattered, enthralled and inspired you sitting across the computer screen, larger than life, more real than real, and more heartfelt that you ever imagined.  

How has working with Donna Williams influenced you as a director?

Working with Donna inspires me on a million levels and we haven’t even started shooting yet! As a director, you have to have a sense of objectivity with all of the characters you create, you portray. In Donna’s case, it’s already documented, so if anyone thinks I’m making anything up, all you have to do is read her beautiful novel to see the richness of this
 indomitable spirit. Donna’s story is unique in that it has the potential to help millions of people and families who live with autism.  

From my discussions with Beverly you have been involved with all collaborations regarding the screenplay directly with Donna. When it comes to casting how involved are you in selecting lead characters?

Seeing I’ve already been blessed by the casting gods, I think my producers are now looking to me to find the next big star. The simple truth… for that to happen, you must go with your intuition, trust your gut, never have your mind made up before you start to look for your actors, and above all DON’T SETTLE. Be willing to be surprised and more open than you ever dreamed of being.   

If you could take anything with you on working with this specific project what would it be?

If I could take anything with me on working on “Nobody Nowhere,” it would be the bravery, the fearlessness, the joy, the selflessness, and the innocence that got Donna Williams through her incredible journey. This is the story of an unsung heroine, and even though I can’t sing, I sure as hell am going to give it everything I’ve got.

May 7, 2013
Story Merchant Client Terry Stanfill Signs Her Novel Realms of Gold in Exeter Chapel

The Chapel, Exeter College, Oxford--tapestry is by Burne-Jones-William Morris , both had been students at Exeter College

March 22, 2013
Bookworm Babblings Reviews The Messiah Matrix

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To what lengths would the Vatican go to suppress the secret origins of its power?

The Messiah Matrix is a myth-shattering thriller whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose those who hide them still. 

A renowned scholar-monsignor is killed in a mysterious hit-and-run in Rome. A Roman coin is recovered from a wreck off the coast of ancient Judea. It’s up to his young American protégé--a Jesuit priest--and a vivacious, brilliant archaeologist to connect these seemingly disparate events and unravel the tapestry that conceals in plain view the greatest mystery in the ecclesiastical world. 

Together they pursue their passion for truth—while fighting to control their passion for each other. 

What they uncover is an ancient Roman imperial stratagem so controversial the Curia fears it could undermine the very foundations of the Roman Catholic faith. 

From the ancient port of Caesarea to Rome's legendary catacombs and the sacred caves of Cumae, this contemporary novel follows their exhilarating quest to uncover the truth about the historical existence of the real "Christian Savior."

The Messiah Matrix may prove to be one of the most thought-provoking 
books ever written.


 I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.    This was a great thrill ride.  The monsignor dies leaving a cryptic message.  It’s up to archeologist Emily, and Jesuit Priest, Ryan to find the connection between his death and a Roman coin.

Although the book starts off a little slow, it does pick up quite the pace later on.  Dr. Atchity weaves a fascinating tale, with a great adventure and lots of action.  The story was so well written that it actually has plausibility if it wasn’t a work of fiction or if someone was faltering in their faith.  I loved the plot and the characters were great, you could connect with them.  If you like archeological adventures like Indiana Jones and you don’t mind the slow start before the action starts, this is a great book for you.

  About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Atchity, former professor of comparative literature at Occidental College in Los Angeles and Fulbright professor to the University of Bologna, is author of 20 books, including scholarly books on Greek, Roman, and medieval Italian literature. In his second career as a literary manager, writers’ career coach, and producer he has launched hundreds of client books and two dozen films. His previous book, completed for New York Times bestseller William Diehl, is Seven Ways to Die. The Messiah Matrix was constructed from his lifelong study of all things Roman Catholic and his repeated visits to Rome while a professor of classics as well as producer.

March 22, 2013
Publisher's Weekly Reviews Night Terrors

Night Terrors: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery
Dennis Palumbo. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0131-8 

In Palumbo’s riveting third Daniel Rinaldi mystery (after 2011’s Fever Dream), the Pittsburgh, Pa., doctor applies his therapeutic skills to a prickly former FBI special agent, Lyle Barnes, who suffers from night terrors after a career of tracking down serial killers. Adding to Barnes’s woes is a murderer out to get every person who helped put serial killer John Jessup behind bars, including Barnes, who goes into protective custody. Meanwhile, Rinaldi agrees to help Maggie Currim prove the innocence of her troubled adult son, Wes, who has confessed to the gruesome decapitation of a local businessman. Answers prove elusive as the murders begin to pile up, and Barnes escapes from FBI custody. Palumbo ratchets up the stakes in this grisly psychological thriller, but maintains the emotional complexity as Rinaldi weighs his loyalty to his patients against his faith in the FBI. (May)

March 20, 2013
Join Ken on Jeff Rivera's Live Google Hang Out... Friday March 22nd 9am(pst) 12pm (est)

How to Beat Procrastination Dr. Ken Atchity on Managing Your Writing Career in the Midst of Chaos

branding entertainment media content consulting
If you are getting frustrated because you never seem to have enough time to write, then you’re going to want to stay tuned to our class with writing career coach and Emmy nominated producer, Dr. Ken Atchity this Friday, March 22nd at 9am PT/12pm ET. 

Stay tuned to this page then, when we will be doing a Live Google Hangout. You will be able to ask Dr. Atchity all your questions about how to beat procrastination, how to schedule writing in your already busy schedule and what to do if you cannot get an agent in the Facebook comments below.

March 8, 2013
All Things that Matter Talks with Kenneth Atchity About the Messiah Matrix

The Messiah Matrix?


That's the premise behind The Messiah Matrix, a consciousness-raising thriller whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose those who hide them still. Follow a young, skeptical Jesuit priest and a vivacious, brilliant archaeologist as they pursue their passion for truth—while fighting to control their passion for each other. Together they uncover a Roman imperial stratagem that leads them to unveil the Vatican's best-kept secret—a secret so sensitive the Curia never wanted it to be known.

From the first page to the last this contemporary thriller takes the reader on an exhilarating quest from the ancient city of Caesarea to Rome's catacombs and beyond, and provides gripping confirmation for all those who have ever wondered about the actual historical existence of the "Christian Savior".

The Messiah Matrix may prove to be the most thought-provoking thriller ever written. Classical scholar and Yale Ph.D. Dr. Kenneth John Atchity is the only author alive today capable of creating this literary and historically-based masterpiece.

What was your inspiration for writing The Messiah Matrix?
I've long been intrigued by the parallelism between the first two Caesars, Julius and Augustus, and Jesus Christ. As far back as my Jesuit high school years it was pointed out to me that their histories were strangely intertwined. Then, a few years ago, a client and business partner directed me to a little-known 1899 book on the history of Augustus Caesar titled The Worship of Augustus Caesar. Its author, Alexander Del Mar, (1836–1926) was director of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics during the period 1866-69. He was a respected numismatist as well as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury appointed in 1872. Del Mar's history of Augustus derived from a study of  coins, monuments, calendars, eras, and astronomical and astrological cycles. His account  established a new chronology and includeda survey of history and religion.  In the book Del Mar  reveals the legerdemain of the early church, conclusively demonstrating how Christianity absorbed pagan religious beliefs and motifs and claimed them as its own. His work exposes hidden religious facts that have been buried for millennia, and reminded me of discoveries I made during my years as a student and professor of classical literature—of "Christian" lines that occur in Aeschylus, Sophocles, and especially Virgil.

Why is The Messiah Matrix relevant today?
With the resignation of Benedict XVI, and his book on the origins of Christianity and the nativity scene in particular, the issues fictionalized in the novel are now revealed in reality: the internal Vatican politics that go against the spiritual grain, the questioning of the historicity of the Jesus narrative, the long litany of sins committed behind the mask of organized religion, etc.

 As a Christian, will I learn anything new about the roots of Christianity in The Messiah Matrix?

The true history of Christianity has been shrouded in mystery for millennia, partly intentionally and partly out of ignorance. The Messiah Matrix reveals important aspects concerning the roots of Christianity, lost to history until now, that will change the reader's understanding, possibly forever.

Why is Augustus Caesar the central historical figure of The Messiah Matrix?
Augustus Caesar was the most powerful ruler in the history of Rome, and perhaps the most powerful ruler in the history of the Western World.  His Pax Romana, the two-hundred years of peace he established throughout his empire after taming the entire periphery of the Mediterranean, which the Romans referred to as mare nostrum, "our lake," remains unrivalled in world history.  He was all-powerful and exerted vast, pervasive influence throughout his Empire, an influence that remains with us to this day. His shrewd policies concerning religious tolerance, celebrated in the construction of the Pantheon in Rome, initially led him to allow continuance of the religions of the nations he conquered. He eventually realized that a multi religious empire would lead to civil unrest so he took measures to create a single religion that he believed would engender peace among the nations.

Is The Messiah Matrix anti-Christian?
No, if we define Christianity as a way of life incorporating the distillation of thousands of years of spiritual wisdom, then The Messiah Matrix supports that aspect of Christianity wholeheartedly. On the other hand, if we define Christianity as literal history in which the Son of God preached and performed miracles in Judea, the novel demonstrates that this literalist view was deliberately constructed, as readers of the novel will discover. The Messiah Matrix actually glorifies Christianity's origins by revealing the truth about the universal principles at the foundation of the Christian religion.

How can I determine fact from fiction in The Messiah Matrix?
You'll find a chart of actual historical data versus Biblical/mythical history at the end of the novel. All of the factual elements in this chart can be found in The Messiah Matrix. I've also provided an extensive bibliography listed on this website for the intrepid reader! And I welcome other questions, and your feedback on the subject.

Available on Amazon

February 25, 2013
Story Merchant Client Dennis M. Walsh will be signing copies of "Nobody Walks" on February 28th. 7PM at Book Soup

February 20, 2013
Stellar Review for Story Merchant Client Dennis M. Walsh's Nobody Walks on 

Fresh Meat: Nobody Walks by Dennis

M. Walsh

Nobody Walks by Dennis M. Walsh is the true story of a man who set out to find his brother’s killer (available February 12, 2013).

In the summer of 2003, a meth-addicted criminal named Christopher Walsh went missing. More than a week later, his body was discovered in a storage locker in Van Nuys, California. Walsh had been shot five times in the head and neck and then stuffed head-first into a trash can before being put in the storage locker. It was the kind of crime that happens every day in the seedier parts of Southern California and like most crimes of its nature, it originally went unsolved. It wasn’t that the detectives investigating the murder were uncaring or incompetent, but murder in the Southland is a rising tide as implacable and unstoppable as the ocean rising over the New Orleans levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

No one might ever have known who killed Christopher Walsh if it weren’t for his brother Dennis, the only male in his family who didn’t follow in the footsteps of their criminal father. As an attorney, not as a vigilante, Dennis M. Walsh turned his skills and education toward the cause of finding justice for his baby brother and this book chronicles the story every step of the way.

This is a gut-wrenching tale and one of the most potent moments occurs when Dennis is waiting to be let into the storage unit to identify his little brother’s body. He is blindsided by memories, from the day their mother brought him home from the hospital to the way Christopher always carried around a stuffed animal he called “Lambie Pie.” In that moment, before Dennis confirms his death, Christopher Walsh comes alive for the reader and when we discover, without any doubt, that it is his decomposing body sealed into the trash barrel and emitting a foul odor, we feel it like a punch in the gut.

We’re standing right next to Dennis as he responds to the condolences of the storage unit’s owner with a vow that will become his mantra for the next years of his life:

    “There are four brothers left, and we’re coming,” I said. “Anybody who had anything to do with the planning, the murder, moving the body, or the cover-up is going to answer for it. Make no mistake about it—and you can tell each and every one of those assholes out there—nobody walks on this case. Nobody!”

There have been a lot of true crime books written by family members who have spent years hoping for some sort of closure only to be frustrated again and again. (YA novelist Lois Duncan’s Who Killed My Daughter? offers the results of her investigation into the death of her daughter Kait and names the person she believes responsible, but the case remains open.) These books rarely end well, and often the story behind the story they tell is of an author whose life is wrecked beyond salvage. Nobody Walks breaks that mold.

Walsh’s prose isn't particularly graceful but he is a storyteller and the story he’s telling is as compelling as any police procedural with its unraveling of family secrets and lies. For years, the Walsh family mantra had been “Don’t tell Dennis,” and after Christopher’s death he starts hearing stories from his brother Dan that alarm him. Many of those stories mention the name David Steinberg, a high school friend of Christopher’s recently involved in a shootout with an off-duty sheriff and who had once boasted to a confidential informant: “I jack people.”

Theoretically, Walsh isn’t in the investigation alone. But as his other brothers lose themselves in increasingly bloodthirsty fantasies of how they’re going to punish the killer or killers when they’re caught, he’s once again the outsider in the family as he insists they work within the system to do what needs to be done.

The cops don’t want Walsh’s help either, and as months, then years go by, it gets lonely for the author. Walsh is candid about the quality of that loneliness and writes about the companionship of his wolfdog Johnny Rio and Frank the cat, who are often the only living creatures he sees outside his law practice. Life goes on and death waits for no one. (One of the funniest moments in the book—albeit a blackly comic moment—occurs when he is scattering his mother’s ashes.) And through it all, Walsh continues to ask questions and pursue answers.

Where those questions take him and what those answers hold introduce us to a cast of characters with names out of a Damon Runyon story and lives out of an Irish tragedy. And we’re with Walsh all the way, not just on the same page, but there. This is a visceral, intense read. This is a story of justice delayed but not denied; a story of a brother’s love and a family’s sorrow. Poor Christopher.

February 20, 2013
Join Me At the Santa Barbara Author-Mentor Workshop February 28 - March 3

The Santa Barbara Author-Mentor is a unique and intimate novel workshop that takes place on February 28 - March 3, 2013. It provides an ideal mix of experienced professionals dedicated to working one-on-one with aspiring authors to not only teach them the knowledge and skills they must have to be successful, but also provide them with valuable commentary on their completed novel or work-in-progress. 

Faculty include Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Jane Smiley and Robert Olen Butler, literary agent of renownKimberley Cameron, agent and major film producer Ken Atchity, writer/author and popular columnist Cary Tennis, and Algonkian director and editor, Michael Neff. More on them below. 

Ken Atchity
Literary Agent and Film Producer

Ken AtchityWith more than forty years experience in the publishing world, and over fifteen years in entertainment, Ken Atchity and his organization are responsible for launching dozens of books and films. His life's passion is finding great storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters. As well as being a famed literary agent at AEI, he has produced 26 films, including "Joe Somebody" (Tim Allen; Fox), "Life or Something Like It" (Angelina Jolie; Fox), "Shadow of Obsession" (NBC), "The Madam's Family" (CBS), "Henry's List of Wrongs" (New Line), and Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not (starring Jim Carrey; Paramount-- approaching production). His 14 books on writing cover every stage of a writer's career.


The Villa Rosa Inn
The Santa Barbara Author-Mentor Novel Workshop creates an intimate and professional environment that combines private meetings with small-group workshops, thus enabling aspiring authors to wisely approach the writing and publication of their novel. At the Santa Barbara event, aspiring authors will: 1) work one-on-one with top authors and savvy market professionals; 2) acquire the market skills and advanced story and narrative technique they must know to become published; 3) learn the necessary inside mechanics of the publishing business; and 4) leave the workshop with a detailed plan to work towards publication of their novel ... [more]
How Does The Santa Barbara Author-Mentor Workshop Differ from Other Writer Events?

In several fundamental ways, as we note above, but we will elaborate. First of all, and most importantly, the Santa Barbara AMW creates a way for the writer to get close and relaxed with authors and professionals in a manner that larger events disallow. Private face time with the right people is priceless. 
Second, attendees are taught (even before the workshop begins by means of pre-event assignments and mailings) to address all the major conflict/complication, plot, theme, narrative/voice, dialogue, scene construction, and character arc-and-development issues that affect their novel. 

Third, writers are prepped in advance for their interactive sessions with authors and literary agents, and the sessions are not rushed. The authors and agents are relaxed during the sessions and not bombarded by hundreds of conference goers. 

Fourth, the Santa Barbara AMW requires the writer to complete exercises far more advanced and beneficial than those conducted at other conference workshops. 
Fifth, amateur opinions do not arise to compromise the quality of the workshop. Judgments on a writer's work are approved, filtered, and/or provided by professionals in attendance. 

Come Prepared to Write and Learn From The Best

Because this workshop accepts far fewer writers than most conferences, those writers who are accepted are given more time to establish relationships with professionals who are present; and unlike several major celeb conferences, Santa Barbara AMW doesn't simply import name authors or agents to give inspirational messages and smile over cocktails. 

Our prize-winning faculty are there to meet with writers in a setting conducive to productive discussion of writing and publishing. Writers with manuscripts will have an opportunity to pitch their work, and writers with works-in-progress will be able to network and learn about the publishing biz. To read more information about our approach, click on Frequently Asked Questions.

The Santa Barbara AMW employs the Algonkian workshop syllabus as well as the Algonkian study guide and reference manual. Once you've examined them, it will be obvious that literary craft at the Santa is taught more exhaustively than craft at other workshops and conferences. [more] 

The Villa Rosa Inn: Where It Happens

The Villa Rosa Inn is one of the finest Santa Barbara inns, combining an ideal location with the sort of personalized attention you'd expect from the area's top bed and breakfast inn. Every room at the Villa Rosa boasts a spectacular view, whether of the ocean, the harbor, the mountains, or their beautiful garden courtyard. The inn also offers deluxe rooms with fireplaces. Its location is only 84 steps away from Santa Barbara's stunning East Beach, as well as an easy stroll away from famous Stearns Wharf, with its numerous shops, restaurants, and activities. 

The inn provides a deluxe continental breakfast daily, so you can sit back and enjoy the morning. For total relaxation, you can lounge by the pool or soak in the spa in the garden courtyard. Later in the day, you can enjoy mingling with other writers and faculty around complimentary wine and cheese or evening port and sherry. 

The Villa Rosa Inn is a unique environment that offers all of the amenities associated with larger resort hotels, while maintaining the intimacy of a small inn. The quality of construction, the ambiance of the interior design and the attentive, personable staff ensure that no detail is overlooked.

We could not have chosen a more suitable location for this type of intimate workshop. 


February 6, 2013
Story Merchant Client Dennis M. Walsh will be signing copies of "Nobody Walks"

February 6, 2013
Interview with Musician and Author Dr. Warren L. Woodruff for Simply Buckhead by H.M. Cauley

The Magic of Music by H. M. Cauley by

January 22, 2013
The Lost Valentine to Re-Air on Hallmark Channel

The Award-winning movie
"The Lost Valentine"
to air on
Saturday, January 26, 2013
9/8 c
The Hallmark Channel

"The Lost Valentine,"
the award-winning, critically 
acclaimed movie starring
Betty White and
Jennifer Love Hewitt,
will air on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 9/8 c on The Hallmark Channel.  The movie is based on the best-selling novel, "The Last Valentine" by author
James Michael Pratt.

In the film, a young and cynical female journalist (Jennifer Love Hewitt) learns love may transcend trials and time as she discovers a story that will change her life forever. When war separates lovers on their wedding anniversary Feb. 14, 1944 at LA Union Train Station, Navy pilot Neil Thomas makes a promise he isn't sure he can keep - to return to the train station safe by their next anniversary. For sixty years Caroline Thomas (Betty White) keeps her promise by waiting at the train station until her missing in action husband can finally keep his with the "lost valentine." The message and meaning shows romance and love can be real; worth fighting, and maybe even dying for.
The film was a collaborative effort between Hallmark Hall of Fame
in Association with Paulist Productions, Atchity Entertainment International and Ridini Entertainment Corporation.  It first premiered on Sunday, January 30, 2011, on the CBS  Television Network as a Hallmark Hall of Fame World Movie Premiere.

Billy Magnussen and Meghann Fahy in "The Lost Valentine"

The night it premiered, the movie was Hallmark Hall of Fame's most highly rated movie in four years, and won CBS-TV the night with over 15 million viewers tuning in. WATCH it Saturday, January 26, 2013, 9/8 c on The Hallmark Channel! 

L to R:  Betty White, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sean Faris in "The Lost Valentine.

"The Lost Valentine" is one of the most loved Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.  Buy the Gold Crown Collector's Edition today at  
The film is also available at

by best-selling author James Michael Pratt at!

January 7, 2013
Dr. Kenneth Atchity The Messiah Matrix Interview

The Messiah Matrix from lance robbins on Vimeo.

January 7, 2013
Rudy Yuly's Sparkle is named one of the top five books of 2012 by Crim Fiction Lover!

David Prestidge: Top Five Books of 2012

5 - Sparkle by Rudy Yuly
Joe Jones and his severely autistic brother Eddie – a pair echoing Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men – make up a firm who have the grisly task of cleaning up crime scenes. Joe’s whole life is based round keeping Eddie safe, while making a precarious living from his autistic brother’s bizarre and obsessive cleanliness. Joe is tired, permanently at his wit’s end, and his social life is a car-crash, but when Eddie discovers something at a murder scene which defies logical explanation and then becomes fixated by a gentle female zoo attendant, Joe’s tolerance is stretched to the limit. Sparkle‘s plot initially requires some suspension of disbelief, but as well as being a terrific whodunnit the book is an absorbingly written account of a condition which lies somewhere between an affliction and a gift. There is a real surprise at the end, which I certainly did not see coming.

January 7, 2013
Ken Atchity Author and Story Merchant with Host Yi Tian on ActorsE Chat

Ken Atchity Author and Story Merchant with Host Yi Tian on ActorsE Chat

The Messiah Matrix Website

ActorsE Chat is a Live Chat Show on Actors Entertainment, a channel on the Actors Podcast Network, a Pepper Jay Production

January 7, 2013
Fiction Addict Reviews Story Merchant Client Larry D. Thompson's Dead Peasants

Dead Peasants by Larry D. Thompson
Posted by Josh Olds On November - 15 - 2012

Genre: Legal Thriller

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Publication Date: 10/2/2012

Reviewed by Paul Pessolano

While the title Dead Peasants might bring to mind an medieval take of a murderous Queen, this novel by Larry Thompson is actually a legal thriller that deals with the shady practice of employers taking out insurance policies on individuals who no longer work for their company. The hope is that the employer can then collect on the individual’s death without them ever knowing about it. When high-profile lawyer Jack Bryant begins investigating a series of unexplained deaths, it appears that certain employers have taken the unscrupulous legal shenanigans to deadly lengths.

Bryant, fresh off of a stellar case, has decided to retire, move to his hometown of Forth Worth, and live off the money he’s made. He purchases a mansion and falls in love with his Realtor, but, due to some secret from her past, ignores his advances. But retired life is boring, leading Bryant to open up a pro-bono business. And that is when things begin to go awry. When one case leads them to dead bodies, it appears as if they are due to an employer to collect on his “dead peasants.”

This is a great story for those who like a good lawyer based book that has both courtroom drama and old fashion gum-shoe investigation.  The book is well written and suitable for any audience.

December 14, 2012
Mischief, mayhem and minions: Author Royce Buckingham introduces readers to the life of a Demonkeeper

by: Wathira Nganga

Demonkeeper.jpgTsunamis that wipe out entire towns. Doors that creak when no one is there. Earthquakes that split the ground open. The world is full of uncontrollable phenomena, big and small, which threaten the order of civilization that humans have so carefully built up over millennia.

In Royce Buckingham’s most recent fantasy series, demons personify the chaos that plagues mankind. The three books in the series follow the adventures of Nat Grimlock, a young Demonkeeper.

Demonkeepers are a secret order that has been policing and controlling demons for centuries. 17-year-old Nat suddenly inherits the job after his mentor dies under mysterious circumstances. Soon afterward a powerful demon escapes from Nat’s basement in pursuit of a homeless boy named Ritchie.

Nat’s race to recapture the rogue demon and save Ritchie in time sets in motion a bizarre series of events that sends Nat from the streets of Seattle to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way he meets some allies as well as foes, including a vengeful Demonkeeper, known only as “the Thin Man,” who’s after his position.

In “Demonkeeper” and its sequels “Demoneater” and “Demonocity,” Buckingham has not created an alternate fantasy world, but a fantastical view of the mundane, where rust demons consume metal and demons in the form of sculptures come to life.

Demon encounters can be humorous, like the demon Gloop that can disguise itself as a booger, or deadly, like the water demon Drench that threatens to engulf the city of Seattle.

The human characters, however, are not always as clear cut as the demons. Buckingham does reveal Nat’s past throughout the trilogy, including the death of his parents and his natural ability to see demons when other humans can’t.

But the readers don’t know much about his love interest Sandy, or the street boy Ritchie.
Demoneater.jpgRitchie at least seems to mirror Nat’s personal story, at least from the little Buckingham reveals about him. He has had the ability to see demons from an early age. But how he ended up on the streets, or any part of his life before the action in “Demonkeeper,” is a mystery.

Ritchie plays an extremely important role when he reminds Nat of his duty in the second book in the series, "Demoneater." When Nat realizes a wind demon called Flappy was the storm that killed his parents, he tries to take revenge. Ritchie calmly reminds him demons are only creatures of chaos with no will of their own.

“You taught me not to kill,” he says to Nat. “Even the dangerous ones. They know not what they do, right?”

Ritchie exhibits maturity as the series progresses, as do Sandy, who occasionally helps him catch a demon, and Lilli, a fellow Demonkeeper from San Francisco. Buckingham hints that they all have fascinating backgrounds, which are in most part kept hidden from the reader.

Although the demons do create chaotic situations for their human keepers to create suspense and drive the plot forward, Nat’s friends could have had more depth if the reader knew their full stories. “Demonkeeper” and its sequels is a good fit for middle-grade readers who love urban fantasy and….did anybody hear that door creak?

Royce Buckingham answered a few questions for Page Views about his work:

Continue reading →

December 14, 2013
Gabookguy Reviews Dead Peasants

“Dead Peasants” by Larry D. Thompson
published by Thomas Dunne Books. 

Category – Mystery/Thriller 

When I first saw the title of this book I thought it must be the story of a medieval King killing off his serfs.  The term “dead peasants” is actually a legal insurance term for when an employer takes out an insurance policy on his workers and continues to pay the premiums even after his dismissal or retirement.  The employer hopes to collect the benefits upon the person’s death.  This practice has been deemed illegal in most states. 

Jack Bryant is a high profile lawyer who has just won a monumental decision that will allow him to retire.  He moves back to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. 

He purchases a mansion and falls in love with his realtor but the relationship must remain plutonic as his realtor is hiding something from her past.

Jack finds life a little boring and opens up a “pro bono” business.  One of these cases has Jack, his son, and his realtor looking into several unexplained deaths in the surrounding area.  They all seem to have a common thread and several attempts are made on their lives. 

This is a great story for those who like a good lawyer based book that has both courtroom drama and old fashion “gum shoe” investigation. The book is well written and suitable for any audience.

December 14, 2013
Story Merchant Client Dennis Walsh's Nobody Walks Stell Review on Kirkus

NOBODY WALKS Bringing My Brother's Killers to Justice 

Author: Walsh, Dennis M.
Review Issue Date: December 1, 2012
Pages: 304 Price ( Hardcover ): $26.99
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-250-00548-9
Category: Nonfiction

 Pulpy, engrossing account of losing a family member to a senseless murder and retribution delivered through the criminal justice system. Attorney Walsh was the only one among his four brothers to follow the straight-and-narrow path, perhaps due to the example set by their father, a Cleveland cop turned mobster. But none of them were prepared for the death of Chris, the youngest, at the hands of fellow denizens of the meth-and-gangs subculture on the fringes of Southern California’s pornography business. Walsh lived a sibling’s nightmare, asked to identify Chris’ decaying body. Street gossip quickly pinpointed the killer, David Steinberg, Chris’ former roommate, who was an associate of white supremacist prison gangs. Despite fears that he might pre-emptively sabotage eventual prosecution, Walsh began sniffing around Chris’ friends, a motley group of drug users, porn stars and entertainment-industry hangers-on. Many agreed to cooperate with him, given the implied threat of his more criminally inclined brothers’ thirst for vengeance. The narrative is sensibly straightforward, following the turns as police, prosecutors and Walsh make efforts to gather evidence on, arrest and successfully prosecute Steinberg and his cronies. As the author himself might agree, he is in some ways too close to the material. The narrative is populated by a surfeit of underworld figures who don’t really come alive as fully developed characters, but instead seem caricatures of seamy decrepitude. Still, Walsh captures the arc of his family’s involvement in an act of senseless malice, calling into question the cultural endurance of macho violence within certain subcultures and the difficulty of holding men responsible for horrific acts within the legal system’s overtaxed framework. Gritty, effective, personalized tale of the outlaw lifestyle and its consequences.

December 14, 2013
Clint Hill Has a Street Named After Him at S.S. Training Center

With Lisa McCubbin

December 13, 2013
Suspense Magazine Reviews Story Merchant Client Dennis M. Walsh's Nobody Walks

“Nobody Walks: Bringing My Brother’s Killers to Justice” by Dennis M. Walsh

Every once in a great while, a true crime is written that pulls at the heartstrings, while it also provides a tale of suspense that will be remembered for a good long time. This is that story.

The complete and utter anguish of a family that loses a son and brother is the subject that this author takes on. Being a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Walsh valiantly tells the story in true ‘Technicolor,’ of his youngest brother’s death and how the family came together, stayed within the law and were able to bring the killers to justice.
It was 2003, when Christopher Walsh was found in a storage locker stuffed into a trash can. As most often happens, the murder investigation slowed down and almost came to a standstill. It took seven long months for the authorities to file charges, and many years to get the case to trial.

When the body was first found, Dennis Walsh announced to one and all that he would keep his brother’s murder alive and not let it become a cold case. And truer words had never been spoken. As the story unfolds, readers see that the Walsh family was close, but unfortunately the father—once a policeman—left the force and got involved with the underworld along with the rest of his sons, except for Dennis. It seems that Dennis was the only son who did not turn to an unsavory path that would make him a criminal. Perhaps that was fate working, considering Dennis took the job of solving his brother’s murder upon his shoulders, and went from suspect to suspect asking questions, becoming one with the jail birds and the people who put them there, without breaking the law.

This is a very heart-wrenching story of a family that made sure justice was served, and readers will find themselves rooting for Dennis from the very beginning.

December 13, 2013
PUTTING CLIENTS TOGETHER: Story Merchant Client Robert Dembik Interviewed by SM Client Diane Maroney For her IMAGINE PROJECT

Ordinary folks tell extraordinary tales

by  Mike Cejka 

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Sometimes it's a good thing to pause and take stock in life's lessons.

This week the "Imagine Project" came to Buffalo to do just that. The soon-to-be-published book will highlight some ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

According to Dianne Maroney, book editor and nurse, "We realize everybody has a story and that there will be more compassion and less judgment and more kindness in the world. And just to make the world a little better place."

What sparked the idea was the emotional and physical toll that Maroney dealt with after giving birth to her three-and-a-half month premature daughter.

"I would tell people stories about their premature infants using the word "imagine." So, it was very impactful," Maroney said.

West Seneca native, Robert Dembik is among three from the area that will be featured in the book.

"My guardian angel was coming by," Dembik said. "A doctor saw the whole thing, started CPR on me immediately and it took a couple months to find out that the CPR the gentlemen was doing, was 25 minutes long. So anyone in the health industry knows that 25 minutes, you really shouldn't make it."

According to Tyler Kellogg from Watertown, who will also be profiled in the book, "I found myself depressed and overweight in my sophomore year of college. Instead of going on antidepressants, or down that road, I decided I'd live out of my car for a summer and just commit random acts of kindness for people."

The "Imagine Project" has an inspirational message for all of us:

"We all have challenges, big and small, and certainly some days are better than others. If you think in terms of having the mind set that this too will come to pass," Dembik said.

"Some us live out of a car and help people, some of us play bass guitar in a band, some of us work at a gas station, but it's all important whatever you do. Do it well and make this place a little better for the people who are around," added Kellogg.

Kellogg provided 115 acts of kindness over 65 days during his travels across the eastern United States. Everything from tarring a driveway and planting trees, to just listening to a widower reminisce about his wife.

December 13, 2013
An Afternoon and Evening With Author Larry D. Thompson

December 1, 2013
Guest Post on Laurence O'Bryan


I met Ken Atchity on a visit to a writer’s conference in San Francisco. Ken was one of the speakers. He is both a master storyteller and a great producer. Below you will find a brief biography of Ken, and below that his answer to this question, what is your number one piece of advice for storytellers, Ken?

Kenneth John Atchity or “Ken Atchity” is an American producer and author, who has worked in the world of letters as a literary manager, editor, speaker, writing and career coach, book reviewer, brand consultant, and professor of comparative literature.

Ken’s films include the Jim Carrey movie, Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Amityville 4 among others
He and his companies, The Story Merchant, Atchity Entertainment International, Inc. The Writers Lifeline, Inc, and The Louisiana Wave Studio, LLC, produce films and develop books for publication; and books, screenplays, and films for television and cinema. They also consult with writers about their career strategies and tactics.

So, Ken, what is your number one piece of advice for storytellers?

My advice to storytellers is to recognize that your stories can change the world, and that you can make that happen best by retaining control over your own career and getting your stories onto the Internet and into print without losing your publishing or other rights!
You are born under the lucky star of the Worldwide Web and it would be a crime for you not to take advantage of that piece of good fortune.

Ken is supremely positive about the impact of the web and about the opportunity it provides for writers. We are on the cusp of a new age. Thanks Ken.
December 1, 2012

Publishers Weekly Reviews Story Merchant Client Dennis M. Walsh's Nobody Walks: Bringing My Brother's Killers to Justice

Nobody Walks: Bringing My Brother’s Killers to Justice

Dennis M. Walsh. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-2500-0548-9

Walsh, a criminal defense attorney for 30 years, tells the blistering true story of the 2003 murder of one of his brothers, Christopher, who was discovered in a trash barrel in a California storage locker. Despite law enforcement’s reluctance to pursue the case since the author’s father and younger brother were in prison on drug charges, Walsh shoulders the burden and delves into the nadir of the criminal underworld, quizzing thieves, skinheads, Nazi bikers, hookers, and porn queens to construct something meaningful from various lies and schemes. Good leads dead-end and seemingly ironclad confessions crumble, but the author’s resourcefulness and determination to catch his brother’s killers keep this sordid tale moving along at a quick clip. Walsh keeps his law practice operating throughout the ordeal, but still finds time to persuade reluctant witnesses to offer their testimony and cooperate with authorities; after four years of sleuthing, the trial finally begins. The hearing is a real corker, chock-full of twists and turns, and written with passion and an eye for drama. Taut and relentless, this chronicle of a former cold case puts one man’s resolve and the American idea of justice to the test. B&w photos. (Feb.)

November 20, 2012
My Addiction Books Reviews The Messiah Matrix


Messiah Matrix can be noted as a high- minded novel which draws readers into a world filled with corruption, murder, romance and history. The author, Kenneth John Atchity explores a highly controversial idea about the story of Jesus Christ.   
                Atchity’s extensive research manages to compel the reader’s attention within the first two pages as the novel kicks off with the murder of a monsignor, a confession from his killer and the discovery of a valuable artefact which might just change our understanding of Christianity as we know it.

                Readers are drawn into the mind of Father Ryan, a young Jesuit priest who is obsessed in finding the connection between the murders, the message which was delivered by the assassin and his own personal doubts about his religious faith. By questioning the inconsistencies within the Catholic teachings his path crosses that off Emily – a spirited beauty who is the discoverer of the historical artefact.

                Together they set off on a journey that not only unravels Christian history but also poses extreme risks for them in face of church authorities. Their findings cast them into a splendidly crafted net that lures readers through Roman History and the ancient story of Augustus. It ends with the truth revealed about the Christian Saviour—one which will come as a surprise to many.


 In conclusion: This novel, in my opinion is splendid. The storytelling accelerates in momentum and grabbed my attention from the word go. Sure, there were times where my brain was in panic from all the revelations, but there were also times where the pages just turned themselves from the riveting adventure.

                I’m sure the story will raise many questions for people who grew up in deep faith. What’s nice about Atchity’s writing though is the fact that he doesn’t force readers into believing in the book’s premise; instead he merely lays out his research, marvellously joining it together in a provocatively crafted romantic thriller.
Not a light read at all but if you are up for intellectual entertainment - a must read.

November 20, 2012
Laurence O' Bryan's The Istanbul Puzzle Has Been Short Listed for the Irish Crime Novel of the Year!


purchase on

 “What road led to choosing HarperCollins to publish your book?”

I went to a HarperCollins one day workshop on crime writing in late 2010 and met an editor there who asked to see my work. I was lucky. She liked it. 
I was planning to release The Istanbul Puzzle as an ebook if I didn't get anywhere. It had already been professionally edited and had won a prize at a writer's conference in California, so I knew it was good enough to be published traditionally. 
The most important thing Harper Collins gave me was a great team of editors. Two worked on my manuscript. I improved it even further as a result of their work. They also sold it for translation into 9 foreign languages!
I have however self published a guide to social media, Social Media is Dynamite, as only my fiction has been traditionally published. Click on either of the links to read more.
My road started long before that though. I started writing almost every day in 2000, so it's been a long journey for me, but one I truly enjoyed.

I even met Ken at a conference in San Francisco in November 2010!
Wishing you all well."

Laurence O'Bryan's Istanbul Puzzle has been short listed for the Irish crime novel of the year 2012. You can support him by  Voting Here . Votes are accepted internationally. The award ceremony will be televised in Ireland on the 24th November.

Also by Laurence O' Bryan 

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November 20, 2012
Check out Story Merchant Client Wendy Eckel's Book Trailer - The Rosalie Hart Series

November 5, 2012
Larry Thompson's Thriller Thursday

TT5 – The Messiah Matrix, with author Ken Atchity


A thriller of Biblical proportions from The Story Merchant

Ken Atchity joins us once more to discuss his new novel, The Messiah Matrix, how it was published, and prospects for this and other novels with Hollywood potential. More than modern thriller (which it definitely is),The Messiah Matrix is a thought-provoking, original examination of the origins and evolution of modern Christianity.
From the website:
The Messiah Matrix is a contemporary thriller that takes the reader on an exhilarating quest from the ancient city of Caesarea to Rome’s catacombs and beyond, and provides gripping confirmation for all those who have ever wondered about the actual historical existence of the “Christian Savior”.
The Messiah Matrix may prove to be the most thought-provoking thriller ever written. Classical scholar and Yale Ph.D. Dr. Kenneth John Atchity is the only author alive today capable of creating this literary and historically-based masterpiece.
The Messiah Matrix website is here:


October 25, 2012
Join Ken Atchity At the Women In Film Malibu Breakfast November 9th !

WIF Autumn Logo small

WIF Networking Events

Ken AtchityWIF Malibu Breakfast with Dr. Ken Atchity, Ph.D.
Friday, November 9th
8:00 - 10:00 am
Malibu Chart House Restaurant
18412 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90265
Ken Atchity is a "story merchant," writer, producer, career coach, teacher, and literary manager, responsible for launching hundreds of books and dozens of films.  Event details: CLICK HERE

In This Issue

Dear Candace,
This Fall is a great time to become a WIF Member!  Our Autumn Membership Drive is now through November 15th, so spread the word!  2013 WIF Board Election time is here, so don't forget to vote using the link below.  We've got some exciting events next month as we welcome Ken Atchity and WIF Board Member Madelyn Hammond at our Breakfast Series and Lindsay Doran at our evening Speaker Series.  Michele Gendelman also joins us at LA Film School as we break down the "Anatomy of a Pitch."  We're proud to present our 2012 host film at AFI and WIF International presents at Awareness Film Festival.  It's almost Halloween, so don't forget to stop by for networking (and candy) at next Monday's Happy Hour.  We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!
Warm regards,
Women In Film

WIF Fall Membership Drive
Membership Drive 2012
October 15th - November 15th

Join WIF and become a part of a dynamic organization that is dedicated to empowering, promoting, and mentoring women in the entertainment, communication and media industries.
  • Free Master Classes, WIF Goal Support Group, Writers Groups, and Actors Groups
  • Free Screenings
  • Discounts on Networking Breakfasts and Speaker Series
  • WIF discounts on community film expos and forums
  • Join our PSA Production Program and WIF International Committee
  • List your name and job skills in WIF's Membership Directory and Career Lounge
For more details and an application, visit!

October 9, 2012
Larry Thompson Gets a Thrill Out of the Family Profession

By Melody McDonald Special to the Star-Telegram

The Fort Worth Library and Barnes and Noble University Village will mark the occasion by co-hosting a book launch party Thursday at the downtown library, where Larry will talk about the role Fort Worth, his law practice and his late brother have had on his career as a suspense writer.

"My brother wanted to be a writer since he was 8 years old," Larry said. "The highlight of his day would be to throw a noun up against a verb and say, 'That's a good phrase I just wrote.' I could never match my brother for his writing ability, but I think I'm a better storyteller. I guess there is something in our gene pool somewhere."

Larry's decision to finally peck out a novel came late in life -- long after he had founded the law firm of Lorance and Thompson and tried hundreds of lawsuits, long after his four children were grown, and long after his big brother died of liver cancer in 1982.

"I don't know if I could have been a good writer when I was 30 years old," Larry said. "Now that I'm in my 70s, I have a lot of experiences to draw on....

"I said, 'What do I know?' I know about lawyers and courtrooms and medicine and doctors. Let's put all that together and see what I can come up with."

What he came up with on his first trip out was 2008's So Help Me God, a legal thriller that put the debate over abortion at the center of a courtroom battle with larger-than-life lawyers.

In a nod to his brother, Larry Thompson took a character who was left in a coma in Tommy's last book, Celebrity, and made him the main character in his first book.

"I thought he was an interesting character," Larry said. "When I decided I was going to write a novel, I decided I was going to wake him up."

In the process, Larry also awoke his passion for fast-paced, suspenseful storytelling. So Help Me God was quickly followed by The Trial in 2011.

"Once I decided I would write a novel, I found I loved the creative process," Larry said. "I'm trying to turn out one book a year. Tommy was only 49 when he died and he still had a lot of good books to write. I figure I'm going to live until I'm 95 and write 20 more books."

The protagonist in Dead Peasants is Jack Bryant, a Beaumont attorney who, after winning an enormous wrongful-death civil suit, retires to Fort Worth. Bryant wants to be closer to his son J.D., an ex-marine who walks on at TCU and becomes a football star. When boredom sets in, Bryant sets up an RV on the city's north side to do pro bono work for the poor.

He winds up representing a widow who discovered that her husband's life insurance proceeds were made payable to the dead man's employer. Bryant sues to collect the benefits and suddenly finds himself in the middle of murder-for-hire serial killings.

Like all of his books, Thompson draws on his vast knowledge of the law and the courtroom to create colorful characters and spin a tale with twists at every turn of the page.

"It is great fun to invent characters and set them on a course and see where they go," Thompson said. "As my brother used to say, there is a little bit of me in every character I write."

In fact, readers may recognize a little bit of themselves in Thompson's characters. The lawyer-turned-author models them after people he knows -- including childhood friends from Fort Worth.

Joe Sherrod, the district attorney in Dead Peasants, is created with Joe Shannon, the current Tarrant County criminal district attorney, in mind.

Sons of Fort Worth schoolteachers, brothers Larry and Tommy Thompson were born with literary genes.

Reading books and penning prose seemed to be part of their DNA. Both aspired to be writers.

But when Tommy realized his dream first and became a nationally acclaimed journalist and author, Larry deliberately changed paths, went to law school and became a prominent civil trial lawyer in Houston.

"I was the kid brother who did not want to follow in his brother's footsteps," said Larry, who is seven years younger. "I wanted to strike out on my own. I took a different route."

But as fate would have it, their destination was the same.

On Tuesday -- 30 years after the death of his beloved brother, who was best known for the true-crime book Blood and Money -- Larry Thompson's third legal thriller, Dead Peasants, hits the bookshelves (St. Martin's, $25.99).

Shannon and Thompson attended Arlington Heights High School together and are longtime friends.

"I had Joe Shannon with his real name in the book and my editor said, 'He's a public figure and we'll have to go through too much red tape,'" Thompson said. "People love to see their name in print."

Indeed, Shannon got a kick out of it.

"I took the book with me on a family vacation," Shannon said in a review for the novel. "I just finished it. I could hardly put it down."

Fort Worth journalist Mike Cochran, author of Texas vs. Davis, also had enthusiastic words for Dead Peasants: "Set in Fort Worth and skipping murderously across Texas, Houston attorney Larry Thompson has whipped out another legal thriller that will propel readers on a riveting ride in, out and around Cowtown, where the author grew up."

Even though Thompson now calls Houston home, Fort Worth still has a strong hold on him.

"I love Fort Worth," Thompson said. "Fort Worth is a town with character, and I wanted that character to come through in my novel. I can't say enough how fun it is to write about Fort Worth."

In fact, Thompson had such a great time writing Dead Peasants that he predicts it will be the first book in a series about Bryant. After all, a lot can be done with a character that constructs an office next to a beer joint on the north side and does legal work for free.

"You just don't know who is going to knock on the door with a problem to solve," Thompson says.

Thompson, who is in the middle of writing his fourth book, Blood Decision, has no intention of winding down his literary or his legal career anytime soon. At 72, he splits his time between the courthouse and his computer.

His big brother, he says, would have been proud.

"Tommy would have been delighted. I guess, in a way, I'm carrying on the family tradition."

September 24, 2012
Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance Reviewed By Sandra Shwayder Sanchez for


This fascinating novel is prefaced with a quote from the book From Ritual to Romance  written by Jessie L. Weston in 1920:

“That the man who first told the story, and boldly, as befitted a born teller of tales, wedded it to Arthurian legend, was himself connected by descent with the ancient Faith, himself actually held the Secret of the Grail, and told, in purposely romantic form, that of which he knew. I am firm firmly convinced, not do I think that the time is far distant when the missing links will be in our hand, and we shall be able to weld once more the golden chain which connects Ancient Ritual with Medieval Romance.”

For readers interested in Arthurian legend, ancient archaeology, the development of ancient philosophies and religions this book will be a journey well worth taking.

Terry Stanfill combines a stunning knowledge of Mediterranean history, art and archaeology to create an engrossing tale of mystery and romance.  Bianca, An American of Italian heritage, is a student of art history who writes for an art magazine. Giovanni is an Italian archaeologist. Neither of them really wants to attend the wedding of a mutual cousin in Venice but for different reasons, they both do and there they meet each other and embark upon a journey of destiny, which Giovanni explains to her:

“In this case there’s no such thing as coincidence. Again it’s synchronicity -events unlikely to ever occur together by chance.  You see, Bianca the culmination of synchronicity is its direct revelation of destiny, the design of the whole universe working itself out in the display of each unique human life. And since you delve so deeply into the unconscious synchronicity is activated and can occur frequently.  Again, its all that right brain business I keep talking about.” (p. 169)

Bianca is an intuitive who studies the diary of her great grandmother Nina and sometimes dreams or has visions of what Nina saw in her life.  And Interspersed into the 2007 narrative are bits of medieval & ancient history in the words of historical characters. It is Pythagoras, for instance, who makes a claim that Bianca and Giovanni would each agree with (as exemplified in their lives):

“The highest and the fewest are those who love wisdom, those whose lives are devoted to pursuits of the mind – the philosophers, whose entire lives given to searching for the true wisdom of the universe.  Perhaps theirs are not only the greatest gifts, but also the greatest challenges.” (p.173)

The story culminates when Bianca and Giovanni discover the real site of Camelot together and thence discover their destiny . . .  together. Along the way, the author also demonstrates her knowledge of music, neuro-psychology and Italian cuisine. Every detail is perfect and the reader. upon completion of this literary journey, remembers it as if it were a  real life journey to Italy, Greece, France & back into time.


September 11, 2012
Book Review: Demonkeeper by Royce Buckingham

By Mandy Southgate, BLOGCRITICS.ORG

Nathaniel Grimlock is a demon keeper, taken in as a young boy to become an apprentice to master Demon Keeper Dhaliwahl. Now Dhaliwahl is gone, and Nat has been left behind to look after a household of demons and to keep the demon world in order. The only problem is that Nat's only non-demon companion is a sheep dog called Bel, and Nat has to admit that he is lonely. What could possibly be the harm in meeting other young people his age, in perhaps getting a girlfriend?

What could be the harm, indeed? In Royce Buckingham's Demonkeeper, demons are all around us. They are the manifestations of chaos in our universe and can range from the playful and mischievous to the outright malevolent. When Nat ventures out and meets junior librarian's assistant Sandy, he also catches the attention of two neighbourhood boys who break into the house and release The Beast, one of the nastiest demons of all. Can Nat restore order and keep the girl, and most importantly, can he do it before the Thin Man catches up with him?

Demonkeeper is a short novel aimed at children aged 10 and up. It is laugh-out-loud funny in places, and my favourite part of the book was when Nat accidentally microwaved one of his demon minions (it exploded but don't worry, the demon survived).

Nat is a fabulous character with a dry wit and self-deprecating sense of humour. Most of all, he is a strong character with an enormous responsibility on his shoulders who grows from reluctant and clumsy to heroic and competent. I liked the idea of his three demon minions as well as the Thin Man's minions.

Most of all, Demonkeeper is a cautionary tale and I really enjoyed The Beast's raison d'etre and the notion of lost children and the adults they become.

Demonkeeper is the perfect book for reluctant readers and should appeal to both boys and girls. It is fun, exciting and original and I am pleased to see that it is the first in a trilogy.

I give Demonkeeper four out of five stars and will certainly continue to read this trilogy.

September 11, 2012
What's a Good Agent or Representative? By Dr. Kenneth Atchity

 “What's a good agent?" is a difficult question to answer, especially in today’s topsy-turvy world of publishing. Traditional authors’ representatives work strictly on commission and are, as a result, mainly interested in highly commercial "properties"—authors and/or properties that are “brand names” or “household words.” Authors’ representatives often help new writers, but today most deal only with writers they regard as solid commercial prospects or extraordinary literary talents. Most representatives nowadays ask writers to query before sending the manuscript. This doesn't mean they won't read your work; it means they don't want to read subject matter that doesn’t fit in with their own marketing. Since they work on speculation and commission, they have to deal with several (or many) writers at a time, and are more inclined to devote their energies to promoting a potential best-seller. They're usually interested in working with an author who produces continuously. Someone who writes two short stories a year will not be worth taking on. Authors’ representatives may urge new writers to handle their own submissions of short stories, poetry, and children’s books. And authors’ representatives may or may not help you sell articles.

Because of the shift toward Internet publishing, some reputable agents now charge reading fees, deductible from future commission. Authors’ representatives receive a commission on everything they sell for you, ranging from 10 to 15 percent, and will nearly always negotiate a contract that will more than justify their commission..

Continue reading →

September 11, 2012
Dead Peasants by Larry D. Thompson - Book Launch Thursday October 4, 2012

September 11, 2012
Speaker Series: Mrs. Kennedy and Me - San Francisco Yacht Club

Wednesday September 12, 2012 6:30 PM. 


September 6, 2012
My Addiction: Interview - Kenneth Atchity the Story Merchant



Kenneth Atchity is an American producer and Author who has worked as a literary manager, editor, speaker, writing coach, brand consultant and professor of comparative literature. He’s been called the story merchant. Continue reading →



September 7, 2012
Bodyguard for Mrs. Kennedy - "Mrs. Kennedy and Me"  Tells about his work protecting the first lady. 

Click Below to View Full Article.


September 6, 2012
Ken Atchity Discusses "The Messiah Matrix" and Many Misconception Aspiring Novelists Have About the Business on



I recently had the pleasure of interviewing my literary manager, Emmy-nominated film producer and writer Kenneth Atchity about his new thriller, “The Messiah Matrix,”  and the many misconceptions aspiring novelists have about the business of writing. Here’s what he told … Continue reading →

September 6, 2012

Books, bones & Buffy gives Realms of Gold: Ritual to Romance 4 out of 5 Stars! 

"An Italian archeologist and a dreamy scholar from New York cross paths and go on a journey through time in this riveting novel by Terry Stanfill. Trying to describe Realms of Gold is hard because this intricate tale is filled with not only detailed descriptions of Greek and Italian artifacts and the people who created them, but layer upon layer of complex characters, both past and present. Add to that Stanfill’s gorgeous writing style and you have a winning combination. "

Read the rest of the review here at Books, Bones & Buffy 

August 30, 2012
Stephen Gyllenhaal To Pen, Direct ‘The Kennedy Detail'

Stephen Gyllenhaal has signed as screenwriter and director of The Kennedy Detail, which focuses on the men of the Secret Service protective detail assigned to President John F. Kennedy. The project is targeted for a November 2013 release, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. “This is the project of a lifetime and I could not be more excited to be part of it,” said Gyllenhaal. “Everyone knows how this story ends, but the true stories told through the eyes of this extraordinary band of brothers, from JFK’s election to that awful day in Dallas, have never been told. It is time to share their perspective with the world”. Gyllenhaal has begun work on the script with his research including interviews with many of the surviving members of President Kennedy’s protective detail and their family members. The film will be based on the New York Times best-selling book The Kennedy Detail by former agent Gerald Blaine and award-winning journalist Lisa McCubbin, with a foreword by former agent Clint Hill. Hill has signed as a special advisor to the project, and McCubbin and Hill will be associate producers. The Kennedy Detail is being produced by Atchity Entertainment International (AEI) of Los Angeles, Atchity and Chi-Li Wong producers, and Ramos & Sparks Group of Tallahassee, Florida, with Richard Ramos and Robert Sparks producers. Production is expected to begin late January 2013.

Deadline Hollywood

August 30, 2012

Terry Stanfill received her degree in English Literature with a minor in Medieval History from the University of Connecticut. She raised funds for the restoration of San Pietro di Castello, the ancient cathedral in Venice and was decorated by the president of Italy with the Ordine Al Merito. We are honored to have Terry standoff some time for a written interview on her novel Realms of Gold.

Check Out the Interview Here!

August 30, 2012


Kenneth John Atchity, Ph.D. is brilliant. His new novel, The Messiah Matrix, is a compelling story that may challenge readers to view religion differently. Ken Atchity, a Classical scholar, accomplished author and Hollywood producer, does not disappoint his readers. The Messiah Matrix is a creative, thought-provoking, action-packed, historically laced, and masterfully detailed page-turner. (Watch out for paper cuts!--You'll be turning the pages quickly. It's that good!)...


Read the rest of the review at blogcritics!

August 7, 2012
Latest Issue of Shelf Unbound 


Read the latest issue of Shelf Unbound Here!

July 25, 2012


For many, Dr Jin Kyu (Suh) Robertson is proof that people have the power to have more fulfilled and satisfying life once they choose to become the sailor of their own ship. We are therefore immensely grateful to be able to have the opportunity to do an interview with Dr. Jin Robertson.

Check Out the Interview Here!

July 18, 2012
Books, bones & Buffy gives Messiah Matrix 4 out of 5 Stars! 

"Although I knew from the book blurb more or less what The Messiah Matrix was about, I wasn’t quite prepared for the unique combination of carefully researched material and breathless adventure story. The subject matter of The Messiah Matrix is controversial, even for someone like me who has no religious leanings, and I expect it will cause a stir in the religious community, and with those of the Catholic faith in particular.... "

Read the rest of the review here at 
Books, Bones & Buffy 

July 18, 2012
Portland Book Review Reviews Fever Dream by, Dennis Palumbo

When psychologist Daniel Rinaldi is called from his practice to the scene of a bank robbery, he has no idea just how much trouble is coming his way. As a consultant to the Pittsburgh Police, he aids with traumatized victims at crime scenes and the police need to question the lone survivor of a gory scene where hostages were killed at the bank. Soon Rinaldi is caught in a swirling morass of suspicion, kidnapping, murder, and politics. Death threats against the District Attorney, who is running for governor, further complicate the investigation. Then a reporter asks Rinaldi to accompany him on a journey to question a man who claims to have evidence of corruption by the DA. The reporter wants a psychologist’s take on the honesty of the man. The journey takes Rinaldi into a harrowing situation where he barely escapes with his life, and any evidence may have been lost or destroyed. Author Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice. Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, he is the author of the mystery collection From Crime to Crime. His short fiction has appeared in magazines. Fever Dream is his second novel. While the plot of this novel is a complex tale woven from several threads, it is a thoroughly amusing and enjoyable romp. The brisk pace and intelligent writing about the adventurous and heroic psychologist will leave the reader wanting more.
Reviewed by Fran Byram

July 9, 2012

The Messiah Matrix Lands "In My Mailbox" on Books Bones and 

Welcome to Lucky 13 In My Mailbox, 
hosted by The Story Siren

The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity. Now available. I recently reviewed Seven Ways to Die by William Diehl and Kenneth John Atchity, and loved it. (You can read my review here.) Atchity’s latest sounds terrific and has been compared to The DaVinci Code. 

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

To what lengths would the Vatican go to suppress the secret origins of its power? The Messiah Matrix is a myth-shattering thriller whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose those who hide them still. A renowned scholar-monsignor is killed in a mysterious hit-and-run in Rome. A Roman coin is recovered from a wreck off the coast of ancient Judea. It’s up to his young American protégé–a Jesuit priest–and a vivacious, brilliant archaeologist to connect these seemingly disparate events and unravel the tapestry that conceals in plain view the greatest mystery in the ecclesiastical world. Together they pursue their passion for truth—while fighting to control their passion for each other. What they uncover is an ancient Roman imperial stratagem so controversial the Curia fears it could undermine the very foundations of the Roman Catholic faith. From the ancient port of Caesarea to Rome’s legendary catacombs and the sacred caves of Cumae, this contemporary novel follows their exhilarating quest to uncover the truth about the historical existence of the real “Christian Savior.” The Messiah Matrix may prove to be one of the most thought-provoking books ever written. Classical scholar and Yale Ph.D. Dr. Kenneth John Atchity is the only author alive today capable of creating this literary and historically-based masterpiece. 

Those are some bold statements! Don’t you want to read it to see if they’re true? What’s in your mailbox this week? 

July 2, 2012

Elaine Edelson's Aries Fire Amazon Kindle #1 Best Seller Historical Fiction

"'Aries Fire' is filled with twists and turns and develops into a love story with an unexpected ending. Edelson creates a main character that the reader learns to love. I certainly will be looking forward to reading Edelson's next creation."
--Brittany Murphy

Amazon Best Seller Rank:
#1 Historical Fiction
#24 Overall Free in Kindle Store

June 22, 2012
Author Interview for Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton written by Warren l Woodruff. Musically inspired novel.

Dr. Warren L. Woodruff is a passionate music instructor whose affection for classical music led to the creation of Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton. We are honoured to be able to do an interview with someone of such talent.

Author Interview - Warren L. Woodruff, Author of "Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton"

June 9, 2012

NEW YORK - A crime thriller with a unique back story is the grand prize winner of the 2012 Beach Book Festival, which honors the summer’s hottest reads. “Seven Ways to Die” is the final book from best-selling author William Diehl, who passed away five years ago after writing 400 pages of the novel, yet leaving it still incomplete.

His wife allowed his friend and fellow author, Kenneth Atchity, to step in and complete the work. Atchity, who has written 15 books and produced 30 films, used notes and an outline to finish the whodunit. Fans of intriguing plots and page-turning reads will not be disappointed.

The judges awarded the book top honors for its colorful characters and intriguing plot, making it a perfect beach read for the coming season. The authors will be honored at a private awards ceremony to be held June 22 at the Grolier Club in Manhattan.

June 8, 2012
Hollywood snaps up hot ebook titles

by Rachel Abrams

ebooks are emerging as a sexy new source of material for Hollywood.

With the "50 Shades of Grey" series hitting 10 million sales this week, ebooks are emerging as a sexy new source of material for Hollywood. The majors are keeping a close eye on digital bestseller lists and showing a willingness to pay traditional book-rights fees for digital titles -- provided they come with built-in brand awareness.

The hunt to option such titles is heating up after a handful of high-profile sales of ebooks, many self-published, including April's $3 million sale of "50 Shades" to Universal. Observers credit "Shades" with paving the way for subsequent sales of "Wool" and "On the Island," both of which sold for big bucks despite the fact that both went straight to Kindles and iPads without going through major publishers.

"As we've known for years and years, the studios have been much more interested in brands, whether that's a board game or video game or traditional book," said Steve Fisher, veep of APA and a literary agent who represents books-to-films deals. "The last couple of deals have really indicated a huge willingness on the part of studios and other buyers to be open to ebooks in a way they hadn't been before."

Fisher most recently repped the author of "On the Island," a romance eBook which MGM snapped up (Daily Variety, May 14). Tome by Des Moines, Iowa resident Tracey Garvis-Graves spent five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list before the Lion forked over a low- to mid-six-figure fee.

"The effect is that they're looking more closely than ever at the ebook list for the original ebook bestsellers," said Jody Hotchkiss, a literary agent with Hotchkiss and Associates.

But traditional books have a key advantage over their digital counterparts: publishers tend to get into business with known quantities, or properties vouched for by literary agents. With ebooks, it's the Wild West when it comes to identifying promising authors and material. Digital books are virtually free to publish, and there's no gatekeepers vetting their quality.

According to data from research firm Publishers Marketplace, film and TV producers bought rights to 209 books last year and 79 so far this year. Very few of those were ebooks, and nearly all sold before they were published.

That means ebooks grab the attention of lit agents only after they start rising on the charts or generate enough word-of-mouth buzz. Currently high-charting ebooks include "Beauty" by Laurell K. Hamilton; Neal Stephenson's sword-fighting epic "Mongoliad"; romance "The Marriage Bargain" by Jennifer Probst; and "Beautiful Disaster" by Jamie McGuire -- none of which have yet been picked up. Meanwhile, E.L. James' steamy "50 Shades" continues to top the ebook chart.

The New York Times began listing bestselling ebooks in early 2011, a few months before thriller author John Locke reached 1 million in sales for his ebooks. But just like with traditional book publishing, getting discovered is a big challenge for the ebooks that aren't perched atop the bestseller list.

"The tricky thing about ebooks is that there are a lot of them out there," Fisher said, pointing out that ebooks don't get promoted the way traditional books can be. Reps often catch wind of self-published material by looking at the top-sellers lists on Amazon and iTunes.

"We follow sales by looking online, just as anybody can," said Jane Dystel, president of literary management agency Dystel & Goderich. Dystel found "On the Island" author Garvis-Graves by checking online book sales, later bringing the scribe to Fisher.

"The availability of ebooks is much greater today than it was even six months ago ... as the availability of good books increases, of course Hollywood is also going to be more interested," she said.

But because many are self-published, ebooks must also contend with the stigma that they're not the same quality as traditional novels. Most agents would rather not dig through the virtual slush pile in the hopes of finding a "50 Shades."

"I'm finding that book scouts in New York are really integral to this process even more so than they are (for) traditional books," Fisher said. "It's harder for your average ebook to separate itself from the pack, but a lot of these authors are very savvy at promoting themselves."

Case in point: Amanda Hocking, the 28-year-old self-published writer whose popular paranormal teen novels landed her a movie contract with Media Rights Capital last year. After selling more than 100,000 ebooks, Hocking landed a $2 million deal from St. Martin's Press for a four-book series, turning down a higher bid from a competitor that she felt wouldn't reach as many readers.

"Studios have signalled that they don't care whether it's an ebook or a hardbook because, ultimately, they bring the same kind of brand awareness that they so value," Fisher said. Studios are willing to pay for that brand awareness. In a non-competitive situation, traditional book rights often fetch between $150,000 to $250,000 -- a range that now applies to popular e-fare.

While agents like Fisher may not always deal with publishers when it comes to ebooks, they rely heavily on book scouts -- filters that tend to go in and out of vogue as studios cut back budgets and depend upon junior execs to bring in material.

"In-house book scouts stopped being common when the studios determined that New York publishing was less important for movies (than) 10 to 15 years ago," Hotchkiss said. Studios, for example, often have a book scout in-house or work with an outside company. Disney, 20th Century Fox and Sony, for example, have a scout on staff, while Warner Bros. and Universal work with outside companies on an exclusive basis.

But as hot ebooks continue to go mainstream, Hollywood will surely continue to pay attention.

"Studios and major buyers out here were taking their book scouts' calls a lot more quickly and suddenly paying attention to New York in a way that I hadn't seen in years," Fisher said of the immediate effect of the "50 Shades" sale. "I think that any qualms that buyers had about getting behind an ebook ... (are) gone."

Contact Rachel Abrams at

June 6, 2012

June 4, 2012
Guest Post: The Power of a Pin: Why Pinterest Is a Game Changer
by Penny C. Sansevieri

About ten months ago, I listened to Gary Vaynerchuck talk about this new site called Pinterest. He was really excited about it, though at first I didn't get it. "Get on Pinterest now!" Gary encouraged. I didn't listen, thinking, "Oh, dear, not another social network!" But Pinterest has proven to be anything but another social network. First off, its growth has been extraordinary. According to several reports, including a blog post shared on Mashable, from September 2011 to December 2011, unique visitors on Pinterest increased by 429 percent. That kind of growth has never been seen in a social network and while it's still early for Pinterest, we're seeing a lot of staying power, especially with established brands like Macy's, Land's End and magazines such as Real Simple -- which got more traffic from Pinterest in October 2011 than from Facebook.

For those of you who haven't been on Pinterest, the concept is almost deceptively simple. You sign up for an account (there's a waiting period right now as Pinterest tries to manage traffic and new accounts; once you sign up it should take about a week before you can get in). The site is a collection of boards, sort of like virtual bulletin boards that you name and add to your page. You can have as many boards as you want and name them whatever you want (though make sure to read through the Pinterest terms of service so you know you're not violating any of their regulations). The boards can describe your brand, book, message, or business. We'll look at some board ideas in a minute but for now, think bulletin board.

So, that said, how can you make the most of Pinterest? Like any social network, I recommend that you poke around, follow a few people in your industry and see what they are posting about. There are a lot of creative boards and a lot of companies using Pinterest as a unique brand extension. Check out Chobani's Pinterest page; they have all sorts of boards that tie into their brand including Chobani Champions, recipes, spoons, and sans yogurt which is a board about all things non-yogurt related.

Picking your Boards

First off, it's important to come up with creative and interesting board names. Keep in mind that these board names get shared whenever someone repins you so make them catchy!

When you first start on Pinterest, you are a completely blank slate. It's up to you to fill your new Pinterest page with exciting boards. But where to start? Well, your business, product, message, or book will often determine the boards you put up. You should consider your audience first and what they would like to see. Here are a few ideas:

If you do a lot of speaking or other offline events, create a board that captures the excitement of these by posting pictures and videos. This is especially great if you have a conference or other big event you're planning. You could put the board up early with "teaser" content to encourage sign-ups, too!

Create a customer or reader board that has pictures and/or videos of happy customers. I often talk about capturing endorsements or reviews on video when you see someone at an event, these can be posted to this board.

How-to boards are great as well. You can create a board (or several) around how-to's related to your product or service.

Company boards are great too, you can create one that showcases your company, sharing your core values, and also highlights your team.

Thank you boards are great, too. Consider creating a thank you board for clients. If you're promoting a new book, product, or campaign you can also create a board to support that. The board can have tutorials on it, or videos of the new product. It can be a combination of how-to and showcasing what you're offering.

Tutorials are big for our company, so we plan to offer tutorial boards to help walk our clients through how to use social media, how to continue reaping the benefits from our campaigns once they are done, etc.

Trends and seasonal stuff make great boards, too. So don't hesitate to create a holiday or trend board if you think your audience will be interested.

You can also let your customers work on a board with you. Create a user-generated content board and invite customers or readers to pin away!

Marketing Ideas

If the idea of Pinterest is still intimidating, consider the following marketing ideas for your boards:

Videos: Pinterest loves videos. What videos can you pin to a board?

Keywords are big on Pinterest, so be sure to think carefully about what you name your picture and what words you use in the description. You can even use hashtags on Pinterest and if you're trying to get the attention of another Pinner, use the @ followed by their Pin-name to tag them. You can also use a dollar sign to add a "ribbon" to your pin that will immediately show pricing. This is great if you're selling a product.

When you add your pin, don't forget to tweet it and add it to Facebook; you can do this as soon as the pin is loaded.

When you blog, be sure to add great pictures to your blog so that when you pin your blog post to your board, you can capture a great image. Images on Pinterest are obviously important!

Click the "popular" link on Pinterest to see what's hot and what's trending. You might be able to make this part of your content strategy.

Be sure to promote your Pinterest account on Facebook, Twitter, on your website, and in your email signature line, of course.

A Few Final Points

Be sure to add a catchy description to your profile and when you're setting up your Pinterest account, link it to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. This will help you gain followers, and add the icons to your profile page so you can direct people there, too.

Make sure to engage on Pinterest. Repin pins you love, comment on pins and since you can see pins on the site from folks you aren't even connected with, be sure to broaden your reach when networking. You never know where the next follower will come from.

Pinterest is a fun, if not highly addictive way, to start marketing. Still not sure what to do on Pinterest? Then get started by following others in your industry and get a sense of what they're doing. While the future of Pinterest is still uncertain, one thing we know is for sure. The site has grown at rates that no one expected and continues to do so. It's been the quickest site to monetize (to give you perspective, it took Twitter five years to monetize) and has already become a staple for many businesses.

Happy Pinning!

June 1, 2012
City Book Review Gives Story Merchant Client Dennis Palumbo's Fever Dream Four Out of Five Stars!

By Dennis Palumbo
Poisoned Pen Press, $24.95, 350 pages
ISBN 9781455114771

"Fever Dream" by Dennis Palumbo is the second book to feature Daniel Rinaldi, a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of traumatic stress. This time he’s called into support police action to resolve a bank hostage situation. Robbers have released one woman and Rinaldi must get as much information from her as possible before SWAT goes in.

Unfortunately, time is short and, in response to shots fired inside the bank, SWAT responds. Only the bank guard survives and he’s wounded by a sniper’s bullet. The current DA is running for governor and wants Rinaldi to stay on the case to get as much information as possible from the traumatized witness. Except nothing runs smoothly and Rinaldi becomes a target for violent attack. Now it’s a race against time to capture the robbers. Then events escalate with an attempt on the DA’s life. Rinaldi is also saddened by a suicide at the clinic where he worked as an intern. When you put these strands together, there’s a very clever set of problems to solve. Although Rinaldi’s capacity to absorb punishment is less than realistic, this is a high-adrenaline action thriller with some clever deductive reasoning to show whodunnit. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by David Marshall

May 30, 2012
NightSide – Clint Hill And Lisa McCubbin, Authors Of "Mrs. Kennedy And Me" Were In Studio « CBS Boston

Listen to this great interview with Dan Rea on Boston's NightSide.

NightSide – Clint Hill And Lisa McCubbin, Authors Of "Mrs. Kennedy And Me" Were In Studio « CBS Boston

Comic Host Brett Walkow chats with Story Merchant and Writing Coach Ken Atchity on, December 15, 2011.


Ken was in Rome October 28 for the European premiere of "Hysteria," starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy. A gala reception was held at the Hotel de Minerva.

Since the film's world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, the TRAILER is going viral!

Sony Pictures Classics is in negotiations to acquire domestic rights... MORE

"...intrigued? Then press play on this trailer, but beware of the slight NSFW bits..."
NY Magazine

"...Maggie Gyllenhaall and Hugh Dancy are going to have a scream this loosen your girdle, things are about to heat up..."
Huffington Post

"...has a sweetness that keeps you watching..."
Hollywood Reporter

"...When Harry Met Sally probably has the most famous solo orgasm in movie history, but this movie has a chorus...."
Inside Movies

"...a fun ride that may get a little silly at times, but then again, one would be hard-pressed to present the invention of the vibrator in a serious tone..."
Stanford Daily

"...a witty and sweet comedy. Featuring swift direction from Tanya Wexler and pithy performances from its cast, all of whom work wonders with Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer’s clever script - it is, as it should be, a pleasure..."
Toronto Int'l Film Festival

"...Hysteria is a Smart and Riotous Comedy..."
Indie Wire

"The independent film market is in a perennial renaissance...If you want to break in, and you're my client or partner, I'm going to tell you to become a proactive film maker..." More at Huffington Post

Click above to hear Ken's CYMASCOPE and visit The Story Merchant!

AUDIO of Ken's Webinar with Penny Sansevieri on "Finding a Publisher Today"

Ken's radio interview with Jeff Rivera of the Gatekeeper’s Post

AUDIO from Ken's "appearance" on the recent "Author In You" teleseminar

Humor & Health Journal's INTERVIEW with Ken!

Ken was interviewed on blogtalkradio by thatwritingchic

Kennedy Detail Press Tour Photos

The Kennedy Detail was recently featured in The Huffington Post, CNN, Discovery Channel News, myfoxdc, and The Mikey Show San Diego, and Colorado's 9NEWS.

All three authors appeared to discuss the book with readers at Book Soup in Los Angeles on Dec 6, and at Book Passage in San Francisco Nov. 30. More

From Library Journal:
"...will create controversy as it denies all conspiracy theories about who shot President Kennedy. It is an important contribution to Kennedy assassination literature for its presentation in riveting detail..." More

From Blog on Books:
"...gripping, sequential and astonishing detail. The effect is somewhere between storytelling and a detailed crime report..." More

Appearing at Georgetown University, author Jerry Blaine revealed that "President John F. Kennedy's secret service agents "worked for about $1.80 an hour" More

From Hartford Books Examiner:
"...Here are vivid scenes that could come only from inside...a true, must-read story..." More

From Fascinating Authors:
"...a book that everyone should read..." More

From ABC News:
"...The Kennedy Detail has brought a new perspective to the story..." More

From Technorati.:
"...a welcome addition to the library of any serious Kennedy student..." More

From The Washington Times.:
"...this book is remarkable in its poignant yet terse presentation of the day President Kennedy died and plunged America into mourning...." More

After 24 months of negotiation, AEI has finalized its deal to franchise Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not! as a series of major motion pictures, on the model of "Indiana Jones," to be produced by Ken Atchity and Chi-Li Wong with Alphaville's Jim Jacks and Sean Daniels ("The Mummy") for Paramount Pictures. The deal was made with Sherry Lansing, Donald DeLine, and Tom Jacobson of Paramount, and Norm Deska of Ripley Entertainment.