‘You oughta be in pictures!’ – and making it happen
Co-authors Alinka Rutkowska and Kenneth Atchity are both significant personas and writers in their own right, and their joining forces has resulted in publishing that special book every writer wants to find – how to write important character biographies, including (inhale, breathe) our own autobiography! Alinka is not only a best selling author but also a coach to many writers, ably sharing her experience and skills with writers around the world, as well as being CEO of Leaders Press. Kenneth is a producer and author, a “story merchant,” editor, speaker, career coach, columnist and professor of comparative literature. Strong combo, very strong results.
In the flavorful Foreword, Kenneth states, “A life is a story when it has a compelling beginning, a conclusive and satisfying ending, and a middle filled with unexpected twists and turns, highs and lows, happy breaks and dismal setbacks. If you’ve led a life like that, if you’ve taken an extraordinary path we would like all to know about, then this book is for you.’ A fine invitation and what follows in this book is a key to the door of opportunity.
Alinka and Kenneth share examples of successful memoirs that have become both best sellers and successful movies, and in outlining the aspects of these winners, they instruct us how to get there, from basic information about what constitutes a ‘memoir’ – the definition (and meaning) of Character, Conflict, Structure, Theme, Secondary story elements, and all aspects of the ingredients necessary in creating a memoir. Once defined, and supplemented with outstanding examples of successful memoirs we all know (Angela’s Ashes, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Glass Castle, The Pursuit of Happyness), they then guide us as to how to make it all happen in book form – and getting that book form cinematically friendly.
This is not only a fun read, a journey of its own to read, including the impressive and substantial ‘Entertainment Business and Story Market Glossary of Term,’ but it also is a very practical course in writing by two highly respected authors. Highly Recommended.
Story Merchant Author Ama Adair Featured in VIRGINIAN-PILOT!
Ama Adair first got the idea for her book series on a dark, narrow road in Baghdad, Iraq, as her military convoy drove past seemingly abandoned buildings and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end.
A Navy chief warrant officer specializing in counterintelligence and human intelligence, Adair didn’t begin writing until about six years after that 2010 deployment. But her vivid real-life memories helped shape her thriller “Shadow Game,” published in October under the name A.M. Adair. The book is the opener in a planned three- or four-part series.
“Shadow Game” features a strong female protagonist named Elle Anderson, a CIA operative who leads an elite team charged with destroying a terrorist organization.
“No damsels in distress or princesses here,” says Adair, a Virginia Beach resident. “She is a powerful, intelligent woman who is not very emotionally driven. She certainly doesn’t need rescuing. I would love if my daughter and other girls could see more characters like her.”
Ama Adair’s book, which published in October, is the first book in a planned three- or four-part series. (Courtesy of Ama Adair)
As a first-time author, Adair, 40, had a steep learning curve with the writing, editing and publication process. And as a mother with a full-time job, she had to squeeze much of her writing into two- to three-hour sessions on evenings and weekends. Her husband Jake, an active-duty Navy chief, took over parenting whenever he could.
“Luckily, military life trained me for not sleeping a whole lot,” Adair says. “Things got easier once I let my characters take over and stopped trying to force the plot. A lot of my own ideas for how to get to the key scenes I wanted kind of disappeared, which made it more fun.”
Although the series is fictional, Adair’s 10 overseas deployments — including four in Iraq and one in Afghanistan — served as background research. In fact, creating Anderson’s story helped Adair address some of her own feelings: “Elle goes through some post-traumatic stress and a lot of physical and emotional challenges. I found it very therapeutic for me.”
An Ohio native, Adair joined the Navy shortly after 9/11 and has lived in Virginia Beach since 2005. While always interested in reading and journaling, she had no writing training beyond school classes and the formal military papers required in her job.
After years of considering a novel, Adair typed the first chapters of “Shadow Game” on her laptop during downtime on a 2016 deployment in Italy. A self-described introvert, she found the solo pursuit a perfect fit.
Back home, Adair often settled down to write in a favorite recliner after her kids Arya, now 7, and later baby Finn, born last April, were asleep for the night. She also has juggled work toward an online bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies through American Military University.
The 300-page “Shadow Game” took about nine months to finish, followed by a similarly long editing process. “It was often me being too wordy,” she says. “I discovered that having too many details actually slows down the tempo.”
Since Adair is active-duty military, the Pentagon had to screen her thriller before publication. “Shadow Game” was released through Kindle Direct Publishing with representation by Story Merchant Books, a company that facilitates such independent publishing. It is currently for sale exclusively on Amazon.
“I was a complete nerd when it came out,” Adair says with a laugh. “I immediately ordered like five copies of it, plus the Kindle edition. I was in awe holding it.”
Adair is almost finished with book two of the series, “The Deeper Shadow,” which she started in 2017 but put on pause during her most recent pregnancy and Finn’s newborn months. She hopes to publish it in the summer and then immediately dive into book three. Once she retires from the military, her dream is to be a full-time writer.
“In a perfect world, I’d do a lot of hanging out with my laptop and some good cups of coffee,” she says. “I just want to let my imagination keep taking off.”
KENNETH ATCHITY’S THE MESSIAH MATRIX TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH!
INTERVIEW WITH 2019 SCRIPTAPALOOZA SCREENPLAY COMPETITION RUNNERS-UP BILL WALKER & BRIAN ANTHONY
TOME TENDER REVIEWS A POTTER’S TALE BY DAVE DAVIS
A fascinating and intriguing tale of life, love, betrayal and murder, Dave Davis’s A POTTER’S TALE challenges readers with mysteries from the past, the brilliance of a present day life snuffed out too soon and long held secrets that could spell the destruction of the universe.
When a former physician now reporter teams up with his tenacious partner, they had no idea that the story of the murdered teen would lead them across continents, civilizations, religions and scientific research facilities. Who is trying to cover up hidden secrets of the universe? To what end?
Dave Davis has added enough twists and left enough imaginative breadcrumbs along the way that science fiction buffs, history buffs and lovers of all things mysterious and suspenseful will each find a compelling reason to turn page after page! Taut writing, believable characters and some “didn’t see that coming,” moments make this one of those tales that boggles the mind, because, what if?…
SYNOPSIS: Love. Betrayal. Murder. Then the universe started to collapse. They say it all started in 1935 when Roz Lhulier and his team unearthed the massive tomb of Pakal, the greatest Mayan king, and with it, an ancient text, called a codex. They’re wrong.
The codex is deciphered by Alan Turing, the genius who broke the German’s Enigma Code during WWII, but its message is jealously guarded by the Astronomers, a lethal offspring of the Catholic Church. Astronomers have compromised or killed anyone with knowledge of the secret–presidents and prime ministers, just for instance.
The codex pulls others into its deadly orbit: Noah, a former physician, and his partner Kate, reporters for the Washington Post. They investigate the murder of DiShannia, a precocious teen, who’s achieved national recognition for her research on the demise of Mayan civilization. They’re led from Washington DC, to the British Museum, to the Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, to Melbourne, Australia.
Each step enlightens them, offers clues, frightens them. And us.
The two strands of the novel–the codex and its rich human stories–are joined by another narrative, creating a kind of weird DNA. This third strand involves the Potter, who crafts the story. And the genes that craft us all.
Does the universe collapse? The Potter knows the answer. Noah, Kate discover it. We learn it too–on the last page.
J.E. NICASSIO, AUTHOR OF FROM THE SKY RECEIVES COVETED BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARD
Founded in Toronto, Ontario, the Book Excellence Awards is an international book awards competition dedicated to recognizing both independent and traditionally published authors and publishers for excellence in writing, design and overall market appeal. Previous Winners and Finalists of the Book Excellence Awards have doubled their book sales, garnered attention from film producers, received the distribution in bookstores, and increased their visibility and media attention.
“The Book Excellence Awards is highly recognized in the literary community. I was thrilled and honored to receive such a prestigious book award for my first novel. This will open many doors for me.”
From the Sky is a thrilling and poignant novel that is not only worthy of being read by all readers, but it will open their eyes to the possibility of life among the stars, which is why J. E, Nicassio wrote the book.
From the Sky is the story about Lucien Foster and Samantha Hunter. Lucien Foster never expected Samantha Hunter to live after he tried to save her from a car accident that killed her twin brother instantly. But, for some inexplicable reason, her body accepted his alien blood. Now, not only is she alive, she’s changing, becoming stronger. But there’s one problem: the rogue government agency MJ 12 that’s been after Lucien and his family from the start, knows her secret. Sam is the only human to thrive with alien DNA in her system, meaning she’s the one. Through her, MJ 12 can start to re-populate the planet with an alien/human hybrid, a superhuman.
J.E. Nicassio gives readers insight into the Roswell crash, government cover- ups, and the supernatural. The book helps readers learn more about the unusual and UFO’s and historical sighting, whether they are young adults or adults.
Nicassio’s book has already received some great reviews from industry leaders.‘I just wish I could figure all this out – An exceptional novel!’
Pennsylvania author Jennie E. Nicassio is a former freelance writer, MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) field investigator, and the author of ROCKY, LOUIS-JOSEPH’S OOH RAH, HAUNTING SHORT TALES OF TWILA, and SOUL WALKER the From the Sky Trilogy, of which FROM THE SKY is Volume 1. Her writing reflects her fascination with life on other planets, and she has become well known for her fascinating paranormal fantasy works. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The depth and sensitivity of Jennie’s projected trilogy are evident in the quotation she places at book’s opening: ‘Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” – Arthur C. Clarke. Knowing her passion for UFOs and the probability of life on other planets, this book sails into the mind with surety and succeeds in transporting the reader into Jennie’s special realm.
The tale begins in Pittsburgh with an auto accident in which Samantha (aka Sam) survives while her twin brother Finn succumbs Sam is visited by a stranger who comforts her, saying she will not die, and then disappears. Months pass, Sam’s mother dies in a depressed state, and Sam once again views the stranger in the cemetery after her mother’s funeral. Moving to New Mexico with her father’s new university position as Dean of the Archaeology Department, Sam continues to encounter visions of the stranger. Gradually she learns the stranger is from another planet, and her life becomes more complex after meeting the strange but enchanting Lucien Foster. From this point on the story becomes a much a mystery thriller as a fantasy, so perfectly blended is the line that normally separates reality and the unknown – intrigue, alien conspiracies, and yes, romance.
Though written for the Young Adult audience, this book is so fine that it is equally irresistible for imaginative adults. Exceptional writing, this, and an outstanding opening chapter of Jennie’s successful trilogy. Highly recommended,” wrote Grady Harp, San Francisco Review of Books.
About the Book Excellence Awards – Founded in Toronto, Canada, the Book Excellence Awards is an international book awards competition dedicated to recognizing both independent and traditionally published authors for excellence in writing, design and overall market appeal. Previous Winners and Finalists of the Book Excellence Awards have been New York Times’ best-sellers, spoken at the United Nations and TEDx, and have had their books optioned by movie studios. To learn more, visit: https://www.bookexcellenceawards.com.
KENNETH ATCHITY’S SELL YOUR STORY TO HOLLYWOOD TRANSLATED INTO PORTUGUESE
ANNOUNCING THE BARD AWARD WINNERS AT THE FIFTH ANNUAL DUBLIN WRITERS’ CONFERENCE JUNE 21-23, 2019
Dublin, Ireland – Emmy Award-winning script-writer Michael Hirst, the script writer for all 69 episodes of the Vikings TV series will be awarded the Bard Award for Story Excellence at the Dublin Writers’ Conference this June.
Michael is best known for his films Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), as well as the Emmy Award-winning television series The Tudors and Vikings.
Dr. Ken Atchity, author, literary manager, publisher and producer will be awarded the Bard Award for Story Management at the Dublin Writers’ Conference.Ken is best known for The Meg, the blockbuster movie of Summer 2018,The Kennedy Detail (Emmy nominated), and his novel The Messiah Matrix.
The Dublin Writers Conference was established in 2015 by successful Irish thriller author Laurence O’Bryan, as an event dedicated to helping writers. TheDublinWritersConference.com.To contact the organisers email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Joh Rowland’s “Sano Ichirō ” made Book Riot’s list of 35 Great Historical Fiction Series
Sano Ichiro Series
Sano Ichiro, a samurai and private investigator for the shogun, in the 1600s in Edo, Japan:
Official webpage: http://www.laurajohrowland.com/books
“Impressive . . . An eerie Japanese echo of Presumed Innocent.”
“Serpico, meet James Clavell . . . Rowland is a sturdy, persuasive storyteller,
and well worth keeping an eye on.”—Washington Post Book World
“The year’s most sparkling debut . . . one of its best novels . . .
An unusual and exotic mystery . . . “—San Diego Union-Tribune
“Sano remains one of the great protagonists of the last few years.”
—Harriet Klausner, The Best Reviews
Congratulations Samuel Bernstein Silver Winner New York International Screenplay Awards
New York International Screenplay Award for “Elephant and Castle
Best Feature Screenplay Silver Winner 2019!
Dennis Palumbo’s Mystery Thriller “Head Wounds” Named one of the “Best of 2018” by SUSPENSE MAGAZINE
Blurbworm Reviews Michael A. Simpson’s Sons of My Fathers
I read this first book, Sons of My Fathers, by Michael Simpson with much enjoyment. It was an easy narrative spanning over 100 years and moves back and forth easily between the story of Baylis Simpson in 1864, to Mike, Ron and Alex six generations later.
Each story is harrowing in its own way, with Baylis’ family and home destroyed, physically and mentally by deserters during the Civil War, and the latter Simpsons harrowing march through the Vietnam War years. Sometimes I felt a little bit of American Graffiti but the two stories were too exciting and informative to keep comparing.
It’s indeed hard to realize that this is Mr. Simpson’s first book, though he is a screenwriter, director and producer of note. In his narrative of his ancestor, Baylis, I could feel and hear and practically smell, the horrors and tragedy of his family and the war as he tries to make his way back home. Then moving to Mike as he gives us his tale from age 10, and the night of The Dixie Flyer, to growing up with his older brother and his best friend Alex, both heroically cool to the young boy. Then the decision that his brother, Ron, makes during the Vietnam War that almost destroys his parents.
Though I knew where his dad was coming from-a Marine in WWII and a fine upstanding, godly member of his town in Georgia-I was also remembering how I felt at that time, which was about the time of the Mai Lai Massacre.
Thank you, Mr. Simpson for your clear vision of these times and events, and your solid narrative that made me see things through your eyes. Great book!
We want to congratulate our author, Kathleen Vail, for receiving the award for Outstanding Informational Book: Makes Take on the Classics, for her book Reconstructing the Shield of Achilles, from Just Reviews.
Praise for author Frank Mitchell
Author Frank Mitchell received honorable mentions for American Pathfinder at the Florida Book Festival, the Beach Book Festival, and the New York Book Festival this year. He also received another honorable mention for Attack at Khoda Bridge at the Florida Book Festival. We congratulate him for his new successes and praise.
Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
An extremely well written fictional account of the friendship between a journalist and Marilyn Monroe, in the lead up to her death.
I loved the character of Rory Long and his determination to not be put off Marilyn and his decision to show Marilyn as he saw her.
His depiction of Marilyn is also refreshing and although it shows the known sides, it gives another facet to her.
I’m aware this is a fictional account but it does hook you in and causes you to rethink those who you think you know. Maybe we all need to look a little closer at the people we know in public and in private.
A lovely, sensitive and brave version of which it is not only enjoyable, but believable.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
Praise for author Nicolas Bazan, M.D.
Of Mind and Music, based on the Story Merchant Books novel by Nicolas Bazan, M.D., who also helped pen the screenplay and executive produced the film, is the story of a beautiful street musician suffering from Alzheimer’s, and a disheartened neuroscientist intent on helping her, bringing together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous.
The Hollywood Reporter says it’s “a particularly moving entry in the genre, gaining strength through its undeniable authenticity…Featuring outstanding performances and making excellent use of its scenic New Orleans locations, the film handles its delicate subject matter with a deeply affecting emotional restraint.”
Praise for Sons of My Fathers by Michael Simpson
I read this first book, Sons of My Fathers, by Michael Simpson with much enjoyment. It was an easy narrative spanning over 100 years and moves back and forth easily between the story of Baylis Simpson in 1964, to Mike, Rob and Alex 6 generations later.
Each story is harrowing in its own way, with Baylis’ family and home destroyed, physically and mentally by deserters during the Civil War, and the latter Simpsons harrowing march through the Vietnam War years. Sometimes I must admit, I felt a little bit of American Graffiti but the two stories were too exciting and informative to keep comparing. It’s indeed hard to realize that this is Mr. Simpsons first book, tho he is a screenwriter, director and producer of note.
In his narrative of his ancestor, Baylis, I could feel and hear and practically smell, the horrors and tragedy of his family and the war as he tries to make his way back home. Then moving to Mike as he gives us his tale from age 10, and the night of The Dixie Flyer, to growing up with his older brother and his best friend Alex. Both heroically cool to the young boy. Then the decision that his brother, Rob, makes during the Vietnam War that almost destroys his parents. Though I knew where his dad was coming from-a Marine in WWII and a fine upstanding, godly member of his town in Georgia-I was also remembering how I felt at that time, which was about the time of the Mai Lai Massacre.
Thank you, Mr. Simpson for your clear vision of these times and events, and your solid narrative that made me see things through your eyes. Great book!
The Classical Roman Reader
Congratulations to Kenneth Atchity and The Classcial Roman Reader for receiving a Bronze Medal for Best Adult Non-Fiction Informational eBook in the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards!
Death at the Day Lily Café has been named by Suspense Magazine as one of the best books of 2016! Congratulations to author Wendy Eckel!
“I highly recommend Ken Atchity’s webinar “Selling Your Story to Hollywood.” It was thoughtfully prepared and delivered, completely satisfying every question I had—the why, the how, the when. Now I can move forward to sell my novel to the Indie Film Market. Thank you, Ken!” – Doug Fetterly, Story Merchant Author
“Thank you for a very informative teleseminar on ‘Selling Your Story to Hollywood.’ I guess the thing I retain the most about the lecture is that I should stop dreaming and start working on how to best pitch my books to movie producers. I know I’ve on my side the best person in the industry to help me do that!” –Georges Benay, Story Merchant Author
“Your class was informative and inspiring!” -Sara F. Hathaway, author “I love your presentation. There are certain presenters that are brilliant, humble, creative and personable; these qualities of who you are come across so strongly as I listen that it is already a pleasure to know of you, and hopefully make your acquaintance. Your presentation made my day!” -Sky Canyon, publisher, producer & screenwriter
A Writer’s Time by Kenneth Atchity
“As I always do, I assigned your book to my class, and as I haven’t read it for 3 or 4 years, I thought I’d give it another go (also I’m at that page-80-brick-wall in my book, and there is no more perfect remedy for writers block than A Writer’s Time). It just gets better and better and more effective every time I read it. It’s a classic, Ken. I could not let today go by without letting you know” -Katherine Taylor, English Teacher & Book Author
Praise for author T.L. Farmer
“A gripping mystery with historical and speculative-fiction flourishes that should captivate fans of all three genres”
“I just finished this wonderful book entitled Gambino: The Rise, by an excellent writer named James E. Pierre…[his book] makes the reader actually believe they are right there in the middle of all the goings-on in every one of the story’s pages. Being a 2nd generation Sicilian born in—where else—Flatbush-Brooklyn and living there in the 1940s and 50s, I have an appreciation for Mr. Pierre’s writing. I recall like it was yesterday many of the incidents having taken place in Mr. Pierre’s book…and I certainly enter my praise for this book” -Gary Taibbi, Reader
Congratulations to Lucina Stone, author of Santa Muerte, a Finalist in the 18th Annual International Latino Book Awards, the largest awards in the USA celebrating achievements in Latino literature and culture.
Congratulations to R. Lee Walsh, author of Irin, the first novella in The Last Scribe Prequels series and a semifinalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Awards.
“I watched Hysteria on DVD and I loved it.
Thanks for bringing it to us, send another one soon!” -Howey Bonham, Client
Praise for Brea MacKenzie
“Kenneth John Atchity has created a world of beauty and ugliness, joy and sorrow and wrapped it in the gauze of belief, belief that sometimes things are not black and white, they are not obvious, they just are. Follow a broken soul as it finds the glue to repair itself in the arms of another as love blossoms between two people that would never have met, if not for an old and cryptic letter. Not a read to rush through, but one to savor and feel each scene, each emotion, including the love between family and friends that cannot quite reach Brae’s dark inner pain. Realize the truth that not money or fame can bring the joy of true love. Although not a long read, Mr. Atchity has mastered the art of storytelling that will float through your heart.”
–Good Reads 5-Star Review See the full review here
Jason Statham to Star in Prehistoric Shark Movie ‘Meg’
Jason Statham will star in the Warner Bros. shark action movie “Meg,” sources confirmed to Variety.
How to Quit Your Day Job and Live out Your Dreams
I wanted to express my gratitude for your book, “How to Quit Your Day Job and Live out Your Dreams”… I love how courageous you were in your decision to chase your dreams. I live by the motto, “if you can fail at doing something you hate, you might as well do something you love.” I admire your passion and…look forward to hopefully working with you in the future! —Alexis Bloomer
Last Plane Out of Saigon
Last Plane Out of Saigon is now part of the Special Collections Department in the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are thrilled to be included in the USAFA McDermott Library and wanted to share our latest achievement with you. More here.
Dark Money by Larry Thompson
Review by Red City Review ★★★★★Dark Money is a fascinating tale of dirty money, power, and an effort by an against-the-government group called the Alamo Defenders. Author, Larry D. Thompson, weaves back and forth between former Army man, Jack Bryant, law enforcement officers, the head of the Alamo Defenders, Colonel Van Zandt, and his daughter. Miriam Van Zandt followed her daddy’s orders and killed a local billionaire and seriously wounded the governor of Texas during a fundraiser. Once the law finds her, they face the difficult challenge of arresting her inside her father’s compound. Van Zandt has used his own dirty money to accumulate a ton of illegal firearms, and he has no intention of letting anyone stop him. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg and only one piece of the story. When Van Zandt’s compound is invaded and Miriam is ultimately taken into custody Thompson’s Dark Money takes quite a different turn. Larry Thompson does a great job keeping readers intrigued in the story as it continues to evolve. New characters show up as well as some falling away, but this unique aspect of Dark Money keeps readers turning pages. It is a very well-written story with underlying issues for many of the characters. For example, Sergeant Walt Frazier Jr., who is a key character throughout the story, has PTSD, and this shows up in numerous ways. Thompson’s ability to add such depth and sub-stories makes for a compelling read. And, not to be overlooked, the descriptiveness of the scenes flow elegantly allowing the reader to see clearly what is happening from one moment to the next. Thompson avoids gory scenes and heart-stopping moments that make readers need to leave the light on. Instead, he’s written a thriller that’s packed with mystery and intrigue and will make the gears of a reader’s mind spin. Dark Money is exciting, yet is also a great book to curl up with and enjoy the paradox of a relaxing thriller. To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.
Dark Money review
Exceptionally well written and an all too believable plot premise given the growing havoc that the Citizens United decision continues to have on American politics and traditional concepts of American democracy, “Dark Money” is a compelling read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections. Midwest Book Review
The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth Atchity, MD
Bookpleasures.com interviews Dr. Ken Atchity about his companies, his recent works and projects, and advice for writers. Bookpleasures.com Interview
How I Became My Father…A Drunk by William G. Borchert
Over 100 news sites are currently hosting a press release for the riveting true-life story of Bill Borchert as told in How I Became My Father…a Drunk. See this great release on some of these notable sites:
“CBS… found huge success with the Hallmark movie The Lost Valentine – which not only won its time period in viewers (14.3 million) but represented the most-watched Hallmark movie in four years (since Valley of Light).” —Entertainment Weekly
Angels in the Snow
“You are amazing. Your determination to get Christmas Journey made into a movie means so much to me. We watched Angels in the Snow together at her house, along with our families, and it was so much fun. You absolutely captured the essence of the book, and I loved the casting. Also, choosing to tell the story through the youngest child’s eyes was brilliant, as was adding the baby Bella aspect to the story. Many, many thanks to you and everyone else involved in creating the movie.”
—From Rexanne Becnel, author of Christmas Journey, adapted into the TV movie Angels in the Snow in 2015 “I applaud the producers on their casting decisions. As a fan of Christmas movies, diversity, and color-blind casting, I think Angels in the Snow was truly great. There were no references to the ethnicity of either family so I think the casting worked beautifully. Keep doing what you’re doing!” -Kenya Branch, Screenwriter/Producer, MKB Productions
Dueling in Death’s Backyard by Thomas Jay Berger, MD
“I was a little skeptical about Dueling in Death’s Backyard, considering it was written by a cardiac surgeon. However, Dr. Thomas Jay Berger is an incredible writer and this story had me hooked. In the book, Dr. Berger tells the tale of a gifted heart surgeon who finds himself facing the big questions about death and a soul’s release. There is suspense, gripping details of what happens and could take place. Truly scary at times but thrilling too. This book is an incredible read and unlike any book I have come across. If you are looking for something a little different to keep you at the edge of your seat, I think you’ll like this. I have been bored in my readings but this one captured my full imagination as to what happens on the operating table.” —Amazon Reviewer
Deadly Impressions by Art Johnson
“This book surprised me. I felt it was going to be another simple mystery. WOW was I ever wrong. Mr. Johnson leads you subtly and carefully down a path of twists and turns. The intrigue and suspense is off the charts. While reading this book, I was certain I knew who dun-nit only to be proven wrong over and over. The writing style is terrific. The characters well defined and easy to understand. I also loved the history tie-in. This book is an easy read and perfect to curl up with. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.” —Melanie Adkins, Top Amazon Reviewer Melanie’s Review Blog
“The twists and turns in this murder mystery are many and varied–you will think you know who did it–then realize you were wrong. The real culprit? I know I did not guess who it was and it was a total surprise.” See the full review here: http://www.mikishope.com/2016/06/book-review-deadly-impressions-art.html –Michele Bodenheimer, Miki’s Hope Book Reviews Melanie’s Review Blog
“It is the personality of Sgt. Mike blowing through this account like a clear breeze that gives it a refreshing quality. Everyone’s dream of a cop, he was also a romantic and understanding husband, the fondest of fathers; a man of honor and humor.” —New York Times “This is a book the reader will be unable to put down until the last page is read.” —Library Journal “Mrs. Mike…is the story of the start of young love, its growth to maturity, and its acceptance of a dangerous, hard, but enthralling life. Its level of sheer entertainment is extremely high. —Los Angeles Herald-Express
In a word, riveting. Let’s fast forward to the near future, where people are more concerned with the present than the pivotal moments in time that shaped the world and its people. The horrors of World War II are long forgotten, few are left alive that lived through the genocide performed by Nazi Germany on Jews at Auschwitz and other death camps under their reign of terror. Slowly, these survivors are dying from freak accidents, suicide, old age, or is it murder? Only one survivor remains, Jack Fisher, a 100 year old man, whose body may be failing, but his mind is intact. Within his memories lay the truth of what happened so long ago. But who will listen? Even the educators are saying the Holocaust was overblown, exaggerated. Any source of information has disappeared, but why? What evil has sprung up to end the lives of the last survivors?
People who question history are mysteriously dying, and when Jack’s great-granddaughter goes missing after raising issues about this historical travesty, its Jack the police come to for answers. The story Jack reveals is far more heinous than believable, but deeply buried facts back his story, but will it help find his great granddaughter? Raising more questions, suspicions, and awareness to the true history, Jack has placed a bullseye on his frail back. This time, even his Aryan appearance, converted Catholicism and very American name will not save him. Perhaps the young boy he once was will come forward in the fight for survival, but will it be enough? Will the true past die with Jack before the world finally opens its eyes?
Jerry Amernic took one of humanity’s darkest moments and fictionalized it in a way that brings history to life, personal, human and brutally raw. The Last Witness comes to life as part mystery, part history, and one hundred percent spellbinding. His characters range from the delightfully cogent Jack Fisher to the almost caricature-like police detective that befriends him. The seamless travel back through Jack’s memories is almost too vividly real as he tells his life as a young child through the eyes of a much older man. Parts of our history are ugly, brutal, but these stories must be told and remembered. Through fiction, Jerry Amernic has done just that with The Last Witness and done it with heart and respect for those who suffered.
Jack Fisher, who lives in a retirement home in New York City, is 100 years old and is celebrating his birthday. He has family— children and grandchildren—yet all is not right in Jack Fisher’s world. Fisher is the central figure in Jerry Amernic’s new book, The Last Witness. History also plays a central role in this engrossing narrative— the history of the Holocaust, of Jack Fisher’s survival in Auschwitz as a five-yearold child, and of what happens when society forgets the bitter lessons of the past. The Last Witness, set partly in the near future and partly in the past, unfolds as a powerful and multi-layered narrative. Its cast of characters includes an array of unforgettable characters, each driven by their own irresistible needs. Jack Fisher is working on his “second hundred years.” Fisher’s great-granddaughter, Christine, a school teacher in a midsized Ontario city, is trying to understand why her school board teaches a version of history which has no place for the Holocaust. Lt. Jack Hodgson of the NY Police Department finds himself investigating mysterious deaths. Amernic skilfully combines flashbacks, suspenseful episodic treatment, lively personality profiling and dramatic scene-setting in a book that keeps the reader involved to the last page. But it is more than spine-tingling storytelling that makes The Last Witness a memorable book. Amernic’s theory that society will one day soon forget the Holocaust ever happened may at first seem an unlikely prospect. Considered against today’s rise in anti-Semitism and the furor of extremist Islamic groups warring on Jews and Christians alike, The Last Witness poses both a challenge and a warning. Review by Ray Argyle, author of The Paris Game: Charles de Gaulle, the Liberation of Paris, and the Gamble that Won France.
In my new Daniel Rinaldi thriller, Phantom Limb, one of the main characters is an Afghan vet who lost his leg to an IED while out on patrol with his unit. Now, stateside, he struggles with a growing substance abuse problem, as well as some of the predictable psychological aftereffects of such a life-changing trauma. Moreover, he often experiences the bewildering sensation that his missing limb is still attached to his body. It itches, aches, or feels cold. Often, at night, while his prosthetic leg is propped against the wall across the room, the former Marine tosses and turns in bed, maddened by the tingling, burning sensation in his “phantom limb.”
Prior to becoming a licensed psychotherapist, I did intern work at a private psychiatric facility where I encountered a number of amputee patients suffering from this condition. But it wasn’t until I began researching the new novel that I discovered that up to 80 percent of people with amputations experience phantom limb sensations. Fortunately, in most cases, the symptoms lessen over time.
But what causes this extraordinary syndrome? At present, there’s no exact answer. For many years, the accepted theory was that once a limb is amputated, the severed nerve endings continued to send signals to the brain. Which then re-wires itself to adjust. To put it simply, from the brain’s standpoint, this meant the severed limb was still “there.” However, more recent research suggests that phantom limb sensations originate in the peripheral nervous system, not the brain. They are the result of alterations in the body’s wide neural network, outside the primary areas in and around the brain. Of course, none of these theories do much to reduce or eliminate the patient’s uncanny experience. Just as most treatment methods have shown less than hoped-for results. Patients have been prescribed everything from anti-depressants to biofeedback, muscle relaxants to hypnosis. In some cases, doctors have tried electrical nerve stimulation. For example, inserting an electrode into the spinal cord, and then delivering a small electric current to relieve discomfort. Regardless of treatment approaches, both the sudden loss of an arm or leg, as well as the phantom limb symptoms that often occur, are indicative of the psychological trauma accompanying such extreme injuries. Whether caused by an explosive device buried in the sand or as the result of an auto accident, the sudden loss of a limb is an emotional as well as a physical disruption of a person’s world. In my novel, the character’s phantom limb symptoms serve as a metaphor for the sense of absence we all feel when a part of us—either due to an actual physical injury or some deep personal loss, such as a painful divorce or the death of a loved one—is wrenched away. Leaving nothing, to our mind’s eye, but a persistent, almost palpable ghost. Gone, and yet not gone. Dennis Palumbo, Phantom Limb, Poisoned Pen Press, September 2014
Review from Spinetingler Magazine – May 2015
Daniel Rinaldi is a Pittsburgh psychologist and consultant to the Police Department, counseling victims suffering reactions to violent crimes. Somehow he also manages to get himself into all kinds of dangerous situations and probably could use similar help himself from some other professional. In this fourth novel in an excellent series, he outdoes his involvement and placing himself in death’s ways several times.
It all begins when Lisa Harland, trophy wife of a billionaire, keeps an initial appointment during which she informs Rinaldi that she intends to commit suicide at 7 pm that evening. The reason for her plan does not appear until later in the plot, but Rinaldi convinces her to postpone the effort by one day. But on the way out after their time was up, Rinaldi is knocked unconscious and she is kidnapped. Then begins a more complicated story, and one well worth reading. The author, a licensed psychotherapist, sprinkles the book with all kinds of perceptive observations, providing deep insights into the characters and their motivations. Written smoothly and at a crisp pace with few complications, the tale resolves itself logically and is most satisfying, leading this reader, at least, waiting breathlessly for the next chapter in the adventures of Danny Rinaldi.
Article by Kat Hinson, Austin Bar Association Beyond the Practice by Kat Hinson In 1970, Richard Pena was enjoying his senior year at the University of Texas. He, like many of his fellow students, was carefully watching the global stage and coming of age politically. The expansion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia, the shooting of unarmed student protestors at Kent State, and the exposure of the My Lai massacre — a deliberate slaughter of at least 109 Vietnamese civilians, including children — prompted week-long protests throughout the country. Pena was one of thousands of students who marched across campuses and cities. While Pena was adamantly opposed to the war in Vietnam, he still supported his country. Much of the politics at the time focused on extremes, and Pena felt that this approach was too restrictive.
Although smaller numbers were being drafted due to the perceived slowing of the war, Pena received a draft notice. He obtained a one-year graduate deferment to attend his first year of law school at UT. Pena assumed that since he was a law student, he would be assigned as a law clerk somewhere. Instead, he was assigned to be an Operating Room Specialist in Vietnam. “I was told, ‘Make your will, say your goodbyes to your friends and family,’” said Pena. “At that point, there wasn’t much activity in Vietnam, so it seemed kind of safe. I head off to make my will, then the North Vietnamese stormed the demarcation line and headed south. The war was on with great vigor.”
As a way of dealing with the horror and chaos of the war, Pena kept a journal throughout his time in Vietnam. Stationed in the operating room of the country’s largest military hospital, Pena witnessed the results of humans’ vast capacity to do harm. Far from being the setup for TV’s MASH, Pena’s life during the war centered entirely on survival. As an American, where you lived, how you walked, what you wore, were all designed to keep you alive. “One of the rules the Army made was that if you were going to go downtown, you wear your army fatigues, your uniform, so to speak,” said Pena. “I looked at that rule as being out of touch with reality. That was a tip-off to the Viet Cong who were infiltrating the community that you were military. That’s how people got killed. So I put on my jeans and dark shirt and tried to blend in, even though it was against the rules. You realize that you don’t follow rules there. There’s one rule and that’s the rule of survival.” After Pena served almost a year, the Paris Peace Agreement was reached. The soldiers who were still in Vietnam were assigned an “X+” day to leave on. The peace agreement allowed for 60 days to withdraw troops. Pena was assigned X+61, which meant he was to leave one day beyond the last day provided by the peace agreement. Two planes were there to take everyone left out of Vietnam. Waiting in line with his ever-present briefcase, he remembers seeing a man taking a photo. Fast forward 30 years. A successful lawyer specializing in workers’ compensation and personal injury, Pena maintains offices in Austin and McAllen. He is a past president of the Austin Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and the American Bar Foundation. For many years, Pena has been active in the People to People Ambassador program. He has led delegations of American lawyers all over the world, meeting with legal leaders in other countries. It was with the People to People program that Pena returned to Vietnam in 2003. As he was leading a tour through the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, someone pointed to a photo on the wall. The caption said, “Last Plane Out.” The photo shows a line of Americans waiting to board a plane. In line is a young man holding a briefcase. The observations made by Pena in his journals had stayed in a box for three decades. Upon his return, he consulted John Hagan, an award-winning writer and co-director of the Center of Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation. Hagan not only thought that the journals were good, but more importantly, felt that the historical significance of realtime observations at the end of the Vietnam war — one of the most divisive episodes in the nation’s history — was substantial. With Hagan providing the historical perspective to the journal entries, Pena published “Last Plane Out of Saigon” in early 2014. In his introduction to the book, Hagan said, “There is an underlying tone of bitterness in this work, but remember that these were very bitter times.” Now 40 years after Vietnam, Pena believes that the nation can learn from the many lessons taught through Vietnam. He also wants to kickstart a dialogue. “One of the reasons for the book is to be a part of the national discussion and have people think.” In addition, Pena hopes that his book can remind our nation about the veterans who returned from Vietnam. “Many of our soldiers came home from Vietnam broken by Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or drug addiction,” Pena wrote. “Today, approximately one third of the adult homeless are veterans — and nearly half of these are Vietnam veterans. Predominantly male, they suffer from mental illness, alcohol, and substance abuse, and related disorders. These Americans were not like this when they went to Vietnam as young men and women.” “There are consequences to war,” said Pena. “When people say that war is hell, listen to them. They know what they’re talking about.”
Amazon Best Sellers Rank – December 2014: Reached #1 in Kindle Store
Featured as a “Best Seller” for local Austin, Texas bookstore, Book People.
The Arousal Plan by Sarah White
“The Arousal Plan by Sarah White is a very good self-improvement program. It is hard work but it does work if you stick to it. It is a ten week program to help you achieve your life goals. There are 8 Pillars that the plan operates under, they are: Food, Exercise, Clothing, Living Space, Sex & Love, Work & Money, Culture and power Project. Sarah White shares with the reader, “Arousal is about having a balanced baseline of excitement and motivation that influences you positively in all areas of your life.” I recommend this book to everyone who are interested in making their lives better. I look for more from Sarah White.” —Amazon Review
The Messiah Matrix by Kenneth John Atchity
Review by Goodreads.com My rating: 4 stars ★★★★ To what lengths would the Vatican go to suppress the secret origins of its power? Current papal politics has made this thriller eerily prophetic! The Messiah Matrix is a myth-shattering novel whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose the fundamentalists who hide them still. A renowned scholar-monsignor is killed in Rome while 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—much like the secrets emerging from the Vatican in today’s news.
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.”
Classical scholar and Yale Ph.D. Dr. Kenneth John Atchity is the only author alive today capable of creating this literary and historically-based spellbinder. Jasius? Who or what is it? All Google has to offer is a two-tailed butterfly or the ring finger. Say it again. Jasius. It has the sound of something strange, yet strangely familiar. Something or someone we all know, yet infinitely beyond our comprehension. Kenneth Atchity’s The Messiah Matrix explores the mystery in a fast-paced, light-hearted novel that is at the same time profoundly disturbing. The story goes forward at three levels. At the top, a rousing twenty-first century adventure that moves from the wrecks littering the floor of the Mediterranean to the corridors of the Vatican. Below that, a carbon-dated epigraphic revisionist history of the first centuries BCE and CE. And, at the deepest level, a sympathetic, fair-minded rational re-examination of “the greatest story ever told.” You may applaud, dispute, chortle, weep, but you will think about this book long after the final page.-Benedict and Nancy Freedman, authors Mrs. Mike, Sappho: The Tenth Muse, The Immortals In a thriller that rivals anything Dan Brown ever wrote, The Messiah Matrix threatens to take all your beliefs and toss them into the wind. A priest is murdered in Rome. His assassin is also shot and killed while with another priest. A message was delivered. An artifact is found on the floor of the sea. A Jesuit questions his faith and the history of his Church. An archaeologist uncovers the find of a lifetime and loses it. A connection between Christ and Augustus Caesar? The wise men following a star in 17 BC? Curiouser and curiouser! Although you know what they say about curiosity. The Monsignor searching for the ashes of Christ–which he was killed before explaining. Does the Holy See condone murder? Damn Skippy it does! This book is amazing! The two main characters of Ryan and Emily are the perfect pair of detectives. Will they be more? You’ll have to read the book!
Steven Quintana, an ex Army Ranger reconnaissance photographer witnesses something happen while on a mission which he can’t get out of his head–recurring nightmares stalk him. He is still a photographer but now is one of the paparazzi getting photos of movie stars in California and being paid really good money for it. He has saved up almost enough to retire when he is offered a really huge amount to get one more photo of Julia Travers, a up and coming movie star. The last photo he managed to get of her she managed to kick him in the mouth hard enough to break a tooth! He just can’t say no to the amount of money he is being offered for just one picture. He gets the picture and it is all too easy. That is when all hell breaks loose. Steven looks at the picture and realizes there is something wrong. He can not let it go and decides to follow up.
Terry Stanfill (Realms of Gold) Featured in Le Chatillon Ai et L’Auxois
CONGRATULATIONS to Atchity-Wong Client Alan Roth – Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Winner!
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.
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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.