MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Miki's Hope Reviews Brae MacKenzie


This book may throw you a bit--and although I am pretty sure it is an allegory in parts I will definitely be reading it again.

Depression is a terrible illness and Brae Mackenzie seems to be deeply depressed. Nothing is bringing her joy--her Mom died when she was very young and her husband just died. She goes deeper and deeper into a depressed state. Her Father finally notices and gives her a letter-a family heirloom-a letter written to Brae by her Grandmother. It is a treasure map--but where will it take her?

She goes to Scotland where her family originated-and with the help of the dour Scot Daemon--follows the trail of the treasure map. What she finds at the end is where the allegory will become apparent!

I truly enjoyed this book and believe it may help others and that everyone will enjoy the story!


About the Book: (from Amazon)

Brae MacKenzie, a successful San Francisco painter, is a woman who seems to have it all but who's felt a sense of loss and longing since childhood. Her artistic passion hasn't filled that void, and with the untimely death of her charismatic husband, the old pain resurges.

Brae's father senses his daughter's pain and before she embarks for an exhibit in England he hands her a family heirloom hidden away for years...a letter: "Since you are still among the living, your heart is not broken...follow the map," Brae reads, "to Scotland."

The London exhibit, in its ultra-chic hollowness, prompts Brae into taking and advice of that bewildering letter. She hops a train for Glasgow.

When the train goes through a tunnel and emerges in an infinite forest of Scotch pines, descendants of the ancient Caledonian forest, Brae suddenly feels something. This is her stop; she just knows it.
She is met at the station by Damon, a stranger, or perhaps not. He becomes her own personal tour guide to the myths and history of a past she never knew--and to a romance she never dreamed of having. She had it all, beauty, love, wealth and fame, but her soul was empty. It wasn’t the loss of her perfect husband, her painting did not give her joy, she was empty inside, something was missing.

Read a chapter or two here

Purchase the book here

Read more at Miki's Hope

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gene Wilder ... R.I.P.

He made us cry with  laughter.  Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

Gene Wilder Dead



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Love to Read Reviews Brae 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.--Tome Tender, 5 stars

Goodreads Summary

I really enjoy books set in Scotland. The lush descriptions and "wild" feeling are palpable throughout the book. I mostly felt bad for Brae, a young woman who lost her husband and isn't nearly as responsive as she normally is. She searches for answers to her lack of emotion and arrives at the idea that she must go to Scotland (that would certainly give me a pick me up!). When she gets to Scotland, she meets Damon, a man with an old soul. Feeling as though they already know each other, they travel around Scotland and gradually Brae begins to feel more like herself.

I really liked getting to know Damon. It took him much of the book to open up. I did not fully guess at what his problem was, but I was close! I liked how the romance developed more from a friendship (the best kind!). Brae's character was interesting. She wasn't the chipper, always-thinking character that I am used to and sometimes her seeming depression was a little on the annoying side, but I liked how she clearly cared for her son and had the resilience to recover from her losses.  This would be a fun read for adult readers!

4 Stars

Read more at krystal-Love to Read

Friday, August 19, 2016

MEG'S Long, Long Journey to the Screen

Giant Shark Movie ‘Meg’ Had A Ridiculously Complex Journey To Screens


Macmillan

It seems strange that Hollywood hasn’t already made a movie where Jason Statham fights a giant shark, which is more or less the plot summary of Meg, a movie that just cast Rainn Wilson as the well-meaning billionaire who unleashes said giant shark by mistake. But Meg is a movie with a decades-long history of not getting made that lays bare just how hard it is to make a movie that seems like a slam dunk.

Meg first pinged Hollywood’s radar in 1997, when the thriller of the same name from prolific thriller author Steve Alten first hit bookstores. Alten’s book was practically designed for Hollywood: It followed Navy SEAL and diving expert Jonas Taylor, who stumbles over a giant shark in the Marianas Trench and is immediately dismissed as a crackpot. He goes back to help retrieve a submersible and a series of accidents unleashes the giant shark on the ocean. Alten’s mix of old-school monster movie and Tom Clancy-esque technothriller was unique, and he’s kept returning to the concept with five other novels.

Alten’s book was, quite literally, optioned before it was printed. Alten’s agent used the plot to tempt Disney into optioning the novel and then turned that around to get Alten a publishing deal. But before Disney could start building sharks, Deep Blue Sea, a movie about sharks with human intelligence eating Samuel L. Jackson, went into production, so Disney held off. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Renny Harlin’s gleeful B-movie did okay at the box office, but wasn’t the globe-spanning hit Disney was hoping to see. Disney threw Meg back, but it didn’t stay in for long, as in 2004, the producers behind Hellboy, along with the editor of CHUD.com at the time, Nick Nunziata, optioned it for Guillermo Del Toro to direct.

Unfortunately, as fans of his many, many abandoned projects can tell you, Del Toro’s eyes are often bigger than his stomach. So, in 2007, it went to another filmmaker, Speed director Jan de Bont. De Bont, by the way, hasn’t directed a movie since 2003’s Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life, and in 2010, Meg was released into the wild yet again.

Aside from a brief mention in 2011 from Alten that the movie was back on track, Meg was dormant until 2015, when it was announced Eli Roth was taking over directorial duties. What changed?

The short answer was that China was interested. Just as The Rock and Matt Damon have turned up in Chinese-funded projects, Meg will largely be paid for by obscure production company Gravity Pictures, which will distribute it in China. But even with the funding on lock, there was still the matter of finding a director, as Roth left and was replaced by National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub.

It seems Meg has finally escaped production hell. In addition to Wilson, Orange is the New Black star Ruby Rose and Chinese megastar/pop singer Fan Bingbing have signed on, and Meg is on track to arrive in March 2018. But, of course, if the giant shark has learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that even a sure thing may be harder to make than it looks.

Read more


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ken Atchity Featured in the UK Express: The hollywood producer and writer who loves making waves

KEN ATCHITY has quite literally been making waves on the Hollywood film scene.



Ken Atchity 


The writer, editor, literary manager and producer now operates the only wave generating tank in North America with his partners.
The Louisiana Wave Studio is a huge tank built originally by the Disney Company for their film the Guardian.

“We’ve filmed numerous movies there and it’s always an astonishing thing to watch in action,” says Ken, who is from Louisiana himself. “Waves from 2ft to 7ft can be made at the touch of a button.”

Wave generating tank
The 72-year-old now operates the only wave generating tank in North America
 
A brief look at Ken’s CV should leave no one surprised that he seized on the chance to try something unique and different.

He has spent a lifetime leaping into the unknown, from the moment he left Yale having won the university’s prestigious Porter Prize for his 853-page dissertation on Homer’s Iliad.

“When I told a great editor, Norman Cousins of the Saturday Review, that I was feeling claustrophobic in the Academic World he suggested I enter the world of entertainment where ‘anything goes’ and ‘nobody knows anything’ – to quote from William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade.

“A year later, I was the executive producer on 16 romance films in Montreal, Canada. I’ve never looked back.”

Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like Angelina Jolie, James Belushi, Tim Allen and Rupert Everett.

“Sure, there are plenty of stories,” says Ken. “I could tell you about the ‘trailer war’ between Tim Allen and Julie Bowen at the Target Center in Minneapolis during the shooting of Joe Somebody, but maybe I’d better stick to my walk-on role in that film as Jesse Ventura’s bodyguard!

Messiah
Atchity has written more than 20 books – including the novel The Messiah Matrix
 
“I’ll never forget the time, either, that we were filming in London and Maggie Gyllenhaal shot one of her scenes in Hysteria while her daughter was secreted underneath her ample Victorian bustle.

“Of all of them I loved working with Angelina because she’s so business-like about her acting—refusing even to take a toilet break so as not to hold up a shot.

“In contrast, I won’t name the actress who demanded that we buy her an $8,000 watch as a “gift”—then, when we politely refused, showed up hours late for the next day’s shoot.”

It’s words, though, that get Ken’s juices flowing. He has written more than 20 books – including the novels Seven Ways To Die, The Messiah Matrix and Brae Mackenzie – and when he isn’t doing it himself he is helping others navigate the publishing minefield. 
 
The Lost Valentine
The Lost Valentine is among Ken Atchity's film productions

Ken has made literally hundreds of film and television deals for storytellers wanting their books to be films - including movies, series and reality shows - since he began producing in 1987 after retiring from his tenured professorship at Occidental College. 

As a literary manager his authors have logged nearly 20 New York Times bestsellers. Added to that he is the creator of the free on-demand webinar presentation "Sell Your Story to Hollywood" for aspiring storytellers available at Real Fast Hollywood Deal. I bumped into him at the Dublin Writers’ Conference, run by the book promotion service Books Go Social.

“I have good time management skills and can keep my ego under control – things I learned from my high school and college Jesuit teachers,” says Ken. “They were the world’s toughest coaches.

“I’ve sold seven or eight scripts for the prodigious John Scott Shepherd, two of which have been made to date: Joe Somebody (with Tim Allen and Julie Bowen) and Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie, Ed Burns, Jim Belushi).

“Steve Alten’s Meg is the biggest sale I’ve made ($2.2 million to Doubleday-Bantam), and is finally going into production this summer starring Jason Statham and Bingbing Fan after about 15 years in development at three studios. 
 
Belushi and Ken Atchity
Ken had got the film-making bug and was soon rubbing shoulders with stars like James Belushi
Then there’s Jerry Blaine and Lisa McCubbins’ The Kennedy Detail which was a New York Times bestseller and was made into an Emmy-nominated film for Discovery. They plan to make it into a feature film next.

Ken is married to Kayoko Mitsumatsu, accomplished producer for NHK (Japanese National Television), and president of the non-profit YogaGivesBack.org (“For the cost of one yoga class you can change a life”). They have two children, Vincent and Rosemary, and four grandchildren.

With all that going on you would think he might be ready to wind down, but he doesn’t see it that way. 
 
Joe Somebody
Joe Somebody was one of the several scripts Ken Atchity sold for John Scott Shepherd
 
“Outside of family and friends, I now intend to give all my remaining energy to storytelling and storytellers,” says Ken. “I’ll continue teaching along the way through writers’ conferences and webinars, like my new one with Daniel Hall, which is called Sell Your Story to Hollywood.
 
Nothing else matters, though. Stories are how we change the world – for better or for worse.”

In Ken Atchity’s case, it seems there are still plenty more waves left in the tank.

Nick Rippington is a sports journalist with Express newspapers. He is also author of the UK gangland thriller Crossing The Whitewash.
 
Reposted from the Express UK
 
 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Comic Book Release by Kareem Abdul Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld: Mycroft Holmes: The Apocalypse Handbook

 
Basketball legend, novelist, and superstar polymath Kareem Abdul-Jabbar brings his take on Sherlock Holmes' older brother to comics at last! An all-new adventure set in the world of the bestselling Mycroft Holmes novel, The Apocalypse Handbook, sees the diffident, brilliant Mycroft pulled into a globe-spanning adventure at the behest of Queen Victoria and a secret organization at the heart of the British government.

A madman is on the loose with civilization-destroying weapons, each two hundred years in advance of the status quo. Can the smartest man in England set aside his idle, womanizing ways for long enough to track down the foe that may be his match?

Pop Culture Uncovered
 
"I actually gasped aloud at several points, when I wasn’t cackling with laughter, the dialogue and personalities are just so on point and so well supported by the art that this was a joy to read."

ComicWow

 
"This is a great issue to start off a series that is going to be full of adventure and intrigue. Our protagonist is, thus far, really interesting. His intelligence resonates really well, and is almost mesmerizing. The creative team on this series has done an amazing job so far, and I can’t wait to see where things go from here!"

The Hulking Reviewer 


 "Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #1 is a sensational start to the series combining an intriguing story setup with entertaining character development and action. It’s an engrossing issue from the first page to the last due to the smooth writing and beautiful visuals. The way the attack on the British museum unfolds sets the tone early, and the focus on Mycroft’s behavior makes him feel like a unique character while leaving room for some serious growth. I know it’s only one issue but at this rate this series could easily become one of my favorites. I highly recommend it." 


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Reviews by Joan Gives Brae MacKenzie Five Stars


Book Reviews by Joan
The Latest Review
 

Brae MacKenzie: A Romance of Mythic Identity

By Kenneth Atchity


When folklore becomes alive.


"This is a story that most adult women will love. The author does an excellent job of bringing forth the characters of this young woman and man and then elaborate, thorough descriptions of the countryside, the weather and the plants. I was enthralled with this story."   5 Stars


purchase on Amazon.com
By Joan A. Adamak, Joan's Musings

This book encompasses a beautiful love story and it is like a travelogue of Scotland, for those of us who have never been there. Brae MacKenzie is a successful San Francisco painter, who seems to have it all, but because of family losses during childhood, cannot find happiness within herself, especially after her charismatic husband suddenly dies. She is left with a son, but she has always felt a sense of loss and longing since childhood. Her artistic passion hasn't filled that void, and with the untimely death of her husband, the old pain resurges and her depression becomes deeper and deeper. Brae's father senses his daughter's pain and before she embarks for an exhibit in England, he hands her a family heirloom hidden away for years...a letter with a treasure map, which says: "Since you are still among the living, your heart is not broken...follow the map to Scotland." The London exhibit, in its ultra-chic hollowness, prompts Brae into taking the advice of that bewildering letter. She hops a train for Glasgow. When her train emerges in an ancient Caledonian forest, Brae is pulled enough out of her depression to feel something and she stops at the next station. 

She is met by Damon, a well-built young Scot, who although a stranger to her, yet seems to know her. He becomes her personal guide into the myths and history of Scotland, including identifying all of the fauna, and takes her on a trip by horseback around the country, setting up camp, cooking and protecting her. But he doesn’t say much, doesn’t seem to want to talk, is rather withdrawn and dour. She gets accustomed to it and begins to look outside of herself. They travel much of Scotland to the ocean and as time passes, Brae begins to feel again and find some joy and beauty in life. She has inherited her grandmother’s house and lands on the edge of the ocean Damon becomes friendlier and even laughs with her sometimes. He explains her deceased grandmother’s life, and finally admits to her that he will never marry because he is sterile and he wouldn’t burden any woman with that. But she has a child, she realizes that they are falling in love and that he will never make a move, so she does and he responds. Her travels and kinship with him bring out the best in her and in him.