Sunday, November 29, 2015

Screening of "Is That You?" Israeli Academy Award winner for best independent film December 1, 7:30 pm at Laemmle Town Center Encino

Fundraiser for an Israeli Culture Program to bring positive awareness to kids of all ethnicities. All proceeds go to Lashon Academy Hebrew Charter School.

Written and directed by Dani Menkin, starring Alon Aboutboul, following Q&A with Dani, silent auction including complimentary flight to Israel donated by ELAL. All proceeds go to Lashon Academy Hebrew Charter School.

Tickets are $25 which can be purchased on the Laemmle website.

After Ronnie (alon Abutbul) is fired from his job at the age of 60, he sets off to America in search of his childhood love. His road trip across the ins and outs of multiple states turns into a life changing journey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

For cable networks, holiday movies are the gift that keeps on giving

Photo Credit: UPtv

Even Ebenezer Scrooge might have been impressed with how TV networks are profiting from holiday movies.

Along with early displays of decorations by retailers, the continuous loop of holiday music on radio and the festive color of Starbucks coffee cups, nothing rings in the season quite like the volley of holiday movies that flood the small screen.

Hallmark and its Hallmark Movies spinoff, for example, are showing 21 new original Christmas-themed movies this year, up from just 13 in 2010. Lifetime has seven of its own, and the Atlanta-based cable TV channel UP TV has three in its bank, in addition to returning holiday movies of years past.

These holiday movies are proliferating because they're cheap to produce, generate strong ratings and lots of advertising revenue for the television networks. Hallmark parent Crown Media Holdings credited its holiday programming for helping to spur an 11% increase in advertising revenue last year to $328 million.

November and December are key months for advertisers that want to get in front of consumers in festive moods. Advertisers spent $13.8 billion on television spots during November and December last year, comprising 18% of all ad dollars spent in 2014, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.

"Advertisers are attracted to eyeballs," said Jason Maltby, head TV buyer at the prominent advertising agency Mindshare. "There's the added benefit that holiday programming tends to be upbeat and positive, and you're always looking to put your brand message in an environment that makes people feel good."

The television channel guide is littered every year with festive titles such as "Murder, She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery," "The Flight Before Christmas" and "Elf" as dozens of original and acquired movies, as well as a long list of specials, roll out on cable, broadcast and streaming networks in November and December. In some cases, the Yuletide ringing started on Halloween.

Broadcast networks rely more heavily on specials and perennial favorites such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

But the surge of holiday programming is more apparent on cable, where networks such as Hallmark, Lifetime, ABC Family and the small channel UP can dedicate weeks, or months, of programming to the genre.

The holly jolly is working. ABC Family saw its ratings double last year in the holiday period that encompassed the week of Thanksgiving through the first week of January, according to Nielsen.

The network's programming block, dubbed "25 Days of Christmas," is more heavy on acquired movies such as "The Polar Express" and "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas," as well as the occasional holiday-themed episode of its original series. The block has proved to be such a key tent-pole event through the years that in 2007 the network launched a supplemental block, "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas," for November.

"The holidays are one of the biggest times of the year for families all across the country," said Salaam Coleman Smith, ABC Family's executive vice president of strategy and programming. "There's been such a wealth of Christmas movies and programming that have been created over the years … [that] we really felt like there was a unique opportunity to create this stunt that featured the best of Christmas content. There's something for everyone."

Hallmark, meanwhile, saw its ratings last year nearly double in the holiday period. UP TV experienced a 74% bump, while Lifetime saw it's ratings go up 4% in the holiday period compared with the rest of the year.

"Viewers are really rabid for this content," said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming for Studio City-based Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. "All we hear every year is that people want more of it."

Additionally, these programs are good investment for cable channels because they are inexpensive to produce and are evergreens, returning for years to come. These two-hour movies cost about $1 million to $3 million to produce, which is equivalent to the cost of producing one episode of an hourlong drama on cable.

TV movies on the Big Four networks have waned in recent years as broadcasters have preferred long-form series that keep viewers engaged over an expanded period of time. That has created an opportunity for some cable networks to become the main suppliers of holiday movies.

The investment in made-for-TV movies is a less risky one on cable because the platform allows for repeated plays the year that a movie debuts and beyond.

"You hear people say, 'We watch your movies while trimming the tree' or 'We watch your movies while wrapping gifts,'" said Barbara Fisher, UP's senior vice president of original programming. "And for us networks that are geared toward families, it's a no-brainer to be in this space."

The holiday movies are popular in part because they follow a simple formula: a Scrooge-like character discovering his or her Christmas spirit; someone stranded while trying to get home for the holidays; and, of course, the heartwarming romance.

There's also a growing roster of talent eager to star in holiday movies. Actresses such as Candace Cameron Bure, Beverley Mitchell and Lacey Chabert have become mainstays of the genre.

"It makes me giggle," said Cameron Bure, who this year stars in "A Christmas Detour" on Hallmark. "I will wear the title proudly. I get so many messages from people saying, 'I hope you have a new Christmas movie coming out.' I love that people know me from those."

Mariah Carey, the unofficial queen of the holidays with her hit "All I Want for Christmas," directed and stars in "A Christmas Melody" for Hallmark. And Dermot Mulroney, also for Hallmark, stars in "North Pole: Open for Christmas."

"The stigma of doing cable TV Christmas movies has really diminished in the last few years," said Tim Johnson, the producer of Lifetime's "Becoming Santa" and "A Gift Wrapped Christmas." "Ten years ago, it was harder to get actors to do it. Now we're getting calls from agents saying, 'We have this client who wants to do a cable Christmas movie.' They know the audience is there."

Of course, the flood of holiday dramas could reach a tipping point. But for now at least, they are ratings gold for some networks.

Planning has already begun for next year's slate and beyond, and expansion in the number of hours dedicated to the programming and/or the number of original TV movies is expected. Hallmark, for one, is looking to increase its output of originals to 28 in 2018.

"The demand is there and the suppliers are there and there's room for more," said Dan Angel, an executive producer of "The Bridge" on Hallmark. "We just have to keep up."

Reposted from the LA Times

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Angels in the Snow Sunday, November 22nd at 7 pm ET

When nothing short of a miracle can hold a deteriorating family together, a Christmas getaway sets the stage for a miracle to occur. A heartwarming family story of love,loss, and rediscovery.

Dr. Kenneth John Atchity visits the CymaScope Laboratory

The true shape and power of sound to feature in a forthcoming animated film.

Dr. Atchity is an American film producer and author who has worked in the world of letters as a literary manager and as a professor of comparative literature. He was labeled a "story merchant” by a visiting ambassador to the United States. Atchity commented, "I believe in the power of stories to change the world. I’ve been privileged to spend a lifetime helping storytellers project their stories to the widest audiences in book and film.”

The latest franchise he is managing is Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton, a
purchase on Amazon.comyoung person’s novel (now available) and forthcoming live action animated film in which the forces of good-versus-evil (cacophony versus euphony) play out through the transformational power of classical music. The concept was created by Dr. Warren L. Woodruff, musicologist and head of the Woodruff School of Arts in Roswell, Georgia. During Dr. Atchity's visit the creation of the Gold Baton app was discussed, based on the concepts used in the CymaScope Music Made Visible App, in addition to ideas for representing music in the film within a visual context. Atchity said," Because of the CymaScope instrument, the forthcoming Gold Baton App and finale of the film will introduce to the world the true shape and transformative power of sound.”


Monday, November 9, 2015

Have You Heard Book Review Gives Art Johnson's Deadly Impressions Five Stars!

Billionaire Ezekiel Fick is extremely worried. His pride and joy, his granddaughter, Stephanie has been kidnapped. He'll do whatever it takes to get her back. Using his contacts among the elite of the United States, Zeke demands action from everyone!  To the LAPD and private investigator Arnold Blackburn, this seems like an ordinary kidnapping. They all seem to follow the same game plan. This one, however, stops being ordinary when no demands are sent to Zeke. Everyone is contacting their sources to try to find Stephanie. Will it be enough help?
purchase on
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.

I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because of the twisted ending it has.

Reposted from Have You Heard Book Reviews

Friday, October 30, 2015

Promoting Crime Fiction Reviews Dennis Palumbo's PHANTOM LIMB

Psychologist Daniel Rinaldi’s newest patient has made a deal with him: he’s got just one hour to talk her out of committing suicide. Then she’s kidnapped

This fast-moving American thriller is narrated by  Rinaldi, and involves a good cast of classic noir characters: wise-cracking ex-actress Lisa Harland and her rich, older husband, Charles, who runs most of the city; ex-vet security guard Mike, and James, Charlie’s wastrel son; the enigmatic kidnapper Julian, and his tame thug, Griffin. On the side of the angels are spunky Agent Gloria Reese, good cop Polk and bad cop Bigler. Rinaldi is a genial hero, still carrying baggage from his past. The action is constant, with guns, explosions, hair-breadth escapes and a tense ending with a surprise perp.

The dialogue is snappy. This is the fourth Rinaldi novel, and although previous events are mentioned, there are no spoilers, and it reads well as a stand-alone.

A page-turning American thriller with a likeable psychologist hero.

You can order PHANTOM LIMB from your favorite independent bookstore, or from the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press.

You can also order PHANTOM LIMB direct from Amazon.

Read more at Promoting Crime Fiction

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pang Brothers on American Horror Film

“When it comes to horror Americans crave explanation. Every detail has to be logical. Why is the ghost flying? Why is the ghost walking? Why does the ghost attack that guy and not the other guy? They keep asking.  This is a ghost movie. Ghosts are already illogical.”

Monday, October 12, 2015

Author and psychotherapist, Dennis Palumbo, Comments on the Psychology of the Hollywood Beard

Whether they're used to signal a new phase (Letterman's "retirement beard") or personal hiccup (Ben Affleck's "breakup beard"), chin whiskers come with their own semiotics. Says Jimmy Kimmel: "When David Letterman would come back from vacation with a beard, I always felt betrayed because I didn’t like that he had a personal life."

David Letterman's " retirement beard," spotted in full gray, bushy glory on Sept. 28 in Manhattan, announced more definitively than any press release that the CBS host had left the Late Show building for good. The strangely Middle-earthian whiskers went viral, tickling the Internet, which spewed judgments on how the 68-year-old — who had been hosting a late-night show for 33 years running — had let himself go. One superfan gave a thumbs-up, however. "I will have the same beard when I go off the air," Jimmy Kimmel — who, upon his return to the Live! desk this summer, debuted his own swarthy beard to decided acclaim — tells THR. "It will be growing down to my knees; people will expect me to bring presents down chimneys." As to the reason his idol underwent such a drastic style change, Kimmel suggests that growing a beard signals a switching-off of a public face: "When David Letterman would come back from vacation with a beard, I always felt betrayed because I didn't like that he had a personal life."

In Hollywood these days, a beard is not just a beard. Sometimes, as Kimmel theorizes, it symbolizes a transition. Says industry psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo: When someone retires or "a show is canceled or on hiatus, you can finally just relax and grow your beard if, as a performer, you've always been clean-shaven," he notes. This year, television actors who have sprouted hiatus beards include The Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki and Modern Family's Ty Burrell. "A beard is a new look, a new role that's out of character, showing a different facet of your personality. Performers love a new role," adds the Sherman Oaks-based shrink. Casting directors might now look differently at Jamie Dornan, whose heavy whiskers at the Golden Globes were seemingly grown to obliterate any memory of the slick Christian Grey, while the Chrises, Pine and Evans, sported face fur that obscured wholesome hero miens at the Oscars. Observes hairstylist Anna Bernabe, whose Hollywood clientele includes such bearded stars as Liam Hemsworth and Michael Fassbender: "I think it's a way for a guy to express personality and try something new when he's between jobs. It's a switch-up from the clean-shaven Mad Men look, a different angle on manliness."

Meanwhile, after a grueling awards-season campaign, 2014 winners Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey grew — and kept for nearly a year — wild and woolly post-Oscar beards. Comedian Patton Oswalt compared the latter's look to a "rail-yard hobo," while the former paired his bristles with a prominent man bun. "Beards may also signal a regression, a return to rebellious adolescence," says Palumbo, who has been treating Hollywood patients for 28 years. "If you're wearing a beard, the point being made is one of rebellion against the responsibility and obligations that the actor may feel in his public role. Beards reflect the anti-authority illusion of personal autonomy and authenticity, harking back to a time when the performer was free of expectations of how he should look, or how he's always been seen."

Beards have their dark sides, too. Conan O'Brien grew a full one during his self-described depression fol­lowing his firing from The Tonight Show in 2010. Ben Affleck's breakup beard after the announcement of his divorce from Jennifer Garner did laps around the web. And in March, Jon Hamm showed up post-rehab at the Mad Men premiere in a white dinner jacket with clear eyes and a salt-and-pepper beard. "On a deeper psychological level, people in the public eye who are going through a divorce or scandal, or whose most recent movie bombed at the box office, are perhaps trying to break free of their well-known personal or professional images, now suddenly exposed to the embarrassing glare of the media," notes Palumbo. "In other words, they're hiding. Beards throughout history have been a disguise, a way to hide in plain sight."

Of course, some beards are purely professional. Directors' beards are practically an industry ritual. "With a beard, suddenly Jon Stewart is not the wisecracking former talk show host, but a director and producer," says the therapist. "It seems that any time an actor or writer wants to direct a film, they'll often grow a beard." He warns that beards are "an assumption of authority for artists only. You're never going to see Les Moonves wear a beard as the head of a network — it doesn't look serious."

Other notable recent beards cultivated in the line of Hollywood duty: Kit Harington's growth inspired rounds of "Is Jon Snow really dead?" speculation following Game of Thrones' season-five finale. Leonardo DiCaprio's The Revenant production beard, worn for an extended period to cover reshoots, juiced nasty rumors of it housing fleas, while Indianapolis Colts quarter­back Andrew Luck pronounced his whiskers "lucky" in an insurance commercial that aired during NBC's Sunday Night Football. Then there's Jay Leno's bald-headed, hairy-chinned Uber-driver disguise, donned as a viral marketing stunt to promote his CNBC show Jay Leno's Garage, premiering in the 10 p.m. slot on Oct. 7. Referencing the recent outcry over the dearth of women and people of color on late night, Kimmel jokes: "They talk about diversity in late night, and it's about time that had something to do with facial hair."

Regardless of whether the beard is grown for transformation or disguise, for professional or personal purposes, "it's not like the actor is aware of unconscious motivations," says Palumbo. "As far as he's concerned, he's just a guy growing a beard. And no doubt feeling extremely cool doing it."

Don't Botch the Beard: Grooming 101

When growing a beard, patience is key, says Jason Schneidman, a groomer who has tended to the whiskers of Hugh Jackman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. "It takes 10 days of growth — then I can see the change in my clients. We can decide whether to keep going — or not," he says. Schneidman starts out with an evenly clipped face. "I determine it by eye. If a guy has a narrow face, then it's great when [the beard is] fuller; if the guy's face is very square, [the beard should be] a little pointier."

Liam Hemsworth and Michael Fassbender's groomer Anna Bernabe says that today's chins sport a more natural, less "coiffed" look: "The perfectly shaped beard has peaked. Sometimes you see the line around the neck and it's distracting — I don't want to be noticing the beard before I notice the face." Says men's groomer Cathy Highland, who works with Benedict Cumberbatch: "What's current is longer, fuller beards. A little stubble from a week's growth is looking dated now. It makes you look like a soap star, not hip and cool."

The beard boom has led to a new grooming category, with "so many great specialized oils, soaps and face washes," says Schneidman. There are at least a few steps to bearded skin care, including shampooing and conditioning (Highland prefers sulfate-free Clean Everyday shampoo, $20). "One thing guys forget is to moisturize underneath their beards because the skin is covered up. On some men, it starts to get dry and flaky," says Bernabe, who recommends Tom Ford's beard line. But "if you're not fussy, you can buy an Ace comb from the drugstore and comb it. Use a natural oil and with your fingers run a little through your beard," she says.

In true Hollywood fashion, if a man can't grow it naturally, cosmetic surgery can help. Beard transplants, usually done with hair taken from the back of the head, can run $10,000 to $15,000 and take one to two weeks for recovery. Beverly Hills' go-to beard-transplant surgeon, Gary Perrault, whose clients range from industry execs to Middle Eastern potentates, says that many of his patients are "actors who want to achieve a certain effect, and maybe their beard was too patchy" or they wish to look more mature. "A lot of patients are young men who don't have facial hair," he says. "It's a small part of our practice and not really growing, but maybe it will," he says, noting that the procedure makes up 10 to 15 percent of his current practice. "I'm noticing more people with beards."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rina Tham with honored guest Baza Guru Rinpoche, and composer Russ Landau Hosts book-signing of inspirational memoir, “Lucky Number 9: Journey of a Rubber Tapper’s Daughter.”

Meet Author Rina Tham and Baza Guru Rinpoche, October 11
October 8, 2015 -

Topanga author Rina Tham and her family, along with honored guest Baza Guru Rinpoche, and film and television composer, Russ Landau, will host a book-signing of Tham’s inspiring and motivational memoir, “Lucky Number 9: Journey of a Rubber Tapper’s Daughter.”

The public is invited to the open house, October 11, from 3–6 p.m., which will feature music by world renowned Sitar and Tabla Maestro, Rajib Karmakar Ji, and Vineet Vyas Ji on Tabla.

“Lucky Number 9” is the compelling story of Rina Tham’s impoverished childhood in the jungle of Malaysia.

Her philosophy is that if you live with your heart open, fear becomes an adventure. “In many ways, I had less than most, living on the rubber plantation, saving pennies for food, fighting for floor space by the window, never seeing Father, tapping trees at dawn with Mother. Then there was my arm, it brought panic….” Read how Rina overcame poverty, debilitating health issues, many other dramatic challenges and how her ultimate triumph over such adversity has resulted in a deep desire to give back to the world.

“My intention and goal today is to put this book in the hands of a girl, boy, woman, man, anywhere and especially in the isolated communities deep in the jungles of our God-given world. That would be a start,” Tham said. “This is my gift to share because I care for and love you all. It is my passion to give back.”

Rina will soon be travelling to India, Bhutan and The Pacific Rim to promote her book. If you would like Rina to be part of any special motivational programs—especially for children—you are encouraged to contact her directly at Tham will donate 100 percent of all book sales to Yoga Gives Back to support programs for mothers and children in India.

All are welcome. Namaste.

Light snacks and refreshments will be served at Froggy’s Topanga Fish Market, 1105 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga 90290.

 Paperback and E-books are now available at, with signed copies available locally at: Bhutan Shop, 415 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA 90290; and the Topanga Office, 1861 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Suite D, Topanga CA 90290.

Reposted from The Topanga Messenger 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Encore! Dr. Fuddle Celebrates Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's 100th Anniversary

Encore! Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s anniversary concert returns.

Some 700 ticketholders will attend the Tower of Talent concert, marking Children’s 100th anniversary, at the Alliance Stage/Woodruff Arts Center at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, sponsored by Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits, owned by benefactor Michael Greenbaum.

Photo by Marcia Caller

Jaffe Robyn Spizman Gerson joins Michael Greenbaum, the owner of Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits, and Warren Woodruff, the author of “Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton.”

The event is coordinated by Robyn Spizman Gerson and inspired by musicologist and beloved classical music teacher Dr. Warren Woodruff and his book “Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton” (soon to be a major movie).

Gerson has assembled a world-class team of talent by pulling together Woodruff, Thomas Ludwig of the Beethoven Chamber Orchestra, Lynn Stallings of the Atlanta Workshop Players and Maniya Barredo of the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre to raise the curtain for  “Beethoven to Broadway” to benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The idea was initiated and fully funded by Greenbaum, who is dedicated to a legacy of support for medically fragile children.

“During the High Holiday time of self-reflection, I thought about the passion for my own grandchildren and others who are less fortunate,” he said. “I have enough to live on and the rest to do good with. My father stepped up to the plate to help others ever so quietly. That is my legacy. Music is healing. And as Dr. Woodruff says, ‘One note can make a difference’ for these medically fragile children.”

Melisa Morrow, a CHOA development officer, said, “Greenbaum’s generosity thus far has developed in his honor a rehab room where families can stay while recovering children learn how to function. We’re currently evaluating this year’s Greenbaum project.  It may involve advancing technology. Greenbaum knows that CHOA is a nonprofit where all children are treated equally.”

“We’ve already sold 500 tickets and secured 50-plus world-class children ages 6 to 16 performing an amazing program of orchestral strings, pianos and dancing,” Gerson said. “Greenbaum is generously covering 100 percent of the expenses so all revenues can go directly to the children. He is an angel in disguise.”

She added: “This is one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done. We’ve raised WAY over half a million dollars in just two years. One of the many impressive performers is 8-year-old Angelica Hale, who received a kidney from her mom. Her Streisand-esqe emotion is amazing; she recently sang the national anthem at the U.S. Open. The children are appearing on Channel 11 with astounding responses for a sneak peek.”

The chairs for the event include Marianne Garber, Alvaro Arauz and Linda Suvalsky, who are backed by such generous supporters as Sara Blaine and Mendel Rotenberg of eSBe Designs, who created a bracelet in honor of Children’s Healthcare.

“So many people have been touched by Children’s … from a broken arm to a heart transplant,” Gerson said. “The bottom line is you’ll want to bring the family to this event. These kids will knock your socks off.”

The VIP reception before the show is sold out, but a few more spots could be reserved for generous contributors. Regular-admission tickets are $30.

What: Tower of Talent
Where: Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6
Tickets: $30 standard, $75 VIP;

Reposted from Atlanta Jewish Times

Friday, September 25, 2015


Screenwriter of "My Name is Bill W." The most watched television movie ever made.

Literary critics are saying that although deeply intimate and uncomfortable at times,
"How I Became My Father...A Drunk" is "irresistable, uplifting and inspiring".

Order Now at Amazon

This new book tells the dramatic, almost unbelievable love story of one family trapped in the devastating and incomprehensible malady of addiction. They suffer from a disease that reaches into the very core of the alcoholic and the family, destroying their most precious possessions-love, faith, trust, confidence and finally hope.

The journey focuses initially on the growing anger and hatred addiction creates between a father and son that soon inundates the entire family. From a young age the son tries to escape his environment, even seeking the serenity of a seminary to find relief. But little does he know that the traits of his drunken father whom he swears he will never be like are already churning inside of him.

Despite his significant success in the media world, alcohol soon invades the son's life. Like his father, he drinks away every promising new opportunity that comes his way, bringing pain and confusion into the life of his own wife and children and all those around him. Every glitter of hope is seemingly lost as growing despair leads to near devastation.

Then, when all seems lost, the miracle of recovery gradually restores torn relationships and emotional health. It shows that hope and love do spring eternal and that addicts and their families can find a wonderful new life in sobriety.

There are more than 44,000,000 alcoholics and drug addicts in the United States alone according to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services and the American Medical Association. Each addict affects at least eight other people in their lives-spouses, parents, siblings, other relatives and close friends as well as co-workers. That means more than 200,000,000 Americans are impacted by this deadly disease. You may know one of them. If so, please tell them this book could well show them the way to recovery and a life beyond their wildest dreams.

William G. Borchert Books

Monday, September 21, 2015

Barry Kibrick: My conversation with Dr. Palumbo about his book, Writing from the Inside Out

There is no cure for life. It’s not a problem to be solved. It’s an experience to be had, a set of circumstances to be endured, events to be survived, realities to be accepted—more or less on a daily basis, with courage, conviction, humor, and a modicum of hope.
Dennis PalumboWriting from the Inside Out

Although we have much in common with the rest of the animal kingdom one of the key things that separate us is our creativity. We are defined by our creativity and it exists in everything we do. From art, design, literature and film, to manufacturing, science, teaching and law, it is the creative juices within us that make all things happen.

However, the creative process is never without some pain and suffering. It is the price we pay to experience the benefits of the creative human spirit. Few are as aware of this as psychologist and writer Dennis Palumbo.

Read more at Barry Kibrick, Going Further Between the Lines

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Story Merchant Books Launches Deadly Impressions!

Story Merchant Books launches Art Johnson's second detective thriller Deadly Impressions after his premier critically acclaimed The Devil's Violin.  The musician/writer who worked with Lena Horne, Tim Buckley and Pavarotti to name a few resides in Monaco.

His new novel begins with the kidnapping of Pasadena billionaire Ezekiel Fick's granddaughter.   Enter ex-LA PD Lieutenant Arnold "Arney" Blackburn who has become a private eye since his dismissal from the force.  The abduction is not following the rule book and an LA drug lord, a Chicago gangster, and a host of Hollywood's " A " list are all potentially involved. 

Eighty year old Ezekiel Fick hides a life changing secret in his past. His uncle Roderich a preferred architect of Adolf Hitler left him a fortune in impressionist paintings by none other than Claude Monet, works that were thought to be destroyed nearly a century ago.

Tensions mount as Arney joins forces with FBI agents Chris Clarke and Carlos "Chubbs" Gonzales, (The Devils Violin) to weed through the overgrowth of the Hollywood Hills in search of the missing girl. But who are her real abductors?  Even PI Arney Blackburn is completely baffled by the time the final curtain falls. He never saw this one coming. 

Deadly Impressions pits ghosts from the past against those phantoms in control of the present to weave a haunting story that will stay with you long after you close the cover.

Story Merchant Books: #FREE E-Book Deals on Amazon!!

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Story Merchant Books: #FREE E-Book Deals on Amazon!!

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Wordsmith Interview – Cliff Simon and Loren Stephens

Cliff Simon

Loren Stephens Publicity PhotoLoren Stephens

Los Angeles, California
Citizen of the world, life experience is my education.

Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate: BA Cornell University; Master in International Affairs, Columbia University, NYC

Tell us about your career as a writer.

Cliff: This chapter and my memoir is my first as an author, I have a written a film screenplay which I am currently pitching. I am an actor so this writing has been an amazing learning curve for me.
Loren: Writing is my full time career.  I founded a ghostwriting company, Write Wisdom, which ghosts memoirs and business books for famous and not so famous clients. I write full time.  It is what I love to do and I am well paid for it.

“White Bubble of South Africa,” written by Cliff Simon with me captures a day in the life of a young South African boy who is challenged by his father to take the tiller of a racing dinghy on his own in a storm; this is juxtapositioned against the storm of the boy’s domestic life and the toll of apartheid upon the family.

Cliff and I were inspired to write this piece as part of a much larger adventure/memoir, “Paris Nights: My Year at the Moulin Rouge,” which will be published this Fall.

The main theme of this piece is to learn how to face your fears.  That lesson has carried Cliff through his life and allowed him to take on many challenges – living alone in Paris as a principal dancer in the Moulin Rouge, working as an actor in South Africa and now in the United States, and pulling off some very daring and dangerous athletic feats.

Tell us about another project you are currently working on.

Cliff: Currently attached to a SCI FI thriller feature slated to film in Minneapolis next May, produced by an Australian company, called ‘Project Eden’

Loren: I am currently completing a novel, “The Sushi Maker’s Daughter,” based on my Japanese husband’s family history.  The novel spans fifty years and explores the themes of suicide, adoption, and Japanese-American relations. My short story of the same title was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. The story can be found on line in Forge Literary journal.

What are your methods as a writer?

Loren: I write every day, either working on my own essays, short stories and novels, or on books for my clients. I have a home office and an office in Westwood, near UCLA.  I toggle between the two.  A change of venue is often a good way to switch gears from one project to another.  I use my away-from-home office for client meetings.  I also sometimes go on self-imposed retreats to resorts around Los Angeles and just unplug. For my novel, “The Sushi Maker’s Daughter,” I have written five drafts over five years, most recently with the assistance of a professional editor.  For short stories and essays, I might only write two drafts which are usually workshopped with a group of three other writers. We have been working together for five years.  All of us met at a class at UCLA and have stayed together.  Having a group of trusted writers giving input is invaluable, and because we have worked together for so long we speak in “shorthand.”

What is your favorite book?

Loren: I don’t know if it is my favorite book, but it has had a profound impact on me, “Magic Mountain,” by Thomas Mann.  A big hefty door stopper of a book.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Cliff: I would play myself in the film of my life

What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

Loren: The most beautiful thing I have ever seen, is not a thing.  It is the face of my son when he was born. Looking into his eyes, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

What makes you cry?

Cliff: Animal cruelty makes me cry.

What is your favorite word?

Loren: My favorite word is the word that stays on the page – the one that I don’t have to kill.

What’s in that cup on your desk? 

Cliff: That cup on my desk is a protein shake.

Vanilla or Chocolate?

Loren: Chocolate

Rain or Sunshine?

Cliff: Sunshine

Beach or Mountains?

Cliff: Beach

Loren: Mountains.  I hate the beach – all that sand, ugh

Additional Reading on Cliff: 
Additional Reading on Loren: