"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Your Partner In Success with Denise Griffitts Interviews Story Merchant Author Kevin Sparks

Your Partner In Success Radio, Talks with Kevin Spark, the author behind the acclaimed psychological thriller "id: A Novel."

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Kevin's path to becoming a published novelist is an inspiring one. After graduating from university, Kevin embarked on a career as a graphic designer. He honed his creative skills by developing ad campaigns and contributing to the art department of various TV shows across the UK, where he crafted props and brought stories to life visually. However, Kevin harbored a deep passion for writing that never waned. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, he seized the opportunity to finally pursue his literary dreams. Amidst the lockdowns and uncertainty, Kevin dedicated himself to penning his first novel - the gripping psychological horror "id: A Novel." This debut work has garnered widespread praise for its rich character development, vivid storytelling, and thought-provoking exploration of the human psyche.

As the owner and creative director of Onion Creative, a strategic
branding consultancy based in Brisbane, Kevin has over 15 years of experience crafting innovative brand strategies & campaigns. His firm specializes in brand development, design, advertising, and digital marketing. 

Join Denise as she uncovers the inspiration behind "id: A Novel," the challenges Kevin faced as a first-time author, and his insights into the writing process. Kevin's story is a testament to the power of pursuing one's passions, even in the face of adversity.

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Story Merchant E-Book Deal FREE June 17 - June 21 id by Kevin Spark

Dr. Shelly, a brilliant psychologist, forever haunted by her father and his murderous past, is driven by the need to find out why we do the things we do? Is the concept of free will just a concept and nothing more, a construct that blinds us to a less palatable truth, that who we are is predetermined and encoded at birth? Does anyone really choose to do the bad things we do or are we just doing what comes naturally?

Shelly constructs an experiment using a sensory deprivation tank and virtual reality, allowing the darkest part of ourselves, the id, to run free. Unencumbered by morality or remorse, Shelly finds the perfect subject in Adam. A borderline psychotic born into a world of neglect and crime. Delving into the deepest pits of his subconscious, Shelly surfaces with far more than she bargained for.

Detective Hopper, responsible for Adam’s capture, remains a broken man. After suffering a breakdown due to the escalation of his own violent behavior, he is placed under the care of Dr Shelly. Encouraging him to go looking for his own redemption, Hopper becomes a pawn in her web of deception until the lines of reality are redrawn as Hopper and Adam come full circle to an explosive end.

Ken's Weekly Book Recommendation Milton Lyles The Cruelest Lie


The CRUELEST LIE is a gritty telling of treachery, greed, love, betrayal, and courage set against the lush background of the Louisiana bayou country. ⁠
The story centers around the deaths of three young men and the small town corruption and avarice that threatens to destroy an innocent boy setting in motion a deadly struggle between integrity and iniquity, truth and deceit.⁠

Donis Casey Tell Me Your Story: Dennis Palumbo

Nobody can write psychological thrillers like Dennis Palumbo. Of course it helps that Dennis is a licensed psychotherapist whose work with creative people has been featured on CNN, NPR, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES and elsewhere.

 Neither does it hurt that he is formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (“My Favorite Year”; “Welcome Back, Kotter”, etc.) He’s also the author of the popular nonfiction book, WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT. 

His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime. His series of award-winning mystery thrillers (the latest of which is Panic Attack) feature Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police. 

Recently, Dennis served as Consulting Producer on the Hulu TV series THE PATIENT. I love love love his work, especially when I’m in the mood to read something that makes my hair stand on end! Check out Dennis’ work at www.dennispalumbo.com

My Story 

by Dennis Palumbo

Years ago, I wrote an essay called “Therapist By Day, Crime Writer By Night.” And there’s no denying that I’ve had an interesting career journey. For many years I was a Hollywood screenwriter, after which I became a licensed psychotherapist specializing in treating creative types in the entertainment community. Now, in addition to my private practice, some years back I fulfilled a life-long dream and published a series of crime novels.

I owe my love for mysteries to two things: my father and the mumps. You hardly hear about

the latter nowadays, but when I was a kid back in the late 1950’s it was all the rage. You had your sore throat, fever and, if you were like me, pretty intense self-pity. I hated being confined to bed, even if it meant getting to skip a week at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Who were the nuns supposed to express their disappointment with if I weren’t there?

Then my father, a huge fan of Basil Rathbone’s screen depiction of the Great Detective, got me a hardcover, illustrated version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I don’t think I’ve ever devoured a book so quickly. I became an instant fan of Holmes and Watson, and to this day the phrase “The game’s afoot!” gets my heart beating.

That was the beginning of a life-long love of mystery novels and short stories, as well as an adult fascination with film noir. Especially the rare great adaptations. I love both the book and film versions of THE MALTESE FALCON, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and (the original) THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE.

When it came time to go to college and declare a major, there were four careers acceptable to my Italian-American family: doctor, lawyer, engineer or—as a fall-back position—priest. Though by then I’d had dreams of becoming a writer, I was such a “good boy” that I dutifully entered the University of Pittsburgh as an engineering major. Unfortunately, I soon learned that there was math involved in that particular occupation, so—at the cost of much familial conflict—I switched majors to English.

After graduating, and a three-year stint in advertising, I convinced my first wife to move to Los Angeles so I could break into TV and film writing. I won’t recount that initial struggle, since it’s a pretty familiar story: odd jobs, unread spec scripts, money worries. But after teaming up with a much funnier writer named Mark Evanier, I ended up as a sitcom writer, initially on the ABC series WELCOME BACK, KOTTER. My marriage and my partnership with Mark both ended, amicably, at about the same time. After which I did some more TV work and then eventually got lucky enough to have my first feature, MY FAVORITE YEAR, produced. (Based on my original story, I share screenplay credit with the late Norman Steinberg.)

Now here’s where things get a bit weird. I’d been hired to write a screenplay for Robert Redford’s company, in which the actor would play a famous mountain climber. As part of the research, I lived in Nepal for many months, much of which I spent trekking in the Himalayas with a guide and two Sherpas. I must admit—and corny as it sounds—it was kind of a “Razor’s Edge” experience. Weary and depressed about the ups and downs of my show business career, constitutionally unsuited for the amount of hustling required, and disheartened by the overall bullshit, this research trip inspired me to contemplate making a change in my life.

Not that it was an easy decision. For one thing, on paper my Hollywood career was humming along nicely. There was no lack of writing assignments. Plus, to the few friends who knew I was considering a career change, I seemed to have lost my mind. Especially when they learned what I intended to do: become a licensed psychotherapist.

My own experience as a patient in therapy had prompted this decision, coupled with an interest in psychology and philosophy as life-long as my love of crime fiction. (A love that gave back. I’ll never forget the week I learned that Mark and I had been hired to write on staff for WELCOME BACK, KOTTER. It was the same week that I found out I’d sold my first short story to ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.)

Anyway, things somewhat barreled along after that: graduate studies, years-long internships at therapy clinics and psych hospitals, a second marriage and fatherhood. I’ve been in private practice over thirty years now. But throughout all this, I continued writing and publishing mystery short stories, as well as a nonfiction book about the psychological issues that authors routinely contend with, called WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT.

Which brings me to my series of mystery thrillers featuring psychologist and police consultant Daniel Rinaldi. In my heart, I’ve remained that kid who fell in love with Sherlock Holmes and dreamed of creating a series character of my own. With the Rinaldi series, I got to write about the things that continue to engage me: the evolving city of Pittsburgh, where the series is set; the state of the mental health industry in modern times; the extent and types of psychological trauma that crime victims experience; and the opportunity to create mysteries with unexpected twists and turns. (For those taking notes, the first book in the series is MIRROR IMAGE; the most recent is called PANIC ATTACK.)

Anyway, if you’ve read this far, I thank you for your patience and indulgence. I consider myself to be extremely lucky in terms of my career journey. I’m so grateful to my former colleagues in Hollywood as well as my clinical colleagues today. And, most of all, I’m thankful for the hundreds of therapy patients, past and present, with whom I’m privileged to work every day.

Via Donis Casey - Write Errant

Story Merchant E-Book Deal Milt Lyles The Cruelest Lie

 Free June 10 - June 14!

The CRUELEST LIE is a gritty telling of treachery, greed, love, betrayal, and courage set against the lush background of the Louisiana bayou country. ⁠
The story centers around the deaths of three young men and the small town corruption and avarice that threatens to destroy an innocent boy setting in motion a deadly struggle between integrity and iniquity, truth and deceit.⁠

Matt Atchity Joins Story Merchant As Associate Manager


In addition to representing current Story Merchant intellectual properties, Matt will in his new role introduce stories he discovers to the Story Merchant family of companies, which include Atchity Entertainment International (The Meg), Atchity Productions (Mr. Irrelevant), Story Merchant Management, and Story Merchant Books. He will be working closely with Senior Associate Manager Tobe Roberts, who is based out of New York.

“Sam Skelton and the whole gang and I are delighted to welcome Matt to our family of companies,” said Ken Atchity in a statement to Deadline. “His vast knowledge of the commercial story market and cheerful gregariousness and sense of humor will contribute greatly to our expanding presence in the Hollywood marketplace.”

Shared Sam Skelton, Creative Executive and Producer at Atchity Productions and the Story Merchant companies, “Ken and I have eagerly anticipated expanding our team, and Matt’s arrival marks a thrilling new chapter. With Matt’s passion for compelling narratives and his dedication to curating exceptional content for our film and television projects, I am confident that his presence will propel us to unprecedented heights of creativity and success.”

Added Matt Atchity, “I’m excited to be on the other side of the entertainment business. I’m looking forward to both discovering and shepherding great stories, and ones that will make exciting movies and TV series.”

Formerly, the younger Atchity spent ten years as the Editor in Chief of Rotten Tomatoes, leading the team that made the site a household name, as well as introducing TV reviews and expanding the site’s influence on the entertainment industry. A frequent reviewer and commentator for CNN, he also co-founded and co-hosted What the Flick!? alongside Ben Mankiewicz and Cenk Uygur, the first spin-off show on the TYT network.

Across its assortment of companies, Story Merchant comprises a publisher, a production company, and a rep of both writers and rights to stories for film and TV. As we were recently first to report, subsidiary Atchity Productions recently tapped veteran martial arts filmmaker Andy Cheng to direct Shadow Ghost, a feature adaptation of the comic book written and illustrated by Sifu Kurtis Fujita.

via Matt Grobar Deadline Hollywood

The Picture Kills Review and Meet and Greet with Author Ian Bull

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since the war, Steven Quintana has been running from his past. He decides to fill the hole in his heart by using his talent for photography to take pictures of celebrities. This backfires when a photo he has taken is used to cover up a kidnapping. He is then compelled to rescue the victim. Does he succeed or does he die trying? You will just have to read this compelling thriller novel to find out.

I found this book to be a wonderful suspense novel filled with action, drama, loyalty, and humor. The plot is fast paced and flows well. I especially like when he starts naming the bad guys I was chuckling the whole time. I would recommend this to anyone who likes thrillers, dramas, or a dangerous rescue of a damsel in distress.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Donald Ian Bull, and my pen name is Ian Bull. I am a husband and a father, I live in Los Angeles, and I grew up in San Francisco. I have been a TV writer, director and producer. Now I edit TV shows and write novels, screenplays and my blog, CaliforniaBull.

What genre do you like to write?

I like to write thrillers, but with strong female characters. Some people have said I write romantic thrillers, or thrillers with romance, if there is such a thing. I’ve only published one book so far, so it may change.

If you were to branch out from your current genre which one(s) would you like to explore?

I’d write historical fiction, or historical recreations/examinations. I love reading about the past.

How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?

I have been writing since I was ten. I’ve always wanted to write novels, but the truth is, I didn’t have the courage to pursue it. I chose a “sensible” path that led to writing news for TV, that led to documentaries, that led to TV writing, and screenplays. Perhaps I also have enough life experience now to tackle a novel.

What inspires you to write?

I have imaginary conversations in my head all the time (in a good way), always arguing two sides of a conflict. I am also inspired by my own mortality, the problems in the world. Those drive me to act. My family also inspires me, in a positive way..

When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?

Years. That’s because I am writing two hours a day (three on weekends) while also earning money as a TV editor working eight to ten hours a day, and also being a husband and father. I wish I could flop it and edit two hours a day and write for eight!

What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest?

The hardest part of writing for me is when I paint myself into a corner with a plot point or a character’s behavior and I realize I must back track and fix it. The easiest part for me is to rewrite and edit my first draft. I don’t find that difficult, because I do it all day with my TV footage.

Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?

The main character Steven. He’s great at what he does, yet he knows he could be doing more, yet is plagued by doubt. That’s me…and plenty of other people! I’d like to be like Carl Webb, but I’m not.

Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?

Trishelle. I first made her ditzy, and then my wife pointed out that women have friends for a reason — they compliment each other and support each other, even if they’re very different, and Julia wouldn’t have a one-sided friendship. She’d have a friend as strong and smart as her, but in a different way. I went back and made Trishelle strong and capable in her own way, with her own vision of the world that is different than Julia’s. She’s much more street smart and savvy about the ways of the world than Julia is, especially when it comes to politics and men.

What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?

My least favorite part of writing is fighting to find the time to write. My favorite part of writing is finishing a chapter and then telling my wife.

When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?

I read, I swim, I play with my daughter, hike with my wife and cook.

What genre of books do you like to read?

I like thrillers, histories, dramatic histories, and contemporary fiction.

What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?

I go on kicks. Right now I am reading Karen Russell, who wrote Swamplandia, Vampires in the Lemon Grove and Sleep Donation. I am also reading This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein about Climate Change. I also love anything by T.C. Boyle and Steinbeck, my favorite California writers. For thrillers, I like John D. MacDonald — old school.

Tell us about your books where can people find them?

THE PICTURE KILLS, is available on Amazon, in print and digital formats.  Check out the sequel, SIX PASSENGERS, FIVE PARACHUTES.

Ian Bull is the pen name of Donald Ian Bull, a TV producer and director turned thriller novelist. His TV credits include The Real World, The Osbournes, and Dr.90210.  He grew up in San Francisco, attended UC Berkeley and then UCLA, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

Reposted from Sally Wolf Reads

Ian Bull's The Picture Kills

This week "The Picture Kills" (The Quintana Adventures) by Ian Bull 

⁠ A fun, fresh, sexy, snappy, fast-paced thriller that starts in celebrity-obsessed Hollywood and climaxes in the exotic and remote cays of the Bahamas.⁠ ⁠ 

#FREE this week on  Amazon!⁠ ⁠ 

Since the war, Steven Quintana has been running from his past. He decides to fill the hole in his heart by using his talent for photography to take pictures of celebrities. This backfires when a photo he has taken is used to cover up a kidnapping. He is then compelled to rescue the victim. Does he succeed or does he die trying? You will just have to read this compelling thriller novel to find out.

Andy Cheng To Direct Comic Book Pic ‘Shadow Ghost’ For ‘The Meg’s Atchity Productions

Renowned martial arts filmmaker, stunt coordinator and performer, and action director Andy Cheng (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) has been tapped to direct a feature adaptation of Shadow Ghost, the comic book written and illustrated by kung fu master and Fifth Ring Studios founder Sifu Kurtis Fujita, for Atchity Productions (The Meg franchise).

Shadow Ghost is described as modern, spellbinding coming-of-age story about a young man embarking on a quest to uncover the secrets surrounding an otherworldly martial arts hero. His journey into the realm of Kung Fu intertwines his fate with that of the enigmatic legend where he will fulfill a centuries-old destiny.

“We are thrilled to have Andy Cheng on board to direct the Shadow Ghost film,” said Atchity Productions CEO, Dr. Ken Atchity. “His unparalleled experience and passion for martial arts cinema make him the ideal choice to capture the essence of the Shadow Ghost saga. We are confident that this collaboration will result in an unforgettable cinematic experience for audiences worldwide.”

Over the course of his career, Cheng has worked on stunt and/or action coordination for films like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsOlympus Has FallenOz the Great and Powerful, Looper and The Amazing Spider-Man, among many others. In addition to serving as second unit director on films like Twilight and Red Riding Hood, he’s directed the actioners Redline and End Game, as well as the Chinese films Yìlei zhi Liang sheng yao and Yìlei zhi Xingzou de gu bao.

Most recently, Atchity Productions associate produced shark films The Meg and Meg 2: The Trench, which together grossed over $927M worldwide.

 via Deadline Hollywood 

Ken's Story Merchant Book Recommendation!!



Laissez les bon temps roulez! Let the good times roll!


Cajun culture is funny and fun-loving. It's rooted in the earth. It's rooted in the kitchen. It's needlessly, hopelessly, complicated, and yet is utterly simple and suspicious of all things modern, especially food and drink.

CAJUN HOUSEHOLD WISDOM takes you back to the days when family gatherings stretched far into summer nights with endless food and fun, when uncles and aunts, sisters and brothers, and countless cousins teased and taunted and chased fireflies, while grandpere spouted yet another story about "that ol' white mule," and strains of fiddle music lured lovers off into the dark.

You'll be reminded that the best therapy for whatever ails you, other than eating and laughing, is dancing. In little towns throughout the state of Louisiana, in lounges like the Rainbeaux in New Ibera, the Green Frog in Lake Charles, and the Purple Peacock in EUnice, you'll find people of all ages--from three to 103--dancing the two-step or the Cajun waltz at the fais-do-do nearly every night of the week--and they're still there at 9 a.m. the next morning. Cajun wisdom holds tru for young and old alike:

"If at foist you doan succeed, go an' dance!"