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


Guest post by novelist Amy Hansen

Before I started writing fiction, I had never experienced passion for a profession. Upon receiving a Master’s degree in English, I worked first as an assistant editor of a philosophy journal then wrote newsletters for a teachers union. I was good with words the way some people are good with their hands; it was my employable skill. Teaching high school also seemed like a reasonable occupation, so I went back to university for a certification and—in an effort to take a final class from a favorite professor—enrolled in a course entitled Intro to Short Story Writing. I’d never attempted to write fiction, but I st
oked my spark of an idea into a story that was voted best in the class. While my peers’ reactions were gratifying, it was the action itself of crafting character and plot that altered how I thought of myself. I was no longer just someone to whom writing came easily; I was someone who aspired to write.

I began teaching, and in my spare time I composed story after story. They flowed out of my fingers, and eventually I had enough for a collection. I began to query literary agencies and received many rejections before I got the call. An agent at a fantastic firm loved the three stories I’d sent, said he was shocked someone hadn’t signed me yet, and then asked me to send the entire collection. For eight weeks I checked my answering machine during prep periods and lunch. The phone was next to me on the couch, at the dining room table, and when the call finally came—he loved the stories but didn’t think he could sell them—I was devastated. I continued to write, though not as furiously, and was glad only a small circle of people knew that my hopes had been crushed. It pained me to think that I might be the cliché high school English teacher with a half-finished Pulitzer contender in a drawer.


After four years in the classroom and countless nights at my desk at home, a very different dream came true. My husband and I adopted a baby girl from China. Impending motherhood refocused my spare time to nesting. Fiction fell off the radar as real life seemed imminently more interesting. We made the trip and amidst all the joy and wonder and terror, I awoke one night in our hotel room in Guangzhou with the first line and plot of a novel. I tiptoed into the bathroom, feeling for the hotel pen and paper on my way, and wrote it down. No longer a teacher but a stay-at-home mother, I spent two years of nap times writing that book. As much as anything, the process kept me sane in my new world of playing on the floor and mommy-and-me swimming and The Wiggles. It was something I did just for me at a time when that was an eroding commodity. It was also something I—mostly—kept to myself. My husband, my mother, my best friend, my writing professor: they knew. But it wasn’t something I’d talk about at dinner parties or playgroups. I quietly queried agents again while returning to teaching part-time when my daughter started preschool. I had a few close calls, but this time when the rejections came, I wasn’t devastated. I noted the criticisms. Any remarks that came from more than one source I filed away, hoping to learn from my freshman effort, because I was already formulating my next book. And then came the shift: I no longer thought of myself as someone who wanted to write. I was a writer. I had been a good teacher and enjoyed working with teenagers, but I knew writing was where my energy and focus was meant to be. Luckily, my husband—thus far the sole patron of my art—agreed. That year in the classroom was my last.

The novel I wrote over the next eighteen months is the one that—after two more years of queries and rewrites—eventually led me to Ken Atchity. I spent my time at the computer, working, and attended a few conferences and workshops, where I was able to meet other writers. A recommendation from a conference organizer and my willingness to rework my manuscript for Ken led me to signing a contract with AEI.

I’ve since finished another novel and am in the early stages of the next one. The realization and declaration of what I am—a writer—occurred just over four years ago, and what I do—write, write, stare at a blank screen for hours, and write again—has transformed from crafting stories in semi-secrecy to having two novels out with publishing houses. In proclaiming first to myself and then to anyone who would listen that I am a writer, I took the most important step toward the next goal: paid writer.

The arts—be it fiction, theater, dance, or music—is, to my mind, the most competitive industry in the world, and simply stating you are a writer, actor, dancer, or musician doesn’t make it so. But if you don’t think of yourself that way, no one else will.

Gift for the Holidays: Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind

Dr. Nick Bazan’s novel Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind will be featured on the www.kittenlounge.com’s Holiday Gift Guide through January 15. Go to the site and scroll down.

"The battle to conquer diseases - such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, macular degeneration ,depression, epilepsy, and so many others - is not a story of continual everyday successes. It is a slow journey through a complicated maze that is often fraught with setbacks and unexpected twists and turns. Experiments do not always yield the results anticipated, and scientists like me and my colleagues often find that we do not have the means available to solve the riddles of the mind and sight we so desperately seek to unravel. But don't think for a moment that a neuroscientist's objectivity means he doesn't have personal thoughts and emotions about the lives that have been affected, and that have been lost by the diseases we study. After years of those thoughts and emotions building up inside of me, I searched for a way to express what our work is really like in a way anyone could relate to. I decided to write a novel that gave me the greater liberty of expressing my own worries, motivations, doubts, aspirations, joys and reflections about the work we do on the always-expanding frontiers of neuroscience. The novel "Una Vida," mirrors many facets of my own personal and professional life, including why I strive to understand and combat the ravaging diseases and disorders that afflict the eyes and the brain.

Using jazz and the fascinating chaos of the city I love most, pre-Katrina New Orleans, as metaphors for the workings of the brain and the human mind, the novel reveals the joys and frustrations that seem to go hand in hand with neuroscience research. Yet, despite the many trials we face, despite the many uncertainties we encounter, each day that passes brings us closer to understanding, preventing and curing these debilitating diseases.

I realize how extraordinarily important this research is, not only to scientists , but to each and every individual in the global community. Every new bit of information we uncover adds one more piece to the puzzle, bringing the bigger picture into focus a little more and providing us not only with new knowledge, but also with renewed hope.

It is this hope that I wish to share with others through "Una Vida." It has allowed me to express my thoughts and emotions surrounding brain research and the exploration of cellular elements and molecular switches that underlie the components of the mind and the eyes. To be able to impart these views to others and to provide them with the hope and optimism that the story of "Una Vida" ultimately presents, that task itself is equally as important and rewarding as the pursuit to understand, prevent and cure. Writing "Una Vida" created a channel, an outlet that, unlike technical journals, allows me to freely express my emotions and opinions to the people who have the greatest interest in our work." --Dr. Nick Bazan

Buy Una Vida on Amazon
was featured on the

Greek rights to Dracula: The Un-Dead

Greek rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to Harlenic Hellas S.A. by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.

kja (at) aeionline (dot) com


Email from David Angsten:

...When I was planning my research trip for Night of the Furies, Leon had one recommendation: Harry's Greek Travel Guide. This is not a guidebook, but a massive website run by a Greek-American (or American-Greek) named Harry Grant. Harry rivals the ancient geographer Pausanias in the depth and breadth of his knowledge of Greece. The site is almost overwhelming. But it's very well designed and absolutely invaluable. If you're planning a trip to Greece, I strongly recommend you take a trip through Harry's website first.

--and Harry gave me a GREAT little write-up on his main page--scroll down, check it out!

Read the five star reviews and buy Night of the Furies on Amazon.

HOOKED BY PAGE 2, November 13, 2008
By D. Neal

I pretty much skipped or slept through my Greek history & mythology classes - but because I loved David Angsten's first novel, Dark Gold (pot-smoking brothers, babes, Mexico, sunken ships, treasure maps, monsters), I thought I'd give this one a shot. By page two, I was hooked. David Angsten's books are like mini-vacations for us arm-chair adventurers. With NIGHT OF THE FURIES, he gives us another smartly written, "guilty-pleasure." This time, those same brothers, and a sexy archeologist, are in search of an entirely different "treasure": a metaphysical experience, called the Elusinian Mysteries (your basic drug-induced, pagan divine revelation), sought by Plato, Socrates, Augustus, etc. - and now our heroes. Of course, true to their natures, the brothers find themselves in a whole lot of big, bad trouble: secret-ritual organic drugs, orgies on a yacht, a dead body, and one terrifying night of fleeing flesh-tearing women, unleashed when the brothers discover their ancient ritual. With his terse, engaging prose, David Angsten deftly takes us on this scary-as-hell, tightly-woven, wild ride of a tale, that blows Greek history and mythology right into the 21st century. Girls Gone Wild? No... just your basic Greek history come to life.


PAPER TRAILS: Local writer may have a book on TV
By Linda Caillouet

Little Rock freelance writer Suzi Parker’s nonfiction book Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt is currently in development for a film adaptation on Lifetime Television. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart) is scripting, and Ken Atchity and Chi-Li Wong (Life or Something Like it) are producing.

Meanwhile, Parker just completed her first novel, Echo Ellis: Adventures of a Girl Reporter, which is currently being shopped around by her agent.

Earlier, Parker’s feature in the online magazine Nerve. com titled “Genie in a Bottle” on Niagara, a reputed aphrodisiac drink for women, was optioned by Revolution Studios as a starring vehicle for Adam Sandler and Julia Roberts but was eventually shelved.

On March 29, Nerve ran a dispat
ch about Niagara, the now-notorious love potion from Little Rock. We were overrun with demands for the beverage. Never accuse us of being less than eager to please: in the aftermath of the article, Nerve.com, Inc. has partnered with the U.S. distributors to make the drink available online. Buy it here.

To kick off this service, we're running a new, expanded version of the original story. So we're biased, we admit it. We like the drink. We like the woman who sells it. We want you to buy it. Read it, and sip.

Buy Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt by Suzi Parker
on Amazon.


GumbWriters Interview with Literary Manager, Ken Atchity

GumboWriters had the opportunity to interview legendary literary manager, Ken Atchity. He has been responsible for managing the careers of many bestselling authors and securing million-dollar film deals for them as well. He also has a wonderful blog you should take a look at.

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Ken?

Well, to begin with, I'm NOT an agent although half the world calls me one. I'm a literary manager and producer, which allows my company, Atchity Entertainment International, a much wider purview and operating plane: we develop literary properties, sell them to publishers (like agents do), then set them up as films or multimedia franchises. It's been a nearly 20-year evolution to where we are today, following my first career as professor of comparative literature at Occidental College (Yale Ph.D., Georgetown B.A.), Fulbright Professor to the University of Bologna, Instructor in Screen- and Novel-writing at UCLA Writers Program, and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review.

My second career is founded on my first. I wanted to move on from analyzing and critiquing stories to helping storytellers create them for publishers and the big screen. As an author myself, with 15 books to date and a half dozen or so screenplays, I thought I should 'put my money where my mouth was" and focus on creation instead of deconstruction. Turns out, the latter serves the former and has continued to do so. In fact, I formed a second company, The Writer's Lifeline, as a kind of farm team for my management and representation company—a company that mentors writers not yet ready for representation, and also ghostwrites for individuals and companies who want to get a story or information into the world but don't have time to be writers. Some of AEI's biggest successes have been incubated in the Writer's Lifeline, including Dracula: The Un-Dead, a novel AEI just sold for nearly $2 million and will produce as a film in '09.

What makes your agency different than any others?

Primarily that we think outside the box and focus on storytellers instead of screenwriters vs novelists. Our ideal clients are ones that want to be paid for their intellectual property on both coasts, publishing and entertainment, and in the global market.

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?

We've just launched the Brand Management division of AEI, for projects like Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt's Dracula: The Un-Dead, Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not!, Royce Buckingham's Demon Keeper, that can be branded in all media—book, film, television, internet, music, merchandising & licensing. We'd like to see more high-concept and/or blockbuster novels to set up as films (like 3 Men Seeking Monsters, which we're producing at Universal, Demon Keeper at Fox 2000, Sex in the South at Lifetime, and High Voltage which we're producing with Baror International and just about to make the rounds with). When it comes to screenplays, we're looking only for high-concept action, broad comedies, successful comic books or graphic novels, high-profile fantasy (based on underlying properties) and ones based on high profile true stories. And we're also looking on the constant hunt for film financing because we've decided to take our clients' fates into our hands by financing independent movies as a more realistic supplement to the original business of setting up big studio films. Does that mean a screenplay with money attached gets our attention? Yes indeed.

Ken what are you tired of receiving?

(a) Books that have too narrow a market; (b) children's picture books (we can't make a business of them unless they're already successfully published); (c) nuclear war stories—arghhh!; (d) childhood abuse stories. I could go on…

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?

Sending me a two-line email about their project, and two lines about themselves. When the email gets longer I forward it to my staff to answer. Don't worry--if I'm interested in the 4 lines, I'll ask for more.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?

Great question. My fantastic staff is there to answer their everyday questions, and to handle the flow of the business required to get them into the marketplace. The clients we tend to retain are those that work with the whole group—including my long-time partner Chi-Li Wong. Those that demand my attention for every little thing that pops into their mind tend to drift away. I focus on creative thinking and marketing (sales!), and hope my clients understand that's where their best benefits lie. My radar is my company, and when I hear good things or nothing I'm aware the client is working well with us; when I hear about them too often, there's usually trouble brewing. The busier we get the more we turn away from trouble. But I have to say we've gotten better at better at selecting people we work well with we're pretty happy these days.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Ken that they don't seem to?

That I'm much more than an "agent." Because of my prior experience I'm a writer, editor, producer, manager, psychologist, teacher—and, above all, a determined enthusiast who will go to the ends of the earth to sell a story once I decide I love it—and have done so long after a client has lost hope

What's the best way for a writer to reach you?

Because we continue to serve unknown writers as well as mid-career writers wishing to up their success ratio, my email has been and will continue to be public record:
kja (at) aeionline (dot) com

Audio rights to Dracula: The Un-Dead

Audio rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family Hungarian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to Recorded Books, for high five figures, by Baror International and Atchity Entertainment International.

kja (at) aeionline (dot) com. Will be published by Dutton in U.S. October ’09.

AEI Breakin' News

"Hittin' The Bricks" Executive Producer Richard Warren Rappaport just released his new single, "Sail Into The Sun." Debuting in September, the song has reached #20 nationally on the FMQB Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. Rappaport is signed to A Top New York Label, and wrote and performed the song.."Sail Into The Sun" is available on iTunes and all other major digital distribution sites.

An AC Pick (Review) from FMQB for Nov. 13, 2008

Richard Warren Rappaport Sail Into The Sun (A Top New York Label)

Singer, songwriter Richard Warren Rappaport's debut foray at the format has seen radio welcome him with open arms. And why not. Sail Into The Sun is custom made for Mainstream AC Radio. A well crafted melody and subtle rhythms surround Rappaport's smooth vocal delivery, reminiscent of Al Jarreau. And this is just the tip of the musical iceberg for RWR.

The FMQB Chart as of Nov. 13, 2008 The song can be heard by clicking on the banner for Rappaport, below.

Dracula: The Un-Dead -- More Foreign Rights

Serbian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family Hungarian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to Carobna Knjiga by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.

kja (at) aeionline (dot) com. Will be published by Dutton in U.S. October ’09.


From How to Publish Your Novel by Ken Atchity
Chapter Thirteen:
Perfecting Your Craft

Nothing takes the place of practice. A famous athlete once said, “If you’re not practicing, someone out there is practicing. And when he meets you he will beat you.” Writing isn’t just a talent, it’s a craft that requires the honing of skill and technique. In this chapter I’ll give you several concrete suggestions about how you can improve yourself as a commercial novelist.

A novelist’s toolkit

A novelist’s medium is story, his form the contemporary novel. His most basic tools are character, action, setting and narrative voice. From the alchemy created by mixing these, a story emerges. Let’s examine each of these elements in turn.

Major, minor, and supporting characters

Character is by far the most important element of a novel. To the extent that your readers are “on board” with your protagonist, they will stay committed to your story. An unforgettable protagonist, even if he appears complex and multifaceted to the reader, is made up of just a handful of key components:

1.) Motivation: What makes your protagonist tick? What does he want? Your character must be struggling with one of the major human drives, including love, hate, fear, anxiety, vengeance, rage, jealousy, ambition, and greed. Your readers know these drives intimately; odds are, they’ve grappled with them in their own lives. They’ll respond to them.

Identify one drove for each of your characters and develop it. The best stories take a single, profound emotion and plumb its depths through all the characters like variations on a theme in music; the worst stories skim the surface of many different human drives, leaving their readers lost, confused, and unsatisfied. A well-constructed protagonist may possess two drives that are in conflict with each other, but rarely more than this. He is driven by greed and fear, for example, so that each step toward his goal of riches increases his psychological pain. In real life, people run a gamut of emotions, explore many drives, but not in well-made fiction. The beauty of the “what if” pattern (“What if a man driven by greed was as strongly driven by fear?”) is that it allows us to isolate and explore the ramifications of action issuing from such a character.

2.) Mission: Your protagonist needs a job to do, a goal for his drive. If it’s greed you’ve chosen, you may want to be the man who aims at being the top player on Wall Street, the woman who corners the oil exploration business, the couple who want to have more than anyone else at their country club. It doesn’t matter whether the character chooses to undertake the mission himself, or it’s thrust upon him. The mission should relate directly, in one way or another, to the character’s motivation.
The mission must be involved enough and challenging enough to sustain the story for the duration of the novel. It must lend itself to challenges, both in the form of obstacles, and in the form of an antagonist.

An antagonist, by definition, is a force that works against your hero’s mission—your protagonist’s nemesis. Your antagonist will not necessarily be a bad guy—he might not even be a person at all. In Sebastian Junger’s novel The Perfect Storm, nature is the antagonist. It’s the storm itself that foils Captain Billy Tyne’s mission to come home with a boatload of swordfish. In Steve Alten’s Domain, the antagonist is the other-worldly dragon creature who rises from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico after lying dormant for millions of years.

3.) Obstacles: Action happens when your hero struggles against obstacles to his mission. The obstacles you choose to confront your protagonist must be appropriate for him—don’t pit Bambi against the Galactic Empire. Arrange your series of obstacles in ascending order, so that the tension rises throughout your story. Your obstacles, ideally, should relate to one another in some fashion. And like all the other elements of your story, they must have a beginning, middle, and end.

4.) Relatability: If your audience can’t identify with your protagonist, they’re not going to be able to involve themselves in your story. Beginning writers often get the impression that a protagonist has to be likable. But if that were the case, we couldn’t enjoy Bill Murray’s performance as the irascible Frank Cross in Scrooged. Readers don’t have to like your protagonist. They just have to relate to him. They have to see the direction you’re pointing him in, and root for him to go there. If he’s a jerk, the audience must hunger for his redemption. You can’t help rooting for Hero’s Bernie LaPlante, even if you do want to kick him.

5.) Change: Over the course of the story, your protagonist must face his shortcoming, or his fear, or whatever it is that’s really keeping him from achieving his mission. He must grow into his ability to meet the goal you’ve set for him. In real life, human change is nebulous, messy, imprecise. In fiction, it can’t be. Your character’s change must progress in a logical, clear series of steps. See Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing for a thorough discussion of the steps that lead a character from state A to state B.

To be continued. Check back soon!
Buy How to Publish Your Novel on Amazon.

Continue reading
How to Publish Your Novel by Ken Atchity
Chapter Thirteen:


Fascinating read, November 11, 2008

By Sarah Wright (North Carolina, USA)

This book was interesting from beginning to end- and brought New Orleans, mystery, alzheimer's and history to life. I highly recommend it. I plan on buying copies for friends who have relatives suffering from this disease.

Please add your review to Amazon, once you’ve ordered and read this mesmerizing novel.

Buy Una Vida on Amazon

More Foreign Rights to Dracula: The Un-Dead

Rumanian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to Humanitas Fiction SRL by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.
kja (at) aeionline (dot) com


Everything I’ve wished for, hoped for, or thought of in advance, the Obama for President campaign—of which I have been a modest contributor--was one or many more steps ahead of me. Maybe this is no exception.

As a former professor of classics, author of books and articles about ancient Greek democracy, I’ve spent a lifetime comparing how the democracy of Athens handled governing, especially in crises. I suggest the following, from that perspective:

Instead of automatically raising taxes for the most affluent individuals and corporations, we could try the following:

Two meetings at the White House. First, for the 100 wealthiest men and women in America. Ask Warren Buffett to finance the assembly and its attendant infrastructure.

Announce to them that you don’t like taxes anymore than anyone else likes them. What you’re proposing to them instead is volunteering to “give back” to the country that made their wealth possible. On a businesslike basis. You and Warren will provide a White House liaison for each of them, to assist with working out the feasibility of THEIR PROPOSAL for assisting the economy with THEM as the provider of funds, i.e., investor. On a profit basis, with their profit limited to a most amount, say 5%, and matching the profit of the American people.

Let them choose which of the fix or six most troubled sectors of the economy they want to create their new social business in (on the model of Dr. Muhammed Yunus’ social businesses, like the one Grameen Foundation is doing with Dannon, for example). Their investment must equal what they would have paid in increased taxes, but it would be under their control, monitored by the White House liaison. It will put money back into the economy and start a contagion of socially-focused businesses doing the same.

Do the same thing with the 100 most profitable corporations, thanking them for what they’ve already done for society, but asking that they do more—at the level of the equivalent in increased taxes.

Tell both groups that you will give this a 12-month trial period, and promise a moratorium on raising taxes for them during that period. You can revisit the program once you’ve seen signs of progress and impact on the economy.

In ancient Athens, if a war came along, or even time to plan next year’s Great Athenaean Festival, the wealthy assembled in the Agora. One merchant would volunteer to outfit six ships (“as long as I can name them after my family,” etc.), another to front the expenses of the Festival, another to provide prizes, another to provision the army, etc.

It’s the “atmosphere of willing volunteerism” that can turn the economy around and do it in a way that does not make the affluent antagonistic to the incoming administration. In the climate of hope you’ve now created, I believe this will catch on like wildfire and turn the tide.

Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead

Greek rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family, to be published by Dutton U.S. October 2009—Harlenic Hellas S.A.. by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.

kja (at) aeionline (dot) com

Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead

Slovakian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to IKAR a.s. by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.
kja (at) aeionline (dot) com

Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead

Hungarian rights to Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt’s Dracula: The Un-Dead, sequel to Dracula authorized by the Bram Stoker family to Atheaeum by Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International.
kja (at) aeionline (dot) com

Myth to Movie: Pygmalion

First published in Produced By, the official magazine of the Producers Guild of America

Myth to Movie: Pygmalion
By Ken Atchity

The wish-fulfillment archetype —the dream become flesh—finds perennially poignant expression in stories based on the Pygmalion myth.

A Cyprian sculptor-priest-king who had no use for his island’s women, Pygmalion dedicated his energies to his art. From a flawless piece of ivory, he carved a maiden, and found her so beautiful that he robed her and adorned her with jewels, calling her Galatea (“sleeping love”). His became obsessed with the statue, praying to Aphrodite to bring him a wife as perfect as his image. Sparked by his earnestness, the goddess visited Pygmalion’s studio and was so pleasantly surprised to find Galatea almost a mirror of herself she brought the statue to life. When Pygmalion returned home, he prostrated himself at the living Galatea’s feet. The two were wed in Aphrodite’s temple, and lived happily ever after under her protection.

Though it was never absent from western literature, this transformation myth resoundingly entered modern consciousness with Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which enlisted it to explore the complexity of human relationships in a stratified society. My Fair Lady, based on Shaw’s retelling, took the myth to another level of audience awareness.

The obligatory beats of the Pygmalion myth: the protagonist has a dream inspired by encounter with an unformed object (“Look at her, a prisoner of the gutter!”), uses his skills and/or prayers to shape it into a reality; falls in love with the embodiment of his dream, and lives happily ever after, or not.

Essential to the pattern is that the dreamer-protagonist is rewarded for doing something about his dream, for turning it from dream to reality with or without a dea ex machina. Thanks to the infinite creativity of producers, directors, and writers, Pygmalion has generated countless wonderful movie story variations: Inventor Gepetto, in Pinocchio (1940--with numerous remakes), wishes that the wooden puppet he’s created could become the son he never had; a department store window dresser (Robert Walker), in One Touch of Venus (1948, based on the Ogden Nash/S. J. Perelman musical), kisses a statue of Venus (Ava Gardner) into life— trouble begins when she falls in love with him. In 1983’s thenEducating Rita (from Willy Russell’s play), a young hairdresser (Julie Walters), wishing to improve herself by continuing her education, finds a tutor in jaded professor (Michael Caine), who’s reinvigorated by her. In a reverse of the pattern, as quickly as she changes under his tutelage he resents the “educated” Rita and wants her, selfishly, to stay as she was.

Alvin Johnson (Nick Cannon), in 2003’s Love Don’t Cost a Thing, a remake of Can’t Buy Me Love (1987), comes to the rescue of Paris (Christina Milian) when she wrecks her mother’s Cadillac and can’t pay the $1,500 for the repair. Alvin fronts the cash with his savings and, in return, Paris has to pretend to be his girlfriend for two weeks; Alvin becomes “cool” for the first time in his life, but learns that the price of popularity is higher than he bargained for. In She’s All That (1999), the pattern is reversed as Freddie Prinze, Jr., is a high school hotttie who bets a classmate he can turn nerdy Rachel Leigh Cook into a prom queen but, of course, runs into trouble when he falls in love with his creation. In The Princess Diaries (2001), Mia (Anne Hathaway), a gawky Bay Area teen, learns her father was the prince of Genovia; the queen (Julie Andrews) hopes her granddaughter will take her father’s rightful place as heir, and transforms her from a social misfit into a regal lady but discover their growing love for each other is more important than the throne.

Pretty Woman (1990) is my second favorite example of the tirelessness of the Pygmalion myth. Taking the flower-girl motif of My Fair Lady to the extreme, Vivian (Julia Roberts) is a prostitute (albeit idealized) and Edward (Richard Gere) a ruthless businessman with no time for real love. As he opens his credit cards on a Rodeo Drive shopping spree, we experience a telescoped transformation-by-money accompanied with the upbeat music that reminds us that we love this highly escapist part of the Pygmalion story, the actual process of turning ugly duckling into princess swan.

My favorite example is La Femme Nikita (remade as Point of No Return, 1993, with Bridget Fonda), because it shows the versatility of mythic structure, taking Pygmalion to the darkest place imaginable as it fashions of street druggie Nikita (Anne Parillaud), under Bob’s merciless tutelage (Tcheky Karyo), a chameleon-like lethal sophisticate whose heart of gold allows her to escape both her unformed past and her darkly re-formed present.

So popular is the Pygmalion myth with audiences that it crops up in the most unlikely places. In Pao zhi nu peng you (My Dream Girl, 2003), Shanghai slum-dweller Cheung Ling (Vicki Zhao) is thrust into high society when she encounters her long-lost father, who hires Joe Lam to makeover his daughter to fit her new status. In Million-Dollar Baby (2004), the unformed matter (Hilary Swank) reports for duty and demands to be transformed. Instead of falling in love, the boxing instructor (Clint Eastwood) is reborn, reinvigorated, re-inspired, learns to feel again—thereby revealing the underlying emotion that drives the Pygmalion myth for both protagonist and the character he reshapes: rebirth into a more ideal state of being.

Post Election Inner Reflection From Awakened Heart


CHANGE IS HERE ALREADY---much more to come.

This week the Presidential election result is proof to the world as well as to our own nation, that BIG changes are already happening. The 'glow' is rippling out like a a first blush of love and a honeymoon phase of a new relationship. It fosters hope, and possibility regardless of who we voted for in this election.

Everyone is playing their part for this next four years until 2012. Get ready!

For many years there has been a powerful and subtle movement of energy, uplifting consciousness, and bringing more awareness into view.

As it has been stated by many people, in the active direction of transformation and positive
change, emotions are simply 'energy in motion'. It is our energy-shifting, it is our global awareness, and consciousness rising.

It the world's heart opening, and it is life transforming, because of this change, this shift, emotions are more on the move as well.

For nearly 30 years, being involved with the origin of this releasing method and technique of letting go, I have been a part of this conscious movement as well.

We can fight and resist change, (the old way) which causes us suffering, or we can more consciously act, (the new way) and ready ourselves for this evolving world we live in. We can look through the glass of fear, or we can see this as an exciting time to be apart of history and humanity.

Fear and excitement have the same 'feel' have you noticed? Were you upset by the results and just don't seem to be able to reconcile it yet?


Regardless of WHO is in The Whitehouse, there will be CHANGE.


Because of critical mass, and because it is time for more awakening on this planet and 'you're it'.

This shift in consciousness is already in motion, and we each have a choice. Hold onto the old, or let go into the new. The new, within us.

For me, the choice has been clear for over 28 years.

What is your choice? There are several. I have one, powerful choice. You take back YOUR power.

Has your road been bumpy? Have you struggled so Hard trying to make your world come out the way you want it, and it is just not cooperating? OR are you open to relaxing into this NOW, as it is?

Read my 2 NEW POSTS on www.Awakenedheartblog.com for some tips when life falls apart.

Posted on November 6th.

Did you know that the day after Obama was elected, that it was the first day of the New Mayan Calendar?

Auspicious? Perhaps.

Are you flexible, or tight, able to see new ways of proceeding, or tunnel-vision? Are you finally
opening to new ways, regardless of the mind's old lingering opinions or attitudes--that haven't worked for you so far?

Are you ready to break free and break through that comfort zone? It is only held in place by our

If we don't break free, it is stressful, isn't it?

This can help and give you tools for the rest of your life. http://myecourseplusbonushww.smmsite.com Tear away the cover page by opting in and seize the gifts there for you.

Can you learn to let go for more grace, ease in any life transition, or situation, and joy of seeing and 'being more a part of the solution' of change for the whole world? This is what is being asked now of each individual...ready or not. Those that say 'no' will hurt more, for that is simply the way of physics of energy.

If energy is stuck, it hurts. This helps you not only let go of the stuck, but of what hurts. Truly, it is having tools to MOVE our energy, align it within us, and let it flow.

When something wants to move, we need to get in the flow or get out of the way. HOW?

Moving energy, and letting go of stress, of being stuck, Of old fear, and of an old way of thinking because the Energy is not flowing. Our thinking and our mind is Old, our flowing opens us up to being new, fresh, and Vibrantly alive.

Open the door for yourself, for the stress-factor is a key!

Open your energy matrix at this portal. This is 'energetic medicine' for you and your life. This is how you UNSTICK and flow.

As a holistic practitioner for over 26 years, and an energetic healer in many modalities, a Reiki master, and more, along with releasing and letting go training over the years, I have seen both: flowing with change, and fighting change. I have done it myself when I am foolish.

You tell me which one yields happiness, contentment, less stress, growth, and well being. Part of why I love energetic work is that it does smooth the transition within the human body as people go through rough times. Our emotional life is usually where we get hung up: our feelings. This is our 'old habit' of' holding on' to the past.

This truly IS a new world, is a new unconscious agreement field for dynamic change, but where is
that change?

Within us, sitting in that chair. This is the new direction of our world, your world, THE world, our coauthored and co-created world.

That is the world we live in now and have for a while.

Cooperation, collaboration, co-creation, and with both dependence, and inter-dependence-with each other, with nations, and with leadership. What stops this?

Our emotions, our reactions, and our out of balance energetic flow. It is simple. Have you read the books, seen the popular DVD's, listened to the tapes, done the affirmations, and sat in front of the mentors and 'gurus'? Well your own ability to flow your energy is beyond any of that unless we are still clinging to the 'old game' of thinking and feeling-and just plain stuck.

Now we need the tools to help us shift for the good of ourselves, our life, our new consciousness opening like a lotus blossom.

Our new Home Study Course is designed to give you these practical tools. It is relief from stress of emotional holding and letting go into more of your inherent happiness regardless of how things change.

When you are clearer, you are more able to be part of the true, positive change, beginning with

Just click here: It is simple. Just opt in with your name and email and it opens you to the tools you need

for elegantly moving into this new paradigm, shift, and life of more awareness.

Step into what is happening, from a place of flowing your own energy from within. This is the ultimate 'how to' of keeping the flow moving rather than being stuck. It gives you ways to directly let go of the fear, and it gives you the remedies and practical solutions to emotional upset
...so YOU can simply let it go.

Take advantage of this opportunity, for the flow is already moving and the change is and has already occurred. We simply need to catch up to what is already happening around the world. The lines of separation are weakening, and we are that healing of the planet.

So aptly put by Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see."

These are the practical steps, the powerful keys and The very manual no one gave us when we were born or went to school No one taught us this in school, and now it is here for you so you can move your energy to a higher vibration, align within yourself, and have the tools at your fingertips whenever you need them.

Claim the life you feel in your heart, see in your vision and that you deserve to live. Lift yourself into the vibration of love, harmony, ease, inner peace, and courage.

May you be blessed to be free, awake, and happy in this life,

Jeannie Fitzsimmons

SPONSORED BY: www.WholeLifeWater.com for health, well being from the inside out through alkaline, restructured and anti-oxident water. If you want to know more, go there, enter your email and you will be given access to what is behind the 'cover page'. Enjoy.

Awakened Heart
269 S Beverly Drive Suite 1139
Beverly Hills, California

(C) 2008 Jeannie Fitzsimmons Awakened Heart Press


History is happenin' baby girl

Times Square Nov 4, 2008

My wife Judy and I had several business meetings in Manhattan on Tuesday, the day of the election. We were walking through Times Square that night after seeing Horton Foote's play, Dividing The Estate. There was an enormous, rainbow crowd packing the square. It was like New Year's Eve with people spilling out of bars onto the sidewalks and streets, celebrating, laughing and talking to strangers. Lovers and friends were holding hands and leaning against each other. Entire families had shown up for this historic night. Huge neon jumbo-trons were streaming CNN, Fox News, ABC, and The Jon Stewart Show. Everyone was excitedly reacting to each update that popped up on these enormous outdoor screens. It was an amazing spectacle.

We passed an elderly black woman who appeared to be in her 70s. She had her young granddaughter with her who appeared to be no more than seven or so. The little girl was holding her grandmother's hand and tugging on her sleeve, standing on her tiptoes to see what all the commotion was about.

"What's happenin', grandmama?" the little girl asked the gray-haired matron.

The elderly lady looked at the child. "History, baby girl. History is happenin'."

Just then another state was called for Obama. One of the huge screens – it was several stories tall and as wide as the side of the building – flashed a still photo of Obama.

The elderly lady reached down and, with effort, lifted the little girl into her arms. She pointed at Obama's smiling face.

"Child," she said, "I do believe that man is gonna be the next president of these United States."

The little girl looked at Obama, her big brown eyes wide with the wonder of it all. "Really?"

"As God is my witness..." She held the child close and hugged her. Tears of joy welled up in the old woman's eyes.

"The greatness of America," Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, "lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." (The rumor that Alexis is a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon is incorrect.)

As a people, no matter how badly we lose our way or abuse the many blessings we have been given, we still have the ability to change course. Our great ship of state has turned into the wind and is now moving in a fresh direction with a steady hand and a firm gaze on the horizon.

Michael Moore's Letter

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Who among us is not at a loss for words? Tears pour out. Tears of joy. Tears of relief. A stunning, whopping landslide of hope in a time of deep despair.

In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves, it was an unexpected moment, shocking in its simplicity: Barack Obama, a good man, a black man, said he would bring change to Washington, and the majority of the country liked that idea. The racists were present throughout the campaign and in the voting booth. But they are no longer the majority, and we will see their flame of hate fizzle out in our lifetime.

There was another important "first" last night. Never before in our history has an avowed anti-war candidate been elected president during a time of war. I hope President-elect Obama remembers that as he considers expanding the war in Afghanistan. The faith we now have will be lost if he forgets the main issue on which he beat his fellow Dems in the primaries and then a great war hero in the general election: The people of America are tired of war. Sick and tired. And their voice was loud and clear yesterday.

It's been an inexcusable 44 years since a Democrat running for president has received even just 51% of the vote. That's because most Americans haven't really liked the Democrats. They see them as rarely having the guts to get the job done or stand up for the working people they say they support. Well, here's their chance. It has been handed to them, via the voting public, in the form of a man who is not a party hack, not a set-for-life Beltway bureaucrat. Will he now become one of them, or will he force them to be more like him? We pray for the latter.

But today we celebrate this triumph of decency over personal attack, of peace over war, of intelligence over a belief that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs just 6,000 years ago. What will it be like to have a smart president? Science, banished for eight years, will return. Imagine supporting our country's greatest minds as they seek to cure illness, discover new forms of energy, and work to save the planet. I know, pinch me.

We may, just possibly, also see a time of refreshing openness, enlightenment and creativity. The arts and the artists will not be seen as the enemy. Perhaps art will be explored in order to discover the greater truths. When FDR was ushered in with his landslide in 1932, what followed was Frank Capra and Preston Sturgis, Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck, Dorothea Lange and Orson Welles. All week long I have been inundated with media asking me, "gee, Mike, what will you do now that Bush is gone?" Are they kidding? What will it be like to work and create in an environment that nurtures and supports film and the arts, science and invention, and the freedom to be whatever you want to be? Watch a thousand flowers bloom! We've entered a new era, and if I could sum up our collective first thought of this new era, it is this: Anything Is Possible.

An African American has been elected President of the United States! Anything is possible! We can wrestle our economy out of the hands of the reckless rich and return it to the people. Anything is possible! Every citizen can be guaranteed health care. Anything is possible! We can stop melting the polar ice caps. Anything is possible! Those who have committed war crimes will be brought to justice. Anything is possible.

We really don't have much time. There is big work to do. But this is the week for all of us to revel in this great moment. Be humble about it. Do not treat the Republicans in your life the way they have treated you the past eight years. Show them the grace and goodness that Barack Obama exuded throughout the campaign. Though called every name in the book, he refused to lower himself to the gutter and sling the mud back. Can we follow his example? I know, it will be hard.
I want to thank everyone who gave of their time and resources to make this victory happen. It's been a long road, and huge damage has been done to this great country, not to mention to many of you who have lost your jobs, gone bankrupt from medical bills, or suffered through a loved one being shipped off to Iraq. We will now work to repair this damage, and it won't be easy.
But what a way to start! Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States. Wow. Seriously, wow.

Michael Moore


Book news from Rosemary Serluca-Foster


Did you know that November 10th - 18th is World Kindness Week? The World Kindness Movement (WKM) and the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation are organizations whose mission is to inspire individuals to share greater kindness toward each other, and to connect nations to create a kinder world.

Try practicing one random act of kindness every day, and watch your life, the lives you touch, and the world around you transform in a wonderful way!

Kindness is infectious--spread it around.

Please join me at the following terrific events, and continue to celebrate the gift of a child`s intuitive heart.

Saturday, November 8th at 11:30AM, I will give a reading and offer signed copies for purchase of my award-winning children`s picture book, Genevieve`s Gift: A Child`s Joyful Tale of Connecting with her Intuitive Heart at Whole Foods Market, 235 Prospect Ave # 21- West Orange, NJ. For more information, and to reserve your spot, please call (973)-669-3196 or email Rachel.Bogan@wholefoods.com.

Friday, November 21st, 7-9, I will be participating in the fun and fabulous Upper Nyack School`s Book Fair Party 336 N. Broadway, Upper Nyack, NY. Many wonderful children`s books available for purchase, as well as, author book signings. Join us for a great time!

Sunday, November 30th, from 10AM-5PM, I will be signing and selling books at the Body, Mind, Spirit Fall Festival held at the Wyndham Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn) 50 Kenney Place, Saddle Brook, NJ. Come, enjoy a fun-filled day, and stop by to say hello.

If you would like to schedule a reading or workshop at your school, library, local bookstore, homeschooling group, health expo, house of worship, please email info@rosedoveproductions.com. For more information visit www.genevievesgift.com.

All the Best,

Rosemary and "Genevieve"

Movie Myths: The Faust Myth

“I’m tired of the same old clichés,” Sam Goldwyn once said. “Bring me some new clichés.” Since Homer’s Odyssey, which describes its protagonist as a teller of twice-told tales, storytellers achieve greatness by finding new ways to tell those universal stories that have been around since the beginning of storytelling. “It could happen anytime—anywhere—to anybody. Yes, it could even happen to you,” to quote from the opening titles of William Dieterle’s “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1941). These perennial tales are what we call myths, and our new takes on them work best when we clearly recognize the exact myth from which we’re spinning a new yarn. Films go astray when the myth is lost sight of. “Writing free verse,” Robert Frost remarked, “is like playing tennis with the nets down.”

For us development producers, the “nets” are the “obligatory beats” in the myth that’s generating the screenplay we’re working with. You simply have more creative control if you know where you’re starting from. Take one of Hollywood’s favorites—“the deal with the Devil” (human POV) or the “Devil tempting humans” (Devil POV, the latter going at least as far back as the Book of Job). This temptation-to-supernatural power-and-redemption myth decisively predates the namesake it’s often identified with (Doctor Johannes Faust actually existed in the 16th century, a famous magician renowened for his devotion to necromancy), going back at least as far as Prometheus (who enables man to go beyond his nature), touching down again memorably with Satan offering Jesus from the mountain “all the kingdoms of the world, if you will fall down and adore me” and reappears memorably again with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s wildest dream become real enough to destroy him.

The myth generates stories that fall into two categories: in one set of stories, often called “Faust” stories, like “Damn Yankees” (1958), “Alias Nick Beal” (1949), and “The Devil’s Advocate,” a living protagonist makes a deal with the evil spirit; in the second set, like “Heaven Can Wait,” “The Devil and Max Devlin,” “Angel on My Shoulder” (1946), and Todd McFarlane’s “Spawn,” the protagonist Al Simmons is murdered by his evil boss Jason Wynn, then makes a hell of a deal that brings him back to life (the story is muddled by putting in too many elements that undermine the power of the myth to involve us personally).

The Faust stories may be slightly more popular to filmmakers because they remain rooted in earthbound reality without having to deal with visualizing the afterlife except in the random nightmare flash. In the typical Faust story, the protagonist wants something (eternal life, power, knowledge, the perfect woman—or lots of her) so badly he attracts an evil spirit (the Devil, Satan, “Wall Street’s” Gordon Gekko) who promises to help him get it, for a price (usually his immortal soul, almost always his morality). Note that the devil’s deal is usually deceitful in some way—why wouldn’t it be?—though the protagonist is blinded to the deceit by his greed. The protagonist longs for a power beyond the ordinary, the devil comes to offer it to him in exchange for his soul. He accepts the bargain, and enjoys what he longed for until he realizes the enjoyment is hollow. The devil then comes to claim the bargainer’s soul. In the final act, Faust ether is redeemed and given a second chance or is taken, howling, down to hell. Note that in either version the important catalyst the athe antagonist’s 9the devil’s )The details of the bargain laid out, the deal sealed, our hero gets the girl, or the money, or the power—but finds something wrong either with what he wanted or what he has to pay, or with both. Then he tries to get out of it, and—in act 3—either succeeds or fails (comedy or “tragedy”). Cases in point: consitgency. Faust may change his mind, and wish the deal undone; but the devil sticks to his guns.

• In Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus” (1586), the price is his soul, the exchange 24 years of service from Mephistopheles, bringing him knowledge, power, wealth, and beauty; the outcome, tragic: Repentance is too little too late, and Faust is dragged howling into hell by demons. Yet he’s still seen somehow as a hero, of man’s transcendence of his own nature.

• Goethe’s “Faust” (1808) brings an Enlightenment twist to the familiar story: the protagonist scientist, master of his own destiny, is the one who lays down the conditions of the demonic deal. Tragedy is transformed to comedy by a literal dues ex machina – when Mephistopheles comes to collect his soul, angels beat him to it and carry Faust off to heaven. The angels in Goethe’s tale are man’s higher nature, saving him because of his desire for knowledge on behalf of all humanity.

• In “The Devil & Daniel Webster,” the payoff for xxx is seven years of prosperity, but Mr. Scratch (Walter Huston) is defeated by the oratory and Yankee ingenuity of Daniel Webster (Edward Arnold): “No American citizen may be forced into the service of a foreign prince.”

• In “Mephisto” (Mephistopheles is the name of the devil in Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s Faust), the devil is the Nazi regime, the payoff to the actor-protagonist is being allowed to continue in the theater.

Typically the storytellers’ desire is t somehow save Faust, for saving him would allow audiences to believe that transcendence is possible, that one can go beyond the limits of human nature with impunity. The trick is how to save him believably, and that is a tough trick to pull off.

The producers’ challenge is to work with the screenwriter to think up a twist that excites audiences to take this “same old ride” one more time. In “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), the twist is that the diabolical deal is made by the protagonist’s husband and she’s left holding the bag—er, the baby. In “The Devil’s Advocate,” the twist is that the protagonist played by Keanu Reeves finds out he’s the Devil’s son. In both cases, the stories have clear and satisfying resolutions because the storytellers have kept sight of the invisible net—the mythic understructure of the story--which allows them to play tennis as though they and the audience could see it. When the story gets the myth right, even with all its twists and turn to “make it new,” the audience sighs with relief—redemption, even after great evil, is still possible.

But if the twists and turn twist the essentials of the myth too much, the story falls flat. “Bedazzled” (2000) has a cool twist, with the devil as a saucy woman (Elizabeth Hurley), but by adding the “seven wishes” motif to the basic Faust myth, muddles up the the myth by, among other things, trying to mix it with the “three (in this case seven) wishes” myth and the writing isn’t strong enough to pull off the graft effectively.

In Indecent Proposal, the innocent young couple encounters the handsomely tuxedoed John Gage (his dapperness reminiscent of Ray Walston’s Mr. Applegate in “Damn Yankees”). But Ray Walston was no romantic competition for Tab Hunter. “Indecent Proposal” goes awry for the audience because once the audience has seen the devilish gleam in Robert Redford’s eyes, they, like Demy Moore’s Diana Murphy, lose their rooting interest in husband David (played by hapless Woody Harrelson). The producers chose the star system over adhering to mythic storytelling—the devil’s not supposed to be the good guy, but by the end we’re rooting for Diana to stay with him and his lovable dogs, not go back to her ineffectual husband and his white rhinoceros. For the devil to play antagonist, you need a heavy, like Al Pacino in “The Devil’s Advocate” or Robert de Niro in “Angel Heart.” But of course Redford wanted the role, and who wouldn’t want Redford? The film did over $300 worldwide on an all-in of $63 million. It just felt fuzzy at the end because we lost sight of the nets. Moral of the story: when in doubt about your script, attach a star!

See the Faust table here.
First published in Produced By, the official magazine of the Producers Guild of America.

More UN-DEAD foreign deals

Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt’s supernatural thriller and Stoker-family-authorized sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, known as Dracula: The Un-Dead, was a major center of activity at Frankfurt, with six figure sales made to Michel Lafon (France), Lizengeber (Germany), Edizione Piemme (Italy), Roca Editorial (Spain), and five figures to Znak Publishing (Poland), AST Publishing (Russia), De Boekerij (Holland). By Baror International for Atchity Entertainment International. AEI and Blue Tulip are developing the motion picture. Ken Atchity kja (at) aeionline (dot) com