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

AEI Client Royce Buckingham's The Dead Boys Continues to Garner Recognition!

NEW! 2013 Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Selection

The Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award is a reading enrichment program of the LCFTB. Participation in this program has climbed from 5,485 votes the first year to over 29,000 students participating in 2009. The purpose of the program is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books. Books must be published three years prior to the award being given.


Library Journal Reviews Story Merchant Client Dennis Palumbo's Fever Dream

Palumbo, Dennis. Fever Dream: A Daniel Rinaldi Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Nov. 2011. c.250p. ISBN 9781590589571. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781590589595. $14.95. M

Pittsburgh psychologist Dan Rinaldi’s (Mirror Image) boxing skills serve him well in this high-octane police procedural, which opens with a bank robbery gone awry. Brought in by the police to help debrief a released hostage, Rinaldi again finds himself in something much more convoluted than a simple robbery. Somehow this case is tied in with the district attorney’s current campaign for governor. Stick with the two story lines, because ten rounds of sleuthing are required before Rinaldi’s astute powers of observation and physical agility can crack this case wide open. VERDICT Lots of action coupled with earnest conversations makes for a roller-coaster read. Veteran screenwriter Palumbo composes his book as if it were a TV movie, filling it with a few too many thinly developed characters. Still, the intriguing plot and the psychological angle will hold your attention. For pacing, action, and a look at the underbelly of big cities, fans of Robert Ellis’s Lena Gamble mysteries might take to this series.


Story Merchant Client Clint Hill's thoughts on conspiracies, Warren Commission

Students of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy might be intrigued by Clint Hill’s views on the shooting.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Students of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy might be intrigued by Clint Hill’s views on the shooting.

The only Secret Service agent that day to react to the shots by jumping on to the presidential limo, Hill was the only one covering both the President and the First Lady only a second or two after the fatal wound.

Hill testified at length before the Warren Commission that made the official determination in 1964 that President Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, shooting three rifle rounds from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

“I’ve got no problem with the questions they asked,” Hill said of the much-criticized Commission, thought by many critics to have not pursued many possible leads. “It was all logical to me, what they were doing.”

“There are an awful lot of conspiracy theories out there and they are all bogus,” Hill said. “They are just theories and no facts at all. When you make up stories, people tend to believe them. It’s very difficult for people to believe one man could do that.”

Hill differs from Warren Commission

However, Hill does differ from the Warren Commission’s account on a key bit of the shooting.

The official version has Oswald shooting three times from the sixth floor. One bullet hit Kennedy, going through his neck, then passing, back-to-front through Texas Gov. John Connally’s chest, through his wrist and stopping in thigh. Another bullet missed the limo altogether, hit the street, sending a shard of concrete curb into the face of a bystander, James Tague, who had a slightly bleeding wound documented well that day. The final bullet hit Kennedy in the head, fatally wounding him.

However, although Connally supported the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Oswald was the only shooter and could have fired no more than three shots - because of the rifle and the time allowed - until the day he died he remained convinced he was not hit by the same first shot that hit Kennedy in the throat.

Connally said he heard the first shot, recognized it as a rifle shot and turned to his right to see behind him. Not being able to see Kennedy, Connally said he began to turn back to his left to see when he was hit by what he says was the second shot, one that nearly killed him. He then heard the third shot that fatally wounded Kennedy, which did not hit him, Connally said.

Connally’s wife, Nellie, was seated next to him in the limo’s “jump seats,” ahead of the Kennedy’s and corroborated her husband’s account throughout her life.

“I believe them. I think they were right,” Hill said last week. “I think (Connally) was hit by a second shot. The official version has the ‘magic bullet’ theory and I don’t believe it.”

‘Magic bullet’ theory

The “magic bullet’ theory involves the bullet found on a gurney in the hospital, showing little damage, shortly after the shooting. The Warren Commission’s staff lawyer Arlen Specter determined that bullet went through Kennedy’s throat, then through Connally’s torso, wrist and into his leg, falling out at some point before it was found on the gurney.

That allows the Warren Commission account to have one of the three shots fired miss the limo, hit the street, wounding Tague with the splinter of concrete.

Hill, on the other hand, figures Tague was hit by a concrete shard launched by the impact of a fragment of one of the three rounds fired by Oswald, after it had hit a person.

Three of the seven Warren Commission members, in fact, also dissented from the official description of the three shots, siding with Connally’s view that he was hit by the second shot, not the first one that hit Kennedy in the neck.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send email to slee@gfherald.com

Story Merchant Client Clint Hill Talks About ‘Mrs. Kennedy and Me’

Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to First Lady Jackie Kennedy before and after that assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is writing a book about it.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to First Lady Jackie Kennedy before and after that assassination of President John F. Kennedy, is writing a book about it.

“Mrs. Kennedy and Me” is due on bookshelves April 24, Hill said last week.

Hill, 79, was plagued for nearly 50 years by the sense he should have done more than he did on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas.

He nearly killed himself in a fog of alcohol and post-traumatic stress in the two decades after the murder, he says.

Two years ago, Hill met Lisa McCubbin, a California journalist who convinced him to help her and her co-author, Hill’s former Secret Service colleague Gerald Blaine, on “The Kennedy Detail,” which was published last year.

“Lisa convinced me to start talking about it,” Hill said.

This week, in fact, Hill will be in Grand Junction, Colo., with Blaine and McCubbin, talking about it.

McCubbin is co-author of Hill’s yet-to-be-released book, too.

Last month, Hill, 79, was honored at his alma mater, Concordia College, McCubbin was with him.

It was Hill’s first return to campus since he graduated in 1954 and it was clear the quiet man enjoyed being feted during homecoming week.

“I played football,” he said, walking through the student center. “I was an end, on offense and defense, like we all did back then.”

Close to Camelot

It didn’t prepare him, though, for one task Jackie Kennedy assigned him after he was assigned to her shortly after President Kennedy took office 50 years ago.

“She wanted me to play tennis with her. I wasn’t much of a tennis player and she found that out rather rapidly when we tried to play. I tended to hit that tennis ball a little too hard.”

Hill ties to the First Family came partly because agents then worked such long hours, “because there weren’t many of us,” he said.

“I was very close to her, and was with her when John was born and when Patrick was born and when Patrick died.”

Her youngest child, Patrick was born prematurely in August 1963 and died two days later.

“So there were some very good times but also some horrible times as well.”

Their Secret Service codenames: “Jackie was ‘Lace,’ Caroline was ‘Lyric,’ John was ‘Lark,’ the President was ‘Lancer.’”

“I was just at a dinner with Caroline in October in New York on her new book on the released tapes of Jackie.”

But Hill and Mrs. Kennedy forged a unique bond that day in Dallas, literally wearing evidence of the violence 12 hours or more, into the night all the way back to Washington.

Mrs. Kennedy famously refused to change out of her pink dress after the shooting, despite the gory stains from her husband’s fatal head shot.

“She wanted to make sure people were fully aware of what had happened,” Hill said. “That was kind of a symbol, his blood on her. I had blood on me, too.”

Hill was as close to Jackie Kennedy that day as anyone.

“There were some things, yes, that we shared that I would never share with anyone,” he said of those hours. “But for the most part that day, she was in a state of shock and she didn’t have much to say at all.”

Close-mouthed about Dallas

In some respects, Jackie relied more on Hill after the assassination, more concerned about the need for security.

“I stayed with her until after the election in November 1964,” Hill said. “We had a close relationship, but a very professional one.”

One thing they didn’t share after that day in Dallas: “We never discussed it from that point on. It was never discussed between the two of us and I never talked about it with anyone else, even other agents, among ourselves.”

It was his co-author last year urging him to talk with others about it that made a big difference in his life.

“The first time we ever discussed it, really, I talked a lot to Lisa McCubbin about it, then there was a reunion of some agents down in Dallas in 2010. We sat down and talked about that time, for the first time in 47 years.”

If he would have returned to Dallas earlier, in the late 1970s, Hill thinks it would have spared him lots of grief.

“I spent the time walking around, looking at the angles, going to the sixth floor (of the Texas School Book Depository) and looking down and around. I realized that there was nothing really I could have done. Although I still have a feeling of responsibility and guilt because I was the only one who probably could have done something.”

He went on to guard Vice President Spiro Agnew, including a 1969 trip to Fargo.

When Jackie married Aristotle Onassis, she no longer received Secret Service protection.

“I last saw her in 1968 at Robert Kennedy’s funeral,” Hill said. “She was a wonderful mother and a loving wife and a lot of times that is not really discussed. She tried to make a home in the White House that was a family home for the President and the children. She was very insistent on the children being very proper, using proper manners and things, being very respectful of everybody, including the agents we had working with her.”

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send email to slee@gfherald.com


The 2011 New England Book Festival will return to the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston on January 14, 2012 for its awards ceremony honoring the best books of the holiday season.

The competition is currently accepting entries in the following categories: non-fiction, fiction, biography/autobiography, children's books, young adult, how-to, cookbooks, science fiction, photography/art, poetry, spiritual works, compilations/anthologies, gay, unpublished stories and wild card (for books that don't neatly fit elsewhere). All entries must be in English. There is no date of publication restriction.

Our grand prize for the 2011 New England Book Festival winner is $1500 cash and a flight to the awards ceremony in Boston.

Submitted works will be judged by a panel using the following criteria:

1) General excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story.

2) The potential of the work to reach a wider audience.

FESTIVAL RULES: New England Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.

NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries on our web site (www.newenglandbookfestival.com). Because of the anticipated high volume of entries, we can only respond to e-mail inquiries.

Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by midnight on November 25, 2011. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and on the web site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions at our meetings.

TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at www.newenglandbookfestival.com or may be faxed/e-mailed to you. Please contact our office at 323-665-8080 for fax requests. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $50 in the form of a check, money order or PayPal online payment in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee.

AWARDS: The New England Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the category eligibility of any project.

# # #




Clint Hill discovers Larimore link to family

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald http://www.grandforksherald.com

On Nov. 22, 1963, Geraldine Facey and her mother, Alma Broderson, who had come from Larimore, N.D., to visit her youngest daughter near Seattle, watched in common horror with the rest of America as television reporters broadcast the news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

Neither woman had any idea the lone Secret Service agent they saw on the back of the President’s Lincoln limousine after the shooting, reaching for First Lady Jackie Kennedy, was her older brother, her youngest son.

Clint Hill, the sunglassed Secret Service agent whose profile became burned in the nation’s memory of that day, only recently began talking about the horror of it.

And even more recently he’s talked about his connections to North Dakota, especially his unrelated twin links to Larimore through both his birth mother and the family that adopted him.

Post-traumatic stress

For years after the assassination, Hill was in a deep depression, suffering what now is known as post-traumatic stress syndrome.

“I spent 1972 to 1982 on the couch in my basement, with a bottle of scotch in one hand — Dewar’s, usually — and a carton of cigarettes in the other,” Hill said last month while visiting his alma mater, Concordia College in Moorhead, which honored him. “Guys would come over, Secret Service agents, and try to talk to me and I wouldn’t even get off the couch.”

He thought about suicide a lot, he says.

Forced to retire for his health from the Secret Service in 1975, Hill says he spiraled down even faster with nothing to do.

In the early 1980s his doctor told him he soon would die unless he stopped the free-fall and he pulled himself out of the pits.

Just in time to finally meet, shortly before she died, the woman who gave birth to him and to find another family he hadn’t known about.

Adopted by “marvelous people”

Hill grew up in Washburn, N.D., just north of Bismarck, adopted in 1932 as an infant in Fargo by Chris and Jenny Hill who already had adopted a girl, Janice, in 1927, in Grand Forks.

“They were marvelous people and really gave me a chance in life,” Hill said. “I couldn’t have been adopted by a finer couple than Chris and Jenny Hill. They devoted their life to Janice and myself.”

Little was said to Hill of his origins.

“When I was very young, maybe six years old, a neighbor girl told me I was adopted. I didn’t know what that meant. I went to my mother and asked her. My mother became quite upset. She thought I would think that I wasn’t wanted, or wasn’t really her son. So after that, my sister or I never made any mention of it.”

After Concordia, Hill was drafted into the Army and served three years in intelligence; he joined the Secret Service in 1958.

His sister Janice had also attended Concordia, worked in Grand Forks, then married Oben Gunderson, a farmer from northwest of Larimore and they raised three children.

Hill visited the Gundersons over the years, finding respite working on their farm near Larimore, getting away from his post-assassination trauma.

His father Chris Hill died when Clint was still young. Mother Jenny Hill died in 1974, in the hospital in Northwood, N.D., near Larimore, where his sister Janice — who died in 2002 — had brought her toward the end.

Learning about Alma

Some years after Jenny Hill’s death, a friend in North Dakota knowing of his adoption gave Hill a copy of his birth certificate.

For the first time, he learned the name of his birth mother, Alma Paulson, and that he was born in Larimore.

He learned his mother was born Alma Peterson in Fosston, Minn., in 1893.

“My mother was married to a man named Paulson and had five children before I was born,” Hill said. The oldest, Clarence, was born in 1910.

Alma’s marriage to Henry Paulson ended about 1930.

While she was working at the Violet Hotel in Larimore, she gave birth in January 1932 to the boy who would become Clint Hill. Within weeks, she gave him up to the Fargo Children’s Home.

“So I never did really know who my father was,” Hill said. “I have a suspicion, based on information from one of my sisters, that it was a man my mother worked for, or his brother, whose last name was Vassau.”

After he was adopted, his mother Alma married George Broderson and had another child, Geraldine, in 1934, Hill learned.

Searching for an Alma Broderson in Larimore in 1983, Hill learned from a local Lutheran pastor that she was in the nursing home in nearby Northwood.

(By an unlikely coincidence, the nursing home was part of the same hospital where Hill’s adoptive mother, Jenny Hill, died in 1974.)

Hill found Alma’s room.

“She was in there, asleep or unconscious. I looked at things she had on the wall and realized she had children. I was about ready to walk out when a lady walked in and said ‘What are you doing here? Who are you?’ She told me she was (Alma’s) daughter, her name was Helen. I explained to her who I was and she just about fainted. She knew her mother had had a child back in the early 1930s. Helen was about 16 at the time.”

Meeting a new family

It was an emotional moment for the matter-of-fact-mannered Hill.

“That day I discovered I had a family. I didn’t realize it.”

In 1984, he met Geraldine Facey, Alma’s last child, less than two years younger than Clint.

“She had no idea,” Hill said.

Facey knew her Paulson half-siblings, but says her mother never told her about having a baby in 1932.

“I didn’t find out about him until I was 50. It was really something, just the idea I had another sibling,” Facey said last week from her home in Marysville, Wash., just north of Seattle. “He looks like my Mom, from the picture I have of him. I have only seen him once.”

Hill also met Paulsons in and around Larimore, grandchildren of his mother from her first marriage, as well as his half-brother, Clarence Paulson, who died in 1986.

Everett Paulson of Larimore, also saw a family resemblance in his “new” uncle.

“Clint looked like my grandmother Alma.”

Facey can’t forget that day in 1963, too, that made her brother Clint a hero in the eyes of the nation, recognized for his courage and duty.

“I know exactly where I was, what I was doing, when I think back,” Facey said last week. “I was in my home and my mother was there with me. She was visiting with us. We both sat and watched it.”

Yet both had no inkling that the Secret Service agent they saw on the president’s limo and near Jackie Kennedy that long weekend into the funeral was their kin.

“She didn’t know, because I didn’t know,” Facey said of their mother, Alma. “I remember seeing it happen and I had no idea that was my brother. I didn’t know anything about him.”

Hill isn’t sure his birth mother ever realized who he was.

“At the time I met her, she had had a couple of strokes and didn’t have the ability to talk. I don’t know if she knew who I was at all.”

Alma died in 1984 in Northwood shortly after Hill’s visit.

She is buried in Bellevue Cemetery on the hill north of Larimore.

Gene Swanson and her family lived next door to Alma Broderson in the mid-1950s.

“She was a very sweet lady,” said Swanson, who heard only in recent years about the Clint Hill connection and that Alma would weep at times over the baby boy she had to give up. “She didn’t have a lot, no doubt about that,” Swanson said. “She babysat my son, Ron, when he was about three. Ron used to stand in the window, waiting for her and when he saw her, he would say, ‘Here comes my Broderson.’ He really liked her.”

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send email to slee@gfherald.com


The 2011 London Book Festival has issued a call for entries to its annual awards honoring the best of international publishing.

The 2011 London Book Festival will consider books in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian in the competition. The works may be published, self-published or independent publisher non-fiction, fiction, children's books, poetry, art/photgraphy, teenage, how-to, audio/spoken word, comics/graphic novels, e-books, wild card (anything goes!), science fiction, romance and biography/autobiographical works. Works published after January 1, 2008 are eligible.

A panel of judges will determine the winners based on the following criteria:

1) The story-telling ability of the author;

2) The potential of the work to win wider recognition from the international publishing community.

Our grand prize for the 2011 London Book Festival Author of the Year is $1500 in U.S. funds and a flight from your city of entry to our awards ceremony.

ENTRIES: Please classify your book and enter it in the following categories. Multiple entries must be accompanied by a separate fee for each book.

1) General Non-fiction

2) General Fiction

3) Children's books

4) E-books

5) Comics/graphic novels

6) Wild Card

7) Teenage

8) Science fiction

9) Romance

10) Biography/Autobiography

11) Audio/spoken word

12) How-To

13) Poetry

14) Art/Photography

FESTIVAL RULES: London Book Festival submissions cannot be returned. Each entry must contain a print-out of the official entry form, including your e-mail address and contact telephone number. All shipping and handling costs must be borne by entrants.

NOTIFICATION AND DEADLINES: We will notify each entry of the receipt of their package via e-mail and will announce the winning entries at the LondonBookFestival.com web site.

Deadline submissions in each category must be postmarked by the close of business on November 25, 2011. Winners in each category will be notified by e-mail and the results posted on the site. Please note that judges read and consider submissions on an ongoing basis, comparing early entries with later submissions.

TO ENTER: Entry forms are available online at http://www.londonbookfestival.com or may be faxed/e-mailed to you by calling our office at 323-665-8080. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee via check, money order, credit card payment or PayPal online payment of $50 in U.S. dollars for each submission. Multiple submissions are permitted but each entry must be accompanied by a separate form and entry fee. Entry fee checks should be made payable to JM Northern Media LLC.

Entry packages should include one copy of the book; a copy of your official entry form; the entry fee or receipt from online payment; and any relevant marketing materials, i.e., press kits or other material that illuminates the background of your book. Entries should be mailed to:

JM Northern Media LLC

The London Book Festival

7095 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 864

Hollywood, CA 90028, USA

AWARDS: The London Book Festival selection committee reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any project.

AEI Client Noire's BETRAYAL: The 2nd Deadly Sin is now available in Nook and Kindle e-book formats AND in paperback!

Betrayal: The 2nd Deadly Sin
This here ain't no romance
It's an urban erotic tale
A hater's on the loose
And the situation's frail
From out of town
They gunned them down
The lovers took a fall
A gwap is on the line and G's homeboyz want it all!
So if the script gets flipped, down-side-up
And you can't tell foe from friend
Watch your back and trust no man
'Cause BETRAYAL is this Sin!
BETRAYAL: The 2nd Deadly Sin is now available in Nook and Kindle e-book formats AND in paperback!
Place your order at www.noirestore.com, www.amazon.com, and www.bn.com today!

G-Spot 2: The Seven Deadly Sins
Juicy-Mo's dreams have all been shattered!
Drama and danger continue to follow Juicy and Gino! On what should have been the happiest day of their lives, the beautiful young lovers who fled the streets of New York City are once again marked for MURDER!
With Ace, Pluto, and Money-Makin' Monique determined to get their hands on G's stash of doe, will Gino and Juicy realize their dreams of marriage and a lifetime of happiness? Or will the wrath of the streets sneak up on them to collect the debt they owe?
Find out more in...
BETRAYAL: The 2nd Deadly Sin
The Urban Erotic Serial Saga Continues!
G-Spot 2 is a sexy street novel told in 7 parts. Each installment of the MASS MARKET series is woven through an urban principle of the Seven Deadly Sins, with one part released each month.
G-Spot 2 is primarily an e-book publication, however, there will be a Limited Edition print release for those who love holding a book in their hands. Print books can be pre-ordered and reserved at www.noirestore.com WHILE SUPPLIES LAST.
Readers who pre-order the complete series in print will receive a 10% discount off the cover price WHILE LIMITED SUPPLIES LAST. Once ordered, books will be automatically shipped to you each month as they are released.
Keep riding the train,
If you no longer want to receive e-mails from Urban Erotic Noire Publications, unsubscribe yourself below.

Urban Erotic Noire Publications

Brett Battle's New Logan Harper Novel Now Out!





EPT_cover_Fin_200wIt was supposed to be a fun weekend, a celebration of a marriage and growing family. Alan Lindley couldn't have been happier...until his wife Sara disappeared.
Asked by a mutual friend to help look for her, Logan Harper is sure he'd discover a wife who simply wants out of the marriage.

What he finds instead is a woman who didn't exist, a diabolical plan, and people who would do anything to keep it a secret, including taking the life of the person most important to him.

What would you do for those precious to you?

Where to find it:

Kindle US  •  Nook  •  Kindle UK

Two films produced by Chesler/Perlmutter Productions have been nominated for Best TV Movie/Mini Series by the 2011 Directors Guild of Canada Awards.

In a category consisting of only four films, both The Devils Teardrop directed by Norma Bailey, and The Santa Suit directed by Robert Vaughn have achieved nominations.

Produced for Lifetime and Movie central, The Devils Teardrop starring Tom Everett Scott and Natasha Henstridge has been nominated for several awards including Best TV Movie/Mini Series, and Best Production Design of a TV Movie/Mini Series.

The Santa Suit starring Kevin Sorbo has also been nominated for Best TV Movie. Produced for Hallmark and the W Network, in 2010 The Santa Suit was rated the #2 program for all of the US cable networks on Dec. 2nd 2010.

Sony Pictures Classics Closes Deal For Hysteria

NEW YORK (November 10, 2011) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all US and South African rights to HYSTERIA.

The film is directed by Tanya Wexler from a script by the team of Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer. A trio of women produced HYSTERIA- Forthcoming Films’ Sarah Curtis (MANSFIELD PARK, HER MAJESTY MRS. BROWN), Informant Media’s Judy Cairo (CRAZY HEART), and Beachfront Films’ Tracey Becker (FINDING NEVERLAND).

The film stars Academy Award® nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (CRAZY HEART, NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS) and Hugh Dancy (ADAM, CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC) alongside Jonathan Pryce, Rupert Everett, and Felicity Jones and had its World Premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.

HYSTERIA, a mischievously inspired romantic comedy, is based on the surprising truth of how Mortimer Granville came up with the world’s first electro-mechanical vibrator in the name of medical science. “HYSTERIA is meant to be both funny and smart. It’s really a movie that says you are in charge of your own happiness,” says Director Wexler. “Sony Classics is the perfect company to unleash HYSTERIA into American movie theatres. They understand ‘smart and funny’ movies better than anyone else out there. They are just what the doctor ordered.”

“HYSTERIA is a winner on all counts. It is funny, fresh and warm. From director Tanya Wexler’s expert filmmaking to her accomplished production team (sets, costumes and cinematography are all impressive) to the great performances from the entire cast (Maggie Gyllenhal is at an all-time career best here), this is a movie audiences will embrace in a major way,” says Sony Pictures Classics.

The deal was negotiated by Cassian Elwes, with Elsa Ramo representing the producers.

Sign Up For My Webinar ... November 10th

9 Steps for Turning Your Book into a Film

You’ve written a novel and want to see it on the big or little screen. We can help you learn how to turn that dream into a reality! In this webinar Author, Literary Manager, and Hollywood producer, Ken Atchity, explains the 9 steps to getting your book from page to screen, including leveraging reviews, connecting with the right people, developing the screenplay and more!

About The Presenter
Dr. Atchity is the author of 15 books, including A Writer’s Time, Writing Treatments That Sell, and How to Publish Your Novel. He’s worked successfully in nearly every area of the publishing and entertainment business, and has spent his lifetime helping writers get started with and improve their careers. As founder and head of Atchity Entertainment International, Inc., The Writer’s Lifeline, Inc., including Atchity Productions and Story Merchant, and The Louisiana Wave Studio, LLC. he has produced nearly 30 films in the past 20 years for major studios, television broadcasters, and independent distribution. He is currently nominated for an Emmy for “The Kennedy Detail,” based on the New York Times bestselling book he developed. For nearly twenty years before, as professor of literature and teacher of creative writing at Occidental College and UCLA, he helped literally hundreds of writers find a market for their work by bringing their craft and technique to the level of their ambition and vision. During his time at Occidental, he also served as a regular reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

Register Now

Tucson Festival of Books - Five Star Co-op

If there ever was a place to “see and be seen” for authors…. it is the Tucson Festival of Books.
This is Arizona’s largest literary event – and one of the top five book festivals in the nation. The fourth annual Festival will be held the weekend of March 10-11, 2012.
Covering nine acres on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Festival will feature 450 internationally acclaimed authors, book discussions, workshops for aspiringauthors, literary activities for the entire family, and great local food. Attendance and parking for the public are both free!
Last year’s Festival drew an estimated 100,000 readers and proved to be a very productive weekend for Five Star Publications and our participating authors.
Five Star Publications will be participating and we invite you to join us.
Due to the success we experienced last year, we are considering expanding to two booths. But we must know how many authors will be participating before we can commit.
Each booth is a 10' x 10' covered exhibit space with vinyl sides and back walls, and one 6” table. :
Here are the co-op options for your consideration:
  • If you would like to attend, you can reserve one half of a table, for both days of the Festival for $350.00. Fee includes a Five Star staff person to handle sales and set up for both days. You and your titles will be included in all press releases and promotion.
  • If you would to attend for one day, you can reserve one half of a table for one day for $200. Fee includes a Five Star staff person to handle sales and set up for the day. You and your titles will be included in all press releases and promotion.
  • If you are unable to attend and would like to have your books on display and sold, and be part of our publicity campaign, there is a co-op fee of $149.00 for the first title and $99 for each additional title.
Please let me know by October 24, 2011 if you would like to participate. Booth locations are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis and we want to be sure to have a great location.
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Guest Post by Dennis Palumbo

Unemployed? It's Your Own Fault -- Unless It's Someone Else's

In the recent film The Company Men, long-time corporate employees (played by Ben Affleck and Chris Cooper) are down-sized out of their jobs. After months of self-recrimination and futile attempts at re-training, Affleck's character finally works through his feelings of worthlessness and figures out how to start a new career, but only after suffering what is (to him) the humiliation of working as a laborer for his contractor brother-in-law.

Chris Cooper's character, on the other hand, isn't so lucky. With no prospects, mounting bills and the realization that things aren't going to get any better for him, he locks himself in his garage, climbs into the family car, and just sits behind the wheel, resigned and calm, as the motor runs and the carbon monoxide slowly billows...

This timely film, written and directed by John Wells, speaks bluntly and forcefully to the devastating problem of unemployment. As the predominant issue of the upcoming 2012 presidential elections, I believe our failed economy -- and the staggering jobless numbers that are its starkest indicator -- is doing as much damage to the nation's psyche as to its pocketbook.

I see it every day in my therapy practice -- the psychological toll that financial hardship takes on individuals. And it isn't just pragmatic concerns about paying the mortgage, or putting the kids through college. We Americans have a particularly hard-nosed attitude about work. Prosperity is the result of sustained effort, we believe, a long-term commitment to finding and holding a job. Building a career. Amassing money. Purchasing more consumer goods. Providing the things our families need. Or desire. Or demand.

In the minds of most contemporary Americans, being able to do these things is not merely a sign of success. It's the determiner of your worth as a person. It means you have succeeded, attained the goals implied in the promise of the American Dream. It is the bulwark against the one unacceptable element of modern life in the West: failure.

(Speaking of failure: The Company Men, which cost $15 million to make, brought in less than $5 million at the box office. It lost money, which, in Hollywood terms, means it failed. Which also means we probably won't be seeing other films with its sobering point of view anytime soon.)

The plain fact is, never in the past 60 years have so many people willing to work been out of work for such a long period of time. Which means that homes are lost, cars are repossessed, children are removed from schools, and family meals become skimpier and less nutritious. But, as I mentioned above, I believe the psychological impact on the average person is even more insidious.

As is true of most traumatizing events, prolonged unemployment can lead to deep feelings of shame, worthlessness and impotence. When we're in the grip of such feelings, we tend to place the blame on one of two sources: ourselves (our laziness, stupidity, inadequacy, etc.) or else some imagined "other" (immigrants, foreign competitors, minorities, etc) who has "done" this to us. Regardless of which target we choose as responsible for our dilemma, the result is bad for the nation's psyche.

Even when it's abundantly clear that the current economic collapse was the result of Wall Street greed, lack of appropriate regulations, and a decade's worth of spending that's created a mountain of federal debt, the average person still labors under the social, familial and cultural myths learned in childhood. In school, at church and in our homes, we're taught the value of hard work, thrift and enterprise. We're admonished to "pull ourselves up by our boot-straps" (though, when you think about it, this isn't even physically possible). We're told that America is a classless society, and that if you just work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want.

I recall an interview with Bruce Springsteen on the CBS-TV news program 60 Minutes, in which the host praised the singer/songwriter as an example of how hard work and perseverance can lift a lower-middle-class kid to the heights of stardom. With which Springsteen disagreed, claiming that he knew lots of guys who'd worked harder than he had and hadn't succeeded. As far as the Boss was concerned, his career was a result of pure, dumb luck, for which he'd always be grateful.

What a refreshingly candid answer! Because nothing is guaranteed in terms of what the future brings, no matter how dedicated, hard-working, and persistent a person is. And while I agree with golfer Ben Hogan, who once said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get," it's still true that circumstances over which we have no control play a large part in how things turn out in life. Just ask any victim of Hurricane Katrina, or any long-term employee whose job has been out-sourced. Just ask any family member of the victims of 9/11.

Yet many of us still cling to the idea that it's our own laziness, stupidity or failed moral character that is primarily responsible for long-term unemployment. Which is why so many out-of-work Americans drink, gamble and use drugs: for some, it's the only self-medication they can afford. It's also why marriages fall apart, business partnerships end, and families fracture: self-loathing can curdle a person, soon turning into ungovernable bitterness and resentment.

Just as it's almost a truism of American economic philosophy to blame the poor for being poor, many people still adamantly blame the unemployed for being unemployed (which is why there's little support for creative works, like The Company Men, that say something else). So is it any wonder that many of the newly unemployed themselves fall into this self-recriminating trap?

But there's another response to the dilemma of joblessness, another position that people sometimes take. For these people, unemployment brings such intolerable feelings of shame and inadequacy that the blame for their situation has to be placed elsewhere. As we've seen in times past -- and certainly in other nations beside our own -- economic stress creates divisions between people. Prolonged joblessness breeds a pervasive xenophobia. We tend to start blaming the "other" for what's happening to us. Those lazy, unscrupulous, strangely-different "others" who've stolen our jobs, wrecked our economy, undermined our way of life.

We all know who these "usual suspects" are: minorities, immigrants, foreign competitors. Nowadays, our divisive political discourse is fueled by such angers and resentments. (And not without due cause: hatred often gets people elected.) And even though minorities and immigrants are as hard hit (or, in most cases, even harder hit) by the current economic down-turn, many people still displace their rage at them.

(Not to mention labor unions, once the backbone of the working man and woman, their shield against the injustices and indignities of an industrialized economy. In recent years they've been demonized as well, now seen by a majority of Americans as bloated, corrupt, anti-business, and, somehow, un-American. Amazing.)

Of course, there's also a great deal of anger at Wall Street and the rich, and with damn good reason. But in my view, since the super-rich live in a world beyond the ken of the rest of us, and have acquired wealth as a result of financial techniques and schemes beyond the understanding of most Americans (myself included, I must say), the extremely wealthy seem to stand above and apart, as if on clouds. They live and thrive in an atmosphere too rarefied for most people to really comprehend. Like the ancient gods, they seem to exist on a plane entirely removed from the commonplace.

(Not so removed, however, that many people don't yearn to join their company, laboring mightily in the hope that someday they too will become rich, famous, special. Believing that some lucky break, like winning the lottery or inventing some new software or selling their little business to some huge conglomerate, will somehow lift them out of their average lives and into the realm of the wealthy.)

Until then, though, the best we can do is hope that some of their celestial riches will "trickle down," be bestowed on the rest of the population like some kind of grace. Which means the rich and powerful, the global movers and shakers, are ultimately too abstract a target at which to hurl our anger and frustration.

But not so that industrious Hispanic down the street, working for less than any white laborer. Nor that Chinese factory worker, half a world away, willing to put in herculean hours at low pay. Nor that Armenian immigrant who's just taken over the corner mini-mart. Speaking his broken English in a guttural growl, playing that godawful music. Now there's an enemy to blame. A villain you can sink your teeth into.

However, regardless of whether we blame ourselves or others for our current economic woes; whether we see the "character flaw" of unemployment as being our own fault or the fault of others, the impact is still the same. Trauma is trauma. And prolonged unemployment, with its resultant lessening of personal and financial power, its unavoidable negative impact on neighborhoods (and neighbors), its insistent attack on one's sense of efficacy and worth, is a traumatic event.

And what are the symptoms of such trauma, especially in terms of long-term joblessness? Anxiety, depression, despair. A kind of hyper-vigilance about dangers, real or imagined. A growing distrust of others. And, often, a reliance on bitterness and cynicism as defense mechanisms against feelings of impotence and inadequacy. Plus a slow-welling anger at those whom we perceive as "responsible" for our traumatized state.

What we -- as a people, as a society -- have to realize is that prolonged unemployment is a national disaster, like a flood or an earthquake. That its victims are no more responsible for the havoc that it brings than they'd be for the ravages of a wildfire overtaking their homes. That whether as friends and families, colleagues and neighbors, or politicians and mental health workers, we need to reduce the corrosive effects of blame -- either of ourselves or others -- and endeavor to provide instead support and solace, both pragmatic and emotional.

How do we accomplish this? We need policies that work, not sound-bites that inflame. We need the humility to understand that large-scale calamities are a part of the life of a nation, just as we need the grit to face the dilemmas squarely and honestly. We need to hold those truly responsible for the economic crisis accountable. Seriously, legally, accountable.

Moreover, we need to understand and accept the interconnected nature of the global financial apparatus in which we are all, each and every one of us, embedded. And to develop and set in motion the mechanisms that will lessen the likelihood of another such world-wide crisis in the future.

Will any of these things happen? I couldn't say; the answer to that is above my pay grade. But whatever we do in the coming months and years to address our economic woes, unless we challenge the idea that unemployment is a character flaw, that the "blame" dwells either within ourselves or in some alien, dangerous "other," we'll remain divided and disheartened. Traumatized by long-entrenched beliefs.

And ending up, if only metaphorically, like Chris Cooper's character, sitting in a car with the engine running, and the garage door locked tight...

(This article originally appeared on the website Cultural Weekly.)