MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Great Review on Cheryl's Book Nook!

The Messiah Matrix

Review by Nancy

In a thriller that rivals anything Dan Brown ever wrote, The Messiah Matrix threatens to take all your beliefs and toss them into the wind. A priest is murdered in Rome. His assassin is also shot and killed while with another priest. A message was delivered. An artifact is found on the floor of the sea. A Jesuit questions his faith and the history of his Church. An archaeologist uncovers the find of a lifetime and loses it.

A connection between Christ and Augustus Ceasar? The wise men following a star in 17 BC? Curiouser and curiouser! Although you know what they say about curiosity. The Monsignor searching for the ashes of Christ – which he was killed before explaining. Does the Holy See condone murder? Damn Skippy it does!

This book is amazing! The two main characters of Ryan and Emily are the perfect pair of detectives. Will they be more? You’ll have to read the book! Emily’s coin is vital to the history of Christianity in the world, but will they get it back? On the coin, Augustus was wearing a crown with twelve spikes. What’s up with that?

In this tale we have good guys, very bad guys, the Holy Mother Church, good priests and very, very bad priests and one red-headed archaeology professor who, along with one questioning Jesuit and some of his brothers, may be able to solve the conundrum that is The Messiah Matrix.


Purchase a copy here

Friday, June 29, 2012

Story Merchant Clients Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin

Mrs. Kennedy and Me Book Tour 

Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin were guest speakers at retreat for CounselWorks clients at beautiful East Hampton Point, in East Hampton, Long Island.




Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guest Post: In Praise of Goofing Off by Dennis Palumbo






The inside scoop on Tinseltown, USA

Day-dreaming as an aid to creativity.



Some people call it puttering, or screwing around, or just plain goofing off. Others, of a more kindly bent, call it day-dreaming. Kurt Vonnegut used the quaint old term “skylarking.”

Then there are the sanctimonious, uptight, non-creative types who call it, simply, wasting time.

What I’m referring to, of course, is that well-known, rarely discussed but absolutely essential component of a successful creative person’s life—the down-time, when you’re seemingly not doing anything of consequence. Certainly not doing anything that pertains to that deadline you’re facing: the pitch meeting set for next week, the screenplay you’ve been toiling over, the important audition that’s pending.

The concept of down-time, or goofing off, is shrouded in mystery for one very simple reason: it infuriates the creative artist’s spouse, family, collaborators, agents and friends. Let’s face it: they just don’t get it.

Here you are, struggling with a TV pilot re-write that’s due in two weeks, or behind on the final cut of the short film you’re submitting to festivals, and your mate finds you spending precious hours looking out the window, or reading The New Yorker, or watching His Gal Friday for the fifteenth time.


(In my own case, as a writer of mystery fiction, I make it a point to read The Great Gatsby every year, just to revel in its jewel-like prose and striking emotional economy. As an aid to my own writing, I’ve found reading it the perfect way to clear out the cobwebs.)

Finally, one salient fact must be accepted: the creative process is goddamned mysterious. As a kid in parochial school, I was often chided by the nuns for gazing out the window, my attention who-knows-where, instead of focusing on the blackboard.

I was a “day-dreamer,” according to Sister Hillaire, the principal, in sharply-worded notes routinely sent home to my parents. “Nothing good,” she warned, “could come of this.” (Nuns, I was to discover, could be melodramatic as hell.)

The point is, most creative types start out as kids looking out the window, their heads “in the clouds,” their minds “a million miles away,” etc.

But one man’s “day-dreamer” is another man’s “artist-in-training.” No matter how much we try, it’s impossible to quantify the creative process. It’s mysterious, even to artists themselves, and it resists all attempts to explicate its secrets.

Which is why it’s ultimately fruitless to try to explain to family and friends what you’re doing when—instead of banging away at the keyboard, or rehearsing that difficult scene, or re-doing the storyboards for your short film—you’re re-cataloging your CD collection.

In such cases, I suggest you just give them a knowing, mysterious, “genius at work” smile, and go on about your business.

Not to mention the valuable, potential working time wasted repairing your old bicycle, cleaning out the garage, or organizing your bookshelves according to author and/or subject.

I know what you’re thinking: the above examples sound suspiciously like procrastination. I understand your confusion. But there’s a very subtle difference between procrastination and creative, productive, process-nourishing goofing off.

Procrastination, as I see in my therapy practice every day, is a product of an artist’s inner conflicts around his or her creative gifts. Fears about failure, questions about one’s sense of entitlement, doubts about competence, concern about the potential for shameful exposure.

With rare exceptions, I’ve found that artists procrastinate to avoid the pain of discovering what they feel will be inadequacies in their art—and often, by extension, in themselves.

I remember, from my days as a screenwriter, the painful, embarrassing feeling that procrastinating brought to the most trivial and pleasant of diversions. Hanging around a bookstore, walking on the bluffs in Santa Monica, indulging in three-hour lunches with other writers—all these activities were tinged with anxiety, with the awareness that I should be elsewhere, back at my desk, writing.

In other words, these were all things I was doing instead of writing, instead of grappling with problems in plot and character. Instead, moreover, of examining what might be going on inside my head about my ability to solve these problems.

How different in feeling this miserable state is from the liberating pleasures of goofing off, or skylarking, or puttering! In my experience, when an artist is working well, these same side-activities—hanging pictures, reading, cleaning out your files—serve as an adjunct to creativity. They provide necessary down-time for letting your thoughts percolate, for letting a sudden new idea simmer in the pot for a while.

Think of it this way: You’re not watching the entire first season of Mad Men merely to avoid working. Rather, you’re allowing that part of your brain that creates to labor away unconsciously, filtering and sorting, selecting and discarding.

Equally important, I think, is that there are often analogs between seemingly non-creative activities and creativity itself. Who’s to say that clearing out your desk isn’t a way to help organize your thinking? That talking with other artists about their ideas, goals and troubles isn’t a way to help re-invigorate your own creative ambitions, or to get perspective on a particular concern?

Let’s take writers, for example. Certainly reading others is a path to clarifying your own writing goals and issues. Many screenwriters find both inspiration and motivation in reading noted screenplays like Chinatown or The Social Network. Smart television writers know the value of reading each season’s best pilot scripts.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post: How to Keep Your Website Optimized for Google: An Interview With Simon Heseltine by Penny C. Sansevieri

I spent a bit of time recently with Simon Heseltine. He is the director of search engine optimization for AOL and Huffington Post. I met Simon at an event a few months ago and I have been eager and looking forward to this interview. 

PS: I was talking to you before we started recording about an article that you wrote about making sure your website is up to snuff, and doing what it needs to be doing. A lot of us build our sites, and then forget about them. If somebody had a site up for about a year or so, what are the kinds of things that need to be done? Things that we may not look at enough on a regular basis?

SH: Well, Google makes so many changes to the algorithm on a regular basis. In 2010, it was over one per day. Now, some of those you are never going to notice, it is moving the strength of a certain element from .01 percent to .015 percent; but some of those really big ones you do notice. Last year we had some huge updates that really did hit a lot of different websites. If you are not really taking a close looks at your website and not looking at the analytics on a regular basis, you will not notice the impact some of these smaller ones have had on your site. You could be getting pecked away at piece by piece if you are not continually looking back to make sure that you are in fact up to date with your search engine optimization efforts. Then of course you have the issue of your competitors out there; they are building links or modifying their sites. You need to make sure that you are on top of that and can identify with what is going on with them. 

PS: Business owners are out there listening to this saying, "Yeah, I get it, you're right." With Google changing their algorithms, I remember there was a time when it was once or twice a year. Now, if a month goes by and they don't do it, it is surprising. How does a business owner know what to do with their site to keep it up to par?

SH:There are many different sources to read to find out about the latest news. Google Webmaster blog now puts out a monthly report that gives you a high level overview of some of the changes in the previous month. It is not going to give you in-depth details, but it is going to let you know that they have made modifications. It will give you an idea of what kind of things you need to look at.

PS: Please talk more about what is in your blog; you mentioned "search yourself." How is that useful when you are trying to figure out if your site is still up to snuff?
SH:Well, when you go out there you do need to take a look every now and again to see what people are seeing when they search your key terms. Is it the brand or the key terms? Now more often than not you are going to be focused on those key brand terms, you have got to be focused on whatever it is you are trying to sell, or the title of your latest post. You might forget to go and take a look at your brand itself. It is possible that something may have atrophied on your site. Some plug-in may have failed; some code may have been inadvertently pushed-out there. Suddenly you have lost your description tag. Suddenly what is being shown in the search results is not a good call to action. Or it could just be that your site links, which is when somebody searches for you, they get six to 10 different blue links directly below your name that link to specific pages on your site. Google considers them to be good pages on your site, but they are not always the best pages on your site. They are not the pages that you are trying to direct traffic to; so you want to go in there and see what ones you don't want in there. You then have the ability to go in to you Google Webmaster tools and say that I do not want that particular site link in there.

PS: The other piece on your blog was "Eat your own dog food." I love that phrase! Please talk to us about what you mean about that. 

SH:Every now and again go through your order process. Order some of your own product. Figure out if it is as intuitive as you think it is supposed to be. Have somebody on your staff who is not involved with development, go in and place an order for your product. Watch them, see how it goes with them, and see if anything has changed. It could be that something is not as intuitive as you think it is. In my past life as a developer, I knew how the users were going to use the site. It didn't mean they were going to use it that way, but I knew how they were going to use it. So you do need to go through and actually eat your own dog food. Run through your entire process yourself to make sure it is as intuitive as it needs to be. 

PS: That is such a good idea. We try to do it once a quarter and I am horrified when I see the "404 page not found." The other issues are the plug-ins. A lot of people are using Wordpress as a platform. Our site is built entirely in Wordpress and plug-ins sometimes give us a lot of issues with the loading of the site and what not. 

SH:The thing about relying on a third party is, are they reliable? Is that plug-in going to give you what you need from it, is it going to be there, or is it going to fail? Is it going to continue to be up-to-date with the newest versions of wordpress? 

PS: Have you been seeing a trend with virus issues? Not necessarily getting hacked, but last week we had a situation where someone loaded our site and something came up that said there is a virus. Somehow it embeds itself into the site. Have you been seeing that?

SH:Yes, I have been seeing a bit of that. In fact I did an article in February on Search Engine Watch. It talked about somebody who had been running for state senate, her wordpress site had been hacked and displayed information on Canadian pharmaceuticals. When I did a search on some of the key phrases I found on her site, I found a large number of sites that used the same version of wordpress that her site was using, and they had the same issue. They had been hacked and the Canadian pharmaceutical stuff was embedded, you could not actually see it on the page, but links were hidden in the background of her site. If you are using Wordpress, you need to make sure that you are using the latest version. They will let you know when they are having security issues, so make sure you have updated as soon as you can. 

PS: What is the best way to inspect yourself? Going through page by page? How do you recommend somebody do this?

SH:There are different crawlers out there that allow you to do a crawl on your website, they will come back and say what the issues are that they found. Whether it is broken links or incorrect links, missing descriptions or multiple tags, they will come back and let you know what these issues are. You can then determine whether or not they are worth fixing. One tool that I use is Microsoft's IIS SEO toolkit; it is a great little tool. You run it and it crawls up to a million pages, and then gives you a list of errors on the site.
I will tell you a little story about inspecting your site regularly; there was someone that I was talking to the other week who was having an issue with their site. Their rankings started to drop off and they could not understand why. I took a quick look at their site and found that every page had no index on it. This tells the search engines to not put this page in to their search index. They were telling the search engines that we do not want to be found, and that is why their rankings were dropping. This impacted them quite heavily, and it was not them that did it. There was a third party that was hosting their website. That is why you need to keep an eye on things, look at your analytics regularly with daily or weekly reports. 

PS: What do you feel is the best analytics program out there?

SH:There are all kinds of different ones. I am from Yorkshire where we are careful with our money, so you know Google Analytics is a very good price at free. 

PS: After speaking to various people who have said that they do not know how to read their analytics, the better question is "Which analytic is easier to understand?

SH: It comes down to comfort really. Getting in there and playing with them and seeing which one is more intuitive. I have worked with Webtrends, Omniture, and Google Analytics, Clicktracks and WebSide Story, there are lots of them out there. It is a matter of which one you find works the best for you. There are other tools that you plug on to the analytics that can present the data in different ways for you. Again it is a matter of your own comfort level.

PS: Two more quick questions on analytics. What is the most important number to look at on the analytics? The second question, what is a reasonable bounce rate? That tends to be pretty confusing for a lot of people.

SH:To the first one, a really good answer is "it depends." It depends on what your business is. If your business is e-commerce ,then what you care about is your conversions. Then you will want to look at the whole conversion funnel, see exactly what percentage you are getting through, what your click rate is coming in, what your conversion rate is on the end. See if there are ways to funnel more people through. If you are not an e-commerce site, but purely a CPM-based advertising site, "it's about getting bums on seats." It is about getting the eyeballs on your site, getting that traffic there and that is what you are looking for. You are looking at your page views, you are looking at your organic traffic and that is what is most important for you. 

As far as bounce rate goes it depends on the type of site and page you have. Obviously anything that is 85-plus is not good. I had somebody ping me about a site they were working with that had 100 percent bounce rate -- which is not good at all. It does depend on the site and content on that page. It is possible to have a page with a high bounce rate that is still performing well for you. If the terms the people are coming to that page for are really broad, then potentially you are hitting that percentage of the traffic that did want to find you. In that case you need to look at the keywords that are driving the traffic to that page, and really tighten that page up so that it is more focused around those particular keywords, and you can ignore the rest of the stuff that is not driving your traffic or conversions for you. Or if you do want to grab that broader traffic as well, then create another page that is targeting that more specifically.

PS: It is an important number for business owners to look at when they are trying to figure out how effective their site is. Not just pretty, but actually working for you.
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Rivers Reviews Hysteria



Scene On Film: “Hysteria”

By Joan Ellis

How often are you delighted by both the story and the look of a comedy? In grand collaboration, director Tanya Wexler and writer Stephen Dyer have managed to get everything right in Hysteria. Playing it straight with a giant wink in the collective eye, they have turned a true bit of history into a wonderfully wacky movie that is lifted high by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s madcap performance.


In this comedy about the invention of the electro-mechanical vibrator, an inspired cast generates amusement and charm in the stiff formality of Victorian England. Dr. Granville (Hugh Dancy) is a handsome young doctor disillusioned by the dismal medical practices in the hospital where he works. He quits in despair. His new job search lands him in the formal townhouse of Dr. Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce), an older physician in dire need of a junior partner who can help him handle his burgeoning practice of grateful women who line up for “pelvic massage,” his personally administered relief from the common diagnosis of the era: hysteria.

The good doctor has two daughters. The proper Emily (Felicity Jones) is an admirable choice as a mate for his handsome new assistant. Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal) drives her father mad with her passionate devotion to all things progressive. The clever setup presents Emily as a metaphor for aristocratic England – cultured, musical, bright, accepting – and Charlotte as a strident symbol of justice for women and the poor. She will help them all, at any cost.

When finally Charlotte discusses hysteria with Dr. Granville, she reminds him that this condition – for which the doctors of the day prescribed hysterectomy – is instead the result of the fearsome oppression of women who are thought to be ineligible for life on any level outside the house. So the lines are drawn: oppression of women and the poor vs. the world of privilege enjoyed by rich men.

When Dr. Granville and his best friend (Rupert Everett) invent the vibrator, all things become possible. Is the cure for hysteria at hand? Can the settlement house survive its financial woes? Will the good doctor marry Emily or Charlotte? The pleasure in this story lies in the predictability of the outcomes and the charm of all the characters.

The beautiful filming of Dr. Dalrymple’s stately townhouse where his professional and family life unfolds is the perfect backdrop for the lighthearted performances. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Charlotte is a passionate progressive without bitterness. On the run always, she flies in and out of the house annoying her father and enchanting the young doctor. Hugh Dancy’s Dr. Granville is bowled over by the doctor who has revolutionized women’s medicine and by the daughter who is as determined as her father to right a wrong. Beware social injustice when these three pick their targets. And all hail the women who line up for the new treatment for their oppression-induced hysteria. Their expressions are irreverently ecstatic, their cure sublime. Stay for the credi
ts.

Friday, June 22, 2012

RANDOM HOUSE’S CENTURY ACQUIRES NEW SELF-PUBLISHED TITLE

RANDOM HOUSE’S CENTURY ACQUIRES NEW SELF-PUBLISHED PHENOMENON HUGH HOWEY WITH FILMS RIGHTS SNAPPED UP BY RIDLEY SCOTT AND STEVE ZAILLIAN FOR 20th CENTURY FOX
 
After a fierce bidding war reminiscent of Fifty Shades of Grey, 20th Century Fox has just acquired the film rights. Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free are partnering on the deal with Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Kassie Evashevski at United Talent Agency brokered the deal on behalf of Kristin Nelson at NLA.
In the spirit of The Hunger Games, Wool is a high-concept novel set in a stark future; the air outside is no longer breathable, so the last community on Earth lives underground in an enormous silo. Survival is everything, and some will do anything to ensure it. The upcoming Shift Trilogy is a prequel to the story of Wool.
After a hotly contested 5-way auction, Jack Fogg, Editorial Director at Century has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Wool and The Shift Trilogy by Hugh Howey from Jenny Meyer at Jenny Meyer Literary Agency on behalf of Kristin Nelson, president of The Nelson Literary Agency (NLA).
Much like EL James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, Wool has become a word-of-mouth sensation since the author self-published on Amazon.com, garnering over 600 five-star reviews and selling over 140,000 copies through e-book in just under six months. Century is the author’s only English-language publisher as the author will continue to self-publish in the US. Century will publish in hardback in January 2013 with an Arrow paperback in August. Ebook will be available immediately.
Foreign rights deals have also been struck in Spain, Brazil, Taiwan, Poland and China and offers are pending in Germany and other territories.
Hugh Howey says ‘I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured to find a home with Century and Random House. And I hope I spelled honoured right.’
Jack Fogg says, ‘Wool drew me in from the first page. It’s such an intricately realised world – both incredibly visceral and visual – but for me, and for the many fans here at Random House, what really captivated was the book’s compassion and care for its characters. Wool is many things, but at its core it is a novel about relationships and therein lays its brilliance.’
Kristin Nelson says, ‘We did have conversations with US publishers and although we received several six-figure offers, we decided that the partnership didn’t make sense yet given the current electronic royalty rate being offered. We certainly have not closed the door to interested US parties.’
Hugh Howey spent eight years living on boats and working as a yacht captain for the rich and famous. It wasn’t until the love of his life carried him away from these vagabond ways that he began to pursue literary adventures, rather than literal ones. Hugh also wrote and self-published his first young adult novel, Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Join My FREE Webinar Today at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)

What makes a good author’s representative? 


Sometimes a writer signs with an agent, manager, or attorney and is so elated to have done so that it doesn’t occur to him that he’s signed with someone that will not advance his dream of publication or production. But how do you know before you sign? How do you know how to narrow the list? Based on decades in both publishing and entertainment, Dr. Atchity will share with you his observations about what makes a good author’s representative and how to identify the good ones—as well as how to avoid the ones who will waste your time.

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


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guest Post: Dealing with Your "Inner Critic" by Dennis Palumbo




The inside scoop on Tinseltown, USA

Self-criticism is a two-edged sword.

Dennis PalumboAmong the majority of my creative patients — TV and film writers, directors, actors, etc., a primary concern is the struggle against their “inner critic.” By that I mean the persistent, sometimes harsh and almost always shaming “voice” that belittles or invalidates their work. Indeed, the term “inner critic” is such a well-known concept in our culture that millions of dollars are spent on books, DVD’s, online classes and seminars promising to silence, or even banish altogether, his punishing element of most people’s inner world. There are two problems with this approach: first, the goal of killing off the self-critical, judgmental part of your psyche confirms the idea that there’s something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. It suggests that there’s a perfectable “you” in the future who’s unencumbered by such conflicts.

Not to mention my second objection, which is that it isn’t even possible. Unquestionably, there’s nothing more painful about the creative process than struggling against feelings of self-doubt, even self-loathing. I’ve worked with patients who literally hate everything they create — it’s not good enough, funny enough, smart enough, commercial enough. Even those with a more balanced view of their output acknowledge the stress of continually having to keep deeply critical inner voices at bay just to get through the damn thing.

“Killing off” your inner critic won’t work; it isn’t even desirable. It’s part of who you are. A necessary part. As much as your enthusiasm, your work habits, your loves and hates, your joys and regrets. Because, like these other aspects of your emotional life, an inner critic is a two-edged sword.

Think of it this way: the same inner critic that judges our work so severely provides us with the ability to discern our likes and dislikes, to form opinions, to make decisions. It reinforces the faith in our subjective experience that allows us to choose this rather than that.

We need a sense of judgment to navigate in the world. The amount and intensity of that judgment, as with most things, lies along a continuum. Hopefully, we possess neither too much, nor too little.

Imagine waiting to cross the street at a busy intersection: With too little judgment, you might ignore the “Don’t Walk” sign and get run over; with too much judgment, you stand frozen even when the sign reads “Walk,” and therefore never get anywhere.

What I’m trying to suggest here is that we don’t judge our having an inner judge too harshly. Doing creative work in the face of a persistent inner critic is draining enough. To compound the problem by blaming yourself for being engaged in the struggle is ridiculous.

Remember, too, what I said about your inner critic being a two-edged sword. Because if we can accept with self-compassion this troubling aspect of ourselves, we might even learn something.

I’m thinking of an example from my own experience as a patient in therapy. This was many years ago, when I was struggling with some very painful issues, specifically a rather profound fear of failure that seemed unaffected by my outward success. The sessions were so gut-wrenching, I thought about quitting therapy.

Yet I kept coming, week after week, much to my own surprise. When I mentioned this to my therapist, he suggested that while the issues underlying my fear of failure were indeed painful and difficult, it was this same fear of failure that kept me coming back to therapy every week. In other words, the same thing that was causing the problem was providing the determination to keep slugging away at it. I just wouldn’t quit.

That’s when I realized what a two-edged sword my particular problem was. Like the ancient concept of yin and yang, almost every aspect of our emotional life has both an affirming and an invalidating component. Our job, then, is to examine an issue that troubles us---a harsh inner critic, for example---and learn what is both positive and negative about it, in terms of our work and our life.

If we approach our inner critic from this perspective, that of a life-long process of examination, we can co-exist with it. That along with feeling the pain of its intense scrutiny, we also develop the courage to challenge the self-defeating meanings we give to that pain. This has always been the artist’s struggle. What Rollo May calls “the courage to create.”

Or, to put it bluntly: You’re an artist. Which means, you’re your own worst critic. Join the club.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brett Battles' Get SICK, Project Eden No. 1, for Free for Your Kindle or Kindle Ap June 19-21




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The Project Eden Sage Continues in
PALE HORSE
and get
SICK
Free on Kindle
Today thru Thursday
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PALE HORSE, Project Eden No. 3

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And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. 

—Revelations 6:8



A simple push of a button and the world will never be the same.

Martina Gable returns home from college to spend Christmas break with her family, but the relaxing vacation she expects is not even close to what she'll get.

Sanjay, a young man in Mumbai who knows more than he should about Project Eden’s plan, will do whatever he can to keep Kusum, the girl he loves, alive and safe.

A boy named Brandon Ash runs for his life in the hills of Montana, wanting only to see his family again.

But first there is Daniel, the boy’s father, who watches Olivia Silva’s finger hover over the enter key that will decide the fate of humanity.

Do you think you’re safe?

Where to find PALE HORSE:
Kindle US  •  Nook • Kindle UK  •  Kindle Germany

If you haven't read SICK or EXIT 9 yet, you should read those first. To that end...

Get SICK, Project Eden No. 1, for Free for Your Kindle or Kindle Ap June 19-21

To celebrate the release of PALE HORSE, I'm making the Kindle version of SICK free for three days at Amazon.com. (Don't have a Kindle? No problem. You can download a free Kindle ap for your computer, tablet, or smart phone here.)

SICK_Fin_2012_200wDaniel Ash wakes after midnight to the cry of his daughter. Just a bad dream, he thinks. She’s had them before. Yet he can’t help but worry when she cries out again as he pads down the hallway. Stepping through her doorway, he expects to find her sitting up in bed, frightened by a nightmare.

But the nightmare is his. It’s real. And it's just beginning...
Something is burning Ash's daughter alive. Something horrible that is spreading beyond the walls of their home, and taking no prisoners.

Thirty seconds later, Ash will discover his daughter isn’t the only one in his family infected, and as his world spins, coming apart at the seams, a team of armed men in biohazard suits bursts into his house.

But these aren’t the good guys.

They haven’t come to save Ash’s family. They’ve come to separate them, to finish what they started.

The problem is Ash refuses to disappear. He wants only one thing: to find those responsible.

Because humanity is on the brink of execution.

And man is pulling the trigger.

Where to find SICK:

For Print Fans, THE DESTROYED is Now Available in Trade Paperback

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Get the latest Quinn novel in print form at 

It will also be available through Barnesandnoble.com in the coming weeks.

WHERE TO FIND ME


Register For My FREE Webinar, June 21, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. (EDT)

What makes a good author’s representative? 


Sometimes a writer signs with an agent, manager, or attorney and is so elated to have done so that it doesn’t occur to him that he’s signed with someone that will not advance his dream of publication or production. But how do you know before you sign? How do you know how to narrow the list? Based on decades in both publishing and entertainment, Dr. Atchity will share with you his observations about what makes a good author’s representative and how to identify the good ones—as well as how to avoid the ones who will waste your time.

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


Monday, June 18, 2012

The Messiah Matrix Lands In My Mailbox on Books Bones and Buffy.com



Welcome to Lucky 13 In My Mailbox, hosted by The Story Siren!


To what lengths would the Vatican go to suppress the secret origins of its power?
The Messiah Matrix is a myth-shattering thriller whose protagonists delve into the secrets of the past—and expose those who hide them still.
A renowned scholar-monsignor is killed in a mysterious hit-and-run in Rome. A Roman coin is recovered from a wreck off the coast of ancient Judea. It’s up to his young American protégé–a Jesuit priest–and a vivacious, brilliant archaeologist to connect these seemingly disparate events and unravel the tapestry that conceals in plain view the greatest mystery in the ecclesiastical world.
Together they pursue their passion for truth—while fighting to control their passion for each other.
What they uncover is an ancient Roman imperial stratagem so controversial the Curia fears it could undermine the very foundations of the Roman Catholic faith.
From the ancient port of Caesarea to Rome’s legendary catacombs and the sacred caves of Cumae, this contemporary novel follows their exhilarating quest to uncover the truth about the historical existence of the real “Christian Savior.”
The Messiah Matrix may prove to be one of the most thought-provoking
books ever written.
Classical scholar and Yale Ph.D. Dr. Kenneth John Atchity is the only author alive today capable of creating this literary and historically-based masterpiece.

Those are some bold statements! Don’t you want to read it to see if they’re true?
What’s in your mailbox this week? 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The First Four Ed Noon Private Eye Novels Are Now Available on Amazon Kindle!

In 1953, Michael Avallone’s first book, THE TALL DOLORES was published; a fast, funny mystery adventure set in Manhattan.  In that book, we are introduced to ED NOON, private eye, a wise-cracking, movie and baseball-loving tough guy with a soft heart whose adventures often tipped towards the surreal. Between 1953 and 1990, in 36 novels, a handful of novellas and countless short stories, Ed Noon fought the good fight… usually out of a little midtown office so tiny and cramped that he called it the MOUSE AUDITORIUM.Welcome to the Official Website of Michael Avallone.  In 2012, we’ll be bringing Ed Noon, and other great characters from the Michael Avallone collection, back to the public.  Watch this space… 

In 1953, Michael Avallone’s first book, THE TALL DOLORES was published; a fast, funny mystery adventure set in Manhattan.  In that book, we are introduced to ED NOON, private eye, a wise-cracking, movie and baseball-loving tough guy with a soft heart whose adventures often tipped towards the surreal. Between 1953 and 1990, in 36 novels, a handful of novellas and countless short stories, Ed Noon fought the good fight… usually out of a little midtown office so tiny and cramped that he called it the MOUSE AUDITORIUM.

Welcome to the Official Website of Michael Avallone.  In 2012, we’ll be bringing Ed Noon, and other great characters from the Michael Avallone collection, back to the public.

http://mouseauditorium.tumblr.com

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Register for My FREE Webinar, June 21, at 2:30 pm (EDT)

What makes a good author’s representative? 


Sometimes a writer signs with an agent, manager, or attorney and is so elated to have done so that it doesn’t occur to him that he’s signed with someone that will not advance his dream of publication or production. But how do you know before you sign? How do you know how to narrow the list? Based on decades in both publishing and entertainment, Dr. Atchity will share with you his observations about what makes a good author’s representative and how to identify the good ones—as well as how to avoid the ones who will waste your time.

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


Friday, June 15, 2012

My Addiction Discusses The Messiah Matrix

Interview with Kenneth John Atchity


Interview with Kenneth John Atchity Author of Homer's Iliad: The Shield of Memory - Which was his Ph.D. Dissertation. The work was awarded Yale Graduate School's Highest Academic Honor - The Porter Prize; and was later published by Southern Illinois University Press (Edited by John Gardner).  Mentors at Yale Included Thomas Bergin, Thomas Greene, A. Bartlett Giamatti, Richard Ellinger, Eric Segal and Lowry Nelson Jr.



His Twenty Books Include:


·         Homer: Critical Essays (G.K.Hall), 

·         The Renaissance Reader (HarperCollins), 
·         The Classical Greek Reader (Harper-Oxford University Press),
·         Italian Literature: Roots & Branches (Yale University Press),
·         A Writer’s Time (W.W. Norton)

·         Seven Ways to Die (with William Diehl) (Story Merchant Books)

·         And The Classical Roman Reader (Harper-Oxford)



Kenneth represents writers of both fiction and nonfiction. He accounts for numerous bestsellers and movies both produced in television and on the big screen. In 2011 he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Producing “The Kennedy Detail.”



We are very pleased to introduce our readers to his latest addition to storytelling which is his first novel called The Messiah Matrix.



Kenneth – thank you so much for giving me this interview. From the interviews I have done so far over the past year I’m fairly positive that you must be one of the most aspiring authors I have ever done an interview on.  



Thank you, Nadine. I’m definitely aspiring!

1.    As a start I always like for authors to tell us a bit about themselves. Where did your journey start, what made you start writing?

I’m sure it was my mother egging me on from the kitchen as I sat at the table turning an essay into a short story. She came up with some preposterous plots, but I modified them and made them work. Her mantra was “go for it”!

2.    I have to ask (and I know I have asked some other authors the same thing), how do you approach your writing? A lot of writers build their story. They first develop their characters, then develop their plot and then start writing. Others just jump into it from the word go.

Every project is different, but the FIRST THING I always do is to carve out time each day to work on my current ‘creative project.’ Without time, we have nothing—and it is time that gets work done.

3.    Another question that I have asked before but would like your input on is how do you treat sequel writing? As an author (unpublished but striving) myself, I had written my 1st novel, whilst I was going / am going through the editing process I started work on its sequel.  I found that as my story progressed there was some stuff that came up that I wanted to add into the first novel which I thought would tie them together. Do you experience similar notions? If you did how do you deal with it?

I don’t have the ‘sequel problem’ you’re experiencing. I focus on the story at hand, which is challenge enough in itself. I can see how that would get complicated though, and would have to understand in more detail to comment usefully.

4.    From basic reviews I had obtained on The Messiah Matrix I concluded that the novel covers a great story that is layered with romance, believable characters, wonderful settings and an unpredictable ending. Would you mind elaborating a bit on what readers could expect?

Readers can expect to be drawn into one of the greatest mysteries of the last two thousand years—how did the story of Jesus Christ get started? What is its provable historical roots?

5.    Where can readers follow your novels and latest updates?

The Messiah Matrix has its own website, www.messiahmatrix.com. We’d love nothing more than questions from readers on the blog section of that website. For my progress in general, check out kenatchity.blogspot.com and storymerchant.com.  Messiah and Seven Ways to Die also have their own Facebook pages.

6.    The novel has reached number one on kindle. How do you feel about that? 

I was happily surprised, especially in England where it’s high on many lists and selling very well despite the fact that we haven’t begun to market it yet.


7.    Some readers claim that this novel was far better than the Da Vinci Code. This is high praise, what are your views?

Of course I knew the book would be compared to Dan Brown, whom I admire. My view is that the issues Messiah Matrix deals with are much more monumental—the very origins of Christianity—than Da Vinci, but I admire his mastery of detail, which I couldn’t hope to equal.

8.    Where did the idea come from for the writing of the Messiah Matrix?

It came from my Roman Catholic upbringing, and the doubts I began having at the age of 15 about the “facts” of the life of Jesus, and the “rules” of the Catholic Church. For example, everyone who ate meat on Fridays went to hell for all eternity if they didn’t receive confession before they died. THEN the Church changed the rules and said it’s okay to eat meat on Friday. So what happened to all those souls in hell for eating meat on Friday? The answer is that they’re still there because those were the rules when they were alive. Hmmm, I thought, what kind of God acts like that? Do these rules, in fact, have anything to do with God at all? Read the novel and find out.

9.    As a Christian, what can readers expect to discover with regards to the roots of Christianity, anti-Christian perspectives and general religious views.

The book is very respectful of Christianity, and its basic peaceful doctrines; it’s much less tolerant of organized religion, which I personally believe is one of the greatest causers of violence the world has ever known. If read properly, the book actually acclaims that Christianity was founded in a magnificent way that should make everyone even prouder to be a Christian.

     10.  You recently did an article on CNN religion’s site that read “the Jesus debate: man vs. myth. The article covers Timothy Freke’s discovery of a religious image that some would call obscene. From the description it was of a drawing from a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The name on the amulet however isn’t that of Jesus of Nazareth, instead it was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture. How was this article received within the public? What’s your personal conclusion?

Why is a man hanging on a cross obscene if it’s Orpheus (not Osiris) and not obscene if it’s Jesus? Geez, this kind of stuff makes me nuts. The name on the amulet is actually Orpheus—Bacchus (another name of Dionysus).

1 1.  As an author, can you give struggling authors any advice on the way forward?

The way forward is persistence. Never give up. And, as the late great Ray Bradbury said, “Start writing more. It’ll get rid of all those moods you’re having!”

1 2.  Final quote/ inspiration note.

“Go for it!” and read The Messiah Matrix, and review it for amazon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Leonard Maltin Names Hysteria One of the Five Best Indies



OFF-HOLLYWOOD: The Five Best Indie Movies To See This Month 


This may be the first summer movie season where box-office results in China and Russia mean more to Hollywood than the domestic returns. That's not good news for those of us who crave movies for mature audiences, as those mushrooming new markets seem especially hungry for superheroes, special effects, and 3-D.

On the other hand, the report from last month's Cannes Film Festival was bullish about indie movies, with buyers spending more money than they have in recent years. That spells hope for filmmakers who have interesting stories to tell and don't have multimillion dollar budgets.

As for the here-and-now, even during summer months it's possible for discerning moviegoers to find adult fare if they're just willing to seek it out. Here are my picks for June.
HYSTERIA (in theaters)

2012-05-31-GyllenhaalDancy375.jpg

The movie that purports to chronicle the invention of the vibrator is, in fact, a sassy, irreverent comedy about sexual repression in Victorian England. Hugh Dancy plays a young doctor with forward-thinking ideas who winds up working for straitlaced (and straight-faced) physician Jonathan Pryce, who treats a female condition he calls "hysteria" with the artful use of his finger. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones, and Rupert Everett costar. 

You'll find my full review HERE.