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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William G. Borchert Books

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

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

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

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

Read more at Barry Kibrick, Going Further Between the Lines

Story Merchant Books Launches Deadly Impressions!

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

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

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

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

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

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

purchase on Amazon.com

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

purchase on Amazon.com

Wordsmith Interview – Cliff Simon and Loren Stephens

Cliff Simon

Loren Stephens Publicity PhotoLoren Stephens

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

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

Tell us about your career as a writer.

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

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

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

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

Tell us about another project you are currently working on.

Cliff: Currently attached to a SCI FI thriller feature slated to film in Minneapolis next May, produced by an Australian company, http://www.mad-anthm.com called ‘Project Eden’

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

What are your methods as a writer?

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

What is your favorite book?

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

Who would play you in the film of your life?

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

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

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

What makes you cry?

Cliff: Animal cruelty makes me cry.

What is your favorite word?

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

What’s in that cup on your desk? 

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

Vanilla or Chocolate?

Loren: Chocolate

Rain or Sunshine?

Cliff: Sunshine

Beach or Mountains?

Cliff: Beach

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

Additional Reading on Cliff: 
Additional Reading on Loren:

Historical Novel Society Reviews Jerry Amernic's The Last Witness

The Last Witness

Jerry Amernic’s gripping historical thriller The Last Witness has an intriguing framing narrative set not in the past but in the future: the year 2039, when Jack Fisher, age 100, is the last living survivor of the Holocaust. When he was just a boy, he lost his family in the Auschwitz concentration camp and was forced to scramble in order to survive. At the time the story opens, these memories are now far in the past, but they suddenly become relevant again when Jack becomes the key figure in a missing-persons case when his granddaughter disappears.

Amernic expertly juxtaposes a future that seems both uninformed and uninterested in the past with a past brought vividly to life with well-researched details, squarely tackling such issues as anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial while also crafting in interesting plot-driven dilemma in Jack’s “present.” The seemingly disparate plot threads are woven together in the end into a very satisfying dramatic payoff.


Reposted from Historical Novel Society

Finding a New Dream ... Excerpt from Rina Tham's Lucky Number Nine

I didn't get the job with the airline ...

I glided from the seat, which was directly across the table from my lost destiny, out the double doors, and into the sun. I was momentarily blinded by its brightness. A strong scent awakened my senses and refocused my vision. I opened my eyes. There, all around me were an abundance of flowers, birds of paradise: Strelitzia. They were thick along edge of the building, framing both it and the pathway up to the double doors. I hadn’t noticed them on my way in. Odd. They’re my favorite flower. They are so unique, and they smell like the color purple, rich and dense. My pain was gone. Not the physical ache in my left arm. It would be years before that discomfort—a twisting feeling like someone was wringing it out like a wet towel—would fade. The pain that had caged my heart…was gone. Seven years. It took seven years to let go of my dream. You see I didn’t have a backup dream. Being a flight attendant was my destiny, and there wasn’t a dream to put in its place. It’s understandable not to let go.

Part of me thought that I had been strong and gone down fighting. I held onto the vision that I believed to be my future, even after I knew it was gone. “Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Stand tall. Keep your dignity….” My mother’s voice was always there, the voice in my head, guiding me.
Had I? Kept my dignity? Can dignity live alongside delusion? After seven years, I realized; no, it cannot.

I still didn’t have a backup plan. I confessed my truth: I had clarity, but I was jumping without a net just like when I bungeed off a small platform into the Victoria’s Falls. The free falling was nuts. It felt like suicide. As soon as I hit the water and plunged back up, breathing was so laborious that I thought I was going to die, which caused me to instinctually scream at the top of my lungs. I continued to bounce, spin, and swing under the bridge until I literally ran out of screams. Looking back, letting go of my destiny and grabbing onto faith for the first time felt most synonymous with the bungee jumping into Victoria Falls.

“Okay. I’m ready.” I whispered to myself, and to the sun, and to the beauty around me. “Maybe the easy route is not in my cards. I trust you. I know you.”

My new dream must be to work hard, just work hard. And see where that takes me. Maybe the easy route is not flying on top of the world and serving beverages with a smile. Maybe it’s right here in my backyard. Maybe it’s somewhere else. But one thing was for sure; I’ll never know unless I let go. I placed one, final request upon my soul: May Thy will and love act upon me.

My eyes closed dry and easy that night. And I let go.

Excerpt from Lucky Number 9

Dennis Palumbo Contributes to And All Our Yesterdays: Stories of mystery and crime through the ages

Dennis Palumbo's historical short story is titled, "A Theory of Murder," and originally appeared in The Strand Magazine. Featuring a young Albert Einstein as an amateur sleuth.

An anthology of historical mysteries from DarkHouse Books. Available as both an e-book and a paperback.

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Two incredibly inspiring women meet.

Mallika Chopra, author of "Living with Intent" will be presented with YGB's first-ever Namaste Award at the Yoga Gives Back Malibu Fundraiser for her contribution to various humanitarian causes as well as her dedication to share meditation, yoga tradition, to awake ourselves and to make this planet a better place.

Rina Tham's "Lucky Number 9" is the Title Sponsor of this event. Rina's life journey as a rubber tapper's daughter in the jungle of Malaysia will inspire many youths in the world and she plans to donate her books to YGB's fund recipient youths in India.