MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TWO Books Go Social Writing Craft Courses with Kenneth Atchity are discounted by $30 Today!




They were $39 and are now $9 each during this offer. Don't miss this opportunity!

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Simply use coupon code story1 at checkout to get the discount.

 

Behind the Scenes of Michael A. Simpson's Sleepaway Camp3: Teenage Waseland

Attention happy campers, just in time for Halloween let’s go back to Waco GA, October 1988. For your trick-or-treat pleasure, a news feature with behind-the-scenes footage about the making of Sleepaway Camp 3: Teenage Wasteland.

(We actually wrapped principal photography of SC3 on Halloween Day!)



Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Secret Service Agent Remembers: ‘I Wish I Had Been Quicker’




WASHINGTON — It was just before noon, in the last hours of a half-century wait for government documents about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that the octogenarian Secret Service retiree shuffled into his first TMZ moment.

“A lot of people always have these different conspiracy theories,” a cameraman for TMZ, the gossip site, began, ambushing the former agent, Clint Hill, outside his hotel here on Thursday. “Do you sometimes hear it and wonder it yourself?”

Mr. Hill stared back at him.

“Never,” he said flatly. “I was there.”

The release of documents concerning Kennedy’s death has captivated historians both professional and amateur, returning a seminal moment of the modern presidency to the forefront of the American psyche.

Purveyors of conspiracy have long awaited the documents, eager to find in them any cracks in the authorities’ official account from Dallas.

For Mr. Hill, 85, there has been no mystery. There is, instead, a final reckoning, 54 years on.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Mr. Hill, long assigned to protect Jacqueline Kennedy, was positioned on the “running board” of the car behind the president’s, poised to move quickly if necessary.

As the vehicles rolled, Mr. Hill heard an explosion from his right. He turned toward the sound. Kennedy was grabbing at his throat and lurching to the left.

Mr. Hill raced toward the vehicle — the heroic agent in now-iconic images from that day, climbing aboard Kennedy’s car.

Mr. Hill did not hear the second shot as he hustled to the first family. He heard, and felt, the third. Then he draped his body over the Kennedys. If a fourth shot came, Mr. Hill resolved, it would hit him instead.

“I wish I had been quicker,” he said Thursday.

Making the Washington rounds on the occasion of the documents’ release — somberly greeting well-wishers, signing photographs of his act, demurring at any suggestion of his bravery — Mr. Hill spent his Thursday in search of something more complicated than closure, less tidy than simple vindication.

For decades, Mr. Hill has hoped for clarity on certain questions: Why did Lee Harvey Oswald do it? What was known about his activities in the months before the shooting?

Mr. Hill has not wondered who, precisely, was responsible for the violence of Nov. 22. It was one man, he said — a single gunman, three shots. He believes he is right not because he guessed right, not because he obsessed over it remotely, but because he was there, a fact that has informed every day of his life since.

There has been deep depression, unshakable self-interrogation, a nasty drinking habit.

It was Mr. Hill who could see the hole in the president’s skull that day; Mr. Hill who supplied the instant prognosis, turning to flash his colleagues a frantic thumbs-down; Mr. Hill who informed Robert F. Kennedy by phone, “It’s as bad as it can get.”

The president’s brother hung up.

“You have to relive it all,” Mr. Hill said softly on Thursday, shifting slightly in his seat. “But I’ve been doing that for 54 years.”
Photo
Mr. Hill in Fort Worth on Nov. 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Credit Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Traversing the capital on Thursday, Mr. Hill leaned into the introspection, recounting a career spent serving Kennedy and four other presidents — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.

He wondered aloud why the current one had often floated a baseless theory connecting Oswald to the father of Senator Ted Cruz, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination last year.

“It’s damaging to the presidency, to the office,” Mr. Hill said of President


He held forth on Caroline Kennedy (“smart girl — I guess I should say ‘lady’ now”), Poland Spring water (“Eisenhower’s water! We used to carry that”) and Roger J. Stone Jr., the longtime conspiracy monger and informal adviser to Mr. Trump, whose name was invoked on cable television before Mr. Hill was scheduled to appear on Thursday morning.

“Turn to your left,” he told a seatmate in the MSNBC waiting area, apparently willing to offer a candid assessment of Mr. Stone only if cameras could not decipher any eye contact. “Roger Stone. Ugh.”

For most of his life, Mr. Hill, a North Dakota native who now lives outside San Francisco, has been disinclined to discuss the assassination in public. An exception came in 1975, shortly after he left the Secret Service. During a “60 Minutes” interview with Mike Wallace, Mr. Hill said, he broke down when questions about Dallas caught him off guard.

The next several years were spent largely confined to his basement, he said, sequestered from loved ones and drinking heavily. In the early 1980s, a friend convinced him his choice was clear: Change or die. He cleaned up.

By 1990, while in Texas for a conference, Mr. Hill steeled himself to return for the first time to the site of the assassination. He ventured to the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald aimed his rifle at the president, according to the Warren Commission.

“I checked everything,” Mr. Hill said. “Angles. What was the weather like that day? Where exactly was the shooter? Where were we? Everything. And I finally came away knowing that I had done everything I could.”

Guilt and shame persisted, he said, trailing him into old age. In 2009, a friend and former agent asked for his assistance on a book. Talking helped, Mr. Hill found. He decided to do more of it.

His own book followed, a tribute to the woman he protected, titled “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” written with Lisa McCubbin. They have since written two more books about Mr. Hill’s career.

“Very cathartic,” he said.

By now, Mr. Hill said, the conspiracy theories are little bother, even if he doubts that the document disclosure will discourage them much. On one count, though, Mr. Hill has remained vigilant in defense of his president.

“One last thing,” the TMZ emissary shouted as Mr. Hill returned to his hotel. “Marilyn Monroe!”

Mr. Hill cut him off. “That’s a fallacy,” he said. “Never saw her. And I was there a lot.” He ended the interview, stepping toward the hotel entrance, then turning back to ensure he had dispatched the only cameraman.

The doors closed, and Mr. Hill appeared relieved. There was no second shooter.

A version of this article appears in print on October 27, 2017, on Page A15 of the New York edition with the headline: An Agent Remembers: ‘I Wish I Had Been Quicker’.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Clint Hill ambushed by TMZ On the Release of the Kennedy Files

TRAINWRECK'D SOCIETY Month of Horror Series Features an Interview With Michael A. Simson

 



Oh what a damn good feature we have for you good readers today! Today we have an absolute legend joining the TWS family. Michael A. Simpson is a legendary figure in the world of cinema. His work in the Sleepaway Camp series and the campy classic Funland, has earned him a cult like following in the world of horror alone.  He has also worked as a producer on several other amazing projects such as the Jeff Bridges fronted drama Crazy Heart. The list goes on and on, and just gets more and more impressive.

We could not be more honored to have him featured in our Month of Horror series. This is one of the greats people, you’re going to love it! So with that, please enjoy some words from the great Michael A. Simpson!

When did you first discover your love for the world of film and television? How far back does this passion go for you?
I enjoyed watching movies even as a child. We had a cinema in the town where I grew up. It was a baby sitting service on Saturday afternoons showing a double feature matinee. My mom would drop me and my brother off and we would watch movies while she cleaned house and bought groceries. Many of the movies were horror films.

When I was seven or eight, over dinner after an afternoon at the cinema, I asked my parents how do you make movies. They said they were made in a place called Hollywood, which sounded to me like some far away place like Neverland. I asked if I could make movies. To their eternal credit, they told me I could do anything I wanted to, and yes, if I wanted to make movies when I grew up I could.

I also watched a lot of classic horror films on television. On Friday nights in Atlanta we had the Big Movie Shocker hosted by Bestoink Dooley, a deliciously warped persona created by local actor George Ellis. George was part of the first wave of late-night TV horror hosts, and for my money, one of the best. He guided me through my first experiences with The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Cat People, and many others.  I’d often toss and turn in bed for hours afterward, scared out of my young mind by what I had just watched. As I grew older, that fascination with horror stayed with me.

You were involved with two of my favorite horror sequels of all time, the brilliant Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers & Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland. What was it like jumping on board after the cult success of the first Sleepaway Camp? Was there a bit of pressure when you realized you were building a franchise?

For me, it was more a sense of excitement that pressure. The main goal we had for the sequels was to extend the story arc by developing Angela’s character. I was intrigued by the idea of taking her gender orientation and pushing it out so that by the time of the sequels Angela had gone through a sex change and was now transgendered. For me, that felt very fresh. To my knowledge no one had done that with slasher horror.

We also wanted a different tone than the original. We added self-referential humor to break the tension, which later became sort of the thing to do with slasher horror.

And where some other personal touches that were important for you to have in Unhappy Campers and Teenage Wasteland to truly make it your own? What made this story a Michael A. Simpson visual tale?

The pop culture references became one of the signatures of the sequels. We put “camp” into movies with perverse, dark, campy humor. It’s something you either love or hate, but I liked it.

I was intrigued by the idea of setting a slasher stalking movie in daylight in the woods, instead of at night. It was a challenge in some ways but it was also a great way to set Teenage Wasteland apart from Unhappy Campers.

I also liked the introspective, almost melancholy beat in Wasteland with Angela’s daydream. That was not at all common in slasher horror. It was an idea the editor John Allen came up with. It gave an odd humanity to Angela as a character. John later edited Fast Food for me and then went on to edit for some great directors like Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Bruce Beresford. A very talented guy.

Although we had a very small budget I wanted the best gore and makeup effects we could afford. We found a young man, Bill Johnson, who was literally creating effects in his parents basement and had no film credits, but he was very creative and had great ideas when he read the script.

I was impressed by what he did for the budget we had. He earned the nickname “Splat” on those two films, which stuck.

Splat went on to provide make up effects and prosthetic design for dozens of films through the years, like Pet Sematary II, Boxing Helena, and RoboCop 3. Last I heard he was Make Up Effects Department Head for the remake of Jacob’s Ladder. He’s made quite a name for himself.




The New Beverly Cinema in Beverly Hills screened SC2: Unhappy Campers  and SC3: Teenage Wasteland on Tuesday [Oct 24th, 2017] night in 35mm prints, part of their October Horror showcase. Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who is the owner and head programmer at the Beverly, made the unique decision to have the cinema solely project film prints. “Grindhouse Tuesdays” remain one of their most popular nights with a tremendously loyal following. – Michael A. Simpson.

Prior to Unhappy Campers, you worked on a little film that was actually the reason I was so eager to do this interview with you. You created the comedy thriller (of sorts) with Bonnie and Terry Turner known as Funland. I have to tell you, it wasn’t Stephen King’s It that put a fear of clowns into me as a youth, it was this god damned movie! Looking back, I realize it is just a brilliant campy masterpiece. So, where in the recesses of yours and the Turners mind did this come from? And what compelled you to tell this story? 

I thought up the idea for the film while working for Six Flags Over Georgia. I was recently out of college and had a job in the marketing department.
The park had a promotional tie-in with McDonald’s. The regional Ronald McDonald did an in-park appearance one weekend.

At lunch, RD insisted that he eat alone behind a closed door. He said he didn’t want anyone to see him if his make-up wasn’t perfect, and he didn’t want anyone to see him with his gloves off. Later, walking through the park, I asked if it was difficult walking in such big clown shoes. Without missing a beat, he said they’re not big, they’re the perfect size.

That was the moment Bruce Burger was born, a character who had no self-awareness that he was a clown. He was Bruce Burger, not a clown.

I wrote a detailed treatment for the film based on that premise and beat out the scenes and other characters. Bruce Mahler’s character Mike Spencer was based on me. In the movie, Mahler even looks a bit like how I looked when I worked for the park.

I met Bonnie and Terry when they were working for Turner Broadcasting, writing for the Bill Tush Show. This was very early in their careers. So many people referred to them collectively as “Bonnie and Terry Turner” that the first line of their resume read “Bonnie and Terry Turner are not the same person.” That made me laugh.

Along with Jim Varney, they’re two of the funniest people I’ve ever known. I thought they would be perfect for Funland, and my belief was justified. They were amazing to work with.

Their draft of the script was done at a fevered pace, almost like stream of consciousness over the course of just two weeks or so. We had agreed that the three of us would write the script and share credit together, but the draft they turned in was so good I had very little work to do, mostly editing and tweaking a line here and there.

Some of the lines in the movie still make me laugh, like Terry Beaver’s character Carl Dimauro chiding his brother Larry for “coming to work without your tools” when Larry forgets to bring his gun. And Robert Sacchi is still mesmerizing as Bogie.

Funny story. When we finished the script I sent it to the financier of the film, who read it on a beach while on vacation in the Bahamas. He goes back to his hotel room and calls me and the first words out of his mouth were: “Where are the tits?”

He thought he was financing a teen comedy and we had turned in a very dark comedy. Since he was the money bags, we had to go back in and insert some typical teen comedy, which I believe ultimately hurt the film by taking it away from it’s more inventive premise: a deranged clown who takes revenge when the mob takes over the amusement park.

Over the years, I’ve thought about doing a director’s cut of Funland and re-editing it to focus more clearly on Bruce Burger. That’s the movie I wanted to make then and it’s the one that I think fans of the film would want to see. I’ve been encouraged to do and it’s on my to do list if I ever have the time.

The Turners knew Jan Hooks, who had also been on Tush’s show, and I hired Jan for the role of Shelly Willingham in the film. When Jan went to SNL right after Funland, she got Bonnie and Terry hired as staff writers for the show. The rest is history.

The Turners helped create the SNL “Wayne’s World” skits with Mike Myers and then the Wayne’s World movie, which was the Turners’ next film after Funland, then they wrote Coneheads and Tommy Boy. They also created several series including 3rd Rock from the Sun and That ’70s Show, which they created with Mark Brazill, another remarkable comic talent.

Bonnie and Terry walked away from the business around 2006 or so. They are missed. Good humans.



What is it about the horror genre specifically that appeals to you? What do you personally believe sets it apart from so many other genres?

There’s something very primal and visceral about great horror. Cary Jung believed horror taps into primordial archetypes buried in our collective subconscious. Because of that, I think the emotions of horror are amplified when presented visually. We are literally creating and presenting nightmares for us to confront that are buried deep in all of us.

Also, horror often starts from a point of shared experience that the audience can relate to, like going to a summer camp. So there’s this intrinsic paradox, in that a great horror films are both relatable, yet unrealistic.

And let’s face it, there’s a great release in being scared out of our wits while on the journey we take when watching a movie.

Fans of horror are very loyal. In that way, they remind me of country music fans. I love to hear from the happy campers. I’ve received emails from people who first saw the Sleepaway sequels when they were in their teens and then years later shared them with their own teenage children.

What is your favorite scary movie?

Probably depends on my mood. I love Phantasm (1979). I first saw it with my brother; we were both stoned in a theater in downtown Atlanta that had gone to seed. The place reeked of alcohol and piss. Street people were sleeping around us. So much crime was happening in the theater that the manager refused to dim the lights while the movie played. All of that just added to the weird, other worldly quality of the film.

Also, the remake of The Thing with Kurt Russell holds up well for me. The original Hellraiser also comes to mind.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a favorite. I had the pleasure of working with Kevin McCarthy on Fast Food. He shared some great stories about the making of Snatchers. And the film still seems like a very timely and astute social commentary. Given what’s going on in our country’s current political climate, I sometimes wonder if millions of us have been replaced by pod people.

Do you have any plans for this coming Halloween? Any sort of traditions you try to uphold each year?

No plans. I’m pretty spontaneous when it comes to Halloween.

What does the future hold for you? Any upcoming projects you would like to tell our readers about?

My producer partner Judy Cairo and I are just finishing a film, Candy Jar, which is a comedy directed by Ben Shelton, who is someone who is going to be on everyone’s radar. It will be available for your eyeballs in 2018.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My wife came in and kissed my while I was doing this interview.


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Thursday, October 26, 2017

TV Overmind: What We Know about New Prehistoric Shark Movie “The Meg” Wake




What we know about another shark movie that will make every other shark in any other movie look like a minnow. That’s a lengthy title but it kind of puts into perspective just what this movie will be like. Starring Jason Statham and Ruby Rose this new science fiction horror is going to be based upon the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark that measures out to about 75 feet in length and could quite chomp the submersible it’s being said to have attacked in half.  The story goes that before the submersible that’s been attacked by this monster ever encountered it in the deep blue sea, the main character, Statham, came upon the mammoth creature during one of his dives and was scared so badly that he never ventured into the ocean again.

Now a looming presence has attacked a deep sea submersible and there’s no idea how to tackle this gigantic beast that’s been identified as the largest shark in the ocean. Obviously a team will be assembled to hunt it down and kill it, but with what? You would think that a shark this big would simply shrug off anything less than a hailstorm of torpedoes simply due to its size. But it’s equally obvious that the shark will either be killed or driven away since the general consensus in these types of movies is to eliminate the threat or make it flee in the hopes that it won’t come back.

So far all we really know is the title, the actors, the plot, and the release date, which is at this time set for August of 2018. Barring that there’s not much else to tell about The Meg at this point since it just started production not that long ago. There are lot of things we can guess at this time though, some of which are just conjecture and some that might actually make sense.

It can’t end like a traditional shark movie.
Think about it, in several other shark movies the big bad shark is either blown up, impaled, or, well, blown up. That seems to be the only way to really take care of sharks anymore. Well, actually, one of the sharks in Deep Blue Sea was electrocuted, but honestly it should have taken the half-naked female scientist with it just thanks to their close proximity. But The Meg is simply too big to be blown up by anything less than a full crate of dynamite or a nuclear warhead, and there’s nothing big enough to impale it on in the ocean that it wouldn’t easily swim around, or through.

The humans are going to vastly outmatched.


It’s a shark. It’s longer than most boats. It can maneuver better in the water than any submersible, and it can possibly shred through anything that gets in its way. Unless the humans are packing one extremely impressive and tough arsenal the chances are that the shark is just going to mow through them and keep coming until they’re all done for. There’s no way to really swim out of the way of this thing unless there’s suitable cover within reach and it’s still a good hundred yards out. Even then there’s a good chance that you won’t see it before it’s right on top of you.

It might be worth a look once it’s released.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Beverly Cinema in Beverly Hills Screens Michael A. Simpson's Sleepaway Camp2: UNHAPPY CAMPERS and SC3 TEENAGE WASTELAND in 35mm prints, part of their October Horror showcase.

Shout out to the Oscar-winning filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who is the owner and head programmer at the Beverly, made the unique decision to have the cinema solely project film prints. Grindhouse Tuesdays remain one of their most popular nights with a tremendously loyal following.



Discovered Diamonds Reviews Michael A. Simpson's Sons of My Fathers

Sons of my Fathers by Michael A. Simpson

purchase on Amazon.com


Sons of My Fathers by Michael A. Simpson is based on the author’s own family history and reads almost like a biography. However, I assume that attributes of its characters are as the author imagines them and, hence, are fictional in detail; but what great writing, bringing this saga alive for the reader.
The very clever cover of a denuded tree strangled by sabotaged lengths of railroad tracks is haunting. The book begins during 1864, the American Civil War. Baylis Simpson and his family eke out a meager living as sharecroppers in Georgia which, of course, backed the Confederacy. As in all wars, the atrocities play out not only on the battlefield but split this fertile land and its families asunder with obscene travesties against humankind. Baylis Simpson sees his family destroyed. As he and his kin vow vengeance against the murderous rabble taking property and lives that had escaped the Union Army, the Simpsons are caught between the warring lines.
One hundred years later, Baylis’s descendent, young Ron Simpson becomes a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. He volunteers to serve his country as a medevac pilot in Vietnam. His beliefs and his life are turned upside down when, instead, he is assigned to fly a Huey gunship. He loves his country deeply, but will not serve it by flying this killing machine. There is only one option for him; by taking it, he threatens to destroy not just himself, but his family.
The book’s chapters switch seamlessly from the physical plight and mental turmoil of one generation to the other, and the reader becomes deeply engrossed in the fate of both, while the book’s prose deftly adapts to the tone and language of the times. And, without hammering it home, it left me with a troubling message: We are not heeding history. Hence, we have learned nothing!
For me, Sons of My Fathers was indeed a Discovered Diamond to earn a sparkling and well-deserved place on this Review Site.
© Inge H.Borg

Monday, October 23, 2017

Birth of the Paperback

Books Designed for Soldiers’ Pockets Changed Publishing Forever 

Prior to WWII, Americans didn’t think much of softcover books.


A hospitalized soldier passes the time with an Armed Services Edition.

In September of 1940, as the U.S.’s entry into World War II began looking more and more likely, President Roosevelt reinstated the draft. Hundreds of thousands of new recruits soon found themselves in basic training, an experience that, due to a lack of available facilities, often included building their own barracks and training grounds.

Within a couple of years, many of them—along with hundreds of thousands of others—had been deployed. As Hackenberg writes, the U.S. military now consisted of “millions of people far from home, who found themselves in a situation where periods of boredom alternated with periods of intense activity.” In other words, they were the perfect audience for a good paperback.




It didn’t take long for the Army, too, to come to this conclusion. As Molly Guptill Manning writes in When Books Went to War, although books were already considered an important source of troop morale—the Army Library Services had been established during World War I—Nazi Germany’s embrace of book-burning, propaganda and censorship imbued them with new wartime significance. In 1940, after word got out that the newly built camps were starved for books, the Army’s new Library Section chief, Raymond L. Trautman, set out to change that.

Libraries across the country independently organized book drives. This quickly mushroomed into the nationwide Victory Book Campaign, or VBC, a collaboration between the Army and the American Library Association that aimed to be the biggest book drive in the country’s history.

Many of the books donated—like How to Knit and An Undertaker’s Review—were rejected, as it was assumed, fairly or unfairly, that they’d hold no interest for soldiers. On top of that, the bulky, boxy hardcovers proved bad battlefield companions. In 1943, the VBC was officially ended.

Trautman had to try something different. Over the course of the preceding years, he had consulted with publishers, authors, and designers about how to quickly and efficiently increase the number of books that made it to the troops. In 1943, together with the graphic artist H. Stanley Thompson and publisher Malcolm Johnson, he officially proposed his idea: Armed Services Editions, or ASEs.



These would be mass-produced paperbacks, printed in the U.S. and sent overseas on a regular basis. Rather than depending on the taste and largesse of their overextended fellow citizens, soldiers would receive a mix of desirable titles—from classics and bestsellers to westerns, humor books and poetry—each specially selected by a volunteer panel of literary luminaries.

They were a huge and immediate hit. “Never had so many books found so many enthusiastic readers,” Cole later wrote. As Manning tells it, “servicemen read them while waiting in line for chow or a haircut, when pinned down in a foxhole, and when stuck on a plane for a milk run.” Some soldiers reported that ASEs were the first books they had ever read cover to cover. Troops cherished their shipments, passing them around up to and beyond the point of illegibility. “They are as popular as pin-up girls,” one soldier wrote. “To heave one in the garbage can is tantamount to striking your grandmother,” quipped another.



From the beginning of the production process, he continues, the publishers involved felt “a sense of pending triumph and of crossing a new threshold.” After the project’s end, in 1947, this instinct was borne out: by 1949, softcovers were outselling hardback books by 10 percent.

So the next time you dog-ear a page of your pocket paperback and slip it into your jacket to accompany you on your commute, think of a soldier. They’re a big part of why it fits.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

NEW from Story Merchant Books



The Meander Tile
of Lisa Greco

A Romance of Mythic Identity

By Andrea Aguillard

Los Angeles, CA—The newest release from Story Merchant Books and the second book in Andrea Aguillard’s Romance of Mythic Identity series brings you the inspiring story of second generation Italian-American Lisa Greco. She’s about to receive the reward she's worked her head off for—but she's not sure it's what she wants anymore.

When she's offered her boss's position at a prestigious New York publishing firm—a position she's worked her entire career toward—she asks for time off instead. Because it suddenly hits her: this is it. No more vacations, no more dreams of doing her own writing. And as for her love life, so much for fantasies. She might as well just take it off her bucket list. She's been judged ready to assume great responsibility over others, but it's come at a great cost: she hasn't been responsible to herself.

She's always postponed exploring her creativity, and discovering her Neapolitan origins. So, she throws the dice, and goes to Naples.

Only, her Greek-Italian heritage is not what she expected. It's much, much more—and her exploration of the enchanting city is only enhanced by a mysterious Japanese-Italian professor of mathematics and itinerant tenor, Ichiro Negroponte, who's in search of his own roots. This leads her to do something she's never done before. She takes his hand as he leads her into the darkest recesses of the ancient excavations of Cumae that reveal the key to both their identities.



Books 1 & 2 both available now in print and eBook formats.

To request a review copy of either or an author interview, please email chelsea@storymerchant.com