First Photo From THE MEG Sees Giant Prehistoric Shark Stare Down Jason Statham


The big screen adaptation of Steve Alten's 1997 novel Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror is finally on its way after decades of production drama, and we finally have our first look at the upcoming movie, titled The Meg. Courtesy of Empire, we have our first look at Jason Statham as he's stared down by pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon.

In addition to the first photo, Statham also opened up about his role in the film. "I play a former navy captain and diver and I get hired to rescue a team of scientists who are trapped at the bottom of hte sea in their research station by a giant shark. Then all hell breaks loose," the actor teased.

As for why fans should look forward to the movie, Statham simply puts it, "who doesn’t want to watch a film about the biggest shark that’s ever existed?” Measuring at 75-feet-long, the Megalodon puts the creatures you see on Shark Week and Sharknado Week to shame.

For those unfamiliar with the source material, the official synopsis for The Meg provides a better idea of what to expect.

    “In the film, a deep-sea submersible—part of an international undersea observation program—has been attacked by a massive creature, previously thought to be extinct, and now lies disabled at the bottom of the deepest trench in the Pacific…with its crew trapped inside. With time running out, expert deep sea rescue diver Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) is recruited by a visionary Chinese oceanographer (Winston Chao), against the wishes of his daughter Suyin (Li Bingbing), to save the crew—and the ocean itself—from this unstoppable threat: a pre-historic 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. What no one could have imagined is that, years before, Taylor had encountered this same terrifying creature. Now, teamed with Suyin, he must confront his fears and risk his own life to save everyone trapped below…bringing him face to face once more with the greatest and largest predator of all time.”

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Cajun Wit and Wisdom: an interview with Ken Atchity Humor & Health Journal

After reading your book, Cajun Household Wisdom, I wanted to do an interview with you. I found the book very humorous as well as informative. Through the sayings, photographs, and stories the reader gets a genuine glimpse and flavor of Cajun culture and a lot of laughs. What motivated you to write the book?

As I grew around my mother’s French Louisiana Family on a farm near Eunice I started collecting sayings and stories I heard from family members and other people in Louisiana. Especially the hunting stories and jokes my uncles told. I’ve always thought that the Cajuns have a unique way of looking at life and wanted to put it together in one place.

Let me mention some subjects and let you give an explanation of what they mean in Cajun culture.

Food

Cajuns are people who enjoy every moment of life. They aren’t city planners, architects, or engineers. They’re country people. Their thing is living in the moment. The greatest celebration of the moment on a daily basis is meals. Cajuns have an incredible zest about eating and putting their energy into food. They love texture, which is why they like spicy food and all kinds of food that has a lot of surface to it. Cajun philosophy center around the kitchen and around eating. As far as Cajuns are concerned, if you haven’t eaten with someone, you don’t know them.

Dance

Dancing is another example of living in the moment and celebrating life. What’s amazing when you go to Louisiana is that you see the oldest people dancing. People in there nineties will be out in the dance floor kicking up a storm. People of all ages go to the dance halls. So the dance hall is another place where Cajun culture comes together to celebrate the energy of life. One of the famous clubs is Fred’s in Mamou. If you walk in at 11 o’ clock on Saturday morning you’d find the place already hopping. The truth is that it’s all the people from the night before who are still there. Since there are no windows in the place no one has any idea or cares what time it is.

Coffee


Jokes, stories, and conversations are all a celebration of life and obviously the best place to do that is over a meal or a cup of coffee. Coffee is a central part of Cajuns culture. It’s a time to stop and talk. You don’t drink coffee while working.







Conversation

Cajuns like to talk and tell stories. One of my uncles in Louisiana still resents the telephone. He thinks that if people want to talk with you, they should drive over to your place. Then you’ll know it’s important and you’ll stop what you’re doing to have a talk.

As a kid I remember sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs and endlessly listening to my uncles, grandfather, and grandmother telling stories and talking. That’s what I go home to Louisiana for now. I need the fix- to be with people who know how to talk.

One time I went on a fishing trip with my Uncle Wib. We got up at three A.M. to go down to Grand Isle and we never stopped talking. We were supposed to get there by sunrise. At 10 o’clock I pointed that out. He said ‘Oh my God, I took the wrong road at Thibodaux five hours back.’ We were so deep in conversation that we forgot about everything else.

To Cajuns nothing is more important than communication. We get so busy in our modern world that we don’t really have time to talk with each other – everything is oriented toward efficiency and arranged in bytes. Just enough is said to get by. But to Cajuns talking is an art.


What is your next Cajun book?

It is similar to Cajun Household Wisdom except it’s about the kitchen and eating. It’s called Cajun Kitchen Wisdom and has recipes for smothered chicken, lima beans and lots more. It contains sayings that have to do with the kitchen. One is “If de gumbo is good, you can put up with de cook.’ It also presents fishing and farming stories. The thing about Cajun humor is that much of it is about fishing or farming stories. The White Mule stories are prime examples of farming tales.

One of my favorite White Mule stories will appear in the next book, Cajun Kitchen Wisdom.

It goes like this: A stranger walks into a bar in Abbeville and takes a seat. Halfway through his Jax, he pulls a huge tomato out of the paper bag he carried in, and sets it on the counter. The bartender sees him do it, but doesn’t even stop wiping his glasses. The man at the other end of the bar doesn’t come over either.

So the stranger asks, “Y’all see dis tomata?’

The other two men nod.

“Sacre blue du couyon,” the stranger says. “Have you ever seed a tomata as dis heah?’

The other two men move over politely to take a closer look. The man who was at the far stool lifts the tomato, palms it, smells it, rubs it, smells his finger, then puts it back on the bar. The bartender doesn’t even bother to do the same. He just exchanges glances with the other man.

“Well?’ demands the stranger.

‘Well, ah foh one siurley have,’ says the man from the other stool.

The stranger can’t believe his ears but the other man tells him to wait. He goes outside, then comes back in, straining as he carries the biggest, most gigantic tomato the stranger’s even seen in his life – it has to weigh over ten pounds! The man places the tomato on the counter, and the stranger can’t resist touching it, smelling it, stroking it’s skin. Sheepishly, he puts his tomato back into its bag.

“Okay,” he says to the man.

“You got ta tell me, yah. What is yo’ secret?”

“Did you see dat white mule tied up outside?” the other man asks.

“Yah, ah sawed it,” the stranger nods.

“Well it’s dat mule.” “Ah doan unnerstand,” says the stranger.

“Dere’s nuttin’ ta understand,” the other man explains.

“Everybod ‘roun heah knows about it” – he looks at the bartender, who nods for confirmation.

“When ah go out ta ready my ground for plantin’, dat white mule pulls mah plow. When ah’m plantin’, dat white mule pulls de cultivator- an’ when ah’m harvestin’ –“

“How much you recon’ you wan’ foh dat mule?” the other man breaks in.

“I had date mule foh ten years now,” the other man says. “Date mule’s not foh sale.”

“Ah’ll give you a hunnert dollars cash for dat mule raht now,” says the stranger, plunking the gold coins down on the counter.

The other man looks at the coins for a second. “A hunnert dollars?” he says.

“Sold!”

The stranger’s jubilant, but the man who sold the mule says, “Would you min’ if ah deliever him ta you in the mohnin? Dat mule was mah fren,’ and ah’d lake to let mah wife ‘n kids say good-bye to him properly.”

“No problem,” says the other man, and leaves the bar whistling.

But the first man got himself a real run of bad luck. First of all, he stays at the bar and gets caught in a bouree’ game- and lost the hundred dollars. Second of all, when he wakes up the next mroing, and went to his barn to get the mule ready to deliever he finds the mule dead as a doornail on the barn floor.

He felt real bad about that, real bad- especially because he didn’t have the hundred dollars to repay the stranger. But after awhile he got to thikin’ and realized that, as the saying goes, “a deal is a deal.” So he loaded the mule on his wagon, and headed for the other man’s farm. He parked the wagon down the road a bit and walked up to the house, where the man was waiting for him on his porch.

“I got some bad news for you, an’ some moh bad news,” the first man says.

“What’s de bad news?” asks the stranger.

“Well you ‘member dat hunnert dollars you gave me las’ night for det mule? Ah got mahself caught in a bouree’ game and ah done las de whole ting.”

“Well dat surely is bad news,” the stranger agreed. “Dat’s real bad news. Ah feel rela badly foh you, losing dat money, sha.”

“But the other bad news is dat the mule you bought – ah found him daid in mah barn dis nohnin.”

Now the stranger understood the gravity of the situation all too well, and why the first man felt so bad. But he got to thiking, and realized to himself, “a deal’s a deal.”

“Let me axe you a question, he finally said. “Whar is dat mule?”

The other man pointed down the road to the wagon. The stranger followed him so he could see for himself. After he was satisfied that it was the same mule he’d bought at the bar he helped the other man unload the mule.

“Jes’ leave him heah.” He said.

The first man said again how bad he felt about the whole thing, and drove off home with a heavy heart.

A few months went by before the first man had the nerve to go back to that bar in Abbeville for a Jax. But one night he did, and there was the stranger.

“Whar yo’ bin?” the sranger said. “I bin watchin’ foh you/”

“To tell ya de trewty. Ah felt so bad ‘bout losin dat money and dat mule dying an’ all, I didn’t have de noive ta see you again.”

“Doan feel bad no mod, the stranger said. “Ever’ting toined out okay.”

“Whatch you mean okay?”

“I held me a raffle and made me a good profit.”

“A raffle?”

The stranger nodded. “Yah, ah raffled off dat mule. Al sole me two hunnerty tickets foh one dollar each.”

“You raffled off dat daid mule, and you made two hunnert dollars?” The first man was amazed, “and you had all dose folds mad at you?”

“No,” the stranger smiled. “Jes’ one poison was mad yah. But ah gave him his money back!”

These are stories I love. They reflect the culture and the ingenuity of daily life. They say, “If you can find a simple way to do it, find a simple way to do it, find a Cajun and he’ll make it ten times more complicated and you’ll have a lot more fun along the way.”




Kenneth Agillard Atchity is the author of several books including Cajun Household Wisdom: You Know You Still Alive If It’s Costin’ You Money published by Longmeadow Press. At the time of this printing he’s somewhere between Breaux Bridge and Opelousas eating his way across his native state.

NEVER GIVE UP! by Ken Atchity


What are the ingredients of a New York Times Best Seller? Ken Atchity has the answers and they are not what you expect. He is a movie producer, author of over 20 nonfiction books and novels. He has spent his lifetime helping writers get started and improve their careers. Writing was in his blood from the beginning. ‘I never understood writers’ block because I never had it,” he says.

What is the right mindset for being successful as a self-published writer?

It’s about what Winston Churchill said: “Never give, never give, never give up!” Don’t doubt yourself, keep working and learning more about your craft.

You wrote over 20 non-fiction books and novels. Are you still learning?

Yes, I am. I am always learning. I love writing because it’s a way of focusing your learning. I write the book first, then I do the research and spend years revising the book.

Some writers confessed that they don’t read books when they work on something new…

While you write your first draft, there is no need for you to read something else.The time to start reading other things is after you’ve finished it and improved it. You can always study yourself to death and never finish the first draft. And that’s the danger of it, or being influenced by other voices. It is much better to get your voice clear in the first draft and then give yourself a limited amount of time to do further research to make sure things are accurate. You would be surprised how often your imagination gets things pretty much right.

What do you appreciate most in a book?

I love books that take you to another world and keep you there the whole time. A storyteller who knows his craft will do this by not making a single mistake. A mistake is something that takes you suddenly out of that world.

You helped several authors to make the New York Times Best Sellers list. What are the ingredients of a bestseller?

That list is a victim of the changing times we are living now. In today’s world, a person needs to be famous or write about someone who is. The most recent three NY Times Best Sellers were about John Kennedy. But this list is not the only judge. Selling books on the Internet is a direct and immediate way to see if you could find an audience for your book.

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The Girly Book Club Reviews Jerry Amernic's The Last Witness


4/5 *

A dystopian story. 1984 meets The Holocaust. The Last Witness, written by Jerry Amernic, has one of the most fascinating premises for a book I’ve ever come across. Two years ago Amernic asked university students what they knew about The Holocaust and WWII. Their lack of knowledge and incorrect information in their answers inspired Amernic to write this futuristic thriller.

Within the first 4 pages of this book I thought three things:


1. It’s the future
2. It’s set in NYC
3. Although I was already sucked into the plot, the characters, and the language, there was a small part of me that knew it was probably going to break my heart over and over throughout the journey.

And I was right.

Jack Fisher is the last living Holocaust survivor. It’s 2039. Jack has a great-granddaughter Christine who is an 8th-grade history teacher. Christine is fighting the school board to have The Holocaust inserted back into the curriculum. When Christine suddenly goes missing, Jack soon finds himself in danger once again. We’re left to discover that what was once science is now personal belief, and what was once history has morphed into religion.

If Orwell is your guy, and Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) is your lady, then this is right up your alley.

For all our sakes, I hope this remains just a great novel and not a sign of things to come


Review by Sara Kafka

Dennis Palumbo's Head Wounds Makes Thomas Perry’s Favorites of 2017!

It’s his 5th book about psychotherapist Daniel Rinaldi. I recommend it highly, particularly for people who have read the rest of the series, because it is one of those books that take up some issues we’ve been wondering about since the beginning of a series, and give us big, shocking answers to them. I also think the villain in this book is more frightening than any other I’ve seen for quite a while. Very early in the book he gets into the reader’s head like a recurring nightmare, and for the rest of the book we root for Rinaldi to get him out for us by catching him or killing him.  ~ Thomas Perry

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Psychologist Dr. Daniel Rinaldi consults with the Pittsburgh Police. His specialty is treating victims of violent crime—those who’ve survived an armed robbery, kidnapping, or sexual assault, but whose traumatic experience still haunts them. Head Wounds picks up where Rinaldi’s investigation in Phantom Limb left off, turning the tables on him as he, himself, becomes the target of a vicious killer.

“Miles Davis saved my life.” With these words Rinaldi becomes a participant in a domestic drama that blows up right outside his front door, saved from a bullet to the brain by pure chance. In the chaos that follows, Rinaldi learns his bad-girl, wealthy neighbor has told her hair-triggered boyfriend Rinaldi is her lover. As things heat up, Rinaldi becomes a murder suspect.

But this is just the first act in this chilling, edge-of-your-seat thriller. As one savagery follows another, Rinaldi is forced to relive a terrible night that haunts him still. And to realize that now he—and those he loves—are being victimized by a brilliant killer still in the grip of delusion. Determined to destroy Rinaldi by systematically targeting those close to him—his patients, colleagues, and friends—computer genius Sebastian Maddox strives to cause as much psychological pain as possible, before finally orchestrating a bold, macabre death for his quarry.
How ironic. As Pittsburgh morphs from a blue-collar town to a tech giant, a psychopath deploys technology in a murderous way.

Enter two other figures from Rinaldi’s past: retired FBI profiler Lyle Barnes, once a patient who Rinaldi treated for night terrors; and Special Agent Gloria Reese, with whom he falls into a surprising, erotically charged affair. Warned by Maddox not to engage the authorities or else random innocents throughout the city will die, Rinaldi and these two unlikely allies engage in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with an elusive killer who’ll stop at nothing in pursuit of what he imagines is revenge.

A true page-turner, Head Wounds is the electrifying fifth in a critically acclaimed series of thrillers by Dennis Palumbo. Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice.


5 Unforgettable Ways To End Your Book...



Like a great dinner party or once-in-a-lifetime vacation, all good things must come to an end. Hopefully, a really excellent, memorable ending! This is also true of that book you’re writing. You have a fantastic first chapter, a perfectly paced middle, and now it’s time to wrap up your story with an unforgettable ending.

This is no way to end it all: Deus ex machina (god from the machine) is a way of wiping out all conflict by inserting some benevolent force into your story at the last second to right every wrong. While this may have worked for ancient playwrights and storytellers, nowadays most readers will consider it, at best, lazy; at worst, cheating! The ending needs to be appropriate to the story you’re telling -- there are more than enough ways to surprise your reader without resorting to something completely out of left field.

Five Smart Ideas For When The End Is Near:

1. The trusty plot twist: Plot twists are great alternatives to inserting last-minute characters who fix everything. Like deus ex machina, a plot twist offers the unexpected, but the key difference is that it makes sense within the story’s world. A good twist feels surprising but somehow appropriate for the story and protagonist.

2. The “oh, no!” that leads to the “aha!”: Life is crashing down on your protagonist, the weight of the story’s conflict is becoming too much to handle, and he or she simply isn’t up to the task -- everything is surely doomed. Congratulations! Your character is in the story’s darkest moment, where someone or something must serve as inspiration for rising up against all odds and saving the day. In these desperate times your character searches within, has a eureka! epiphany, and ends your story with triumph and satisfied readers.

3. Going back to square one: This path takes your protagonist to the same dark moment already mentioned. But, when given a clear opportunity to turn his or her life around, the character... doesn’t. Instead, he or she reverts back to old ways, or the status quo. This type of ending works best if you are writing a character-driven novel.

4. Is this really the end?: Open-ended endings are tough to pull off and require quite a bit of character and plot understanding, but leaving your readers with thoughtful questions can get them talking and thinking about possible answers.

5. Close the book: After the final climactic moment, don’t hang around explaining “this is what happens after.” Readers tend to lose interest once the story’s reached a satisfying conclusion. 

Some writers like to experiment with different endings until they come to one that best suits their story. Don’t be afraid to write, rewrite, and rewrite again until your ending sounds natural, satisfactory, and complete! The end!

For more from Writer's Relief, click here! 

In these dark times, Hallmark Channel's golden glow beckons

For those weary of crises and violence in the news and on television, more people are turning to the Hallmark Channel's predictably happy endings.



Darren Triplow has an unusual occupation. He flies helicopters in Rwanda to help conservationists watch for poachers illegally hunting black rhinos. To unwind when he’s at his home base in Washington, D.C., he’ll sometimes settle in front of the television. But it’s not the weekend game that he turns on. It’s the Hallmark Channel.

“I like the content. The shows are family-friendly – it’s not riddled with violence like you see in a lot of shows on these days. And there’s usually always a happy ending to it,” says Mr. Triplow, who has been a fan of Hallmark’s programming for the past couple of years and likes to watch with his wife and two children. “It’s just easy to watch and it’s relaxing, which is kinda hard to find on TV these days.”

And Triplow is not that unique in his TV-watching habits. In 2016, Hallmark saw a 10 percent increase in total viewership and a 26 percent increase among viewers 18-49. During the 2016 election week, it ranked No. 4 among primetime cable networks – even ranking above MSNBC.

Television has long served as a form of escape. For many viewers, with its 24/7 feed of TV miniseries and movies full of white picket fences and wholesome family values, the Hallmark Channel has become a growing safe haven for those weary of the violence, conflict, and uncertainty churned out by both news broadcasts and apocalyptic-themed TV dramas.

Shows like "The Walking Dead" and the happy content from Hallmark are like two sides of the same coin, says Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan professor of film studies at University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Both offer appealing counter-realities.
How well do you know your family sitcoms?

“Some people feel that a return to the past is possible, that we can get through this. Other people feel that apocalyptic times will solve all their problems by just erasing everything,” says Professor Dixon.

Younger generations may be drawn by the fact that on the Hallmark Channel, homeownership, solid careers, and relationships are easy to come by.

Amy Jamison, a college professor in Michigan and a longtime viewer, appreciates Hallmark’s guaranteed happy ending that offers her a chance to decompress after a long day.

“As soon as I get home … I just want to settle in for a good movie,” she says, adding that  “the predictable, happy ending is something that’s comforting, especially when you’ve got a lot going on."

Of course, Professor Jamison admits Hallmark may not be for everyone. "I don’t hide the fact that I watch it, but sometimes I’m a bit hesitant because it’s not everybody’s cup of tea,” she says.

The popularity of Hallmark movies are following a familiar cyclical pop culture pattern, notes Cathy Perron, an associate professor in the film and television program at Boston University’s College of Communication. She points to similarities in the era of western movies. Westerns were considered quite violent for the time, and while they were wildly popular in the 1930s through the 1950s, they were soon followed by a counter-trend of family-oriented dramas, such as “I Love Lucy” and “Leave it to Beaver."

“[H]istorically, when there have been some difficult times, many viewers tend to migrate toward content that represents … a more gentle time,” Professor Perron says. “If you look at what the television networks ... have for new programs, they’re all very much either crime or war-centric. And when they introduce something like ‘This is Us’ or ‘Modern Family’ … people gravitate toward that….”

Just like the family dramas of the 1950s, the Hallmark Channel and other feel-good shows like “This is Us” are bringing back the idea of TV content for all, where the whole family can watch and share in the experience, says Perron.

Austin Romo, a recent college graduate and flight attendant, says he most enjoys watching Hallmark movies with his grandmother and siblings. “She gets enjoyment and pleasure from spending time with her grandkids … and we all share a love for and enjoyment of watching the shows with her,” he says, adding that while he didn’t initially expect to like the saccharine predictability of Hallmark scripts, he has grown to appreciate its stories.

While many may roll their eyes at the mention of Hallmark, wait a beat and people may just admit that Hallmark is exactly what they need.

“It’s not so much burying your head in the sand, it’s just taking a break from what is assaulting you on a daily basis,” Perron says.

For Tanja Moneyhun, a pet groomer from Alton, Ill., and a dedicated Christmastime Hallmark viewer, the intensity of the news overwhelms her and she looks forward to Christmas, when she can take a break with the warm, calm content. “It’s almost like a hug,” she says.

Hallmark is also attempting to keep viewers hooked over multiple installments by recently introducing miniseries such as “When Calls the Heart" and "Cedar Cove." To meet the increased demand, Hallmark has announced 33 new Christmas movies and launched a new network, Hallmark Drama, this past October, to join the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. But don’t expect any hard-hitting topics. The channel will likely stay true to its brand.

“Hallmark is zigging when everyone else is zagging,” says Perron.

The Book of Leah Production Photos

Charlie Matthau

Charlie Matthau - Video Village
Freddy Cole, Ken Atchity, Charlie Matthau
Ken Atchity and Charlie Matthau
Brianna Joy Chommer and Freddy Cole
Meggie McKenna
Brianna Joy Chommer as Leah

On Writing...

There must be one central character. One. Everybody write that down. Just one. And he or she must want something. And by the end of the play he or she must either get it or not. Period. No exceptions.

--Marsha Norman