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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Why I Teach Online by By Devoney Looser

I might never have sought an online teaching assignment if my husband hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer. Faced with a foreseeable future of his multiple hospital stays, home recovery, and anticipated need for my amateur nursing — all while trying to care for our two children — I jumped at the chance to temporarily transition to an online teaching schedule.

Having the option to work remotely and asynchronously was a godsend. I figured my online students would have no idea if I were moderating online discussions or grading papers while sitting next to a spouse hooked up to an Oxaliplatin IV. During this family crisis, I knew I would miss being in the same room with students, and the instantaneous give-and-take of a physical classroom. I only ever envisioned online teaching as a short-term reassignment.

I certainly never expected to love it, let alone come to believe in it as a matter of social justice and feminist practice. Yet much to my surprise, I do.

Faculty objections to online teaching remain widespread in the academic circles in which I travel. At each of the universities where I’ve taught, I’ve encountered colleagues who feared or despised it, most of the time without ever actually having taught online themselves. One department I was part of even passed a resolution against online teaching. (Unsurprisingly, that university simply found others willing to design the online curriculum that the regular faculty members refused to create.)

Years later, I still hear some of the same arguments against this instructional mode:

  •     "Isn’t online teaching just a space for slacker students who don’t want to work hard, or who don’t want to take my more challenging in-person courses?"
  •     "Isn’t the university just going to steal my video lectures and replay them after I die, paying someone a pittance to grade the papers?"
  •     "Isn’t online teaching a lightweight, cheaply made version of our regular offerings?"
  •     "Isn’t online teaching all about making a buck off of a lousy product?"

My answer to all of those questions, I can now say confidently — and happily, as my husband is making a recovery from cancer — is "No." Online students are just as "present" in virtual discussions; they are just as ambitious and well-directed in their coursework; and they are every bit as hungry for knowledge as the in-person version.

Whatever you may fear to the contrary, your video lectures are not poised to become precious commodities to your employer a decade hence. Video does not age well, and savvy students are unlikely to stand for a curriculum centered on long-ago recorded images of a dead professor, passed off as up-to-date instruction.

Online teaching — like any kind of pedagogy — can be done well or poorly. It can be offered with or without appropriate workloads or challenges for students.

And as for making a buck? That depends on quality and cost to students. It’s true that online teaching is not currently subsidized by scholarships or financial aid as often as on-the-ground instruction. That varies by degree program and institution, of course. But by such logic, the very fact that online students may be paying full freight for the opportunity to earn a degree ought to put the onus on faculty members to offer good instructional value. We shouldn’t just throw up our hands.

The stereotype that online instruction is less rigorous, or that students cannot be engaged in it with appropriate rigor, isn’t borne out by my experience. Anyone who’s taught an on-the-ground class has looked out into the classroom and seen boredom or disconnection. By comparison, my online students were choosing when to log on to do their work. They seemed very tuned in when they did. It’s possible I’m just not as skilled at recognizing online students merely going through the motions, but I found them, as a group, exceptionally dedicated, motivated, and talented.

My perceptions were shaped by hearing how they ended up back in school. For most of them, an online program was their only path to a degree. They lived in rural areas, had no transportation, faced restricting disabilities, found themselves with demanding family obligations, or couldn’t find in-person courses offered at times that would allow them keep their jobs. An online education was rarely their first choice, but it was often their only option.

One of my most talented online students was a stay-at-home parent living thousands of miles away from the university. She’s raising nine children under the age of 14. In what previous era would she have been able to continue her education? At my institution (Arizona State University), we’re told that our "typical" online student is a female who, for a variety of reasons, left college the first time without taking a degree. She returns to us years afterward, often with significant financial and familial obligations. Why didn’t I realize sooner that online teaching is a feminist issue?

A chance, face-to-face encounter drove that point home to me. It was at a robust December commencement ceremony. That day I had the privilege to serve as the faculty marshal, carrying a big, heavy flag, leading hundreds of regalia-sporting faculty into the arena. I felt a little like a triumphant suffragette. How many institutions had even had female faculty marshals at their commencements in the year I was born, I wondered?

It was a meaningful ceremony to me for other reasons, too. My mother and aunt were in the crowd, visiting from a faraway state. Neither has a bachelor’s degree. As a teenager, I’d watched my mother labor to complete an associate degree at the local community college, but I was the first in my family to earn a B.A. Because my mother and other relatives couldn’t afford to travel to watch me graduate when I earned my Ph.D., they had never had a chance to see me wearing my doctoral robes. It was a big deal to me that these women who raised me were there proudly clapping in the audience on that December graduation day.

After the ceremony ended, I went outside of the arena to wait for my mom and aunt. I saw a young graduate, standing by herself, carrying one of the enormous balloons that had dropped from the ceiling during the ceremony. Everyone else around us was hugging someone or taking a photo, so we made eye contact and smiled.

"Congratulations!" I said to her, because I felt happy, and because it seemed to be the right thing to say to a new graduate standing by herself.

"Thanks!" she said, brightly.

The conversation might have ended there, but she then asked for my help. She was looking for one of her professors, she said, in order to thank her for changing her life. The problem was that she wasn’t exactly sure what this professor looked like. It had been an online course. She told me her professor’s name and discipline, but ours is a large university. I couldn’t help spot the faculty member.

I asked her more questions about her studies and future plans. She’d flown in from her snowy Midwestern state to walk at commencement. The online degree she’d just earned was her second bachelor’s. Her first had been in an on-campus experience, but this online degree, she said, meant much more. That’s because this time around, she’d studied what she was passionate about, instead of what others had wanted her to. I teach courses on Jane Austen, so her story struck me as like the heroine Anne Elliot’s in Persuasion. This student "at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen." She stood there, before me, in her second, stunning academic bloom.

Earning her degree hadn’t been easier the second time, she said. Her online degree was actually far more challenging than her on-the-ground college experience had been. She loved that and was weighing pursuing a graduate degree. I emerged from our conversation convinced that she would go on to do great things — and I told her so. I realized that, in that moment, I must do my best to stand in for her wished-for online professor.

It was only later that I realized how she, too, had served as a stand-in for me. I wished I could have looked all of my online students in the eye and congratulated them in person, shaking their hands and thanking them for their insights, energy, and enthusiasm. I would have told them about the great things I believed they were going to go on to do. I felt the loss of that in-person exchange.

I do not, by any means, advocate for online education as a utopian pedagogical space. Indeed, events like graduation ceremonies convince me that online teaching can never supplant in-person instruction.

Even so, there was a pleasure in talking to someone else’s online student. It made me imagine the enterprise we’re engaged in as large and containing multitudes. Many of my online students — the majority of them hard-working women with very complicated lives — started out in situations like my mother’s and my aunt’s. The degrees that many of our online students are earning today would have gone unearned a generation ago.

Faculty know better than any other professional group that every reliable indicator demonstrates how a more-educated populace is to the benefit of us all. For that reason alone, online students do not deserve even a smidgen of snobbery, skepticism, or scorn. Online students deserve — like all of our students — unfailing encouragement, deep admiration, and the best instruction we have to offer. Although all signs point to my not needing to request online teaching next year, if I have the chance, I’ll choose to do it again.

Reposted from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Devoney Looser is professor of English at Arizona State University. Her latest book, The Making of Jane Austen, will be published this summer by the Johns Hopkins University Press. She’s on Twitter @devoneylooser and @Making_Jane.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Un-Civil War between Our Two Americas by Kenneth Atchity

Walls we don’t see are often stronger than walls we see. Election after election, the blue-red map clearly shows these United States of America are united by fable only, and in nearly every other way really are two Americas.

Rejiggering the Electoral College won’t alleviate the situation because (a) the Electors actually serve an important purpose, as long as the country is configured the way it currently is; and (b) neither Party can achieve the reconfiguration: the Party in power will not allow it, and the opposing Party won’t have the votes to make it happen. Anyway it won’t solve the deep schizophrenia manifest in the concept of a single America, one perhaps so endemic that the founding fathers were also struggling with it.

Conservative America

Today the walls are pretty well-defined. “Conservative America” is by far the bulk of the American land mass. It extends from Florida north to North Carolina and west to the border of California (with the quirky up jutting of New Mexico and Colorado). It includes the entire South and Midwest, and Alaska.

Conservative America is the land of apple pie, of lawn and porch flags, picnics in the park, Christian churches disseminating not only platitudes but also attitudes that hold society together focused firmly on the past and therefore worshiping old-fashioned conservative values, homogeneity —and fierce nostalgia for the way things were and are supposed to remain. Hospitality yes, tolerance not so much. Feminism is viewed with alarm, and the “right to life” outweighs a woman’s right to choose and control her body and her future. Though diversity has made fiscal inroads in nearly every state of Conservative America, it has not found a permanent place in the minds and hearts of the folks, mostly white, in control. Conservative America is the birthplace and habitat of the Tea Party and of the right to bear arms at all times.

I was born in one Conservative American state, Louisiana, and raised through high school in another, Missouri. The population of the thirty states that comprise Conservative America is around 100,000,000, or 1/3 of the whole. Conservative America, because it occupies more States, has more Electors.

Progressive America

Since I drove away to college at Georgetown in D.C. at the age of seventeen I’ve lived in Progressive America ever since: Connecticut, California, and New York. Progressive America occupies the entire Pacific coast from California, with Hawaii by extension—to Washington, and the blue islands of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico surrounded by the red sea; on the northern border, Illinois and Minnesota; and, on the Atlantic, north from Virginia to Maine and west through Pennsylvania. You might argue that Progressive American is synonymous with urban America, and Conservative America with rural America. But it’s not quite that simple.

If Conservative America is the land of hard-headed practicality, Progressive America welcomes dreamers, many of them immigrants from Conservative America, and many of whose dreams seem to come true—and shape the world’s future. It’s La La Land vs. Hell or High Water.

Progressive America salutes the American flag and truly loves the idea of America; but it can also applaud turning that flag into panties, bras, and protest banners. The Progressive idea of America embraces the future, which it honors with hope and belief in the genius of the individual; diversity. It’s the land of civil rights most widely defined; of gun control; of visionary education, its leading universities including UCLA, Berkeley, and Stanford, Northwestern not to mention Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Princeton; and of people who worry about global warming and try to do something about it.

Progressive America isn’t afraid of the word socialism because it’s understood to mean people showing their gratitude for abundance and their respect for others by making sure all citizens have an acceptable and meaningful life. While Conservative America fears immigration as a threat to its conservatism, Progressive America embraces immigrants as the defining reality of its concept of America, “land of immigrants.” The statue of liberty guards its coast and its citizens still adhere to Emma Lazarus’ verse:

…From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Roughly two-thirds of the United States’ population, around 200 million people, live within Progressive America—2/3 of the whole.

The Dangers of Division

In each America live citizens whose hearts yearn, secretly or not, for the other America. Their exile is allowed, if they can bear it. If they can’t, they’re still free to cross from one America to the other.

Loquacious citizens of both Americas have hearts and minds that feel and think their views are superior to those of the other America. But most would agree there’s room on the continent for both Americas. Each is free to visit the other, as though we were the American Common Market.

Should we formalize the reality we all recognize and restructure things a bit so that Californians and New Yorkers, the leading states of Progressive America, can elect their own President to push their liberal, even socialist, agendas? Elections held in Conservative America would allow their President to maintain the conservative standard. Between the two Americas, trade would be arranged to advance the fraternal needs of both citizenries. Respect and civility would grow from the integrity of each America, to replace the hatred now streaming between them because of the deeply-held and media-reinforced belief on both parts that the “other America” is either evil or insane—or both. We could talk to each other instead of imitating the shouting mode of

I, for one, love both Americas, and would hate to lose either, or see violence between them extend from words to bullets.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ken Atchity Will be the Keynote Speaker at The Dublin Writers' Conference, June 23-25, 2017


If you are new to writing, an old hand, or someone interested in how writers can
Laurence O'Bryan, Miriam O'Shea 
improve their craft, self publish successfully, or undertake the marketing necessary for any author to achieve success, this conference is for you.

Designed By Experts

Our instructors are renowned, highly-experienced, published authors, and world class experts in writing craft and online marketing, specifically for authors. This weekend conference provides practical support, valuable training and an opportunity to meet and get to know fellow writers in one of the world’s great literary cities. ..

Focused On Helping Authors

Our expanded conference takes place at the landmark Gresham hotel, in the heart of Dublin’s city center. Our goal is to help you succeed. Our digital marketing sessions for writers will show you how you can find readers in a rapidly changing world. Our writing craft sessions will help you broaden your writing skills. Our pitch session could help you to sell your story to Hollywood.

Come for just the Saturday sessions or join us on each of the three days. Anyone who books is welcome to our opening session on Friday evening, where we will introduce the instructors and welcome you. .

This event is provided by the training division of Advanced Social Media Services LTD, 5 Dame Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland.

All sessions are delivered by qualified and experienced instructors.

For our conference awards, the decision of our judges is final. We look forward to meeting you. For all our services, including our conference, in the event of any dispute, our liability is limited to a full return of fees paid only.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Just a little longer ...

Warner Bros. has moved back “Meg” to Aug. 10, 2018. It was previously dated for March 2, 2018.

Warner Bros. has moved back Jason Statham’s prehistoric giant shark thriller “Meg” to Aug. 10, 2018.

It was previously dated for March 2, 2018, and would have opened against an untitled Fox/Marvel film. The movie will be released in 3D and Imax. “National Treasure” helmer Jon Turteltaub is directing the film with Chinese actress Li Bingbing co-starring with Jessica McNamee, Ruby Rose, and Rainn Wilson. Shooting began in New Zealand last fall.

Read more

Time Management for Writers: The Stopwatch Method for Massive Creative Productivity

Managing your work is a fool’s game because work is infinite. Good work only creates more work; in fact, bad work creates more work too.

So the more you work the more work you will have to do. It’s basic common sense that you can’t manage an infinite commodity.

What can you manage? Time.

You not only can, but must, manage your time because time is all too finite.
They say, “If you want to get something done, find a busy person.” The busy person succeeds in getting things done because he knows how to manage his or her time.

We all have the exact same amount at our disposal: 60 minutes each hour, 24 hours each day, 168 hours each week, 8,736 hours each year. If you put one hour into a project each day for a year, you’d have worked on it for 365 hours—more than enough time to write a book, and a screenplay, and a treatment or two.
“If you place a little upon a little,” explained the ancient Greek almanac writer Hesiod in his Works and Days, “soon it becomes a lot.”

Time Management Stopwatch image

Time Management Should Be Easy

Where do you find the time to get your most important work done every day?

One memorable day in Manhattan I was delivering a broken antique wall clock to my favorite repair shop. As I completed my drop off and turned to leave, I noticed an ultra-modern stand-up clock constructed of shiny pendulums, a different metal each for hours, minutes, and seconds, all enclosed in a sleek glass case. It was simply the most beautiful timepiece I’d ever seen.

Then I realized: it had no hands. At first I thought, No wonder it’s in the shop. It’s broken. But I studied the clock more closely.

Clock for time management image

No. It was designed without hands. It was a timepiece that Salvador Dali would have been as thrilled with as I was. Time moves in its own way unless we somehow capture it.

It reminded me that time is a free force. It just happens, whether you do anything about it or not. It’s up for grabs. It doesn’t belong to your family, or to your friends, or to your day job, or to anyone but you! What you’re working on at any given moment is how you control it.

The trick is where do you find that free time?—a question busy people are asked regularly. Here’s their secret: busy people make time, for the activities they decide to prioritize. One good way to wrestle with the problem they’ve solved is to ask yourself, “Where do I lose it?” When you find the answers to that question they may shock you.

I ask writers to make a chart of their weekly hours and use it to determine how many hours they devote to each activity in their cluttered, over-stimulated lives.
Maybe you’d be surprised—or maybe not—that most people have no idea where the time goes.

They come back to me with a grand total of 182, or 199, or 82 hours of activity—until I remind them that they, like every other human, have the same 168 hours each week to spend.

Then we get serious and analyze exactly where they’re lying to themselves about the time: forgetting about the endless phone calls with friends, or the true amount of time in front of the television, or the accurate time devoted to the daily commute, or the time doing absolutely nothing but staring out the window. When we get the time inventory accurate most people are surprised at the truth. But truth is the first step to freedom, and managing your time effectively is the greatest freedom of all.

I call it “making the clock of life your clock.” I believe in this philosophy so much I haven’t worn a regular watch for nearly thirty years, despite owning a vintage wrist watch that belonged to my father and an even older pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather. The only chronograph I carry around with me is one that allows me to make life’s clock my clock:a stopwatch.

The stopwatch makes the Spanish proverb, la vida es corta pero ancha (“life is short but wide”) come true.

You can get a free stopwatch app on your cell phone! In fact, most smartphones come with a built-in stopwatch app like the Clock app on iPhones.

The Stop Watch Method of Time Management

The stopwatch method of time management is simple. You use it to capture time, to make sure that your Priority Writing Project is getting the amount of attention you want to give it to move it—and your career success–ahead with certainty.
You know that the wall clock, or the one on your wrist or displayed on your cell phone, has a way of running away with your day. You say you’ll work on your Priority Writing Project from seven to eight a.m. and something is certain to come along to disrupt that hour almost as though life were conspiring against you.

What’s really happening is that you’re letting life interfere with your personal time management.

Of course when the interference occurs, you tell yourself I’ll catch up later,or say, “I’ll start again tomorrow and this time protect myself from interruptions.” But over the years we discover that life usually runs rampant over any and all such resolutions.

The stopwatch method works best in a life jam-packed with stimuli and distraction. It allows you to steal time. While clocks on wrists and walls record public time, your private prime time happens only when your stopwatch is running. The stopwatch allows you to call “time out” from the game everyone else is engaged in.

Simply promise yourself you won’t go to sleep at night until, by hook or by crook, you’ve clocked on your stopwatch one hour (sixty minutes) of working on Priority Writing Project.

Turn the stopwatch ON when you’re working on it, and OFF when you get interrupted.

Your stopwatch minutes may be harvested over a six-hour period, or over a twenty-four-hour period. You steal them when you can: waiting at the dentist’s, commuting to the ferry, when your lunch appointment hasn’t shown up yet, when your cell phone dies and no one can reach you until you’ve replaced or recharged the battery, when your date for the evening calls in sick.

It takes a few days to get used to this process, but once you do you’ll recognize the power it gives you over time.

If I could give you a magic pill that guaranteed you would work on your most important goals and dreams in life for one hour each day, would you take it?
Of course! And that’s exactly what the stopwatch method of time management does—it guarantees that your most important work gets done each day if you stick to the plan.

Optimum Attention Span (OAS)

How do you know how much time to devote to your Priority Writing Project—or to any activity, for that matter?

That’s a function of what I call Optimum Attention Span (OAS). For some activities, like watching your favorite sports event or shopping, your OAS might be extremely wide; for others, like listening to your boss complain or to your domestic partner nag, it might be miniscule. The trick is to determine what the OAS is for that Priority Writing Project.

At the start of any project, OAS tends to be smaller; as the project gains momentum and begins to appear reachable, your OAS expands. So when you start planning to write that novel, nonfiction books, or screenplay, give yourself 30-45 minutes on the stopwatch during the first week.

But reassess OAS at the end of each week because OAS changes and evolves. By the fourth week you may well be up to an hour and a half—ninety minutes on the stopwatch.

Increasing Productivity with “Linkage”

Isn’t it hard to work in fits and starts?

You might very well ask that very good question. The answer is that it’s actually easier to work that way than it is to work without stopping if you employ my time-management technique of linkage, what Hemingway referred to as “leaving a little water in the well.”

Here’s how linkage works. The phone rings, so you have to turn off your stopwatch. But you let it ring one or two more times, taking that time to make a mental decision about what you’ll do when your stopwatch is running again—that is, in your next Priority Writing Project stopwatch session.

And here’s an interesting secret: it doesn’t matter what decision you make when you turn the stopwatch back on.

The minute you make that decision, as you answer the phone and go on from one activity to the next, your mind starts thinking of better decisions than the one you just made; in fact, your mind becomes increasingly motivated to get back to that Priority Writing Project because it knows exactly what it will do when the next session begins.

You’ve created an automatic linkage—that makes restarting when your stopwatch is next running no longer an occasion for blockage.
Instead, you’re fully ready to jump in and get as much out of that next session as possible before it’s interrupted by life’s next distraction.

And, yes, have a desk drawer filled with stopwatches so you can employ a different colored one for each major project you’re engaged with. Or you can use different stopwatch apps on your phone.

The stopwatch method will truly make the clock of life your clock.It’s the magic writing pill.

Dr. Kenneth Atchity (Georgetown B.A., Yale Ph.D.) has been teaching time management throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe for decades.

Books include A Writer’s Time: Making the Time to Write (ebook: Write Time: Guide to the Creative Process, from Vision through Revision—and Beyond); How to Quit Your Day Job and Live out Your Dreams; Writing Treatments that Sell (with Chi-Li Wong), Sell Your Story to Hollywood: Writer’s Pocket Guide to the Business of Show Business and, with Ridgely Goldsborough, Why? Marketing for Writers. Dr. Atchity’s more than thirty films include Meg, the Emmy-nominated Kennedy Detail, Hysteria, Erased, Joe Somebody, and Life or Something like It.

Companies serving writers include,, and and teaching sessions can be accessed at


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Friday, March 17, 2017

Story Merchant Books More March Amazon eBook Deals!

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As the transition period between the Middle Ages and modern times, the Renaissance is perhaps the most distinguished age since that of Classical Greece. Part of Harper Reference's successful Reader series, Kenneth Atchity's Renaissance Reader is a unique volume that provides a vast and varied collection of primary source documents and artwork of this fascinating period of history.      


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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Guest Post: Where Fake News Began by Jerry Amernic

George Orwell and his epic novel 1984 are making a comeback. His character Winston Smith existed in a world where freedom and privacy have disappeared. Some think this is happening today.

But Wells also wrote War of the Worlds and because of that we can thank him for introducing us to ‘fake news,’ courtesy of a young radio broadcaster named Orson who had almost the same last name. In this case, Welles. In 1938, on the day before Halloween, Orson Welles convinced America that earth was under attack by Martians.

Sound crazy? Well, millions of listeners believed it. The next day The New York Times reported that in one community 20 families rushed out of their houses with wet towels on their faces to protect them from Martian gas. People hid in cellars, hit the road and packed their guns.

We can laugh at this today, but go back to October 30, 1938 and the world was on edge with the rise of Nazi Germany; World War II would begin less than a year later when Germany invaded Poland.

Orson Welles began his radio broadcast by saying it was based on the H. G. Wells novel War of the Worlds, but hey, humans are a strange breed in that we believe what we want to believe.

Which explains why the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – a fictional blueprint for Jewish domination of the world – still carries weight. It was published in Russia in 1903, translated into other languages and eventually went ‘viral.’ American industrialist Henry Ford, a noted anti-Semite, printed half a million copies in the U.S. alone. The Nazi propaganda machine wasted no time stirring up the masses and the Protocols found their way into German schools.

Now it’s 2017. No one trusts the media. What’s more, we don’t even know what constitutes the media and anyone can be the media. This means they can ‘broadcast’ whatever they want – whether it’s based on fact or not.

What with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the line between fact and fiction is no longer the blur that it once was. Today the blur doesn’t exist because everything is fact and fiction.

There’s an old joke in journalism that you should never let the facts get in the way of a good story. This notion is running rampant now and it’s not a good thing. It is a dangerous thing. Why?

Because we humans are a strange breed.

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Jerry Amernic is a Canadian writer of fiction and non-fiction books. He is the author of the  Holocaust-related novel 'The Last Witness'.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Story Merchant Books March Amazon eBook Deals!

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Story Merchant Books: Sell Your Story to Hollywood FREE Until March 16th!!

Dealing with Hollywood High Concept and more! "#1 Writer's Pocket Guide to The Business of Show Business"!

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Through the expanding influence of the Internet and the corporatization of both publishing and entertainment, the process of getting your book to the big screen has gotten more complicated, more eccentric, and more exciting.

This little book aims to help you figure out how to get your story told on big screens or small. It’s not going to give you rules and regulations, because they simply don’t exist today. Any rule that could be promulgated has and will be broken. What this book offers instead is nearly thirty years of observation of how things happen in show business, the business of entertainment (better known around the world as Hollywood). Dr. Ken Atchity’s Hollywood experience ranges from writing to managing writers to producing their movies for television and theaters. He’s seen the Hollywood story market from nearly every angle, including legal and business affairs.

Dolphin Boy Fundraiser Screening March 16th to Benefit Lashon Academy

Please Join a Special Screening of  Yonaton Nir and Dani Menkin​'s  Dolphin Boy for Larger Than Life, supporting Israeli kids with cancer and Lashon Academy, The first Hebrew Charter School in the valley.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Introducing Ken Atchity's Master Class in Storytelling!

For Every Author Who Wants To Master Storytelling

"Our innate ability to tell stories not only makes the world evolve, but is the foundation of great, unforgettable books.

Introducing: Master Class In Storytelling

What you will learn:

    Master the art of storytelling
    What is a story
    What is a storyteller
    How to harness your innate storytelling vocation
    What is the value of stories
    What stories do for us
    What are the storyteller's responsibilities
    What you need to do to create great stories

Who is Ken Atchity?

Ken Atchity is a best-selling author, writing coach and L.A. based movie producer whose accomplishments include


        Former professor of comparative literature and teacher of creative writing at Occidental College and UCLA
        Fulbright Professor at the University of Bologna

Work History:

        Produced nearly 30 films in the past 25 years for major studios, television broadcasters, and independent distribution.

        His documentary special for Discovery Channel, based on the New York Times bestseller “The Kennedy Detail” by Jerry Blaine & Lisa McCubbin, was nominated for an Emmy.

        Has worked in nearly every part of the entertainment and publishing industries.

        Nearly two dozen of his clients have been NYT Bestsellers.

He is also:

        An author who has been on the inside of the publishing industry and knows how it works

        An author of over 20 nonfiction books and novels

        An experienced writing coach who has helped literally hundreds of writers to find a market for their work by bringing their craft to the level of their ambition and vision


        He was a book columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book Review

        He is the founder and co-editor of DreamWorks: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Dreams and the Arts

This Master Class In Storytelling shares a lifetime of secrets learned by, and from, the most successful writers and creative industry professionals globally.

Ken Atchity is uniquely qualified, as a best-selling author and writing coach, to help you understand everything you need to know and do to master the power of storytelling.

    Ken Atchity is the author of these six best-selling guides for writers:

Here's Exactly What You're Going To Get With The Master Class In Storytelling:

    Video Training that will change your attitude
    A Discussion Forum Online
    Fast track material so you are not overloaded with material you DON'T need
    No padding, just what AUTHORS NEED to learn, FAST
    A guide to removing the roadblocks to your success as a storyteller
    A program that will set you up for long-term success
    Access to Full Course Online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    You can take this course when you want
    No deadlines for completion
    Additional Support, If You Take That Option
    Please see the list of modules further down the page for even more detail!

Total Retail Value: $78 - for the basic course - BUT YOU WON'T PAY THAT

AND IT'S 100% Risk-FREE!

If MasterClass In Sorytelling doesn't deliver on its promise you WILL receive a full refund, This Is A No Quibble Refund Policy!
Special Pricing When You Order Now

The total value of what you're getting today is $78, for the course. But the good news is you are NOT going to pay that price.

Because I know what it's like to struggle, when you're an outsider in the industry, and because I want to do everything I can to help you succeed, TODAY we're giving you everything listed at a special price of just $39! That's right, that a 50% discount for a LIMITED TIME ONLY.

Order Now!

Claim your copy of this exciting and informative NEW Master Class from Ken Atchity!

Total Value: $78 - for the basic course, but you won't pay that price. Your price is $39.

P.S. Never before have you had such a unique opportunity to have this PROVEN expert take you by the hand and help you get in the right mindset to write great stories.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

7 classic books you need to read in 2017

7 classic books you need to read in 2017

Winter is finally on its way out, and it's time to start thinking about spring vacations — and the books to read while traveling to the nearest body of water that isn't frozen over.

The phrase "beach read" might evoke images of Harlequin romances or frothy chick-lit paperbacks rather than the Great American Novel, but it's time to rethink what's on your reading list. Some of literature's greatest stories are entertaining and can be read outside of a classroom.


Sales of George Orwell's book, published in 1949, have risen dramatically since Donald Trump's election, with the book hitting the top of the Amazon best-seller list and a theater adaptation slated to open on Broadway in June. Clearly the dystopian novel about Big Brother and the Thought Police is resonating strongly with the American public.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The first book in Douglas Adams' comedy science-fiction series follows Arthur Dent, the last surviving man on Earth after the planet is demolished, to make a hyperspace bypass. He embarks on a series of adventures and misadventures with a crew of hilarious sidekicks, including the depressed robot Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain's story of the adventurous orphan first published in 1884 offers a scathing satire on societal standards, especially racism. The book has long been the subject of discussion and debate about the language and racial slurs that fill the pages as it narrates the story of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, who travel down the Mississippi River on a raft.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The 1961 story of "The Teacher Who Changed My Life" may seem tired to some, but Miss Jean Brodie, an educator who declares herself to be "in her prime," definitely changes the lives of a few of her students — although not in the ways one might expect. The "Brodie set" receive a real-life education about love, sex and politics.

The House of Mirth

Few books expose the hypocrisy and social pressures that women had to endure throughout history more movingly than Edith Wharton's 1905 story of Lily Bart. Lily is a well-born but poor woman who struggles to move up New York's social ladder, racing against time as she approaches the apparently unmarriageable age of 30. Her heartbreakingly tragic conclusion causes this book to be a guaranteed tear-jerker.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy's 1891 novel was censored and scandalous when it was first published, due in part to its sexual content. The story of a young woman whose life is shaped by how men treat her, Tess includes addresses rape, religion and the danger of keeping secrets because of societal shame.

Little Women

For those in the mood for something a bit lighter, Louisa May Alcott's story of four sisters growing up during the Civil War is a heartwarming story of family and friendship with a powerful thread of feminism and emphasis on independence published in 1868.

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