Mysteryrats Maze Podcast Features Dennis Palumbo's Short Story Players

Mystery short story, "Players", written by mystery author Dennis Palumbo and read by Fresno actor Max Debbas.  Players was previously published in From Crime to Crime, by Tallfellow Press.

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Montreal Times Reviews Dennis Palumbo's Head Wounds

Check out Page 13 for Review of Dennis Palumbo's Head Wounds 

 ON SALE NOW! Daniel Rinaldi #5, HEAD WOUNDS 

"A riveting series." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY 

"Jack Reacher with a psychology degree." KIRKUS REVIEWS

Book Marketing Buzz: Interview with Literary Agent & Hollywood Producer Ken Atchity

Ken Atchity, who has successfully negotiated hundreds of publishing and Hollywood deals, edited and written numerous books, was a professor of comparative literature and creative writing, and produced over 30 stories for television and film, is interviewed here by BookMarketing BuzzBlog:

1. Ken, are you working with authors today?

I certainly am, more than ever, now that I’ve found a better way to do it. Through my webinars and services we can help with nearly every writer’s needs.

2. What are some of the biggest properties that you’ve handled?

By far the biggest to date is THE MEG, which has recently passed half a billion dollars at the box office! The next biggest is the franchise DR. FUDDLE AND THE GOLD BATON, slated to be three live-action animation films.

3. What do you enjoy about working with creative talent?

I enjoy almost every aspect of it, except for the bad craziness part. I love discovery, development, perfecting the story, publishing the story, and producing the story.

4. As an author yourself, what advice do you have for other struggling writers?

Never stop learning your craft, never stop being grateful that you’re a writer, and never stop writing.

5. What trends do you see in entertainment and book publishing?

The trend is toward an insatiable demand for better and better stories. It’s the greatest time for storytellers since the world began talking.

6. You used to be a frequent columnist for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.How have the changes in the news media impacted the book world?

Changes have made it even more difficult for books to become visible, though the internet offers countless ways to achieve visibility.

7. What’s a boy from Louisiana doing in LA and NYC?

Just back from a trip to Louisiana, I ask myself that every day. I’m the luckiest guy in the world to have spent a lifetime in the story marketplace directing the power of stories.

8. Which genres excite you the most? Why?

Action and thrillers are my favorites, as well as Christmas stories, and powerful dramas; all of them have a huge attraction to the marketplace.

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In Memoriam: Art Johnson

Art Johnson was a very gifted composer and talented multi-instrumental musician, having toured with Lena Horne, recorded with Barbara Streisand, and accompanied Pavarotti.  Art was also a wonderful storyteller and author who battled two diseases at the same time: Parkinson’s and polio, and yet created words and music every minute of his life.

Born in San Diego, California in 1945. At the age of twenty-three, Arthur Johnson moved to Hollywood where he spent the next twenty-one years as a studio musician, composer for films and records and touring musician to the stars. In 2002, he moved to Monaco with his wife Patricia.

He continued to perform and teach throughout his illness as well as completing an autobiography entitled Memoirs of a Sideman (excerpts and other writings here), and three novels, The Devil's Violin, Deadly Impressions and recently Marilyn My Marilyn. Listen to his music  for Marilyn, My Marilyn Film.

7 Ways The Meg Was Much Better Than You Expected

Jason Statham, talent from around the globe and a great big shark? Sign us up!

Jason Statham’s The Meg, like its titular megalodon, swam a little under the radar on its summer release. In these times of Sharknado after Sharknado, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was more B-movie trash.

But honestly, that does The Meg a disservice. Yes, it’s a B movie but it’s bloody proud of it. Every single person working on the movie knows they’re on a popcorn flick set, and each scene shows how much fun they’re having.

From start to finish, the film is a treat. Jumping seamlessly from laidback scenes fizzing with chemistry to bloody gore, The Meg defies expectation at every turn. Jason Statham, backed up by Rainn Wilson (The Office’s eccentric Dwight Schrute), Ruby Rose and a whole cast of diverse faces combine to make a marvellous summer movie.

Awards season is coming up, and although it’s unlikely to get the awards nod, there are a lot of reasons this film was much better than it’s given credit for.

If you still haven’t caught this future cult classic, there’s a couple of spoilers on entry number six, but the rest are safe, open waters to swim through.

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Story Merchant Books New Release: Reconstructing the Shield of Achilles by Kathleen Vail

Just received first copy of Kathleen Vail’s Reconstructing the Shield of Achilles off the press from Story Merchant Books. With this surprise, and gratifying, dedication:

"To Dr. Kenneth Atchity I offer my profound thanks, not only for managing the publication of this book, but for all the time and effort he generously and wholeheartedly devotes to every project he takes on. My respect for his work is, I am sure, shared by everyone who knows him, but no one knows the lovely impact of his book, Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory has had on my heart. While reading it, I felt like Penelope, spellbound by an eloquent bard telling the same tales she is weaving on her loom. I am deeply honored to see my reconstruction of Achilles’ shield on the cover of Dr. Ken’s digital version of Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory, and my thanks to him are immeasurable for all the support he has given me. 

Makes it all worthwhile…"

purchase on

Kathleen Vail is a member of the Maker Movement taking on the Classics. Combining career skills as a computer engineer and graphic artist for the US Department of Defense with research skills as a lifetime student of Homer’s ancient Greece, Kathleen has created a physical, artistically relevant reconstruction of the divine shield of Achilles based literally and solely on Homer’s specifications in Book 18 of the Iliad.

Enjoying great success since its creation, Vail’s reconstruction of Achilles’ shield appears on the cover of Dr. Kenneth Atchity’s 2014 Kindle version of "Homer’s Iliad: The Shield of Memory," and Carolina López-Ruiz’ "Gods, Heroes, and Monsters" (2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2018). She has also given presentations of her work to various groups and organizations, including Virginia chapters of the Classical Association and Mediterranean Society.

Visit Kathleen’s website and blog, for an in depth exploration of all things Achilles, including his spectacular armor, and Homer’s amazing power to excite our imaginations and inspire great creations by artists and artisans, aka Makers, throughout the ages and across all art forms.

DZNE Award Lecture: Nicolas Bazan Author of Una Vida

 Nicolas G. Bazan, M.D., was honoured at the DZNE in Bonn in the context of the "DZNE Award Lecture". The DZNE thus honours scientists who have made outstanding contributions in the field of neurodegnerative diseases. At the award ceremony, Bazan gave a lecture on the topic: Resiliency of brain homeostasis at the beginning of neurodegenerative diseases: significance of the newly discovered elovanoids.

Shaming My Red Lips: The Movie

“Shaming My Red Lips” tells the story of an Americanized Brooklyn teenager transported back to Iran at age sixteen because her father evaluated her cultural assimilation and decided she was becoming too white! Poppy was ripped away from her life in a liberal American environment and thrust into a new and unknown life in an Islamic country. 

Upon landing, the captain announced that all women aboard were required to put on their coats and scarves before stepping off the plane; but Poppy found herself glued to her seat. Fear was a mild word to describe what she was feeling! In Iran she was faced with culture shock but came to realize that in the cultural differences of every country there is something that can always be appreciated and cherished: remaining true to yourself. 

From going to regular school to becoming the evening news anchor in an Islamic country this is a true, hilarious and eye opening journey of how a young woman, during the most formative years of her life, desperately fought to maintain not only her freedom, but her identity. It’s a story of change, fear, hope, and ultimately, triumph. It’s a story to be shared for anyone undergoing tough circumstances no matter where in the world or faced with various challenges.

Sharon Farsijani's Shaming My Red Lips is currently being adapted into a movie with the help of Forbes top 10 speaker Dave Meltzer, Entrepreneur keynote speaker Scott Duffy and Emmy nominated producer Ken Atchity. 

 Join us in making this movie! Visit Shaming My Red Lips: The Movie on IndieGoGo

Deadline Hollywood: Charlie Matthau Readying ‘The Book Of Leah’ With Armand Assante

Filmmaker Charlie Matthau is close to finishing the independent feature The Book of Leah starring Armand Assante, which tells the story of a teenage rape victim who rebuilds herself as a karate fighter and seeks revenge on her attacker.

Brianna Joy Chomer plays Leah Gold, who after sneaking into a night
Getty Courtesy of Stan Rosenfield & Associates
club with her friends, is sexually assaulted in 1980s Chicago. The police do not take her case seriously, trying to blame Leah for being a minor, and the way she dressed. Her high-class family, embarrassed by the incident, sends Leah to a girls school, where she ultimately meets her uncle, played by four-time Golden Globe nominee Assante, who is a Holocaust survivor.

More than another female Karate Kid film, there are layers in The Book of Leah which echo a lot of what we’ve read lately about sexual assault; how alleged victims like Christine Blasey Ford and Patti Davis remained quiet about their incidents for several decades for many reasons. The Book of Leah puts a spotlight on the injustice that rape victim weather; the disbelief some face by those in authority after pointing a finger at their attackers.
In the film, Assante’s Adam Siegel forms a strong bond with Leah and builds her into a karate champ. Also starring in the pic is jazz singer and pianist Freddy Cole in his first feature role as a musical mentor to Leah, Kate Linder as Leah’s mother, Ty Olwin as the love interest, and Melanie Neilan as Leah’s friend.

Based on a true story, The Book of Leah was written by Leslie Neilan and Alan Roth. Neilan also produces with Kenneth Atchity. Matthau’s directorial credits include such pics as the 2012 feature take of Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky starring Christian Slater, Billy Burke and Crispin Glover as well as 1995’s The Grass Harp based on the Truman Capote novel in which Matthau directed his Oscar-winning father Walter Matthau, Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. The Grass Harp won best English Language Film at the 1996 Palm Springs Film Festival.

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Clint Hill Selected as the 44th Recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award!

Gov. Doug Burgum today announced former U.S. Secret Service agent and author Clint Hill as the 44th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.

Hill served in the U.S. Secret Service from 1958 to 1975, protecting the presidency through five administrations: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Richard M. Nixon and President Gerald R. Ford.

“Clint Hill is an exceptional North Dakotan who has risked his life and health time and time again to protect our nation and its commander in chief,” said Burgum, who informed Hill of the award Wednesday. “During his 17-year career with the U.S. Secret Service, he stood guard over the nation’s highest office through the many extraordinary and unprecedented historical events that occurred from the beginning of the Cold War through the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s. His exemplary record of service at the highest level of national security continues to inspire pride and respect among North Dakotans, and we are deeply grateful for his lifetime of service.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by your home state, and North Dakota has always been my home,” said Hill. “Growing up in North Dakota, the values of hard work, dedication, integrity and the importance of public service instilled in me by my family and community served me well throughout my career. I am honored and humbled to be placed in the company of the many incredible North Dakotans who have received this award.”

A native of Washburn, Hill graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with a degree in history and physical education. Though he intended to be a history teacher and coach, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he served as a Special Agent in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, Hill applied to the U.S. Secret Service and, in 1958, was accepted as a Special Agent in the Denver field office. A year later, he was assigned to the elite White House detail protecting President Eisenhower. Hill served on President Eisenhower’s protective detail in the White House and during domestic travel and several international trips at the beginning of the Cold War.

When President Kennedy took office in 1961, Hill was assigned to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s detail. Hill was in the motorcade as a member of the First Lady’s detail on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Hill ran from his position on the running board of the Secret Service follow-up car and leapt onto the back of the presidential limousine as shots were being fired. Shielding President Kennedy and the First Lady from any further shots with his own body as the car sped from Dealey Plaza to Parkland Hospital, Hill is credited with saving Jacqueline Kennedy’s life and was awarded the nation’s highest civilian award for bravery in December 1963.

Hill remained with the First Lady’s detail for a year after President Kennedy’s assassination. In 1964, he was reassigned to the White House where he joined the presidential detail during President Johnson’s administration, eventually becoming the Special Agent in Charge of Presidential Protection.

Hill became the Special Agent in Charge of Vice Presidential Protection for Vice President Spiro Agnew upon President Richard M. Nixon’s election in 1968. Under Hill’s leadership, the size and capacity of the Vice Presidential Protective Division was expanded, and in 1970 Hill became the Deputy Assistant Director of Protective Forces. Later that year, Vice President Agnew visited Hill’s mother and family during a visit to Minot.

In 1971, Hill became the Assistant Director of the Presidential Protective Division. When Hill retired from the Secret Service in 1975, he was the Assistant Director responsible for all protective forces.

Hill has co-authored three books (with Lisa McCubbin) detailing his experiences as a U.S. Secret Service Agent, including the #1 New York Times bestseller “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” “Five Days in November” and “Five Presidents.” A television series based on “Five Presidents” is currently in development with National Geographic.

Hill has been a guest speaker at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and continues to participate with Secret Service personnel in discussing protective activities and procedures.

The Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields

of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens. Established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial, the award was initially given as an honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders.

The award will be presented to Hill in person at a date and location to be announced soon.


The Counsellors Café Features Therapist By Day, Crime Writer By Night by Dennis Palumbo

image by Aaron Mello

I must admit, I’ve had an interesting career journey. For many years I was a Hollywood screenwriter, after which I became a licensed psychotherapist specializing in treating creative types in the entertainment community. Now, after 29 years listening to hundreds of people’s most intimate stories, I’ve fulfilled a life-long dream and begun a series of crime novels.

The first, Mirror Image, featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi, appeared in 2010 from Poisoned Pen Press. After which followed Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb, and the latest, Head Wounds. 

Which begs the question: what, if anything, does a Hollywood psychotherapist and a suspense novelist have in common? Actually, quite a bit.

For both a therapist and a crime novelist, it’s the mystery of character itself that intrigues, puzzles, and continually surprises. As a therapist, I’ve borne witness to the awful suffering, painful revelations and admirable courage of my patients - many of whom have survived unbelievable abuse, neglect and loss. Not to mention those whose lives have been marred by substance use, violence, and severe mental illness.

How people cope with these issues and events, how well or poorly they meet these challenges, goes directly to the heart of the therapeutic experience. My job as their therapist is to help identify self-destructive patterns of behavior, and to empower patients by providing tools to address these patterns and, hopefully, alter them.

So much for my day job. Moonlighting as a suspense novelist, I find myself doing pretty much the same thing with my fictional characters. As a mystery writer, I believe that crime stems from strong emotions, and strong emotions stem from conflict. Kind of like life. Which means the secret to crafting satisfying thrillers lies in exploring who your characters are (as opposed to who they say they are), what it is they want (or think they need), and the lengths to which they’ll go to get it.

Moreover, using my experience as a licensed psychotherapist, I’ve woven many of the situations and people I’ve encountered into my crime novels. People like a particularly interesting patient I once met at the psychiatric hospital where I did my clinical internship. Now, many years later, he’s the inspiration for my hero’s best friend, a paranoid schizophrenic named Noah Frye. Much like this patient from long ago, the Noah of my novels is funny, combative, and achingly aware of the reality of his situation.

I’ve used other aspects of my life experience as well. For example, although my practice is in Los Angeles, the novels take place in Pittsburgh, my home town. In addition, the series hero, a psychologist named Daniel Rinaldi who specializes in treating the victims of violent crime, shares a similar background to my own - from his Italian heritage to his love of jazz to his teenage years spent working in the Steel City’s sprawling produce yards (Though, as each novel’s narrative hurtles Rinaldi into a vortex of murder and conspiracy, he reveals himself to be a lot braver and more resourceful than I am!)

But there’s another connection between my role as a therapist and my role as a mystery writer. Like the therapist, the crime novelist swims in an ocean of envy, greed, regret, and desire. As a therapist does, the crime novelist must relate to his or her characters. Must be able to understand and empathize with their wants and needs. Must, in fact, go inside their heads and think as they think, feel as they feel.

Since most of my patients are in the entertainment industry - writers, actors, directors, etc. - they present a broad canvas of creative passions, lofty ambitions, wild yearnings and devastating defeats. They love and hate deeply, with an artist’s fervor, and this extends beyond career considerations into the most intimate aspects of their personal lives.

So too the crime novelist must create and endow his or her characters with out-sized passions, hopes and dreams. How else can things go so awry in their lives? How else can things lead, as if inevitably, to treachery, blackmail, murder?

All the things, in other words, that make reading a crime novel so satisfying!

Dennis' latest book Head Wounds is available to purchase from many leading bookstores or here at Amazon 

“In Head Wounds, Dennis Palumbo delivers another remarkable first person psychological thriller, told through the eyes of besieged Pittsburgh police psychologist Daniel Rinaldi. When Rinaldi’s haunting past takes control of his present, no one in his orbit is safe, and no reader can escape the ever rising tension as you race to the end.” 

- Jeffrey Siger, Barry and Lefty-nominated best-selling author of the Andreas Kaldis series 

“Palumbo, who specialises in thrills (both) ruthless and baroque, outdoes himself in making life so harrowing for his series hero that he’s sure to need some extra time with his own therapist…” -

"Dennis Palumbo's Daniel Rinaldi books are cerebral thrillers of the first order, with twisting plots, terrifying villains, and a narrative driven by the insight and compassion of the psychologist at the center of it all."

- Timothy Hallinan, author of the Edgar-nominated Poke Rafferty mysteries 

"Dennis Palumbo always delivers the goods, and Head Wounds is his best yet. From the very first sentence you know you're in good hands. Propulsive action and unexpected twists keep you reading way past bedtime. In Daniel Rinaldi, Palumbo has created a hero for our time--as smart as he is tough, and resolutely humane in the face of madness and brutality.”

- Sean Chercover, NY Times best-selling author of Savior’s Game

Author's Bio

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT, formerly a Hollywood screenwriter (My Favorite Year; Welcome Back, Kotter, etc.), Dennis Palumbo is a licensed psychotherapist and author. His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere, and is collected in From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press). His series of mystery thrillers (Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb, and the latest, Head Wounds, all from Poisoned Pen Press), feature Daniel Rinaldi, a psychologist and trauma expert who consults with the Pittsburgh Police.

For more info, visit Dennis' website here

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Kirkus Reviews: Nobody Walks by Dennis M. Walsh

Pulpy, engrossing account of losing a family member to a senseless murder and retribution delivered through the criminal justice system.

Attorney Walsh was the only one among his four brothers to follow the straight-and-narrow path, perhaps due to the example set by their father, a Cleveland cop turned mobster. But none of them were prepared for the death of Chris, the youngest, at the hands of fellow denizens of the meth-and-gangs subculture on the fringes of Southern California’s pornography business. Walsh lived a sibling’s nightmare, asked to identify Chris’ decaying body. Street gossip quickly pinpointed the killer, David Steinberg, Chris’ former roommate, who was an associate of white supremacist prison gangs. Despite fears that he might pre-emptively sabotage eventual prosecution, Walsh began sniffing around Chris’ friends, a motley group of drug users, porn stars and entertainment-industry hangers-on. Many agreed to cooperate with him, given the implied threat of his more criminally inclined brothers’ thirst for vengeance. The narrative is sensibly straightforward, following the turns as police, prosecutors and Walsh make efforts to gather evidence on, arrest and successfully prosecute Steinberg and his cronies. As the author himself might agree, he is in some ways too close to the material. The narrative is populated by a surfeit of underworld figures who don’t really come alive as fully developed characters, but instead seem caricatures of seamy decrepitude. Still, Walsh captures the arc of his family’s involvement in an act of senseless malice, calling into question the cultural endurance of macho violence within certain subcultures and the difficulty of holding men responsible for horrific acts within the legal system’s overtaxed framework.

Gritty, effective, personalized tale of the outlaw lifestyle and its consequences.

Proper Manuscript Format

A reader writes to ask:

I have perused your formatting advice and have a question. You advise underline to indicate italics, what about bold? Make it "actual" or use asterisks, etc.? I need to indicate vectors in bold for a fact article but for Sci-fi geared magazine. Thanks

The use of boldface type is rare enough (at least in the fiction world) that, back in the olden days, one had to indicate it by hand by drawing a squiggly line underneath the words to be bolded. For whatever reason, our society has adopted italics as the preferred method of emphasis, which is why underling is a function readily available on most typewriters but undersquiggling is not.

Boldface is, however, more common in non-fiction. In cases where it may indeed be required, either by a publication's style guide or by conventions you've adopted for a specific article, I would just go ahead and use the actual bold function of your word processor. You are unlikely these days to submit a manuscript on paper, and using asterisks around the words to be bolded is likely just to result in mistakes in the final copy.