Chinese Film Industry Needs to Focus on Quality After Wobbly 2018

The films enjoying the greatest success were those with subjects based on real events, such as “Operation Red Sea” and “Dying to Survive.” The box office success of “The Meg” marked a high point for China-U.S. co-productions.

The economics of China’s film industry is no longer an unbroken story of double digit growth. Nor was 2018 quite as bad many companies have portrayed.

A major report on the business, published in Shanghai this week by the China Film Association, in partnership with the Motion Picture Association, showed the number of cinemas grew last year, but also that per screen attendance dropped. Theatrical box office grew by 9% to $9 billion, but China’s share of the global total only edged up from 21% in 2017 to 22% in 2018.

Liu Jia, film distributor and expert on the industry numbers, called 2018 “an up and down year” at a presentation on Thursday at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Her analysis of the CFA data showed China as now “firmly the number two film market in the world,” increasingly dominated by female audience tastes, and increasingly driven by word of mouth marketing. Online ticketing is now dominant, accounting for 90% of movie tickets sold, and cinema operators are increasingly engaging in variable ticket pricing.

Perhaps her most surprising statistic, given the pessimism expressed by many executives over the past week of Shanghai presentations, was the continued numerical growth of feature film productions. The CFA data showed the number of completed feature films rose from 798 in 2017 to 902 in 2018. The data also showed 398 Chinese films enjoyed theatrical release last year, a decrease from the 412 that played in 2017. (The number of foreign films getting a release in 2018 was 118).

The CFA data showed that China now has the largest number of cinema screens of any country in the world. Over 9,300 new screens opened for business in 2018, giving an end of year total of 60,000 screens at 11,000 complexes.

The report described a “paradox” of growing exhibition resources and the more modest growth in box office results. It said that resource allocation had been inefficient and that headline growth had disguised the poor operation of some cinemas. Liu suggested that the industry needs to shift focus from speed of cinema growth to improving the quality of that growth. Nevertheless, government regulators have set a target of 80,000 cinemas to be in operation by the end of 2020.

Another speaker, Liu Fan, said that the production slowdown felt in the second half of the year was due to “nationwide deleveraging, rather than any (government) crackdown on the film industry.”

Nevertheless his presentation, referenced the application of changes in tax policies from May 28, 2018 – identified by many producers as the beginning of the production slowdown. He urged enforcement of the law – including those against film stars who use illegal drugs.

It fell to the Motion Picture Association’s Asia-Pacific chief, Mike Ellis to look at the bigger picture, and over a longer period. “The global movie market has maintained a rising trend over the past five years,” he said pointing to a $41 billion box office total in 2018.

Strong performances in China contributed significantly to the global box office totals of some Hollywood films in 2018 – 18% of the worldwide total for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and nearly 30% for “Venom.”

“Of particular interest, three of the top ten Chinese films (in 2018) were directorial debuts, while the remaining seven were from younger directors. That is a sign that the market is open to new exciting talent,” he said.

Read more

Nancy Nigrosh on Wabi-Sabi; Accepting Imperfection

Nancy Nigrosh, former head of the Gersh Agency's literary department and team member at Innovative Artists has worked in Hollywood since the 70s, and has re-defined her self many times over the course of her incredible career. She discusses working with Martin Scorsese on Mean Streets, re-building after a divorce, and spending her 40th Birthday celebrating the Million dollar sale of a script. She graciously discusses her goal of experiencing aging using the philosophy behind Wabi-Sabi, the Japanese aesthetic centered on transience and imperfection.

The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live (David Brooks)

Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we're trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States -- and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as "weavers" -- Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.

E.B. White on a Writer's Responsibility

In an interview for The Paris Review in 1969, White was asked to express his "views about the writer's commitment to politics, international affairs." His response:

A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.

read more 

On June 21st, join popular LGBT Horror podcast Blumhouse’s Attack of the Queerwolf for their first live show! – a screening of 1988’s Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers,

Everyone’s favorite serial killer camp counselor, Angela Baker, is back to slew a whole new group of teenagers. After years of therapy (and surgeries), Angela is given a job at Camp Rolling Hills – but history begins to repeat itself when she goes on a murderous rampage once the campers begin misbehaving…
The show begins 8:30PM!  Throw on your shortest summer shorts and prepare to camp until you die!
Says Blumhouse’s Attack of the Queerwolf LGBTQ, “The token queers at Blumhouse go through the horror canon to see where on the undead Kinsey scale your faves belong! Don’t be nervous: we’ve done this before! Hosted by Brennan Klein, Michael Kennedy, Nay Bever, and Sam Wineman!”
Directed by Michael A. Simpson | 1988 | 80 minutes | Rated R
Friday, June 21 — 8:30pm
“I like the out of the box approach — not too many 80s slashers focus mainly on the killer (an unmasked one at that), and was a rather unique way of more or less remaking the original film . . . while giving it its own identity. ” — Brian Collins, Horror Movie A Day
“Every good horror movie deserves a equel and the 80’s classic Sleepaway Camp has thankfully delivered a second helping. . . . Just as the original, the second installment of this movie has some really unique kills.” — Absolute Horror
“What saves this enterprise is its winking, self-referential (and self-mocking) quality, something that makes it a bit of a progenitor for later entries like the Scream [franchise]. . . . The fun of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers is not in any putative character information, but in the nonchalant way Angela marauds her way through a series of boorish victims. On that level, this is one camp worth visiting.” — Jeffrey Kauffman,

Andrea Bocelli in China

On May 15th, by the invitation of President Xi and First Lady Peng Liyuan, Andrea Bocelli performed at the Beijing National Stadium in front of over 1.7Billion viewers on live TV and streaming.

Andrea Bocelli and Frankie Nasso

This portion of the program was produced by Jules and Frankie Nasso, Nova Entertainment Group, working throughout China, Italy, the US and the UK to deliver Maestro Bocelli to a live audience filled with Presidents and Leaders from 48 Asian Nations, from Australia to Israel to Japan and beyond. 

This was the largest government-sponsored entertainment event ever hosted in China, with over 8,000 performers on stage throughout the evening. 

Wouldn't it be great if we did this here in USA?

Research shows that helping others makes us happier. But in her groundbreaking work on generosity and joy, social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn found that there's a catch: it matters how we help. Learn how we can make a greater impact -- and boost our own happiness along the way -- if we make one key shift in how we help others. "Let's stop thinking about giving as just this moral obligation and start thinking of it as a source of pleasure," Dunn says.


Diane Warren doesn't want to miss a thing

Robert and Kenny start the show talking about the trend of the high quality mini-series taking the television spotlight, Godzilla's box office disappointment and run down our guest's incredible songwriting resume.

The only show that takes you inside the studios of Hollywood composers, with engaging conversations and musical demonstrations. Based on the hit film SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, the weekly SCORE: THE PODCAST celebrates the musical heartbeat and emotive power of modern storytelling. Join hosts Robert Kraft and Kenny Holmes as they open the door to the creative, musical and fascinating personalities of the men and women who create music for the world’s most popular films, TV shows and video games. Follow us @ScoreThePodcast.

An Interview with Dennis Palumbo and Barbara Hodges Mysterical-E

Dennis Palumbo, M.A., MFT is a writer and licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues. His acclaimed series of mystery thrillers— Mirror Image, Fever Dream, Night Terrors, Phantom Limb and the latest, Head Wounds (Poisoned Pen Press)—features psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. He’s also the author of Writing From the Inside Out (John Wiley), as well as a collection of mystery short stories, From Crime to Crime (Tallfellow Press).

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Palumbo’s credits include the feature film My Favorite Year, for which he was nominated for a WGA Award for Best Screenplay. He was also a staff writer for the ABC-TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, and has written numerous series episodes and pilots.

His first novel, City Wars (Bantam Books) is currently in development as a feature film, and his short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Strand and elsewhere. He provides articles and reviews for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Lancet, and many others.

His column, “The Writer’s Life,” appeared monthly for six years in Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America. He’s also done commentary for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Currently he writes the “Hollywood on the Couch” column for the Psychology Today website.

Dennis conducts workshops throughout the country and overseas, at both clinical symposia and writing conference. (A list of recent appearances is available on request.)

His work helping writers has been profiled in The New York Times, Premiere Magazine, Fade In, Angeleno, GQ, The Los Angeles Times and other publications, as well as on NPR and CNN. He’s also appeared numerous times on Between the Lines, the PBS author interview show.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and Pepperdine University, he served on the faculty of UCLA Extension, where he was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year.

BMH: What is something you wish someone would have told you before you became an author?

DP:     That in today’s marketplace, the book author has to do an incredible amount of self-promotion. In my former writing career (as a Hollywood screenwriter), that was all handled by the TV networks and movie studios. The hard part was just getting the job and surviving the tortuous process of getting something on the air or in the movie theater.

BMH:  Why did you become a writer?

DP:     Hard to say. It felt more like a calling than a choice.

BMH:  When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

DP:     By high school, I knew I wanted to write. However, until college (at the University of Pittsburgh), I’d never actually met a working writer, nor any peer who also wanted to be one. That’s why I started out as an engineering major (!), then switched over to the English Department.

BMH: Do you have a daily writing routine?

DP:     Since I have a day job as a full-time licensed psychotherapist, it’s hard to keep to a firm schedule. Which is one of the reasons that, unlike my mystery writing colleagues, I only turn out a new Daniel Rinaldi thriller every three to four years.

BMH: Why crime fiction?

DP:     Ever since my Dad bought me the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when I was ten years old and home sick from school, I’ve been hooked on the genre. Maybe because I like strong characters in intense situations. I also like trying to figure out the puzzles.

BMH:  Have you written in other genres?

DP:      Yes. I was a Hollywood film and TV writer (MY FAVORITE YEAR; WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, etc.) for 17 years before retiring to go back to grad school and train to be a therapist. In those years I mostly wrote comedy. However, I also wrote a novel, CITY WARS (Bantam Books) that was my one and only foray into science fiction. I’ve also written a nonfiction book about dealing with the psychological aspects of the writer’s life, based on my 27 years working as a therapist specializing in treating writers. It’s called WRITING FROM THE INSIDE OUT (John Wiley & Sons).

BMH:  What is something you’ve never written about, but hope to some day?

DP:     I think I’d try to write a play at some point. I don’t know if I’d be any good at it, but I do think about it. Probably because I so enjoy writing dialogue.

BMH:  What two words best describes your writing style?

DP:     Maybe “visceral and propulsive,” but that’s only when it’s going well! Otherwise I’d have to go with “self-indulgent and hurried.”

BMH:  What comes first for you, characters or plot?

DP:     Characters, always. I believe in Henry James’ description of plot: that it’s characters under stress.

BMH: How do you create your characters?

DP:     There’s no blueprint for it. I usually just see a particular person in a particular situation, start writing, and see how he or she got into that situation.

BMH:  Outliner, seat-of-your-pants writer, or a mix of both?

DP:     Total seat-of-my-pants writer. In my crime novels, I start with no idea who either the victim or the killer is going to be. I like to let my writing flow organically. Of course, this means I have to go back and re-write a lot, to make sure things line up. But that’s okay, I’d always rather write than think.

BMH: How much editing do you do as you write your first draft?

DP:     Not much, since I’m essentially making it up as I go along. I’m a firm believer in the fact that you don’t actually know what book you’re writing until you finish the first draft. It tells you what needs to be done to the plot, what characters really pop (as opposed to the ones you THOUGHT would do so), where to tighten things up and where to loosen them, etc. I think that if you’re doing it right, you and the text sort of co-create the book. You respond to where it’s going, and then it responds to your editing. If that makes any sense.

BMH: What authors influenced you the most?

DP:     Too many to mention. But the list would include Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, Patricia Highsmith. Non-genre favorites include Scott Fitzgerald, Joan Didion, Phillip Roth, and, in particular, John Fowles.

BMH: How do you handle research?

DP:      I don’t do any until I’ve finished the first draft. Then I do the minimum necessary for accuracy and verisimilitude. As both an author and a psychotherapist, I always try to ensure that I’m depicting the reality of therapeutic treatment (and the state of the current mental health system) as accurately as possible.

BMH:  How do you handle marketing?

DP:     Certainly not as well as I should. For one thing, with a busy therapy practice, I don’t have much time. I must admit, however, I also haven’t investigated all the avenues for marketing available today. Part of my nature rebels against it, I guess.

BMH:  You can go back in time, meet and chat with anyone, who would it be? What would you talk about?

DP:     Again, too many to name. Emily Dickenson, Thoreau, Jane Austen, and Emerson come to mind quickly. Hawthorne and Melville. But especially Joseph Conrad. That covers the writers (with whom I’d talk about writing). Maybe some of the Continental philosophers (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein). Probably not a lot of laughs, but interesting as hell.

BMH: You are going to be alone on a desert island, what three things will you take with you?

DP:     Assuming Internet access, my laptop, my paperback of Emerson’s Essays, and a flare gun to alert passing ships of my presence.

BMH:  How big a part did your upbringing have on your writing?

DP:     As a psychotherapist, I’m aware of the crucial role our childhood experiences and the communication dynamics in our family of origin have on our self-concept later in life. Since these experiences (and the meaning we give them) are inextricably bound up in our creative work, I believe our upbringing plays an enormous role in our desire to write, what we choose to write about, and how we write it. It also influences how we deal with the response to our writing, both positive and negative.

In terms of content, since my Daniel Rinaldi mysteries are set in Pittsburgh, and feature an Italian-American therapist with a beard and glasses who grew up in Pittsburgh and graduated from Pitt, I’d say my writing in that regard is quite influenced by my upbringing!

BMH: How about some hard-earned advice.

DP:     Don’t follow trends. As a writer, keep giving them YOU until YOU is what they want.

Read more


Dublin, Ireland - Emmy Award-winning script-writer Michael Hirst, the script writer for all 69 episodes of the Vikings TV series will be awarded the Bard Award for Story Excellence at the Dublin Writers' Conference this June.

Michael is best known for his films Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), as well as the Emmy Award-winning television series The Tudors and Vikings.

Dr. Ken Atchity, author, literary manager, publisher and producer will be awarded the Bard Award for Story Management at the Dublin Writers' Conference.

Ken is best known for The Meg, the blockbuster movie of Summer 2018, The Kennedy Detail (Emmy nominated), and his novel The Messiah Matrix.

The Conference was established in 2015 by successful Irish thriller author Laurence O'Bryan, as an event dedicated to helping writers.

The Conference will feature five separate session streams over three days and 29 speakers.

There will be break-out sessions including the popular “Pitch a Producer” feature in which participants get a chance to make a brief oral presentation of their work to a panel of producers.

The Saturday evening will feature the Annual Conference Dinner and Awards presentation.

The impressive list of speakers this year also includes New York PR guru Dee Rivera, and million selling Irish author Patricia Gibney, the latest best-selling Irish publishing phenomenon.

Full details of the conference are to be found at:

To contact the organisers email:
Or call: +353 86 8369254
5 Dame Lane, Dublin 2, Ireland
Contact: Laurence O'Bryan

"Lest They Forget" by Opinion by Jerry Amernic in The Globe and Mail (Ontario Edition)

Lest they forget: D-Day will fade from memory if we don’t teach the youth

Jerry Amernic is the author of several books, including the novel The Last Witness.

The other night, I watched Saving Private Ryan. It was Memorial Day in the United States. The opening sequence depicting the landings at Normandy on D-Day – June 6, 1944 – is riveting. Although the film never mentions Canada, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division penetrated further inland at Juno Beach on D-Day than did the Yanks or Brits at the four beaches they tackled.

The biggest military invasion in history, D-Day turned the tide of the Second World War. The 359 Canadian dead and 715 wounded were among 10,000 Allied casualties that day, and next week is the 75th anniversary. It will be the last one with actual veterans, which means there will soon be no more witnesses and that can be a dangerous thing.

We all know the words Lest we forget, but I fear that young people today know little, if anything, about D-Day and the Second World War. This became obvious to me when I taught college. They just don’t know. But when the last combatant is gone, knowing what happened and why it happened will be crucial.

My father served in the war, but was stationed in Newfoundland and never saw combat. I have his dog tag tucked away in a velvet pouch with other things from his youth. While I was born in the 1950s, I learned about Canada’s war effort in school and from my work as a journalist.

I once did a magazine profile on retired major-general Richard Rohmer who showed me his Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for his service as a reconnaissance pilot. Mr. Rohmer saw the entire Normandy invasion from the skies that day and told me about it.

Another time, I covered the last annual reunion of a group of Belgian citizens and the Canadian soldiers who liberated them in 1945. I still remember the camaraderie, the kinship and the love that existed among them.

A few years ago, I wrote a novel about the last living survivor of the Holocaust. It takes place in 2039 when my protagonist is 100 years old, but knowledge of past history is remote. My agent shopped it around, and one editor turned it down because he didn’t buy the premise about society becoming ignorant about the Holocaust in a generation. The editor said he had to suspend disbelief.


After my novel was rejected by that publisher, a videographer and I interviewed students at a Toronto university and asked them questions about the Holocaust. We asked them about the Allies. We asked if they knew about Churchill and FDR. We asked about D-Day. With few exceptions, these kids knew practically nothing. The video we made has gone viral around the world.

When I asked if they knew what happened on D-Day, their responses ranged from, “It happened in England,” to “It was a place where a lot of bombs went off,” to them just shaking their heads.

My daughter is a high-school teacher, has taught history and is dedicated to her job. But the problem might be rooted in the fact that the young have so many options today, not just in school but outside as well, and maybe there is no room for knowing about the past.

I have a 576-page document from the Ontario Ministry of Education. It’s supposed to explain what is taught in Grades 10 and 11 in high schools in the area of Canadian and World Studies, and it uses phrases such as “Concepts of Disciplinary Thinking across Subjects.”

Frankly, when it comes to teaching history – or any subject – I don’t care what it says in a document about what is supposed to be covered in the curriculum. The fact is that, for whatever the reason, young people who graduate from Ontario high schools do not know seem to know basic history.

Two weeks ago, I attended the funeral of Milton Berger. He was 94. Milt was a long-time Toronto city councillor and we met when I was a young newspaper reporter covering municipal politics. He was also the father-in-law of a close friend.

Milt was said to be the first Holocaust survivor to serve as a politician in Ontario. When he was 17 he was sent to Auschwitz.

Lest we forget? It’s time for us to wake up and ensure that our young know why we have the freedoms too many take for granted. Having them not know disrespects those who made the sacrifice – such as the men at Juno Beach – and may even foretell a future that we don’t want to imagine.

Read more

CHANGING SPIRITS WITH DREAMS: Lu Xun's Wild Grass by Carolyn T. Brown,

One day Chuang Chou dreamed that he was a butterfly fluttering about, doing as he pleased. He was not aware of being Chuang Chou. Suddenly he awoke with a start and he was Chuang Chou again. But he could not tell whether he had dreamed that he was a butterfly, or whether he was a butterfly dreaming that he was Chuang Chou.

The dream of the ancient Taoist philosopher Chuang Chou (369-286) is the most famous of a long, rich tradition of dream narratives in Chinese literature. Chuang Chou's dream poses a problem of human freedom: how to transcend the limits of any duality whose first term, in this case dreaming, logically generates its opposite, waking.

Dreamworks 5:2: 1986-1987 (Dreamworks Magazine Book 5) by [Atchity, Kenneth]
Excerpt from  Dreamworks 5:2: 1986-1987 (Dreamworks Magazine)
Kenneth Atchity Available on Amazon

Postscript (P.S.) Definition and Examples in Writing

A postscript is a brief message appended to the end of a letter (following the signature) or other text. A postscript is usually introduced by the letters P.S.

In certain types of business letters (in particular, sales promotion letters), postscripts are commonly used to make a final persuasive pitch or offer an additional incentive to a potential customer.

From the Latin post scriptum, "written afterward"

read examples and observations here 

ANNOUNCING THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “More Beautiful for Having been Broken” — Frameline Int’l Film Festival San Francisco – The Castro, June 30th at 11:00 am.

Check out the “Sneak Peek” (Not a trailer) on OML ( They have graciously posted “More Beautiful for Having Been Broken” which is specifically targeting the LGBTQ universe.  

Please hit the YouTube link, GIVE IT A THUMBS UP!!  and watch long enough for it to count as a view.

Written and  Directed by the iconic filmmaker, Nicole Conn (Claire of the Moon, Elena Undone and A Perfect Ending)

Starring Zoe Ventoura, Kayla Radomski, Cale Ferrin, Bruce Davison, French Stewart, Brooke Elliott and Gaby Christian – More Beautiful is the story of three women, whose lives intersect at a lakeside resort and are forever changed by the love of a special needs boy.

The Golden Thread

The poet William Stafford had developed an exercise that he called The Golden Thread. He believed that if you handled very carefully the detail of language and followed the detail through association, sound and tone it could lead you into a rich and meaningful world where you could begin to inhabit a more sacred universe.

One of [William Stafford’s] most amazing gifts to poetry is his theme of the golden thread. He believes that whenever you set a detail down in language, it becomes the end of a thread… and every detail –the sound of the lawn mower, the memory of your father’s hands, a crack you once heard in the lake ice, the jogger hurtling herself past your window– will lead you to amazing riches.

Robert Bly, The Darkness Around Us is Deep, p. vii.

The exercise of the Golden Thread can be an interesting pursuit if one also relates it to one’s purpose. We might think of it as following our purpose through language and writing.

Each and every one of us is following our own thread. Some may not know where you have been or where you are going, but you cannot let go of the thread you are following.

Read more

Author! Author!

 Check out Bronx Stagger by Daniel Moskowitz  Available on Amazon 

Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n Roll are on the docket of Bronx Family Court, the busiest court in NYC. Schwartz the Lawyer fights for justice for families while struggling with personal demons that place his own family at risk.

New From Story Merchant Books: Until Death Do Us Apart by Cade North

Until Death Do Us Apart

By Cade North

 Available on Amazon
LOS ANGELES, CA—Story Merchant Books releases its newest dark comedy novel, Until Death Do Us Apart, from author Cade North.

A natural disaster, naked fortune telling, a romantic catastrophe, supervillains, and poop on slides--just another week in the life of Sloane Noah. Despite always wanting a boring life, this single parent and hapless college professor finds she’s a lightning rod for the shocking and comically bizarre.

Based on a true story, this darkly hilarious book chronicles one woman’s tale about learning resilience from misfortune and strength from pain. Nature’s splintered wreckage, laughter, and the carcass of love prove to be the key ingredients for becoming her own hero. This dynamic story will resonate with anyone who’s ever fumbled through life’s absurdities and, somehow, still managed to stumble into a bright, new day.

Cade North

As Dr. Cade North carved out a career in academia and successfully raised two children on her own, North survived her own long history of romantic mishaps as well. While living a life packed with unplanned comedy and adventure, Cade developed the ability to turn personal calamities into hilarious tales.

Originally from Richmond, Indiana, North lived in numerous places across the U.S. and traveled throughout the world while getting her education and earlier work experience. Coming full circle, now Cade lives back in Indiana and works as college professor.

To request a review copy or inquire about an author interview, please email

Dennis Palumbo's Short Story "Evidence" appears in the latest issue of Mystery Weekly

At the cutting edge of crime fiction, Mystery Weekly Magazine presents original short stories by the world’s best-known and emerging mystery writers.

Check out Dennis Palumbo's "Evidence," in the latest issue of MYSTERY WEEKLY magazine. Also Paul Marks' story featured on the cover. It's among the many terrific mystery stories in this edition of the magazine.

Sharon Farsijani is a Rise & Shine and Noon Anchor at KMVT News!

Sharon Farsijani anchors the weekday Rise & Shine and Noon
newscasts on KMVT at 6 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and noon. Born in Tehran, Iran, and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., she returned to Tehran as a young teenager only to move back to NYC as a young adult. During her time in the Middle East, Sharon started her broadcast career at age 19 as a reporter, evening news anchor, producer and talk show host for IRIB Channel 6, Channel 4 and Radio BBC. She covered various events including the FIFA World Cup 1998, Iran’s historic 2001 Presidential Elections and the Changing, Cultural Times during the Khatami Era.

After returning to the United States, she studied at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and California State Fullerton to receive her degree in Broadcast Journalism and later her MBA from Pepperdine University. Upon graduation she interned with KABC Los Angeles and NBC Nightly News. After witnessing the harsh treatment towards women in the Middle East she shared her journey, penning her first poetry collection "Lacking Lips of Time" and memoir "Shaming My Red Lips."

Everyday in Tehran she contemplated the concepts of beauty, the feminine and the expression of the true feminine. As a result, after receiving her MBA, she set out to create a beauty entrepreneur brand that explored and celebrated power, sensuality and the global feminine called Poppy Farsijani Fragrance that explores various feminine archetypes. (Her name in Farsi, Shaghayegh, means Wild Desert Poppy.)

She says, “Creating awareness regarding issues affecting the community and individuals through reporting is just part of my DNA.” She has returned to broadcasting full-time while running her fragrance business and Female-Preneur podcast on the side.

Sharon is an advocate of understanding cultural differences and providing opportunities to teenagers and individuals to realize their full potential through education and awareness. When she is not on television she lends her time to mentoring college students and helping various charities and community events.

She is fluent in English, Italian and Farsi and is also an avid dancer, skier, a competitive tennis player and loves yoga, reading books and creating more fragrance collections for her company. Her guilty pleasures are eating ethnic pastries and having a glass of wine with chocolate truffles.

What is a Beat Sheet?

A beat sheet is a writing tool used by film industry writers, directors, and producers to identify in broad strokes the sequence of events, and actions in a story. It is an abbreviated way to break down the structure of your story, making it easier to organize and change.

The beat sheet charts the sequence of events that cause your main character to do something and maps how your main character progresses in his change from the beginning to the end of your story.

Create a beat sheet by using bullet points that illustrate in one or two lines the order of your plot’s progression. Remember plot takes place when a character does something or acts upon another character.

A beat sheet is a diagnostic tool, not an end in itself. There are no hard and fast rules—it’s like jotting down the main turns on the map that takes you to the end of your story.

Then you let a road guide take a look at it, to make sure it’s going efficiently where it is meant to go.

When you actually drive there, you’ll know where you’re going—and you’ll know that your creative time not only knows but has helped you make the best possible route.

Here is an example of a beat sheet for Story Merchant.

JUDAS SILVER by Jon Hargrove

· A tight-knit group of six graduate students, all best friends, are conducting an historical excavation of a colonial church in Boston. The church had been recently burned down. They are led by an eccentric professor. The students are history grad students.

· Beneath the new church, one of the grad students comes across a previously unknown room. In fact, it's a crypt.

· They enter the room, which is burned and destroyed, and unstable at best. Dirt sifts down from above. Timbers creek. The professor finds an unusual leather pouch of coins buried with one of the corpses. He picks up the bag.

· Immediately the room starts to collapse. The students make it, but the professor is killed. His hand, the only part of him not buried, is still clutching the bag of coins.

· The professor’s corpse is later removed, and the six shocked students attend his funeral.

· Days later, the six students gather in a sort of tribute to their killed professor. They gather inside his office on the university, drinking, remembering the old man.

· The professor’s wife arrives, grieving. She hands them the bag of coins, found on the professor’s body. Since the coins are part of the excavation, she wants the students to have them to further their research.

· They open the bag and count out thirty silver coins, all ancient. Could they be the thirty coins used to betray Christ? Some of the students scoff at the idea, but others believe.

· One of the students, Gerald, an intern at the Boston Museum, has had considerable experience in dating artifacts. He tests the coins and concludes that they are over two thousand years old.

· Valery, a student at the Harvard Divinity School, uses history books to place the coins. She’s confidant that they are from the time of Christ.

· Two of the students, Robert and Piers, go out on the town. Robert immediately gets into a fight at a local club and is stabbed to death.

· The remaining five friends are in shock, horrified. Two deaths in one week. Julie, who’s into the arcane and the occult, does some more research. She discovers that the Judas coins are thought to be cursed, and she’s beginning to believe it.

· Sheila brings in a numismatist, who states that the coins could be potentially worth millions if sold to the right collector. The coins have only been rumored to exist. They have on their hands a major find.

· The students argue over who should oversee the coins, now that the coins are valuable. They quickly begin losing trust in each other. They decide to use the museum’s safe.

· Later, Piers and Julie, who are engaged to be married and have known each other since they were kids, suggest that they sell the coins, and share the money. But Sheila reminds them that the coins are not theirs to sell. They belong to the parish, and she thinks they should give the coins back.

· That night the others find Sheila dead. Fallen from her fifth floor dorm room. Her death is ruled a suicide by the police.

· The remaining four students secretly wonder if Sheila’s death was truly a suicide. None of them have alibis.

· Piers is losing it. He believes the coins are cursed and they need to be destroyed. Julie and Gerald go down to the museum to find the coins. But the coins are gone.

· They all suspect each other of stealing them, leading to another murder.

· The three remaining students have decided toss the coins into the Atlantic. Just as they are about to do so, Gerald turns a gun on them.

· They fight and Gerald is killed, falling overboard, leaving only Piers and Julie.

· Piers turns around to see his fiancée Julie holding a gun on him. She wants the coins. He tosses them to her, and she promptly pulls the trigger.

· Alone, with five of her one-time best friends now dead, Julie turns the sailboat back to shore.

· In the distance a storm is coming, and the seas are choppy. Lightning illuminates the entire sky, revealing ominous thunderheads. The little sailboat rises and falls on the massive swells, standing little chance against nature’s fury—and the curse of the coins.


~ Excerpt from Writing Treatments that Sell

NEW FROM STORY MERCHANT BOOKS Grow Your Cash Flow by Ana Weber

           Grow Your Cash Flow
By Ana Weber

LOS ANGELES, CA—Story Merchant Books releases its newest money-making manual, Grow Your Cash Flow, from author and speaker Ana Weber.

Grow Your Cash Flow provides essential and productive tools for enhancing leadership and take the driver seat in your life vehicle. Quote, “even a rock wants to feel important!”

·       Money has to Flow. Keeping it bottled up makes money your unwilling slave, not your friend and companion.
·       When Money Does Flow, it “Floats All Boats.” The whole economy revolves around money circulating from one person or business to another, to another.
·       Attitude is everything. Once you change your attitude toward money, doors of possibility will open to you. As a small girl working alongside my mom in the kiosk in Romania, or as a student living with other poor children and orphans in Kibbutz Mossad, I never could have imagined how abundant the world really was, once I opened myself up to that abundance. It’s been a great journey—and you can succeed, too.

Although money is not life, it is both a metaphor for life and a tool to organize your life. And like other tools in our lives, our relationship with money can help us or hurt us. Using the lessons I’ve learned in my own journey around money, this book gives you many ways to turn money into a positive force in your life—whether or not you currently have a little or a lot of it. Money flows in and out of our lives, and back in again. The Cash Flow represents the flow of life. How money flows through and around you becomes an integral part of your life—but one you can influence, or even control.

Ana Weber is a business "Rainmaker," writer, speaker, 360 Degree Lifestyle Leadership Expert, and Philanthropist, founder of The DOXA method and Grow Your Cash Flow. 

She has implemented “THE DOXA METHOD” for over 26 years in the corporate world throughout her management and leadership positions: CFO, CEO, VP of Sales for a wide range of industries such as medical, architectural (The Smithsonian Institute) automotive (Porsche Race Car Division), the apparel industry, and washers manufacturing for the trucking industry.

To request a review copy or inquire about an author interview, please email

Writing Advice from Haruki Murakami

Write to find out.

I myself, as I’m writing, don’t know who did it. The readers and I are on the same ground. When I start to write a story, I don’t know the conclusion at all and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. If there is a murder case as the first thing, I don’t know who the killer is. I write the book because I would like to find out. If I know who the killer is, there’s no purpose to writing the story.


A Potter’s Tale
By Dave Davis

LOS ANGELES, CA—Story Merchant Books releases its newest action-adventure sci-fi thriller, A Potter’s Tale, from author Dave Davis.

1935. Roz Lhulier and his team unearth the massive tomb of Pakal, the greatest Mayan king. It’s the discovery of the century, they think. They’re wrong.

Instead, deep in the pyramid that holds the seventh-century ruler, hides a primitive Codex, a book of prophecy, predicting the collapse of the solar system. Raising the question, “Does the world end?”

The codex is deciphered by Alan Turing, the genius who broke the German’s Enigma Code during WWII, but its message is jealously guarded by the Astronomers, a lethal cult inside the Catholic Church. They’ve compromised or killed anyone with knowledge of the secret—presidents and prime ministers, for starters.

The Codex pulls Noah Scott, a physician-turned reporter, and his partner Kate Chien-Forest into its deadly orbit. When they investigate the murder and memoirs of DiShannia, a highly precocious DC teenager who’s achieved national recognition for her research on the demise of the Mayan civilization, Kate and Noah are led from Washington DC, to the British Museum, to the Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, to Melbourne, Australia. Each step enlightens them, offers them clues, frightens them. And us.

The Potter’s Tale weaves two strands of the novel—the Codex and its rich human stories—with another, creating an unsettling narrative DNA. This third strand involves the Potter, who crafts the story; who crafts the universe. And the genes that craft us all.

Does this world end? The Potter knows the answer. Noah, Kate discover it. We learn it too—on the last page. And it’s a total surprise.


Dave Davis, MD

Dave Davis is a retired family physician and medical educator; a husband, father and grandfather. He divides his time between Hamilton, Ontario, Fort Myers Beach, Florida, and Dubai in the UAE. He’s published articles, newspaper columns, books. This is his first novel.

To request a review copy or inquire about an author interview, please email

Writing Advice from Haruki Murakami

Share your dreams.

Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us. We cannot be novelists without this sense of sharing something.