"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Revisiting Betty White and The Lost Valentine to NY Times Arts Beat - R.I.P

August 6, 2010, 8:58 am

It’s Friday, So Why Not Talk to Betty White?


Betty White doesn’t need your approval. She’s such a rock star now that in addition to her regular role on the TV Land comedy “Hot in Cleveland” (which was recently picked up for a second season), she can also accept a recurring guest spot on the NBC series “Community” and call its cast delightful to their faces and no one can stop her. And she will turn down your offer to appear in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie until you ask again nicely, and then tell you it’s a lovely script, just to let you know who’s boss. And if you tease her sarcastically at a public event, be prepared to face the full force of her endearing rejoinders.

ArtsBeat was recently offered the opportunity to speak with Ms. White about her work on “Community,” her perpetually busy schedule, and the risks of overexposure, and we were too afraid to say no. These are excerpts from that conversation.


You’re able to juggle this at the same time as your work on “Hot in Cleveland”?


Right, but we’re on hiatus now — we don’t go back until the 1st of November. That’s something lovely to look forward to, because the girls are so great, and the chemistry between them is so wonderful. But in the meantime, I’ve got a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie to do in Atlanta.


What’s it about?


It’s a lovely script that was sent — it’s two weeks in Atlanta, and I always try very hard not to go out of town. I try to stay here [California] as much as I can. Once in a while, like a “Saturday Night Live” thing, I had to go back for. But I keep it down to a minimum. So I turned it down, because of the being out of town. But they made it as easy for me as they can, and I get to come home on the weekend, between the two weeks. I’ll come in on Saturday and go back to Atlanta on Sunday to go to work Monday morning. So I was able to say O.K. The name of it is “Lost Valentine,” and it’s a love story. I do a lot of supposed comedy work — I mean, I hope it’s comedy work. This one is a love story so it’s a nice change of pace for me.


Do you get a love interest in the film?


No, in this case, it’s a love that I’ve lost. The reason it appealed to me so much, it’s a deep, deep love story, like the one I had with my beloved Allen Ludden.

How To Be Productive: Understanding Time, Work and Creativity



BUY THE BOOK - SELL YOUR STORY TO HOLLYWOOD: Writer’s Pocket Guide To The Business Of Show Business - BUY THE BOOK - WRITING TREATMENTS THAT SELL: How To Create And Market Your Story Ideas To The Motion Picture and TV Industry - MORE VIDEOS WITH DR. KEN ATCHITY

The Story of My Life! Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me

Anyone who enjoyed Mircea Eliade’s autobiographical multi-volume Exile’s Odyssey, Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook My Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, or Richard Feynman’s Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman, will find My Obit: Daddy Holding Me a page-turner filled with poignant family experiences, explosive sibling rivalry, literary adventures, ethnic cooking, wide-ranging storytelling, the workings of the brain itself--and what can be learned about life from playing tennis for decades. The jokes and recipes alone are worth the entrance price.

The Story of My Life! Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me


I’ve lived a lifetime of literary adventures by refusing to be relegated to a niche. In My Obit: Daddy Holding Me, my storytelling passion and family and professional anecdotes provide humor and insight into my hugely self-determined life.

I hope it makes you laugh, spares you some of my grief, and leads you to insist on telling your story to anyone who will listen.

The Story of My Life! Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me


Anyone who enjoyed Mircea Eliade’s autobiographical multi-volume Exile’s Odyssey, Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook My Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, or Richard Feynman’s Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feynman, will find My Obit: Daddy Holding Me a page-turner filled with poignant family experiences, explosive sibling rivalry, literary adventures, ethnic cooking, wide-ranging storytelling, the workings of the brain itself--and what can be learned about life from playing tennis for decades. The jokes and recipes alone are worth the entrance price.

I hope it makes you laugh, spares you some of my grief, and leads you to insist on telling your story to anyone who will listen.

Mental Health Monday: Night Terrors Featuring Dennis Palumbo


"Authentic and fast-paced, Night Terrors is a thrilling plunge into the mind of an obsessed killer. This is something you don't want to miss!" —Stephen Jay Schwartz, LA Times bestselling author of Boulevard and Beat

Retired FBI profiler Lyle Barnes is falling apart mentally. Psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi thinks he can help Barnes through his terrible night visions. Barnes, however, is also the target of an unknown assassin whose mounting list of victims paralyzes the city and lands Lyle in protective custody. Then Barnes disappears, drawing Daniel and the joint FBI-Pittsburgh PD Task Force into a desperate manhunt.

Meanwhile, the mother of a youthful confessed killer awaiting trial is convinced that her son is innocent and appeals to Daniel for help. Against his better judgment, he becomes involved, and soon suspects that much about the case is not as it appears.

Can Daniel and the law officials find the missing Barnes before the killer does? Are these two seemingly unconnected cases somehow linked?

Ian Bull's The Danger Game Winner of the 2021 NYC Big Book Award in Action, Adventure

The world is playing and the stakes are real.   Julia and Steven are trapped in The Danger Game and making a fortune for their captors while fighting for their lives.

The Danger Game is author Ian Bull’s final installment in The Quintana Adventures trilogy, published by Story Merchant Books, about Army Ranger photographer Steven Quintana and actor Julia Travers. 

On Amazon:

Watch Emmy Nominated "The Kennedy Detail"

One of our Favorite projects ever! Honored to have worked with the men of the Kennedy Detail, Clint Hill, Gerald Blaine, Win Lawson, Ron Pontius , Thomas Wells, Toby Chandler and Paul Landis.

The true story of the assassination of JFK is told for the first time from the perspective of the Secret Service agents. Based on the bestselling book by Lisa McCubbin and Gerald Blaine. Documentary directed by Vince DiPersio.

Now Available in Hardcover! Read about Melissa Bunnen's Incredible Journey from Banking To Baking in her hit memoir from Story Merchant Books.

“Let’s bake and deliver cakes!” That was their big, moneymaking idea, though neither Melissa nor Helen, two fresh-faced twenty-somethings, had ever baked a cake. Next up, they picked the location—Melissa’s rinky-dink condo kitchen. Then, they swiped three recipes from family and friends, put $250 into the company kitty, and made their first investment: 250 plastic cake knives with Piece of Cake stamped on them.

That was 1986.

A decade later, POC, The Ward, World Headquarters, or the Pokey—whichever moniker you prefer—was pulling in seven figures annually. Over three decades later, they have locations all over Atlanta, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

I was a liberal-arts major. You won’t find my business philosophy being taught at Harvard Business School,, or any institution in between. But you will find it here.

This is a story of starting a company on pocket change, of working twenty-hour days with no days off in sight, of losing my home to sacks of sugar and flour and ovens galore. It’s a story about cakes cooling atop lampshades, about nervous breakdowns, wandering pot dealers, babies, puppies, Cakers and bakers. It’s a story about the original housewives of Atlanta (they were working for me!) and the homeless, too; it’s about a car called The Bomb, and a location called Pamland. Piece of Cake is a place where autonomy ruled and that was the only rule.

From Corporate America to cake batter, Piece of Cake: My Recipe for Success is a career manual for folks who know little about business, a cookbook for those who’d never thought about baking, and a what-are-you-waiting-for guide to pursuing your dreams.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

This is the story of doing it my way

Dennis Palumbo discusses his book Panic Attack Recorded live atThe Poisoned Pen Bookstore


 READ EXCERPT: Panic Attack by Dennis Palumbo  

Writer's Lifeline Author Spotlight: Dr. Dave Davis

Dr. Dave Davis worked closely with our Writer’s Lifeline Service to bring his vision to the page in his Science Fiction hit A Potter’s Tale that was the 2021 Independent Press Distinguished Favorite in Science Fiction. 

Check out Dr. Davis' newest novel, The Last Immortal, out now on Amazon

Need help telling your story like Dr. Davis did? Check out the Writer’s Lifeline Service and take the first steps towards getting your story told:

Dennis Palumbo stops by the Corner to discuss PANIC ATTACK.


Now a licensed psychotherapist specializing in creative issues, Dennis Palumbo is a former Hollywood screenwriter ("My Favorite Year," "Welcome Back, Kotter," etc.). His mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, The Strand, Mystery Weekly and elsewhere, and is collected in "From Crime to Crime" (Tallfellow Press). His acclaimed debut crime novel, "Mirror Image," was the first in a series featuring psychologist and trauma expert Daniel Rinaldi. It was followed by "Fever Dream," "Night Terrors," "Phantom Limb” and the award-winning “Head Wounds.” Panic Attack is the sixth in the series.

Matt Coyle is the Shamus, Anthony and Lefty Award-winning author of the Rick Cahill crime series.

This podcast is solely owned by the Authors on the Air Global radio Network.

Producer Mark Ordesky on the joy of the 20th anniversary of Fellowship Of The Ring sharing stories with Eirik Bull

A Conversation with Mark Ordesky

As a part of this series, I have spoken with some of the people who were instrumental to the production of Peter Jackson’s trilogy. One of them is the American film and television producer, Mark Ordesky, who spent five years working on Peter Jackson’s trilogy.

In the Zoom conversations I’ve had with Mark earlier in 2021, we talked about everything from Dungeons & Dragons (we both started playing at the age of 13, and none of us ever stopped) to Hollywood politics. If there exists a cliché or archetypical Hollywood executive, Mark is anything but. And after having struggled a bit with my somewhat rusty English pronunciation and the kind of The Lord of the Rings fan’s confidence that comes when talking to one so instrumental in the making of the trilogy, I discovery a friendly, talkative, and deeply knowledgeable 57-year-old film producer (who I could have sworn was at least a decade younger!)

Early Career – From Low Budgets to the Oscars

Mark started his career in the film industry doing low-budget horror- and science fiction sequels for the VHS market. New Line Cinema, filling up the corners of their repertoire, assigned the young producer to make the low-budget Critters 3 and Critters 4 back-to-back. I was myself a fan of the Critters movies growing up, and of course, I had to ask him about it:

–No one, really, at New Line, on the production team, wanted to do those movies. They were going to be very inexpensive, and I think that no one thought they would be particularly sexy. So, they gave them to me. I was the most junior executive on the team. And they gave them to me and said “Listen, we’re going to need two movies, in nine months, and the combined budget of the two movies must be very low. And we need them, like, right now.”

So, I called a friend of mine who was a screenwriter and a novelist. His name is David J. Schow, and I said, “We need two scripts in four weeks.” And he said OK, and he hung up and called me back, and said “I got it. Critters go to the big city, and Critters go to outer space.” And I’m like “This is impossible, we have this very small budget.” He said, “No, they go to the big city, they’ll just be inside of an apartment building, and in outer space, they’ll just be inside of a spaceship.”

So, he wrote these two scripts, and we got a warehouse. It was almost a foreshadowing of The Lord of the Rings. For while we had two directors and two editors, the crew of both films was the same. And obviously two different casts. And we shot the interiors of the apartments and the interiors of the spaceship sort of back-to-back, and we made the two films. And those were the first films that got me from behind my desk and out into the actual making of things.

Mark enjoyed his new role as an on-set producer and moved on to bigger and better things. He became the head of Fine Line Features, which was New Line Cinema’s arthouse department, acquiring or executive producing more serious films like Saving Grace, State and Main and the Oscar winner Shine. Mark was also instrumental in getting Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan a household name in the 90s with Rumble in the Bronx.
A Guiding Hand

Our conversation continues, and I’m starting to realize that we might have more in common than I first realized. We were both enthusiastic Dungeon & Dragons nerds growing up, a hobby that would spark a passion for film, and a career in the film industry.

I often struggle with a less than optimal self-confidence and a sort of imposter syndrome that I suspect has made me avoid taking chances and grasp onto opportunities in the film industry as they appeared in the past. But how was it for Mark Ordesky then, to go from low-budget sequels to one the biggest and most unique productions in film history? Did he feel overwhelmed at some point? Did the imposter syndrome rear its ugly head? The answer would surprise and inspire me.

–Hmm, the way I see it… and I don’t know how spiritual of a person you are…

I quickly answer that I am not at all spiritual nor religious, and as a side note, the same goes for most Norwegians, really. He continues:

–You know I read the books when I was 12-13 years old, and then when I first started out in the film business I found my way to Peter Jackson through his early films. And then I started trying to work with him, unsuccessfully, trying to get his films distributed. And then I got involved with him at New Line.

So, in a weird sort of way, I found that all the threads seemed to be coming together. I’m a big fan of incrementalism. So, when they said that “you’re going to be the production executive for the trilogy”, that was a surprise, as it wasn’t my expectation, because I had only worked on lower-budgeted films.

But because there was so much work to do, and it just had to start. Every month, more and more work was required, of a more complex nature. So, I grew, as the work grew.

The question about spirituality stuck with me after the conversation. I’m not a spiritual person, but I felt bad for brushing aside Mark’s question as I did. I sent him an email a short time after the interview to ask about it. Mark elaborates:

-In the context of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien often evokes providence, as Gandalf speaks of the Ring being found “by the most unlikely person imaginable”.

Gandalf says “Behind that there was something else at work, beyond any design of the Ring-maker. I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring and not by its maker.”

When I consider my own role in The Lord of the Rings, I can’t help but see the hand of providence – a parallel to Bilbo. I was meant to read and love Tolkien in the late 70s and then watch and love the early films by Peter Jackson in the mid-to-late 80s.

By 1998, when Peter’s vision of LOTR was in jeopardy, I was at New Line Cinema where I’d been a Jackson partisan for years. New Line was the ideal studio at the ideal moment to bet big on Peter – even one-upping expectations when founder/chairman Robert Shaye recommended making three films instead of two.

Mark’s positivity, idealism and yes, even spirituality inspires. How I would have loved to be there to see this idealism and positivity at work in film production. Imagine how he felt when the cameras first started rolling on Peter Jackson’s epic production.
Dwarf for a Day

We continued the conversation and got to the topic about the five-year production in New Zealand and Mark’s time there. In a production like this, if there even is such a thing anywhere else, there should be plenty of funny or quirky stories to share. I ask Mark if he has anything in mind, but before he can answer, my eagerness to hear more about something the British film journalist Ian Nathan describes in his book, “Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-Earth” takes over. I had to ask about his day as Gimli in Fangorn Forest. And as I do, memories from that day brighten up Mark’s face.

–It’s not only funny, but it speaks to Peter’s sense of humor, and of the role that I was playing. The dynamic that got set up is that all the various requests from the studio ended up sort of getting funneled through me to a very large degree. Which was efficient, because that way there weren’t 10 or 15 different departments trying to all interface with Peter at the same time. Peter had this sort of rule that I would prioritize these things and space them out.

But if I had something timely and I had to come to set, yeah, since I’ve known him for so long and he’s known me, he could see from my face that I was coming to ask him something that would be time-consuming. So, he basically grabbed me and said “Oh, it’s fantastic that you’re here. We need someone to do Gimli’s offlines here in the forest. So, you stand behind this tree…” And I was stuck behind that tree for two- or three hours doing Gimli off lines while Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys Davies’ scale double (Brett Beattie) were trying to do this scene over again, and I was trapped there.

There are hardly any photographs of me on set. I tend to not make myself prominent in these kinds of situations. But the photographer, somehow, and maybe Peter directed him to do this, managed to get a photo of me standing on the set, against the bluescreen, with the fake trees, and the expression on my face tells you that I’m trapped in the forest, unable to ask my question.

Mark Ordesky, lost in Fangorn Forest

The Best of Days

We spend some time on the funny and quirky stories from the production before I asked if he got to keep any of the props after the production. And true enough, both one of the Rings used in the film, and a hand-forged version of Aragorn’s sword, Anduril, were among the gifts given to Mark.

And when I ask Mark about his one fondest memory from the production, it doesn’t take him long pick one from what I am sure would be a long list:

-Probably the fondest moment was relatively early in the process. It was in Cannes, in May, in 2001, when we showed the 26 minutes of footage to the world press, and to all the distributors who had pre-bought the trilogy. It spoke about the boldness of New Line as a company to bring that footage. We didn’t have to do that. We could have just waited until December and release the movie. But we took the footage, which is mostly built, as you know, around the Mines of Moria-sequence predominantly, and by bringing it there, and bringing the whole cast and the world press, we were going to give you a preview, a substantial preview. It was literally like pushing all your chips into the middle of the table for one hand of Blackjack. If that didn’t go well, you would still release the film in December, and if the film had been amazing, maybe the thing in May would have been forgotten.

But it was a very bold move to do. And for me personally, it validated to the world and to our distribution partners around the world that their faith in us had been well placed. And it validated Peter and the team in New Zealand. It was like the screening heard around the world. It was like a movie in the 30s where everyone rushes out of the courtroom to the payphones. It was pandemonium because people saw something so authentic and unlike anything they had expected.

And in that moment, I remember our French distributor Samuel Hadida, who’s sadly passed away, and who’s a big, barrel-chested guy, he literally got me in the lobby of the cinema, and he picked me up. I’m only 5′ 6”, so it was not hard to pick me up. He picked me up and he kissed me on the mouth, like in the classic French style. And he was smiling so big it was like his face would break open. He was so happy!

And I remember I went up to the projection room because I needed just a minute to process this. And I actually wept. Like wept with joy. For when you really take a huge risk, and it works, only then will you allow yourself to realize the magnitude of what was at stake. And that really set the tone for the whole thing.

There were still obviously heaps of work to do and all kinds of obstacles and hardships and problems to solve. And obviously, there was also much glory that followed: the Oscar nominations, the billions of dollars in box-office… But that moment was particularly special.

Even as Mark tells his story, I can almost see how he is transported back 20 years to that theatre in Cannes. Moved, I fumble with my words, trying to remember that we’re speaking English and we’re back in 2021.
The Quest

There can be no doubt that The Lord of the Rings will be a highlight of Mark Ordesky’s film career. How could one even try to top that production? But it has been 20 years, and I am curious about what Mark’s been up to after The Lord of the Rings. We spend some time talking about the other productions he has been involved in.

A quick look at reveals several titles I am familiar with, including The New World, The Golden Compass and Inkheart, the one with Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, and that cute, horned ferret. But one title that piques my curiosity is The Quest. I ask Mark about it:

–The Quest ironically directly flowed from The Lord of the Rings. It is a hybrid scripted and non-scripted television show. We basically take eight real people, in this case, kids, 14–16-year-old kids. And we embed them in a fully immersive, 360-degree fantasy environment, built around a besieged castle. And it’s a real castle, not a set. And there are actors, prosthetic creatures, horses… there is a narrative, there is a storyline that weaves in and out of the kids’ experience. And they are prophesied heroes to help save the kingdom.

And part of the way it links to Lord of the Rings is, in the earliest days, after we cast everyone, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin and Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan, a lot of the cast went down early to learn how to ride horses, swordfight and archery, so they would look very proficient when the time came. They went down six weeks or more early. And I remember seeing the footage and thinking just how exciting that was. And my producing partner in my company, Court Five, who also worked with me at New Line at that time, thought: “What if real people could have an experience like that? Like that would just be the best!”

So that was the kernel of the idea, and we made the show with the folks that make The Amazing Race and the folks that make Queer Eye and Legendary on Netflix and HBO Max.

And the key thing about it is we take these kids, and you drop them into this world, and the wonderment manifests. It’s like throwing a surprise party every day. Because things happen in the narrative, scripted things unfold in front of them, or with them. And things happen depending on how they behave, which trigger other things, like in a video game. It’s very ambitious. It is sort of like theatre; you can’t do multiple takes. You can only do it once because the kids are completely real.

When I hear Mark talk about The Quest, I can see his enthusiasm and joy for the project. I’m a role player myself, having played Dungeons & Dragons for decades, and I know several people involved in the LARPing community (Live Action Role Play). A scripted, elaborate LARP? Or something more? I will have to watch this.

Our conversation starts to dwindle down, and I’m almost out of questions. We talk a bit about other projects, about books he would love to put onto the screen, and my own plans for visiting New Zealand. So, we decide to meet up in Middle-Earth. How about a pint at The Green Dragon in The Shire?

Maybe one day, when the world is brighter and the borders are open again.

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1 of Journey to Middle-Earth.

Next time, we’ll meet the Wizard of WETA Workshop himself, Sir Richard Taylor.

Eirik Bull is a Norwegian film journalist and critic specializing in science fiction, fantasy and fandom. A self-described film nerd and “gonzo light”, Eirik got his start writing reviews on Letterboxd and later for Norway’s leading film and cinema website, Cinema Norway. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy and the occasional 80s cult classic, and his love for Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings knows very few bounds.

Eirik holds degrees in film production, marketing, and brand management. He is a member of The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and was part of the FIPRESCI jury at the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2021.

See author's posts

New From Story Merchant Books: The Last Immortal by Dave Davis



One by one, graduates of a highly selective medical school class at Georgetown are kidnapped. Meanwhile, around the globe, archeologists discover secrets to an ancient mystery, possibly older than history itself. Like the strands of DNA, the two storylines are linked, uniting in an explosive chase and attempted rescue – and a discovery central to the future of human evolution.

Follow Noah Scott, the only Georgetown physician to escape kidnapping, Annie Van Stuyvesant, an eccentric archeologist, and Sebastian Kane, one of the world’s wealthiest men, as they pursue the interlinked secrets and stand to answer the most important question this ancient mystery raises: What would you do to live forever?


Dave’s commentaries in the Hamilton Spectator have been regularly praised for their sensitivity, humor, and insight; they draw on Dave’s rich experiences as a family doctor, husband and father. His first novel, A Potter’s Tale, was recently named 2021's Independent Press Distinguished Favorite in Science Fiction. His second, The Last Immortal, is bound to attract readers interested in an intelligent, thought-provoking thriller. They’re both books in The Noah Series.

Author's Spotlight: James E. Pierre


James E. Pierre worked closely with our Writer’s Lifeline Service to bring his vision to the page in his based on a true story novel, Gambino: The Rise, that dives into the criminal underworld of the American Mafia.  Available on Amazon

Need help telling your story like James did? Check out the Writer’s Lifeline Service and take the first steps towards getting your story told:

Fran Lewis: Just Reviews On Kenneth Atchity's "Heartfelt Autobiography" My Obit: Daddy Holding Me


Just Reviews


A child is born, and he should be loved and embraced. A child is born and should be welcomed into his family. A child is born and instead is shunned, cast aside and made to feel he does not exist. A child fears crowds and hides under his bed when company comes. Even his name was not truly the first thought on their mind as the proper namesake for him. A father who called him an entity and pushed him away. 

My Obit: Daddy Holding Me: Kenneth Atchity:
one man’s journey to find who he is. Dealing with his parents created stress and demanding situations and then his kindergarten teacher creates more. The difficulties and hardships a young child faces and must try and make life alerting changes that create conflict, and courage to find out who he really is, dealing with family posed rules and self-imposed expectations to turn into the person he hopes to be one day. 

Throughout the memoir the author shares his emotional upheavals dealing with his father, his impatience and his critiques of his friendships, his orientations and even educational goals. Meeting a Jesuit Priest and learning from him calling him Ziggy helped to define him in many ways. Sharing defining moments that most of us would not exactly want to remember, different issues with different instructors in many schools and then looking beyond that having to find his own way in the world, finding self-worth and his own way to look in the mirror and see himself for who he really is, took courage. Some stories are more powerful than others and some create an autobiography of a life that was filled with many hurdles, many unfortunate incidents, pleasures and a life that in the present has taken much from his past. 

Some journeys are never ending and dealing with his family, their attitudes, his parents and how his father treated him and self-imposed restrictions in the end was quite courageous. Hoping the learn in his own heart his father’s true feelings for him, did he really love you and he shares his life, opens his heart, and of course his family recipes that he is able to duplicate and more. The past/present/future all in one. 

The author tells the story in his own voice and the one about Tata’s Beans is inspirational and the one about double entry brings back memories. The story about his aunt’s grape leaves and the one about double entry proved how enterprising he can be. Dad gave him silver dollars, his uncle's extra money and he bought himself another ledger like his father's and kept it under his mattress to keep track of the actual expenditures and incomes. As he stated two different stories told with numbers. Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Tony provided two heartwarming and interesting stories. Jimmy was his intellectual role model and Tony different. Always trying to please his dad he includes a letter talking about his job working at Junior’s store and how much he earned. Always wanting him to be proud of him. The second section is my favorite focusing on his career choices, major in college and writing and editing as his direction. Losing his grandfather took a toll on him and the family and the picture on 179 highlights it all. His family seemed very diversified in the dishes they made, and Tata’s squash sounds great, and it’s followed by the corporate waiting room. So many facets of his life, so many people that impacted his choices and yet you can tell there is a certain darkness hanging over him when he thinks about his father. He just wants him to be proud of him. 

As the stories continue the author delves into the many careers he decided upon, from writer and editor to movie producer and owner of a corporation and more. Each endeavor with its own pluses and drawbacks plus the emotional upheavals and changes. But throughout you can feel the tension within himself and his family dynamics plus the stories he relates about himself and his father. Each of his accomplishments are summarized at the end and yet does he ever realize that his father accepted him in his own way. The interesting interviews, imagine being interviewed by Dr. Joyce Brothers, meeting Dominick Dunne and Bruno from Dancing with the stars. Allowing us to attend his father’s funeral and hearing his voice and that of his family. Proud of his children and finding the photo that is on the cover and its meaning. Along the way he changes jobs, gets scholarships and is teaching but that was not to be permanent. Added in he shares special moments in time and the epilogue sums it up plus the poems that help express his emotions. Then he sees something that might bring it all into perspective a telegram that says: We are all immensely proud of your election as new editor of the Hoya: Congratulations. Imagine thinking his father is proud and then there are many other Kenny Letters that he finds. From Yale to Occidental College to pursuing this as a second career, editing producing and publishing and teaching through the years there are so many changes within himself and his life. The filing of the corporation and the Certificate of Incorporation just one surprise that he finds but there are more as he delves into the corporate binder before the first recorded minutes were two documents. 

The author shares that on page 283. The many celebrities and their photos plus the final revelation about his father’s feelings and realizing that he is truly a success within himself and to others. An inspirational autobiography taken within his own timelines and flashbacks to help readers understand his relationships with family and friends. I loved the cooking recipes and the fact that his aunts were so special to him. Author Kenneth Atchity: your words are profound, your story hits home in many respects and your successes will always be there and your father’s photo will remind you that your Dad is always going to HOLD YOU UP!  

Fran Lewis: Just reviews

Story Merchant Books First Zoom Launch Party: The Last Immortal by Dave Davis

THE LAST IMMORTAL by Dave Davis Writing!! online Book Launch, October 27th, 7PM Eastern

Q & A with the Author and Story Merchant Books publisher Kenneth Atchity

Join Zoom here:
Passcode: 477697

AND..... drops on-line on
and this week!

The Story of My Life! Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me

“At the prompting of a marketing friend, I was advised to title this book, My Intensely Madcap, Lebanese/Cajun, Jesuit-Schizoid, Terminally Narcissistic, Food-Focused, East Coast/West Coast, Georgetown/Yale, Career-Changing, Cross-Dressing, Runaway Catholic Italophile, Paradoxically Dramatic, Linguistically Neurotic, Hollywood Academic, ADD-Overcompensating, Niche-Abhorring, Jocoserious Obit. But when my designer pointed out that title wouldn’t fit on the spine, much less on any public display list, I changed my mind. Again! The story of my life.

Which this is at least the first volume of. I hope it makes you laugh, spares you some of my grief, and leads you to insist on telling your story to anyone who will listen.”

Writer's Lifeline Author Spotlight

Working closely with our Writer’s Lifeline Service, Steve brought his vision to the page and later to the silver screen. Steve Alten has written countless hits such as The Loch (2005), Domain, or the Mayan Prophecy (2001), and The Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror (1997) which was adapted into the 2018 film The Meg starring Jason Statham.

Need help telling your story like Steve did? Check out The Writer’s Lifeline Service and take the first steps towards getting your story told.

SCWA Hump Day Book With Dennis Palumbo

 A short but jam-packed video interview with Dennis Palumbo author of the Daniel Rinaldi Mysteries with the Southern California Writers Association.



Now on sale, “PANIC ATTACK” is the sixth in the award-winning series of mystery thrillers from the mind of Dennis Palumbo.

This time, Pittsburgh psychologist and police consultant Daniel Rinaldi finds himself caught up in the investigation of a series of seemingly random sniper attacks.

The hunt for the Steel City Sniper leads to a heart-stopping conclusion that readers will never forget!

To order “PANIC ATTACK,” please click here for Amazon Books. Or from these other online sites: Barnes & NobleIndieboundBookshopBooks-a-millionEbooks and Chapters/Indigo. Or from your favorite indie bookstore!

Dennis Palumbo's DRM series

Dennis Palumbo's Daniel Rinaldi Mysteries


The Story of My Life! Ken Atchity's My Obit: Daddy Holding Me

“At the prompting of a marketing friend, I was advised to title this book, My Intensely Madcap, Lebanese/Cajun, Jesuit-Schizoid, Terminally Narcissistic, Food-Focused, East Coast/West Coast, Georgetown/Yale, Career-Changing, Cross-Dressing, Runaway Catholic Italophile, Paradoxically Dramatic, Linguistically Neurotic, Hollywood Academic, ADD-Overcompensating, Niche-Abhorring, Jocoserious Obit. But when my designer pointed out that title wouldn’t fit on the spine, much less on any public display list, I changed my mind. Again! The story of my life.

Which this is at least the first volume of. I hope it makes you laugh, spares you some of my grief, and leads you to insist on telling your story to anyone who will listen.”

Writer's Lifeline Author Spotlight

Working closely with our Writer’s Lifeline Service, Melissa was able to craft her inspiring memoir about leaving a corporate career behind for her passion. Since the release of Piece of Cake: My Wild Ride from Banking to Baking, Piece of Cake Inc. continues to thrive.

Need help telling your story like Melissa did? Check out the Writer’s Lifeline Service and take the first steps towards getting your story told.

Kenneth Atchity Featured in The Visionary

Get The Visionary in print or for your iPad, Kindle, Nook, or Kobo.

"You cannot fail at being yourself, which means doing with all your might what you were born to do with your light, your vision, and your time.”

There is no such thing as was—only is,” William Faulkner wrote. “If was existed, there would be no grief or sorrow.” Time is a human creation.

Time keeps then now. Time causes aging, not age. A mayfly has no time to realize its lifecycle is mere hours; fellow mayflies don’t remind it or post countdown clocks on its walls. By and within ourselves we are ageless. And time is what we make of it. We must make the time to do what we do best, what we were born to do.

Light is the universal mind revealing its potential. “Let there be light,” the creator said, and his very words were the light “that shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Without the darkness whence it came, there would be no light; darkness is the chaos created by fear, unease with the universe—but also the womb of love and light. Light begets perception, and perception at its brightest is what we call vision.

Let your voice rise to the heavens called the Elder and the voices of the group rose strong and clear to greet the First Ray to celebrate its arrival in the cycle of this new lifetime as the ancients called the day this new journey of the Earth around the axis of its heart, to welcome it with outstretched arms and hearts wide open yes here the Light loved to shine

Reading Birgitte’s words makes me rejoice anew in that time of first light that I’ve sought throughout my life to dedicate to vision. Born on a farm, I’m happiest when I awaken an hour or two before dawn. This is my time, spent with a cup of savory coffee and a half-hour of reading inspirational words like these; followed by attending to my latest “visionary” project. Currently, that’s the completion of a family chronicle; prior to that it was my novel The Messiah Matrix, which explores the origins of Christianity from an unusual and little-discussed historical perspective.

I believe in the power of stories to change the world. My passion for stories has not only changed my life; it has been my life—hundreds of books sold to publishers or published by Story Merchant Books, two dozen New York Times bestsellers, thirty movies produced to date, several television series sold. All stories I felt needed to be told. It’s been my beloved vocation to inspire storytellers to reach for their maximum audiences. The books and movies we’ve developed have reached millions worldwide and it’s the best feeling to hear, on a plane from Hong Kong to Tokyo, that a complete stranger saw “The Meg” or “The Kennedy Detail” and loved it.

Each day I’m ready for the sunrise, facing it with an exhilarating sense of promise and potential—and the power to choose how I fulfill it.

Vision weaves light and time into patterns, drawing our attention to them as confidently as male peacocks spread their tail feathers, young bucks clash with their antlers, or sea anemones vibrate color, drawing attention to the lifeforce’s need to replicate itself, thereby overcoming time and dancing with love and immortality. 

What is the purpose of this cosmic dance? we wonder. What is the purpose of life? Just as a California poppy bursts open with hues brighter than the rainbow, an antelope leaps across the Colorado prairie because she can, or the alpha lion’s mane grows shaggier with power, the purpose of life is simply to fill our human experience with forms we create to celebrate the splendor and beauty of the universal mind.

One of those forms is time, the first expression created by humanity in response to the universal creation of light. While we wait for life to make its ultimate expression known to us, we ourselves reach for it by bathing in the light the universe sends to remind us of its eternal promise.

No matter how far we ever are from reaching that highest expression of ourselves, let us remember the words of Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset: “I think the only immoral thing is for a being not to live every instant of its life with the utmost intensity.” That’s what Mahatma Gandhi meant when he declared, “Full effort is full success.”

Birgitte’s mellifluous prose reminds us that you cannot fail at being yourself, which means doing with all your might what you were born to do with your light, your vision, and your time.

~ Ken Atchity

Dr. Kenneth Atchity is an American producer and author who has worked in the world of letters as a literary manager, editor, speaker, writing and career coach, columnist, book reviewer, and professor of comparative literature. Called a "story merchant" by a visiting ambassador to the United States, Ken's life passion is finding great storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters.

A member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Ken has made numerous radio and television appearances and given keynote speeches at conferences throughout the world. He has produced over 30 films, including the Emmy-nominated “The Kennedy Detail,” and received awards and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation.

Following studies at Georgetown (A.B., English/Classics) and Yale (M.Phil. Theater History, Ph.D. Comparative Literature), Ken has served as professor and chairman of comparative literature and creative writing at Occidental College; editor of Contemporary Quarterly: Poetry and Art; columnist-reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review; Distinguished Instructor, UCLA Writers Program; and Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the University of Bologna.  

Learn more about Ken and his work at