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

R.I.P Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Over Sixty years ago, Ferlinghetti, was the principal publisher of an iconoclastic band of writers and poets known as the Beat Generation.  Ferlinghetti died on Monday at the age of 101.⁠

 Kenneth Atchity back in the day with Ferlinghetti and Bukowski.⁠ 

Ferlinghetti contributed "Dreamt Trip" to Ken's Dreamworks Quarterly Magazine Vol 1, No. 2 Dreams and Poetry.⁠

Dealing With Your Type-C Personality: Stealing Time⁠


Learn more about One-on-one coaching to help understand a Type-C personality and equip you with practical tools to make yourself more productive and less frustrated with storytelling at http://www.thewriterslifeline.com/

Dr. Meg Van Deusen Author of Stressed in the U.S. on Pen Podcast


Penpodcast.com is a place for authors to share their work and process with the world.

Check out her book Stressed in the US: 12 Tools to

Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction, and more


Getting Your Story Straight: Sharpening Your Story


Professional coaching tips to help you figure out point of view, structure, and master all the elements of story.⁠ ⁠ Learn more at The Writer's Lifeline

Kayoko Mitsumatsu: Former NHK Producer and Founder of Yoga Gives Bac‪k‬ on Voices of Japan Podcast with Burke & Ben!

Kayoko Mitsumatsu joins Ben and Burke to share her experiences working as a producer and director at NHK (Japan's national broadcaster) and at the Embassy of Japan in London, and to also share the very encouraging and inspirational story behind the mission of Yoga Gives Back. It is a non-profit organization that Kayoko founded in 2007 that has mobilized the global yoga community to empower over 1400 women and children in India by helping them build sustainable livelihoods through micro loans coordinated by representatives in 30 countries. Apart from those topics, we also discuss some challenges within Japanese society, such as poverty, the country's relatively high suicide rate, and the scarcity of therapy and counseling.

Weekly podcast episodes with half-Japanese/half-American Burke (18 years in Japan) and Ben from England (13 years in Japan) and their guests. 

Dealing With Your Type-C Creative Mind: Islands⁠


Learn more about One-on-one coaching to help understand a Type-C personality and equip you with practical tools to make yourself more productive and less frustrated with storytelling at http://www.thewriterslifeline.com/

Virginia Beach author sees characters come to life with graphic novels based on her books


Virginia Beach author Ama Adair just published her second novel in a trilogy about a female CIA operative, titled “Deeper Shadow.” Available on Amazon
She also is turning her first novel, “Shadow Game” into a graphic novel with the help of California-based artist Ray Lopez and Conquest Publishing, a small Virginia-based company that supports aspiring writers and artists. Courtesy of Ama Adair 

Writing the second novel in her series about CIA operative Elle Anderson, Ama Adair was determined to highlight the complexities of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unlike many fictional characters with PTSD, Adair’s heroine doesn’t become violent, alcoholic, homeless or incapacitated by flashbacks. But after being tortured by terrorists, she does struggle to integrate back into her team and complete an undercover operation.

“I don’t shy away from the impact that PTSD can have, even on a very strong and smart woman like Elle,” Adair says. “I’ve felt that impact, my husband has felt it, and several of my close friends have felt it. If you don’t deal with it, it can become very debilitating.”A Virginia Beach resident and Navy chief warrant officer, Adair published “Deeper Shadow” — the sequel to the 2019 thriller “Shadow Game” — in November, under the name A.M. Adair. She hopes to complete the third and final installment of her trilogy, “Shadow War,” by the end of 2021 and also is in the process of turning “Shadow Game” into a graphic novel.

Adair, a counterintelligence and human intelligence specialist, is a veteran of 10 overseas deployments. The idea for “Shadow Game” came to her on a 2010 mission to Iraq, where her convoy had to navigate dark, narrow roads full of abandoned buildings. Anderson, leader of an elite anti-terrorism team, faces some similar physical and emotional challenges as her creator.

Describing herself as a “quintessential nerd,” Adair, 41, wanted to try a graphic novel to reach a wider fan base. She is collaborating with an independent California-based visual artist, Ray Lopez, who she found online.

“Seeing Elle and my other characters come to life on the page is so exciting,” she relates. “The little kid in me can’t stop jumping up and down.”

Pictured is concept art from Ama Adair’s upcoming graphic novel. Courtesy of Ama Adair

Adair also is working with Conquest Publishing, a small press imprint in Virginia that offers mentorship programs for new authors. Conquest board member John Millington, a retired Navy chief, is a partner in Jersey’s Cards & Comics stores, which likely will display Adair’s graphic novel in its Hampton, Hayes and Yorktown locations.

“Her story has an incredible pace and tempo, along with a strong individual character who is going through a lot,” Millington says. “My job is to help people with talent and potential get a foot in the door and just be noticed.”

To adapt the 300-page “Shadow Game” into a graphic novel of about 100 pages, Adair has been paring down dialogue, changing a few plot sequences to improve flow and focusing more on key action sequences.

Pictured is a sample page from Ama Adair’s upcoming graphic novel. Courtesy of Ama Adair

Adair hopes the graphic novel will be out by May, in time to attend that month’s Tidewater Comicon in Virginia Beach as well as the Hampton Comicon in October. Ultimately, she would like to turn all three books into graphic novels.

Once the trilogy is finished, Adair’s agent plans to pitch the story to film agencies. The author’s dream actress to play Elle Anderson: Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, star of the biographical romantic drama “The Danish Girl” and the science-fiction thriller “Ex Machina”.

An Ohio native, Adair joined the Navy shortly after the 9/11 attacks and has lived in Virginia Beach since 2005. She and her husband Jake, an active-duty Navy chief, have two children, Arya, 8, and Finn, 1.

Between a full-time job, family responsibilities and the COVID-19 pandemic, Adair often had to write in short spurts during naptimes or after her kids went to bed. After she and her husband retire from the Navy in October 2022, she plans to dive into publishing spinoffs of her trilogy.

“It will be some of the same characters, but with totally different stories,” she says. “I can’t wait to see where they take me.”

Read more: Alison Johnson, ajohnsondp@yahoo.com

Ken's Weekly Book Recommendation: Sell Your Story to Hollywood!

Through the expanding influence of the Internet and the corporatization of both publishing and entertainment, the process of getting your book to the big screen has gotten more complicated, more eccentric, and more exciting.⁠
This little book aims to help you figure out how to get your story told on big screens or small. ⁠

Available on Amazon 

WGA BULLETIN: Where Are We Now? By Dennis Palumbo Author of the Daniel Rinaldi Mysteries

Psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo gives an update on how writers are adapting after 10 months of staying safer-at-home.

Here’s a question I’ve been asked recently:

“Now that we’ve lived through more of the pandemic, do you see a shift in how your therapy patients are coping?”

My answer: Yes and no.

Yes, in terms of a shift in responses among my writer patients, though it ranges all over the place. Some patients seem to have a kind of resignation to the fact that we don’t know how, or if, this lockdown will end. For these patients, this has meant a deeper hunkering down. Unhappy but resolved to hang on for the duration, they also report that since their initial stunned reaction to the pandemic has faded, they’re better able to focus on writing. It seems to help if they have contracted deals to work on projects, but even those working on specs report being more focused.

Other patients, encouraged by the news of the various vaccines, are feeling more upbeat than they have in months. There’s an end in sight, they believe, so their overall mood has lightened. Again, and more expectedly, their ability to focus on their writing has risen as well.

One important point: whether patients are accepting of an indefinite timeline for the lockdown, or else see it as ending soon, the effect on their families vary widely. Marital tensions, issues around virtual schooling for their children, and financial worries provide the context in which each individual writer has to work. And, therefore, the stresses of these various contexts are different for each household.

But what about those patients whose feelings and attitudes haven’t changed much since the lockdown began? Usually, since March, their general reaction has been anger, fear or frustration—or some combination of the above. The length of the pandemic and its restrictions hasn’t changed their reactions. Even the promise of a vaccine has done little to cause a shift in their feelings.

Why not? Remember, each of us lives in our individual subjective world, formed by a combination of our childhood experiences (which help mold our personal mythology about how life works), filtered through our firmly-held intellectual beliefs of how life works, and the personal and professional events in our adult lives. To put it bluntly, people tending toward pessimism or holding a dark view of the future see in the pandemic a confirmation of their worst fears. As one of my writer patients said when a long-fought-for project was scuttled once the pandemic hit, “See, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop... and now it has.”

If, however, a patient tends to be more optimistic (admittedly, for a therapist who treats Hollywood creative types, these kinds of patients are rare), the pandemic has been seen since it started as an opportunity to just write, unburdened by the other tedious obligations of their show business careers.

Then there’s a third category: writer patients who’ve complained in therapy over the years about never having had an extended period of time to work on their dream project—that big, special, personal script or play or novel that they just can’t get to because of their daily paying writing gigs. Yet when forced into staying home, suddenly having uncounted hours of free time, they were so psychologically impacted by the pandemic that they were unable to write. Anything.

Which brings me back to the initial question, and my somewhat meandering answer: while some patients’ attitudes—their fears and hopes and beliefs—have shifted, there are an equal number who feel the same frustrations and fears for themselves and loved ones that they’ve expressed in therapy since the pandemic began.

As in all aspects of clinical work with patients, there is no one-size-fits-all model for providing therapy. As the context of our lives changes, so do our emotional responses.

So my only advice is to try to live embedded in the moment, day by day, and resist feeding yourself catastrophic meanings about what the future holds.

Because if the year 2020 has shown us nothing else, it’s that predicting the future is a fool’s game.

For three decades, Palumbo has been a licensed psychotherapist for working writers and others in creative fields. To the therapy setting Palumbo brings his own experience as a sitcom writer, screenwriter, and, more recently, crime novelist (2018’s Head Wounds is the fifth installment in his Daniel Rinaldi series). Palumbo’s non-fiction book Writing from the Inside Out (2000) was an adaptation and expansion of his regular columns for Written By.

Connect spoke to Palumbo in May 2020 about recurring themes in his therapy practice among writers who were under extended stay-at-home orders and grappling with an entertainment industry on indefinite pause.


Congratulations, NOVE! Knock ‘em dead!

 Bringing the ‘magic behind the turntables’: Incoming MBE hosts Anthony Valadez and Novena Carmel share music picks


Anthony Valadez and Novena Carmel are MBE’s new co-hosts. “We want to make sure that our magic translates through KCRW because this is a new adventure for us. We want to make sure that our humor comes across well, and also the magic behind the turntables in what we do,” says Valadez.Photo by Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.
KCRW’s flagship morning music program, Morning Becomes Eclectic, is about to get two new hosts: Novena Carmel and Anthony Valadez. It’s a first for MBE, which has been around for more than 40 years and has become an integral part of LA’s music scene. As a DJ, Carmel aims to bring her go-with-the-flow vibe to MBE, and plans to create a smooth listening experience for KCRW audiences.Read more
Listen to their interview below: