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

Luck of the Irish Leads to Hollywood Deal


Luck of the Irish

Leads to Hollywood Deal


AN AUTHOR from Weston-super-Mare has published her third novel after pitching to Emmy-nominated Hollywood producer, Ken Atchity.

Vicki FitzGerald, a former regional journalist, and PR company director followed her dreams to become a published author in 2017, with her debut crime thriller, Briguella.

Two years later, the mum-of-two flew to the Dublin Writers Conference to pitch her second draft manuscript, Kill List, for a novel adaption into a movie or TV series.

Vicki was selected from 50 people for the final ten to pitch again to Ken and Binnur Karaevli, writer and producer.

Ken, who has produced more than 30 Hollywood movies, including sci-fi shark blockbuster, The Meg, loved the concept and published Kill List via Story Merchant Books.

Vicki said: “When the conference organizer approached me and said my name was the only one given to him by Ken for a film treatment, I was stunned.

“I prepared the plot breakdown and several months later, while recuperating in hospital from multiple leg fractures, my dreams come true. Ken offered to publish Kill List.

“Good things come to those who wait and are brave enough to chase their dreams.”

Kill List has already attracted five-star reviews since publication on March 24, 2021. The pair are finalizing the film treatment to pitch to Hollywood agents.

Ken said: “Kill List is an extremely high concept idea, and those do not come around often. I believe it has the potential to make a fantastic series adaption, possibly spanning several seasons.”

Kill List, Briguella, and Vicki’s memoir, Still Standing, are all set in Weston and feature landmarks and locations across North Somerset.

About Vicki FitzGerald

After a decade as a journalist, Vicki founded the South West public relations firm, Paramount PR, which focused on tourism and the hospitality industries before committing to writing full-time. She has now published three novels and is working on the fourth.

Hurrah and Hossanah and Allelujah!

Just before Thomas Hogge went into his hot tub where he prays and meditates on The Lord an uncertain object fell from sky right in front of his house and started a fire.

His neighbor caught a strange moving object on video before it landed near Thomas' house. Some residents reported that it looked like a meteorite.

On the video you can actually see that one chunk of it fell off, and you can see roughly that it landed about 200 meters away from Thomas' house.

The fire and rescue came so fast and saved the house from being destroyed.

The fire chief said "We did look around to see if we could find anything. We obviously put a lot of water on the fire so if anything was there, it’s no longer there. It will go down as undetermined in this case as I would need physical evidence to make a determination on (the) cause."

For Thomas it was sign from God He is listening to my prayers to bring hope into this world.

NEW From Story Merchant Books: Kill List by Vicki Fitzgerald

"This woman is clearly REALLY twisted, and frankly scares me." 

Bestselling author, ADAM CROFT.

Emilia has a secret hobby; killing. 

She’s hunting the Dark Web gamers who stole her life. 

The players underestimated Emilia’s will to survive and her thirst for vengeance. It’s her game now. Her rules, her kill list, and she’s an unlikely accomplice teaching her how to get away with murder. 

But revenge has a price that’s breath-taking and disturbing. 

Can Emilia overcome betrayal and tragedy to settle the score and end the game? 

Dealing With Your Type-C Personality: Time⁠ and Work

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.⁠

Learn more at www.thewriterslifeline.com

Un-Civil War between Our Two Americas by Kenneth Atchity


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

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

Conservative America

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

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

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

Progressive America

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

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

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

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

…From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

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

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

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

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

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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

The Dangers of Division

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

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

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

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

Ken Atchity's "Sell Your Story to Hollywood" Now in Spanish!


Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps. at Barnes & Noble.

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. ⁠

George Orwell On Writing.


It is now (1949) sixteen years since my first book was published, and about twenty-one years since I started publishing articles in the magazines. Throughout that time there has literally been not one day in which I did not feel that I was idling, that I was behind with the current job, and that my total output was miserably small. Even at the periods when I was working ten hours a day on a book, or turning out four or five articles a week, I have never been able to get away from this neurotic feeling that I was wasting time. I can never get any sense of achievement out of the work that is actually in progress, because it always goes slower than I intend, and in any case I feel that a book or even an article does not exist until it is finished. But as soon as a book is finished, I begin, actually from the next day, worrying because the next one is not begun.

~ George Orwell

#tbt - Hysteria

The truth of how Mortimer Granville devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science. Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy.



(Maggie Gyllenhaal) "For us it's mindless housework and doting on some halfwit."

(Hugh Dancy) "You can make some halfwit very happy."

(Maggie Gyllenhaal) "It's simply not enough for me, or for most women. Would it be enough for you?"

(Hugh Dancy) "Oh, I'm not most women."

Marsha Kinder on Ken Atchity's Dreamworks Quarterly

In the late 1970s, Kenneth J. Atchity and I decided to start a new interdisciplinary journal on dreams and their relation to the waking arts. Although we were both teaching at Occidental College in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, we had much broader interests that included—music, painting, sculpture, architecture, performance, and film. Together we composed a letter describing the journal and inviting artists to contribute a brief article describing how they used dreams in their own artistic practice, with concrete examples. We were interested in going beyond a codified dream style like surrealism and exploring a much broader set of relations across the arts.

Much to our astonishment we immediately received dream reports from an impressive array of filmmakers (including Federico Fellini, Orson Welles, Stan Brakhage, Dusan Makavejev, Paul Sharits, Ed Emshwiller, Pat O’Neill, Chick Strand, Bruce Connor), novelists (John Rechy, John Fowles, Ursula K. LeGuin, D.M. Thomas, William Burroughs, Paul Bowles, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Joyce Carol Oates,), and poets (Denise Levertov, W.S. Merwin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Howard Nemerov, Gary Snyder)—just to name a few. 

drawing by Fellini

We quickly assembled an impressive Advisory Board, which included not only artists like John Cage and many others listed above, but also critics, literary scholars, psychologists, anthropologists, and scientists, many of whom contributed ground-breaking essays. Our board also included dream experts like George Devereux and Ann Faraday and two of our nation’s leading neuroscientists working on dreams—William Dement of Stanford’s Sleep Research Center and J. Allan Hobson of Harvard Medical School.As co-editors, we took turns editing the journal. I edited our first issue, which appeared in Spring 1980 with the focus on Dream & Film, and Kenneth edited the second, on Dream & Poetry. 

Our journal soon won a Pushcart Prize, an American award that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in the small presses over the previous year. The journal continued for nine years, ending in 1988 with a final issue on Dreams & Adaptations. By then I was a film scholar at USC and we had both moved on to other fields. 

We called the journal DREAMWORKS, to put the emphasis on concrete works and to evoke Freud’s dreamwork theory, which helped explain the productive relations between dreams and the waking arts. Yet, we never trademarked the title, which meant there was nothing we could do when a new Hollywood studio later appropriated the name. They stole it from us, but we had also taken it from Freud. So we called the on-line version DREAMWAVES. 


#tbt - Life or Something Like It

 "Destiny is what you make of it."

Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie), a feature reporter at a Seattle television station, leads the ultimate superficial life, even though she thinks she has it all, like a superstar boyfriend, a gorgeous apartment, and a shot at a big network assignment. Her perfect world starts unraveling after a homeless street seer (Tony Shalhoub) tells Lanie that she leads a meaningless existence, and will die the following week. When the savant's other predictions come true, Lanie begins to re-examine her life and priorities. Also, Starring Edward Burns as Pete Scanlon

World Class Performer: Short Life Lessons From Ken Atchity

Ken Atchity is a producer, author and columnist, book reviewer, brand consultant, and professor of comparative literature. He is the owner of Story Merchant, a strategic career consulting for writers and Hollywood liaison for out-of-Hollywood production companies. Atchity’s goal is to take our storyteller clients from ambition and vision to professional success in all media.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up between Louisiana and Kansas City, among joke-tellers and story-tellers; was educated by Jesuits in high school and college that taught me an insatiable love of learning, the discipline that provides a lifetime infrastructure for achievement, and ‘ad astra per aspera’, to the stars through obstacles—that taught me to set my aspirations high because you’ll never test your limits without exceeding them

My grandfather, an immigrant from Lebanon, always told me: “Honey, in this country there’s no penalty for failure!” I learned wisdom from him and cooking from my grandmothers, Cajun and Lebanese

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I wish I’d always had more confidence in myself.

I wish I’d congratulated myself more. Only in the last ten years have I learned to say, “Nice shot, Ken.” I spent too many years beating myself up.

That change is good. Life is change.

That it was okay to be tired. I used to think being tired was the end of the world, and that I couldn’t function when I’m tired. I felt liberated when I realized, it’s okay to be tired. You can still move forward.

Once you’ve gotten through enough ‘dark nights of the soul,’ I finally came to realize you will get through this one too.

I also learned that, instead of tossing and turning with dark and disturbing thoughts, just get out of bed and do something to move the ball forward.

You don’t have time to agonize if you’re busy.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

“You only get one shot.” Patently ridiculous. You get exactly as many shots as you’re willing to take. I once heard a guru answer a follower’s question, “But, master, how many times can I pick myself up?” with: “Sister, you how many times can you fall?

You’re only as good as you’re last project. Nonsense: You’re only as good as your next project.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

Time after time, especially in changing careers from being a tenured professor to being an entertainment entrepreneur (focusing on acquiring, developing, marketing, selling, publishing, and producing stories, including blockbuster movies like The Meg and nearly 20 New York Times Bestsellers like Meg, The Kennedy Detail, and Dracula: The Un-Dead), I’ve painted myself into corners from which continuing until you succeed is the only way out. Instead of dreading them, I’ve learned to love corners.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?


Doing more, and thinking less.

“Not minding what happens,” to quote Eckart Tolle.

Doing what I LOVE.

What is your morning routine?

I get up at 4 or 5, making sure I’m there to greet the sun.

I spent an hour reading and sipping coffee.

I make sure I write at least two hours every day, preferably in the a.m.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about what I can look forward to throughout the day or at least in the evening.

If there isn’t anything, I immediately plan something to look forward to: dinner out, a walk, a postponed errand.

Then I proceed into the day’s challenges, knowing I’ve got something to look forward to.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Although I’ve written books about time-management (like A Writer’s Time and How to Quit Your Day Job and Live Out Your Dreams), the most important thing I’ve learned and teach is that the best way to “find more time” is to stealit. How? By using a stopwatch (or several of them) and promising yourself you won’t end the day without putting at least an hour, say, or more or less you’re your most important projects not on the wall clock, or your wristwatch, but on a stopwatch which you turn ON when you’re working on the project and turn OFF when you’re not.

No waiting! Waiting is my least favorite thing to do, so I make sure I’m NEVER waiting. When a particular project is in someone else’s court so I’m waiting for it, I simply turn to another project, or two, or three. So I’m always using my time to move things forward until the ball is back in my court.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The Odyssey by Homer—my primary personal myth is that of a man who travels the world thriving on storytelling. I learned Homeric Greek to read it in the original in Jesuit high school and return to it in my thoughts nearly every day.

Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar—The profound observation that doing what you love is the key to happiness, and that money will come from your determination to stick to that.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville—“To write a mighty book you must have a mighty theme.” Get to the point in your life, as soon as you can, of making only big plans once you’ve proven to yourself you can accomplish smaller plans.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

“The universe is made, not of atoms, but of stories.” — Muriel Ruksmeyer

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” — Zen koan

“I think the only immoral thing is for a being not to live every instant of its life with the utmost intensity.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset

“There’s nothing wrong with retirement as long as it does not interfere with a man’s work.” — Benjamin Franklin

Building Secure Attachment with Dr. Meg Van Deusen

"When we have secure attachment we're more resilient." ~ Dr. Meg Van Deusen

Dr. Meg Van Deusen discusses the importance of building secure attachment in turbulent times, how secure attachment is a foundation for resilience, and how from mindfulness compassion and non-judgement are the basis for secure attachment on 
PTSD and Beyond Podcast with Dr. Deb Lindh.

"Secure attachment says 'everything is going to be okay' and 'we are there for ourselves no matter what',"

~ Dr. Meg Van Deusen

Dr. Van Deusen's book, Stressed in the U.S. : 12 Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More, looks at how current cultural stressors have increased our stress levels, changed our stress levels, and weakened our resilience to stress. Dr. Van Deusen shares that "every minute provides an opportunity to change your life in some positive way."

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

Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction, and more


3 Rules Beginning Screenwriters Need to Know

1. Everything Has to be Connected to Everything Else 

2. The Only thing that Matters is Dramatic Order 

3. The Audience is the Main Character in the Story