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

Author Anthony Avina Reviews Kevin Spark's novel id! #FREE on Amazon this Week!

" This was a mind-blowing and thought-provoking psychological horror thriller. The imagery played well into the deep-set tone that psychological horror novels often take..." Anthony Avina

The Synopsis

A psychologist and daughter of a murderer develops a revolutionary test to explore the id unencumbered by morality and sets a killer and the cop driven to violence by that same killer on a path of destruction in author Kevin Spark’s “id: A Novel”.

Dr. Shelly, a brilliant psychologist, forever haunted by her father and his murderous past, is driven by the need to find out why we do the things we do? Is the concept of free will just a concept and nothing more, a construct that blinds us to a less palatable truth, that who we are is predetermined and encoded at birth? Does anyone really choose to do the bad things we do or are we just doing what comes naturally?

Shelly constructs an experiment using a sensory deprivation tank and virtual reality, allowing the darkest part of ourselves, the id, to run free. Unencumbered by morality or remorse, Shelly finds the perfect subject in Adam. A borderline psychotic born into a world of neglect and crime. Delving into the deepest pits of his subconscious, Shelly surfaces with far more than she bargained for.

Detective Hopper, responsible for Adam’s capture, remains a broken man. After suffering a breakdown due to the escalation of his own violent behavior, he is placed under the care of Dr Shelly. Encouraging him to go looking for his own redemption, Hopper becomes a pawn in her web of deception until the lines of reality are redrawn as Hopper and Adam come full circle to an explosive end.

The Review

This was a mind-blowing and thought-provoking psychological horror thriller. The imagery played well into the deep-set tone that psychological horror novels often take, and the inclusion of VR gaming environments and sensory deprivation tanks helped elevate the tension that the reader felt as the story progressed. The way these psychological ids came to life in the story and the way they spoke to the psychological aspects of our own minds helped elevate the atmosphere of this book tenfold. 

Yet it was the rich character development that really helped highlight this psychological horror. The way each of the main characters really played off one another in this almost cat-and-mouse style thriller and the steady pace of the narrative itself allowed the tension to build more and more as time went on. The way the author explored the “animal” that rests within us all and the ways in which we all deal with that animal in our lives played well into the story, and the heart-pounding terror that the imagery of these character’s ids brought to life will haunt readers well beyond the final pages of this book.

The Verdict

Haunting, captivating, and engaging, author Kevin Spark’s “id: A Novel” is a must-read psychological horror thriller. The twists and turns the narrative takes and the shocking conclusions that each character finds themselves in only lend themselves to the dynamic atmosphere and chilling imagery the author’s impressive writing style conjures up, drawing me in similarly to the way the acclaimed film The Cell starring Jennifer Lopez and Vincent D’Onofrio did when I first watched it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

3 Things Every Great Story Has To Have by Dr. Ken Atchity

Film Courage: What three things does a great story have to have?

Dr. Ken Atchity, Author, Publisher, Producer: What three things? Well, it has to have a hook that gets people instantly involved in the story and that’s a huge part of the story itself. And it’s got to have a very strong character in the story that you care about and other than that, it has to have twists and turns that lead to a surprise ending. If I had to just say three things, I guess that’s what I would say the three things are. Every story needs that because a story about nothing is not going to hold anyone’s interest.

And sometimes writers when they begin their careers think that if they just write, they can write about anything but the truth is they need to write from their heart about things that matter to everyone and if they do that, you can hardly go wrong. Because stories are really not about words or word choice or anything like that. They’re about conveying the power of a character facing a dilemma that you have no idea how he or she will resolve and when you do that you’ve got everyone’s attention.

And in ancient times there was a thing called The Oral Tradition which I used to teach as a professor of Homeric Greek. The Iliad and the Odyssey were sung at campfires and everyone in the culture knew the stories. We are publishing a book right now on Homeric song and how it worked and how it held culture together. And my first book those…I call those stories the shield of memory and it was because of those stories that a person knew how to deal with himself in battle or when facing an attacking boar or when facing an angry wife or when facing pillagers trying to burn down his village. He would instantly think of the story of Heracles who did this or that or the story of Aegean who did this and that and that’s all they had. They didn’t have books for learning. It was all passed along through the oral tradition. And I think stories have never failed to play that role in human life and when you think about it you know “What’s your story?” is probably the most human response to any encounter and it goes from the court of law where the jury is trying to decide which of the two stories do they believe, to a political campaign where the voters are making that decision, to a first date where you are going “Do I believe his story? I just don’t believe it? I can’t buy his story?”  That’s the ultimate human turn down, you can’t buy the story. And it goes through everything. Advertising is conveying stories that people will want to buy the product. This is how humans operate on a daily basis so to me it’s absolutely amazing that an industry has been created where people will pay millions of dollars for stories and where stories can basically conquer the world and I believe unite the world.

I mean look at all the work we are now doing with China in the movie business. I just saw Lara Croft in Tomb Raider (the new version of it) where the male lead is Chinese and she is Western and clearly as a producer I’m watching it going “This was a Chinese financed movie,” because I understand how it works for the market…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Award Winning, Nominated Atchity Productions!


The Meg - Awards

2 wins & 5 nominations


New Zealand Cinematographers Society

Won, Gold Award

Specialised Cinematography

Kina Scollay

Underwater photography


Golden Trailer Awards

Nominated, Golden Trailer

Best Home Ent Horror/Thriller

Warner Bros. Pictures, Trailer Park

Nominated, Golden Trailer

Best Billboard


Young Artist Awards

Nominated, Young Artist Award

Best Performance in a Feature Film: Supporting Young Actress

Shuya Sophia Cai


Chinese American Film Festival (C.A.F.F.)

Won, Golden Angel Award

Best Actress

Bingbing Li

Won, Golden Angel Award

Best US-China Co-Production Film


Golden Trailer Awards

Won, Golden Trailer

Golden Fleece

Warner Bros. Pictures, Trailer Park


IGN Summer Movie Awards

Nominated, IGN Award

Best Action Movie


New Zealand Cinematographers Society

Won, Gold Award

Specialised Cinematography

Andrew McGeorge

Kennedy Detail  - Awards

1 Nomination


News & Documentary Emmy Awards

Nominated, Emmy

Outstanding Historical Programming - Long Form

Lisa McCubbin (producer), Kenneth Atchity (executive producer), Gerald S. Blaine (producer), Brooke Runnette (executive producer), Chi-Li Wong (executive producer), Grant Axton (producer), David Garfinkle (executive producer), Jay Renfroe (executive producer), Vince DiPersio (co-executive producer), Liza Maddrey (producer) Discovery Channel

Erased - Awards

1 win & 2 nominations


SOCAN Awards

Won, SOCAN Award

Domestic Feature Film Award

Jeff Danna

 2014 - Jutra Awards

Nominated, Jutra

Best Make-Up (Meilleur Maquillage)

Colleen Quinton

Nominated, Jutra

Best Editing (Meilleur Montage Image)

Dominique Fortin

Hysteria – Awards

2 nominations


Casting Society of America, USA

Nominated, Artios Award

Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Feature - Studio or Independent Comedy

Gaby Kester (casting director)


Rome Film Fest

Nominated, Golden Marc'Aurelio Award

Tanya Wexler

Gosepl Hill – Awards

2 wins


Nashville Film Festival

Won, Rosetta Miller Perry Award

Giancarlo Esposito


Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival

Won, Jury Award

Seashell Best of Fest

Giancarlo Esposito

Adam Resurrected - Awards

1 win & 1 nomination


Valladolid International Film Festival

Nominated, Golden Spike

Best Film

Paul Schrader

 Won, Best Music

Gabriel Yared

Joe Somebody - Awards

1 nomination


Young Artist Awards

Nominated, Young Artist Award

Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress

Hayden Panettiere

Falling Over Backwards - Awards

4 nominations


Genie Awards

Nominated, Genie

Best Achievement in Sound

Abbey Neidik National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

 Nominated, Genie

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Paul Soles

Nominated, Genie

Best Sound Editing

Diane Le Floc'h, Gudrun Christian, Abbey Neidik, Andy Malcolm, Michele Cook



Valladolid International Film Festival

Nominated, Golden Spike

Best Film

Mort Ransen


Angels in the Snow - Awards

1 nomination


Young Artist Awards

Nominated, Young Artist Award

Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries, Special or Pilot - Young Actor

Kolton Stewart


The Lost Valentine - Awards

1 win & 6 nominations


Movie Guide Awards

 Nominated, Grace Award

Most Inspirational Television Acting

Betty White

 Nominated, Grace Award

Most Inspiring TV Program

 Nominated, Grace Award

Most Inspirational Television Acting

Katie McGrath

 Nominated, Grace Award

Most Inspirational Television Acting

Sean Faris

 Won, Faith and Freedom Award



Screen Actors Guild Awards

Nominated, Actor

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Betty White



Gold Derby Awards

Nominated, Gold Derby TV Award

TV Movie/Mini Supporting Actress

Betty White


Story Merchant has experience in all realms of entertainment placement, from television series, specials, and movies, to studio, mini-major, and independent feature films.

As a producer’s representative, our team analyzes a film’s potential and determines the best distribution channels, whether theatrical, DVD, television, or some combination of the above. With our experience in the international market, we also identify the sales company that best fits an individual film based on our relationships with key executives at dozens of sales companies. Once we identify the best suited sales company, we negotiate all terms of the sales agency agreement to the producer’s and his financer’s best interests.

We focus on securing the most trustworthy distribution avenue that will maximize audience outreach. Our management of the film’s distribution guarantees that the producer retains control of the film’s success.
Contact Ken Atchity for more information.

Frank Center Lobby dedication to Scott Beard - April 1st!





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Whether showcasing his students or performing at the piano himself, Dr. Scott Beard practically lived in the Frank Center for over a decade before transitioning to Administration, Many of you know he was a consummate neat freak. As such, he strove to ensure that the lobby and the hallways looked their best, because he understood that the Frank Center was often the first impression for visitors to the campus. But what many of you didn't know was that maintaining that image often meant cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming it himself.

So, I felt it was a fitting tribute to him that we refurbish the lobby in his name. President Mary JC Hendrix agreed, and I thank her for her support, as well as the contributions of everyone on the Shepherd University staff who had a hand in the remake of this integral part of the University's soul. I also thank especially, our good friends, Kenneth and Vicki Wilson for their additional financial support,

Featured at the Dedication will be pianist Dr. Jason Solounias, a Shepherd alumnus and one of Scott's most accomplished and successful students, who will perform a few of Scott's favorite pieces.


Following the Dedication ceremony at 6 pm, Shepherd University will present the annual Musical Showcase, which Scott, Marcia Brand, and I started to raise money for music scholarships.

There is an admission for that concert, but you may attend the Dedication without an obligation to attend the Musical Showcase.





NEW From Story Merchant Books Ken Atchity's My Southren Belle

The train that carried the author south from Kansas City to his native Cajun homeland was named “The Southern Belle,” which the young Atchity believed referred to his mother’s all-powerful control over his imagination. He left a world of grape leaves, cabbage rolls, and houmus for steak & gravy, shrimp etouffee, gumbo, and boiled crawfish—and a welcome world of tall tales, endless jokes, and fishing stories that kept folks on the front porch for hours at a time. Where Vol 1, Daddy Holding Me, focused on his father, My Southern Belle analyzes the parent who inspired his multiple careers as an editor, writer, professor, literary manager, and producer. Where his father was a straightlaced accountant, Atchity’s mother was a raconteur, jokester, and improvisational spinner of yarns of varying levels of veracity. Passive-aggressive, with boundless energy, and intensely optimistic, she created an environment that drove her children to excel and entertain in whatever they undertook.

A.M.Adair's Shadow War Winner in the Action/Adventure category of the 2023 Independent Press Awards!

 Shadow War by A.M. Adair is available on Amazon


2The highly anticipated and gripping follow-up to The Deeper Shadow reunites readers with CIA Operative Elle Anderson on the run after being set up by her former handler turned criminal mastermind. Elle must be smarter, faster, and more lethal to stay alive long enough to turn the tables on her enemy, all the while evading teams on both sides of the law. This means using any means necessary to destroy the man pulling the strings. There are no rules in the shadows. This game is driven by will. Nothing is going to stop Elle from finishing her war. The end justifies the means… and the end is here.

Author A. M. Adair is an active-duty Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Navy with over 20 years in the Intelligence Community. Her experiences have been unique and provided her imagination with a wealth of material to draw from to give her stories life. A lifelong fan of the genre, her debut novel, Shadow Game, is the first book in The Elle Anderson Series, and was turned into a graphic novel in January 2022. Book two, The Deeper Shadow, was released in November 2020, and the explosive third installment, Shadow War, is coming March 2022.

 Autographed copies of her books, and news available on amadair.com.“Adair keeps you breathless in anticipation in this exciting thrill ride, with new surprises galore. Action, drama, and political intrigue that can only be written by someone who has been there, done that.”

— Andrews and Wilson, international bestselling authors of the Tier One, Sons of Valor, and The Shepherds thriller series, as well as, Rogue Asset, their first installment in the WEB Griffin Presidential Agent Series.

Cajun Wit and Wisdom: an interview with Ken Atchity Humor & Health Journal

After reading your book, Cajun Household Wisdom, I wanted to do an interview with you. I found the book very humorous as well as informative. Through the sayings, photographs, and stories the reader gets a genuine glimpse and flavor of Cajun culture and a lot of laughs. What motivated you to write the book?

As I grew around my mother’s French Louisiana Family on a farm near Eunice I started collecting sayings and stories I heard from family members and other people in Louisiana. Especially the hunting stories and jokes my uncles told. I’ve always thought that the Cajuns have a unique way of looking at life and wanted to put it together in one place.

Let me mention some subjects and let you give an explanation of what they mean in Cajun culture.


Cajuns are people who enjoy every moment of life. They aren’t city planners, architects, or engineers. They’re country people. Their thing is living in the moment. The greatest celebration of the moment on a daily basis is meals. Cajuns have an incredible zest about eating and putting their energy into food. They love texture, which is why they like spicy food and all kinds of food that has a lot of surface to it. Cajun philosophy center around the kitchen and around eating. As far as Cajuns are concerned, if you haven’t eaten with someone, you don’t know them.


Dancing is another example of living in the moment and celebrating life. What’s amazing when you go to Louisiana is that you see the oldest people dancing. People in there nineties will be out in the dance floor kicking up a storm. People of all ages go to the dance halls. So the dance hall is another place where Cajun culture comes together to celebrate the energy of life. One of the famous clubs is Fred’s in Mamou. If you walk in at 11 o’ clock on Saturday morning you’d find the place already hopping. The truth is that it’s all the people from the night before who are still there. Since there are no windows in the place no one has any idea or cares what time it is.


Jokes, stories, and conversations are all a celebration of life and obviously the best place to do that is over a meal or a cup of coffee. Coffee is a central part of Cajuns culture. It’s a time to stop and talk. You don’t drink coffee while working.


Cajuns like to talk and tell stories. One of my uncles in Louisiana still resents the telephone. He thinks that if people want to talk with you, they should drive over to your place. Then you’ll know it’s important and you’ll stop what you’re doing to have a talk.

As a kid I remember sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs and endlessly listening to my uncles, grandfather, and grandmother telling stories and talking. That’s what I go home to Louisiana for now. I need the fix- to be with people who know how to talk.

One time I went on a fishing trip with my Uncle Wib. We got up at three A.M. to go down to Grand Isle and we never stopped talking. We were supposed to get there by sunrise. At 10 o’clock I pointed that out. He said ‘Oh my God, I took the wrong road at Thibodaux five hours back.’ We were so deep in conversation that we forgot about everything else.

To Cajuns nothing is more important than communication. We get so busy in our modern world that we don’t really have time to talk with each other – everything is oriented toward efficiency and arranged in bytes. Just enough is said to get by. But to Cajuns talking is an art.

What is your next Cajun book?

It is similar to Cajun Household Wisdom except it’s about the kitchen and eating. It’s called Cajun Kitchen Wisdom and has recipes for smothered chicken, lima beans and lots more. It contains sayings that have to do with the kitchen. One is “If de gumbo is good, you can put up with de cook.’ It also presents fishing and farming stories. The thing about Cajun humor is that much of it is about fishing or farming stories. The White Mule stories are prime examples of farming tales.

One of my favorite White Mule stories will appear in the next book, Cajun Kitchen Wisdom.

It goes like this: A stranger walks into a bar in Abbeville and takes a seat. Halfway through his Jax, he pulls a huge tomato out of the paper bag he carried in, and sets it on the counter. The bartender sees him do it, but doesn’t even stop wiping his glasses. The man at the other end of the bar doesn’t come over either.

So the stranger asks, “Y’all see dis tomata?’

The other two men nod.

“Sacre blue du couyon,” the stranger says. “Have you ever seed a tomata as dis heah?’

The other two men move over politely to take a closer look. The man who was at the far stool lifts the tomato, palms it, smells it, rubs it, smells his finger, then puts it back on the bar. The bartender doesn’t even bother to do the same. He just exchanges glances with the other man.

“Well?’ demands the stranger.

‘Well, ah foh one siurley have,’ says the man from the other stool.

The stranger can’t believe his ears but the other man tells him to wait. He goes outside, then comes back in, straining as he carries the biggest, most gigantic tomato the stranger’s even seen in his life – it has to weigh over ten pounds! The man places the tomato on the counter, and the stranger can’t resist touching it, smelling it, stroking it’s skin. Sheepishly, he puts his tomato back into its bag.

“Okay,” he says to the man.

“You got ta tell me, yah. What is yo’ secret?”

“Did you see dat white mule tied up outside?” the other man asks.

“Yah, ah sawed it,” the stranger nods.

“Well it’s dat mule.” “Ah doan unnerstand,” says the stranger.

“Dere’s nuttin’ ta understand,” the other man explains.

“Everybod ‘roun heah knows about it” – he looks at the bartender, who nods for confirmation.

“When ah go out ta ready my ground for plantin’, dat white mule pulls mah plow. When ah’m plantin’, dat white mule pulls de cultivator- an’ when ah’m harvestin’ –“

“How much you recon’ you wan’ foh dat mule?” the other man breaks in.

“I had date mule foh ten years now,” the other man says. “Date mule’s not foh sale.”

“Ah’ll give you a hunnert dollars cash for dat mule raht now,” says the stranger, plunking the gold coins down on the counter.

The other man looks at the coins for a second. “A hunnert dollars?” he says.


The stranger’s jubilant, but the man who sold the mule says, “Would you min’ if ah deliever him ta you in the mohnin? Dat mule was mah fren,’ and ah’d lake to let mah wife ‘n kids say good-bye to him properly.”

“No problem,” says the other man, and leaves the bar whistling.

But the first man got himself a real run of bad luck. First of all, he stays at the bar and gets caught in a bouree’ game- and lost the hundred dollars. Second of all, when he wakes up the next mroing, and went to his barn to get the mule ready to deliever he finds the mule dead as a doornail on the barn floor.

He felt real bad about that, real bad- especially because he didn’t have the hundred dollars to repay the stranger. But after awhile he got to thikin’ and realized that, as the saying goes, “a deal is a deal.” So he loaded the mule on his wagon, and headed for the other man’s farm. He parked the wagon down the road a bit and walked up to the house, where the man was waiting for him on his porch.

“I got some bad news for you, an’ some moh bad news,” the first man says.

“What’s de bad news?” asks the stranger.

“Well you ‘member dat hunnert dollars you gave me las’ night for det mule? Ah got mahself caught in a bouree’ game and ah done las de whole ting.”

“Well dat surely is bad news,” the stranger agreed. “Dat’s real bad news. Ah feel rela badly foh you, losing dat money, sha.”

“But the other bad news is dat the mule you bought – ah found him daid in mah barn dis nohnin.”

Now the stranger understood the gravity of the situation all too well, and why the first man felt so bad. But he got to thiking, and realized to himself, “a deal’s a deal.”

“Let me axe you a question, he finally said. “Whar is dat mule?”

The other man pointed down the road to the wagon. The stranger followed him so he could see for himself. After he was satisfied that it was the same mule he’d bought at the bar he helped the other man unload the mule.

“Jes’ leave him heah.” He said.

The first man said again how bad he felt about the whole thing, and drove off home with a heavy heart.

A few months went by before the first man had the nerve to go back to that bar in Abbeville for a Jax. But one night he did, and there was the stranger.

“Whar yo’ bin?” the sranger said. “I bin watchin’ foh you/”

“To tell ya de trewty. Ah felt so bad ‘bout losin dat money and dat mule dying an’ all, I didn’t have de noive ta see you again.”

“Doan feel bad no mod, the stranger said. “Ever’ting toined out okay.”

“Whatch you mean okay?”

“I held me a raffle and made me a good profit.”

“A raffle?”

The stranger nodded. “Yah, ah raffled off dat mule. Al sole me two hunnerty tickets foh one dollar each.”

“You raffled off dat daid mule, and you made two hunnert dollars?” The first man was amazed, “and you had all dose folds mad at you?”

“No,” the stranger smiled. “Jes’ one poison was mad yah. But ah gave him his money back!”

These are stories I love. They reflect the culture and the ingenuity of daily life. They say, “If you can find a simple way to do it, find a simple way to do it, find a Cajun and he’ll make it ten times more complicated and you’ll have a lot more fun along the way.”

Kenneth Agillard Atchity is the author of several books including Cajun Household Wisdom: You Know You Still Alive If It’s Costin’ You Money published by Longmeadow Press. At the time of this printing he’s somewhere between Breaux Bridge and Opelousas eating his way across his native state.