Posted on

From Script to Text: A Tale of Two Stories

A year ago, these two stories were sitting in mothballs. Virtual mothballs, but mothballs nonetheless.

I began writing Girl Most Likely to Kill You around 2004. It was originally titled High School Sweetheart, and it went through multiple drafts. It once made the finals in a screenplay competition. I got a very nice consolation call from the contest runner when it fell short of winning.

Zombies of Oz isn’t quite as old, but it passed through many creative hands on the local indie film scene. It started with me simply sharing an idea as a Facebook post, and it went further when one of those local filmmakers suggested I write it.

A year ago, I decided to turn both of these scripts into novels. They’re short novels, but they received raves from the beta readers who gave them a look. Now both are in print and in my hands, which is just amazing to me.

Right now, I’m offering a special on the website. Order direct, and you can save 20% on your entire order. If you’re a buy local/ buy direct person, you know that’s the best way to support me and other creative artists you like. We get more money, and a major website owner takes less. Plus, I’ll sign them for you, something that big web store can’t offer.

One final note to the story: there’s a third screenplay that will soon be in print as a novel. Not just a novel, but the third part of the Dead Park series. Look for it in November!

Click here to shop now, and don’t forget the coupon code fall.

Posted on

From Facebook Post to Screenplay to Novella

I had no intention of writing Zombies of Oz. For one thing, I’m not exactly an Oz fan. That mean old wicked witch scared me as a child. Sure, I’ve grown to love Margaret Hamilton for her little wink and nod to the camera in William Castle’s 13 Ghosts, but that hasn’t endeared me to the 1939 classic any more.

I haven’t read the Oz books, and the only other Oz story I know is The Patchwork Girl of Oz, thanks to a junior high musical I directed about, oh, 20 years ago. We had a lot of laughs. We didn’t exactly stick to the script. Correction: the delightful young show off I cast as the Glass Cat did not stick to the script. But other than her shenanigans, which unexpectedly went to 11 in front of an actual audience, I remember nothing about it.

A number of years ago, this idea came to me. What if Dorothy didn’t go to Oz? What if there was a storm and a bump on the head, and then a zombie apocalypse? And what if Dorothy was a juvenile delinquent? A rough, inner city kid sent to the farm to chill out? In other words, what if she was fully prepared to kick some zombie butt?

I liked the idea. I didn’t want to write it. So I made it a Facebook post. I posited the questions above and added a few notes about a gun-toting redneck, a cyborg, a shell-shocked soldier, and a pit bull. (You do the math; or better yet, read the story!) I sent it out into the world and told my filmmaker friends, of whom I have many, “Have at it.”

One of those friends, Irv Severs, responded. He loved it, and he said if I wrote it, he’d make it.

I started writing. Irv and I started talking. Then we roped Roni Jonah into the mix, which is how Dorothy became a redhead. You may have seen Roni in some of my films or, more famously, in Shark Exorcist. She’s a delight, and a heck of a muse for a rampaging, redheaded Dorothy Gale.

Long story short, the film never got made. Irv, Roni, and I moved on to other projects, and the script sat in mothballs until about a year ago. That’s when I first converted this story (along with the script that became Girl Most Likely to Kill You and the script that is now the upcoming third Dead Park book) from script to prose.

Zombies of Oz is now available on Amazon, and it will soon be available here. You can pre-order you signed copy from me by clicking here, or you can click here and get it direct from Amazon.

I’d apologize to Frank Baum, but that mean old witch scared me. I think he owes me for that.

Posted on

On the Beat with Johngy – September 28, 2022

John Wroblewski and I have become good friends the last few years, even though we’ve never met in person. We have regular visits to talk about writing and pro wrestling. And the Chicago Bears, though we tend to keep our frustrations about the Monsters of the Midway out of the public broadcast.

I’m sharing this visit here because we spent a lot of time talking about Girl Most Likely to Kill You and my soon to be released horror novella, Zombies of Oz. And yes, we talk a little wrestling too.

Enjoy!

Posted on

A Story 18 Years in the Writing

It’s kind of fitting the events of my new book Girl Most Likely to Kill You take place over twenty years. It took almost that long to get the story into print.

Girl Most Likely to Kill You didn’t start life as a novel, though. It began as a movie idea. Back in the early 2000s, my prime creative goal was to become a film maker or, at the very least, a screenwriter. I’ve still got a file on my laptop with nearly two dozen screenplays in various stages of completion. White Trash. The World According to Dallas. Must Do No Harm. Grade Expectations. Facade. Beachhead.

Girl Most Likely started out under the title of High School Sweetheart. It’s a love story about a guy who wanted to tell his best friend he was in love with her on prom night. The girl vanished on prom night, and he doesn’t hear a word from her for twenty years. When she comes back into his life, he’s a divorced dad with a teenage girl of her own, and all seems to finally be right in his world.

That is, until a conspiracy theorist student in his class warns him: your girlfriend might be the world’s most wanted assassin.

Girl Most Likely is not the first of my screenplays to transition to a novel. That honor belongs to the sci-fi adventure Martian Queen. It won’t be the last either. I have a second that will be released shortly, and a third is about to become the third book in the Dead Park series.

This is one of my all time favorite stories, combining humor, romance, intrigue, and something I’ve always loved but never written much about: spy stuff.

You can pre-order Girl Most Likely to Kill You now on paperback. All pre-orders include a free copy of the ebook version sent to your email address. And if you prefer to shop Amazon, well, you can buy it at this link.