Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Everybody Loves Malfi!

I enjoy loaning out my blog to fellow writers, especially those I've become very close to over the years. I'm very blessed to have made some great friends during these few years of being a published writer. Some of those friendships are with people I read years before my first book was published, such as Ronald Malfi--Ron to others, Malfi to me. 

Malfi is very loved in the Rufty household, so much so, we consider him a member of our family. Not only has Malfi been there for me while I scratched and clawed and suffered myriad rejections as I tried to sell my first book, he's been a close, personal friend. Always offering support, advice, and guidance when times were tough. He was also the first person I told when my wife and I found out we were having another baby. Malfi is a good guy all around, a true friend, and the best partner in this bromance that's been brewing for many years. My son once accused Malfi of losing his street cred, but I was given the OK to say he earned it back thanks to an online video that depicted Malfi biting off a man's rat-tail (True story, the video's out there).




Proof of how much we love Malfi is this framed picture on the shelf, among other framed photographs of family members. 




Malfi's newest book, Little Girls, is a prime example of how to do fiction right. Not just horror fiction, but perfect storytelling that will bring any writer to covetous tears. This book is truly terrifying, with pristine writing that's as smooth as glass. As with all of Malfi's books, I had to stop many times to reread passages because they were so well-written that I wanted to take note on what immaculate prose truly is. Perfect storytelling from start to finish, I was reminded, many times, of talented favorites such as Charles L. Grant and Peter Straub while reading Little Girls. I thought December Park would remain my favorite Malfi book, but Little Girls dethroned it. 

Here's a rundown of the plot: 

From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a brilliantly chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn…

When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, and hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…

At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?

Here are some links to pick up this chill-inducing book:



Usually at this point, I begin asking questions, or turn the blog over to my guest for a special post. With Malfi, though, we're going to do something a little different. See, Malfi and I have had this idea for a screenplay for a few years now. We've even attempted writing it on more than one occasion. Though we've never reached the end, one day we'll finish it. Malfi has decided to give a sneak peek into one of our random conversations, in a screenplay format. Of course, he's taken some fictional liberties in our talk, but I'll leave it up to you, reader, as to which parts he sensationalized. 

To see us reenact this scene, and many others, come to Scares That Care next week, July 24-26 in Williamsburg, VA. We'll be sharing a table there, and I'm sure we'll be the loudest of the bunch! Just follow the sounds of obnoxious laughter and the appalled faces of attendees like breadcrumbs to our table. 

THE SCREENPLAY

By Ronald Malfi


INT. SCARES THAT CARE CONVENTION SHOWROOM – DAY

KRISTOPHER RUFTY, 30s, sits at a table signing books for eager fans. He’s got a pleasant and approachable face, a workmanlike sensibility, and the brim of a ball cap tugged low over his eyes. Once his legion of fans dissipates, RONALD MALFI enters, clutching a glass of scotch, two days’ growth at his jowls, his eyes bleary from staying up too late the night before. He sits beside Rufty and offers him a sip of his scotch, which Rufty declines.

RUFTY
Rough night last night?

MALFI
Yeah. I think my heart stopped.

RUFTY
(laughing)
When?  Last night?

MALFI
No, just now.

RUFTY
So have you given any thought to that screenplay we talked about?

MALFI
In fact, yes.  But that’s about all I’ve done. The writer’s block has eaten a hole through the center of my brain, I fear. I can hear something wormlike squirming about in there.

RUFTY
You’re thinking about it too hard. Don’t you have a book due this year?

MALFI
Yes.  Don’t you have like five due this year?

RUFTY
Six, actually.

MALFI
Prick.

RUFTY
So tell me about this script idea.

MALFI
Well, it starts off with this writer who’s tasked with writing a guest blog on his friend’s website.

RUFTY
For like a book promotion?

MALFI
Exactly.

RUFTY
Okay. Go on.

MALFI
Well, see, the guy is strapped for something clever to say. You see, this friend of his, he’s a fellow writer, too, and anyway, they’re good friends, and this guy, this writer guy, he just wants to write something unique and groovy and something that will, I guess, knock his buddy’s socks off.

RUFTY
There’s no such thing as a unique guest blog. They’re all the same.

MALFI
I know, I know! But, see, maybe this writer dude comes up with some original concept...like, maybe instead of a blog post, he writes it in screenplay form--

RUFTY
Because maybe these two guys have been talking about writing a screenplay together?

MALFI
Yes! Exactly. So, yeah, he writes it in screenplay form...

RUFTY
But what does he write about?  There still has to be a point to it.

MALFI
(considering this)
Well, he’s obviously gotta plug his new novel. It’s the whole point of the guest blog, right?

RUFTY
Just like you’re going around currently plugging Little Girls.

MALFI
Right.

RUFTY
Which, by the way, is an outstanding novel.

MALFI
Thank you.

RUFTY
Seriously.  I’m not just saying that because we’re friends. It’s quite possibly the best novel I’ve read all year. Or, for that matter, in the past ten years.

MALFI
No shit?

RUFTY
Ask anybody. It’s all anyone is talking about.

At this moment, STEPHEN KING saunters by, his big shoulders stooped, his arms laden with used paperbacks he’s purchased from one of the vendors. He pauses before Rufty and Malfi’s table and nods enthusiastically.

KING
It’s true, Ron. Loved the book.

MALFI
Thanks, Steve-o.

KING
Think I can get your autograph?

MALFI
Not now, man. We’re busy talking. I’ll catch you later in the bar.

KING
Okay.

Dejected, King skulks away.

RUFTY
So then what happens in the script?

MALFI
Maybe someone gets killed? I think someone should get killed. It’s a horror script, after all.

RUFTY
Good idea.

Beneath the brim of his ball cap, Rufty’s eyes darken. He withdraws a curved knife out from behind his back, the ten-inch blade gleaming beneath the lights of the showroom.

MALFI
Wait, wait, wait—wouldn’t it make more sense for me to kill you? You’re the guy pumping out twenty books a year while I’m suffering over one at a time. Shouldn’t I murder you in a fit of...I don’t know...jealous rage?

RUFTY
Or maybe I kill you because your hungover, unwashed appearance keeps all my fans from coming up to our table...

MALFI
Okay, fair enough. Listen, I’m gonna get another scotch.

RUFTY
But what about the murder? I’ve got the knife right here ready to go.

MALFI
Listen, I’d love to help you out, but as I’ve said, man, it’s the writer’s block, that damn worm eating my brains. I can’t finish the script. I can’t write the murder. Not even my own.

RUFTY
Sounds like a cop-out to me.

Malfi shrugs. He gets up and meanders away from the table. Disappointed, Rufty slides the curved blade back behind his back and out of sight. A moment later, an attractive female fan approaches the table. She appraises Rufty with something more than mere admiration.

GIRL
I thought that drunk idiot would never leave.

RUFTY
With any luck, he’ll wander out into the parking lot and get run over by a truck. It would be the perfect ending to the script.

GIRL
Is his new book really that good?

RUFTY
(laughing)
Not a chance!

Rufty’s laughter grows until the girl joins him. Soon, Stephen King returns, and the three of them laugh like maniacs as we--

SLAM TO BLACK


                                                                                    




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Audio Books!

PILLOWFACE and OAK HOLLOW audiobooks are now available from Audio Realms!














Pillowface

Oak Hollow

I'm extremely excited these books are available in audio format. It's been a dream of mine for so long, it's feels a bit surreal it's finally happened. A DARK AUTUMN, ANGEL BOARD, THE LURKERS, and THE NIGHT EVERYTHING CHANGED will be available before the end of the year.  




Bigfoot Beach!

Thunderstorm Books released BIGFOOT BEACH in a limited, hardcover edition on April 15th. The e-book and paperback are available as well. I usually have a blast writing books, something I feel truly blessed to be able to do, but this book might just have a softer spot in my heart than the others. Why? Well, it was an idea that began during a conversation with my son and daughter. 

I went to eat lunch with my son at his school, and since my daughter's lunchtime was close to his, I was able to pull her out of class a little early so she could join us. It was late spring, and we were excited to have warm weather again. My kids began talking about beach trips for the summer, which somehow led my to son showing me his shoes. He made me push down on the toe so I could see how much his feet had grown since my wife and I bought him the shoes a month before. I made a comment that inspired an idea in my kids' heads. 

"If your feet keep growing, somebody's going to see your footprint in the sand at the beach and think there's a Bigfoot running loose on the beach!"

My kids laughed, then began encouraging me to write a story about a Bigfoot running loose on a beach. I told them some ideas while we ate, and nearly all off them wound up in the book. Though they still aren't quite old enough to read the novel yet, I dedicated the book to them and I think when they reach a good age to read it, they'll be pleased. At least, I hope so.

Thunderstorm Books just have a couple copies left. If you're a collector, and are interested in buying the book, you may do so HERE!

The e-book and paperback can be found on Amazon HERE!

And KOBO right HERE!

iBooks and Nook forthcoming. 

Here's a synopsis, basically word-for-word what I said to my kids that day at the lunch table:

BIGFOOT BEACH

A bizzare, brutal murder. A missing woman. And a giant footprint in the sand. Now, the dying beach community known as Seashell Cove finally has a hook to attract the tourists—a Bigfoot on the beach! As the summer season winds down, the tourists go home and the town begins preparing for the colder months.

Soon, more strange footprints are found, other mysterious sightings are reported. Then the deaths begin. Could there really be a Bigfoot running loose in Seashell Cove?

A tracker with a personal agenda, the local sheriff, a hero whose fifteen minutes of fame expired a long time ago, and a female reporter looking for a scoop will team up to find out for sure.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jagger and another kind of Horrorhound

Here we are, in March. That's important for many reasons. First of all--my son turned twelve last week. He's growing so fast!

Second, I had a new book released this month. JAGGER, from Sinister Grin Press. This is my second book through SGP, the first being JACKPOT, which was cowritten by David Bernstein, Shane McKenzie, and Adam Cesare. The idea for JAGGER was something that had been bouncing around my head for a few years now, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Sure, it gets a bit tough in parts, but overall, I had a fun time writing it. This was a book that poured out of me, and I'm pleased to share it with the world.

To buy, click HERE! The Kindle version is .99 for just a short while longer. Also available in paperback.




My final reason that March is significant is I will be making my third appearance at Horrorhound in Cincinnati, Ohio. Always a good time, and this year should be no different. I'll be there signing books at the Samhain Publishing table with some fellow Samhain scribes. If that's not enough, there'll also be a lot of Horror celebrities and a few The Walking Dead cast members.

AND if that's still not enough, Tom Atkins will be there. TOM ATKINS!

To see the full guest list, click HERE!

Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the Horrific Podcast. The show should air soon. I'll be sure to post links when it goes live.

I hope to see as many of you as possible this weekend.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Haunchy Saga...so far.






The Lurking Season

Available now! The sequel to THE LURKERS!

The legends were true. The creatures were real. And now they’re back!

People have whispered about the tiny humanoid creatures in the woods and cornfields of Doverton for decades. Three years ago a wildfire devoured much of the rural village, but as the ashes were cleared, more questions were uncovered—including abandoned houses, missing people and dead bodies. Since the fire seemed to wipe out the majority of the town’s woodland acres, the murmurs about the creatures have gone quiet. The residents have begun to rebuild their lives, trying to forget about the tragedy that nearly killed them all. Yet the mysteries remained unsolved.

Now a group of people will go there with good intentions, venturing into the dead heart of Doverton, thinking it’s safe. But they will find out that the legend was only sleeping. Now it’s awake. And ready to kill again.


Purchase the Kindle version or paperback here!
For Nook !

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jameswalker

I first became acquainted with Russell James through Facebook. He sent me a wonderful email, introducing himself. His debut novel, DARK INSPIRATION was going to be released soon. In the email, he told me he was about to read my debut novel, ANGEL BOARD. I was tickled, because it was only the second time somebody had emailed me to tell me that. The first time was from my stepmother, so naturally I was pretty giddy. We kept in touch through FB for a long time after that. I'll never forget his encouraging email after Publishers Weekly released a not-too-kind review of ANGEL BOARD. I knew right away this was a nice guy, with a sense of humor that matched my own. We finally got to meet at Horrorhound, and our reunions are a huge part of my going back. I enjoy our conversations, though we're sometimes too busy to communicate during the event, it's the big dinner afterward where we get to cut loose and talk about writing.

 Here's Brian Moreland and Mick Ridgewell--the meat of a James/Rufty sandwich. 

I read Russ's second novel, SACRIFICE, and fell in love with, not just the story, but the way he wrote it. He writes in a style that shows his influences, yet is still all his own. As I read it, I was amazed at how natural it seemed to flow. To me, it felt as if he didn't have to struggle to explain something. He put words on the pages that easily transformed to visuals in my head. And since that book, I have been a Russell James fan. I've quickly devoured everything he's written. I'm equally hungry to dive into his newest release--DREAMWALKER.  

When I sent out the offer to have him come on my blog, I was ecstatic that he said yes. Below is what he wrote, and in it, you'll see his personality and his dedication to writing. Something I admire wholeheartedly about the guy. Thank you, Russ, for stopping by! 


Dreamwalker Took A Long Walk

   
Days. Months. Years. Once you accrue enough time, you need to change the unit of measurement. Each jump up adds gravity to whatever the endeavor is, or highlights a significant lack of progress. Someone asked me how long it took to write Dreamwalker, my latest release from Samhain Horror. I checked the start date of the first version, which was just the first electronic version. A handwritten version preceded that. I shook my head in wonder.

A decade. I’d been working on this novel for a decade.

Not a decade straight, of course. A big flurry of work for a year or so, another push a year later, then nothing, then another chunk over the past year. The latest file is named Dreamwalker 4.5, so it has been through a few revisions.
  
   What took so long? Simple. In 2005, I didn’t know how to write.
  
    Dreamwalker was probably my third attempt at a long form story. I finished it. My mother loved it. So did my wife. I mailed copies out (yes, it was that long ago) to agents and publishers, and got a collection of SASE rejections. Pretty humiliating to have bad news sent to me penned in my own hand, with my own saliva on the back of a stamp that I bought. One publisher did bite, provided that I shorten the 100,000 word story to 70,000 and pony up $10,000 to buy myself a garage full of copies. I passed, money aside, because I thought I couldn’t possibly make the thing shorter without ruining it.

    A family connection got me in touch with an English college professor in California who for a reasonable fee would check my novel and provide some coaching. With nothing to lose and an income tax refund in the bank, off Dreamwalker 1.0 went. Months later it came back, with more scrawled notes than a wall in a truck stop bathroom. 
  
   Looking back, I’m embarrassed by the things she explained to me. Point of view. Passive sentences. Filtering. Showing versus telling. Basically, Writing 101. I sucked up the knowledge and made a new version. But it sat in a metaphorical drawer. New projects had my attention and enthusiasm. I had this haunted house story called Dark Inspiration I was really excited about.

    That was the one that sold, as did three more after that. Out of curiosity, I re-read the synopsis for Dreamwalker one day. It sounded pretty good. The original enthusiasm I had for Pete Holm and his adventure in Twin Moon City reignited. I had the bright idea that I could pretty much check for typos and send this baby out to the world. A month to make a novel this time, instead of twelve. I called up Dreamwalker 3.0.
  
    What a pile of crap. On every page, unnecessary words sprouted like weeds. One protagonist was unrealistically perfect, the other two-dimensional. A Swiss cheese of plot holes made me cringe. Apparently I’d learned a lot more since 2007. Two online classes and the real world had provided Writing 201. This rewrite wasn’t going to take a month.
  
   It took nine. The story pared down to 75,000 words (maybe the scam publisher had one thing right.) Pete, the hero, had to struggle more to beat the evil voodoo spirit. Rayna, his girlfriend, had to be won over. The sappy happy ending…well, you need to read it to find out where that went. Don D’Auria, the horror editor’s editor at Samhain, bought Dreamwalker 4.5.

   So the lessons here? Get some education about writing from a pro. Tim Waggoner’s college classes, RJ Cavender’s Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat, the Gotham Writers’ online classes like I took. All of these are taught by published, experienced writers who know what they are talking about. Even Luke Skywalker needed to listen to Yoda. Then be open to criticism and improve.

   Second lesson: never toss any ideas away. Their time may come.

   Visit Russell James on the web HERE