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