Special Guest Star Len Cella

I still remember the first time I saw Len Cella’s work. My Dad taped a clip from The Tonight Show back in the early 80s, when Len was just starting to draw a cult following for his own series of shorts, the Moron Movies. Len wrote, starred in, edited, produced, and directed all of these low/no budget shorts himself, long before the time when iMovie and other editing software made it so easy. The two shorts I remember from that day were Cleaning Behind the Fridge (where Len simply throws a bucket of water behind the refrigerator) and How to Make a Sandwich (in which Len puts a piece of corn on the cob and a salt shaker on white bread).

Years later I found a copy of Volume 2 of the Moron Movies for sale at Blockbuster. It was around the time I started making films on my own, and it directly inspired a series of shorts I produced about Adam and Eve. A few years later, I found Len on Facebook. I contacted him and asked him to do a guest spot in the movie The Last Temptation of Fluffy. Len shot his own footage and sent it to me to include in the movie. I am eternally grateful to him for his kindness and generosity.

Len is living proof that anyone with a camera and some imagination can be a filmmaker. He’s turning 80 years old this year, and as far as I know, he’s still making shorts in his Broomall, Pennsylvania home. If you’ve never seen him in action, give the Moron Movies a look for yourself in the clip below. You can also view a short documentary by filmmaker Simon Mercer titled King Dong on Vimeo. (Contains adult language.)

Louisville’s Greatest Show: Available March 10

Louisville’s Greatest Show is ready, and the release date is now set.

I will be selling and signing copies at the Pro Wrestling Freedom Show March 10, 2017 at the ArenA in Jeffersonville, Indiana, right across the river from Louisville. Books will be available for $15. The book will be on sale that same weekend on Amazon for $19.95.

Come down and see why PWF is rapidly becoming one of the most talked about promotions in the Midwest. Several great matches on the card, including Chase Owens defending his Smoky Mountain title in Jeffersonville against Matt Cage and a rematch for the PWF Title between Chip Day and Gary Jay.

Big thank you to Jimmy Feltcher for hosting the book release!

Watch Fluffy and Clive the Zombie on Roku

Of all the films I had the pleasure of producing, the Fluffy trilogy and the Clive the Zombie series remain the most popular. Happy to say both of these series are not only available to watch online – they’re available on Roku!

The INC Channel was created as a hub for new, independent filmmakers as well as  long lost treasures and cult hits. It’s the ONLY channel on Roku that lets you watch Nosferatu, The House on Haunted Hill, Plan 9 from Outer Space, and… Clive the Zombie puppet. You can also find some delightfully weird and fun stuff produced by my friends Ford Windstar, Jerry Williams, George Bonilla, and more.

INC is a free to download and free to watch. It’s ad-supported, but the ads don’t stretch on near as long as they do on most free Roku channels.

In the coming months INC will also be releasing my Lunch Hour Films series and the wrestling web series, Hauss Show. They’re also already carrying a vintage wrestling program I produced with Roni Jonah, Eat Sleep Wrestle: The Golden Years.

Look for INC on Roku and download it tonight.

Do Zombies Have Civil Rights?

Someone on Facebook the other day shared a post stating that the way the world is today, if a zombie apocalypse did happen, there would be people marching in the streets demanding civil rights for the zombies.

Facebook, I was way ahead of you, six years ago.

New Release Now Available: ZORANA!

The latest fiction release is now available in paperback!

After suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of her arch nemesis War Eagle, Zorana, the world’s most terrifying super-villain decides to do the one thing she never thought she would do again: head home for the holidays.

Home, in this case, is a small town in Iowa called Smalltown, Iowa. The woman formerly known as Monica Deluna finds comfort in a familiar place as she reconnects with family and friends, but the joyous reunion is bittersweet as she also comes face to face with the faith she left behind.

Monica’s guilt only grows worse when the sins of her past follow her home. War Eagle, rival villains, and other enemies begin to converge on Monica’s hometown, hoping to make her pay for her crimes. Will Zorana meet a bitter end, or is there any chance a former super-villain can find redemption?

Zorana was first released in 2009 under the name “Demonica” and has undergone many changes in the years since. It was originally planned as a comic book series, then as a short film series. It evolved into a short novella with twelve chapters – six written by the main character, six written by her arch-nemesis, the hapless super hero War Eagle.

I’ve expanded the story several times over the years, and I’ve also written two short pieces as off-shoots from the main story. The newest version of the book includes these two stories, several new chapters, and one more brand new story written by my copy editor Austin Nichols.

I will be donating $1.00 from every book sold between now and February 28 to Waterstep, a Louisville based charity that provides clean water resources where they are needed around the world. Please help me to support this amazing organization by purchasing a book, or by making your own donation on their website.

Zorana is available to order on Amazon.com.

2017 Reading List

Just thought I’d hare the books currently stacked on my dressed and the ones in my Amazon cue, ready to pre-order. All goes well, here’s what I hope to read through in 2017.

Tom Clancy’s True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney (Read)

Train by James Luceno (Read)

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller (Reading)

Space Drifters: The Iron Gauntlet by Paul Regnier

Knights of the Apocalypse by Benjamin Wallace

Joe Vampire by Steven Luna

The Comedians by Kliph Nesteroff

Groucho and Me by Groucho Marx

The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost

The Master of Disguise by Anthony Mendez

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Sisterhood of the Squared Circle by Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy

Loxfinger by Sol Weinstein

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming

For Special Services by John Gardner

Icebreaker by John Gardner

What’s His Name?

Whatever your politics may be…

Whatever you are passionate about…

And regardless of what you think about people who hold the opposite view…

There are still some things that we all share in common.

If we look for it, we can still find common ground. Even today.

That was the purpose behind the last Righteous Insanity short film, “What’s His Name?” It’s a message that seems to be more relevant now than ever.

Share and enjoy.

A Very Serious Talk with Daniel Thompson

Daniel Thompson is a college student who created and hosted one of my favorite podcasts ever. Sadly, The Very Serious Writing Show was a casualty of a busy fall semester, but the 64 episodes are still available to download on Soundcloud.

The Very Serious Writing Show was a fun and inspirational podcast by writers, for writers. Daniel interviewed writers at all skill levels about all things writing. His enthusiasm for writing is contagious, and his guests were encouraging and educational.

When I decided to start interviewing writers for my website, Daniel was one of the first people I contacted. As you might expect from the host of The Very Serious Writing Show, it was a very, very serious discussion.

Boom Shaka-Laka.

What led you to start the Very Serious Writing Show in the first place? 

Kay, so, once upon a time, I worked at my local radio station, making commercials and running the soundboard. Great gig, so much fun, learned a ton, but there was lot of creative freedomm, you know? I remember one time they let me impersonate the Crocodile Hunter to advertise the Annual Rattlesnake festival, but other than that, I had kinda tight restrictions. People didn’t want out-there advertisements; they felt like that was risky, so after a while, it was just too shut in. And it was a country music station. So that was . . . good? Anyway, I left there to move to a new town, and wanted to keep doing radio-type work. I had a buddy who asked me if I’d be interested in doing some sort of writing-related podcast for his website, and it was just kinda perfect timing. Kingdom Pen Radio was born. And then died, quite shortly afterwards really, and metamorphosed into The Very Serious Writing Show, a loosey goosey author interview podcast. And it was fun, oh it was fun.

What have you been doing since the show went in hiatus in the fall? 

Well John, I became the prophet of Nicolas Cage. I cut out 2 thousand images of that beautiful man, and gave them out to residents in my dorm, who proceeded to plaster Nicolas Cage’s glorious image on every floor, in every building, and in every bathroom on campus. This went on all semester long; it was the internet in real life. And it was truly beautiful.

If an aspiring writer discovered your show today, what episodes would you recommend they hear first? 

Why, YOUR EPISODE OF COURSE! *cough* Or, I mean, you know, whatever. You know, it’s crazy, I don’t actually have a favorite episode. At least not for the sake of the show itself. My favorite episodes personally are the ones where I got to interview the guys who were basically my childhood heroes. Wayne Thomas Batson, Bill Myers, Katie Weiland. Those people were such inspirations to me, especially Wayne and Bill, that you can read their work and see bits of my own personality derived from them. That’s how much I loved their writing; they’re the guys who taught me to love fiction, to love reading, and to love writing as a result. So, if I had to point to one and go, “Yarp, that’s the one,” I’d say the Wayne Thomas Batson two-parter or Bill Myer’s episode. I’d like to think though that anyone could jump in anywhere with whoever they wanted to hear from and enjoy themselves.

Have you discovered any new writers since the show ended you wished you had on? 

Well, that would require me to be reading fiction commonly and I’m afraid that has not been my pleasure. There were some people I had reached out to though that I really wish had gotten back to me. Orson Scott Card, Ava DuVernay, and Frank Peretti all had better things to be doing with their time than gracing my humble podcast, and I don’t blame them. I feel blessed to have spoken to the men and women I have, and to have shared little pieces of their persons with everyone else. But if you’re asking me who we should be reading right now, I honestly don’t know. I’ll take any suggestions I get! I’ve kinda been eyeing Terry Pratchett for a while now . . .

What are your career/creative goals for the next few years? 

I’m going to be graduating college in a little over a year, and then I’m off to grad school, and a PhD school after that. I’m going to become a COLLEGE PROFESSOR. Which, as I see it, is kinda like having a daily live interactive podcast about several different things, and that sounds really fantastic to me. And it lets me keep pursuing other fun things! I’ve got lots of commercial video work I’m playing with right now, a vintage fashion blog/instagram I’m doing photography for (@beautifuldayforvintage, if you wanna see [not to plug, it’s legit if you wanna see. Vintage fashion is terribly specific, and very different from writing, and from wrestling, come to thing of it, so, you know, emit if you like, s’all good with me, whatever]), and possibly one of the more challenging projects I’ve ever worked on: my wedding day. And as always, I’ve got lots of random project carp rolling around, but all that’s yet to be seen.

Now for the real hard question: how is your dystopian comedy coming along?

That’s a bad question, a very-not-good question, you’re a terrible interviewer, how dare you even ask that, I am very offended, GOODBYE.

Translation: Dead in the water. Which taught me a very interesting lesson about telling people about things you want to work on and dealing with their positive responses to it. Turns out, I was too satisfied telling everyone about my wonderful idea that they all wanted to read, and then when I tried to write it, it was TERRIBLE. Which, all stories are terrible when they started out. But I had expectations. So what started out as a chill, relax-yoself pet writing project turned into an absolute car crash. NOTE TO SELF: Don’t tell anyone about anything you’re working on UNLESS they don’t think you can pull it off. It’s far more motivating to try to prove people wrong than to prove them right.
Maybe I need to do a podcast episode on this subject. Hmm.

Discover the Very Serious Writing Show for yourself on Soundcloud!

Feature Story in Reader’s Life

Trisha Ratliff just did a story about me and Robot/Girlfriend in the latest edition of her publication, Reader’s Life Magazine! It’s free to read, and if you don’t like what I have to say, you might find a new favorite in authors V.A. Jeffrey and J.L. McCann.

Click here to get the magazine.

Thanks, Trisha!

Writer Talk with Benjamin Wallace

One of my favorite reads of 2016 was a Kindle book called Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors by Benjamin Wallace. The ad I saw for the book on Facebook promised “Max Max Meets Monty Python.” It was that, and it was much more. It was a truly funny book that gave today’s post-apocalyptic science fiction the long overdue parody treatment it deserved. 

I recently contacted Benjamin Wallace on Facebook, and he was kind enough to answer some questions about himself and his writing journey. If you’re a writer like me who aspires to turn your hobby into a full-time gig, this will inspire you. 

What inspired you to start writing?

I never really liked the idea of working. I figured writing would be a good way to avoid that. And people.

How did the idea for the Duck and Cover series come about?

The idea of today’s society trying to get by without today’s conveniences made me laugh. We wouldn’t stand a chance, but I don’t think we’d give up either. I saw a lot of potential humor in that. Also the post-apocalyptic genre has been begging for a lampooning since it first came about.

What writers inspired your style?

Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes taught me that writing didn’t have to be serious.
Joseph Heller taught me that funny could still be respected. E. L. James taught me that you can write like s*** and still find an audience.

My writing style was probably more influenced by movies and comedians than any author. Harold Ramis, Pat Proft, SNL in the eighties, the Simpsons, Buck Henry and the list of legends would just kind of go on.

How did you approach the marketing of your books?

With a great deal of frustration. I spent a lot of years in advertising and expected that traditional approach to work. But books are different. Funny books are different still. What works for the thriller genre or romance doesn’t plug a play with humor. It’s taken a great deal of experimentation and twice that in swearing to start seeing some real results.

Did you use more social media or traditional ads to spread the word?

Traditional ads (print, TV, radio, etc..) are cost prohibitive to most indie authors. And, in my opinion, not as effective as they once were. I don’t pretend to understand my kids, but they don’t watch TV. They watch youtube. I can’t say they’ve ever held a magazine or newspaper. They stream their music. They don’t listen to the radio.

Twitter worked great the first year or so. Facebook is the flavor of the month now. But, any small change can upset a strategy based on purely on social media. Algorithms, trends, terms of service. Things change. And they change quickly.

The only sure strategy is to build an audience through consistent quality work stay engaged, be appreciative.

How did you know it was time to leave the day job and live your dream job?

Once I realized a few things:

I could get by with a combination of books and freelance ad work.

It costs more than you think to go to work each day.

Job security doesn’t really exist anywhere.

There was more earning potential in my books than there ever would be working for someone else.

Also, they laid me off.

The real trick was getting them to lay me off. That took some doing.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned that you could share with other writers?

Writing the book is the easy part. But it’s a business and running the business is where the work is.

Put in the time and money it takes to market it to your audience. It’s frustrating. And it can feel expensive. Okay, it is expensive. But it’s an investment that will pay off if you write decent books. Or 50 Shades of Grey. There’s a market for everything. If you start thinking in terms of ROI instead of pure sales that will help ease the sting a bit.

Read Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors and the rest of the Duck and Cover series on Amazon Kindle.