Contest: Name My New Character

I mentioned that I had a pair of announcements coming up, but things have stalled a bit on one of them. I was considering an appearance at the Permian Basin Horror Fest last weekend, but chose not to attend after all. Another big announcement is on hold until further notice, but it could be a monster announcement if everything goes right.

Yeah, I know I’m not giving much information there, but there is a good reason for it. Trust me, if this comes to pass, I will be screaming the news from the mountain tops.

Well, here is the second announcement that I was planning on giving. I have chosen to move away from non-fiction novel writing for now, for various reasons, and have begun work on my first fiction novel. I am re-tooling an old mystery novel I was writing for a fiction writing class at OU and have set it up in a new world that I am building to turn this into an actual series.

I have already started to write the book, and I plan to put in the time to finish the first draft in full during NaNoWriMo in November. With that said, I thought it might be fun to have a contest here on my website.

Here is the idea for the world for my novel series: Superheroes are real and my hero is a police detective who works to solve murders that are often overlooked in a world where super villains are more dangerous, but the little people need protected too. The superheroes are really just background color for the series, although they will play into story lines in smaller, amusing ways. A good description would be Lucas Davenport in the world of the Dresden Files (but with super humans instead of mystical characters). I also want to keep the murders based in the human world, so this is not going to go in the direction of Powers, where the police are investigating superhuman crimes.

Here is the contest: I am looking to name my lead character – the detective. I would like to bring the readers into this and see if someone has a perfect name for a police detective in the world of superheroes. The person who comes up with the best name will get a free trade paperback copy of my Stephen King book, Dollar Deal, as well as their name listed in the acknowledgements of the first novel in this new series and a free copy of that first novel when it is published.

Use the comment section below to give your ideas and make sure I have a way to contact you if I choose your name for my new hero.

I’ll be keeping you guys updated as I work through this first novel and look forward to seeing the final result.


On a secondary note, there is a Dollar Baby Film Festival coming up in Minneapolis, Minnesota this month. I won’t be there, and my movie is not showing there, but there are some great ones screening. The event is Crypticon and it takes place on Oct. 23 through Oct. 25. I am sending three books to the organizer, Tony Northrup, to give away at the event.

Movies from filmmakers profiled in Dollar Deal include Doveed Linder (Strawberry Spring) and Warren Ray (Maxwell Edison). The other movies are adaptations of Deliver Glass, Suffer the Little Children, Beachworld, Cain, The Man Who Loved Flowers, Night Surf, and Love Never Dies).

Also, Tony interviewed me recently about Dollar Deal (if you haven’t bought a copy yet, buy it here from Amazon, and remember to leave a review on Amazon after you read it to help me promote my book). The interview, and Tony’s review of my book, will show up on the website Through the Black Hole later this week.


Stephen King Dollar Babies eBook Going Amazon Exclusive

I teased on Facebook a couple of weeks back that I had some big announcements coming up. Well, the first one is ready to unveil and it has to do with the warning that I gave to non-Kindle users to get the eBook if they hadn’t yet.

Starting today, my book, Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers will no longer be available through Kobo, iBooks and other digital retailers. Instead, the eBook version will now be exclusively sold for the Amazon Kindle. For at least the next two days, it will still be available on the Nook, but that will end soon as well.

This doesn’t exclude people without a Kindle, as Amazon has a free app to read books online and through other devices. The Dollar Deal eBook just won’t be sold anywhere but through Amazon from now on.

This does not effect the trade paperback version of the book, which will still be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through the Dollar Deal website. Remember, buying the book directly from me will include a free autograph inside the book.

Also, with the holiday season around the corner, I am temporarily lowering the prices of the trade paperback and eBook for those who might be in a crunch financially. The trade paperback will cost $15 now (a $5 discount) – although Amazon and Barnes & Noble have yet to update the price. The Kindle edition now only costs $7.99 – that price is in effect immediately.

Also, I would like to request that people who buy a copy please leave a review on the Amazon sales page because that is how Amazon determines which books to promote more on their site. Good, bad or ugly – every review of my book helps get it into more people’s hands.

Next Monday, I will have the second big announcement and it involves my next book. Also, I am in talks to host another Stephen King Dollar Baby Film Festival, which I will announce when the plans are officially in place.

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers


New Interview Online, Plus Hints About Future

There is a new interview I did with the Oklahoma based newspaper The Oklahoma Gazette about the Stephen King Dollar Deal book. That article ended up as a great read, as the journalist reached out to In the Deathroom director Damon Vinyard as well as getting a quote from Stephen King himself. That was very cool. Here is the quote from King, and a link to the actual article:

“It’s just an effort to give a little back. Plus, I get copies of the films, which are usually interesting and sometimes quite brilliant. In a way, it’s like being a baseball scout in the minor leagues,” King said in a statement to Oklahoma Gazette.

With that out of the way, there are also a few Stephen King fan sites that have reviews of the book coming up, so that is pretty exciting.

Now, looking into the future.

If you are someone who reads on the Nook, Kobo, or iBooks, you might want to get Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers soon because there is a chance that I strike a deal that takes it off those platforms by the end of September. I will let you guys know more by that time.

As always, the book is also available in trade paperback and you can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through my website (and I’ll autograph any copies bought directly from me).

Next up, I am considering attending a horror festival in Odessa, Texas, but I am not sure yet if that is something I will do. I will let you guys know more closer to the end of September.

On a different note, I am in talks to possibly have another Stephen King Dollar Baby Film Festival, this one in West Texas in Midland, Texas. That should start to possibly form in the very near future, so if you live in Texas, keep your eyes out for that.

Finally, I have a pretty big announcement on my next book coming up at the start of October. I know this blog post has been a giant tease, but I hope that everything I mentioned here comes to fruition.

Thanks to everyone for all your support and I will be back soon with some more concrete news.

Looking Back at Galacticon

I wanted to wait to write this blog post because I was very disappointed when I returned home from the Stephen King Dollar Baby festival at Galacticon. I am glad I waited, because I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus or rage about things that went wrong. Instead, here is a level look at the weekend that went wrong.

The Stephen King Dollar Baby film festival at Galacticon in Seattle was in the works for over a year. I met one of the organizers in Houston, which was both the last time that I hosted a dollar baby festival and the last Galacticon event. I put together a great number of Dollar Baby films and they also asked me to host another festival that they could make some money off of, this one with films by Dollar Baby filmmakers. I did my part.

In exchange, they paid my airfare, put me up in a nice hotel and gave me a table with the other invited guests.

I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening online, but maybe I should have. I got on the plane to head to Seattle and when I was at my layover in Los Angeles, my phone rang. I was informed that the convention could no longer afford my hotel room and they wondered if I could room with the organizer who put the convention together or pay for the room myself and let them “pay me back later” for it. I’m not stupid, so I agreed to room with someone else.

What I didn’t know until after I arrived was that the new room was not in the nice hotel with the rest of the invited guests but was in a small, roadside motel in a bad neighborhood. I bit my tongue because I then got online and saw what was happening and I knew that it wasn’t the fault of the man I was dealing with over the last year.

The person who was responsible for the main Battlestar Galactica guests had screwed up and ended up cancelling many of the guests from the new Battlestar show. Fans revolted, and although there were no refunds coming for the guests, many chose not to come and others warned people not to attend the event at all.

The guy who screwed up was fired and the guy I was working with busted his butt to make sure that the convention still went off as good as it could be. Many cancelled guests were invited back and some of them agreed to come. Sadly, one cast member named Aaron Douglas chose to have a pub run and convinced fans to skip the convention and come hang out with him for charity. Nice for the cause, but he screwed over all the vendors and the cast members who did show up. The guy I worked with made sure the convention was going strong and then collapsed, spending the next two days in the hospital.

So, I went to the first day of the convention, set up my booth and then spoke to the programming coordinator. She told me that she was informed the Dollar Baby film festival was cancelled. She then made a snide comment that I was really more of an exhibitor and not a true guest, but I got my table anyway. What I didn’t get was the Dollar Baby festival listed in the program, which meant it was dead in the water.

By the second day, I was moved from the portion of the convention with the rest of the guests to a table with the vendors, which might have been better for my placement if there had been any fans actually showing up. By the third day, I was ready to leave.

I sold three books, and the coolest part is that one of them was to Star Trek actor J.G. Hertzler, who gave me his card and was super cool talking to about the entire Dollar Baby process. I also met another indie author named EA Channon, who gave me some great advice about what can lead to success at conventions as a vendor.

I also shared as bus with some fantastic people, including the cast of Land of the Lost, Wesley Eure, Kathy Coleman, and Philip Paley. They were just the best people, and I am now known to them forever more as the “Crack Whore Motel Guy.”

A photo posted by Shawn Lealos (@sslealos) on

So, it was a bad experience and was very disappointing. But, there were positives to take from it and I am ready for the next experience. Keep your eyes out if you live in West Texas (specifically Midland and Odessa) for a possible next appearance for me with the Dollar Deal book.

Don’t think I am burying Galacticon. I just want Stephen King fans in Seattle who might have been interested in seeing the Dollar Baby films to know why that opportunity was squandered. Hopefully, I can make it up to you one day in the future.

That’s about it for now, but keep your eyes out here for some big news about the Stephen King Dollar Deal book coming at the end of September.

If you haven’t grabbed it yet, Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers is available on

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers: Now Available

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers is finally available for order at and Barnes & Noble.

To order the book in either the Kindle edition or as a trade paperback, head on over to Here are the links for the other sites as well:

BARNES & NOBLE just has the trade paperback version.

Also, make sure to bookmark for a number of special features and videos concerning the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers.

You can contact me at and I am available for interviews. There is also a limited number of review copies available if you write for a site or publication that reviews books.


In 1976, Stephen King started helping aspiring filmmakers get their big break through the Dollar Baby film program. This deal allows filmmakers to create a short film based on one of King’s available short stories, as long as that story was not already optioned for a major movie or television show.

Over 80 filmmakers made Dollar Baby films over the next four decades and many of these filmmakers moved on to enjoy success in the entertainment industry, with Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) as the Godfather of the entire Dollar Baby phenomenon.

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers tells the story of 19 of these filmmakers. Dollar Baby filmmaker Shawn S. Lealos (I Know What You Need) interviews each of these filmmakers about their journey from college campuses to Hollywood, including Peter Sullivan (Night Surf), Nick Wauters (Rainy Season), Jeff Schiro (The Boogeyman), Jay Holben (Paranoid), and many more.

Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers

Update on ‘Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers’

Yeah, so that happened.

I returned to my website in January and said that I was going to re-dedicate myself to posting to my blog, keeping you guys updated on the status of my Stephen King Dollar Baby book.

Then nothing.

Well, that was for a very good reason. I have been busting my tail to get Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers ready to publish. It is almost ready and will go on pre-sale later this month.

Cool? Cool.

Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing you to 19 different Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers that I profile in this book and talking a little about what makes them so special and inspirational.

This book, for those who don’t know, is about the actual Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers, as they talk about what they love about Stephen King, how they made their Dollar Baby movies, and how that helped them achieve success in their careers following that.

These men have gone on to make their own feature length movies, led by Frank Darabont himself, who made other Stephen King adaptations like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist after he made his Dollar Baby, The Woman in the Room. A lot of you may know that he also created a little TV show called The Walking Dead.

Other Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmakers went on to write for TV shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Mentalist, The Americans, and one even created the sci-fi TV show, The Event. There is one Stephen King Dollar Baby filmmaker who has become a novelist himself, another who has made SyFy Network monster movies, one who edits documentaries for the History Channel and another who works for Playboy in their video department.

These people have stories that continue to inspire me as I prepare the book for the final copy editing phase. I am proud to introduce you to these people in my book.

So, keep your eye on my website for more information about the release of Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers, as well as a small peak at each of these amazing filmmakers.

I am also available for interviews and you can contact me directly at

Isn’t it Strange How Important Music Really Is?

I hate to be one of “those dads,” but I am so glad that Christmas vacation ends in two days and Ash can get back to school. I hate hate hate telling him that I can’t play with him and have to work. As a writer, all my work is done at home, so over the last two weeks I have gotten very little done and have gone to the last minute on some assignments with deadlines.

That can end on Monday and things can get back to normal. Now I just have to figure out how to get out of bed early again.

Anyway, since I have so much work I have fallen behind on, and since I am me, I have taken some time to set up some playlists in Spotify. Yeah, I have finally decided to give the Premium service a chance since it is only 99 cents for the next three months. So, the first thing I do is set up playlists of songs I want to listen to while I am writing.

* I thought these were all original songs, but some songs have the wrong singer’s names beside them and the quality goes up and down based on the song. Am I just confused about what is included here?

Anyway, I don’t listen to music as much as I used to. No, I’m not one of those A-holes who claims that music today sucks and the only good music is old music. See, I was someone in the 80s who loved new music and basically saluted with my middle finger anyone who claimed that the music of the day sucked. I won’t become those people now that I am – not as young.

However, while putting together these playlists, I am shocked at how much music meant to certain moments of my life. I wonder why I don’t let music affect me in the same way now. Honestly, some memories are based completely around music.

That might also be because I only listened to Christian music as a kid and never got into the evil secular rock and roll until I was about 18. First concert I ever went to that was non-Christian was Cinderella, Winger and the BulletBoys. I loved the show, but I still regret that I chose that over Poison and Tesla because, at the time, I had no idea who Tesla was.

I remember in 1989, my best friend Bill and I went to Blockbuster Music so we could buy the Motley Crue Dr. Feelgood cassette the day it came out. Yeah – the cassette. Hell, I used to spend most of my paychecks in used music stores browsing the cassette tape section.

I finally bought my first CD player in 1990 (the things were stupid expensive back then) and then bought my first two CDs (they cost like $20 back then). They were George Michael’s Faith and Poison’s Open Up and Say Ahh… I should take a minute here to say that I have no embarrassment at all for the music I like and listen to and will tell anyone who I like. As I said when I was talking about old people looking down on my music – people who laugh at my choices get the middle finger, regardless of age.

I saw Warrant at the Zoo Amphitheater and stood in the rain to watch them play. I saw Warrant again with Bill and then we went to the Samurai Saki House and had beer with them (actually at the table with them) before watching them play the Green Acres theme song with a metal beat. I have to say that my only real regret was missing the Guns N Roses concert because I never got to see them play with the original band.

Remember FM radio? It used to mean something.

I listened to The KATT and especially listened every time the Blade Runner was on the air. Hell, it was almost 20 years ago and I remember his thoughts about the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan (“you could put Motley Crue in an airplane full of drugs and crash it and they would come out unharmed with a new live album”). Every time I park my shopping cart in a holder at Wal Mart, I remember his anger at his Trans Am getting scratched and how he damned everyone who let their carts roll free.

Blade Runner talked about Halloween and asked why, when people rose from dead on Halloween, they were Zombies, but when they rose from the dead on Easter, they were the Savior. A decade later, I shot my short film What Would Zombie Jesus Do? and it originated from a Blade Runner segment I heard years before. The coolest thing is that Blade Runner was in that short film for me and we are still friends today (I met him over a decade after I listened to him on the radio).

I miss real dee-jays who talked about things that matter instead of trying to sell cars. That is why I listed to XM Radio now, and the dee-jays there don’t do anything but make jokes and spout trivia (except one or two exceptions, like Eddie Trunk’s awesome show on Hair Nation. Anyway, if you want to hear some good music, check out Blade Runner on his Internet radio show –

Well, here we are in 2015 and I find myself listening to music only when I am driving, and it is almost always a classic radio station – either Hair Nation or Lithium (grunge). Sometimes with Johanna, I will listen to her station, which is The Pulse and new music, and I like a lot of what I hear there. But, that is about it. When I have my iPod on, I am listening to podcasts usually, so maybe Spotify will help me get back into music again. I don’t know.

Anyway, Monday Ash goes back to school and I can start writing regularly again. Of course, there will be the usual content that pays the bills, but I also plan to start putting more work into Renegade Cinema and will finish writing the first draft of Dollar Deal: The Story of the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers by the end of January – guaranteed. Plus, my podcast is coming soon and I will have more info on who my guests will be soon.

Until then, keep your eyes on this blog and I will keep you updated on my progress – and ramble a little along the way. Anyway, tell me you love me in the comments below and I will name a character after you in my daydreams while I am avoiding working tomorrow.

And, just to prove I like more than just old hair metal:

OK, maybe they still share a trait… Suck it.

Happy New Year, ie. I’m Back

I’m back.

Well, technically I never left. All my writing is still available all over the Internet (specifically at my site Renegade Cinema and at the many content sites I write for, with AXS getting most of my work now).

However, it is time to really light a fire and what better time than the New Year, since – you know – everyone follows through with making changes on New Year’s Day.

But, I am gonna do my best.

Basically, here is what you have to look forward to from me in 2015. I will keep writing more than I have time for in order to pay the bills and keep food on the table and clothes on the back of my family.

I’m also going to work harder on getting Ash involved with things outside of the home. That includes intermediate swimming lessons starting next Tuesday and he is getting back into basketball starting the Wednesday after that with games every Saturday for a month. No more procrastinating and forgetting to sign him up for sports and no more just making him watch TV and play inside every night while I write more than I have time for.

Yep, that is the conundrum I find myself in. But that is solved by just writing more while he is in school and not jerking around so much instead of writing.

Oh yeah, and there will be more writing coming too in the form of the Stephen King ‘Dollar Deal‘ book. It is time to stop talking and start doing. I think I have finally cracked the book. I did all the interviews a long time ago but have been struggling with putting it together. I think I have figured out how to put it together in a way that will entertain the readers while still being a quality book. And it will be finished soon.


Anyway, I will also write this blog to make myself follow through, because I have plenty of time to write something else…

Here is the bottom line. I will do everything I can to keep making money, while giving Ash more time, while also putting the pieces together for the future (the books) so that I can start to try to help make Johanna’s life better as well.

And I’m starting a podcast in the next couple of months.

Welcome to the circus that is my life.

** Some of the links on the side of the page don’t work yet, but hang with me, I’m getting there.