Oh childhood memories. Mom and dad, baseball games, apple pie and school. You have your good and bad memories but your childhood can and a lot of times does shape your life. When I was eight years old, living in McDowell Kentucky, I was watching my cartoons which was a huge percentage of my life. I saw He-Man and the Masters of the Universe one day (He-Man was my favorite cartoon), and I saw the character Buzz Off for the first time, (A giant bumble bee humanoid creature) and my heart was stolen.
I loved everything about Buzz Off, his talk, how he fought and his flying ability. I remember taking a car ride with my mom, dad and brother, I was sitting in the back seat playing with my He-Man and Buff-Off action figures. I look at my brother and tell him, ‘Look, Buzz Off has his own group, they are called the Buzzies.’
My brother smiled at me, he thought it was cute I would make a group for my favorite He-Man character and told me, ‘Oh really? Who are his buddies in the group?’ I look around the car thinking for a few seconds. I was stumped until out of nowhere, I think of Wazz Tan and Hornet. My brother thinks the names are cool and I keep playing with my toys.
I never forgot those names over the years and the name the Buzzies was stuck in my head. When I was twelve years old, four years after I thought of Wazz Tan and Hornet, I thought of two more characters. Lady Bug Bee and Rock N Roll B (I changed his name to Rockbuster B in 2012). I thought this would be a good nucleus for the group. Four strong characters with memorable names and personalities.
Two years after I thought of the core Buzzy group, I started to think of some adversaries for the Buzzies. After all, heroes are useless without someone to fight lol. I kept thinking and going through the different insects and arachnids that the Buzzies could fight and I kept coming back to the Spider people. Queen Black Widow was the first name, then Trap-Door, Brown-Back, Fiddler-Back and Venramous came to mind. I needed a fifth Buzzie, (obviously, I could not use Buzz Off since he was owned by Matel) this happened when I was homeless, but I saw a red rose, I kept thinking about the pedals on a rose and combined Py and Rose. Pyrose, I thought that would be a cool name for a lead character. He would be the future leader in training and I had my 10 main characters from each side.
Then as I got older, I put this idea on the back burner, I never thought anyone would be interested in an idea like this. Bumble Bees vs Spider people on an alien world filled with unfamiliar creatures and no humans. I was shocked at how I never forgot the 10 main character’s names or personalities. Then, one day, about nine years ago. My brother finally told me, ‘Mike, you keep talking about the Buzzies, There might be something there. Have you ever thought about writing a book?’ I was shocked when I heard this. I could not believe Shawn said that. Write a book? What story could I come up with? I started to believe in the idea when I started writing down some ideas in a notebook. I filled up five notebooks with characters, weapons, food, culture, planets, suns, and the galaxy. I was obsessed with this mythology and the creatures around it.
But, after the first five chapters, I hit a road block. No1, some of my ideas were so outrageous, I kept thinking, ‘No way I can do this.’ Then, I saw James Cameron’s Avatar (Cameron is alongside Whedon, my favorite writer, director), when I saw Avatar, I was blown away by the wonderful worlds, cool characters and amazing creatures. I thought to myself, ‘I can do the Buzzies now.’ So, if my book is a huge hit (I hope it is), then you have James Cameron to thank (or blame lol) for my book even existing.
Over the next four years from 2010-14, I thought about character development, story, story development, pacing, humor, etc., I kept going over it in my head, what I needed to fill in and make sure that the story can hold up under close inspection. Then on August 14, 2014, I began work on my book. I am glad I waited, I started taking writing classes at my college and it really helped me with the writing process. I got through the first five chapters. The hardest part for me was trying to introduce them. I did not want to spend a lot of time introducing the characters. To me, great characters don’t need a lot of time to introduce. We knew how cool Han Solo was when he told Luke, ‘Yeah but whose gonna fly it kid, you?’ To me, that was the perfect introduction to Han. We knew he was a rogue smuggler who had a cynical view of people. I struggled with this for months on end until I came up with a good scene, I will let you read to know what it is, but I felt like I hit the nail on the head. I introduced these five wonderful characters without a lot of space being taken up.
I was so happy, but I hit a road block that would take me almost two years to solve. I remember Jim Cameron (yep, him again) saying that the most important part of a script was the trigger that made the story go. What was the motivation for the story? I had none for the Spider people; then I thought to myself, ‘What if the Spider people thought the Buzzies were bad?’ Whoa, I was onto something. I didn’t want to do the standard throw away story of they want to take over the world or they want the resources. I will make this a personal story, that seemed fresh and when I found the trigger, the ideas started flowing! I have all three books mapped out now. All I need to do is fill in the small details. I have the main developments and how the story will play out with a huge twist at the end of one of the books. I am very proud how adventurous I got with the story telling. I don’t want to follow down the safe path with this book. I might fail, but the fact is, I would rather swing for the fences and fail then to keep playing it safe and not try.
I got into a rhythm as chapter after chapter started flowing like water from a fountain. Then I got to were I could write lines specifically for each character. I just felt each character speak in a voice and come alive, it has been so amazing watching my writing grow and get better. I am trilled that the book is almost finished. All I need to do now is edit, which has been really good for my writing. After 32 years of coming up with the ideas and trying to figure out how to write these characters, the worlds, the story and mythology, I am almost done and some publishers are wanting to publish it or help me self-publish, so I hope I am onto something good with this book.
I have to admit, I have a selfish reason for wanting to do the book. I look around the entertainment industry and see the same franchises over and over get trotted out. I think it is time to have some new franchises, and I hope the Buzzies can become one. Who knows, this might be a great new franchise. I have three books planned, no more then that and I hope everyone gets a big kick out of the heart, humor, action and mythology that I poured my heart and soul out. I have worked on this project for a long time and I hope it makes you laugh, cry, think and jump out of your chair reading. The Buzzies will be out June 2017. I hope you pick up a copy, tell your friends and share it on social media. Let’s spread the word, this could be the next great book you read.