Title: The Summer of Guinevere
Author: John V. Madormo
Genre: Young Adult
It was the summer of 1968. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been cut down by a sniper's bullet. Senator Bobby Kennedy, on the campaign trail in California, had been assassinated. The Democratic National Convention in Chicago had left a black eye on the city. And 16-year-old Paulie Passero was oblivious to it all.
Chicago. August, 1968. And a summer I will never forget. The city and the nation were still reeling from a pair of assassinations. In April, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been cut down by a sniper in Memphis. In the days that followed, the City of Big Shoulders mourned, but it also burned. And just two months ago, Senator Bobby Kennedy, while on a presidential campaign swing in California, found himself in the crosshairs of another madman’s sights. For some reason these events really didn’t bother me. And it bothered me that they didn’t. These were tragic, earth-shattering occurrences. I should have been reading the paper or watching the news—but I wasn’t. What was wrong with me? Was I heartless? Was I apathetic?
I remember asking my best friend, Mickey Hannigan, if there was something odd about the fact that I didn’t seem to care much about world events. He told me that we had seen so many murders on TV and at the movies in our lifetime that we had become numb to killing. The fact that these were real people who had lost their lives didn’t seem to matter. “Things like this happen,” Mickey would say. “We read about them all the time in history books, so why would anybody be so shocked when they take place in our lifetimes? Listen, Paulie, the world is filled with lunatics. These things were bound to happen.”
It was weird though to think that fifty or a hundred years from now, kids would be studying the same stuff in history classes that we were watching on the evening news, or rather, not watching. I knew that this was really important stuff. So why was I more concerned about what was happening in my own life? I didn’t know. Maybe there was something wrong with me. I usually found myself more worried about other things—things that some people might regard as trivial…like getting my driver’s license…or wondering if I’d be invited to a particular party…or if I’d ever work up the nerve to ask a girl out on a date.
Let’s face it. When you’re in high school, it’s all about social status, not the ten o’clock news. You’ll never find anyone willing to admit it, but everyone knows it’s true. It was all about who your friends were, what sport you excelled in, or what kind of car you drove. I am embarrassed to say that I have managed to strike out on all three fronts. If I had to describe my life to someone, I could sum it up in one word—bleak. It wasn’t fair. I didn’t deserve this. A few years ago, things were different. Back in grammar school, I was one of the popular kids, or at least I thought I was. But now I was just one of the lemmings. I had allowed myself to become a follower. I simply blended in. There was nothing special about me anymore. And I hated it. When I entered high school, I had such big plans. I was going to blaze a trail. I was going to make people take notice. I was going to be…well…popular. Not on the football field or basketball court. I hadn’t been blessed with those talents. Instead I planned to wow them academically…and politically…and socially. I saw myself as valedictorian and class president and king of the homecoming court. In the yearbook, it would say that I had been voted as “Most likely to succeed…at everything.” I had it all planned out.
So here I was, about to enter my junior year, with nothing to show for myself but a bunch of mediocre grades and a handful of “acquaintances.” I really couldn’t call any of them friends. My only real friend was Mickey Hannigan. The Mick and I were inseparable. We had attended grammar school together, and now we were locker partners in high school—Anton J. Cermak College Prep. The Mick and I were a team. We did everything together. I don’t know what I’ll do after graduation. He and I were headed in different directions. Mick had already picked out a dozen colleges. I, on the other hand, wasn’t really sure if I’d ever cut it in college. I sure didn’t want to pump gas or work in some factory after high school, but I was afraid that it would be even worse if I started out at some college and then flunked out. It would be easier to say that I wasn’t going because I didn’t want to. As painful as it was to say, Mick was not only my best friend, he was my only real friend. There—I said it. I just had a hard time fitting in. It wasn’t as if I was some kind of a freak. I was average looking if you didn’t count my nose. I had what people called a Roman nose. It was roamin’ all over my face. My mom used to tell me that it made me look distinguished. What was she smokin’?
I was what you might call an underachiever. My parents knew it. My teachers knew it. I knew it. I wasn’t a dumb kid, mind you. I just didn’t apply myself. That’s how my dad described it. He called it an inability to take responsibility for my own education. What was he bitching about? He didn’t have to pay for it? I wasn’t in one of those preppy, private schools. I wished that everyone would just leave me alone. So you can see why I wasn’t really looking forward to returning to school in September and claiming my position as an upperclassman. It meant nothing to me. It just meant pretty much of the same—the same old crap. I was in a rut—a permanent rut. With no escape on the horizon.
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We’ve all been there. Paulie is a sixteen-year-old with a bleak outlook on life. Confused. Disillusioned. And a flop with the opposite sex. It appears he is doomed to live out this existence…until he discovers The Summer of Guinevere.
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Open Internationally. Runs February 2 – February 9, 2021. Winner will be drawn on February 10, 2021.
John Madormo, a Chicago area screenwriter, author, and college professor, has created a body of work that has attracted the attention of motion picture producers and publishers. John has sold a family comedy screenplay to a Los Angeles production company, is the author of a mystery series with a major New York publisher, and was recently named the Grand Prize winner of a national writing competition.
Here are just a few of his accomplishments:
- John is the author of a four-book series with Penguin Books for Young Readers. The middle-grade mystery series, "Charlie Collier, Snoop for Hire," is a tale about yours truly, a 12-year-old private detective, who sets up shop in his parents' garage and solves cases for fellow sixth-grade classmates. The debut novel, "The Homemade Stuffing Caper," was released in May, 2012. The sequel, "The Camp Phoenix Caper," was released in February, 2013. Book #3 in the series, "The Copy Cat Caper," hit bookstore shelves in September, 2013. And Book#4 debuted in 2017.
- John sold a family comedy screenplay, "Coach Dracula," to Dog & Rooster Productions, Studio City, CA. (Sheri Bryant will produce; Greg Aronowitz will direct).
- He optioned a family comedy screenplay, "Two-Faced," to Doris Roberts ("Everybody Loves Raymond") Enterprises. Ms. Roberts and her manager-son, Michael Cannata, held the rights for 3 years.
- John Madormo completed a screenplay adaptation of the young adult novel, "The Ghost of Lizard Light" by Elvira Woodruff, for Flatiron Films (producers of the 2000 release, "Pay It Forward," starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt).
- John signed a contract with Zumaya Publications (Austin, TX) for a middle-grade series titled, “The Adventures of Rutherford, Canine Comic.” Book 1 debuted in September of 2020.
- He signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press (Adams Basin, NY) for a young adult novel titled, “The Summer of Guinevere.” The book was released in the spring of 2019.
- John also signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press (Adams Basin, NY) for a young adult novel titled, “The Autumn of Andie.” The book will be released in the summer of 2020.
John has placed in the following screenwriting competitions:
- Grand Prize winner in the Reno Film Festival Best Synopsis Contest, and received First Place Award for Best Family Film Synopsis ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.")
- First Place winner for Best Family Film Synopsis at the Reno Film Festival for Best Synopsis Contest ("Dream Machine").
- Top 10 finalist in the BenderSpink Open Door Screenwriting Contest ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.)
- Finalist in the StoryPros Award Screenplay Contest ("Paulie Perkins, P.I.")
- 2nd Place in the Comedy Division of the Chicago Screenwriters Network Midwest Screenwriting Contest ("The Boys' Club")
- Top Ten Finalist in the Movie Script Contest Golden Brad Awards ("The Boys' Club")
- Semi-Finalist in the Scriptapalooza International Screenplay Competition ("The Boys' Club")
- Finalist in the WriteMovies.com International Writing Competition ("Kid Comedy")
John has also entered into option agreements with the following production companies:
Paulette Breen Productions
Bonnie Raskin Productions
Doris Roberts Enterprises
Dog & Rooster Productions
You can read more about John's writing projects at www.johnmadormo.com.
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