Welcome to another Writerly Wednesday!
John B. Rosenman
John recently retired as an English professor at Norfolk State University where he designed and taught a course in how to write Science fiction and Fantasy. He is a former Chairman of the Board of the Horror Writers Association and has published approximately 350 stories in places such as Weird Tales, Whitley Strieber’s Aliens, Fangoria, Galaxy, The Age of Wonders, and the Hot Blood anthology series. John has published over a dozen books, including SF action-adventure novels such as Beyond Those Distant Stars and Speaker of the Shakk (Mundania Press), A Senseless Act of Beauty (Crossroad Press), and Alien Dreams (Drollerie Press). Shorter books include A Mingling of Souls and Music Man (XoXo Publishing), Here Be Dragons (Eternal Press), The Voice of Many Waters (Blue Leaf Publications), Green in Our Souls (Damnation Books), and Bagonoun’s Wonderful Songbird and Childhood’s Day (Gypsy Shadow Publishing). Recent developments: Muse It Up Publishing contracted for three novels, Dark Wizard; Dax Rigby, War Correspondent; and Inspector of the Cross, and two stories, More Stately Mansions and The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes.
Kan not only has complete amnesia but superhuman strength and the ability to bring back the dead. Soon a beautiful girl complicates things even more. As Kan learns his identity, he finds he is faced with a deadly evil and a cosmic mission.
Kan knew at once the little girl was dead, her brain and body smashed beyond repair. Yet he ran across the street to where the child’s mother knelt screaming.
Passing the stunned school guard, Kan didn’t even glance toward the driver who had raced off down the street.
By the time he reached them, the mother had gathered her child’s crumpled body in her arms and was wailing, swaying back and forth on her knees. Over the girl’s bloodstained chestnut curls, the woman’s upturned eyes were puddles of grief imploring an indifferent sky.
“God, don’t let her die, don’t let her die. Oh, God…”
The mother’s desperate, pleading voice called onlookers like a siren’s song. People crossed the pavement, some at a run, some at a cautious walk. Even as he was preoccupied with thoughts of the child, Kan tasted their minds, finding some shocked, others curious, and a few hungry for suffering in a repulsive way he had never understood.
“My God,” a man said. “Did you see what happened?” His eyes passed over Kan’s tall muscular frame. “The car must have thrown her twenty feet.”
“It was a Nebula 10,” someone replied. “Black. Didn’t get the license number.”
In the middle of the street, the crossing guard still stood frozen in the hot sun of San Luis Obispo, California, her chalk-white face staring in their direction. Kan sighed and nudged her mind. “Not your fault,” he told her. “Call the police.”
The guard blinked and came to life. She reached for her cellphone.
Within a minute, a dozen people clustered about the mother and child. Get back, Kan wanted to shout, though he had no business being here himself. Have you no shame? Respect her grief. Every day, he fought a ceaseless battle to keep his nature secret, to slink beneath the radar of prying eyes. True, so many of these creatures needed help. He was the only one, though, and their vampiric needs drained him. If he got careless or let compassion rule his head, they would learn what he was and hate him for being different.
He started to leave just as a man pressed against him, eager for the sight of a little blood. Nor was he the lone ghoulish rubbernecker. A plump, middle-aged woman pushed forward, too. Kan’s hands twitched with an unfamiliar hunger of their own to smash and destroy. The desire alarmed him. Tempted to give in, he knew he would be no better than they if he did.
Despite his need to leave, the mother’s wails and the child’s limp, ruined body held him.
He glanced past them at the elementary school seventy yards away beyond a well-trimmed
lawn. Yellow daffodils stirred in the breeze. It looked calm and sedate, though he knew the
doors could burst open at any moment and new company could come.
Leave now before you get tempted. Leave before it’s too late!
Kan began to turn.
As he did, the mother’s stricken eyes found his. Help me, they seemed to cry. Help my little girl.
Before he could stop himself, Kan knelt and held out his arms. “Give me the child,” he said.
He cupped his hands, moving his fingers. “Your child. Give her to me, while there’s still time.”
Interview Questions –
1.In three days, all electricity is going to be shut off for a very long time. What items are
you going to gather in preparation for this event?
A.First, I’d buy a lot of candles and matches so I could read in the dark. I might also buy a laptop so I could use a computer. Prolonged darkness would also be an incentive for romance. Instead of reading, watching TV, etc., my wife and I could use the dark for one of its best and most private purposes. Need I say more?
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
A. The movie The Wizard of Oz is not only one of my favorites, but an important influence in my life. Before I retired as an English prof at NSU, I had accumulated over a dozen mementoes of the movie in my office: a WOZ movie poster behind my desk, a thousand piece puzzle based on the flick, etc. Some of my other fiction has also been inspired by the movie, including a short story called “Down from Oz.” There is something vast, archetypal, and beautiful in the movie that I can never exhaust or get tired of. It continues to resonate inside me.
Like Dorothy, Kan in Dark Wizard finds himself in a strange realm. However, going
home for him is not a matter of returning to a place like Kansas, but
remembering who he is and what devastating event happened to him. The whole
novel is a process of Kan discovering his true identity and transcendent role.
That’s a theme my heroes display in novel after novel.
Also, Romance. A person cannot be complete by him or herself. This is another theme I like to explore in my novels. In Dark Wizard, I present two characters, a man
and a woman, who are both haunted by a dark past. Plus, I try to answer the
question, “How does one really know his or her love is true and real, and not just lust
Finally, video games. If you read Dark Wizard, you may find a video game unlike any
you’ve ever imagined.
3. What do you like to read?
A. Science fiction, Golden Age Science fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Erotic Horror, Suspenseful Police Procedurals, Thrillers. Octavia E. Butler, Stephen King, Lisa Gardner, Lee Child, Greg Iles, Dean Koontz. I’m reading a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of John Keats by Walter Jackson Bate. I’m pretty eclectic; if something interests me, I might pick it up. Recently I blogged for Muse It Up Publishing’s June conference. My subject was “How to Create and Use Mind-stretching Concepts.” I love fiction, SF or otherwise, that blows your mind, especially in cosmic ways.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
A. Rome was pretty exciting. A strange, foreign land with marvelous historical sites. While there, I visited the Sistine Chapel, an experience that inspired a story, “A Spark from God’s Finger.”
Paris was also amazing. I was reminded constantly that my high school and college French weren’t up to the task. Not knowing or being fluent in another country’s language can be exciting, frightening, and humbling at the same time. At times, I felt I had visited an alien planet whose inhabitants only seemed to be human.
London, England as well. In Westminster Cathedral, you find British monarchs buried as well as great poets like Chaucer. You can literally walk on history.
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
A.I play Pinball on my PC and watch television for hours, especially the tennis channel and schlock SF/Horror movies of the fifties. When I do this, I’m often in no hurry to do anything constructive or meaningful. Often, I prefer watching an old movie I’ve seen half a dozen times to a new one.
6. What scares you the most?
A.Getting sick this last year with Celiac disease has made me afraid of getting sick and helpless and becoming even more of a burden on my wife Jane. Losing control of my existence is scary, especially as the diseases pile up. I lost thirty pounds this last academic year and had to have four colleagues take my classes. I think I came fairly close to dying, so death has become a bit too intimate of a stranger.
– I am a (mostly) vegetarian celiac. I also do daily battle, reading labels, inspecting food items and a family gathering presents a nightmare. The new ‘fad’ foods that are glutin free seem to be mostly salt and sugar loaded junk food. Not, that I am a celiac opposed to junk food. –
Other than that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve looked for subtle, atmospheric things to frighten me rather than cheap horrors or splatterpunk. I like cosmic horror, a sense that the universe may be a hostile, inimical place. At the beginning of my novel Dark Wizard, we find that Kan, the hero, has amnesia and doesn’t even know who he is. How frightening it must be not to know your own identity, to have your life shrouded in mystery. One thing I like about Ramsey Campbell is that the chief character in his fiction is often the setting, which seems haunted and teeming with malevolent meanings beneath the surface.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
Oh, boy. G rated, huh? That means I can’t mention some of my fiction, like “Jesse’s Hair,” which will appear in Chizine online. You see, the girl in “Jesse’s Hair” . . .
Nope, can’t mention it. Well, I like sweet, sentimental pop tunes of the fifties, which reflect a more innocent time. You know, songs about true love that are soaked in passion and yet leave so much to the imagination.
Keywords: science fiction, paranormal romance, sex, lust, romance, video game, savior, action, adventure, resurrection
Thank You so much for being my guest this week. What an interesting guest! And you were there and you were there…
Best advice – “I’d turn back if I were you.”
Come back next week – I’m climbing out of my ‘big bird nest’ to have a glance at my whiteboard… looks like J E Cammon is our next Writerly Wenesday Guest….
* Agan, please forgive this crazy wordpress formatting. And don’t touch anything sharp!