PARTIAL SHORT STORIES LIST
1. “A Mingling of Souls,” 2. “Bagonoun’s Wonderful Songbird,” 3. “Childhood’s Day,” 4. “Green in Our Souls,” 5. “Here Be Dragons,” 6. “Killers,” 7. “More Stately Mansions,” 8. “Music Man,” 9. “Steam Heat,” 10. “The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes,” 11. “The Voice of Many Waters,” 12. “Wet Dreams.”
1. A MINGLING OF SOULS
Tagline: What do you do when your husband’s old love letters start to sing?)
Excerpt: At night, as I lie beside my husband, I can hear his old love letters sing. Sometimes they sing of joy, and sometimes of ecstasy. But mostly, they sing of anguish and broken hearts, and of their deep, deep envy of me.
I’ve asked Justin many times to throw the letters out. After all, he’s past sixty and some of the women are probably even deader than the dry, withered paper that preserves their words. Why, indeed, would he even want to use his magical charm to keep these relics? As always, Justin refuses.
While he sleeps, I sometimes go to the dresser I picked out for him, open the top drawer and remove his letters. Six inches thick, they smell of old loves and illusions and are bound by a faded red ribbon tied in an ornate bow—a memento, no doubt, from one of his admirers.
This is a short story formerly published by XoXo Publishing.
2. BAGONOUN’S WONDERFUL SONGBIRD
Romance – Magical and Exotic in the South Pacific Paranormal Romance – An old man and a young girl are unlikely lovers, but what happens when a magical bird starts to sing? Bagonoun’s Wonderful Songbird is an improbable love story that takes place on the island Nauru in the South Pacific. Sometimes miracles come true.
EXCERPT: “Bagonoun, at first they were glad I came here, if only to be rid of me. But now they say . . .”
He could have finished it. Oddly, there was a time when he would have agreed. Now he raised his hand and stroked her hair, gazing into her beautiful dark eyes. “You must keep coming,” he pleaded. “The bird will not sing without you.”
“That is all you care about, Bagonoun, winning the competition. You don’t care about me at all.”
“That’s not true. I do care.”
“But not as I do.” She sighed. “At least you no longer think me disgusting.”
He made himself smile. “Child, I have grandchildren older than you.”
“I told you before, even if you were ugly, I would love you for the beauty inside, which is ageless. I would know it at once, no matter how others saw you.”
3. CHILDHOOD’S DAY
If You Could Become a Child Again, Would You? If You Could Recapture Your Childhood, Would You Do It? Suppose you could have yourself reborn at the age of seven so your childhood self could you help you cope with crippling guilt for the death of your father — would you do it? And would it be fair to the boy you once were, especially since he will live only one day?
CHILDHOOD’S DAY . . . Gypsy Shadow Publishing http://www.gypsyshadow.com/JohnRos.html PDF, $2.99
EXCERPT: Though it was the most important appointment of his life, Winter was not prepared for the innocuous pastry shop or the plump man in an apron who stood behind a counter.
“Yes, may I help you?”
Winter rubbed his arm, smelling the rich fragrance of bread, rolls, and doughnuts. He glanced at the only customer, who was eyeing some eclairs in a side case.
“I’m Steve Morrison,” he finally said, repeating what the man on the phone had told him to say. “I called last night about a special order. A . . . birthday cake for my son.”
“Ah, yes, Mr. Morrison.” The man smiled, and then emerged from behind the counter. “Will you come with me, please?”
He ushered Winter through a door, where a pretty young woman met them. “Please go with Ms. Starret. She’ll see that you’re taken care of.”
As the man returned to the bakery, Winter nervously followed Ms. Starret to a room with an inclined couch, where she smiled and told him to lie down. What had he heard such rooms called? Oh yes, birthing chambers. However, he knew it would not be that kind of birth, or rather, that it would be something both more and less than a birth.
Ms. Starret touched him gently. “Are you comfortable, Mr. Morrison?”
“Fine.” She smiled and fitted his index finger into a plastic sheath on one of the arms of the couch, and then pressed a button. “This is a gene-scan. It will read and analyze every gene in your system. Basically, we use it to detect any problems or irregularities. If none is found, we transplant a clone-nucleus from one of your cells into a surrowomb, where it will be nurtured and grow over a period of three weeks.” She picked up an electrical attachment and placed it around his head. “In addition, selected data stored in your brain will be transferred to a holding unit and later transferred, in turn, to your reprograph’s . . .“
He raised a hand. “Please, it’s not necessary to explain everything.”
She smiled, making him feel rude. “As you wish, Mr. Morrison. But I will need some information before we proceed.” She moved to a computer and began to type into it. “First, what is the precise age you want your reprograph to be?”
He inhaled deeply, remembering the day his father had died. It had been shortly before Winter’s seventh birthday.
“Maybe a couple months after seven. I don’t want this to be on his birthday.”
“I understand. Sex?”
“Of your reprograph. We are now able to produce an opposite-sex version of the subject.”
“I didn’t know that. Uh, male.” He licked his lips. “One thing I’ve been meaning to ask. How will it—I mean, he—feel?” He tried to imagine what it would feel like to be “born” at the age of seven and couldn’t. “Won’t it be traumatic? I mean . . .”
She smiled, patted his shoulder. “Mr. Morrison, your reprograph will be thoroughly conditioned, so that any trauma will be minor.”
“But. . .”
“At the same time, I assure you that his feelings and memories, will be yours.” She patted him again. “Now, if you have no other questions, perhaps we should begin.”
He spread his fingers on the couch’s smooth surface. “Just one. What about the limitations of your technology? Isn’t it true you can’t create a reprograph that will last for more than . . .”
Ms. Starret’s smile froze. “If reprography had been legalized and funded, we would have overcome such problems. But religious and other groups called it godless technology and closed their eyes to all we had to offer.” She sighed. “Shall we begin, Mr. Morrison?”
He stiffened. As his wife tearfully stressed, prolonged psychiatric treatment had failed, and his guilt and depression about his parents was only getting worse. He’d lost three jobs in the past two years and had recently started drinking again. When his psychiatrist, an old friend, gave him a phone number and address, Winter had known it was his last chance. But was he willing to risk going to prison for it?
He swallowed. What did he have left to lose? More importantly, what did he have to look forward to if he didn’t try it?
He looked at Ms. Starret, forcing himself to relax. “Yes,” he heard himself say, “I’m ready.” **************************************************************************
4. GREEN IN OUR SOULS
Communication with the dead, sharing their minds and thoughts. Seeing the beloved dead again. How often have we wished it? How would you like to go even further and actually BECOME those you loved? Blurb: Derrick Thomas is a happy, successful lawyer with a loving wife and family. Then one day it all changes. He discovers he can share the minds and thoughts of the dead. His beloved grandfather returns, and not only does Derrick experience the dead man’s thoughts, he communicates with him and becomes his grandfather. Changing roles terrifies Derrick and makes him afraid of losing his identity, his very soul. As he tells his doctor, “I wasn’t me anymore.” Then things get even worse. Derrick is abducted by strangers, who seek to use his mysterious powers for deadly purposes. Just when he thinks the situation can’t get any worse, he sees the dead actually come back to life and shares their deepest secrets.
Excerpt: On and on they came, a flood of high moments and low. Dozens, hundreds. People poured into him until he felt he would burst, yet unlike before, with his grandfather, he no longer felt threatened. Now he loved them all, even the shady, unethical lawyer who was his nemesis. How could he not love such people, when he knew firsthand their secret wounds, the twisted paths they had traveled?
External Reviews: Janie Franz: “…an interesting tale about death and psychic ability, and John B. Rosenman offers a unique twist on those themes.”
Formerly Published by Damnation Books. $2.50 eBook ISBN 9781615720026 Available at: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615720026
John B. Rosenman, Writer
Read an interview at http://www.milscifi.com/files/inter-JBR-BS.htm
5. HERE BE DRAGONS
Horror in Outer Space
Outer Space is the new uncharted sea. Unknown Horrors lurk in the distant depths among the stars, just as they once lurked in the unexplored regions of mariners’ and seamen’s maps. Here Be Dragons means unknown and terrible horrors await us. Proceed at your own risk. Published by Eternal Press at www.eternalpress.ca SET-UP: From space, the planet Mira looks safe and peaceful, but mysterious “dragons” slaughtered the fourteen members of the first expedition. Captain Jordan, leading the second expedition to investigate this tragedy, will do anything to avoid more bloodshed. After their ship lands, they discover a lovely Eden. While there is no sign of the previous crew, soon a deadly snake enters the garden. Crew members start to die in horrible ways, and Jordan fears his officers have been replaced with clever imitations by an unimaginably alien monster with supremely evil powers. The question is, what will happen when Jordan and the monster finally come face to face?
Excerpt: He smiled. The lieutenant was such a gentle, honest man, that she couldn’t imagine him hurting a flea. With Rob Adams, what you saw was what you got. Unlike other men, he’d never hurt or disappointed her. Still, if they were caught, their affair would probably bring them both a court-martial. So she had to be careful even with him.
Troubled, she turned back to the scope while his hands gently began to massage her shoulders. One descended and caressed her breast. She pulled away. Ordinarily she would have liked it, but something about him seemed wrong.
“Everything all right?” he asked.
She shivered. “I…I’m not sure. You seem different somehow.”
“Different? What do you mean?” His hand found her breast and started to caress it again.
“I can’t explain it. You’re just…not the same.”
His hand froze. He hissed, a strange sound that made her skin crawl. “No matter how hard I try,” he said, “you never accept me.”
Available at: http://amzn.to/1CGkhl4
Tagline: Diana travels into the past to save the man she loves, but is she a match for the killers who police the timelines?
Blurb: What comes first, love or duty? Diana, a 24th century Supervisor of time travel, learns that Dero is taking unauthorized trips into the past. She knows she should arrest him, but she loves him too much. Obsessed, she follows him repeatedly into the distant past to save him from the machine-like killers that police the timelines.
One day he goes too far, threatening the delicate fabric of history itself, and Diana must make a terrible decision.
They look just like everybody else, except to me. Even when they move, they’re fixed islands in the sea of time, their false human faces following me even if they’re looking elsewhere. Somehow I always know their cold eyes are watching, that they don’t belong in the world I find myself in either. In whatever time period I send myself to.
As for the current period, it’s Vienna, 1782. Time travel is an imperfect science, but the Chroneton has landed me exactly where it was supposed to: in an empty, musty alley off a busy cobblestone street near the heart of the city.
Unobserved, I suppress a sneeze and venture out into the ferment of a vital land. Men move about in white powdered wigs and fancy waistcoats, wearing tricorn hats and lace at their wrists and throats.
A shopkeeper shouts, and a woman laughs. A fancy red carriage rolls past, pulled by matching bay horses. One of them snorts at me and flicks his tail as if he knows I don’t belong here.
A young woman barely thirty, I clutch the parasol I snatched from Wardrobe and try to look older so as not to attract attention. I feel swallowed up in petticoats, which makes it hard to navigate the street, and the fact that one of my heels is loose doesn’t help. The smell of the place is decidedly bad—raw sewage in a gutter, the smell of unwashed bodies beneath the perfume. I remember from my research that even higher-class people bathe only a few times a year. Hopefully, it won’t take me that long to get through decon when I return. The odds of running into Dero are slim, and I’m even less likely to find Amadeus, the reason Dero tripped to this place and time.
Vienna may not be a modern city, but it’s spacious and labyrinthine. Mozart frequented this particular quarter, which boasts high-end shops selling assorted sleaze and a perversion for every palate.
Odds, as they say, are made to be broken, and I spot Dero five minutes after I almost trip on a jagged cobblestone. Six foot three and muscular, Dero stands out in this runty, malnourished era, but he carries himself with such careless pride, he dissolves suspicion even as he encourages it. His handsome face flashes with smiles, and he laughs in a rich baritone that proclaims him to be a Lord of Earth, at home in every century. Maybe in the Pleistocene, he would strike you as being a tad out of place, but five seconds wrapped in his spell would douse all doubts, no matter how heavy.
Of course, I’ve time-tripped here instead of reporting him because I’m madly in love. Despite my secret shame, I cannot resist pursuing him into the past like a smitten bloodhound. I feel degraded by my passion, but without him life would be tedious.
7. MORE STATELY MANSIONS
Cosmic SF — Spiritual and Mind-stretching Wonders of the Universe
Cover by the incomparable artist: Delilah K. Stephans
|Captain Temple leads a mission to K22 and finds a beautiful planet with magnificent shining cities – potentially a lucrative new market for the Merchants Guild.There’s just one problem: the cities are mysteriously empty. He can’t find even one survivor, which means the planet is off-limits to commercial exploitation and cannot be used to achieve financial profits in any way. Soon Temple discovers an even greater problem, one that is strange and ominous and threatens his crew’s very survival.Not only that, the story is an incredible cosmic mind-stretcher that strains sanity to the breaking point and presents a totally new view of the endless wonders of the universe.|
8. MUSIC MAN
A Magic Trumpet — But when you play it, is the music divine or demonic?
A short story formerly published by XoXo Publishing
Tagline: If you keep searching and don’t lose faith, at the very next house, or the one after it, all your dreams may come true.)
Excerpt: He had been to nine yard sales in his neighborhood and was cruising now down streets he had never seen before, his eyes peeled for riches. Now and then the November wind swept icily through his window, but he barely noticed.
“Bill, would you close that window?” Marge said. “We’ll freeze to death in here!”
Of course he didn’t close it. With the window up, the sun’s glare could make him miss something. After all, not everyone had the decency to erect large, legible signs. From personal experience he knew that some were little more than postage stamps and scrawled with crayon on everything from paper bags to Kleenex. And those were precisely the ones he couldn’t afford to pass up! Once he had almost ignored a childish scribble on what looked like a piece of toilet paper, only to turn in at the last moment. He smiled, relieved all over again that he hadn’t missed the swivel desk chair in the back of the garage. It had been pure oak, and with a little Pledge and elbow grease, he had polished it to a high sheen — an absolute steal at $17.50! Yes, it all went to show that you never knew what you were likely to pass up. The most unpromising place could prove to be — Xanadu.
“Mom, can we go home now?”
9. STEAM HEAT
Adult, Erotic Romance — Supernatural Seduction
John B.Rosenman is a very prolific, scary author who weaves stories with potent and all too often, bone rattling intensity. From out of left field this man can chill your blood while at the same moment heat up the center of your libido. STEAM HEAT – Passion; beyond the realm of simple Dark Fantasy… CREEPY! John B. Rosenman, Author
Chad Benson, a rugged construction worker, has always had his way with women until a mysterious, irresistible visitor blindfolds and seduces him in a steam room. She compels him to make an ominous promise to accept the consequences of their union, whatever they might be. For the first time, Chad becomes obsessed with a member of the opposite sex and roams the health spa, seeking the red-haired girl who he believes is his seducer. The totally new experience of falling in love is an emotion he’ll desperately need when he faces a deadly evil.
EXCERPT: After a good hot spray he entered the steam room, finding it empty. Climbing in his swim trunks to the top level of the multi-tiered wooden bench, he looked around. Heavy steam filled the air, partly obscuring his view of the pool through the floor-to-ceiling window. At best, he could make out only a few swimmers. Ah, the heat felt good! He’d sweat a bit and decide who he’d see this weekend. Maybe someone kinky like Michelle.
Lying down, he covered his eyes with his towel. His chest rose and fell in the hot, humid air. The door opened and closed. Listening, he could hear no footsteps. How odd. Was the person simply standing there? As he started to remove his towel, a hand caught his.
“I don’t want you to see,” a soft voice said.
“No, Chad. It spoils the fun.”
It was the redhead! Obviously, she’d seen him watching her and had dumped her loser before finding out his name.
He grinned. “Can’t I even peek?”
“No, it could prove dangerous. After all, I might be Medusa.”
He laughed, imagining her lovely face. “Hey, come on. If you looked at Medusa—”
“Shhh. Don’t even say it.”
Fingers slid behind his head, tying his towel securely so he couldn’t pull it off. A moment later, he felt sharp nails glide down his chest and stomach and start to remove his trunks.
“Hey!” “What’s the matter? Don’t you like to live dangerously?”
What was with this girl? Having her strip him while he was blindfolded put him at a decided disadvantage, put her in control. What’s more, they were practically in plain sight! Any moment someone could come in.
Something in her voice stilled his protest, soothed it away.
“Okay,” he shrugged. “Only you get to peek and I don’t. It hardly seems fair.”
Her hand took his and glided it along a smooth, bare thigh, up her stomach to her breasts. He caught his breath.
She was naked!
BUY LINKS: MuseItUp Publishing at http://tinyurl.com/d46o83m
Amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/d89kuss
10. THE BLUE OF HER HAIR, THE GOLD OF HER EYES
COVER BY DELILAH K. STEPHANS
FIVE STARS for this powerful, thought provoking short story. ******************************************************************************* Here’s a blog I published on MuseItUp Publishing’s site about the plight of Rachel Ross, the character in the story.
Pray for Rachel Ross
My name is Rachel Ross, and my life is good. I have a loving husband and a job that helps others and gives me satisfaction. Then one day I notice a growth on my left breast. No, it isn’t cancer. I only wish it were. It is something far, far worse. A deadly, mysterious disease infinitely more horrible than cancer or leprosy. A disease so terrible that no one dares to speak its name or even mention it.
When my husband hears my diagnosis, he leaves me cold. All my friends shun me, and I am forced to wear a blood red symbol of my disease on my breast. I am the ultimate outcast, a lonely woman hungry for love that people fear and scorn. If I even try to speak to them, they will scream, throw rocks and run. Then one day I start to change. And change. And change. What am I changing into?
As the weeks pass, I think I am turning into some kind of a horrible monster. Or perhaps ultimately it will be something transcendent, beyond humanity’s wildest imagination. Either way I am terrified and miserable. Yet I cannot take the pill to end my life which the State eagerly offers me.
The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes is suspenseful, science-fiction horror, published by MuseItUp Publishing (www.MuseItUpPublishing.com). It reflects an obsessive theme in my fiction: the theme of transformation. In this story, I take that theme or concept about as far as I can. I try to stretch readers’ minds to the breaking point and beyond. There are only a few stories I’ve written that rival this novelette when it comes to transformation, and one of them is More Stately Mansions, a cosmic, science-fiction novelette published by the same publisher. Remember the song, “Across the Universe”? Well, I try to take us even further. Perhaps I’ll write about it next time if I don’t undergo a sea change of my own.
11. THE VOICE OF MANY WATERS
Neo-Catholicism in the Far Future
Father Peter, a Neo-Catholic priest, tries to bring a beautiful and peaceful but nonspiritual species to God through extraordinary musical means. Is he wise to do so, or is he foolish to meddle?
Available at Amazon. http://tinyurl.com/d4k4xca
Reviewer: Clayton Bye
Father Peter, the namesake of Christ’s original fisher of souls, has been bringing the words of the Messiah so deep into the cosmos, and for so long, that a thousand years have passed on Earth. Never in all that time has Peter found a race so immune to the concepts he preaches as the natives of Duran, a people known as the Humana. They are a beautiful, perfect race of mild emotions and manners. No war. No vices. No religion.
In a moment of enlightenment (or wishful thinking) the priest decides to support efforts to bring a SoulSinger (think of a giant praying mantis with lots of claws) to Duran to perform for the Humana. Legend says the creature can use his music to reach the deepest parts of the soul and release what is found there. If this is true, then Father Peter knows he’ll finally get his chance to religiously attend to the mild and beautiful race. You see, he knows their history; he knows they were once an emotional and warring people. If the SoulSinger can reach that core of emotion, Peter believes his religion will as well.
But Father Peter is naive. He doesn’t stop to think that Xanthu, the SoulSinger, might have an agenda. Nor does he remember a lesson all children know well: once you take something out of its container, it may prove to be impossible to put back.
What happens when the people of Duran hear the SoulSinger play his music is a terrible yet interesting commentary about influencing other cultures. But most of all, I believe John B. Rosenman’s The Voice of Many Waters is a powerful metaphor for the good and evil which may be loosed or dredged up from the depths of all those who have souls. These many waters have been the target (for thousands of years) of Evangelists who understand what roils beneath these surfaces. And we all know the terrible things that have been done in the name of religion. What would happen if an alien with the ability to access and manipulate what lies in those depths decided to put on the mantle of the Messiah, to become the voice of the one true God?
As The Voice of Many Waters is a novelette you can easily read in one sitting, why don’t you answer that question for yourself? John Rosenman is a talented and experienced writer who always entertains—even when he has something important to say.
Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2010
12. WET DREAMS
Sex and Ghosts
Warning: this ghost story contains Sex, Adultery, a Haunted House, and Twisted Psychology. Available at www.museituppublishing.com/
As a writer, I believe this may be my darkest story, for it delves not only into sex, ghosts, and the supernatural, but into the deepest and most hidden recesses of twisted human psychology. Beware, gentle reader.
|Blurb: A summer-long vacation and a lavish mansion in the country to enjoy it in. What could possibly go wrong? For John and Karen Santos, it provides a wonderful opportunity to heal their marriage, which has been damaged by John’s infidelity.While there, they sleep in a waterbed surrounded by ghostly, watchful mirrors. In a dream, John is visited by Laura Martin, the wife of Rex Martin, the mansion’s previous owner. Soon sex and murder embrace in a dark, twisted psychodrama, and John confronts an age-old question: Does anyone ever really know another person, even if you’re married to her?EXCERPT: An hour later, he lay back naked and basked in the afterglow. Karen herself turned off the lights and snuggled happily against him, both their bodies covered by a single sheet. Like him, she was exhausted and drenched with sweat. He listened to her breathing slow and descend toward sleep.|
|Mirrors. We’re surrounded by mirrors here. Eyes closed, he thought of their coupling, entangled bodies, which they had seen reflected from many positions: he above her, then behind, Karen above, and then receiving him sideways. He started to smile but found himself imagining their own images watching them in the shadows like second selves. Who knows, perhaps their alter egos would wait till they slept and then creep into their bodies and possess their souls. And, in the morning, when they awoke… Where had he gotten such a weird idea? He tried to puzzle it out, but sleep soon stole upon him.|