By J. Stephen Howard, Santa Clarita Contributor
In reflecting on how Bountiful Harvest is my fifth book, I wonder how I got here, and my fiction writer’s mind envisions myself as the protagonist of my own journey. Now maybe, just maybe, I haven’t been haunted by an ego-maniacal professor’s ghost bent on exploiting the fears of others (like in my first novel, Fear in Appleton); or been overtaken by the creature of my conscience (like all the characters in my short stories collection, Frankenstein’s Confessional); or had my genes modified because I wasn’t perfect enough (like Teddy in the sci-fi & fantasy/horror novel, Fabled Circus); or been demonized by a guitar possessed by a tortured spirit (like the characters in the short stories collection, The Legend of a Blues Guitar); or found myself the leader of a band of genetically-modified misfits (again like Teddy, this time in the Fabled Circus sequel, Bountiful Harvest).
However, in looking back, it all seems like a strange, but wonderful, dream. I can almost hear the somnambulant sound of harp strings being plucked.
As the distorted waves of time travel focus, we key in on a sixteen-year-old boy walking to his high school English class. In front of a spiral notebook for that class, he has another one with scribblings about a bizarre world parallel to ours called Egnaro (“orange” spelled backward, of course, since his friend calls his pontifications about the universe by that name). This is a negative image of our universe with a mad, power-hungry leader called Queen Eg who is bent on overcoming and thus destroying ours.
As if walking into a wrinkle of time, he finds he’s a graduate from Murray State University with a B.A. in Creative Writing/Theatre and is desirous of adventure now that he’s in the real world. A trick of lighting, perhaps, he finds he’s now jostling for position on a crowded subway in Seoul, Korea. He understands the Hongul being spoken around him. How is that possible? Now he recalls his language institute boss telling him not to speak Korean because the kids, from seven to thirteen, must practice speaking English.
The sea of people parts to reveal the open country road leading to Nashville, Tennessee. Our hero is on his way to interviewing a Christian hit songwriter for “American Songwriter Magazine.” Besides getting a byline, he hopes to receive great tips and inspiration for how to write songs himself.
But as soon he gets used to being in the Music City, he finds himself walking on Sunset Boulevard. Acting auditions for commercials, working at an independent film sales company called Echelon Entertainment, and writing songs and books keep him on the move.
Catching his breath after the long journey, he realizes he’s been many places as he sits at his LAUSD teacher’s desk. It’s been quite an adventure, and his creativity has kept him from getting lost along the way.
Stephen Howard has written several books in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His latest, Bountiful Harvest(sequel to Fabled Circus), which will be released on November 27, 2017 exclusively on Amazon for 90 days and then will be available on all major digital platforms thereafter.
For more information, please visit his website: www.jstephenhoward.com